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Archive for the ‘I. Miracles’ Category

Moon – Struck or Split

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Moon – Struck or Split

There is folklore that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on being challenged by his opponents split the moon with a gesture as a sign of his truthfulness. Verse 54:1 in Quran is used to validate the event by the proponents of the physical miracle – The hour drew near and the moon was split apart.1 In support of this claim Hadiths are quoted as well, some of which are attributed to Ibn-Abbas and Anas. The former was not even born at that time and by some accounts the latter was only four years old. It is interesting to note that we do not find anyone of significance in history that was moonstruck to convert to Islam by witnessing the awesome event, which in itself is an obvious negation of placing any value to physical splitting of the moon. If Hadiths are extrapolated in a literal sense, then it could possibly mean the incidental phenomenon of a partial moon eclipse in which, there is a transient splitting of the moon into lighted and dark parts for the duration of the eclipse, or another natural event for example an asteroid impacting the lunar surface and the resultant flash witnessed on the earth. It does not befit prophets to toy with the eclipse of the moon, rather such natural phenomenona are exploited by the likes of Christopher Columbus who fooled the natives of Jamaica for a secondary gain.1a

Can the moon be physically split and then rejoined later to its full whole, even for a so called miracle? At any time, if and when the moon is physically split, it will be a globally witnessed event. Why is there not an independent record of this mind shattering event in history from different regions of the world? Was there a separate moon for Makkah that split and another one for the rest of the world which remained intact? Countless questions could be raised for a physically splitting moon. Any such conjecture is rubbished by Quran when it refers to the stability and preset stages of the moon, all of which result passively from varying degree earth shadow falling on it:

36:39. And (think over the phase of) the moon, We have determined its various mansions, so that (after traversing these mansions) it returns (to the stage when it appears) like an old dry twig of a palm-tree.2

In the next corresponding verse Quran further negates even a ‘miraculous’ suggestion which disturbs the laws of nature, at least so far as the sun, moon and earth are concerned, unless it could be established that moon can naturally split and then rejoined:

36:40. It is not given to the sun to attain to (the purpose ordained for) the moon, nor is it given to the night to outstrip the day. All of these (luminaries) go on floating smoothly in an orbit (of their own).3

If by any chance, there is shifting of any of these celestial bodies from their ordained course and behavior as outlined in verses 36:39-40, then for sure it might be point of no return. We would have reached the end of times, and it would be pointless to carry this discussion any further of whether moon was split by the Prophet:

75:6-11. He [- the skeptic] asks (with contempt and doubt), `When shall the Day of Resurrection come to be?' (It shall be the day) when the sight (of a person) is confused (and he is confounded for being unable to find the right course). And the moon will eclipse. And the sun and the moon will be brought together. The human being shall say on that day, `Whither to flee?' To nowhere at all, there is no refuge.4

Moon referred to in Chapter/Surah Qamar was the national symbol of Arabia similar to the Sun for Persia. Moon symbolized the power centers in Arabia, foremost of which were the city of Makkah with the tribe of Quraish at its helm. This interpretation of the moon symbolizing the powers of Arabia is found in a Hadith about Safiyyah, the daughter of Huyyah ibn Aktab, chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir in Madina, a longtime opponent of the Prophet. Her tribe relocated from Madina to Khaybar after the Battle of Uhad. Safiyyah once dreamt that moon fell into her lap. When she narrated the dream to her father (and by some accounts to her husband), he contemptuously slapped her with scornful and quizzical interpretation that she intended to marry a king of Arabia. She was married to Kenana ibn al-Rabi, the treasurer of Khybar, who was killed during the siege of the city by Muslim army under the Prophet. After she became a war widow, she married the Prophet, the ‘King of Arabia,’ a prophecy thus fulfilled.

The context of the subject matter of verse 54:1 (Chapter: Qamar – Moon) is essentially a continuation of the topic in the last verses of the preceding Chapter: Najm – Star, which are quoted below:

53:56. This (Prophet) is a Warner (towards all the peoples of the worlds) from among the (series of) Warners (to one particular people) of old.

53:57. (The Hour of punishment) that was (promised) to come has drawn nigh.

53:58. None can avert this (doom) besides Allâh.

53:59. Do you then wonder at this announcement (and yet pay no heed to it),

53:60. (For on hearing the mention of the Hour of punishment) you laugh rather than weep.

53:61. And you remain proudly heedless and haughty.

53:62. You should better prostrate yourselves before Allâh and worship (Him).5

These verses draw attention to one of the functions of the prophet which is to warn people of the natural consequences of their moral depravity. Essentially, prophets by their very definition of making prophecies, also forewarn of a calamity. To prevent the disaster, the prophets educate and reform their audience to shore up their social and moral defenses with virtue and morality to avert the doom, just as a meteorologist forewarns with the data gathered from the realm of physical science and predicts the enormity and destruction of an impending storm. The said verses in context of pagan Makkans was a forewarning of an impending dissipation of their power against the apparent hapless Muslim who were suffering among their midst from incessant oppression at their hands. Quran forecast the fall of Makkans:

13:31. Had there been a Qur’ân whereby mountains could be moved, or whereby the earth could be torn asunder, or whereby the dead could be made to speak (it is this very Qur’ân indeed). Behold! The commandment and all power belongs to Allâh. Have not those who believe realized yet that if Allâh had (enforced) His will He would have indeed guided all humankind. And as for those who disbelieve, one calamity or the other will continue to befall them owing to their (evil) activities till you come to alight in their neighborhood, until the promise of Allâh (about the conquest of Makkah) comes to pass. Verily, Allâh will not fail (this) promise (of His).6

The prophecy in the verses of Surah Najm is furthered concretely in the subsequent Surah Qamar by specifically mentioning the destruction of the power of Makkan government, whose banner bore a full moon on it. Additionally, there is also an implicit reference to splitting of Makkan society, the flag bearers of the moon, which we saw in migration of Muslims from their midst to Madina:

54:1. The Hour (of doom of the enemies of the Prophet) has drawn nigh and (to indicate it) the moon is rent asunder.

54:2. Yet, whenever these (disbelievers) see a sign they turn away (paying it no heed) and say, `(It is) an oft-repeated and tremendous illusion.'

54:3. They have cried lies (even to this sign) and have followed their low desires. Yet every decree (of God) shall certainly come to pass.

54:4. And certainly there has already come to them the important accounts (concerning the fate of the ancients) in which there is provision of abstaining (from obstinately following the wrong course).

54:5. (And wherein is) profound and perfect wisdom but the warnings were of no avail (to them).7

In the same chapter 54 there are passages in verses 9 through 42 reminding the destruction of nations before who were similarly in moral abyss as Makkans and who did not reform despite being sent prophets as Warners e.g. Noah and his tribe – the flood, Hud and nation of Ad – furious winds and sand storms, Salih and his tribe – earthquake, Lot and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah – earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, Moses and Pharaoh and his people – drowning. With these examples Quran then challenges the Makkans in the same chapter for their false sense of security:

54:43. Are those of you who are disbelievers better than these? Or have you been promised amnesty (from punishment) in the (previous) Scriptures.

54:44. Or do (Makkan disbelievers) say, `We are a united force, capable of defending one another (against any calamity)? 8

Quran then goes on to foretell a sequence of events that history bears witness happened so in the battles of Badr, Uhad to certain extent, and finally the Battle of Trench:

54:45. Soon that united force shall surely be routed. They will turn (their) backs (and flee before the Muslims).

54:46. The (promised) Hour (of their complete discomfiture) is their appointed time. The fact is that the Hour will be grievously calamitous and most bitter.

54:47. Surely, the guilty are (involved) in clear error and (suffering from) insanity.

54:48. On that day they shall be dragged on their faces into the fire (of the battle, it will be said to them), `Suffer the smite of fire.'

54:49. Verily, all things have We created in correct proportion and measure.

54:50. Our command is (at once carried out by) only one (word) as quickly as the twinkling of an eye.

54:51. We have surely destroyed (gangs of) people like you (O disbelievers! before). But is there anyone who would take heed? 9

The final prophecy of this chapter in verse 54:51 fully materialized when Makkah was overcome by Muslims within eight years of their exile to Madina. The defeated citizens of the former were then summoned to the Holy Kaaba by the Prophet and rest is history when he forgave them all:

54:6. Therefore turn away from them, (and await) the day when the summoner will summon them to a most disagreeable thing,

54:7. While (with the sense of remorse) their eyes will be downcast, they will come forth from (their) graves as though they were (swarms of) locusts being scattered about,

54:8. Rushing headlong towards the summoner. The disbelievers will say, `This is a hard day.'10

For sure, the conquest of Makkah was a hard day for the natives, their pitiable state was like locusts scattered about, their eyes were downcast when they were summoned to the Holy Kabah by the Prophet, a most disagreeable thing that they could not have imagined, and their power symbolized by “Moon” on their banner/flag had been totally rent asunder by their victims of persecution and attacks of the previous twenty-one years.

It was this return to Makkah that was promised elsewhere in Quran as well to the Prophet and his companions:

28:85. (Prophet!) He who has made (the teaching of) the Qur'ân binding on you shall most surely bring you back to your ordained place of return, (the place of Pilgrimage – Makkah). Say, `My Lord knows him best who has brought guidance as well as those who are steeped in clear error.'11

With the above discussion in mind when we reread verse – Yet, whenever these (disbelievers) see a sign they turn away (paying it no heed) and say, `(It is) an oft-repeated and tremendous illusion' (54:2) 12 – it comes to fore that Quran is addressing the future generations after the time of the Prophet as well, who in hindsight are witness to sign of splitting of the ‘moon,’ the destruction of the mighty opponents of the Prophet and Islam.

The symbolism in Quran is according to common usage.13 For example, similar to moon, it uses the term ‘hands’ in reference to power of Abd al-Uzza, also known as Abu Lahab (a title given to him meaning – ‘father of the flame’, for both his reddish face and his fiery temper). Abu Lahab was the uncle and incorrigible enemy of the Islam. He wielded power because of his wealth and his priestly status from his association with the Kaaba. He too was prophesized to be destroyed in Chaper/Surah Masad – LET the two hands of Abû Lahab (the Prophet's uncle, one of his most inveterate opponents and other fiery tempered enemies of Islam) perish, and let he himself (also) perish! His wealth and what he has accomplished shall avail him naught. He shall soon enter a Fire full of leaping flames (to burn others of his kind as well)…(111:1-3.).14 He did not participate in the battle of Badr and literally perished a week later in Makkah from a contagion in a helpless state.

It is interesting to note that the destruction of moon and hands referred to in Chapters/Surahs Qamar and Masad are in the past-tense i.e. both moon15 and hands have been destroyed. Nooruddin interprets the usage of past-tense in his exegesis. The past-tense implies that the decisions of the destruction of Makkan powers had already been taken by Allah, hence the use of past-tense, whereas, the manifestation of prophecies was only a matter of time before they unfolded in history, repeatedly, after revelation of these verses.

In summary, Surah Qamar and Surah Masad are interrelated on a spectrum in the sense that former refers to the doom of organizational opposition against Islam and the latter refers to individual opposition undermining Islam.  Both chapters speak in the past tense, former about the symbol moon – the organizations. The latter refers to symbol of hands – the power of the individuals. The doom of both is predestined. History bears witness to the truth of this predetermination, irrespective of whether Muslim societies were overwhelmed and ruled by others, message of Quran and Islam always prevailed. Yet, some of us are still moon struck with conjectures while history is replete with moon splits.


1 Al-Qamar – The Moon: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
1a "March 1504 lunar eclipse": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1504_lunar_eclipse
2 Yasin – O Perfect Man!: Nooruddin
3 ibid
4 Al-Qiyamah – The Resurrection: Nooruddin
5 Al-Najm – The Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin
6 Al-Rad – The Thunder: Nooruddin
7 Al-Qamar – The Moon: Nooruddin
8 ibid
9 ibid
10 ibid
11 Al-Qasas – The Narrative: Nooruddin
12 Al-Qamar – The Moon: Nooruddin
13 Quran frequently symbolizes power and capacity by using the term ‘hands’ e.g. And the Jews said, `Allâh's hand is fettered (from assisting the helpless Muslims).' Fettered are their own hands (from assisting the enemies of Islam), and they are deprived of blessings of Allâh for what they said. Nay, (the truth of the matter is that) both His hands are wide open (and free). He spends as He pleases. And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will most surely increase many of them in inordinate rebellion and in disbelief. And We have kindled enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection. Every time they kindle a fire for war, Allâh puts it out, but they strive to create disorder in the land, whereas Allâh does not like the creators of disorder (5: 64). Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
14 Al-Masad – The Twisted Strands: Nooruddin
15 The hour drew near and the moon was split apart (54:1): Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz

M‘irâj and Ma‘ârij, but not Mirage – a Journey, an Ascent – Spiritual or Physical and to Where?

Monday, May 25th, 2015

M‘irâj and Ma‘ârij, but not Mirage – a Journey, an Ascent – Spiritual or Physical and to Where?

Miraj (also written as Meraj) is the sum-total of a two stage vision with all its details of Isra, the Night Journey and its retrace, in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) traveled from Makkah to Ka'aba to Solomon’s Temple and then ascended, in his Miraj, to heavens.

If one is to take Miraj in a physical sense, then it only means that God is limited by time and space and one has to move from one point to another to reach His realm. By implication, His dominion is not to be found on this earth. By such an approach one risks destroying the very definition of Allah who is non-physical, boundless and omnipresent while vainly establishing the physicality of a personal experience of the Prophet. According to Quran, the Children of Adam can enter the Hereafter only after their death when physicality of a person is left behind in this universe and it is only the non-physical aspect of us that moves on to the next:

7:24-25. (God) said,…`In this (very universe) you shall live and therein you shall die and from it you shall be brought forth (in the Hereafter).'[1]

Thus, Quran lays down a law that no human can transition from this physical universe into the Hereafter while one is alive. If Prophet Muhammad, who was one of the many Children of Adam, left this world physically during Miraj to go up into heavens, than at least according to Quran he never went into Hereafter for the mere fact that he was alive. No matter how far and wide and how fast one may travel into deep space, one will never get to the Hereafter because Hereafter is not a space but only a state. Physical death is a must before one can venture into ‘heavens’ unless all that the Prophet saw during his Miraj was in a visionary state.

In the discussion of Miraj, many terms will be explained as needed for their detailed understanding.

‘Araja: To ascend, mount. M‘irâj: The Ascension. Isrâ': The Night Journey or "carrying" by night of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) from the sacred Mosque at Makkah to the remote Mosque at Jerusalem and his Mi‘râj – Ascension to the heaven are two distinct stages of his mystic experience (17:1; 53:1-18). Bukhârî mentions Isrâ’ in Ch. 63:41 and of M‘irâj in Ch. 63:41of his well-known book Sahîh. On this subject see also various well-documented traditions extensively quoted and discussed by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bâri Ch.7:15 and Ibn Kathîr in his commentary of the Holy Qur’ân Ch. 17:1. Some reporters of the traditions and commentators of the Qur’ân have mixed up the accounts of the M‘irâj –The Ascension and Isrâ –The Night Journey. (Zâd al-Ma‘âd; L; T; R; LL).[2]

The reports about Miraj are found in Hadiths which outline Prophet’s experience of angels, life after death, heaven, and even God and His locale. Naturally, the debate of physical vs. non-physical Miraj takes its root in the fundamental disagreement over physical or non-physical nature of these entities. Unbeknownst to the believers in the former, merely by their arguments, they insist on physical existence of these. Paradoxically, the advocates of physical Miraj will deny physicality of all the said entities, yet all their arguments are about physical travel of the Prophet to a physical realm of Allah encapsulated in the confines of time and space. To reconcile both, at least in the matter of Miraj, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad settles the issue when he, deliberating on a different subject, discusses the Creative attribute of Allah:

…to create something out of nothing is also His work. Just as you see it in a scene in a dream He creates a whole world without any matter, and shows nonexistent things to be existent. Thus such are all the wonders of His power…[3]

Gist of Miraj

“The event of 'MERAJ' in details has been reported in a number of Hadith. One finds mention of miracles and signs in all the great religions of the world. All prophets of Allah have wrought such miracles which appear supernatural to us and it is this part of religion which has been the cause of a vast majority being led into what is called religiosity by todays thinker philosophers and 'MERAJ' being one of such events.

The philosophy underlying 'MERAJ' is simply this, that after the proclamation of Prophethood by the Holy Prophet he was subjected to great afflictions and in such a distressed condition glimpses of the success awaiting the Holy Prophet and his Ummah and the resultant elevation of the human race were manifested to the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, narrating the experience of 'MERAJ' states "I was asleep in Hateem that the roof of the house opened and Gabriel descended in the company of a few other angels. First of all they led me to Zam Zam (a fountain in MECCA) and opened my chest there, took out my heart and washed it with the water of Zam Zam. Thereafter a tray full of EMAN (belief) and wisdom was brought and Gabriel took EMAN and wisdom from the tray and placed it in my chest and closed it. After that an animal called "Burraq" was brought. It ran with great speed so that each of its step was touching the horizon. Riding on this 'Burraq' we first came to MASJID AL-AQSA and offered two 'Rakkat' prayers and thereafter we set out on our journey through skies to heaven in the company of Gabriel. We met Adam on the first sky. There I was shown two rivers and on my asking Gabriel told me that these were Euphrates and Nile. We met Prophet Joseph on second, Idrees on third, John and Jesus on fourth, Haroon on fifth, Moses on sixth and Abraham on the seventh sky. Then we passed through the garden where I saw a river on which palaces having domes of pearls and ground of 'MUSK' were built then we reached a place where the sound of the pen of the Creator could be heard and then we proceeded to 'Sadratul Mantaha' (the farthest lote-tree) and then Allah drew nearer to me so that the distance was reduced to the extent of two ends of a bow, even lesser. Then I was given three gifts, (1) the last verses of the Surah 'Baqarah' (the cow-chapter two) (2) good news of Allah's Mercy that Allah will forgive all except those who set equals with him. (3) Saying of prayers fifty times a day was enjoined.

I met Moses on my way back – then is the narration of the talk between Moses and the Holy Prophet and the ultimate reduction of the prayer times to five. On his way back he returned to MASJID AL-AQSA where all the prophets of the past had assembled and all of them offered their prayers led by the Holy Prophet and one Hadith tells us (Fastaiqaza wa howa fil Masjidalharam) and thereafter he awoke and he was in MASJID AL HARAM.

This in brief is the gist of the story reported in the Books of Hadith. A beautiful fairy tale indeed, if one considers it a bodily journey and does not bother to dig the underlying meanings. It will not serve any useful purpose for a person and his companions who are suffering severe afflictions at the hands of their opponents but if we believe in it as a manifest-vision and spiritual experience then it contains prophecies and promises for the success of those who are passing through that period of hardships and misery. It paints a picture of the bright future for them.”[4]

Timeline of Miraj

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his preamble to Chapter 17, Bani Israil – The Israelites, of his English and footnote of verse 17:1 of Urdu commentary on Quran explains the timeline of the Miraj as follows:

As regards the date of revelation of this chapter [17, Bani Israil – The Israelites], there are many indications that it belongs to the early Makkan period, and must have been revealed in, or about, the fifth year of the Call. The mention of lsrã', which is the same as Mi'rãj, in the very first verse [and the 60th verse], shows it to be an early revelation because Mi'raj is also mentioned in another chapter [53, An-Najm], The Star, which is also one of the early revelations. Ibn Mas'ud, who was one of the early converts to Islam, is reported to have said, speaking of the five chapters, 17th to 21st: "They are of the early revelations and they are the ones that I committed to memory first" (B. 66 :6).[5] Chapter An-Najm, which also touches upon the same subject, was revealed even before the chapter Bani-Israil. Obviously both chapters belong to early Makkan period and are referring to an event that has already happened.[6]

This explanation of Maulana Muhammad Ali removes the erroneous assumption for the time frame of Miraj which is generally affixed much later into tenth or eleventh year of the Call, 610 or 611 AD, when the Prophet was fifty years of age and after the helpless Muslim minority in Makkah had just emerged from their three year banishment and socio-economic boycott, near Makkah, commonly known as Shib Abi Talib.

Additionally, there is a general consensus that five time daily prayers were prescribed during Miraj and we also know by common history that Muslims had been performing these prayers since early Makkan period.

Prophecies in visions of the Prophets

The full context of Miraj can be realized only when the nature of prophecies is understood. A prophet by the very definition is someone who prophesizes. Prophecy foretold by a prophet is not equivalent of a wishful thinking of a child nor is it whimsical. Prophets can prophesize only after they are told or shown of that prophecy by God. Miraj was essentially a vision of the Prophet similar to other prophets before him. Visions of prophets entail prophecies for themselves, for their mission and their nation, which in due course come to their full fulfillment. One such vision was that of Prophet Ezekiel:

2:259. Or consider the case of him (- Ezekiel) who passed by a town (- Jerusalem as it was left in desolation by Nebuchadnezzar) and it had fallen in upon its roofs. He said, `When will Allâh restore this (town) to life after its destruction?' So (in his vision) Allâh kept him in a state of death for a hundred years, then He raised him (to life). Then (God) said, `How long have you stayed (in this state of death)?' He replied, `I may have stayed a day or a part of a day (in this state).' (God) said, `(Yes this too is correct) but (as you have witnessed in your vision) you have stayed for a hundred years. Now look at your food and drink, they have escaped the action of time, and look at your donkey (too, years have not passed over it). And (We have made you visualise all this) that We may make you a sign to the people. And look at the (dead) bones how We set them together and then clothe them with flesh.' Thus when the fact of the matter became clear to him, he said, `I know that Allâh is the Possessor of full power to do all that He will.' [7]

In the said verse, Ezekiel, when he sees the physical and moral desolation of Jerusalem and its people which had happened at the hands of Nebuchadnezzer II; 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 is shown a vision in which there is a prophecy spanning a hundred years into the future when Dhul-Qarnain, Cyrus II, another prophet and a king, will restore Jerusalem to its former state. Thus it so happened that after its initial desolation, a century later, the dereliction of Jerusalem, the Solomon's temple that had been razed and Israelites who had been dislodged to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II and were in their subsequent sorry state for a hundred years, was undone by Cyrus II. Since this was visualization into the future, the actual time of the visionary state of Ezekiel in the stated verse 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[8] 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.'[9] This vision in Book of Ezekiel 40:1-49 covers the rebuilding of Solomon's temple the second time by Cyrus II who not only repatriated the Israelites to Jerusalem but also funded the reconstruction of the temple[10]. 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".[11]

Similar to Ezekiel, Joseph too saw a vision in his childhood after which he was sold into slavery when he was a young lad by his brothers. His prophecy came to fruition only when he had grown up and was in a high office under the king:

12:4. (Remember the time) when Joseph [in his childhood], said to his father [–Jacob], `My dear father! I have seen (in a vision) eleven stars and the sun and the moon. I saw them falling down prostrate (before God) because of me.'

12:100. And he [–Joseph as adult, when in high office under the king], took his parents to the royal court and they all [i.e. his eleven brothers and parents – eleven stars and the sun and the moon (v. 12:4)] fell down prostrate (before God) because of him and he said, `My father! this is the real fulfillment of my vision of old. My Lord has made it come true. He has been gracious to me, indeed, when he released me out of the prison and brought you from the desert. (This all happened) after satan had stirred up discord between me and my brothers. Surely, my Lord is Benignant to whomsoever He pleases. He it is, Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.'[12]

In the same vein, Miraj too was a vision and a prophecy for Prophet Muhammad, the various aspects of which will be discussed throughout this chapter.

Why Miraj?

Every event in life of the Prophet had a purpose. Miraj too was one such event. Primary objectives unique to Prophet Muhammad were not only that of a Messenger and a Prophet, but also as a Unifier of all religions, an Exemplar and a Teacher. Miraj fulfilled all those requirements for him. Before he could teach any one the esoteric and abstruse aspects of his message he had to personally experience them all – his own embodiment of faith, the non-physical domain of life after death, hell and heaven, previous prophets, proximity to God and what it means, and the prophecies about success of Islam. He had to know in depth each of these aspects of his prophethood. Miraj was one of many such happenings that provided him with the wherewithal to personally know the scope of the spiritual domain of his office of prophethood.

Miraj was essentially a sequential stage in his prophethood which was seeded by his first prophetic revelation:

Recite with the name of your Lord Who created (all the universe)…(96:1)[13]

He was groomed through his prayers:

O you that have wrapped yourself up in robes (of Prophethood)! Stand up (in Prayer) at night except for a small portion of it,…(73:1-2)[14]

He was then assigned his mission:

O you who have been endowed with excellent capabilities! Arise (with the Divine Message) and warn…(74:1-2)[15]

In due course, he was taught every step of the way through Quran:

We will soon teach (you and) make you recite (the Qur'ân) so that you shall not forget (any part of it)…(87:6)[16]

Finally, his spiritually perfection was validated during his Miraj:

… he attained to the zenith of heights (in his spiritual ascension). Then he drew near to Him and afterwards he descended (to mankind, for their guidance). So that he became (as it were) one chord to two bows or closer still …(53:7-9) [17]

Miraj in Quran

The details of Miraj as reported by the Prophet himself clearly speak of a 'vision' and prophecies that he experienced while he was encapsulated in a spiritual state, but within the confines of an intellectual space, yet the incidence was timeless for in import. Miraj was a mystical, not a corporeal condition, which was later fully interpreted by history, both during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and immediately after his death. In simple words, it was not only a ‘time travel’ into the past and future but also the expansion of his mind to its fullest into the spiritual domain as well.

Symbolism in Miraj explicitly reflects the Prophet personally and his mission. Nowhere in the life of the Prophet one finds any traces of rancor in his heart, which was cleansed during Miraj, against anyone or any hint of base sentiments or prejudices in his thoughts or actions. His life is the prime example of monotheism, wisdom and faith as reflected by his chest being filled with faith. His travel in the night to a future distant mosque in Medina was a prophecy of his migration which was to start a Hijra calendar, when the spiritual clock of the world was reset till eternity. With the speed of a swift steed his message spread to the vales of the east and the west, including Nile (i.e. Africa) and Euphrates (Byzantine and Persian Empires). His message unifies the Islam of all the previous, regional or national, prophets in the same manner that he led their congregation in prayers. He is the first and the last universal prophet for all the times; his message cleanses all the previous prophets of base attributions to them. His life and Message reflects the farthest extent of spiritual and moral values, knowledge and achievements that is symbolized by him reaching the farthest Lote Tree. Torah when compared with his Message (–Quran) would inevitably make Moses (PBUH) weep for not only the textual distortions of the former but also of its spirit by its followers. The five daily prayers that are conducted facing Ka’aba are means for ascension for each Muslim, and are the Prophet’s gift from Allah to mankind.

Masjidun (n. of place.): Mosque; Place of prostrating; Place of worship. Masâjid (n. plu.): Mosques. Masjid al-Aqsâ: Distant Mosque; Remote Mosque (Prophet Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem or The Holy Prophet's Mosque at Medînah.) Masjid al-Harâm Inviolable House of Worship; Holy Mosque at Makkah; The House of Allâh; Ka‘baa. (L; T; R; LL).[18]

Qasa: To be distant (place), go far away, be remote. Qasiyyun: distant. Aqsâ f. Quswâ: (comp. form): More remote; Further. Al-Masjid al-Aqsâ: The Distant Mosque (at Jerusalem).[19]

Of note is that Masjid means 'Place of worship' in a general sense. In context of Miraj, the use of the term Masjid has nothing to do with the common mosque where Muslim congregate for prayers. According to the time-line, Miraj happened while Prophet was still in Makkah and much before the Hijra (migration to Medina in the thirteenth year of the Call). At that time, there was no formal Mosque yet built by the Muslims anywhere. The first mosque at Quba was built near Medina in the year following Hijra. However, in terms of a prophecy, the distant mosque referred to in Miraj can also allude to the future Mosque of the Prophet (Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) in Medina.

At the time of Miraj the blessed precincts that were Masjids, i.e. places of worship, were those built by the previous prophets. Firstly, the Masjid al-Harâm, commonly known as Ka'aba in Makkah, was built jointly by Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ismael. Secondly, Masjid al-Aqsâ was built by Prophet Solomon, commonly called the Solomon's Temple. It would be a separate discussion as to why both these places at the time of advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were used for rituals far removed from the original purpose that the builders erected them for. Even worse, Solomon's Temple was more of ruin and a garbage dump at time of the Prophet.

Kashaf: To pull away, remove, take off, open up, lay open, lay base, uncover.[20]

Besides Hadiths, Quran too refers to the Miraj. Miraj was a Kashaf encompassing the journey and ascent in a vision, depicting both the physical life and spiritual perfection of the Prophet. The journey part was by night from Masjid al-Harâm i.e. the Holy Mosque (at Makkah) to Masjid al-Aqsâ i.e. the Distant Mosque (at Jerusalem). Of note is that nowhere in Quran the word Miraj itself is mentioned:

17:1. Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from [Masjid al-Harâm i.e.] the Holy Mosque (at Makkah) to [Masjid al-Aqsâ i.e.] the Distant Mosque [from Makkah] (at Jerusalem), the precincts of which (too) We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Infact, He alone is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.[21]

The stated verse lays out the purpose of this Journey, which was to show him some of Our signs. This showing of signs, the depths of esotericism and the prophecies, to Prophet Muhammad was in the same manner that Prophet Moses was shown signs relevant to his mission – the signs of serpent and shining hand (link). Both prophets, Muhammad and Moses, in their visions were shown the process and the net outcome of their respective missions. For the former, it was his future migration to Medina and then the whole Arabia and the known world of Persian, Byzantine and Egyptian empires were to come under sway of Islam; both mosques – The Kaaba and Temple mount, whose founder were prophets, were to return to Islam; whereas for the latter, his subjugated nation was to be freed, revived and was to be given the guidance in Torah.

Miraj also holds an everlasting prophecy. No mosque ever built by a prophet will remain as a temple for worship outside Islam. This verse was revealed in fourth or fifth year of prophethood. Ka’aba, which was built by Abraham, returned to Muslims two years before Prophet’s death when it was cleansed, once and for all, of any idols and idol-worship. Similarly, five years after his death, the compound of Solomon’s temple was taken over by his companions, led by Caliph Umar, who cleaned the garbage dump on it, and later, Umayyad Caliphs built the current mosque on it. Cities of both these mosques, Makkah and Jerusalem, were taken over by Muslim armies without bloodshed as the general amnesty was offered to the populace beforehand. Conquerors of both cities entered them in a humbled garb.

Today, the Distant Mosque mentioned in Quran covers the 180,000 square yards of al-Haram al-Sharif – the sacred precincts, which essentially is the whole walled compound of the Temple Mount, that comprises of its grounds and the structures later built on it which includes what is now called Masjid al-Aqsâ (originally build by Rashidun Caliph Umar, later expanded by Caliph Abd-al Malik in 690 AD), Dome of the Rock (built by Caliph Abd-al Malik in 691 AD), and even the Buraq Wall commonly called the Western Wailing Wall.

Masjid al-Aqsâ, the Distant Mosque, in verse 17:1 of Quran is a much larger compound, a ‘Place of Worship’ that includes the later built mosque on its grounds of the same name that modern day tourists are familiar with. In equivalence, the Masjid al-Aqsâ in Quran is the same as al-Haram al-Sharif of today.

The journey in verse 17:1 was a 'vision' and a prophecy which is mentioned as such in a later verse of the same chapter:

17:60. And (Prophet! recall the time) when We said to you, `Surely, your Lord has encompassed all people (for destruction) and has power over them (still they remained indifferent).' We made [Ru’yâ’: Vision, dream[22], i.e.] the vision which We showed you (being carried to Jerusalem from Makkah by night) and also the tree (- evil word; see 14:26) disapproved of in the Qur'ân, a means of distinction between the good and the bad for the people. (Despite the fact that) We have been warning them (by sending Our signs), this (warning from Us) only leads them to unrestrained inordinacy.[23]

As to the spiritual and prophetic narrations of the Prophet about his experience of Miraj, Quran testifies to his truthfulness of whatever he says, in Chapter – Al-Najm (The Star):

53:1. I call to witness every part of the Qur'ân when it is revealed,

53:2. That your comrade (Muhammad) has neither deviated (from true guidance in his practices) nor has he erred (in his beliefs).

53:3. He does not say anything out of (his own) fanciful desire.

53:4. This (Qur'ân) is nothing but (pure) revelation, revealed (to him by God).

53:5. The Lord of Mighty Powers has taught him (this discourse).[24]

Quran then gives glimpses of the ascension, the Miraj, which parallel Prophet's own narration in Hadiths:

53:6. (The Lord) Whose powers become manifest in manifold and frequent ways, with the result that he (- this Messenger of God) attained perfection and fullest vigour (both intellectually and physically).

53:7. And he attained to the zenith of heights (in his spiritual ascension).

53:8. Then he drew near to Him and afterwards he descended (to mankind, for their guidance).

53:9. So that he became (as it were) one chord to two bows or closer still.

53:10. Then He revealed that excellent and mighty (Qur'ânic) revelation which He had to send to His servant (Muhammad),

53:11. Whose mind made no mistake in (the interpretation of) that which he saw (during the ascension).

53:12. Will you doubt and dispute with him concerning that (sight) which he saw with his own eyes (it being no figment of imagination)?

53:13. And, of course, he saw Him (in His another manifestation to him) yet another time.

53:14. It was near the Sidrah which stands at the farthest end (of knowledge),

Sidratun: Lote-tree. When the shade of lote-tree becomes dense and crowded it is very pleasant and in the hot and dry climate of Arabia the tired and fatigued travelers take shelter and find rest under it and thus it is made to serve as a parable for the shade of paradise and its blessings on account of the ampleness of its shadow. The qualification of Sidrah by the word al-Muntahâ (53:14,16) shows that it is a place beyond which human knowledge does not go. One of the explanations given by Kashshâf being ‘The knowledge of angels and others ends there and no one knows what is beyond it. Hence the significance conveyed by the words is that the Holy Prophet's knowledge of Divine things was the utmost which could be vouchsafed to a human being.[25]

53:15. Near where also is the Garden which is the real eternal abode.

53:16. (This was) when the sublime thing (- the Divine Manifestation) which was to cover Sidrah had covered it.

53:17. (When he saw the Divine Manifestation) his eye deviated not (from the certainty of the Truth) nor did it wander away (from the invincible faith on which he stood).

53:18. (It was the moment when) he saw the greatly important signs of his Lord. [26]

The stated verses 53:1-18, besides testifying to truthful and trustworthy nature of the Prophet for delivering the Message, they also refer to the deep mystical experience of Miraj which cannot be put into words for its description of an ultimate reality, inconceivable majesty and profound verities[27]. It is quite clear from Quran that the heavenly abode cannot be perceived in terms of human physicality nor it could be linguistically described for its actuality:

32:17. “No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them: a reward for what they did.”[28]

The import of prophecies in Miraj for the Prophet as interpreted by Quran

All the prophecies in the vision of Miraj came to fruition for Prophet Muhammad personally, for his Companions and for his mission. During his Miraj, the Prophet’s heart was cleaned and filled with faith. Quran too testifies to his enlightened life devoted to pristine monotheistic beliefs and being devoid of any malice, to which history bears as independent witness:

94:1. Have We not (in fulfillment of your vision in your boyhood and again when you were entrusted with the Divine Mission) opened, expanded (and illuminated) for you your bosom,[29]

By Hadith traditions, there were 124,000 prophets before Prophet Muhammad; Quran too refers to them in a general statement:

4:164. And (there are some) Messengers whom We have mentioned to you before and (some) Messengers We have not mentioned them to you…[30]

40:78. And indeed We have already sent (Our) Messengers before you. There are some of them whom We have mentioned to you and of them there are some whom We have not mentioned to you…[31]

35:24. … for there has been no people but have (been warned by) a Warner (from God).[32]

When Prophet Muhammad was among the mix all the previous Messengers, and was one of the many in that congregation, it was only a confirmation of what Quran states for him:

46:9. Say, `I am no novel (Apostle) among the Messengers nor do I know what will be done to me (on your behalf) or to you. I simply follow what is revealed to me and I am nought but a plain Warner.'[33]

For the prophet to meet various Prophets in his vision at different levels of exaltation is affirmed by the Quran:

2:253. We have made these Messengers excel one another. There are those of them to whom Allah has spoken much, and some of them He has exalted by many degrees of rank… [34]

Irrespective of some of them [–the prophets that] He has exalted by many degrees of rank, neither the Prophet nor his followers make any distinction between them for the mere fact that each of the prophet believes in Allâh, His angels, His Books and His Messengers. When the faithful gather for prayers in mosque and as evidenced in Hajj, all are equal without any distinction. In Miraj, we know that all prophets joined the same prayers:

2:285. The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him by his Lord and (so do) the faithful. Everyone believes in Allâh, His angels, His Books and His Messengers. (And the faithful declare,) `We make no distinction (in believing) between any of His Messengers.' They say, `(Lord!) we have heard (Your commandments) and we are obedient. (Grant us) Your protection, Our Lord! for to You is the returning.'[35]

3:84. Say, `We [including Prophet Muhammad] believe in Allâh and in that which has been revealed to us and in that which was revealed to Abraham and Ismâîl and Isaac and Jacob and his children and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to all other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between anyone of them (in believing them) and to Him alone do we submit.'[36]

Prophet Muhammad leading all the previous prophets in congregational prayers points to culmination of all the prophethoods into the finality and perfection in his own person:

33:39. Those [i.e. including Prophet Muhammad and all those before him] who deliver the Messages of Allâh and who stand in awe of Him and stand in awe [and prayer] of none except Allâh [as shown in Miraj to the Prophet]. And Sufficient is Allâh to take account.

33:40. Muhammad is no father to any man among you but (he is rather) the Messenger of Allâh and the Seal of the Prophets. Indeed Allâh has full knowledge of all things.[37]

All previous prophets were nation or region specific and their message was only for a limited time, whereas, the Message at the hands of Prophet Muhammad is universal and for rest of the times. The Prophet leading all other prophets as their Imam during Miraj is indicative of that:

34:28. (Prophet!) We have sent you not but towards entire humankind (till the end of time) as a Bearer of glad-tidings and as a Warner but most people do not know (that the Message of Islam is universal and the Qur'ân the last revealed Book).[38]

35:24. Verily, We have sent you with the lasting truth (as) a Bearer of glad-tidings and (as) a Warner (to them)…[39]

The Prophet being welcomed during Miraj by other prophets is basically a fulfillment of their prayers and prophecies of his advent:

2:129. [Abraham and Ismail prayed] `Our Lord! do raise among them a great Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Your Messages and teach them the Book and Wisdom, and may purify them. You, indeed, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.'[40]

46:10. … a witness (in the person of Moses) from among the Children of Israel has borne witness to (the advent of) his like [i.e. advent of Prophet Muhammad]…. [41]

61:6. And (recall the time) when Jesus, son of Mary, said, `O Children of Israel! surely I am a Messenger sent to you by Allâh fulfilling (the prophecies contained in) the Torah which preceded me and pronouncing the good news of (the advent of) a great Messenger named Ahmad, who will come after me…[42]

Miraj prophesized for the Prophet his migration during the night from Makkah to a distant mosque which was later built in Medina and served also as his seat of government. Of note is that the said prophesized migration was to be carried out under the protection of Allah Himself, a guarantee that we find in the verse of Miraj itself – Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque (at Makkah) to the Distant Mosque (17:1). It is based upon this assurance that Quran quotes the Prophet’s impeccable trust of Allah, the basis of his fearlessness, when during the actual migration at one time he was merely inches away from the drawn swords of the pursuing enemy:

9:40. 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.[43] [Emphasis added]

The Prophet visiting Ka’aba during Miraj when it was packed with idols was only a window into the future where his return as its master was foretold:

48:27. Allâh had surely fulfilled for His Messenger the vision, that conformed to the rules of wisdom. `(My faithful Companions!) you shall enter the Holy Mosque if Allâh will, safe and secure, some of you with your heads shaved and (others) with (their) hair only cut short (as is a prescribed rite for a Pilgrim), you will have nothing to fear.' (As for the time involved in its fulfillment) He knows what you do not know. He has, infact, ordained for you a victory (near at hand, at Khaibar) to be gained before (the fulfillment of) that (vision).[44]

90:1-2. Nay, (it will never happen as the disbelievers desire.) I do swear by this city (of Makkah), When you will surely alight (as a conqueror) in this city [and eliminate idol worship forever].[45]

Similarly, his going to Masjid Al-Aqsa and his leading the prayers, there was a prophecy of its prescient coming under the realm of Islam.

In the speed of the steed that he rode, he was foretold of lightening spread of Islam at his own hands, at the hands of his own Companions and those after them:

51:1. I call to witness those (beings) who went forth to scatter (the Qur'ânic teachings) far and wide with a true scattering,

51:2. They carry (their blessed) load (of truth),

51:3. Then speed along (exposing the wrong belief and evil practices) with love and peace,

51:4. And then distribute and apportion the work by (Our) command,

51:5. Verily, the promise you are made (about the spread of Islam) is true,[46]

81:23. And he [–Prophet Muhammad] has most surely seen himself (shining in the resplendence of his own light) in the clear horizon (- in the remotest corners of the world).[47]

The Prophet experienced Miraj when there was no possibility of his success in face of the colossal opposition that he was enduring, yet his mission succeeded like none in history:

94:2. And (have We not) relieved you of your burden (of various responsibilities)

94:3. Which had weighed your back down?

94:4. And have (We not) exalted for you your name and given you fame?

94:5. So surely every hardship is followed by ease.

94:6. Yes, every hardship shall be followed by an ease.[48]

The end result of the prophecies of Miraj and success of Islam are in many ways fruition of prayers of Abraham and Ismail:

2:127. And when Abraham raised the foundations of the House and Ismâîl (with him, and they were praying), `Our Lord! accept (this service) from us, You, indeed, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.

2:128. `Our Lord! make us both submissive servants to You (alone), and (raise) from our progeny a community (preaching virtue and) submissive to You, and show us our ways of worship and turn to us with mercy, for only You are the Oft-Returning (with compassion), the Ever Merciful.[49]

Miraj is reflective of zenith of spirituality – “Holy Prophet had developed a relationship of such intimate closeness with Allah, Most High, that it resembled the joining of the two bows by covenant takers, and so it necessarily followed that the pleasure of one was the pleasure of the Other, and opposition to one was tantamount to opposition to the Other. Therefore, the opponents should take heed, for now if the Holy Prophet (pbuh) shoots an arrow against an enemy, Allah, Most High, will shoot the same arrow at that target, and whoever contracts an alliance with the Holy Prophet (pbuh) will find that Allah becomes his friend. This, too, carries the same purport of several other verses of the Holy Quran like the following, for example:

1. "Whoever obeys the Messenger, indeed, he indeed obeys Allah …" (4:80).

2. "Those who swear allegiance to thee do but swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is above their hands …" (48:10).

3. "When thou threwest (a handful of dust) it was not thy act, but Allah threw…" (8:17)

After mentioning ‘the measure of two bows,’ the verse goes on to say: ‘or closer still,’ meaning that although the covenant of friendship and amity between two people who had joined their respective bows into one was indeed a powerful sign, yet the Holy Prophet’s proximity to Allah, Most High, was even more intimate than that. In other words, the relationship of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to Allah, Most High, surpassed by far, reciprocal bonds of friendship between human beings.”[50]

Ma‘ârij, the Miraj for the common mortals?

Miraj of the Prophet raises a natural question i.e. can ordinary mortals achieve their own Ma‘ârij, ascension?

Ya‘ruju (imp. 3rd. p.m. sing.): Ascends. Ta‘ruju (imp. 3rd. p.f.sing.): He ascends. Ya‘rujûna (imp. 3rd. p. m. plu.): They ascend. Ma‘ârij (n. ints. plu.): Stairways. Its sing. is Ma‘rajun.[51]

The answer to the above question is in affirmative and is from none but l-lahi dhī l-maʿārijiAllâh the Master of the ways of ascent (70:3), Who gives the following nine-step guidelines:

70:22. Different however is the case of [i]those devoted to Prayers,

70:23. [ii]Those persons who remain constant and steadfast in their Prayers,

70:24. And [iii]those in whose wealth there is a recognised right (- a fixed share),

70:25. (Set apart) for one who asks (for help) and also (for one) who is prevented (even from asking for one reason or the other);

70:26. (Different also is the case of) [iv]those who accepted the truth of the Day of Requital;

70:27. And [v] those who are fearful of the punishment from their Lord.

70:28. The fact is that the punishment of their Lord is not (a thing) to be felt secure from;

70:29. (Different as well is the case of) [vi] those who guard their private parts (by restraining their passions).

70:30. Except from their (free) wives or those (wives of theirs) whom their right hands own (- slave wives), for which they are not to blame.

70:31. But it is those who seek (to satisfy their lust) in any other way excepting that (of marriage) that are the transgressors.

70:32. And (different also is the case of) [vii]those persons who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants,

70:33. And [viii] those who are upright in their evidences (and bear true testimony),

70:34. And [ix] those persons who are strict in the observance of their Prayers.

70:35. All these (mentioned above) shall be dwelling in Gardens, honoured and treated generously.[52]

Spiritual Miraj for the Prophet, yet Corporeal Mirage for some of the rest

Even though there has been a heated debate in Islamic history and is still going on about the nature of Miraj, whether it was physical or spiritual, one must be cognizant of a few facts in Quran. On a physical plane, one cannot comprehend Allah by common five senses. It would be a fallacy to imagine that one can see the Divine Manifestation by physical eye, which is in the realm of ‘spiritual eye’ alone:

6:103. The physical vision comprehends Him not, but He comprehends all visions, He is the All-Subtle Being (incomprehensible and imperceptible), the All-Aware.[53]

42:11. …Nothing is like Him[54]

The words translated like Him literally mean like a likeness of Him. He is not only above all material limitations, but even above the limitation of metaphor.[55]

It would be a mistake to try to comprehend Him from within the confines of time and space, which to us mortals only started after the Big Bang, whereas He is beyond common physics:

57:3. He is (from) the very First (there was nothing before Him), and (He will exist to) the Last (there will be nothing after Him), and when nothing remains He will remain (He being an eternal Being). He is the Supreme Being (subordinate to no one). And (whereas He comprehends everything) He is Incomprehensible. He has full knowledge of everything.[56]

Allah is non-physical. He is omnipresent and beyond physical dimensions of time and space. One does not have to travel in time and space to reach the realm of his manifestation:

2:115. And to Allâh belongs the east and the west; so whichsoever way you may turn (you will find) there is Allâh's attention. Surely, Allâh is All-Pervading, All-Knowing. [57]

He can be sought by one’s 'heart' as He is 'nearer' to one than one can imagine:

50:16. We created a human being and We know what (dark) suggestions his mind makes to him. We are nearer to him than even (his) jugular vein.[58]

2:186. And when My servants ask you concerning Me (tell them), I am nearby indeed, I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me, so they should respond to My call, and believe in Me (that I possess all these attributes) so that they may proceed in the right way. [59]

57:4. It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six aeons. And He is established on the Throne (of Power). He knows what goes down into the earth and what comes out of it, and what descends from above and what ascends to it. He is with you wherever you may be. Allâh is watchful of all that you do. [60]

Still, if a prophet, a mortal, out of love and passion wants to ‘see’ God, even he cannot:

7:143. And when Moses came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, he said, `My Lord! reveal Yourself to me that I may look at You.' He said, `You cannot stand My revelation. Yet look at the mountain, and if it stands firm in its place, (only) then you shall stand My revelation.' Then when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain, He sent it crashing down into pieces and Moses fell down unconscious, so that when he recovered he said, `Glory be to You! I turn towards You and I am the first to believe.'[61]

Besides experience of Allah’s manifestation, there is reference to Paradise in Miraj. No living soul has visited the actual Paradise of Hereafter, including the Prophet during his lifetime:

32:17. “No soul knows what refreshment of the eyes is hidden for them: a reward for what they did.”[62]

Even the Paradise is a spiritual state, not a physical space:

3:133. Wing your way to the protection of your Lord and to the Paradise whose expanse is as (vast as) the heavens and the earth. It is prepared for those who become secure against evil;[63]

57:21. (Mankind!) advance quickly, outstripping one another, towards the protection from your Lord and (towards) a Garden the extensiveness of which is (beyond measure) as the extensiveness of the heaven and the earth. It has been prepared for those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers; that (protection) is Allâh's grace and bounty. He grants it to such of those who wish to attain it (and strive for it). Allâh is the Lord of immense grace and bounty.[64]
…we have a reliable tradition on record that a messenger of Heracleus [Byzantine Emperor, born c. 575 – died February 11, 641[65]] asked the Prophet, “If the paradise were as extensive as the heavens and the earth, where would be hell?” “He replied, “Glory be to Allah, where is the night when the day comes?” The verse and the incident recorded clearly show that heaven and hell are not the names of two places, but actually two conditions, because if paradise were the name of a particular place, hell could not exist, as paradise would then extend over the whole of the space. This conclusively gives us a rational view of “heaven,” and is confirmed fully by the trend of modern thought which rejects the conception of the “geographical heaven” as primitive and irrational. Is not Modernism then indebted to the Qur’ân?[66]

To experience Miraj physically only means that the Prophet was a superhuman to defy God’s own created laws of time and space, astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology, whereas Allah states that even He does not break His own laws:

35:42. …And you will find no change in that law of Allâh, nor will you ever find the law of Allâh shifting from its course[67]

Ironically, some of the ‘believers’ insist on the physicality of a supernatural Miraj at par with non-believers who similarly challenged the Prophet for an unnatural performance:

17:90. And they say, `We will never believe unless you cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth,

17:91. `Or there be a garden of date-palms and vines for you, and you cause the streams to gush forth abundantly in its midst,

17:92. `Or, as you assert (and claim that it shall happen), cause the heaven to fall down upon us in fragments, or bring Allâh and the angels face to face with us,

17:93. `Or, there be a house made of gold for you, or you ascend into the heaven; but we will not believe in your ascending till you bring down to us a book that we can read.' …[68]

To such believers of physical Miraj and of course to the non-believers as well, Prophet replied quite simply:

17:93. … (Say), `Glory be to my Lord! I am not but a human being (sent as) a Messenger.'[69]

18:110. Say, `I [–Muhammad] am but a human being like you…[70]

Again, to undertake a corporeal Miraj, an obvious non-human feat, may possibly be performed by a non-human only, let’s say an Angel, but for sure not by a human prophet:

17:94. And nothing has prevented the people from believing when the guidance came to them except their sayings, `Has Allâh raised a human being (like us) as a Messenger?'

17:95. Say, `Had there been angels on the earth (in place of human beings) walking about secure and sound We (too) would have invariably sent down an angel from heaven as a Messenger to them.'[71]

Historically, it is only the fanatic followers who make their prophets into superhumans and before long the same human prophets are worshiped at par with God. Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism are just a case in point. Oddly, it is the opponents of the prophets who reject them for their being mere humans. Interestingly, so do the Prophets too call themselves as mere humans. Is it not ironic that the blind followers expect their prophets to be superhuman?

14:10. …They [–people of Noah, (the tribes of) `Âd and Thamûd and those who came after them (v. 14:9)] said, `You are nothing but a human being like ourselves…

14:11. Their Messengers (of God) said to them, `It is true we are nothing but human beings like yourselves…[72]

With these evidences from Quran that affirm a spiritual Miraj as the only possibility, we rest our case and feel sorry for those who take it as a physical experience because the pursuit of their illogic is like chasing a Mirage in hope of water in which never will they ever find Miraj for the Prophet nor a Ma‘ârij for themselves, and their case is outlined in Quran which is:

13:14. …like one who stretches forth both of his hands towards the water (wishing) that it may reach his mouth while it never reaches it. …[73]


[1] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[2] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 365
[3] On the concept of God and the status of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, The Light – U.K. Edition, May 2008 Special Century Edition, page 19.
[4]Meraj-Un-Nabi” by Maulana Hafiz Sher Mohammad, English Rendering by Ch. Masud Akhtar BA LLB, Paigham-e-Haqq, p. 5-6, Vol 2, No. 25/26, January/June 1980, Suva, Fiji.
[5] Introductory note for chapter Bani Israil – The Israelites: Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 543. Sixth Edition, pub 1973
[6] ‘Bayan ul Quran’ by Maulana Muhammad Ali (in Urdu), vol.2, excerpted and paraphrased from footnote 1801 of verse 17:01
[7] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[8] 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.”
[9] 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.’”
[10] 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]
[11] Wikipedia – Cyrus the Great – Legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great#Legacy
[12] Yusuf – Joseph: Nooruddin
[13] Al-Alaq – The Clot: Nooruddin
[14] Al-Muzzammil – He That Has Wrapped Himself Up: Nooruddin
[15] Al-Muddaththir – One Endowed With Excellent Capabilities: Nooruddin
[16] Al-Tariq – The Night Visitant: Nooruddin
[17] Al-Najm – Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin
[18] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 248-249
[19] ibid, p. 457
[20] 
ibid, p. 486,
[21] Isra – The Night Journey: Nooruddin [Note: This chapter also goes by another title: Bani Israil – The Israelites]
[22] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 196,
[23] Isra – The Night Journey: Nooruddin [Note: This chapter also goes by another title: Bani Israil – The Israelites]
[24] Al-Najm – Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin
[25] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 253-4,
[26] Al-Najm – Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin
[27] See also the footnotes of same verses by Muhammad Asad.
[28] Al-Sajdah – The Adoration: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[29] Al-Sharha – The Expanding
[30] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[31] Ghafir – Granter of Protection: Nooruddin
[32] Fatir – Originator: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Ahqaf – The Sand Dunes: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[35] 
ibid
[36] Al-Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[37] Al-Ahzab – The Confederates: Nooruddin
[38] Saba – Sheba: Nooruddin
[39] Fatir – Originator: Nooruddin
[40] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[41] Al-Ahqaf – The Sand Dunes: Nooruddin
[42] Al-Saff – The Ranks: Nooruddin
[43] Al-Taubah – The Repentence: Nooruddin
[44] Al-Fath – The Victory: Nooruddin
[45] Al-Balad – The City: Nooruddin
[46] Al-Dhariyat – The Scatterers: Nooruddin
[47] Al-Takwir – Loosing Of The Light: Nooruddin
[48] Al-Sharha – The Expanding
: Nooruddin
[49] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[50] Commentary of Chapter 53 (An-Najm — The Star) of the Holy Quran: by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, Translated by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed, excerpt from verses 8 & 9. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/hq/comm/bash/ch53.shtml
[51] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 365
[52] Al-Ma'arij – The Ways Of Ascents: Nooruddin
[53] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[54] Al-Shura –The Counsel: English Translation of the Holy Qur’ân, edition 2002, by Maulana Muhammad Ali
[55] Al-Shura –The Counsel: Footnote for verse 42:11: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[56] Al-Hadîd – The Iron: Nooruddin
[57] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[58] Qaf – Allah is Almight: Nooruddin
[59] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[60] Al-Hadîd – The Iron: Nooruddin
[61] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[62] Al-Sajdah – The Adoration: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[63] Al`Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[64] Al-Hadid – The Iron: Nooruddin
[65] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclius
[66] Dean Inge’s Homage to Muhammad, by S. Hamid Raza B.A. (Alig), p. 322, Sept & Dec, 1934, The Muslim Revival, Ahmadiyya Buildings Lahore (India)
[67] Fatir – Originator: Nooruddin
[68] Isra – The Night Journey: Nooruddin [Note: This chapter also goes by another title: Bani Israil – The Israelites]
[69] 
ibid
[70] Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
[71] Isra – The Night Journey: Nooruddin [Note: This chapter also goes by another title: Bani Israil – The Israelites]
[72] Ibrahim – Abraham: Nooruddin
[73] Al-Rad – The Thunder: Nooruddin

Jesus – Rock-a-Bye-Baby & Peek-a-Boo – Where are you?

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Jesus – Rock-a-Bye-Baby & Peek-a-Boo – Where are you?

One is constrained to make light of fantasy that has built around a great prophet, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Christians call him Son of God, claim to be born of a Virgin, that he ascended in body to heavens, currently sitting on right hand of the God and to descend in person at the advent of Latter Days. Muslims, equally not be left behind, but from within the confines of monotheism, ascribe to him same attributes, though, just short of calling him a god as well.

This chapter demystifies the myths imputed to Jesus; he as a baby talking from a cradle; he addressing the Jews from the lap of his mother and after crucifixion being lifted to heavens. Here, effort is made to rock the mythical cradle and find the real Jesus under the following sub-headings:

Messiah! Who?

3:45. (Recall the time) when the angels said, `O Mary! Allâh gives you good tidings through a (prophetic) word from Him (about the birth of a son) whose name is the Messiah [–Arabic: Masih], Jesus, son of Mary, (he shall be) worthy of regard in this world and in the Hereafter and one of the nearest ones (to Him),[1]

In the said verse a prophecy is revealed to Mary about a son whose attribute will be that of Messiah. The significance of the title Messiah, which is used for Jesus, son of Mary, is embedded in the name itself. ‘Masih’ in Arabic means mubarak – blessed; siddiq – truthful. Its meanings also extend as massah – to touch i.e. one who touches others spiritually. These attributers are not any different from the attributes possessed by other prophets and do not confer distinction on Jesus. What separates Jesus from the rest of the prophets are the root meanings of Masih i.e. massaat – journey or travel[2]. For sure, unlike any other prophet, Jesus was distinctly a traveler in history. Secular research points to travels of Jesus to India and even Egypt to acquire education:

3:48. (The angels continued [prophesizing Mary about her future son, Jesus]), `And He will teach him the art of writing (and reading) and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Evangel. [3]

On his return to Palestine, while fully educated in arts of healing, both physical and spiritual, and with the knowledge of Torah, he was ordained as a prophet, the Messiah, at the age of thirty years:

3:49. `And (He will appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel (with the Message), "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. (I have come so that) I determine for your benefit from clay (a person) after the manner of a bird, then I shall breathe into him (a new spirit) so that he becomes a flier (- a spiritual person) by the authority of Allâh, and I absolve the blind and the leprous, and I quicken the (spiritually) dead by the authority of Allâh, and I inform you as to what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Behold! these facts will surely serve you as a definite sign if you are believers.

3:50. "And (I come) confirming that which is before me, namely the Torah, and that I declare lawful for you some of the things that had been forbidden to you. I come to you with a sign from your Lord, so take Allâh as a shield and obey me.

3:51. "Surely, Allâh is my Lord as well as your Lord, therefore worship Him; this is the right path".[4]

Jesus, like any other prophet, was also persecuted, but saved to live another life:

3:54. And they (- the persecutors of Jesus) planned (to crucify him) and Allâh planned (to save him) and Allâh is the best of the planners.[5]

Jesus not only travelled from Palestine to South Asia in his early age before his return at age thirty, but also after his crucifixion attempt at age thirty-three in Palestine journeyed back to India, never to return.

Side note: It is on the same basis of travel far and wide that Dajjal – Anti-Christ, the falsehood, is also called Dajjal Masih – the extensively spread falsehood, a subject that will be discussed in a separate chapter.

Look! Who’s talking – It is generally believed that Jesus spoke as an infant from the cradle for which the next verse is usually quoted in which Mary is foretold about birth of Jesus and his mission:

3:46. `And he will speak to the people when in the cradle (- as a child) and when of old age, and shall be of the righteous.'[6]

The readers mistakenly focus on the literal meaning instead of the metaphor in said verse and that too when they only read the first half of it. Of course, in the first half of the verse, a child speaking from the cradle might be quite 'miraculous' and fascinating. What the readers miss is the second half of the verse where an old man is also mentioned of speaking, which is not miraculous at all. Don't we know that old men speak? Then, why is the obviousness of an old man talking mentioned? Essentially, this verse is metaphorically telling us about one of the prophesized attributes of Jesus, that is, he will grow into a healthy and intellectually sound adult with his faculty of speech and hearing intact and will live into an old age[7]. He will be wise and his speech worth listening to from an early age. He will continue to do so into his old age, much beyond the commonly perceived age limit of thirty-three when he was crucified. Contrary to Christian misconception of him dying on the cross at a young age, his ministry lasted a for long time thereafter (more on this later).

A child bestowed with wisdom is not unique for Jesus because it is quite usual for other prophets to be wise from their early age as well:

19:12. (We said to John,) `Yahyâ! hold fast the (divine) Book.' And while he was yet a child We gave him wisdom,[8]

Quran itself removes any doubts around the use of the word cradle under discussion in the following verses with corresponding footnote from English Translation of the Holy Quran with Explanatory Notes by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz:

19:27. Then she came to her people with him, carrying [–Arabic: taḥmilu] him.* They [i.e. the Rabbis who were skeptical of Jesus’s claim of a Messiah] said: Mary, you have indeed brought a strange thing! **[9][–for what he says]

*The conversation in v. 27–33 is alone sufficient to make it clear that this incident relates to a time when Jesus had grown up sufficiently to have been appointed a prophet and to have received Divine revelation. The Quran does not relate stories in all their details, and often omits a number of incidents which are not needed for its purpose. For instance, v. 9:11 relates only Zacharias’ receiving the joyful news of a son, while v. 9:12 asks that son to take hold of the Book with strength. Jesus could only say that he was made a prophet when he was actually entrusted with the mission of a prophet, and not before. Moreover, it is unreasonable to suppose that, as soon as Mary gave birth to the child, she took it to her people to make a show of it. The word carrying does not show that she was carrying him in her arms; it means that he was being carried on an animal. Compare 9:92, where some of the companions are spoken of as coming to the Prophet that he might carry them, and he is related as replying that he did not have that on which to carry them[10], i.e. animals. Compare Matthew 21:1–7 where the story is related of Jesus entering Jerusalem riding an ass, or an ass and a colt[11].

**The reference in Mary’s bringing a strange thing may be to her having given birth to a son who claimed greater authority than the elders of Israel, with a deeper hint to the calumny against her, for which see 4:156[12]. In his reply Jesus does not make a single reference to the circumstances of his birth. Hence the inference is quite reasonable that the question was directed against the mission of Jesus and not against the circumstances of his birth.

Apparently, Jesus now a prophet, after his long absence from Palestine, and on his return journey from Egypt or India where he spent his early years, is a stranger to the people of Mary. Hence she leads his ride, with Jesus still on his mount, to her people to introduce him to them.

The use of the word [Arabic–]taḥmilu in the verse also signifies the long return journey of Jesus who rode into Jerusalem. In the same manner the word, [Arabic–] taḥmila, is used in reference to Companions of the Prophet Muhammad who volunteered for Tabuk expedition and wanted from the Prophet a ride, a mount, for their long journey of about seven hundred kilometers, one way, from Medina (verse 9:92[13]), not that they wanted to be carried in Prophet’s lap in the manner the above verse is misinterpreted to mean that Mary was carrying her son.

If Jesus is perceived to be a child in the above verse, then rest assured no child is a strange thing. Rather, what a prophet says can sound as a strange thing to the established priests, the mullahs of the time, and its contrasting effect against their dogmas.

Note, Mary had a lineage from Aaron, a priestly class (v. 3:35-37[14]), for which she is addressed as such in the next verse. She was raised in a monastery[15]  and her people were the Jewish priests, probably of the same monastery as hers, which too is obvious from the dialogue in the verse below:

19:28. Sister of Aaron [–Mary],* your father [–Amran[16]] was not a wicked man, nor was your mother[17] an unchaste woman[unlike your son who claims to be the ‘false’ Messiah, the prophet]![18]

*The fact that Mary was devoted to the Temple from the age of three to twelve years shows that she belonged to the priestly class, being of the Levitical race. Hence she is called sister of Aaron. The word ukht, meaning sister, is by no means limited to the close blood-relationship.

The skepticism of priests is obvious from their condescendingly ignoring Jesus, the prophet, and their turning to Mary with a smirk:

19:29. But she pointed to him[–Jesus for an answer]. They [disdainfully] said: How should we speak to one who is a child in the cradle?*[19]

*Old and learned Jews would no doubt speak of a young man who was born and brought up before their eyes as a child in the cradle, as if disdaining to address one so young.

As to what Jesus spoke and that what is wrongly attributed to him of his talking from the cradle is plainly clear in the subsequent verses where he is replying to skepticism of those addressing him contemptuously and to whom he was a child till recently. He is in fact replying to them as a prophet, of an adult age, who already had been given the Evangel:

19:30. He said: I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet,

19:31. and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and the due charity so long as I live,*[20]

*It is clear that this conversation did not take place when Jesus was an infant in the cradle, but when he had actually been made a prophet. It is absurd to suppose that prayers and charity were enjoined on Jesus while he was only a day old and that he really observed these injunctions at that age. Jesus’ answer clearly shows that he was addressing his people after he had been entrusted with the mission of prophethood.

19:32. and to be kind to my mother; and He has not made me insolent, unblessed.*[21]

*Here only the mother is spoken of, whereas in a similar case in v. 19:14 John is spoken of as being kind to both parents. This may be due to the fact that Joseph may not have been living at the time when Jesus spoke these words. Joseph was already an old man when he married Mary, and by the time that the ministry of Jesus begins we find no mention of him even in the Gospels, the mother and brothers being the only relations mentioned. Or, the mother alone is mentioned because the Gospels relate an incident showing that Jesus was rude to his mother (Matthew, 12:48; John 4:2[22]), and this verse disproves the statement, it being one of the objects of the Quran to clear Jesus of all false charges.

19:33. And peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised to life [like everyone else].

19:34. Such is Jesus son of Mary — a statement of truth about which they dispute.[23]

Further, if in the above verses Jesus is speaking from the actual cradle i.e. he is an infant, then (God forbid) he is lying because in infancy no baby has earning capacity to give due charity nor is he expected to be kind to his mother by performing self-care. Whereas, if said verses are read in their literal sense then is would be expected of Jesus to do such activities throughout his life i.e. – so long as I live, including while him being in the cradle.

The advocates of Jesus being raised alive to heavens need to take a pause with the verse 19:33 – the day I die, and the day I am raised to life, again. Clearly, Jesus is talking of his death like any ordinary person and the life after death that Quran repeatedly mentions and Muslims believe in. This is in direct contrast to the belief of Christians and most Muslims of a mythical Jesus who is supposedly still alive and will return in person towards the end of times. In this myth they forget to mention death of Jesus even after his physical return, because in the prevailing myth, Jesus will live through the Day of Resurrection, while others who have passed away are raised to life at that time. There is no point in Jesus dying on the Day of Resurrection as the moment of him raised to life has already passed. It will be quite odd on that Day, when everyone else is being raised to life and Jesus is dying to be raised to life again.

Disappearing into thin air – Contrary to Biblical view, in Quran, Jesus the prophet could not and did not die of an accursed death on the cross when he was about thirty-three years of age:

4:157. And because of their (falsely) claiming,‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the (false) Messenger of Allâh,’ whereas they killed him not, nor did they cause his death by crucifixion, but he was made to them to resemble (one crucified to death) [when brought down from the cross]. Verily, those who differ therein are certainly in (a state of) confusion about it. They have no definite knowledge of the matter but are only following a conjecture. They did not kill him, this much is certain (and thus could not prove the Christ as accursed).[24]

Then, quite logically it’s a natural question to ask as to what happened to such an important man in the world history after his attempted crucifixion and the fate of his mother? The Biblical narratives give fantastic description of him ascending to heavens, which at least no one saw it actually happen, rather Jesus hid from authorities after his recovery from crucifixion, ate meals and travelled on foot like an ordinary person. Quran is quite clear about the human status of both mother and son. Spiritually, he was exalted:

4:158. Rather Allâh exalted [–Arabic: rafa] him [– Jesus] with all honour to His presence. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.[25]

Please take note of Jesus being exalted … with all honour to His presence. It would be quite fantastic of someone to consider His presence or location to be away from this world because by His very attribute, He is Omnipresent and is more near and nearby than most of us might imagine:

50:16. We created a human being and We know what (dark) suggestions his mind makes to him. We are nearer to him than even (his) jugular vein.[26]

2:186. And when My servants ask you concerning Me (tell them), I am nearby indeed, I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me, so they should respond to My call, and believe in Me (that I possess all these attributes) so that they may proceed in the right way.[27]

Essentially, Jesus was and is exalted in his spiritual life as well as in human history. For that, just count the number of his followers in history and present.

Besides, Jesus was not the first one exalted, Enoch was exalted before him:

19:56. And give an account of Idrîs (- Enoch) in this Book. He was a very truthful man, a Prophet.

19:57. And We raised him to an exalted position.[28]

Physically, after surviving the attempted crucifixion and recovering from the wounds Jesus disappears from Palestine and he migrated with his mother to a different land where he took refuge, as described in Quran:

23:50. And We made the son of Mary [– Jesus] and his mother a sign, (and a model of virtue), and We gave them both refuge upon a worth-living lofty plateau abounding in (green and fruitful) valleys and springs of running water.[29] [Note the key word “refuge” i.e. the final destination of an escape]

Now the question is where is that Shangrila – worth-living lofty plateau abounding in (green and fruitful) valleys and springs of running water? This Shangrila by its very description could be anywhere but Middle East. By current secular research, that Shangrila is most likely the vale of Kashmir, in and around Srinagar. It is in this refuge that he marries and has children:

13:38. And most surely, We sent before you [– Muhammad] many Messengers and We gave them [– including Jesus] wives and children…[30]

As to the age attained by Jesus, Quran explicitly states in the verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter and repeated below:

3:46. `And he [– Jesus] will speak to the people when in the cradle (- as a child) and when of old age, and shall be of the righteous.'[31][Emphasis added]

"Aishah (God be pleased with her) said that, in his illness in which he died, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: `Every year Gabriel used to repeat the Quran with me once, but this year he has done it twice. He has informed me that there is no prophet but he lives half as long as the one who preceded him. And he has told me that Jesus lived a hundred and twenty years, and I see that I am about to leave this world at sixty' " (Hajaj at-Kiramah, p. 428; Kanz al-Ummal, vol. 6, p. 160, from Hazrat Fatima; and Mawahib al-Ladinya, vol. 1, p. 42). [Emphasis added]

Tabrani says concerning this hadith: "Its narrations are reliable, and it is reported in a number of different versions". The hadith here leaves no room to doubt at all. It not only announces Jesus' death but gives his age as 120 years. And it is reported through at least three routes: from Aishah, Ibn Umar, and Fatima. This hadith is, therefore, sound and a very clear proof of Jesus' death.[32]

Essentially, he died preaching till of an old age. His death is also foretold to him:

3:55. (RECALL the time) when Allâh said, ‘O Jesus! I will cause you to die a natural death, and will exalt you to Myself and I will clear you of the unchaste accusations of those who disbelieve…[33]

Of course, Quran also tells us of him dying in a different verse 5:116 quoted later.

Quran even goes further; it refers to Jesus himself foretelling his own death like any other human:

19:33. `And peace was upon me the day I was born, and (peace will be upon me) the day I die, and the day I shall be raised up to life (again).'[34]

If someone misconstrues the above verse in the sense that Jesus will only die at the end of the times, then this is exactly opposite of what to expect on the Last Day, when everyone else will be in the process of being raised up to life (again), while Jesus might be dying.

The final nail in the coffin of the myth of Jesus being alive today is the following verses. In a parable, Jesus is interrogated in a witness box on the Day of Resurrection and he pleads his innocence:

5:116. And when Allâh said, `O Jesus, son of Mary! did you say to the people, "Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allâh?"' He (-Jesus) replied, `Glory to You! it was not possible and proper for me to say thing to which I had no right. If I had said, You would indeed have known it, (for) You know all that is in my mind but I do not know what is in Yours. It is You alone Who truly know all things unseen.

5:117. `I said nothing to them except that what You had commanded me, "Worship Allâh, my Lord as well as your Lord". I was a witness over them (only) so long as I remained among them but ever since You caused me to die [Arabic: ‘tawaffa’], You Yourself have been the Watcher over them and You are the Witness to everything.[35]

Now the Muslims have to decide for themselves, did Jesus (PBUH) make the claim – Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allâh? Answer is obviously no. This God-ship of Jesus was attributed to him by his followers only after Jesus left them i.e. – ever since You caused me to die. Thus from the words of Quran “it was necessary for the Messiah to die before the Christians had gone astray.[36]” Essentially, Quran is clearly stating that the wrong beliefs in the originally Muslims under Jesus Christ did not take hold while Jesus and his message were alive amongst his followers – so long as I remained among them. The said decay in faith had fully established by the time of advent of Prophet Muhammad and it was to him these verses were revealed. If Jesus is still alive 'somewhere' then Quran can be challenged about its authenticity because it can be assumed that followers of Jesus, the believers of Trinity, are still on the right path even while they do not discourage polytheism, alcohol, usury, extra-marital sexual relations and children outside the wedlock, denial of Islam, denial of Quran and Prophet Muhammad, while they are preaching Bible, Trinity and Atonement. If these verses speak of a living Jesus and the verse is still talking of some later point in the future, then advocates of Jesus being alive are factually authenticators of Christianity, not of Islam. Whereas, the verses above clearly signify that Christians are on the wrong path as the teachings of Jesus have left them forever.[37]

Quran further augments the death of Jesus when it challenges the Christians:

5:17. They have only disbelieved who say, `Verily, Allâh – He is the Messiah, son of Mary.' Say, `Who then had any power to stand in the way of Allâh when He intended to put an end to the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother, and all those that were in the earth?'…[38]

As to the skeptics who might ask – why did he die? He could not have died! Quran answers that Prophets like rest of the mankind are mortals themselves. They too die:

5:75. The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger, all the Messengers have (like him) passed away before him, his mother was a highly truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We explain the arguments for their good, yet see, how they are turned away (from the truth). [Note – both Jesus and Mary were mortals – They both used to eat food and are no longer eating food now because both have passed away] [39]

3:144. And Muhammad is but a Messenger. Surely, all Messengers [all – without exception] have passed away before him. Would you recant if he [too] dies or be killed. And he who recants shall do no harm at all to Allâh, and Allâh will certainly reward the grateful.[40]

Reader pay attention to admonishment against man worship in above verse and especially to those for whom Prophets are ends unto themselves, rather than means to a faith – Would you recant if he dies or be killed – be it Jesus or anyone else?

What to argue about permanent life, Quran puts to rest even the non-sense of unusually long-life, be it of Jesus, at least in biological sense:

21:34. And We have not assigned to any human being before you [– Muhammad] an unusually prolonged life…[41]

In conclusion, Jesus completed his otherwise incomplete ministry in Palestine, when he migrated to Kashmir, got married and had children:

13:38. And most surely, We sent before you many Messengers [including Jesus]…and We gave them wives and children.[42]

He then died of old age among his people in Kashmir, the “lost sheep of Israel,”[43] who thereafter were no longer “lost” as they had been physically found and spirituality enlightened by a prophet of their own lineage and creed, that they waited for. Essentially, at that point he disappeared into thin mountain air of Kashmir and left billions to Gossip and Gospel about him in Palestine, for no fault of Jesus or Quran.

'Lost Sheep' in Shangri-La:

For its historical discourses and various case studies, the lens of Quran is contextually focused on Old and New Testaments. Hence, one finds infrequent mention of events or details beyond the Middle East. The Quran does not relate stories in all their details, and often omits a number of incidents which are not needed for its purpose.[43a] Kashmir is only mentioned in the passing for its geographical features:

23:50. And We made the son of Mary [– Jesus] and his mother a sign, (and a model of virtue), and We gave them both refuge upon a worth-living lofty plateau abounding in (green and fruitful) valleys and springs of running water. [44]

For readers’ pleasure the explanation of the verse can be fully understood from description of Kashmir, in and around its modern day capital Srinagar, by the French doctor and traveler, Francois Bernier in his travelogue ‘Travels in the Mogul Empire, A.D. 1656-1668’[45] that he wrote in French, with its first edition printed in 1670. His narration is based upon him being in the entourage of Emperor Aurangzeb who visited Kashmir in 1665. The explanatory footnotes were likely inserted by English editions of 1891 and 1916. Relevant sections with their page numbers are excerpted below.

p. 395-397:

Kachemire…a beautiful country, diversified with a great many low hills: about thirty leagues in length, and from ten to twelve in breadth. It is situated at the extremity of Hindoustan, to the north of Lahor; enclosed by the mountains at the foot of Caucasus,* those of the Kings of Great Tibet and Little Tibet,** and of the Raja Gamon, who are its most immediate neighbours.

* The name used by many of the ancient geographers for a supposed continuous range from West to East, through the whole of Asia, embracing the Taurus Mountains of Asia Minor, the Persian Elburz, the Hindu Kush, and the Himalayas.

** Great Tibet was the name then generally applied to what is now known as Ladakh, Little Tibet a term still applied to Baltistan.

The first mountains which surround it, I mean those nearest to the plains, are of moderate height, of the freshest verdure, decked with trees and covered with pasture land, on which cows, sheeps, goats, horses, and every kind of cattle is seen to graze. Game of various species is in great plenty, partridges, hares, antelopes, and those animals which yield musk. Bees are also in vast abundance; and what may be considered very extraordinary in the Indies, there are, with few or no exceptions, neither serpents, tigers, bears, nor lions. These mountains may indeed be characterised not only as innocuous, but as flowing in rich exuberance with milk and honey.

Beyond the mountains just described arise others of very considerable altitude, whose summits, at all times covered with snow, soar above the clouds and ordinary mist, and, like Mount Olympus, are constantly bright and serene.

From the sides of all these mountains gush forth innumerable springs and streams of water, which are conducted by means of embanked earthen channels even to the top of the numerous hillocks in the valley; thereby enabling the inhabitants to irrigate their fields of rice. These waters, after separating into a thousand rivulets and producing a thousand cascades through this charming country, at length collect and form a beautiful river, navigable for vessels as large as are borne on our Seine [–the river in France]. It winds gently around the kingdom, and passing through the capital, bends its peaceful course toward Baramoule, where it finds an outlet between two steep rocks, being then joined by several smaller rivers from the mountains, and dashing over precipices it flows in the direction of Atek,* and joins the Indus.

* Attack. Bernier was probably misled. The Jhelum, which leaves the valley of Kashmir at Baramula, falls into the Chinab near Jhang, about 100 miles above Mooltan; the general direction is quite correct. [Note: Modern day name of ‘Attack’ is Attock which is the junction of rivers – Kabul & Indus]

The numberless streams which issue from the mountains maintain the valley and the hillocks in the most delightful verdure. The whole kingdom wears the appearance of a fertile and highly cultivated garden. Villages and hamlets are frequently seen through the luxuriant foliage. Meadows and vineyards, fields of rice, wheat, hemp, saffron, and many sorts of vegetables, among which are intermingled trenches filled with water, rivulets, canals, and several small lakes, vary the enchanting scene. The whole ground is enamelled with our European flowers and plants, and covered with our apple, pear, plum, apricot, and walnuttrees, all bearing fruit in great abundance. The private gardens are full of melons, pateques or watermelons, waterparsnips, redbeet, radishes, most of our potherbs, and others with which we are unacquainted. 

…fresh-water lake,* whose circumference is from four to five leagues. This lake is formed of live springs and of streams descending from the mountains, and communicates with the river, which runs through the town, by means of a canal sufficiently large to admit boats.

*The Dal Lake

The lake is full of islands, which are so many pleasure grounds. They look beautiful and green in the midst of the water, being covered with fruit trees, and laid out with regular trellised walks. In general they are surrounded by the large-leafed aspen, planted at intervals of two feet. The largest of these trees may be clasped in a man's arms, but they are as high as the mast of a ship, and have only a tuft of branches at the top, like the palm trees.

The declivities of the mountains beyond the lake are crowded with houses and flower-gardens. The air is healthful, and the situation considered most desirable: they abound with springs and streams of water, and command a delightful view of the lake, the islands, and the town. 

p. 400-401:

You have no doubt discovered before this time that I am charmed with Kachemire. In truth, the kingdom surpasses in beauty all that my warm imagination had anticipated. It is probably unequalled by any country of the same extent, and should be, as in former ages, the seat of sovereign authority, extending its dominion over all the circumjacent mountains, even as far as Tartary and over the whole of Hindoustan, to the island of Ceylon.* It is not indeed without reason that the Mogols call Kachemire the terrestrial paradise of the Indies, or that Ekbar was so unremitting in his efforts to wrest the sceptre from the hand of its native Princes. His son Jehan-Guyre became so enamoured of this little kingdom as to make it the place of his favourite abode, and he often declared that he would rather be deprived of every other province of his mighty empire than lose Kachemire.**

*Surely this may be considered as a very early argument in favour of locating the Supreme Government of India in the Hills.

**Jahangir died on the 28th October 1627, at Changas Sarai (Chingiz Hatli), the Tinguesq hatelij of Blaeu's map of The Empire of the Great Mogul, 1655, between Rajaori and Naushahra, three marches from Bhimbhar, when returning to Lahore.

We gave them both refuge (23:50) among the lost sheep of Israel in Kashmir.

p. 429-431:

Answer to the first Inquiry, concerning the Jews.

I would be as much pleased as MonsieurThevenot himself if Jews were found in these mountainous regions; I mean such Jews as he would no doubt desire to find, Jews descended from the tribes transported by Shalmaneser: but you may assure that gentleman that although there seems ground for believing that some of them were formerly settled in these countries, yet the whole population is at present either Gentile or Mahometan… There are, however, many signs of Judaism to be found in this country. On entering the kingdom after crossing the Pire-penjale mountains, the inhabitants in the frontier villages struck me as resembling Jews. Their countenance and manner, and that indescribable peculiarity which enables a traveller to distinguish the inhabitants of different nations, all seemed to belong to that ancient people. You are not to ascribe what I say to mere fancy, the Jewish appearance of these villagers having been remarked by our Jesuit Father [Johann Adam Schall], and by several other Europeans, long before I visited Kachemire.

A second sign is the prevalence of the name of Mousa, which means Moses, among the inhabitants of this city, notwithstanding they are all Mahometans.

A third is the common tradition that Solomon visited this country, and that it was he who opened a passage for the waters by cutting the mountain of Baramoule.

A fourth, the belief that Moses died in the city of Kachemire, and that his tomb is within a league of it.

And a fifth may be found in the generally received opinion that the small and extremely ancient edifice seen on one of the high hills was built by Solomon; and it is therefore called the Throne of Solomon to this day.*

*The Takht-i Suliman hill, on the top of which is a Buddhist temple, built by Jaloka, the son of Asoka, who reigned about 220 B.C. Part of it was turned into a mosque at the time of the first invasion of Kashmir by the Muhammadans, about 1015 A.D.

You will see then, that I am not disposed to deny that Jews may have taken up their residence in Kachemire.*

*In recent times visitors to Kashmir seeing the names Rahimju, Lusju, Julju, etc., etc., common ones among the tradespeople who cater for foreign visitors in Srinagar, written up as RAHIM JEW, Lus JEW, JUL JEW, have imagined that the bearers of these names were Jews by nationality!! The Jewish cast of features of many of the inhabitants of Kashmir is noticed by many modern travellers.

The purity of their law, after a lapse of ages, may have been corrupted, until, having long degenerated into idolatry, they were induced, like many other pagans, to adopt the creed of Mahomet.*

*The Moslem historian known as Alberuni , who was born in A. D. 973, says in his description of Kashmir, talking of the inhabitants : 'They are particularly anxious about the natural strength of their country, and therefore take always much care to keep a strong hold upon the entrances and roads leading into it. In consequence it is very difficult to have any commerce with them. In former times they used to allow one or two foreigners to enter their country, particularly Jews, but at present they do not allow any Hindu whom they do not know personally to enter, much less other people.' P. 206, vol. i., English Ed. by Dr. Edward C. Sachau. London : Trubner, 1888.

It is certain that many Jews are settled in Persia, at Lar and Hyspan; and in Hindoustan, towards Goa and Cochin.*

*It is said that Jews settled in Cochin in the first year of the Christian era, and from copperplates still extant it is put beyond doubt that the Jewish church was firmly established there by the eighth century. There is a regular Jews' quarter in the town of Cochin.

Travels of Jesus and his death in Kashmir can be read in the following works:

'Maseeh Hindustan Mein' (in Urdu) i.e. ‘Jesus Christ in India’ by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (link). English version can be read at Qadiani website (link)

'Jesus in Heaven on Earth' by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad – Journey of Jesus to Kashmir, his preaching to the Lost Tribes of Israel and death and burial in Srinagar (link)

'Christ in Kashmir' by Aziz Kashmiri (link


[1] al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[2] Asl-e-Musaffa (Vol. 1) by Mirza Khuda Baksh, p. 188-190, published 1913. Note: this reference as quoted in current chapter is a summarized rendering into English from Urdu. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/urdu/books/others/mirzakhudabukhsh/aslemusuffa1/aslemusuffa1.shtml


[3] al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[4] ibid
[5]
ibid
[6] ibid
[7] Explanation of the said verse by Nooruddin in his lectures published as “Haqaiqul Furqan”. Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=473&region=H1&CR=
[8] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[9] Maryam – Mary: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[10] 9:92. nor on those to whom, when they came to you that you should carry [–Arabic taḥmila] them, you said: I cannot find anything on which to carry you.* Al-Baraat – The Immunity: Muhammad Ali, Zahid Aziz
*What they wanted in order to join the expedition, and what the Holy Prophet could not find for them, were beasts on which they should be carried, along with their provisions and necessaries. See also 19:27 footnote 1.
[11] Matthew 21:1-7. Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them – New King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21%3A1%E2%80%937+&version=NKJV


[12] 4:156. and for their disbelief and for their uttering against Mary a grievous slander;* Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali, Zahid Aziz
* The slander referred to was that Mary was guilty of fornication.
[13] 9:92. … when they [–the Companions] came to you that you should carry [–Arabic: taḥmila] them, you said: I cannot find anything on which to carry [–Arabic: ahmilu] you. Al-Baraat – Immunity: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[14] 3:35-37. (Allâh listened) when a woman of (the family of) Amran said, `My Lord! I do hereby vow to You what is in my womb to be dedicated (to Your service); so do accept (it) of me. You alone are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.'. But when she gave birth to it she said, `My Lord! I have given birth to a female.' Allâh knew best what she had given birth to, and the male (she was thinking of) was not like this female (she had brought forth). `I have named her Mary and I do commend her to Your protection and (also) her offspring (to be saved) from satan, the accursed.' So her Lord accepted her (- Mary) with a gracious acceptance and made her grow into an excellent form and assigned her to the care of Zachariah. Every time Zachariah visited her in the chamber he found with her provisions. He said, `From where do you get all this, O Mary?' She replied (with all conscientiousness), `It is from Allâh.' Verily, Allâh provides whomsoever He will without measure. Al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[15] 3:37. So her Lord accepted her (- Mary) with a gracious acceptance and made her grow into an excellent form and assigned her to the care of Zachariah. Every time Zachariah visited her in the chamber [of the temple] he found with her provisions. He said, `From where do you get all this, O Mary?' She replied (with all conscientiousness), `It is from Allâh.' Verily, Allâh provides whomsoever He will without measure. Al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
19:16. And give an account of Mary in this Book when she withdrew from her people to an eastern spacious place (of the temple). Mary – Maryam: Nooruddin
[16] see verse 3:35 quoted in a footnote before
[17] ibid
[18] Maryam – Mary: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[19]
ibid
[20] ibid
[21] ibid
[22] John 2: 1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her [, his mother], Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+2%3A1-5&version=KJV


[23] Maryam – Mary: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[24] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[25]
ibid
[26] Qaf – Allah is Almighty: Nooruddin
[27] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[28] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[29] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[30] Al-Rad – The Thunder: Nooruddin
[31] al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[32] Death of Jesus — [with Evidence from the Holy Quran, Hadith and Sayings of Prominent Muslim Figures], Taken from: Paigham-e-Haqq (Organ of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-i-Islam, Fiji), pp. 31-37, July/Dec., 1980. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/articles/others/deathofjesusquranhadith.shtml#hadith


[33] al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[34] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[35] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[36] Need of Imam of the Age – English Translation of the Urdu booklet ‘Zarurat-ul-Imam’ by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,Translated by Kalamazad Mohammad, Trinidad, Revised by Zahid Aziz, p. 27, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore Inc. Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.
[37] See also The Ahmadiyya Movement (Vol. 2) — The Doctrine: by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 27. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/ahmadiyyamovement2doctrine/ahmadiyyamovement2doctrine.shtml


[38] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[39]
ibid
[40] al`Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[41] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[42] Al-Rad – The Thunder: Nooruddin
[43] Matthew 15:24. But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” New King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+15%3A24&version=NKJV

[43a] Excerpt from a footnote. 19:27 – b (27-1): Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz


[44] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[45] Link: https://archive.org/stream/travelsinmogulem00bernuoft#page/ii/mode/2up

Section I — Miracles

Sunday, October 19th, 2014
Section I – Miracles

“…miracle is: that what appears impossible to man is possible for God.”[1]

7:203. When you do not produce a miracle [Arabic: biāyatin[2] – a Sign] that they demand, they say, “Why not ask God for it?” Say, "I simply follow and convey what is revealed to me from my Lord." These verses are the enlightening miracle from your Lord, the guidance and grace for those who accept them. [emphasis added]

7:204. When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with full attention [to comprehend it], and listen to it silently, that you may receive mercy [of a miraculous and blissful understanding and deeper insight].[3]

Miracles as commonly understood are based upon ‘supernatural’ events that allegedly were witnessed by everyone else and oddly not reported by the actual performer of that miracle. It is the ‘supernatural’ aspect of an alleged miracle which is usually put forth as the basis of truth and an implied argument for existence of God as if God is bereft of a primary proof and needs secondary proofs for His existence.

… what miracle can be more wonderful than human thought? If human thought cannot satisfy persons of the existence of God, how can any miracle?[4]

The God of Islam does not need ‘supernatural’ miracles to prove His existence. Miracles can only prove a physical aspect but He is non-physical. On the contrary, the logic in Qur’ân is a manifest proof of Him. Such a God is experienced through human thought, contemplation and seeking. On a physical and moral plane He is experienced in our own persons and in our daily lives by observing His attributes at play in the world we live in:

51:20. There are signs on the earth for the people of knowledge and assured faith.

51:21. And (you have signs) in your own persons. Have you no eyes to perceive[5]

One common theme in all such reported miracles is that they defy the laws of physics as if physics is ungodly and is supposed to disprove God. The proponents of miracles in their advocacy forget that laws of physical universe are made by none other than God Himself. Under Unity of creation, all moral, spiritual and physical laws are in perfect harmony free of any mutual conflict. To justify the miracles, the proponents fail to realize that the alleged miracles could only happen if their God broke His own laws willy-nilly, a laughable preposition. The proponents of miracles will also agree that breaking of law is commonly called as kufr, and the breaker a kafir, be it by breaking the physical law of gravity by jumping from a height and breaking one’s leg or indulging in a moral turpitude. Does God break his own Laws? Not so:

10:64. …There is no changing the words of Allâh; …[6]

Even though human understanding of laws of physics is still evolving, but such an emerging awareness is incremental where each newer theory is based upon the previously validated laws. A phenomenon does not have to be ‘supernatural’ to be called a miracle; rather the miracle is the outcome of an otherwise non-plausible set of events surrounding the occurrence of that miracle. Miraculous outcomes as laid out in Qur’ân are the outcome of the loggerhead questions in which moral laws trump the physical laws. For example, every law known to man governing physical strength, organizational numbers, economic assets, logistics and resources, social pressures and political alliances, which are needed for success of any system, they were one and all working against Prophet Muhammad. His message had not the remotest chance to succeed, but it did. Now that is a miracle. Just like a physicist who discovers (not creates) laws of physics by experimentation, so does a prophet brings to fore the moral laws by actually living them and history reports the manifestation of those laws which by any secular analysis are miracles. These miracles of prophets are not a transient awe of and illusionist but remain as a working model of virtuous success expected to be repeated in one’s own struggles because the moral and spiritual laws are not the sole prerogative of a prophet rather they exist for the whole mankind.

Whether the supposed ‘supernatural’ events happened or not are not the focus of discussion in this book. Everything and every event in the universe in natural, but is only ‘supernatural’ to the mind of the novice and ignorant. What this book tries to refute are the physics defying details of those events, evidence of which is not found in Qur’ân. Whereas, Qur’ân is full of miracles of ‘extraordinary’ events that otherwise were not possible in the historical context of their occurrence. Miracles in Qur’ân are not physics defying but definitely history setting for their impact that we see in survival of Noah; escape of Abraham from his persecutions; destruction of the pharaoh and exodus of Moses, Aaron and Israelites from Egypt; survival of Jonah from a drowning death; disappearance of Jesus, a convicted man from the midst of Roman Empire; Kaaba remaining intact despite the onslaught on it by a mighty army with elephants and success of Prophet Muhammad despite all odds, to name a few.

The key to understanding miracles from within Qur’ân is for the readers to remove from their minds the historical hearsay. Instead of finding from within Qur’ân the ‘supernatural’ rather one must seek the ‘extraordinary’ events that it brings to light as an example of survival of its truth both in the past and for the reader in the present. It is this assurance of ‘extraordinary’ which gives basis for message of Qur’ân and the principles and laws that it defines which must be used for future course of one’s life individually and for the society collectively. The miraculous end result despite all odds of one standing for the cause of truth, honesty, bravery, patience, perseverance, chastity, equity, equality, charity, morality and justice are at times nothing short of a miracle that otherwise might defy the ordinary rationale and a jaded view that is influenced and enticed by power and the might of the transgressing forces in the society.

“Even today these miracles happen in the sense that, not necessarily an individual, but the cause of truth is always rescued by Allah from destruction by its opponents.”[7]

Qur’ân even rejects the notion of Miracles or supernatural ‘signs’ as a means to convince the non-contemplating skeptic:

6:109. And they swear by Allâh their most solemn oaths that if there comes to them a (particular) sign they would invariably believe in it. Say, `'(Not to speak of a single sign) there are indeed many signs with Allâh, but what is there to assure you that when that (sign) comes, even then, they will not believe.'

6:110. We shall confound their hearts and their eyes, since they did not believe in it (-God's signs) in the first instance, and We shall leave them alone wandering blindly in their transgression.

6:111. Even if We should send down the angels to them, and the dead should speak to them, and even if We should bring all things together face to face (to them), they would not believe unless Allâh had (enforced) His will. The thing is that most of them persist in ignorance. [8]

Objectively, the ‘supernatural’ miracles attributed to Qur’ân have their roots from outside of the Qur’ân. Qur’ân is then erroneously used as a validation of the commonly pervading myths in the minds. Vain efforts are made to justify mythology from Qur’ân. This slippage is usually the outcome in interpreting of references in Qur’ân to some event in history, but the soothsayers instead of using the linguistics of Qur’ân for the ‘extraordinary’ instead seek it for the ‘supernatural’ reasons. This folly is mostly due to lack of understanding of the use of metaphor in the Book. This misunderstanding shall be removed by various examples in the chapters that follow in current section.


[1] 'Ahmadiyya view of miracles in the Quran' – Reply to an objection, by Dr. Zahid Aziz., The Light & Islamic Review. July–September 2003, Volume 80, Number 3. http://www.muslim.org/light/light033.htm#3
[2] Âyatun – Sign; Apparent sign; Mark; Indication; Message; Evidence; Proof, Miracle; Communication; Verse of the Holy Qur’ân (as each of which is a miracle); Previous revelation; Monument; Lofty building that should acquire renown as a sign of greatness. It properly signifies any apparent thing inseparable from a thing not equally apparent so that when one perceives the former, he perceives the other which he cannot perceive by itself, e.g."The party came out with their whole company." Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 38.
[3] Al-Araaf – The Height of Discernment: Shabbir Ahmed.
[4] 'Muhammad The Sign of God' by Shaikh M. H. Kidwai, Islamic Review & Muslim India, p. 521, Vol. V, No. 12, December 1917, The Mosque, Woking, Surrey, England.
[5] Al-Dhâriyât – The Scatters: Nooruddin
[6] Yûnus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[7] 'Ahmadiyya view of miracles in the Quran' – Reply to an objection, by Dr. Zahid Aziz., The Light & Islamic Review. July–September 2003, Volume 80, Number 3. http://www.muslim.org/light/light033.htm#3
[8] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin

Of Elephants and the birds — Trinity vs. Unity

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Of Elephants and the Birds – Trinity vs. Unity[1]

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:

105:1. Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant (- the army of Abrahah, the viceroy of the Negus, king of Abyssînia, at Yeman)?
105:2. Did He not (cause the war to end in confusion and) ruin their plan (to destroy Ka`bah by making it revert on themselves)?
105:3. And He sent against them flocks of birds,
105:4. (Which tore off flesh from their bodies to eat by) striking them against [also Arabic: ‘bi’ – with] stones of hardened and petrified clay.
105:5. And thus He reduced them to rotten chaff (and in a similar way will they be ruined who would ever make an attack to destroy Ka`bah).[2]

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:

A number of legends of popular origin have been woven around 'Abraha's name in Arab tradition which have not yet been substantiated. Of these traditions, the best-known concern the expedition against Mecca. At this period Mecca was the thriving center of the pagan cult of the Ka'aba and the pilgrim traffic was in the hands of the powerful Qurays family. Fired with Christian zeal, 'Abraha set out to build a magnificent church at Sana'a to serve as a counter-attraction to the surrounding pagan peoples. This aroused the hostility of the Qurays who feared that the pilgrim traffic with its lucrative offerings would be diverted to Sana'a. It is sometimes said that one of their adherents succeeded in defiling the church and this led 'Abraha to embark upon a campaign against Mecca. This event is associated in Islamic tradition with the year of the Prophet's birth, c. 570 A.D. 'Abraha is said to have used elephants in the campaign and the date is celebrated as the Year of the Elephant, 'am al fil.' An indirect reference to the event is found in Surah 105 of the Quran. 'Abraha's expedition probably failed due to the successful delaying tactics of the Qurays and pestilence broke out in the camp, which decimated his army and forced him to withdraw. Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission to the Qurays by 'Abraha's son.[3]

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[4] 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.[5] 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.)[6]

Sir William Muir, a no friend of Islam, in his book “Life of Mahomet”[7] 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.'[8] 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[9]. 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.


[1] Attacks on Islam by Latter-Day — "Companions of the Elephant", by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/articles/others/elephant.shtml
[2] Al-Fil – The Elephant: Nooruddin
[3]'Abraha fl. 6th century Orthodox Ethiopia – Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Link: http://www.dacb.org/stories/ethiopia/_abraha.html
[4] Encyclopedia of Pestilence Pandemics and Plagues, Edited by Joseph P. Byrne, volume I, A-M, Greenwood Press, Copyright © 2008 by Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.
[5] Asiatic Cholera Pandemic of 1846-63, UCLA School of Public Health. Link: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/Snow/pandemic1846-63.html
[6] "Cholera (pathology): Seven pandemics". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Link: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/114078/cholera/253250/The-first-six-pandemics
[7] The Life of Mahomet, by William Muir LL.D., New Edition, Chapter III, p. xxvi-xxvii, Smith Elder & Co. 15 Waterloo Place, London, 1878.
[8] 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.

footnote-8

[Editorial note: al-jadree – the smallpox; al-hasba – the pustular disease (like small stones)]
[9] 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.
footnote-9

Jesus, John, Adam, Isaac – Who’s Your Daddy? Who Else, but Their Respective Fathers!

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Jesus, John, Adam, Isaac – Who's Your Daddy? Who Else, but Their Respective Fathers!

There is fanciful thinking by some, or actually by most, that Jesus was conceived without a father. Before we even delve into a discussion of an alleged fatherless conception of Jesus, we have to be cognizant of the fundamental requirement for conception of a child. It needs a father and a mother and in modern times, male and female life-germs. Even God makes such an argument about Himself while rebutting the Christian doctrine of son-ship:

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? He has created all things and He has perfect knowledge of everything.[1]

In the above verse it becomes obvious, that even if God were to have a son, God Himself would have needed a consort, or on the flip, Jesus, son of Mary, must also have had an actual human father. Simply put, no father, no son, and that goes for son of Mary as well. The irony is that proponents of virgin birth of Jesus, even from within the Muslims are willing to make an exception for Mary and Jesus, which God cannot afford even for Himself.

But such claim to fame of 'fatherless' Jesus has no bearing in Quran, though it foretold Mary about his birth and her response was:

3:47. She said, `My Lord! how can I and whence shall I have a child while no man has yet touched me (in conjugal relationship)?’ (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He simply commands it, “Be” and it comes to be.’[2]

In this case, Mary, an unmarried chaste woman, asks the obvious – `My Lord! how can I and whence shall I have a child while no man has yet touched me (in conjugal relationship)?’ and God replies with a prophecy – (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He creates what He will. Superficial reader will jump to the conclusion that Mary conceived Jesus immediately and immaculately, whereas after this dialogue God without breaking His laws of sociology and biology arranged a husband for her that secular history identifies as Joseph the Carpenter[3]. Jesus was not the only the child, Mary had other children as well[4]. So she conceived Jesus after her marriage and word of Allah came true in due course i.e. When He decrees a thing He simply commands it, “Be” and it comes to be’ without breaking His own Laws.

Quran makes reference to arrangement of Mary's marriage by the priests of the monastery where she dwelled:

3:44. …You were not present with them when they (- the priests) cast their quills (to decide) as to which of them should have Mary in his charge (to arrange her marriage)…[5]

For some intelligent reason best known to their authors, references to chastity of Mary are interpreted for her remaining unmarried, yet getting pregnant. This is absurd and against basic moral values, rather a smear on Mary. If nothing else, marriage is the best and natural guard against “un-chastity”:

21:91. And (We showed Our favours to) the woman (- Mary) who preserved her chastity [when single and later through marriage], so We revealed to her some of Our words and We made her and her son (- Jesus) a sign (of eminence) for the nations.[6]

Preservation of one’s chastity through marriage is outlined in Quran:

23:1-11. TRULY, success in this life and in the Hereafter does come to the believers, … And who guard their private parts, 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, But those who seek anything else (to satisfy their sexual desire) beyond this, it is they who are the transgressors, … It is they who are the real heirs; Who will own Paradise where they shall abide forever.[7]

The above verse clearly lays down that a conjugal act within a married relationship is a chaste act, else Islam would transform into doctrine of Christianity of an inborn sin – Job 25:4. How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? [New King James Version]. Thus Mary preserved her chastity through her marriage.

Out of her marriage, birth of Jesus and his attributes are foretold to Mary:

3:45. (Recall the time) when the angels said, `O Mary! Allâh gives you good tidings through a (prophetic) word from Him (about the birth of a son) whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, (he shall be) worthy of regard in this world and in the Hereafter and one of the nearest ones (to Him),
3:46. `And he will speak to the people when in the cradle (- as a child) and when of old age, and shall be of the righteous.'[8]

Maryam, mother of Jesus is mentioned by her name on numerous occasions in Quran because of her high status due her piety. As far as father of Jesus (i.e. Joseph) is concerned he is lumped up with general mention of fathers of the prophets:

6:83. …Abraham…
6:84. …Isaac and Jacob…Noah…David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron…
6:85. …Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elias…
6:86. …Ismâîl and Elisha and Jonah and Lot…
6:87. And (We exalted men) from among their fathers and their descendants and their brethren. We chose them and We guided them along the exact right path.[9][Emphasis added]

Similar to verse 3:47 above, elsewhere Quran gives the prophecy of birth of Jesus to his mother, Mary: 

19:16. And give an account of Mary in this Book when she withdrew from her people to an eastern spacious place (of the temple).
19:17. Then she screened herself off from them. Then We sent to her Our (angel of) revelation and he presented himself to her in the form of a perfect and well-proportioned man.
19:18. Mary said, `I invoke the Most Gracious (God) to defend me from you. If you guard the least against evil (leave me alone).'
19:19. He said, `I am but a messenger of your Lord. I give you (glad tidings of) a most pure son.'
19:20. She said, `How can I bear a son while no man (has married me and) has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste.'[10]
19:21. (The angel) said, `So the fact is (just as you describe). Your Lord has said, "It is easy for Me. (We shall do it) so that We make him a sign and a (source of) blessing from Us for the people. It is a matter ordained".'[11]

In fulfillment of the prophecy, Mary gets married as mentioned in verse 3:44 above and then she conceives Jesus:

19:22. She (- Mary) conceived him (- the child) and withdrew with him to a remote place[12][which could be within the temple that Mary lived in or possibly to her hometown for a prenatal care].

Continuing from above Mary is talking to herself, praying for help or even addressing her husband during her childbirth[13]:

19:23. (At the time of the delivery of the child) the throes of child birth [– of Jesus] drove her [– Mary] to the trunk of the palm-tree[14]. She said, `Oh! would that I had become unconscious before this and had become a thing gone and forgotten.'[15]

In Quran creation of every human is the same:

23:12. We create a human being from an extract of clay;[16]

It would be quite fanciful to imagine God making a human cast of clay and then breathing into him His spirit before Adam came to life. Isn’t it simple to think that from clay grow the plants, animals eat the plants, man then eats the salts in clay, the plants and animals to become and stay alive, and to develop his physical and intellectual identity? Elementally humanity comes from clay and returns to clay. Quran puts it quite succinctly when it states We create a human being from an extract of clay. The emphasis is on extract, which in modern interpretation points to carboniferous biology that comes out of clay, of man and every living thing on earth. How true.

Now, going back to birth of Jesus, Quran is quite clear as to how he was created:

3:59. Verily, the case of Jesus is as the case of Adam in the sight of Allâh. He fashioned him out of dust, then He said to him,`Be’, and he came to be.[17]

i.e. Jesus (PBUH) was born just like Adam (who is a template of mankind) from clay and by natural conception because both belong to mankind:

39:13. O mankind! [including Jesus,] We have created you out of a male and a female…[18]

As far as Adam, the first human to receive the revelation is concerned, that stage for human species took some time in its evolutionary timeframe:

76:1. There did pass over a human being a while of a long space of time when he was not a thing worth mentioning.[19]

Similar to a skeptic Mary, her uncle Zachariah in his old age was foretold of a child, John. This might seem nothing short of a miracle given Zachariah’s then skepticism for reasons beyond his control:

3:38. Then and there did Zachariah pray to his Lord saying, `My Lord! grant me, by Your Own grace, pure and pious descendant, You alone are indeed the Hearer of prayers.'
3:39. So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the Sanctuary, `Allâh bears you the glad tidings of John, who shall confirm the word of God and who shall be noble, utterly chaste, a Prophet from among the righteous.'[20]

Note, nowhere Quran mentions Zachariah’s wife being old and postmenopausal, except that she was apparently barren to Zachariah:

3:40. `Lord!’ he said, `How shall I have a son now that old age has already come upon me and my wife is barren?’ (The Lord) said, `Such are the ways of Allâh, He does what He will.’[21]

In the above verse we find an apparent age difference between Zachariah and his wife, an indication that in the then pervading social norms, older men married younger women, which in secular history also happened with Mary and even Abraham.

Such are the ways of Allâh, He does what He will by some medical treatment as shown by next verses:

21:89. And (We showed Our favours to) Zachariah. Behold! he called out to his Lord and prayed to Him, `My Lord, do not leave me solitary, alone (and heirless), You are Best of those who remain after (-You alone are the Everlasting God).'
21:90. So We heard his prayer and granted him (a son) John, and cured his wife (of sterility) making her fit (for bearing children) for him. They used to vie one with another in (doing) good deeds and call upon Us with (mixed feelings of) hope and fear, and they were humble before Us.[22]

Elsewhere as well the narrative of Zachariah and his son John is mentioned:

19:2. (This is) an account of the mercy of your Lord (shown) to His servant Zachariah,
19:3. When he called upon his God, crying aloud (in humble supplication).
19:4. He said (praying), `My Lord! now the very bones within me have waxed feeble and the hair of (my) head are all gray and hoary, my Lord! never have I been (hitherto) deprived of a favourable response to my prayer to You.
19:5. `I fear (for the unrighteousness of) my kinsfolk after me, and my wife is barren. Grant me by Your (special) grace a (pious and righteous) successor,
19:6. `Who may be an heir to me and inherit (the divine blessings promised to) the House of Jacob and make him, my Lord! well-pleasing (to You).'
19:7. (God accepted his prayer and said,) `Zachariah! We give you the glad tidings of (the birth of) a son, named Yahyâ (- John, – who will live long). We have made none like him (in your house) before this.'
19:8. He (- Zachariah) said, `My Lord! how shall I beget a son when my wife is barren and I have (already) reached the extreme (limit of) old age?'
19:9. (The Lord) said, `So shall it be,' and (the angel bearing the revelation) said, `Your Lord says, "It is easy for Me, and behold, I have created you before this whereas you (too) were nothing".'[23]

In the verse 19:9, the phrase about Zachariah – "It is easy for Me, and behold, I have created you before this whereas you (too) were nothing" clearly implies that all births are conceived in the same manner, from the union of mother and father.

Similar to Mary and Zachariah, a skeptical Sarah too is amazed of her being foretold of birth of Isaac in her self-perceived ‘old age’:

11:69. And certainly, Our messengers came to Abraham with good tidings. They said, `(We bid you) peace.' He said, `Peace be (on you too) always.' And he lost no time in bringing them a roasted calf.
11:70. But when he saw that their hands did not extend to that (meal) he considered it strange on their part and apprehended evil from them. They said, `Have no fear for we have been sent to the people of Lot.'
11:71. And his wife was standing (nearby) and she too was inspired with awe. So we gave her good tidings of (the birth of) Isaac and after Isaac of (his son) Jacob.
11:72. She said, `O wonder for me! Shall I bear a child while I am a very old woman and this husband of mine (also) a very old man? This is a wonderful thing indeed!'
11:73. They (- Our messengers) said, `Do you marvel at the decree of Allâh? Members of this house! the mercy of Allâh and His blessings are upon you. Surely, He is the Lord of all praise, Owner of all glory.'[24]

In all three examples above, the parents i.e. Mary, Sarah and Zachariah are skeptical for various reasons of their own for them to even possibly imagine having a child, which they did in due course when the prophecies to each one of them unfolded for them.

The advocates of a birth of Jesus without conception from a human father frequently base their case for him being referred in Quran frequently as ‘son of Maryam’ e.g.

5:46. And We sent Jesus, son of Mary, in the footsteps of these (Prophets), fulfilling that which was (revealed) before him, of the Torah, and We gave him the Evangel which contained guidance and light, fulfilling that which was (revealed) before it, of the Torah, and was a (means of) guidance and an exhortation for those who guard against evil.[25]

Jesus is referred to by his mother’s name either because it is the intention of Quran to expunge the doctrine of innate ‘original sin’ as promulgated in Christianity in which pregnancy of mothers is sinful[26] or because of the prominent position that Maryam enjoys. She is singularly surrounded in blood relations by various prophets, whose uncle (Zachariah), cousin (John the Baptist) and son (Jesus) were prophets or merely for the fact that in Jewish tradition children are remembered by their mother's name e.g.[27]

20:94. (Aaron [addressing his brother, Moses]) said, `O son of my mother! do not hold me by my beard nor (pull me) by my head. (If I was not strict to them it was because) I was afraid lest you should say, "You have caused a disruption among the Children of Israel and did not preserve my word".' [28]

In the above verse, by addressing each other, in Jewish tradition, via their mother did not mean that Moses and Aaron did not have a father.

On the contrary, in Arab tradition, children are usually identified by their father's name unless the mother holds a prominent position, which does not mean either that they do not have mothers or fathers respectively. With changing times and customs, due to children out of wedlock in the present day Western cultures, it would be odd if someone is asked about their fathers. For them it is more prudent and socially acceptable to ask of their mothers. It does not imply that they do not have their fathers.

David is mentioned in Quran of having a son, Solomon, while there is no mention of David’s wife. Does it mean that Solomon came into this world without having a mother?

38:30. And We gave (a pious son like) Solomon to David. How excellent a servant (of Ours) he was! For he turned to Us in obedience and repentance again and again.[29]

Quran refers to Mary as daughter of Amran (the father of Moses and Aaron) while it does not mention father of Asiya, the Phaoah's wife, which in turn does not mean that Asiya had no father – see v. 66:11-12 below.[30]

66:11. And Allâh compares those who believe to the wife of Pharaoh [– Asiya]. Behold! she said, `My Lord! make for me an abode in the Garden (of Paradise) close to You and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work and deliver me from the wrongdoing people.[31]

The chastity of mother naturally has a bearing on her children:

66:12. And Allâh (next compares the believers to) Mary, the daughter of Amrân, she who took care to guard her chastity, so We breathed into him (the believer who is exemplified here) Our inspiration, while she declared her faith in the revelations of her Lord and His Scriptures and she became of the devoted ones to prayers and obedient to Him.[32] [Emphasis added].

In the above verse in context of a believer, including Jesus, with Mary as an example of purity, note the use of the term him, the male gender rather than her. This removes any misconceptions of 'immaculate' impregnation of Mary without a husband, rather affirms an 'immaculate' Jesus because We breathed into him [, not her,] Our inspiration. Additionally, Jesus was already-existing as an individual from parental conjugation, when We breathed into him Our inspiration after which he became 'immaculate'. This is the same immaculate birth of each human that Quran mentions elsewhere as well:

32:7. Who made perfectly well all that He created. And He originated the creation of a human being from clay.
32:8. Then He created his seed from an extract of an insignificant fluid (derived by his consuming food produced from clay or soil).
32:9. Then He endowed him with perfect faculties (of head and heart in accordance with what he is meant to be) and breathed into him of His spirit (thus made him the recipient of the Divine word). And He has given you hearing, eyes and hearts. Yet little are the thanks you give.[33]

The reason as to why Jesus is mentioned as son of Mary in Quran is quite eloquently explained in the following excerpt:

The mere fact that no mention is made, in the Holy Quran, of Jesus' father is not sufficient to show that he had no human father. No mention is likewise made of the father of Moses, nor of the the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Does it follow, then, that they had no human fathers? The Holy Quran is not a book on genealogy to have kept such a record. Jesus has purposefully been called Ibn-i-Maryam (son of Mary) in the Holy Quran. With this single stroke it has overturned and demolished the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus. It is written in The Book of Job (Old Testament), How can he be clean that is born of a woman? (25:4). The Quran, arguing ad hominem, said unto the Christians that Jesus, having been born of a woman (Mary), could not even be clean, much less to be regarded as a Divine Being Who is above every kind of uncleanliness and impurity.[34]

Thus, by calling Jesus as son of Mary is another example where The Qur'an is the Watcher over the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them:

5:48. To you (O Messenger) We have sent the Book in Sure Truth confirming the Divine Origin of whatever Scripture [besides Torah, Zabur and Bible, Zend Avesta, Bhagavad Gita, Tipitaka, Tao Te Ching etc.] was before it. The Qur'an is the Watcher over the old Scriptures and guards the Truth in them.
5:15. O people of the Scripture! Our Messenger, who has come to you, unfolds many teachings of the Scripture which you had kept hidden, and many a thing he passes over. There has come to you, indeed, from Allâh a Light and the perspicuous Book (–the Qur'ân) that distinguishes the right from the wrong.[35]

The subject matter of birth of Jesus is further explained in the book ‘Birth of Jesus’[36] by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, that reader may refer to as well.
 


[1] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[2] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[3] Matthew 1:18-25
[4] – Mark 6:3. Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. [New King James Version]
– Matthew 13:55. Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? [New King James Version]
– John 7:3. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. [New King James Version]
[5] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[8] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[10] This is a possible reference to the prevailing monasticism amongst the Israelites that Mary belonged to and later the Christians as well – 57:27. …And We placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him [–Jesus], but as for monasticism they invented it themselves, We did not enjoin it upon them…. Al-Hadid – The Iron: Nooruddin.
[11] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[12] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[13] The observation is by Shabbir Ahmed.
[14] Mary, similar to Maya , the mother of Siddharta Gautama Buddha, apparently gave birth in the manner of holding on to tree limb to ease the pangs of labor – as depicted in a carving for the latter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_(mother_of_Buddha)#mediaviewer/File:SiddhartaBirth.jpg
[15] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[16] Al-Muminun – The Believers: Nooruddin
[17] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[18] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[19] Al-Insan – The Human Being: Nooruddin
[20] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[21] al Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[22] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[23] Maryam – Mary: Nooruddin
[24] Hud – Hud : Nooruddin
[25] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[26] Psalm 51:5. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. [New King James Version]. See also Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:22.
[27] al-ahmadiyya, p.16, March 1979
[28] Ta Ha – The Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[29] Sad – The Truthful God: Nooruddin
[30] al-ahmadiyya, ‘Jesus had a father’, p.10, January 1979
[31] Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
[32] Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
[33] Al-Sajdah – The Prostration: Nooruddin
[34] A Reply to the Christian Pamphlet – The History of Hadjie Abdoellah, p. 42-3, by Mirza Masum Beg B.A., Editor, 'The Light' Lahore.
[35] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[36] ‘Birth of Jesus’ by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, revised and edited by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed. Pub: 2005. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Literary Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.