In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms.
QUR’AN-COMMENTS & ERRORS
(Please watch video at end of presentation)
Allāh speaking about the Revelations given to Moses (Torah) and to Jesus (Injeel/Gospels) and to David (Zaboor/ Psalms), He is referring to the original Books, not what is presently known, though these may contain portions of the original.
Though the Qur’an contains references to the above-named figures, the Qur’an does not put the stamp of Divine truth on all the Biblical accounts of these figures–such as Lot having com-mitted incest with his daughters, that David was an adulterer, or that Solomon was a polytheist, etc;…
Whereas Allāh, God, tells us to believe in past Scriptures, Allāh also tells us what not to believe, such as sonship of God, Trinity, God incarnate, Mariolatry, inherited sin, vicarious atone-ment, karma and reincarnation, polytheism, idolatry, “chosen people” to the exclusion of others. These teachings have no Divine foundation; no prophetic foundation; no logical founda-tion; and are repugnant to reason.
These teachings are assumed and propagated as Divine truths.
That teachings of the Qur’an conflict with those of the Bible does not mean that the Bible is correct. Maurice Bucaille points out in his book The Bible, The Qur’an and Science
(In the Qur’an) “statements are to be found in it (as has been shown) that are connected with science: and yet it is unthinkable that a man of Muhammad’s time could have been the author of them. Modern scientific know-ledge therefore allows us to understand certain verses of the Qur’an which, until now, it has been impossible to interpret.”
“Whereas monumental errors are to be found in the Bible, I could not find a single error in the Qur’an.” (pp. 251, 120. Italics/color added).
If God wrote the Bible which contains “monumental errors” and “contradictions” then who wrote the Qur’an which is free of errors and contradictions? Which is the Book, then, that you should follow? Clearly no sane or intelligent person will choose an inferior item over a superior one.
If the Devil wrote the Qur’an then the Devil is greater than the Christians’ God. And if Mohammad wrote the Qur’an then Mohammad is greater than the Christians’ God.
If Mohammad was a “fraud” and “false prophet” and
Allāh a ‘false’ God, then this “fraud” and “false prophet” of this ‘false’ God produced a Book–the Qur’an–that is superior to the Bible in all facets of life–moral, social, intellectual, and spiritual.
Hubal and Allāh: Is the pagan god Hubal the same as Allāh?
Muhammad Ali explained:“It should be further borne in mind that the idolaters did not deny the existence of God the Supreme, Whom they believed to be above their idols, who were recog-nized only as minor deities.”1
This belief in the Supreme Lord by the pagan Arabs was evident upon Abraha’s invasion of Makkah in the year 570 to destroy the Ka’ba. “Unable to defend the Holy House against the huge army, ‘Abd al-Muttalib thus prayed aloud, leaning upon the door of the Ka’bah (he did not pray to any of the statues): “Defend, O Lord, Thine own House! and suffer not the cross to triumph over the Ka’bah” (Zurqani).”2
Thus, if to the pagan Arabs “Hubal” is the same as Allah, then this idolater, ‘Abd al-Muttalib was calling on Allah, the Lord of the worlds, to defend His First, Sacred and only House of wor-ship that He has established for all men.
Islam teaches that Allah is the God of all mankind. Hence, Allah is known by a myriad of names (according to the language of the people). Thus, it does not matter if in Arabia God was known as Hubal or Allah; as long as He is worshipped in His Purity, i.e. He is the One and Only God, Who is the Eternal, The Absolute, Who begets not nor is begotten; and Whom there is none like Him–(Qur’an 112:1-4).
Malik and Molech: One of the ninety-nine names of Allāh is Malik (Master). Is this Malik the fire God Molech, of the Bible?–(Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5). (Molech’s identity is unknown. He was associated with child sacrifice).
Malik, in reference to Allah is not to be confused with Molech, “the fire God,” of the Bible.
Apart from being one of the names of Allāh, Malik is also a general term meaning one who is in supervisory capacity over others, as is noted in Qur’an 43:76, in reference to the custodian of Hell.
As Allah is the God of all the worlds, He is also the God of the prophets and of the people of Israel. In the verses of Leviticus, noted above, the people of Israel are instructed by God to keep their offspring from “the fire to Molech.” This clearly shows that Molech is an other than God. Molech then could not be the same as Malik–Allah. If Malik and Molech were the one and same being, it would seem senseless for God to instruct the Israelites to avoid Molech.
Scale/Balance: Allah informing us that our deeds will be weighed does not mean that Allah will sit before a scale weighing our deeds. All of the verses of the Qur’an (and sayings of the Prophet) are not to be taken literally. The verses of the Qur’an are either of literal or allegorical meaning–(Qur’an 3:6). Muhammad Ali notes:
“A man is judged by the preponderance of good or evil in him and it is in this connection that the setting up of a mizan, or a balance, is spoken of. The words wazn and mizan, as used in the Holy Qur’an in this connection, do not indicate weighing with a pair of scales; it is in the wider sense of fulfilling the requirements of justice that they are used. For instance, 57:25 speaks of messengers being sent with the Book and the mizan, where the mizan clearly stands for rules of justice or principles of equity –“that men may conduct themselves with equity.””(M. Ali, p. xvi).
Sura Al-Falaq–The Dawn (ch. 113): Allah is referred to as The Lord of The Dawn. This chapter instructs us how to pray for Divine protection to guard us from becoming victims to all forms of evil –the seen and the unseen– those who would impede us physically, those who cast doubt, plots treachery, and those who envy.
Noah: Regarding the age of Noah. The Qur’an 29:14 clearly states that Noah remained among his people “a thousand years save fifty”–which would give 950 years. The fact that this statement is made at the beginning of the section, with the details of Noah following, does not mean that Noah was 950 years at the time of the Flood. The statement that Noah remained among his people is sufficient to convey that that was the time up to which he had lived, 950 years.
The Qur’an does not support the story about a “universal deluge”; but that only Noah’s people were drowned–(Qur’an 25:37; 29:14; 37:75-82; 71:21-25). And Maurice Bucaille in his book The Bible The Qur’an and Science has shown (on p. 34) that this Flood of Noah could not have been a global occurrence.
Noah’s ark on Mount Judi: The Bible says that after the flood Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat–(Genesis 8:4) whereas Allāh, God, says it landed on Mount Judi–(Qur’an 11:44).
That the Bible precedes the Qur’an and that the Qur’an here seemingly differs with the Bible does not mean that the Bible is correct. Maurice Bucaille has pointed out “Whereas monument-al errors are to be found in the Bible, I could not find a single error in the Qur’an.” (pp. 251, 120. Italics/emphasis added).Even Christians have admitted to the humanness of the Bible. (See BIBLE).
Muhammad Ali notes:
“The Greek name of this mountain is said to be Gor-dyoei, being one of those mountains which divide Arme-nia on the south from Mesopotamia. Sale says: “The tradition which affirms the ark to have rested on those mountains must have been very ancient, since it is a tradition of the Chaldeans themselves”. And again: “The relics of the ark were also to be seen in the time of Epiphanius, if we are to believe him (Epiph. Haeres, 18); we are also told that the Emperor Heraclius went from the town of Thamanin up to the mountain Al-Judi, and saw the place of the ark (Elmacin, I. i.c.l.).Formerly there also existed a famous monastery, called the monas-tery of the ark, on one of those mountains”.
Yusuf Ali has given an insight into the geography of the area of Mount Ararat. And adds:
“The Biblical legend of Mount Ararat being the resting place of Noah’s Ark is hardly plausible, seeing that the highest peak of Ararat is over 16,000 feet high. If it means one of the lower peaks of the Ararat system, it agrees with the Muslim tradition about Mount Judi (or Gudi), and this is in accordance with the oldest and best local traditions. These traditions are accepted by Joseph-us, by the Nestorian Christians, and indeed by all the Eastern Christians and Jews, and they are the best in touch with local traditions. See (Viscount) J. Bryce, “Transcauca-sia and Ararat,” 4th ed; 1896, p. 216.”
Malik Ghulam Farid made similar notations as Yusuf Ali. And notes:
“‘Judi (Djudi) is a lofty mountain mass in the district of Bohtan, about 25 miles N.E. of Jazirah ibn ‘Omar….It owes its fame to the Mesopotamian tradition, which identifies it with, and not Mount Ararat, the mountain on which Noah’s Ark rested….Older exegesis identified the mountain now called Judi, or according to Christian au-thorities the mountains of Gordyene, as the apobaterion of Noah’ (Enc. Of Islam, vol. I. P. 1059). Babylonian traditions also place the mount Al-Judi in Armenia (Jew. Enc. under “Ararat”), and the Bible admits that Babylon was the place where the descendants of Noah lived (Gen. 11:9).”
Noah’s Ark rested on Mount Judi as Allāh, God, reveals. Allāh, God, the All-knowing does not err.
It may be that whereas the Bible refers to the mountain as a whole, the Qur’an is more specific about the actual point on the mountain range where the Ark rested.
Noah’s son drowned: The Bible teaches that all of Noah’s sons came into the ark with him–(Genesis 6:9-10, 7:1, 7:7). Whereas Allāh, God, says one of Noah’s sons did not come into the ark–(Sura 11:42-43).
Perhaps Noah had more than three sons. The Bible says, after the Flood Noah’s three sons fructify the world–(Genesis chapter 10). None of these sons went to Africa. Unless one of these sons was raisin-haired or it cropped up in one of their descendants, from where did the negro come? And if man is only 5,000 year old how it is that human remains that are nearly a million years old are found in Africa? Thus, Noah seems to have had more than three sons; and maybe even daughters.
Allāh saying that the Qur’an confirms past scriptures only means that Revelations were given to the prophets of old, not that it put the stamp of Divine approval on all its stories, (one such childish story is chapter eleven, the tower of Babel).
The Qur’an states, and research confirms, that only Noah’s people were drowned, not the entire world.
It would be an injustice to destroy the entire world for the sins of Noah’s people.
Significantly, whereas Muslims are required by Allāh to believe in all His revealed Books, many of the stories in the Bible such as that prophets committed sins are not supported by the Qur’an. Allāh. tells us that all prophets were sinless. Whereas Muslims are to believe in past Scriptures, Allāh also tells us what not to believe, such as sonship of God, Trinity, God incarnate, inherited sin, vicarious atonement, karma and reincarnation, polytheism, idolatry, “chosen people” to the exclusion of others.
Saul and Gideon–(Qur’an 2:250; Judges 7:5): Only those critics of the Qur’an are “confounded” between Saul and Gideon, who have not carefully studied the Scriptures. As Muhammad Ali notes, “The story of Saul is here confounded with that of Gideon” says a Christian critic.” However:
“All that the Qur’an states is that Saul tried his forces by a river, and the Bible does not say anything about it. On the other hand, the Bible speaks of a trial of a somewhat similar nature by Gideon (Judges 7:1-6), while the Qur’an does not speak of Gideon at all. The Qur’an does not undertake to give a full and detailed history of the Israelites, and no Christian does, I think, hold the belief that the Bible gives a full and detailed record of the whole of the Israelite nation, so that it could not have omitted a single incident. Nor is there anything strange if Saul followed the example of Gideon. That these are two different incidents is made clear by the fact that while Gideon tried his forces by “the well of Harod” (Judges 7:1), Saul tried his forces by a river, as stated in the Qur’an. It further appears from the Bible that the river Jordan was there: “Some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead” (1 Sam. 13:7).” (M. Ali, comm. # 331).
Solomon and the worm–(Qur’an 34:12-14): This “worm that ate away at Solomon’s staff” is an allegorical expression. Reason would dictate that a King’s palace would not have a literal “worm” inside. And if did (or gotten in somehow) it would have taken probably days if not weeks to gnaw away at Solomon’s staff before Solomon could have fallen to the floor, alerting his servants that he was dead. In that time rigor mortis would have already set in and his body starting to decompose and would surely have been noticed by his servants. What this statement means is, as Muhammad Ali explained: “The refer-ence in the creature of the earth that ate away his staff is to his son’s weak rule, under whom the kingdom of Solomon went to pieces. It appears that Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam, led a life of luxury and ease, and instead of acting on the advice of the older men, he yielded to the pleasure-seeking wishes of his companions (1 Kings 12:13), and it is to his luxurious habits and easy mode of life that the Holy Qur’an refers when it calls him a creature of the earth. The eating away of his staff signifies the disruption of the kingdom. The jinn, as already remarked, mean the rebellious tribes who had been reduced to subjection by Solomon, and who remained in subjection to the Israelites for a time, until the kingdom was shattered. This instance, as well as the one following, contains a warning for the Muslims as to the result of falling into luxury and ease, by which, however, they benefited little; the ultimate fate of the respective kingdoms of the Umayyads and Abba-sides was the same as that of Solomon’s kingdom. See also 38:34a.” (Muhammad. Ali’s trans-lation of the Qur’an cab be viewed online www.muslim.org).
Solomon and Sheba: Allah tells us in His Qur’an 34:12-13 that “jinn” helped Solomon to build synagogues. Are these “jinn” supernatural beings? These “jinn,” Muhammad Ali wrote, “were no other that the strangers whom Solomon subjected to his rule and forced into service” –“And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain”–(See 2 Chron; 2:2-18). The “jinn” spoken of in Qur’an 34:12-13 are the same “devils, every builder and diver” that were made subjected to Solomon–(Qur’an 38:37), explains Muhammad Ali.
Jinn are not only beings of the unseen. Tabrezi is quoted as recording that “the Arabs speak of the jinn frequently, likening a man who is clever in executing affairs to the jinni and the shaitan or devil, and hence they say his jinn is gone, when they mean that he became weak and abased.”(M. Ali, comm. 2027).
Incidentally, if evil spirits can be exorcised and imprisoned in bottles, it could hardly be considered “fable” that Solomon had control over supernatural beings –“demons” and “jinns.”
(For an explanation of “jinns” read Muhammad Ali Qur’anic commentaries 2027 and 2143. And also his book The Religion of Islam. For in-depth explanations of the stories of Moses and his servant Khidr, Dhulqar-nain, and Gog and Magog–Qur’an 18:60-101, read the commentaries of Muhammad Ali and Malik Ghulam Farid. Muhammad Ali’s translation of the Qur’an can be viewed online: www.muslim.org
Confusions and misunderstanding in the Qur’an: There are no “confusions” in the Qur’an. The Qur’an being the Revelation sent by Allah God through the Angel Gabriel, could not be the word of Mohammad or of Gabriel, but the Word of Allāh, God.
Words which appear to be those of Mohammad such as: “I am commanded only to serve Allah”–(13:36)–are the Words of Allāh instructing him what to say of himself personally; and in the case of others–such as Abraham’s dialogue with the king (2:258), and of the angels explaining that they descend by Allah’s command (19:64)–are the Words of Allah recounting in-cidents and/or the sayings of others.
Qur’an 6:105 states: “Clear proofs have indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for his own good; and whoever is blind, it is to his own harm. And I am not a keeper over you.” The words “I am not a keeper over you,” are not the words of Mohammad, only that Mohammad is instructed by Allah God to relate to the people that he is not a keeper over them, (i.e. he is not responsible for them).
In chapter 27:91 the Prophet is instructed to say: “I am com-manded only to serve the Lord of this city…”
Here, Allāh instructed the Prophet to inform the people that he is “commanded only to serve the Lord of this city”, (instead of serving other objects), though the speaker to the people is Mohammad; Mohammad was instructed by God to utter those words, thus the words could not be Mohammad’s, but are the words of God. The words of the Qur’an though at times are statements applying to Mohammad, are not his personal state-ments, but words put in his mouth by Allāh, God, and spoken in God’s name–(Deut; 18:18-19).
The Seven sleepers in the cave: Chapter 18 of the Qur’an is known as Sura Kahf or The Cave. It tells of the story of a number of righteous youths who, to escape persecution, took refuge in a cave. Where they slept for a number of years.
“Kahf signifies a cave as well as a place of refuge, and raqim [a writing placed above the entrance to the cave] means an inscription or a tablet with a writing upon it,” explains Muham-mad Ali. This story alludes to the history of Christianity. (Bear-ing in mind that some verses of the Qur’an are allegorical).
Muhammad Ali points out, that The Cave “stands for that peculiar aspect of the Christian religion which finds manifesta-tion in its institution of monkery, this being the distinctive cha-racteristic which it assumed soon after its birth,” and that the Inscription (raqim) “contains a prophetical reference to another aspect of the Christian religion, quite opposed to its first aspect of growth in the Cave. Inscription (or Advertisement) is, in fact, as prominent a feature of the business activities of the Christian nations of today as the Cave was a feature of their religious activities in the early days. …The first and the last conditions of Christianity thus seem to be hinted at in the Cave and the In-scription respectively, a religion of monkery turned into a religion of business.”
Muhammad Ali gave explanations of these Qur’anic verses to show that, “it is really the history of Christianity that is dealt with in the story of the Companions of the Cave.” Regarding verse 25 which says: “and they remained in their cave three hundred years, and they add nine,” Muhammad Ali says:
“There is no tradition that the Companions of the Cave remained in the Cave for three hundred years, but Chris-tianity itself remained in a Cave for full three hundred years. It is a fact that Christianity rose to power with the conversion of Constantine, and at the same time it lost its purity with the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, which was promulgated in 325 A.D. It is, more-over, now almost agreed that Jesus Christ was born five or six years before the reputed date of his birth. Bishop Barnes says in The Rise of Christianity that he may have been born in 6-5 B.C. So if he began his ministry at the age of thirty, the Christian religion may be said to have been born at about 25 A.D., and thus exactly after three hundred years it lost its purity by the promulgation of the Trinitarian doctrine, emerging at the same time as a State religion. Thus it remained in the Cave for three hundred years.
But what does this, the addition of nine years mean? (verse 25 above). To reduce solar years to lunar years, three years have to be added to every hundred years, and to the three centuries another nine years are thus added. It is due to this computation that nine years are spoken of as being added.” (Comm. 1481; 1492; 1495).
Mary the mother of Jesus, and Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron: In the Qur’an 19:28-29 Mary, the mother of Jesus is addressed as “sister of Aaron,” and in Qur’an 66:12 she (Mary) is called “daughter of Imran.” There is no error here. Mary, addressed as “sister of Aaron” is not to be “confused” with Miriam the sister of Moses.
In Qur’an 3:34 it is not Mary, the mother of Jesus who is termed “woman of Imran” but rather Mary’s mother, Anna or Hannah; as verse 35 makes it clear by stating that she (Hannah) brought forth a female; (whereas Mary, the mother of Jesus brought forth a male). As noted, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is termed “daughter” of Imran, not “woman” of Imran. Muham-mad Ali:
“Imra’at means a woman and also a wife. I take imra’at ‘Imran as meaning a woman of the family of Amran, because the name of a great ancestor is frequently used to indicate the nation which has sprung from him. Thus Kedar stands for the Ishmaelites and Israel for the Israe-lites. This interpretation is in perfect accord with what is said in the previous verse (3:32) as to the election of the descendants of Amran. The general statement is follow-ed by a particular instance. The second instance also refers to one of the descendants of Amran, viz. John the Baptist, who was also of “priestly descent through both parents” (Bib. Dic., Cambridge University Press). Though we know very little regarding the parentage of Mary, yet the fact that she was, according to the only tradition that we have about her, devoted to the Temple from three to twelve years of age, shows clearly that she belonged to the priestly class. She is elsewhere called the sister of Aaron (19:28) and not a sister of Moses, for priesthood was an exclusive prerogative of the descen-dants of Aaron. In the Semitic languages the words ab (father), umm (mother), akh (brother), and ukht (sister) are used in a broad sense, and do not necessarily imply the very close relations of real mother, father, brother, and sister. Thus we have a saying of the Prophet in which he speaks of himself as the prayer of my father Abraham. (The Prophet Mohammad also refers to himself as the “brother of Joseph”–see comm. #1252). Jesus was also addressed as “son of David”. According to tradition, how-ever, ‘Imran was the name of Mary’s father, and therefore the words imra’t ‘Imran may mean the wife of ‘Imran.” (Comm. 412).
Regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus being addressed as “sister of Aaron” and as “daughter of Imran, Muhammad Ali notes: “In the Semitic languages the words ab (father), umm (mother), akh (brother), and ukht (sister) are used in a broad sense, and do not necessarily imply the very close relations of real mother, father, brother, and sister. Thus we have a saying of the Prophet in which he speaks of himself as the prayer of my father Abraham. Jesus was also addressed as “son of David.” According to tradition, however, ‘Imran was the name of Mary’s father…”
The Prophet Mohammad, upon his conquest of Makkah, refers to himself as brother of Joseph. (M. Ali, comm. 412, 1252, respectively).
Incidentally, Christians call God their Father. Do Christians have biological relationship with God so God is their Father?
And God calls Adam, Israel, Solomon, David etc. as His son and firstborn etc. Does God have biological relationship with these individuals so that they are His sons and firstborn etc.? (Jesus-Son of God).
Mi’raj, The Prophet’s Ascent (Qur’an ch. 17): The Prophet’s Ascent (Qur’an ch. 17): It could hardly be doubt-ful that Allah, God, carried Mohammad to heaven and showed him of His signs. If God can take Elijah in a chariot to heaven, if He can translate Enoch to heaven, if He can raise Jesus up to heaven, if He can take the Zoroastrian “Arta (or Artay) Viraf” to heaven, and if He can take Abraham “to heaven,” why is it difficult to accept that He can also take Mohammad to heaven, and show him of His signs?
(There is a difference of opinion among Muslims as to the nature of this journey (Mi’raj) by the Prophet Mohammad; some holding that it was physical, and others, that it was spiritual. This difference of opinion is of no consequence; what is paramount is the significance of the journey–that the Prophet Mohammad “would also inherit the blessings of the Israelite prophets,” as noted by Muhammad Ali. And as prophesied by Jesus that the kingdom of God shall be taken from the Jews and given to another people: “Therefore say I unto you, The king-dom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”–Matthew 21:43).
The Sabians (Qur’an 2:62; 5:69; 22:17): There are some chapters of the Qur’an, such as 56:75 and 53:1, that refers to the stars/planets in oath. But these references do not mean that Mohammad worshipped the stars/planets.
There are suras by the names of “The Cow” (ch. 2) and “The Spider” (ch. 29); one would have to be very foolish to suggest that Mohammad worshipped the “cow” and “spider.”
Regarding the Qur’an swearing by the stars/planets. The Qur’an also swears by the moon, the night, and the dawn–(74:32-34); and by the resurrection and the self-accusing spirit–(75:1-2): this does not mean that Mohammad worshipped them.
If the Sabians “influenced” Mohammad to “swear” by the stars who “influenced” Mohammad to swear by these other mediums?
Apart from the “stars,” the Qur’an also calls to witness/oath the night and the morning–(81:15-18); the heaven, the Promised Day and the bearer of witness–(85:1-3); the heaven, the Comer by night, the cloud and the earth–(86: 1-2, 11-12); by the daybreak, the ten nights, the even and the odd and the night when it departs–(89:1-5); by the City (Makkah)–(90:1); by the sun and the moon and the day and the night and the heaven and the earth and the soul–(91:1-7); by the fig and the olive, and mount Sinai and the City (Makkah)–(95: 1-3); and by the time–(103:1): this does not mean that Mohammad worshipped these mediums.
If the Sabians “influenced” Mohammad to “swear” by the stars, who “influenced” Mohammad to swear/witness/oath by these other mediums?
There may be “seven planets,” but it is rather strange that Mohammad would mimic the pagans in circuiting the Ka’ba seven times yet he would set the daily prayers at five times per day and format the prayers into 2, 3 and 4 rakaahs (sequence), and give Muslims the options of reciting the tasbih (glorification of Allah God) either 3, 5, or 7 times.
Moreover, it is not credible that Mohammad who from a vulnerable minority of one fought tooth and nail against idolatry would then at his invincible majority incorporate this idolatry into the pure worship of Allāh, God.
It is poor cerebrating to reason that Mohammad would resort to element worship when Allah tells him that He has made sub-servient to us the sun and the moon; and the stars are made subservient by Allah’s command–(Qur’an 14:33; 16:12) so, adore not the sun nor the moon, but adore Allah Who created them–(41:37); and that we are to worship none but Allah–(Qur’an 11:2).
That parts of a story are missing from the Qur’anic narrative is of no consequence. The Qur’an is not a storybook. It “does not relate stories in all their details, and often omits a number of incidents which are not needed for its purpose.” (M. Ali Qur’anic comm. 1540).
Adam and Iblis (Satan): Iblis refusing the command of Allah to make submission to Adam (which some interprets to mean to “worship” Adam) is not of literal meaning. Some verses of the Qur’an are of literal meaning–which forms the generalguidance–and some verses are of allegorical meaning–(Qur’an 3:6). For example: The prophet Joseph had the vision that eleven stars and the sun and the moon were “prostrating/making obeisance” to him; which was in fact his eleven brothers and parents honoring him, or that he would be on a high status above them–Joseph’s brothers and parents did not literally prostrate themselves to him or “worship” him.
Allah did not ask Iblis to “worship” Adam, but to bow down to or make obeisance to him (in a token of respect on account of him, [man in general], being superior to all creations). This is not “worship.” Men, especially those receiving knighthood, bow in such honor/respect to royalty–this is not “worship” of royalty. We also stand in respect/honor of the national anthem, and at the raising of the flag–this is not “worship” of the anthem or flag.
However, if for whatever reason Allah had commanded Iblis to literally “worship” Adam, who was Iblis to disobey the com-mand of God? Employees of a company are commanded not to punch the time card of another, but if the owner commands one employee to punch the card of another, that employee has no right to question the purpose of, or to refuse to comply with the order of the owner. If he does refuse, he is subject to discipline.
It is to be noted that Iblis’ reason for disobeying the command of God to make “obeisance” to Adam was not because Iblis honors that God alone is to be worshipped, but because Iblis con-sidered himself superior to Adam: him being created from “fire” whereas Adam was created from “dust”–(Qur’an 7:12). Why Iblis has not been destroyed already for his disobedience to Allah is no “puzzle;” neither is he “more powerful” than God. Iblis was given respite until the Resurrection, to try to seduce man from the path of Allah. (Qur’an 7:11-18; 15:26-44; 17:61-65).
Cain and Abel: The relation between Cain killing Abel unjustly and Allāh, God, prescribing for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a person unjustly it is as though he had killed all men; and whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved all men–(Qur’an 5:27-32), is that, to kill unjustly is the ultimate in transgression and such a killer is likely to kill several times over–even all men; and to save a life (which only God can give) is to commit the greatest act of compassion and one who has saved once is likely to save several times over–even all men. This verse illustrates the enormity of committing murder and the sanctity of saving life.
Allāh sending a crow to show Cain how to bury the murdered Abel–(Qur’an 5:27-31. The Bible does not record this). This Adam family was primitive man. Cain killing Abel was the first act of murder in creation. It is not uncommon then for Cain to not know what to do or how to hide his brother’s body. Thus Allāh sending this bird to scratch the ground to make a hole is knowledge.
(The view has been expressed that two birds were sent as example to fight; with one killing the other in imitation of Cain killing Abel; and then scratching the ground and covering the dead bird in demonstration for Cain to observe and follow. Though this was said to be a vision not an actual happening, the reason being that Allāh would not have one bird unjustly killing another).
There is nothing wrong in Cain following this bird. Man’s observation of the bird has led to the development of the field of aviation. Man is also studying other animals.
Joseph: In the story of Joseph–(Qur’an chapter 12).
(a) Joseph’s resolve not to sin with the Aziz’s wife was the result of the Divine revelation given to him in his dream and in the well, about his future greatness–(vv. 4-6; 15; 24). As to what the women were doing at the time they cut their hands offers no lesson–they had gossiped about the Aziz wife’s attempt to sed-uce Joseph; she had prepared a repast for them to introduce Joseph to them so as to justify her affection for Joseph. That the women cut themselves on beholding Joseph’s beauty was enough to establish that Joseph had the features that could easily cause women to become excited–(vv. 30-32).
(b) When Benjamin is caught with the silver cup in his sack one of his brothers said that if Benjamin has stolen, then a bro-ther of his (meaning Joseph) had also stolen before him (Ben-jamin)–(vv. 69-77). That the Qur’an does not relate the inci-dent(s) as to how Joseph was “accused of stealing” or why or what Joseph had stolen offers no moral lesson. In this story one of the brothers of Benjamin offered that one of them be punished instead of Benjamin. The guard informed them that: “Allah for-bids that we should seize other than him whom we found with our property, for then surely we should be unjust!”–(vv. 78-79). The moral of this portion of the story is that no one is to be blamed for the wrongs of another. Likewise, Joseph was not to be blamed for theft because “Benjamin’s mother before him had stolen–referring to the time when Rachel carried off her father’s household gods–(Genesis xxxi. 19-35). The moral of this incident is that it is an injustice to blame children for the sins of their parents and vice versa, and to punish the innocent for the guilty.
(c) Jacob was certain that his son Joseph was alive. Being a prophet of God, he received Divine revelation: “….and I know from Allah what you know not”. This is why he again instructed his other sons to “go and inquire about Joseph and his brother (Benjamin, who was wrongly imprisoned for stealing a cup)–(vv. 84-87).
There is nothing “offensive” or “erotic” in the Qur’anic narration of the story of Joseph. As Muhammad Ali points out in his introduction to this chapter 12 of the Qur’an, the story of Joseph is a parallel to the mission of the Prophet Mohammad:
“The entire chapter gives a continuous account of the history of Joseph, the first three verses and the conclud-ing section both pointing to the purpose which underlies the story. It is not, in fact, a mere narrative, but foretells the ultimate triumph of the Holy Prophet, who was to be turned out of his native city, and also the final submis-sion of those who were plotting against his very life.
The chapter deals with three kinds of vision, viz; the vision of a prophet (Joseph), which pointed to his ultimate triumph and the triumph of Truth (vv. 4 and 100); the vision of a king, relating to the material wel-fare of those under his care (vv. 43-49), and the vision of ordinary men, relating to their own adversity or prosperi-ty (vv. 36-41). The grander the purpose, the longer the vision takes for its due fulfillment; Joseph’s vision took a whole lifetime, the king’s vision fourteen years, while the visions of ordinary men come to immediate fulfilment. The Holy Prophet doubtless obtained consolation from these facts, as he had before him a very grand object–the reformation, first of the Arabs and then of the whole world.
In the arrangement of the chapters, the connection of this chapter with the one preceding it (i.e. the 11th chapter) is clear. That chapter deals with the histories of several well-known prophets and the fate of their oppo-nents. This prophetically states that the mutual dealings of the Holy Prophet and his enemies would be similar to the dealings of Joseph and his brethren, there being per-secution on one side and entire forgiveness and merciful dealing on the other.”
Abraham and Joseph lying: No details were given as to this “lying.”
In the Qur’an 21:51-68, Allah recounts the incident of the youthful Abraham, who was averse to idolatry, of breaking all the idols of his people excepting the “chief” idol. When asked if he had broken the idols, Abraham responded “He said Surely (someone) has done it. The chief of them is this (the big idol); so ask them (the broken idols), if they can speak (they will tell who did it)”
Abraham’s motive for engaging in this ‘game of wit’ was to show them that even the things they worship could not speak as to whom had caused their injury, nor was the “chief” idol able to defend them against their attacker: he was calling them to reason that things carved by their own hands cannot confer benefit nor effect harm.
Thus, firstly, this alleged “lying” of Abraham was not to the detriment of anyone as no other person was accused of the act, and secondly, it was to their own benefit in proving to them the futility of worshipping idols. However, though they were ashamed that their idols were useless in speaking, they proceeded to harm Abraham to avenge their idols/gods; which proves (as noted above) as Allah says, the idolaters follow their fathers “Even though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right way”–(Qur’an 2:170), meaning, not only are they wrong in their worship they also do not use their reasoning–they have no sense.
Notably, Abraham was yet a youth at the time of this incident: he was not a prophet for the critics to charge the prophet Abra-ham as “lying.” Significantly, however, it may be argued that this was no “lying” by Abraham, as he says “Surely (someone) has done it;” this “someone” could be him in which case he was not denying or admitting any guilt; and secondly, he says “The chief of them is this (the chief idol); so ask them (the broken idols), if they can speak;” in this Abraham is telling his people to ask the “chief idol” as to who broke the other idols. Thus there was no “lying.” In effect, Abraham is saying that obviously someone has broken the idols; the chief idol has the axe; ask the broken idols to tell you who broke them.
In the Bible. Genesis 12:11-19 and 20:2-18 note Abraham “lying” to Pharaoh and to king Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. Allah allows a person under compulsion, who fears for his life, to disavow Him, though he inwardly is devoted to Him–(Qur’an 16:106. This allowance under “compulsion” does not cover bearing false witness against another to save yourself).
In each incident, Abraham feared that if the Pharaoh (and the king) knew Sarah was his wife, he would have killed him so that he could have Sarah. Abraham’s saying that Sarah was his sister was made under compulsion, and thus not blamable. And his “lying” was not to the detriment of Sarah or any other person.
Significantly, however, Abraham did not lie that Sarah was his sister; she was his sister from his father’s side–(Gen. 20:12). (Perhaps Abrahams’ father had more than one wife or that Sarah was his daughter from a previous marriage).
As for Joseph’s “lying.” Qur’an chapter 12. Briefly, excepting his youngest brother, Benjamin, Joseph’s other ten brothers plotted to kill Joseph, because he was his father’s favorite son. They threw Joseph into a well and told their father that a wolf had devoured him. Joseph was found by travelers who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph found favor with the king and was made controller of the kingdom.
In time, famine drove Josephs’ ten culprit brothers to Egypt to buy grains. Joseph recognized them but they did not recognize Joseph. Using the grains as leverage, Joseph told his brothers that in order for them to get more grains they would have to bring their little brother, Benjamin.
On their next trip, they brought Benjamin. Joseph revealed his identity to Benjamin–(verse 69). Joseph wanted to have time with Benjamin but without revealing himself to the others. To accomplish this Joseph arranged for the “king’s drinking-cup” to be placed in Benjamin’s bag, so as to make it look as if Benja-min was trying to steal it. Subsequently, Benjamin was accused and arrested for theft.
To charge Joseph of “lying” to the other brothers that Benja-min had committed “theft” is nothing but a blunder. This accu-sation of “theft” was against Benjamin and it is obvious that Benjamin was in on the plan. Thus one cannot be charged as “lying” on another person when this other party is in on the ruse.
Even if Benjamin was unawares of Joseph’s plan, Joseph, being the authority (and a righteous man), would not have pro-secuted an innocent person, much less his innocent brother.
Significantly, it was not Joseph who said that Benjamin had committed “theft;” it was one of his brothers; as is evident from verse 80 which states that the brothers had conferred privately on the matter of this “theft” and one of them decided to remain in Egypt; whereupon he instructed the others (in verse 81) to: “Go back to your father and say: ‘O our father, thy son committed theft.”
Alexander the Great: In His Qur’an 18:83, Allah recounted the story of Dhul-qarnain (Zul-qarnain).Muhammad Ali identifies Dhul-qarnain with “Da-rius I Hystaspes (521-485 BC).” Malik Ghulam Farid identifies him with “Cyrus”. And Yusuf Ali states, “Popular opinion iden-tifies Zul-qarnain with Alexander the Great.”
Muhammad Ali and Malik Ghulam Farid have made extensive commentaries on Dhul-qarnain. Yusuf Ali has devoted an im-pressive five-page Appendix to this topic at the end of chapter 18. In this Appendix he notes: “It is one of the wonders of the Qur’an, that, spoken through an Ummi’s (unschooled one’s) mouth, it should contain so many incidental details which are ab-solutely true.” And that “Each of the episodes mentioned is his-torical. But the pomp and glitter of military conquest are not mentioned. On the contrary spiritual motives are revealed and commended.” Which “spiritual significance” is the “chief thing to note in the story.”
It would be an absurdity to say that the Qur’an is “hopelessly confused historically” because of the Muslim’s inability to una-nimously identify Dhul-qarnain. Whether Dhul-qarnain was “Darius,” “Cyrus” or “Alexander the Great,” whether he was a Muslim or not is of no consequence. What is significant is that the incidents recounted are historically accurate.
Regarding the question as to whether Alexander the Great was a Muslim. Who is a Muslim? All prophets of God obeyed the laws of God. They were thus, Muslims. If Alexander the Great was a prophet or followed the teachings of any of these prophets, he also would be obedient to the laws of God, and would be a Muslim.
Mariolatry: The Qur’an 5:116 states: “And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?” This is not to be taken to mean that the Qur’an includes Mary as part of the Trinity. Muhammad Ali notes:
“From this description of Mary being taken for a god by the Christians, some Christian critics of the Qur’an conclude that the doctrine of the Trinity according to the Qur’an consists of three persons–God, Jesus and Mary. But this is an absolutely unwarranted conclusion. Mary is no doubt spoken of as being taken for an object of worship by the Christians; but the doctrine of the Trinity is not mentioned here, while the Divinity of Mary is not mentioned where the Trinity is spoken of. The doctrine and practice of Mariolatry, as it is called by Protestant controversialists, is too well-known. In the catechism of the Roman Church the following doctrines are to be found: “That she is truly the mother of God, and the second Eve, by whose means we have received blessing and life; that she is the mother of Pity and very specially our advocate; that her images are of the utmost utility.” (Ency. Br. 11th ed., vol. 17, p. 813).”3
If the Trinity consists of God, Jesus and Mary, Allah would not condemn the Trinity as blasphemous–(Qur’an 4:171).Mary, created by God, could not be “the Mother of God.” God could not have a mother, as He is the First and the Creator of all.
Wonder what lead “The highly revered Muslim commentator al-Baidawi” to speculate that “Muhammad’s own view” was that “the Trinity consist of God, Christ, and Mary” considering that Allāh unambiguously condemned the Trinity as blasphemous, and decreed that followers of Trinity are destined to Hell–(Qur’an 5:75-76). Moreover, how could anyone know that Mohammad’s “own view” was that “the Trinity consist of God, Christ, and Mary” when Mohammad expressed no such “view”?
Sura Fatihah & “Say”: The Fatihah could not be Mohammad’s words when Allah says: “And certainly We have given thee seven oft-repeated (verses) and the grand Qur’an”–(Qur’an 15:87). Muhammad Ali points out that: “The Fatihah has a special importance as a prayer. Its oft-repeated seven verses constitute the prayer for guidance of every Muslim at least thirty-two times a day.” “… the Fatihah is the quintessence of the whole of the Qur’an. For the Qur’an is a book which declares the glory of Allah and teaches the right way to man, and both these themes find full expression in the Fatihah.”–(Notes to ch. 1 of the Qur’an; pp. 1, 2.).
The Qur’an came to answer questions and to give guidance. A moment’s cerebration would reveal that in the Fatihah Allāh, God, instructs man how to begin his offering of praise to Him and how to seek His aid. The Fatihah reads:
- Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
- The Beneficent, the Merciful.
- Master of the day of requital
- Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
- Guide us on the right path,
- The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors,
- Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray.–(Qur’an 1:1-7).
The charge that the Fatihah is Mohammad’s words has been given the lie not only by Allah’s statement that He gave us the seven-oft repeated verse and the Grand Qur’an–(15:87); but by the Fatihah itself; in the very first verse. It is doubtful that any in 7th century Arabia knew that there was more than one world; yet the verse says that Allah is the Lord of the worlds–(1:1)
It is perplexing that “Ibn Masud” “rejected the Fatihah” and chapters 113 and 114 that begins with the words “I seek refuge in the Lord,” as being “not part” of the Qur’an and still remained with the Prophet and Islam. Considering that Mohammad taught that the Qur’an is from Allah.
There is no grounds for the belief that the words “I seek refuge with the Lord,” be considered as “not part” of the Qur’an. In these chapters Allāh instructs us in the manner how to pray for Divine protection to guard us from becoming victims to all forms of evil–the seen and the unseen–those who would impede us physically, those who cast doubt, plots treachery, and those who envy.
This word “Say,” which occurs “some 350 times” in the Qur’an. Part of the function of the Qur’an is to give guidance and to answer questions. It is obvious then that when a question was put to the Prophet, that Allah would reveal for him to “Say (such and such…). There are also verses that begin with “They ask thee (about so and so…)
When a question requiring revelation was put to the Prophet and that revelation was given immediately then it seems the response would be “Say (such and such)……” When revelation was given later some time after the question, then it seems the response would be preceded by words to the effect of “They ask thee about so and so…” in order to recall the subject matter, and then followed by the answer which would generally be “Say (such and such)…” Also, the word “Say” is used in statements in reasoning against certain beliefs: as against the Jews and Christians–(Qur’an 2:94, 97; 5:68, 76-77; 62:6-8).
Word or parts of the Qur’an could not have been “inserted” into the Qur’an after the Prophet’s death when the Qur’an was memorized, written down (and sequenced) by the Prophet Mohammad himself. (The Angel Gabriel rehearsed the Qur’an annually with the Prophet–Bokhari Vol. 4; # 819).
There are no “confusions” in the Qur’an. The Qur’an being the Revelation sent by Allāh, God, through the Angel Gabriel could not be the word of Mohammad or of Gabriel, but the Word of Allāh, God. Words which appear to be those of Mohammad such as: “I am commanded only to serve Allah” (13:36)–are the Words of Allah instructing him what to say of himself person-ally; and in the case of others–such as Abraham’s dialogue with the king (2:258), and of the angels explaining that they descend by Allah’s command (19:64)–are the Words of Allah recounting incidents and/or the sayings of others.
In chapter 6:104 (105), the statement, “I am not your keeper,” in these words Mohammad was instructed by Allah to inform the people that he is not their keeper; thus these words, though uttered through the lips of Mohammad, are the words of God. A clerk who conveys the direct words of his superior could not be said to be the owner of those words.
The same applies to Qur’an 6:114 in which Allāh reveals for the Prophet to state to the people: “Shall I then seek a judge other than Allāh, when He it is Who has sent down to you the Book fully explained.”
Abu Lahab: Allah reveals in chapter 111 of the Qur’an: “Abu Lahab’s hands will perish and he will perish. His wealth and that which he earns will not avail him. He will burn in fire giving rise to flames –And his wife– the bearer of slander; Upon her neck a halter of twisted rope”–(Qur’an 111:1-5).
As explained, the words of the Qur’an are all Word of Allah, and not the words of either Mohammad or Angel Gabriel: they are only the conveyers of these words.
Abu Lahab means, “father of flame” Abu Lahab, an uncle of the Prophet, was “one of the most inveterate enemies of early Islam” who cursed the Prophet. “It is also related that he follow-ed the Prophet when he went out to preach, saying to the people that the Prophet was a mad relative of his.”
“Many of the leaders of persecution perished at Badr, and Abu Lahab himself perished a week after Badr, consumed with grief and his own fiery passions. Verse 3 (of sura 111) was prophetic of his end in this very life, though it also refers to the Hereafter.”
Abu Lahab’s wife, Umm Jamil, not only “used to spread false reports about the Prophet;” but she “was a woman of equally passionate spite and cruelty against the sacred person of the holy Prophet. She used to tie bundles of thorns with ropes of twisted palm-leaf fibre and carry them and strew them about on dark nights in the paths which the Prophet was expected to take, in order to cause him bodily injury. “To carry fire-wood” may also be symbolical for carrying tales between people to embroil them. This was also one of her vices.”
“It is said that Abu Lahab’s wife died by being strangled by the very rope in which she used to bring thorns.”4
There is nothing “ignorant” about a man (and his woman) who faces no compulsion or persecution and chooses to engage in opposition and “persecution” (and to slander and mechanize in-jury) of another.
It does not “ill becomes” Allāh, God to “curse” Abu Lahab and to address his wife as “a fire-wood carrier.” The curse (destruc-tion) of a tyrant is a blessing (freedom) for the oppressed. It would not be better to have oppression than freedom.
Those religionists–Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians, etc;– who pray for the destruction of the evildoers, are not unGodly. The Allies rising up against the Third Reich is not unconscion-able–(if you believe it is, go tell it to the survivors of the concen-tration camps and to their families).
It does not “ill becomes” Allah to destroy evil-doers, and it is “not worthy” of Mohammad or any prophet of Allah to call for the defeat of those who persecute and fight Divine truth.
Two Speakers: In chapter 17:1 of the Qur’an Allah reveals: “Glory to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Makkah) to the Remote Mosque (Jerusalem), whose precincts We blessed, that We might show him of Our signs! Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
“We” and “Our” in the verse refers to the powers of God, and is the same as if “God” or “He” was mentioned in the text. As the instances of the powers of God are limitless, there is nothing “unusual” about the number of times this “We” and “Our” is used in the Qur’an. These words are not self-glorification by Allah. But they become words of praise to God when uttered by us, which is the intent of this revelation since one of the aspect of the Qur’an is the glorification of Allah.
Thus the statement becomes our saying, ‘Glory to God Who carried His servant from Makkah to Jerusalem, whose precincts God blessed, that God might show him of His signs. And God is the Hearer, the Seer.”
The words of Qur’an 27:91, “I am commanded only to serve the Lord of this city,” though referring to the Prophet are the words of instruction from Allah.
Here, as in chapter 6:105, noted above, (and in every other place of similar utterances) the same reasoning is applied: they are words of instructions from God relating personally to the Prophet as to what he must say or do.
Swearing/Oaths: In many instances in the Qur’an the words “I swear by” are mentioned. This expression means “I (Allāh) call your attention to.”
In sura 81:15-17 it is not Mohammad who is “swearing”. In these verses Allah are calling our attention to the phenomenon in nature–that just as how the planets and the night and day etc. are a surety–the Qur’an surely is a Revelation from Him.
The verses of sura 84:16-19 which says, “I call to witness the sunset redness, And the night and that which it drives on, And the moon when it grows full, That you shall certainly ascend to one state after another.” These verses have nothing to do with paganism. As has already been shown there is nothing “pagan” in Islam. These verses are prophetic about the triumph of Islam. These statements are emphasizing that just as how things in nature–such as sunset, and the alternation of the night and day, and the increasing of the light of the moon–are immutable, likewise the success of Islam cannot be altered or be prevented.
Allah uses oaths in some of the passages of the Qur’an: “I swear …” (75:1-2; 90:1).
The swearing and “oaths” of God is not a “matter of ridicule.”
Allah does not need anything from man. He does not need recognition. Allah swearing/taking “oaths” in these verses is not to gain believability for Himself, but to call to man that man is witness against his own self because of the undeniable truths that surrounds him.
If God was to try to arrest our attention through angels, or beings on other planets or cities in distant places, it would not have any impact on us. Man needs tangible evidence to convince him; and there are no better proofs than those in his own presence, that tell on his own being.
Allah makes statements that man can identify with. Certainly man can identify with the resurrection (which is like the coming of the dead earth to life after rainfall), and with his conscience–(75:1, 2); and by the City of Makkah, which city is not any place distant but in the midst of his very gaze–(90:1). And since these items–resurrection/rainfall, conscience, City of Makkah–are in-trinsic parts of their being, they are admonished that just as how these things are a surety then so are His words.
The instances of the powers of God are limitless, thus there is nothing “unusual” about the number of times Allah has used the plural of majesty, “We,” in the Qur’an.
Foreign vocabulary of the Qur’an: How many words are there in the Qur’an?
That Arthur Jeffery found “about 275 words” in the Qur’an which can be considered foreign is hardly a matter of worth to discredit the claim of the Qur’an to be an Arabic Qur’an.
The English language is made up of “foreign” words, this does not negate it from being called “English.” Where then is the problem that the Qur’an has words that can “be considered foreign.” Considered mind you. Not certain.
Perfect Arabic: Three examples of grammatical errors have been pointed out to in the Qur’an:
1. Chapter 49:9 of the Qur’an says in part: “And if two parties of believers fight each other, make peace between them.” The verb meaning “fight each other” is “plural,” but should be “dual” like the subject “two parties.”
2. Chapter 4:162 says in part: “But the firm in know-ledge among them and the believers…. And those who keep up prayer and give the poor rate.” The word moqimenas –who keep up prayer– is in the “accusative case;” but should be moqimunas, the “nominative case.”
3. Chapter 20:63 says in part (about Pharaoh’s people speaking to Pharaoh about Moses and Aaron): “These are surely two enchanters.” The word for these two (hadhane) is in the “nomi-native case;” but should be in the “accusative case” (hadhayne).
(According to Arabic scholar), it is true that the above three examples are of incorrect grammar. However, in order to arrest the attention of the reader and to impress upon the mind the importance of the matter, the Qur’anic statements are correct. The rules of Arabic language sanction the variations for the purpose of emphasis.
(An example of this is the word dhalika [of dhalik-al kitab–Qur’an 2:2] which means that. The translation should be that book [referring to the Qur’an], but is translated this book. As the “Arabic English Lexicon by Edward William Lane says: “like as a person held in mean estimation is indicated by hadha which denotes a thing that is near, so, on account of its high degree of estimation a thing that is approved is indicated by dhalika, whereby one indicates a thing that is remote.”” (M. Ali, comm # 12). Thus, that Book–which is the Qur’an in a guarded tablet–(Qur’an 85:21-22), is this Book, which we have in our possession).
Regarding the word hadhane (of Qur’an 20:63 noted above). ‘Uthman, the third Caliph, and ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, could not have read the word hadhayne (instead of hadhane). It is indeed rather strange that ‘Uthman and ‘Aisha would read a word differently than was taught by the Prophet -who recited it with the Angel Gabriel- especially since there were several Muslims who could recite the Qur’an from memory.
Days of creation: In chapter 41:9-12 of the Qur’an Allah tells us that He created the earth in two days, provided supplies in it in four days, and ordained seven heavens in two days–making creation to total eight days; whereas in chapter 50:37 He tells us that He created the heavens and the earth in “six days,” giving us, seemingly, a discrepancy of “two days;” between chapter 41 and chapter 50. But there is no “contradiction” between these statements of chapter 41:9-12 and 50:37. Muhammad Ali, commenting on verses 9 and 10 of chapter 41, points out:
“The making of the earth in two days and the making on it of the mountains, rivers and of plant and animal life in four days is really one continuous process, there being six days or six stages in all. The first stage is the throw-ing off of the cosmic matter called the earth; the second stage is the cooling off of its surface; the third is the making of the mountains; the fourth is that of blessing it by waters and making in it rivers; the fifth and the sixth stages are spoken of as the ordaining of foods, being, in the first place, the growth of plant life and, in the second, the growth of animal life, culminating in the creation of man. That the creation in six days does not refer to the time actually taken in making the heavens and the earth, which is still going on, is noted even by the earlier com-mentators.”
(Read M. Ali Qur’anic commentaries 46, 894a, 2199, 2201; Yusuf Ali’s 1031, 4477; Malik Ghulam Farid’s 2623, 2626).
Why six days to create? Why did Allāh, God, need six days to create the heavens and the earth when He tells us in the Qur’an that “when He decrees an affair, He says to it only, Be, and it is?”–(Qur’an 2:117). How could there be days before the crea-tion of the sun and the earth, considering that a day is measured by the earth’s revolution around the sun?
A Divine day is not restricted to a 24-hour period. Nor does it necessarily mean part darkness and part light. A Divine day is said to be equal to a thousand years and even fifty thousand years of human reckoning–(Qur’an 22:47; 32:5; 70:4).
“The word yaum,” explained Muhammad Ali, “is applied in the Holy Qur’an to any period of time, from a moment (55:29) to fifty thousand years (70:4), and may therefore indicate an in-definitely small or indefinitely large space of time. According to LL., yaum is a time, whether day or night, time absolutely, whether night or not, little or not; also a day, meaning the period from the rising of the sun to its setting. According to R (al-Raghib), the word yaum indicates a period of time, whatever period it may be, and this is the proper signification.” (Qur’anic comm. 8).
Allah saying “Be” does not mean that things materialize in-stantaneously. What it means is that when Allah commands “Be,” no one or nothing can prevent His will from manifesting; and that the process for such a creation begins to manifest. While this creation is to us millions of years, in the sight of Allah it is but a “twinkling of an eye”–(Qur’an 54:50). (See M. Ali Qur’anic comm.; 163. Yusuf Ali comm; 120. Malik Ghulam Farid comm; 140).
Law and the earth: In His Qur’an 33:72 Allah says that He “offered the trust (of the Divine Law) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to undertake it….” How could the Divine law be offered to inanimate objects? How could these objects of creation refuse the offer of God?
The verses of the Qur’an may be literal in meaning, or allego-rical–(Qur’an 3:6). If this statement (of 33:72) was of a literal meaning, there was no “temerity to disobey” Allah: it was not a command from God, only an offer.
Not only man but all creations pay service to Allah–(Qur’an 16:48-49; 22:18). In his commentary, Yusuf Ali reflects on the Qur’an 59:21 “where the hypothetical sending down of the Qur’an to the Mountains is mentioned, and it is mentioned that such Parables are put forth in order to aid men to reflection. We may therefore take the Mountains, the Earth, and the Heavens as symbolical. The mountains stand for firmness and stability…” (See comm; 3777-3782).
Muhammad Ali explained this verse (33:72) as meaning, that “nature is true to its laws which bring about its evolution, but man is not true to the laws on which depends his real happiness.”
Allah’s Throne: Allah reveals in the Qur’an 11:7 that “His Throne of Power is ever on water.” Allah’s “Throne of Power” means His Authority; and “water” symbolizes creation. Thus, the verse means that Allah’s Authority is over all creation.
The moon and sun: In His Qur’an 10:5 Allah says that He made the sun a “shining brightness, and the moon a light, and ordained for it stages that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning.”
Whereas the moon allows the count of months, the sun allows the count of years. As is noted by Yusuf Ali, and Malik Ghulam Farid. Malik Ghulam Farid notes that, “All reckoning and all calendars depend on the movements of the sun and the moon. The moon moves round the earth and thereby we are able to know the measure of months. The earth moves round the sun and also rotates on its own axis, thus enabling us to measure our years as well as our days.”–(Qur’anic comm. 1237)
Yusuf Ali notes that, “The simplest observation can keep pace with the true lunar months and lunar years, which are all that is required by a pastoral people. For agriculture solar years are required, as they indicate the changes of the seasons, but ordinary solar years are never exact; even the solar years of 364¼ days requires correction by advanced astronomical calcu-lation.”–(Qur’anic comm. 1391).
The solar system: Allah reveals in His Qur’an 41:11: “Then He directed Himself to the heaven and it was a vapor, so He said to it and the earth: Come both willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.”
That the verse begins with “Then” (meaning afterwards) whereas the preceding verses speak of Allah having created the earth in two days, and made mountains and produce does not mean that the earth was created before the heavens. As the above verse (41:11) shows both heaven and earth were called into creation at the same time.
The development of the earth and heavens could both have been undergoing at the same time. Though the completion of the earth took a longer time or needed more stages to complete, four as compared to the heavens two–(41:9-12). To say that the Qur’an claims that the earth was completed before the heavens might be due to an oversight of verse 11 or lack of pondering. And also in taking that the formation of the earth was fully accomplished immediately. As noted, the earth took four periods whereas the heavens took only two; thus the heavens must have been completed before the earth.
In any event why couldn’t the earth have been created before the heavens? Allāh could have prepared both in their basic form then directed Himself to the earth first, which needed a longer, four, periods to complete, and while it was in the process of being completed started on the heavens, which required only two periods, and was therefore completed before the earth –or was finished at the same time as the earth, depending at what point Allāh went on to the second stage of its creation, so that both can be completed at the same time.
Some thirteen hundred years ago Hazrat Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam, explained the creation of the earth:
“Out of a stupendous swirling, sweeping, extremely disturbed and turbulent mass of nebulous material which was rolling and rotating in piles, upon piles. He (Allāh, God) solidified a dry and practically steady and motion-less earth (when compared to the turbulent condition of the nebulous mass). Over this earth He created envelops over envelops of gases, which are seven in number and which are separated one from the other. These gaseous envelops though overlap each other; yet each one is forced to occupy its own space, as if they are fixed in their places. This solid earth is so created that it is covered by a bluish green mass of water –and it looks as if it floats on the huge volume of water. …On this earth He (Allāh, God) created solid mountains and fixed them in such a way that some of them are so high that their peaks pierce the upper layers of atmosphere and some of them have their bases planted in the deepest parts of the oceans, i.e. these mountains are raised higher than the surrounding lands around them and also reach deep into the bosom of the earth. These apparently sky scraping mountains act as pivots, and with their help the slipping movement (floating of the continents) was brought under control. Thus the earth (the continents of the earth) after passing through many upheavals and jolts steadied itself into its present form. This was necessary so that the solid mass of the land may not leave its place or may not tilt carrying into sea the inhabitants living upon it. (1)”
“(1) The continents may not float towards deep oceans and may not disappear into them–Refer Modern geophysic and geodesic theories of
i. Causes of volcanoes and volcanic regimes
ii. Margins and land side portions of continents on the sides of oceans, and
iii. Causes of the poles changing their places.”5
The Qur’anic account of the creation of the solar system is not “hopelessly at variance” with scientific investigation.
Allāh creating the sun does not mean it was created instant-aneously without a process.
Also, it is not necessarily so that Allāh created man immedi-ately after He created the heavens and the earth. Whereas the writers of the Biblical account of “man and creation” erroneous-ly thought they could trace man’s pedigree to the first pair, leaving the modern day Christian fathers with the wrong belief that the earth was only about six thousand years old. Muhammad Ali explains in his Qur’anic comm. # 52:
“Adam is generally taken to be the proper name for the first man, but neither here [Qur’an 2:31] nor anywhere else in the Holy Qur’an is it affirmed that Adam was the first man or that there was no creation before him. On the other hand, great Muslim theologians have held that there were many Adams–thousands of Adams–before the great ancestor of mankind known by this name (RM). As the previous verse shows [verse 30 of chapter 2], the whole of humanity is spoken of here because the shedding of blood could not be the work of one man; the reference is to the shedding of the blood of man by man. Adam, therefore, though it may also be the name of a particular man stands for man generally.”
That this Adam was not the first man seems to be borne out by the fact that after Cain killed Abel, Cain is said to have gone to the land of Nod where he knew his wife who conceived–(Genesis 4:16-17). Since Cain and Abel were the only two chil-dren–and there was no mention of any other children so that Cain could be said to have taken a sister as wife–where then did Cain find this woman for wife if there were no other human beings on the earth? As noted, the verses of the Qur’an are either of basic or allegorical in meanings–(Qur’an 3:6).
Restoring the dead: In His Qur’an 17:97-99 Allah speaks of restoring the dead.
Whether one is cremated or is eaten and become body waste, or is buried, all matters return to its place of origin–the earth. Transforming or creating that matter again into its original per-sonality is not a “replica” of the old body. It is the soul that is the determining factor. Since all creations revert to earth, it matters not whether the person before his death, was the recipient of organ transplant or not.
While the body suffers death and decay and reconstitution, the soul does not go through these processes or conditions. Since the soul is the component that gives feeling and is the one res-ponsible for humans being evil or righteous, it matters not whe-ther the form raised on Judgment Day is a “replica” or not. It is the soul that in effect is the component that would feel the pun-ishment of hell or the bliss of Paradise. The body is only the medium through which these feelings are effected.
A dead body, being devoid of the soul, has no consciousness. The soul estranged from the body, though conscious, has no feeling; much like one under topical anesthesia–he sees what the doctor is doing but cannot feel any pain. The body though de-cayed can become fresh again. If today’s man can restore a whole being from a single cell, it is not impossible for Allah, Who is the Originator and Creator, to make “fresh” “what was rotten.”
Some Muslims believe that the dead, upon their burial, is sub-ject to questioning in the grave. The Prophet is reported as spea-king of punishment in the grave–(Bokhari Vol. 2, #’s 422, 454, 456, 460, 461; Vol. 8, #’s 376-381; 522). But there is no such teaching in the Qur’an (though the Qur’an 40:46 seems to teach that the soul is shown daily its ultimate destination).
Grave in Islam does not mean the hole in the ground. Yusuf Ali notes that “the Grave” may be understood to be the period between physical death and immortal Life, whatever may be the mode of disposal of the dead body. This intermediate period is the Barzakh.”6
Muhammad Ali notes, “Barzakh is the intermediate state in which the soul lives after death till the Resurrection.”7
Regarding the belief that the dead is questioned. According to the Qur’an it seems that man is subjected to two lives and two deaths–(Qur’an 2:28; 40:11).
If the state before our coming into existence is one death and our physical death is our second death, and this life is our first life and the resurrection is our second life, then the belief that the dead, whether it be the soul in barzakh or the corpse in the ground (which would exempt those who are cremated, devoured, etc;) is brought to life, would seem to be at variance with the teaching of the Qur’an that there are two lives and two deaths, because this questioning in the grave would entail another life and another death, giving us a third life and a third death.
Even if it be taken that the departure from this life is our first death (as opposed to our non-existence before this life), and this life is our first life and the resurrection is our second life, then this would give us ‘one’ death and ‘two’ lives; which would be in contradiction of the Qur’an that we have two lives and two death’s (not to mention the additional life and death in the grave which would then make it “three” lives and “two” deaths). Either way, the belief that “Munker and Nakir” interrogate the dead, seems to be at variance with the teaching of the Qur’an.
(Unless before Islam there was no punishment in the grave, or if only Muslims are to be punished in the grave) Allah God says that Pharaoh and his host are brought daily before the Fire–(Qur’an 40:46); Allah God also tells us that Pharaoh’s body was saved from decay–(Qur’an 10:90-92; which body was disco-vered mummified); which means Pharaoh could not have been punished in the grave, since he was not put into a hole in the ground. This seems to show that punishment in the grave does not mean that the dead becomes alive again in the grave (hole in the ground), but seemingly, that this reference to grave and punishment in the grave are to barzakh, the grave of the souls, and torment of the sinning soul, respectively.
If God forbids the taking of life and He Himself then takes life, it is His right to do so because man does not give life to take it; but since God gives life then He has the right to take life. However, it is a mistake to believe that God takes life: God does not take back what He gives. God gives life and He gives/causes death–(Qur’an 3:155).
Martyrs of Islam: In His Qur’an 2:154 and 3:168 Allah informs us that the martyrs of Islam are not dead but that they are alive. Such also is the tea-ching of the Prophet Mohammad (noted further on).
That all mankind will have to face Allah on Judgment Day in no way contradicts with the martyrs of Islam being alive now in the Hereafter. They can still be alive and enjoying the fruits of Paradise, and on Judgment Day be present before Allah. To explain how the martyrs of Islam can presently be alive, it is to be noted that in the Hereafter, we will be given new forms–(Qur’an 56:61).
The ultimate sacrifice one can make towards a cause is the giving up of his life for that cause. Those who are martyred in the cause of Allah must be deemed to have demonstrated the ultimate in faith and action–righteousness–and seemingly, would not be subjected to judgment; they have already been awarded the new “form” mentioned in Qur’an 56:61 that is necessary for life in the Hereafter; and therefore have no need for the earthly form again. The earthly body, being the form in which the soul committed acts of evil, is the body through which this soul will have to be purified in Hell before it will be given the new form/body that is needed for life in the Hereafter.
As stated, according to the Prophet Mohammad, martyrs of Islam are in Paradise:
“Narrated Anas: “Haritha was martyred on the day (of the battle) of Badr, and he was a young boy then. His mother came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and said, “O Allāh’s Apostle! You know how dear Haritha is to me. If he is in Paradise, I shall remain patient, and hope for reward from Allāh, but if it is not so, then you shall see what I do?” He said, “May Allāh be merciful to you! Have you lost your sen-ses? Do you think there is only one Paradise? There are many Paradises* and your son is in the (most superior) Paradise of Al-Firdaus”–(Bokhari Vol. 5, # 318).
*(Allāh tells us that Hell has seven gates–(Qur’an 15:44), meaning that there are seven classes of sinners or that sinners are grouped into seven categories. We are also told that there are varying degrees in being a Mus-lim, according to our deeds–(Qur’an 6:132). Perhaps these “many Paradises” spoken of by the Prophet are for the Believers according to their righteousness; which would seem to be reason why in the Hereafter there will be those who will continue to strive for the perfection of their “light” (perhaps to attain the highest Paradise of Al-Firdaus); speaking about the Believers Allāh says: “Their light will gleam before them and on their right hands–they will say: Our Lord, make perfect for us our light, and grant us protection; surely Thou art Possessor of power over all things”–Qur’an 66:8).
Recording angels: Allah tells us in His Qur’an: “And surely there are keepers over you, Honourable recorders (Kiramun Kataybeen), They know what you do”–(Qur’an 82: 10-12). This does not mean that there is an invisible being sitting on either shoulder with pen and pad making notes of our activities. Allah also tells us that He knows what is in our hearts, what is secret, and what our soul suggests to us–(Qur’an 5:7; 20:7; 50:16); and there are no beings to record these. Hazrat Ali is reported as saying that:
“God is not unaware of all that you do during broad day light and in the depth of night. He knows everything that you do and every thought that passes in your mind. He is Omniscient. Even your mind and your limbs will bear testimony before Him of your actions and thoughts. Parts of your body are soldiers of His army, your con-science and your mind are His spies against you. Your private life is fully known to Him”–(Nahjul Balagha, sermon # 204, p. 379).
The introduction to this sermon says that (in the above paragraph):
“Hazrat has explained in a few words what science discovered some thirteen hundred years later. Hazrat has said that when God so wills even you brain will give out what you have said and done all your life, that is, all of your experiences. This faculty of the human brain so graphically explained by him is the latest discovery of the science of medicine. ……..
This capacity of the human brain is named ‘Interpre-tive cortex’. The world famous neurosurgeon, Wilder Penfield, has offered evidence to the National Academy of Science that “parts of the brain work like an audio-video tape recorder, preserving the details of everything that a man sees and hears”. He says this area of pre-servation of experiences is in the two temporal lobes (Islam has given the name of Kiramun Kathebeen –Qur’an 82:10-12, the two honourable angels, one on each shoulder of a man to record his good and bad deeds and words. They are called honourable because they will never record any thing that has not actually taken place). Dr. Penfield cites experiments where a person recalled the music he had heard when he was a child, another recalled the experience of the child birth, which had happened to her twenty years ago, a third person got the vision of some people sitting on chairs and talking, a happening of his childhood. All this was brought to the minds of these people by merely touching the temporal lobes with fine electrodes. The experiment is absolutely harmless and painless. This touching of the lobes brings back to mind a wide variety of incidents, even very trivial, often of childhood and connected with family and neighbours.
Dr. Penfield says, “There is hidden away in the brain, a record of the stream of consciousness. It seems to hold the details of that stream as laid down during each man’s waking conscious hours. Contained in this record are all those things of which the individual was once aware –such details as a man might hope to remember for a few seconds or minutes afterwards, but which are lost to voluntary recall after that time…. This is not memory; as we usually use the word. No man can recall by voluntary efforts such a wealth of details….. It is much more real than remembering.””
(Whereas scribes [recording angels] can be accused of omitting a good deed and duplicating an evil deed, sur-veillance tapes [our limbs] cannot be accused of incur-rect documentation. That these recording angels are referred to as Kiramun Kataybeen –one for recording good deeds and one for recording bad deeds– is not to be taken that they are only two in number [as compared to our several limbs]. Only two names are mentioned because our deeds are two –good and bad).
If man can man store mountains of data on computer chips the size of a pin-head, if man can have a satellite in surveillance of the earth, if he can transmit words through space from one corner of the Globe to the other, if he can record sounds and images on plastics and replay them, if he can be in one place and operate through remote control objects distance away from him, if he can transmit audio and video signals through the air and have his television (even in the off mode) receive and convert back these signals into sound and image and record them; consider how much more advanced and sophisticated the recording system of Allah God, the Fashioner of the universe, must be.
Allāh, God, has called our attention, to reflect:
“Does man think that we shall not gather his bones?
Yea, We are Powerful to make complete
his whole make.”
“Man will that day be informed of what
he sent before and what he put off.
Nay, man is evidence against himself,
Though he put up excuses.”
(Qur’an 75:3-4, 13-15)
“On the day when their tongues and their hands
and their feet bear witness against them
as to what they did.”
(Qur’an 24:24. Also 36:65; 41:19-23).
Historical Errors in the Qur’an: The Haman of the Pharaoh of Moses’ time mentioned in Qur’an 40:36 is not to be mistaken with the Haman, “minister” of the “Persian King Ahasuerus,” of the Bible–(Esther 1:1,10; 3:1).
The book of Esther belonged to about the 2nd century BC, and Moses about the 13th century BC. So in the space of eleven hundred years it is doubtful that there was in all Palestine and Egypt only one individual with the name Haman.
Moreover, Haman may not even be a proper name, but a title; much like Mayor, Chief, Governor, Commander, Pharaoh, or General. In the Qur’an, the instigator of the calf-making in the story of Moses is addressed by his nationality, Samiri–(Qur’an 20:85, 95). In the story of Joseph, Pothipar, who bought Joseph, is mentioned as Aziz–(chief)–Qur’an 12:30).
Moses, Aaron and the golden calf: In His Qur’an 7:148-150 and 20:86-94, Allah recounts the Israelites worshipping the golden calf. These verses clearly show that both Moses and Aaron were against the worship of this calf.
If this “Calf” and “everything else” is God, God would not have commanded Moses to teach that only God is to be worship-ped and that no graven image of any kind was to be made (let alone worshipped)–(Exodus 20: 1-5).
In enjoining the worship only of Him, God is trying to instill in man that the only thing in creation that is greater than him is His Creator. Worshipping idols–things fashioned by man’s own hands and which can neither confer benefit nor effect harm– must be worst of spiritual degradation.
In Islam “everything” is not God. But “everything” belongs to God. If everything is God, the Devil also must be God. This would be a gross contradiction.
Questioning of the dead: The Prophet Mohammad is reported as speaking of punishment in the grave–(Bokhari Vol. 2, #’s 422, 454, 456, 460, 461; Vol. 8, #’s 376-381; 522). But there is no such teaching in the Qur’an (though the Qur’an 40:46 seems to teach that the soul is shown daily its ultimate destination).
Given that some people are eaten by wild animals, lost in fire and at sea, “the Grave,” as Yusuf Ali notes, “may be understood to be the period between physical death and immortal Life.” (Qur’anic comm. #5958.
(Unless before Islam there was no punishment in the grave, or if only Muslims are to be punished in the grave) Allah says that Pharaoh and his host are brought daily before the Fire–(Qur’an 40:46); Allah also tells us that Pharaoh’s body was saved from decay–(Qur’an 10:90-92) (which body was discovered mummi-fied); which means Pharaoh could not have been punished in the grave, since he was not put into a hole in the ground. This seems to show that punishment in the grave does not mean that the dead becomes alive again in the grave (hole in the ground), but seem-ingly, that this reference to grave and punishment in the grave are to the grave of the souls, and torment of the sinning soul, respectively.
Zaqqum tree: In His Qur’an 37:62-65 Allāh gives the simile of the Zaqqum tree in Hell to that of the “heads of devils.” This does not make sense since we have never seen the “heads of devils.”
It is to be remembered that the verses of the Qur’an are of literal meaning, and allegorical–(Qur’an 3:6). The “heads of devils” is a figurative expression meaning “repulsive.”
Whereas Yusuf Ali has translated the Arabic text as “heads of devils,” Muhammad Ali and Malik Ghulam Farid translate it as “heads of serpents.” Muhammad Ali said the interpretation adop-ted by him is the “correct” one; “for the Arabs apply the name shaitan to a sort of serpent having a mane, ugly or foul in the head and face. According to others it is the name of a certain ugly plant (T. LL).”
Whether the correct translation be “heads of devils” or “heads of serpents” is of no consequence; the significance of the state-ment is that the produce of hell is repulsive.
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din notes about this Zaqqum tree:
“Its fruit, it is said, will be the food of the sinful. It will boil in their bellies. They will be thirsty and run for water and they will be given boiling water to drink. The very description shows that the fruit would act as an aperient medicine. A Muslim divine, who was also an experienced physician, treated a syphilitic patient with a fruit of the same name which grows in India. The patient felt hot and the physician gave him hot water which caused a violent evacuation of the bowels. Motion after motion came bringing out black deleterious matter from his stomach, and the patient was relieved. The Holy Qur’an suggested the idea to the physician, and he used to apply it in all serious cases.” (Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an, p. 115).
1. Ali, Muhammad, Qur’anic comm. 2387.
2. Ibid; Qur’anic comm. 2800 (cf. Qur’an chapter 105. Abraha was “the Christian viceroy in Yaman of the king of Abyssinia”.
3. Ali, Muhammad, Qur’anic comm. # 751.
4. Quotes from Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Ali’s commentaries.
5. NahjulBalagha, sermon 216.
6. Ali, Yusuf, Qur’anic comm. 5958.
7. Ali, Muhammad, Qur’anic comm. #1731. Also see Qur’an 80:18-22; 23:99-100, and Yusuf Ali commentaries on these verses).