“The Proof that Islam is the Truth” TV Mini-Series by Abdur-Raheem Green

•July 3, 2009 • 1 Comment
...Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs, in order that ye may reflect... (Quran Ch.2 v.219)

"...Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs, in order that ye may reflect..." (Qur'an Ch.2 v.219)

The eminent British da’ee (one who practices dawah, or the invitation of Islam to non-Muslims) Abdur-Raheem Green has recently completed a fascinating series on Peace TV entitled The Proof that Islam is the Truth. It is a 15-part lecture in which Sheikh Green first shows the legitimacy of “proof of a religion,” and than provides 12 categories of proofs that attest to the reality and truthfulness of the Islamic message. Each episode is about 23-25 minutes each. Instead of going into detail, the sheikh gives a bird’s eye view to show how a Muslim legitimizes his faith in Islam on emotional and spiritual satisfaction as well as reason, logic, and proof. I have seen all 15 episodes, and all I can say is that I wish I had this series when I was first studying about Islam. Instead of giving a wave of complicated details, it gives you a taste of each subject so that you can go and perform more research on your own. I HIGHLY recommend this series to all peoples, Muslim and non-Muslim, to watch this series and research the presented evidence. This series serves as an excellent primer as to why Muslims believe with such tenacity, and why our faith is so much different, so much more “real” then other more “blind” faiths.

Here are all the episodes:

1 – Proof of Islam – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOwA0v026wY&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=0

2 – Preservation of the Qur’an – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt7UqJBLhW4&feature=PlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=1

3 – Oral Transmission of the Qur’an – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4GuFTIPFEA&feature=PlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=2

4 – The Preservation of the Sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOr9k_br92U&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=3

5 – The Miracle of the Arabic Language – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4kwdZ1qVU&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=4

6 – Stories of Those Who Heard the Qur’an – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NypoiJeF7A0&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=5

7 – Embryology – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFPA6wt0R3w&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=6

8 – Scientific Facts in the Qur’an (Part 1) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiLBGHwX_4c&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=7

9 – Scientific Facts in the Qur’an (Part 2) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fluiDCYCVhw&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=8

10 – Historical Facts – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKcsgnoKKTI&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=9

11 – Witness of the People of the Book – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riHxoBN0hok&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=10

12 – Muhammad (PBUH) in the Bible (Part 1) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzPbS0RCvBE&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=11

13 – Muhammad (PBUH) in the Bible (Part 2) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZjDErZIBo&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=12

14 – Prophecies of the Prophet (PBUH) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyCYH0al0eI&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=13

15 – Signs of the Last Day – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTxZLB7qTS8&feature=SeriesPlayList&p=7F4B62A190046A64&index=14

– Farhan R.

Do “YHWH” and “Allah (SWT)” Refer to the Same Deity?

•June 15, 2009 • 2 Comments
Allah! There is no god but He - the Ever-Living, The Self-Subsisting. No slumber can seize Him, nor Sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His Knowledge except as He Willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and on earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, The Supreme (in Glory). (Quran Ch.2 v.255)

"Allah! There is no god but He - the Ever-Living, The Self-Subsisting. No slumber can seize Him, nor Sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His Knowledge except as He Willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and on earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, The Supreme (in Glory)." (Qur'an Ch.2 v.255)

There are many excuses that Christian missionaries and apologists make up in order to deny Islam, some of them valid and some of them questionable. One of the more questionable ones is that Allah (SWT) could not be the same God as that of the Bible because the supposedly the one and only name of the Judeo-Christian deity is YHWH (Exodus 3:14-15). The Christians also use this name in attempt to prove that Jesus (AS) was in fact God Almighty when he apparently referred to himself as YHWH (John8:58). The idea that Jesus (AS) referred to himself as YHWH furthers the notion that God Almighty always refers to and identifies Himself as YHWH. Therefore, the Christians claim that Allah (SWT) cannot be the True God because apparently nowhere in the Qur’an and ahadith is the name YHWH ever used in reference to Allah (SWT). Before I start to discuss the name of YHWH from an Islamic perspective, I first want to point out why the accusation, regardless of whether the name is found in Islam or not, is rather ridiculous.

The first objection the the Christian accusation would be that the Qur’an, and the language of the last revelation of Islam in general, is in Arabic. Just as the Old Testament is in Hebrew, and the New Testament is in Koine Greek, the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic. Therefore, just as God is referred to in Hebrew in the Old Testament and in Koine Greek in the New Testament, God is referred to in Arabic in Islam, in the language of the revelation, in the language of the immediate audience. The accusation is especially hypocritical on the Christian part because when Jesus (AS) supposedly referred to himself as YHWH in the Bible, he did so in Koine Greek, not Hebrew! That is why in most translations, the exact verse says that Jesus (AS) said, “…before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58), rather then the literal YHWH. Apparently, Jesus (AS) was quoting the Hebrew scripture in Koine Greek. In modern editions of the Old Testament, YHWH is translated as “I AM,” and according to Christians, Jesus (AS) was directly alluding to when YHWH was talking to Moses in the Book of Exodus, as mentioned above. The Jews then, after catching the allusion, attempted to stone Jesus (AS) for the apparent blasphemy (John 8:59). The important thing to note is that the Christians accepted the Koine Greek rendition of YHWH as a legitimate reincarnation of the name – and yet, they demand that the Qur’an produce the actual name of YHWH in Hebrew, not Arabic, not even Koine Greek. This is a clear double standard – why should the Qur’an use the Hebrew name when even the Gospels don’t use the Hebrew name? Also, even if Jesus (AS) had used the original Hebrew, why should the Qur’an use the Hebrew? Isn’t Hebrew just another language? Why must the language of God Almighty be limited to one language?

Another problem with the Christian accusation is that it assuming that in order for a deity to be recognized as the One True God, that deity must be called YHWH. This is a false standard. Nowhere in the biblical scriptures does it say that the standard to see whether a deity people are worshiping somewhere is the same as the Judeo-Christian deity is to see whether name is YHWH or not – that is ludicrous. That implies that the identity of God Almighty lies not is His attributes, but rather the syllables that denote His Name. This is notion is quickly put down. First of all, that standard would mean that anyone called YHWH is indeed YHWH; thus, if I call Gautama Buddha by YHWH, Gautama Buddha would in fact become the Judeo-Christian deity just because I called him by that name. That, of course, makes no sense, nor do I imply that that is what the Christians are trying to say, but it is what they are implying, even if it’s by accident. Another implication is that you cannot identify a deity by its attributes. The fact that Allah (SWT) and YHWH both are One would mean nothing to Christians. The fact that both Allah (SWT) and YHWH depend on no other being or object, and yet all of creation depends on this One God, would mean nothing to Christians. The fact that both these deities apparently sent down the exact same prophets (Adam, Noah, Abraham,David, Solomon, etc.) doesn’t even ring a bell with Christians. So many similarities about these two conceptualizations of God Almighty, YHWH and Allah (SWT), and yet the Christians refuse to connect the dots, probably because they fear the the consequences of such a conclusion. A parallel of the Christian mentality would be as if a Spanish Christian and a Hindustani Christian were arguing on who is the God of the Bible – Dios, or Bhagwan? Both names denote the same God, just in two different languages (Spanish and Hindi, respectively)! It is almost comical to assume that mere syllables keep to people from realizing that they worship the same general being. It is a bit more complicated between Christians and Muslims, since both their scriptures attribute different things to the same God Almighty, but they both worship the same general deity. For a Christian to argue otherwise would mean that he/she would have to concede that Christians and Jews don’t worship the same deities, since the Old and New Testaments differ greatly in theological matters. As a matter of fact, the Old Testament and the Qur’an probably agree 99% on the theology of God Almighty, just not the history of His interaction with His creation. The Christian missionary would vehemently deny this, and try to show a pattern of “hints” toward the Trinity towards the Old Testament, but this attempt is a sad failure. Regardless, the point is that the Christians are so stuck over the actually Hebrew name of YHWH (and hyprocritically so, as I mentioned above), that they forget to study the personhood or attributes of the two deities being compared, and thus they conclude that these two deities are actually NOT the same general being. Some missionaries even go as far as to claim that Allah (SWT) isn’t even the same concept as the One God, but rather is just another manifestation of the pagan Arab moon god (1). However, these conclusions are completely incorrect.

Now, the previous two paragraphs are a summary of why Muslims don’t really even care about the Christian accusation about YHWH. It is so illogical and irrational that we really don’t even see it worth answering or looking into. However, there have been some evidence found that has led to an interesting theory about the presence of YHWH in Islam. It begins with a study of Ayat al-Kursi, the greatest ayah (verse) in the entire Qur’an (Sahih Muslim Bk.4 Ch.135 No.1768). The reason for why this ayah (Qur’an Ch.2 v.255) is the greatest is reportedly due to the fact that it, along with another ayah (Qur’an Ch.3 vv.1-2), contains the Greatest Name of God Almighty (Sunan Abu Dawud Bk.2 No.1491). What name is that? It is contained in the phrase “Al-Hayyu Al-Qayyum,” translated as “the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting.” This phrase contains contains the Greatest Name of Allah (SWT), and is found in the greatest verse in the entire Qur’an, a verse of immense significance in Islam. For example, it is highly recommended by the prophet Muhammad (SAW) to invoke on and supplicate to Allah (SWT) as “Al-Hayyu Al-Qayyum” (Sunan Abu Dawud Bk.2 No.1490). So what does this have to do with YHWH? The answer lies in the entry for “YHWH” in the Jewish Encyclodpedia, originally published between 1901-1906, and now belonging to the public domain. The specified entry of this reputable work states that:

In appearance, Yhwh () is the third person singular imperfect “ḳal” of the verb (“to be”), meaning, therefore, “He is,” or “He will be,” or, perhaps, “He lives,” the root idea of the word being,probably, “to blow,” “to breathe,” and hence, “to live.” With this explanation agrees the meaning of the name given in Ex. iii. 14, where God is represented as speaking, and hence as using the first person—”I am” (, from , the later equivalent of the archaic stem ). The meaning would, therefore, be “He who is self-existing, self-sufficient,” or, more concretely, “He who lives,” the abstract conception of pure existence being foreign to Hebrew thought. There is no doubt that the idea of life was intimately connected with the name Yhwh from early times. He is the living God, as contrasted with the lifeless gods of the heathen, and He is the source and author of life (comp. I Kings xviii.; Isa. xli. 26-29, xliv. 6-20; Jer. x. 10, 14; Gen. ii. 7; etc.). So familiar is this conception of God to the Hebrew mind that it appears in the common formula of an oath, “ḥai Yhwh” (= “as Yhwh lives”; Ruth iii. 13; I Sam. xiv. 45; etc.). (2)

As the highlighted sentence indicates, the meaning of YHWH completely matches the meaning of “Al-Hayyu Al-Qayyum,” the Greatest Name of Allah (SWT) found in the greatest verse of the Qur’an, Ayat al-Kursi. Special attention can be drawn to “Al-Hayyu,” which sounds like the common pronounciation of YHWH, Yahweh. Basically, what this means that just as Jesus (AS) is believed by Christians to have referred to the name of YHWH in Koine Greek, the Qur’an has a possible manifestation of YHWH in Arabic as well. Although nowhere in Isam is it taught explicitly that “Al-Hayyu Al-Qayyum” is the Islamic manifestation of YHWH, both Judaism and Islam teach that that their respective manifestions are the most important revealed Names of God Almighty. However, despite the lack of explicit evidence, all other evidence almost spoon-feeds the conclusion that the Greatest Name of Allah (SWT) is at the very least a derivative/sibling of the Hebrew name “YHWH.” Despite the absurdity of the Christian missionaries’ demand for the name of YHWY in the Qur’an or Sunnah, they were still met, by both the Qur’an and the Sunnah, subhan’Allah.

– Farhan R.

P.S. – As I was doing research, I found another website also talking about YHWH in Ayat al-Kursi. Although I didn’t use it at all for my article, it might help anyone who wants more information. Here is the link:

http://islam.thetruecall.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=328

References:

(1) – http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm

(2) – http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=52&letter=N&search=YHWH#164

The Man Who Made a Promise to Tell the Truth

•May 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment
The Prophet said, Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise... (Sahih Bukhari Vol.8 Bk.73 No.116)

"The Prophet said, 'Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise...'" (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol.8 Bk.73 No.116)

Telling the truth is a very good habit. If you always speak the truth, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble! Here is a story of a man who did a lot of bad things, but his promise to tell the truth saved him from an evil fate.

Once a man came to the prophet Muhammad (SAW) and said, “Oh Prophet of Allah, I have many bad habits. Which one of them should I give up first?” The Prophet (SAW) replied, “Give up telling lies first and always speak the truth.” The man promised to do so and went home.

That night the man was about to go out to steal. Before setting out, he thought for a moment about the promise he made with the Prophet (SAW). “If tomorrow the prophet asks me where have I been, what shall I say? Shall I say that I went out stealing? No, I cannot say that. But nor can I lie. If I tell the truth, everyone will start hating me and call me a thief. I would be punished for stealing.”

So the man decided not to steal that night, and gave up this bad habit.

Next day, he felt like drinking wine, when he was about to do so, he said to himself, “What shall I say to the prophet if he asks me what did I do during the day? I cannot tell a lie, and if I speak the truth people will hate me, because a Muslim is not allowed to drink wine.” And so he gave up the idea of drinking wine.

In this way, whenever the man thought of doing something bad, he remembered his promise to tell the truth at all times. One by one, he gave up all his bad habits and became a good Muslim and a very good person.

If you always speak the truth, you can be a good person as well (insha’Allah), a good Muslim whom Allah (SWT) likes and favors. If Allah (SWT) – our Creator – is pleased with us, He will reward us with HEAVEN, which is a place of happiness and joy.

– Anonymous

This story was slightly modified from: http://www.islamcan.com/islamic-stories/the-man-who-made-a-promise-to-tell-the-truth.shtml

500 Years of Worship

•May 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment
I heard Allahs Apostle saying, The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise. (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophets Companions) said, Not even you, O Allahs Apostle? He said, Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me. So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability; and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah.

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise." (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophet's Companions) said, "Not even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me." So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability; and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah." (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol.7 Bk.70 No.577)

The angel Jibra’il (AS) told the Messenger of Allah (SAW) the following incident about a man in the past who has worshiped Allah (SWT) continuously for 500 years. He was granted a shelter on top of a mountain that was surrounded by salty water. However, Allah (SWT) caused a stream of sweet water to flow through the mountain for that individual. The man would drink from this water and use it to make ablution. Allah (SWT) also raised a pomegranate tree from which the man would eat one fruit every day.

One day, this person supplicated to Allah (SWT) that, “Oh Allah, bring my death while I am in the state of prostration.” Allah (SWT) accepted this du’a of his. Whenever Jibra’il (AS) came down to the Earth, he found this man prostrating to Allah (SWT). Jibrail (AS) said that on the Day of Judgment, Allah (SWT) will tell the angels to take this individual to Paradise through His Mercy. However, this man will insist that he should enter paradise through the good deeds that he had performed.

Then, Allah (SWT) will tell the angels to compare his good deeds with the blessings that were given to him in the world. It will be seen that 500 years of his worship does not even equal to the gift of eye sight that was given to him (and all of humanity, for that sake) by Allah. The angels will be asked to take him towards the hell-fire. Then the man will plead, “Oh Allah! Enter me into Paradise only through Your Mercy.” At that point, the following discussion will take place between Allah (SWT) and that man.

Allah: Oh my servant, who created you?

The worshipper: Oh Allah, You have created me.

Allah: Were you created because of the good deeds you have done or because of My mercy?

The worshiper: Because of Your mercy.

Allah: Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?

The worshiper: Oh the Almighty! You have granted me that ability.

Allah: Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who caused a stream of sweet water to flow in between the salty water? Who caused a pomegranate tree to grow for you? Who granted you death while in the state of prostration?

The worshiper: Oh the Sustainer of the Worlds! You have done all of these.

Then Allah (SWT) will say, “All these have happened due to My Mercy and you too will enter Paradise only through My Mercy.”

Source: Obtained from the book Tambihul Ghafileen by Shaikh Abul-Laith Samarkandi.

We never realize just how integral the Mercy of Allah (SWT) is to our being. We tend to think that we are doing good deeds, and therefore we earn Paradise. What we fail to realize that even though we do good deeds, and we do earn rewards, we will NEVER be able to do enough good, enough worship, enough gratitude, enough devotion, enough anything in order to truly deserve the blessings that Allah (SWT) has graced us with.

– Anonymous

The actual story was slightly modified from: http://www.geocities.com/mutmainaa4/story/022.html

The Truth about Orphans and Adoption within Islam

•January 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

“When a person puts his hand of compassion on the head of an orphan, for every hair of that orphan he will receive a blessing from Allah (SWT).” (Musnad Ahmad)

A while back, I was introduced to a common notion that many Christians and Westerners hold about Islam – that Islam forbids adoption. It was two summers ago, during my summer classes at my university. My friend, Johnny, who is an Egyptian Protestant Christian, showed me a clip from an Arab talk show (the clip itself presented by MERMI TV, now famous for taking snippets from  certain Arab media out of context and providing a false impression of the Arab world to everyone) in which a Muslim scholar was apparently presenting his case as to why adoption is forbidden. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked, and due to my severe lack of Islamic knowledge at the time, I couldn’t really give Johnny a good answer except how the scholar’s stance didn’t feel like the Islam I grew up with. Well,  a couple of years later, and a little bit wiser, I am here to tell you the truth about orphans and adoption in Islam.

In essence, what I have learned is that adoption really is forbidden in Islam; yet, sponsoring and fostering orphans is actually one of the most meritorious acts a Muslim may partake in. The question then arises: what exactly is the difference between adoption and sponsoring/fostering orphans? In reality, its all in a name – the name of the orphan, really. Islam forbids legal adoption, the full and nominal absorption of an orphan into another family. A family may adopt, raise, sponsor, etc. as many orphans as they wish, and they may even love the orphans like their own children – all of this is much encouraged in Islam. However, the orphan may not abandon his/her identity and name. The orphan may not accept the name of the adoptive family, but rather has to maintain his/her own family name and identity. Thus, unofficial adoption in general terms is much encouraged in Islam, but the orphan may not change his/her name and become a legal part of the family, no matter how close the two parties become. The reason for such measures are given below, but before we go over them, lets go over the textual evidence that fostering and sponsoring orphans are celebrated deeds in Islam.

There are a lot of reasons why the prohibition of adoption within Islam would seem illogical and contradictory. The two largest points probably come from the biography of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself. You see, believe it or not, Muhammad (SAW) was an orphan himself! As a matter of fact, one can make the argument that he was orphaned not once, not twice, but three times! First of all, Muhammad (SAW) never even met his father, Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib, who was actually a local celebrity for various reasons. Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib had tragically passed away while Muhammad (SAW) was still in his mother’s womb (1, pg.20).  Next, he had to suffer the loss of his beloved mother herself, Aminah bint Wahb, when he was only 6 years old (1, pg. 24). Afterwards, he was taken in by his paternal grandfather and local legend, Shaiba ibn Hisham, popularly known as Abd al-Muttalib. Unfortunately, even Abd al-Muttalib was destined to orphan young Muhammad (SAW), and when the Prophet was only 8, Adb al-Muttalib passed on (1, pg. 24). He was then finally placed under the aegis of his paternal uncle, Imran ibn Abd al-Muttalib, popularly known as Abu Talib (1, pg. 24). All this is common knowledge, and can be found in any decent and scholarly biography of Muhammad (SAW), so don’t just take my word for it.

The other major point from the biography of Muhammad (SAW) that makes the prohibition of adoption seem contradictory is built on my last point – not only was the Messenger orphan, but later on in life he had taken in and adopted a son himself! Before the advent of his prophethood, Muhammad (SAW) one day asked his first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA), to acquire a slave from a her cousin, who himself had recently acquired a few in Syria (1, pg. 41). She chose a young lad named Zayd ibn Harithah (RA), and upon seeing Zayd (RA), Muhammad (SAW) must have instantly fell in love with the boy, because he requested of Khadijah (RA) that they free Zayd (RA) and adopt him, and so they did (1, pg. 41). Consequently, Zayd (RA) was one of the first males to accept Islam, if not the first (2, pg. 86). Something special would happen concerning the adoption of Zayd (RA) later on, something that involved his identity and his marriage life and that of his adoptive father, Muhammad (SAW), something that did strike some of the Companions (RA) as weird at first – and we shall talk about that when we get there.

The aforementioned two points should have at least given critics some food for thought as to the meaning of the prohibition of adoption in Islam, and what exactly it entails to. However, we have so far only looked at the pre-Islamic history of Muhammad (SAW), and have recognized that Muhammad (SAW) was an orphan who was first fostered by his grandfather, and later by his uncle. Later in life, Muhammad (SAW) himself freed and adopted a slave. Lets now look at the teachings of Islam itself, and see how the Qur’an and the Sunnah talks about adoption.

Lets start with the Qur’an. One of my personal favorites is where God Almighty reminds Muhammad (SAW) that it was He who took care of him when he was orphaned, and it was He that provided for him during his childhood through the care of his grandfather and uncle, and provided guidance and wealth when he needed it:

“Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter (and care)? And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance. And He found thee in need, and made thee independent. Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness…” (Qur’an Ch.93 vv.6-9)

God Almighty Himself provided for His last Messenger through foster care, and then commands all Muslims to treat orphans well, as He does again here:

“Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious…” (Qur’an Ch.4 v.36)

It’s being made clear that orphans almost have certain rights over those more fortunate…In another place, it is even said that one of the attributes of the Righteous is that they care for orphans and others in need:

“…And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive,- (Saying),”We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you…” (Qur’an Ch.76 vv.8-9

Apparently, caring for orphans is actually supposed to be a trademark of the Muslims (whether Muslims live up to that trademark or not is an entirely different story). We are also told that apathy towards orphans and those in need is an attribute of the disbelievers:

“Seest thou the one who denies the Judgment (to come)? Then such is the (man) who pushes aside the orphan (with harshness), And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.” (Qur’an Ch.107 vv.1-3)

The most adamant right dictated to orphans in the Qur’an is that their inheritance should NOT be messed with – you (the guardian) should hold it in trust until the orphans come of age, avoid coming near it unless it is to increase it, return it promptly and fully:

“And come not nigh to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attain the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice;- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear;- whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.” (Qur’an Ch.6 v.152)

We  shouldn’t cheat the orphans by mixing our wealth with theirs, our property and goods with theirs, and then giving them the faulty, defective, or unworthy things:

“To orphans restore their property (When they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin.” (Qur’an Ch.4 v.2)

The guardians should not abuse their responsibility by devouring the orphan’s wealth while the child is still young – the rich shouldn’t even touch a penny, and the poor may take only that which is needed to put food on the table:

“Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, Let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: But all-sufficient is Allah in taking account.” (Qur’an Ch.4 v.6)

The amount of emphasis Allah (SWT) put on the inheritance means that it is something that we should emphasis on, and rightly so, since its basically God Almighty’s intended provision for the orphan, nor for anyone else. To deprive anyone of their God-given rights, to blatantly steal from someone’s destined provision – that is a major sin, as has already been stated above. Also, the emphasis on orphans’ rights by God Almighty tells us that this has been and will continue to be an area of major abuse and injustice. He reminds us so many times because He knows that we will continue to forget and turn a blind eye. Of course, Allah (SWT) never prophesies something without that something coming true, nor does He try to hammer a teaching into us without knowing that we need that teaching. We just have to look back a year and a half at the atrocities of the Iraqi special children’s orphanage in Baghdad for a recent reminder of our failures (3). The fact that it occurred in a country run by Muslims is even more painful for us, and it is our shame that we allow tragedies like that to occur, and still call ourselves Muslim.

The general principles found in the Qur’an are furthered by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself:

“Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin Amr Al-Khuza’i (RA) reported: The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘O Allah, I declare inviolable the rights of two weak ones: the orphans and women.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

This is rather significant – the Messenger (SAW) has declared the rights of women and orphans to be inviolable. That on its own is significant, since it says that the rights of the orphans, and women, too, are divinely decreed. Whoever breaches those rights will have to pay to God Almighty.

Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d: The Prophet said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together.” (Sahih Bukhari Vol.8 Bk.73 No.34)

“The best Muslim house is that in which is an orphan, who is benefited; and the worst Muslim house is that in which an orphan is ill-treated.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

These two ahadith finally make it as clear as day. Islam highly advocates the fostering and sponsoring of orphans. Those who take in and look after orphans are seen as one of the best people, truly people of the Righteous.

With that, it has been verified that fostering and sponsoring orphans is greatly recommended in Islam, whereas changing one’s identity is strictly forbidden. We see that Allah (SWT) took care of Muhammad (SAW) by placing him under foster caretakers. Also, not only did Muhammad (SAW) adopt and raise  Zayd ibn Harithah (RA), but even fostered his child cousin, Ali ibn Abu Talib (RA) as well; Abu Talib has too many children, and it was putting a strain on his finances, so both Muhammad (SAW) and another paternal uncle of his, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (RA), volunteered to foster one of Abu Talib’s children (1, pg. 40). So, its obvious that fostering and sponsoring orphans in your own home is an extremely meritorious act. The only restriction is that it is forbidden for an adoptee to take on the name of the adoptive family and become part of the family itself:

“Allah has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body, nor has He made your wives who you declare (to be your mothers) your mothers, nor has He made those who you claim (to be your children) your children. This is but a saying of your mouths. But Allah says the truth and He shows the way. Proclaim their real parentage. That will be more equitable in the sight of Allah. And if you know not their fathers, then (they are) your brethren in the faith, and your friends. And there is no sin for you in the mistakes that you make unintentionally, but what your hearts purpose (that will be a sin for you). Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an Ch.33 vv.4-5)

Why? A number of reasons. First of all, your name usually gives you your identity, and links you to your family. Orphan or not, God Almighty put you in a specific niche meant for no one else – your own place in your own family, even if they are all deceased, in jail, etc. You have the obligation to live your life as your biological parents’ child. Also, it makes inheritance records much easier for the adoptee. It goes the other way, too – the adoptee cannot join the adoptive family and inherit from them – God Almighty has already assigned those provisions the biological members of the families. Even the adoptee were to get some form of inheritance from the adoptive parents, it wouldn’t be as a son/daughter. This isn’t meant to be insultive or cold towards the orphan. An apple isn’t an orange, a cat isn’t a dog, and an adoptee isn’t the biological child of the adoptive parents. Inheritance is indeed a form of provision from Allah (SWT), and any provision from Allah (SWT) is a sacred provision. Inheritance has been deemed sacred, as one can easily see in the Qur’an verses already given before, so it is a big matter in Islam. The prohibition of legal adoption in Islam is partially because to protect the rights of inheritance. It doesn’t mean that there can’t be love and affection between the adoptee and the adoptive family. It just means that you acknowledge that that child isn’t physically yours, even if he/she is emotionally or intellectually yours. As such, the adoptee wouldn’t be a Mahram (unmarriageable person, like a father, sister, etc.), meaning that once the adoptee reaches puberty, the rules of hijab must be applied. If the child is a male, the adoptive females must wear the  hijab around the adoptee; if the adoptee is a female, she must wear a hijab around the adoptive males. The adoptees therefore have the ability to marry anyone from the adoptive family – it isn’t recommended or glorified in Islam, just acceptable for those rare cases when love just magically blooms (4, 5). Lastly, another reason for the prohibition of legal adoption is so that with the names in check, you can know our family tree, and know who is Mahram and who isn’t. Unbelievably, there are a lot of couples that have fallen in love, even gotten married, only to realize later that they were biological siblings separated at birth through adoption. The most famous case happened only a year ago in the UK, where a couple had to get their marriage annulled because they found out that they were actually twins, separated at birth (6). As you can read in this BBC article, it is even causing the UK government to rethink its adoption policies. The article says it better than I can:

“‘…If you start trying to conceal someone’s identity, sooner or later the truth will out,’ he (the crossbench peer) said. ‘And if you don’t know you are biologically related to someone, you may become attracted to them and tragedies like this may occur…'”

…”Pam Hodgkins, chief executive officer of the charity Adults Affected by Adoption (NORCAP) said there had been previous cases of separated siblings being attracted to each other. ‘We have a resistance, a very strong incest taboo where we are aware that someone is a biological relative,’ she said. “But when we are unaware of that relationship, we are naturally drawn to people who are quite similar to ourselves…'”

Islam’s answer is to keep your birth name and identity. You don’t have to change you identity to share love and affection with an adoptive family; you don’t have to change someone’s name and identity in order to adopt them and love and care for them. The true merit of adoption is beyond name tags. The science behind this growing phenomenon of love between siblings separated at birth is explored further in this article. It talks about possible explanations, genetic dangers being posed, and gives a lot of examples of similar instances in the UK and the United States.

Now that we have all this established, lets turn our focus towards Zayd ibn Harithah (RA), a.k.a Zayd ibn Harithah as we near the end of the post. His story is interesting, because the prohibition of legal adoption came through the example of his own affairs.

Muhammad (SAW) wanted to show the Muslims that ethnicity and social class should not be barriers between Muslims. In order to do this, he wanted his adopted son, Zayd (RA), a freed slave, to marry a beautiful upper class girl named Zaynab bint Jahsh (RA). At first, Muhammad’s (SAW) proposal was rejected by Zaynab (RA) and her brothers, because they thought that the gulf between the two individuals was too vast. However, God Almighty had other plans:

” It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.” (Qur’an Ch.33 v.36)

After hearing this, both parties became willing for the marriage to go through. It was fine at first, but later they began to have some marital issues (7). Allah (SWT) then revealed to Muhammad’s (SAW) heart that they would get divorced, and that the prophet himself would marry Zaynab (RA) afterwards (7). Of course, this caused difficulty within Muhammad’s (SAW) mind, and whenever Zayd (RA) came to Muhammad (SAW) asking for marital advice, he was always advised to stay with his wife – but Muhammad (SAW) knew that the revelations and prophecies of Allah (SWT) always come true (7). The only reason Muhammad (SAW) tried to postpone it was because it was an inspiration, not a command – Muhammad (SAW) obeyed all commands that Allah (SWT) gave (7). In the end, Zayd (RA) and Zaynab (RA) got divorced, and after the prescribed waiting time (iddah), Muhammad (SAW) was finally commanded by Allah (SWT) to marry Zaynab (RA), so he sent Zayd (RA) with his proposal (7). Zaynab (RA) was hesitant to go through without a command from Allah (SWT), so He revealed the following:

“Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.” But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zayd had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled. There can be no difficulty to the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty. It was the practice (approved) of Allah amongst those of old that have passed away. And the command of Allah is a decree determined. (It is the practice of those) who preach the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear none but Allah. And enough is Allah to call (men) to account. Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an Ch.33 vv.37-40)

Thus, the Messenger (SAW) and Zaynab (RA) married. It was happy marriage, at that. There wasn’t as much contrevorsy over the affair as you would think.

More importantly, the significance of the marriage was that it the adoptee was not genetically part of the adoptive family, and was not a Mahram. Therefore, his/her spouse was also not a Mahram. In this case, people would have thought that it was weird to marry your adopted son’s ex-wife. However, Allah (SWT) taught us that adoption does not really make someone change his/her identity. As a result, Zayd (RA), who used to be called Zaid ibn Muhammad, went back to being Zayd ibn Harithah. He never lost his bond with Muhammad (SAW), but now he went back to being who he was.

Since of the non-Mahram status of Zayd (RA), the marriage between Muhammad (SAW) and Zaynab (RA) was permissable, and God Almighty willed it to happen to show the Muslims that it really was okay. Once again, this wasn’t a recommendation, nor a command, but simply to show that something was allowable. If you aren’t satisfied, you should first ask yourself why you still have problems? Is it because it is morally wrong, or because you just think it’s  weird? Either way, I will eventually write a separate article on the matter – I think that article itself has gone on long enough. In the meanwhile, please read this refutation of the allegations about the marriage between Muhammad (SAW) and Zaynab (RA).

– Farhan R.

References

(1) – Harun, ‘Abdus-Salam M. Sirat Ibn Hisham. Cairo, Egypt: Al-Falah Foundation for Translation, Publication & Distribution, 2000.

(2) – Watt, W. Montgomery. Muhammad in Mecca. Oxford UP, 1953.

(3) – Lagorio, Christine. “Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare.” CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. 18 June 2007. CBS Interactive, Inc. 7 Jan. 2009 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/18/eveningnews/main2946007.shtml&gt;.

(4) – “I have feelings for my adopted brother. I don’t want to prey on him and mess with his development! – relationship advice.” DearCupid.ORG. 26 Aug. 2008. 07 Jan. 2009 <http://www.dearcupid.org/question/i-have-feelings-for-my-adopted-brother-.html&gt;.

(5) – “Can two adopted siblings get married? – Yahoo! Answers.” Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! Inc. 07 Jan. 2009 <http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071206084728AAAkQp6&gt;.

(6) – “Parted-at-birth twins ‘married'” BBC NEWS – News Front Page. 11 Jan. 2008. BBC. 07 Jan. 2009 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7182817.stm&gt;.

(7) – IOL Shari`ah Researchers. “Islam’s Stance on Adoption.” IslamOnline.net – Living Shari’ah – Ask the Scholar. 5 Dec. 2001. IslamOnline.net. 07 Jan. 2009 <http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Islamonline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503544668&gt;.

Difficulties with the Genesis Creation Story

•December 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment
It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge. (Quran Ch.2 v.29)

"It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge." (Qur'an Ch.2 v.29)

As-salamu ‘alaykum, may the peace and blessings of God be upon everyone.

I just wanted to get this out of my head. I am a biology major, and as such, I have a scientific-oriented mind. As a result, I have found a few impossibilities found in the Judeo-Christian view of the creation of the universe. I want to let them all out here not only to show everyone, but also just to help me arrange my thoughts. Please feel free to comment, but only after you read the whole article please.

List of Difficulties in the Genesis Creation Account:

1)The first thing God made in this universe is the planet Earth and its waters, before everything else, even before light (Genesis 1:1). We have been able to observe hundreds of thousands of things in this universe that makes our planet seem like a newborn baby. For example, our own solar system is said to be about 4.5 billion years old, found from methods such as radioactive dating of meteorites (along with terrestrial and lunar samples) and helioseismology (1). However, the universe itself is thought to be about 13.7 billion years, a number derived from methodologies such as using a function of cosmological parameters, or using NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Problem, or just WMAP (2). If that general statement isn’t enough, some objects in the universe are thought to be older than our solar system as well. For example, on March 30, 2008, astronomers in New Mexico were able to observe an explosion that took long before the planet even existed (3). The light from this gamma-ray burst travelled 8.4 billion light years to get to Earth, where scientists were finally able to observe it this year. Since light travels at a limited speed, what we see in the sky is actually history – light had to travel all the way from the origin to get to Earth. What we see is the light from events that took place at a previous point in time. Even sunlight takes around 8 minutes to reach us. If the sun suddenly vanished, we wouldn’t know for an entire 8 minutes! All in all, it looks bleak that the Earth came first. Even if all this evidence was wrong, it still doesn’t change the fact that there is no evidence at all to persuade on to believe that the Earth came first – all arrows point to the contrary.

2)God created light before He created stars, or any other possible alternative source of light (Genesis 1:3, 14-16). This one is simple. How can you have light without a light source? For those in the dark (no pun intended), the stars of our universe are the source of all light. Now, there is a valid counter-argument from Christians, and that is that if God wills something, it HAPPENS, no matter how impossible it is. If God wanted to inverse gravity, it would happen. If God wanted men to bear children, it would happen. If God wanted Richard Simmons to become the prime minister of Israel, it would indeed happen. This is something that i must concede. My only rebuttal is that although their point is indeed valid, it doesn’t fit God’s tendencies for a natural and orderly Creation as shown and observed all about us. Although anything is possible, the universe usually follows a set of laws that are constant and predictable. There isn’t anything blasphemous about these laws. After all, all the “laws of science” are truly just the laws of the Creator. As such, we have no reason to think that Allah (SWT) indeed performed a miracle by creating before stars, while we have patterns that imply that God usually follows His own laws of physics. If the Universe was created with just free-flowing light without any source, then where is that light now? Is there any evidence, of that light, any sort of radiation or anything? No. All evidence suggests that the Universe had a precise beginning, and that it came from nothing. Indeed, most Christians accept the Big Bang Theory. If you accept that the Universe came out of nothing, then you must accept all the other physical evidences that we have that support that theory. Some Christians claim that the Universe was created with things already in motion, like light created already traveling between two points, instead of it shooting out of a star first. This conflicts with current data, and is totally based on whimsy. Once again, the Bible simply just supports an otherwise unsupported series of hypotheses that even contradict themselves.

3)There was Night and Day on Earth before the Sun was created (Genesis 1:5, 16). This is sort of like a tangent off the last point. How do you have Day and Night without the Sun? The earth rotates to have Day and Night, with one light source. Yet light had no source until the 4th day. You see, we have Day and Night thanks to the rotation of the Earth. The side that faces the light source is experiences Day, while the other side is experiencing Night. Since there was no light and no light source, how could there be Day and Night?

4)God created vegetation before the He created the Sun (Genesis 1:11, 16). I was beating a dead horse on the last point, and now I’m shooting it with a shotgun. You can’t have plants without their source of nourishment. Of course, you can point to the fact that there is light already from the First Day. However, that light is also in question. However, since according to the Bible there still was light, no matter how many issues I have with that, it still provides the plants with light, so I will not go any further. I just want to point to the fact that Jews and Christians are saying that even grass came into being on Earth before the rest of the entire universe. This view is just so incredibly geocentric and arrogant. It’s no wonder that when Galileo Galilei proposed his heliocentric theory (that our solar system revolves around our Sun), he almost got himself excommunicated. Not only that, but it goes in COMPLETE contrast with paleololgical records, and you can see below.

5 & 6)God created grasses, seed-bearing plants and flowering plants on the same day, and all came before animals were ever created (Genesis 1:11, 20-21). Seed-bearing plants are called gymnosperm, and fruit-bearing plants, which in turn are flower-bearing plants, come from angiosperms. According to the geological time scale and fossil records, the earliest true gymnosperms appeared during the Permian Period, at least 253 million years ago (4)(5). However, the first ever seeding plants, called progymnosperms, began to appear in the Devonian Period, at least 374 million years ago (4)(5). Angiosperms popped up during the Cretaceous Period, 135 million years ago (4)(5). Do the math. To make matters worse, grasses were true late comers, squeezing in at only 37 million years ago, during the Eocene Period (4)(5). That is a day that lasted roughly 340 million years. One explanation would be that the word “Day” in Genesis meant a long period of time, since the Hebrew word “youm” can mean both. However, but for some reason must Christian Creationists insist that it meant 24-hour days due to contextual reasons. Whatever the case, there is an even bigger problem. You see, these plants were all supposed to come BEFORE any animals appeared. However, as we can see in the fossil records, animals came before even the progymnosperms, as early as 630 million years ago, in the Ediacaran Period (4)(5)(6). These pre-progymnosperm animals included sponges, trilobites, priapulid worms, inarticulate brachiopods, anomalocharids, bivalves, nautiloids, ostracods, bryozoa, echinoderms, both jawed and jawless fish, sea scorpions, corals, and crinoids(4)(5)(6). Animals that came inbetween progymnosperms and gymnosperms include both winged and wingless insects, goniatite ammonoids, coleoids, early sharks, and reptiles(4)(5)(6). Animals that appeared between gymnosperms and angiosperms include dinosaurs, teleost fish, many modern insect clades, crocodilia, and small mammals(4)(5)(6). Lastly, animals that came inbetween angiosperms and grasses include monotremes, marsupials, placental mammals, Eusuchia, and modern sharks(4)(5)(6). What we see is a complete dismantlement of the Genesis Creation account on gymnosperms, angiosperms, and grasses. Lets say the dating was all wrong based due to whatever reason. The fact is that there isn’t even any room to even allow a hypothesis supporting the Bible. Just because you think you can disprove the fossil record doesn’t mean that you can prove the Biblical accounts. Not only are all 3 types of plants spread out the fossil records, but all sorts of animals bespeckle the records between them. Dinosaurs are both created and become extinct during the K-T extinction event, before the first grass ever sprouted (4)(5)(6)(7). The fact that the fossil record shows the complete opposite of what the Bible proposes is too much to ignore. It’s not that there are slight discrepancies; the fossil records show the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the bible says – you can’t get more opposite than this. Also, there is no evidence that supports the Biblical accounts at all, so even if one were to disprove the fossil record, the Biblical account still has no weight. Whereas the Bible says these plants appeared on the same day, we see that they appeared throughout the fossil records in 4 stages. Whereas the Bible says that these plants came before any animals, we see that animals actually came before these plants, and different types of plants actually appeared between each stage. It is as if the fossil record designed strictly to combat the Bible…potential reason for Creationists to yell conspiracy of the scientific community against them? I don’t know. I don’t think so, because as much as Christians would love to claim, it isn’t Science vs. Bible. It is just science investigating. Science isn’t a necessarily religion or organization – it is a method of observation and learning from those observations. If God created the Universe, then science is just studying God’s creation. Science can be wrong sometimes, yes, and scientists can be rather biased, definitely yes, but science isn’t trying to disprove anyone. Scientists just study what they see. All I know is that there isn’t much theory involved, as Jews and Christians would like to claim. It’s like looking at a ruler and seeing how tall something is. You just read the scale. A lot of Christian Creationists like Lee Strobel and Johnathan Wells actually use the fossil record to support Creationism, and rightly so. Therefore, the sad fact that Creationists both disparage the fossil records while at the same time use it for their needs is evidence of a double standards characteristic of Christian apologetics today. It also shows that “Christian science” isn’t really a science, but a series of incoherent rebuttals to everything science puts out, rebuttals that tend to conflict one another. By the way, it is important to note that according the Biblical science, there are only 2 kingdoms of life on Earth – plants and animals. Nowhere in the Bible is the creation of the kingdoms of Bacteria, Archea, Protista, and Fungi mentioned. The Bible doesn’t even account for the creation of the earliest land plants, bryophytes. Bryophytes include liverworts, hornworts, and mosses, and reproduce through gametophytes. It seems as if the early Jews saw the observable world around them, and came to the understandable conclusion that plants are less advanced then animals, so they must have come first. Thus, they wrote that into their Scriptures. Perhaps they thought fungi were plants. The Jews didn’t mention the other microscopic kingdoms since back then such microorganisms weren’t even observable. This fact also explains the Christian belief that disease comes from demons, not God – without the knowledge of the existence of germs, who else could they think of else except Satan and his evil minions that would cause such suffering in people?

7 & 8 )God created sea creatures and birds on the same day, and created them before He created land animals (Genesis 1:20-21, 24). These 2 points mirror the last 2 points, almost like a corollary, only this time we are talking about animals instead of plants. Same argument and reasoning as above – the fossil record not only shows the opposite, but even if the fossil record is wrong, there isn’t any sign that the Biblical account is correct. It is as if God arranged the fossils the way they are now just to show that Christians that their Scriptures are corrupted. The only thing the Bible got right is that ocean life developed before life on land (4)(5). However, birds came much, much later, after the dinosaurs, insects, etc. If I go into detail, I would just be posting the entire paragraph above, so just reread the previous paragraph. Basically, the earliest birds came into being during the Jurassic Period, at least 150 million years ago (4)(5). Birds as we know them today finally started to appear in the Miocene Period, 7 million years ago (4)(5). In contrast, the earliest land vertebrates appeared in the Carboniferous Period, 326 million years ago (4)(5), with land invertebrates probably establishing themselves earlier. Here is the thing – nothing the Bible says really matches the geological records except the fact that fish were among the first animals to be created. However, EVERYTHING ELSE is in complete contrast. It isn’t that the Bible got a few things wrong – the Bible gives a completely different and opposite story than what we find today (what we find, not just what evolutionists WANT to find, although there is sometimes bias on the science side too). There is no evidence at all to support the Bible. There is conflict among so many points, that one must stop and think. It is as troubling as if the Bible were to describe deserts as tropical paradises.

So all in all, these are the 8 impossibilities that I find in the Book of Genesis. I will concede that I am a Biology STUDENT, not a bio-whiz or anything, so I am not an authority. However, that is why only listed simple points and used simple arguments, without going into detail. It doesn’t take much brainpower to figure all this out. There is one thing I want to note, however. There is a raging fight between Jewish and Christian Creationists and evolutionists. Creationists are wrong to say that science is trying to disprove the Bible – it’s just that whatever science finds seems to show how inaccurate the Bible is. This is why the Internet is filled with many Creationist sites that try to prove the Bible using their own methods, while at the same time contradicting themselves and other Creationist sites. While one site uses the fossil record to prove that evolution is wrong, another site claims that the fossil is record is a myth, and so on. There is no coherency among Creationists, while science just sticks to what it finds. Evolutionists have become “religiously fanatical” themselves, and unfortunately see what the want to see, too. However, for the most part, scientists remain fairly honest. All this being said, let me get to my point. In the end, only one person is right. No matter how incoherent anyone is, the thing is that there are a lot of good valid arguments on both side, some which even give me pause to think and ponder. Yes, Creationism is still valid – after all, Islam does believe that Allah (SWT created the world. Luckily, Islam in silent on the details, as if Allah (SWT) knew in His Infinite Wisdom that the early days of Creation would fall under such hot dispute. This way, Muslims don’t have anything to worry. We just don’t believe in macroevolution, and there is enough evidence to support our claim. Everything else Islam lets science figure out. Allah (SWT) knew that it would be impossible for us to come to a common agreement. There are so many arguments out there from both sides; it almost makes someone want to cry. How do you know what is true, and what is false? Especially for a layman, who doesn’t know that much into the details of science, how does he/she know what is the truth, and what is false? Allah (SWT) knew this would happen, masha’Allah, and He didn’t let Islam fall into this battle. Christians and Jews have it bad in this respect, as they actually have a detailed account to prove against all odds. In the end, my point is that one should take the Genesis Creation Story into consideration, but one SHOULD NOT use only this story to accept OR dismiss the Bible as the inerrant word of God. There is just too much information to shift through. It would take a lifetime just to hear all the arguments, and another life time to see if they are valid, and even then, one might just never be able to truly find out. God knew that one can never find yaqin (absolute certainty one’s faith in God and religion) using the story of Creation, even in our modern age, so the details were never given in the Qur’an. This fact is evidence in of itself that Islam is the TRUTH. Instead, the Qur’an alludes to many scientific facts that are used to support its moral teachings, and in such surprise scientists. How could a 7th century illiterate shepherd/merchant know that the Earth and the Moon each travel in their own orbits (Qur’an 21:33)? How did he know about the Big Bang Theory (Qur’an 21:30)? How did he know that mountains are leg pegs, that most of a mountain lies hidden underground, sort of like how an iceberg is mostly underwater, and they keep the Earth’s crust stable (Qur’an 21:31, 78:7) ? These facts, which represent but a drop of water in the pool of scientific facts found in the verses of the Qur’an, are found in the Qur’an, but how did they get there? The answer is that the Qur’an is the Word of God. In any case, even if the Biblical account was proven true by science, it wouldn’t cause much consternation to Muslims since we believe that the Bible contains fragments of the Word of God, fragments strewn with corruption by the hand of humanity. Thus, the Qur’an always wins against the Bible when the two books conflict on a scientific matter (like on whether the Earth is flat of spherical). Anyways, thank you for reading, and remember – this article is meant to bring certain facts to attention. Due to the nature of the prehistory being uncertain, and thus hard to know for certain what happened, these facts should not be used alone to accept or dismiss the Bible. There are a lot more stuff in the Bible to argue about. We will probably never know what really happened in the beginning of time.

References:
1 – http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/age.html
2 – http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/age.html
3 – http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=25109
4 – http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/geologictime.php
5 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_timescale
6 – Levey, Judith S. The World Almanac for Kids 1998, pg. 19. K-III Reference Company, United States. 1997.
7 – http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/extinction.html
8 – http://www2.una.edu/pdavis/bryophytes.htm

The Puzzling 25 Words and 113 Letters of Surah al-Fatihah

•December 16, 2008 • 5 Comments

And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Quran. (Quran Ch.15 v.87)

"And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an." (Qur'an Ch.15 v.87)

Once I was reading the Tafsir Ibn Kathir, which is a well-known commentary of the Holy Qur’an by the 14th century scholar Ibn Kathir.  I started with Surah al-Fatihah, since that is the first surah of the Qur’an. However, while reading the commentary, I came upon an interesting note and stumbling block:

“The scholars say that Al-Fatihah consists of twenty-five words, and that it contains one hundred and thirteen letters.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir for Surah al-Fatihah)

The problem is that when I went back to check this out, I could manage 25 words by excluding the Basmallah, but I couldn’t seem to derive 113 letters. You see, there was a difference of opinion on whether the Basmallah was a part of the surah or not. It is a universally accepted that there were 7 ayat (verses). However, some scholars believed that the Basmallah was the first line of the surah, whereas others believed it was just used as a header, like it is in every other surah, and then the 7th verse was actuallly divided into 2 verses (or else, excluding the Basmallah, there would be only 6). To illustrate, the first group that included the Basmallah divided the surah like this: 1A, 2B, 3C, 4D, 5E, 6F, 7G. Those not in favour of the Basmallah divided the surah like this: 1B, 2C, 3D, 4E, 5F, 6G(first half), 7G(second half). This doesn’t mean that we lost the surah, since there aren’t any discrepencies in the words themselves. It is reallly just a matter of bookkeeping. The format of al-Fatiha is just the way it was then – it is only a matter of numbering the verses, that’s all. Apparenly, the scholars decided later to include the Basmallah. I don’t know too much about it.

However, what bothered me was that even though I could count 25 words if I didn’t count the Basmallah (I don’t know whether Ibn Kathir believed the Basmallah didn’t count as a verse, or that the Basmalalh was such a well known and integral formula of Muslim life that it didn’t need to be considered for this essentially record-keeping activity), I could never get 113 letters – instead I kept counting 120 letters. This has been bothering me a lot the past 2 months, to the point where it became an obsession. However, today I finally cracked it, masha’Allah! I am going to share it with everyone here because at the moment there is not a single site on the Internet that explains it, and I don’t want any Muslim brothers or sisters to be as worried as I was.

This explanation will only make sense to those who know Arabic and are familiar with Surah al-Fatihah, due to the nature of the topic. Anyways, to begin, the first rule to counting by Ibn Kathir’s method is that you only count the letters that are pronounced, and exclude those that are silent. So, is the phrase “Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim,” which means “The Lord of Mercy, the Ever-Merciful,” you only count, in order, the alif, ra, haa, meem, nuun, ra, haa, yaa, and meem – and ignore the silent letters such as the lam’s. Also, using the same phrase, you count letters with the shaddah twice, since that is the effect of the shaddah on the pronounciation.  The last rule is that when you have a letter attached to an alif to prolong its pronounciation to two beats, and that same letter also falls under a maad, you count the maad and exclude the alif. For example, in the last word of the surah is “Daaaleen”, meaning “those who have gone astray.” It is attached to an alif, and is under a maad. Therefore, you count the letter but ignore the alif. Following Ibn Kathir’s rules (which no one uses nowadays, or at least to my knowledge), and using his method of numbering the verses (which is to exclude the Basmallah), here is what you should count per ayah: V1 – 18 letters, V2 – 11 letters, V3 – 10 letters, V4 – 21 letters, V5 – 15 letters, V6 – 17 letters, and V7 – 21 letters. It is important to note that you should be wary of which mus’haf to use – some spell the word “maliki” with a meem connected to an alif to signal the double prolongation, but for Ibn Kahtir’s method to work, you need one that signifies the prolongation using a short fat’ha muddah that looks like a minuture alif above the meem. Both methods are legitimate, by the way, just like you spell it “colour” or color,” depending on where you are from and your preference. It also should be noted that the entire surah is recounted and various ahadith and early Qur’anic manuscripts, so no one should be worried about whether the Surah al-Fatiha we know today is the same one that was revealed to Muhammad (SAW) so long ago – it is, no doubt about it. The difference among scholars was just on numbering the verses.

Anyways, I hope that was enlightening. It was nice to write on something a bit more trivial for a change.

– Farhan R.