Sunday, January 27, 2013

Omar ibn Al-Khattab



Here's a comment recently added to a previous post by an anonymous Muslim reader.
I fully support that the Qur'an is a scientific miracle, but it's also a miracle linguistically. Know the 2nd Khalifa? Omar ibn Al-Khattab? Huge enemy to Islam before he converted. Tortured the muslims. As soon as he picked up a page of the Qur'an, and read, it was instant. An illiterate man, never had anything to do with poetry, somehow had put up the best literature the Arabs had ever seen and until now the same, and forever, it'll be the same. 
Anon is keen to point out that he doesn't base his belief that the Qur'an is God's work purely on the basis of the scientific "miracles" (although we notice he "fully supports" the idea). He states the Qur'an is a linguistic miracle, and to back up his claim he quotes the famous story of the second Khalifa, Omar ibn al-Khattab's conversion to Islam.

The story is well known to all (Sunni) Muslims and is, I would suggest, the Islamic equivalent of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus. Both men were of dubious character and enjoyed persecuting the righteous believers until their "miraculous" and sudden conversions. Thereafter they were largely responsible for the spread and indeed the character of the two religions we see today.

Saul saw a blinding light, heard a voice ask, "Saul, why are you persecuting me?", promptly changed his name to Paul and started a career as an inveterate letter writer, and single-handedly transformed Christianity into a religion for gentiles as opposed to simply a Jewish sect. More than anyone else St Paul is the man we have to "thank" for some of the less appealing aspects of Christianity. Some even suggest Christianity would be better called Paulism.

Al-Khattab, on the other hand, was on his way to murder Muhammad when he stopped off at his sister's place as he'd heard she'd converted to Islam. He was in the process of slapping her around a bit, so the story goes, when she handed him a page from the Qur'an. So overcome was he by the beauty of the words (Surah Taha) that he converted to Islam on the spot. Upon Muhammad's death he set about the most violent and successful spread of any religion the world has ever seen.

Here's an excerpt (92-97) from Surah Taha (which deals almost exclusively with the story of Moses) to give you a taster. Interestingly this is the same surah which casts Aaron, Moses' brother, in an extremely bad light:

[And now that he had come back, Moses] said: "O Aaron! What has prevented thee, when thou didst see that they had gone astray,from [abandoning them and] following me? Hast thou, then, [deliberately] disobeyed my commandment?" Answered [Aaron]: "O my mother's son! Seize me not by my beard, nor by my head! Behold, I was afraid lest [on thy return] thou say, 'Thou hast caused a split among the children of Israel, and hast paid no heed to my bidding!" Said [Moses]: "What, then, didst thou have in view, O Samaritan?" "Begone, then! And, behold, it shall be thy lot to say throughout [thy] life, `Touch me not! But, verily, [in the life to come] thou shalt be faced with a destiny from which there will be no escape! 
(I only quote this since Muslims are taught that when Muhammad  erroneously referred to Mary (Jesus's mother) as Aaron's brother, Muhammad quickly explained to those who challenged him that it was a custom to call people sister/brother of famous ancestors. So Mary's contemporaries preferred to refer to her as a descendant of someone who allowed the most infamous case of idolatory in history...  as opposed to the man who received the Ten Commandments, did they? Hmm.)

Anyway, back to the story of al-Khattab. Where do Muslims find this wonderful tale? It's told in Muhammad's biography, The Sirat Rasullah by Ibn Ishak. And, as far as I know, all references to al Khattab's conversion owe their origins to Ibn Ishak. "So what's wrong with a single source?" I hear you say. Nothing, provided it's reliable. But even Muslims themselves are at pains to point out how UNRELIABLE Ibn Ishak is because of the disturbing and frankly disgusting things he reported Muhamad doing - such as the beheading of 800 mean and boys (Ishak 464). Indeed, many Muslim sites are devoted to proving how unreliable a witness Ishak was because of this. The Islamic apologist site, Answering Christians is a case in point. They even have a page entitled The Problems with Ibn Ishak which contains the following, very revealing, comment:
There are about 600 Hadiths in Ibn Ishaq's book "Sirat Rasullah" and most of them have what appears to be questionable (at best) isnads (chains of transmissions) . But the later hadith collectors (Bukhari, Muslim, etc) rarely used any material from the Sira (because of the lack of quality and authentic isnads). 
Of course, it is only the Sunni Muslims who revere al-Khattab in any case. Shias consider him to be little better than a traitor. They believe the whole story of al-Khattab's conversion to be a myth...

Shia believe that the Sunni view of Umar Ibn al Khattab is an inaccurate one, created by the later Umayyad dynasty to honour the man that gave power to the first Umayyad ruler and third Sunni CaliphUthman. In this way, it gives legitimacy to Umar's consultation that started their own dynasty, a corrupt one in both Shi'a and Sunni view.
Shia believe that the Umayyad view was propagated with lethal force and heavy duress and as time went on, that view became predominant and eventually taken as truth, cemented by the works of Bukhari. However, Shi'a believe that despite the perceived white washing of Umar, bits of his true qualities can be found in all sources, including Sunni ones. They also believe that invented positive traits attributed to him do not hold a closer scrutiny.
Thus we have Muslims the world over basing their love of the Prophet and the "miraculous" literary qualities of the Qur'an partly on a story told in a history book that in all other circumstances they disown as full of scandalous nonsense.




28 comments:

  1. Good point, Spinoza. The Ahadith literature is of very doubtful accuracy. In fact, it reminds me of the usual miracle legends that grow around mystics and saints here in India. Take for instance Kabir, saint, poet and philosopher, who famously declared to be the child of Ram and Allah. The story goes that when he died, the Hindus and the Muslims quarreled over whether his body was to be cremated or buried. Kabir then woke from death and ordered them to cremate half of him, and bury the other half. He then covered himself with the shroud again, and lay down dead. When they lifted the shroud again, there was only a heap of flowers, half of which was buried and the other half cremated.

    Now how different is this story from Muhammad's miracles?

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    1. A perfect example of the sort of fairy tale told by the ancients to the credulous masses.

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  2. Spinoza - you can't argue against Islam by quoting Shia literature!

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    1. My point was simply to show how many differing and confused opinions there are regarding the authenticity of the conversion of al-Khattab.
      Surely it's just an example of (not very subtle) religious propoganda.
      Is there really anything in surah Taha that can make a man convert on the spot? Really?

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  3. Yes, I think this is an important point made by the two above: important and essential distinction.

    The Quran is one thing, the hadith is a different thing, the schools of thought are another, Sharia is different also

    Although it is the case that Islamic practice has created a hotpot of hand picked elements of each of these things into what we today refer to as "Islamic Practice" - we must, at the same time, acknowledge that "Islamic Practice" itself has gone through an evolution of it's own - taking parts from here there and everywhere, with the strongest opinion prevailing (even if correct or incorrect)

    Example: Today we have a legal system called "Sharia Law" - which loosely translated is "moral law" - at the time, this was an internal mechanism, a fear of God which would prevent you from doing wrong, with a few external penalties which were "the norm" at the time: (cutting off the limbs, whipping etc) - however the primary aim of it was to reward moral behavior which included things such as breaking trust, breaking a promise, being unkind, lying, jealousy and so on (similar to the 7 deadly sins philosophy)

    Today - Sharia law is a penal system: dealing only with external demonstrations of behavior - which is a very different aim. today's sharia seeks to control BEHAVIOUR and not THOUGHT

    Other important distinctions are:

    The treatment of women - which although was no ideal at the time, was also not as oppressive as it is today. The Prophet's wives rode camels for example, todays Arab woman cannot drive a car

    Fatima, daughter of the Prophet worked on a farm with her husband Ali, and is reported to have rough hands from all of her hard work - todays Arab woman are not allowed to work

    Aysha - wife of the Prophet, led a war after his death - today's Arab woman cannot join the army, or lead. She also launched a school

    Ali, husband of Fatima was chastised by the Prophet when he heard he (Ali) was planning to take a second wife, which was contrary to what his wife wanted. Ali was asked to remain with only one wife because this is what would please Fatima (he married many after her death): today's Arab women don't have a choice or a say in the matter.

    I mean - the list is long and endless, but the distinctions and differences are very important.

    Although the Quran tells us many stories, I think the behaviour and activities of the people at the time tell us more about what was actually happening, which was nothing less than a moral revolution - one that set the scene for tremendous advancement and development: society was organized

    Islam ended with the Prophet's death. Everything since then has been, politics, and the bloodshed and immorality began immediately after he died. What is left now is a system of elements, changed, amended and reconstructed to suit the agenda of the rulers of the time.

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    1. Hi Jasmine,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I was interested to read your thoughts on a previous post regarding your views on the Qur'an and your beliefs in general. As you say - a whole essay there..
      I note you put great store by the reported actions and sayings of both Muhammad and his followers.
      Part of my argument in the post above was to draw attention to the huge difficulties involved in putting store by such things.
      I am happy to be guided by the apparent experts in these matters and to take only the ahadith of Bukhari and Muslim as reliable. But even that is not deemed acceptable by some. Once more it seems that modern/liberal Muslims cherry-pick even these reports. Farrukh is a case in point. He seems either to be unaware of the Prophet's sayings to do with the magic virgins awaiting the faithful in Paradise or to dismiss them. But then why dismiss these reports and accept others? There is no logic to any of it!
      My point regarding the the Shia view of al-Khattab is that a large proportion of those who call themselves Muslim have decided that most, if not all, the ahadith are fairy tales.
      How are we to know what is reliable and what is not?
      Is it not reasonable, given the above, to dismiss every ahadith and rely purely upon the Qur'an? But then what of the five prayers? These are one of the Five Pillars!

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    2. Hi Spinoza,

      Yes its true - there is a conflict there, but for me these are all clues, leading to some kind of understanding....and the way I interpret is not on an event by event basis, but through a number of things.

      The only way I can explain it (succinctly) would be to use an example of a fictional character...lets say: Robin Hood.

      OK, so on a case by case basis you could have a "hadith" (viz., story) about Robin Hood.

      You can say Robin Hood was a hero
      You can show examples of him stealing and say "thats not a very moral heroic act"
      You can show that he killed (not very heroic and moral either)
      You can show that he was homeless(?)

      Not sure really - but the point I am trying to make is that: if you take things on a case by case basis, then what you are ultimately doing is drawing a conclusion based on actions irrespective of all of the other contributing factors to a person's character and way of being.

      Also, many of the things modern thinking regards as barbaric - are really quite normal when you are speaking of country leaders - and by that I mean the instilling of social discipline, justice and all the rest. Leaders are put in a position where they have to give the order to attack and kill their enemies, they have to decide how criminals will be punished (and many countries still today have death penalities).

      Now, I am not trying to excuse, argue or justify here - I am merely trying (very hard!) to express a way of seeing things and understanding things, which is something I learned whilst studying literature and trying to understand characters, place, time, philosophy, knowledge: not from historical fact and archeological evidence, but by rendition of experience through the characters mouth's which tell us a great deal if we just cultivate the perspective that can see it.

      This is how I see things. All people, ALL people have times when they are soft and times when they need to be hard: and Mohammed is not an exception to this rule: he had a tremendous responsibility on his shoulders, and entire community asking him for answers for everything an everything - my reading tells me the man was bombarded 24/7 with questions - how to wash, how to pray, what to do, where to go, how to punish, how to x,y,z : and each and every time his response was always a tailored one, differing each time to suit the particular circumstance of the person he was speaking to .

      I am realizing there is not enough space for me to explain fully - but I hope I have at least scratched the surface of how I read and understand.

      For me: "what of this?", "what of that"? this is "nitpicking" (for me - I accept others have different views). I don't care when I am a passenger in a car whether someone drives at 30,40 or 50 miles an hour, I don't car what the car is, what petrol they put in the tank and how big the mirrors are - I just want to be "safe" - I can be just as safe in a fast car as in a slow car, and in just as much danger as well.

      What happens these days is that the Islamic community and those outside of the Islamic community speak about the proverbial speed limits and wing mirrors and miss the car completely.

      Am I explaining my perspective? I hope I am :)

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  4. Spinoza I am not amused by you using my name here and there on your blogs, especially when we are still talking on that topic. Secondly, I am nobody to pick and choose anything from the Quran and Hadith. But you should realize the order of sacredness / precedence in Islamic literature.
    1. The Quran in Arabic. Cannot be altered or corrupted. Allah Almighty has promised to protect it. (Necessary to believe each and every word of the Quran to be a Muslim)

    2. The Quranic Translations. Used to understand the message for those who don’t know Arabic. For understanding the basic tenets of Islam as described by the Quran, we have to look backwards 1500 years back to the life of the Holy Prophet PBUH and follow exactly how he did it. Whereas for the general knowledge in the Quran we have to look forward to the present day scientific discoveries and use these tools to understand the meanings of the Quran. Therefore the translations will keep on being revised. (Not necessary to believe each and every word to be a Muslim)

    [This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. Quran 38:29

    3. Sunnah. Practices of the Holy Prophet PBUH. Necessary to follow in order to be a practicing Muslim. (Not necessary to believe each and every word to be a Muslim)

    4. Hadiths. Sayings of the Holy Prophet PBUH. Bukhari and Muslim are considered the most authentic. However, no hadith can ever contradict the Quran. Such a hadith will automatically be discarded. There is no guarantee / promise of their safe keeping by Allah. As such some corruption may have crept in. (Not necessary to believe each and every word to be a Muslim)

    5. Fiqh. Islamic jurisprudence principles etc

    6. Quranic commentary. Just for understanding


    The declaration of faith in Islam and the essential beliefs, I told you about in the other post are called Iman-e-Mufassal (Comprehensive Faith) and Iman-e-Mujmal (Concise Faith) and list down the essential things that a person has to believe in to be a Muslim.
    The concept of houris is just to inform that people that they should not think that they would feel any loneliness in the paradise. There will be compatible companions available, --- thats all. We are neither required to believe in or endorse their physical characteristics. I believe, you are referring to Hadith Volume 4, Book 54, Number 476 in this regard. The nostril thing you mentioned, I think is in Volume 4, Book 54, Number 516, again rinsing the nose is a part of ablution necessary for prayers. You can read hadith, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 492 too. Both these hadith are just conveying the abhorrence for over-sleeping till sunrise (and losing the First Fajir prayer) as a result and emphasizing cleanliness.
    The five prayers are mentioned in the Quran, but not as a list.
    Hope this clarifies some things.

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    1. Hi Farrukh,
      My apologies if I have offended. My intention is always to encourage open and honest debate.
      Thank you for your thoughts.
      I disagree that the references in the Bukhari and Muslim ahadith were to be taken as metaphors.
      You say that we are to understand there will be "compatible companions available - that's all". Are we to dismiss the idea of endless sex with these "companions" as well? Is that also just a metaphor? Where will all this reductionism end? Are there to be no rivers of wine?
      Who are we to say what is a metaphor? Isn't that arrogance? Aren't you in danger of second-guessing what God meant for us to understand?
      At least my convert friend is straight-forward in his approach. He takes the whole lot as real.

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    2. Spinoza, your convert friend actually takes the Ahadith literally and then speaks of rational Islam and scientific miracles in the same breath?! My initial feeling was incredulousness, but then, religion does have a way of addling your brain. Just look at Zakir Naik.

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    3. But then are you saying to be sure of understanding God's message as he intended it, we must all learn Classical Arabic?
      Isn't that rather a big ask?
      Doesn't this situation encourage a degree of racism?
      Shouldn't God's message be equally understandable to all?

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    4. @ SPinoza
      Quran and Hadith, cannot be categorized into labels i.e literal or metaphorical or for that matter any other label. Allah says :
      'He it is who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the book: others are allegorical, that is those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the book; the whole of it is from our Lord;" and none will grasp the message except men of understanding' (Al-Qur'an 3: 7).


      Like your worthy friend, I too believe in the hadiths and what they convey. What i was trying to portray was my opinion on “Are we to dismiss the idea of endless sex with these "companions" as well? Is that also just a metaphor? Where will all this reductionism end? Are there to be no rivers of wine?” Since, I have read about this fixation everywhere on your blog.
      My understanding is that non Muslims, judge the Muslim’s motivation for believing to be able to enjoy endless sex in paradise. While, being a Muslim, I can tell you that no Muslim toils for the Hereafter in order to gain houris or their endless companionship. There are too many other rewards and pleasures. We have but five senses in this world, nobody knows how many will be there in the hereafter.

      Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said:
      Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for My pious servants those bounties which no eye (has ever) seen, no ear has (ever) heard and no human heart has ever perceived, leaving apart (those bounties) about which Allah has informed you. Sahih Muslim Book 040, Number 6781.

      Referring to the ayat in the Quran :
      No soul knows what delight awaits them as the reward for their deeds. 32:17

      Yet, a true Muslim in spite of the countless and endless rewards bestowed to him in the paradise, only yearns for the love and approval of his Lord Allah SWT. The vision of Allah is the greatest of all rewards, surpassing all other joys, According to the Qur'an, God will bring the elect near to his throne, a day on which "some faces shall be shining in beholding their Lord." 75: 23-24

      Mughira b. Shu'ba reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) worshipped so much that his feet used to swell. It was said to him: (Why do you undergo so much hardship despite the fact that) Allah has pardoned for you, your earlier and later sins? Thereupon he said: May I not (prove myself) to be a grateful servant (of Allah)? Book 039, Number 6772:


      Thus, trying to understand paradise, by imagining houris and endless sex will not give you the correct picture. Also, by the way, the stature and beauty bestowed on a women, who achieves paradise by her efforts will be much greater than what the houris .

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  5. Good day to you Spinoza and others! I must say, I'm pleased to have come across this blog based on the content of the above post and enlightened discussion that's taken place in the comments. How very civilised!

    There are so many things to comment on (...but so little time):

    Jasmine (what a beautiful name! my complements!) makes an interesting point about what we've (the 'we' depends on whether you're an Islamicist by trade or have come to understand the term principally through the lens of the tabloids) come to understand as shari'a, evolving from a 'moral' or, dare I say, natural law into its modern incarnation as a positive, codified law existing in the texts of legal treatises, constitutions etc. I infer from her comments that it's this 'evolution' or gradual codification of shari'a, from lex naturalis to lex humana, that she believes has produced many of the - ahem - problematic Islamic practices with which we are all so familiar today. Something to ponder on.

    Spinoza refers to a (quite possibly apocryphal) tale about the conversion (or 'reversion' if you're a believer in fitra) of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. I must confess that I've heard this anecdote before and wasn't aware of its origin in the sira. I don't possess a copy of Ibn al-Jawzi's "Tarikh 'Umar ibn al-Khattab" (Biography/History of 'Umar) and have neither the time nor the inclination to consult my copy of Sirat Ibn Hisham, but according to my (English, abridged) copy of al-Mubarakpuri's "al-Rahiq al-Makhtum" (The Sealed Nectar - a widely respected modern bio. of Muhammad), the account is confirmed by Ibn al-Jawzi in his authoritative account using different wording, and based on a different chain of narrators. To those who remain fairly sceptical about the authenticity and content of much (if not all) of the ahadith (see Varma's particularly apt comment), this hardly merits mentioning, but I thought I'd comment nonetheless as it may be of interest to some.

    From what I've read, Jasmine appears to have a very rosy view of Islamic history; the fabled 'pristine' Islam which many neo-fundamentalists are so keen on reproducing in the here and now. Might I suggest Jasmine that, although Muhammad may have (to what extent and whether he did or not depends on who you read) improved the lot of women in Medina, Mecca and elsewhere as more tribes accepted Islam, I'm fairly certain that women's status and rights (yes, even in misogynistic Saudi) is higher and are better protected now than it's/they've ever been. Furthermore, there is a much greater diversity of conditions for women in the Middle East and North Africa than you allow for. Generally speaking, the further West you go (Lebanon being the, for the most part, great big liberal anomaly and Morocco south west of el-Jadida, apart from the resorts, becoming exceptionally more oppressive), the better the life choices are for women.

    Jasmine also makes some very lucid observations about what we might term 'modern Islam', which, thanks to the emphasis on both scripturalism and, to a lesser extent (thankfully) literalism in Islamic scholasticism, has elevated a rigid adherence to dogma as the sine qua non of Islamic faith. The question is, though, did this inflexibility (depending on your viewpoint) originate with the reification of Islam or when Islamic doctrine began to be formalised, did it originate at the outset, or is it a much more contemporary phenomenen? I would appreciate your thoughts on this, Jasmine.

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  6. Farrukh states that it is 'necessary to believe each and every word of the Quran to be a Muslim.' I would argue that that is open to interpretation and very much contingent on the views of the early scholars on what constituted the then Islamic creed. Creed ('aqida), faith (iman) and worship ('ibada) in the modern era are all effectively decided by those very same early scholars and not by God or His Prophet. Who is to say whether belief in a created or uncreated Qur'an catapults you into the realm of disbelief?

    "Iman-e-Mufassal...Iman-e-Mujmal" These are the Urdu equivalents of the Arabic al-Iman al-Mufassal and al-Iman al-Mujmal.

    Toodle-pip!

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Hatim. It's always interesting read the thoughts of those with an obvious knowledge of Islam.

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    2. @Hatim -

      "From what I've read, Jasmine appears to have a very rosy view of Islamic history; the fabled 'pristine' Islam which many neo-fundamentalists are so keen on reproducing in the here and now. Might I suggest Jasmine that, although Muhammad may have (to what extent and whether he did or not depends on who you read) improved the lot of women in Medina, Mecca and elsewhere as more tribes accepted Islam, I'm fairly certain that women's status and rights (yes, even in misogynistic Saudi) is higher and are better protected now than it's/they've ever been."

      I disagree that my view is rosy - but then, you have to read my comments over a period of time to understand my opinion fully - so forgiveness all round :)

      I agree women's rights are better now - but I would also say that women's rights have gone on a journey to get where they are, and that journey had to have a starting point - and that starting point (no matter how sub-standard by today's standards) is very important and significant. I would add that it was Ancient Egyptian women who had the most rights - being considered equal is most sense of the word and having multiple professions and social mobility as well.


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    3. I will come back to you with the rest as my takeaway has arrived and I am hungry!

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    4. @ Hatim at-Ta'iy

      Absolutely Wrong.Hatim You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe from the Quran. You have to take it all.

      Who have made the Quran into parts. (i.e. believed in a part and disbelieved in the other).So, by your Lord (O Muhammad SAW), We shall certainly call all of them to account. 15 :91-92

      The basic beliefs have all been formulated by Allah and not open to interpretation of any kind. Clarify your concepts.

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  7. The question is, though, did this inflexibility (depending on your viewpoint) originate with the reification of Islam or when Islamic doctrine began to be formalised, did it originate at the outset, or is it a much more contemporary phenomenen? I would appreciate your thoughts on this, Jasmine.


    In my humble opinion the inflexibility is that it began with the formation of Sharia Law & Islamic Jurisprudence circa: 200 years after Mohammed's death. The soil for this was fertilised by the beginning of attempts at historical record (mainly the Hadith). 

    On the topic of women - a lot of people fixate on this, but actually women's rights have always been, and still are extremely low priority on most agendas, and where there have been developments it's been economically and politically driven (ie: war or suffragettes) and rarely benevolent-leader driven: that's why Mohammed addressing the issue (however "badly") is unique and noteworthy. The only other leader I am aware of that did this optionally is Kemal Ataturk. 

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  8. Ultimately, the question is whether the Qur'an (or any book called scripture) is from God or gods. I don't think so. The Qur'an, as far as I'm concerned, is a very human work. There's nothing therein that suggests to me that it's from a supernatural source. As for the Ahadith, I seriously doubt their historical validity/acuracy.

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  9. @Jasmine

    Yes, please accept my apologies for deducing your 'views' based on the comments you've made on this thread. Further, my application of the word 'rosy' was not meant in a derogatory sense.

    As for the relative freedom of women in Ancient Egypt, I'll have to defer to your wisdom on that subject. That is very interesting though. On another note, Egyptians that I've met are very proud of their history - and rightly so. Copt and Muslim alike share much in common, and many Ancient Egyptian customs - such as the eating of fasikh on Sham al-Nasim - have endured.

    Your analogy of the 'journey' with its starting point being, presumably, the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad or his establishment of the first Islamic state at Yathrib/Madina, is intriguing. When viewed as a pious reformer of the C.7th with characteristically human flaws, rather than as a perfect paradigm imbued with divine sanction for C.21st Muslims to follow, Muhammad ibn Abdullah could be a catalyst for Islamic introspection.

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  10. @Farrukh

    I understand that belief in every letter (harf) and dot (nuqta) of the Qur'an is required, according to both orthodox and heterodox schools of belief. However, what is not clear, without the benefit of commentary (and even with it in some cases), is what constitutes the Qur'an and, with reference to the first of the verses you quoted (al-Hijr, 91), what the words of the Qur'an are driving at:

    "Al-ladhina ja'alu ul-Qur'ana 'ideen"

    "Those (the Muqtasimeen referred to in v.90) who made the Qur'an at odds with itself."

    Although we have to rely on hadith and the asbab al-nazul (circumstances for revelation) for details of who the Muqtasimeen referred to in the preceding verse 'were', thanks to the unusual Arabic syntax here ('ideena is, effectively, a second direct object of the verb ja'alu), it's not particularly clear what the Qur'an means. Furthermore, if we go back to verse 87 of the same chapter, we become further confused by what constitutes the Qur'an, which is supposedly 'at odds with itself'. For, in v.87, we learn that the Qur'an is the Qur'an PLUS the seven oft-repeated verses of al-Fatiha; or 113 chapters plus an exhortatory supplication to begin with.

    I'm certainly not clear that, without subjective/esoteric interpretation (ta'wil, possibly), this constitutes an absolute ruling on the prerequisite of belief in the entire Qur'an.

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  11. "When viewed as a pious reformer of the C.7th with characteristically human flaws, rather than as a perfect paradigm imbued with divine sanction for C.21st Muslims to follow, Muhammad ibn Abdullah could be a catalyst for Islamic introspection"

    *applause*

    I do believe that if you take away the whether-you-believe-or-dont-believe element to the history, a certain amount of prejudice disappears and we are able to understand more clearly what was happening and the significance of it.

    THEN and AFTER we have managed to understand can we ask the question:

    "is God in this story?"

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  12. @Jasmine

    I concur with your thoughts about the relative flexibility/inflexibility of contemporary Islam.

    What is even more galling, I believe, is that, with the advent of the internet and what should be or ought rather to be a collective opening of the Islamic mind worldwide thanks to the proliferation of free texts (see the thousands of scanned classical Arabic books on archive.org, for example, or at Wikisource) and the oft-noted benefits of social media, instead of this, we are seeing the obscurantist manhaj of the Wahhabi neo-salafis propagated everywhere and taking root (noticeably in Europe) where one would've thought a more considered, liberally-syncretised Islam would be evolving.

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  13. ITS A MIRACLE MUHAMMAD WASN'T STONED TO DEATH!

    THE JIMMY SAVILE
    OF
    MECCA


    THE SEALED NECTAR OF ISLAM


    THE PERFECT MUSLIM
    And surely thou hast sublime morals
    (Surat Al-Qalam 68:4).

    Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar
    (Surat Al-Ahzab 33:21).

    Muslims believe that the Koran is the eternal word/laws of god to acts as a divine guidance for mankind about how to live a moral, righteous life. Prophet Muhammad, the highest perfection of human life and the prototype of the most wonderful human conduct in Islamic belief, emulated the guidance of Allah perfectly.
    People are like Camels
    Bukhari (Book #76, Hadith #505)
    Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying,
    “People are just like camels, out of one hundred, one can hardly find a single camel suitable to ride.”
    Muhammad fantasized about baby Aisha before soliciting her from her father.

    Muhammad said: “I had a dream, a wet dream, about a little girl”!

    Sahih Bukhari 9.140 Narrated 'Aisha:

    Allah's apostle said to me, "you were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'uncover (her),' and behold, it was you. I said (to myself), 'if this is from Allah, then it must happen.

    Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.18 Narrated by Ursa
    The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage.
    Abu Bakr exclaimed "But I am your brother."
    The Prophet said, "You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she is lawful for me to marry."

    *** Abu Bakr was so shocked at Muhammad's proposal to marry his child Aisha of six years that he told him 'but I am your brother'.

    This word 'BUT' which in Arabic is "INNAMA" brings out the true disbelief of Abu Bakr regarding the request, which of course turned out to be an unchallengeable demand.

    Abu Bakr's shock is evidence that what Muhammad was demanding was against the social norms of even the pagans of 1400 years ago. Since his companions actually believed him as the messenger of Allah, Muhammad was able to fulfill each and every one of his fantasies, lusts & desires.

    Muhammad was able to receive alleged divine verses sanctifying his deeds with MADE to ORDER revelations from his accomplice, the ever obedient and willing Allah***

    Muhammad, 50, marries baby Aisha at age 6

    Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234

    Narrated Aisha: the prophet engaged (married) me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, um ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me.

    …….she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some ansari women who said, "best wishes and Allah's blessing and a good luck." then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.

    Bukhari vol 8, bk 73, no 151

    Narrated 'Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the prophet, & my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the prophet would call them to join & play with me. (the playing with the dolls & similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-bari page 143, vol.13)

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  14. PART 2


    HOW TO THIGH

    Now let us see how thighing is practiced on a female child & who began this evil practice. According to an official Fatwa issued in Saudi Arabia, the prophet Muhammad began to practice thighing his child-bride, Aisha when she was 6 years old until she reached 9 years of age (Fatwa No. 31409). The hadith mentioned the prophet Muhammad started performing literal sex with Aisha ONLY when she reached the age of 9 (Sahih al-Bukhari, book 62, hadith No. 89).

    Muslim scholars collectively agree, a child becomes an adult, available for sexual intercourse as soon as she reaches the age of nine. Likewise, the Shari’a allows any of the faithful to marry a six-year-old child.
    According to the fatwa, the prophet Muhammad could not have sex with his fiancée, Aisha when she was six due to her small size & age. However, the fatwa said that at age six, he would put his penis between her thighs and massage it gently because he did not want to harm her.

    Imagine a man of 51 removing the clothes of a 6-year-old girl and slipping his erect penis between her thighs, rubbing her until he ejaculated and his semen ran down her thighs. To this day, this is considered a benevolent act on the part of the adult male “not wanting to harm her.” What harm could be inflicted upon a young girl mentally and emotionally if not a grown man showing her his penis and stripping her of her clothes and rubbing his male organ between her legs?

    Of course the twisted mind that does such an evil to a female child, would not hesitate to ejaculate on her body. And if this sexually perverted evil frame of mind committed such an act upon a child, the pedophile would not stop at ejaculating on her. His evil desire would go further and rape the child before she was a mature adult. This is exactly what Muhammad did to Aisha when she was yet a child of 9.

    Before she reached puberty, he began to have sex with her. Let us see what the fatwa said about the prophet of Islam and his child-bride, Aisha.“Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the one after whom there is no [further] prophet. After the permanent committee for the scientific research and fatwas (religious decrees) reviewed the question presented to the grand Mufti Abu Abdullah Muhammad Al-Shamari, with reference number 1809 issued on 3/8/1421(Islamic calendar).

    The inquirer asked the following:‘It has become wide spread these days, and especially during weddings, the habit of mufakhathat of the children (mufakhathat literally translated means “placing between the thighs of children” which means placing the male erected penis between the thighs of a child). What is the opinion of scholars knowing full well that the prophet, the peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, also practiced the “thighing” of Aisha - the mother of believers ?’
    After the committee studied the issue, they gave the following reply: ‘It has not been the practice of the Muslims throughout the centuries to resort to this unlawful practice that has come to our countries from pornographic movies that the kofar (infidels) and enemies of Islam send. As for the Prophet, peace and prayers of Allah be upon him, thighing his fiancée Aisha. She was six years of age and he could not have intercourse with her due to her small age.

    That is why the prophet peace and prayers of Allah be upon him placed his penis between her thighs and massaged it lightly, as the apostle of Allah had control of his penis not like other believers’” (Fatwa No. 31409).

    Thighing of children is practiced in many Arab and Muslim countries, notably in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, and the Gulf countries. Also evil practices like altamatu’a bil almuka’aba (pleasure from sexual contact with her breasts), altamatu’a bil alsagirah (pleasure from sexual contact with a baby girl), altamatu’a bil alradi’ah, (pleasure from sexual contact with a suckling female infant), (Reported by Baharini Women’s Rights Activist, Ghada Jamshir)

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  15. PART 3

    THE QURAN
    &
    MARRYING LITTLE GIRLS


    Islam does allow you to marry pre-menstruating girls. The following verse is from At-Talaq (or Divorce). Islam's main concern during a divorce is knowing who the father is (in case of a pregnancy). The waiting period is known as iddah.

    65.4 Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if you have any doubts, is three months, AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NO COURSES (it is the same): for those who are pregnant, their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make things easy for them.

    Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Commentary)
    And [as for] those of your women who (read allā’ī or allā’i in both instances) no longer expect to menstruate, if you have any doubts, about their waiting period, their prescribed [waiting] period shall be three months, and [also for] those who have NOT YET MENSTRUATED, because of their YOUNG AGE, their period shall [also] be three months — both cases apply to other than those whose spouses have died; for these [latter] their period is prescribed in the verse: they shall wait by themselves for four months and ten [days] [Q. 2:234]. And those who are pregnant, their term, the conclusion of their prescribed [waiting] period if divorced or if their spouses be dead, shall be when they deliver. And whoever fears God, He will make matters ease for him, in this world and in the Hereafter.

    Tafsir Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahid
    (And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) [65:4]. Said Muqatil: “When the verse (Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart…), Kallad ibn al-Nu‘man ibn Qays al-Ansari said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the waiting period of the woman who does not menstruate and the woman who has not menstruated yet? And what is the waiting period of the pregnant woman?’ And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Abu Ishaq al-Muqri’ informed us Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamdun> Makki ibn ‘Abdan Abu’l-Azhar Asbat ibn Muhammad Mutarrif Abu ‘Uthman ‘Amr ibn Salim who said: “When the waiting period for divorced and widowed women was mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, some women of Medina are saying: there are other women who have not been mentioned!’ He asked him: ‘And who are they?’ He said: ‘Those WHO ARE TOO YOUNG [such that they have not started menstruating yet], those who are too old [whose menstruation has stopped] and those who are pregnant’. And so this verse (And for such of your women as despair of menstruation…) was revealed”.

    Islamic Websitehttp://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/12667
    “And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubt (about their periods), is three months; and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise…”

    Tafsir ibn Kathir (Read at your own leisure)
    http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=65&tid=54223

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  16. PART 4


    AIN'T GONNA FOLLOW NO CHILD MOLESTER

    They try to tell me my religion is wrong

    They try to tell me to follow Islam

    They said their prophet was a righteous dude

    But I found out none of their words were true

    I read the Quran and I read the hadith

    And the sickness of Muhammad was apparent to me

    He justified perversion in the name of Allah

    When he married a girl too young for a bra

    II

    She was playing with dolls when the prophet came

    Her childhood was stolen in Allah’s name

    Aisha was nine when he took her to bed

    Don’t tell me that fool’s not sick in the head

    Ain’t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, prophet pretender.

    Ain't gonna follow no child molester,

    Islam is not for me.

    Islam is not for me.

    III

    The sickness of the Islamic mind

    Has caused the Mullahs to be blind

    To justify their prophet they would justify sin

    So the sins of the prophet are repeated again

    All over the world in Islamic states

    9 year old girls suffer cruel fate

    Sold into marriage to twisted men

    And Aisha’s sad story is repeated again

    IV

    Ain’t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, prophet pretender.

    Ain't gonna follow no child molester,

    Islam is not for me.

    Islam is not for me.

    Do you care about women all over the world?

    Do you care about those little girls?

    Then stand up and fight for human rights

    Speak out against the laws of Islam

    V

    Ain’t gonna follow no child molester, sex offender, prophet pretender.

    Ain't gonna follow no child molester,

    Islam is not for me.

    Islam is not for me.

    Islam is not for me.

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