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dr_mohamed_mahmoud: FINE-TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE (PART 1 OF 8): PHYSICAL LAWS
What is Fine-Tuning?
FineTuning1.jpgOver the past century, scientists have discovered that if certain properties of the universe were changed very slightly from what they are, we would not be here. They have to be within a very narrow range for our universe to make life possible and be habitable.
The universe is fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life with a complexity and delicacy that literally defy human comprehension. The sensitivity of the ‘habitability’ of the universe to small changes is called ‘fine-tuning.’
This was recognized about 60 years ago by Fred Hoyle who was not a religious person at the time he made the discovery. Scientists like Paul Davies, Martin Rees, Max Tegmark, Bernard Carr, Frank Tipler, John Barrow, and Stephen Hawking, to name a few, believe in fine-tuning. These are prominent names in cosmology as they are heard in the media whenever a news headline is made.
Types of Fine-Tuning
1. Fine-tuning of the laws of nature.
2. Fine-tuning of the constants of physics.
3. Fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe.
We will explore each category below:
1. Fine-Tuning of the Laws of Nature
There are two ways to look at this aspect of fine-tuning:
1. Precisely the right laws are needed for highly complex life to exist. If one of these were missing, such life would not be possible. To say that the laws are fine-tuned means that the universe must have precisely the right set of laws in order for highly complex life to exist. Perhaps this type of fine-tuning is the easiest of the three to understand.
Example 1: The law of gravity states that all masses attract each other. What would the universe be like if gravity did not exist? There wouldn’t be any stars or planets. Matter would be equally distributed around the universe with no place for life to form or energy sources like the sun that provide food to plants through photosynthesis that in turn become food for animals.
Example 2: One type of force can play multiple roles in this very well designed system. For example, the electromagnetic force refers to the combination of electric and magnetic forces. James Clerk Maxwell unified the two forces in 1800’s.
If there were no electromagnetic force, there would be no atoms because there would be no force to hold the negatively charged electrons with the positively charged protons that allow for chemical bonds. There would be no building blocks of life as there would be no chemical bonding, and therefore no life.
The electromagnetic force plays another role in light which is a type of electromagnetic radiation. It allows energy to transfer from the sun to our planet. Without this energy we would not exist.
2. Harmony between nature and mathematics: Only in the 20th century have we come to understand that what we observe in nature can be described by only a few physical laws, each of which is described by simple mathematical equations. Just the fact that these mathematical forms are so simple and few in number that they can all be written on one sheet of paper is amazing.
Table1. The Fundamental Laws of Nature
· Mechanics (Hamilton’s Equations)
· Electrodynamics (Maxwell’s Equations)
· Statistical Mechanics (Boltzmann’s Equations)
· Quantum Mechanics (Schrödinger’s Equations)
· General Relativity (Einstein’s Equation)
For life to exist, we need an orderly and intelligible universe. Furthermore, order at many different levels is required.
For instance, to have planets that circle their stars, we need Newtonian mechanics.
For there to be multiple stable elements of the periodic table to provide a sufficient variety of atomic "building blocks" for life, we need the atomic structure given by the laws of quantum mechanics.
We need the orderliness in chemical reactions that is the consequence of Boltzmann’s equation for the second law of thermodynamics.
And for an energy source like the sun to transfer its life-giving energy to a habitat like Earth, we require the laws of electromagnetic radiation that Maxwell described.
Physicist and Nobel Prize winner Eugene Wigner in his widely quoted paper, The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Physical Sciences notes that scientists often take for granted the remarkable - even miraculous - effectiveness of mathematics in describing the real world. He says:
"The enormous usefulness of mathematics is something bordering on the mysterious…There is no rational explanation for it…The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve."
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE TRUTH IS ONE (PART 1 OF 2)
Often when discussing religion, one hears the statement that none has the right to judge anyone else’s beliefs, or that religion is a person’s private matter and we can not say that it is wrong or right. Throughout history, societies have based their laws and ethics upon “absolute truths” which they deem to be “right”, and this is either a result of an exterior text regarded as supreme, or of the trait found in the innate nature of humans that causes them to see certain things as good and others as evil. Humans, to a limited scale, can see certain things as good and evil. For example, all humans, left to their natural state without perversion of the mind, will see feces and urine as filthy. Also, certain deeds, like stealing, killing and lying are also known to be evil, while truth, sincerity, and honor are seen to be lofty. This is a result of a trait that was created in all humans, but as mentioned above, this sense is limited.
If one says that they do not have the right to judge other’s beliefs or actions, they are, in fact, contradicting themselves. If you were to ask many of these people whether killing infants or suicide is correct and acceptable, they will naturally answer that it is not. But when we look into certain societies, such as some religions found in Central America, infanticide was seen to be a way to draw near to their gods. Also today, in Hindu religion, it is praiseworthy for a wife to kill herself after the death of her husband. If they truly believe that religion is something left to the individual and that none have the right to interfere or judge them, then this would necessitate allowing that killing babies is something which is correct to those who believe it is praiseworthy, and that people have no right to judge them.
If we were to bring this issue to an individual level, we would see that each person has their individual perception of good and evil, whether this perception is based upon religion, law, culture, or individual contemplation. One might believe that it is perfectly acceptable to commit adultery while another might think it to be wrong. One might believe that it is permissible for them to indulge in narcotics since it is their own body, and others might believe it to be a crime. None would be able to say that anything is right or wrong, and all people would be left to their own devices to believe and practice what they perceive as “correct.”
If we were to implement this belief in society, we would have a community based upon anarchy, where no laws could be legislated nor executed, for law is based upon the principle that certain things are to be good and others are evil. If one were to say that there are certain truths agreed to by all humans which can be used to legislate laws, this statement is true to a certain limit, as we stated that all humans do naturally have a trait to know right from wrong in a limited sense. But as seen, this trait many times becomes perverted through environmental, psychological, or religious factors, in that certain acts which were at one time seen as evil and immoral are later seen as sound and acceptable, and some things which do not accord to human nature are seen to be the keys to salvation. This can be clearly observed in democratic societies which base their laws on the majority. We see that many things which were considered to be outright absurd or immoral are now socially acceptable, to the extent that if one holds a different opinion in regards to the issue, they are seen as outcasts.
For this reason, humans cannot be left to their own accords to legislate what is correct and incorrect. Even in societies of the same religion which have instituted the separation of religion and state, although they are in agreement to those things which they maintained from their religion, they differ greatly in regards to what is deemed correct and incorrect in their societies. What is considered as the legal age of consent to sex in France is considered rape in America. While abortion is legal in one country, it is a crime in another, and when homosexuality is seen as a valid way of life in one society, it is seen as a grave sin in another.
So if we now say that the truth is absolute and one and is not relative to each individual and society, then the next question is what are the morals which make truth manifest and who is to decide them? What are the laws which should be implemented in society? Should they be decided by lawyers and judges who have reached a level of “legal enlightenment”, politicians who usually make decisions for their own benefit or the benefit of their own countries, or philosophers which have come to know the universal truths through their own contemplation? As seen earlier, humans cannot be left to decide these issues, lest there be catastrophic results, as seen today in many societies ridden with numerous ills. The only One who has the right to legislate right and wrong is the One who created us and knows what is best for us, and that is God Almighty. It is God who created the world and it is God who set the scales of justice. It is God who is perfect and it is God who has no faults whatsoever.
Most of our discussion has dealt with the issues of belief which deal with morality and deeds, but what is even more important is those beliefs which deal with God, and this will be discussed in the following article.
Those who believe that the truth is relative and that all beliefs are correct deem that it is not possible to say that a person’s beliefs are wrong, because religion to them is a purely individual belief. The falsehood of this statement is quite apparent and we do not need to delve into great detail to prove it. If one religion believes that Jesus was a false prophet, another maintains he is God, and yet another that he was a human specially chosen to be a prophet, how can they all be true? Jesus, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, must inevitably be one of the three things mentioned above, and all three statements cannot be correct. Therefore, as only one of these statements can be correct, whichever is established as true determines that the others must then be considered as false.
This does not, however, mean that a person does not have the right to believe as they wish, as this is a right that God has invested to all humans. But at the same time, it does not mean that one must take the other extreme and say that they are all correct, and that one does not have the right to form a judgment about them. Also, giving a person the right to believe what he wishes does not necessitate that they have right to openly practice or publicize these beliefs, for laws implemented in society always look at the effects of actions at the greater societal level and whether those actions are advantageous or harmful to the society at large.
From what we have discussed, we can unequivocally come to the conclusion that all the religions found today in the world are either all false, or that there exists one among them which is the comprehensive Truth; for although various religions do contain similarities, they also have fundamental differences.
If we were to say that no religion in the world today is correct, then this would entail believing that God is unjust because He left us to wander about on earth in sin and transgression without showing us the right way to do things, and this is impossible for a Just God. Therefore the only logical conclusion is that there is One True Religion, which contains guidance in all spheres of life, religious, moral, societal, and individual.
How do we know what this one true religion is? It is upon each and every human to investigate this matter. Humans were created to fulfill a great purpose, not just to eat, sleep and go about finding their daily sustenance and satiate their desires. In order to fulfill this purpose, one must try to find what their purpose is, and this can only be done by investigation. If one believes that there is a God, and that God must not have left humans to wander in misguidance, then they must search for the religion and way of life which God revealed. Furthermore, this religion would not be hidden or hard for humans to find or understand, for that would defeat the purpose of guidance. Also, the religion must contain the same message throughout time, since we mentioned that everything returns to one absolute truth. Also, this religion cannot contain any falsities or contradictions, for falseness or contradiction in one matter of the religion proves the falsity of the religion as a whole, since we would then doubt the integrity of its texts.
There is no other religion which fulfills the conditions mentioned above except for religion of Islam, the religion which is accordance to human nature, the religion which has been preached by all prophets since the dawn of man. Other religions found today, such as Christianity and Judaism, are the remnants of the religion brought by the prophets in their time, which was Islam. However, over time, they have been altered and lost, and what is left today of these religions is a mix of truth and falsehood. The only religion which has been preserved and preaches the same message brought by all prophets is the religion of Islam, the one true religion, which rules all sphere’s of humans’ lives, religious, political, societal, and individual, and it is upon all humans to investigate this religion, to ascertain its truth, and to follow it.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: BIBLE PROPHECIES OF MUHAMMAD (PART 1 OF 4): WITNESSES OF SCHOLARS
The Bible is the sacred scripture of Judaism and Christianity. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament being slightly larger because of their acceptance of certain books not accepted as scripture by Protestants. The Jewish Bible includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament. Furthermore, the arrangements of the Jewish and Christian canons differ considerably. Prophet Muhammad has been prophesized in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Jesus and the Apostles are believed to have spoken Aramaic. Aramaic continued in wide use until about AD 650, when it was supplanted by Arabic. The present day Bible is not, however, based on the Aramaic manuscripts, but on Greek and Latin versions.
Quoting the Bible prophecies does not entail that Muslims accept the present day Bible in its entirety as God’s revelation. For the Islamic belief on previous scriptures, please click here.
It is not a pre-condition of acceptance that a prophet be foretold by an earlier prophet. Moses was a prophet to Pharaoh even though he was not prophesized by anyone before him. Abraham was God’s prophet to Nimrod, yet no one prophesized his coming. Noah, Lot, and others were true prophets of God, yet they were not foretold. The evidence of a prophet’s truth is not limited to old prophecies, but it includes the actual message brought by him, miracles and more.
Discussing prophecies is a delicate matter. It requires sifting through Bible versions and translations, recently discovered manuscripts and searching out Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words and investigating them. The task becomes especially difficult when: "prior to the printing press (15th century), all copies of Bibles show textual variations." This is not an easy subject for lay people. For this reason, the best testimony comes from ancient and modern experts in the area who acknowledged the prophecies.
We have records of early Jews and Christians, both monks and rabbis, who witnessed that Muhammad was the fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies. The following are some examples of these people.
The Awaited Prophet
Pre-Islam Jews and Christians of Arabia were awaiting a prophet. Before the appearance of Muhammad, Arabia was home to Jews, Christians, and pagan Arabs who, on occasion, went to war with each other. The Jews and Christians would say: "The time has come for the unlettered prophet to appear who will revive the religion of Abraham. We will join his ranks and wage fierce war against you." When Muhammad actually appeared, some of them believed in him, and some refused. This is why God revealed:
"And when there came to them a Book [Quran] from God confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of God will be upon the disbelievers." (Quran 2:89)
The first witness was Buhaira, the Christian monk, who recognized Muhammad’s prophethood when he was still young and told his uncle:
"…a great fortune lies before your nephew, so take him home quickly."
The second witness was Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a Christian scholar who died soon after a solitary meeting with Muhammad. Waraqah attested Muhammad was the Prophet of his time and received revelation exactly like Moses and Jesus.
The Jews of Medina were anxiously awaiting the arrival of a prophet. The third and fourth witnesses were their two famous Jewish rabbis, Abdullah ibn Salam and Mukhayriq.
The sixth and seventh witnesses were also Yemeni Jewish rabbis, Wahb ibn Munabbih, and Ka’b al-Ahbar (d. 656 CE). Ka’b found long passages of praise and the description of the Prophet prophesized by Moses in the Bible.
The Quran states:
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES IN BRIEF
Scientific Facts in the Quran
The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.
Science at the time was primitive, there were no telescopes, microscopes or anything even close to the technology we have today. People believed that the sun orbited the earth and that the sky was held up by big pillars at the corners of a flat earth. Within this backdrop the Quran was revealed, and it contains many scientific facts on topics ranging from astronomy to biology, geology to sociology.
Some people may claim that the Quran was changed as new scientific facts were discovered but this cannot be the case because it is a historically documented fact that the Quran is preserved in its original language. The Quran was written down and memorised by people during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. One of the copies of the Quran which was written a few years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad is preserved in a museum in Uzbekistan. This copy is over 1400 years old and is exactly the same as the Arabic Quran that we have today.
The following are nine scientific facts found in the Quran:
1. Origin of Life
Water is essential for all living things. We all know that water is vital to life but the Quran makes a very unusual claim:
We made every living thing from water? Will they not believe? (Quran 21:30)
In this verse water is pointed out as the origin of all life. All living things are made of cells. We now know that cells are mostly made up of water. For example, 80% of the cytoplasm (basic cell material) of a standard animal cell is described as water in biology textbooks.
The fact that living things consist mostly of water was discovered only after the invention of the microscope. In the deserts of Arabia, the last thing someone would have guessed is that all life came from water.
Iron is not natural to the earth. It did not form on the earth but came down to earth from outer space. This may sound strange but it’s true. Scientists have found that billions of years ago the earth was stuck by meteorites. These meteorites were carrying Iron from distant stars which had exploded.
The Quran says the following on the origin of Iron:
“We sent down Iron with its great inherent strength and its many benefits for humankind.” (Quran 57:25)
God uses the words ‘sent down’ for Iron. It is clear from the verse that Iron is not an earthly material, but was sent down for the benefit of humanity. The fact that Iron came down to earth from outer space is something which could not be known by the primitive science of the 7th century.
3. Sky’s Protection
The sky plays a crucial role in protecting the earth. The sky protects the earth from the lethal rays of the sun. If the sky did not exist then the sun’s radiation would have killed off all life on earth. It also acts like a blanket wrapped around the earth, to protect it from the freezing cold of space. The temperature just above the sky is approximately -270oC. If this temperature was to reach earth then the planet would freeze over instantly. The sky also protects life on earth by warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes between day and night. These are some of the many protective functions of the sky.
The Quran asks us to consider the sky in the following verse:
“We made the sky a protective ceiling. And yet they are turning away from Our signs!” (Quran 21:32)
The Quran points to the sky’s protection as a sign of God. The protective properties of the sky were discovered by scientific research conducted in the 20th century.
The Quran draws our attention to a very important characteristic of mountains:
“Did We not make the earth a resting place? And the mountains as stakes?” (Quran 78:6-7)
The Quran indicates that mountains have deep roots by using the word stakes to describe them. In fact mountains do have deep roots, and the word stakes is an accurate description for them. A book titled ‘Earth’ by Geophysicist Frank Press explains that mountains are like stakes, and are buried deep under the surface of the earth. Mount Everest (pictured below), the height of which is approximately 9 km above ground, has a root deeper than 125 km.
The fact that mountains have deep ‘stake’ like roots was not known, until after the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the beginning of the 20th century.
5. Expansion of the Universe
At a time when the science of Astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in Quran:
“And it is We who have built the Universe with [Our creative] power and keep expanding it.” (Quran 51:47)
The fact that the universe is expanding was discovered in the last century. The physicist Stephen Hawking in his book ‘A Brief History of Time’ writes, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.”.
The Quran mentioned the expansion of the universe even before the invention of the telescope!
6. Sun’s Orbit
In 1512 the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus put forward his theory that the Sun is motionless at the centre of the solar system, and that the planets revolve around it. The belief that the Sun is stationary was widespread amongst astronomers until the 20th century. It is now a well-established scientific fact that the Sun is not stationary, but is moving in an orbit around the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.
The Quran mentions the orbit of the Sun:
“It is He who created night and day, the Sun and the Moon, each floating in its orbit.” (Quran 21:33)
The Quran would have been wrong according to astronomers just a couple of decades ago. But we now know that the Quranic account of the Sun’s motion is consistent with modern Astronomy.
7. The Ocean
The Quran uses imagery to covey its deep meanings, here it describes the state of the unbelievers as:
“Darkness out in a deep ocean which is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. Those God gives no light to, they have no light.” (Quran 24:40)
It is commonly thought that waves only occur on the surface of the ocean. However oceanographers have discovered that there are internal waves that take place below the surface of the ocean. These waves are invisible to the human eye, and can only be detected by specialist equipment. The Quran mentions darkness in a deep ocean above which are waves, above which are waves, then clouds above that. This description is not only remarkable because it describes the internal waves in the ocean, but also because it describes darkness deep in the ocean. A human being can dive no more than 70 metres without breathing equipment. Light is present at that depth, but if we go down 1000 metres it is completely dark. 1400 years ago there were no submarines or specialist equipment to discover internal waves or the darkness deep inside the oceans.
8. Lying and Movement
There was a cruel oppressive tribal leader named Abu Jahl who lived during the time of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. God revealed a verse of the Quran to warn him:
“No Indeed! If he does not stop, We will seize him by the forehead, his lying, sinful forehead.” (Quran 96:15-16)
God does not call this person a liar, but calls his forehead (the front part of the brain) ‘lying’ and ‘sinful’, and warns him to stop.
This verse is significant for two reasons. The first is that the front part of our brain is responsible for voluntary movement.This is known as the frontal lobe. A book titled ‘Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology’ which includes the results of research on the functions of this area states: The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. The part of the brain that is responsible for movement is said to be seized if the man does not stop.
Secondly, numerous studies have shown that this same region (frontal lobe) is responsible for the lying function of the brain. One such study at the University of Pennsylvania in which volunteers were asked questions during a computerized interrogation, it was found that when the volunteers were lying there was significantly increased activity in the prefrontal and premotor cortices (frontal lobe region).
The front part of the brain is responsible for movement and lying. The Quran links movement and lying to this area. These functions of the frontal lobe were discovered with medical imaging equipment which was developed in the 20th century.
9. Pain Receptors
For a long time it was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was dependent on the brain. However it has been discovered that there are pain receptors present in the skin. Without these pain receptors, a person would not be able to feel pain.
Consider the following verse on pain:
“We shall send those who reject Our revelations to the (Hell) Fire. When their skins have been burned away, We shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain: God is Almighty, All-Wise.” (Quran 4:56)
God tells the people who reject his message that when they are in Hell and their skins are burnt off (so they can’t feel any pain), he will give them new skins so that they continue to feel the pain.
The Quran makes it clear that pain is dependent upon on the skin. The discovery of pain receptors in the skin is a fairly recent discovery for Biology.
These are just some of the many scientific facts found in the Quran. It is important to note that the Quran is not a book of science, but that it is consistent with science. To claim that scientific facts in the Quran are due to coincidence would be irrational. The best explanation is that God revealed this knowledge to the Prophet Muhammad.
Just like the Quran contains knowledge about the natural world, it also contains information about the inner dimensions of our souls. It relates to our feelings, wants and needs. The Quran informs us that we have a purpose in life, and that following God’s guidance will lead us to inner peace in this life, and Paradise in the hereafter. And that rejection of his message will lead to depression in this life and Hellfire after death.
“We shall show them Our signs in the Universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is the witness of all things?” (Quran 41:53)
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: INFECTION CONTROL IN ISLAM
In recent years, health professionals around the world have become increasingly concerned with the spread of infectious diseases. Outbreaks of swine flu, avian (bird) flu, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have meant that infectious diseases have taken on a global context and are now on the agenda of world leaders and health policy makers alike. In developed and developing countries, health officials are focusing on infectious disease research and linking it to policymaking and infrastructure.
The scope of infectious diseases is progressively more challenged by globalisation. Easy and frequent air travel allows diseases to spread rapidly between communities and countries. Infectious disease control will continue to be confronted by 21st century issues including global warming, conflict, famine, overpopulation, deforestation, and bioterrorism.
Due to ongoing media attention, most of us are aware of the dangers associated with swine flu and bird flu and in 2003 -2004 the world held its collective breath when 8098 people became sick with SARS, before the global outbreak was contained. These three diseases have led to renewed interest in infectious diseases by the public; however, Gideon Informatics, the world’s leading global infectious disease database, has tracked and documented more than 20 major infectious diseases since 1972.
Some basic measures are appropriate when trying to control the spread of any or all infectious diseases. These include meticulous hand washing, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, proper disposal of tissues, staying at home and away from public places, and in extreme cases such as SARS, quarantine. In the series of articles entitled Health in Islam, we explained in some detail that Islam is a religion concerned with creating a community of healthy believers.
Islam is a holistic belief system and it takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of individuals and societies. Although care of the individual is important, safeguarding communities, including its weakest members, is of paramount importance. More than 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was teaching his followers hygiene practices that are still applicable in the 21st century.
From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, we find evidence that clearly indicates Islam’s stance on coughing and sneezing openly. Prophet Muhammad instructed the believers to cover their faces when sneezing. The most obvious effect of sneezing and coughing without covering the mouth is the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses, in addition, droplets invisible to the naked eye, may fall onto surfaces or other people.
According to the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, the virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. What is known as droplet spread can happen when droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled a short distance (up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes of persons who are nearby. The virus also can spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye. The SARS virus might spread more broadly through the air (airborne spread).
Islam is referred to as the religion of cleanliness. “Truly, God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” (Quran 2:222) In the traditions of Prophet Muhammad cleanliness is mentioned as half of faith, therefore, it is important to keep the body fresh and clean and Islam insists on several practices to facilitate this. The private parts are washed after using the toilet and Muslims must pay particular attention to being clean before praying. They wash their hands, faces, (including rinsing the mouth and nose) arms and feet, a minimum of five times per day. Prophet Muhammad insisted that the believers wash their hands, before praying, before and after eating and upon waking up in the morning.
When trying to stop the spread of any type of influenza, including swine flu and bird flu, the first line of defence is frequent hand washing. Both the World Health Organisation and CDC recommend the following precautions. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue in the trash after use. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, germs spread that way. Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Infection control in Islam includes isolation and quarantine. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, instituted strategies that are today implemented by public health authorities. He commanded his followers not to travel to places known to be afflicted with illness and he advised those in the contaminated areas or communities not to leave and spread the disease further afield. He said, “If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it”. He also counseled ill people not to visit healthy people.
During the worldwide outbreak of SARS, quarantine officials arranged for appropriate medical assistance, which sometimes included medical isolation and restricted travel movements. The CDC says isolation is necessary not only for the patient’s comfort but also to protect members of the public. Many levels of government around the world are legally able to compel sick, infectious people to remain in quarantine or in isolation in order to stop the spread of disease.
The teaching and principles of Islam are designed to benefit all of humankind. Rules and recommendations for personal hygiene and cleanliness promote the well-being of individuals and communities. Infection control is inherent in Islamic hygiene behaviour. Washing the hands, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, voluntary isolation, when one is feeling unwell, and restricted travel is an effective and comprehensive public health strategy. Measures taken in the 21st century to prevent the spread of infections and viruses conform almost exactly to the hygiene and infection control practices taught by Prophet Muhammad.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: ATHEISM (PART 1 OF 2): DENYING THE UNDENIABLE
Atheists might assert that they don’t acknowledge the existence of God, but the view of some Christians and all Muslims is that at some level even the confirmed Atheist affirms God’s presence. The innate but neglected awareness of God typically surfaces in Atheist consciousness only in times of severe stress, as exemplified by the World War II quote “There are no Atheists in a fox-hole.”
Undeniably there are times -- whether during the agonizing days of a lingering illness, the seemingly eternal moments of a violent and humiliating mugging, or the split second of anticipating the impact of an imminent car crash -- when all mankind recognize the reality of human fragility and the lack of human control over destiny. Who does a person beseech for help in such circumstances other than The Creator? Such moments of desperation should remind every person, from the religious scholar to the professed Atheist, of the dependence of mankind upon a reality far greater than our own meager human selves. A reality far greater in knowledge, power, will, majesty and glory.
In such moments of distress, when all human efforts have failed and no element of material existence can be foreseen to provide comfort or rescue, Whom else will a person instinctively call upon? In such moments of trial, how many stress-induced appeals are made to God, complete with promises of lifelong fidelity? Yet, how few are kept?
No doubt, the day of greatest affliction will be the Day of Judgement, and a person would be unfortunate to be in the position of acknowledging the existence of God for the first time on that day. The English poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, spoke of the irony of the distressed human appeal in The Cry of the Human:
“And lips say “God be pitiful,”
Who ne’er said, “God be praised.”
The thoughtful Atheist, full of skepticism but fearful of the possibility of the existence of God and a Day of Judgement, may wish to consider the ‘prayer of the skeptic,’ as follows:
“O Lord--if there is a Lord,
Save my soul--if I have a soul.”
In the face of skepticism blocking belief, how can a person go wrong with the above prayer? Should Atheists remain upon disbelief, they will be no worse off than before; should belief follow a sincere appeal, Thomas Jefferson had the following to say:
“If you find reason to believe there is a God, a consciousness that you are acting under His eye, and that He approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it…”
The suggestion can be made that if an individual doesn’t see the evidence of God in the magnificence of His creation, they would be well advised to take another look. As Francis Bacon is noted to have commented, “I had rather believe all the fables in the legend, and the Talmud, and the alcoran (i.e. the Quran), than that this universal frame is without a mind.” He went on to comment, “God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.” Worthy of contemplation is the fact that even the lowest elements of God’s creation, though perhaps ordinary works in His terms, are miracles in ours. Take the example of as tiny an animal as a spider. Does anybody really believe that such an extraordinarily intricate creature evolved from primordial soup? Just one of these little miracles can produce up to seven different kinds of silk, some as thin as the wavelength of visible light, but stronger than steel. Silks range from the elastic, sticky strands for entrapment to the non-adhesive drag-lines and frame threads, to the silk for wrapping prey, making the egg sac, etc. The spider can, on demand, not only manufacture its personal choice of the seven silks, but reabsorb, breakdown and remanufacture--self-recycling from the component elements. And this is only one small facet of the miracle of the spider.
And yet, mankind elevates itself to the heights of arrogance. A moment’s reflection should incline human hearts to humility. Look at a building and a person thinks of the architect, at a sculpture and a person instantly comprehends an artist. But examine the elegant intricacies of creation, from the complexity and balance of nuclear particle physics to the uncharted vastness of space, and a person conceives of…nothing? Surrounded by a world of synchronous complexities, we as mankind cannot even assemble the wing of a gnat. And yet the entire World and all the Universe exists in a state of perfect orchestration as a product of random accidents which molded cosmic chaos into balanced perfection? Some vote chance, others, creation.
very interesting article
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE QURAN ON HUMAN EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT
In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development:
“We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)…” (Quran 23:12-14)
Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has three meanings: (1) leech, (2) suspended thing, and (3) blood clot.
In comparing a leech to an embryo in the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two as we can see in figure 1. Also, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others.
Figure 1: Drawings illustrating the similarities in appearance between a leech and a human embryo at the alaqah stage. (Leech drawing from Human Development as Described in the Quran and Sunnah, Moore and others, p. 37, modified from Integrated Principles of Zoology, Hickman and others. Embryo drawing from The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 73.)
The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing.” This is what we can see in figures 2 and 3, the suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother.
Figure 2: We can see in this diagram the suspension of an embryo during the alaqah stage in the womb (uterus) of the mother. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 66.)
Figure 3: In this photomicrograph, we can see the suspension of an embryo (marked B) during the alaqah stage (about 15 days old) in the womb of the mother. The actual size of the embryo is about 0.6 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore, 3rd ed., p. 66, from Histology, Leeson and Leeson.)
The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot.” We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage (see figure 4). Also during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. Thus, the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.
Figure 4: Diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage. The external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot, due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo. (The Developing Human, Moore, 5th ed., p. 65.)
So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage.
The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance.” If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his or her mouth and then compare it with an embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that the embryo at the mudghah stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance. This is because of the somites at the back of the embryo that “somewhat resemble teethmarks in a chewed substance.” (see figures 5 and 6).
Figure 5: Photograph of an embryo at the mudghah stage (28 days old). The embryo at this stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance, because the somites at the back of the embryo somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance. The actual size of the embryo is 4 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 82, from Professor Hideo Nishimura, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.)
Figure 6: When comparing the appearance of an embryo at the mudghah stage with a piece of gum that has been chewed, we find similarity between the two.A) Drawing of an embryo at the mudghah stage. We can see here the somites at the back of the embryo that look like teeth marks. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 79.)B) Photograph of a piece of gum that has been chewed.
How could Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, have possibly known all this 1400 years ago, when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time? Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using an improved microscope in 1677 (more than 1000 years after Muhammad). They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract.
Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore is one of the world’s most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled The Developing Human, which has been translated into eight languages. This book is a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by one person. Dr. Keith Moore is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. There, he was Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and for 8 years was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy. In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences.
In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.” (To view the RealPlayer video of this comment click here).
Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Quran is the word of God?” He replied: “I find no difficulty in accepting this.”
During one conference, Professor Moore stated: “....Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah (what Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said, did, or approved of). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Quran and hadeeth (reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions of what he said, did, or approved of) in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D. Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages. As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century. For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Quran cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century. The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God. He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.” (View the RealPlayer video of this comment).
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM (PART 1 OF 2): A UNIQUE CONCEPT
It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used to refer to God and sometimes to lesser deities at the same time. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word "god," which can be made plural, as in "gods," or made feminine, as in "goddess." It is interesting to note that Alah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.
The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with Allah. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing, and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from Allah Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Quran, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112, which reads:
"In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate."
"Say (O Muhammad), He is Allah, the One God, the Self-Sufficient, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone."
Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully and is, consequently, not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Quran begins with the verse, "In the name of God, the Merciful; the Compassionate." In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, we are told that:
"God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child."
On the other hand, God is also Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have God’s bounties and favors. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others their whole lives. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Quranic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.
"Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?" (Quran 68:34-36)
Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.
The concepts, such as God resting on the seventh day of creation, God wrestling with one of His soldiers, God being an envious plotter against mankind, or God being incarnate in any human being, are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.
The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin that God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.
The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because, if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows, therefore, that nothing is like Him. Furthermore, if the Maker is not temporal, then He must be eternal. If He is eternal, however, He cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that He must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end, so the Creator is, therefore, eternal and everlasting. Hence we know that He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, and Everlasting or, to use a Quranic term, Al-Qayyum: "He is the First and the Last."
The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.
"God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth…" (Quran 39:62-63)
And God says:
"No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository..." (Quran 11:6)
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: WHY ISLAM?
Let’s talk frankly. Almost never do non-Muslims study Islam until they have first exhausted the religions of their exposure. Only after they have grown dissatisfied with the religions familiar to them, meaning Judaism, Christianity and all the fashionable “-isms”—Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism (and, as my young daughter once added, “tourism”)—do they consider Islam.
Perhaps other religions do not answer the big questions of life, such as “Who made us?” and “Why are we here?” Perhaps other religions do not reconcile the injustices of life with a fair and just Creator. Perhaps we find hypocrisy in the clergy, untenable tenets of faith in the canon, or corruption in the scripture. Whatever the reason, we perceive shortcomings in the religions of our exposure, and look elsewhere. And the ultimate “elsewhere” is Islam.
Now, Muslims would not like to hear me say that Islam is the “ultimate elsewhere.” But it is. Despite the fact that Muslims comprise one-fourth to one-fifth of the world’s population, non-Muslim media smears Islam with such horrible slanders that few non-Muslims view the religion in a positive light. Hence, it is normally the last religion seekers investigate.
Another problem is that by the time non-Muslims examine Islam, other religions have typically heightened their skepticism: If every “God-given” scripture we have ever seen is corrupt, how can the Islamic scripture be different? If charlatans have manipulated religions to suit their desires, how can we imagine the same not to have happened with Islam?
The answer can be given in a few lines, but takes books to explain. The short answer is this: There is a God. He is fair and just, and He wants us to achieve the reward of paradise. However, God has placed us in this worldly life as a test, to weed out the worthy from the unworthy. And we will be lost if left to our own devices. Why? Because we don’t know what He wants from us. We can’t navigate the twists and turns of this life without His guidance, and hence, He has given us guidance in the form of revelation.
Sure, previous religions have been corrupted, and that is one of the reasons why we have a chain of revelation. Ask yourself: wouldn’t God send another revelation if the preceding scriptures were impure? If preceding scriptures were corrupted, humans would need another revelation, to keep upon the straight path of His design.
So we should expect preceding scriptures to be corrupted, and we should expect the final revelation to be pure and unadulterated,for we cannot imagine a loving God leaving us astray. What we can imagine is God giving us a scripture, and men corrupting it; God giving us another scripture, and men corrupting it again … and again, and again. Until God sends a final revelation He promises to preserve until the end of time.
Muslims consider this final revelation to be the Holy Quran. You consider it … worth looking into. So let us return to the title of this article: Why Islam? Why should we believe that Islam is the religion of truth, the religion that possesses the pure and final revelation?
“Oh, just trust me.”
Now, how many times have you heard that line? A famous comedian used to joke that people of different cities cuss one another out in different ways. In Chicago, they cuss a person out this way, in Los Angeles they cuss a person out that way, but in New York they just say, “Trust me.”
So don’t trust me—trust our Creator. Read the Quran, read books and study good websites. But whatever you do, get started, take it seriously, and pray for our Creator to guide you.
Your life may not depend on it, but your soul most definitely does.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE BIG QUESTIONS (PART 1 OF 3): WHO MADE US?
Description: Islamic answers to the first of some of the “Big Questions” in Life all humans inevitably ask, Who Made Us?
t some point in our lives, everybody asks the big questions: “Who made us,” and “Why are we here?”
So who did make us? Most of us have been brought up more on science than religion, and to believe in the Big Bang and evolution more than God. But which makes more sense? And is there any reason why the theories of science and creationism cannot coexist?
The Big Bang may explain the origin of the universe, but it doesn’t explain the origin of the primordial dust cloud. This dust cloud (which, according to the theory, drew together, compacted and then exploded) had to come from somewhere. After all, it contained enough matter to form not just our galaxy, but the billion other galaxies in the known universe. So where did that come form? Who, or what, created the primordial dust cloud?
Similarly, evolution may explain the fossil record, but it falls far short of explaining the quintessential essence of human life—the soul. We all have one. We feel its presence, we speak of its existence and at times pray for its salvation. But only the religious can explain where it came from. The theory of natural selection can explain many of the material aspects of living things, but it fails to explain the human soul.
Furthermore, anyone who studies the complexities of life and the universe cannot help but witness the signature of the Creator. Whether or not people recognize these signs is another matter—as the old saying goes, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. (Get it? Denial, spelled “de Nile” … the river Ni … oh, never mind.) The point is that if we see a painting, we know there is a painter. If we see a sculpture, we know there’s a sculptor; a pot, a potter. So when we view creation, shouldn’t we know there’s a Creator?
The concept that the universe exploded and then developed in balanced perfection through random events and natural selection is little different from the proposal that, by dropping bombs into a junkyard, sooner or later one of them will blow everything together into a perfect Mercedes.
If there is one thing we know for certain, it is that without a controlling influence, all systems degenerate into chaos. The theories of the Big Bang and evolution propose the exact opposite, however—that chaos fostered perfection. Would it not be more reasonable to conclude that the Big Bang and evolution were controlled events? Controlled, that is, by the Creator?
The Bedouin of Arabia tell the tale of a nomad finding an exquisite palace at an oasis in the middle of an otherwise barren desert. When he asks how it was built, the owner tells him it was formed by the forces of nature. The wind shaped the rocks and blew them to the edge of this oasis, and then tumbled them together into the shape of the palace. Then it blew sand and rain into the cracks to cement them together. Next, it blew strands of sheep’s wool together into rugs and tapestries, stray wood together into furniture, doors, windowsills and trim, and positioned them in the palace at just the right locations. Lightning strikes melted sand into sheets of glass and blasted them into the window-frames, and smelted black sand into steel and shaped it into the fence and gate with perfect alignment and symmetry. The process took billions of years and only happened at this one place on earth—purely through coincidence.
When we finish rolling our eyes, we get the point. Obviously, the palace was built by design, not by happenstance. To what (or more to the point, to Whom), then, should we attribute the origin of items of infinitely greater complexity, such as our universe and ourselves?
Another argument to dismiss the concept of Creationism focuses upon what people perceive to be the imperfections of creation. These are the “How can there be a God if such-and-such happened?” arguments. The issue under discussion could be anything from a natural disaster to birth defects, from genocide to grandma’s cancer. That’s not the point. The point is that denying God based upon what we perceive to be injustices of life presumes that a divine being would not have designed our lives to be anything other than perfect, and would have established justice on Earth.
Hmm … is there no other option?
We can just as easily propose that God did not design life on Earth to be paradise, but rather a test, the punishment or rewards of which are to be had in the next life, which is where God establishes His ultimate justice. In support of this concept we can well ask who suffered more injustices in their worldly lives than God’s favorites, which is to say the prophets? And who do we expect to occupy the highest stations in paradise, if not those who maintain true faith in the face of worldly adversity? So suffering in this worldly life does not necessarily translate into God’s disfavor, and a blissful worldly life does not necessarily translate into beatitude in the hereafter.
I would hope that, by this line of reasoning, we can agree upon the answer to the first “big question.” Who made us? Can we agree that if we are creation, God is the Creator?
If we can’t agree on this point, there probably isn’t much point in continuing. However, for those who do agree, let’s move on to “big question” number two—why are we here? What, in other words, is the purpose of life?
THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS (PART 1 OF 2): WHO WERE AL-HAWARIYOON?
The disciples of Jesus are known in the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, as Al-Hawariyoon. This is an Arabic word meaning simply, the disciples of Jesus. However, hawariyoon, like many words in the Arabic language, has specific and general meanings, and in some cases, particularly in Islamic words, there are layers of meanings.
Hawari is derived from the root Arabic word hawr that means to whiten, to bleach, to purify, to clean, to change, to transform, to amend and to alter. Hawari is a singular word and literally means, he who whitens clothes, he who has been appointed, chosen, and purified from all kinds of defects, and a companion or a helper. The plural is hawariyoon.
Prophet Jesus’ companions were also known as apostles. The words apostles or disciples were used to differentiate Jesus’ close companions from followers whose numbers were steadily growing. Islamic scholars have pondered and discussed the reason for calling the disciples Al-Hawariyoon throughout Islamic history. Renowned Islamic Quran scholar Ibn Kathir states that the disciples were so named because of their white clothes and he also mentions the meaning of a helper or supporter.
It is interesting to note that the majority of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen and their clothes would have been white due to their daily toil. The whiteness could then be extrapolated to include the whitening of people’s hearts through the teachings of Prophet Jesus. Other scholars have stated that hawari implies one who is capable of being a leader, and almost all scholars agree that a hawari is a sincere person or friend.
The scholars of Christianity and Islam agree that Prophet Jesus was surrounded by twelve supporters, who were his close friends, companions. Quran has addressed Jesus’ companions as Al-Hawariyoon five times in four different verses. The first time they are mentioned is in Chapter three of the Quran, entitled The Family of Imran. This family includes many people well known to Christians including, Jesus and his mother Mary, and John, known as the Baptist.
At the time Jesus began his mission many Israelites were so far astray from the truth that Jesus considered it to be disbelief. He called them back to the worship of the One True God, yet most of those around him rejected his call and failed to heed his message. After revealing and clarifying that he is a Messenger from God, Jesus asks those listening to his message, who among them would be his helpers in God’s cause.
"Then when Jesus came to know of their disbelief, he said, ‘Who will be my helpers in God’s cause?’ Al-Hawariyoon (the disciples) replied, ‘We are the helpers of God; we believe in God, so bear witness that we submit to God.’" (Quran 3:52)
They continued to pledge their allegiance to God and His Messenger Jesus.
"‘Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down and we follow the Messenger (Jesus); so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth).’" (Quran 3:53)
Then in another chapter God Himself reveals that He was responsible for the people who became the disciples of Jesus, Al-Hawariyoon.
"I (God) put it in the hearts of Al-Hawariyoon to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: ‘We believe. And bear witness that we are submitted to God.’" (Quran 5:111)
The disciples were submitted to God; they followed the teachings of Jesus and were his companions and supporters. They helped him call the Israelites back to the worship of One God. Jesus never called himself God and the disciples were fully aware that they worshipped God and followed a man. It is the man known as the apostle Paul who called people to worship Jesus. It is wrong to assume that Paul was a disciple—he never met Jesus nor did he hear him speak or teach.
Paul was a Pharisee, a Jewish sect that Dictionary.com defines as strict in its observance of religious ceremonies and practices, and adherence to oral laws and traditions. Remarkably the secondary definition is a sanctimonious, self-righteous, or hypocritical person. Many thinkers and scholars believe that Paul almost singlehandedly destroyed the teachings of Jesus.
The scholars of Islam reflect that there are two reasons why Paul would have joined the disciples after Jesus’ death. Either, in his role as a Pharisee, he was sent to undermine and sabotage the new movement, or the experience he had on the road to Damascus was a trick from Satan, designed to undermine and sabotage Jesus’ teachings. Quran is silent about Paul and also does not mention or imply that any of Jesus’ companions, Al-Hawariyoon, ever betrayed him.
Chapter five of the Quran is named The Table Spread with Food. It refers to Al-Hawariyoon asking Jesus if God could send down a table spread with food. What exactly they meant has been discussed often, and it seems most likely that they were asking Jesus either playfully or seriously if God would supply them with a feast rather than asking if He could do such a thing. Jesus warned them not to speak so flippantly but nevertheless asked God to perform a miracle.
"(Remember) when Al-Hawariyoon said, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary! Can your Lord send down to us a table spread with food from heaven?’ Jesus replied, ‘Fear God, if you are indeed believers.’ They said: ‘We wish to eat thereof and to satisfy our hearts (to be stronger in Faith), and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses.’ Jesus, son of Mary, prayed, ‘O God, our Lord! Send us from the heaven a table spread with food that there may be for us—for the first and the last of us—a festival and a sign from You; and provide us sustenance, for You are the Best of sustainers.’ God answered, ‘I will send it down to you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him with a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among all humankind and jinn.’" (Quran 5:112-115)
Among the reasons for their request was that the disciples wanted to be witnesses before all of humankind. They wanted to spread the message of Jesus by proclaiming the miracles they witnessed with their own eyes. The disciples followed the teaching of Jesus even after his death. Unfortunately, over time, the true message of Jesus and the faith of the disciples was discarded and forgotten.
In the next part, we will learn what Prophet Muhammad said about Jesus and his disciples and compare Al-Hawariyoon to the companions of Prophet Muhammad.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE MIRACULOUS QURAN (PART 2 OF 11): THE QURAN AND ORIENTALISTS
Description: One of the leading Islamic personalities in America, Jamaal Zarabozo, discusses the miracle of the Quran, as how it played an influence in his journey to Islam. Part Two: A comparison between the Quran and what Orientalists had to say about it.
CATEGORY:Articles Evidence Islam is Truth The Authenticity and Preservation of the Holy QuranCATEGORY:Articles The Holy Quran The Authenticity and Preservation of the Holy Quran
By Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo (© 2007 IslamReligion.com)Published on 12 Mar 2007Last modified on 04 Oct 2009Printed: 3173Viewed: 78442 (daily average: 17)Rating: 4.6 out of 5Rated by: 11Emailed: 6Commented on: 0
Studying the Quran in 1976: The Quran Versus many Non-Muslim Writers
You should keep in mind that this took place in 1976. This was before the Iranian Revolution and Islam being plastered all over the media. I didn’t know any Muslims at the time. (I was living in a relatively small college town and I incorrectly assumed that there were no Muslims there.) Thus, there was no one trying to convince me of the truth of Islam. In fact, I eventually converted to Islam before ever meeting a Muslim, doing my best to learn the prayers from a book written by a missionary, T. P. Hughes’ The Dictionary of Islam.
Therefore, the information I was receiving about Islam came mostly from non-Muslims writing about Islam. There were very few books available to me at that time written by Muslims. In fact, I only recall coming across one work written by a Muslim, a relatively small work by Maudoodi. However, I was able to find a couple of copies of the Quran translated by Muslims. In particular, I was reading the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
In essence, it was truly the Quran versus a number of works written by non-Muslims. In general, these non-Muslims were forced to praise Islam every now and then but always tried to find some fault with the very basis of the faith. Thus, they came up with many theories about the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. I would be reading their critique side-by-side with the Quran.
Most of the authors I was reading were clearly saying that the Quran was not a revelation from God but simply written by the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. Such was the view expressed by Richard Bell in The Qur'an: Translated With a Critical Re-arrangement of the Surahs, Arberry in his introduction to his translation of the Quran, Kenneth Cragg in The Call of the Minaret, ad nauseum.
However, as Montgomery Watt noted, this in itself presented a host of questions. If Muhammad were a phony, did he do what he did maliciously? He was not known to be an insincere or malicious person beforehand, what then led to his change? Furthermore, if he did it maliciously, how did he come up with all of the information contained in the Quran, especially while living in a place like Mecca? Did he have teachers; if so, who were they and where is it documented that he had teachers?
To be frank, I was not very impressed with those who claimed that the Prophet had some teacher who gave him all of the information that later made up the Quran. In general, those authors would refer to chance or one-time meetings between the Prophet and specific individuals. Thus, for example, Muir and Margoliouth attributed the information found in the Quran to Baheerah, a monk that the Prophet may have met in Syria during his youth while part of a trading caravan, long before he claimed to be a Prophet. Such arguments are flatly illogical and extremely far-fetched. I did not spend much time with them.
Some critics were forced to admit that the Prophet Muhammad was known to be an extremely honest and sincere person. They also noted how he did not really materially benefit from his actions, as he continued to live a very sincere and humble life. Therefore, they concluded that he was honest and sincere but terribly deluded. But still, if he were deluded, where did this information come from? Some made it seem like it was from his subconscious. Anderson even called it “wishful thinking.” Others actually said that he was suffering from epileptic seizures and that the revelations were the result of such seizures. These theories may have been convincing to anyone who simply read what these authors wrote without taking the time to read and study the Quran itself. As shall be noted later in this lecture, there is simply too much information in the Quran that could not have possibly have come from one’s own subconscious.
Another common claim that I had read was that the Prophet Muhammad was some kind of “nationalist” leader whose main goal was to unite the Arabs. Typical of this way of thinking is what was stated in The New Catholic Encyclopedia: “About the age of 40 he received his ‘prophetic call’ to unite Arabs under a monotheism.” This approach can be considered more complementary, as it does not seek to ridicule the Prophet in any way. Yet, at the same time, it made no sense to me just on the basis of one reading of the Quran. It is sufficient to note that there is not one passage in the Quran that is addressed to the Arabs. In the Quran, God speaks to humankind or the people, believers and disbelievers. If this book were meant for the Arabs only, why are they never addressed directly and, instead, these general terms that cross all of humanity are used?
In any case, the plethora of their different views concerning the Prophet was a sign to me that something unfathomable to those authors had occurred. This was all evidence to me that there was really something to the Quran, as otherwise just could have just discounted it as a trivial work, not worth the effort of refuting or discussing. It actually got me even more interested in the Quran. This is something that you will see again later: The works that should have dissuaded me from further pursuing the Quran made me more convinced that I need to pursue it further.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: THE MIRACULOUS QURAN (PART 1 OF 11): MY PATH TO ISLAM
Description: One of the leading Islamic personalities in America, Jamaal Zarabozo, discusses the miracle of the Quran, as how it played an influence in his journey to Islam. Part One: An Introduction to this topic, along with a brief description of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad.
CATEGORY:Articles Evidence Islam is Truth The Authenticity and Preservation of the Holy QuranCATEGORY:Articles The Holy Quran The Authenticity and Preservation of the Holy Quran
By Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo (© 2007 IslamReligion.com)Published on 12 Mar 2007Last modified on 29 Mar 2011Printed: 3267Viewed: 94236 (daily average: 20)Rating: 4.5 out of 5Rated by: 18Emailed: 13Commented on: 0
Let me state at the outset that, after being Muslim for many years now, if I were given the topic of “The Miraculous Quran,” as I see it now, I would be emphasizing and discussing aspects that were completely unknown to me at the time that I was studying Islam as a non-Muslim. I have been studying the Quran for over thirty years now and it never fails to fascinate me. In fact, the phenomenon of continually finding new fascinating aspects of the Quran has been true for the Muslim scholars throughout the years. Over the centuries, as they have spoken about the Quran, later scholars recognize the miraculous aspects that the earlier scholars mentioned while coming across other aspects that they consider no less remarkable and amazing. Thus, for example, in the past century, we have had Aishah bint al-Shaati, Sayyid Qutb and Mustafa Saadiq al-Raafi’ee all adding components to the overall theory of the miraculous nature of the Quran. Lately, many have emphasized what are called the “scientific miracles of the Quran,” a topic we shall try to visit toward the end of this lecture.
However, this lecture is about “my story” and my path to Islam via the Quran. Therefore, I will be emphasizing those aspects of the Quran that influenced me the most at that time and I will give less time to other aspects that I have studied in detail since then.
A Very Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran
I am sure that most of you have some familiarity with the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and the Quran but for some points that I will make later, I believe a very brief introduction to the two is in order.
Muhammad was born around 570 years after the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula. The people of Mecca were devoted to idol-worship. The area was not known as a place of advanced civilization or learning at its time. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad was illiterate. At the age of forty, Muhammad received his first revelation. Although he was known among his people as “the trustworthy,” the majority of the Arabs belied him and soon after started a massive campaign to persecute those who believed in him. After thirteen years of preaching in Mecca, the Prophet himself left for the city of Medina, where he already had some followers. They made him the leader of the city. The disbelievers of Mecca did not rest and attempted to militarily squash the new faith. However, what was originally a small band of Muslims grew in number and were able to withstand the onslaught of the disbelievers. Within ten years, the Prophet himself led an army back to Mecca and conquered it in a bloodless victory. Thus, Islam became victorious in Arabia and began spreading throughout the world. The Prophet Muhammad finally died in 632.
As for the Quran, it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years. It was revealed directly to him via the angel Gabriel. He would receive the revelation and then convey it to his followers. Thus, the Quran is very different from the Bible. There are no human contributions to the Quran; it is only the revelation from God. In other words, you will not find any stories about the Prophet written by his Companions in the Quran. In fact, you will not even find in the Quran any of the Prophet’s speech outside of what he stated to be the revelation of the Quran. The Prophet’s own words have been kept completely separate from the Quran.
One final note, the Quran is only in Arabic. The best translation is not the Quran. Once you lose something in its original wording and rely only on translation, the original is truly lost.
The Story of My Conversion and my Near Baptism
The story of my conversion is not the most fascinating. However, one aspect is of interest: the affect that the Quran had on me.
My family moved to California from Spain. Thus, we were nominally Catholic. I had very little exposure to any religion until a friend of mine in school invited me to their church. I started attending and this was the first time that I began to read the Bible. I was definitely taking everything very seriously. There then came the time to be baptized. I had no problem with it except that I decided that, since this was the first religion I was exposed to, I should just look around at other religions to make sure that I was certain about what I was doing. I did not think this would actually affect my final decision while, in reality, that near baptism led me to becoming a Muslim.
I started studying about all religions I could find. This, obviously, is what led me to the Quran.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: CHRISTIAN SCHOLARS RECOGNIZE CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE (PART 1 OF 7): INTRODUCTION
“Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say: ‘This is from God’, to traffic with it for a miserable price. Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby.” (Quran 2:79)
“And when there came to them a messenger from God, Confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the book threw away the book of God behind their backs as if (it had been something) they did not know.” (Quran 2:101)
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I (God) command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)
Let us start from the beginning. No Biblical scholar on this earth will claim that the Bible was written by Jesus himself. They all agree that the Bible was written after the departure of Jesus peace be upon him by his followers. Dr. W Graham Scroggie of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, a prestigious Christian evangelical mission, says:
“..Yes, the Bible is human, although some out of zeal which is not according to knowledge, have denied this. Those books have passed through the minds of men, are written in the language of men, were penned by the hands of men and bear in their style the characteristics of men….It is Human, Yet Divine,”
Another Christian scholar, Kenneth Cragg, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, says:
“...Not so the New Testament...There is condensation and editing; there is choice reproduction and witness. The Gospels have come through the mind of the church behind the authors. They represent experience and history...”
“It is well known that the primitive Christian Gospel was initially transmitted by word of mouth and that this oral tradition resulted in variant reporting of word and deed. It is equally true that when the Christian record was committed to writing it continued to be the subject of verbal variation. Involuntary and intentional, at the hands of scribes and editors.”
“Yet, as a matter of fact, every book of the New Testament with the exception of the four great Epistles of St. Paul is at present more or less the subject of controversy, and interpolations are asserted even in these.”
Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf, one of the most adamant conservative Christian defenders of the Trinity was himself driven to admit that:
“[the New Testament had] in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written”
After listing many examples of contradictory statements in the Bible, Dr. Frederic Kenyon says:
“Besides the larger discrepancies, such as these, there is scarcely a verse in which there is not some variation of phrase in some copies [of the ancient manuscripts from which the Bible has been collected]. No one can say that these additions or omissions or alterations are matters of mere indifference”
Throughout this book you will find countless other similar quotations from some of Christendom’s leading scholars. Let us suffice with these for now.
Christians are, in general, good and decent people, and the stronger their convictions the more decent they are. This is attested to in the noble Quran:
“...and nearest among them (men) in love to the believers will you find those who say ‘we are Christians’: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the messenger (Muhammad), you will see their eyes overflowing with tears for they recognize the truth: They pray: ‘Our Lord! we believe; write us down among the witnesses.’” (Quran 5:82-83)
All biblical “versions” of the Bible prior to the revised version of 1881 were dependent upon the “Ancient Copies” (those dating between five to six hundred years after Jesus). The revisers of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952 were the first biblical scholars to have access to the “MOST ancient copies” which date fully three to four hundred years after Christ. It is only logical for us to concur that the closer a document is to the source the more authentic it is. Let us see what is the opinion of Christendom with regard to the most revised version of the Bible (revised in 1952 and then again in 1971):
“The finest version which has been produced in the present century” - (Church of England newspaper)
“A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence” - (Times literary supplement)
“The well loved characteristics of the authorized version combined with a new accuracy of translation” - (Life and Work)
“The most accurate and close rendering of the original” - (The Times)
The publishers themselves (Collins) mention on page 10 of their notes:
“This Bible (RSV) is the product of thirty two scholars assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty cooperating denominations”
Let us see what these thirty two Christian scholars of the highest eminence backed by fifty cooperating Christian denominations have to say about the Authorized Version (AV), or as it is better known, the King James Version (KJV). In the preface of the RSV 1971 we find the following:
“...Yet the King James Version has GRAVE DEFECTS..”
They go on to caution us that:
“...That these defects are SO MANY AND SO SERIOUS as to call for revision”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses in their “AWAKE” Magazine dated 8th September 1957 published the following headline: “50,000 Errors in the Bible” wherein they say “..there are probably 50,000 errors in the Bible...errors which have crept into the Bible text...50,000 such serious errors...” After all of this, however, they go on to say: “...as a whole the Bible is accurate.” Let us have a look at only a very few of these errors.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: The Jehovah’s Witnesses in their “AWAKE!” Magazine dated 8 September, 1957, carried this startling headline “50,000 Errors in The Bible? continued
One of the most serious of those “grave defects” which the authors of the RSV had tried to rectify concerned the Ascension of Christ. There have been only two references in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and of John to the most stupendous event in Christianity of Jesus being taken up into heaven. These two references were obtained in every Bible in every language, prior to 1952, when the RSV first appeared. These were:
4a. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)
4b. “While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51)
You will be shocked to note that Mark 16 ends at verse 8, and after an embarrassing expanse of blank space the missing verses appear in “small print” as a footnote at the bottom of the page. If you can lay your hands on a RSV 1952, you will find the last six words of 4b above, i.e. “and was carried up into heaven” replaced by a tiny “a” to tell you to see the footnote if you please, where you will find these missing words. Every honest Christian has to admit that he does not consider any footnote in any Bible as the word of God. Why should the paid servants of Christianity consign the mightiest miracle of their religion to a mere footnote?
From the Chart “The Origin and Growth of the English Bible” appearing below, you will note that all the Biblical “Versions” prior to the Revised Version of 1881 were dependent upon the Ancient copies those dating only five or six hundred years after Jesus. The Revisers of the RSV 1952, were the first Bible scholars who were able to tap the “Most Ancient Copies” fully, dating three and four centuries after Christ.
We agree that the closer to the source the more authentic is the document. Naturally “Most” Ancient deserves credence more than mere “Ancient.” But not finding a word about Jesus being “taken up” or “carried up” into heaven in the Most Ancient manuscripts, the Christian fathers expurgated those references from the RSV 1952.
The donkey circus
The above facts are a staggering confession by Christendom that the “inspired” authors of the Canonical Gospels did not record a single word about the Ascension of Jesus- Yet these “inspired” authors were unanimous in recording that their Lord and Saviour rode a donkey into Jerusalem as his mission drew to a close:
“And they sat him thereon.” (The Donkey). Matt. 21:7
“And he sat upon him.” (The Donkey). Mark 11:7
“And they set Jesus Thereon.” (The Donkey). Luke 19:35
“Jesus ... sat thereon:” (The Donkey). John 12:14
Could God Almighty have been the author of this incongruous situation going out of His Way to see that all the Gospel writers did not miss their footing recording of His “son’s” donkey-ride into the Holy City and yet “inspiring” them to black-out the news about His “son’s” heavenly flight on the wings of angels?
Not for long!
The hot-gospellers and the Bible-thumpers were too slow in catching the Joke. By the time they realised that the corner-stone of their preaching The Ascension Of Jesus had been undermined as a result of Christian Biblical erudition, the publishers of the RSV had already raked in a net profit of 15,000 000 dollars! (Fifteen Million). The propagandists made a big hue and cry, and with the backing of two denominational committees out of the fifty, forced the Publishers to re-incorporate the interpolations into the “Inspired” Word of God in every new publication of the RSV after 1952, the expunged portion was “Restored To The Text.”
It is an old, old game. The Jews and the Christians have been editing their “Book of God” from its very inception. The difference between them and the ancient forgerers is that the ancient forgers did not know the art of writing “prefaces” and “footnotes”, otherwise they too would have told us as clearly as our modern heroes have about their tampering, and their glib excuses for transmuting forged currency into glittering gold.
“many proposals for modification were submitted to the committee by individuals and by two denominational committees all of these were given careful attention by the committee.
“Two passages, the I longer ending of Mark (16:9-20) ... and Luke 24:51 are restored to the text.” (Preface Collins’ Pages Vi And Vii)
“Why ‘restored’”? Because they had been previously expunged! Why had the references to the Ascension expunged in the first place? The most Ancient manuscripts had no references to the Ascension at all. They were interpolations similar to 1 John 5:7 about the Trinity. (Refer to the earlier example 3). Why eliminate one and re-instate the other? Do not be surprised! By the time you lay your hands on a RSV, the “Committee” might also have decided to expunge the whole of their invaluable Preface. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have already eliminated 27 revealing pages of their Foreword to their “New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures,” (this is their way of saying New Testament).
Allah in the Christian Bible
The Rev. C. I. Scofield, D. D. with a team of 8 Consulting Editors, also all D.D.’s in the “Scofield Reference Bible” thought it appropriate to spell the Hebrew word “Elah” (meaning God) alternatively as “Alah” The Christians had thus swallowed the camel they seemed to have accepted at last that the name of God is Allah but were still straining at the gnat by spelling Allah with one “L”!
References were made in public lectures to this fact by the author of this booklet. Believe me, the subsequent “Scofield Reference Bible” has retained word for word the whole commentary of Genesis 1:1, but has, by a clever sleight of hand, blotted out the word “Alah” altogether. There is not even a gap where the word “Alah” once used to be. (See “What Is His Name” for more information on this Biblical omission of the word Allah). This is in the Bible of the orthodox! One is hard pressed to keep up with their Jugglery.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: The Jehovah’s Witnesses in their “AWAKE!” Magazine dated 8 September, 1957, carried this startling headline “50,000 Errors in The Bible?”.
1. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 - AV)
The indispensable “Virgin” in the above verse has now been replaced in the RSV with the phrase “a young woman,” which is the correct translation of the Hebrew word Almah. Almah is the word which has occurred all along in the Hebrew text and not bethulah which means Virgin. This correction is only to be found in the English language translation, as the RSV is only published in this tongue. For the African and the Afrikaner, the Arab and the Zulu, in fact, in the 1 500 other languages of the world, Christians are made to continue to swallow the misnomer “Virgin.”
Begotten, not made
“Jesus is the only begotten son of God, begotten not made,” is an adjunct of the orthodox catechism, leaning for support on the following:
2. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only BEGOTTEN son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 - AV)
No priest worth his cloth would fail to quote “the only Begotten of the Father!” when preaching to a prospective convert. But this fabrication “Begotten” has now been unceremoniously excised by the Bible Revisers, without a word of excuse. They are as silent as church-mice and would not draw the reader’s attention to their furtive excision. This blasphemous word “Begotten” was another of the many such interpolations in the “Holy Bible.” God Almighty condemned this blasphemy in the strongest terms soon after its innovation. He did not wait for 2000 years for Bible scholars to reveal the fraud:
“They say: (God) Most Gracious has begotten a son! Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.” (Quran 19:88-92)
The Muslim World should congratulate the “Fifty cooperating denominations” of Christendom and their Brains Trust the “Thirty-two scholars of the highest eminence” for bringing their Holy Bible a degree nearer to the Quranic truth: “He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;” (Quran 112:3)
3. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1st Epistle Of John 5:7 – AV)
This verse is the closest approximation to what the Christians call their Holy Trinity in the encyclopaedia called the Bible. This key-stone of the Christian faith has also been scrapped from the RSV without even a semblance of explanation. It has been a pious fraud all along and well-deservedly has it been expunged in the RSV for the English-speaking people.
But for the 1499 remaining language groups of the world who read the Christian concoctions in their mother tongues, the fraud remains. These people will never know the truth until the Day of Judgement. However, we Muslims must again congratulate the galaxy of D.D.’s who have been honest enough to eliminate another lie from the English (RSV) Bible, thus bringing their Holy Book yet another step closer to the teachings of Islam. For the Holy Quran says:
“Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah”
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: IS JESUS GOD OR SENT BY GOD?
Jesus is a figure who is loved and revered by billions of people the world over. Yet there is so much confusion surrounding the status of this colossal personality. Muslims and Christians both hold Jesus in high regard but view him in very different ways.
The questions raised in this article aim to get to the heart of the issues surrounding Jesus: Is Jesus God? Or was he sent by God? Who was the real historical Jesus?
Some ambiguous verses of the Bible can be applied erroneously to show that Jesus is in some way divine. But if we look at the clear, direct verses of the Bible, we see again and again that Jesus is being referred to as an extraordinary human being and nothing more. What emerges, when we consider the historical and logical facts about Jesus’ life, is conclusive proof not only that Jesus cannot be God, but that he never claimed to be either.
What follows are five lines of reasoning which clarify this subject for us through the Bible itself and thereby allow us to discover the real Jesus.
1. Jesus Never Calls Himself God
The Bible (in spite of being changed and adulterated over time) contains many verses in which Jesus speaks of God as a separate person to himself. Here are just a few of them:
When a man addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher”, he replied “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God.’’ [Mark 10:18]
In another instance he says: “I can’t do anything by myself. Whatever I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just. I don’t seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” [John 5:30]
Jesus speaks of God as a separate being to himself: I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. [John 20:17]
In this verse he affirms that he was sent by God: This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. [John 17:3]
If Jesus was God he would have told people to worship him, but he did the opposite and disapproved anyone worshipping him: And in vain they worship Me [Matthew 15:9]
If Jesus claimed to be God than there should be hundreds of verses in the Bible which would have mentioned it. But there is not a single verse in the entire Bible in which Jesus says I am God, worship me.
2. Jesus as Son and Lord?
Jesus is sometimes referred to as ‘Lord’ in the Bible and at other times as ‘Son of God’. God is called the ‘Father’, so putting these names together it could be claimed that Jesus is the son of God. But if we look at each of these titles in context we will find that they are symbolic and not to be taken literally.
‘Son of God’ is a term used in ancient Hebrew for a righteous person. God calls Israel his ‘son’: This is what the LORD says: Israel is my oldest son.[Exodus 4:22]. Also, David is called the ‘Son of God’: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ [Psalm 2:7]. In fact anyone who is righteous is referred to as God’s ‘son’: All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. [Romans 8:14].
In the same way, when the word ‘Father’ is used to refer to God it shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead it’s a way of saying God is the creator, sustainer, cherisher etc. There are many verses for us to understand this symbolic meaning of the word ‘Father’, for example: one God and Father of all. [Ephesians 4:6].
Jesus is sometimes called ‘Lord’ by the disciples. ‘Lord’ is a term used for God and also for people who are held in high esteem. There are many examples of the word ‘Lord’ being used for people in the Bible: So they (Joseph’s brothers) went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said. [Genesis 43:19-20]. Also, in other parts of the Bible, Jesus is even called a ‘servant’ of God by the disciples: the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. [Acts 3:13]. This clearly shows that when ‘Lord’ is used to refer to Jesus, it is a title of respect not of divinity.
3. The Nature of Jesus
The nature of Jesus was totally different to that of God. There are many parts of the Bible that highlight this difference in nature:
God is All-Knowing but Jesus by his own admission was not All-Knowing. This can be seen in the following passage when Jesus says “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows.” [Matthew 24:36]
God is independent and he doesn’t need sleep, food or water. Jesus however ate, drank, slept and depended on God: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father. [John 6:57]. Another sign of Jesus’ dependence on God is that he prayed to God: Going a little farther, he (Jesus) fell with his face to the ground and prayed [Matthew 26:39]. This shows that Jesus himself sought help from God. God, being the one who answers prayers does not need to pray to anyone. Also, Jesus said: I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. [John 14:28].
The Bible is clear that God is unseen and is not a man: for no one may see me and live. [Exodus 33:20], God is not a man [Numbers 23:19]. Jesus on the other hand was a man who was seen by thousands of people, so he could not be God. Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that God is too great to be inside his creation: But how could God possibly live on earth with people? If heaven, even the highest heaven, can’t contain you [2 Chronicles 6:18]. According to this verse Jesus cannot be God living on the earth.
Also the Bible calls Jesus a Prophet [Matthew 21:10-11], so how could Jesus be God and be God’s Prophet at the same time? That wouldn’t make sense.
Additionally the Bible informs us that God does not change: I the Lord do not change. [Malachi 3:6:]. Jesus however went through many changes in his life such as age, height, weight etc.
These are just some of the proofs within the Bible, which make it clear that the nature of Jesus and God is completely different. Some people may claim that Jesus had both a human and a divine nature. This is a claim that Jesus never made, and is in clear contradiction to the Bible which maintains that God has one nature.
dr_mohamed_mahmoud: IS JESUS GOD OR SENT BY GOD? (PART 2 OF 2)
4. The Message of Jesus
The Prophets of the Old Testament such as Abraham, Noah and Jonah never preached that God is part of a Trinity, and did not believe in Jesus as their saviour. Their message was simple: there is one God and He alone deserves your worship. It doesn’t make sense that God sent Prophets for thousands of years with the same essential message, and then all of a sudden he says he is in a Trinity and that you must believe in Jesus to be saved.
The truth is that Jesus preached the same message that the Prophets in the Old Testament preached. There is a passage in the Bible which really emphasizes his core message. A man came to Jesus and asked "Which is the first commandment of all?"Jesus answered, "The first of all the commandments is Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’’[Mark 12:28-29]. So the greatest commandment, the most important belief according to Jesus is that God is one. If Jesus was God he would have said ‘I am God, worship me’, but he didn’t. He merely repeated a verse from the Old Testament confirming that God is One.
Some people claim that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. But consider the following statement of Jesus: This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.[John 17:3-4]. Jesus said this before he was caught and taken to be crucified. It is clear from this verse that Jesus did not come to die for the sins of the world, as he finished the work God gave him before he was taken to be crucified.
Also Jesus said "salvation is of the Jews" [John 4:22]. So according to this we don’t need to believe in the Trinity or that Jesus died for our sins to attain salvation since the Jews don’t have these beliefs.
5. The Early Christians
Historically there were many sects in early Christianity who had a range of beliefs regarding Jesus. Some believed Jesus was God, others believed Jesus was not God but partly divine, and yet others believed he was a human being and nothing more. Trinitarian Christianity which is the belief that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one in three persons became the dominant sect of Christianity, once it was formalized as the state religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century. Christians who denied Jesus being God were persecuted by the Roman Authorities. From this point onwards the Trinitarian belief became widespread amongst Christians. There were various movements in early Christianity which denied the Trinity, among the more well known of them is Adoptionism and Arianism.
Dr Jerald Dirks who is an expert on early Christianity had this to say on the subject: Early Christianity was quite conflicted about the issue of the nature of Jesus. The various Adoptionist positions within early Christianity were numerous and at times dominate. One can even speculate that Arian and Nestorian Christianity might well be an extremely sizable source within Christianity today, if it were not for the fact that these two branches of Christianity, which were located primarily in the middle east and in North Africa were so similar to the Islamic teaching regarding the nature of Jesus that they quite naturally were absorbed into Islam at the beginning of the seventh century."
Since there were so many sects in early Christianity, each with different beliefs about Jesus and with their own versions of the Bible, which one can we say was following the true teachings of Jesus?
It doesn’t make sense that God sends countless Prophets like Noah, Abraham and Moses to tell people to believe in one God, and then suddenly sends a radically different message of the Trinity which contradicts his previous Prophets teachings. It is clear that the sect of Christianity who believed Jesus to be a human Prophet and nothing more, were following the true teachings of Jesus. This is because their concept of God is the same as that which was taught by the Prophets in the Old Testament.
Jesus in Islam
The Islamic belief about Jesus demystifies for us who the real Jesus was. Jesus in Islam was an extraordinary individual, chosen by God as a Prophet and sent to the Jewish people. He never preached that he himself was God or the actual son of God. He was miraculously born without a father, and he performed many amazing miracles such as healing the blind and the lepers and raising the dead – all by God’s permission. Muslims believe that Jesus will return before the day of Judgement to bring justice and peace to the world. This Islamic belief about Jesus is similar to the belief of some of the early Christians. In the Quran, God addresses the Christians about Jesus in the following way:
O People of the Book, do not commit excesses in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’– stop [this], that is better for you– God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. [4:171]
Islam is not just another religion. It is the same message preached by Moses, Jesus and Abraham. Islam literally means ‘submission to God’ and it teaches us to have a direct relationship with God. It reminds us that since God created us, no one should be worshipped except God alone. It also teaches that God is nothing like a human being or like anything that we can imagine. The concept of God is summarized in the Quran as:
"Say, He is God, the One. God, the Absolute. He does not give birth, nor was He born, and there is nothing like Him." (Quran 112:1-4)
Becoming a Muslim is not turning your back to Jesus. Rather it’s going back to the original teachings of Jesus and obeying him.