Atheist-Mohammad, sun, Alexander, Qur’an stories

In the name of Allāh,
the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Peace and Blessings of Allāh on Mohammad.A
DEDICATED TO
Allāh–the Glorious and the High,
Lord of the worlds
AND TO
Mohammad–who brought the world
to our feet and eternity to our arms
*

Did Prophet Mohammad command the sun to stop?
Where does the sun goes at night?
Is Dhul-Qarnain Alexander the Great?
Are stories in the Qur’an “Jewish folklore”?

ATHEIST-MOHAMMAD,  SUN, ALEXANDER THE GREAT, QUR’AN STORIES

  1. THE ATHESIT notes that while the Prophet was on an expedition the Prophet said to the sun,
    ‘O sun! You are under Allah’s Order and I am under Allah’s Order O Allah! Stop it (i.e. the sun) from setting.’ It was stopped till Allah made him victorious.” (Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 353). (The entire hadith will be noted shortly).
    And the atheist comments:

    (a) The prophet in the story thinks that the sun moves and asks that it be stopped from setting. He thinks that the sun revolves around the Earth. He fails to realize that this is an optical illusion – it is the Earth that is actually moving. Muhammad believes in this as well, as he narrates the story as a true story.
    (b).Did the prophet in the story actually think that the Sun can listen to his appeal?
    (c)  The Sun has a gravitational pull on the Earth and the other planets which keeps them in their orbits. The implications of a celestial body coming to a full stop are huge.
    (d) The absurdity of the story is noteworthy. The Sun is stopped so that this prophet could have enough light to finish a battle?

ANSWER:
(a). That “The prophet in the story thinks that the sun moves.”
“Yes, the Sun does move;  in fact, our whole solar system-orbits around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.”1
Even if the Prophet was in error, this is no blot on his status. Only Allāh is infallible.
(Incidentally, Whereas Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven, Jesus says no man hath ascended to heaven yet Jesus is hailed as God and Son of God–Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:1, 11; John 3:13).

(b) That “the prophet in the story actually think that the Sun can listen to his appeal?
It is doubtful that a thinking person would take the Prophet saying to the sun O sun! You are under Allah’s Order” as literally speaking to the sun.
However, as the hadith clearly shows, the “prophet” called on Allāh to stop the sun: “O Allah! Stop it (i.e. the sun) from setting.”
Prophet Mohammad asking Allāh to have the sun stand still is reminiscent of Joshua commanding the sun and moon to stand still so the Israelite can have victory over the Amorites:
“Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day”–(Joshua 10:12-13. More on this later).

(c) That “The implications of a celestial body coming to a full stop are huge.”
According to us the vastness of the universe is beyond comprehension (much like to an ant the vastness of a field must be immeasurable). But to Allāh, the Creator and Controller of all, the universe must be like a set of spherical tops spinning on a table. Allāh can put any piece on hold (or remove it) without affecting the others.
Perhaps the sun/earth did not actually stand still but that Allāh slowed the speed of the orbs (so there would be no “implications”); thereby prolonging the day and night.

(d) That “The absurdity of the story is noteworthy. The Sun is stopped so that this prophet could have enough light to finish a battle?
As noted, the hadith states in part ‘O sun! You are under Allah’s Order and I am under Allah’s Order O Allah! Stop it (i.e. the sun) from setting.’ It was stopped till Allah made him victorious.”
Interestingly, whereas the atheist attributes this hadith to be about the Prophet Mohammad and Muslims, this hadith is NOT about the Prophet Mohammad and Muslims.
As noted above Joshua had ordered the sun and moon to stop; and in all likelihood the Prophet Mohammad is here recounting Joshua’s war.
Here is the hadith in its entirety:

“Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A prophet amongst the prophets carried out a holy military expedition, so he said to his followers, ‘Anyone who has married a woman and wants to consummate the marriage, and has not done so yet, should not accompany me; nor should a man who has built a house but has not completed its roof; nor a man who has sheep or she camels and is waiting for the birth of their young ones.’ So, the prophet carried out the expedition and when he reached that town at the time or nearly at the time of the ‘Asr prayer, he said to the sun, ‘O sun! You are under Allah’s Order and I am under Allah’s Order O Allah! Stop it (i.e. the sun) from setting.’ It was stopped till Allah made him victorious.
Then he collected the booty and the fire came to burn it, but it did not burn it. He said (to his men), ‘Some of you have stolen something from the booty. So one man from every tribe should give me a pledge of allegiance by shaking hands with me.’ (They did so and) the hand of a man got stuck over the hand of their prophet. Then that prophet said (to the man), ‘The theft has been committed by your people. So all the persons of your tribe should give me the pledge of allegiance by shaking hands with me.’ The hands of two or three men got stuck over the hand of their prophet and he said, “You have committed the theft.’ Then they brought a head of gold like the head of a cow and put it there, and the fire came and consumed the booty. The Prophet added: Then Allah saw our weakness and disability, so he made booty legal for us.

As the words in purple show, the story is about another prophet –“A prophet”– and his people. Clearly there was no fire from heaven burning booty in the time of the Prophet Mohammad. Or of any instance of the Prophet Mohammad’s hand sticking to a thief’s hand.  Or fire consuming the “head of gold like the head of a cow.”
However, there are some points in the hadith that may give rise to the objection that this hadith is not about another prophet:

(i) That the “prophet” instructed the groom to first consummate his marriage and the builder to complete his house and the herder to tend to his sheep/camel before joining the war.
This could have been the instruction of any prophet.

(ii) That the people reached the town at the time of “the ‘Asr prayer,” (and only Muslims use the term ‘Asr).
‘Asr means “time” and refers to the late afternoon prayer Perhaps this was about the time when Joshua commanded the sun to stop. The Prophet referring to this time as ‘Asr would give the Muslims an understanding of the time of day that the incident occurred.

(iii) That the Prophet added: Then Allah saw our weakness and disability, so he made booty legal for us.
While Moses was allowed to take the spoils of war as booty–(Numbers 31:25-54). It was not uncommon in Biblical time for fire to come from heaven and consume spoils of war as well as offerings:

  • “And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again”–(Deuteronomy 13:16).
  • “Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house”-(2 Chronicles 7:1)
  • “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench”–(1 Kings 18:38).

Prophet Mohammad saying “Then Allah saw our weakness and disability, so he made booty legal for us” could only be in reference to the previous incidents of burning of booty and offering. As Qur’anic injunction shows Allāh made booty/spoils of war legal for Muslims.
If this incident of the stopping of the sun was about the Prophet Mohammad, Muslims having fought with the Prophet would have known about it; and there would have been no need for the Prophet to relate it; and/or even to refer to himself as “A prophet amongst the prophets.”

  1. THE ATHEIST notes the Prophet as saying about the sun:
    “It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: “And the sun is quickly proceeding towards its destination. That is the designing of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.” (36.38) (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Hadith 421)(Also Muslim, Vol.1, #297):

    In a narration, again from Sayyidina Abu Dharr, there appear the additional words to the effect:
    “I asked the Prophet about the Statement of Allah: — ‘And the sun is quickly proceeding towards its destination. That is the designing of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing ‘ (36.38) He said, ‘Its course is underneath “Allah’s Throne.’” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 327).
    And the atheist comments:
    (a) Muhammad is distinctly talking about the movement of the sun. It glides until it reaches a resting place, then rises after having rested awhile. He thinks that the sun is revolving around the Earth.
    (b) The Throne of God is described by Muhammad, in other reports, to be beyond the 7 heavens which are themselves beyond the “ceiling” (firmament) of space. Thus, for the Sun to rest in front of this Throne daily, it would have to travel outside of our galaxy, and in fact outside of all 100 billion galaxies in the universe to reach it. We know that this absolutely does not take place. If the Sun were to leave our solar system, we would be finished. Not only is Muhammad wrong about the movement of the Sun, but he fails to realize how large the universe actually is.

ANSWER:
(a) That the sun moves around the earth.
Perhaps the Prophet was speaking from an earthly visual perspective.

(b) Sun “prostrating” itself.
There are two classes of laws that man is subjected to (1) the law for our social, moral and spiritual guidance (Shari’ah), which we are at liberty to follow or not, and (2) the law of which we have no choice such as our five natural senses which we cannot alter -seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching .
Allāh reveals in His Qur’an: “And to Allāh submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth willingly or unwillingly, and their shadows, too, at morn and eve”–(Qur’an 13:15; also 22;18).
The sun “prostrating” simply means that it is operating under the law assigned to it by Allāh. In this vein everything and everyone in creation, including atheists, “prostrate” to Allāh (see All people are Muslims).

Regarding the atheist’s statement that “for the Sun to rest in front of this Throne daily, it would have to travel outside of our galaxy, and in fact outside of all 100 billion galaxies in the universe to reach it. We know that this absolutely does not take place. If the Sun were to leave our solar system, we would be finished.”
Perhaps the Prophet was speaking about the daily cycle of the sun in relation to earth –that from a human perspective the day (as everything else) ends upon the command/law of Allāh.
Or perhaps the Prophet was speaking of the life cycle of the sun (it’s eventual end); as noted in the Qur’an:

  • Sun will fold up: (Qur’an 81:1). As the sun burns itself out it “will swell up, turning into the sort of star that astronomers call a red giant”; and will end up as a “black dwarf star.” (Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, pp. 200, 201).
    “Existing for about 4 and a half billion years, it has burnt up about half of the hydrogen in its core. This leaves the Sun’s life expectancy to 5 billion more years, at which time, the Sun’s elements will “swell” up, swallow Earth, and eventually die off into a small white dwarf.”  (http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/istp/outreach/work shop/thompson/facts.html)
  • Stars will fall, become dust-colored (lose light): (Qur’an 81:2). As the sun collapses “The stars in the sky will go out one by one.” “Almost all the stars we now see would either be so dim as to be invisible or appear as faint points in a sea of blackness.” (James Trefil, The Dark Side of the Universe, p. 190).
  • The heaven will look like molten copper; red hide: (Qur’an 70:6-8; 55:37, respectively). In its final “phase” of burning itself out, “the sun’s central temperature will have risen steadily towards a billion degrees.” (Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, p. 201).
    Thus under this tremendous heat of “a billion degrees” the heavens will likely appear as liquid metal –molten copper or red hide, as the Qur’an says.
  • Ocean will boil: (Qur’an 81:6; 82:3) As the sun burns itself out, it “will appear to fill half the sky. At that time, the oceans will boil and any life left here will perish,” wrote James Trefil in his book The Dark Side of the Universe, (p. 190).
    And, as the sun burns itself out it “may have become so distended that the inner planets will have been engulfed, the Earth’s atmosphere stripped away and the solid rocks melted or even vaporized,” wrote Paul Davies. (God and the New Physics, p. 200).
  1. THE ATHEIST: Quran 36:40, It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.
    * Muhammad likens the orbit of the Sun to the orbit of the Moon. The Sun comes out in the daytime and the Moon at night, both orbiting the Earth.

ANSWER:
What this means is that day and night have their respective length of time that cannot be altered: “The sun and the moon (run their courses) according to a fixed reckoning”–(Qur’an 55:6). One cannot be overtaken; (made longer than the other). As Allāh rightly says that the sun and moon are for computing time:
“He is the Cleaver of the daybreak; and He has made the night for rest, and the sun and moon for reckoning (time). That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knowing”–(Qur’an 6:97). One cannot “outstrip” the other.

  1. THE ATHEIST: Quran 36:38 And the sun runs to its resting place.That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
    * Where does the Sun go at night? To its resting place. The Sun goes to the Throne of God and rests there until it’s time to come out again. Muhammad believes that it is the Sun that is moving around the Earth.

ANSWER:
Perhaps Mohammad was speaking from an earthly perspective (in which the sun is the one that seems to be moving).
Sun goes below Allah’s Throne: “Throne” signifies “power” of Allāh. Thus the sun is moving according to the power of Allāh.

  1. Alexander the Great: Who was Alexander the Great?

ANSWER:
In His Qur’an 18:83, Allah recounted the story of Dhul-qarnain (Zul-qarnain).
Muhammad Ali identifies Dhul-qarnain with “Darius I Hystaspes (521-485 BC).”
Malik Ghulam Farid identifies him with “Cyrus”.
And Yusuf Ali states, “Popular opinion identifies Zul-qarnain with Alexander the Great.”

Muhammad Ali and Malik Ghulam Farid have made extensive commentaries on Dhul-qarnain.
Yusuf Ali has devoted an impressive 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 absolutely true.”  And that “Each of the episodes mentioned is historical.  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 unanimously 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.
(Notably, Trinity, inherited sin and vicarious atonement are not Divine doctrines; they are human inventions. See also Jesus-Son of God; Christianity is Paganism; Allāh and Jesus or Paul).

  1. Where is Gog and Magog?

ANSWER:
In Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 God says He will crush “Gog, the land of Magog” in preservation of the “house of Israel.”
Clearly this prophecy has already been fulfilled. There is no longer a “house of Israel” in existence to preserve. Those who call themselves Jews or are adherents of Judaism are not “Israelites.” They are not of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It is doubtful that a “Jew” can identify himself/herself with any of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. (See Arthur Koestler, The Thirteenth Tribe. Also Judaism-no future).

Muhammad Ali has shown in detail that this prophecy has been fulfilled.
The story of the history of Dhul-qarnain is revealed in Qur’an 18:83-101. Those verses actually dealing with Gog and Magog are 94-101. Thus only verses 94-101 are entered here. The commentary is from Muhammad Ali’s translation of the Qur’an which can be viewed online: www.muslims.org.

94 “They said: O Dhu-l-qarnain, Gog and Magog do mischief in the land. May we then pay thee tribute on condition that thou raise a barrier between us and them?a

95 He said: That wherein my Lord has established me is better, so if only you help me with strength (of men), I will make a fortified barrier between you and them:

96 Bring me blocks of iron.a At length, when he had filled up the space between the two mountain sides, he said, Blow. Till, when he had made it (as) fire, he said: Bring me molten brass to pour over it.

97 So they were not able to scale it, nor could they make a hole in it.

98 He said: This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will crumble it, and the promise of my Lord is ever true.a

99 And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others and the trumpet will be blown, then We shall gather them all together,a

100 And We shall bring forth hell, exposed to view, on that day before the disbelievers,a

101 Whose eyes were under a cover from My Remin-der, and they could not bear to hear.a”

“94a.(which says: They said: O Dhu-l-qarnain, Gog and Ma-gog do mischief in the land. May we then pay thee tribute on condition that thou raise a barrier between us and them?”).    This verse brings us face to face with an all-important subject, viz., the identity of Gog and Magog. The Bible references to Gog and Magog are somewhat loose. In Gen. 10:2 and 1 Chron. 1:5, “Magog is mentioned as the second son of Japheth, between Gomer and Madai, Gomer representing the Cimmerians and Ma-dai the Medes. Magog must be a people located east of the Cimmerians and west of the Medes. But in the list of nations, Gen. 10, the term connotes rather the complex of barbarian peo-ples dwelling at the extreme north and north-east of the geogra-phical survey covered by that chapter….In Ezek. 38:2 Magog occurs as the name of a country; in Ezek. 39:6 as that of a northern people, the leader of whom is Gog” (Jewish En., Art. “Gog and Magog”). “Josephus identifies them with the Scythians, a name which among the classical writers stands for a number of unknown ferocious tribes. According to Jerome, Magog was situated beyond the Caucasus near the Caspian Sea” (Jewish En.). The En. Br. considers the traditional identification of Gog and Magog with the Scythians to be “plausible”, and then adds: “This plausible opinion has been generally followed”, with this reservation, that the word may be applied to “any or all of the numerous but partially known tribes of the north; and any at-tempt to assign a more definite locality to Magog can only be very hesitatingly made”.
All these writers have, however, not paid sufficient attention to the words of Ezek. 38:2: “Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”. Tubal and Meshech are almost always mentioned together, and their identification has been a task of great difficulty, so much so that a renowned Biblical critic suggests the names of certain nations in South Palestine. But this contradicts the views of ancient writers like Josephus, who settle the Magog north of the Caucasus. If we go, however, to the north of the Caucasus, we find still two rivers bearing the names of Tobal and Moskoa, on the latter of which is situated the ancient city of Moscow, and on the former the more recent town of Tobolsk. It seems almost certain that these two rivers received their names from the two tribes of Ezek. 38:2, the Tubal and Meshech, and then gave their names to the two above-mentioned cities, thus keeping the names of these tribes. This view is in accordance with the opinion of Josephus, who identifies Magog with the Scythians, for “throughout classical literature Scythia generally meant all regions to the north and north-east of the Black Sea, and a Scythian any barbarian coming from these parts”.
It is clear from the above that the name Magog stands for tribes which occupied territories to the north and north-east of the Black Sea, tribes which gave their names directly or indirectly to the towns of Tobolsk and Moscow.
There is, however, another point worth considering, and that is the gigantic effigies of Gog and Magog in Guildhall, London. “It is known,” says the En. Br., “that effigies similar to the present existed in London as early as the time of Henry V”. An explanation of this remarkable circumstance is given by Geoffrey of Monmouth: “Gaemot or Gaemagot (probably a corrupted form of Gog and Magog) was a giant who, along with his brother Gorineous, tyrannized in the western horn of England until slain by foreign invaders” (En. Br., Art. “Gog and Magog”). It is very difficult to speak with anything bordering on accuracy about the early connections of different races, but the preservation of the effigies of Gog and Magog in England, which can be traced to a very early period in English history, makes it probable that the Angles or the Saxons had in very ancient times some connection with the Scythians or other tribes living north of the Caucasus or the Black Sea. The relations of the different nations in early history are very complicated, and it is out of place to enter into any such discussion here. But it may be noted that the Goths, who are considered to be the easternmost of the Teutonic races, are said to have migrated into Scythia (En. Br., “Goths”), which shows the existence of connection between the two races. And again, “the Batharnae also, who in the third century B.C. invaded and settled in the regions between the Carpathians and the Black Sea, are said by several ancient writers to have been Teutonic by origin, though they had largely intermarried with the native inhabitants” (En. Br., “Teutonic Peoples”).
It is thus clear that the ancestors of the present Teutonic and Slav races are the Gog and Magog spoken of in the Holy Qur’ån. The effigies of Gog and Magog in London and the names of Tobal and Moskoa, occurring in the Bible, are clear indications of this fact.
Next we come to the statement that the tribes found by Darius between Azerbaijan and the Armenian mountains were constant-ly harassed by their northern neighbours, the Scythians. History bears evidence to the truth of this statement. The Scythians, or, according to some writers, the Sacae, constantly troubled Asia. According to Herodotus the Scyths ruled Media for twenty-eight years (En. Br., Art. “Scythia”). “About 512 Darius undertook a war against the Scythians … The purpose of this war can only have been to attack the nomadic Turanian tribes in the rear, and thus to secure peace on the northern frontier of the empire” (En. Br., Art. “Darius”). The portion which I give in italics shows that Darius exerted himself to his utmost in securing peace on the northern frontier of his empire, where the Caucasus, bounded on both sides by the Black and Caspian Seas, afforded a natural protection.
The barrier referred to in this verse, and described in the verses that follow, is the famous wall at Derbent (Ar. Darband). An account of this wall is given by Muslim geographers and historians, for instance, in Maracid al-Iila‘ and Ibn al-Faqsh. The following account, however, taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, should be more convincing: “Derbent or Darband, a town of Caucasia, in the province of Daghestan, on the western shore of the Caspian….It occupies a narrow strip of land beside the sea, from which it climbs up the steep heights inland….And to the south lies the seaward extremity of the Caucasian wall (50 miles long), otherwise known as Alexander’s Wall, blocking up the narrow pass of the Iron Gate or Caspian Gate (Portae Albanae, or Portae Caspae). This, when entire, had a height of 29 feet and a thickness of about 10 feet, and with its iron gates and numerous watch-towers formed a valuable defence of the Persian frontier.” (Italics in the last sentence are mine, for which see the next footnote.) The misnomer Alexander’s Wall seems to have been due to the mistake made by Muslim historians in sup-posing Dhu-l-qarnain to be Alexander.”

“96a. (which says: “I will make a fortified barrier between you and them: Bring me blocks of iron”). The blocks of iron were needed for the iron gates in the wall, for which see the conclud-ing lines of the last note.”

“98a. (which says: “He said: This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will crumble it, and the promise of my Lord is ever true”). From the historical narration of the past, the subject is now changed to the future. Gog and Magog are described as two nations, and after describing the history of these nations, whose depredations on peaceful nations were brought to an end by Darius, we are now told that Gog and Magog will again be let loose in the latter days. In fact, this is clearly foretold in another chapter of the same period: “when Gog and Magog are let loose, and they sally forth from every elevated place” (21:96). This is the only other occasion on which Gog and Magog are spoken of in the Holy Qur’ån. The crumbling of the wall which withheld Gog and Magog for a time is thus explained by the Qur’an itself, as the letting loose of Gog and Magog. Just as the building of the wall indicated the confinement of Gog and Magog to their own territorial bounds, the crumbling of the wall means that they will at some future time be let loose and they will then dominate the whole world. This domination is spoken of in the Hadith in various ways. According to one hadith, “No one will have the power to fight against them” (Ms. 52:20). According to another, “they will drink the water of the whole world” (KU, vol. 7, p. 2157). According to a third, God said: “I have created some of My servants whom no one can destroy but Myself ” (KU, p. 3021). As shown in 94a, the ancestors of Gog and Magog are the Slav and Teutonic races, and in the world-domination of Gog and Magog is thus clearly hinted the domination of the European nations over the whole world, and the prophecy has thus found fulfillment in our days.” (Emphasis added).

“99a. (which says: “And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others and the trumpet will be blown, then We shall gather them all together”). A mighty conflict of the nations is clearly spoken of here, and the words no doubt refer to some catastrophe like that which is predicted in the Gospels in the words: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earth-quakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7, 8).
The Qur’ån makes it clear that the reference in nation rising against nation is to the great European conflicts which we are witnessing nowadays. Gog and Magog, or the European nations, having subdued the whole world, could not agree on the division of the spoils, and they are rushing at one another’s throats, and the whole world being subject to them, their struggle has assumed the form of a world conflict. One World-War ends only to be followed by another. But if the first part of the verse speaks of the destruction due to these wars, the second part raises a great hope. Will this great world-conflict bring the world to an end? Human efforts to restore the balance to the world are a failure. But the Qur’ån tells us that a mighty Revolution will come about. That is what is meant by the blowing of the trumpet. This revolution will be a change in the mentality of the nations. A silver lining is introduced in this dark picture by the words, then We shall gather them all together. The revolution would unite them; it would drive them to one common faith. Material benefits having turned man into the enemy of man, a spiritual awakening will, we are told, be brought about which will change the world entirely. Instead of cutting one another’s throats men will learn to love one another, and they will all be but one nation. There is a broad enough hint here at the nation of Islåm, for there is but one faith, the faith of Islåm, which has been able to weld diverse people into one whole. The day of peace for this world will dawn with the dawning of the idea on the mind of man that there is only a single nation, the human nation, that lives on this earth: “Mankind is a single nation” (2:213). And actually Islåm is the only religion in the world which has been successful in uniting different nations into one whole and in obliterating distinctions of race and colour.”

“100a. (which says: “And We shall bring forth hell, exposed to view, on that day before the disbelievers”). These words com-plete the picture of the great conflict spoken of in the previous verse. It in fact describes the severity of the conflict, it will reduce the world to a veritable hell. We have seen hell raging on this earth in World-War II. What World-War III may bring, no one can say.”

“101a. (which says: “Whose eyes were under a cover from My Reminder, and they could not bear to hear”). The reason is given in these words why these disasters will be brought on man: These are people whose eyes are under a cover from My Reminder. Nay, they are so estranged from God that they cannot even bear to hear His Reminder. So thoroughly have lust and greed engrossed the civilized world!”

  1. Discrepancies in Qur’an:

ANSWER:
Allah tells us if we meditate on the Qur’an we will not find any discrepancy in it: “Will they not then meditate on the Qur’an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy”–(Qur’an 4:82).
And Muhammad Ali comments:

“The Qur’an was not written out and given on one occasion, but it continued to be delivered in small portions during twenty-three years under the most varying circumstances. From the solitary recluse of the cave of Hira, the Prophet had to pass through such a variety of circumstances to be the sole monarch and legislator of the whole of Arabia, that the life of no other individual human being affords us such a varying study. It is quite true that the earlier revelation deals mostly with such problems as Divine Unity and Majesty and the responsibility of human actions in general, while the later revelation had to deal with a large number of questions relating to the social and moral well-being of society; but what strikes one throughout the entire revelation is that it keeps up one and the same strain – absolute submission to Allāh, entire trust in Him, perfect confidence of future success, a liberal view of humanity, an attitude of charity towards all nations and religions, and goodness to all alike. The spirit of the revelations to the solitary, persecuted, and rejected preacher of Makkah does not differ in these and a hundred other particulars from the spirit of the revelations to the sole temporal and spiritual monarch of Arabia. There are no discrepancies even in the details of narratives –such, for instance, as are met with in the Bible– and this is especially true of the numerous prophecies which were uttered by the Prophet when an absolutely helpless man. Had they not proceeded from the Omniscient Being, Who knows the future as He knows the past, they could certainly not have been free from numerous discrepancies.”

Whereas there is no discrepancy in the Qur’an the critic charges there is and points out that Qur’an 9:97, 88, 101. contradict each other (though he did not detail the nature of this contradiction).

Qur’an 9:88 states: “But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons. And these it is for whom are the good things and these it is who are successful.”

Qur’an 9:97 states: “The dwellers of the desert are hardest in disbelief and hypocrisy, and most disposed not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.”

Qur’an 9:101 states: “And of those around you of the desert Arabs, there are hypocrites; and of the people of Madinah (also) — they persist in hypocrisy. Thou knowest them not; We know them. We will chastise them twice, then they will be turned back to a grievous chastisement.”

Verse 88 refers to the Makkan Arabs who were sincere followers of the Prophet.
Verse 97 refers to the Makkan Arabs who were open disbelievers and those feigning belief (the hypocrites) in the Prophet/Islam.
Verse 101 refers to the Makkan and Madinan Arabs who persist in hypocrisy (rather than accept Islam).
So where is the contradiction among these verses?

Regarding those who were punished twice Muhammad Ali comments:
“The hypocrites were punished twice in this life. They had to take part in all contributions for the defence of the Muslim community and had to pay the poor-rate, all this against their conviction and unwillingly, and this was, no doubt, a source of great torment to them. After having suffered all this torment for the sake of being reckoned Muslims, they were ultimately separated from the Muslims, for it is reported that the Holy Prophet named them while addressing a congregation in the Friday prayers, and they had to leave the assembly in the sight of the whole congregation, and this exposure to public shame was no doubt a great punishment for them.”

  1. THE ATHEIST: Stories in Qur’an are Jewish folklore:

ANSWER:
Unless the atheist means all stories in the Qur’an are Jewish folklore, he did not itemize which of these stories in the Qur’an are Jewish folklore.
Allāh gave revelation to the Israelite. The Bible was handed down by oral transmission for some 800 years before it was put into book form.
Thus if Allāh recounted these stories to Mohammad how can it be said that these stories are “Jewish folklore”?

(The applicable definition for our topic is that) folklore is “traditional customs, tales, or sayings, preserved orally among a people.” We invite the atheist to detail the stories in the Qur’an that are Jewish “traditional customs, tales, or sayings.”


                                                                               NOTES
1. “Yes, the Sun-in fact, our whole solar system- orbits around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are moving at an average velocity of 828,000 km/hr. But even at that high rate, it still takes us about 230 million years to make one complete orbit around the Milky Way! The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy.” (Does the Sun move around the Milky Way?? – StarChild – NASA).

“Everything’s orbiting something it seems. The Moon goes around the Earth, and the Earth orbits the Sun. But did you know that the Sun orbits the Milky Way galaxy?
Since the Sun is 26,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way, it has to travel at an astonishing speed of 782,000 km/hour in a circular orbit around the Milky Way center. Just for comparison, the Earth is rotating at a speed of 1,770 km/h, and it’s moving at a speed of 108,000 km/h around the Sun.Astronomers have calculated that it takes the Sun 226 million years to completely orbit around the center of the Milky Way. In other words, that last time that the Sun was in its current position in space around the Milky Way, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. in fact, this Sun orbit has only happened 20.4 times since the Sun itself formed 4.6 billion years ago.
It’s estimated that the Sun will continue fusing hydrogen for another 7 billon years or so. In other words, it only has another 31 orbits it can make before it runs out of fuel.
Are you interested in more articles about the Sun? We have written plenty for Universe Today. Here’s an article that shows how some stars take an erratic journey around the Milky Way, and another article about a ring of stars orbiting the Milky Way.(http://www.universetoday.com/18028/sun-orbit/#).