Friday, June 29, 2012

"A drop of fluid" Pt 2 of a linguistic analysis by Hammy Tortoise

Being the second extract of Hammy Tortoise's ball ground-breaking paper on the miracle of embryology in the Qur'an.
then We placed him as a drop of fluid (nutfah)
The next stage of the development of the human embryo is nutfah. This word has various meanings (wouldn't you just know it!): By looking at the Arabic language (as opposed to French or Spanish perhaps...), it can mean a dribble, a trickle, a drop, or semen. Nutfah can also mean a bicycle, a set of spanners or "bodacious". This is suggested by the classical dictionary Lisan Al-Arab which explains nuftah as “a single drop of water remaining in an emptied bucket” or "a small gentleman smoking a pipe in a south-facing conservatory". Thus we see how classical Arabic holds within its elegant folds a multiplicity of meanings. It is this richness, of course, that has kept scholars in employment for generations.

The Prophetic Tradition (the hadith - sayings and actions of the Prophet) further clarifies how we should interpret these words. Book 27 no 4320: Abu Mustapha, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "They said, 'Messenger of Allah, what do you mean "the camel fills the bucket"?' He said, 'It means the reproductive fluids from both the male and female parties mix. Obviously. Cuh! How much clearer do I have to make it? I mean, really! You slave away in a cave getting talked at by scary bloody angels and then your followers can't even understand the simplest...' " They (the followers) know not what was said after this, as they had left.

The classical exegete Ibn Kathir comments on this verse and clarifies that the nutfah is a substance from semen. He states: meaning, was not man a weak drop of nutfah from a despised fluid known as semen. So we know without any shadow of doubt that man was a sperm. (Except, of course, he...isn't. - Ed)

Some commentators assert that nutfah is a synonym for semen. This misunderstanding patently lacks the holistic approach and fails to take into account the Prophetic traditions. (Which we know are full of wise and clear reportage).

If I were doing this properly I should go on and on for another 5 pages of endless drivel but I'm BORED.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Proof of Miracle in Qur'an - Embryology - By Hammy Tortoise Pt 1

Stop Press! Hammy Tortoise from the iBsU (Islamic Bullsh*t Unit) (formerly iERA) has completed the long awaited research paper on Embryology in the Qur’an.
Here we give an exclusive extract from the first section:
This paper will take the divine signs found in chapter 23 verses 12 to 14, and provide a seemingly endless linguistic breakdown tortuously correlating each key word  with modern embryology.
We created man from an essence of clay, then We placed him as a
drop of fluid in a safe place. Then We made that drop of fluid into a
clinging form, and then We made that form into a lump of flesh, and
We made that lump into bones, and We clothed those bones with
flesh, and later We made him into other forms. Glory be to God the
best of creators
We created man from an essence of clay
By applying a scientific analysis (!) to this verse and by saying in ten pages what it would take any normal person ten words, I will prove by a process of verbal attrition that black is white and a spade is a manual earth-inverting implement. 
Let us thus begin with "clay". Allah miraculously draws a comparison here between hydrated silicates of aluminium ... and oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Hmm. Oh dear...
Let's leave the science to one side on this one, because as we know (because I wrote it), "science has limited scope" and "the view that we should believe only what can be proven scientifically, is self-defeating". Instead let us wonder at how these verses "convey the intended meaning using the briefest of speech" - if only I could do the same! 

But the body isn't made of clay, Hammy!
Some silly people may say that the human body is not made of clay. This just shows how they haven't read the verse properly and that their misconception stems from a misunderstanding of the Arabic language, which (luckily for me!) is strangely difficult to pin down. sulaaalah  means extract or essence - in other words the chemicals in clay. Simples!

Prometheus and other clay myths - oops!
Now fortunately, I haven't seen fit to mention Prometheus in my paper, who in Greek mythology is credited with the creation of man from clay. Nor have I said anything about the plethora of ancient myths all referring to Gods fashioning man from clay (Presumably these myths arose all over the world because it seemed logical if you saw things fashioned from clay every day to imagine the gods doing something similar). I don't really know what to say to this one, since it rather awkwardly points to Muhammad recycling ancient myths. So I'll just ignore it.

Oops! Hammy trips over his own bullsh*t - again...
Next time on Hammy's Proofs of Miracles in the Qur'an:  "A drop of fluid".

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homosexuality in Islam - part 2: Muslim and Gay

No doubt many Muslims will argue, after reading my previous post, that gays' unnatural inclination is a fault of the society in which the find themselves, and that it is simply the misfortune of their not being brought up in a society governed by the dictates of Sharia that has led to their “unnatural” desires. My Muslim friend certainly does.
This “peccatum contra naturam” argument has been used, of course, by all the monotheistic religions to stigmatise gays and lesbians over the centuries. It has no scientific justification. Scientific study after scientific study has shown that homosexual behaviour is widespread in nature. It is not “unnatural”, but a totally normal part of life. In fact, “no species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis.” ("1,500 Animal Species Practice Homosexuality". 2006-10-23. I am happy to provide many more references to these studies, should Muslim readers desire, but this book should suffice for the timebeing: Bruce Bagemihl,Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin's Press, 1999; ISBN 0312192398
To argue, therefore, that it is societal influence that creates an atmosphere where homosexual behaviour is allowed to become widespread is unsustainable. People do not choose to be gay. Unhappy adolescents do not choose to be the way they are. They don’t enjoy the jibes at school.  Sin against nature is the bigoted and ignorant propaganda used by those who follow the teachings of Islam (and those of the more extreme Christian and Jewish fundamentalists) to justify and explain the various vicious ahadith and relevant qu’ranic  (and biblical) verses.  Many gay adolescents commit suicide when they are rejected by their families (again, I ask my readers to ask for studies if they require).  (Although, of course, Islam's creed of predestination would allow the parents to say that that was their time to die anyway...) Islam doesn’t help or cure these individuals. They would be gay wherever they lived. They would simply have to deny their true nature with all the concomitant psychological problems that that entails. They would, quite simply, be more likely to be suicidal in a religious society which denigrates and despises them. Neither is the argument that if we all turned gay “there would be no more children” a reason for denying those who are their basic rights (yes- the right to a sex life is a right) since such a suggestion is plainly ludicrous
If a greedy, hypocritical, sex-obsessed, ruthless, anti-Semitic, homophobic war lord genuinely thought God wanted us to reject some of our fellow men and women for the simple fact that they were born with sexual inclinations different from the majority, then we should perhaps feel sorry for him – the fact that a billion or more people should choose to worship his God, however, should make any right thinking person weep with despair.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homosexuality in Islam

The way that gays are treated in Islam, perhaps more than any other issue, convinces me that Allah is indeed vengeful and cruel and therefore the creation of a human and fallible mind. 

The Qur’an rather vaguely, but the ahadith very specifically, make clear that homosexuals who enjoy a sex life are to be punished (variously, according to which hadith one reads - but all such punishments are severe and most are fatal).

Many Muslim apologists suggest that it is very unlikely that the prescribed punishment would ever be carried out since the act of sodomy needs to be witnessed by four people. In that case the ruling is hardly the deterrent they suggest it is. What is the point of having a law that any sane person can see is laughable. If that really were the extent of the rules/laws governing gay sex in Islam, then homosexuals would have nothing to fear. They could, to be blunt, bang away in private to their hearts’ content. Are we to assume, then, that gays in Islamic countries feel free to enjoy their sex lives because it is so unlikely that four independent witnesses will be present for the act of penetration? Is this a ruling that is regarded by Muslims as an anachronistic left-over from more barbaric times so that gays are now left in peace as long as they don’t sodomise each other in public? A brief trawl through some Islamic sites suggests otherwise. I quote from,
(but I could have taken my pick from tens of similar sites all delighting in their hatred of gays and quoting Allah as their divine justification... )
“Praise be to Allaah. Firstly: The crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest of crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds, and Allaah punished those who did it in a way that He did not punish other nations. It is indicative of violation of the fitrah, total misguidance, weak intellect and lack of religious commitment, and it is a sign of doom and deprivation of the mercy of Allaah. We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound”
But why should we turn to the ahadith in the first place? Why do Muslims feel the need to go beyond the Qur’an for guidance on this issue? It is because surely, like so many other areas, the Qur’an leaves its readers unsure. 
It condemns homosexuality in the stories about Lot, which were told during the Meccan period, but in the Medinan period, Sura 4:15-16, the only reference that seems to come close to dealing with this sin, is so ambiguous that it seems that Muslim scholars cannot reach a consensus on its meaning. 
Again, surely this contradicts Muhammad’s frequent claim that the Quran provides complete guidance for life. In this major area of human sexuality, the Qur’an leaves us floundering. So we must turn to the ahadith, where things are less ambiguous.
I understand that it is believed that when Muhammad uttered a curse against someone, it was so significant and powerful that it carried eternal damnation—or at least it put its recipient outside of the Muslim community or ummah, which hangs hell over his head (see Sura 9:30). If we study the ahadith we see Muhammad doing a lot of cursing...
For example, Muhammad cursed effeminate men and masculine women (WHY??) in this hadith edited by Bukhari and narrated by Ibn Abbas, Muhammad’s cousin and highly reliable transmitter of ahadith:
Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet cursed effeminate men and those women who assume the similitude (manners) of men. He also said said: "Turn them out of your houses." He turned such and such a person out, and Umar [a principal companion of Muhammad] also turned out such and such person. (Bukhari vol. 8, no. 6834; see vol. 7 nos. 5885 and 5886)
Thus, effeminate men and masculine women were cursed and driven out of the early Muslim community. Is this not just an example of a very HUMAN response to the strange ... a xenophobic knee-jerk reaction of the sort that should be DISCOURAGED by a divinely inspired teacher? If children in school were to indulge in such nasty bullying they would be reprimanded in the severest way. And yet Islam encourages it! 
The Sunan Abu Dawud, named after its editor, is apparently another reliable collection of ahadith (but perhaps Muslims will correct me on this...). Ibn Abbas reports the following about early Islam and Muhammad’s punishment of homosexuals: . . .

 "If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done" (vol. 3, p. 145, no. 4447).
The next one from the same collection says that an unmarried man who commits sodomy should be stoned to death: 

"Ibn Abbas said: if a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death" (vol. 3, p. 1245, no. 4448).
Thus, these two passages in Sunan Abu Dawud go further than merely rejecting and banishing homosexuals or sexual sinners, as in Bukhari’s collection. Rather, Ibn Abbas says that Muhammad and the early Muslim community commanded their execution.
The hadith editor Timidhi repeats Ibn Abbas’ narration: 

"Ikrima reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that God’s messenger [Muhammad] said: ‘If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.’" (Recorded in Mishkat al-Masabih, trans. James Robson, vol. 2, p. 763, Prescribed Punishments).
In the same hadith collection, the Mishkhat al-Masabih, a compendium that brings together other hadith collections, are found the punishments of being burned to death and having heavy objects thrown on the guilty homosexuals:

Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, "Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did." In a version . . . on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali [Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law] had two people burned and that Abu Bakr [Muhammad’s chief companion] had a wall thrown down on them. (vol. 1, p. 765, Prescribed Punishments; cf. Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68).
This is a punishment that was carried out as recently as 1998 in Afghanistan

I’m not suggesting for one minute that homophobia is restricted to the Islamic community. I am suggesting that when the holy scripture of a religion makes plain that a group of individuals are to be vilified, lists abhorrent punishments for them, and the scholars and leaders of that religion do little, if anything, to distance themselves from these views and exhortations to violence, then stories such as this will become increasingly common.

What is written in Islamic texts is used to justify and excuse hounding, terrifying, maiming and killing homosexuals. It seems to me that the lives of thousands of gay men and women around the world are being destroyed in the most hateful way because of what is taught in Islam.

There can be no excuse for blindly following a doctrine that tells you it is not just acceptable but morally right to discriminate and hound other people simply because of their sexuality. Shame on you if you use religion to justify your petty phobias.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coping with being gay and Muslim. (no thanks to Allah...)

If you are gay and living in a traditional, religious household- whether it be Muslim, Jewish or Christian - you will in all likelihood feel you are living a lie, unable to tell those you love that the person they think is their wonderful son or daughter is not quite who they think.
Because of the vicious hadith and clear verses in the Qur'an that show how Allah despises those who aren't red-blooded heterosexuals who enjoy the thought of an eternity spent in delicious sexual congress with high-breasted, magically rejuvenating virgins, it is probable that gays in Muslim households suffer more than most. A supposition supported by suicide figures from studies in France and Germany.
But there is hope.
I came across this wonderfully supportive and life-affirming page on the ex-Muslim section of Reddit.
I suggest any gay youngster feeling depressed or isolated or just in need of a reassurance that they are not alone visit it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Allah's final message - part deux

You may remember that we've been playing God and are considering what our final message to mankind should be. (Sorry, Allah - such behaviour is no doubt punishable by an excruciating eternity having our nether regions nibbled by scorpions or something, but heh-ho...)
We have already agreed that our final message to mankind will:
a. NOT be delivered to a chap in a cave with a tendency to imagine he's going bonkers
b. NOT dwell too long on how great We are
c. NOT threaten and terrorise (counter-productive with a certain sort of bloody-minded reader, I've heard...)
d. NOT give exceptions to the basic rules about not killing each other (infidels are human beings as well)
e. NOT be dull and repetitive.
f. NOT be easy to misinterpret by homophobes, misogynists and other intolerant lunatics
g. NOT be edited in an illogical, anally retentive way that leaves all sensible people wondering who the *!*! got their hands on it.
h. NOT be used for political and financial advantage by the person we decide to give it to

In other words I think we need to state from the outset that our book is there to help. If we come across as at all jealous or psychotically disturbed or sadistic then we risk losing intelligent, thoughtful readers.
As an omnipotent know-all we may want to tell them exactly how to live their lives down to the tiniest detail (like blowing their nose every morning) but seeing as we made them in Our image and gave them at least a degree of intelligence and common sense, I think we need to show mankind that we trust them to tie their own shoe-laces and wipe their bottoms the right way.
Of course we can tell them it's wrong to steal, for example - although most of them seem to have grasped that - but I think it would be a mistake to be too proscriptive on the punishment. I've heard some mutterings at the back about chopping off hands and feet... but on reflection I think we agree we'd come across as a bit ming-the-merciless if we said that.
Can we now consider the vexed question of language? We could go for Aramaic again, but I think a language which is easily translatable and understood would be the most sensible, don't you? It would be a bit of a nightmare if we chose a language whose written form was liable to various conflicting readings, for example. So let's dismiss that straight away. I'd hate to think that in the future there would be interminable debates about the meanings of certain words because the language we chose was so "difficult". So are we all agreed that we need to communicate with our creation in the clearest and easiest way possible? Good.
Given that we've already sent down two Revelations to a small corner of desert bordering the eastern Mediterranean, should we perhaps consider a different part of the world this time? Obviously we know (that omniscient thing again - can be a curse as much as a blessing sometimes, can't it?)  should we decide to send it down to Mecca - as I've heard a few suggesting - the ruling family there is going to be a bit problematic, if I can put it like that. It just seems to be lacking in foresight if we let a family of glorified camel traders get their mucky hands on the Holy City and thus allow them to think they're in some way special. Especially if we then give them access to unimaginable wealth and riches. Some people might even accuse us of a massive balls-up.
So I think definitely not Saudi Arabia then.

I'm a bit tired, now - perhaps we ought to rest for a second or two - which of course may be days, weeks, years or centuries for them. Creation is such a strange business...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Allah's final message

Let's imagine for a moment we're God. Think Bruce Almighty. But instead of being offered the job on a short term contract, like Bruce Nolan, the down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to God that he isn't doing his job correctly, we've got the job for life.
Now imagine that we feel our creation needs a little guidance. We've apparently spoken to them once or twice before (in fact we've had to do more than speak to them - we got so pissed off on one famous occasion we drowned the lot of them except for one beardy bloke and his family). 
But they either didn't listen or changed the message. So this time we're going to make it crystal clear that this is THE FINAL TIME we'll be giving any advice. It doesn't matter that mankind has still got a lot of growing to do, will have to cope with immense and worrying changes ...wars...agrarian and industrial revolutions...the arrival of travel. No, 7th century is definitely it and henceforth mankind is on his own. Period.
Now obviously we're going to have to choose how to deliver the message so that there can be no doubt about its authenticity. It would be a bit embarrassing, after all, if we went to all that trouble and then the majority of them still said it was bollocks because we gave it to a bloke in a cave in the desert who kept on saying to his wife he thought he was possessed. 
And we're going to have to ensure whomever we choose to receive the message (if we do decide to give it to just one person, which - let's be honest - is a bit risky) doesn't use it to gain political or financial advantage - because that might make people a bit suspicious as well.
Anyway, back to the message. Do we all agree that if we decide to deliver it in instalments, we leave very clear instructions as to how it should all be put together at the end. It would be awful if some jobsworth got his hands on it and decided the most logical thing would be to arrange it in order of length, for example! Cuh! Can you imagine!
Right, content. I don't think we need to tell mankind how awesome we are, do we. I mean we're God and omniscient and omnipresent and omni-everthing! So we surely don't need to spend lots of time reiterating the fact. And I don't think threats will do us any good. Let's not scare the bejesus out of them by telling our creation how we're going to toast them 'til they're crispy if they don't believe we're kind and merciful, and the only god, and no other bastard god comes anywhere near us! Sorry - bit carried away there.
Perhaps we should go over those rules they seem to be finding it difficult to follow. The ones about not killing each other. Especially not just because of someone else's  beliefs. I think we need to stress that one, don't you? 
I also think we need to break the habit of a thousand years or so and suggest that compassion and tolerance are to be valued above all. I'd hate to think that any of them could use our final advice to them as a justification for hatred (or worse!) of others. 
I think that needs to be our priority. Whatever we say must be so clear that it is impossible for it to be abused for purposes other than for what it was designed. It shouldn't be too difficult. We're God, after all. We just say and it is! In fact, I think if our words are ever used to justify murder and hatred and homophobia and misogyny, then that could be seen as a proof that we don't exist. So we'd better get this sorted.

Seeing as somebody set a precedent about revealing things bit-by-bit, I think we'll leave the rest until next time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Does Allah have a sense of humour?

One of the few reasons why I am proud to be English is Monty Python.
As I was watching the Meaning of Life last night, it struck me that if God does exist (which he doesn't) then he must surely have a sense of humour - if for no other reason than he designed our bodies.
So let us rejoice in the sheer lunatic brilliance of Palin et al as they precisely and mercilessly dissect the preposterous idea of  a merciful God  torturing his flock, who in turn spend their precious lives bowing and scraping and toadying to this sadistic creation...and thank our lucky stars we live in a society where we are free to make and watch such brilliance...and perhaps in turn give a passing thought to Alexander Aan jailed for 30 months in Indonesia for saying on Facebook that God doesn't exist
Oh Lord, please don't burn us! Don't kill or toast your flock! Don't put us on the barbecue, or simmer us in stock! Don't braise or bake or boil us or fry us in a wok! Oh please don't lightly poach us, or baste us with hot fat! Don't fricasse or roast us or boil us in a vat. And please don't stick your servants, Lord in a Rotisomat!
And let us not forget that Muslims reading this have to believe they will pass through Hell, however perfect a life they have led: There is not one of you who will not go down to it (Hell); that is settled and decided by the Lord. 19:72.
That would be the same most merciful of all who are merciful Lord, would it? Hmmm.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ramses II and/or Merneptah and the Islamic miracle of the preserved Pharaoh

We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: "I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam)." (It was said to him): "Ah now!- But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion!- and thou didst mischief (and violence)! "This day shall We save thee in the body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! but verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!"[Qur'ân 10:90-92]

I've posted before on this but it seems that many Muslims and putative Western converts are still falling for this errant nonsense because of the lies (I use the word advisedly) told by the charlatan Yusuf Estes (seen in the above video) and others.

The mummy shown in this particular video is that of Ramses II. Ramses II was the mummy displayed in Dallas that Estes says he visited and saw behind the glass case with its mouth open leading to the comment, "What do you think he was saying, huh? Oh God!..." According to Estes this is the mummy of the Pharaoh that Allah saved as a sign for all mankind so we might believe in him. It is also, according to Estes, the mummy that Maurice Bucaille examined. (Actually it was the mummy of Merneptah that Bucaille writes about in his book but we'll come to that later)
In the video, Estes says that Bucaille was astounded that the Muslim scholars in the Cairo museum knew about the preserved Pharoah. He even tries to suggest that Bucaille knew nothing of the Qur'an. "They said we know (about the mummy being preserved) because it's in the Qur'an. He (Bucaille) said, ""The what?"". What a disingenuous, patronising toad you are, Yusuf Estes! Bucaille had been the Saudi royal family's physician for two years by this stage (He was employed in 1973). Are you seriously suggesting that he had never heard of the Qur'an?
In any case, let's deal with the claim that Ramses II was the Pharaoh who chased Moses and the Israelites into the Red Sea on a chariot. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Ramses II - my bolding (I've kept in the references so that those interested can follow them up):
Ramesses II was originally buried in the tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings but, because of looting, priests later transferred the body to a holding area, re-wrapped it, and placed it inside the tomb of queen Inhapy. 72 hours later it was again moved, to the tomb of the high priest Pinudjem II. All of this is recorded in hieroglyphics on the linen covering the body.[57] His mummy is today in Cairo's Egyptian Museum.
The pharaoh's mummy reveals a hooked nose and strong jaw, and stands at some 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in).[58] His ultimate successor was his thirteenth son, Merneptah.
Mummy of Ramesses II
In 1974 Egyptologists visiting his tomb noticed that the mummy's condition was rapidly deteriorating and flew it to Paris for examination.[59] Ramesses II was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as "King (deceased)".[60] The mummy was received at Le Bourget airport, just outside Paris, with the full military honours befitting a king.[61]In Paris, it was found that Ramesses's mummy was being attacked by fungus, which it was treated for. During the examination, scientific analysis revealed battle wounds and old fractures, as well as the pharaoh's arthritis and poor circulation.
Egyptologists were also interested by the mummy's noticeably thin neck. An X-ray revealed that the neck had a piece of wood lodged into the upper chest, essentially keeping the head in place. It is believed that during the mummification process the head had accidentally been knocked off by those performing the mummification. In Egyptian culture if any part of the body were to come off, the soul of the body would not continue to exist in the afterlife, so those performing the mummification carefully placed the head back and lodged a wooden stick into the neck in order to keep the head in place.[citation needed]It is believed that Ramesses II was essentially crippled with arthritis and walked with a hunched back for the last decades of his life.[62] A recent study excluded ankylosing spondylitis as a possible cause of the pharaoh's arthritis.[63] A significant hole in the pharaoh's mandible was detected. Researchers observed "an abscess by his teeth (which) was serious enough to have caused death by infection, although this cannot be determined with certainty." Microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II's hair proved that the king's hair was originally red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads.[64] This has more than just cosmetic significance: in ancient Egypt people with red hair were associated with the god Seth, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II's father, Seti I, means "follower of Seth."[65] After Ramesses's mummy returned to Egypt it was visited by President Anwar Sadat and his wife.
This 90 year-old cripple, mummified in the usual way and found in the Valley of the Kings in a tomb like any other mummy, is the one that Yusuf Estes claims is the Pharaoh who chased the Israelites by chariot into the Red Sea, was drowned by Allah, whose body was miraculously preserved and which shows signs of drowning.

So what of Merneptah, the mummy that Bucaille actually writes about in his book? In a New York Times book review in 1991, Malcolm Brown, science reporter, had this to say about Bucaille's book:

It is hard for an armchair archeologist to dislike a book about mummies, particularly one that describes the mortal remains of a pharaoh supposed to have been killed while pursuing Moses during the Exodus. "Mummies of the Pharaohs," however, is so severely flawed that neither specialist nor casual reader will find much to savor.
Maurice Bucaille, a member of the French Society of Egyptology and a medical doctor, was uniquely privileged during the mid-1970's to conduct forensic examinations of the royal mummies at the Cairo Museum. His book, adequately translated by the author and Alastair D. Pannell, offers some interesting sidelights on these examinations. We learn, for example, that Merneptah, son and successor of Pharaoh Ramses II, probably had his head bashed in around 1204 B.C. while chasing the Hebrews.
Dr. Bucaille asserts that results of a forensic examination of Merneptah's mummy are consistent with the biblical account of the pharaoh's death, in which the Red Sea, miraculously parted for the Hebrews, closes over the Egyptians. The author does not make it quite clear how a surge of water would produce the massive cranial trauma evident in the mummy, but never mind. This is but one of many questions the author leaves hanging.
Because Dr. Bucaille's patients included members of the family of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, he was given considerable freedom to inspect the royal mummies.
The doctor's major conclusion was that fungus was causing them to decay rapidly in the moist heat of the Cairo Museum, where they had lain devoid of protective wrappings since their discovery at the end of the 19th century.While Dr. Bucaille makes a good case that the royal mummies have been persistently ill used ever since their discovery, too much of his book is devoted to petulant criticism of Egyptologists and museum officials, notably Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, director of Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre. Dr. Bucaille's feuds leave little room for the mummies; his book badly needs rehabilitation by a professional writer or editor. 
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Merneptah (again, links left in):
Merneptah suffered from arthritis and arteriosclerosis in old age and died after a reign which lasted for nearly a decade. Merneptah was originally buried within tomb KV8 in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was not found there. In 1898 it was located along with eighteen other mummies in the mummy cache found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) by Victor Loret. Merneptah's mummy was taken to Cairo and eventually unwrapped by Dr. G. Elliott Smith on July 8, 1907. Dr Smith notes that:The body is that of an old man and is 1 meter 714 millimeters in height. Merenptah was almost completely bald, only a narrow fringe of white hair (now cut so close as to be seen only with difficulty) remaining on the temples and occiput. A few short (about 2 mill) black hairs were found on the upper lip and scattered, closely clipped hairs on the cheeks and chin. The general aspect of the face recalls that of Ramesses II, but the form of the cranium and the measurements of the face much more nearly agree with those of his [grand]father, Seti the Great.[8] 
So once again there is no suggestion of miraculous preservation. The Merneptah mummy is unremarkable. It was preserved using the normal mummification techniques. Experts suggest Merneptah was an arthritic cripple aged around 70 when he died.

Apart from Bucaille - who at the time of his examination of the mummy was employed as the family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia  and was also treating President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, as well as being well into his infamous treatise on Islam and science - no one has ever suggested that either mummy showed signs of drowning or even a violent death. 

The other Egyptologists who who studied the mummies with Bucaille disagreed profoundly with his conclusions and appear to have been a little frustrated with his obsession.
 En avril 1976, Maurice Bucaille remis ses conclusions. Il constata que Mérenptah dût mourir de traumatismes multiples très importants. En effet des traces de chocs violents reçus de son vivant étaient visibles sur plusieurs parties du corps : Arrière de l'abdomen, thorax enfoncé, idem pour la voûte crânienne qui indique une mort quasi instantanée et de nombreuses lésions sur le côté droit du corps. Cette interprétation des blessures est remise en question par Salima Ikram et Aidan Marc Dodson qui voient dans les nombreuses traces de violence dont a souffert la momie du souverain, l'intervention brutale des voleurs de sépultures. 
It is also to be noted that Bucaille's official report at the time apparently made no mention of his conviction that Merneptah had drowned.

So what are we to make of this miracle claim?

It seems clear that Bucaille saw a chance to enhance his reputation among his powerful new Muslim friends by  making the outrageous claim that Merneptah was the Pharaoh of the (in all likelihood, mythological) Exodus. This was then picked up and exaggerated beyond parody by various Muslim dawah sites and miracle seekers. 

And let's be clear why this is so important. As Yusuf Estes says, this is considered "the most important and impressive miracle of the prophet Muhammad" by a huge number of followers and has convinced innumerable people of the divine nature of the Qur'an.


PS In case any miracle seeker reading this wants to mention salt in the body cavity as evidence of drowning...natron (a mixture of salt and baking soda) was used as part of the preservation technique on all mummies). It's presence is indicative of mummification. NO MIRACLE.

Think I'm making this up about poor gullible miracle seekers? This is typical:
One more sign that proves God exists and powerful is was the discovery of the pharaoh's body in the red sea. The Qur'an tells of the prophet Moses and his followers were chased by the pharaoh and his army. By His power, God splits the sea and drowned Pharaoh and his followers.
All creatures including sea was submissive and obedient to God. How about we as human beings much more perfect?his body (Pharaoh's body) was only discovered in 1898 but the Quran existed nearly 1400 years ago. That is the dead body of Ramses II, The Egyptian King in the era of Prophet Moses (PBUH), it's age is approximately 3000 years old and it was found by the Red Sea at the place called Jabalain. Now in the Royal Mummies Chamber of Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
What is the secret of such good preservation of this body?Dr. Maurice Bucaille was a head and the leader of a group of physicians concern on rebuilding in France. That was in 1981. The result has shown that the residue of salt inside his body was evidence that he died by drowning.
Morris was preparing on final report on what was believed to be a "new discovery" in a Pharaoh's body. Till he was told that Muslims talk about drowning of this mummy he was very surprised!! after he read the story of Pharaoh's drowning in the QuranSource : Ahmad Deedat Channel

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Textual nonsense in the Qur'an

In a previous post, I suggested that one of the reasons why I cannot believe that the Qur'an is divinely inspired and that Muhammad was the prophet of God is that, despite claims to utter clarity made in the Revelation, there are many verses in the text that seem to defy any logical interpretation at all.  
For example, can any Muslim or scholar please explain the following verse to me? (I have given multiple translations lest I am accused of cherry-picking the most obtuse...)
YUSUFALI: If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. 
PICKTHAL: And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. 
SHAKIR: And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course.

How does my decision to marry multiple wives (or one of my slave girls/captives) have anything whatsoever to do with my inability or otherwise to deal justly with orphans? (And that's before we start on the idea that God should find it acceptable that I should marry a captive...)

Am I missing something here? Am I being stupid? 

This is supposed to be God's final words of wisdom and advice to us? Our omnipotent, omniscient maker wanted this passed down generations; wanted this learned word-for-word in madrassas; thought this, when chanted by children who have no idea of the meaning, would help them get into Paradise?

And because I question and research, rather than blindly accepting what I'm told, and find that there is no logic to it all,  I'm going to be burned in Hell for eternity. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Hell of a party...

Here is a list of approximately five thousand contributors to society through history. This list contains the names of artists, authors, politicians, statesmen, actors, scientists, judges, designers, philosophers, philanthropists, thinkers, academics, directors, journalists, doctors, adventurers, sportsmen, singers, businessmen....
Apart from their immense and immeasurable gifts to the world, these people also have something else in common.  They were or are gay or bisexual. 
They are, or shortly will be therefore, in Hell - according to the teachings of Islam. 
Well God, you made 'em, you burn 'em! As the saying goes...
It must be a one hell of a party down there! I'm going to head towards the pit containing Leonardo di Vinci, Michelangelo, Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde, I think. We can have chew the cud while we're waiting for Stephen fry to arrive.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

10 more questions for Allah

1.     Why give Jesus the message for humanity that we should love our enemies and then contradict his teaching by saying we have a duty to wage war on them?
2.     Why give us the ability to reason and think for ourselves, and then tell us what to think and do down to the tiniest detail of our everyday lives?
3.     Doesn't your claim that the Qur'an is "mubeen" (clear), when approximately one fifth of it is unintelligible - and thus untranslatable - prove you are fallible and therefore a creation of man?
4.     Doesn't also your claim that the Qur'an is written in pure Arabic, when it in fact contains many non-Arabic words, prove that you are fallible and therefore a creation of man?
5.     If Islam is the one true faith, why punish those countries which follow it by making them the most violent, corrupt and dangerous places to live on Earth?
6.     Why is being worshipped so important to you? Isn't creating us solely to worship you a bit - how can I put this - needy?
7.     Aren't there worse things in this life than worshipping the wrong God (or no God at all)? Why reserve all your special, sadistic threats for non-believers instead of those who enslave, rape or kill?
8.     Why is so much of your ""final" revelation specific to a particular time and a particular culture? Shouldn't the last time our creator talks to us before we are all judged contain a more universal and timeless message?
9.     If, as you claim, the Jews corrupted their scripture, why didn’t they paint themselves in a better light in their new, improved version?
10. Why don't you trust a woman's word as much as a man's? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dawah Olympics - iERA go for gold with a giant pyramid selling scam!

iERA, my favourite Islamic educational and research organisation, has launched a new dawah campaign for the Olympics. Abdurraham Green, chairman, has been tweeting excitedly about the tens of thousands of leaflets which will be distributed this summer to coincide with The Games. There will be five flyers which donors can choose from to help publish and distribute - all with a unique, uplifting message such as: Every soul will taste death. Then to us you will be returned. 29.57 A bit different from the ubiquitous: Plan your journey - arrive on time, although now I come to think of it...
In any case, this got me to thinking about dawah and the pyramid selling nature of conversion in Islam.
It seems that in Islam, if you bring one soul to Allah then you get the benefit of all the good works done by that soul. Not only that, you also get the payback from that soul's children's good works.
The nature of this has not escaped Mr Green. But far from being embarrassed that dawah, to all intents and purposes, is predicated on an enormous spiritual ponzi scheme, Abdurraham seems amused and even inspired  by the fact.
"You know pyramid schemes? Anyone ever been bitten by one of those? I know I have! (ironic chuckle) You know what? Well you know what, this is a REAL one, but for adja*! This is where you get adja, 'cause if you start at the top and you start this movement, brothers and sisters, everyone you bring on board, everyone you get to bring dawah, every person who comes to Islam, you're getting the adja for it. Does that sound like something you want to meet Allah on the day of judgement with, yes or no?"
Now I hate to be the fly in the ointment here, but does that mean that if I bring someone to Islam who turns out not to be such a good bet, I get negative points, so to speak? Let's imagine that with my amazing Yusuf Estes-like powers of persuasion I manage to convince Mr Smith down the road to convert to Islam. Unfortunately for me, Mr Smith turns out to be a bad egg and enjoys the odd drink, flutter and occasional petty theft. Does that sound like something I want to meet Allah on the day of judgement with? And what happens if his kids turn out even worse? Suddenly Allah's pyramid scheme doesn't seem like such a good deal after all.

Just asking.

*adja (sp?)