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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

Issue 3: Quran degrades women as ‘tilth’ for sexual exploitation

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Issue 3: Quran degrades women as ‘tilth’ for sexual exploitation

– for which verse 2:223 is oft quoted. Little do they know that it is all about women’s rights. See below.

In Quran, the first bar on any possible exploitation of women is that it allows intimal relationships only within the bounds of marriage – And do not go near to fornication: surely it is an obscenity. And evil is the way (17:32)[1], And those who cannot find a match [–marriage] must keep chaste, until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace (24:33)[2]. Once a household is established through marriage, then the significant burden of responsibility for providing care, both material and emotional, rests on the husband – Men are the maintainers of women (4:34)[3]. Intimate relationships are only a subset of the superset of responsibility to be borne by the husband. This responsibility in itself prevents any inkling of selfish exploitation of wives by their husbands.

Before we take on the subject matter of this chapter it becomes pertinent to be aware of the stress laid on kind treatment towards wife in Islam as outlined by Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book ‘Religion of Islam’:

The Qur'an lays the greatest possible stress on kindly and good treatment towards the wife. "Keep them in good fellowship" and "treat them kindly" is the oft-recurring advice of the Qur'an (2:229, 231; 4:19, etc.). So much so that kindness is recommended even when a man dislikes his wife, for "it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it" (4:19). The Prophet laid equally great stress upon good treatment of a wife. "The most excellent of you," he is reported to have said," is he who is best in his treatment: of his wife" (Mishkat al-Masabih, 13:II-ii). "Accept my advice in the matter of doing good to women," is another tradition (Bukhari, 67:81). In his famous address at the Farewell Pilgrimage, he again laid particular stress on the good treatment of women: "O my people! you have certain rights over your wives and so have your wives over you …They are the trust of Allah in your hands. So you must treat them with all kindness" (Muslim, 16:17). [3a]

Islamic ideal of marriage which serves the purpose not only of the increase of the human race but also that of the spiritual advancement of both the man and the woman by referring to the quietness of mind which they find in each other,[4] which is outlined in verse below:

30:21. And of His signs are this, that He created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.[5]

Quran recognizes the natural outcomes of marriage which are conjugal relations, mutual comfort and wish of the parents to have a healthy progeny:

7:189. It is He Who has created you from one living entity, and from the same stock (that He created a human being) He brought into being his mate that he might find comfort in her. When he covers her (in conjugal relationship) she conceives a light burden and carries it about, then when she grows heavy (with the child), they both pray to Allâh, their Lord, (saying) `If You give us a good one (- a child with a sound mind in a sound body), we shall surely be of the grateful (to You).'[6]

Beauty of Quran is that it addresses different aspects of life in varying hues[7] and from many angles[8], and in a repeating[9] and interlinked logic[10], free of inconsistencies[10a], with excellent and useful proofs[10b] to expound its message and drive home the point. Similarly, in Quran the ordinary conjugal relationships become extraordinary. They are not merely physical, but have deeper implications in them. The children from the wedlock are not mere offspring needing nurturance but serve a higher purpose for moral refinement for everyone in the household. Rearing of children gives the opportunity for inherent godly qualities in parents to bloom e.g. the Divine attributes of Sustenance, Mercifulness, Beneficence, Forgiveness, Recompense, Hearing, Seeing, Judgment etc.:

64:15. Verily, your possessions and your children are a means to reveal your hidden attributes. As for Allâh there awaits an immense reward with Him.[11]

The dynamics of intimate relationships between husband and wife are governed by a series of verses in Quran, one of which under question and ignorantly maligned is as follows:

2:223. Your wives are a tilth [Arabic: Harthun] for you, so go to your tilth when you like, and send (good deeds) beforehand [i.e. before intimacy] for yourselves;[12] and have regard for your duty to Allah [that includes rights of a wife] and know that you will meet Him. And give good news to the believers [for a happy outcome of their marriage].[13] [Emphasis added]

The keyword in the verse is tilth that at times is misread for exploitation of women. In Arabic, the said term means a field that is prepared, ploughed and sowed for a crop:

Haratha – To till and sow, cultivate, cut a thing, acquire (goods); plough, study a thing thoroughly. Harth: Land prepared for sowing; Tillage; Produce of field; Crop; Garden; Gain; Wife. Tahruthûna (imp. 2nd p. m. plu.): You sow. Harthun (n.): Tilth. (L; T; R; LL) The root with its above two forms has been used in the Holy Qur’ân about 14 times.[14]

Metaphor of farming – Your wives are a tilth for you, is an appropriate allegory for husbands in Quran that Allah also uses for Himself for His attribute of being a Creator e.g.

80:26-31. …We cleave the earth, a proper cleaving, So that We cause grain to grow therein, As well as grapes, vegetables, The olive, the date-palm, Orchards with dense trees, Fruits and herbage; [14a]

Similarly, the use of the word tilth in the manner of a fertile land under care of a farmer, for a married woman, naturally implies more restrictions than allowance for the husband, the tiller. ‘Farming’ expects a disciplined role from husband in his abstaining from an overbearing intimacy that wife cannot bear; protection of her pregnancy and giving rest/gap between pregnancies as it is done to the land between crop cycles to rejuvenate it.[15] This metaphorical reference to tilth for its said meanings naturally puts a bar on the misuse of women under the excuse of Mata’a in temporary marriages, where a woman like a prostitute could be passed from man to man or wife for a courtship with other males as in Niyoga, because no self-respecting farmer will permit seed from anyone else to pollute his land. The relationship between farmer and his land is that of ownership, protection and care while obligatory prevention of abuse of the latter. This relationship is based upon the attributes of the land which is like that of a mother that not only produces but provides nurturance, without asking much in return, except its care and respect. The critics of the verse perceive this verse as a one-sided intimate right of a husband towards his wife, but they fail to read a few verses later about her equal rights in all matters of marriage – And women have rights similar to those against them in a just manner (2:228)[16].

The phrase – send (good deeds) beforehand for yourselves in the stated verse in terms of intimate relations with wife implies that such physical relations are to be nurtured under a spiritual bond between the couple. It is out of the same tilth which when tilled with spiritual seeds grows a spiritual shade and its accompanying coolness, both here and in the hereafter:

25:74-77. And they who say, Our Lord, grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy [Arabic – Qurratun : Coolness; Refreshment; Source of joy and comfort[17]] of our eyes, and make us leaders for those who guard against evil. These are rewarded with high places because they are patient, and are met there with greetings and salutation, abiding there — a goodly abode and resting place![18]

Tilth in Quran is metaphorically used in both spiritual and materialistic sense. Tilth if infused with spiritual blessings of respect, honesty, loyalty, love and affection can be a source for uplift of humanity as is clear from verse 2:223. On the other hand, tilth without spirituality is nothing but materialism as noted in the verses below:

3:14. It has been made fair seeming to the people the love of the desired things comprising women, sons, stored up heaps of gold and silver, well-bred horses, cattle and tilth [Arabic: Harth]. That is the provision of the present life. Whereas with Allah is the fairest goal (of life).[19] [Emphasis added]

3:116-117. Verily, as to those who disbelieve, neither their possessions nor their children shall avail them aught against (the punishment of) Allâh. And it is they who are the fellows of the Fire, therein shall they live long. That which they spend for the present life bears likeness with the wind wherein is freezing cold which smites the tilth [Arabic: Haratha] of the people who have done injustice to themselves, so it destroys it. Allâh does no injustice to them but they wrong themselves.[20] [Emphasis added]

Fire is a blessing and life sustaining. But, if misused, it can bring death and devastation. Similarly, a married life can be a blessing because it can provide joy and comfort in life. But, if this relationship is devoid of respect, honesty, loyalty, love and affection it can become a source of exploitation and misery that Quran admonishes against.

Compare the said use of the word tilth in verse 2:223 with that of the Bible for its explicitness and a focus on sensuality:

Proverbs 5:17-19.Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.[21] [Note: we cannot grace these pages with more filth from the Bible for which reader is referred to the link in footnote[22]]

It would be a fallacy to read the said verse 2:223 in isolation from the other verses in its vicinity which bring out the context of the message that is none but preservation of women rights, rather than the exploitation in a non-contextual read.

The verse 2:222 is in continuation of a topic from earlier verses 2:216-218 that highlight the state of war and from which emerge orphans (and widows) that are addressed in verse 220 (not quoted here). In current instance, with regards to women, the verse preceding 2:223 states:

2:222. And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is harmful; so keep aloof [i.e. sexually only] from women during menstrual discharge and do not approach them (for intercourse) until they are clean. But when they have cleansed themselves, go to them as Allah has commanded you. Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.[23]

It is obvious that this verse is squarely addressed to the husbands and is a temporary injunction for a limited time only during each menstrual cycle of the wife. Of course, the non-accommodation of the temporary ‘unwell’ state of the wife by her husband during her menstruation is harmful for the wife and the marriage during which she might be in pangs of pain, undergoing roller coaster of emotions due to hormonal changes, not desiring intimacy and occupied with the burden of even a cultural guilt or shame because of the menstrual discharge. Essentially, she has to be given an emotional space of her own during a biological cycle that is beyond her control. In terms of embryology, her bodily functions are being prepared for next ovulation after the menstrual discharge is completed. It is at that time the verse 2:223 in question comes into play, i.e. her body is then ready for conception through intercourse and she acts as the garden from which the future generations can spring forth and the prime objective of marital relationship is achieved whence it becomes good news to the believers(2:223), i.e. the parents who follow the stated injunctions (2:222-223). There is no point, in a metaphorical sense, to till a land and sow it out of season.

Menstruation is a biological stage in a monthly hormonal cycle for a woman of childbearing age, which could be delayed or absent in adults due to certain factors. The humanistic accommodation that Quran mandates from husbands for this condition not only assures protection to the woman during marriage as mentioned in verse 2:222 above; it also protects her rights during divorce process as well:

65:1. Prophet! (tell the believers that) when you decide to divorce (your) women divorce them at a time when their `Iddat (- period of three monthly courses, for which they must wait before they can remarry) can be calculated; (the divorce should be given when she has cleansed herself after the menstrual discharge) and after divorce calculate the period (of `Iddat exactly). And keep your duty to Allâh, your Lord. You shall not turn them out (during this period of `Iddat) from their homes except they commit flagrant sin, nor shall they themselves go out (of them). These are the limits imposed by Allâh and he that violates the limits imposed by Allâh, indeed does injustice to himself. You never know (Allâh's will), for it may be that after this (divorce) Allâh will bring about a new situation (of reconciliation between you).

65:4. If you are in doubt (how to calculate the period) of such of your women as have despaired of monthly courses, then (know that) period for which they must wait is three months and (the same holds good) for such women as have not menstruated (for some other reasons [e.g. oligomenorrhea[23a], ammenhorea[23b], menopause[23c] etc.]). And (as to) pregnant women, their term (will end) when they are delivered of their burden (after giving birth to a child). And (bear in mind) for the one who keeps his duty to Allâh, He will provide facility in his affair for him.

65:6. Lodge (the divorced) women (during the prescribed period in some part of the house) where you are lodging, according to (the best of) your means. Do not harass them so as to make (their stay) hard for them. If they be pregnant, bear their expanses until they are delivered of the child…[24]

When the above quoted verses 2:222, 65:1, 4 and 6 are read in unison, it becomes crystal clear that during menstruation period of wife the husband is under obligation to treat her tenderly. Thus, it naturally begets to ask the critics of verse 2:223 as to how they justify their interpretation of the said verse for exploitation of women in a Book that contrary to their hateful views gives so much respect to a woman even in her apparently ‘unclean’ condition. Only a ruffian and a coward will mistreat and exploit her when she is ‘clean,’ not a follower of Quran.

These injunctions to respect a woman during her menstruation in Quran are diametrically opposite to Bible. While the issues surrounding menstruation in Quran are addressed to married women only, in Bible, all married and unmarried women are lumped together.  In Bible, every menstruating women is not only ostracized for her ‘uncleanliness’ but her uncleanliness is determined to be ‘infectious’ to everyone else as well, hence she is to be socially abandoned. During her menstruation she is considered to be in an ‘untouchable’ state of sin for no fault of hers. To make the matters worse, she even has to atone for her ‘sin’ as well when she becomes ‘clean’ seven days after the menstruation ends: 

Leviticus 15:19-24. ‘If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

Leviticus 15:25-27. [repeats the theme of Leviticus 15:19-24 above]

Leviticus 15:28-30. ‘But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for her before the Lord for the discharge of her uncleanness.[25] [Emphasis added]

Note: The above is only a sampler from Old Testament. Those interested to read more on the subject may refer to the link in the footnote[26].

In the verses adjoining 2:222-223, Quran not only outlines the dignity and rights of a woman in her marriage and her right to divorce, it also tries to preserve the marriage if there is possibility of a thoughtless divorce:

2:224-228. And do not make Allah by your oaths a hindrance to your doing good and keeping your duty and making peace between people [inclusive of estranged couple].

–This verse refers to the pre-Islamic Arab custom of ila’, a way of temporarily putting off the wife which was effected by an oath in Allah’s name not to have sexual relations with her. The result of this was that the husband considered himself free from all marital obligations. The first step to bring about a reform in the relations of husband and wife was that this practice was abolished. It is in reference to this that the taking of oaths against the doing of good to others is prohibited. The fulfilment of marital obligations is thus referred to as the doing of good and observance of duty and making peace between people. But the subject is generalized and the taking of all oaths to forbid oneself the doing of good or fulfilment of obligations is prohibited. See also 66:2 footnote.[27]

And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. Allah will not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths, but He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned.

– By vain oaths are meant unintentional or thoughtless oaths in ordinary conversation, and by what the hearts have earned is meant an oath intentionally taken.[28]

And Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. Those who swear that they will not have sexual relations with their wives should wait four months,

Ila’ signifies an oath by a man that he shall not approach his wife. In pre-Islamic times the Arabs used to take such oaths frequently, and as the period of suspension was not limited, the wife was compelled sometimes to pass her whole life having neither the position of a wife nor that of a divorced woman free to marry elsewhere. The Quran declares that if the husband does not reassert conjugal relations within four months, the wife shall be divorced. Cases in which husbands desert wives, having neither conjugal relations with them nor divorcing them, must be dealt with practically as amounting to Ila’, so that after four months the wife should be free if she wants a divorce. [29]

then if they go back, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And if they resolve on a divorce,

–The Islamic law of divorce is elastic and does not strictly limit the causes of divorce. Divorce is allowed if sufficient reason exists, but the right is to be exercised under exceptional circumstances. A wife can claim a divorce according to the Islamic law, which was not a right conferred on her by Jewish and Christian laws on divorce as formulated in Deuteronomy and Matthew.[30]

Allah is surely Hearing, Knowing. Divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses.

–The period of waiting, or ‘iddat, forms the first condition in the Islamic law of divorce. But for cases in which marriage is not consummated, no period of waiting is necessary; see 33:49.[31]

And it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation.

–These words give a clear right to the parties to effect a reconciliation and re-establish conjugal relations within the period of waiting. No special procedure is necessary for this but both the divorce and the reconciliation must take place in the presence of witnesses. If, however, the ‘iddat is over and no reconciliation has been effected, the relation of husband and wife can be reestablished by remarriage, which right is given to the parties by v. 232.[32]

And women have rights similar to those against them in a just manner,

–The rights of women against their husbands are here stated to be similar to those which the husbands have against their wives. The change in this respect was really a revolutionizing one, for the Arabs hitherto regarded women as mere property. Women were now declared to have rights similar to those which were exercised against them. The equality of the rights of women with those of men was never previously recognized by any nation or any reformer.[33]

and men are a degree above them.

–The statement that “men are a degree above them” does not nullify the rights asserted in the previous passage. The words are added simply to show that the husband is the head of the household.[34]

And Allah is Mighty, Wise.[35]

In summary, it is figment of an ignorant imagination that Quran allows sexual exploitation of women. The whole case in Quran is exactly the opposite and it assures their equal dignity and rights.


 

[1] Bani Israel – The Israelites: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[2] Al-Nur – The Light: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[3] Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[3a] Religion of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Chapter: Marriage, Section: ‘Stress laid on kind treatment towards wife”, p. 481. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/religionislam/religionislammuhammadali.shtml
[4] Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz: Footnote – 30:21 c (21)
[5] Al-Rum – The Romans: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[6] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[7] 16:69.varying hues which is a cure for the people. Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[8] 6:65. …Behold! how We explain Our Messages in different ways so that they may give thought. Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[9] 39:23. Allâh has revealed the best Message (the fairest discourse), this wonderfully coherent Book (the verses of which are mutually supplementing and) repeated, (narrating both sides of the case in various ways to drive home the divine injunctions to human minds). Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[10] 41:2-3. The compilation and orderly arrangement (of this Qur'ân) proceeds from the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful (God). (It is) a Book, the verses of which are detailed and clear in exposition. It is beautifully inter linked, (and it is in a language that) makes the meanings eloquently clear. It is very useful for a people who have knowledge. Fussilat – Detailed and Clear in Exposition: Nooruddin

[10a] 4:82. Why do they not ponder over the Qur'ân? Had it been from anyone other than Allâh, they would surely have found a good deal of inconsistency therein. Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[10b] 39:27. And We have set forth for the people all sorts of excellent and useful proofs in this Qur'ân that they may take heed. Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin

[11] Al-Taghâbun – Manifestation of Loss: Nooruddin
[12]
Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz: Footnote 2:223 c (223) – This verse shows that the real object of marital relations is not simply the satisfaction of sexual desires. (Editor’s Note: The comparison of women to the land that is tilled is to show that it is through them that the crop of the next generation of human beings grows and develops, both physically and in character. Men are also told here to do some act of moral goodness before approaching their wives sexually, and to have regard for duty to God which stands for having regard for one’s duties towards others as required by God. Thus the husband is required to be mindful also of moral duty and responsibility in the matter of sexual relations with his wife, so that it should not be merely an occasion for him to gratify his lust selfishly with no regard for moral goodness or the rights of his wife.)
[13] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[14] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 117
[14a] Abasa – He Frowned: Nooruddin

[15] Explanation of the word tilth by Nooruddin in his lectures published as “Haqaiqul Furqan”. Link: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=361&region=H1&CR=

[16] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[17] Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 450
[18] Al-Furqan – The Criteron: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[19] Al `Imran – The House of Amran: Nooruddin
[20]
ibid 
[21] New King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+5%3A17-19&version=NKJV

[22] Sex and the bible: The verses you didn't learn in Sunday school – Link: http://www.examiner.com/article/sex-and-the-bible-the-verses-you-didn-t-learn-sunday-school

[23] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[23a] Wikipedia – Oligomenorrhea: Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligomenorrhea

[23b] Wikipedia – Amenorrhoea: Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amenorrhoea

[23c] Wikipedia – Menopause: Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause
[24] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[25] New King James Version. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+15%3A19-30&version=NKJV

[26] Women were considered Ritually Unclean. Link: http://www.womenpriests.org/traditio/unclean.asp

[27] Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz: Footnote 2:224 – a (224)
[28] ibid  2:225 – b (225)
[29] 
ibid  2:226 – c (226)
[30] 
ibid  2:227 – d (227)
[31] 
ibid  2:228 – a (228-1)
[32] 
ibid  2:228 – b (228-2)
[33] 
ibid  2:228 – c (228-3)
[34] 
ibid  2:228 – d (228-4)
[35] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz

Basis of alleged abrogation in Quran, Anything but

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Basis of Alleged Abrogation in Qur’ân[1], Anything But

The alleged theory of abrogation – that one verse abrogates another one in Qur’ân, would apply only if there are two or more verses addressing a common subject. The proponents of the theory allege that certain later revealed verses supersede the previous one on the same subject; hence the earlier verse stands abrogated. Fact of the matter is that just because the theorists could not reconcile different aspects of a matter in Qur’ân, they find refuge in their dogmas. On the contrary, any repetition of a subject matter in a different shade in different verses is intentional. Qur’ân is clear about why it repeatedly mentions a given subject from different angles and how various verses on a given subject are interlinked:

6:65. …Behold! how We explain Our Messages in different ways so that they may give thought.[2]

39:23. Allâh has revealed the best Message (the fairest discourse), this wonderfully coherent Book (the verses of which are mutually supplementing and) repeated, (narrating both sides of the case in various ways to drive home the divine injunctions to human minds).[3] [Emphasis added]

41:2-3. The compilation and orderly arrangement (of this Qur'ân) proceeds from the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful (God). (It is) a Book, the verses of which are detailed and clear in exposition. It is beautifully inter linked, (and it is in a language that) makes the meanings eloquently clear. It is very useful for a people who have knowledge.[4] [Emphasis added]

The term abrogation that we find in Qur’ân is not about abrogation within Qur’ân; rather it is abrogation of links in the chain of Laws that were revealed in earlier scriptures. The term Shariah should not be confused with Fiqh. Sharia is the Law in Qur’ân,whereas Fiqh is the human formulation of the Law in Qur’ân.

Abrogation in Qur’ân refers to the gradual evolution of Shariah that started with Adam, was refined by Noah, defined by Moses, adjusted by subsequent prophets until it was finalized by Muhammad (peace be upon them). Such a needed change in Law corresponded to the social evolution of the humanity:

95:1. I call to witness (four periods of human evolution including) the Fig[5] (symbolic of the era of Adam when the foundations of the human civilization were laid), and the Olive[6] (that of Noah, the founder of sharî`at),

95:2. And Mount Sinai[7] (that of Moses when the details of the Sharî`at were revealed),

95:3. And this Town of security[8] (of Makkah where with the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, the divine law was perfected and finalized),[9]

Social laws evolved over time. Whereas, the fundamental faith has essentially remained the same across all the prophets:

42:13. He has ordained for you the same course of faith as He enjoined on Noah (to adopt), and which We have revealed to you, and it is that (same faith) which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, Jesus, so keep the faith and do not differ in it. (He ordains you) to establish obedience (to Allah) and not to be divided (in sects) therein…[10]

While the Law did evolve over time with subsequent prophets, the core principles of the faith were not abrogated in any Book. Qur’ân stands as a guardian over these core principles :

5:48. And We have revealed to you the Book [–Qur’ân] with the truth, verifying what is (already) before it [–the prophecies in Scriptures] of the Book [–Qur’ân] and a guardian over it [–i.e. over the light and guidance in the previous Scriptures]…[11]

Being a guardian over all previous revelation shows that whatever was of permanent value in the previous scriptures has been preserved in the Qur’ân. The previous books contained a light and guidance for the people for whom they were meant, and they were commanded to judge by those books, but the Qur’ân is now the Book which judges all truth, wherever it may have been.[12]

On the other hand, the details and context of the Law transitioned from one prophet to another. During that transition some aspects of the previous Law thus stood amended or abrogated. This principle of a prophet abrogating a previous Law while preserving the guidance of Scriptures can be seen for Jesus in Qur’ân, in which he changes the Law of Moses where needed while verifying the core principles of Torah:

3:49-50. …and I [–Jesus] inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers. And (I have come) verifying what is (already) before me of the Torah, and I allow you part of what was forbidden to you…[13]

Such improvements, modifications and abrogation of the Law continued across the prophetic chains till the time the prophethood itself ended with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when the abrogation of previous Scriptures was finalized and the final Law was revealed in Qur’ân:

2:106. Whatever Message We abrogate or abandon it, We bring a better (Message) than that [– Arabic: Khair am minha] or (at least) the like of it [–Arabic: Mislaha]. Do you not know that Allâh is indeed Possessor of power to do all He will.[14]

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book “Prophethood in Islam” explains the verse 2:106 as follows:

The Qur'ãn does not mention the abrogation of Shari'ahs, because actually the whole Shari'ah (Law) is never abrogated in toto. After all, the first prophet who was raised by God was also given the command that God was one and He alone deserved to be worshipped and that there was no associate with Him. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was sent last of all was also given the same message. Therefore, the Shari'ah of even the first prophet can never he abrogated in its entirety. As all the prophets had been basically given the same teaching it is not correct to think that a prophet could abrogate all the teachings of another prophet. It is for this reason that the Qur'an has thus not mentioned about the abrogation of Shari'ah, but has rather stated:

"Whatever message (or verse) We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or one like it" (Qur’ân – al-Baqarah 2:106).

This signifies that the words of God which are revealed to the prophets have sometimes to be abrogated and sometimes people forget them. In both these cases, God sends down other commands. That is His general practice. This does not specially refer to the Qur'an but it has been stated that God has been doing so from the beginning. Thus, after the words which follow the above verse, "knowest thou not that God is Possessor of power over all things? (Qur’ân – al-Baqarah 2:106)" it has been stated, "knowest thou not that God's is the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth? (Qur’ân – al-Baqarah 2:107)" As a king finds it necessary to introduce changes from time to time for the betterment of his subjects, similar is the case with the Possessor of the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, as has been mentioned here that God reveals another command after abrogating the previous one or He sends the new command because the old one has been forgotten.[15]

To understand the term abrogation and its context in Qur’ân one has to read across previous Scriptures. Take for example the Mosaic Law of Retribution in Old Testament in which there is no forgiveness:

Leviticus 24:17-22. ‘Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death. Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, animal for animal. ‘If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him — fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him. And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death. You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.’[16] [Emphasis added]

In light of Qur’ânic verse 2:106, Jesus abrogated the same Mosaic Law and replaced it with a Law in which there is no retribution:

Matthew: 5:38-40. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.[17] [Emphasis added]

Qur’ân in turn abrogated the said Law of both Old and New Testaments and finalized it with a well-balanced law in which the right for a just retribution exists side by side with option of forgiveness because vengeance in every case is not necessary:

5:45. And therein We laid down (the following law) for them (- the Jews); life for life and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth and for (other) injuries an equitable retaliation. But he who chooses to forgo (the right) thereto for the sake of Allâh, it shall be an expiation of sins for him. And whoever does not judge according to (the law) which Allâh has revealed, these it is who are the very unjust.[18] [Emphasis added]

Again, Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book “Prophethood in Islam” explains the above quoted references from the Scriptures as follows:

It is, however, as clear as daylight that the Torah was not a complete and perfect book. Some of its commandments have been retained by the Qur'ân. For instance: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shall not steal, and honour thy father and mother (Exodus 20:3, 14, 15, 12)." But some of the commands which were given according to the needs of the time. e. g., the severe law of retaliation, which was only a temporary measure, as the other aspect of the problem (i.e., forgiveness) was ignored in it, in such commands of course the need of change must have always been felt, (by various prophets) as happened in the case of Jesus Christ. If the Torah did not stand in need of such prophets who would make changes in the Law under God's instruction, from time to time, and in accordance with the needs of their age, then the Law of retaliation would not have been left incomplete for the Gospel to fulfil this deficiency. It was quite possible that God would have revealed to Moses the following perfect teaching: "And the recompense of evil is punishment like it; but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah? (Qur’ân – al-Shura 42:40)" Now retaliation is here not made compulsory but the words mithluha (like it) show that evil must be requited by punishment proportionate to the evil. On this golden rule are based today all the laws of justice of the civilized nations. And as in the Torah, vengeance in every case is not necessary. And then this teaching has removed the two defects of the teachings of the Gospel as well. Firstly, the exercise of forgiveness is not recommended in every case as has been done in the Gospel that "whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also." This is quite impracticable and even a staunch follower of Christianity cannot make it a rule of his life. Secondly, the exercise of forgiveness has been made conditional, that is, one should only resort to forgiveness when it will mend the matter and be of some good to the wrong-doer. Now this perfect conception of justice is neither found in the Torah nor in the Gospel. The Torah contained a part of it which was imperfect because punishment was made compulsory, and the Gospel contained another part which was also defective because there forgiveness was made essential and no scope was left for punishment. The reason was that the Israelites were not yet so capable that Moses or Jesus Christ or the prophets who passed in between could give them complete and perfect teaching. And if it was, however, given to them it could not have helped them in any way. It was, however, expedient that they should be given at one time the Mosaic law of retaliation but when they went to the other extreme in the application of this law another aspect of the teaching was needed. This point finds support from Jesus Christ's own words:

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth '(i.e., Ahmad or the Paraclete) is come he will guide you unto all truth (St. John, 16:12-13)."

In short, this one instance is enough to prove that in the Shari'ah of Moses some matters needed alteration or modification even before the Shari'ah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah he upon him) came into operation.[19]

In summary, Law of Moses for Retaliation in Leviticus 24:17-22 was abrogated by Jesus who then replaced it with absolute forgiveness in Matthew 5:38. As a case in point in light of Qur’ânic verse 2:106, it is obvious that both Jews and Christians have either forgotten or abandoned both of the quoted references in not only their daily living but also in the laws that they implemented in their lands. Similarly, same Mosaic Law of Retribution is referred to and abrogated in Qur’ânic verse 5:45 with the option of forgiveness under the principle of abrogation – Whatever Message We abrogate or abandon it, We bring a better (Message) than that or (at least) the like of it (2:106). The Qur’ânic verse 5:45 has both the attributes of being better or the like of it of that in Leviticus 24:17-22 and Matthew 5:38.

It is to this abrogation or abandoning of a previous Law by subsequent prophets that Qur’ân states:

13:38. And most surely, We sent before you many Messengers and We gave them wives and children [i.e. Prophets were not monks and were part of social fabric of their societies]. Yet it was not possible for a Messenger to bring a sign [Arabic: biāyatin] but by Allâh's command. For everything [including the previous Law,] that has an appointed term, there is a (divine) law (to regulate it).[20]

Of course, Law brought by a prophet before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a limited shelf-life till the time some aspects of it were amended or updated, in part or in whole, by a subsequent prophet. As to why these changes were allowed in the evolution of Shari’ah is explained in the next verse i.e. the ultimate Law giver is none but Allah Himself and the prerogative for such changes rests with Him:

13:39. Allâh repeals (the law relating to punishment) what He will and He establishes and confirms (what He pleases) and with Him is the source and origin of all laws and commandments [Arabic: ummu l-kitābi = Mother/Basis of the Book].[21]

Those who advocate abrogation of verses in Qur’ân just because they could not reconcile the different aspects of the message in different verses, fall back on verses 16:101, 2:106, 87:6-7 and 22:52 to form the basis of their alleged doctrine. Under this doctrine, certain verses which have been supposedly overridden by subsequently revealed ones, are nullified. They are mistaken in the first case for being unable to fully understand the different aspects of 'apparently' conflicting verses and secondly they are reading the verses wrongly to justify their conclusions that Qur’ân accepts its own abrogation. Let’s review these verses one by one to see if Qur’ân abrogates itself by its own words:

* 16:101. And Allâh knows very well the need of what He reveals, yet when We replace a revelation with another revelation they say (to you), `You are only a fabricator (of lies).' The truth is, however, that most of them know nothing.[22]

* 2:106. Whatever Message We abrogate or abandon it, We bring a better (Message) than that or (at least) the like of it. Do you not know that Allâh is indeed Possessor of power to do all He will.[23]

* 87:6-7. We will soon teach (you and) make you recite (the Qur'ân) so that you shall not forget (any part of it). Except whatever (other things which) Allâh will (and which things you are apt to forget as a human being). Indeed He knows all that is manifest and all that is hidden.[24]

* 22:52. And We have sent no Messenger, nor a Prophet before you but when he longed (to attain what he sought), satan (interfered and) put hindrances in the way of what he sought after. But Allâh removes (the hindrances) that are placed by satan, then Allâh firmly establishes His Messages. And Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.[25]

Firstly, the following verse is oft quoted to support validation of alleged sanctioning of abrogation in Qur’ân:

16:101. And Allâh knows very well the need of what He reveals, yet when We replace a revelation [–in a previous scripture e.g. Torah] with another revelation [–in a subsequent scripture e.g. Qur’ân] they say (to you), `You are only a fabricator (of lies).' The truth is, however, that most of them know nothing.[26] [Emphasis added]

It is an established fact that the above verse is from Makkah period. It is also known that abrogation theories are essentially about the Laws in Qur’ân. The details of Laws in Qur’ân were revealed only after migration of the Prophet to Medina. Is it not strange then to assume that Qur’ân is advocating abrogation of its own Laws while none had yet been revealed? The abrogation that Qur’ân speaks of while the Prophet is still in Makkah is the abrogation of the previous Scriptures.

This said verse clearly gives the principles of updating of the Law across the subsequent prophets. Those who take a narrow view of the said verse from within the Qur’ân fail to read the phrase – they say. Who is referred to by – they say? Because, once it is recognized as to who are they, it fully explains the meaning of the above verse and what is being substituted in – replace a revelation with another revelation. Essentially, Mosaic Law needed an upgrade because the Final Law, i.e. Qur’ân was to be universal whereas the Torah was nation and time specific only. The above verse also needs to be read in full context as to why Prophet Muhammad is being accused of being a fabricator. It is obvious in the stated verse that there was 'something' which Muhammad (PBUH) was bringing that was replace-ing an existing revelation i.e. Torah. Of note is that in the above verse the smear against Prophet Muhammad of being a fabricator itself identifies the allegers, who cannot be Muslims. It were the Jews who were so much perturbed by the extent of an existing revelation, Torah being replaced with another newer revelation, Qur’ân. It would be totally absurd to imagine even for a moment that Prophet Muhammad is being called by Jews of Arabia a fabricator of a select few verses of Qur’ân, in the manner of proponents of abrogation within Qur’ân, while rest of Qur’ân is 'genuine' and a non-fabrication to them. The criticism here is that he is an alleged fabricator of the whole Book – The Qur’ân. It is thus the whole of Qur’ân in its entirety, allegedly 'fabricated', which is replacing the whole of Torah and Evangel.

Qur’ân further rebukes this alleged forging of Qur’ân by the Prophet as follows:

17:73. And they had spared nothing in causing you [–Muhammad] (the severest) affliction with the purpose to turn you away from the revelations given to you, that you might forge in Our name something different from that which We have revealed to you. In that case they would surely have taken you for a special friend.[27]

It would be ridiculous to imagine that Jews were anxious and angry that Prophet is fabricating and replacing verses of Qur’ân. Rather, they would have been quite happy for the Prophet to make contradictions by his own hands and for him to fail because of such fabrications. Factually, it is the replacement of Mosaic Law which was provoking their objections.

The reply to above objections of Jews is further explained and contextualized in subsequent verses:

16:102. Say, `The Spirit of Holiness [– Angel Gabriel] has brought this (Qur'ân) down from your Lord to suit the requirement of truth and wisdom, (Allâh has revealed it) so that He may strengthen those who believe in their faith and so that (this may serve as) a guidance and good tidings for Muslims.[28]

The Spirit of Holiness is the term used in Torah in equivalence to Angel Gabriel in Qur’ân:

The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruaḥ ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH (רוח יהוה). It literally means "the spirit of holiness" or "the spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruaḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשְׁךָ), and ruaḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" (רוּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ) also occur (when a possessive suffix is added the definite article is dropped). The "Holy Spirit" in Judaism generally refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It also refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.[29]

Said objections were raised by none other than the Jews of Medina as no other religion in Arabia had anything to do with The Spirit of Holiness or its context in above verse. It was Jews who are told that their Torah is being abrogated by Qur’ân by revelations through Gabriel, not that a certain passage of Qur’ân is being replaced by a revelation with another revelation. In the latter case Jews would have no objection where Qur’ân abrogates itself. No wonder the Jews were unwilling to accept abrogation of Torah and Mosaic Law by Qur’ân. The Makkan idolaters taking cues from Christians alleged further that Qur’ân is a fabricated reformulation of Bible as taught by one of the Christian slaves. Qur’ân refutes those charges as well:

16:103. And We know fully well what they say (by way of objection) that this (Qur'ân) is (not revealed by God but it is) only what a human being instructs to him (- to Muhammad). But (strange it is) that the tongue of him to whom they (unjustly) allude (of making this insinuation) is foreign and wanting in clearness, whereas the language of this (Qur'ân) is chaste Arabic, plain and clear. [30]

To re-emphasize, the following verse outlines the paradox of the opponents, primarily the Jews of the time, then and even now, as to why they reject Qur’ân. On one hand they were awaiting the advent of the prophet and the Qur’ân, yet when one came:

2:89. And (now) when there has come to them the glorious Book from Allâh, fulfilling that (Prophecy) which is already with them, and previous to that they had been praying for victory over those who disbelieved, yet when that (long awaited Prophet and the Qur'ân) came to them which they recognised (also to be the truth), they disbelieved in it. (And because of this rejection) the disapproval of Allâh is the due for the disbelievers.[31]

The rejection of the Jews was not on the basis of the merits of Qur’ân, but their grudge towards a non-Israeli prophet, the bearer of Qur’ân:

2:90. Evil is that thing they have sold themselves for that they should reject that (source of guidance) which Allâh has revealed, grudging that Allâh should send down His grace on such of His servants as He pleases. Thus they have incurred (His) displeasure after displeasure. There awaits these disbelievers a humiliating punishment.[32]

According to Qur’ân the opposition of prophets was not a new behavior of Jews. They not only rejected Qur’ân and Prophet Muhammad, they also rejected Evengel and Jesus before as well. Not only that, they even tried to kill Jesus:

2:91. When it is said to them, `Believe in that (- the Qur'ân) which Allâh has sent down.' They say, `We believe only in that (- the Torah) which has been sent down to us.' And they deny every thing other than that (and which has since been revealed); though it (- the Qur'ân) is the lasting truth and corroborates that which is already with them (in their own Scriptures). Say, `Why, then, did you seek to kill the Prophets of Allâh in former times if you were (real) believers (in the former Scriptures)?'[33]

Qur’ân is cognizant of its recurring rejection by certain peoples:

2:92. Moses did come to you with clear arguments yet you took to the (worship of) the calf in his absence and you were not justified in doing so.

2:93. And (recall) when We took a covenant from you, (while you had encamped at the foot of Sinai) with (the summits of) the Mount towering above you, (and We had said,) `Hold fast to that which we have given you and obey.' (But) those (of you who were given this commandment) said, `We hear and we disobey.' Their hearts were, in fact, permeated with (the love of) the calf (worship) due to their disbelief. Say, `Evil is the way to which your faith leads you, if you are believers at all.'[34]

Qur’ân further denies that certain peoples are the chosen ones:

2:94. Say, `If the last Abode with Allâh is especially reserved for you excluding all other people, then invoke death (upon yourself standing against the Prophet of Islam) if you are on the right.'

2:95. But never shall they invoke it, on account of that which their own hands have sent before. Allâh knows these wrong doers very well.[35]

Secondly, verse 2:106 is also put forth to support abrogation in Qur’ân. Not so, especially when this verse is read together, in context, with the preceding verse as follows:

2:105. Neither those from among the people of the Scripture who disbelieved, nor the polytheists like that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord. But Allâh singles out for His mercy whomsoever He wishes [be it a non-Jewish Prophet – Muhammad] (to receive His mercy), and Allâh is of abounding bounty.

2:106. Whatever Message We abrogate or abandon it, We bring a better (Message) than that [–Arabic: Khair am minha] or (at least) the like of it [–Arabic: Mislaha]. Do you not know that Allâh is indeed Possessor of power to do all He will. [36]

Verse 2:106 continues to highlight the basis for Jewish opposition to the Qur’ân, as stated in the preceding verses 2:89-93, also quoted above. In addition, the immediately preceding verse, 2:105, is also about the people of Book i.e. Jews and Christians. Verse 2:106 is only and only about the previous Scriptures. Verse 2:106, even if read on it its own, still means that when a previous Divine Message is abrogated, God brings a better Message than that or the like of it. So, the natural question is what is the previous message that God has abrogated or abandoned? That answer is crystal clear in verse 2:105 where it mentions people of the Scripture, and by implication their Scriptures. Any allusion to Qur’ân abrogating any of its own verses in context of verses 2:105 and 2:106 is sign of sheer illiteracy or plain malicious distortion.

Maulana Muhammad Ali explains the verse 2:106 in light of verse 2:105 for its prophesized roots in Old Testament:

These words refer to Khair am minha (better one – Holy Qur’ân 2:106 – i.e., the abrogation of a message by a better one). The word Mislaha (like it – Holy Qur’ân 2:106 – i.e., message like one forgotten for its message, Torah) also refer to the prophecy of the Prophet Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18, that is the teaching of the Holy Prophet would be like that of Moses.[37]

Deuteronomy 18:18. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.[38]

Similarly, Muhammad Asad comments on the same verse as follows:

The principle laid down in this passage – relating to the supersession of the Biblical dispensation by that of the Qur'an – has given rise to an erroneous interpretation by many Muslim theologians. The word ayah ("message") occurring in this, context is also used to denote a "verse;" of the Qur'an (because every one of these verses contains a message). Taking this restricted meaning of the term ayah, some scholars conclude from the above passage that certain verses of the Qur'an have been "abrogated" by God's command before the revelation of the Qur'an was completed. Apart from the fancifulness of this assertion – which calls to mind the image of a human author correcting, on second thought, the proofs of his manuscript – deleting one passage and replacing it with another – there does not exist a single reliable Tradition to the effect that the Prophet ever, declared a verse of the Qur'an to have been "abrogated". At the root of the so-called "doctrine of abrogation" may lie the inability of some of the early commentators to reconcile one Qur'anic passage with another: a difficulty which was overcome by declaring that one of the verses in question had been "abrogated". This arbitrary procedure explains also why there is no unanimity whatsoever among the upholders of the "doctrine of abrogation" as to which, and how many, Qur'an verses have been affected by it; and, furthermore, as to whether this alleged abrogation implies a total elimination of the verse in question from the context of the Qur'an, or only a cancellation of the specific ordinance or statement contained in it. In short, the "doctrine of abrogation" has no basis whatever in historical fact, and must be rejected. On the other hand, the apparent difficulty in interpreting the above Qur'anic passage disappears immediately if the term ayah is understood, correctly, as "message", and if we read this verse in conjunction with the preceding one, which states that the Jews and the Christians refuse to accept any revelation which might supersede that of the Bible: for, if read in this way, the abrogation relates to the earlier divine messages and not to any part of the Qur'an itself.[39]

Next question is that what was that sent down to you from your Lord (2:105)? Of course, it was none but Qur’ân. Clearly there is a turf war between Jews and Muslims. By accepting Qur’ân as a revealed book, they naturally had to give up Torah as abrogated. This tussle between Jews rejecting Muhammad (PBUH) and Qur’ân instead of Torah is further brought to light by next verses:

2:108. Rather you (Jews!) like to question your Messenger (unduly) as Moses was questioned before? And he who adopts disbelief instead of belief, had undoubtedly strayed from the straight direction of the path.

2:109. Many of the people of the Scripture would love to turn you back after your having believed, into disbelievers, out of selfish envy, and after the truth (of this Qur'ân) has become apparent to them. But pardon (them) and overlook, until Allâh shall make manifest His will, indeed Allâh is Possessor of every power to do all He will.[40]

Thirdly, verses 87:6-7 are misinterpreted to mean that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was made to forget certain revelations so that the newer revelations could replace the ones forgotten by him, essentially abrogating the forgotten one.

Before we discuss the verses in question, it must be made clear in the reader’s mind that Divine revelation is not like ordinary knowledge attained through human efforts. In the former case, that knowledge is direct from God to Man via medium of angel and gets indelibly imprinted on heart of the recipient – And verily this (Qur'ân) is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. The Spirit, Faithful to the Trust (- Gabriel) has descended with it. (Revealing it) to your heart with the result that you became of the Warners (- a Prophet of God) (26:192-194) [41]. Whereas, the human knowledge that is limited by lapses in memory is attained by experience, reason and formal learning, symbolized by pen – Who taught knowledge by means of the pen, He taught human being what he did not know (96:4-5)[42].

Allamah Nooruddin in his translation contextualizes these same verses in question – 87:6-7 that bring out the context of possible human forgetfulness of prophet, which are only the non-revelation aspects of his life:

87:6. We will soon teach (you and) make you recite (the Qur'ân) so that you shall not forget (any part of it). [see verses 26:192-194 above]

87:7. Except whatever (other things which) Allâh will (and which things you are apt to forget as a human being) [see verses 96:4-5 above]. Indeed He knows all that is manifest and all that is hidden.

87:8. And We shall provide you (every) facility and make things easy for you.

87:9. Therefore keep on reminding (the people), surely reminding does good. [43]

Man is apt to forget, and the Prophet was a human being and he too was apt to forget. But he never forgot a word of the Divine revelation which came to him. He sometimes received long chapters on a single occasion, but the whole was so deeply impressed on his mind that once it was read out to him by the Holy Spirit, he repeated it without forgetting a word of it. Still more difficult was his task when chapters were received piecemeal. The reference in what Allah please is not to Divine revelation which the Prophet never forgot, but to other things which he forgot as a human being.[44]

The permanence of revelation of every verse of Qur’ân ever revealed is further affirmed and any contrary view, including the later developed abrogation theories, expunged in the following verses:

17:85. AND they question you about the revelation, and the human soul. Say, ‘The revelation and the soul is by the command of my Lord, (because) little is the knowledge there of that you have been given.’

17:86. Had We so willed We could surely take away [–alienation from the hearts and the memory of men, as well as its disappearance in written form[45]] that which We have revealed to you. If We did so you could find none to plead your cause (to restore it to you) against Our will.

17:87. But (it is) the special mercy from your Lord (that He will not do so [i.e. for the Prophet to forget any revelation]); His grace and favour upon you is very great infact.[46]

It sounds ridiculous for one to entertain even for a moment that a Prophet can forget a teaching whose teacher is none but Allah himself, as outlined by above-mentioned verses. Even if it is accepted that Prophet was made to forget some verses, then what about hundreds of Huffaz, those who had memorized Qur’ân during Prophet’s own life time and recited it in the same order one and all? Did they too forget along with the Prophet, yet we have no record of such forgetfulness, neither by the prophet nor by anyone else of significance?

The level of perfection attained by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) can be inferred in the following set of verses, if nothing else, at least in delivering of the Message:

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).
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),
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.[47][Emphasis added]

With the above discourse, doubting the capacity of a Prophet failing to remember revelations is tantamount to doubting God Himself, which is not possible.

Fourthly, similar to verses 87:6-7 above, it is alleged in certain translations that the verse 22:52 gives an opening to the idea that since Satan can interpose into the desire of a Prophet, thus God necessarily abrogates those revelations that got interposed by Satan. However, even the remote possibility of evil, no matter how much imagined, interposing between the Prophet and Allah is purged by Qur’ân:

26:210. It was not the evil ones who have brought this (Qur'ân) down.

26:211. It does neither suit them nor have they the power (to reveal it).

26:212. Infact, they (- the evil ones) are precluded from listening (to the Divine revelation).[48]

Still for the sake of argument even if the abrogation theorists are given some room in their assertion, then we draw their attention to the following parable in which there is a dialogue between God and Iblis, the Satan:

15:39. He [– Iblis] said, `My Lord! since You have condemned me as astray (and erring), I will surely make (evil of straying from the straight path) fair-seeming to them (as long as they stay) on the earth; I shall seduce them all,

15:40. `Except your (sincere) servants from among them; (Your) chosen and purified ones, (whom I shall not be able to seduce).'

15:41. (Lord) said, `The path (that My sincere servants follow) leads straight to Me.

15:42. `As for My servants, you have no authority over them. Different, however, is the case of such of the deviators who (choose to) follow you.[48a]

It is thus obvious that Iblis would attempt to lead astray all humanity, `Except your (sincere) servants from among them; (Your) chosen and purified ones, (whom I shall not be able to seduce).' The abrogation theorists now will have to decide for themselves if the Prophet was one of the chosen and purified ones or not, before we could even consider the role of Satan interfering in the desires of the Prophet to interject the satanic verses?

Allamah Nooruddin once again explains and contextualizes the hindering role of Satan in the alleged verse – 22:52 and its adjoining verses and removes any doubts that might creep up about abrogation. In the preamble to verse 22:52, the role of the Prophet, the reward for believers and the abasement of disbelievers is outlined:

22:49. Say, `O mankind! I am but a plain Warner to you all (against the evil consequences of refusal and misdeeds).'

22:50. There awaits protection and a generous and honourable provision for those who believe and do deeds of righteousness.

22:51. But those who strive hard against Our Messages seeking to frustrate (Us in Our aims and ends), it is they who will be the inmates of the flaming Fire. [49]

Of note is that verse 22:51above defines the term Satan i.e. those who strive hard against Our Messages seeking to frustrate. This definition of Satan is then used by Qur’ân in subsequent verses. Satan in following verses is just another term for oppositional forces and efforts that unleashed against the Prophet and not the actual ‘devil’ that the abrogation theorists allege. Rather, it is the attribute of the opposition to the Prophet who put hindrances in the way of Islam:

22:52. And We have sent no Messenger, nor a Prophet before you but when he longed (to attain what he sought), satan [–the opposition] (interfered and) put hindrances in the way of what he sought after. But Allâh removes (the hindrances) that are placed by satan [–the opposition], then Allâh firmly establishes His Messages. And Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

22:53. (Allâh permits the interference of satan) so that He may make (the hindrance which satan [–the opposition] puts in the way of the Messengers) serve as a trial for those whose hearts carry disease (of hypocrisy) and for those whose hearts are hardened (because of disbelief). Infact the wrongdoers have gone far (in their antagonism).

22:54. And (He permits this) so that those who have been given knowledge may know that this (Qur'ân) is the truth from your Lord and may believe in it and humble themselves before Him from their very hearts. And Allâh will indeed be the Guide of those who believe, to the straight and right path.

22:55. And those who have disbelieved will continue to have doubt about this (Qur'ân) until the Hour overtakes them suddenly, or the scourge of a destructive day befalls them. [50]

Any insinuation that Satan intercepted God’s message as misinterpreted in the verse 22:52 is removed by Qur’ân:

42:24. Rather they say, ‘He has forged a lie against Allâh (by presenting this Qur’ân).’ If Allâh so willed He would set a seal (against them) upon your heart. But Allâh eradicates falsehood (through you [– Muhammad]) and establishes the truth by (dint of) His words (-prophecies and revelation). He is indeed, One knowing full well (even) the innermost thoughts of the hearts.[51][Emphasis added]

The above verse makes plainly clear that Allâh eradicates falsehood and establishes the truth. Will the proponents of abrogation theory dare state that any verse of Qur’ân ever revealed to the Prophet is false or that it needed eradication? If so, which ones?

The proponents of abrogation theories might not be aware that their allegation of Satan interfering with Message given to any prophet is actually against the basic principle of Qur’ân. In contrast Qur’ân asserts that all Messages to mankind via Messengers are protected from any evil whatsoever by Allah Himself:

72:26. …so He makes His secrets known to none, except a messenger whom He chooses. For surely He makes a guard to go before him and behind him, that He may know that they have truly delivered the messages of their Lord; and He encompasses whatever is with them, and He keeps account of all things.[52]

Finally, for the record, unlike previous Scriptures, Qur’ân being the Final Law, it preemptively rejects any and every possibility, from many angles, of future development of abrogation theories about itself:

3:7. …and those firmly rooted in knowledge. They say: We believe in it, it is all [–without an iota of abrogation] from our Lord.[53][Emphasis added]

4: 82. Why do they not ponder over the Qur'ân? Had it been from anyone other than Allâh, they would surely have found a good deal of inconsistency therein [–in the manner of alleged abrogation theories that contradict each other].[54]

18:27. And recite (to these people) what is revealed to you of the commandment of your Lord. There is none who can change His words [–including the abrogation theorists], and you will find no refuge apart from Him.[55]

48:15. The believers are only those who (truly) believe in Allâh and His Messenger, and then doubt not [in the Message in the manner of Abrogationists who seed doubts about it]…[56]

If nothing else, the abrogation theorists have to justify their own recitation of even the alleged abrogated verses and still finding guidance in them:

27:92. `And to recite (to the people), and follow the Qur'ân; so one who (on listening to it) follows guidance, does it for his own good…[57]

In summary, the idea that Qur’ân speaks or hints about its own abrogation is purely extra-Qur’ânic. How this kind of thinking crept up may be best answered by its proponents, not Qur’ân.

The principle on which the theory of abrogation is based is unacceptable, being contrary to the clear teaching of the Qur’ân. A verse is considered to be abrogated by another when the two cannot be reconciled with each other; in other words, when they appear to contradict each other. But the Qur’ân destroys this foundation when it declares that no part of it is at variance with another: "Will they not then meditate on the Qur’ân? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy" (4:82). It was due to lack of meditation that one verse was thought to be at variance with another; and hence it is that in almost all cases where abrogation has been upheld by one person, there has been another who, being able to reconcile the two, has repudiated the alleged abrogation.[58]


[1] Reader is encouraged to review “Theory of Abrogation” in “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/books/mali/rlgnislm/holyquran.shtml
[2] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[3] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[4] Fussilat – Detailed and Clear in Exposition: Nooruddin
[5] Genesis 3:6-7. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3%3A+6-7&version=NKJV

7:20-22. Then satan made an evil suggestion to them both, with the result that their shortcomings which were hidden from them, became manifest to them, and he said, `Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest you should become angels or become of the immortals.' And he ardently swore to them both (saying), `Most certainly, I am one of your sincere advisers.' Thus he led them on the way of guile and deceit. And when they tasted of the tree (and committed the things forbidden to them), their shortcomings became manifest to them. They (in order to cover themselves) began to stick the leaves of the garden over themselves and their Lord called out to them both (saying,) `Did I not forbid you from (approaching) that tree, and tell you that satan is to you an enemy disuniting (from Me)?' Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin.
[6] Genesis 8:6-11: So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+8%3A6-11&version=NKJV
[7] Exodus 19:20. Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+19%3A20&version=NKJV
[8] 2: 125. And when We made the House (- the Ka`bah at Makkah) a frequent resort for mankind and (a place of) peace and security, and (We commanded), `Take to yourselves the place of Abraham (- the Ka`bah) for a centre (and face towards it) during Prayer.' And We enjoined Abraham and Ismail, `Purify and clean My House for those who perform the circuit (around it) and those who cleave to it for devotion and for those who bow down (before Allah) and prostrate (to Him in Prayer).' Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
16:112. And Allah sets-forth an excellent description of a township (-Makkah). It enjoyed a state of security and peaceAl-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Tin – The Fig: Nooruddin
[10] Al-Shura – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[11] Al-Maidah – Food: Nooruddin
[12] Al-Maidah – The Food: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz, footnote: a(48-1)
[13] Al`Imran – Family of Imran: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[14] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[15] Prophethood in Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali, An-Nubuwwat fil Islam translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, p. 133. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/prophethoodislam/prophethoodislam.shtml
[16] New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+24%3A17-22&version=NKJV
[17] New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:38-40
[18] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[19] Prophethood in Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali, An-Nubuwwat fil Islam translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, p. 131-132. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/prophethoodislam/prophethoodislam.shtml
[20] Al-Rad – The Thunder: Nooruddin
[21] ibid
[22] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[23] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[24] Al-Ala – The Most High: Nooruddin
[25] Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin
[26] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[27] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[28] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[29] Holy Spirit. Wikipedia. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Spirit#Judaism
[30] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[31] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[32] 
ibid
[33] ibid
[34] ibid
[35] ibid
[36] ibid
[37]God’s Word and the Turning Away of the Jews: Friday Sermon of Hazrat Ameer (Head) Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib – December 20, 1914 – http://aaiil.org/text/hq/sermons/mali/godwordjews.shtml

[38] New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+18%3A18+&version=NKJV
[39] Footnote. Verse 2:106. The Message of The Quran. Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad.
[40] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[41] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[42] Al-Alaq – The Clot: Nooruddin
[43] Al-Ala – The Most High: Nooruddin
[44] Al-Ala – The Most High: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz, footnote: a(7)
[45] Footnote. Verse 17:86. The Message of The Quran. Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad.
[46] Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[47] Al-Najm – Parts of the Quran: Nooruddin
[48] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin

[48a] Al-Hijr – The Rock: Nooruddin
[49] Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin
[50]
ibid
[51] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Nooruddin
[52] Al-Jinn – The Jinn: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[53] Al`Imran – The Family of Imran: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[54] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[55] Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
[56] Al-Hujarat – The Chambers: Nooruddin
[57] Al-Naml – The Tribe of Naml: Nooruddin
[58] “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, section: “Basis of Abrogation”. Link: http://aaiil.org/text/books/mali/rlgnislm/holyquran.shtml

‘Aal’, the Family of the Prophet — It is Creed not Breed

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Aal’, the Family of the Prophet – It is Creed not Breed!

Sometime after the death of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) and ever since there have arisen institutions in Islam with sectarian leanings that primarily rely on holy lineages for their leadership along blood lines as if spirituality and blessings of the forefathers can be transmitted in subsequent generations of the descendants. There is no denying that descendants of holies can be independently saintly by their own faith and effort, but such claims or attributions must stand on individual merits and not on lineage. There is no cronyism in Islam to permit continuation of a spiritual office based upon pedigree in the manner of monarchy and heirs to a throne.

Man through history has been driven by a natural inclination to degrade himself and bow before God to satisfy his soul. Unable to comprehend God in some palpable manner, humans inevitably resort to bygone personalities that were apparently able to do so. To satisfy this inner urge to experience spirituality through proxy one finds rampant fellowships in most religions and also in different sects among Muslims. Some fellowships are based upon lineage of Prophet via his daughter; others find such figures for emotional attachment either in history or even in the present as tangible faces of an otherwise ever elusive mysticism.

Fellowships provide a sense of belonging and identity where the choir sings the same hymn under common emotions. Such congregational clustering also gives a sense of protection in a social network thus established that provides opportunities of growth in various sectors of daily living. Sooner or later, the fellowships turn into a cultish behavior when the leadership devolves into a self-serving power center surrounded by yes-men and the parish is dragged along in a blind allegiance.

We shall put rationale of fellowships that exist in Muslims to test through the lens of Qur’ân, under the following headings:

Fellowship: Merits and Principles

The highest office in Islam is that of prophethood which ended with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The sole purpose of a prophet is to bring Message and a way of life to the masses, commonly called religion. Belief in a religion has to stand on its own merits; Islam has no room for indoctrination or its enforcement as heritage:

2:256. There is no compulsion of any sort in religion (as) the right way does stand obviously distinguished from the way of error. [1]

The Message of a prophet is to guide mankind to God. Every Messenger since eternity has emphasized nearness to Allah through individual righteous deeds and not by blood relationships to the Prophets, and by implication, to his appointed ones after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Mujaddids as well:

 16:128. Allâh is, of course, with those who guard against evil, and those who are doers of good to others.[2]

For the follower of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), irrespective of his/her genealogy that may link such a person to the Prophet in any combination of lineage, his/her practicing Islam is a favor only to themselves and no one else:

49:17. They presume to lay thee under an obligation by becoming Muslims. Say: Lay me not under an obligation by your Islam; rather Allah lays you under an obligation by guiding you to the faith, if you are truthful.[3]

Islam is not a patrimonial religion that sustains itself on a region, race, language or relationships. There is little merit in inheriting Islam in a bloodline. The arguments that Qur’ân puts against followers of other religions also essentially applies to its own adherents:

5:104. …They say, `Sufficient for us is that (tradition) whereon we have found our forefathers.' What! (would they follow them blindly) even though their forefathers had no knowledge whatsoever and had no guidance?[4]

43:22. Nay, but they say, “Behold, We found our forefathers agreed on what to believe – and, verily, it is in their footsteps that we find our guidance!”

43:23. And thus it is: whenever We sent, before thy time, a warner to any community, those of its people who had lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures would always say, “Behold, we found our forefathers agreed on what to believe – and, verily, it is but in their footsteps that we follow!”[5]

In the matters of faith the only human model that is to be followed is the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

33:21. Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar…[6]

Even while following the Prophet, a Muslim has to keep in mind the human status of Muhammad, which the Prophet himself declares and Qur’ân emphasizes:

110. Say, I [Muhammad] am but a human being like you’…[7]

In other religions, their followers, out of love for their respective messengers, coupled with their ancestral and inherent idolatrous traditions, over a period of time started attributing godliness to their messengers. Similarly, in Muslims too, traditions have taken root of beliefs that association with certain personages in history or in the present brings them closer to Allah, a notion that Qur’ân strictly admonishes against:

39:3. Beware! Sincere and true obedience is due to Allâh alone. Those who choose others as a patron beside Him (say), `We serve them only that they may bring us near to Allâh in station.' (It is absolutely wrong.)…[8]

Not only does Qur’ân nip any doubts about humanness of any prophet in the bud, it also bars any prophet from self-exaltation. There is no intermediary in the man-God connection in Islam. This injunction must be followed posthumously because the message of Qur’ân is for all times to come:

2:79. It is not given to a human being that Allâh should give him the Book, the sovereignty and the prophethood and then he should say to the people, `Be servants to me beside Allâh’. He would rather say, `Be you the sole devotees of (Allâh) the Lord, for you teach the Book and because you study (it)’.

2:80. Nor would (it be possible for him that) he bid you take the angels and Prophets as your lords. Would he bid you disbelieve after you have submitted yourselves (to the will of God)?[9]

In the man-God relationship of Islam, there are no intermediaries. By excluding any intercessional capacity of any admired personage by its followers, Qur’ân removes such polytheistic tendencies in Islam:

39:44. Say, `All intercession belongs to Allâh entirely. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, then towards Him you shall (all) be brought back.'[10]

The followers of exalted personages are cautioned about the extent of their love for that person, which at times can be unlimited to the extent it might teeter on polytheism. The object of worship of a Muslim is Allah, not any human:

39:45. When (the name of) Allâh alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion but when (the names of) those who are below His high station are mentioned, behold they are at once filled with joy.[11]

Fellowship: Meritocracy vs. Aristocracy

Based upon the principle of individual righteousness and actions Abraham was conferred the status of Imam. His natural wish for across the board Imams in his progeny, both in bloodline and fellowship, is denied in Qur’ân with the exception of those of his posterity who are righteous. This example of Abraham makes bloodline immaterial in subsequent Imamate to the any appointed one:

2:124. (Recall) when his Lord put Abraham to test with certain commandments, so he carried them out. (God) said, `Verily, I will make you an Imâm (– a religious leader) for the good of the people.' (Abraham) said (inquiringly), `And from among my progeny (too, do You promise to raise leaders)?' (God) said, `(Yes, but) My (this) covenant does not embrace the wrongdoers.'[12]

This tenet of no virtue in inheritance without the merit of righteousness is also contained in the prayer of Solomon that excluded his inept successors – Jeroboam and his son Rehoboam:

38:35. He [Solomon] said (praying), `My Lord! grant me protection and bestow on me a kingdom that belongs to none (by inheritance) after me. You indeed are the Great Bestower.'[13]

The foundation stone of spirituality in Islam is individual righteousness, not association with the righteous alone that we see in exclusion of some of the wives even those of the prophets from any blessings, the wives of Noah and Lot as a case in point:

66:10. Allâh compares those who disbelieve to the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were both under (the wedlock of) two of Our righteous servants but acted treacherously towards them both. So they (– Noah and Lot) could do nothing to save them from (the punishment of) Allâh. And it was said to them, `Enter you both into the (Hell) Fire along with those (of your category) who enter therein.[14]

The opposite is equally true, when a righteous person is associated with a wrong-doer, for example the Pharaoh of Exodus:

66:11. And Allâh compares those who believe to the wife of Pharaoh. 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.[15]

Of course, a person can be standalone righteous, for example Mary, mother of Jesus:

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.[16]

Even Prophet Muhammad’s own blood relations were not exempt from the application of this universal principle of merit of individual righteousness and his uncle and aunt were prophesized to be doomed in Prophet’s lifetime:

111:1. 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!

111:2. His wealth and what he has accomplished shall avail him naught.

111:3. He shall soon enter a Fire full of leaping flames (to burn others of his kind as well),

111:4. And his wife too, the carrier of fire wood and bearer of slanders and calumnies (will also be enveloped in the flames);

111:5. Having round her neck a halter of twisted strands.[17]

Fellowship: Fraternity vs. Family

Note: The since advocates of a selective meaning of ‘family of prophet’ are important to discussion below, we will be referring to translation of Qur’ân published under the author name of MH Shakir who belonged to same school of thought. It is also important to bear in mind that Shakir has extensively plagiarized his work.[18]

Further, blood relationship has no bearing on attaining righteousness. Even a prophet’s own children can fall into disfavor because of their misdeeds and be removed from the spiritual succession, the ‘family’ of the prophet:

11:45. And Noah called to his Lord and said , `My Lord! my son belongs to my family [Arabic: ahlī] and surely Your promise is (also) true; yet You are the Most Just of the judges’.

11:46. (The Lord) said, `He decidedly does not belong to your family [Arabic: ahlika] as he is given to unrighteous conduct, so do not ask of Me that of which you have no knowledge. I advise you not to be of those wanting in knowledge.'[19] [Emphasis added]

Of note is that in the said verses Qur’ân expunges the general understanding of bloodline from ‘family’ of the prophet and replaces it with followers of a righteous conduct. This is so for a simple reason that in his personal space a prophet can have wife/wives and children to whom he can be a husband and father, however, as per the office of prophethood, instead, he is head of a larger spiritual flock that follow his Message, termed his family. There is no patronization in Islam. On a closer read of verse 11:26 one finds that Noah pleads for his son, whereas, in reply Noah is rebuked in his understanding of the term ‘family.’  Nowhere is he told that his son is not related by blood to him, as blood relationship cannot be changed because of biological realities. Instead, Noah is told that his son does not belong to his spiritual family. This fully comes to light in the same verse where Noah’s narrow perception of family is removed from my family of a father and replaced with a broader perspective of your family of a prophet that includes all his followers, irrespective of any blood relationship.

Despite belonging to his bloodline we see that Noah’s son is excluded from the spiritual family because he is a non-believer. At least in the case of Noah’s son, Qur’ân gives us a concrete example in which the judgment is by Allah. One has to wonder as to who will be the judge for merits of any blood relations after passing away of the last of prophets, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? The answer to that is none but Qur’ân, Al-Furqân (25:1) – the Book which distinguishes between right and wrong [20], no matter how much falsehood is alleged from it:

21:18. Nay, We hurl the truth at falsehood so that it knocks out its brains (and defeats it); and behold, it (- the falsehood) vanishes…[21]

The next verses tell us of survival of Noah’s followers. It should be noted that some translations (not quoted here) use the word ‘family’ instead of ‘followers’, still, both the blood relations and the believers are lumped together in the ‘followers’:

37:76. And We delivered him [– Noah] and his followers [Arabic: wa-ahlahu] from the mighty distress.

37:77. And We made his offspring the survivors.[22][Shakir]

Similarly, in the case of Lot we read the following:

26:169. [Lot prayed] My Lord! deliver me and my followers [Arabic: wa-ahlī] from what they do.

26:170. So We delivered him and his followers [Arabic: wa-ahlahu] all,

26:171. Except an old woman [–wife of Lot, see v. 66:10 above], among those who remained behind.

26:172. Then We utterly destroyed the others.[23] [Emphasis added] [Shakir]

Again, some translations (not quoted here) use the word ‘family’ instead of ‘followers’ in the above stated verses. Still, wife of Lot is excluded from the followers for the mere fact that she acted treacherously towards (v. 66:10) the Prophet who happened to be her husband, Lot. Because of his office of prophethood Lot is bound to pray for all his followers (v. 26:169) that includes his immediate family. The same context is found in another verse:

15:65. [Lot–] Therefore go forth with your followers [Arabic: bi-ahlika] in a part of the night and yourself follow their rear, and let not any one of you turn round, and go forth whither you are commanded.[24][Shakir]

In another verse, Qur’ân merges the bloodline of a prophet, Job (–Ayub), and his followers into one family when it equates the followers with the blood relations, the like of them. The end result is that a prophet’s family is none but all his followers irrespective of their blood relationship with him or not. In summary, a one big close knit family of the followers all associated with the prophet as his ‘progeny’, in both metaphorical and practical sense, the torch bearers of legacy of the prophet:

38:43. And We gave him [–Job] his family [Arabic: ahlahu] and the like of them with them [–the followers], as a mercy from Us, and as a reminder to those possessed of understanding.[25] [Shakir]

Additionally, a righteous person may not be related to a prophet by blood, but if such person is a follower of that prophet, then he belongs to the ‘family’ of that prophet. Thus a Prophet is tethered to his followers only and only if the latter follows the former’s creed. This principle is brought to light in Abraham’s prayer. Abraham prayed and declared his followers as his spiritual family, at par with his own children as long as the followers or even his own progeny followed his creed. Essentially, there is no value of physical progeny for a prophet. A prophet and his prophethood survive by his spiritual household, which in Arabic is called Aāl of that prophet:

14:35. (Recall the time) when Abraham said, `My Lord, make this (would be) city (of Makkah) secure and a haven of peace, and keep me and my children away from worshipping idols.

14:36. `My Lord! a large number of people has gone astray because of these (idols) to be sure. Then whoso follows me he is certainly of me. As for the person who disobeys me, (I can say only,) You are indeed Great Protector (against faults), Ever Merciful.[26]

The declaration of Abraham, the prophet, ‘whoso follows me he is certainly of me’ sets in stone the definition of the family of a prophet that consists of all his followers, commonly called the Ummah of the Prophet.

Fellowship: Expectation of Reward – a Trait of Pharaoh

In contravention of above principles of Aal of a Prophet, which is only and only the spiritual fellowship that Qur’ân repeatedly emphasizes, the following verse at times is erroneously quoted in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is allegedly asking for a special treatment of his blood relatives and by implication a special status to be awarded by his followers to his bloodline:

42:23. That is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, (to) those who believe and do good deeds. Say: I [Muhammad] do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.[27] [Shakir] see footnote[28].

If the said verse is read with bloodline in mind, then for sure the Prophet is asking for a reward, and that too beggingly, in return for him delivering his Message, albeit a non-material reward of love for my near relatives which is a stark contradiction within the verse. Whereas, if relatives is read as spiritual progeny or tribal relations of the Prophet, then assuredly Prophet is not asking for a reward but cajoling all peoples to love each other for the mere fact the Prophet was in one way or another related to all the tribes in Makkah. What the readers might not be aware of that this verse was revealed in Makkah before the migration of Prophet to Medina. At that time Prophet’s daughter had not yet married Ali[29]. The said couple married in the second year of Hijrah calendar in Medina. Any imagined reference in the said verse for any later male progeny of the Prophet, no matter through his daughter, irrespective of how erroneously construed, does not even arise.

While quoting the verse 42:23, the advocates fail to read the next subsequent verse which in continuation of the subject matter addresses the opponents of Islam in Makkah:
 

42:24. Or do they say: He has forged a lie against Allah? But if Allah pleased, He would seal your heart; and Allah will blot out the falsehood and confirm the truth with His words; surely He is Cognizant of what is in the breasts."> [29a] [Shakir]


Similarly, the verses 42:21-22 [29b] preceding the verse under discussion (42:23) are also addressing the opponents of the Prophet. If the argument of the same advocates is accepted, then for sure the Prophet in verse 42:23 is asking a favor from the opponents of Islam for a special status of his grandchildren through his daughter, which is preposterous.

 

Readers of Qur’ân must be aware that reminding of favors bestowed on others and then expecting a reward in return is not the in the nature of prophets, but that of a person like Pharaoh, as stated in the following verses:

 

26:18. (So when Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh) he said (to Moses), `Did we not bring you up among us when you were a mere babe? And you stayed with us many years of your life.

26:19. `And you have surely committed an act (of homicide), and you are of the ungrateful.'

26:20. (Moses) said, `Indeed I did it (then inadvertently and) as I was lost (for the love of my people and was in a perplexed state of mind).

26:21. `So I fled from you when I apprehended (injustice from) you; then (it came to pass that) my Lord granted me knowledge and (right) judgment and made me (one) of the Messengers.

26:22. `And this insignificant favour (of your bringing me up) that you (so tauntingly) remind me of (can be no reasonable excuse) for you have enslaved (the whole community of) the Children of Israel (for no fault of theirs).'[30]

On the contrary, Messengers never ever ask for reward for their divinely ascribed duties:

26:109. `And I [–Noah] ask no reward from you for it (- the delivery of the Message of God). My reward lies with the Lord of the worlds alone.

26:127. `I [–Hud] ask no reward from you for this (service I render). My reward lies only with the Lord of the worlds.

26:145. `I [–Salih] ask no reward from you for this (service I render). My reward lies with the Lord of the worlds alone.

26:164. `And I [–Lot] ask no reward from you for this (service I render). My reward lies with the Lord of the worlds alone.

26:180. `And I [–Shu’aib] ask no reward from you for it (- the services I render). Surely, my reward lies with the Lord of the worlds alone.[31]

In verses above the prophets, one and all, ask no reward from their followers. The case of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is affirmed even more vehemently in that he is asked to declare loud and clear, without any ambiguity that I ask no reward from you:

38:86. Say (O Prophet! [–Muhammad]), `I ask no reward from you for it (for preaching the Message of truth, and for warning the people,) nor am I of those who are given to affectation (and are impostors).[32]

To further emphasize, Qur’ân distinguishes prophets and for that matter any holy amongst us for their fundamental quality that they never ask for a reward in return, material or non-material, in any form, hue, color or protocol for their divine duties performed, from their followers. On the reverse, the follower is instructed to follow only those who ask no reward from you:

36:21. `Follow those who ask no reward from you and who are following the right path.[33] [Emphasis added]

The above verse 36:21 sets in stone one of the implied characteristics of holy men, i.e. due to the very nature of their mission, they will have little time to spare to look after their own assets which will then only dwindle in due course of time from either their neglect of it due to demands of their divine assignment, or their spending of it in charity. If it is opposite, i.e. the wealth and perks of that person only grow while in office, then for sure such a person is not a ‘Man of God.

On the other hand even Qur’ân challenges Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) hypothetically if he can possibly ask for a reward for himself. Fact is that Qur’ân mocks those who even imagine the Prophet asking for any reward for himself from his followers:

52:40. Do you ask a reward from them (for your conveying the Message) so that they are weighed down with a load of undue debts (and so are finding it hard to pay).[34]

In light of verses 26:109, 126, 145, 164, 180, 38:86, 36:21 and 52:40 if there is even a hint of expectation of the Prophet for a reward, then for sure the verse 42:23 is either mistranslated or misinterpreted for the mere fact that in Qur’ân there is no contradiction across all its verses.

The following translation of the verse in question removes any contradiction around it:

42:23. That is (the same bounteous favour) of which Allâh gives the glad tidings to His servants who believe and (accordingly) do deeds of righteousness. Say, `I ask no reward from you for it (- my preaching). All that I [–Muhammad] ask you is to cherish the strongest love to be near (to Him).' He that does a good deed, We make this (good deed) look all the more beautiful to him. Verily, Allâh is All-Protecting, Most Appreciating (of our service to Him).[35]

Besides, Qur’ân is replete with rewards for the Prophet and his righteous followers. The Prophet was assured a never ending reward early on in Surah Kausar while he was still in Makkah and Muslims were under severest of persecution at the hands of the powerful opponents:

108:1. Verily, We have bestowed upon you (O Muhammad!) abundance of good (both of this life and of the Hereafter).[36]

Against the magnitude of blessings that Allah has assured to the Prophet as a reward in Surah Kausar, it is laughable even to imagine Prophet expected a reward from his followers. It totters on blasphemy to envisage such an alleged inclination of the Prophet.

Fellowship: One big family

Additionally, those who create exception for blood relatives at the exclusion of the followers of the Prophet as his family, also quote the next verse to validate their claim:

3:61. But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.[37] [Shakir] [Emphasis added] – see footnote[38]

If the verse is read in concrete terms, then since the word sons, in plural, is mentioned, then we know that Prophet did not have sons nor a surviving son. His only son, Ibrahim, was born in the last two years of his life and died during Prophet’s lifetime. Since sons are exclusively mentioned without mention of daughters, then it excludes Prophet’s daughters who too are not included in category of women mentioned, and instead women imply wives of the prophet in a concrete sense. The term our near people naturally excludes the blood relatives of the Prophet due to mention of sons and women (wives) who are by definition near to the Prophet because of blood relationships. Therefore, our near people are close associates of the Prophet, the Companions, some of whom were his relatives as well. In sum total, the Prophet after exhausting an endless debate is giving the terms of a prayer duel in which he is willing to invoke Divine wrath on himself, his whole family and by extension his followers, the spiritual progeny, if they are false in a doctrinal matter, else the wrath of God to descend on the opposing party.

It is obvious that in the above verse the Prophet never meant blood relationships of his. Else, a question could be raised against his integrity because he is asking to invoke curse on the sons of his opponents while he never had an adult son himself who would consent for such a prayer duel.

In the same verse the keyword is the repeated use of our, which clearly implies its inclusivity of Prophet’s followers. Elsewhere in Qur’ân, when immediate family of the Prophet is addressed it does so very clearly at the exclusion of non-family followers:

33:28-34. O Prophet! say to your wives: If you desire this world's life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a goodly departing. And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the latter abode, then surely Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a mighty reward. O wives of the prophet! whoever of you commits an open indecency, the punishment shall be increased to her doubly; and this is easy to Allah. And whoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Messenger and does good, We will give to her her reward doubly, and We have prepared for her an honorable sustenance. O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House [Arabic: ahla l-bayti]! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. And keep to mind what is recited in your houses of the communications of Allah and the wisdom; surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware.[39] [Emphasis added] [Shakir]

In the above verses, people of the House [Arabic: ahla l-bayti] is inclusive of all the wives of the Prophet living in their respective houses – your houses with their children if any. From its usage, the term people of the House cannot be applied exclusively to any particular wife or exclusively to her children or grandchildren.

The passages from Qur’ân discussed so far in general challenge every Muslim to “truthfully” belong to the faith. Islam is not hereditary and cannot be passed from generation to generation through bloodline. Being born in a Muslim household could be a head start but it is not a valid reason to be a Muslim, nor does it confer any special status, irrespective of lineage to a holy one. A non-educated fellowship is thus admonished in Qur’ân:

17:36. And do not follow and utter that of which you have no knowledge. Surely, the ear and eye and the heart, all of these, shall be called upon to account (for it).[40]

Significance of the word Aal in Qur’ân and Hadith

The extract below is a footnote in a book where in the main text Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad refers to a hadith in which it is prophesied that, in the latter days in a controversy between Christians and Muslims, the devil will sound the call that “truth is on the side of the Aal of Jesus” and a call will come from heaven saying, “truth is on the side of the Aal of Muhammad”[41]. In this footnote he writes as follows about the significance of the word Aal which means literally progeny or descendants.

In this hadith the terms Aal of Jesus and Aal of Muhammad have been used only allegorically, for it is obvious that Jesus (peace be upon him) had no Aal in respect of worldly relationships. Therefore, in this place by Aal of Jesus are, no doubt, meant those people who claim Jesus to be God, and that they are like his sons and rest in his lap after death. And by the same token, no worldly relationship is meant by Aal of Muhammad; rather, by Aal are meant those people who, like sons, are heirs to the spiritual wealth of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). In fact, in every place by the word Aal the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) means the same, and not worldly relationship which is a lower and temporary connection, and which after death is terminated by the words la ansaaba baina-hum (“there will be no ties of relationship among them” after death; the Qur’ân, 23:101). A prophet can never accept that the term Aal used by him would only mean that he wants to make people the followers of a lower and temporary relationship, as the ordinary worldly-minded ones do. It is obvious that a prophet looks towards heaven, and the magnitude of his dignity and the extent of his enterprise means that he is above presenting such relationships as important which do not require faith, truthfulness, and righteousness as necessary conditions. How can it be that, on the one hand God the Most High says that all worldly relationships end in this very world and would not exist on the day of reckoning, and on the other hand His prophet keeps stressing an inferior relationship which starts from the progeny of the daughter?

The truth is that whatever words the holy and glorious prophets of God bring forth from their mouths contain so much wisdom and truth in them that it is as if they are starting from the earth and reaching up to heaven. Or you could say that, like a ray of the sun, they fall on the earth from heaven, and they are like a tree whose roots are very strong, reaching into the bowels of the earth, and whose branches are reaching up to heaven. But when the same words enter the ordinary people’s language, the masses, because of their limited understanding and deficient powers of reason, take them in a very low sense, which would be regarded as embarrassing by spiritual persons. This is because their worldly intelligence has no connection with heaven and they know not what heavenly light is. So, according to their crude understanding, they hastily limit the high objectives and exalted allusions of the prophet to merely worldly, temporary relationships.

They cannot comprehend that beyond these temporary and fleeting relationships there are other kinds of relationships also. There is another kind of Aal which is not cut off after death, not falling under the interdiction contained in the words la ansaaba baina-hum (“there will be no ties of relationship among them” after death; the Qur’ân, 23:101). Aal is not only the kind that would fight for the garden called Fidk and its few trees, and get so infuriated as to speak ill of Abu Bakr and Umar. No, for the persons beloved and accepted by God the title of spiritual Aal is very appropriate; this spiritual Aal inherits that spiritual legacy from their spiritual maternal grandfather which no hand of any usurper can usurp, and they are heirs to such (spiritual) gardens which nobody can occupy illegally. These low ideas entered into some Muslim sects when they become devoid of spirituality. They received no share in the legacy in the capacity of spiritual Aal. Thus, having been deprived of their spiritual legacy, their understanding became superficial, their hearts became muddied and they lost insight.

No person of faith can deny the fact that Hazrat Imam Husain and Imam Hasan (God be pleased with them both) were the chosen ones of God, possessors of spiritual perfection, purity and incorruptibility, and were beacons of guidance. No doubt, they were the Aal of the Holy Prophet in both senses of the word. The objection is: why has the higher meaning of the word Aal been neglected while great pride is expressed in the lower meaning? It is strange that these people make no mention whatsoever of Imam Hasan or Husain or anyone else as being that higher type of Aal by virtue of which they become heirs to the spiritual estate of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and are called the “leaders of Paradise”; and instead, a temporary relationship is repeatedly projected which is not connected with spiritual legacy as a necessary condition. If this temporary relationship, which is the product of physical union, had been by itself worthy near God, then this right should have been given to Cain first of all, who was the first-born of Adam (peace be upon him) and was a prophet’s son. Then after that, it should have gone to that son of Noah, the second Adam, who has been called by God as inna-hu ‘amal-un ghairu salih (“embodiment of unrighteous deeds”, the Qur’ân, 11:46).

Therefore, it is the belief of the persons of spiritual knowledge and experience that even if Hazrat Imam Husain and Imam Hasan (God be pleased with them) not been the Holy Prophet’s Aal according to the physical relationship, nonetheless because they had been considered Aal in heaven due to spiritual relationship, they would undoubtedly have been heirs to the spiritual legacy of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Given that the temporary, physical body has connections (with others), does the soul not have any connections? In fact, according to reliable Hadith reports, and from the Holy Qur’ân itself, it stands proved that souls also have connections, and friendship or antipathy can exist between them from eternity.

Now a sensible person can judge for himself whether it is a matter of pride to be Aal of the Holy Prophet in the unalterable and eternal sense or in the physical sense which has nothing of righteousness, purity, and faith. Let no one think by all this that I am detracting from the dignity of the household of the Holy Prophet. My aim in writing this is that it is not only in the physical sense that Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (God be pleased with them) possess the dignity of being Aal of the Holy Prophet because it is nothing without spiritual relationship; the real meaningful relationship with the Holy Prophet is only of those dear ones who are among his Aal spiritually.

The spiritual knowledge and light of the prophets are like their offspring who are born from their holy beings. Those people who attain a new life and find a rebirth through this knowledge and light are the ones who are spiritually called the Aal of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In the prophecy discussed above (in the main text), the calling out of Satan that “truth is on the side of the Aal of Jesus” is a lie also because he is making those who ascribe partners to God as the spiritual Aal of Jesus, but those who call Jesus as God cannot share anything with him in heaven nor can they be his heirs, so how can they be his spiritual Aal?

 (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, p. 99–101, footnote; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 15, p. 363–366)


[1] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[2] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[3] Al-Hujurat – The Apartments: Muhammad Ali
– Zahid Aziz
[4] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[5] Zukhruf – Gold: Muhammad Asad
[6] Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[7] Al-Kahf – The Place of Refuge: Nooruddin
[8] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[10] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[11] ibid
[12] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[13] Sad – The Truthful God: Nooruddin
[14] Al-Tahrim – The Prohibition: Nooruddin
[15] ibid
[16] ibid
[17] Al-Masad – The Twisted Strands: Nooruddin
[18] Shakir’s Qur’ân translation — a blatant plagiarism of the first edition of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation – Deception perpetrated on readers of the Holy Qur’ân. Link: http://ahmadiyya.org/movement/shakir.htm
[19] Hud – Hud: Nooruddin
[20] Adapted from “Names of the Holy Book,” p. 2-A, The Holy Qur’ân, Eighth Edition (2008) As Explained by Allamah Nooruddin, Rendered into English by Amatul Rahman Omar, Abdul Mannan Omar, Copyright © Noor Foundation International Inc.
[21] Al-Ambiya – The Prophets: Nooruddin
[22] Al-Saffat – Those Ranging in Ranks: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[23] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[24] Al-Hijr – The Rock: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[25] Sad – Sad: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[26] Ibrahim – Abraham: Nooruddin
[27] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[28] Footnote: The statement that the Prophet did not ask for any reward at all is made very often in the Qur’ân. The Arabs, closely related as they were to each other,were in a state of constant warfare. They are told to give up mutual warfare and tolove one another. A similar statement is made elsewhere: “I ask of you no reward for it except that whoever wishes may take a way to his Lord” (25:57). In bothcases what the Prophet wanted was not a reward for himself, but it was a good forthe people themselves, being, in the second case, that they walk in the ways ofGod or lead godly lives and, in the first, that they love one another.Al-Shura – The Counsel: Muhammad Ali
– Zahid Aziz
[29] Haqaiq ul-Furqan (Truths of The Criterion – Qur’ân), a collection of lectures on Qur’ân in Urdu by Hakeem Nooruddin, vol 3, p. 545-546. Link: http://www.alislam.org/Qur’ân/tafseer/?page=545&region=H3
[29a] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[29b] 42:21-22. Or have they associates who have prescribed for them any religion that Allah does not sanction? And were it not for the word of judgment, decision would have certainly been given between them; and surely the unjust shall have a painful punishment. You will see the unjust fearing on account of what they have earned, and it must befall them; and those who believe and do good shall be in the meadows of the gardens; they shall have what they please with their Lord: that is the great grace. Al-Shura – The Counsel: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[30] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[31] ibid
[32] Sad – The Truthful God: Nooruddin
[33] Ya Sin – O Perfect Man!: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Tur – The Mount: Nooruddin
[35] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Nooruddin
[36] Al-Kauthar – The Abundance of Good: Nooruddin
[37] Al Imran – The Family of Amran: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[38] Footnote: The persons addressed in particular in this verse are the members ofthe Christian deputation from Najran that came in 10 A.H. to see the ProphetMuhammad. The deputation was lodged by the Holy Prophet in his mosque. Thusdid he set an unparalleled example of freedom of religious belief and practice.After the Holy Prophet gave them arguments showing that Jesus was not God, andfinding them still insisting on their false belief, they were invited as a last resort topray earnestly that the curse of Allah might overtake the party that insisted onfalsehood. After some deliberation they decided against it and told the Prophetthat they had decided not to pray against him as suggested. Thereupon they weregiven a pledge by which they were free to practise their religion.Al Imran – The Family of Amran: Muhammad Ali, Zahid Aziz
[39] Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Plagiarized by Shakir from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation
[40] Isrâ' – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin
[41] Ali bin Abi Taleb said: " After the Khusf (land collapse), a caller from Heaven calls: 'The truth is in the family of Mohammad ' in the beginning of the morning. Then, another caller at the end of the morning calls: 'The truth is in the progeny of Jesus.' This (second call) is from Satan." (Nuaim bin Hammad's Kitab Al-Fitan)  A variation of this narration is attributed to Abi Ja'far mentions that the second caller says that the truth is in the family of Jesus or Al-Abass and this second call from Satan from the bottom of the Earth. Link: http://www.discoveringislam.org/signs_before_mahdi.htm

Seal of the Prophets? – No Gabriel, No Prophethood!

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Seal of the Prophets? – No Gabriel, No Prophethood!

 Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

‘Absolute Sealant’; not a ‘Rubber Stamp’ of Validation, without any ifs ands or buts:

This chapter became a necessity to expunge any argument, distraction or polemic tampering with the absolute finality of prophethood, the divine office that ended with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The arguments typically put forth are based upon either misread of Qur’ân, misread of dictionary or plain distortions into Qur’ân and even the Hadiths. This topic is to address those who have ascribed prophethood to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (HMGA) of Qadian, India and subsequently either believe in it or oppose it.

As far as those who believe in literal return of Jesus are concerned, there are other chapters in the book that refute from Qur’ân the in person return of Jesus and that too as a prophet. Since return of Jesus also has bearing on finality of prophethood, HMGA has written quite extensively on it (more on this later). This chapter is focused on those who either assert or allege prophethood to anyone after the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Any claim to a Divine office starts with being recipient of Divine communication. Qur’ân tells us that Allah communicates with humans in various modalities:

 42:51. It is not given to a human being that Allâh should speak to him except by direct revelation or from behind a veil or by sending a messenger (– an angel) who should reveal (to him) by His command what He pleases. Indeed, He is the Most Sublime, the All-Wise.[1] [Note: veil also implies veil of sleep, i.e., dreams as well as visions and divine inspiration, which can be hidden to everyone else, but the recipient]

In Islam, Divine communication is open to non-prophets as well:

 3:42. (Recall the time) when the angels said, `O Mary! surely Allâh has chosen you and has rid you of all impurities and has preferred you to the women of all (contemporary) people.[2]

 5:111. `And how I revealed to the disciples to believe in Me and in My Messenger, and they said, "We believe, and (O God!) bear witness that we are the submitting ones".[3]

 28:7. And We revealed to the mother of Moses (saying), `Give him (– Moses) suck. But when you have fear about him (– his life) cast him (placing him in a chest) into the river and entertain no fear, nor grief (about his welfare). Verily, We shall restore him to you and shall make him (one) of the Messengers.[4]

Unless the medium of communication is Angel Gabriel (see below) the recipient cannot be a prophet. Mary, Disciples of Jesus and mother of Moses as case in point were communicated by God without being conferred prophethood.

Qur’ân outlines the standards that determine the status of prophethood:

26:192. And verily this (Qur'ân) is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.
26:193. The Spirit, Faithful to the Trust (– Gabriel) has descended with it.
26:194. (Revealing it) to your heart with the result that you [– Muhammad] became of the Warners (– a Prophet of God);[5]

The above verses set in stone the pre-requisites for a Prophet, firstly the Revelation itself and secondly, Gabriel bearing that Revelation as wahy-i nubuwwat, i.e. prophethood-type revelation. It is only after these requirements are met that the recipient becomes a Prophet i.e. with the result that you became of the Warners. History bears witness that no prophethood-type revelation from The High came via Gabriel after it terminated with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for about 1426 years by today’s counting. This fact is not even denied by those who question the finality of prophethood after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Elsewhere, Qur’ân reiterates the same principle outlined in verses 26:192-194:

16:102. Say, `The Spirit of Holiness [– Angel Gabriel] has brought this (Qur'ân) down from your Lord to suit the requirement of truth and wisdom, (Allâh has revealed it) so that He may strengthen those who believe in their faith and so that (this may serve as) a guidance and good tidings for Muslims.[6]

In the discussion so far it becomes clear that prophethood is conferred only after receiving prophethood-type revelation through the agency of Angel Gabriel. In Hadiths we find many instances of Gabriel appearing to the Prophet for example when he was pelted and wounded out of the city of Taif and during his Ascension (Miraj), but none of those dialogues find their way into Qur’ân because they were not prophethood-type revelations. It is only the recipient of the revelation who is made known if that revelation is prophethood-type or not.

Non-prophethood type communication, even via Gabriel, can overlap between non-prophets and prophets:

58:22. You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day [i.e. Muslims] loving those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk.[7] These are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and strengthened them with a Spirit from Himself [8], and He will make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding in them. Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him. These are Allah’s party. Now surely it is Allah’s party who are the successful![9]

Interestingly, HMGA too while refuting any claim of prophethood attributed to him – "Our Holy Prophet's being the Khatam an-nabiyyin rules out the coming of any other prophet,"[10] and in congruence to above verses, states:

 "And, for the teaching and information of the messengers, the practice of God has been from the beginning that they are taught through the mediation of Gabriel and by means of the descent of divine verses and the words of the Merciful.''[11]

 "It is included in the true significance of the office of a messenger that he should obtain the knowledge of spiritual sciences through Gabriel and it has been proved just now that the apostolic revelation (wahy-i risalah) has been cut off (forever) till the day of Judgment"[12]

"And evidently the coming of Gabriel with apostolic revelation after Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn [–Seal of the Prophets] is impossible."[13]

"According to the explanation of the Holy Qur’ân, rasul [i.e. messenger] is he who receives the commands and tenets of the religion through Gabriel. But a seal has been put upon wahy nubuwwat [i.e. prophethood-type revelation] since thirteen hundred years ago. Will this seal then break?"[14]

"If God is true to His promise, and the promise which has been given in the Khatam an-nabiyyin verse [i.e. verse 33:40], and explained clearly in Hadith, namely, that after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad the angel Jibra'il [– Gabriel] has been prevented forever from bringing prophethood-type revelation – if all these things are true and correct then there certainly cannot come any person as a messenger after our Holy Prophet."[15]

"Do you not know that the Merciful God has declared our Holy Prophet to be Khatam an-nabiyyin unconditionally? And in commenting on this verse [i.e. verse 33:40] our Holy Prophet has said: There is no prophet after me (La nabiyya ba'di), which is a clear statement for the seekers of truth…How can a prophet come after our Holy Prophet, when revelation has been stopped after his death and God has ended the prophets with him?"[16]

"But the Most High God would never permit such a disgrace and ignominy to come to the share of this ummah or such an insult and affront to fall to the lot of His chosen Prophet, the Khatam al-Anbiya that by sending a messenger with whom the coming of Gabriel is essential, He should let the House of Islam go to rack and ruin when He has already promised that no messenger would be sent after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him)"[17]

"And how was it possible that any prophet could come after the Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn in the complete and perfect, sense, which is one of the conditions of perfect prophethood (nabuwwat-i tammah)? Is it not necessary that the perfect prophethood of such a prophet should contain the essential requisites of revelation and the descent of Gabriel? Because, according to the express teachings of the Qur’ân, a prophet is one who has received the commands and creeds of faith through Gabriel. But a seal has been set on the prophetic revelation for the last thirteen hundred years. Would this seal be broken then? "[18]

"The Holy Qur’ân does not permit the coming of another messenger, whether new or old, after the Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, because a messenger receives the knowledge of religion (din) through the mediation of Gabriel and the door of the descent of Gabriel with apostolic revelation has been closed. And this is also an impossibility that a messenger should come to the world without apostolic revelation (wahy risalat)."[19]

HMGA after tying the requisite of revelation through Gabriel for prophethood, distances himself from any revelation by Gabriel to him and expunges any possibility of prophethood for himself altogether when he states:

"As it is not possible that there should be no light with the rising of the sun, similarly, it is quite impossible that a messenger should come for the reformation of mankind and there should be no divine communication and Gabriel with him."[20]

To those who await return of Jesus, a prophet, and that too after the final prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), HMGA refutes that in light of the established principle outlined in Qur’ân of requisites of Gabriel with his prophethood-type revelation for a prophet. He states:

"If, in fact, the Messiah came down to earth and for forty-five years Gabriel continued to descend on him with prophetic revelation, then according to this belief, what would be left of the religion of Islam? And would it not constitute a stigma on the finality of prophethood and the finality of the Qur’ânic revelation?"[21]

The above quotes of HMGA in light of Qur’ân are by themselves sufficient to refute any possibility of claim of the former to prophethood after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This flies in the face of further allegations of the same that HMGA changed his claim after the year 1901 and declared himself as a prophet. He neither never ever claimed prophethood for himself nor ever claimed any prophethood-like revelations of his own. Thus the bottom line to relationship of prophethood and prophethood-like revelations in Islam is quite simple – No Gabriel, No Prophethood!

There are scores of refutations and disclaims by HMGA of the alleged prophethood ascribed to him, for which the reader is referred to a book – ‘Prophethood in Islam’[22], a pamphlet – ‘Finality of Prophethood’ [23] and Lahore Ahmadiyya websites[24]. These publications and personal communication to this writer by Dr. Zahid Aziz, are sources of quotes of HMGA and various references to Hadiths in the body and footnotes of this chapter.

———-x———-x———x———-x———

Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

 Case Study in Polemics: ‘Seal of Prophets’ is not ‘Seat for Prophets’ to be seated in by any future claimant

There is a section of followers of HMGA belonging to organization – Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, commonly called Qadianis for their earlier organizational headquarters in Qadian, India, who allege that HMGA made claims of being a prophet in literal sense just as the prophets of the yore.

Rest of the discussion from here onwards will essentially center on a working example from literature of the same people. The sample of polemics that assert that prophethood did not end with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) can be found in the five volume multi-author “The Holy Qur’ân with English Translation and Commentary[25]” published by the same organization. The authors make their case on the following verse as translated by them:

“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets [Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn]; and Allah has full knowledge of all things. (33:41[26])

Before we accept anyone else’s translation or commentary it becomes foremost to seek opinion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself as to how he explained the term Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn that is mentioned in above verse:

"It is reported from Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: My likeness and the likeness of the prophets before me is the likeness of a person who built a house and he made it beautiful and made it complete except the place of a brick of the corner. So people began to go round about it and to wonder at him and say: Why have you not placed this brick? He (i.e., the Holy Prophet) said: So I am that brick and I am Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (the Seal of the prophets)." [Al-Sahih al-Bukhari, Kital al-Mandqib, ch. Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn; Al-Muslim; Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Manaqib etc.]

In this Hadith, the Prophet declared himself as the only remaining brick in the prophetic structure that came to this world. Quite logically, after the last brick is put in place, there is no more space or need left for any future brick. The Prophet gives a clear expression that there will be no prophets after him.

If per chance, in violation of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, HMGA or for that matter anyone claimed prophethood for himself, then such claimant will be a falsifier for the mere fact that last brick has already been laid down in person of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The following Hadith states the obvious that any future claim to prophethood will be a lie:

"The Day of Judgement will not he set up unless some tribes of my ummah join the polytheists and they start worshipping the idols. And surely there shall be among my followers thirty liars, every one of them asserting that he is a prophet, but I am Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (the Seal of the prophets), there is no prophet after met." [Al-Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tawhid; Al-Muslim; Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Fitan]

It seems obvious that the said authors are even oblivious of HMGA’s own assertions for the same term Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn and the same verse, some of which are reproduced as follows:

"Because this is against the sayings of God Almighty, 'Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin (Seal of the Prophets).' Don't you know that God, the Bountiful, the Beneficent has declared our Holy Prophet to be Khatam al-Nabiyyin without strings and our Holy Prophet has interpreted this verse with la nabbiya ba‘di (there is no prophet after me).”[27]

"For the seekers of truth it is evident that if, after our Holy Prophet, we accept the lawfulness (jawaz) of the coming of another prophet it means that we have opened the door of prophetic revelation (wahy nubuwwah) which was closed and this is against the established principles as is not unknown to the Muslims. And can there be a prophet after our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when revelation has been cut off with his death and God has brought an end to prophets with him"[28]

"Can an ill-fated fabricator who claims to be a messenger and a prophet have any faith in the Qur’ân? And can such a person, who believes in the Qur’ân and considers the verse “but he is messenger of Allah and Khatam al-Nabiyyin” as revelation of God, say that he is a messenger and a prophet after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?"[29]

With the authorities of the Qur’ân (in previous section) and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the explanations of HMGA about the term Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn out of the way, all of which mean absolute finality of prophethood and closure of office of prophethood forever, we address the said authors.

While referring to Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn verse (33:41 by their enumeration) from their own translation, the said authors take a detoured justification with a synthesized logic via Surah Kausar[30] under its footnote 3106:

(Note: Arabic script from original has been replaced with English spelled words in italics. Reader is encouraged to refer to the original text for any unintentional error on part of this writer)

Important Words:Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (Seal of the Prophets). Khatam is derived from Khatam.They say Khatam al-shayee au khatam alay, i.e. he sealed, stamped, impressed or imprinted the thing or he put the seal on it. This is the primary signification of this word. Or the primary signification of khatmun is the act of covering over the thing. It also signifies the protecting of what is in a writing by marking or stamping a piece of clay upon it, or by means of a seal of any kind. Khatam al-shayee also means, he reached the end of the thing. Khatam al-Qur’ân means, he recited the whole of the Qur’ân. This is the secondary meaning of the word. Thus khatam means, a signet-ring; a seal or stamp and a mark; the end or last part or portion and result or issue of a thing; the hollow of the back of the neck. The words khatmun and khatam (khatim and khatam) are almost synonymous and mean a signet. khatam also signifies, embellishment or ornament, the best and most perfect (Lane, Aqrab, Mufradat. Fatb & Zurqani). So the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn would mean, the Seal of the Prophets; the best and most perfect of the Prophets; the embellishment and ornament of the Prophets. Secondarily, the expression may also mean, the last of the Prophets.

Commentary: Much confusion and misunderstanding seems to prevail as to what is the real spiritual status and position of the Holy Prophet as indicated by the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn i.e. the Seal of the Prophets. A careful study of the context however, removes the prevalent misconception. At Mecca when all the Holy Prophet's male children died in their childhood, his enemies taunted him with being abtar (one who has no male issue), meaning that in the absence of male heirs to succeed him his Movement would sooner or later come to an end (Muhit). In answer to this taunt of disbelievers it was emphatically declared in Sura Kausar (Al-Kauthar) that not the Holy Prophet but his enemies would remain issueless. After the revelation of Sura Kausar the idea naturally found favour with the early Muslims that the Holy Prophet would be blessed with sons who would live to an adult age. The verse under comment removed that misconception inasmuch as it declared that the Prophet is not, never was, nor will ever be the father of any grownup young men. Rajal meaning grown-up young men. The verse under comment while appearing to be in conflict with Sura Kausar in which not the Holy Prophet but his enemies have been threatened with being issueless, in reality seeks to set at rest doubts and misgivings to which this seeming contradiction gives rise. It says that the Holy Prophet is rasul ullah i.e. the spiritual father of a whole Ummat and he is also Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn signifying that he is the spiritual father of all the past and future Prophets. So when he is the spiritual father of all the believers and all Prophets, how can he be said to be abtar i.e. issueless. But if the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn be taken to mean that the Holy Prophet is the last of the Prophets and that no Prophet will come after him, then the verse appears to be out of tune with the context and instead of refuting the objection of disbelievers that the Holy Prophet was issueless, supports and reinforces it.

Briefly, according to the meaning of the word khatam, the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn can have four possible meanings:

(1) That the Holy Prophet was the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., no Prophet, past or future, can be regarded as true unless his prophethood bears the seal of the Holy Prophet. The prophethood of every past Prophet must be confirmed and testified to by the Holy Prophet and nobody can attain to prophethood after him except by being his ummati (follower). All claims to prophethood must be judged and tested by reference to the revelation received by the Holy Prophet and to his teachings.

(2) That the Holy Prophet was the best, the noblest and the most perfect of all the Prophets and that he was also a source of embellishment for them (Zurqani, Sharah, Mawahib al-Ladunniyya).

(3) That the Holy Prophet was the last of the Law-bearing Prophets. This interpretation has been accepted by many eminent Muslim theologians, saints and savants such as Ibn 'Arabi, Shah Wali-Ullah, Imam 'Ali Qari, Mujaddid Alf Thani, etc. According to these great scholars and saints no Prophet can come after the Holy Prophet who should abrogate his Millat or should not be in his Ummat (Futuhat, Tafhimat, Mukatabat & Yawaqit wa'l Jawahir). 'A'ishah, the talented spouse of the Holy Prophet, has removed all ambiguity about the meaning of the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn . She is reported to have said: i.e. Say that he (the Holy Prophet) is Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn but do not say that there will be no Prophet after him (Manthur). This saying of 'A'ishah makes it quite clear that the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn and la nabiyya ba‘di were considered by her to be contradictory to each other in meaning and significance.

(4) That the Holy Prophet was the last of the Prophets, but only in this sense that all the qualities and attributes of prophethood found their most perfect and complete consummation and expression in him; khatam in the sense of being the last word in excellence and perfection is of common use. Moreover, the Qur’ân clearly speaks of the advent of Prophets after the Holy Prophet. The following two verses leave no ambiguity on this point:-

And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these (4:70).

O children of Adam! if Messengers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs come unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve (7:36).

The Holy Prophet himself was clear in his mind as to the continuity of prophethood after him. He is reported to have said: "If Abraham (his son) had lived long, he would have been a Prophet" (Maja, kitab al-Janai'z), and, "Abu Bakr is best of men after me, except that a Prophet should appear" (Kanz al-'Ummal).

The above is the crux of arguments of the proponents of non-finality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that they have inserted in their commentary of the Holy Qur’ân. Their case if summarized contains the following premises in their claim:

We will address each of these premises below.

Meaning of the term Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

Before we take on the challenges to finality of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is important to be clear about the meaning of the core issue of ‘Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn’ in the Holy Qur’ân:

Khatama – To seal; put a signet upon; stamp; imprint; end; complete a thing. Khâtama ‘alâ qalbihî: To seal the heart; harden it; finish. Khâtim: Seal; Signet-ring; Stamp; Last. Khâtam: Seal; The best; The most perfect; Last; The embellishment and ornament. The Holy Qur’ân has adopted the word Khâtam and not Khâtim because a deeper significance carried in the phrase Khâtam (seal) than mere Khâtim (last). The difference between Khâtim and Khâtam is that the meaning of Khâtim is last part or portion, but the word Khatam means that last part or portion of a thing that is the best, thus this indicates finality combined with perfection and continuation of its blessings. Thus Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn means the closer of the long line of Prophets. He is not only a prophet but the final, the best and the most perfect Prophet, with continuation of his blessings. Khitâm: Sealing; Musk; Wax; Clay or any other substances used in sealing. Makhtûm: Sealed one; Stamped one.[31] [Emphasis added]

Khatama (prf. 3rd p.m. sing.): He sealed. Yakhtimu (imp. 3rd p. m. sing.): He seals. Nakhtimu (imp. 1st p. plu.): We sealed. Khâtam (n.): Seal; Last and best. Khitâm (n.): Sealing. Makhtûm (pact. pic. m. sing.): Sealed one. (L; T; R; Zurqânî; Asâs; LL)[32]

On a closer look the phrase Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn has a two layered ‘finality’. Firstly, the literal finality of the word Khâtam, and secondly the perfection implied in it has in itself the finality built into it, else the imperfection would make a case for perfection yet to be achieved by a subsequent prophet after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Compare the case made by the said authors in their commentary with that of Maulana Muhammad Ali for the same verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (33:41 by their enumeration):

The word khatam means a seal or the last part or portion of a thing, the latter being the primary significance of the word khatim. The words khatam al-qaum always means the last of the people — akhiru-hum. Though the Holy Prophet was admittedly the last of the prophets, and even history shows that no prophet appeared after him in the world, yet the Qur’ân has adopted the word khatam and not khatim, because a deeper significance is carried in the phrase Seal of the prophets than mere finality. It indicates finality combined with perfection of prophethood, along with a continuance among his followers of certain blessings of prophethood. He is the Seal of the prophets because with him the object of prophethood, the manifestation of Divine will in Laws which should guide humanity, was finally accomplished in the revelation of a perfect law in the Holy Qur’ân, and he is also the Seal of the prophets because certain favours bestowed on prophets were forever to continue among his followers. The office of the prophet was only necessary to guide people, either by giving them a law or by removing the imperfections of a previously existing law, or by giving certain new directions to meet the requirements of the time or place. Hence prophets were constantly raised. But through the Holy Prophet a perfect law was given, suiting the requirements of all ages and all countries, and this law was guarded against all corruption, and the office of the prophet was therefore no more required. But this did not mean that the Divine favours bestowed on His chosen servants were to be denied to the chosen ones among the Muslims. The highest of these favours is Divine inspiration, and it is recognized by Islam that the Divine Being speaks to His chosen ones now as He spoke in the past, but such people are not prophets in the real sense of the word. According to a most reliable hadith, the Prophet said “there will be in my community”, i.e., among the Muslims, “men who will be spoken to (by God), though they will not be prophets” (Bukhari, 62:6). According to another version of the same hadith, such people are given the name muhaddath.

There is also a saying of the Holy Prophet: Nothing has remained of prophethood except mubashsharat, i.e., good news. And being asked what was meant by mubashsharat, or good news, he said: “True visions” (Bukhari, 91:5). According to another hadith: “The vision of the believer is one of the forty-six parts of prophethood” (Bukhari, 91:4). Prophethood itself has gone, but one of its blessings remains, and will exist forever among the followers of the Holy Prophet.[33]

Connection between Surah Kausar and verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

The authors try to create a logical connection between Surah Kausar and verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn as if the latter was revealed in the requirement of the former. They base their argument upon an imagined history in an effort to create basis of the latter verse for a derived meaning and interpretation suiting their doctrine. The authors obviously have their timeline wrong.

It is generally accepted that the event of Miraj (Ascension) happened in 12th year of Makkan period, i.e. a year before Migration to Medina. Various Hadiths about Miraj mention the stream of Kausar (also written as Kauthar), which makes revelation of Surah Kausar before Miraj. It is also accepted that Surah Kausar was revealed in Makkah, if nothing else but for its subject matter. At the time Prophet Muhammad was mocked for weak numbers of his followers and doubts were created by his enemies about survival of his mission and his legacy because he had no male heir. Surah Kausar addresses such enemies of then specifically and those in future generally.

What these commentators do not know is that the said verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (33:41 by their enumeration) under discussion was revealed in late Medina period when the Prophet had already married Mary (the Copt) of Egypt and their son Ibrahim had died at an age of one and one-half year, whose death coincided with a solar eclipse that is mentioned in Hadiths[34] when Prophet along with his Companions offered supererogatory prayers[35]. As per NASA, that solar eclipse occurred on Jan 27, 632 CE[36] which falls on last day of month of Shawwal in year 10 Hijrah. It was the time when Zainab, Prophet’s cousin, was already divorced by her husband, Zaid bin Harith, Prophet’s adopted son, and Prophet had subsequently married her[37] (more on this later).

Additionally, if we take the statement of the authors as its face value – “The verse under comment removed that misconception inasmuch as it declared that the Prophet is not, never was, nor will ever be the father of any grownup young men,” and tie it with various Hadiths that show that the Prophet grieved and even wept on death of his son[38], Ibrahim, then the time of revelation of verse under discussion is naturally after death of Ibrahim for the mere fact that had this verse been there before Ibrahim’s death, the Prophet would had known of this as Allah’s Will which expectedly would had removed any cause for his sorrow. Secondly, the said verse specifically precludes any son of the Prophet to grow up into adulthood. This in itself removes the possibility of its revelation before death of Ibrahim because no one expected his death ahead of time as there is no collateral information in Hadiths or history where anyone expected him to die in his childhood.

Thus Surah Kausar and the verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn (33:41 by their enumeration) are separated by at least eleven years if not more in their time of revelation. This time gap removes any linkage between the two. It would be preposterous to imagine that there were any lingering anxieties in the minds of Muslims at the time of revelation of verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, or they needed consolation about survival of Islam through progeny of the Prophet as by then Makkah had already been conquered two years earlier and whole of Arabia had converted to Islam. The premise for erecting preambles for invented roots of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn in Surah Kausar by Qadianis in their above commentary does not carry water in light of facts of history alone.

The full context of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn verse is brought to light by Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book “Prophethood in Islam”:

The Holy Prophet's son, Ibrahim, had died. Zaid, son of Harithah, was known among people as the Holy Prophet's adopted son, who divorced his wife Zainab. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married her under divine command.[39] Whatever relationship of fatherhood he had with Zaid vanished from the minds of the people after her remarriage. This was the right time that such a verse should be revealed to the Holy Prophet that God had not sent him so that his physical lineage should continue through his male descendants, but that He had made him the last prophet so that the order of his spiritual descendants should never be cut off in the world. Since he had been given a great order of spiritual offsprings, therefore, to show that physical descendants and physical relations are of no value in the sight of God, it had been mentioned, "Muhammad is not the father of any of your men (33:40)."[40] God has given him countless spiritual descendants and had extended this order till the Day of Resurrection; therefore, if having a son was of any value in His sight, He could not have deprived him of this favour.[41]

The context that is identified by Maulana Muhammad Ali above is validated by Qur’ân itself in which location of verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn is logically subsequent to the same events:

33:37-40. And when you said to him (Zaid) to whom Allah had shown favour and to whom you had shown a favour: Keep your wife [–Zainab] to yourself and keep your duty to Allah; and you concealed in your heart what Allah would bring to light, and you feared people, while Allah has a greater right that you should fear Him. So when Zaid dissolved her marriage-tie, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers about the wives of their adopted sons, when they have dissolved their (wives’) marriage-tie. And Allah’s command is ever performed. There is no harm for the Prophet in what Allah has ordained for him. Such has been the way of Allah with those who have gone before. And the command of Allah is a decree that is made absolute — those who deliver the messages of Allah and fear Him, and fear none but Allah. And Allah is sufficient to take account. Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets [Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn] And Allah is ever Knower of all things.[42][Emphasis added]

Additionally, continuation of the subject matter of Prophet’s marriages in above verses reaches verse 33:52 which prohibits the Prophet from taking more wives:

33:52. It is not allowed to you to take wives after this, nor to change them for other wives, though their beauty be pleasing to you, except those whom your right hand (already) possesses. And Allah is ever Watchful over all things. [43]

Thus, we see the timeline of the verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn bracketed between divorce of Zaid and prohibition of further marriages for the Prophet.

It is also obvious that verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn in Qur’ân is sandwiched in the verses 33:37-52. All the juxtaposed verses are related to Prophet’s marriages and the relevance of the said verse is in context of continuation of spiritual progeny rather than bloodline of the Prophet till the end of times. This subject matter has no relation to Surah Kausar in the manner that the authors tried to create.

To re-use the words of the authors, it rather seems that it is their commentary that ‘appears to be out of tune with the context’. It creates contradiction where there is none. If biological facts are to be taken into account then the authors have only proven Surah Kausar wrong by their alleging an implied anxiety of the Companions of the Prophet because fact is that the Prophet never had a male survivor. Survival of movement through sons is essentially a doctrine of Qadianis where it is a family lineage that is running its seat of succession over four generations[44]. In context of Surah Kausar, it is the opponents of the Prophet who were actually anxious from emerging success of the Prophet and were expressing taunts to an apparent heirless prophet, which to them was a sign of failure. Whereas, the Companions knew very well that the successors of the Prophet were they themselves, his spiritual followers. The Companions were given the prophecy of their success concurrent to Byzantines as early as sixth year of the call to which Abu Bakr (RA) reportedly affixed prize money to be paid if Qur’ân turns out to be wrong, in light of following verses:

30:2. The Byzantines have been defeated,
30:3. In the land nearby (- Syria and Palestine); and they after their defeat shall overpower (their enemies, the Persians)
30:4. Within three to nine years. The power belongs to Allâh after (their defeat) as (it belonged to Him) before it. And on that day the believers (too) will rejoice
30:5. Over the victory (given to them) by Allâh. He gives victory to whom He will, and He is the All-Mighty, the Ever Merciful.
30:6. (This is) Allâh's promise. It is far from Allâh to break His promise. Yet most of the people do not know (this).[45]

The prophecy of Qur’ân full filled in the same year when Heraclius defeated Persians and Makkans were defeated in Badr by handful of Muslims. These are only a few verses which in themselves refute any possibility of anxiety of Companions; rather they must have eagerly awaited their victory. We have even not taken into account the presence of the Prophet amongst his Companions and the individual faith of each Companion which would not let any anxiety creep in their minds or fringe on their resolve.

The said authors for logic best known to them link the apparently heirless prophet (in Surah Kausar) to Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn verse under discussion (33:41 by their enumeration) with an apologetic consolation that since “the Holy Prophet is rasul ullah i.e. the spiritual father of a whole Ummah and he is also Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn” and then suddenly they throw in the interpretation that “Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn signifying that he is the spiritual father of all the past and future Prophets.” This deduction of theirs is totally out of thin air. One is left aghast as to where the “future Prophets” popped out from. This is an obvious fabrication by the said authors. To their invented meaning of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn they quote no direct source or authority, neither from Qur’ân, nor Hadith. How could they? Whatever authorities they have scrambled for will be fully addressed.

To the reader the narrative of the authors gives the logical conclusion that the authors have clearly accepted a preconceived notion of prophets after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and then they make the assumption that the said verse (33:41 by their enumeration) implies the same, a classic case of placing cart before the horse in which they are obviously laboring hard in creating, to quote them: “much confusion and misunderstanding…as to what the real spiritual status and position of the Holy Prophet as indicated by the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn i.e. the Seal of the Prophets” is.

In full context of Qur’ân, Hadiths and the history that followed, and what HMGA explained, and if Surah Kausar is to be bridged at all to the verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, as asserted by the authors, then it makes more logic in the following parenthetical view:

[Contrary to those who believe in lineage as a means of survival of a legacy] Muhammad is not [supposed to be] the father of any of your men [as his mission is global and lasting which in due course is supposed to bring out the best of mankind and their leadership from all corners of the world, while it cannot be limited by an apparent male progeny], but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets [Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, because of his everlasting blessed and perfect example]; and Allah has full knowledge of all things [– of past, present and future and how the blessings and teaching of the Last Prophet will succeed and last forever – e.g. see verses 5:3, 2:2, 2.143, 34.28 below].

Holy Prophet was the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., no Prophet, past or future, can be regarded as true unless his prophethood bears the seal of the Holy Prophet

The proponents of prophethood after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) base the crux of their entire case while citing the said verse of Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn under discussion (33:41 by their enumeration) in which they imply the meaning of ‘Seal’ in the likes of an ‘official seal’ or ‘stamp of approval’ while skirting away from its actual meaning and usage for termination of chain of Prophets. Their implication is that now Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the validator of subsequent prophets, whereas before that authority was only with Allah. This is ridiculous. Since when has a prophet made another prophet(s) or approved subsequent one(s)? Vesting of prophethood remains the prerogative of Allah alone:

22:75. Allâh chooses His messengers from among angels and from among men. Verily, Allâh is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.[46]

HMGA also totally negates the presumption that fellowship of a prophet can confer prophethood on that follower or that a prophet can certify prophethood of another prophet:

Although many prophets appeared among the Israelites, their prophethood was not the result of following Moses. In fact, it was directly the gift (mauhibah) of God. The discipleship of Moses did not have the slightest part in it.[47]

The claims of the said proponents about perfection of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ring hollow when they also admit the imperfection of prophet(s) after him, which in turn retorts only to prove imperfection of the teachings of the teacher. Little are they cognizant of that in their propping up newer prophet(s) they factually debase the Insan-e-Kamil himself.

Essentially, by slicing and dicing the above quoted verse (33:41 by their enumeration), the said authors have tried to remove the meaning of ‘Khatam’ from what it stands for and which should be – ‘finality combined with perfection and continuation of its blessings’[48] with a core meaning of closure and finality, and at the same time they tried to replace it with a meaning of – ‘validation’ alone in the manner of a notary putting a seal of certification on a document. In sum total, the authors steer away from the finality of the prophethood in the said verse. If for the sake of argument the said authors are correct in deriving the meaning of ‘Khatam’ which does not include the finality and closure, then how will they reconcile the same word ‘Khatam’ used elsewhere in Qur’ân where it means nothing but finality and closure. For example, the following are the translations and commentaries on verses of Qur’ân from their own pen:

2:8 Allah has set seal [–khatama] on their hearts and their ears, and over their eyes is a covering; and for them is a great punishment.[49]

Footnote by translators: 'Khatam' (set a seal) means, he set a seal on; or he stamped a thing so that there should remain no likelihood of its being regarded as forged…(lit. God has set a seal on his heart) means, God made his heart such that it could neither understand anything nor could anything come out of it, i.e. it could not make itself understood by others.

Thus if we read the word 'Khatam' in above verse – The verse means that their hearts are sealed so that faith does not enter into their hearts and their ears are sealed so they cannot listen to anything that could lead them to faith; thus, the overall sense of word 'Khatam' in this verse is closure. Just as a seal on heart and ears means their closure, similarly a seal on prophethood means its closure.[50]

In another verse from the same translation:

36:66. This day We shall put a seal [–na-khtimu] on their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will bear witness to what they had earned.[51]

Footnote by the translators: The verse means to say that when the guilt of disbelievers will be established and proved to the hilt they will become dumb-founded, their mouths will not be able to say anything in their defence and extenuation of their guilt, and their hands and feet will also bear witness against them – these being the principal instruments of man’s actions, good or bad…

The above verse narrates the account of the day of resurrection. It says that on that day people will not be able to speak because of the seal on their mouths and each part of body will tell whatever it did during mortal life. Here too, the sealing of the mouth means its closure. Similarly sealing of the prophethood means nothing else but its closure.[52]

In another place, and in the same translation:

83:26. They will be given to drink of a pure beverage, sealed [–ma-khtūmin][53].

The verse says that pious people will be given sealed drink in the next life. We use sealed products (like sealed juices and foods) in our daily life. The significance of a proper seal on a product means that the product is in the same form and condition as when it was sealed by the producer, and a broken seal means the opposite. This is why many products contain the warning "return if the seal is broken". It is common knowledge that nothing could be pulled out or added to the sealed product unless the seal is broken. Similarly, the appearance of a prophet (both new and old) is not possible without breaking the seal which Almighty Allah has put on prophethood by calling the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as 'the Seal of Prophets' (Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn).[54]

Similarly, the word 'khatam' has been used in Qur’ân in these verses: 6:46[55], 45:23[56], and 42:24[57]. In all these places, it has been used in the sense of closure. In a nutshell, the expression ' Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn ' can be rendered as 'last of prophets' and 'seal of prophets' but the sense remains the same in both cases, i.e., prophethood has been brought to an end with Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).[58]

It is interesting to read HMGA’s own opinion about ‘Khatam’. He has described Jesus as Khatam-ul-anbiya of the Israelites three times in Barahin Ahmadiyya Part 5. In one of these places he writes:

"… Isa (Jesus) is the name of the Khatam-ul-anbiya of the Israelites who came at the end, and Ahmad and Muhammad are the names of the Khatam-ul-anbiya of Islam…"[59]

Can the said authors name a single Israelite prophet after Jesus, or even expect an Israelite successor to him? Answer is plain no. HMGA in the same sentence reaffirms conclusively the similar end of prophethood after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

We end this section with a re-quote from HMGA in support of seal meaning closure and not a stamp of validation:

"According to the explanation of the Holy Qur’ân, rasul [i.e. messenger] is he who receives the commands and tenets of the religion through Gabriel. But a seal has been put upon wahy nubuwwat [i.e. prophethood-type revelation] since thirteen hundred years ago. Will this seal then break?"[60]

Holy Prophet was the last of the Law-bearing Prophets whereas those after him will not be so

To add to confusion, the authors also state in their commentary “nobody can attain to prophethood after him [–Prophet Muhammad] except by being his ummati (follower)”. This kind of thinking even creates doubts about previous prophets who were not ummati of a prophet before them. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a case in point, who at least till the age of forty had no teaching from a previous prophet for him to follow.

Whereas, according to Qur’ân, each prophet is a leader, not a follower of another prophet:

4:64. And We have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allâh [in the commandments given to the Messenger via the medium of Gabriel v. 26.192-4][61]

If every prophet should be obeyed by the leave of Allâh then it leaves no room for a non-law bearing prophet, because each prophet has to have something uniquely his that overrides either the distortion of pervious law or a new law suiting the requirements of his time. This verse clearly tells us that each prophet is law bearing and not a follower of a previous prophet because teacher of each prophet is Allah Himself, whereas, the previous prophet was a mere mortal. It raises simple questions for Qadianis. Let’s assume that HMGA was a prophet then according to Qadianis there is a possibility of a future prophet after him. Are Qadianis willing to accept for that future prophet to bypass HMGA as if what HMGA wrote and spoke had no value? Will they shift their allegiances to that prophet?

For the sake of discussion based upon Qadiani doctrine, let’s assume that ‘A’ was the last law bearing prophet and after him came a series of non-law bearing prophets ‘B,C,D,…..X,Y,Z.’ Since every successive one has to follow the previous one, then it implies that prophet Z will have to follow Y before him. Y in turn follows X and so on till the chain get to C, B before it reaches the last law bearing prophet A. By implication Z will essentially follow each prophet in the chain before him. It makes no sense as there is risk of failure on each step of the way and each successive prophet is ever far removed from the law bearing one. One lifetime is too little to understand, retain and follow the Sunnah of all the previous chain of prophets. Instead of unifying, such a non-sense of non-law bearing prophets is a sure recipe for fragmentation of what is left of the ummah (followers) within a few generations. The end result will be neither a surviving ummah nor any remaining ummati for Qadiani doctrine to have a future prophet.

The said authors complicate the matters further when they expect for the non-law bearing prophets after last law bearing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to follow the latter. Even if early on, prophet B (non-law bearing) in above example has his task easier by merely following the revelation of A (the last law-bearing prophet), then B will be in clear violation of injunctions of Qur’ân which mandate a prophet to follow his own revelation only:

6:50. …I indeed follow only what is revealed to me…[62]

7:203. …Say, `I only follow what is revealed to me by my Lord…[63]

10:109. And follow that which is revealed to you…[64]

If per chance B does not follow his own revelations but that of a previous prophet then do so can have severe consequences for him:

29:13. Say, `If I disobey my Lord I have to fear the torment of a dreadful day.'[65]

In the mist of their polemics of law bearer and no-bearer prophets, the authors forgot that every ‘messenger’ and ‘prophet’ was sent a Book of his own:

2:213. Mankind are a single community (but they differed), so Allâh raised (His) Prophets [Arabic: l-nabiyīna] as Bearers of good tidings and as Warners, and with them He revealed the Scriptures containing the truth, that He might judge between various people concerning all their mutual differences.[66][Emphasis added]

57:25. Certainly, We sent Our Messengers [Arabic: rusulanā] with clear proofs and We (also) sent down with them the Code (of Sharî`at – law and justice) and the Balance (- the practice of the Prophet and right use of the Book of God) so that people might conduct themselves with equity and justice…[67] [Emphasis added]

As a corollary, Qur’ân specifically identifies Zabur (Psalms) for David and Evangel (Gospel) for Jesus besides Torah for Moses.

It is generally alleged that while Moses was law bearing, Jesus was not. The alleged classification by the authors of law bearing and non-law bearing prophets is debunked by a simple example from Gospels, in which the apparent non-law bearing prophet Jesus overturns the Law of Moses:

Matthew: 5:38-40. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.[68]

This ‘updating’ of shariah of Moses by Jesus as mentioned in Gospels is also alluded to in Qur’ân as well:

3:49. `And (He will appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel (with the Message), "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.[69]

Qadianis in their literature hide their muddle by creating smoke screen of alleged non-law bearing Israelite prophets after Moses. Maulana Muhammad Ali clears that also:

At another place it has been mentioned: "And follow what is revealed to thee.'[70] And at the place, where the Holy Prophet is commanded to submit and serve alone what is revealed to him, it has also been stated: "Say: if I disobey my Lord (in my revelation). I fear the chastisement of a grievous day."[71] That is, if a prophet does not follow his revelation, he is, in fact, disobedient to the divine command. Therefore, he does not pay attention to anything else except his revelation, which is such that it alone should be followed, leaving aside all other thoughts and ideas. His faith in previous books and revelations is in a rather abstract and general way. Although he believes that they, too, were from God, yet if on some point his revelation differs from that of some previous prophet, he would only follow his own revelation. This would also hold true when one messenger is the successor of another messenger. For example, after Moses, there was a chain of prophets who followed the Shariah of Moses but when any one of them appeared it was incumbent on him to follow his own revelation in his own age. He acted according to the Torah only inasmuch as his revelation commanded him to do so. Those messengers who came among the Israelites judged according to the Torah, not because that it was Moses' book and they were Moses' followers – in their becoming messengers the following of Moses had not a grain of influence – but because they were themselves directly commanded by their revelations to judge according to the Torah. And, if in some matters, although God had commanded in the Torah differently as compared to their revelation, it was, however; incumbent upon them to follow their own revelations and leave aside the earlier command of the Torah. Or, if a prophet had received a revelation which was against the revelation of some previous prophet or that of the Torah, he was not supposed to follow either of these, but only the revelation which descended on him, no matter whether that revelation was contrary to any of the previous revelations. It was so because in the previous laws (shariah) some of the commands were limited to time and place. Moreover, alterations had also taken place among them, that is to say, they did not remain fully protected. Nevertheless, whenever a prophet appeared in some part of the world or to a particular nation, he followed whatever was commanded to in his revelation. But as revelation has reached its perfection with the Qur’ân, religion has also been made perfect, so has been the guidance (hidayah) for all ages and times and no deficiency at all has been left in the Shariah; therefore, no messenger or prophet can appear after the revelation of the Qur’ân. This means that no such person can come who abandons the Qur’ân and follows his own revelation or accepts the Qur’ân only because his own revelation has commanded him to do so.[72]

The core principles in Qur’ân of independence of revelation, leadership and mission for each prophet are retained even in case of Aaron who was a co-prophet with Moses:

20:90. Aaron had, indeed, said to them before (the return of Moses from the Mount), `My people! you have only been tried by this (calf). Surely, the Most Gracious (God) is your Lord, so follow me and carry out my biddings.'[73]

37:114-120. We did bestow (Our) favours on Moses and Aaron. We delivered them both and their people from the great distress. And We came to their help (against the people of Pharaoh). So it was they who gained clear supremacy. And We gave them both the Manifesting Book. And We guided them both to the right and straight path. And We left behind both of them (a blessed salutation) among the generations to come. `Peace be upon Moses and Aaron!' [74][Emphasis added]

While shedding light on Qur’ân HMGA explains the independent leadership and revelation of each prophet as follows:

"No messenger comes to the world as a follower (ummati) and a subordinate (mahkum). On the other hand, he is a master (muta) and only follows such of his revelation which descend on him through the mediation of Gabriel."[75]

Building upon his argument and the inevitability of a prophet to override some aspects of the previous prophet or scripture, HMGA disassociates himself from any allegation of prophethood attributed to him:

"And this does not beseem Him that He (i.e., God) starts the order of prophethood again after it has been cut off and that He should abrogate some of the Qur’ânic commands or add thereupon and go contrary to His promise or forget the perfection of the Qur’ân."[76]

Maulana Muhammad Ali sums up the arguments of Qur’ân and HMGA as follows:

"…in the divine scheme of things the object of sending prophets was to bring guidance to man, and it has also been mentioned in the Qur’ân that each and every prophet was bearer of guidance (hidayah) and that it was a prerequisite of his mission that he should make the previous guidance perfect. This might have become indispensable for various reasons, perhaps that guidance was unable to help a nation any more to attain perfection, or some defect might have crept into it or it might have been lost or forgotten, or the needs and circumstances of the nation might have changed, so that it had to be abrogated, altered or modified but the raising of a new prophet, however, meant that something was out of order in the previous Shariah.

About other prophets it is an acknowledged fact. But it is sometimes said that the Israelite prophets who came after Moses did not bring a new guidance. The Qur’ân, however, rejects this view. Let us consider the case of the Torah and the Evangel. If it is proved that the Evangel brought new teaching, new guidance and new light, the position of all the prophets coming after Moses becomes clear. At one place in the Qur’ân it has been mentioned: "And He will teach him (i.e., Jesus) the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel,"[77], and at another place in the chapter al-Maidah, where it has first been stated about the Torah, "Surely We revealed the Torah, having guidance and light," and then a mention has been made about the Gospel: "And We gave him (Jesus) the Gospel, containing guidance and light and verifying that which was before it and a guidance and an admonition for the dutiful "(5:46).

Thus, when notwithstanding the presence of the Torah a mention has been made of another prophet who brought guidance and Light, the case of other Israelite prophets must be judged in view of this fact. And it must be admitted that all the prophets who came after Moses brought guidance and light and were instrumental in perfecting the guidance."[78]

Verse of Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous

In another place the same authors use a verse of Qur’ân to extend their argument about non-finality of the prophethood with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). While expanding on the blessings mentioned in Surah Kausar, they state:

And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets [nabiyina], the Truthful [sidiqina], the Martyrs [shuhadai] and the Righteous [salihina]. And excellent companions are these. (4:70[79])

Tagging on to the above verse, another author, Dr. Aziz Ahmad Chaudhry, of the same organization in the book “The Promised Messiah and Mahdi” [80] in its chapter ‘The Question of Finality of Prophethood’, makes the following case:

From this verse it is absolute clear that those Muslims who obey Allah and His Prophet – the spiritual sons of the Prophet, will be blessed with spiritual favours by Allah and they will be raised to the following four spiritual status in descending order.

1. The Prophets
2. The Faithful
3. The Martyrs
4. The Righteous

It is not possible that God Himself should teach this prayer for seeking His blessings and favours and then deny them. The Muslim community, (the umma) has offered this sacred payer frequently for the last 1400 years and continues to do so. These verses of the Holy Qur’ân teach us the doctrine that among Muslims it is possible that a spiritual son of the Prophet – a follower of Allah and the Holy Prophet may be blessed with divine favours and given the spiritual status of the prophet, but he has to be a follower. (Ummati)

The said authors failed to read the context of the verse. Besides others, the verse speaks of the blessed company of Martyrs. We all know that Martyrs are only to be found in the hereafter and not in this world. The four strata identified in the verse are the blessed company in the next world for the righteous of this world. Even if the premise of the said authors is to be accepted, then the status of prophethood attained is for the next world, not in this world, which already has seen its last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In light of zealotry of the said author, one is constrained to ask the author as to what a pity that it took continuous lifelong prayers of billions of Muslims over 1400 continuous years and only then an alleged prophet arose in the ummah by their assertion, while the alleged prophet denied any claim to his prophethood. Despite their tall claims of perfection of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is it a success or a failure of his teachings when compared with Israeli prophets? Take for example Mary. Not only God spoke to her, but her son (Jesus), cousin (John) and uncle (Zachariah) were all prophets in the same household. Compare that to the claim to fame of only one alleged prophet in 1400 years after our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These numbers by themselves prove the finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and confirm the empty lip service of perfection that they attribute to him.

Maulana Muhammad Ali in the footnote of his translation of the above verse writes:

Those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours are spoken of as belonging to four classes: (1) the prophets; (2) the truthful — those who are true in their sayings and their belief, and confirm their truth by their deeds or acting; (3) the faithful — those who bear witness to the truth both by words and deeds, and one slain in defence of his religion is included because he too gives evidence of the truth of religion by laying down his life; (4) the righteous or those who stick to the right course in all their deeds, come what may. Those who obey Allah and the Messenger are here told that they are with the perfect ones who belong to these four classes. Thus this verse promises to those who have not attained to perfection the company, in the life to come, of those who have attained to perfection when the former have done their best to obey God and His Messenger. It may be added that no one can become a prophet by obeying the Holy Prophet. If this were true, not only would all the truthful and the faithful and the righteous be prophets, because they perfectly obeyed Allah and His Messenger, but even all those who tried to follow them would also be prophets which is absurd.[81]

To repeat, is it not absurd even to imagine the possibility of prophets in the followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in that the alleged prophet, HMGA, by the said authors is the ‘only and lonely’ one despite presence of Qur’ân and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in ummah almost 1400 years? If his line of arguments is to be accepted then by the standards of said authors, the teachings of Islam are so imperfect that not a single Muslim has been able to attain prophethood in almost 1400 years under verse 4:70 (as enumerated in their translation), that includes hundreds of Companions of the Prophet who were personally groomed by him. This is all so because of the absolute finality of Prophet Muhammad:

25:51. If We had so willed We would surely have raised (in place of universal Prophethood) a Warner in every town.[82]

Rather this lack of prophets only proves the true meanings of Khatam an-nabiyyin after the Last of the Prophets – Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The said authors while skewing the verse (4:70 as numerated by them) forgot the fundamental rule in Qur’ân i.e. office of prophethood can never be acquired no matter how much one strives for it; rather it was conferred by Allah at His discretion:

 3:73. `Yet avow this belief only for the sake of those who follow your creed.' Say, `Surely, the true guidance is Allâh's guidance', (and they also said, `Do not believe,) that anyone will ever be given the like of that (gift of prophethood) which you have been given, or that they will ever be able to prevail upon you in argument before your Lord.' Say, `Eminence (of prophethood and sovereignty) is entirely in the hands of Allâh. He confers it to whomsoever He will.' And Allâh is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.

3:74. Allâh has singled out for His grace (of the bestowal of Divine revelation) one whom He has pleased, for Allâh is the Lord of great eminence. [83]

6:124. …Allâh knows best whom to entrust His Messengership…[84]

Finally, Allah declares in Qur’ân quite clearly that Islam is a perfected religion via a perfected Messenger and Qur’ân, a perfect book. One wonders what else is there left to be perfected for which a future prophet will be needed:

5:3. …This day have I perfected for you your faith and completed My blessings upon you and have chosen Islam for your religion…[85]

2:2. This is the only perfect Book, wanting in naught, containing nothing doubtful, harmful or destructive, there is no false charge in it. It is a guidance for those who guard against evil;[86]

2:143. And thus have We made you a nation exalted and justly balanced so that you may be a guiding example for all mankind (by carrying to them what you have learnt about Islam), and this perfect Messenger (of God) may be a guiding example for you… [87]

34:28. (Prophet!) We have sent you not but towards entire mankind (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)[88] [Emphasis added]

One of the fundamental role for a prophet is to rectify the deficiency in law or reset the decay of law of the previous prophets, or update the law for the requirements of time or place, which in case of Islam is none because of the everlasting Qur’ân and example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). To expect any prophet after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is essentially a declaration of imperfection of Islam and the above declarations of Allah (v 5:3, 2:2, 2.143, 34.28) as void. Can it be so? Never is the only answer.

The comments of HMGA, as related to above verses are:

"And there is no need to follow separately all the prophets and scriptures that have passed before, since the prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) embraces them all. And besides that, all other paths are closed. All the truths that carry one to God are found therein. Neither shall any new truth come after it nor was there any truth before which is not found in it. Therefore, all prophethoods end with this prophethood and thus it ought to have been, for everything which has a beginning has an end also."[89]

Verse of O children of Adam! if Messengers come to you

In another place the said authors while making a deductive remark based upon their interpretation of verse Khatam an-nabiyyin 33:41 (as enumerated by them), they equate ‘Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn’ with non-finality of prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and state:

Moreover, the Qur’ân clearly speaks of the advent of Prophets after the Holy Prophet. The following (one of the two verses) leave no ambiguity on this point:

O children of Adam! if Messengers come to you from among yourselves, rehearsing My Signs [commandments] come unto you, then whoso shall fear God and do good deeds, on them shall come no fear nor shall they grieve (7:36[90]). [Emphasis added]

The said authors self-contradict in the above verse, which is translated by themselves, by what they stated in their commentary earlier i.e. – “the Holy Prophet was the last of the Law-bearing Prophets”, whereas My Signs in the said verse are nothing but the Law given to a prophet (i.e. Sharia). Hence, if their premise is taken to be correct in that there will be prophets after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) then by the above verse they will be law bearing, which is negation of the premise of the said authors.

Maulana Muhammad Ali clears the fog spread around the above verse by the authors:

It is argued, on the basis of this verse, that the appearance of messengers after Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not only permissible but also essential. But in this verse, all the children of Adam are addressed and the verse, in fact, refers to the incident after Adam's story. To think that the address here is to the people coming after Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is preposterous. The meaning of the verse is clear enough. In the divine scheme of things, Adam received words from his Lord, but for the children of Adam, He would send messengers relating His messages to them. Those who would accept them and act righteously would be saved. It was under this divine law that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent to the world, who related God's messages (ayat) i.e., the Qur’ân, to the people. The main object of the advent of the messengers, however, was the communication of divine messages, but when this object was fulfilled in the form of the Qur’ân, a complete and perfect message to all nations extending to all ages to the Last Day then there was no need to raise another messenger.

It is indeed a daring step to argue from this verse about the continuity of prophethood as opposed to the plain verses of the Qur’ân, which mention his being Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn[91] and which clearly point out: "This day have I perfected for, you your religion."[92] Those Muslims who draw conclusions from this verse should also ponder over the point that, if continuity of prophethood is established from this verse, it is an argument in the hands of the followers of Bahaism who, unlike Muslims, regard the law of the Qur’ân as abrogated. It is not mentioned here that these messengers would be the followers of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). "Children of Adam" is a general expression which may apply to any nation, Muslims or non-Muslims alike. And then this verse necessitates the revelation of messages on such persons. Anyone who believes in the coming of a messenger must also necessarily believe in the coming of the Shariah. If a new Shariah cannot come, neither can a new messenger come. At another place in the Qur’ân the same subject has been dealt with which makes the whole point more clear:

"Surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve."[93]

Thus, if at one place the advent of messengers has been described in the Qur’ân as a general law, at another place in the same words, at the same occasion, the sending of guidance has also been described as a divine practice, if it is correct to argue from one verse about the advent of the messengers after Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), then it would be equally correct to argue from the other the coming of a new guidance.[94]

Additionally, the said authors completely missed the conditional statement in the verse (7:36 by their enumeration) and the use of the word ‘if’. Such conditional statements are variably used in Qur’ân to prove a point and not to mean fulfillment of the hypothetical question. The following examples are only a sampler:

The Holy Qur’ân says about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Say, surely I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the chastisement of a grevious day” (66:15, 39:13). We humbly ask the said author whether it was possible for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to disobey his Lord? The answer, surely, is a big NO. But in spite of that Holy Qur’ân has mentioned it conditionally.[95]

Elsewhere, the Holy Qur’ân says about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): "If thou associate (with Allah), thy work would certainly come to a naught" (39:65). Will the said authors explain if it was possible for the Holy Prophet to indulge in polytheism (shirk)? If not, and certainly not, then on what authority has he invented this rule.[96]

Again the Holy Qur’ân says: "Say then; had the Compassionate a son, I shall be the first of his worshippers" (43:81). Is it possible for God to have a son? Certainly not; it is impossible for God to have a son; but in spite of that it is mentioned here as a condition.[97]

And again the Holy Qur’ân says: "If there were in them (earth and heaven) gods besides Allah, they would both have been in disorder" (21:22). Is it possible that there be two gods? The answer could be nothing but NO; even the Holy Qur’ân mentions it conditionally.[98]

Yet in another place Qur’ân states: “Be sure, those who cry lies to Our Messages and turn away from them disdainfully, the gates of the (spiritual) firmament shall not be opened for them, nor shall they enter Paradise until a camel passes through the eye of a needle…” (7:40)[99]. Should then one assume an actual camel threading a needle? It would be absurd even to imagine so.

All the Qur’ânic verses in above section describe one or another impossible phenomenon in a conditional manner. The testimony of these verses is enough to show that the so-called rule under discussion is very much like clutching at straws.[100]

Similar to Qur’ân, the expression of an impossible phenomenon using ‘if’ or ‘had’ is also found in Hadith as is obvious in the following passage from – ‘Prophethood in Islam’:

It has been reported by 'Aqbah, son of 'Amir, that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah he upon him) said “Had there been a prophet after me it would have been 'Umar.”

This hadith is found in Tirmidhi and, although it has been stated there as gharib (rare or unfamiliar) in another edition of Tirmidhi the word hasan (approved) has also been added to it. Besides this, Imam Ibn Jauzi has recorded it; Ahmad in his Musnad, Hakim in his al-Sahih and Tibrani in his commentary have all reported this saying. And as its subject matter is in conformity with the Qur'ãn and the Hadith, therefore, there can be no objection to accepting it as true. This hadith is also a clear testimony that there can be no prophet in this ummah. If there was any such possibility, then 'Umar would have become one. But as 'Umar was not a prophet, therefore, none other can he a prophet in this ummah.[101]

An interesting observation about Verse of Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous – and — Verse of O children of Adam! if Messengers come to you.

The verses which hold the apparent jewel in the crown status in Qadiani literature are 4:70 and 7:36 (by their enumeration) because in them they find keywords Prophets and Messengers on which they build their figment for prophethood after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that they then attribute to HMGA. What they forgot is that HMGA never, anywhere presented any such verse to claim that he was a prophet on the basis of that verse. In his book Shahadat-ul-Qur’ân (available in English as Testimony of the Holy Qur’ân) he has quoted verses of the Qur’ân that his claim is based on, the main one being the khilafat verse 24:55. He writes:

If it is said that in the Mosaic order those who were raised for the advocacy of the faith were prophets, and Jesus was also a prophet, the reply is that the prophet [nabi] and the saint [muhaddath] are on a par in terms of being sent [mursal]. Just as God has called prophets as mursal, so has He termed saints as mursal. It is in reference to this that in the Holy Qur’ân occur the words: "We sent after him (Moses) messengers" (2:87), and not "We sent after him prophets". This points to the fact that by "messengers" are meant those who are sent, whether such a one is an apostle [rasul], prophet [nabi] or saint [muhaddath]. As our Master and Apostle, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the last of the prophets [khatam al-anbiya'], and after him there cannot come any prophet, for this reason saints have been substituted for prophets in this religious system. And it is to this that the following verse refers: "A multitude from among the earlier ones, and a multitude from among the later ones" (56:39-40). As the word thulla [multitude] is used equally in both places, it is proved conclusively that the saints of the Muslims, in terms of their number and the length of their order, are equal to the apostles of the Israelites.

Another verse to the same effect is as follows:

"God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them successors in the earth as He made those before them to be successors. And He will surely establish for them their religion, which He has chosen for them, and that He will surely give them security in exchange after their fear. They will serve Me, not associating anything with Me." (24:55)

Now look carefully. This verse also contains a clear reference to the same analogy. And if by this analogy is not meant perfect likeness, then these words become meaningless. For, the chain of successorship in the Mosaic dispensation lasted for fourteen hundred years, not just thirty years; and hundreds of successors [khalifa], spiritual and temporal, appeared, not just four and then the end forever.[102]

Hadiths about ‘possibility’ of prophethood of prophet’s son Abraham, and Companion Abu Bakr

In the same vein that Umar was not a prophet another Hadith quoted by the authors falls in the same category of hypothetical ‘if’:

If Abraham (his son) had lived long, he would have been a Prophet" (Maja, kitab al-Janai'z)

The above hadith raises a fundamental question. Who narrated it? The answer to that we find in Sahih al-Bukhari which is a comment by a Companion and not a saying of the Prophet:

Narrated Isma'il: I asked Abi Aufa, "Did you see Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet?" He said, "Yes, but he died in his early childhood. Had there been a Prophet after Muhammad then his son would have lived, but there is no Prophet after him." (Volume 8, Book 73, Number 214)[103]

The opinion of the Companion is that neither a prophet is expected after Prophet Muhammad, nor his son was expected to survive. Clearly this opinion of the Companion is posthumously as by then the said Companion is expressing his views in light of verse that was revealed after death of Ibrahim, the timeline of which we have established before. That verse is none other than the core issue of this whole paper and we quote it from the translation of the authors:

“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets [Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn]; and Allah has full knowledge of all things. (33:41)

The above is a perfect example of Hadith supplementing Qur’ân and in our case the finality of Prophethood! Both the Hadith and Verse are in a complementary logic.

The said authors towards the end of their commentary state:

The Holy Prophet himself was clear in his mind as to the continuity of prophethood after him. He is reported to have said: … "Abu Bakr is best of men after me, except that a Prophet should appear" (Kanz al-'Ummal).

To statements like these, Maulana Muhammad Ali in ‘Prophethood in Islam’ writes the following:

If it is assumed for the sake of argument, that the order of prophethood has not been suspended but instead of God's raising the prophets this has been entrusted to the 'Seal of the Prophets', then a charge of falsehood is laid against the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (God forbid us all from such a blasphemy!) that he told one of his companions that if there was any possibility of the advent of a prophet, then he would have become a prophet, and to another he said: "O 'Ali, you stand to me in the same relation as Aaron stood to Moses except that there is no prophet after me," and yet to another he said, "O Abu Bakr, you are the first to enter paradise from among my ummah," but he also did not become a prophet. In short, if a teacher is incompetent because he cannot make a pupil like him and if Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the 'Seal of the Prophets' in the sense that he was prophet-making, and now there was no need of prophethood which was directly received from God, and this honour, in a way a divine prerogative, had come in his hands, then how was it possible that he could not make a single prophet like himself?[104]

'A'ishah and the expression Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

The same proponents make a flimsy case of selective reading while quoting Lady Aishah, wife of the Prophet – Say that he (the Holy Prophet) is Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn but do not say that there will be no Prophet after him (Manthur) – to which Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book “Prophethood in Islam” writes the following[105]:

All these reports [– Hadiths about finality of prophethood] cannot be rejected by saying attributed to Hazrat Aishah, which runs thus:

"Say Khatam al-Anbiya (Seal of the prophets), but do not say, there is no prophet after him." [Majma al-Bihar]

Now it has been established from authentic reports that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has explained the term Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn by the words: "I am the Seal of prophets, there is no prophet after me" (ana Khâtam an-Nabiyyîn la nabiyya ba‘di)? Thus, how could the saying of 'A'ishah be accepted, which is entirely opposed to it, except that it should be interpreted in a way so as not to contradict the saying of the Holy Prophet himself? The words apparently mean only this, that the divine sentence 'seal of the prophets' [verse 33:40] is a more comprehensive term than the explanatory statement [of Hadith], 'there is no prophet after me,' the latter being a reference only to one aspect of the finality of prophethood. The explanation of the second aspect is met with in the other reports of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), such as:

"There is nothing left of prophethood except good news (mubashshirat)."

But if another meaning is sought in the saying attributed to 'A'ishah that the statement, 'there is no prophet after him,' is wrong and opposed to the term 'the Seal of the Prophets,' then in such a case the words of 'A'ishah should be rejected according to the elementary rules of interpretation of Hadith that the saying of a Companion should be rejected, if it goes against the saying of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In this particular instance the report of the Holy Prophet is authentic and unanimously accepted and recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim whereas 'A'ishah's saying has been quoted without giving the necessary chain of narrators. Thus, such words should either be interpreted according to the authentic hadith or should be rejected.

As a footnote to above Maulana Muhammad Ali continues further:

As compared with this there are other authentic sayings of 'A'ishah which confirm the finality of prophethood. For instance:

It has been reported from 'A'ishah that the Prophet said: No part of prophethood would be left after me except mubashshirat. They (the companions) said: O Messenger of Allah, what are mubashshirat? He replied: true visions (Musnad Ahmad).

It is reported from 'A'ishah that the Prophet said: I am the last of the prophets and my Mosque is the last of the prophets' mosque (Kanz al-Ummal). Tr.

Still if the rubber stampers differ with regards to the interpretation of ‘Seal of Prophets’ then Qur’ân gives the following guideline:

4:59. O you who believe! obey Allâh and obey (His) Messenger and those who are in authority among you (to decide your affairs). And should you differ among yourselves in anything, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (and judge according to their teachings), if indeed you believe in Allâh and the Last Day. That is (in your) best (interests) and most commendable in the long run.[106]

This verse then naturally leads us to the decisive opinion of the Prophet in his farewell address:

"O people, surely there is no prophet after me, and no Ummah after you" (Musnad Ahmad, vol. ii, p. 391).

———-x———-x———x———-x———

 Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn

 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad says those who believe in a prophet after Holy Prophet Muhammad are making that prophet into the Khatam al-anbiya[107]

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wrote again and again that the meaning of the Holy Prophet Muhammad being Khatam an-nabiyyin (or the synonymous term Khatam al-anbiya) is that he was the Last Prophet after whom no prophet whatsoever can come.

Another evidence showing that Hazrat Mirza took the term Khatam al-anbiya to mean Last Prophet is that he wrote several times that if any other prophet whatsoever were to come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad then that prophet would become the Khatam al-anbiya.

We quote below four of his statements:

1. “If another prophet were to come, whether new or old, how could our Holy Prophet remain the Khatam al-anbiya?
 Book Ayyam Sulh, see Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 309.
 
2. “Now turning back to my original topic, I say that our Holy Prophet being the Khatam al-anbiya also requires the death of Jesus because if another prophet comes after him, then he cannot remain the Khatam al-anbiya.”
 Book Ayyam Sulh, see Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 392.
 
3. “The Holy Qur’ân clearly states that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam al-anbiya. But our opponents make Jesus the Khatam al-anbiya, and say that the mention of the Messiah being a prophet of God in Sahih Muslim and elsewhere refers to real prophethood. Now it is clear that if he comes into the world, bearing his prophethood, how could our Holy Prophet remain the Khatam al-anbiya?
 Book Kitab-ul-Bariyya, see Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 224.
 
4. “The Holy Qur’ân, in the verses, ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion’, and ‘He is the Messenger of Allah and the Khatam an-nabiyyin’, has clearly ended prophethood with the Holy Prophet Muhammad. And it has said in plain words that the Holy Prophet is Khatam al-anbiya, as it says: ‘He is the Messenger of Allah and the Khatam an-nabiyyin’. But those people who bring Jesus back to the world believe that he will come to the world still bearing his prophethood, and that the angel Jibreel will continue to descend upon him with wahy nubuwwat for forty-five years. Now tell us, according to their belief, how can the finality of prophethood and the finality of revelation given to prophets (wahy nubuwwat) be maintained? Instead, one would have to accept that Jesus is the Khatam al-anbiya.”
 Book Tuhfa Golarwiya, see Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 17, p. 174.

According to these statements, if any prophet came after the Holy Prophet Muhammad then that prophet would become the Khatam al-anbiya and the Holy Prophet Muhammad would no longer remain Khatam al-anbiya. Merely by coming after the Holy Prophet, a prophet would become Khatam al-anbiya, whether he was a new prophet or old, whether he was a great prophet or a lesser prophet.

This establishes that Khatam al-anbiya, according to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, means the Last Prophet.

If, as the Qadianis claim, Khatam al-anbiya means best or greatest prophet, then even if a prophet came after the Holy Prophet, the Holy Prophet could still remain Khatam al-anbiya. But Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that the Holy Prophet Muhammad cannot remain Khatam al-anbiya if a prophet came after him.

———-x———-x———x———-x———

In conclusion, the above is a case study of a phenomenon more mythical than mystical, nothing short of a best seller, in the garb of a garbled religion, a story ‘most’[108] sold, not told, of a “Man Who Mistook a Seat for a Seal”[109] and kept on calling it Seal, while he fully knew that it was a Seat for himself and a family enterprise, minus his father but inclusive of his father-in-law, fully secure under the vice grip of vice itself, and a fellowship which is more emotional than rational.


[1] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Nooruddin
[2] Al-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[3] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[4] Al-Qasas – The Narrative: Nooruddin
[5] Al-Shuara – The Poets: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Mujadilah – The Pleading Woman: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz. Footnote: In a state of war between the two parties, friendly relations with the hostile tribes were prohibited, and these would have resulted in great harm to the weaker community of the Muslims. As to those who were not actually engaged in hostilities against the Muslims, see the express directions contained in 60:8. [60:8-9. Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah forbids you only with regard to those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers. Al-Mumtahanah – The Woman Tested: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz.]
[8] About the believers it is said in the Qur’ân that God strengthened them with a Spirit from Himself (58:22). 'Spirit' here stands for Gabriel. In the hadith it has been plainly stated that the Holy Prophet had told Hassan ibnThabit: "Reply to the satire of the unbelievers and Gabriel is with you" (Al-Bukhari, 59:6; Mishkat al-Masabih, 4:12). –Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Prophethood and the Founder of The Ahmadiyya Movement, Section – Gabriel did not bring revelation to the founder, August 1992, Footnote 565, p. 388
[9] Al-Mujadilah – The Pleading Woman: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[10] Izalah Auham, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (3rd Septermber 1891), p. 575.
[11] ibid, p. 584.
[12] 
ibid, p. 614.
[13] 
ibid, p. 583
[14] 
ibid, p. 534; Ruhani Khaza’in 3: 387
[15] 
ibid, p. 577.
[16] Hamamat al-Bushra, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, p. 20.
[17] Izalah Auham, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (3rd Septermber 1891), p. 586
[18] 
ibid, p. 575
[19] 
ibid, p. 761
[20] 
ibid, p. 578
[21] Tuhfah Golarwiyah, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, 1st September 1902, p. 84).
[22] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, August 1992. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mali/prophethoodislam/prophethoodislam.shtml
[23] Finality of Prophethood, by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore, UK. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/others/aaiiluk/finalityofprophethood/finalityofprophethood.shtml
[24] http://www.aaiil.org/; http://ahmadiyya.org/; http://www.ahmadiyya.org/noclaim/khatam.htm; http://www.ahmadiyya.org/noclaim/affirms.htm; http://www.muslim.org/; http://www.virtualmosque.co.uk/

[25] Published by Islam International Publications Limited, 1988: Link: http://www.alislam.org/Qur’ân/tafseer/guide.htm?region=E1
[26] Of note is that in the translations of Qur’ân, the Qadianis include the opening phrase Bismilla… at beginning of each surah while enumerating the verse number, hence their verse numbers for any chapter (surah) are one more than others, except for Chapter 9 which does not have Bismillah… before it.
[27] Hamamat al-Bushra, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, p.20, footnote 293
[28] ibid, p.49
[29] Anjam Athim, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (2nd January, 1897), footnote p.27,28
[30] 108:1-3. Verily, We have bestowed upon you (O Muhammad!) abundance of good (both of this life and of the Hereafter). Therefore observe Prayer for the sake of your Lord and offer sacrifice (to Him). Surely, it is your enemy who is cut off entirely [Arabic: Abtar] (from all good and prosperity and is deprived of Spiritual issues). Al-Kauthar – The Abundance of Good: Nooruddin
[31] Dictionary of The Holy Qur’ân, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 148
[32] 
ibid, p. 148
[33] Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz, footnote to verse 33:40
[34] Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1995. “Ziyad b. 'Ilaqa reported: I heard Mughira b. Shu'ba saying that the sun eclipsed during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the day when Ibrahim died. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Verily the sun and the moon are the two signs among the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse on account of the death of anyone or on account of the birth of anyone. So when you see them, supplicate Allah, and observe prayer till it is over.” Link:http://www.iium.edu.my/deed/hadith/muslim/004c_smt.html
[35] Manual of Hadith, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, B.16:3, B.16:19; p. 186-187
[36] National Aeronautical And Space Administration (NASA) – Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest. Link: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhistory/SEhistory.html
[37] Ibn Khatir dates Prophet’s marriage to Zainab in 5 A.H. Link: http://www.islamawareness.net/Muhammed/ibn_kathir_wives.html
[38] Sahih al-Bukhari – Volume 2, Book 23, Number 390: Narrated Anas bin Malik: We went with Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet). Allah's Apostle took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif's house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) started shedding tears. 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf said, "O Allah's Apostle, even you are weeping!" He said, "O Ibn 'Auf, this is mercy." Then he wept more and said, "The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim ! Indeed we are grieved by your separation." – Translator Muhsin Khan
[39] 33:37-38. Al-Ahzaab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[40] Al-Ahzaab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali
[41] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Finality of Prophethood, Section – The Holy Prophet became Khâtam al-Nabiyyîn, August 1992, p. 188-189
[42] Al-Ahzaab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[43]
ibid,
[44] The Ahmadiyya Khilafat. Link: http://www.alislam.org/topics/khilafat/

Note: Nooruddin is falsely shown on this website. Nooruddin like HMGA never ascribed to the non-finality of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This doctrine of non-finality was established after the death of Nooruddin by Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad who is identified as the second caliph on the website.
[45] Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin
[46] Al-Hajj – The Pilgrimage: Nooruddin
[47] Haqiqat al-Wahy, 15th May 1907, p. 97 footnote
[48] See references 31,32
[49] Surah Baqarah – The Holy Qur’ân with English Translation and Commentary, published by Islam International Publications Limited. Pub. 1988.
[50] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz, pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji, 
p. 32,. Link: http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/others/abidaziz/truesignificancekhatamannabiyyin/truesignificancekhatamannabiyyin.shtml
[51] Surah Ya Sin – The Holy Qur’ân with English Translation and Commentary, published by Islam International Publications Limited. Pub. 1988.
[52] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz, pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji, 
p. 33.
[53] Surah Al-Tatfif – The Holy Qur’ân with English Translation and Commentary, published by Islam International Publications Limited. Pub. 1988.
[54] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz, pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji,
p. 33.
[55] 6:46. Say, `Have you ever considered if Allâh were to take away your hearing and your sight and set a seal upon your hearts, what god other than Allâh can restore these (boons) to you?' See how We expound (multiple) arguments in diverse ways. Yet they turn away thereafter. Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[56] 45:23. Have you considered the case of him who has taken his own low desires for his god and whom Allâh has forsaken and adjudged as lost on the basis of (His infinite) knowledge, and whose ears and heart He has sealed and whose eyes He has covered with a veil? Who then will guide him after Allâh (has condemned him for his being given to evil ways)? Will you then pay no heed? Al-Jathiyah – The Fallen on the Knees: Nooruddin
[57] 42:24. Rather they say, `He has forged a lie against Allâh (by presenting this Qur'ân).' If Allâh so willed He would set a seal (against them) upon your heart. But Allâh eradicates falsehood (through you) and establishes the truth by (dint of) His words (-prophecies and revelation). He is indeed, One knowing full well (even) the innermost thoughts of the hearts. Al-Shura – The Counsel: Nooruddin
[58] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz, p. 33, pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji.
[59] Ruhani Khaza’in, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India v. 21, p. 412.
[60] Izalah Auham, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (3rd Septermber 1891), p. 534; Ruhani Khaza’in 3: 387
[61] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[62] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[63] Al-Araf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[64] Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[65] Al-Zumar – The Multitudes: Nooruddin
[66] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[67] Al-Hadid – The Iron: Nooruddin
[68] New King James Version. BibleGateway. Link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:38-40
[69] Al-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[70] Jonah – Yunus: Muhammad Ali
[71] Al-Zumar – The Companies: Muhammad Ali
[72] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Prophetic Revelation, Section – A prophet follows his own revelation, August 1992, p. 106-108
[73] Ta Ha – Perfect Man! be at Rest: Nooruddin
[74] Al-Saffat – Those Ranging in Ranks: Nooruddin
[75] Izalah Auham, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (3rd Septermber 1891), p. 576
[76] Ainah Kamalat Islam, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (26 February 1893), p. 339
[77] Al-Imran – The Family of Amran: Muhammad Ali, verse 3:48 (corrected from 3:47)
[78] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Prophetic Revelation, Section – Revelation of a prophet completes guidance, August 1992, p. 139-140
[79] Of note is that in the translations of Qur’ân, the Qadianis count the phrase Bismilla… at beginning of each surah while enumerating the verse number, hence their verse numbers for any chapter (surah) are one more than others, except for Chapter 9 which does not have Bismillah… before it.
[80] The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, by Dr. Aziz Ahmad Chaudhry, Chapter: The Question of Finality of Prophethood, p. 37-45. Islam International Publications Limited. Pub. 1996. Link: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/promisedmessiah/index.htm?page=37#top
[81] Al-Nisa – Women: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz, footnote
[82] Al-Furqan – The Standard of True and False: Nooruddin
[83] Al-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[84] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin
[85] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[86] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[87] 
ibid,
[88] Saba – Sheba: Nooruddin
[89] Al-Wasiyyah, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, (2nd January), 1905
[90] Of note is that in the translations of Qur’ân, the Qadianis count the phrase Bismilla… at beginning of each surah while enumerating the verse number, hence their verse numbers for any chapter (surah) are one more than others, except for Chapter 9 which does not have Bismillah… before it.
[91] Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Maulana Muhammad Ali, verse 33:40
[92] Al-Maidah – Food: Maulana Muhammad Ali, verse 5:3
[93] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Maulana Muhammad Ali, verse 2:38
[94] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Finality of Prophethood, Section – Qur’ânic verses analysed, August 1992, p. 204-206
[95] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz, pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji – edited.,
p. 19.
[96] ibid,
[97] ibid,
[98] ibid, p.20 .
[99] Al-A`râf – The Elevated Places: Nooruddin
[100] “The True Significance of ‘Khatam al-Nabiyyin” by Abid Aziz,  pub. 2004, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at-i-Islam (Lahore) Fiji ,
p. 20.
[101] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Finality of Prophethood, Section – No other prophet in this ummah, August 1992, p. 194
[102] Testimony of the Holy Qur’ân by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Qadian, India, 1893, English Translation by Dr. Zahid Aziz, 1989, p.30-31.
[103] Sahih al-Bukhari, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab), Translated by Muhsin Khan.
[104] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Finality of Prophethood, Section – No other prophet in this ummah, August 1992, p. 200
[105] Prophethood in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, translated and edited by S. Muhammad Tufail, Chapter – Finality of Prophethood, Section – Sayings of 'A'ishah explained, August 1992, p. 192-193
[106] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[107] Reproduced from Link: http://www.ahmadiyya.org/noclaim/khatam.htm
[108] The Greatest Story Ever Told. Wikipedia. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Greatest_Story_Ever_Told
[109] ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ and Other Clinical Tales is a 1985 book by neurologist Oliver Sacks describing the case histories of some of his patients. The title of the book comes from the case study of a man with visual agnosia…The book comprises twenty-four essays split into four sections which each deal with a particular aspect of brain function such as deficits and excesses in the first two sections (with particular emphasis on the right hemisphere of the brain) while the third and fourth describe phenomenological manifestations with reference to spontaneous reminiscences, altered perceptions, and extraordinary qualities of mind found in mentally handicapped people. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Mistook_His_Wife_for_a_Hat

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

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


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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parting or Skirting of the Sea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

26:66. Then We drowned the others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this comes to light in another set of verses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Section II — Myths

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Section II – Myths

In the study of Qur’ân, one comes across its following attributes[1] or varying hues which is a cure for the people (16:69)[2]:
 

Al-Kitâb (2:2) – the Complete Book
Al-Dhikr (38:1) – the Book which makes provisions for eminence, fame, reknown, honor and reminding
Al-Furqân (25:1) – the Book which distinguishes between right and wrong and which
is divided and revealed in portions, as the root word Firqah also means portions.
Al-Hikmah (17:39) – the Wisdom
Al-Hudâ (72:13) – that which guides and makes one attain the goal
Mubârak (6:93) – Blessed
Al-Mukarramah (80:13) – the Honored
Musaddiq (6:93) – confirming (the truth of previous Scriptures)
Al-Mauizah (10:57) – the Admonition
Al-‘Azîz (41:41) – the Mighty
Al-Hukm (13:37) – the Judgment
Al-Shifâ (10:57) – that which heals
Al-Tanzîl (26:192) – the Revelation
Al-Rahmah (2:105) – the Mercy
Al-Rûh (42:52) – that which gives life and is living
Al-Khair (3:103) – the Goodness
Al-Bayân (3:137) – that which explains all things
Al-Ni‘mat (93:11) – the Favor
Al-Burhân (4:175) – the clear Argument
Al-Qayyim (18:2) – the Maintainer
Al-Muhaimin (5:48) – the Guardian
Al-Nûr (7:157) – the Light
Al-Haq (17:81) – the Truth
Hablallâh (3:103) – the Covenant of God
Al-Mubîn (12:1) – that which explains
Al-Karîm (56:77) – the Holy
Al-Mâjîd (50:1) – the Glorious
Al-Hakîm (36:2) – the one full of Wisdom
Al-Marfû‘ah (80:14) – the Exalted
Al-Mutahharah (80:14) – the Purified
Al-‘Ajab (72:1:) – the Wonderful


The above attributes of Qur’ân by their very meanings and merits deflect any vestige of myth within its leaves. These attributes steer clear the readers from any read of the Book in which there is even hint of a myth. On the reverse those who so believe are by inference termed as disbelievers:

6:25. And some of them listen to you and We have cast veils over their hearts so that they do not understand it and a deafness into their ears. And (even) if they see every sign they will not believe in it. So much so that when they come to you they only dispute with you — those who disbelieve say: This is nothing but stories of the ancients.[3]


The key phrase for our discussion in the above verse – those who disbelieve say: This is nothing but stories of the ancients, also includes by implication the so called believers who try to sell the Message by generating myths from within the Book. The mythical interpretations of Qur’ân emanate from concrete read of its metaphors, parables, allegories and the prophecies, while ignoring the linguistic constructs in the diction of the Book:

An Important Principle[4] – In every writing or speech, whether it be the word of God or man, there are certain statements which are decisive and absolute and their meanings are secured from change and alterations, whereas there are other allegorical statements which are susceptible to different interpretations. These figures of speech and parables, no doubt, invest and invigorate the word with force and eloquence which creates an effect upon the human soul. But it should be clearly understood that all figurative statements which are susceptible to different meanings, must necessarily be interpreted in the light of decisive ones so that the interpretation must be in consonance with the fundamental principles and the spirit of the word. No article of faith and religious doctrine should be based on statements couched in allegorical words and metaphor; and the man who bases his belief on fables and figures, not only loses himself and goes astray but misleads others also into fatal error and disaster. With regard to such people the Holy Qur’ân has said:
 

Allah it is Who has revealed the Book to thee; some of its verses are decisive— they are the basis of the Book— and others are allegorical Then those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead, and seeking to give it their own interpretation. (3:6).

Jesus the Christ, we read in Mark (7:8) also uttered, a similar warning to the Jews, saying, Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.

Parable, it should be understood, is a similitude, a resemblance taken from natural things to impart to the people the knowledge of things spiritual. In order to give a stronger impression of what they taught, the prophets and other teachers made a free use of this forceful weapon. It catches the ear more easily and penetrates into the human mind.

It needs no ghost to tell you that the allegorical statement, if interpreted literally, will make senseless and absurd reading. Now turn over Qur’ân and read:
 

(i) Those who swear allegiance to thee (the Prophet) do but swear allegiance to Allah The hand of Allah is above their hands (48:10).
(ii) So you (the Prophet) slew them not but Allah slew them, and thou smotest not when thou didst smite the enemy, but Allah smote him (in the battle of Badr) (8:17)
(iii) So the heaven and the earth wept not for them (Pharaoh's people) nor were they respited (44:29).

If one should take into his head to think that the Most High God, too, has hands and feet and other parts of the physical body like ourselves, or that the heaven has also eyes which shed tears like human eyes, it will certainly be an absurdity of the highest order. Allah's hand signifies power and triumph. And the weeping for a dead man signifies the remembering of his good qualities or actions which often draw tears from the eyes. The heaven and the earth wept not when Pharaoh's people were seized with Divine chastisement, for they had neither the love of God in their hearts nor had they done anything good for men, that their good qualities should have been remembered either in heaven or the earth.”

The above arguments by Mirza Masum Beg can be seen in a working example from Qur’ân in the parable about heaven in the hereafter as extension of heavenly life experienced on earth:

2:25. And give good tidings to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, that there await them gardens from beneath which the streams flow. Every time they are given any kind of fruit from them (- the gardens) to eat, they will say, `This is the same we were given before.' They will be given it (- the fruit) in perfect semblance (to their deeds). They shall have therein companions purified (spiritually and physically), and will abide therein forever.[5]

If one were to take above parable about heaven in a literal sense of a physical heaven, then the next verse makes it clear that it would be an error:

2:26. Indeed, Allâh does not disdain to cite a parable of (a thing) even (as small as) a gnat or (of something) smaller than that. (Be it as it may) those who have believed know that this is a true (parable) from their Lord. As for those who disbelieve say, `What could Allâh mean by (citing) such a parable?' Many does He adjudge to be erring because of these (parables) and many does He guide through them. Yet it is only the transgressors whom He adjudges to be erring because of them.[6]

Is it not strange that skeptics of metaphors in Qur’ân do not flinch for a moment when they use the metaphors in their own daily living? For example, the common term ‘heartburn’ has no associated burning (of a fire) and that too in the heart. They fully understand the metaphorical meanings of such a term because it reflects its experience. Based upon this understanding they use antacids and a class of medications called proton pumps inhibitors for medical equivalent term of acid-reflux or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which has nothing remotely common with the heart. “In fact, the American College of Gastroenterology reported that GERD symptoms cost the U.S. nearly $2 billion each week in lost productivity. Yet a 2004 IFFGD survey showed that many Americans don't know what GERD is.”[7] Americans might not know what GERD is but they for sure know what heartburn is[8],[9]. In terms of money, the term ‘heartburn’ costs billions of dollars for its alleviation, yet it is a term freely used because it conveys fully the anguish that a person experiences.

Qur’ân too refers to ‘heartburn’ but in the similitude of an emotional state, the anguish of hell:

10:5-9. And what should make you know what the crushing torment is? (It is) the Fire set ablaze by Allâh, and which rises over (the feelings of) the hearts (- the origin of a man’s hell). It (- Fire) will be closed in on them (so as not to let them escape from it and also increase for them the torture of heat). (The flames of the Fire will rise) in (the form of) huge outstretched columns.[10][Emphasis added]

Similar to Hell, Heaven too in Qur’ân is a metaphorical construct understood by allegorical references to the present life experiences. The limitation to our imagination is that it is time and space bound. The Heaven and Hell as described in Qur’ân are more of a state than a space or a place:

32:17. And no soul knows what (comforts) lie hidden for them (–the believers in the form) of a joy to the eyes as a reward for their righteous deeds.[11]

Just as Qur’ân speaks of the past and the present, it also addresses the future in prophecies. Prophecies too by their very definition are to be interpreted and not to be read literally in the manner that miracles are sometimes erroneously translated and understood in a literal sense. Maulana Muhammad Ali sifts through a general misunderstanding that confuses a prophecy with a miracle:

As a matter of fact the faith which the fulfilment of a prophecy creates in one's heart is not even created at the occurrence of a great miracle, because a miracle may contain some elements of doubt in it, but the fulfilment of a prophecy is in fact a 'talking witness' which stands before friends and foes alike. Moreover at the occurrence of a miracle there are only a few persons present who witness its truth but a prophecy after its fulfilment does not stand in need of another evidence. It becomes an evidence itself.[12]

Additionally, prophecies are hidden in the metaphors. The metaphors only act as a veil:

42:51. It is not given to a human being that Allâh should speak to him except by direct revelation or from behind a veil or by sending a messenger (- an angel) who should reveal (to him) by His command what He pleases. Indeed, He is the Most Sublime, the All-Wise.[13] [Emphasis added]

With the passage of time, when the veil is lifted, the prophecy comes to its natural manifestation. The example is that of veil of dream that the king at the time of Prophet Joseph saw as well as the veil of metaphor in his dream:

12:43. Now (it so happened that one day) the king said, `I saw (in a dream) seven fat kine which seven lean ones were eating, and seven green ears of corn and (as many) others withered. You nobles of the court! explain to me the real significance of my dream if you can interpret dreams.'[14]

To the ordinary mortals, such a veil of dream and metaphors can create confusion for its meaning:

12:44. They said, `(These are) confused dreams and we do not know the interpretation of such confused dreams.'[15]

Whereas, the true interpretation that lifts the veil is a felicity granted to only a few –This (my ability to interpret, you should bear in mind) is a part of that knowledge which my Lord has imparted to me [i.e. Joseph] (12:37). In the case of king’s dream Prophet Joseph interprets it as follows:

12:47. He (- Joseph) replied, `You shall sow for seven years working hard and continuously and let what you have harvested remain in its ear excepting a little whereof you may eat.
12:48. `Then there shall follow seven (years of famine) of great severity (and) these (years) shall consume all the stores you have laid by in advance for them except a little which you may have preserved.
12:49. `Then, thereafter shall come a year of rains in which people shall be relieved and in which (season) they will press (fruit and seeds).'[16]

Thereafter, as we know from other sources that king followed Joseph’s advice and the seasons and harvests followed as predicted.

Symbolism and Allegory in Qur’ân is comprehensively dealt with by Muhammad Asad in his translation and commentary of Qur’ân – ‘The Message of The Quran’. Below is the reproduction of Appendix I:

Symbolism And Allegory In The Qur'an: WHEN studying the Qur'an, one frequently encounters what may be described as "key-phrases" that is to say, statements which provide a clear, concise indication of the idea underlying a particular passage or passages: for instance, the many references to the creation of man "out of dust" and "out of a drop of sperm", pointing to the lowly biological origin of the human species; or the statement in the ninety-ninth surah (Az-Zalzalah) that on Resurrection Day "he who shall have done an atom's weight of good, shall behold it; and he who shall have done an atom's weight of evil, shall behold it" – indicating the ineluctable{unavoidable} afterlife consequences of, and the responsibility for, all that man consciously does in this world; or the divine declaration (in 38:27), "We have not created heaven and earth and all that is between them without meaning and purpose (batilan), as is the surmise of those who are bent on denying the truth."

Instances of such Qur'anic key-phrases can be quoted almost ad infinitum, and in many varying formulations. But there is one fundamental statement in the Qur'an which occurs only once, and which may be qualified as "the key-phrase of all its key-phrases": the statement in verse 7 of Al-'Imran to the effect that the Qur'an "contains messages that are clear in and by themselves (ayat muhkamat) as well as others that are allegorical (mutoshabihat)". It Is this verse which represents, in an absolute sense, a key to the understanding of the Qur'anic message and makes the whole of it accessible to "people who think" (Li-qawmin yatafakkarun).

In my notes on the above-mentioned verse of Al-'Imran I have tried to elucidate the meaning of the expression ayat muhkamat as well as the general purport of what is termed mutashabih ("'allegorical" or "symbolic"). Without a proper grasp of what is implied by this latter term, much of the Qur'an is liable to be – and, in fact, has often been – grossly misunderstood both by believers and by such as refuse to believe in its divinely inspired origin. However, an appreciation of what is meant by "allegory" or "symbolism" in the context of the Qur'an is, by itself, not enough to make one fully understand its world-view: in order to achieve this we must relate the Qur'anic use of these terms to a concept touched upon almost at the very beginning of the divine writ – namely, the existence of "a realm which is beyond the reach of human perception" (al-ghayb). It is this concept that constitutes the basic premise for an understanding of the call of the Qur'an, and, indeed, of the principle of religion – every religion – as such: for all truly religious cognition arises from and is based on the fact that only a small segment of reality is open to man's perception and imagination, and that by far the larger part of it escapes his comprehension altogether.

However, side by side with this clear-cut metaphysical concept we have a not less clear-cut finding of a psychological nature: namely, the finding that the human mind (in which term we comprise conscious thinking, imagination, dream-life, intuition, memory, etc.) can operate only on the basis of perceptions previously experienced by that very mind either in their entirety or in some of their constituent elements: that is to say, it cannot visualize, or form an idea of, something that lies entirely outside the realm of previously realized experiences. Hence, whenever we arrive at a seemingly "new" mental image or idea, we find, on closer examination, that even if it is new as a composite entity, it is not really new as regards its component elements, for these are invariably derived from previous – and sometimes quite disparate – mental experiences which are now but brought together in a new combination or series of new combinations.

Now as soon as we realize that the human mind cannot operate otherwise than on the basis of previous experiences – that is to say, on the basis of apperceptions {conscious perception} and cognitions already recorded in that mind – we are faced by a weighty question: Since the metaphysical ideas of religion relate, by virtue of their nature, to a realm beyond the reach of human perception or experience – how can they be successfully conveyed to us? How can we be expected to grasp ideas which have no counterpart, not even a fractional one, in any of the apperceptions which we have arrived at empirically?

The answer is self-evident: By means of loan-images derived from our actual – physical or mental – experiences; or, as Zamakhshari phrases it in his commentary on 13:35, 'through a parabolic illustration, by means of something which we know from our experience, of something that is beyond the reach of our perception" (tamihilan li-ma ghaba 'anna bi-ma nushahid). And this is the innermost purport of the term and concept of al-mutashabihat as used in the Qur'an.

Thus, the Qur'an tells us clearly that many of its passages and expressions must be understood in an allegorical sense for the simple reason that, being intended for human understanding, they could not have been conveyed to us in any other way. It follows, therefore, that if we were to take every Qur'anic passage, statement or expression in its outward, literal sense and disregard the possibility of its being an allegory, a metaphor or a parable, we would be offending against the very spirit of the divine writ.

Consider, for instance, some of the Qur'anic references to God's Being – a Being indefinable, infinite in time and space, and utterly beyond any creature's comprehension. Far from being able to imagine Him, we can only realize what He is not: namely, not limited in either time or space, not definable in terms of comparison, and not to be comprised within any category of human thought. Hence only very generalized metaphors can convey to us, though most inadequately, the idea of His existence and activity.

And so, when the Qur'an speaks of Him as being "in the heavens" or "established on His throne (al-'arsh)", we cannot possibly take these phrases in their literal senses, since then they would imply, however vaguely, that God is limited in space: and since such a limitation would contradict the concept of an Infinite Being, we know immediately, without the least doubt, that the "heavens" and the "throne" and God's being "established" on it are but linguistic vehicles meant to convey an idea which is outside all human experience, namely, the idea of God's almightiness and absolute sway over all that exists. Similarly, whenever He is described as "all seeing", "all-hearing" or "all-aware", we know that these descriptions have nothing to do with the phenomena of physical seeing or hearing but simply circumscribe, in terms understandable to man, the fact of God's eternal Presence in all that is or happens. And since "no human vision can encompass Him" (Qur'an 6:103), man is not expected to realize His existence otherwise than through observing the effects of His unceasing activity within and upon the universe created by Him.

But whereas our belief in God's existence does not – and, indeed, could not depend on our grasping the unfathomable "how" of His Being, the same is not the case with problems connected with man's own existence, and, in particular, with the idea of a life in the hereafter: for, man's psyche is so constituted that it cannot accept any proposition relating to himself without being given a clear exposition of its purport.

The Qur'an tells us that man's life in this world is but the first stage – a very short stage – of a life that continues beyond the hiatus called "death"; and the same Qur'an stresses again and again the principle of man's moral responsibility for all his conscious actions and his behaviour, and of the continuation of this responsibility, in the shape of inescapable consequences, good or bad, in a person s life in the hereafter. But how could man be made to understand the nature of these consequences and, thus, of the quality of the life that awaits him? – for, obviously, inasmuch as man's resurrection will be the result of what the Qur'an describes as "a new act of creation", the life that will follow upon it must be entirely different from anything that man can and does experience in this world.

This being so, it is not enough for man to be told. "If you behave righteously in this world, you will attain to happiness in the life to come", or, alternatively, "If you do wrong in this world, you will suffer for it in the hereafter". Such statements would be far too general and abstract to appeal to man's imagination and, thus, to influence his behaviour. What is needed is a more direct appeal to the intellect, resulting in a kind of "visualization" of the consequences of one's conscious acts and omissions: and such an appeal can be effectively produced by means of metaphors, allegories and parables, each of them stressing, on the one hand, the absolute dissimilarity of all that man will experience after resurrection from whatever he did or could experience in this world; and, on the other hand, establishing means of comparison between these two categories of experience.

Thus, explaining the reference to the bliss of paradise in 32:17, the Prophet indicated the essential difference between man's life in this world and in the hereafter in these words: "God says, 'I have readied for My righteous servants what no eye has ever seen, and no ear has ever heard, and no heart of man has ever conceived" (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi). On the other hand, in 2:25 the Qur'an speaks thus of the blessed in paradise: "Whenever they are granted fruits therefrom as their appointed sustenance, they will say, 'It is this that in days of yore was granted to us as our sustenance' – for they shall be given something which will recall that [past]": and so we have the image of gardens through which running waters flow, blissful shade, spouses of indescribable beauty, and many other delights infinitely varied and unending, and yet somehow comparable to what may be conceived of as most delightful in this world.

However, this possibility of an intellectual comparison between the two stages of human existence is to a large extent limited by the fact that all our thinking and imagining is indissolubly connected with the concepts of finite time and finite space: in other words, we cannot imagine infinity in either time or space – and therefore cannot imagine a state of existence independent of time and space – or, as the Qur'an phrases it with reference to a state of happiness in afterlife, "a paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth" (3:133): which expression is the Qur'anic synonym for the entire created universe. On the other hand, we know that every Qur'anic statement is directed to man's reason and must, therefore, be comprehensible either in its literal sense (as in the case of the ayat muhkamat) or allegorically (as in the ayat mutashabihat); and since, owing to the constitution of the human mind, neither infinity nor eternity are comprehensible to us, it follows that the reference to the infinite "vastness" of paradise cannot relate to anything but the intensity of sensation which it will offer to the blest.

By obvious analogy, the principle of a "comparison through allegory" applied in the Qur'an to all references to paradise – i.e., a state of unimaginable happiness in afterlife – must be extended to all descriptions of otherworldly suffering – i.e., hell – in respect of its utter dissimilarity from all earthly experiences as well as its unmeasurable intensity. In both cases the descriptive method of the Qur'an is the same. We are told, as it were: "Imagine the most joyous sensations, bodily as well as emotional, accessible to man: indescribable beauty, love physical and spiritual, consciousness of fulfilment, perfect peace and harmony; and imagine these sensations intensified beyond anything imaginable in this world – and at the same time entirely different from anything imaginable: and you have an inkling, however vague, of what is meant by 'paradise'." And, on the other hand: "Imagine the greatest suffering, bodily as well as spiritual, which man may experience: burning by fire, utter loneliness and bitter desolation, the torment of unceasing frustration, a condition of neither living nor dying; and imagine this pain, this darkness and this despair intensified beyond anything imaginable in this world – and at the same time entirely different from anything imaginable: and you will know, however vaguely, what is meant by 'hell'."

Side by side with these allegories relating to man's life after death we find in the Qur'an many symbolical expressions referring to the evidence of God's activity. Owing to the limitations of human language – which, in their turn, arise from the inborn limitations of the human mind – this activity can only be circumscribed and never really described. Just as it is impossible for us to imagine or define God's Being, so the true nature of His creativeness – and, therefore, of His plan of creation – must remain beyond our grasp. But since the Qur'an aims at conveying to us an ethical teaching based, precisely, on the concept of God's purposeful creativeness, the latter must be, as it were, "translated" into categories of thought accessible to man. Hence the use of expressions which at first sight have an almost anthropomorphic hue, for instance, God's "wrath" (ghadab) or "condemnation"; His "pleasure" at good deeds or "love" for His creatures; or His being "oblivious" of a sinner who was oblivious of Him; or "asking" a wrongdoer on Resurrection Day about his wrongdoing; and so forth. All such verbal "translations" of God's activity into human terminology are unavoidable as long as we are expected to conform to ethical principles revealed to us by means of a human language; but there can be no greater mistake than to think that these "translations" could ever enable us to define the Undefinable.

And, as the Qur'an makes it clear in the seventh verse of Al-Imran, only "those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the divine writ which has been expressed in allegory, seeking out [what is bound to create] confusion, and seeking [to arrive at] its final meaning in an arbitrary manner: but none save God knows its final meaning."

 

[1] Adapted from “Names of the Holy Book,” p. 2-A, The Holy Qur’ân, Eighth Edition (2008) As Explained by Allamah Nooruddin, Rendered into English by Amatul Rahman Omar, Abdul Mannan Omar, Copyright © Noor Foundation International Inc.
[2] Al-Nahl – The Bee: Nooruddin
[3] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[4] Miracles of Jesus the Christ, by Mirza Masum Beg, p. 28-31, 1968, publisher: Malik Zafarullah Khan, Secretary Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya, Rawalpindi, West Pakistan (excerpted).
[5] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[7] http://www.iffgd.org/site/news-events/press-releases/2005-1125-gerd-costs
[8] “Proton pump inhibitors are the most powerful class of antacid drugs. It's the third highest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. In 2009, doctors wrote 113.6 million prescriptions for the drugs. Prevacid 24HR, Prilosec OTC, and the combination medication Zegerid OTC that contains a PPI and sodium bicarbonate are available without prescription. GERD has been treated widely with pharmaceutical medications, which may have helped to decrease GERD hospitalizations. In 2004, 27 percent of elderly Medicare patients used GERD medications such as antacids and antisecretory agents, spending a total of $5.6 billion.” – http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp – with reference to: Stagnitti, M.N. The Top Five Therapeutic Classes of Outpatient Prescription Drugs Ranked by Total Expense for the Medicare Population Age 65 and Older in the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2004. Statistical Brief #153. December 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. (link: http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st153/stat153.pdf)
[9] Top 100 Most Prescribed, Top-Selling Drugs, Medscape Medical News, by Megan Brooks, August 1, 2014: the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole (Nexium, AstraZeneca), at roughly 18.6 million prescriptions; and sales through June 2014 $6,303,738,580. (link: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/829246)
[10] Al-Humazah – The Slanderer: Nooruddin
[11] Al-Sajdah – The Prostration: Nooruddin
[12] “Promised Messiah and Mahdi” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 36, translated into English by S. Muhammad Tufail M.A., Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore (W. Pakistan), Third Edition, pub: 1959.
[13] Al-Shura – The Counsel: Nooruddin
[14] Yusuf – Joseph: Nooruddin
[15] Yusuf – Joseph: Nooruddin
[16] Yusuf – Joseph: Nooruddin

Issue 5: In Islam the testimonial rights of women are half those of men

Monday, November 10th, 2014
Issue 5: In Islam the testimonial rights of women are half those of men

Even before the issue of ‘half’ testimonial capacity of women is discussed and refuted, it begets one to keep in mind that Quran sets the golden rules of testimony in plain words without differentiating between men and women:

2:140. …And who is more unjust than he who [Arabic: mimman – ‘one who’ i.e. man or a woman] conceals the testimony he has from Allâh. And Allâh is not at all unaware of what you do.'[1]

5:106. … `We will accept for this (-our oath) no price; (we will bear true evidence) even though he (in whose favour or against we bear evidence) be near of kin, nor will we hide the testimony (enjoined to be borne uprightly) by Allâh, for if we do so, we shall certainly be among the sinners.'[1a]

In light of above verses it is plainly clear that no witness, neither man nor a woman, can conceal the testimony. The deposition by either has to be accepted at par. For the sake of argument, the debate for alleged ‘half’ testimonial capacity of a woman would only arise if there was also a male co-witness, the alleged ‘full’ witness. If there is no male co-witness, then what will be the testimonial status of the woman witness? Will her ‘half’ then not be treated as ‘full’ because the verse 2:140 demands of her to be in witness stand for her testimony? At the same time one may ask a fundamental question that in the same verse since Allah Himself does not deny or dilute the testimonial rights of a woman then how can humans reduce it for her? On the reverse, in the words of Quran, anyone lowering the testimonial rights of a woman as compared to a man would be plain unjust, simply put, it will be against Quran.

In support of the allegation in current issue usually verse 2:282 is quoted. If we look closely at this verse it becomes obvious that critics confuse the factual concession afforded to women over men rather than her testimonial capacity being usurped:

2:282. O you who believe, if you borrow debt for a future period, then you shall record it. And let a scribe of justice record it for you; and let not the scribe refuse to record as God has taught him. Let him record and let the person who is borrowing dictate to him, and let him be aware of God, and let him not reduce from it anything. If the one who is borrowing is immature or weak or he cannot dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate with justice; and bring two witnesses from amongst your men; if they are not two men, then a man and two women from whom you will accept their testimony, so that if one of them becomes occupied[2], then the one can recall [in place of] the other. And let the witnesses not refuse to come if they are called. And do not fail to record it no matter how small or large until its maturity. That is more just with God and better for the testimony, and better that you do not have doubts; except if it is a trade to be done on the spot between you, then there is no sin upon you if you do not record it. And have evidence if you trade. No scribe shall be harmed nor any witness; for if you do so then it is vileness on your part, and be aware of God and God teaches you and God is aware of all things.[3][Emphasis added]

Firstly, nowhere in Quran is it stated that testimony of a woman is half of that a man. Neither does the Quran reduce the testimonial capacity of a woman to less than a man nor does it nullify it like that of a child. The examples of legal capacity of a woman as a witness at par with that of a man can be found in verse after verse and in diverse legal settings and circumstances that might be even more serious than those of verse 2:282. Some of these examples of equality of man and a woman as a witness can be found in Quran in matters of handing over the inheritance to orphans on attaining their majority, allegations of immodesty that might permanently damage a woman or end her marriage into a divorce, certification of a will or termination of marriage:

4:6. And keep on testing the orphans until they attain the (age of) marriage, then if you perceive in them sound judgment deliver to them their property and do not consume it extravagantly and hastily as they grow up (fearing lest they should claim it when they attain majority). And let him (- the guardian) who can afford to do without, let him avoid remuneration, but he who is needy may charge reasonable remuneration with equity. And when you hand over to them (- the orphans) their property let there be some witnesses [male and/or female] to attest. And Allah is enough as a Reckoner (and call you to account). "[4]

4:15. As to those of your women who commit sexual perversity, call in four of you [male and/or female] to witness against them, and if they bear witness then …[5]

5:106. O you who believe! when death comes to one of you (and you wish to make your will) let there be present among you, at the time of making the will, two just persons [male and/or female] from among you or two others [male and/or female] from among the outsiders, in case you are journeying in the country and the calamity of death overtakes you…[6]

24:4. Strike eighty times on the bodies of those who calumniate chaste women and who do not support (their accusation) with four witnesses [male and/or female], and never accept their testimony (because) it is they who are the disobedient (and break the law);[7]

24:11-13. Verily, those (- hypocrites) who brought the false accusation (against âishah, the wife of the Prophet), are a section of your own people. Do not think this (- incident) to be bad for you, rather it is good for you. (As for the accusers,) everyone of them shall receive (his due punishment according to) that which he has accomplished in the form) of sin. As for him (- Abdullâh bin Ubayy bin Salûl) who among them took the principal part thereof (in fabricating and spreading malicious scandal against her) there awaits him a grievous punishment. When you heard of this (accusation) why did not the believing men and believing women have a better opinion in respect of their own people and say, `This (charge) is an obvious lie?' Why did they (- the fabricators of this charge) not bring four witnesses [male and/or female] in support of this (accusation of theirs)? Since they failed to produce the (required) witnesses, it is they who are the very liars in the sight of Allâh.[8]

65:2. And when they are about to reach their prescribed term (of `Iddat) either keep them (by revoking the divorce) in an honourable and fair manner or part with them in honourable and fair manner and two honest and just persons [male and/or female] from among you witness (your decision). (Let the witnesses) bear true testimony for the sake of Allâh (regarding the situation that resulted in the pronouncement of divorce). Thus the person (who acts according to these guidelines and) who believes in Allâh and the Last Day is exhorted. And he who takes Allâh as (his) shield, He will always make a way out (of his ordeals) for him.[9]

Secondly, the above-mentioned stipulation in verse 2:282 is only for contracts and transactions and is not for the common understanding of a witness to an event in daily life for example witness to a crime. Nowhere in Quran can a woman not be the sole witness.

Thirdly, in verse 2:282 when it states  – and bring two witnesses from amongst your men; if they are not two men, then a man and two women from whom you will accept their testimony, Quran is merely setting the stage for a possible future need. In doing so, Quran is only expanding the witness pool as a precaution if the witnesses are ever needed, irrespective of statutes of limitations – And let the witnesses not refuse to come if they are called. If a dispute does arise about the transactional matter and when called to testify, there is no requirement in Quran of more than one witness, though more than one may be called upon. In situations where there is a requirement of more than one witness for adjudication of the case, Quran quite explicitly enjoins so – Strike eighty times on the bodies of those who calumniate chaste women and who do not support (their accusation) with four witnesses (24:4); let there be present among you, at the time of making the will, two just persons among you or two others from among the outsiders (5:106).

Fourth, in big scheme of things, in verse 2:282 it is clearly a concession for a woman and her burden is shared by a peer if needed for a testimony. The woman is different than a man in that she could be occupied with issues unique to her gender, for example menstruation, pregnancy, labor, postpartum, menopause, childcare and home maker. Given her situation she may not be physically available, able to travel or bear the rigors of the court etc. Clearly in such extraneous circumstances she has a substitute and in doing so the justice is neither delayed nor denied for the dispute because provision of timely justice is one of the injunctions in Quran, for example:

38:21-22. Have you heard the news of the adversaries (of David) who scaled the rampart of the fortress (to take David unawares in his chamber)? When they intruded upon David and (found that) he had become alert (on account of) them, they said, (by way of an excuse,) `Have no fear. We are two parties litigants. One of us has transgressed against the other, therefore judge between us as justice demands, and delay not (by giving the date of decision,) and guide us (in our litigation) to the fair way.[10] [Emphasis added]

Conversely, it can be implied that if the woman witness is not occupied, then the aide is not needed.

Fifth, “The Holy Qur’an does not say that no case should be decided except on the testimony of two witnesses, but requires ordinarily the calling of two witnesses at the time of the transaction, so that the deficiency of one may be rectified by the other. Cases may be decided on circumstantial evidence as well, which is sometimes stronger than the evidence of witnesses. The Holy Qur’an itself speaks of Joseph’s innocence being established on circumstantial evidence”[11]

It is this emphasis on circumstantial evidence on which Quran makes its case in a different matter when it states about Jesus coming down alive from the cross:

2:72. And (recall also) when you had (nearly) killed a (great) man (- Jesus), then you differed among yourselves respecting it (- the crucifixion). And Allâh will bring to light that (- Jesus did not die on the cross) which you had been hiding.

2:73. So We said, `Judge it in the context of its other circumstances.' That is how Allâh brings the dead (for Jesus being dead to all appearances) to life, and He shows you His signs so that you may refrain (from evil). [12][Emphasis added]

Witnesses are the cornerstone of a justice system. The ultimate role of witness(es) is to prevent a dispute upfront and still if the dispute so arises, then witness(es) help in the resolution the dispute between the affected parties. The fundamental expectation of the disputants from the judge is – judge between us as justice demands, and delay not (38:22) the carrying out of justice in a timely manner while taking into account all the facts i.e. Judge it in the context of its other circumstances(2:73), irrespective of number of witnesses because witnesses too can err, for example:

5.106. O you who believe! when death comes to one of you (and you wish to make your will) let there be present among you, at the time of making the will, two just persons [male and/or female] from among you or two others [male and/or female] from among the outsiders, in case you are journeying in the country and the calamity of death overtakes you. In case you doubt (their honesty in giving evidence), you shall detain both (the witnesses) after Prayer, then let them both swear by Allâh (and bear witness) saying, `We will accept for this (-our oath) no price; (we will bear true evidence) even though he (in whose favour or against we bear evidence) be near of kin, nor will we hide the testimony (enjoined to be borne uprightly) by Allâh, for if we do so, we shall certainly be among the sinners.'

5.107. But if it be discovered that these two have become guilty of sin, then let two others stand in their place from among those (heirs) against whom the (former) two (witnesses) who were in a better position (to give true evidence) are sinfully deposed, and the two (latter witnesses) swear by Allâh (saying), `Surely, our testimony is truer than the testimony of those two and we have not exceeded the bounds of justice (in bearing the evidence) for, in that case, we shall certainly be of the wrongdoers.'

5.108. This way is more likely to ensure that they (-the witnesses) will give the testimony in its true form and nature or atleast they will be afraid that other oaths will be taken after their oaths (to counter them). Therefore take Allâh as a shield and listen (to Him) for Allâh guides not the disobedient people to the way of success.[13]  

In Quran, the testimonial capacity of women is equal that of men. It is one of the many areas where distractors of Quran try to stirrup an argument where there is none to begin with. In Quran, the mutual relationships and the respective roles and obligations of men and women in the community are independent yet complementary, compassionate, considerate and cooperative. They are neither adversarial nor competitive.


 

[1] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin [1a] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[2]taḍilla’ – from [Arabic] Dzalla:To lose one’s way, go astray, fail, disappear, err, wander from, forget, waste, deviate, be misled from the right path, go from the thoughts, wander away, lurch, adjudge to be erring. Dzallatun: Anxiety; Uncertainty; Absence. Dictionary of The Holy Quran, (c) 2010, Abdul Mannan Omar, p. 333.
[2] Al-Araaf – The Height of Discernment: Shabbir Ahmed.
[3] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Free Minds
[4] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[5] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[6] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[7] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[8] Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin
[9] Al-Talaq – The Divorce: Nooruddin
[10] Sad – The Truthful God: Nooruddin
[11] Yusuf – Joseph – Verses: 12:26-27: Explanatory footnote: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz
[12] Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin
[13] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin

 

Usury and Interest? – Rather, Fury and Disinterest of Quran in an Illusory Wealth

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Usury and Interest? – Rather, Fury and Disinterest of Quran in an Illusory Wealth

Can a religion help in the untangling of the economic mess that the civilized world finds itself in today? No, would say almost every Muslim today. Suggest it to a Westerner and he would scoff at you, as if you wanted him to believe in a miracle. And yet only little study of the economics of Islam would convince you that this religion has all the best economic principles incorporated in its injunctions, or rather, it goes beyond the stage which modern economic theories have yet reached…the economic problems of today have eluded the grasp of all and whenever you take stock, you rarely fail to get a surprise of one sort or another. Either, some industry misbehaved, the consumption fell off more than was expected, a defense program was launched and sometimes even an unexpected tension upsets the prices, and the net result is always that the economic calculations are frightfully disturbed. There is depression, then inflation, and then again fear of deflation. Inflation brings in its wake as many problems as does deflation. It is as difficult to adjust the economic fabric of a nation to the needs of war as it is again to bring it down to a peace footing…The highly developed countries think that the under-developed countries are a menace to the world and everything would be all right if only they were developed. The underdeveloped countries, though coveting "development ", reply with simple logic. Have the developed countries been able to solve all their problems by material development? If material development is the only panacea for all the economic troubles, why should the West have any troubles at all, when it is so developed? The result of all this is that the world today finds itself in the whirlpools of a conflicting mass of economic theories and values. What the American economist thinks and believes in is out and out commercialism, but this is not palatable to his British contemporary, who prefers a Welfare State…[1]

In the economic system dominated by money markets and speculative conjectures, banks and insurances, whose business model is solely based upon raking in interest; where the transactions are only of capital, there are always associated inexorable greed and unbridled exploitation. Every new loan creates money out of thin air, which is essentially an entry with a pen on someone's account as there is no corresponding inflow of actual money or assets into the account. Value of currency too is based upon speculations rather than any material standards, such as gold. Currency bill, instead of being an official receipt for an equivalent asset, is now more of a derivative that derives its value from non-tangibles which include war machine of nations, ironically nations whom no one threatens. The have-not segments and nations first become the killing fields, financially if not militarily, and then are protected as grazing grounds for the ever usury hungry cud chewing ‘holy cows’, the banks. The financial institutions that are ‘too big to fail’[2] are worshipped and protected under the garb of national security interests that factually are no more than selfish commercial policies that find their way into national policies sanctified by parliaments that act as board rooms of these financial megaliths. The laws passed to protect the commercial interests are essentially forethought and the interests of the masses are merely an afterthought. These financial centers act as global vacuum cleaners sucking in the usury by direct or indirect taxes paid by all the peoples of world. These banks take the first bite from each morsel swallowed the world over.

Banks lend money against fractional reserves[3], naively assuming that there is no such thing as greed in human species. On the contrary, greed is a reality and banks and their usury are mere instruments to cater to that greed. The purported intention of modern banking system is to transform money into wealth via investments in various projects in the community that in their wake expand the economy. If expansion of the economy is the goal, then banks should be at the forefront of owning the assets on the ground, but they do not, instead it is only the liquid assets[4] which are of interest to them. Why?

The definition of wealth for banks is unique to them only which is to create fictitious money and to expand it with a multiplicative effect. Such an effect only balloons with time into unavoidable pyramidal schemes that are beyond the regulatory controls. Overtime such a facade cannot avoid the run on the bank that culminates in tax payer bail out. If the loans issued are (hypothetically) ten times the actual reserves then an apparent 8% interest (in crude estimation) earned by the first bank is factually more than 80% windfall for all the banks in the chain, besides the ten times of actual money recovered by the series of banks from fictitious money loaned. Paradoxically, banks recover real money with interest from the consumers for fictitious money they loaned. Banks loan money, something they do not have to begin with, against real assets of the debtor as collateral. Why?

The exit from such economic system creates an even more of a paradox that is in direct opposites for the consumer and the bank in which the deck is clearly stacked against the former. For an insolvent bank it is the tax payer, not the bank that pays through bailouts, whereas for a bankrupt debtor his assets are unflinchingly taken over by the bank, a working model of 'mine is mine and thine is mine.' Banks and  laws of the land call it an honest business for their creating fictitious money for a fictitious purchasing power, by permissive rules that are no less than sleight of hand, in the garb of ‘commercial credit’, while the banks themselves remain immune from all risks. Societies under the sway of fictitious wealth complemented with unbridled greed inevitably fall into the trap where they spend without saving, import without exporting and consume without producing[5].

The exuberant interest by the bank on its loan sets into motion a vicious cycle of a downward spiral where the loanee tags on the interest paid to the bank into the price of its product, which depending upon the market dynamics might not sell enough due to its higher price because of higher ‘production costs’, which in turn creates a backward pressure to cut cost by cutting wages and laying off employees, which then decreases purchasing power in the market, which on the reverse creates shrinking of the economy of a nation. Artificial supports of consumer credit are then erected with incentives for the cash strapped consumers to “buy now, pay later,” but with interest, which is factually an insult to injury. Still, the individual in a ‘free society’ can absorb only so much debt. This is where the military muscle comes in handy to find newer markets, mostly in poorer countries for the surplus goods. Thus, the problem initially localized to one region becomes the world problem. No wonder the cyclical expansion and shrinking of ‘bubble’ economies and their consequent wars and global turpitudes have been the bane of the societies under the sway of interest and usury. The interest on the loans that governments take creates the very basis for income taxes that only go up with time for ordinary people. Banks are not only eager but drool on funding wars, many a times on both sides of the conflict, where loans in trillions are issued on drop of a hat, as such loans are secured to be paid back by the governments. Ironically, the same banks and governments are averse to fund basic societal needs at a fraction of the cost of war such as healthcare and education. Everyone suffers, but the bank. Why?

In such financial models, gains of one are inevitably due to losses of another. Speculative bubbles rise and burst, financial markets ebb and flow as gambler's instincts which in turn are dignified by labels of bear and bull-run in the ‘financial markets’. It is insult to the very name ‘market’ because by their very definition these so called markets have no goods and services but are only a venerated name for gambling tables. The magnitude of gambling in derivatives is mind boggling. According to US Federal reserve – “the derivatives market expanded from $87 trillion in June 1998 to $454 trillion in June 2006.”[6],[7],[8] To add insult to injury, the derivatives are not even regulated; essentially it is free for all. Some might even say that the boom and bust of the stock and bond markets too is staged because following every bust there is a winner, who earlier sold it high and later bought it low. Everyone else perished but certain families in the guise of faceless corporations, the sole survivors of crash after crash. Why?

In this speculative chaos, pundits show up with Op Ed pieces and experts prophesize with the 'insider' instincts to the markets. Even 'propriety' mathematical models are developed which try to 'predict' the future based upon hundreds of variable from around the globe. Leveraged returns are exploited against 'cheap money'[9] which is unreal to begin with. The only game in town is to salivate at non-labored gains and how to dodge the loss, a loss which could be anybody's guess, and it better be of someone else's. Risk is passed around as a hot potato under various names till it hits the saturation point, before it unravels the common man's life earnings and retirement. Such speculated profits are what every deck holder wishes and yearns for and a loss that he prays against in an otherwise godless Ponzi world of capital markets. Why?

The Quran too outlines a financial system sans greed in which it fully addresses the trade of goods and services, lending and borrowing minus interest, contractual obligations of the parties, preempts the misuse of administrative powers, displaces usury with charity, and replaces income tax with asset tax. Property, bequest and inheritance rights and laws are extensive in which equity of women, children and the survivors are assured, but will not be delved into in this chapter. In summary, Quran advocates equitable distribution of wealth by inheritance, charity, bequeathal and annulling of usury. Once the wealth is equitably distributed, only then the wealth achieves its purpose, the equality of opportunities for mankind, else it is the same wealth that creates ever increasing multitudes of poor in bondage of a few rich that was only highlighted by Oxfam in its recent report:

Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population. The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world. Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012. In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.[10] [Emphasis added]

In summary, Quran lays down the foundations of its economic order based on a fundamental moral principle in which the humans have to strive for wealth and not the wealth to create itself:

53:39. And that a human being will have (to his account) what he strives for.[11]

Quran assures the individual the rights not only of the life and liberty, but the equal and assured pursuit of wealth besides happiness:

59:7. … (It has been) so (ordained) that the (wealth) should not circulate (only) among your rich people…[12]

The exploitation of a common man is run amok in an interest bearing banking system. The depositor is taken for a ride by the banks. Little do the depositors know that it is they, who are the actual capitalists, the capital source for the bank and it is the bank that is the borrower of the money from the depositor. When an average consumer deposits an amount he gets a paltry interest but when the same depositor asks for a loan, he will be slapped with an interest that is many magnitudes higher than what he received from a deposit. Essentially, this gap is what the bank skims off many folds from the depositors. Bank that was factually supposed to be no more than an agent for the depositor actually becomes the controller and the capitalist. For all intents and purposes, bank usurps the rightful power and the rights of the depositor. Why it is so and why is it allowed? This relationship of the bank and the depositor is paradoxically like that of a master who hires a servant on the condition that the servant will use his own money and tools to earn money for the master. Why? Such institutional double standards are put on notice in Quran. Interest bearing banking system fails this simple moral test that Quran outlines:

83:1. Woe be to those who make a default in any of their duties and give short measure.

83:2. When they receive measure from other people they receive in full (not allowing the least shortage and loss),

83:3. But when they give by measure to others or weigh to them they give them less (than what is due).

83:4-15. Do not such people realize that they will be raised (to life again), to face (and hear the Judgment of) that Great Day? The Day when mankind shall stand before the Lord of the worlds? Nay, (not at all as they believe) the record of (the deeds) of the wicked is in Sijjîn (- the register of a prison). What should make you know what that Sijjîn is? (It is) a book written (distinctly and comprehensively). On that Day woe shall befall those who belie (the truth); Those that belie the Day of Requital. No one can treat it as a lie except every sinful transgressor, (Who) when Our Messages are recited to him says, `(These are) mere fables of the ancients.' Nay (not at all so), the truth is that their (evil) deeds have rusted their hearts. Nay (We repeat, not at all so). Verily, they shall be debarred from (the sight and mercy of) their Lord that day. Then they shall surely enter into the flaming Fire, Then it shall be said (to them), `This is that (very punishment) which you used to cry lies to.' [13]

Quran also admonishes against speculations on money:

2:219. They ask you concerning intoxicants and games of chance. Say, `In both of them is a great sin and both are harmful too, and they have some uses for people, but the sin inherent in them is even more serious than their usefulness.' They ask you how much they should spend [–in charity, in the cause of Allah]. Say, `The surplus (- what you can spare after spending on your basic requirement).' Thus does Allâh make clear His commandments so that you may reflect –[14]

For business transactions and loans, Quran gives the following contractual guidelines:

2:282. O you who believe, if you borrow debt for a future period, then you shall record it. And let a scribe of justice record it for you; and let not the scribe refuse to record as God has taught him. Let him record and let the person who is borrowing dictate to him, and let him be aware of God, and let him not reduce from it anything. If the one who is borrowing is immature or weak or he cannot dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate with justice; and bring two witnesses from amongst your men; if they are not two men, then a man and two women from whom you will accept their testimony, so that if one of them becomes occupied [with issues unique to her gender], then the one can recall the other. And let the witnesses not refuse to come if they are called. And do not fail to record it no matter how small or large until its maturity. That is more just with God and better for the testimony, and better that you do not have doubts; except if it is a trade to be done on the spot between you, then there is no sin upon you if you do not record it. And have evidence if you trade. No scribe shall be harmed nor any witness; for if you do so then it is vileness on your part, and be aware of God and [that] God teaches you and God is aware of all things.[15]

2:283. And if you be on a journey and do not find a scribe, then (let there be) a pledge with possession (of some article to secure your debt). If one of you entrusts something to another let him who is entrusted deliver his trust, and let him take Allâh, his Lord, as a shield. Do not conceal the evidence, for whoso conceals it, his heart is certainly sinful. Allâh is Well-Aware of all that you do.[16]

Quran outlines the recompense for labor. If taken literally, the following verse gives a concrete example of the magnitude and manifold reward inherent in nature for a good effort. For example, a seed when sowed and taken care of is rewarded in one crop cycle by many ears of corn:

2:261. The attribute of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allâh is like the attribute of a grain (of corn) which sprouts seven ears, each ear bearing a hundred grains. And Allâh multiplies further for whomsoever He pleases, for Allâh is Bountiful, All-Knowing.[17]

It is because of such incentives in nature that a farmer tills the land under the scorching sun, tirelessly takes care of the field and finally harvests the yield. The reward is not limited to the farmer alone. The humanity at large benefits from the toils of the farmer when he sells the produce in the market place, where a baker turns that corn into a loaf that a consumer buys. Such a chain of transactions is gainful each step of the way for both, the seller and the buyer. The former gets a profit for his goods, while latter lives off the nourishment. No wonder Quran encourages trade in which needs of humanity are in congruence with the value of goods and services:

2:275. … Allah has made trade lawful…[18]

The above example can also be applied to any lawful profession for the services it provides. Both the provider and the client mutually benefit from the transaction as the skills of the former are beneficial for the latter.

However, if we contrast these examples with the money lender, we see that the debtor is at a clear disadvantage, in which the loss of the latter is manifold gain of the former. Unlike a trade where there is one time transaction which covers the cost of goods and services along with the profit, the interest is a repeatedly occurring transaction, month after month, year after year and decade after decade. There is no theoretical end to profit making, while the money given to the debtor was one time only. The very basis of money lending as a profession is tied to usury, in which money generates the money without any toil of the lender or exchange of goods or services. It is to prevent the exploitation of the debtor that Quran states:

3:130. O you who believe! do not practise usury and interest involving multiple additions, and keep your duty to Allâh and take Him as a shield so that you may prosper.[19]

The above verse can be easily understood by the apparently innocuous example of borrowing a loan of only one dollar at 10% annual interest. The calculations are as follows:

Base amount: $1.00
Interest Rate: 10%
Effective Annual Rate: 10%
Calculation period: 500 years
(interest compounded yearly – added at the end of each year)

Year Yearly Interest Total Interest Balance
1 $ 0.10 $ 0.10 $ 1.10
2 $ 0.11 $ 0.21 $ 1.21
3 $ 0.12 $ 0.33 $ 1.33
4 $ 0.13 $ 0.46 $ 1.46
5 $ 0.15 $ 0.61 $ 1.61
6 $ 0.16 $ 0.77 $ 1.77
7 $ 0.18 $ 0.95 $ 1.95
8 $ 0.19 $ 1.14 $ 2.14
9 $ 0.21 $ 1.36 $ 2.36
10 $ 0.24 $ 1.59 $ 2.59
100 $ 1,252.78 $ 13,779.61 $ 13,780.61
200 $ 17,264,116.04 $ 189,905,275.46 $ 189,905,276.46
300 $ 237,910,090,562.59 $ 2,617,010,996,187.46 $ 2,617,010,996,188.46
400 $ 3,278,546,729,775,056.00 $ 36,064,014,027,525,600.00 $ 36,064,014,027,525,601.00
500 $ 45,180,381,521,022,484,480.00 $ 496,984,196,731,246,739,456.00 $ 496,984,196,731,246,739,457.00

In another example, a penny borrowed by Jesus Christ 2012 years ago at an annual interest rate of 5% would have accrued a debt of $4,290,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00[20] which exceeds the wildest imagination, but still might not be enough to satisfy the greed of the lender.

The above numbers which are even beyond the capacity of the planet earth to produce speak for themselves and explain the basis of how certain banking families flourished in a few generations in recent centuries by lending to the governments in the West. No loanee or the lender could live beyond a few decades to payoff and collect the loan but governments and lending institution do survive longer periods. Not too surprisingly there is no end to the loan that a government can acquire for a war, but when it comes to provide for its moral obligation to its masses it has to scrap the bottom of the barrel to fund social programs. Government essentially is a function of the people in the country, who are the ultimate debtors, whereas the money lenders are only a few individuals or corporations with the sole purpose to make profit, not loss. If a loan shark needs a bouncer to break legs to recover the debt, the banking institutions control governments and their institutions which include armies, intelligence agencies and media to collect from the nations unable to pay back the bone crushing interest which inevitably swells manifolds than the principal. The scruple-less money lenders shy not of demanding the 'pound of flesh' [21]of the debtor:

“All that we had borrowed up to 1985 was around $5 billion, and we have paid about $16 billion; yet we are still being told that we owe about $28 billion. That $28 billion came about because of the injustice in the foreign creditors’ interest rates. If you ask me, what is the worst thing in the world? I will say it is compound interest.” – Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo speaking after the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan in the year 2000. [22]

It is necessary to remove the veneer of difference between usury and interest. The apologists argue that usury in prohibited because it is excessive interest, whereas interest is permissible. This is a bogus argument which tries to draw justification of moderate drinking over heavy alcohol drinking. For the apologist, simply put, social drinking even by the clergy is okay, but alcoholism is not acceptable. Just like gradations of alcoholism, this distinction between excessive and moderate interest probably has its origins in Christendom. In Quran, there is no distinction between usury and interest and its consequent evils that the society suffers from. Islam does not hinder the rich from their riches, but does not allow richness at the expense of ordinary citizens. Usury robs masses of their dignity, freedom, rights and opportunities, preservation of which is the purpose of Islam. On the other hand, there is no Robin-hood-ness either in Quran as well. Islam does not abolish Capitalism but remedies its evils[23], for example:

It may he questioned why the prohibition [of interest] assumed a religious form; this law of the country should have been left free-handed to operate on the merit of individual cases instead of entire prohibition. In this connection it may be noted that the universal prohibition, is based on the universal harm of the usury. For instance a business man who borrows money cannot guarantee that the business will fetch profit; yet the money lender will take interest in all circumstances. The other side of commercial interest is the bargain when ready payment is not made by the buyer of goods. It is also equally rather more harmful for the interests of Society. The buyer [seller] of goods who is more properly the borrower of money, must sell the goods at an increasingly high rate [i.e. higher price] to meet the swelling sum of interest as allowed in the transaction. The burden of increased rates would, therefore, fall upon the public.[24]

The verse 3:130 above unambiguously banned usury and its subsequent verse not only points to turmoil from interest for the debtor that is hidden in the usury practices but also draws attention to the equal in magnitude, the Fire of greed that likewise engulfs the usurer:

3:131. Be on your guard against the Fire which has been prepared for the disbelievers.[25]

Divine prohibition of usury and interest is not unique to Quran:

Leviticus 25:36-37. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. [New Kings James Version]

The money lenders of the yore and their modern day equivalents, the banks, project themselves as honorable profession, but by the standards of Quran, they are touched by the devil. They might call themselves a business, but requirements for business are exchange of goods and services which they have nothing to do with:

2:275. Those who practice usury and interest, (their condition is such as) they will not be able to stand [i.e. fall into immorality] except like the standing of one who has lost his reason under the influence of satan. That is so because they say, `Trade is just like usury and interest.' Whereas Allah has made trade lawful and made interest unlawful. Then whosoever has received (this) admonition from his Lord and keeps away (from usury and interest) he may keep whatever (interest) he has taken in the past. His matter rests with Allâh. As for those who revert (to the practice of usury and interest) it is these who are the fellows of the Fire, therein shall they live for long.[26]

Whereas Allah has made trade lawful and made interest unlawful for the mere fact that – Trade is doubtlessly as prosperous to the country and nation as usury is shocking for the society and the masses.[27]

Not only that the usury and interest are unlawful, Quran actually annuls them altogether and replaces them with charity:

2:276. Allâh annuls usury and interest and promotes charity. Allâh does not love any persistent and confirmed disbeliever and an arch-sinner.

2:277. Verily, those who believe and do deeds of righteousness and regularly observe the Prayer and go on presenting the Zakât [–charity] shall have their reward from their Lord; they shall have no cause of fear, nor shall they ever grieve.

2:278. O you who believe! take Allâh as a shield and forgo all outstanding gains from usury and interest if you are indeed believers.

2:279. But if you do (it) not, then beware of war from Allâh and His Messenger [because the burden and exploitation of interest is equivalent of an already declared exploitative war on the society]. But if you turn away (from such an unlawful transaction) then you shall have your principal (without interest) back. (Thus) you shall neither deal unjustly nor be dealt with unjustly.[28]

Usury, moreover, promotes habits of idleness, since the usurer, instead of doing any hard work or manual labour, becomes like the parasite, living on the labour of others. In the great struggle that is going on between capital and labour, Islam sides with labour, and, by its prohibition of usury, tries to restore the balance between the two, not allowing capital to enthral labour. It is in reference to the honourable place that Islam gives to labour that the Holy Qur'an says that "Allah has allowed trade and forbidden usury", for while trading requires the use of labour and skill and elevates the morals, usury promotes habits of indolence, cunning and oppression. To help the distressed one who is in straits is the object of the social structure of Islam, and to reduce him to further straits is the end of usury; hence usury is called "war with Allah and His Messenger" (2:279).[29]

Jesus Christ in his capacity did no different than verse 2:279 when he stood up against the currency dealers of his time and ‘overturned the tables of the money changers’:

Mark 11:15-18. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

The selective allowance to charge usury by Israelites from non-Israelites, the foreigners, is allowed in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 23:20. You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite…[New International Version]

Quran takes away the vestige of above argument altogether when it makes the mankind a single nation and removes the discrimination of a foreigner altogether:

10:19. And mankind were but a single nation, then they fell into variance…[30]

The debtor is under the contractual obligation to return the debt, but if for some reason it becomes impossible to repay the loan, then unlike a usurious banking system that takes over the assets of the bankrupt, Quran gives the following relief:

2:280. If any (debtor) be in straitened circumstances there shall be respite (for him) till (his circumstances) ease. But that if you remit (the debt) by way of charity (for the sake of God), it is better for you, if you only knew.[31]

It is for this reason too that the social order of Islam does not allow usury. The prohibition of usury is clearly associated in the Holy Qur'an with charity, for inasmuch as charity is the broad basis of human sympathy, usury annihilates all sympathetic affection. The usurer is likened to one whom the devil has prostrated by his touch so that he is unable to arise [verse 2:275]. Such is, in fact, the usurer who would not hesitate to reduce the debtor to the last straits if thereby he might add a penny to his millions. He grows in selfishness until he is divested of all sympathetic feelings, and greed rules his heart. Islam is basically opposed to this.[32]

All the injunctions above would not be worth their value than the piece of paper they are written on, unless the administrative authority carrying out these commandments is just as well:

2:188. Do not appropriate one another's property with inequity (and by false means) nor seek to gain access thereby to the authorities so that you may appropriate a portion of (other) people's property by sinful means (and bribery) and that (too) knowingly (that you have no right to do so).[33]

In terms of finance, if nothing else, the above verse squarely draws attention to 'insider trading' on any forum whose sole intention is to appropriate a portion of (other) people's property by sinful means (and bribery) and that (too) knowingly (that you have no right to do so). Even the recent history bears witness to devastation in the world from usurious borrowing and funding of the wars over past several centuries including the world wars which resulted from usury practices by certain classes from the people of the Book:

4:160. Then (by way of punishing them) on account of the transgression of those who judaised, We made unlawful to them certain of the good and pure things which had been allowed to them before, and that too on account of their causing hindrances to many (people, and their own staying away) from Allâh's way;

4:161. And (also on account of) their taking interest and usury though they were forbidden it, and because of their misappropriating people's belongings. And We have prepared a woeful punishment for those among them who disbelieve.[34]

5:62. And you will find many of them vying one with another in committing sin and transgression and being too much given to eat things forbidden [– including the usury and interest]. How evil is that which they practise!

5:63. Why do not the teachers of divine knowledge and those learned in the Law prohibit them from their blasphemic talk and deeds and their being too much given to eating things forbidden? Evil indeed is their machination.[35]

Of note is that one of the foremost things forbidden is the usury and interest. The next corresponding verses separate the righteous people of the Book from usurers of above verses:

4:162. But those among them who are firmly grounded in knowledge and the faithful who believe in that (Divine Message) which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you, and (especially) the observers of Prayers, and those who go on presenting the Zakât, and believe in Allâh and the Last Day, it is they We will certainly bestow on them a great reward.[36]

5:65. And if the people of the Scripture had only believed and guarded against evil, We would surely have absolved them of their sins and We would surely make them enter Gardens of bliss.

5:66. If they had only observed the Torah and the Evangel and that which has been revealed to them (now) from their Lord, they would surely have eaten (of good things) from above them [i.e., spiritual gains] and from under their feet [i.e., material gains], (thus would have enjoyed the boons of the heaven and the earth). Though there is amongst them a community who is moderate (and of balanced mind), yet a large number of them are such that evil are their deeds.[37]

It is the usurers that are admonished repeatedly in Quran:

2:168. O people! eat what is lawful and pure (of the produces) of the earth and follow not the footsteps of satan for he is your enemy severing you (from Allâh).

2:169. He (- satan) only bids you to indulge in evil and to (do) things foul and obscene and that you say against Allâh things you do not know.[38]

The ancestral money-lenders, in the garb of financial institution of our times are addressed in Quran:

2:170. And when it is said to them (- the disbelievers), `Follow what Allâh has revealed.' They say, `We would rather follow such things as we found our forefathers (doing and believing).' (Would they do so) even though their forefathers could not refrain (from evil), nor they could achieve their goal.

2:171. The case of (one that calls) those who refuse (to obey the commandments of God) is like the case of one who shouts to that (animal) who hears nothing, but a mere call and a cry (of a shepherd). (They are) deaf, dumb and blind, moreover they do not use their reason.[39]

However, those 'believers', living in a financial system beyond their control, might have to partake the interest obligations, the flesh of swine, to survive. They can draw some solace from the next verses and may seek mercy from their Lord:

2:172. O you who believe! eat of the good and pure things We have provided you with, and render thanks to Allâh, if it is He alone whom you really worship.

2:173. He has forbidden you only (to eat carrion) that which dies of itself, the blood, the flesh of swine and that over (the sacrifice of) which the name of someone other than Allâh has been invoked. Yet he who is constrained (to use them) without desiring (them) nor going beyond the limits (of bare necessity), incurs no sin. Surely, Allâh is Great Protector, Ever Merciful.[40] [Emphasis added]

To those governments, where they have the power to annul usury in their land, but instead hide which Allâh has revealed in this perfect Book about admonitions against interest and usury and take a paltry price (- worldly gains) from usury and interest bearing institutions, Quran forewarns with the following:

2:174. Surely, those who hide (any part of the teaching) which Allâh has revealed in this perfect Book and take a paltry price (- worldly gains) for it, it is these who feed their bellies with nothing but fire [of usurious debt and all its ill consequences for the society], and Allâh will not speak to them (with affection and mercy) on the Day of Resurrection, nor He will treat them as pure, and there awaits them a grievous punishment. [Emphasis added].

2:175. It is these who have preferred error to guidance and punishment to protection. (The onlookers of these sufferers will say,) `How very enduring they are at (the punishment of) the Fire!' [This is a glaring example of the burden of interest borne by citizens of the developing world at the hands of the global banking system, a never ending servitude]

2:176. That (punishment) is because, whereas Allâh caused the perfect Book to be revealed to suit all the requirements of truth and wisdom (they have rejected it outright). Surely, those who dissented from the perfect Book have indeed gone far astray in enmity (of the truth) and in obstinacy.[41]

The dilemma of a Muslims who live in a usury infested system is summed up as follows in an article written in 1925:

[42]We are living in an age in which usury is common, and, do and declare what we will, we are nearly all of us tainted with it. It is a sin, but Muslims must trade, and Muslims must not fall back. They are already far too backward. If Turkey has natural resources which she cannot develop out of her revenues, and if she cannot obtain money without paying interest to develop those resources, then her only course is to borrow at interest. This does not mean that the transaction thereby becomes lawful. It only means, as the Holy Qur-an says :—

2:173. …But whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him.

Unless Muslims want to become extinct and leave the earth to others, they must trade; and trade nowadays usually means both the taking and paying of interest. Let each man be his own judge. Let no one be a fanatic or a fool. God is Reasonable, and Islam conforms to the dictates of true reason. It is easy for the doctrinaire to condemn all trade and all civilization; and it is equally easy for the greedy person, under the cloak of business, to live on usury. The right course is to desist from the paying or taking of interest, wherever possible; and in other cases to go only so far as necessity compels us to go. "Whoever is driven to necessity," says God, "not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him."What is "necessity"? What is the "excess"? What is the "limit"? These are questions to be decided by each man or institution in each particular case. No general rule or rules can be laid down. But God has given us eyes, ears and hearts. And He has also provided us with the all-important mind. The heart of man acting on the mind of man is responsible for the deeds of each individual, and God alone is the Great Judge. The first tradition quoted by Imam Bukhari from the Prophet is Al-Aamal-o-bin-niyyat-e— "All deeds are judged by their intentions." The man who thinks he can save himself by a show of keeping the letter of the law, but really infringing the whole object of the ordinances of God, cannot really save himself, for God knows all. On the other hand, what shall it profit me if I never take a penny in interest, but when it comes to helping a needy person I thrust my hands into my pockets, and leave the poor man in his need? My piety in not taking interest shall not avail me aught in the sight of God. Socrates used to say that the opposites could only be understood by putting them together—pain with pleasure, and virtue with evil. Charity and usury are the opposite extremes of human conduct. The first is a divine ordinance, and the second is an institution of the devil. In showing the beauties of charity God shows us the ugliness of usury. But everything is relative. The absolute is with God alone. We are human beings and necessarily weak.

53:32. Those who avoid grave sins and open shameful deeds but (who are sometimes guilty) only (of) minor offences (will find) your Lord is Lord of immense protection (and resorts to His mercy in such cases). He knows you full well (since) when He created you from the earth and when you were embryos in the wombs of your mothers. So make no pretensions to the purity of your souls. It is He Who knows best who (truly and fully) guards against evil.[43][Nooruddin]

Some may scoff at an earlier quoted verse i.e. 2:279. But if you do (it) [i.e. usurious practices] not, then beware of war from Allâh and His. While reading this verse, let’s not forget that Europe since its dark ages and the West as a whole continues to fight wars, which have been funded by usurious loans. Some may even say that West goes to war because of it bowing to usury. It is anybody’s guess about future wars.

In summary, temptation of usury for its abundance and its profits flowing to the usurer are contrasted with apparent misperception of loss from charity and it is against this overwhelming enticement of bad and impure that one has to seek protection from:

5:100. Say, `The bad and impure e.g. usury and interest], and the good and pure [e.g. charity] are not alike even though the abundance of the bad and impure [e.g. usury and interest] may charm you.' Take Allâh, therefore, as a shield (seeking refuge in Him), O you people of pure and clear understanding! so that you may attain the goal.[44]

It is to this never ending cycle of abundance of the bad and impure interest that might have been in the prophecy about Adam and Children of Adam:

2:35. And We said, `O Adam! dwell you and your wife in this garden and eat freely and plentifully from it as you will [that you can afford]. But you shall not go near this tree (- evil [113:2. `From the evil of that which He has created which includes usury and interest]) lest you should be of the unjust.'

2:36. After sometime the satan caused them both [individually and nations collectively] to slip from this (order of not going near evil) and thus brought them out of (the happy state) which they were in. And We said (to them), `Go forth, some of you are enemies of others and for you there is a sojourn in this land and a provision for a time.'

2:37. After that Adam received from his Lord certain (useful) commandments and He turned to him with mercy. He, indeed is Oft-returning with compassion, the Ever Merciful.

2:38. We said, `Go forth from this state, all of you, and when there comes to you a guidance from Me, then, those who follow My guidance shall have nothing to fear and nothing to grieve at.'[45]

Quran is fully cognizant of the human tendency to acquire and hoard wealth to which it draws attention:

3:14. It has been made fairseeming to the people the love of the desired things comprising women, sons, stored up heaps of gold and silver, well-bred horses, cattle and tilth. That is the provision of the present life. Whereas with Allâh is the fairest goal (of life).

3:15. Say, `Shall I inform you of something better than these? There are with their Lord Gardens served with running streams for those who become secure against evil. There they shall abide forever, and (there will be the righteous) companions perfectly purified and (above all they will enjoy) the good pleasure of Allâh.' And Allâh is Mindful of (His) servants,

3:16. Who say, `Our Lord! we have certainly believed, therefore protect us against (the consequences of) our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire.'[46]

Quran does not abhor the wealth of the individual, but it brings to fore the consequences of hoarding it:

104:1. Disaster is (decreed) for every slanderer, defamer,

104:2. Who amasses wealth (instead of spending it for the good of humanity), counts it over and over and depends upon it as a safeguard (against his future possible hardships).

104:3. He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal.

104:4. No, never! he shall surely be cast into the crushing torment (of Hell).

104:5. And what should make you know what the crushing torment is?

104:6. (It is) the Fire set ablaze by Allâh,

104:7. And which rises over (the feelings of) the hearts (- the origin of a man's hell).

104:8. It (- Fire) will be closed in on them (so as not to let them escape from it and also increase for them the torture of heat).

104:9. (The flames of the Fire will rise) in (the form of) huge outstretched columns.[47]

3:180. And do not let those, who behave niggardly in (spending) what Allâh has granted them of His bounty, think that it is good for them, nay it is bad for them. They shall certainly have the things they were niggardly about, hung about their necks like halters on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allâh belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. Indeed, Allâh is Well-Aware of all that you do.[48]

The walk away argument of wealth in Islam is the similitude of blood in a body. The more it circulates, the healthier the body is. However, the illness and death sets in when the circulation of blood slows down and it clots. For a clot the treatment is naturally a clot buster. Similarly, when the wealth is taken out of circulation and hoarded in assets, the clot buster in Islam is the Zakat, the asset tax which historically is about 2.5 percent, a rate which is neither too taxing for the asset holder nor is mandated on those without assets. Whereas, the income tax of capitalism does not differentiate between the haves and have-nots, it does not take into account the liabilities of the one taxed. Since the tax laws are heavily influenced by the haves, the loopholes thus created in the laws disproportionately benefit them at the detriment of the have-nots. History is witness to the pervasive bloody struggle between the two, the drooling greed on one side and the shuddering cries of deprivation of the majority.

A great advantage of the elimination of interest will be that dormant capital will not be able to create wealth, which will mean that either it will have to invest itself for protection or surrender itself for State use for the benefit of the society. In either case it will have a beneficent effect on the production and consumption of the country. The attraction of hoarding will be completely gone, as even hoarded money will be subjected to zakat, and there will be no alternative left for capital but to invest, produce and consume. This eternal cycle alone can ensure full employment and not wars and armament drives, on which the Western world has come to depend so pathetically nowadays.[49]

Charity replaces Usury and Interest in Quran

The temptation of direct money lending with interest or lending it by proxy via financial institutions is based upon a 'guaranteed' return on investment. In contrast, Quran declares the opposite and assures return on charity. Individual experience from time to time tells us of monetary losses from bank failures, but has anyone yet to claim him ending in poverty by being charitable? The answer is no, and to that Quran states:

30:39. And that which you lay out as interest and usuary with a view to increase the wealth of the people does not help increase it in the sight of Allâh. But that which you present as Zakât (purifying dues) with a view to seek (thereby) the pleasure of Allâh, it is they (- the regular payers of Zakât) then who will increase (their wealth) many times over. [50]

Usury is both a source and manifestation of greed. There is enough in the world for all to live, but there is not enough for one man's greed[51]. Those schools of thought that abet interest, almost as a matter of faith are thus identified in Quran, some more than the others:

2:96. And you shall of course find them the greediest of all people for (this base) life and even more (greedy) than those who set up equals (to God). Each one of them would love to be granted a life of a thousand years [because of their intoxication from power that comes with a usurious wealth], yet his being spared for a long life shall, by no means keep him away from the punishment. And Allâh is Watchful of all their doings.[52]

It is because of this greed out of interest that Quran further states:

4:160. Then (by way of punishing them) on account of the transgression of those who judaised, We made unlawful to them certain of the good and pure things which had been allowed to them before [i.e. the blessings and favors. Note: no prophet after Moses was law bearing to forbid material things to Israelites[53]], and that too on account of their causing hindrances to many (people, and their own staying away) from Allâh's way;

4:161. And (also on account of) their taking interest and usury though they were forbidden it, and because of their misappropriating people's belongings. And We have prepared a woeful punishment for those among them who disbelieve.[54]

Usury by its very nature creates miserliness. Quran makes a historical reference to Israelites who after Solomon had been deprived of a kingdom because of usury driving their miserly behaviors:

4:53. They have no share in the kingdom. If they had they would not give the people (even so much as) the little groove in a date-stone.

4:54. Or do they feel jealous of the people for which Allâh has granted them out of His bounty and grace? (Let them remember) We surely gave the Children of Abraham the Scripture and the Wisdom, and We also gave them a grand kingdom.[55]

As to the morality and rewards shadowing charity, Quran thus speaks quite eloquently which needs no comment but to quote it directly:

2:261. The attribute of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allâh is like the attribute of a grain (of corn) which sprouts seven ears, each ear bearing a hundred grains. And Allâh multiplies further for whomsoever He pleases, for Allâh is Bountiful, All-Knowing.

2:262. Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allâh, then follow not up what they have spent with a show of obligation, nor (with) injury, they shall have their reward with their Lord. They shall have no cause of fear, nor shall they ever grieve.

2:263. A fair word and forbearance are better than charity followed by injury. Indeed, Allâh is Self-Sufficient (having no want), Ever Forbearing.

2:264. O you who believe! Do not render void your charities by (a show of) obligation and injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen by people and does not believe in Allâh and the Last Day. So his case is like the case of a smooth rock with some soil thereon, when heavy rain hits it leaves it bare and hard. They shall not be able to gain anything of what they accomplished. And Allâh does not guide such disbelieving people to the way of success.

2:265. But the case of (charity on the part of) those who spend their wealth seeking the good pleasure of Allâh and for their own consolidation and with firm faith, is like the case of a garden situated on a highly fertile land. It is hit by heavy rain so it yields its fruit manifold; but even if heavy rain does not hit it then a mere drizzle (is sufficient) for it. And Allâh sees well what you do.

2:266. Would anyone of you wish that while he has a garden of date-palm trees and vines served with running streams, he has therein each and every kind of fruit, while he is stricken by old age and has children who are (yet) feeble, a whirlwind carrying fire should smite it (– the garden) so that it is all burnt up? (No, not at all.) Thus does Allâh explain to you His Messages so that you may give thought.

2:267. O you who believe! spend (for the cause of Allâh) a portion of good and pure things, that you have yourselves earned and out of that which We have produced for you from the earth. Do not intend (upon spending) the bad and inferior. You would spend that (bad and inferior for the cause of Allâh) which you would not accept at all (for yourselves) unless you connive at it. And know that Allâh is Self-Sufficient, Ever Praiseworthy.

2:268. Satan threatens you with poverty and incites you to niggardliness. But Allâh promises you forgiveness from Himself and affluence. And Allâh is Bountiful, All-Knowing.

2:269. He grants wisdom to whomsoever He will. Indeed, he who is granted wisdom has been granted an ample good. And none would take heed except those endowed with to you and you shall not be treated unjustly.

2:270. Whatever things worthy to be spent you spend and whatever vow for the performance of a non-obligatory act of goodness you take, Allah knows it well. As for the wrongdoer they shall have no helpers.

2:271. If you give (your) alms openly it is well and good (in itself). But if you keep them secret and give them to the needy it is better for your own selves and He will (thereby) acquit you of some of your evil deeds. Allah is fully aware of what you do.

2:272. You are not responsible for their guidance to the right path but Allah guides (him) who wishes (to be guided). (Believers!) whatever wealth you spend (in doing good) will be fully credited to you and you shall not be treated unjustly.

2:273. (These charities are meant) for those needy who are (so) confined in the way of Allâh that they are unable to move about in the land (for providing their sustenance). The person ignorant (of their condition) thinks them free from want, because of (their) abstaining (from begging). But you shall know them by their appearance (that they are in need). They do not beg of people with importunity. And whatever good thing you spend (for their help) Allâh knows it surely well.

2:274. Those who spend their wealth by night and by day (for the cause of Allâh) privately and publicly have their reward with their Lord, they shall have no cause of fear, nor shall they ever grieve.[56]

End Note: To get an insight into philosophy of financial system of Islam as contrasted against the Capitalism and Communism, reader is encouraged to read: “The New World Order” by Maulana Muhammad Ali (link).


[1] The Islamic Economic System and the Process of Change Over By "Ariel", Islamic Review, p. 10, November 1952.
[2] Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Too_big_to_fail
[3] Video: “Fractional reserve banking”. Link: https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/macroeconomics/monetary-system-topic/fractional-reserve-banking-tut/v/overview-of-fractional-reserve-banking
[4] An asset that can be converted into cash in a short time, with little or no loss in value. Link: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/liquid-asset.html#ixzz3HEmk6QSW
[5] Der Spiegel. Note: the actual article could not be located. The closest reference is “Playing With Fire: America and the Dollar Illusion”. Link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/playing-with-fire-america-and-the-dollar-illusion-a-440054.html
[6] Link: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2007/articles/crossbordersecurities/default.htm
[7] Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – OCC’s Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activities Fourth Quarter 2013 (pdf) – see Table 12 (on the last page). Link: http://www.occ.treas.gov/topics/capital-markets/financial-markets/trading/derivatives/dq413.pdf
[8] Link: http://demonocracy.info/infographics/usa/derivatives/bank_exposure.html
[9] The Real—and Simple—Equation That Killed Wall Street, by Chris Arnade, Scientific American Blogs, January 30, 2013. Link: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/01/30/leveraged-yield/
[10] “WORKING FOR THE FEW, Political capture and economic inequality”, 178 OXFAM BRIEFING PAPER, 20 JANUARY 2014.
[11] Al-Najm – Parts of the Qur'ân: Nooruddin
[12] Al-Hashr – The Banishment: Nooruddin
[13] Al-Mutaffifîn – The Defaulters In Duty : Nooruddin
[14] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[15]Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Free Minds
[16] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[17] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[18] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[19] Al-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[20] Example of Compound Interest – Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compound_interest#Example_of_compound_interest
[21]The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?
Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice. Shylock – Act IV, Scene 1, Venice. A court of justice.
[22] Link: http://www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index.php/law/legal-insight/26439-a-nigerian-approach-to-islamic-banking
[23] The Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Chapter 9: Wealth
[24] “Usury or Interest”, The Light, Vol II, No. 16, August 16, 1923, p. 2, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.
[25] Al-Imran – Family of Amran: Nooruddin
[26] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[27] “Usury or Interest”, The Light, Vol II, No. 18, September 16, 1923, p. 3, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.
[28] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[29]“The New World Order” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 51-52, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore,1944.
[30] Yunus – Jonah: Nooruddin
[31] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[32]“The New World Order” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 51, Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore, 1944.
[33] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[34] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[35] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[36] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[37] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[38] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[39] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[40] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[41] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[42]“Islam, Usury and Interest” by Al-Haj Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar, M.A., p. 27-29, The Islamic Review, January 1925.
[43] Al-Najm – Parts of the Qur'ân: Nooruddin
[44] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin
[45] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[46] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[47] Al-Humazah – The Slanderer: Nooruddin
[48] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[49] The Islamic Economic System and the Process of Change Over By "Ariel", Islamic Review, p. 10, November 1952.
[50] Al-Rum – The Byzantines: Nooruddin
[51] The Islamic Economic System and the Process of Change Over By "Ariel", Islamic Review, p. 10, November 1952.
[52] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin
[53] Excerpt from Quran’ Five Volume Commentary – footnote 624, p. 686, by Ahmadiyya Movement.
[54] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[55] Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin
[56] Al-Baqarah –The Cow: Nooruddin