New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and Matters — See Title Page and List of Contents
— latest, 23rd January 2017: Solomon speaking to Ants? – Not too Antsy though!
Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam
A quotation from the preface to the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, published in 1934, occurs in our literature. When translating the book 'The Death of Jesus' by the learned Maulana Hafiz Sher Muhammad, I translated this quotation as follows:
"In that period, Bishop Lefroy gathered an army of missionaries and left England, promising that he would soon convert the whole of India to Christianity. Having collected a great amount of money from the people of England, and assurances from them of continuing assistance in the future, he entered India and raised a big storm. His attack on the teachings of Islam was a failure … But the attack based on the argument that Jesus was alive in heaven in his physical body, while all other prophets were buried in the earth, was in his view proving to be effective upon the general public. At that juncture, Maulvi Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani stood up and addressed Lefroy and his group, saying: ‘The Jesus you talk about is dead and buried like other mortals, and the Jesus whose coming is prophesied is myself, so you must accept me.’ By this means he made things so difficult for Lefroy that he could not shake him off. In this way, he defeated all the Christian missionaries from India to England." (page 30)
Recently I came across a copy of that Urdu translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi at the home of a friend in Suriname. I immediately had the relevant page scanned, and also some pages around it. You can read this passage in the original book at this link.
For greater context you can read pages 29-31 at this link.
Dealing with the history of Islam in India, the point he is raising is that, in his opinion, in modern times four men present "a bad example" of distorting Islamic teachings and causing sectarian rifts. These are the following:
After the extract quoted above, Ashraf Ali Thanvi writes that it was merely a ploy by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad against Christian missionaries to say that ‘The Jesus you talk about is dead and buried like other mortals, and the Jesus whose coming is prophesied is myself'. Having used this ploy, writes Thanvi, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was now stuck with adopting this as his actual belief, because he could not retract it: "Therefore till his death he adhered to this belief and kept on giving inappropriate interpretations of the Quran and Hadith".
He adds: "These four men have now died and have gone to the next world. The intention with which they did this work is known to Allah, and their accounting is with Him. But due to them it happened that ignorant Muslims were needlessly divided into factions. We wish these men had not done this, because it is possible to reply to your opponents while still maintaining the true beliefs…"
It is clear that Ashraf Ali Thanvi places Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the same category as the other three men, as regards the rights and wrongs of what they were trying to do. He does not consider them as unbelievers and kafir, but as persons who tried to defend Islam although in the wrong way. Thanvi certainly does not say that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a prophet and thereby went out of Islam.
Birds have been mentioned in various hues and for many reasons in Quran. The parable of Abraham being taught reformation and resurrection in verse 2:260 at times becomes problematic when read from ‘classical’ sources or from the discourses of advocates of such sources. One such non-quranic fantastic narrative is as follows:
Therefore, Ibrahim caught four birds, slaughtered them, removed the feathers, tore the birds to pieces and mixed the pieces together. He then placed parts of these mixed pieces on four or seven hills. Ibn `Abbas said, “Ibrahim kept the heads of these birds in his hand. Next, Allah commanded Ibrahim to call the birds to him, and he did as Allah commanded him. Ibrahim witnessed the feathers, blood and flesh of these birds fly to each other, and the parts flew each to their bodies, until every bird came back to life and came walking at a fast pace towards Ibrahim, so that the example that Ibrahim was witnessing would become more impressive. Each bird came to collect its head from Ibrahim’s hand, and if he gave the bird another head the bird refused to accept it. When Ibrahim gave each bird its own head, the head was placed on its body by Allah’s leave and power.”
Such an understanding as above besides being nonsensical, fails the fundamental test of Quran i.e. once dead in this world is dead for ever, be it a human or an animal. It contradicts Quran:
So, it begets one to explore the said verse 2:260 for its context and its purpose. The context encircles the ever pervasive debate between materialism and spiritualism. Materialism believes in the physical modalities and power alone for sustainability of nations, whereas the spiritualism and morality, the symbols of which are the prophets, consider the Divine guidance as the ultimate elixir for revival of the society. It all begins with Abraham, a prophet, in his debate with the king, the materialist:
Of note is that both Abraham and the king are using the same words in their argument, but with a difference, the meanings of those words are spiritual for the former and materialistic for the latter. For example, the implication of the fertility and desolation of the land for Abraham is the presence and the dearth of morality in a nation respectively. Whereas, for the king, it is actual fertility from water and fields that he can control. When Abraham challenges the king of the possibility of sun rising from the west, because he believes in such a capacity of his God, he essentially is speaking of spiritual and moral revival of the otherwise unexpected corners and quarters of the world, in the manner of sun which shines light and wakes people from their slumber, whereas the king is dumbfounded by his incapacity to do such a physical event. If in this parable there were a question in physical domain from Abraham, then he too would not had any answer if the king had made the claim first that he makes the sunrise from the east and could the God of Abraham raise it from the west? In summary, the materialists, even of our times, totally miss the purpose of a prophet and his message, which is none other than reformation of mankind, to bring them back from a morally dead state, heal them of their moral leprosy and blindness and make them spiritually soar like birds.
Sustained moral reawakening can only come about from Divine guidance. Any efforts authored by man in this realm are short lived and inevitably create “Chasm of the Isms” (a separate chapter in this book – link). The rain in Quran is a metaphor for the Divine guidance that comes to humanity for its revival in a similitude of the fertility of an otherwise barren land, via the agency of prophets that were sent to each nation before the final and universal prophet, Prophet Muhammad and the Quran through him:
With Prophet Muhammad and general humanity as its audience, the subject matter of the verse 2:258 that was centered on Prophet Abraham continues in the next verse where example of another prophet, as evident by it’s opening words – ‘Or consider the case of’ being foretold, is quoted from history about revival of a nation after its wretchedness:
The above verse re-frames the argument of Abraham before the king in that Ezekiel, a (later) prophet when he sees the physical and moral desolation of Jerusalem and its people; he terms it as its death. He wonders if such a township and its people can be restored to their earlier resplendence. Thereafter, as an answer, Ezekiel has a vision with a prophecy spanning a hundred years when Dhul-Qarnain, the Cyrus II, another prophet will restore it – a hundred years after the initial destruction of Solomon's temple and dislodgment of Israelites to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II and their subsequent sorry state. Since this was visualization into the future, the actual time of the visionary state is no more than a day or a part of a day that is confirmed by food and drink, and the donkey as they have escaped the action of time. It is the vision of Ezekiel which then foretold the revival of the apparently ‘dead’ Israelites i.e. the (dead) bones how We set them together and then clothe them with flesh.'  This vision in Book of Ezekiel 40:1-49 covers the rebuilding of Solomon's temple the second time, which was fulfilled subsequently because of Cyrus II who not only repatriated the Israelites to Jerusalem but also funded the reconstruction of the temple. No wonder, Cyrus II is labeled as a liberator and not as a conqueror in history and is entitled as Messiah by the Jews:
The Book of Ezra narrates a story of the first return of exiles in the first year of Cyrus; for this, Cyrus is addressed in the Jewish Tanakh as the "Lord's Messiah". Glorified by Ezra, and by Isaiah, Cyrus is the one to whom "Yahweh, the God of heaven" has given "all the Kingdoms of the earth"
The next verse 2:260 completes the subject matter of the previous two verses 2:258 and 2:259, where Abraham is explained the philosophy of how a prophet revives a nation, the main purpose of prophethood:
In the above verse, the parable of domestication of birds is used to explain the principle underlying the reformative efforts of a prophet. A non-domesticated or untamed bird, for example a falcon, by its very nature flees away when approached. Similar to the trainer, in order to overcome the initial tendency of a bird to avoid any training or in case of humans the reformation by a prophet, the prophet has to first attach or incline the audience to himself by kindness, love, affection and wisdom, that we read in the instructions to Prophet Muhammad in Quran as:
The above injunction of kind exhortation we also find for Moses and Aaron when they go before Pharaoh:
Gentleness and humility were also some of the attributes that Prophet Luqman of Ethiopia emphasized when he addressed his son:
Similarly, kindness of heart was fully embodied in Abraham who pleads for mercy on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, when he was foretold of their doom:
The kind approach of a prophet and his followers is not limited to their co-believers but must extend to all humanity:
It is only after the followers of a prophet are attached to him, that when the prophet calls them to the way of the Lord for their revival – they will come to you swiftly in the manner of a tamed bird who is now trusting of its keeper (2:260). Because, if the prophet does not display such high morals, to friends or foes alike, then the very people he is sent to revive will disperse around him:
In summary, Abraham is asking God in verse 2:260 how to accomplish his mission of prophethood which is to revive a spiritually and morally dead nation to life. In reply, he is told to first attach and incline his people to himself. Thereafter, it is natural for the Divine guidance to flow without hindrance from the prophet to such attached people. This is the sole methodology for spread of Islam that is starkly visible in history for its proliferation by the personal example and conduct of ordinary sea traders from Arabia into Indonesia. Abraham's words can be prophetic in our times for the sun to rise from the west only if the torch bearers of Islam make use of the verse 2:260 by attaching their audience to them by an excellent personal example and when they call the people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly and kind exhortation, and argue with them in the most pleasant and best manner (16:125).
P.S. Maulana Muhammad Ali in his Urdu translation and commentary of Quran deals with the said verses 2:258-260 with an in-depth view on etymology of the words and refutes nonsensical extra-Quranic views about these verses, including the alleged doubts attributed to Abraham and him mincing the birds etc.
 Birdie and Eagle are golf terms, used here as a disdain for the long shot and long winded legends that are hurled against Abraham to show that the birds allegedly dismembered by him miraculously came back to life.
Reference to Birds in the Quran: by Dr. Basharat Ahmad English translation of an Urdu article that appeared in Basharat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. II, pp. 22–35. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/articles/bash/referencebirdsquran.shtml
 Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin. 5:110. (Again imagine) when Allâh said, `O Jesus, son of Mary! remember My blessing upon you and upon your mother, how I strengthened you with the holy revelation. You spoke to the people (when you were) in the cradle and when of old age, and how I taught you the Scripture and the wisdom and the Torah and the Evangel, and how you determined from clay the likeness of a bird by My leave, then you breathed into it (a new spirit) then it became a soaring being by My leave, and by My leave you absolved the blind, the leprous, and by My leave you raised the (spiritually or nearly) dead to life, and how I warded off the Children of Israel from (putting) you (to death). It was the time when you came to them with clear arguments, but those among them who disbelieved had said, "This is naught but a hoax cutting (us) off (from the nation)".'
Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin. 30:47. Indeed, We have already sent Messengers to their (respective) people before you, and they came to them with clear proofs. Then We punished those who had (denied their Apostles and) cut their ties (with God). And it is of course ever incumbent upon Us to help the believers.
30:48.It is Allâh alone who sends forth the winds and they raise (the vapours to form) a cloud which He spreads out in the sky as He will and sets it layer upon layer, and you see the rain falling from its midst. And no sooner does He cause it to fall on whom He will of His servants than they are filled with joy,
30:49. Though shortly before it was sent down upon them they were in a state of despondency.
30:50. Look, therefore, at the evidences of Allâh's mercy! how He breathes life into the earth (making it green and flourishing) after its (state of) death. Surely, He (it is), the same (God), Who will raise the dead to life (in the Hereafter), for He is the Possessor of power over every desired thing.
30:51. And if We send (another kind of blasting) wind and they see it turn yellow (for its having taken the form of punishment) they will even after that continue to disbelieve (for their being engrossed in evil doings).
30:52. And you cannot make the dead hear, nor can you make the deaf hear the call when they retreat turning their backs (on you),
30:53. Nor can you guide the blind out of their error. You can make only those hear who would believe in Our Messages and submit (to Us).
 Al-Tariq – The Night Visitant: Nooruddin
 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
Ezekiel 36: 1“Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord……33 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’ 37 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, 38 as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel 37: 1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”…..10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
Ezra 1: 1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” 5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem. 6 And all who were about them aided them with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with costly wares, besides all that was freely offered. 7 Cyrus the king also brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the number of them: 30 basins of gold, 1,000 basins of silver, 29 censers, 10 30 bowls of gold, 410 bowls of silver, and 1,000 other vessels; 11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were 5,400. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
Ezra 2: 1 Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town.…..64 The whole assembly together was 42,360, 65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers. 66 Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, 67 their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720. 68 Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. 69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics[a] of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests’ garments. 70 Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel[c] in their towns. [English Standard Version]
 Wikipedia – Cyrus the Great – Legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great#Legacy
 Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
 Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
 Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
 Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
 Luqman – Luqman: Nooruddin
 Hud – Hud: Nooruddin
 Al-Mumtahanah – She that is to be Examined: Nooruddin
 Al-Imran – Family of Imran: Nooruddin
 Rise of Sun in the West and the Capture of Birds – Dr. Zahid Aziz, The Light & Islamic Review : Vol. 73; No. 4; Jul-Aug 1996; p. 7-10
 Bayan-ul-Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali, footnotes 333-335 for verses 2:258-260. Link: http://aaiil.org/urdu/hq/pdf/holyquranpdf.shtml
The verse 5:51 is often quoted as a broad injunction for Muslims to disassociate themselves from any ties of friendship with all Jews and Christians. That is factually wrong and quoted out of context. The full context of the said verse is discussed below:
5:51. O you who believe! do not take these Jews and the Christians for allies [Arabic: ‘awliya’]. They are allies of one to another (when against you), and whoso from amongst you takes them for allies, is indeed one of them. Verily, Allâh does not guide the unjust people to attain their goal. [Emphasis added]
The emphasis in the said verse is on “these”, and its use, even if taken for its historical reasons, limits its addressed audience only to those who were among the opposing communities including Jews and Christians of Medina and its vicinity at the time when Muslims of Makkah had migrated to Medina to escape thirteen years of relentless persecution. “these” initially signed alliance treaties but were factually united against the city government of Muslims that was established in Medina under the Prophet. “these” are on record for aiding and abetting attacks on Medina by Makkans. In the use of identifier “these” Quran contextualizes “these” in the verses adjoining the said verse and throughout implores and makes a case to the hostile people of the Book to remedy their antagonism against Islam based upon their current behavior, their historically erroneous stance towards pervious prophets and for them to self-reflect in the virtuous teaching of their own Scriptures. Simultaneously, Quran also identifies for Muslims the attributes of followers of other religions which qualify them to be their friends and allies:
5:50. Do they seek to enforce the law of (the days of) ignorance? [i.e. when might was right, there were no human rights, women were mere property, slavery was rampant etc. before Islam]
Addressing the hidden alliances of the hypocrites of Medina who were strategically aligning on both sides of the divide, on one hand professing to be Muslims and wanting to be counted in their ranks, while on the other hand were colluding with the opponents as well, Quran states:
5:52. Now you shall see those [weak at heart Muslims] in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) vying one with another towards them (- the Jews and Christians [who were powerful and influential in Medina] to take them for allies). They [i.e. early Muslims of Medina, essentially the hypocrite faction] say, `We are afraid lest a misfortune should befall us [by not siding with the powerful that expectedly were to overcome the nascent Muslim community in Medina].' But it is well nigh that Allâh will bring about a victory or some other (more remarkable) event (in favour of Islam) from Himself; then they will become more remorseful (and ashamed) for what they secretly harboured in their minds.
5:53. And those who have believed will say (at that time), 'Are these they who swore by Allâh their most solemn oaths that they were surely with you?' Their deeds have gone waste (and their machination failed), so that they have become the losers.
Quran outlines the conduct of Jews against the Muslims as the basis for the latter to give up their friendship with “these” referred before:
5:57. O you who believe! do not make those who take your religion lightly and consider it worthless, from among those who were given the Scripture before you and the other infidels, your allies [while they maintain a hostile stance towards Islam and Muslims in turn are enjoined only to withdraw their friendship without any intended aggression]. And keep your duty to Allâh if you are (true) believers.
5:58. And when you call (the people) to Prayer, they [the Jewish communities of Medina] take it lightly [i.e. make mockery] and consider it [-Islam and its prayers] worthless [like a sport i.e. not to be taken seriously and a religion not worth adopting]. They do so because they are a people who do not understand.
5:59. Say, `O People of the Scripture! do you find fault with us [Muslims] only because we believe in Allâh and in that which has been revealed to us, and in that which was revealed before (us [on to you i.e. Torah, Evangel etc.])? Whereas most of you are disobedient (to God) [and flaunt His standards of fairness even in their own religions].'
5:60. Say, `Shall I inform you of those who shall receive from Allâh a recompense worse than that of those (who try to find fault with Us)? They are those whom Allâh has deprived of His blessings and upon whom He brought His displeasure and indignation and of whom He has made (as) apes and swine [in their behavior who copy and imitate each other without thinking and have no moral boundaries and thus degenerate to lower moral level of animals] and who serve the transgressor (- the devil) . It is these who are indeed worse-placed and farther astray from the right path.'
5:61. And when they [Jews of Medina] come to you they say, `We believe,' while, infact, they enter without faith and go out without it. And Allâh knows best all they conceal. [i.e. they would strategically convert and revert in the then time of state of war with Makkans and were a source of dissent and treason]
Despite the rancor of the opponents, Quran analyzes such behavior of the people of the Book towards Muslims and exhorts them from their own Scriptures to modify their immoral conduct:
5:66. If they had only observed the Torah and the Evangel and that which has been revealed to them (now) from their Lord, [because no Divine Book will endorse such behaviors as above,] they would surely have eaten (of good things) from above them [i.e. spiritual gains] and from under their feet [i.e. material gains], (thus would have enjoyed the boons of the heaven and the earth). [Quran does not measure all members of the opposing tribes with the same yardstick and acknowledges that] Though there is amongst them a community who is moderate (and of balanced mind), yet a large number of them are such that evil are their deeds[which are on record in the secular neo-Islamic history].
Without imposing its own message Quran reminds the people of the Book to follow their own Scriptures for a virtuous behavior and its outcome. In doing so, it places the righteous Jews and Christians at par with Muslims::
5:68. Say, `O People of the Scripture! you stand nowhere unless you observe the Torah and the Evangel [that too teaches unity of God, contrary to their doctrine of Trinity] and that (- Qur'ân) which has (now) been revealed to you from your Lord.' And certainly that which has been revealed [i.e. Quran] to you [all] from your Lord will increase many of them in ordinate rebellion and disbelief; so do not grieve for the disbelieving people.
5:69. Verily, those who have believed and those who judaised and the Sabians and the Christians, whosoever believes in Allâh and the Last Day and does righteous deeds [as taught in their own Scriptures], they shall have no cause of fear nor shall they ever grieve.
In order to rectify the hostility of opponents of Islam, Quran draws attention to history in which the ancestors of Jews of Medina exhibited antagonism to their prophets and now in the same manner they too were opposing Prophet Muhammad:
5:70. Surely, We took a covenant from the Children of Israel [for upholding unity of God in their beliefs and actions] and We sent Messengers to them. Every time there came to them a Messenger with that (Message) which did not suit their fanciful desires, (they defied him so that) some they treated as liars and others they sought to kill [e.g. Prophets John and Jesus before and now Prophet Muhammad].
5:71. And they thought there would be no punishment (for them) so they willfully became [morally] blind and deaf [in the same manner as morally low apes and swine – v. 5:60]; (then they sought Allâh's pardon) then Allâh turned to them (with mercy with the advent of Jesus), yet again many of them became blind and deaf. And Allâh is Watchful of what they do.
Still, Quran only enjoins a temporary halt of relationship with those alluded to in verse 5:51 above because:
60:7. It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those of them whom you hold as enemies. And Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Giving up of one’s company with the opponents of Islam by a Muslim can be as short lived as switching from an aggrieving discussion by such people to something else:
4:140. And He has already revealed to you in this Book (the commandment) that when you hear Allâh's Messages being denied and being ridiculed you should not sit with such (absurd people) unless they engage in a topic other than that, for in case (you do not leave their company) you will be indeed like them. Allâh is going to assemble the hypocrites and the disbelievers in Gehenna one and all.
While expunging any notion of across the board rejection of Jews and Christians by Muslims, Quran is quite clear about what makes a friend or a foe of Muslims:
60:8-9 Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah forbids you only with regard to those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers.
On the contrary, not surprisingly Quran teaches how to make friends even with those who have evil designs against Muslims that we particularly see as a working example in early Islamic history:
41:34-35. And good and evil are not alike. Repel (evil) with that (benign and graceful way) which is best, and lo, the person between whom and you there is enmity will behave as if he were your warm-hearted friend. Yet it is only the steadfast and patiently persevering who are allowed this (grace) and it is only those who possess a large share of good who are allowed this (moral standard).
Despite treacherous behaviors by certain sections of other religions, Quran does not lump all the adherents of those religions together as one nor does it claim righteousness for Muslims alone:
3:113. They (- the people of the Scripture) are not all alike. Among these people of the Scripture there are some upright people. They rehearse the Message of Allâh in the hours of the night and they prostrate themselves (in His worship).
3:114. They believe in Allâh and the Last Day and enjoin good and forbid evil, and they vie one with another in (doing) good deeds. And it is these who are of the truly righteous.
The bottom line alliance to be sought by Muslims is summarized as:
5:55. Your real ally is only Allâh, and His Messenger, and those who believe, who observe Prayer and present the Zakât, and they bow down (in obedience to Allâh).
The current and recent geopolitical history of the world and how it has affected the Muslim nations stands as a testament to the truth and wisdom outlined in verse 5:51 in context of its adjoining verses and the message of Quran in toto.
Dr. Zahid Aziz in his book “Islam, Peace and Tolerance” on pages 37-42 brings to light the subject of verse 5:51 in an even more diversified manner that reader may refer to [pdf – link].
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin  Matthew 17:11-13 – Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. [New International Version]
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
 Al-Mumtahanah – The Woman Tested: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
 Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
 Al-Mumtahanah – The Woman Tested: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
 Fussilat – Detailed and Clear in Exposition – Nooruddin
 Al-Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
 Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
In or around 570 A.D., Abrahah, the Ethiopian governor of Yemen, a Christian, attacked Makkah. His army included elephants, and by some accounts only one elephant, which were never seen before in Hejaz, a specter that left an everlasting imprint on the Arab memory. On the outskirts of Makkah, Abrahah’s plans were foiled by a ‘heavenly’ intervention in which an obviously un-opposable army was destroyed. Surah Fil (–elephant) refers to this event. In the same year Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born.
The manner in which said Surah is translated and explained in various exegeses, creates an absurd scenario. Instead of reading the purpose of the Quran which draws attention to the survival of Abrahamic monotheism despite the overwhelming attacks on it, primarily by Christianity, legends are drawn in which flocks of birds appeared over Abrahah’s army and pelted the troops with stones that the birds carried in their beaks till the whole army perished. The closest that one can get to the purpose of the birds in the Surah is that flocks of birds converged on the dead and dying and probably were eating the carrion of dead bodies by pelting them against stones to tear the flesh or the dead had skin manifestation of a pestilence that struck the troops and appeared as if the dead were pelted by small pebbles and they died from small in size but numerous blows. The Surah reads as follows:
A simple point missed by the readers is that the plan of Abrahah’s army is ruined first (verse 105:2) due to an outbreak in its midst before the flocks of birds, probably vultures, arrive on the scene (verse 105:3) for scavenging (verse 105:4). The term – flocks of birds, in no way implies birds in a flight alone. It is a common scene of vultures huddled together as a flock on a carcass. Since there were many carcasses, hence the plural – flocks. The whole event over the period of time has become the source of many legends. If the Surah is plainly read, there is no cause and effect of arrival of birds and ruining of Abrahah’s plans against Ka`bah, rather it is vice versa. Mention of the birds is only in the context of an exemplary end of a now helpless body of aggressors whose malicious plan, against all odds, had already been foiled. Simply put, what the birds did was the final nail in the coffin of a disgrace meted out to an apparently mighty and invincible. The aspect which got imprinted on the memories were the presence of the elephant(s) in the invading army and the flocks of birds converging on the hapless troops.
Of note is that this Surah was revealed in Makkah as a solace to the Prophet when he was facing not only a colossal opposition but an incessant persecution. Its assurance is not only for the Prophet, but also for the Muslims after him. The Surah prophesies that despite the attacks of the mighty and powerful of any faith on Islam, it will survive and thrive, as it has in the past and so will it in the future – Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant? Did He not ruin their plan?
Even though Quran is not a book of history, it is always in step with the logic of history. Consequently, it leaves no room for legends to emanate from its lines, but Quran has no control over the legends that emanate from the minds themselves. Such minds, then try to find validation for their preconceived ideas from a fragmented reading of the Quran. Such twisted logic then attributes to and interjects into Quran fanciful ‘pre-established’ conclusions. A classic and oft repeated case of reading conjectures ‘into’ Quran, rather than reading plain facts ‘from’ Quran.
This event as explained in its details in Ethiopian sources is as follows:
Outbreak of an epidemic in Abrahah’s army in the vicinity of Makkah was not a novelty. In the Encyclopedia of Pestilence Pandemics and Plagues one finds that the epidemic outbreaks in and around Makkah have been a common occurrences, some of which are excerpted as follows:
Disease on Campaign – … Debilitating diseases did not have to kill combatants to cripple an army; they could simply take so many off active duty as to blunt its effective force….In the later sixth century CE, the Christian Ethiopian prince Abraha (r. c. 525–553) controlled a considerable portion of the Arabia Peninsula. The prince’s military campaign to convert Arabians to Christianity in 569–571 was halted abruptly when smallpox or measles broke out among his troops as they approached the important trading center of Mecca. So weakened were the Ethiopians that they lost what they had controlled in Arabia, an event celebrated in the Koran’s Sura 105. Had Mecca been converted, the life story of Muhammad (579–632), Prophet of Islam, might have been very different… [page 759]
Returning Troops and Refugees –There are many cases in the historical record of armies or military units returning home and bringing with them diseases of all kinds (– venereal diseases). As troops are demobilized, they spread their diseases deep into the population of their home states…In 570 Byzantine troops on campaign near Mecca (Saudi Arabia) contracted a similar disease and, upon return, spread it about the eastern Mediterranean. [page 761]
In the spring of 1831, pilgrims traveling through Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula brought cholera to Mecca during the annual hajj. In three weeks, almost 3,000 pilgrims perished returning to their homes—a situation that would repeat itself throughout the nineteenth century. [page 99]
In 1845 cholera broke out again in Bengal with a bidirectional projection towards
Arabia in 1846 (Aden and Djeddah), arriving in Mecca in November, Mesopotamia (Baghdad, September 1846) and at the coast of the Black Sea (Tibilissi, July 1847). [page 100]
The worst pilgrimage outbreak ever in Mecca during 1865 marked the fourth pandemic when 15,000 of the estimated 90,000 pilgrims died. [page 106]
The fifth pandemic arrived in Mecca from India’s Punjab in 1881 and struck again the following year. Once again, the toll was terrible, estimated at over 30,000 dead among 200,000 pilgrims. [page 108]
Smallpox, too, which is easily transmitted by fomites, is another classic disease of pilgrimage. In the 1930s, an outbreak in Africa was traced to pilgrims, and the last major epidemic in Europe was carried to Yugoslavia by a pilgrim who had contracted it in Mecca. Meningococcal meningitis, which is not only highly contagious but also provokes a carrier rate as high as 11 percent, has been carried to America, Africa, and Asia by returning pilgrims. Less contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, Dengue, and poliomyelitis have also had documented mini-epidemics traced to the gathering and then dispersal of pilgrims. Upper respiratory illnesses are particularly efficiently spread in this way. For instance, while in Mecca, 40 percent of pilgrims get some sort of viral upper respiratory illness, [page 481]
Neisseria meningitides is a pathogen that has long caused seasonal epidemics of meningitis in parts of Africa: the so-called “meningitis belt.” The disease has recently spread more widely. Studies with molecular markers have shown how Muslim pilgrims who brought an epidemic strain of N. meningitides from southern Asia to Mecca in 1987 then passed it on to pilgrims from Sub-Saharan Africa—who, after returning home, were the cause of strain-specific epidemic outbreaks in 1988 and 1989. [page 699]
In last two centuries alone, Makkah has been vulnerable to outbreaks of Cholera epidemics due to the people coming to its precincts from afar:
In November 1846, cholera struck Mecca, killing over 15,000 people in and around the city. Some 4,000 Muslim pilgrims were estimated to have died in Mecca in 1902. (Mecca has been called a “relay station” for cholera in its progress from East to West; 27 epidemics were recorded during pilgrimages from the 19th century to 1930, and more than 20,000 pilgrims died of cholera during the 1907–08 hajj.)
Sir William Muir, a no friend of Islam, in his book “Life of Mahomet” writes the following about Abrahah’s attack on Makkah:
The Viceroy of Yemen Invades Mecca A.D. 570.
In the year A. D. 570, or about eight years before the death of Abd al Muttalib, occurred the memorable invasion of Mecca by Abraha the Abyssinian viceroy of Yemen. This potentate had built at Sana a magnificent cathedral to which he sought to attract the worship of Arabia, and, thwarted in the attempt, he vented his displeasure in an attack on Mecca and its temple. Upon this enterprise he set out with a considerable army. In its train was an elephant;— a circumstance for Arabia so singular that the commander, his host, the invasion, and the year, are still called by the name of 'the Elephant.' Notwithstanding opposition from various Arab tribes, Abraha victoriously reached Taif; a city three days march east of Mecca. The men of Taif protested that they had no concern with the Mecca, and furnished the Abyssinians with a guide, who died on the way to Mecca, Centuries afterwards, men were wont to mark their abhorrence of the traitor by casting stones at his tomb as they passed.
And Threatens the Kaaba;
Abraha then sent forward a body of troops to scour the Tehama, and carry off what cattle they could find. They were successful in the raid, and among the plunder secured two hundred camels belonging to Abd al Muttalib. An embassy was despatched to the inhabitants of Mecca: 'Abraha,' the message ran, 'had no desire to do them injury. His only object was to demolish the Kaaba; that performed; he would retire without shedding the blood of any.' The citizens of Mecca had already resolved that it would be vain to oppose the invader by force of arms; but the destruction of the Kaaba they refused upon any terms to allow. At last the embassy prevailed on Abd al Muttalib and the other chiefs of Mecca, to repair to the viceroy's camp, and there plead their cause. Abd al Muttalib was treated with distinguished honour. To gain him over, Abraha restored his plundered camels but he could obtain from him no satisfactory answer regarding the Kaaba. The chiefs offered a third of the wealth of the Tehama if he would desist from his designs against their temple, but he refused. The negotiation was broken off, and the deputation returned to Mecca. The people, by the advice of Abd al Muttalib, made preparations for retiring in a body to the hills and defiles about the city on the day before the expected attack, As Abd al Matalib leaned upon the ring of the door of the Kaaba, he is said to have prayed to the Deity thus aloud: 'Defend, O Lord, thine own House, and suffer not the Cross to triumph over the Kaaba'. This done, he relaxed his hold, and, betaking himself with the rest to the neighbouring heights, watched what the end might be.
Is discomfited by pestilence.
Meanwhile a pestilential distemper had shown itself in the camp of the viceroy. It broke out with deadly pustules blains, and was probably an aggravated form of smallpox. In confusion and dismay the army commenced its retreat. Abandoned by their guides, they perished among the valleys, and a flood (such is the pious legend) sent by the wrath of Heaven swept multitudes into the sea. The pestilence alone is, however, adequate to the effects described. Scarcely any recovered who had once been smitten by it; and Abraha himself, a mass of malignant and putrid sores, died miserably on his return to Sana.
Muir, in the footnote to the paragraph above, then goes on to contextualize the historical events with the narrative of Surah Fil as follows:
The accounts leave no room to question the nature of the disease having been a pestilential form of small-pox. Wackidi, after describing the calamity in the fanciful style of the Coran, add: 'And that was the first beginning of the small-pox.' The word signifies 'small stones, ' and the name as applied to the small-pox is probably derived from the gravelly appearance and feeling of the hard pustules. The name, coupled with its derivation, probably gave rise to the poetical description of the event in the Coran: 'Hast thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the army of the Elephant? Did he not cause their stratagem to miscarry? And he sent against them flocks of little birds which cast upon them small clay stones, and made them like unto the stubble of which the cattle have eaten.'
Historical records support that Abrahah’s army fell prey to an epidemic. His army had to march as a group for over six hundred miles from Yemen. The expedition itself made the troops prone to a contagion because of the close contact over an extended period. The long journey in the desert made the troops vulnerable to poor health and hygiene, both from limited rations of food and water, as well as, the exhaustion from travelling in a desert.
The summary scenario in light of Quran is in which flocks of birds, most likely vultures, gathered upon the dead and dying of Abrahah’s army. Quran only reports the vultures for their typical style of ripping the carrion in their feeding frenzy – (Which tore off flesh from their bodies to eat by) striking them against stones of hardened and petrified clay, and a despicable end to the transgressors – And thus He reduced them to rotten chaff. The dead of Abrahah’s army infested with the pustules of small-pox probably seemed to the onlookers as if smitten with small clay stones. No matter how one translates the Surah, there is no mention of birds carrying pebbles in their beaks that they smote the army with.
Moral of the Surah is in its first two verses, which assure Divine protection of the Unity against the Trinity and an admonishment to the Trinity for its designs against the Unity.
 Attacks on Islam by Latter-Day — "Companions of the Elephant", by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/articles/others/elephant.shtml
 Al-Fil – The Elephant: Nooruddin
'Abraha fl. 6th century Orthodox Ethiopia – Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Link: http://www.dacb.org/stories/ethiopia/_abraha.html
 Encyclopedia of Pestilence Pandemics and Plagues, Edited by Joseph P. Byrne, volume I, A-M, Greenwood Press, Copyright © 2008 by Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
 Asiatic Cholera Pandemic of 1846-63, UCLA School of Public Health. Link: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/Snow/pandemic1846-63.html
 "Cholera (pathology): Seven pandemics". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Link: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/114078/cholera/253250/The-first-six-pandemics
 The Life of Mahomet, by William Muir LL.D., New Edition, Chapter III, p. xxvi-xxvii, Smith Elder & Co. 15 Waterloo Place, London, 1878.
 Footnote: Chapter Fourth – “The Forefathers of Mahomet, and History of Mecca, from the middle of the Fifth Century to the Birth of Mahomet 570 A.D”, p. cclxvi, The Life of Mahomet and History of Islam, To The Era of Hejira, by Sir William Muir, Esq. Vol I. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 65 Cornhill, 1858.
[Editorial note: al-jadree – the smallpox; al-hasba – the pustular disease (like small stones)]
 Footnote: Chapter Fourth – “The Forefathers of Mahomet, and History of Mecca, from the middle of the Fifth Century to the Birth of Mahomet 570 A.D”, p. cclxvi, The Life of Mahomet and History of Islam, To The Era of Hejira, by Sir William Muir, Esq. Vol I. London:
Submitted by Rashid Jahangiri
Sept 7, 1974 –Sept 7, 2014 Forty Years of Injustice to Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. Signs for those who have fear of Allah in their hearts.
Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement elders NEVER called any reciter of Kalima-Shahada a Kafir, neither by their tongues nor by their pen. LAM supported Pakistan freedom movement, after that never interfered or took sides in national politics. LAM had NO role in Rabwah railway station incident in summer of 1974. This is supported by LAM’s representatives’ testimony in proceedings published by Government of Pakistan in October 2012 under title: Proceedings Of The Special Committee Of The Whole House Held In Camera To Consider The Qadiani Issue. (The National Assembly of Pakistan 1974 Proceedings). This is evident by the fact that state prosecutor Attorney General of Pakistan NEVER raised accusation that questions beliefs and role of LAM. Still travesty of justice was done and LAM became innocent bystander victim of tussle between Qadiani-Khalifa Family, their followers and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto & religious politicians. Below are some facts that shed light on Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) personal life and condition of Pakistan, before and after 1974 Pakistan National Assembly 2nd Constitutional Amendment.
In 1971 ZAB took reign of power. Pakistan was dismembered, humiliated by India. Pakistani nation was demoralized. Pakistan armed forces were demoralized. One hundred thousand, perhaps largest number in military history of world, officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen were prisoners of war. Economy was in shambles. Within few weeks and months ZAB started turning around the country. He boosted the morale of civilians and military. Pacts were made with friendly countries to turn economy around, backbone industries were started, and military hardware was procured. In matter of months prisoners of war started coming home. Foundation of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program was laid. Stature of Pakistan rose in third word and Muslim countries in particular. Islamic Summit was hosted in Lahore, in February 1974. Only time when head of states of all Muslims countries gathered under one roof. ZAB's middle class comrades at helm of different departments and ministries were making steady strides in an effort to make Pakistan a leading country in the world.
After 1974 second amendment in Pakistan’s Constitution there was diametrically opposite change. ZAB close comrades started leaving him one after the other. Those who stayed in his party like Abdul Hafeez Pirzada (he was parliamentary affairs minister in 1974 and responsible for NA Proceedings, contracted another marriage the day ZAB was hanged), Mumtaz Bhutto (was interested in marrying widow of ZAB to get control of his Pakistan People’s Party), Kausar Niazi who said, “Peoples Party is not property of Bhutto family”. None of them came to rescue ZAB from gallows. No wonder when ZAB daughter Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan from exile she said, “I don’t need uncles (referring to ZAB friends who did not quit PPP)”.
After 1974, in Pakistan religious extremism flourished, religious opposition to ZAB constantly increased, economy overall remained in decline, PPP popularity continue to decline, law and order situation overall remained in decline, image of Pakistan in international forums continue to remain in decline, unemployment and poverty increased. Street drugs addiction and terrorism increased.
Now let’s look at personal life of ZAB. ZAB as Prime Minister of Pakistan was a very powerful person domestically, he was charismatic, popular and intellectual leader loved by his fans. Internationally he was highly respected statesman, in particular Muslim countries. He was declared non-Muslim (Kafir) by Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. When he was put to death, he was constitutionally Prime Minister of Pakistan. The person who hanged him belonged to lowest socio-economic rank in Pakistan. He was Christian and was Choora (janitor who hand pick human waste and clean toilets and sweep streets). He was awarded Rupees 5 bonus for ‘job well done’ by Government of Pakistan. After ZAB's death photographs of his private parts were taken to find out if he was an uncircumcised Hindu.
People who have fear of Allah SWT in their hearts can find many signs in last 40 years in life of Pakistan and people who committed injustice with LAM.
Submitted by a friend of this Blog.
In Dawn's online edition there is a news item about an exchange between a Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricketer during Pakistan's current tour to Sri Lanka (see link). The relevant portion is as follows:
ISLAMABAD: Religious comments by Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan after their one-day international last Saturday are being investigated by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
While the players were walking back to the dressing room in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Shehzad was caught on camera telling Dilshan “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven. “
Dilshan's reply was not audible, and Shehzad went on to say, “Then be ready for the fire.“
Pakistan badly lost the test series 2-0 and the one-day series 2-1. This is the same Sri Lanka for which Pakistan fought hard so that it could be granted Test status in the 1980s. Sri Lanka is economically not better off than Pakistan. It is a much smaller country. It was plagued by a long civil war and terrorism. Even recently members of the team were complaining about not being paid for long periods of time. This shows that financially its cricket board is worse off than even that of Pakistan. I have pointed this out just to highlight the fact that this country has not had an easy existence. Yet its team is now able to even out-think Pakistan and put Pakistan under psychological pressure and consistently beat Pakistan in a manner similar to western countries. So even though both countries have gone through some of the same problems, look where Pakistan has gone while Sri Lanka under similar conditions has shown great resilience.
I have been wondering how Pakistani cricketers could have fared so badly in recent times against Sri Lanka given their past dominance over them. I have no doubt that an all time best Pakistani eleven would outmatch any other all time best team in the sub-continent.
But just as the misguided Muslims want an easy path to heaven, no matter what they do, according to one cricketer; it is now becoming apparent that Pakistan's cricketers must have the same approach to the game of cricket as well: an easy path, without any hard work. This is proved by their results. So mystery solved. With this kind of mindset we should not be surprised about the decline of all sports in Pakistan.