Black Muslims : What Is The Quran?

Discussion in 'Islam Study Group' started by ABDULLAH, Sep 18, 2010.


    ABDULLAH Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 13, 2010
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    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    What Is The Quran?

    *.. Authenticity Of The Quran

    *.. How can Muslims be assured that the Qur'an is the Word of God?

    *.. The Final Book

    Authenticity Of The Quran

    All praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and we seek his help and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our selves and from the evil results of our actions. I testify that Allah alone is worthy of worship and that Muhammad is His slave and final Messenger. May Allah’s salawaat (peace and blessings) be upon the last and final messenger Muhammad, his family and his followers. Ameen!

    To begin: The best discourse is the book of Allah, and the best way is the way of Muhammad, and the worst of the matters in the religion are those newly introduced innovations, for every innovation in the religion is misguidance, and every misguidance is going astray and every going astray is in the Hellfire.

    I have embarked on my commentary on the The Economist magazine’s survey “Islam and the West” (large insert in the August 6, 1994 issue) after some considerable deliberation, and find myself confronted with a considerable task, and indeed Allah is the best of helpers. Brian Beedham is able to rely on what Noam Chomskey calls “manufactured consent”. While dictatorships use force in order to achieve consent from the people and prevent opposition, “democracies” manufacture consent through the media by using it to providing a particular world view which, conforms to the interests, by and large, of the ruling elite. He is able to get away with a short, condensed, article because he doesn’t need to prove much of what he is saying, he only has to repeat the prefabricated conventional platitudes. For example, when he talks about the Algerian Muslims as “a singularly intransigent bunch of Islamic rebels, fundamentalists of the most bloody minded sort” he doesn’t have to prove it, because the establishment has already ensured that people believe this is the case. In fact the statement in not at all true. The Algerian fundamentalists proved willing to go to elections and seek a peaceful way re-establish the Islamic Sharee’ah. Recent events, such as the meeting of the opposition groups, including the “rebel fundamentalists”, in Rome, calling for talks and a return to free elections - which was even supported by the French government and was rejected by the Algerian government - shows that it is the Algerian government that has proved bloody minded. In spite of such obvious discrepancies Mr. Beedham is able to get away with it because consent has already been manufactured that the fundamentalists are rebellious and bloody-minded.

    Similarly he never feels he has to prove that democracy is an advantage, it is taken almost completely for granted, knowing his audience is already “captive” so as to speak. In the age of the “sound-bite” (or perhaps in this case “word-bite”), opposing the conventional wisdom is not easy, for what the likes of Mr. Beedham can say in a sentence opposing it would take a book. Even then it would be of doubtful effectiveness, for opposing the norms of society is perhaps one of the hardest paths to take for instinctively societal creatures like us. Thus I shall be writing a series of letters, and not just one, thus enabling me to break down the commentary into more manageable pieces. I shall also refer certain topics to appendices, which may include video and audiotapes.

    Islam: An Idea!

    Of course no Muslim could accept Islam merely as an idea. As the survey itself mentions, Islam is based on the "word of God, revealed syllable by syllable to Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago" (p.4 c.2). Thus it is no mere idea; rather it is the idea, the ideology, and the truth, exclusive of all others. As the Qur’an states: "Indeed the religion before Allah is Islam" . . . "Whoever wishes for a way of life other that Islam, never will it be accepted from them and in the hereafter they will be amongst the losers" (Surah Al Imraan 3:85). The religion has been completed and perfected, and has no need for alteration or adjustment: "This day we have completed your religion for you and perfected our favor upon you and chosen for your way of life Islam" (Surah Al Imraan 3:85). The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said: "There is not one thing that shall bring you closer to the Paradise and away from the Fire without me having informed you of it, and there is not one thing that will take you away from paradise and towards the fire except that I have warned you about it." It is indeed true that Islam does not allow its followers to draw a distinction between the "inner" and "outer" aspects of life, between belief and actions, religion and politics, because in reality such distinctions are totally fallacious. Man’s beliefs are the foundations and prime motivators for actions, for what is held to be true on the inside must manifest itself outwardly. Indeed the very first task given to Muhammad, peace be upon him, was to correct the false beliefs. It was not that the pagan Arabs did not believe in Allah, or God the Creator. In fact the Qur’an tells Muhammad, peace be upon him, "If you ask them who sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death? They would certainly say ‘Allah!’ Say: ‘All the praise and thanks be to Allah!’ Nay! Most of them have no sense" (Surah al-Ankaboot 29:63). "Say: ‘Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?’ They will say: ‘Allah.’ Say: ‘Will you not them be afraid of Allah’s Punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allah)?’” (Surah Yunus 10:31). Indeed the pagan Arabs used to worship Allah, pray to Him and sacrifice to Him in times of need and distress, as did the Jews and Christians, and they even claimed to love Him, but Allah rejected all of this from them and referred to them as senseless, and astray, and as disbelievers. So this is the reality concerning most of the men and jinn, that they claim to believe in Allah, and worship Allah, but what they believe about Him is incorrect, and the way they worship Him is incorrect . . . "Most of them do not believe in Allah except while joining partners with Him" (Surah Yusuf 12:106) . . . and it’s manifestations are many and the evil consequences numerous.

    All of this has one common cause, or origin, and that is thinking and speaking about Allah without knowledge, and thus ascribing to Him that which should not be ascribed to Him, such as sons, or daughters, or human qualities and weaknesses, or claiming that some of the creation possess His powers and abilities, or by claiming that He, the Majestic, is pleased by some action that in fact angers Him, or that He is angered by some action that in fact pleases Him. So thus the idol worshippers call upon that which can neither benefit nor harm them, and the Christians call upon Jesus, and the Jews believe their racial origins guarantee His good pleasure, and those who believe that power, wealth and the such are means of success; all have put their faith and trust in something vain. This in itself is a great evil, for they have only wasted their time and effort, yet this is least of the evil consequences. As for that which is most severe . . . those who have fallen into associating partners with Allah have earned His anger and wrath, and upon them shall fall humiliation in this life and a most terrible fate in the next: "Surely Allah will not forgive as-shirk (the association of partners with Him), but He forgives sins less than that of whomever He wishes" (Surah an-Nisa’ 4:48). So "as-shirk", or ascribing partners to Allah (in whatever form it may take) is the unforgivable sin, because it is in reality the source of all evil, the greatest injustice, the worst oppression and wrongdoing. For if one is unafraid of speaking about Allah without knowledge, and this is a knowledge unattainable except through Him, for He is the best knower of Himself and His will, and that which pleases and displeases Him, then about what and about whom will one be afraid of speaking about ignorantly? For truly, as is obvious to anyone witnessing the destructive forces of nature, and untold misfortunes and miseries over which Allah alone has ultimate power and control, both in this life and the next, Allah is the most terrifying and most worthy of being feared. And also anyone witnessing the miraculous order, and precision, and symbiosis within the earth and universe, must realize the unparalleled knowledge and wisdom of its Creator. So if one is heedless of transgressing the laws of Allah, and thinks them of little or no importance, or worse considers them bad, evil, and outdated, then what of the laws conceived in the limited minds of men? If one is ungrateful to his Lord, the provider of all, then of what little consequence to such a one is ingratitude to the creation? If one denies the rights and dues of Allah, which are the most worthy of being fulfilled, then what rights and dues will one be fearful of denying then? Thus imagine the case of a worker in a company run by yourself, who believes you are the lavatory cleaner, and the lavatory cleaner is the director! Would there not be evil results? Would you tolerate such a person, If so, for how long? Now envisage this fool teaching this to others, and insisting on it, so that the majority of the company came to believe it, ignoring your orders and prohibitions, and inventing them for themselves, and making their guide the lavatory cleaner who is moreover deaf and dumb!

    The true cause of the evils that beset mankind are disbelief, sinfulness and ingratitude to Allah: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” (Surah as-Shura 42:30). “Evil has appeared on the land and sea, because of what your hands have earned. That Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return” (Surah ar-Rum 30:41). As the saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, "There is none who has a greater sense of ghira (a feeling of great fury and anger when one’s honor and prestige is injured or challenged) than Allah, and so He has forbidden shameful deeds and sins. And there is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does" (Reported in Saheeh Al Bukhari). Allah is more infuriated by the disobedience of His slave than a man of honor is finding his wife fornicating with another man. So how is His fury with those who insult Him by ascribing rivals, and partners with Him, while He is glorious above such things! And the evil consequences are not limited to this life: "Verily, those who disbelieved, and die while they are disbelievers, the whole earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers" (Surah Al Imran 3:91). The Prophet, peace be upon him, explained: "On the day of judgment a disbeliever will be asked: ‘Suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself from the hell-fire?’ He will reply: ‘Yes!’ Then it will be said to him: ‘You were asked for something easier than that, that you should join none in worship with Allah, and submit yourself to Him, but you refused’" (Reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari).

    Indeed the message of all the prophets is one and the same: "Verily, We have sent to every nation a messenger saying: ‘Worship Allah and avoid false objects of worship’" (Surah an-Nahl 16:36) and indeed this is the very purpose for which Allah created mankind: "I did not create the jinn and mankind except for My worship" (Surah ad-Dhaariyaat 51:56). So “as-shirk” (i.e. ascribing partners to Allah) is in contradiction to that reason for which Allah has created us, and the purpose for which we exist, which is to choose to single out Allah for worship, avoiding all false deities, and to worship Him completely, with sacrifice, supplication, submission, subjugation, obedience and compliance, and with love, fear, hope, trust and reliance upon Him, seeking only His pleasure and not the admiration of His creatures, and to do all of that according to that which was revealed to His last and final Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him,, and not according to whims and desires and mere conjecture.

    Furthermore, and of immediate relevance to the discussion, are those qualities, unique to Allah, that single Him out, such as "al-Hakim", the Judge; "al-Hakeem", the Wise; "al-’Aleem", the All Knowing and "as-Shariy", the Legislator. Not only is Allah the Creator and Controller and Sustainer, but also the sole possessor of the wisdom and knowledge to legislate for mankind and to determine what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is prohibited, and thus what laws we should judge by, what social, economic and political system we should utilize . . . "And no partner in legislating has He-He is alone" (Surah al-Kahf 18:60) . . . "Indeed, the ruling is Allah’s" (Surah Yusuf 12:40). Allah admonished the Jews and Christians, and called them disbelievers, for " . . . taking their priests and rabbis as lords besides Allah" (Surah at-Tawbah 9:31). The Prophet, peace be upon him, went on to explain that the priest and rabbis "made lawful that which Allah had made unlawful, and made unlawful that which Allah had made lawful and the people accepted it...So that was their (i.e. the people’s) worship of them.” Thus to ascribe legislative power to people is a clear and obvious form of disbelief, and “shirk”, or setting up rivals to Allah, and is the unforgivable sin, and a contradiction of the purpose of creation. If Allah blamed the people from the Jews and Christians for accepting from those among them who were learned in the Scripture and Divine legislation changes and alterations, and the making the forbidden allowed and visa versa, as we see them doing until this day, then how about those who accept such actions from every Tom, Dick and Harry, who have no scripture, and no wisdom and only pure speculation, whims and desires, as is the case of Democracy?

    So the The Economist magazine’s survey admits that Islam makes no distinction between outward and inner, private and public life, yet goes on to suggest Muslims should abandon this, and adopt the ways of the worst error: disobedience to and rebellion against Allah, and commit the unforgivable sin of ascribing partners to Him. Truly Allah speaks the truth when He says: "Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:120) and we seek refuge with Allah from that, for surely we would be of the losers.

    To Clash or Not To Clash?

    Will there be a confrontation between Islam and the West? Mr. Huntington’s clash of civilizations claims “yes”, but the survey is "not convinced". It is true that the world of Islam and the West have more in common with each other than they do with the Confucian and Hindu ones, but in reality both Mr. Huntington’s and Mr. Beedham’s comparisons are unhelpful in understanding the reality of the matter. What Mr. Beedham’s admits are important differences (Westerners not believing that God dictated the Qur’an and Muslim’s not believing the Jesus is the son of God) are in fact irreconcilable differences, at least from the Muslim stand point . . . “And they say the Compassionate (i.e. Allah) has taken to Himself a son. Certainly you utter a disastrous thing, whereby the heavens are almost torn asunder, and the earth split open and the mountains crumbles to ruin, that you ascribe to the Compassionate a son! When it is not befitting the majesty of the Compassionate that He should choose a son. There is none in the heavens or the earth but comes to the Compassionate as a slave” (Surah Maryam 19:88-93). Islam does not regard Christians who claim that Jesus is God, or the Son of God, as “monotheists” any more than Hindus who claim that Krishna is a “manifestation of God” or Buddhists who claim that Buddha is God. All of this is disbelief and polytheism. It is this that is the basis of conflict. It is a conflict not only sanctioned, but ordered in the Qur’an: "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor the last day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the people of the Book , until they pay the jizya (i.e. protection tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued" (Surah at-Tawbah 9:29).

    This is not a confrontation of civilizations, nor is it a clash of cultures. Islam does not oppose the West, or anyone else, because of revenge over past hostilities, out of a desire to restore injured pride or because of the desire to amass their wealth and lands. The fight is for one purpose only and that is to establish the religion of Islam in its totality, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, explained when a man came to him and asked: "One of us fights for booty, another for his tribe and another to be known as brave, which one is fighting jihad?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: "None of them. Only the one who fights to make Allah’s Word the highest is fighting jihad." It is clear to any believer acquainted with Allah’s Book (i.e. the Qur’an) and His Prophet’s Sunnah that jihad (i.e. struggling to the utmost of ones ability) is an intrinsic part of faith, and a duty among the duties in Islam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, as reported by Tariq bin Shihab: "He who amongst you sees something evil should change it with his hand; and if he is unable he should change it with his tongue; and if he is unable to do that he should at least hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith" (Reported in Saheeh Muslim, No. 79).

    Jihad has three characteristics. The first form is jihad of the heart, or jihad of the self. This is the internal struggle to acquire the correct creed, and to remove from one’s self all doubts and misconceptions concerning this creed, and also the commands and prohibitions enjoined on the believer. It further more encompasses the purifying of the soul from base desires and acquiring noble qualities. The second level is the jihad of the tongue. This is the struggle against evil, and wrong beliefs and actions through preaching and writing books and the like. This form of jihad is characterized by its use against the deviants from among the Muslims, but also extends to the unbelievers. The final form of jihad is that of the hand, or sword, where one expends life and property. It is characterized by its use against unbelievers, but can also be used against deviant groups under the authority of the Muslim ruler. This jihad of the hand, often termed "Holy War", is further compartmentalized into three stages. The first is that of it being forbidden, as it was in the early days of Muhammad’s prophethood. If the Muslims are weak, and fighting is liable to cause only harm and no benefit, then they should desist. Such is the case of those dwelling in non-Muslim lands. The second stage is that of self-defense, or restricting the fight to "those who fight you" (2:190), and releasing the lands of the Muslims from the control of their enemies. This is the condition of the Muslims today. The final stage is that of fighting in order to open the path for establishing Allah’s rule in the lands of the unbelievers, as was done by the Prophet’s companions and the Muslim rulers after them. "And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah when there are weak and oppressed, old men, women and children whose cry is ‘Oh Lord save us from those who oppress, and send to one who will aid and send to us one who will help!’" (Surah an-Nisa’ 4:75). Thus one the Prophet’s companions, Rab’ia ibn Amer, went to meet Rostrum, the famous Persian general, at his request and the general offered camels, and women and asked them to return to the desert. Rab’ia refused, and Rostrum asked him why then were they fighting. Rab’ia replied: "We have come to take mankind from the darkness to the light and from the worship of the false gods to the worship of Allah, from the narrowness of this world the wide expanse of this world and the next, and from the injustices of man made religions to the justice of Islam."

    So this Jihad is the peak of the matter and fulfilling it is part of fulfilling the covenant with Allah, and abandoning it is the cause of humiliation and defeat for the Muslims. As Allah said: "If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is able to do all things" (Surah at-Tawbah 9:39) and the saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, "When you deal in “al-ainiya” (i.e. become complacent and satisfied with a domestic life) and hang on to the cows tails, and abandon jihad, then Allah will permit your humiliation at the hands of your enemies and will not lift it from you until you return to your religion." So today we find Muslims leading a life as if they had no prophet, nor belief in any Divine Message or Divine Revelation, nor expectation of any reckoning, nor is fear of the hereafter. They resemble the pre-Islamic nations, against whom they used to fight in the past. So they have turned on their heels as apostates from Islam and have imitated the ignorant nations in their civilization, in their social affairs, in their political systems, in their character and in the pleasures of their lives. So Allah hated them and forsook them, as He promised He would. He had warned them of this clearly in His Book, and on the tongue of His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, "Soon the nations will gather to take from you the same way you invite others to share from a feast!" A person asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, “Is that because we are small in our numbers?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, answered: “No! You will be many, like the foam on the sea, but you will be rubbish, like the rubbish carried down by the floodwater. And certainly Allah will remove from the breasts of your enemies the fear of you and into your breasts He will cast enervation." A person asked: “What is enervation?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, replied: "It is love of life and fear of death." This has come true exactly, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, predicted, and if there is a “Revival of Islam”, then that is because anyone with ears and eyes can see how the Muslims are humiliated - their lands a feast for their enemies, ruled by laws and ways nothing to do with that which Allah has revealed. The solution to these problems has been given by the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself one thousand four hundred years ago: "Return to your religion", enjoin what Allah has enjoined and forbid what He has forbidden, prefer the next life to this, and for the Muslims to once again struggle with their lives and properties to bring themselves and others out of the oppression of man made ways of life to the justice of that which has been revealed by the All-knowing Creator!

    So the matter of conflict between Islam and the West is not at all as the survey suggests, i.e. factors such as geography, past enmities, culture clash and so on; nor is the Islamic Revival some search for identity, coupled with some sort of inferiority complex. To the believer the conflict is one of truth against falsehood, justice against oppression, the way to Paradise against the way to Hellfire, the perfection of Allah’s revealed way against the misguidance of human ignorance. Furthermore, all of this should make it clear that there is indeed an "insuperable reason why Muslims and Westerners cannot live peaceably with each other" (p.5 c. 2). Mr. Beedham’s survey, for all its optimism, has made an oft-repeated mistake. He has judged the Muslims by his own standards, believing they want, as do the West, to reach some sort of compromise. The truth is that Islam teaches its followers to seek death on the battlefield, that dying whilst fighting jihad is one of the surest ways to paradise and Allah’s good pleasure. It is as Khalid bin Waleed, whom the Prophet, peace be upon him, called the ‘Sword of Allah’ and hero of every good Muslim child, said in response to a Roman letter inviting him to surrender: “We have with us people who love death as you love wine.” It was Ronald Reagan who quite rightly pointed out that: “How do you expect to defeat a people who believe that when you kill them they go to a paradise filled with beautiful virgins and rivers of wine?” Whether the believer sees the result in his or her lifetime is irrelevant, for their duty is to carry on the jihad, and so be saved from Allah’s wrath in this life and the next.

    The conflict will be there as long as there are those who stubbornly resist submission to their Lord and Creator. If all of this seems intransigent and fundamentalist that’s because IT IS. With Islam you are dealing with absolutes. This conflict, however, may not necessarily be a violent one, in the sense of war, causing loss of life, limb and property. Islam does not necessarily demand a change through violence if the end can be effectively achieved through other means. So perhaps there is cause for the surveys optimism, but the solution can only lie in a very different direction from what it suggests! Allah has promised in His Book that if the Muslims fail to keep their covenant, and fight against the foolish disbelief, then He will destroy them and "replace them with a people who will love Him, and He will love them, and they will be hard against the forces of disbelief and kind to the believers, and unafraid of those who find fault" (Surah al-Ma’idah 5:54). And Allah speaks the truth, and His promise comes true, and this has proven so in the past, as when the Muslims left their religion, fought amongst each other, and reveled in the delights of worldly life . . . then the calamity of the Tartars feel upon them, destroying utterly the Muslim lands, and its capital Baghdad. Yet from these same conquerors, Allah made them the defenders and upholders of Islam, and from them to the Turks, who in their turn lapsed, and so Allah destroyed them at the hands of the Europeans. Thus is situation in which Muslims find themselves today. It is quite possible that history will repeat itself, and that Islam will be given its strength again through those who had formally tried to destroy it.

    The whole issue of whether the West will accept Islam or not has been a topic of debate amongst Muslim scholars and thinkers. It seems unlikely that there will be any sort of military conquest of the Western world, at least in the foreseeable future, but conquest is not always through arms. Indonesia and Malaysia never saw invading Muslims armies. Islam "conquered" these lands with a different weapon altogether. The weapon was Islam itself. The real threat from the growth of “fundamentalism” to those in the Western, and other, parts of the world who would like to see Islam far removed from influencing the way they run their countries, is not of invading hoards of Muslim militants, but rather the effect of a practical example of Islam in operation in the form of a true Islamic state. Also the probability of these same "fundamentalist" states utilizing their resources to inform the world of the reality of what Islam is, as opposed to the lies and distortions it has been fed until now! How likely, then, is it for this true Islamic state to materialize, and how do people following a religion one thousand four hundred years old possibly expect it to work in the twentieth century?

    The Strange Case of the Fundamentalists

    The Muslim world is at present a patchwork of competing nation sates, ruled by political, social and judicial systems that can by no means be termed "Islamic". Indeed in many of these countries there are laws in direct opposition to what has been revealed by Allah to His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. It seems the only Islamic quality about some of these nations is that they happen to have Muslims in them. A large portion of the Muslim World has, for the last two hundred years, been under the occupation, or “protectorate”, of one or another of the European powers, which gradually dispensed with the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law) and supplemented it with various Western systems. After gaining so called “independence” these alien political and judicial systems remained, or were replaced by other Western influenced hybrids. The “Nationalism” of Attaturk in Turkey, the “Ba’athism” of Iraq and Syria, the “Pan-Arab Nationalistic Socialism” of Egypt’s Jamal Abdel-Nasr, and its various offshoots such as Qaddafi’s "Islamic Socialism". All of these movements freely used “Islamic” slogans when, and if, it suited their aims. The simple multitudes were caught up in the fervor of the newfound "freedom", and in order to maintain it they were told they must "modernize". To the so-called “intellectual elite” this meant abandoning everything from the past, and taking on board everything that was new. Thus the “Modernist” movement arose, lead by the likes of Muhammad Abdu that explained away every miracle of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and even many of the basic acts of worship. For the first time riba (dealing usury/interest) was legalized and the adoption of Western dress and lifestyles was encouraged. They tried to make all of this acceptable by bypassing the traditional methods of Islamic scholarship for personal itjihad (i.e. juristic reasoning) and interpretation of the texts.

    For others, Islam itself was merely an enemy to progress, especially in the Soviet Union where veils were burnt, mosques demolished and scholars exiled to Siberia - or executed. Street walls were painted with the words: "There is no God and Lenin is His Prophet". In many places throughout the Muslim World mosques, became empty, and women walked in mini-skirts on the street. Then things started to change. In the face of Western and Communist power, medicine and technological wizardry, of men on the moon and aircraft that could circle the globe in days, of weapons of mass destruction that combined were able to destroy the world seventeen times over, the computer chip and nations that seemed to have reached unrivaled material prosperity and personal freedom, there was a gradual, yet unavoidably noticeable return to Islam. Not, mind you, only by the uneducated, impoverished peasants, but the educated, prosperous, middle classes. Furthermore, this was not merely a return to the mosque five times a day, and the veil for the woman, but a call for Islam in its TOTALITY - to be re-implemented once again. For indeed the reality that Islam makes no distinction between the private and public, between the religious and political, had been apparent to Muslim scholars long before the The Economist’s survey deemed to point it out. Indeed it was obvious that the situation within the Muslim countries, with their hybrid socio-judicial-political systems, was in contradiction to the very essence of Islam itself! So various movements started to seek to bring the Muslims back to the correct state of affairs. This of course met with some considerable opposition from the various governments supporting such systems. This opposition was, and still is, often brutal in the extreme. These governments received either direct, or tacit approval from their Western and Communist overseers, who in reality were more aware of the potential threat of such a Muslim revival to the status quo, and their own virtual world economic and political domination, which they had striven so hard to achieve. The last thing they wanted to see were the Muslims back on their feet. Yet the revival continues . . .

    Perhaps the reason why the rise in Islamic fundamentalism has been so phenomenal is because the point the fundamentalists are making is so, well, FUNDAMENTAL! After all, once a Muslim has become aware that believing in the validity of laws and ways other than those ordained by Allah is to commit the unforgivable sin of “shirk”, then, as the Qur’an states: "It is not for a believing man or woman, once Allah and His Messenger have decided on a matter to have any choice therein" (Surah al-Azhab 33:36) . . . "and their response is none else than we hear and we obey" (Surah an-Nur 24:51). Indeed, that is exactly what makes a Muslim what he or she is: someone who submits him or herself to Will of Almighty God. Of course the incompetence, corruption and brutality of the governments, the inevitable failure of their ideologies, and their frequent national and international humiliation has made the task of the fundamentalist easier. Yet it is naive to presume that this alone has given impetus to the rise in fundamentalism. Surely, if anything, the poor and desperate condition of the Muslim masses should drive them more earnestly to "modernization", "Westernization" and "Democracy", of which their countries have hardly been shinning examples! Indeed, even the most common peasant sees daily a barrage of images on the television screen (that has become as essential as a bed in even the most humble households) portraying the materialistic success of the Western World!

    The true reasons for this persistent rise in Islamic awareness are not at all those to which Western analysts constantly refer. The reason for their inability to understand this phenomenon is part due to their submergence in the purely material. Science and the “Theory of Evolution” has given them, so they believe, proof that man is at most no more that an advanced animal, a progressive monkey, and man’s basic needs are little different, fundamentally, to those of our supposed ancestors: food, drink, sleep, safety from predators and sex. Satisfy these, and man should be content. The Muslim World still has, by and large, kept more in touch with the reality of the human condition: that happiness is not at all merely a material thing, but in fact something more profound, and that understanding this is as important, perhaps more important, to the well being of the human condition, than mere material gratification. The evil results of this materialistic attitude are all too apparent in the rotting social conditions of Western society. Its effects have also become apparent in the Muslim lands themselves.

    The second reason that the Islamic revival has proved so popular is that it is obvious to many of the Muslims, especially the more literate and educated, that the West itself does not really believe in “democracy”, or indeed any of those ideals, such as “Freedom of Speech”, “Human Rights” and so on, which it claims to cherish so dearly - except when it suits their self-interest. Both of these points of view are not confined to the Muslim fundamentalists. Indeed a growing number of Westerners are beginning to voice similar sentiments. In fact, past defeats, the need to prove oneself, incompetent and corrupt governments is hardly an explanation for the phenomenal rise of Islam among Westerners. Recent estimates have, on average, put the numbers at three converts to Islam every day in England alone. The rise is even higher in the U.S., and all this in spite of the incessant distortions and fabrications against Islam by politicians and the media. Indeed in those very countries were Islam is growing most visibly (Egypt and Algeria), the government, radio, T.V. and press is all firmly controlled by the Secularists. In spite of all of this, millions and millions are dying (sometimes literally) to go back to a book fourteen hundred years old. How can this be? Surely “science” and “reason” has dealt a deathblow to the Qur’an and Islam, the same way it has the Bible and Christianity? It seems not, and there are good reasons why!

    This brings us on to the third reason, and in fact the most important of all, why there is a phenomenal growth in fundamentalism, and that is Islam itself. As the The Economist article said: " . . . there is good reason why the culture of the Muslim world is regarded by many people as the West’s only real ideological competitor at the end of the twentieth century. Unlike the Confucians-and even more unlike Latin Americans, Slavs and Japanese - Islam claims to be based upon a transcendental certainty. The certainty is the Word of God, revealed syllable by syllable to Muhammad" . . . "As a means of binding a civilization together, there is no substitute for such a certainty. More-over, and this is not happening anywhere else - new recruits are flocking to join this claim to certainty" (p. 4, c. 2).

    Why is it then that the survey does not, before its call for Muslims to practically abandon their religion and commit the unforgivable sin of “Shirk” - by replacing the laws of Allah with the laws of men - simply illustrate the Qur’an is not the Word of God, or at least some good parts of it, so that a few adjustments hear and there would only be in tune with what has happened before. After all, this has already been thoroughly accomplished with the Bible. Recently some of world’s top Biblical scholars delegated a good seventy percent of the words of Jesus as never having been said by him, and priests with impunity state that sections of the Bible, such as God’s destruction of homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah, are not from God. Indeed science and modern Biblical scholarship has cast so much doubt upon the authenticity of the Biblical text as a whole that a derogatory term was coined for those who persisted in the untenable position that it was the "Word of God": Fundamentalists! Indeed the Christian fundamentalists claim about the Bible what the Muslims claim concerning the Qur’an. Why could the Christian claim not prove an equally powerful force, and a similar ideological competitor? The reason is that merely making a claim is no basis for anything. The claim needs to be proven, and the weight of evidence gives the claim force. It is very hard for the Christian to maintain the claim that the Bible is the Word of God, because the evidence belies it. The illusion of "Gospel" truth was maintained in the Middle Ages because it was only available to very few, and they were priests! Papal Decree forbade others from reading it, sometimes on pain of death. With the spread of literacy and the dawn of the “Age of Enlightenment”, the Bible reached the hands of the people. Its internal contradictions and scientific discrepancies became apparent and thus it gradually became discredited.

    The Modern World’s claim to certainty is “science” which, it claims, has been the cause for advancement in medicine and technology. Its results are proof of its worth, and the results have been achieved under the wing of “democracy”. Thus the two are intertwined. One of the other arguments in favor of “democracy” is the lack of major conflict between those democratic nations for the past fifty years, and another is the material prosperity it seems to have provided. Indeed, it was in the The Economist where I recall reading that "the Western nations have, more than any other civilization, succeeded in satisfying the material needs of man". All-powerful arguments. Thus there is a claim, and evidence provided to support it. (We shall, insha’llah, examine the validity of these claims later.) However things do not stop there. From the claim and subsequent supporting evidence, the ideology should then be implemented; otherwise the author of the survey would not be so audacious as to suggest that anyone (let alone the World of Islam) should adopt his ideas, merely because of his say so! He believes the weight of evidence in support of the “Modern Way of Life” is sufficient to give his suggestions force. Part of what makes “democracy” what it is, is the spirit of compromise and pragmatics: quite rational in the light of human ignorance and fallibility. The problem is that the The Economist survey somehow expects Islam to operate within a similar framework. Islam, however, is built upon the certainty that God Almighty revealed it. This has consequences, the most important being that Allah is not ignorant and fallible like the human being, rather He is All-Knowing and completely perfect, and therefore when it comes to His Word there can be no question of compromise, nor a philosophy of pragmatism except were specifically allowed.

    The survey tries to get round this obstacle by putting it all down to a matter of interpretation, but in fact Allah had already pre-empted this supposed loop hole when He revealed Islam fourteen hundred years previously by appointing someone to explain the verses of the Book: "We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) the Reminder (i.e. the Qur’an) and we have made you the one to explain it" (Surah an-Nahl 16:44). So the explanation of the Qur’anic text is given exclusively to Muhammad, peace be upon him, and things were not left there. The Qur’an also explains: "Whoever contends with the Messenger and chooses a path other than the path of the believers, then Allah will leave them in the path they have chosen and land them in Hell what an evil refuge!" What is this path of the believers? The Prophet, peace be upon him, explained: "That to which I and my companions are upon". The Prophet, peace be upon him, furthermore told the Muslims to cling to his way and the way of the rightly guided successors. These successors have transmitted the knowledge and the way from generation-to-generation until this day, just as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said they would: "There will always be a group among this Ummah (nation of believers), firm upon the truth, unharmed in their faith by those that oppose them". It is exactly this type of comprehensiveness that makes Islam so frustrating to its critics and so convincing to its adherents, and this comprehensiveness extends through all the various aspects of Islam and its disciplines. The claim of Islam to be based on the certainty that it is from the All-Knowing Creator is no mere claim, but it is rather a claim backed by powerful evidence. Powerful enough for its adherents to prefer it over that offered by the Modern Word!

    No Doubt About It!

    So what is this evidence that Islam claims to present that is so convincing? The first issue is authenticity. Purity of text is quite vital to the whole spirit of “fund”. This is because once a text has shown to have been corrupted and altered in order to make it comply with doctrinal or political expediencies, and if there is no reliable means to distinguish the corrupt from the pure, then there is not one passage of that text that cannot be called into question. This is not so easy with a pure and preserved text. This is well understood by the Christian fundamentalists. If it is not the “Word of God”, then what real value does it posses as guidance, except as a collection of wisdom? Few serious scholars, even from Islam’s opponents, have tried to dispute the Qur’an’s historical authenticity. Indeed it would be a pointless exercise, since anyone who cares to take a trip to Tashkent (in the former Soviet Union) will find there a complete copy of the Qur’an written by one of the Prophet’s scribes, Zayed ibn Thabit, upon the order of the first Caliph Abu Bakr within two years of the Prophet’s death. The manuscript in Tashkent is a copy of that first manuscript, also written by the hand of the same Zayed, but some twelve years later under the order of ‘Uthman bin Affan, the third Caliph, with the consensus of over fifty companions of the Prophet who also had written portions of the Qur’an, and also others who had memorized it. This "Uthmanic" Qur’an, as it later came to known, was accepted without exception by the surviving companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as being one and the same that was revealed by Allah to his Final Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. One can take any copy of any Qur’an, from any mosque anywhere in the word and compare it with the mushaf of Zayed, and find it exactly the same - word for word. It is even recited in the same accent in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited it. Furthermore Arabic, the language of the Qur’an, is a living language, and the Book has always been in the hands of the people - not merely the domain of a few priests.

    Thus anyone reading the Qur’an can be certain beyond reasonable doubt that they are reading the same words revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him, over one thousand four hundred years ago. "Verily! It is We Who have sent down the Qur’an and surely, We will guard it" (Surah al-Hijr 15:9). The reality of the fruition of this statement is a clear sign to mankind, and one of the manifest miracles of the Qur’an. Moreover this preservation is not limited to only the Qur’an, but also its explanation, the Sunnah, i.e. the actions, sayings and tacit approvals of the Prophet, peace be upon him. These were meticulously memorized and written down by his wives and companions, and passed down until they were collected in the more famous books of hadeeth some two to three hundred years after the Hijra. The body of hadeeth literature has not enjoyed, quite unjustly, the same general acceptance of authenticity as the Qur’an. This is simply because the means by which the hadeeth became preserved was a longer and more complicated affair than that of the Qur’an, and therefore became a relatively easier target of attack by Islam’s enemies. Some Orientalists have even claimed that Hadith authenticity rates the same as the Biblical texts. This is, however a very superficial comparison, even if there are some apparent similarities. For example the major books of hadeeth such Saheeh al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim and the Sunan of Abu Dawood, did not appear until just over two hundred years the Hijra. Those who compiled the books were not they eye witnesses. Many hadeeth within the entire body of hadeeth literature are clearly fabricated and of dubious authenticity, and, as a whole, contain contradictions.

    These statements are true in general, but a more detailed study of the history of the preservation of the hadeeth makes it immediately clear that the reality is quite different. Firstly, as we mentioned concerning the Qur’an, the language of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is preserved. Secondly the major hadeeth books we mentioned were not so much new works as compilations of earlier, smaller ones. There was also a good deal of oral transmission, but the collectors of Prophetic sayings were extremely weary of ensuring that any given narration attributed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, could be effectively proven as such. The method by which this was accomplished was through the ‘isnad’, or chain of narrators. From the earliest days of Islam after the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him, various groups arose deviating from the teachings of Islam that had been given to the Prophet’s Companions. These sects began to invent sayings which they attributed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, So in response the Companions of the Prophet began to demand that anyone transmitting a narration must name which companion they had received it from, and thus the truth of narrator ascertained. The students of the Companions continued this policy, and further safe guards were added as not only the Companions name was needed, but also the next narrator in the chain of transmission. Conditions were laid down for these narrators to be accepted. The scholars differed over some of the conditions, some being stricter than others, but three basic requirements were agreed upon by all. First the transmitter must be a pious Muslim, secondly they must be known not to forget, and thirdly they must not be liars. The next generation of hadeeth transmitters began to write the names of all those who attended their lectures. No one was allowed to narrate a hadeeth on that lecturer’s authority unless he attended the lecture in which that hadeeth was narrated and meaning explained. From this developed the books of "Rijal" in which was listed the character, quality of memory, place of habitation, travels, teachers and students, and opinion of other scholars, concerning all the narrators of the hadeeth. Thus every available method was used to ensure that when the scholars of the sciences of hadeeth declared a narration of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as being authentic it was, beyond any reasonable doubt said by him. This methodology is not only used for the Prophetic traditions, but also the sayings of the Companions and the early scholars. Indeed any true scholar must be able to produce the isnad of his teachers back to the Prophet himself!

    Along with this textual and contextual authenticity, the Qur’an itself lays down claims to prove its veracity as God’s revealed Words. Of course, "proof" is a big word, especially when it comes to God or religion, especially for the “Western mind”, programmed by two thousand years of Christianity, which seems to think that religion is supposed to be “mysterious” and “incomprehensible”. The idea that God and revelation are not only compatible with reason, but also can be proven, is often met with incredulity. After all, what’s the point? If you can prove it where does faith come in? This is because the Christian world has been taught that "faith" means believing the unbelievable without any proof. This is manifest in the nonsense that is called “the Trinity”, and all the theological contortions surrounding it. Christians are expected to believe that black is white and yet still black, or in their terms, that the Invisible, Self-Sufficient, Un-Changing, Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator became a visible, needy, mortal, fallible creature who was killed on a cross, and this man was still the Invisible, Self-Sufficient, Un-Changing, Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator - completely God and completely man. Of course anyone with a mind will understand that one by necessity precludes the other. Something completely God cannot possibly be, or contain the qualities of, a man, for this would immediately exclude such a being from being truly God. Furthermore, any man that had the qualities of God would no longer be a man. In an attempt to “explain the unexplainable” the Doctrine of the Trinity was invented: One God made of three entities, each one completely God, (and therefore completely the same, yet somehow different) not making three Gods but only One! Moreover the Christian has been asked to believe that mankind’s salvation lies in believing God killed Himself (or His son, or an innocent man, or all three at the same time) as a ransom for a burden of sin - which He placed on all human beings for the sin of Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden tree! The inevitable refuge of the Christian when assaulted with a barrage questions over this muddle is that its all “a mystery”, and if you want to be saved from Hell you should stop asking so many questions and accept it as an act of faith. Yet it seems rather absurd that the Just Creator would punish anyone for refusing to believe things, which are unacceptable and incomprehensible to the very faculties of reason and common sense that He has provided for the human to make their decisions, without providing some strong proof that they should do so!

    The Qur’an, however, chastises mankind for not using their common sense and reasoning powers, and states that their failure to do so is itself a cause of their destruction: "And for those who disbelieve in their Lord is the torment of Hell, and worst indeed is that destination. When they are cast therein, they will hear the terrible drawing in of its breath as it blazes forth. It almost bursts with fury. Every time a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask: ‘Did no warner come to you?’ They will say: ‘Yes indeed; a warner did come to us, but we belied him and said: ‘Allah never sent down anything, you are only in great error.’ And they will say: ‘Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the Fire!’" (Surah al-Mulk 67:6-9) Indeed there is nothing in the theology of Islam that cannot be understood by sound reasoning. In fact it is possible for anyone, anywhere to reach an understanding of the essence of Islam without ever having heard of Muhammad or the Qur’an. This is because the Creator’s existence can be readily understood by anyone observing the patterns and intricate mechanisms of the world and universe around us, and that ultimate power and control rests with this Being, and thus is alone truly worthy of worship, and that to worship this Creator one can only rely on Divine guidance. To attempt to do this is “Islam”, which means “sincerity and submission to Allah”. This very universality and simplicity is one of the strong arguments in favor of Islam’s Divine origin. For the Muslim, faith is not a blind leap in the dark against proof and reason, but rather a step taken as a consequence of contemplation, experience, instinct and evidence. Ultimately it does mean a complete acceptance of a single truth, but this is no blinder than the faith of a scientist in a particular theory, or a doctor in form of treatment that has proven itself valid clinically and operationally. It might be compared to the situation in a court, with a jury. Ideally what is supposed to happen is that the jury is presented with a series of evidences concerning a case and when the weight of evidence is so conclusive the jury makes its decision. It is not sufficient for it to say: "Well, we found the evidence really convincing!" In the end it must make a decision, "Guilty!" or "Not guilty!” based on the facts. Similarly in Islam, the Creator presents the human being with a series of conclusive evidences, upon the basis of which the human should declare their faith, and act accordingly.

    The Weight of Evidence

    Allah laid down a challenge in the Qur’an to mankind in general and to the Arabs in particular: "And if you are in doubt concerning that which we have sent down to our slave (Muhammad) then produce a chapter like it, and call your supporters and helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful!" (Surah al-Baqarah 2:23) The Arabs in the time of Muhammad, peace be upon him, had no civilization to speak of - no magnificent roads or public buildings, nor scientific or medical institutions. In fact, they lived a most primitive and barbarous existence. There was one thing in which they excelled - that was their language. They were extremely found of poetry, and prided themselves in their poetic abilities. They praised each other, admonished - and even argued - in poetry. There was even an annual market in Uhaz just for poetry - the finest of which was hung on the door of the Ka’abah. The age of Muhammad was a time when the Arabs were at the peak of their linguistic abilities. Indeed, one of the finest poems ever written in Arabic was that of Labaid ibn Rabiyah, whose poem, when recited at Uhaz, caused the Arabs to prostrate before him in admiration. When this same Labaid began to hear the verses of Qur’an, he embraced Islam, and gave up poetry altogether. When he was once asked to recite some poetry he said: "What! After the Qur’an?" Indeed, many of the Arabs entered into Islam just from hearing the Qur’an, because for them it was a conclusive proof of its Divine origin. They knew that no man could produce such eloquence. The challenge of the Qur’an for man to produce its like is not, as some suppose, merely like the uniqueness of Shakespeare, Shelly, Keats or Homer. The Qur’an differentiated itself in its very structure. Poetry in Arabic falls into sixteen different "Bihar” (rhythmic forms), and other than that they have the speech of soothsayers, rhyming prose, and normal speech. The Qur’an’s form did not fit into any of these categories. It was this that made the Qur’an inimitable, and left the pagan Arabs at a loss as to how they might combat it. Alqama bin Abdulmanaf confirmed this when he addressed their leaders, the Quraish: “Oh Quraish, a new calamity has befallen you. When Muhammad was a young man, he was the most liked among you, the most truthful in speech and the trustworthiest, until, when you saw gray hairs on his temple, he brought you his message. You said that he was a sorcerer, but he is not, for we have seen such people and their spitting and their knots. You said that he was a diviner, but we have seen such people and their behavior, and we have heard their rhymes You said a soothsayer, but he is not a soothsayer, for we have heard their rhymes; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet, for we have heard all kinds of poetry. You said he was possessed, but he is not for we have seen the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping and whispering and delirium. Oh men of Quraysh, look to your affairs, for by Allah a serious thing has befallen you.”

    The Quraish decided that the only convincing propaganda they could make against the Prophet, peace be upon him, was that the magic of his speech turned a man away from his father, wife, brother and family. So Abu Lahab would wait on the roadways into Mecca in the Hajj season, and warn the people from listening to Muhammad’s speech. Tufail ibn Amr, chief of the Daws tribe and a distinguished poet, was one such man accosted by the Meccans, as he himself mentioned: “I approached Mecca. As soon as the Quraish leaders saw me, they came up to me and gave me a most hearty welcome and accommodated me in a grand house. Their leaders and notables then gathered and said: ’O Tufayl, you have come to our town. This man who claims that he is a Prophet has ruined our authority and shattered our community. We are afraid that he would succeed in undermining you and your authority among your people just as he has done with us. Don’t speak to the man. On no account listen to anything he has to say. He has the speech of a wizard, causing division between father and son, between brother and brother and between husband and wife.’ They went on telling me the most fantastic stories and scared me by recounting tales of his incredible deeds. I made up my mind then not to approach this man, or speak to him or listen to anything he had to say. The following morning I went to the place of worship to make tawaf around the Ka’abah as an act of worship to the idols that we made pilgrimage to and glorified. I inserted cotton in my ears out of fear that something of the speech of Muhammad would reach my hearing. As soon as I entered the place of worship, I saw him standing near the Ka’abah. He was praying in a fashion, which was different from our prayer. His whole manner of worship was different. The scene captivated me. His worship made me tremble and I felt drawn to him, despite myself, until I was quite close to him. Notwithstanding the precaution I had taken, God willed that some of what he was saying should reach my hearing and I said to myself: ‘what are you doing, Tufayl? You are a perceptive poet. You can distinguish between the good and the bad in the poetry. What prevents you from listening from to what the man is saying? If what comes from him is good, accept it, and if it is bad, reject it.’ I remained there until the Prophet left for his home. I followed him as he entered his house, and I entered also and said: ‘O Muhammad, your people have said certain things to me about you. By God, they kept on frightening me away from your message so that I even blocked my ears to keep out your words. Despite this, God caused me to hear something of it and I found it good. So tell me more about your mission.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, did and recited to me Surah al-Falaq. I swear by God, I had never heard such beautiful words before. Neither was a more noble or just mission ever described to me. Thereupon, I stretched out my hand to him in allegiance and testified that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. This is how I entered Islam. Even the leaders of Quraish were unable to resist hearing the Qur’an.”

    The Seerah (i.e. Prophetic biography) of Ibn Ishaq reports one incident when Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl and Al-Akhnas snuck out of their houses at night to listen to the Prophet reciting the Qur’an - hiding in their places until dawn. On the way home, they met and reproached one another, saying: “Don’t do it again, for if one of the weak minded fools see you, you will arouse suspicion in their minds.” This happened three nights in a row, until they took from each other a solemn oath not to do it again. Utba bin Rabi’a, a chief of Quraish, during one of their meetings in which they discussed possible means to stop Muhammad’s preaching, suggested to make some proposals to Muhammad and “give him whatever he wants, so he will leave us in peace.” Their leaders agreed, so Utba went and sat by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: “Oh my nephew, you are one of us as you know, of the noblest of the tribe and hold a worthy position in ancestry. You have come to your people with an important matter, dividing their community thereby and ridiculing their customs, and you have insulted their gods and their religion, and declared that their forefathers were unbelievers, so listen to me and I will make some suggestions, and perhaps you will be able to accept one of them.” The Prophet agreed, and he went on: “If what you want is money, we will make you our chief so that no one can decide anything apart from you; if you want sovereignty, we will make you king, and if this ghost which comes to you, which you see, is such that you cannot get rid of him, we will find a physician for you, and exhaust our means in getting you cured, for often a familiar spirit gets possession of a man until he can be cured of it.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, listened patiently, and then said: “Now listen to me”. The Prophet, peace be upon him, then recited from the beginning of Surah Fussilat (41) until the verse of prostration, were the Prophet prostrated, and all the while Utba listened attentively, sitting on his hands, and leaning on them. The Prophet, peace be upon him, then said: “You have heard what you have heard, Abu’l Waleed; the rest remains with you.’ When Utba returned to his companions they noticed that his expression completely altered, and they asked him what had happened. He said that he had heard words that he had never heard before, which were neither poetry, nor witchcraft. “Take my advice and do as I do, leave this man entirely alone for, by God, the words which I have heard will be blazed abroad. If the other Arabs kill him, others will have rid you of him; if he gets the better of the Arabs, his sovereignty will be your sovereignty, his power your power, and you will be prosperous through him.’ They said: ‘He has bewitched you with his tongue”. To which he answered: “You have my opinion, you must do what you think fit’.

    ABDULLAH Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 13, 2010
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    How can Muslims be assured that the Qur'an is the Word of God?

    Muslims are assured for several reasons that the Qur’an is indeed the Word of God. Here are eight reasons :

    1. Physical incapacity.

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was physically incapable to write the Qur’an. History has him as an unlettered man who could not write anything more than his own name. How could he write a book?

    2. Sincerity.

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) was morally constrained to tell the truth about the origin of the Qur’an. He was noted to be so honest and trustworthy that even his enemies called him al-Amin (the trustworthy). Moreover, he suffered persecution, refused offers to compromise, and maintained his message for a period of twenty-three years. Historians of religion have to conclude that he was sincere.

    3. Psychology.

    The Qur’an speaks to the Prophet, commands him, and even criticizes him. Such contents do not point to the Prophet (peace be upon him) as the self-conscious author. On the other hand, the author declares himself to be the creator of the heavens and the earth.

    4. History.

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) was incapable of writing the Qur’an. The Qur’an details items of history which were not known to the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his contemporaries. And independent studies confirm that the Qur’an was true in what it said.

    5. Prophecy.

    The Qur’an speaks prophetically, detailing what the future holds. Then the future unfolds exactly as foretold. Who could author such a book?

    6. Science.

    The Qur’an draws attention to a wide range of physical phenomena in order to teach moral lessons. The statements were not meant to teach science. Yet modern scientists are amazed at the accuracy of these statements. For example, the Qur’an said things about the growth and development of the human embryo which could not be studied without the use of a microscope. Dr. Keith Moore was professor and chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto. After reviewing the Qur’anic statements he said: "I am amazed at the accuracy of these statements which were already made in the 7th century AD." Such knowledge in the Qur’an points to God as its source.

    7. Consistency.

    The Qur’an challenges skeptics to find errors in it, which, if found, would disprove its divine claim. But no one has yet been able to point to a real error in it.

    8. Inimitability.

    A unique feature of the Qur’an is that no one is able to produce a book that would match its beauty, eloquence and wisdom. The Qur’an itself challenges humankind to produce even a chapter like it. But no one has been able to do it.

    These eight reasons together form a strong cumulative case in favor of the Qur’an’s divine origin. Hence Muslims can be confident that the belief of Islam, which is based on the Qur’an, is true.

    ABDULLAH Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jul 13, 2010
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    The Final Book

    Some people reject God because they can find no evidence for Him which satisfies both their hearts and minds simultaneously. Then there are others who accept God on the basis of emotional or irrational reasons which satisfy their hearts, but leave their minds unsure. These two groups of people have never found a satisfying answer to the question of their relationship with God. Then there are yet others who have found the correct path which God intended for us: to accept Him and His message to us using our minds first and foremost, and the heart follows easily and naturally as a consequence.

    Instead of searching for the answer, there are also some people who chose to simply brush the question aside and ignore it unfortunately. This is the easy way out of what appears to be a very difficult, mysterious question which may seem to have no final solution. Most of these people are unaware of a very powerful message which completely and unequivocally establishes the correct path to God. This message squares with both the mind and the heart, and it has no equal since it comes to us straight from God Himself.

    The message comes in the form of a book. In fact, God has given us several Books of guidance through the years, but each one was ultimately corrupted and changed by dishonest people. Each Book essentially contained the same fundamental message as the previous Books. Mankind was expected to guard these Books from harm, but unfortunately failed to live up to this expectation. Slowly but surely, each Book was edited and tampered with, destroying its authenticity. This is partly why God kept sending us more revelations.

    However, almost 1400 years ago, God sent us another Book with the same basic message as the earlier ones, but with a small but very important difference. This time, God decreed that this Book would be the last Book sent down to us because God would protect it Himself. Regarding this Final Book, God said, "Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high this reminder: and behold, it is We who shall truly guard it" [Chapter 15, verse 9]

    Today, if we compare the 114 chapters in every copy of this Final Book with each other, we will find they match perfectly word for word - from the oldest copies made 1300-plus years ago to the ones printed just a few hours ago. No human hand has changed it.

    The rational person has every right to be doubtful, of course, if he or she has never read this book. For such people, here is a small sample of what the Final Book contains. Suppose we wanted to ask God several questions about Him and about ourselves. Short of Him speaking to us directly (such a privilege has been granted to only one person out of all humanity), the Book has the best answers one can find. It is on the strength of these answers that an honest person may be struck with the conviction that the Final Book is from none other than God Almighty. Again, here is only a small part of the information one might find.

    1. On The Nature of God

    Who is God? God explains in His Final Book that it is quite simply impossible for us to completely understand Him. We cannot pinpoint a definition of the Creator, "Glory to the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth - the Sustainer, in almightiness enthroned - from all that they may attribute to Him by way of definition" [43:82]
    Our inability to completely understand God does not mean that He is completely remote from us. In spite of our limited understanding, we are all quite capable of turning to God, and He is not unaware of our efforts,
    "...and unto thy Sustainer turn with love." [94:8]
    "Behold, for those who stand in awe of God although He is beyond the reach of their perception, there is forgiveness in store and a great reward" [67:12]

    God has not left mankind entirely in the dark regarding His Nature. He refers to Himself by approximately 100 names in various places throughout the Final Book. Each name is a descriptive attribute of God, and they are all meant to help us understand the Creator. To gain this understanding involves simply thinking about God and reflecting on His names and this type of awareness is a central pillar of faith (i.e. when one actively remembers God and is conscious of Him). A second benefit of these names is that some of them provide mankind with ideals to try to attain. For example, since God is the Most Forgiving, Most Patient, and Most Knowledgeable, we should each strive to be forgiving, patient, and knowledgeable (educated in our case). Of all His attributes, God emphasizes a single one above all others in His Final Book: that HE IS ONE. God is not two, three, four, or more beings. There is only one deity, and He is God, "Say: `He is God, Unique God the Eternal, the Independent. He begets not, and neither is He begotten. And there is nothing that could be compared to Him.'" [112:1-4]

    In other places of the Final Book, God emphasizes His Greatness and the impossibility of fully grasping Him by using the plural sense of pronouns for Himself - but He is strictly One and Unique with no other partners or deities.

    After this aspect of Unity, God chose to emphasize two of His other names more often than the rest in the Final Book: "the Most Merciful, the One who acts Mercifully." In fact, each chapter but one in the whole Book starts with, "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully." These two names cannot be emphasized enough. They are meant to stress we should not let our sins keep us from coming back to God and calling to Him at all times, in joy or sadness. The Creator is more aware of our imperfections than we are, and so when we stumble and feel bad, God is far more likely to be kind than angry.

    The Last Messenger and Prophet of God (i.e. the person whom God chose to deliver the Final Book to the rest of mankind) commented on God's mercy by informing us that, "When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: `My mercy prevails over my wrath.'" - the Last Messenger

    "God says: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with Him when He makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand's span, I draw near to him an arm's length; and if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him with speed." - The Last Messenger

    2. The Nature of Man

    Who are we, and what makes us different from all other things? We are creations of God, along with the rest of the universe. We are human beings, all descendants of a common ancestry well known to most of us: Adam and Eve. Humanity, however, is distinct from the rest of the universe in a very fundamental way according to the Final Book, "Verily, We did offer the trust to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up - for verily he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish." [33:72]
    Over the years, many scholars of the Book have tried to understand exactly what God meant by "the trust". The most convincing argument (based on other parts of the Book and on certain statements of the Last Messenger) is that it refers to our ability to make decisions both freely and intelligently. In other words, our uniqueness as human beings stems from two gifts given to us by God:
    * our ability to freely choose between actions (good and evil)
    * our ability to intelligently weigh and make those choices
    The price of these gifts is a tremendous amount of responsibility on our part; the responsibility not to abuse our gifts by rejecting God or by hurting each other unnecessarily.

    The blessings of these two gifts are immeasurable, especially when God reminds us that He could have decided things otherwise by depriving us of either gift, "Now had it been Our will [that men should not be able to discern between right and wrong], We could surely have deprived them of their sight, so that they would stray forever from the
    way: for how could they have had insight [into what is true]? And had it been Our will [that they should not be free to choose between right and wrong], We could surely have transformed them [rooted] in their places, so that they would not be able to move forward, and could not turn back." [36:66-67]
    However, God did NOT will this, and as a result we are blessed with will and reason. The Final Book clearly warns against abusing these blessings, either by neglecting ourselves when we don't think wisely, or by hurting others when we deny them the right to choose, "Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason." [8:22]

    "There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from error: hence he who rejects evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." [2:256]

    In spite of mankind's free will and reason, God warns us in His Book always to remember that these gifts are limited after all. The Final Word lies with Him in all matters. However, this is not to say that men's destinies are arbitrary - not at all. We are able to make decisions that affect our lives, but at the same time, God is also making decisions about us and for us,
    "And had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: do you then think that you could compel people to believe, notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God's leave, and [that] it is He who lays the loathsome evil [of disbelief] upon those who will not use their reason." [10:99-100]
    "...Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves..." [13:11] ​

    3. Free Will and Reason Applied

    Has God given mankind a clear path to Him? In essence, every rational reader would like to know if they can trust the authenticity of the Final Book. It is perfectly natural to feel that way; after all, this is the outcome of our God-given gift of reason. However, our own skeptical minds are the keys here: the Final Book, according to God, is addressed to people, who think, pure and simple, "...In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think." [39:42]
    "Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." [30:28]

    No one but God can make a human being believe in the Truth of the Final Book, but that human being has to read it with an open mind, applying his or her powers of reason. The price of limited free will is that we must choose to be guided. Those people who do search for the Truth with an open mind and heart may find that the Final Book, while vast, is surprisingly clear, "Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." [29:49]
    "This divine writ - let there be no doubt about it - is guidance for all the God-conscious..." [2:2]

    The guidance of the Final Book is available to anyone who goes in search of it, "[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]

    One of the most interesting aspects of the authenticity of the Final Book is the quantity of scientifically accurate statements in it - on subjects not even dreamed of 1300 years ago. A sample of these includes the following:
    A large explosion marking the start of creation (Big Bang) [21:30]
    The initial smoky (nebulous) nature of the skies [41:11]
    The expansion of the universe [51:41]
    The presence of a huge amount of time before mankind appeared [76:1]
    The existence of sun and moon orbits [21;33]
    The finite sun and moon lifetimes [13:2]
    The final destination of the sun (Solar Apex) [36:38]
    The origin of all life based in water [21:30]
    In fact, God states that the amazing beauty and intricacy of the natural world around us, as well as our own complex biological makeup, will ultimately lead us to Him as we grow in understanding,
    "In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" [41:53]

    4. The Presence of Evil

    Why does God allow men and women to be hurt? There are some people who use the presence of suffering and evil in this world as grounds to lose hope and perhaps even to reject God. However, according to the Final Book, the limited free will and reason of human beings destroys that argument. We are responsible for what we do, and must bear the consequences - that is the liability or price of freedom. The evil that we do and suffer from is chosen by us and not by God, "...God wills no wrong to His creation." [3:108]

    However, God also guarantees us that aside from our own evil actions and their effects, God Himself will put us through some trials and tribulations here on earth - but the key is they will never be more than we can handle, and they may even be good for us,

    "If misfortune touches you [know that] similar misfortune has touched [other] people as well; for it is by turns that We apportion unto men such days [of fortune and misfortune]: and [this] to the end that God might mark out those who have attained to faith, and choose from among you such as [with their lives] bear witness to the truth - since God does not love evildoers - and that God might render pure of all dross those who have attained to faith, and bring to nought those who deny the truth. Do you think that you could enter Paradise unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause], and takes cognizance of your being patient in adversity?" [3:140-142]

    "God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does..." [2:286]

    An integral part of our being aware of God is hope and patience in times of hardship. In fact, the loss of hope is actually one of the symptoms of rejection of God,
    "[Prophet Abraham] exclaimed, `and who - other than those who have utterly lost their way - could ever abandon the hope of his Sustainers grace?'" [15:56]

    The greatest source of hope is that God shall allow those people who accept Him to enter Paradise and, more importantly, to be close to Him. The Final Book contains many references on Paradise, and also on Hell, the destination of those people who knowingly reject God. Paradise is quite literally a place of indescribable joy; whereas Hell is its indescribable opposite (both places are given only partial descriptions in the Book). While the inhabitants of Paradise are permanent dwellers, the inmates of Hell are not necessarily imprisoned there forever; there are some, who shall ultimately be freed, "[But] verily, as for those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds - the gardens of Paradise will be there to welcome them; therein will they abide, [and] never will they desire any change there from." [18:107-108]

    "And whoever rebels against God and His Apostle and transgresses His bounds, him will He commit unto fire, therein to abide; and shameful suffering awaits him." [4:14]

    "There shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a barley-corn; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a grain of wheat; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing an atom." - The Last Messenger

    5. This Life and the Next

    What is the end to men's lives? There are two parts to men's lives: the part here on earth, and the part in the Hereafter. The dividing line between the two is known as death, followed by the Day of Judgment or Resurrection. As far as death is concerned, everyone must go through it, but on Judgment Day people will be sorted out from each other into different categories,

    "Every human being is bound to taste death: but only on the Day of Resurrection will you be requited in full [for what you have done]..." [3:185]
    Resurrection Day will actually be a huge period of time (not a regular 24-hour day) in which every single human will be resurrected and judged by God on his or her beliefs and deeds. No human being - not even any Prophet - knows when this Day will come, for this is knowledge known only to God. The Final Book does describe it in several passages as a giant disaster on many scales (physical and ecological among others), and the Last Messenger was told of some of its foreshadowing signs which he communicated to us.

    6. Messengers and Prophets

    Who delivered God's Message to mankind? God has sent us many `reminders' of Him and of our obligations to Him over the centuries, culminating in the Final Book almost 1400 years ago. Every one of those `reminders' was delivered to us via a selected human being, one who was strong enough to deliver God's message to his people. These human beings are called the Prophets. They were not supernatural or immortal or different in any way from other human beings except that they were entrusted by God to speak in His Name,
    "For [even] before thy time, [O Prophet], we never sent [as our messengers] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired - hence [tell the deniers of the truth] `If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation' - and neither did We endow them with bodies that ate no food, nor were they immortal." [21:7-8]

    Some of the Prophets were allowed to perform supernatural miracles but only with God's permission (i.e. if He willed it). However, the Final Book stresses that every Prophet is no more than a servant of God - they do not have a share in His Divinity.

    There is also a small group of Prophets who were also Messengers. Every Prophet has called his people to the Truth, but Messengers were additionally given a rejuvenated Message from God to convey. Every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger. There have been many Prophets, of which here are the names of a few mentioned in the Book: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, Elias, David, Solomon, Jonah, Job, Zacharias, John, Jesus, and, of course, the Last Messenger.

    7. Eternal Salvation

    Are certain people arbitrarily guaranteed the Favor of God, while others are excluded? The Mercy of God is not restricted arbitrarily to any one person. Everyone and anyone is free to accept the path to God using their own free will and reason,

    "And they claim, `None shall ever enter Paradise unless he be a Jew' - or `a Christian'. Such are their wishful beliefs! Say [to them, O Prophet]: `Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true!' Yea, indeed: everyone who surrenders his whole being unto God, and is a doer of good, shall have his reward with his Sustainer, and all such need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve." [2:111-112]

    The consequence of this is responsibility - everyone will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement. Some of us may be uncomfortable with this, but it is simply the price of freedom,
    "It may not accord with your wishful thinking - nor with the wishful thinking of the followers of earlier revelation - [that] he who does evil shall be requited for it, and shall find none to protect him from God, and none to bring him succour, whereas anyone - be it man or woman - who does good deeds and is a believer, shall enter paradise, and shall not be wronged by as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone." [4:123-124]

    8. Forgiveness of God

    If we sin, what should we expect from God? If we subsequently feel guilty and repent after doing something evil, God wants us to expect Him to be forgiving, forgiving, and more forgiving. However, there is one sin which God will not forgive: worshipping anything besides Him (unless the person realizes his or her error and returns to worshipping the One God),
    "Verily God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to anything beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to anything beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin." [4:48]

    "Say, `O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God's Mercy: behold, God forgives all sins - for verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [39:53]

    Again, the most common phrase in the Final Book is "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully." The Last Messenger commented on God's forgiveness on many occasions as in the following case,

    "God has said, `O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [i.e. the earth]'". - The Last Messenger

    9. The Straight Way

    What is the name for the way of life described in the Final Book? It is Islam, and it means "self-surrender [to God]". Any man or woman who accepts Islam is a Muslim. The Final Book is called the Qur'an (meaning "the Recitation"), and it is addressed to all of mankind in spite of being revealed in Arabic, the language of its Messenger and his people: Muhammad bin Abd-Allah. The life of the Prophet serves as the other base of Islam (the first being the Qur'an), and it is known as the Sunnah. Muhammad is the Last Prophet and Messenger of God as the Qur'an says,
    "[And know, O believers, that] Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God's Apostle and the Seal of all the Prophets..." [33:40]
    And God has revealed to us His proper name, and it is ALLAH.

    The Qur'an contains a great deal of guidance and information for anyone looking for final answers. The information given in this small essay is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There is no substitute for reading the Qur'an itself in its entirety - it is the closest we can come to having God speak to us directly and personally here on Earth. The Qur'an answers many questions which are commonly asked by today's men and women. Its scope is wide: from fundamental issues such as the nature of the Creator and mankind's limited free will and reason, to the more mundane such as marriage laws and whom to give charity to. Islam as described in the Qur'an is vastly and almost completely different than Islam as understood by most non-Muslims and even a few Muslims. The negative image of Islam today is an incredibly misleading deception. It is based on the moral weakness of some people who claim to be Muslims, and also on the unawareness of non-Muslims. Behind this image is the presence of a Truth which answers the fundamental questions we have, and which can reunite us with God. It is there for us to listen to, or to ignore.
    And Allah Knows Best.

    "And [know that] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play..." [21:16]
    "Will they not, then, try to understand this Qur'an? Had it issued from any but God, they would surely have found in it many an inner contradiction!" [4:82]

    "We did not bestow the Qur'an on thee from on high to make thee unhappy." [20:2]

    "[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]

    " remember Me, and I shall remember you; and be grateful to Me, and deny Me not." [2:152]

    "Verily, those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds will the Most Gracious endow with love." [19:96]

    "Say [O Prophet]: `If you love God, follow Me, [and] God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [3:31]

    "Say: `If all the sea were ink for my Sustainers words, the sea would indeed be exhausted ere my Sustainers words are exhausted! And [thus it would be] if we were to add to it sea upon sea.'" [18:109]

    "Verily, those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds will the Most Gracious endow with love." [19:96]

    "Say [O Prophet]: `If you love God, follow me, [and] God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [3:31]

    "Say: `If all the sea were ink for my Sustainers words, the sea would indeed be exhausted ere my Sustainers words are exhausted! And [thus it would be] if we were to add to it sea upon sea.'" [18:109]