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Archive for December, 2014

Women not “weak of understanding” according to the Quran

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Please consider the following consecutive verses of the Holy Quran (obviously the bolding is mine):

4:4 And give women their dowries as a free gift. But if they of themselves are pleased to give you a portion from it, consume it with enjoyment and pleasure.

4:5 And do not make over your property, which Allah has made a (means of) support for you, to the weak of understanding, and maintain them out of it, and clothe them and give them a good education.

4:6 And test the orphans until they reach the age of marriage. Then if you find in them maturity of intellect, make over to them their property…

4:7 For men is a share of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and for women a share of what the parents and the near relatives leave, whether it is little or much — an appointed share.

According to 4:4, a woman has the discretion to give a part of the mahr back to the husband at her pleasure. (In the Arabic original, "of themselves" is nafs-an, and "are pleased" is tibna.)

According to 4:5, the "weak of understanding" must not be given control of their property. It is in fact "your property" in the sense that you, the guardians, have control of it, for their benefit.

According to 4:7, when "maturity of intellect" (rushd) is found in someone then they must be given control of their property.

It follows, therefore, that women are not "weak of understanding", and have "maturity of intellect", otherwise they would not have been allowed to spend, out of their own pleasure and decision, the property possessed by them.

In 4:7 it is ruled that men and women shall both get a share from inheritance. Therefore a woman has the same ownership over it, as a man does over his share.

If it is true, as we understand, that in the law of Saudi Arabia a woman must always have a male as a guardian, in the same way that a child always requires a guardian, then that is against what is stated in the verse above.

Zahid Aziz

Staff of Moses – a Mere Walking Stick for Skirting, not Parting the Sea; Prospecting the Mountain for Water & Manna, a bonus (II)

Monday, December 29th, 2014
Staff of Moses – a Mere Walking Stick for Skirting, not Parting the Sea; Prospecting the Mountain for Water & Manna, a bonus (Part II)


Besides changing the staff of Moses into a serpent, which is discussed in a separate chapter, there are two more incidences attributed to the same staff in Quran, the alleged parting of the sea and Moses making water flow from the rocks by parting the mountain, both by striking his staff in an apparent wizardry. We deal with each of them separately below.

As discussed repeatedly throughout this book, Quran is not a book of history but always in step with history. If there were neither wizards nor their magical wands in history, none will be found in Quran either. If no staff today can part a  sea or a mountain, neither would it be so in history, nor in Quran.

The mention of Moses, Aaron, Israelites and Pharaoh and his entourage including Haman and Korah in Quran is not to recount a script for a Hollywood movie for an edge of the seat thriller but to bring out a working example from history of rescue of the helpless and destruction of  tyranny in a manner that the outcome of which against all odds is none short of a miracle. Truth must triumph else truth will lose credibility.

 

Before we tackle the event of Pharaoh and his army drowning from an unrecorded history it might be even more interesting to recount the recent recorded history in which Napoleon and his army had almost similar experience in the same Red Sea and that too out of a natural phenomenon, though equally unexpected for them as well. Excerpted below are various accounts of near drowning of Napoleon and his entourage in Red Sea with the sections relevant to our discussion underlined:

 

EXCURSION TO THE RED SEA: Napoleon, in person, made an expedition to Suez, to inspect the proposed route of a canal to connect the waters of the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. With indefatigable activity of mind, he gave orders for the construction of new works to fortify the harbor of Suez, and commenced the formation of an infant marine. One day, with quite a retinue, he made an excursion to that identical point of the Red Sea which, as tradition reports, the children of Israel crossed three thousand years ago. The tide was out, and he passed over to the Asiatic shore upon extended flats. Various objects of interest engrossed his attention until late in the afternoon, when he commenced his return. The twilight faded away, and darkness came rapidly on. The party lost their path, and, as they were wandering, bewildered, among the sands, the rapidly returning tide surrounded them. The darkness of the night increased, and the horses floundered deeper and deeper in the rising waves. The water reached the girths of the saddles, and dashed upon the feet of the riders, and destruction seemed inevitable. From this perilous position, Napoleon extricated himself by that presence of mind and promptness of decision which seemed never to fail him. It was an awful hour and an awful scene; and yet, amid the darkness and the rising waves of apparently a shoreless ocean, the spirit of Napoleon was as unperturbed as if he were reposing in slippered ease upon his sofa. He collected his escort around him in concentric circles, each horseman facing outward, and ranged in several rows. He then ordered them to advance, each in a straight line. When the horse of the leader of one of these columns lost his foothold, and began to swim, the column drew back, and followed in the direction of another column which had not yet lost the firm ground. The radii, thrown out in every direction, were in this way successively withdrawn, till all were following in the direction of one column which had a stable footing. Thus escape was effected. The horses did not reach the shore until midnight, when they were wading breast-deep in the swelling waves. The tide rises on that part of the coast to the height of twenty-two feet. "Had I perished in that manner, like Pharaoh," said Napoleon, "it would have furnished all the preachers in Christendom with a magnificent text against me." [HISTORY OF NEPOLEAN BONEPART by John C. Abbot, Volume I, Chapter X II, THE SYRIAN EXPEDITION, p 204-205, Copyright, 1883, by Susan Abbot Mead.][1]

BUONAPARTE AT SUEZ: As yet, however, there was no appearance of an enemy; and Napoleon seized the opportunity to explore the Isthmus of Suez, where a narrow neck of land divides the Red Sea from the Mediterranean, partly with the view of restoring the communication which in remote times existed between them, and partly of providing for the defence of Egypt, should the Ottomans attempt their invasion by the way of Syria. He visited the Maronite monks of Mount Sinai, and, as Mahomet had done before him, affixed his name to their charter of privileges; he examined also the fountain of Moses: and nearly lost his life in exploring, during low water, the sands of the Red Sea, where Pharaoh is supposed to have perished in the pursuit of the Hebrews. "The night overtook us," says Savary in his Memoirs, "the waters began to rise around us, the guard in advance exclaimed that their horses were swimming. Buonaparte saved us all by one of those simple expedients which occur to an imperturbable mind. Placing himself in the centre, he bade all the rest form a circle round him, and then ride out each man in a separate direction, and each to halt as soon as he found his horse swimming. The man whose horse continued to march the last, was sure, he said, to be in the right direction; him accordingly we all followed, and reached Suez at two in the morning in safety, though so rapidly had the tide advanced, that the water was at the poitrels of our horses ere we made the land." On his return to Cairo, the General despatched a trusty messenger into India, inviting Tippoo Saib to inform him exactly of the condition of the English army in that region, and signifying that Egypt was only the first post in a march destined to surpass that of Alexander! "He spent whole days," writes his secretary, "in lying flat on the ground stretched upon maps of Asia." [THE HISTORY OF NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE by JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART, CHAPTER XII, p. 99. First issue of this edition: February 1906, Reprinted: April 1906; May 1907; July 1909; November 1910; November 1912; March 1915][2]

EGYPT: Then, journeying on, he [–Napoleon] visited the fountains of Moses; but it is not true that (as stated by Lanfrey) he proceeded to Mount Sinai and signed his name in the register of the monastery side by side with that of Mahomet. On his return to the isthmus he is said to have narrowly escaped from the rising tide of the Red Sea. If we may credit Savary, who was not of the party, its safety was due to the address of the commander, who, as darkness fell on the bewildered band, arranged his horsemen in files, until the higher causeway of the path was again discovered. [The Life of Napoleon I (Volume 1 of 2) by John Holland Rose, CHAPTER VIII, EGYPT][3]

FOUNTAINS OF MOSES – BONAPARTE IN THE RED SEA: On the morning of the 28th we passed the Red Sea dry footed, on our way to the Fountains of Moses, which are upwards of six miles from the eastern shore, and a little south-east of Suez. The Arabic Gulf terminates three and a quarter miles to the north of that city. Opposite the port, the Red Sea is not more than two and three quarter miles broad. It is always fordable at low water. The caravans of Tor and Mount Sinai cross here, both in going to, and returning from, Egypt. This shortens the road between six and seven miles [footnote: From time immemorial this part has been denoted by an Arabic name, signifying The Passage. The metres of the original I have reduced to English miles." Translator]. The tide rises from five to six, or, when the wind blows with force, from nine to ten, feet. We passed some hours at the fountain of the lawgiver, seated on the margin of the most considerable spring, which is transparent, constantly flowing and renewed, and having no very disagreeable odour. Here we made our coffee, which, however, was rendered scarcely drinkable from the bitterness of the water.

On our return, we struck off to the left, in order to visit a large reservoir, constructed, it is said, by the Venetians, when in possession of the commerce of the East. In descending again to the coast, Bonaparte was the first to discover a canal, from three to four hundred paces in length, constructed in good masonry, and capable of being easily repaired. The night had now fallen dark when we reached the seashore. The tide was flowing and pretty high; we wandered a little from the track followed in the morning, through the guide either deceiving us, or losing his way, and attempted the passage too far down. Disorder soon arose in our little troop, we were not lost in the quick sands, as has been said, "there being none. We could not see our companions, but we shouted and called to each other. General Caffarelli, near whom I chanced to be in this confusion, incurred some danger from his wooden leg, which prevented his keeping a firm seat in the saddle, while thus surrounded by the waves. We struggled to his assistance, supporting-him on each side. I have read, but certainly did not see, nor hear at the time, that the flowing tide would have become the grave of Bonaparte, had not a guide of his escort saved and brought him off on his shoulders. In the circumstances, the thing was impossible, or all who had not men to carry them, the danger being equal, would have perished; but there was no one lost. The guide must have got into the water up to his chin; how could a man be so safe on his back, as in the saddle of a charger? Besides, his horse and that of the General, left to themselves in the darkness, would have still more endangered the safety, and increased the confusion of the whole party, and we should thus, to our experience, have been informed of the General's situation. This incident is pure invention. The relation which Bonaparte has given long after at St Helena, is correct. Our little pilgrimage to the Fountains of Moses brought us into the same danger as of old assailed Pharaoh, and we might have perished like him, but without a miracle, as will appear to those who have visited the scene [footnote: The reader will not fail to observe, that, in certain insidious remarks, Bourrienne seems to hint the same opinion as Volney, and other infidel writers, on the subject of the passage of the Red Sea. The reasoning of these gentlemen furnishes a striking example of a non sequitur. What possible connection can exist between crossing a part of the sands dry, at low tide, and traversing the "crystal strait," cleft by the hand of Jehovah, for the passage of his chosen people? Or the whole may be simply answered by the reflection, that, since the Egyptians were the best informed among the nations then upon the earth " since, indeed, Moses was celebrated for knowledge, because "skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians" – we cannot suppose either the one to have been unacquainted with so common an event as the flowing of the tide, or the other to have thus overreached his masters in wisdom." Translator.] [MEMOIRS OF NAPOLEAN BONAPARTE, Vol 1 of 4, FROM THE FRENCH OF M. FAUVELET DE COURRIENNED by JOHN S. MEMES LL.D., CHAPTER XIII, p. 158-160, originally published 1831][4]

In case of Napoleon, even though he got trapped in the high tide at night, he had the advantage that all his men were on horses thus sitting high and additionally horses are good swimmers. The account of high tide in above narratives is up to twenty-two feet deep, enough to drown even a tall person standing on his feet. Unlike mounted entourage of Napoleon, in the case of Pharaoh, as is commonly known, some of his army was either on foot and others riding on chariots. Both conditions made Pharaoh’s army more vulnerable to drowning even during daylight. The same water level that a horse can wade or swim thorough with its rider can possibly drown a person on foot, especially if that person is further weighed down by armor –`[Pharaoh said] And we are, (as compared with them [–the fleeing Israelites]) a united multitude, fully equipped and vigilant.' –26:56[5]. To make the matters worse, the Egyptians unlike Pacific islanders are less likely to be swimmers.

Parting or Skirting of the Sea?

It all started with centuries of unremitting persecution, exploitation and helplessness of Israelites in Egypt, the kingdom of the Pharaohs:

2:49. And (recall) when We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh who subjected you to the worst torment. They went on slaying your sons and sparing your women to make them immodest, and indeed that was a great ordeal from your Lord.[6]

It was against this background of incessant servitude and hopelessness that Moses and Aaron prayed:

10:88. And Moses said (praying and Aaron joined him in prayer), `Our Lord! You have given Pharaoh and his chiefs pomp and wealth in the present life with the result, Our Lord! that they lead people astray from Your path. Our Lord! destroy their wealth and attack their hearts, so that they believe not until they see the grievous punishment.'

10:89. (The Lord) said, `The prayer of you both has been accepted, so remain you two steadfast and follow not the way of those who do not know.'[7]

To get them out of their misery the strategy disclosed to Moses for his people included first congregating them together at one place and then taking advantage of night to escape en masse under the cover of darkness on a predetermined path as one body in which timing was paramount:

10:87. And We spoke to Moses and his brother (Aaron saying), `You both should prepare lodging for your people (bringing them together from different parts of the country) in the central town (of Egypt) and make your houses so as to face one another and perform worship.' And (We also revealed to them to) proclaim good tidings (of success) to the believers.[8]

44:23. Then (the order was), `Set forth with My servants in a watch of the night, (for) you are going to be chased.[9]

Of note is that for Exodus it was a predetermined path coupled with predetermined timing for the whole operation. Additionally, in modern terminology, the Israelites were to walk through the ‘path’ which was only to prove a minefield for the pursuing Egyptian army that was bound to follow, a classical military tactic in which the home forces have mapped out the path and avoid the landmines or traps whereas the enemy that is ignorant of it can be doomed when it enters that booby-trapped area to their detriment:

44:24. `And leave (when) the sea (is calm and not in tide) by its depressed portion (crossing on the dunes). Surely, these (pursuers, Pharaoh and his people) are a host (of people) doomed to be drowned.'[10]

20:77. And We directed Moses by revelation, `Take away My servants by night and take them along a dry path through the wide plane. You will not be afraid of being overtaken nor will you have any cause of fear (of being drowned).'[Emphasis added]

20:78. Now Pharaoh pursued them with his armies. But there covered them (- Pharaoh and his host) that (tide of the) sea which engulfed them completely.[11][Emphasis added]

Note – when v. 44:24 is read with v. 20:77 above, it becomes obvious that the tide behavior of sea is taken into account in which when the sea retreats in low tide it leaves on the shore a dry path, commonly called ‘intertidal zone’ that naturally is covered up by the water on subsequent high tide. It seems that the dry path taken during Exodus was in a wide intertidal zone (wide plane) from which it was difficult for the army to get out of when it flooded during the high tide. Quite expectedly, no one will enter that area where there is water i.e. during high tide. But, if someone walking on the same dry path is unaware of impending high tide, that person will be trapped and engulfed, even possibly drown, especially if there are high cliff walls on the shore side and/or this previously dry path is too long and that too if it is in a wide plane to reach its edge/end in time to survive.

Additionally, v. 44:24 also alludes to low tide when the sea is receded from shore and it is on this spot the Pharaoh and his army will be entrapped unaware and drowned subsequently when high tide comes on them. High tide, i.e. water encroaching on to the shore on a given point on globe is due to moon's gravitational pull of water body below it and the earth pulling away from the water body on the opposite end of the globe. Thus there are corresponding high tide points on the opposite sides of the globe. Whereas, the low tide points are at the sides of the earth, at 90 degrees from the high tide points on the earth. The average time interval between two consecutive high tides on a given point on the globe is about 12 hours and about 25.5 minutes, though the frequency of high tides can be as low as once in 24 hours. This corresponds to earth rotating 180 degrees every 12 hours, while the moon rotates 6 degrees around the earth in the same time. Due to this extra 25.5 minutes shift, each tidal point varies over time for its low and high tides. Besides, sun also exerts its superimposed effects on sides of the earth facing or away from it. As to how high a water can rise in a high tide from its low tide level, commonly called as ‘tidal range,’ varies according to local topography, e.g. in Eastern Canada it can be as much as fifty feet.

Whether the Red Sea at Suez in case of Napoleon or the Sea of Reeds at Eilat [Yam Suph – I Kings 9:26] experiences its tidal ranges that would drown an army is left best to history and science. At least in the accounts of Napoleon’s adventure the tidal range is between five and twenty-two feet high and the intertidal zones have extended flats. Still, what prevented a storm surge that was not expected at the time or a tsunami from happening, and it being foreknown to a Prophet, who by the very definition of the word can foretell? Of note are the wordings `And leave (when) the sea (is calm and not in tide) by its depressed portion (crossing on the dunes) – 44:24. It was this depressed portion that once filled with water because of its depth would have multiplicative effect on the drowning possibility because of the sea surge that was to engulf the Pharaoh and his army i.e. Surely, these (pursuers, Pharaoh and his people) are a host (of people) doomed to be drowned.' – 44:24.

Thus, either it was the time window of 12 hours and 25.5 minutes or the apparent calm before the storm that was the escape hatch for the Israelites. Essentially, time and the timing were of the essence in the Divine strategy that Moses had to follow.

The strategy and its consequent events thus unfolded. Israelites had a head-start under the cover of the night:

26:52. And We revealed to Moses (directing him), `Take away My servants by night for you shall certainly be pursued.'[12]

Once Moses and his people had already left in the night, the Pharaoh responded by gathering his troops and set the pursuit at sunrise which separated the parties by many hours (Israelites left at night while the Pharaoh’s army followed at sunrise):

26:53. Pharaoh (when he came to know of the exodus) sent heralds to the towns to collect (troops and announce saying),

26:54. `These (Israelites) are indeed a despicable party, a few in number,

26:55. `Yet they have offended us (by defying us and making good their escape),

26:56. `And we are, (as compared with them,) a united multitude, fully equipped and vigilant.'

26:57. So We made them (- Pharaoh and his troops) leave the land of gardens and springs,

26:58. As well as (every place with) treasures and every abode of honour (and grandeur).

26:59. That is what We did (for their wrong- doings). And We gave (the like of) these (- gardens and springs) as a free gift to the Children of Israel.

26:60. And they (- the hosts of Pharaoh) pursued them at sunrise.[13] [Emphasis added]

Apparently, the pursuing Pharaoh gained on the fleeing Israelites to a point that they saw each other from a distance. Seeing the Pharaoh and his troops was a source of anxiety for the fleers who earlier thought otherwise in light of information as outlined in verses 20:77-78 above:

26:61. And when the two hosts sighted each other the companions of Moses said, `We are surely overtaken.'[14]

Despite the anxieties of his companions, Moses was firm on what was revealed to him before (verses 20:77-78):

26:62. (Moses) said, `No, not at all, my Lord is with me, He will lead me out of the impasse (and to safety).'[15][Similar to these verses 26:61-62 about exiling Moses and his companions is the event of Cave of Thaur during flight of the Prophet Muhammad in verses 9:40-41[16]]

The next revealed instructions to Moses were for him to keep moving through and to catch the time window referred to in verses 44:24 and 20:77 before:

26:63. Then We revealed to Moses (saying), `Strike the sea with your staff. (And as he did) so it parted[17] [Arabic: Infalaqa – Became separated; It parted], and each part (of the two hosts) looked like a huge mound.[18]

The full meanings of Asâ [19] are ‘Staff; Nation; Mastery. Thus, if read in context the verse 26:63 above states Idzrib bi Asâka al-bahra[20]: ‘Strike with your staff on the sea; Go forth with your people’. Essentially Moses is instructed to keep journeying with his people along the seashore and the timing was such that the water had receded or separated from the shore, Infalaqa – ‘Became separated; It parted’, as is pointed to in the verse.

The said behavior of the sea is repeated in another place:

2:50. And when We parted[21][Arabic: Faraqnâ – We parted, distinguished] the sea for you, and rescued you and drowned the people of Pharaoh, while you were beholding.[22]

Even though traditionally the word used in translation of above verses 26:63 and 2:50 is ‘parted’, it also means ‘separated’ which seems more appropriate in context of events that unfolded where the sea separated from the shore in low tide in which the dry path was exposed temporarily. The above verse paints a picture where, unlike his scared companions (26:61) Moses is directed to move on undeterred i.e. Strike the sea with your staff and keep going with vigor and 'hit the road' or 'hit the ground running', and Moses strikes i.e. takes a dry path on the seashore for others to follow in his footsteps and his group moves along and finally there were two sets of people grouped apart, each part (of the two hosts) looked like a huge mound on either end of the intervening dry path that separated them, Israelites on one end and Egyptian on the other end of the dry path. Thus the whole strategy comes together, the aggrieved party in the assured safety, while the aggressors, unbeknownst taking the same booby trapped path in the epic manner of a bridge soon to crumble or a valley soon to be flooded or a canyon to experience a landslide.

Pharaoh, just like Napoleon, who is oblivious of the time window between low and high tides pursues with his army onto the dry path on wide plane (v. 20:77), in the intertidal zone that Moses had struck earlier, all in an effort that his army can close in on the Israelite party at its far end. Quran is quite clear in specifying a particular point on the seashore that had the tidal behavior discussed so far as is identified in the next verse:

26:64. And We caused the others (the pursuers, the people of Pharaoh,) draw near the same place. [Emphasis added]


The next two verses give further details of the event in that Israelite party is saved first by its moving through the vulnerable area pointed in previous verse 26:64 and only then the pursuers were drowned once they reached the said vulnerable spot which was a wide plane (v. 20:77), spacious enough for the whole contingent to be trapped together once and all:

26:65. And We saved Moses and those who were with him all together.

26:66. Then We drowned the others.

26:67. Behold! there is a (marvelous) sign in this (episode), yet most of them would not be believers.

26:68. And indeed your Lord, He is the All-Mighty (to crush His enemies), the Ever Merciful (towards His servants).[23]

Of note is that drowning of Pharaoh and his cohorts was by water moving in on them, the high tide, while they were still on the same dry path:

20:78. Now Pharaoh pursued them with his armies. But there covered them (- Pharaoh and his host) that (tide of the) sea which engulfed them completely. [24]

It is obvious from the above verse(s) that Pharaoh witnessed a natural phenomenon of a low tide by the seashore where there was a dry path on a wide plane through which an army could easily move. On the contrary Pharaoh and his army or for that matter anyone, if they had witnessed an unnatural parting of sea, no one would had dare enter that path because if we recall that elsewhere in Quran it is the same Pharaoh[25] and his people calling Moses as sorcerer[26] and having already witnesses the sorcery win of Moses against the magicians of Egypt[27]. It would be preposterous to think that anyone would enter an apparent wizardry trap in which there were allegedly high water walls on either side of the dry path at the bottom of seabed as if the sea had parted and as commonly depicted in legends.

Interestingly, Pharaoh made a conversion attempt to Islam before his death:

10:90. And We brought the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his legion pursued them in wanton aggression and for no justified cause till when he (Pharaoh) was about to be drowned, he cried, `I (confess and) believe that there is no One worthy of worship but He in Whom the Children of Israel have believed in, and I am of those who submit (to Him).'

10:91. (The Lord) said, `What! (do you remember) now (while dying), whereas you had (always) disobeyed before (this), and you had been of the miscreants!

10:92. `So, on this day We will preserve you in your body (only) that you may be a sign (to learn a lesson from) for the coming generations, though most of the people are quite heedless of Our signs.'[28]

What Pharaoh said above in verse 10:90 . …he cried, `I (confess and) believe that there is no One worthy of worship but He in Whom the Children of Israel have believed in, and I am of those who submit (to Him)' was the fruition of what Moses had asked for in 10:88. …Our Lord! destroy their wealth and attack their hearts, so that they believe not until they see the grievous punishment.'

Moses striking water (in the manner of a prospector striking gold) and Israelites provided Manna:

With the 'parting of the sea' out of the way, let’s address Moses 'parting the rock' by striking it with his staff. It is a common knowledge that usually the source of springs is mountains, vegetables are from farming and one seeks daily livelihood in towns and cities, a relationship that will be noticed in various verses about Israelites. After the Israelites moved out of Egypt, in their destitute state they were provided with food, water, shelter and livelihood, the account of which is laid out in the following verses. These are basic elements for rehabilitating displaced people even today:

7:160. We divided them (- the people of Moses) into twelve tribes[29] according to the ancestral lineage (to which they belonged). And We sent Our revelation to Moses when his people asked of him (something) to drink (saying), `Strike that rock with your staff [Arabic: Idzrib bi Asâka al-Hajer – Strike with your staff on the rock; Go forth with your people].'[30] Then (as he did), there gushed out from it twelve springs, so that all the people now knew their (respective) drinking place. And We outspread the rain clouds to be a shade over them and We sent down for them Manna and quails (saying), `Eat of the pure things wherewith We have provided you.' And they did Us no harm (when they went wrong) but it was to themselves that they had been doing harm.

7:161. And (recall the time) when it was said to them, `Dwell in this township (-Yathrib) and eat therefrom when you will and pray, "Relieve us of the burden of our sins," and enter its gate submissively. (If you do so) We will protect you against (the consequences of) your sins. We shall multiply the reward of the doers of excellent deeds.'[31]

In verse 7:160 there is no novelty when Moses is asked to `Strike that rock with your staff' for the mere fact that to uncover a water hole, the rock covering had to be removed first with an instrument, in this case the staff. Quran does not mention the size of the rock, but by implication it must have been a large rock or many rocks which were covering the source for twelve springs. The rock(s) was impeding the reservoir of water which was waiting to gush out but was only prevented by a plug that needed the weight of a rock(s) to block its flow. Alternatively, Moses is commanded to seek water in a particular mountain i.e. that rock. It is a daily experience to tap ground with one's walking stick while going up on a mountain – `Strike that rock with your staff.' On the contrary, identifying the area to prospect for water is the actual novelty.

The above para dealt with an apparent concrete meaning of ‘staff’ as commonly interpreted, however full meanings of Asâ[32] are ‘Staff; Nation; Mastery.' Thus, if read in context the verse 7:160 above states Idzrib bi Asâka al-Hajer: ‘Strike with your staff on the rock; Go forth with your people’. Essentially, Moses is instructed to go to the mountain along with twelve Israelite tribes so that each one of them gets their (respective) drinking place from the equal number of springs pointed to in the verse.

Thus, Moses could have used staff as merely a walking stick to go up the mountain, or used it as instrument to uncover the source of springs or that he took his people (staff) to the source of water on the mountain, there is no wizardly in all three instances. The real ‘miracle’ is in him being guided by God to source of life sustenance, water, for his nation, be it spiritual or physical.

The Manna and quails and that too which was sent down by God is clearly a metaphorical reference of provisions and means that were made available to the exiled, else it would be ridiculous to seek and Eat of the pure things wherewith We have provided you from the Manna and quails that were 'heavenly' to begin with and were not supposed to have anything impure in them.

Manna and quails and eating of the pure things wherewith We have provided you is mentioned further:

20:80. O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy and made a covenant with you on the right and blessed side of the Mount (Sinai), and We got Manna and quail to be sent down to you.

20:81. (And it was also said,) `Eat of the good and pure things We have provided you, and do not exceed the limits in this respect or My displeasure shall descend upon you. Indeed, lost are those on whom My displeasure descends.'[33]

All this comes to light in another set of verses:

2:60. And (recall the time) when Moses prayed for water for his people and We said (to him), `Go with your people and smite that particular rock with your staff.' So (when he did so) there gushed forth from it twelve springs so that every tribe came to know of its drinking place. (We said,) `Eat and drink of sustenance provided by Allâh and commit not transgression in the land like peace-breakers.' [Emphasis added]

2:61. And when you said, `Moses! (we are weary of one kind of food so) we will not at all remain content with one and the same food, pray, therefore, to your Lord for us that He may bring forth for us some of that which the earth produces, of its vegetables, of its cucumbers, its corn, its lentils and its onions.' He (- God) said, `Would you take in exchange that which is inferior (- delicious food) for that which is superior (- the realisation of the noble object of your life)? (If this is so) then go to some town and you will certainly have (there) all that you have demanded.' And lo! it so happened, they were smitten with abasement and destitution and they incurred the displeasure of Allâh. That was because they denied the Messages of Allâh and sought to kill His Prophets unjustly and that was because they disobeyed and had been transgressing.[34]

As to the Manna and quails, the above verses, if read concretely, further makes them less of ‘heavenly’ and more of ‘earthly’. Belonging to lower socio-economic class the Israelites who migrated from the fertile Egypt seem to have a different food tastes than the food options in Palestine where it was mostly poultry (quails). It is generally known that meat is expensive and poor Israelites might had little habit of eating it, which is obvious from their boredom with it, and they expressed it to Moses asking for vegetarian choices – we will not at all remain content with one and the same food, pray, therefore, to your Lord for us that He may bring forth for us some of that which the earth produces, of its vegetables, of its cucumbers, its corn, its lentils and its onions.' There is no time period mentioned in Quran for how long the Israelites sustained themselves on the said food or provisions. Despite the menu items mentioned, Quran speaks of food and provisions given to refuges as a free aid beyond concreteness of words, rather draws attention to higher moral and intellectual values that one must ascertain even in earthly things and food being just a case in point – He (- God) said, `Would you take in exchange that which is inferior (- delicious food) for that which is superior (- the realisation of the noble object of your life)? This discussion about food seems no different than Biblical style of asking for spiritual food – Matthew 6:11. ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’[35]

The verses below, which are in continuation with verses in reference above, allude to Israelites changing the purpose and spirit of Divine Message given to them. The very purpose of this book at hand is to correct the same errors of Israelites that have crept into reading of the Quran in which the philosophy and purpose of Divine Message gets replaced with make belief of nonsensical miracles, myths and mistakes[36] by concrete reading of Book in a zealotry that tries to save its body while killing its soul:

2:59. But those who were bent on doing wrong, gave a different version to the order that was given them, (and thus acted contrary to the Divine will). So We sent down upon those who did wrong a pestilence from heaven because they had been transgressing persistently[37][Numbers – 25:9. Those who died of the plague numbered twenty-four thousand].[38]

7:162. But those amongst them who were unjust changed the word to something different from that which they were told. So We sent down upon them unavoidable punishment from heaven because they had always been wrongdoers.[39]

However, Quran in adjoining verse to above also recognizes the Israelites who were guided aright by Moses and Aaron:

7:159. There is a community among the people of Moses who guide (the people) to the truth and with it they dispense justice.[40]

In the summary, both Moses and Pharaoh and their peoples faced a natural phenomenon, one was saved by it while the other was destroyed by it. The sequence of events is nothing short of a miraculous moment in history and a living example of destruction of tyranny and prevailing of truth. Such ‘miracles’ are not time-locked in history but according to Quran occur under natural moral law that will prevail into future. After removal of their calamity, the Israelites were provided with ‘heavenly sustenance’ then and the world has Quran now. Like Israelites, any nation that ignores and distorts the purpose of the Divine Message, is bent on doing wrong… transgressing persistently (2:59), and is lost in its mere rituals is destined to face ignominy if not destruction.


[1] Link: https://archive.org/stream/cu31924087808709/cu31924087808709_djvu.txt. Pdf download: http://www.cristoraul.com/ENGLISH/Universal-Literature/Universal-Library/JOHN-STEVENS-ABBOTT/Napoleon-I-1.pdf
[2] Link: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17579/17579-h/17579-h.htm
[3] Link: http://www.munseys.com/diskfour/lnap.htm#1_1_8
[4] Read online: http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook/Memoirs_of_Napoleon_Bonaparte_v1_1000370806#211
[5] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[7] Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[8] Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Dukhan – The Drought: Nooruddin
[10] Al-Dukhan – The Drought: Nooruddin
[11] Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[12] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[13] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[14] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[15] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[16] 9:40-41. If you do not help him (- the Prophet), then (know) Allâh has already helped him when those who disbelieved turned him out (from Makkah with only one companion); he being the second of the two when they were both in the cave (of Thaur); and when he said to his companion (- Abû Bakr), `Grieve not (about me). Surely, Allâh is with us.' Then Allâh sent down His Shechinah (- peace and tranquility) upon him, and helped him with troops which were not visible to you, and He humbled the word of those who disbelieved to the lowest, and it is the word of Allâh alone which is the supermost (and so prevails). Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Go forth (all whether) light (- being ill-equipped) or heavy (- being well-equipped) and strive hard with your possessions and your persons in the cause of Allâh. That is better for you, if only you knew (your own gain or loss). : Al-Taubah – The Repentance: Nooruddin [Emphasis added]
[17] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p.434. Infalaqa (prf. 3rd. p. m. sing. VII.): Became separated; It parted (26:63).
[18] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[19] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p.376. ‘Asâ (n.): Staff; Nation; Mastery. ‘Isiyyun (n. plu.): The staffs. The root with its above two forms has been used in The Holy Qur’ân about 12 times.
[20] See footnote 30
[21] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p.424. Faraqnâ (prf. 1st. p. plu.): We parted, distinguished. Yafraqûna (imp. 3rd. p.m. plu.): They fear, are too timid a people (to appear in their true colours). Ufruq (prt. prayer. m. sing.): Decide; Bring about separation. Yufraqu (pip. 3rd. p. sing.): It is separated out, explained distinctly. Yufarriqûna (imp. 3rd. p. m. plu. II.): They make division; distinction, separation. Yufarriqû (imp. 3rd. p. m. plu. final Nûn dropped): They make a distinction.
[22] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[23] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[24] Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[25] 51:39. But he [–Pharaoh] turned away (from Moses) in the pride of his power and said, `(He is) a sorcerer, or rather a madman.' Al-Dhariyat – The Scatterers: Nooruddin
[26] 7:109. The chiefs of Pharaoh's people said (to each other), `This (fellow here [–Moses]) is most surely a skilled sorcerer. Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[27] 26:44-45. So they put down (on the ground) their ropes and their staffs and said, `By Pharaoh's honour and might it is we who will certainly be the winners.' Then Moses put down (on the ground) his staff; lo! it instantly destroyed all that they had fabricated. Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[28] Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[29] Twelve Tribes of Israel. Link: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/610959/Twelve-Tribes-of-Israel
[30] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p.376. ‘Asâa – To strike with a stick. ‘Asiya/Ya‘sa: To take a stick, come together; Collection; Accumulation; Amazing; Gathering; Assemblage; Congregation. Staff is called. ‘Asâ as the fingers of a hand come together and are collected and united on its handle. ‘Asâ: Staff; Stick; Rod; Supports; Nation; People; Party; Tongue; Skin; Bone. ‘Asâutu al-
Qauma: I gathered the nation. Shaq al-‘Asâ: Divergence; Dissension; Disagreement of the nation or organisation. It is said, Khawârij shaqqû ‘Asâ al-Muslimîn: The Khawârij split the concord, harmony and unity of Islamic nation. Idzrib bi Asâka al-Hajer: Strike with your staff on the rock; Go forth with your people. (L; T; R; LL; Zamkhsharî)
[31] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[32] See footnote 19
[33] Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[35] New King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A11&version=NKJV
[36] Miracles – Clarified, Myths – Confuted, Mistakes – Corrected, Matters – Contended, in Manifest Conjectures. Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/WordPress/miracles-myths-mistakes-and-matters/
[37] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[38] Bible Gateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+25%3A9&version=NKJV
[39] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[40] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin

In dilemma over Peshawar killings response: blog readers please advise

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In the wake of the Peshawar mass massacre, the last thing, the very last thing, I wish to do is to use it as an opportunity to score debating points over those who have quite rightly condemned this outrage and to bring up their past behaviour.

So I ask blog readers' advice. I read the news "Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community [i.e. Mirza Masroor Ahmad] condemns Peshawar School Attack and Prays for Victims". See this link.

I am sure he and his followers prayed for them with sincerity.

But should it not be pointed out that his community holds the belief, and practises it, that the janaza prayers of Islam should not be said by them (behind their own imam) for any non-Ahmadi Muslim? Is it not true that their Khalifa number 2 wrote the following directions for his followers:

“Now another question remains, that is, as non-Ahmadis are deniers of the Promised Messiah, this is why funeral prayers for them must not be offered, but if a young child of a non-Ahmadi dies, why should not his funeral prayers be offered? He did not call the Promised Messiah as kafir. I ask those who raise this question, that if this argument is correct, then why are not funeral prayers offered for the children of Hindus and Christians, and how many people say their funeral prayers? The fact is that, according to the Shariah, the religion of the child is the same as the religion of the parents. So a non-Ahmadi’s child is also a non-Ahmadi, and his funeral prayers must not be said. Then I say that as the child cannot be a sinner he does not need the funeral prayers; the child’s funeral is a prayer for his relatives, and they do not belong to us but are non-Ahmadis. This is why even the child’s funeral prayers must not be said.

(Anwar-i Khilafat, p. 93 of the original edition; underlining is mine. This book is available on the Qadiani Jamaat website as number 5 from the link www.alislam.org/urdu/au/?j=3, see pages 150-151)

If this post is regarded as in bad taste at this delicate time, or if anyone is offended, I apologise.

Sincerely,
Zahid Aziz

Allegation that early issues of Lahore Ahmadiyya newspaper ‘Paigham Sulh’ presented Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The Qadiani Jama'at and also the anti-Ahmadiyya campaigners have been circulating one or two statements from early issues of the Lahore Ahmadiyya newspaper Paigham Sulh to allege that the founders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman used to believe Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet before they formed their own separate organization in Lahore after the split of March 1914. They have been circulating these statements for more than 80 years, generation after generation, and these allegations have been answered again and again.

After the late Professor Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi of the International Islamic University of Islamabad failed against the Lahore Ahmadiyya presentation in the 2nd Cape Town case in 1987, he published a book in 1991 entitled 'Qadiani Problem and Position of Lahori Group', in which (without mentioning the case at all) he too trotted out the same statement from Paigham Sulh, October 1913.

I have compiled a more detailed reply to this allegation than we have done in the past, and it can be read at this link.

My protest note on Wikipedia entry about Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Needing some information about Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, journalist, editor of Zamindar, one-time admirer and in 1930s opponent of the Ahmadiyya Movement, I came across the Wikipedia entry about him. Someone had written in it:

He was against the Ahmadiyya Movement and waged a campaign against it in his daily Zamindar. In, 1934 when the British government banned Zamindar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, sued and got the government orders revoked by the court. He stood firm against Mirza Ghulam Ahmed and tried to falsify his claim of Prophethood through his rational columns. Essentially all Muslims consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmed a liar and his claim false.

I have added a protest note after this as follows:

To Wikipedia: I strongly protest at the inclusion of the ridiculous and obviously false propaganda statement that *all* Muslims consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as "a liar". Many eminent Muslims considered him a Muslim and servant of Islam. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan himself supported the Ahmadiyya movement as an Islamic movement before the 1930s. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan's maternal uncle Maulana Muhammad Abdullah Khan (d. 26th April 1935) was a scholar of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat. This uncle's two sons, Maulana Mustafa Hasan Khan and Maulana Murtaza Hasan Khan were prominent Lahore Ahmadiyya missionaries and writers.

You can read my protest note in this Wikipedia entry just under the objectionable words.

Case Study 6: Consort Yes, but ‘Escort’ (—Mata`a) is a No! No! in Quran

Monday, December 8th, 2014
Case Study 6: Consort Yes, but 'Escort' (–Mata‘a[1]) is a No! No! in Quran

6:101. He is Wonderful and Primary Originator of the heavens and the earth! How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort [Arabic: Sâhibatun[2] – Spouse; Consort; Wife]? He has created all things and He has perfect knowledge of everything.[3]

Marriage is such a pristine institution in Quran that even Allah uses its sacred standard to rebut the allegation of son-ship of Jesus Christ i.e. How (and whence) can there be a son for Him, when He has no consort? The choice of words clearly implies the prerequisite of a marriage to children. Quran is replete with verses that outline the morality of relationships and laws and obligations of a public marriage of one kind only that which is solemnized by an agreed upon dower, ceremony of Nikah, and that which can end only by a formal public divorce or death of the spouse.

The word 'consort' used in the title of the chapter is taken from Merriam Webster Dictionary[4] for its meaning of spouse, which according to Quran is a status obtained only through a full legal and public marriage contract in which there are monetary safeguards for the woman at its inception, commitment of love and affection, provisions for maintenance for the wife during the marriage as well as at its end if the contract is terminated by a formal divorce or by inheritance if the spouse dies.

In pre-Islamic period, five kinds of unions were in the cultural norms of Arabia[5]. Permanent marriage – which with some modification is the one in vogue in Islam; Mata‘a – Temporary marriage; Istibdza or Extra-marital consented conjugal acts – same as Niyoga[6] in India; Polyandry, in which determination of paternity was at the sole discretion of the mother; and Prostitution.

Apparently, the practice of Mata‘a, the temporary 'marriage' was so much the norm in Arabia that it needed a repeat prohibition by the Prophet namely before the Khaibar expedition and during the Umra in the year following the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiah in seventh year of Hijrah, during conquest of Makkah and immediately afterward in Autas expedition in the eighth year of Hijrah, during Tabuk expedition in the ninth year of Hijrah and during the final pilgrimage of the Prophet in the tenth year of the Hijrah.

It is noteworthy that the Prophet is on the record prohibiting the Mata‘a especially when it was traditionally expected to be practiced the most when there were more men congregated then women, that too when men were far away for an extended period from their own wives and in war conditions when the androgenic impulses have run amok in the world history. This re-emphasis of prohibition continued during the reign of successors to the prophet, which only proves the deeply entrenched nature of this custom in pre-Islamic Arabian culture. Neither the Prophet indulged into a Mata‘a, nor his successors nor the (Shite) Imams after them.As Islam expanded beyond the cities of Makkah and Medina, it needed a constant reminder by the state for its prohibition for the new entrants into its fold.

Interestingly, when Hadiths are sliced and diced, the common factor that emerges is that all Hadiths point to prohibition rather allowance of Mata‘a. The advocates of Mata‘a can only hinge on one Hadith in which “The caller of the Prophet of God came to us and said: `The Prophet of God has permitted you to perform Mata‘a, that is the Mata‘a with women.'” This is usually attributed to the expedition of Autas, contrary to above mention of the same. Of note is that this hadith is not directly attributed to the Prophet, but to a third unidentified person who attributes it to the Prophet. It is just impossible for the Prophet to go against Quran, which allows only one kind of union and that is of full marriage, hence such a hadith seems to be a miscommunication or a misquote.

Before one even gets into the discussion of merits or demerits of Mata‘a one must keep in mind the definition of Prostitution[7] and how similar, not different is it from the former:

: the work of a prostitute : the act of having sex in exchange for money
: the use of a skill or ability in a way that is not appropriate or respectable

The main driver for Mata‘a is lust pure and simple. It is to this caving in to lust that all the justifications for this abominable practice are concocted contrary to injunction of Quran which is for one to remain chaste:

24:33. And those who find no (means of) marriage should (exercise restraint and) keep themselves chaste until Allâh grants them means (to marry) out of His grace and bounty…[8]

If one gleans the nature of Mata‘a it becomes obvious that the parties agree to a fixed 'dowry' i.e. gift given to woman by the man for the contract to last for an agreed fixed time period before the woman declares that she gives herself to the man in 'marriage' against the monetary terms agreed upon for a fixed duration only. This declaration is only verbal, does not necessitate any witnesses and is neither registered with the authorities. There is no terminating formality of divorce. After the verbal contract, the two can choose to live together and have conjugal relations as ordinary ‘husband and wife’ with the difference that children born will be responsibility of and attached to the 'husband'. However, 'husband' is not required to maintain and support the 'wife', both during the contract and when the term of the contract is over. If the 'husband' dies during the contract, she has no right to inheritance from the 'husband' and vice versa. There are other commonalities practiced that are similar to a regular marriage e.g. woman can only contract with a Muslim whereas the options for man expand to include woman of the Book. After the contract is over, the woman cannot contract another Mata‘a or a marriage till a prescribed number of menstrual cycles completed by her. A simple question needing answer is that can the time period of agreed upon Mata‘a be longer than the expected life span of the parties, for example a hundred years, which essentially becomes a contract for life?

Interestingly, there is no bar on number of concurrent Mata‘a that the man may contract and the existing Mata‘a(s) does not limit the man from concurrently having up to four wives as well. The duration of Mata‘a can be as little as half an hour. On the reverse, there is no lifetime bar for a woman to continue to contract different partners and she possibly can make a living by being with different men, one after the other without observing the mandated menstrual cycle as there is no monitoring system in place. Another simple question for the proponents of Mata‘a is that a regular marriage draws its rules and regulation from Quran itself, and then what is the source for the details of Mata‘a ? Answer is that the source for Mata‘a and its details are entirely human that try to draw some of the injunctions from Quran about regular marriage, whereas, for all and sundry Muslims the source of Law and its details is none but Quran, not humans.

Proponents of Mata‘a quite proudly publicize the fairness of contract to the woman in that she is given a dower upfront. If Mata‘a is a contract that includes monetary or equivalent exchange then according to Quran any such contract has to be written down and witnessed, which paradoxically is not a requirement for Mata‘a which is neither witnessed nor written down:

2:282. O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; and the witnesses should not refuse when they are summoned; and be not averse to writing it (whether it is) small or large, with the time of its falling due; this is more equitable in the sight of Allah and assures greater accuracy in testimony, and the nearest (way) that you may not entertain doubts (afterwards), except when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, then there is no blame on you in not writing it down; and have witnesses when you barter with one another, and let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witness; and if you do (it) then surely it will be a transgression in you, and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.[9] [Shakir] [Emphasis added]

Mata‘a is factually just another dignified name for prostitution which eerily becomes obvious as a daylight by merely replacing the word Mata‘a with 'Escort' and 'dower' with money in the above paragraphs. One wonders at to what happens when the man refuses to pay-up before the term of the contract expires? Who will enforce the contract since it is neither witnessed nor registered with any competent authority? What if a woman or for that matter a man fabricates an alleged Mata‘a with another person, how will the other party disprove the allegation, while knowing the fact that there are no witnesses required? What if the contract is for one night only and thereafter each of the two go their own way, the woman some time later becomes pregnant, who then determines the paternity and who bears the expenses of child rearing if the father disowns the child, whereas per Quran a pregnant mother cannot leave the home till she gives birth? How justifiable is such a contract where children may be raised away from their mothers? Can a married woman undertake Mata‘a, which is not allowed when verse 4:23[10] is read in conjunction with verse 4:24?

There is no word “Mata‘a” in Quran.The entire thrust for legitimacy of Mata‘a is based upon extra-Quranic sources, conjectures and hearsay. The word Mata‘a itself does not even mean “temporary marriage”.The advocates of Mata‘a also try to justify their entire practice by overstretching a single verse of Quran which is reproduced below from a plagiarized[11] translation by the author who belonged to the same sect which defends its practice:

4:24. And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah's ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit [–Istamta‘tum] by [marriage, hence], give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.[12][Shakir]

The keyword in above verse that is twisted to justify Mata‘a in Quran is Istamta‘tum[13] which in Arabic means: 'You people enjoyed', whereas Mata‘a itself too means: 'Comfort; Ease; Enjoyment'. Through word, play a flimsy logic is put forth that since both words mean enjoyment, hence by implication Mata‘a is parenthetically insert-able for Istamta‘tum in above verse. Since, Mata‘a was a pre-Islamic practice of a socially acceptable temporary marriage (read prostitution), hence the argument is made that the said verse permits the act of Mata‘a in the same manner as it was practiced before Islam. Fact is that there is nothing in this verse or anywhere else in Quran which can even provide an iota of a notion about a marriage that is started with non-permanence of intention right from its inception. The very nature of a time-limited marriage is against the spirit of marriage in Quran which equates the importance of a marriage relationship to that of a blood relationship which has no inherent time bar on it:

25:54. And He it is Who has created man from the water, then He has made for him blood relationship and marriage relationship, and your Lord is powerful.[14] [Shakir]

Of note is that in verse 4:24 before even the word Istamta‘tum is reached, implying any enjoyment, physical or emotional or both, there is a clear injunction to fully marry the woman before resorting to that enjoyment – provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. With regards to women except those whom your right hands possess [Arabic: ma malakat aimanukum], reader is referred to the chapter which explains this term that by it is meant prisoners of war who can be married – “Case Study 4: Slavery, Concubines, Extra-Marital Relations – Zilch, Nada In Quran!” [Link]. Slaves which are different from prisoners of war, for them too besides the general injunction on singles to marry, Quran emphasizes their marriage, Quran identifies them by their gender, both males and females, and orders them to be kept chaste and marriages were to be obligatorily arranged for them, either by marrying them within the household or being given away in marriage, as married state is a natural state for adults in Quran and is an assurance for their chastity, whereas Mata‘a by its very time limited nature negates this injunction of Quran:

24:32. And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.[15] [Shakir]

The word Istamta‘tum is also used elsewhere in Quran that makes its use plainly clear. For example, while addressing the hypocrites:

9:69. Like those before you; they were stronger than you in power and more abundant in wealth and children, so they enjoyed [–Istamta‘tu[16]] their portion; thus have you enjoyed [–Istamta‘tum[17]] your portion as those before you enjoyed [–Istamta‘a[18]] their portion; and you entered into vain discourses like the vain discourses in which entered those before you. These are they whose works are null in this world and the hereafter, and these are they who are the losers.[19] [Shakir]

With the clarity of usage of Istamta‘tum in the above verse which is anything but Mata‘a, if the proponents of Mata‘a in verse 4:24 still insist as before, then they need to read the contextual outcome in following verse of a lustful contract for sexual relationships:

46:20. And on the day when those who disbelieve [in allowance of sexual relations only in a full marriage] shall be brought before the fire: You did away with your good things in your life of the world and you enjoyed them [–Istamta‘tum] for a while [read: Mata‘a , the so called temporary marriage for a while], so today you shall be rewarded with the punishment of abasement because you were unjustly proud in the land and because you transgressed [by indulging in Mata‘a ].[20] [Shakir]

If for the sake of argument the case for Mata‘a in verse 4:24 as an implied replacement for Istamta‘tum is accepted, then using the same standards, the above verse 46:20 squarely points to the destination of Mata‘a participants as nothing but the hell fire. With this, we rest our case and for the proponents of Mata‘a we leave them with these verses to self-reflect therein:

68:35. What has happened to you? How do you judge?

68:37. Or have you a book wherein you read,

68:38. That you have surely therein what you choose [as the basis of Mata‘a ]?[21] [Shakir]

Even to give room for discussion for an implied altering for Mata‘a the words of Quran is an unwarranted accommodation because according to Quran:

18:27. And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord, there is none who can alter His words; and you shall not find any refuge besides Him.[22] [Shakir]

The verse fragment in 4:24 – Then as to those whom you profit by [–Istamta‘tum], implies the mutually beneficial and affectionate relationship between couples that emanates from the wedlock which Quran frequently shores up and emphasizes from various angles. For example:

30:21. And (it is one) of His signs that He has created spouses for you from your own species that you may find comfort in them. And He has induced mutual love and tenderness between you. Behold! there are signs in this for a people who would reflect.[23]

2:187. (Though during Fasting you must abstain from all the urges of nature including the sexual urge) it is made lawful for you on the nights of the fasts to approach and lie with your wives (for sexual relationship). They are (a sort of) garment for you and you are (a sort of) garment for them. Allâh knows that you have been doing injustice to yourselves (by restricting conjugal relations with your wives even at night), so He turned to you with mercy and provided you relief; now enjoy their company (at night during Ramadzân) and seek what Allâh has ordained for you…

25:74. And who (in their prayers) say, `Grant that our wives and our children be (a source of) comfort for (our) eyes and make us a model for those who guard against evil.'[24]

7:189. It is He Who has created you from one living entity, and from the same stock (that He created a human being) He brought into being his mate that he might find comfort in her. When he covers her (in conjugal relationship) she conceives a light burden and carries it about, then when she grows heavy (with the child), they both pray to Allâh, their Lord, (saying) `If You give us a good one (- a child with a sound mind in a sound body), we shall surely be of the grateful (to You).' [25]

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his landmark work “Religion of Islam” under section on “Marriage”[26] discusses the moral, psychological and social aspects of Islam in light of Quran, which is excerpted below:

Multiplication of the human race through marriage: It will be noted that, in the above verses [4:1, 7:189, 16:72, 30:21, 42:11], the multiplication of the human race is mentioned as one of the objects of marriage. But it may be said that the multiplication of the race can be brought about without marriage, as with the lower animals; that is to say, without uniting one man with one woman for their whole life. This would be only true if man lived upon earth like other animals, if there was nothing to distinguish him from the brute creation, if there were no such thing as civilization, no society, no sense of respect for one's own obligations and the rights of others, no sense of property and ownership. Deprived of its civilization there would be no human race at all, but a race of brutes in human form. The family, which is the real unit of the human race and the first cohesive force which makes civilization possible, owes its existence solely to marriage. If there is no marriage, then there can be no family, no ties of kinship, no force uniting the different elements of humanity and consequently, no civilization. It is through the family that humanity is held together and civilization made possible.

Feelings of love and service developed through marriage: The institution of marriage is also responsible to a very great extent for the development of those feelings of love and service which are the pride of humanity today. The mutual love of husband and wife — a love based not on momentary passion but lifelong connection — and the consequent parental love for offspring leads to a very high development of the feeling of love of man for man as such, and thus to the disinterested service of humanity. This love is described as a sign of God in the Qur'an: "And of His signs is this, that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion" (30:21). The natural inclination of the male to the female and of the female to the male finds expansion through marriage and is developed, first, into a love for the children, then a love for one's kith and kin, and ultimately into a disinterested love for the whole of humanity. The home, or the family, is in fact the first training ground of love and service. Here man finds real pleasure in the service of humanity, and the sense of service is thus gradually developed and broadened. It is in fact a training ground for every kind of morality, for it is in the home that a man learns to have a sense of his own obligation and responsibilities, to have a respect for others' rights and, above all, to have a real pleasure in suffering for the sake of others. The Prophet is reported to have said: "The best of you is he who treats his wife best" (IM. 9:50).

Marriage and 'free love": The Western world is undoubtedly leaning more and more to "free love" in the place of marriage, but "free love" will certainly prove the ruin of Western civilization. Marriage is being discarded, not on account of any inherent defect in it, but simply because it entails certain responsibilities on both parties to the marriage contract, and it is really these responsibilities that are shirked in avoiding marriage. Marriage undoubtedly strengthens the ties of the natural love of the two mates, but it also requires them to share each other's cares and sorrows; for human life has its cares and sorrows as well as its pleasures. "Free love" makes each of the mates selfish in the extreme because, while the male and the female become each other's partners in happiness, each is free to leave the other, uncared for, in his or her sorrow. Marriage again makes the two mates jointly responsible for the welfare of the children, but in "free love," either the procreation of children is altogether avoided, and thus the end which nature has in view in the union of the male and the female is defeated, or when either of the parents has had his or her satisfaction of the other, the children may be left without a shelter. The institution of marriage is found in all countries and all nations, has been practised in every age for thousands of years and has worked to the advancement and welfare of humanity on the whole. Free love, if practised on so large a scale for half a century, would either put an end to the human race altogether, or bring such chaos in society as would destroy its very foundations. It may suit a few irresponsible, selfish persons who are the slaves of their passions, but there can be no spark of true love in a union which may end abruptly at the whim of either, and it can serve no useful purpose for humanity in general.

In light of elucidation of institution of marriage in Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali above Mata‘a if at all is close to ‘free love’ and steers clears of other virtuous objectives that a marriage naturally entails. He writes further, excerpted below:

Mut'ah[27] or temporary marriage disallowed: A marriage for a fixed period was recognized before Islam. It went under the name of mut‘ah, meaning profiting by or enjoying a thing. Besides the temporary marriage, four kinds of union of man and woman were recognized by the pre-Islamic Arabs (Bu. 67:37). The first of these was the permanent marriage tie which, in a modified form, was recognized by Islam. The second was known as the istibdza' [footnote: " From bidz' meaning a portion or a large portion of wealth, sufficient to carry on a trade (R)]." The following explanation of this word is given in Bukhari and other authorities: "A man would say to his wife, Send for such a one and have cohabitation with him; and the husband would remain aloof from her and would not touch her until her pregnancy was clear" (Bu. 67:37; N.). This is exactly the form which goes under the name of niyoga in the reformed Hindu sect, Arya Samaj. The third form was that in which any number of men, less than ten, would gather together and have cohabitation with a worn-an, and when she became pregnant and gave birth to a child, she would call for all those men and would say that the child belonged to such a one from among them, and he was bound by her word to accept the responsibility. Fourthly, there were prostitutes who were entered upon promiscuously and when one of them bore a child, a man known as qa'if (lit., one who recognized) was invited and his decision, based on similarity of features, was final as to who was the father of the child. The last three forms only legalized adultery in one form or another and Islam did not recognize any of them, nor was any such practice resorted to by any Muslim at any time.

Temporary marriage stood on a different basis, and reform in this matter was brought about gradually. Recently the idea has appealed to the Western mind which is seeking in temporary marriage, by way of experiment, a remedy for the rigidity of the Christian marriage laws. Islam, however, discarded the idea of temporariness in marriage, because it opens the way to loose relations of the sexes, and entails no responsibility of any kind on the father for the care and bringing up of the children, who, with the mother, might thus be left quite destitute. Occasions may arise for the dissolution of a permanent marriage, and will continue to arise as long as human nature is what it is, but the remedy for this is divorce and not temporary marriage. The moment the idea of temporariness is introduced into marriage, it loses its whole sanctity, and all responsibilities which are consequent on it are thrown off. According to the Qur'an, the union of the two sexes is only lawful because of the acceptance of the responsibilities consequent thereupon, and the idea of a temporary marriage is not in accordance with it. A union of the sexes with the acceptance of the consequent responsibilities is called ihsan (marriage), and without such acceptance it is called safah (fornication), and the Qur'an allows the first while it forbids the second (4:24).

Deceptively, Mata‘a for what it means and what it tries to achieve, whether in pre-Islamic history and even now, is primarily carnal enjoyment. In a reverse relationship the word Istamta‘tum has been implied to mean Mata‘a, irrespective that the two words are poles apart in their usage and the heinous immorality that Mata‘a engenders. The advocates for Mata‘a are only trying to launder a pre-Islamic pagan practice by concocting a legitimacy through Quran.

Mata‘a is anything but marriage. Its proponents will also agree upon the principles of marriage and what it stands for in light of Quran.

Firstly, there are no secret marriages in Quran, while Mata‘a can be a secret contract as witnesses are not a requirement:

4:25. And those of you who have not the means (- social or financial) to marry free believing women (may marry) such of your believing bonds women as your right hands own (by being captives in war). Allâh knows very well (the state of) your faith, you are all (sprung) one from another, so marry them with the permission of their guardians and give them their dowers with equity, they being properly married, not (committing fornication), to pursue their lust nor taking secret paramours[28][Emphasis added]

5:5. This day all good and pure things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those who have been given the Scripture is lawful for you (provided the food does not include anything forbidden in Islam), and your food is lawful for them. And (lawful for you for marriage are) the chaste women from among the believing women and chaste women from among those who have been given the Scripture before you, provided that you pay them their dowers (to live with them) after contracting valid marriage, not committing fornication, nor seeking secret love affairs by taking secret paramours. And whoever denies the commandments of (the true) faith, no doubt (he will find) his deeds have gone in vain and he will be of the losers in the Hereafter.[29] [Emphasis added]

Secondly, marriage mandates husbands to be responsible for supporting their wives and family, while in Mata‘a there is no such expectation of the husband or even from the wife:

4:34. Men are the maintainers of women…[30]

Thirdly, in Quran no marriage can be terminated without appointed arbiters from each side for reconciliation before decreeing a divorce, while Mata‘a is a self-expiring contract:

4:35. And if you fear a breach between the two, appoint an arbiter from his people and an arbiter from her people. If they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Aware.[31]

Four, in Quran for a marriage to be revoked by a divorce, it is a must to have two witnesses, a condition that does not exist in Mata‘a.

65:2. And when they are about to reach their prescribed term (of `Iddat) either keep them (by revoking the divorce) in an honourable and fair manner or part with them in honourable and fair manner and two honest and just persons from among you witness (your decision). (Let the witnesses) bear true testimony for the sake of Allâh (regarding the situation that resulted in the pronouncement of divorce). Thus the person (who acts according to these guidelines and) who believes in Allâh and the Last Day is exhorted. And he who takes Allâh as (his) shield, He will always make a way out (of his ordeals) for him.[32]

Five, even in a divorced state, men are responsible for provisions for the woman, a requirement that does not even exist in Mata‘a:

65:6. Lodge (the divorced) women (during the prescribed period in some part of the house) where you are lodging, according to (the best of) your means. Do not harass them so as to make (their stay) hard for them. If they be pregnant, bear their expanses until they are delivered of the child. And if they suckle (the child) for you (as the period of waiting is over with delivery) pay them their dues (for suckling), and (in order to settle it) consult together in all fairness (making only reasonable demands on one another). But if you find it mutually difficult (to come to a settled agreement) then let another woman suckle (the child) for him (- the father).

65:7. Let a man with (plentiful) means spend (for the maintenance of the suckling woman) according to his means. And let him whose means of subsistence are limited spend according to what Allâh has given him. Allâh burdens no person (with responsibility) beyond what He has given him. Allâh will soon bring about easy times after hardships. [33]

Six, upon the death of either spouse, the living spouse and children in absence of a will of the deceased are assured a default portion, while Mata‘a has no such provisions for the 'wife' or the 'husband':

4:12. And for you is half of that which your wives leave behind, if they have no child; but if they have a child, then for you is one fourth of what they leave behind, after (the payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or (still more important) of any (of their) debt. And for them (- your wives) is one fourth of what you leave behind if you have no child; but if you leave a child, then, for them is an eighth of what you leave after (the payment of) any bequest you have bequeathed or (still more important) of any debt. And if there be a man or a woman whose heritage is to be divided and he (or she – the deceased) has no child and he (or she) has (left behind) a brother or a sister then for each one of the twain is a sixth; but if they be more than one then they are (equal) sharers in one third after the payment of any bequest bequeathed or (still more important) of any debt (provided such bequest made by the testator and the debt) shall be without (any intent of) being harmful (to the interests of the heirs). This is an injunction from Allâh, and Allâh is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.[34]

Seven, even in case the deceased husband had bequeathed his house to someone other than his wife, her rights and welfare are to be guaranteed by the deceased husband’s family, whereas in Mata‘a there is no such thing as widowhood and the corresponding responsibilities for the society:

2:240. And [for] those of you who die and leave wives behind, there is a binding injunc-tion (of God) for their wives for a year's maintenance without being turned out (of their homes). But if they go out (of their own accord during this period) there is no blame on you with regard to what they do about themselves in an equitable and decent manner. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.[35]

In summary, by the standards of Quran for marriage, whatever Mata‘a maybe, it for sure is not a marriage if nothing else for its temporariness and it fails all the requirements of what marriage means and what a marriage achieves. There is no room for a temporary marriage in Quran and such a justification in none but a fabrication, because it is not only immoral, it depreciates the status of woman, makes her more vulnerable to exploitation, removes safety net around her and destroys the institution of family, the cornerstone of any society. Mata‘a is not a marriage, rather an adultery pure and simple. Any adultery in any shape or form, be it in the garb of temporary 'marriage' is condemned in Quran:

17:32. And Keep away from adultery and fornication; surely, it is an abominable act and an (extremely) evil practice.[36]

The indulgers in Mata‘a are no different than what the following verse expounds in regards to relationships outside the allowable marriage in Quran:

24:3. The fornicator and adulterer cannot have sexual relations (without lawful marriage) except with a fornicatress and adulteress or polytheistic woman (of low morality), and the fornicatress and adulteress, none can have sexual relations with her except a fornicator and adulterer or a polytheistic man (of low morality). And this (adultery and fornication) is forbidden to the believers.[37]

Mata‘a is essentially sexual relations outside wedlock. Such a relationship is a sure recipe for moral failure whereas restrained sexuality within the bounds of a full marriage is a requisite for moral success:

23:1. Truly, success in this life and in the Hereafter does come to the believers,
23:2. Who turn (to God) in all humility in their Prayer,
23:3. And who keep aloof from all that is vain and idle,
23:4. And who act conscientiously for the sake of purity (and regularly present the Zakât),
23:5. And who guard their private parts,

23:6. Except from their spouses, that is those whom they justly and rightfully own in proper wedlock, in that case they are not to be blamed,

23:7. But those who seek anything else (to satisfy their sexual desire) beyond this, it is they who are the transgressors,
23:8. And who look after their trusts and their covenants,
23:9. And who are strict in the observance of their Prayers.
23:10. It is they who are the real heirs;
23:11. Who will own Paradise where they shall abide for ever.[38][Emphasis added]

Reader are encouraged to read “Part Three – Chapter 6: Marriage” in “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali [pdf link] for a comprehensive yet a broad view about Marriage in Islam and is various legal and social aspects including a discussion about Mata‘a and its historical ambiguities.


[1] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 525 – Mata‘a (n.): Comfort; Ease; Enjoyment; Provision; Household stuff; Utensils; Goods; All kinds of things necessary for the life of human beings and cattles and goodly provisions for them. Matta‘tu (prf. 1st. p. sing.II.): I allowed to enjoy worldly provision. I gave comfort. Matta‘ta (prf. 2nd. pp. sing. II.): Thou bestowed the good thing of life. Matta‘na (prf. 1st. p. plu. II.): We have provided with good things. Umatti‘u (imp.1st. p. sing. II.): I will give comfort. I will provide worldy provision. Numatti‘u (imp. 1st. p. plu.): We shall grant provision. Yumatti‘u (imp. 3rd. p. sing.II.): He will cause to enjoy. Matti‘û (prt. m. plu.): You provide provision. Tamatta‘ûna (2nd. p. plu. pip.): You will be given comfort. Yumatta‘ûna (3rd. p. plu. pip.): They were allowed to enjoy. Yatamatt‘ûn (imp. 3rd. p. plu.): They enjoy themselves. Its imp. 3rd. p. plu. acc. Is Yatamatta. Tamatta‘a (prt. m. sing. V.): Enjoy. Tamatta‘û (prt. m. plu. V.): Enjoy yourselves. Istamata‘a (prf. 3rd. p. sing. X): Benefited. Istamta‘tum (prf. 2nd. p. plu.): You people enjoyed. Istamat‘û (prf. 3rd. p. m. plu. X.): They enjoyed. Amti‘atun (n. plu. its sing. is Matâtun). (L; R; T; LL) This root with its above forms has occurred about 70 times in The Holy Qur’ân.
[2] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 307 – Sâhibatun: Spouse; Consort; Wife.
[3] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[4] Link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/consort
[5] 'Religion of Islam' by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 449-452
[6] Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niyoga
[7] Link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prostitution
[8] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[10] 4:23. Forbidden to you are your mothers and your daughters and your sisters and your paternal aunts and your maternal aunts and brothers' daughters and sisters' daughters and your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters and mothers of your wives and your step-daughters who are in your guardianship, (born) of your wives to whom you have gone in, but if you have not gone in to them, there is no blame on you (in marrying them), and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Shakir] – Al-Nisa – Women: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[11] Shakir’s Quran translation — blatant plagiarism of the first edition of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation –
Deception perpetrated on readers of the Holy Quran. Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/movement/shakir.htm
[12] Al-Nisa – Women: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[13] See footnote 1 above
[14] Al-Furqan – The Criterion: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[15] Al-Nur – The Light: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[16] See footnote 1 above
[17] See footnote 1 above
[18] See footnote 1 above
[19] Al-Bara’at – Immunity: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[20] Al-Ahqaf – The Sandhills: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[21] Al-Qalam – The Pen: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[22] Al-Kahf – The Cave: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[23] Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin
[24] Al-Furqan – The Standard of True and False: Nooruddin
[25] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[26] 'Religion of Islam' by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 447-449
[27] Also spelled as Mata’a
[28] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[29] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[30] Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[31] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[32] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[35] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[36] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[37] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[38] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin