Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

Abraham did not build the Kaaba

Did Abraham Build the Kaaba?

The body of this paper will deal primarily with places and destinations, not theology or personality. I will examine the Biblical accounts of Abraham in the natural and sequential order in which they are preserved in the Bible, while I examine and compare a small sampling of the similarities and differences in the Quran and other Islamic sources. In doing so, I’ll point out the several fatal contradictions in the Islamic perspective and leave the reader to determine whether the Islamic version is truth to be believed or fable created to connect a pagan Arabian shrine to the Biblical patriarch of the Israelites. I will cover the ancient evidence and promptly dismember Islamic dogma as inauthentic and based on inadequate grounds. In the end, it will be hard to ignore that the Biblical account is far more reliable and historically accurate and that the Islamic version is mere conjecture imagined in the mind of a suicidal poet of the seventh century.

Nothing is more important to the foundations and development of Islam than the re-casting of Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims. Shaping Israelite patriarchs into ancient Muslims who worshiped Muhammad’s god is step one. Turning the Lord Christ into a minor image of Muhammad was step two, and worldwide conquest which wars against the soul is now a real possibility [Peter 2:11; Revelation 11:7, 12:7]. While the claims against the Bible are similar to those put forward in Mormonism, and falsified just as easily, both Muslims and non-Muslims need to be reminded that the books of the Bible are the measuring stick to evaluate the historicity and integrity of Muhammad’s often fictional portrayals of these ancient and important people.

Why did the Kaaba play a central role in Muhammad’s fantasies? While no historical facts support his claims, Muslims are seldom deterred. Islam is built upon the notion that Abraham was not only a Muslim [Q. 2:31] but that he was selected by Allah to build the Kaaba in Mecca [Q. 2:125-127], and that while doing so he established the rituals and beliefs which are the cornerstones of Islamic worship. The pagan origins and practices of the Kaaba will not be discussed here, only the patriarchal journeys and the Islamic corruption of the Bible’s texts. Muslims claim that Mecca and the Kaaba are the centers of worship for the entire world. Christians and Jews know that it is Jerusalem, where lays the chief cornerstone of Yahweh’s kingdom [Psalm 102:16; I Peter 2:6]. The City of David [Zion] is mentioned nearly 50 times in the Bible as the home of God’s people [Isaiah 10:24] and where the hosts will reign [Isaiah 24:23]. Are Muslims going to tell us that these references are corruptions in the texts and that Mecca was the intended city the whole time? Hardly even remotely plausible.

The Kaaba in Mecca is without equal in veneration in Islamic tradition, and had been revered by Arab pagans long before Muhammad’s birth. The Muslim religion holds that the Kaaba was built by Abraham and Ishmael after hearing a direct revelation from Allah. This seems improbable. After all, once Allah guides a people on the right course and provides a mode of conduct for worship through a chosen Prophet, Allah does not then lead them astray into confusion or an inability to see the right course [Q. 9:115]. How is it then that such a man as Abraham would be sent to Mecca to deliver the people from polytheism and build the Kaaba only to later have them fall into apostasy and disbelief, needing yet another prophet in the 7th century A.D.? Abraham being in Mecca is just not consistent with important Islamic doctrines, and a myth. For example, in Q. 2:125 the Kaaba is being purified [Ar. ‘tahara’], yet in Q. 2:127 the foundation are still being raised [Ar. Rafa’a]. Depending on the traditions being reviewed, the Kaaba was built by Allah or maybe Adam or possibly Abraham. But, is it true?

Reconstructing ancient events in search for truth is never an easy task, but within the literature handed down from the earliest days, confirmed by corroborating testimony where it is available, certainty looms dreadful for Islamic claims. For example, American scholars such as Albright have discussed the groupings of people and popular migration patterns into and around cultivated areas of the Fertile Crescent, and it is nigh impossible to think that the barren wasteland of the Hijaz would be such a destination for Mesopotamian travelers. Crossing over from Ethiopian lands may be plausible, but Abraham was never in Ethiopia. General migration patters are important to consider if we are going to place the journeys of Abraham into historical context. It is very likely that many people, Abraham’s troop included, traveled from Ur to Canaan via the established routes such as the Kings Highway or the International Coastal Road. It is far less likely that these same people then had any reason to travel another 700 miles south into the central Hijaz.

Respected biblical scholars have placed the journeys of the patriarchs in the Middle Bronze Age [2000-1550 B.C.] and this would include the relevant chapters in the Book of Genesis [Chapters 12-50] as well as the narrative accounts in both the Quran and Tradition of the Muslims. In this paper, I will present the narrative from the Book of Genesis, chapters twelve thru twenty-five, as those speak specifically of the travels of Abraham from his calling to his death. Let’s introduce a few of the Islamic fables first, take a close look at the Bible, then we’ll touch upon a few more Islamic myths before closing. That will complete the comparison, and the reader can decide which is believable and which is not.

One Islamic tradition holds that Abraham brought both Hagar and Ishmael to Mecca [Source: Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 584] then returned to Canaan after leaving both Hagar and her infant son in the uninhabited region of Arabia which would later serve as the ground for a building used to quarter the idols of the Kaaba. However,  Sam Shamoun points out in ‘Ishmael is not the Father of Muhammad’ that eminent scholar Alfred Guillaume has written,

‘”… there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael (which was not in its true Arabian form in Arabian inscriptions and written correctly with an initial consonant Y) came to be lost. The form in the Quran is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources.” (Alfred Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], pp. 61-62). 

Another tradition holds that Muhammad himself is said to have told his favorite wife Aisha that, “Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance I would have dismantled the Kaaba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit”. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 128].

So much for the importance of the Kaaba. Yet, we are to believe that the Meccan prophet held the Kaaba in the highest esteem, and believed it had been built and rebuilt after a revelation from Allah.

Let’s examine the Bible and see what we can gather about Abraham, his journeys as agent of Yahweh among the nations and his role as a channel for God’s blessing to the world.

What does the Bible tell us of Abraham, and is it possible that he had spent time in Mecca? Let’s review the Scriptures now. The answers to all these questions lay within a survey of the Book of Genesis. Most of this is common knowledge to Christians, but by way of review, let’s go over the complete list of places Abraham traveled. A good Bible atlas would be useful to the reader. I suggest the Holman Bible Atlas but any Bible Atlas will help to put the following discussion into geographical perspective. The point of this exercise is to elucidate where Abraham did travel, in order to discover where he did not. Obviously, the Muslims will quickly claim that the Christian Scriptures are corrupted, and that we removed the parts which corroborate the worth and validity of the Islamic claims from the germane chapters of the Book of Genesis. The accusation of corruption is silly and unsupported by fact but it’s the only card Muslims have to play, so I don’t blame them for playing it. As I noted, Abraham went outside of Canaan a couple of times. However, the Bible nowhere mentions that Arabia was part of his journeys. Muslims may claim that this has been “removed” from the text, but for what reason? The text of Genesis was fixed many centuries before Islam. Why would it mention several travels outside of Canaan but remove Arabia/Mecca when neither the author (Moses) nor the Jews for many centuries would have the slightest idea about Islam? We have plenty of manuscripts from centuries before Muhammad, none of which place him in Mecca.

Born in Ur, his father Terah began his migration to Canaan [Genesis 11:21]. After Terah’s death, Abraham was called by Yahweh to continue the journey to Canaan [Genesis 12:1] where God promised to Abraham and his descendants the land inhabited by the Canaanites. Let’s note here that we are given the names of the Tribes which would be displaced to establish Abraham in the land. None of them inhabited the Hijaz. The point is, that the area in which the Ka’aba was allegedly built by Abraham was nowhere near the region where Abraham was to establish his family, so why build a temple or an altar so far from Canaan? [Genesis 12:7-8; cf. First Epistle of Clement 10:3-5 (source for I Clement)]. Soon, Abraham and his family arrived in Canaan, and drove his herds into the region of Bethel, Shechem and Moreh [Genesis 12:4-6]. After an appearance of God in Canaan, Abraham moved his house further south, into the Negev. The Negev is in Canaan, on the West side of the Dead Sea, north of the Wilderness of Zin. It is bordered on the east by Edom, and could not have possibly included the Syro-Arabian desert region further to the east, and certainly excludes the uninhabited lands surrounding Mecca 700 miles to the south.

Next, a famine struck Canaan, and Abraham sought refuge by going ‘down to Egypt’ [Genesis 12:10] and later, his son Ishmael would take an Egyptian for a wife [Genesis 21:21]. To summarize so far, Abraham had yet to travel farther south than the centers of power in Egypt. Still a long way from Mecca.

Abraham later left Egypt a wealthy man and soon separated from his nephew Lot [Genesis 13:14]. Abraham then moved to Hebron, and built an altar to Yahweh. Later, a war breaks out in the region of the Dead Sea [Genesis 14:1-24] and Abraham defeats a tyrannical king in a battle north of Damascus near Mt. Hermon [vv. 13-17] frees Lot and establishes himself as ‘blessed by the God Most High’. God then establishes His covenant with Abraham, and promises to his descendants ‘this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’ [Genesis 15:18-21]. Notice by using your atlas that the boundaries for the covenant lands are not even close to Mecca or central Arabia. The river in Egypt was most likely the Wadi el-Arish. The Euphrates is in northern Syria. It makes no sense that God would tie a people to a land and the land to the people, only to draw his Prophets from someplace else.

Next we find that Abraham had been living in Canaan for ten years, traveling about Canaan as seasonal weather patterns required [Genesis 16], when he became impatient with God’s plan and took Hagar as a second ‘wife’. The same Hebrew word is used in 16:3 to describe both Sarai and Hagar as wife. However, the status of Hagar is debatable. Follow this link for a fuller discussion on ‘Hagar in Abraham’s Household’. The Egyptian maid conceived, in Canaan, and bore Abraham’s son, in Canaan. Abraham’s anxiousness to have a son caused him and his family great grief. Rather than exercising self-control and forbearance, he took a course that was a threat to his faith. While Abraham’s actions nearly lead him astray, he was not the first nor the last to doubt God’s promises. Hagar soon suffers intense humiliation at the hands of Abraham and Sarah, but at Beer-Lahai-Roi is met by the Angel of the Lord, and delivered from her plight. This event took place West of the Wadi el-Arish, in Egypt and nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca. She was most likely trying to return home to Egypt.

After the establishment of the Covenant of Circumcision, we find Abraham talking to God under the ‘holy tree of Mamre’, which is near Hebron, nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca [Book of Genesis 18:1]. Later, Abraham intercedes for Sodom, which is then destroyed for its depravity and Lot escapes to Zoar [Genesis 18:16-19:30; cf. First Epistle of Clement 11:1-2]. Outside of Zoar, Lot was the victim of a scheme concocted by his eldest daughter. Zoar was in the southern tip of the Dead Sea in the Valley of Siddim, and like every other event from the OT, a long way from Mecca. From Lot’s daughters are born the Moabites and the Ammonites, longstanding enemies of Israel and Judah. Moab and Ammon lay on the east side of the Dead Sea and later form the eastern edge of the Covenant Land. The southeastern extreme of the Covenant Land extends no farther than this and no prophets would ever be called from beyond these borders.

Following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we encounter Abraham in Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. In Gerar Isaac was born, wells were dug and treaties were struck. In short, there is no reason imaginable that God would take Abraham from his wells, family and tents in Canaan and command him to raise the foundations of the Kaaba over 1,000 miles away. All of this is a death blow to the Quran’s claims to Abraham, but let’s discuss a few more Biblical passages, ending with the death and burial of Abraham in order to close the lid on Islam once and for all.

Isaac is later weaned and tension again increases between Sarah and Hagar. Sarah pleaded with Abraham to cast Hagar out, and the following morning she was given bread, a water skin and her son. She then wandered into the wasteland of Beer-Sheba, in southern Canaan [Genesis 21:8-21]. In these passages, God addresses Abraham and calls Hagar the ‘maidservant’ [Hb אמה ‘amah’ not ‘wife’ as in 16:3; compare the Latin Vulgate where in 21:8-12 ‘ancilla‘ is ‘maidservant’ or ‘female slave’ ]. Hagar had lost any status she may have earlier enjoyed, so her status as a wife at all can be questioned.

Before we leave Hagar to history, let me remind you of four important differences between the Bible and Quran surrounding this narrative. In the Biblical narrative,  Hagar’s suffering and plight are of paramount importance to understanding the events surrounding the birth of the Promised Son. These events also give us insight into the treatment of women in the ancient Near East, which are still evident in Islam today. Hagar is the only woman in the Scriptures who is given the honor of giving a name to God, and she receives her own distinct covenant as a reward for her suffering and submission. What does the Quran say about this incredible woman who endured so much suffering? Nothing. So much for Islam honoring its pivotal women.

Eventually, Ishmael settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and took an Egyptian wife. Just where is the Wilderness of Paran, and does it, as Muslims claim, include the lands far to the south in the Hijaz? Let’s again look at our atlas. Paran is an ill-defined term in the Old Testament, suggesting that outside of it being a place on the route of the Exodus [Numbers 12:16], the region had very little geographical or theological importance to the Israelites. There is no prophetic scripture suggesting that a prophet would come from the Wilderness of Paran, nor a promise of prophetic license promised to Hagar or her descendants [Gen 16:7-16]. It is also worth noting that God spoke to Hagar, never to Ishmael. Very curious.

Located in the Sinai, Midian and Edom are natural borders to the east. Canaan is due north and central Sinai to the west. Not only are the borders of Paran well within the Sinai Peninsula, but as mentioned earlier, migration across the barren lands of Arabia was far less likely than remaining close to the routes of the Exodus. While migrations of people from Palestine into the Hijaz appear to be rare from the extant evidence, armies from Babylon did venture south. One example is Nabonidus King of Babylon who in the 6th century B.C. established outposts and colonies in the region. A total of six oasis towns are listed in the extant inscriptions, and while Yathrib is mentioned, Mecca, which is 280 miles south of Yathrib is nowhere to be seen on his lists. Mercantile movements were more common, but not until the 10th century and long after the death of Abraham. A notable case in favor of the Quranic view of Abraham’s travels can be found in the Book of I Kings [10:1-13] where the Queen of Sheba did in fact make the journey from S.W. Arabia to Israel. However, the territory of Sheba and also Tema are mentioned in the Book of Job [6:19] and yet while the region was traveled by merchants and known to the Biblical writers, there is still no mention of Mecca. Sheba is again discussed by the Prophet Isaiah [60:6] and nothing is said of Mecca or any dialectal variant of the name offered by Muslims. The Sabeans of Yemen never even mention the city either. The conclusion is evidently that Mecca was not in existence until long after Abraham’s journeys.

Following God’s expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, life continues for Abraham and his only wife Sarah. A disputed well becomes a source of controversy with King Abimelech. This name may translate ‘Slave of Molech’. If this Biblical name were a derivative of the Canaanite name, that would serve as strong evidence that much of the Book of Genesis pre-dates Israel’s Kingdom Period and gives even greater evidence to the non-existence of Mecca during the period of Abraham’s travels, and an oath is sworn in Beersheba, again in Canaan [Genesis 21:22-34]. Later, Abraham is called to Mt. Moriah and the well known ‘binding of Isaac’ is played out. Mt. Moriah is also in Palestine, north of Beersheba. While the exact location is unknown, it only took Abraham three days to travel, so it could not have taken place in Mecca [Genesis 22]. An important observation here is that Isaac is called ‘your only son’ three times in this chapter. How can that be? Because Ishmael had already been sent away. He was to have no part of the covenant promised to Abraham and given to Isaac.

Soon, we find that Sarah had died, and Abraham arranges for the purchase of the Cave of Machpela. Yet again he has not left Canaan [Genesis 23]. Here Muslims need to explain why God would allow Abraham to build a tomb in Canaan for his family, but then a temple 1,000 miles away in a barren region of the Hijaz. In chapter twenty-four, we find that Abraham had become ‘old in years’ [24:1] It was time to find a wife for Isaac. Note that Abraham had nothing to do with finding a wife for Ishmael. Abraham’s chief servant was selected for the task of conducting the search. An oath was sworn that the wife would not be a Canaanite but from Abraham’s people in Mesopotamia. Let’s be reasonable here. If Abraham had built the Kaaba, then why wouldn’t Isaac’s wife be taken from the local tribes in the Hijaz or even farther south? . He returns home with Rebekkah to south Canaan, she weds Isaac and later Abraham dies and is buried with his wife Sarah in Machpelah. Both Ishmael and Isaac attended the funeral. Both must have been very close to Canaan, and in no way can we conclude that any of these men ever travels to Mecca to build a shrine to Allah and the other pagan gods native to Mecca. The Quran 11:49 clearly states that there had been no prophets to the Arabs before, so it can’t be true that Abraham built the Kaaba. Also note that the Islamic traditions point out that before Muhammad’s claim to the prophetic office, none of his people had made the claim before him [Bukhari, Vol 1, Book 1, #6].

This all leads us to a connection with the nation of Israel, the Davidic Kingdom and the Savior who even now offers mercy to his wandering sons [Psalm 100:5,8; Luke 1:50; cf. Apology of al-Kindy, p.121].

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Constitutional Issues, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

THE HISTORY OF MECCA

THE HISTORY OF MECCA
Free PDF tract of this subject. Print both sides and Z-fold in 2 directions for shirt pocket size.

 

The foundation of Islam is important for everyone to understand whether one is religious or not. Mecca or Makkah, is the historical and geographical epicenter of Islam. All practicing Muslims, everywhere in the world, prostrate themselves toward the Kaaba in Mecca five times a day. Every Muslim is obliged to travel to Mecca, and perform the Islamic ritual of the Hajj at least once in their lifetime, because it is the “fifth pillar” of Islam. Islamic tradition teaches that the Kaaba, around which Islam revolves, is located in the center of the earth and was the first temple on earth. Islamic tradition further holds that it was built by Adam (Adem) and later rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael (Ibrahim, Ismail).

 

 

Unfortunately there is no historical or archaeological evidence, that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century A.D., when immigrants from Yemen settled the area, or it’s Kaaba before the early 5th century A.D.

 

Please Yahoo or Google it for yourself. Try
archaeology of mecca – or –
historical and archaeological evidence mecca – or –
ancient towns of Arabia
Here’s a Wikipedia article on Ancient Towns in Saudi Arabia. Mecca is not on the list because there is no evidence that suggests that Mecca is an ancient town.

 

The archaeological record of Arabia is one of the best preserved on earth because the relatively low rainfall mitigates degradation of the archaeological evidence. Many ancient towns such as  Yemen, Qudar, Dedan, Tiema, Mada’in Saleh (Al-Hijr), Magan (Oman) and Dilmun are well attested in the historical and archaeological record, and even attest to each other. That record even notes Arabian towns established before the Christian era, that came and went within a few centuries, but Mecca is absent from those records.

 

This is particularly surprising because Mecca was eventually built on one of the most established trade routes in Arabia about which historical record abounds, exposing 7th and 8th century created Islamic “tradition” that suggests that Mecca had been the center of Islam, for thousands of years before Mohammed.

 

Compare the absence of pre-4th century historical evidence of Mecca, with the massive volume of evidence of Jerusalem, the historical and geographical epicenter of Judaism and Christianity. Try
archaeology of Jerusalem – or –
historical and archaeological evidence jerusalem – or –
temple jerusalem

 

One quickly learns that archaeology increasingly confirms the Bible as a reliable source of ancient historical record. One can hardly lift a shovel of earth anywhere near Jerusalem without having it contain ancient artifacts. There are a million artifacts just on display!

 

If the Arabian’s “Allah” commissioned the Kaaba to be constructed at the center of the world, below the gate to heaven, why then did YHWH(Yahweh) give David the site location and detailed instruction for a tabernacle on Mount Moriah, that was built by his son Solomon over 3,000 years ago, and rebuilt by Herod over 2500 years ago, that stood 666 nautical miles from Mecca?

 

Images from http://www.templemount.org/solomon.html

 

 

 

The second temple having been torn down – every stone – just as Jesus prophesied, was replaced by the body of Christ, since we are the temple of God in this new covenant era.

 

To help put the absence of record of Mecca in perspective, the exact equivalent would be to suggest that there is not a shred of historical or archaeological evidence, that demonstrates that Jerusalem ever existed before the 4th century A.D.!  This would be a preposterous claim regarding Jerusalem, yet it is a matter of fact in regard to Mecca! Why not ask your Imam to direct you to some pre-4th century historical or archaeological evidence of Mecca (not the “traditions” penned in the 7th – 9th centuries A.D.)?
Where do the Qibla of the oldest mosques point to?

 

Mecca is located 1,000 kilometers – across barren desert – away from the Holy Land. The record of Abraham’s journey as detailed in Scripture andconfirmed by archaeology, precludes any notion of Abraham, Hagar or Ishmael ever having been in Mecca. Additionally, they lived almost 1,000 years before the first caravan route was ever established along the Red Sea in Arabia. Indeed Abraham’s journey never brought him within about 1000, to as much as 1500, kilometers of Mecca.

 

If Mecca had been the epicenter of Islam since the time of Adam, it would follow that there would be increasingly more archaeological evidence, the closer one traveled to this focal point of Mohammed’s 7th century religion. It also follows that there would be a greater pre-Mohammed historical record for Mecca than any other Arabian city, but no such record exists. Again, compare that with Jerusalemwhere the closer one gets to this historical epicenter of Judaism and Christianity, the more abundant artifacts become.

 

From where do the Islamic rituals that revolve around Mecca originate?

 

From the Hadith we learn that Mohammed and his followers had joined the pagans shoulder to shoulder in circumambulation of the Kaaba, and their rituals of the Hajj, right up until the year before Mohammed’s last Hajj when the pagans were finally expelled from their own rituals:

 

Bukhari V2, B26, #689 (V1, B8, No 365): Narrated Abu Huraira:
“In the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet when Allahs Apostle made Abu Bakr the leader of the pilgrims, the latter (Abu Bakr) sent me in the company of a group of people to make a public announcement: ‘No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year, and no naked person is allowed to perform Tawaf of the Kaba.‘”

 

Indeed some of Mohammed’s closest followers hated to run back and forth between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah because they knew the ritual had pagan origins.

 

Bukhari V2, B26 #710 (B2 #128)
Asem told us that he said to Uns bin Malek, a companion of Mohammed, “You were hating to encompass around the Safa and Marwa.”  He answered, “Yes, because it was one of the pagan rites of Jahiliyah until Allah gave a verse that the Safa and Marwa are the rites of Allah. If one makes the Hajj to the Kaabah, he must encompass them. The person has no sin when he encompass them.

 

It was Mohammed’s grandfather, Abdel Mutaleb, that dug the well of Zamzam to establish a Hajj around the idols of Asaf and Naelah, the most venerated priest and priestess of the Arabian jinn-demon religion.

 

It’s important to understand that Islamic “tradition” was penned in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. without reference to historical record that preceded the 4th century A.D. Historical record is that which is recorded by those that lived in or near the times that are written about, not something that someone arbitrarily decides to pen thousands of years after the fact. Yet some of Mohammed’s followers even today will cite a false interpretation of scripture, or a historical misunderstanding or two by 18th and 19th century authors, as if that could somehow substitute for a 4500 year pre-Mohammed historical and archaeological record of Mecca!

 

What this tells us is that any pre-Mohammed “history” of Islam is little more than 7th and 8th century created historical fiction. The large volume of contradictions, historical mistakes, and mathematical errors (such as 66 year long generations between Ishmael and Muhammad), contained in Islamic “tradition”, further confirm it’s lack of veracity. Indeed, on closer inspection Islamic rituals are found to be little more than thinly repackagedpagan Arabian moon, sun, star and jinn-demon worship, embellished by books inspired by Hebrew and Arabian fables that Mohammed learned during his early travels, was taught by friends like Jabr, his wives and concubines, as well as influence by Zoroastrianism and the 2nd century occult cult of the Sabians. So deeply involved was Mohammed and three of his cousins in the cult of the Sabians, that folks in his own tribe referred to Mohammed as “the Sabian”. Indeed Mohammed mentions the Sabians right alongside Christians in the Quran. It should be no surprise then to learn that the Sabians prayed five times a day and practiced ablution, which are rituals that Mohammed incorporated into his religion, with a claim that the practices were dictated to him while taking an overnight ride on a flying donkey-mule from Mecca, to Jerusalem, to Heaven and then back to Mecca by morning.

 

The historical record suggests that Mecca was settled around the 4th century A.D. by the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa’h, joined later by Mohammed’s tribe the Quraish. The Kaaba was built around the early 5th century likely by Asa’d Abu Karb, for Arabian Star Family worship after the black stone made it’s way to Mecca, most likely from Yemen. Early reporters recounted that prior to the construction of the Kaabah, a tent occupied the site. The Kaaba eventually housed 360 idols dedicated to Arabian moon, sun, star and jinn (demon) worship. It is no secret that the black stone that Muslims still prostrate themselves toward 5 times a day, venerate, and circumambulate, is the same black stone idol that pagan Arabians venerated and circumambulated. In other words, the Quraish established the rituals that Mohammed eventually adopted and then adapted to his religion.

 

No Mecca before the 4th century – no Kaaba before the 5th century – means no foundation whatsoever underpinning Islamic “tradition”. That leaves Islam as Mohammed’s stand-alone 7th century invention. Since Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael never lived or traveled within 1,000 km from where Mecca was eventually built, and lived nearly 1,000 years before the first caravan ever traveled along the Red Sea in Arabia, the truth is undeniable.

 

There are historical references to other temples, and even to a great temple “highly revered by all the Arabs”, and even Mohammed’s own tribe the Quraish, went on Hajj or pilgrimage twice a year, long after the Kaaba in Mecca was built, indicating that the Kaaba in Mecca was a lesser temple than others.

 

Quran 106:1 For the covenants by the Quraish, 2 Their covenants journeys by winter and summer,- 3 Let them adore the Lord of this House,

 

Is it reasonable to believe that Yahweh would consign His temple to be situated 1200 kilometers away from the Holy Land, in a valley where it would be inundated by 5 feet of urban floodwater that is always laced with sewage?

 

 

Or would He consign His temple to be built with a temple mount, situated on a hill (God’s “footstool”), as the true record of the temple in theHoly Land of the prophets and patriarchs of the one true God YHWH was?

 

To our Muslim friends, please research the history of Mecca for yourself. Much of the preceding material is derived from the Religion Research Institute, and the book “Islam: in the Light of History”, penned by Dr. Rafat Amari after his extensive, 20 year, full-time study of the history of Arabia, Mecca and Islam. This whole subject might be described as something of a wikileaks of Islam. Dr. Amari’s first language is Arabic and his research included original source materials.

 

The coming of the Messiah, Yahshua (Hebrew name for the Messiah which means “YHWH saves“, delivers, or rescues), and the prophesied new covenant that He brought, heralded an entirely different kind of temple. Jesus rebuilt the temple in 3 days, just as He declared He could.

 

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22  When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

 

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone] 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 

2Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

1Corinthians 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

 

Considering the absence of any historical and archaeological record that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century A.D., could this be what the Saudi’s are trying to hide? While the Saudi’s (whose money will finance the 9-11 ground zero mosque through various conduits) want to build a grand mosque in New York city (there are already over a hundred of them in N.Y.), the reciprocal fact is that if 99.4% of U.S. citizens (non-Muslims) even set foot in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, we would be  subject to arrest.

 

While there is lots of talk regarding free speech touted by mosque entheusiasts, what will the politically correct fate of free speech be after the mosque is built? Here’s a video example of Christians prevented from passing out tracts of the Gospel of John, anywhere within 5 blocks of an Arab festival, or face arrest. The festival was held on public streets in Dearborn Michigan. Here’s an example of Muslims exercising their speech on the U.C. Irvine campus. Naturally the ACLU and New York times are coming to their defense.

 

All of the above on the history of Mecca might be considered as the Wikileaks of Muhammad’s stand-alone religion, that was born out of the sands of the 7th century SW Arabian desert, 1200 kilometers away from THE Holy Land of the prophets and patriarchs.

 

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Allah is NOT the name of God

Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity).

The Arabic name for “God” is the word “Al-ilah.” It is a generic title for whatever god was considered the highest god. Different Arab tribes used “Allah” to refer to its personal high god. “Allah” was being worshipped at the Kaa’ba in Mecca by Arabs prior to the time of Mohammed. It was formerly the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca before Mohammed made them into monotheists. Historians have shown that the moon god called “Hubal” was the god to whom Arabs prayed at the Kaa’ba and they used the name “Allah” when they prayed.

Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.

Islam means submission to (Allah), but originally it meant that strength which characterized a desert warrior who, even when faced with impossible odds, would fight to the death for his tribe. (Dr. M. Baravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam,E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1972)

Many believe the word “Allah” was derived from the mid-eastern word “el” which in Ugaritic, Caananite and Hebrew can mean a true or false God. This is not the case, “The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning “God” (or a “god”), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.)

According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Allah corresponded to the Babylonian god Baal, and Arabs knew of him long before Mohammed worshipped him as the supreme God. Before Islam the Arabs recognized many gods and goddesses, each tribe had their own deity. There were also nature deities. Allah was the god of the local Quarish tribe, which was Mohammed’s tribe before he invented Islam to lead his people out of their polytheism. Allah was then known as the Moon God, who had 3 daughters who were viewed as intercessors for the people into Allah. Their names were Al-at, Al-uzza, and Al-Manat, which were three goddesses; the first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was a statue likeness of a man whose body was made of red precious stones whose arms were made of gold. (Reference Islam George Braswell Jr.)

“Historians like Vaqqidi have said Allah was actually the chief of the 360 gods being worshipped in Arabia at the time Mohammed rose to prominence. Ibn Al-Kalbi gave 27 names of pre-Islamic deities…Interestingly, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Ka’ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Mohammed came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted with this fact. But history is not on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has proved this.” (G. J. O. Moshay, Who Is This Allah? (Dorchester House, Bucks, UK, 1994), pg. 138).

History has shown Mecca and the holy stone al-Kaaba were holy sites for pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Kaaba in Mecca was formerly named Beit-Allah meaning House of Allah. We are told it was first built in heaven. This is in contradistinction to what Moses was instructed to build, something overlooked by the Muslims in their reading of the Bible.

The Koran tells us that Mohammed drove the other idols away; he made one God now the only god and he was its messenger. He kept the Kaaba as a holy, sacred place and confirmed that the black stone had the power to take away man’s sins. He obligated every believer to make a pilgrimage to the stone at least once in his lifetime. (Sura 22:26-37) No Old Testament saint ever had a pilgrimage to the Kaaba and kissed its black stone despite stories that Abraham and Ishmael restored it.

Mohammed used the name Allah which was formerly the name of a specific idol without ever distinguishing it from the idol the Meccan’s were already worshipping. This was a modification of their former worship but never a complete break. He never did say for the people to stop their worship of the wrong Allah, for the right one. It can still be monotheism and not be the God of the Bible

Al-Lat which is a T at the end of the name of Allah, was represented by a square stone whose major sanctuary was in the city of Taif. In the sanctuary was a black stone in the town of Qudayd between Mecca and Medina. She was the goddess of fate, a female counterpart of Allah. Al-uzza was the goddess of east Mecca. It has been said there were human sacrifices made to her and Islamic tradition tells of a story of Mohammed’s grandfather almost sacrificing his son the father of Mohammed to her. What prevented this was his seeking counsel from a fortune teller which told him to ransom his son with one hundred camels. Muslims look to this as the will of Allah to bring Mohammed into existence. (Reference Muhammad husain haykal, Hayat mohammed)

“The name Allah, as the Qur’an itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.” (Arthur Jeffrey, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (1958), p. 85.)

The literal name of Mohammed’s father in Arabic is Abd Allah. His uncle’s name Obred Allah. These names show the devotion of Mohammed’s families pagan roots, and also prove that Allah was part of a polytheistic system of worship before Allah was made the supreme and only god from the other God’s. This should be proof to the pre- Islamic root of the name of Allah to the Muslim. Remember they were pagans who used this name. He kept his family name above all the other names. Mohammad had good intentions in removing the people from their polytheistic worship however he did not go far enough in his reform.

Mecca was the place where the idol Allah was located, so the people would face in that direction when they prayed. Prior to Islam the people would pray 5 times a day facing Mecca (The Encyclopedia of Islam p.303) Prior to Islam’s beginning each Arab tribe used Allah to refer to its own particular high god. This is why Hubal, the Moon god, (known by other names) was the central focus of prayer at the Kaabah and people prayed to Hubal and they used the name Allah. The crescent moon was the symbol of the moon God Allah (Hubal) and is still used as a symbol of Islam today (although they have changed the meaning to be -from Mecca to the moon Islam will spread). Today there is hardly a Muslim that knows its ancient origin. History records it as an ancient pagan fertility symbol that is found throughout the Middle East. Mohammed smashed all the idols that led the people into idolatry but the black stone was kept which Muslims continue to kiss today. This was another practice that preceded Mohammad.

Mohammed made Allah into a single being who, unlike the Bible’s God who is called Father, has no Son. Because of this portrayal, there is no fellowship or love among the godhead before God created man. Creation and man therefore become a necessity for God to express His attributes or characteristic’s. This God has never revealed Himself to man but revealed only His will. This God is so removed from man that it is impossible to know him in a personal way, he relates to man only through his will and law. It is a religion of obedience no different than any other.

To the Muslim God is strictly singular, all seeing, all hearing, almighty, He is the first and the last. But what differs is that he has no Son and he cannot be called Father who relates to His son in a unique way (Son and Father does not mean offspring in historic Christianity).

Of the 99 names of God in Islam, not one is “Father” or has a personal connotation. The difference is not to be overlooked. The God of the Bible is personal and wants an ongoing friendship with each of us. Islam portrays God as one who expects us to do our religious duty or He angers. There are rules to be obeyed and one can only please him but not know him personally. No Muslim would ever consider being able to have a personal relationship with him, by talking to him, and loving him. Jesus instead taught Christians to pray “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Throughout the Old Testament God was real to the prophets who had him personally speak to them and they to him. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?” (Mal 2:10)

In Islam some state that if one memorizes the 99 names of Allah and repeats them he will get into paradise because they give the believer power, making them conscious of God. Neither the Koran nor the Hadith speak of these names in such a way. The Suras in the Koran begin with “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful. Yet in practice Islam’s god is portrayed as stern, harsh, having compassion on those who do right and deals severely with those who do not.

To a Muslim the God of the Bible who is described as triune is offensive and pagan, reminding them of what Mohammed destroyed. This is recorded in their Qu’ran. They interpret this as 3 separate Gods and not a unified one. “ They are unbelievers who say God is a third of three. No God is there but one God.” While Muslims affirm Jesus’ virgin conception, they deny He had any pre-existence that would imply He is God. To call a prophet God is the ultimate in blasphemy to them. “ Verily God will not forgive the union of other gods with himself.” This is a true statement; however if Jesus is who He said He is, the true God, then it is they who are in union with another than the true God.

Muslims claim that the name Allah can be found in the Bible. This is no different than what the Jehovah’s Witnesses do for the name Jehovah. Allah is not called Yahweh once in the Koran but neither is Yahweh called Allah in the Bible. So they can’t be the same God. Neither is the word Elohim which is applied to Yahweh over 2,500 times in the Bible used in the Koran. Neither is he called I Am, which He said to Moses would be His name forever.

The God of the Bible identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacobs name is later changed to the name Israel, being the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. The God of the Bible calls Jerusalem the city of David and that the Messiah would descend from his lineage. Neither does the God of the Bible does not mention Mecca or Medina but instead Jerusalem 800 times. Yet Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, which the Muslim claims as there own.

The God in the Bible is called the God of the Jews, an impossibility with Allah. They are called his chosen people, but they are not Allah’s chosen. Allah commands the Muslim to not take the Jews or Christians as friends, Sura.5:51 disdains the Jews. Mohammed said, “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.” (Mishkat Al Masabih Sh.M. Ashraf pp.147, 721, 810-11, 1130). So how could Israel inherit the land or any of God’s promises from Allah, if he is their God. Clearly he is not the same God of the Bible.

Muslims trying to prove their position from the Bible point to the Old Testament with the word alleluyah, interpreting the first portion of the word alle as Allah. The word [H]alleluyah is not a compound Hebrew word. It is not two words but a singular word meaning praise to Yahweh. (alle- praise, lu-to, yah-Yaweh). The beginning of the word is Hallel meaning praise. This has nothing to do with an Allah, and the last syllable of the word is a reference to Yahweh the God of the Bible, this is hardly any evidence for their assertions. They are also confusing Aramaic with Arabic. This is not unusual, as Muslims will often take words and meanings set in another language and culture and adopt them for proof of their own book or religion.

This word play only gets more ludicrous as they try to have Jesus saying the name of their God. When Jesus was on the cross they claim when he cried out Eli, Eli it was really is Allah, Allah. The New Testament was written in Greek, however it points us to him speaking the Aramaic language, not Arabic. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1 which read in full says, Eli, Eli Sabbathani “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.” What makes even less sense for this position is the fact that they don’t believe that it was Jesus on the cross in the first place, but that another took His place. Some think it was Judas; so it was Judas crying out Allah, Allah?

The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century. Nowhere is the name of Allah found in the Old or New Testament. When Islam became the dominant political force people were coerced to use the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims. Because of Islam’s dominance Allah became the common name of God. The translators of the Bible gave in to the religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles, but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews, nor of the creator who made heaven and earth because of its source in paganism. His nature and attributes have only a few basic similarities and many more differences. And the most important point is that all through the Qu’ran it says Allah has no son.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Christianity / God, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Islam Definition of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Allah: “God”; Arabic Christians also worship “Allah,” but an Allah of a very different sort as they refer to the Real One True God.

Allahu Akhbar: “God is Great (-est)”; term of praise; war cry of Muslims.

AH: “after Hijra”; the Islamic calendar?s system of dating; employs lunar rather than solar years; as of January 2007, we are in AH 1428.

Ansar: “aiders” or “helpers”; Arabian tribesmen allied with Muhammad and the early Muslims.

Badr: first significant battle fought by Muhammad and the Muslims against the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Caliph: title of the ruler or leader of the Umma (global Muslim community); the head of the former Islamic Empire; the title was abolished by Kemal Attaturk in 1924 following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of modern Turkey.

dar al-Islam: “House (Realm) of Islam”; Islamic territory ruled by Sharia law

dar al-harb: “House (Realm) of War”: territory ruled by infidels

dar al-sulh: “House (Realm) of Truce”: territory ruled by infidels but allied with Islam; territory ruled by Muslims but not under Sharia law

Dhimma: the pact of protection extended to non-slave “People of the Book”, usually Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, which permitted them to remain nominally free under Muslim rule. Subjegated and oppressed people in Islamic countries and to refer to those in non-Islamic countries that willingly help advance the cause of global Islamic domination whether through intent or ignorance.

dhimmi: “protected”; people under the protection of the dhimma. Subjegated and oppressed people in Islamic countries and to refer to those in non-Islamic countries that willingly help advance the cause of global Islamic domination whether through intent or ignorance.

dhimmitude: word coined by historian Bat Ye’or to describe the status of dhimmi peoples

hadith: “report”; any of thousands of episodes from the life of Muhammad transmitted orally until written down in the eighth century AD; sahih (reliable or sound) hadiths are second only to the Quran in authority.

Hijra: “emigration”; Muhammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib) in AD 622.

Islam: “submission” or “surrender.”

jizya: the poll or head tax prescribed by Sura 9:29 of the Quran to be paid by Christians and Jews in Muslim-held territory.

Kaba: “cube”; the Meccan temple in which numerous pagan idols were housed before Muhammad’s conquest of Mecca in AD 632, which is still the most venerated object in Islam; the Kaba’s cornerstone, which is believed to have fallen from heaven, is the stone on which Abraham was to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (not Isaac).

Mecca: holiest city of Islam; place of Muhammad’s birth in AD 570; its Great Mosque contains the Kaba stone; early period in Muhammad’s life where more peaceful verses of the Quran were recited from half remembered Christianity, Judaism and local pagan customs, when these failed to convert many people, they were replaced with later verses invented in Medina, the policy of replacing older verses with new is called subligation making the old more peaceful verses no longer valid; site of Muhammad’s victory over the Quraish in AD 630.

Medina: “city,” short for “city of the Prophet”; second holiest city of Islam; destination of Muhammad’s Hijra (emigration) in AD 622; later period in Muhammad’s life where more violent verses of the Quran were invented to justify Mohammed’s actions as being approved or ordered by Allah; site of third major battle fought by Muhammad against the Quraish tribe from Mecca; formerly called Yathrib.

Muhammad: “the praised one.”

Muslim: one who submits.

Quran (Kuran, Qu’ran, etc.): “recitation”; according to Islam, the compiled verbatim words of Allah as dictated by Muhammad.

razzia: “raid”; acts of piracy on land or sea by Muslims against infidels, this is allowed and encouraged in Islam

Sira: “life”; abbreviation of Sirat Rasul Allah, or “Life of the Prophet of God”; the canonical biography of the Prophet Muhammad written in the eighth century by Ibn Ishaq and later edited by Ibn Hisham; modern translation by Alfred Guillaume.

Subligation: the policy of replacing older verses with new, making the old more peaceful verses no longer valid

Sunnah: the “Way” of the Prophet Muhammad; includes his teachings, traditions, and example.

Sura: a chapter of the Quran; Quranic passages are cited as Sura number:verse number, e.g., 9:5.

Taqiyya: In practical terms it is manifested as dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing and confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling or pre-emptive blocking. It is currently employed in fending off and neutralising any criticism of Islam or Muslims. Falsehoods told to prevent the denigration of Islam, to protect oneself, or to promote the cause of Islam are sanctioned in the Qur’an and Sunna, including lying under oath in testimony before a court, deceiving by making distorted statements to the media such as the claim that Islam is a “religion of peace”. A Muslim is even permitted to deny or denounce his faith if, in so doing, he protects or furthers the interests of Islam, so long as he remains faithful to Islam in his heart.

Uhud: second major battle fought by Muhammad against the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Umar: second “rightly-guided” Caliph; ruled AD 634–44, succeeded Abu Bakr; conquered the Holy Land.

Umma (ummah): the global Muslim community; the body of Muslim faithful.

Uthman: third “rightly-guided” Caliph; ruled AD 644–56, succeeded Umar; compiled the Quran in book form.

Yathrib: city to which Muhammad made the Hijra (emigration) in AD 622/AH 1; renamed Medina

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Pending Classification, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wives of Mohammad

As an adult, Muhammad worked as a trader between the cities of Mecca and Damascus, and earned a great reputation in the process. Having heard of the reputation of Muhammad, Lady Khadijah, one of the noblest of the Quraysh, on one occasion commissioned him to take charge of some of her trading business between the two cities. Lady Khadijah sent one of her servants, Maysarah, along with him to keep an eye on him and report back to her. Having seen his performance in the business, and the returns he had produced as well as his honesty, Lady Khadijah put Muhammad in charge of her business. Although she had many proposals of marriage from various dignitaries of the Quraysh, Lady Khadijah declined them all. It is reported that it was Lady Khadijah who, albeit indirectly and discreetly, made the marriage proposal to Muhammad. Some historians have reported that when they married in 595CE he was 25 and she was a 40 year old widow with children.

Mohammad had many other wives after her, most captured during raids and war on pagans, Christians, and Jews. They were given to him by Allah. In total he had eleven wives.

Muslims refer to them as Mothers of the Believers (Arabic: Ummu l-Mu’minīn). Muslims use the term prominently before or after referring to them as a sign of respect. The term is derived from the Qur’anic verse 33:6.

The most famous “wife” is the six year old he married, Aisha, though reportedly didn’t have sex with until she was nine years old. Mohammad’s acts and sayings, in addition to the Qu’ran that he dictated, are the bases for all of Islam and Sharia, Islamic Law.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64
“that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

Because of the marriage to the six year old, Islam permits marriage to children and this is still practiced, especially in Saudi Arabia. This is an article on CNN on the marriage of an 8 year old to a 40 year old male upheld by Saudi Arabian court:

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/01/17/saudi.child.marriage/index.html

January 9, 2011 Posted by | Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What if it happened there

The reason this wouldn’t happen is:

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Christianity / God, Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word Games of Islam

Given Islam’s violent history and the unfavorable contrast of its oppressive practices against 21st century values, Muslims are hard-pressed to repackage their faith in the modern age. Some of its leading apologists have come to rely on tricks involving semantics and half-truths that are, in turn, repeated by novices and even those outside the faith.

This is a document (which we hope to improve on and expand over time) that exposes some of these games and helps truth-seekers find their way through the maze of disingenuous (often blatantly false) claims about Islam and its history.

“If Islam were a violent religion, then all Muslims would be violent.”

“Other religions kill, too.”

Muhammad preached no compulsion in religion (Qur’an: 2:256)

The Crusades

“Muhammad never killed anyone.”

The Qur’an Teaches that all Life is Sacred (Qur’an 5:32)

“Muslims only kill in self-defense.”

The million dollar wager that “Holy War” isn’t in the Qur’an.

“Verses of violence are taken out of context.”

“Islam must be true, because it is the world’s fastest growing religion.”

“The Qur’an can only be understood in Arabic.”

“If Islam were a violent religion, then all Muslims would be violent.”

The Muslim Game:

Most Muslims live peacefully, without harming others, so how can Islam be a violent religion? If Islam were the religion of terrorists, then why aren’t most Muslims terrorists?

The Truth:

The same question can easily be turned around. If Islam is a religion of peace, then why is it the only one that consistently produces religiously-motivated terrorist attacks each and every day of the year? Why are thousands of people willing and able to cut off an innocent person’s head or fly a plane into a building while screaming praises to Allah? Where’s the outrage among other Muslims when this happens… and why do they get more worked up over cartoons and hijabs?

Rather than trying to answer a question with a question, however, let’s just say that the reason why most Muslims don’t kill is that (regardless of what Islam may or may not teach) it’s wrong to kill over religion.

Consider that many Muslims would not even think of amputating a thief’s hand. Does this mean that it is against Islam to do so? Of course not! In fact, this mandate is clearly found in one of the last verses in the Qur’an (5:38) and in the example of Muhammad according to the Hadith (Bukhari 81:792).

Muslims may believe whatever they want to about what Islam says or doesn’t say, but it doesn’t change what Islam says about itself. As an ideology, it exists independently of anyone’s opinion. As such, it may be studied objectively and apart from how anyone else practices or chooses to interprets it.

The Qur’an plainly teaches that it is not just proper to kill in the name of Allah in certain circumstances, but that it is actually a requirement. Muslims who don’t believe in killing over religion may be that way out of ignorance or because they are more loyal to the moral law written in their hearts than they are to the details of Muhammad’s religion. Those who put Islam first or know Islam best know otherwise.

In fact, few Muslims have ever read the Qur’an to any extent, much less pursued an honest investigation of the actual words and deeds of Muhammad, which were more in line with hedonism, deception, power and violence than with moral restraint. The harsh rules that Muslim countries impose on free speech to protect Islam from critique also prevent it from being fully understood. In the West, many Muslims, devout or otherwise, simply prefer to believe that Islam is aligned with the Judeo-Christian principles of peace and tolerance, even if it means filtering evidence to the contrary.

It is no coincidence, however, that the purists of the faith – those most prone to abandoning themselves to Islam without moral preconception – are always the more dangerous and supremacist-minded. They may be called ‘extremists’ or ‘fundamentalists,’ but, at the end of the day, they are also the more literal and dedicated to the Qur’an and following the path of Jihad as mandated by Muhammad.

“Other religions kill, too.”

The Muslim Game:

Bringing other religions down to the level of Islam is one of the most popular strategies of Muslim apologists when confronted with the spectacle of Islamic violence. Remember Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber? Why pick on Islam if other religions have the same problems?

The Truth:

Because they don’t.

Regardless of what his birth certificate may or may not have said, Timothy McVeigh was not a religious man (in fact, he stated explicitly that he was agnostic). At no time did he credit his deeds to religion, quote Bible verses, or claim that he killed for Jesus. His motives are very well documented through interviews and research. God is never mentioned.

The so-called “members of other faiths” alluded to by Muslims are nearly always just nominal members who have no active involvement. They are neither inspired by, nor do they credit religion as Muslim terrorists do – and this is what makes it a very different matter.

Islam is associated with Islamic terrorism because that is the association that the terrorists themselves choose to make.

Muslims who compare crime committed by people who happen to be nominal members of other religions to religious terror committed explicitly in the name of Islam are comparing apples to oranges.

Yes, some of the abortion clinic bombers were religious (as Muslims enjoy pointing out), but consider the scope of the problem. There have been six deadly attacks over a 36 year period in the U.S. Eight people died. This is an average of one death every 4.5 years.

By contrast, Islamic terrorists staged nearly ten thousand deadly attacks in just the six years following September 11th, 2001. If one goes back to 1971, when Muslim armies in Bangladesh began the mass slaughter of Hindus, through the years of Jihad in the Sudan, Kashmir and Algeria, and the present-day Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq, the number of innocents killed in the name of Islam probably exceeds five million over this same period.

In the last six years, there have been perhaps a dozen or so religiously-inspired killings by people of all other faiths combined. No other religion produces the killing sprees that Islam does nearly every day of the year. Neither do they have verses in their holy texts that arguably support it. Nor do they have large groups across the globe dedicated to the mass murder of people who worship a different god, as the broader community of believers struggles with ambivalence and tolerance for a radical clergy that supports the terror.

Muslims may like to pretend that other religions are just as subject to “misinterpretation” as is their “perfect” one, but the reality speaks of something far worse.

Muhammad preached “No compulsion in religion.” (Qur’an, Verse 2:256)

The Muslim Game:

Muslims quote verse 2:256 from the Qur’an to prove what a tolerant religion Islam is. The verse reads in part, “Let there be no compulsion in religion; truth stands out clearly from error…”

The Truth:

The Muslim who offers this verse may or may not understand that it is from one of the earliest Suras (or chapters) from the Medinan period. It was “revealed” at a time when the Muslims had just arrived in Medina after being chased out of Mecca. They needed to stay in the good graces of the stronger tribes around them, many of which were Jewish. It was around this time, for example, that Muhammad decided to have his followers change the direction of their prayer from Mecca to Jerusalem.

But Muslims today pray toward Mecca. The reason for this is that Muhammad issued a later command that abrogated (or nullified) the first. In fact, abrogation is a very important principle to keep in mind when interpreting the Qur’an – and verse 2:256 in particular – because later verses (in chronological terms) are said to abrogate any earlier ones that may be in contradiction (Qur’an 2:106, 16:101).

Muhammad’s message was far closer to peace and tolerance during his early years at Mecca, when he didn’t have an army and was trying to pattern his new religion after Christianity. This changed dramatically after he attained the power to conquer, which he eventually used with impunity to bring other tribes into the Muslim fold. Contrast verse 2:256 with Suras 9 and 5, which were the last “revealed,” and it is easy to see why Islam has been anything but a religion of peace from the time of Muhammad to the present day.

There is some evidence that verse 2:256 may not have been intended for Muslims at all, but is instead meant to be a warning to other religions concerning their treatment of Muslims. Verse 193 of the same Sura instructs Muslims to “fight with them (non-Muslims) until there is no more persecution and religion is only for Allah.” This reinforces the narcissistic nature of Islam, which places Muslims above non-Muslims, and applies a very different value and standard of treatment to both groups.

Though most Muslims today reject the practice of outright forcing others into changing their religion, forced conversion has been a part of Islamic history since Muhammad first picked up a sword. As he is recorded in many places as saying, “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah…” (See Bukhari 2:24)

Muhammad put his words into practice. When he marched into Mecca with an army, one of his very first tasks was to destroy idols at the Kaaba, which had been devoutly worshipped by the Arabs for centuries. By eliminating these objects of worship, he destroyed the religion of the people and supplanted it with his own. Later, he ordered that Jews and Christians who would not convert to Islam be expelled from Arabia. Does forcing others to choose between their homes or their faith sound like “no compulsion in religion?”

According to Muslim historians, Muhammad eventually ordered people to attend prayers at the mosque to the point of burning alive those who didn’t comply. He also ordered that children who reached a certain age be beaten if they refused to pray.

Interestingly, even the same Muslims of today who quote 2:256 usually believe in Islamic teachings that sound very much like religious compulsion. These would be the laws punishing apostasy by death (or imprisonment, for females), and the institutionalized discrimination against religious minorities under Islamic rule that is sometimes referred to as “dhimmiitude.”

Islamic law explicitly prohibits non-Muslims from sharing their faith and even includes the extortion of money from them in the form of a tax called the jizya. Those who refuse to pay this arbitrary amount are put to death. If this isn’t compulsion, then what is?

The Crusades

The Muslim Game:

Muslims love talking about the Crusades… and Christians love apologizing for them. To hear both parties tell the story, one would believe that Muslims were just peacefully minding their own business in lands that were legitimately Muslim when Christian armies decided to wage holy war and “kill millions.”

The Truth:

Every part of this myth is a lie. By the rules that Muslims claim for themselves, the Crusades were perfectly justified, and the excesses (though beneath Christian standards) pale in comparison with the historical treatment of conquered populations at the hands of Muslims.

Here are some quick facts…

The first Crusade began in 1095… 460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies, 457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies, 453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies, 443 after Muslims first plundered Italy, 427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople, 380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies, 363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies, 249 years after Rome itself was sacked by a Muslim army, and only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversions of Christians.

By the time the Crusades finally began, Muslim armies had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world.

Europe had been harassed by Muslims since the first few years following Muhammad’s death. As early as 652, Muhammad’s followers launched raids on the island of Sicily, waging a full-scale occupation 200 years later that lasted almost a century and was punctuated by massacres, such as that at the town of Castrogiovanni, in which 8,000 Christians were put to death. In 1084, ten years before the first crusade, Muslims staged another devastating Sicilian raid, burning churches in Reggio, enslaving monks and raping an abbey of nuns before carrying them into captivity.

In 1095, Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comneus began begging the pope in Rome for help in turning back the Muslim armies which were overrunning what is now Turkey, grabbing property as they went and turning churches into mosques. Several hundred thousand Christians had been killed in Anatolia alone in the decades following 1050 by Seljuk invaders interested in ‘converting’ the survivors to Islam.

Not only were Christians losing their lives in their own lands to the Muslim advance but pilgrims to the Holy Land from other parts of Europe were being harassed, kidnapped, molested, forcibly converted to Islam and occasionally murdered. (Compare this to Islam’s justification for slaughter on the basis of Muslims being denied access to the Meccan pilgrimage in Muhammad’s time).

The Crusaders only invaded lands that were Christian. They did not attack Saudi Arabia (other than a half-hearted expedition by a minor figure) or sack Mecca as the Muslims had done (and continued doing) to Italy and Constantinople. Their primary goal was the recapture of Jerusalem and the security of safe passage for pilgrims. The toppling of the Muslim empire was not on the agenda.

The period of Crusader “occupation” (of its own former land) was stretched over less than two centuries. (The Arab occupation is in its 1,380th year).

Despite popular depiction, the Crusades were not a titanic battle between Christianity and Islam. Although originally dispatched by papal decree, the “occupiers” quickly became part of the political and economic fabric of the Middle East without much regard for religious differences. Their arrival was largely accepted by the local population as simply another change in authority. Muslim radicals even lamented the fact that many of their co-religionists preferred to live under Frankish (Christian) rule than migrate to Muslim lands.

The Islamic world was split into warring factions, many of which allied themselves with the Frankish princes against each other at one time or another. This even included Saladin, the Kurdish warrior who is credited with eventually ousting the “Crusaders.” Contrary to recent propaganda, however, Saladin had little interest in holy war until a rogue Frankish prince began disrupting his trade routes. Both before and after the taking of Jerusalem, his armies spent far more time and resources battling fellow Muslims.

For its part, the Byzantine (Eastern Christian) Empire preferred to have little to do with the Crusaders and went so far as to sign treaties with their rivals.

Another misconception is that the Crusader era was a time of constant war. In fact, very little of this overall period included significant hostilities. In response to Muslim expansion or aggression, there were only about 20 years of actual military campaigning, much of which was spent on organization and travel. (They were from 1098-1099, 1146-1148, 1188-1192, 1201-1204, 1218-1221, 1228-1229, and 1248-1250). By comparison, the Muslim Jihad against the island of Sicily alone lasted 75 grinding years.

Unlike Jihad, the Crusades were never justified on the basis of New Testament teachings. This is why they are an anomaly, the brief interruption of centuries of relentless Jihad against Christianity that began long before the Crusades and continued well after they were over.

The greatest crime of the Crusaders was the sacking of Jerusalem, in which 30,000 people were said to have been massacred. This number is dwarfed by the number of Jihad victims, from India to Constantinople, Africa and Narbonne, but Muslims have never apologized for their crimes and never will.

What is called ‘sin and excess’ by other religions, is what Islam refers to as the will of Allah.

“Muhammad never killed anyone.”

The Muslim Game:

In order to give others the impression that Muhammad was a man of peace, Muslims sometimes claim that he never killed anyone. By this, they mean that he never slew anyone with his own hand (except in battle… which they may or may not remember to mention).

The Truth:

By this logic, Hitler never killed anyone either.

Obviously, if you order the execution of prisoners or the murder of critics by those who are under your command, then you are at least as guilty as those who carry out your orders. In Muhammad’s case, the number of people that he had murdered were literally too many for historians to fully know.

There were the men taken prisoner at Badr (including one who cried out for his children at the point of execution), a mother of five (stabbed to death for questioning Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet), dozens of Jewish citizens, including poets and merchants who were accused of mocking Islam, numerous adulterers, at least one slave girl, 800 Qurayza men and boys taken captive and beheaded on Muhammad’s order, a Qurayza woman made delirious by the execution of her family, and an unfortunate individual who was tortured to death so that the prophet of Islam could discover his hidden treasure and then “marry” his freshly-widowed wife.

Indirectly, Muhammad is also responsible for the millions upon millions of people who have been slaughtered down through the centuries by those carrying on his legacy of Jihad. Not only did he kill, he is truly one of the bloodiest figures in history.

“The Qur’an Teaches that all Life is Sacred” (Qur’an, Verse 5:32)

The Muslim Game:

Many Westerners prefer to believe that all religion is either equally bad or equally good, and eagerly devour anything that seems to support this preconception. The myth usually works to Islam’s advantage as well, since it either raises it to the level of others, or brings the others down to it. To compete with Western religion, Muslims vigorously employ verse 5:32, which is the closest thing they have to the Old Testament command of ‘Thou shalt not kill.”

It reads, in part:

“…if any one slew a person… it would be as if he slew a whole people; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people…”
(As quoted by the Fiqh Council of North America in their ultimately meaningless “Fatwa against Terrorism”)

The Truth:

Oh goodness… if only the Qur’an stopped right there! What would the world be like without large numbers of Muslims across the globe eager to commit mass murder in the name of their religion each day? Think of the lives, money and heartache that would be spared if Muhammad had commanded Muslims to cherish human life in the Judeo-Christian tradition

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. This fragment of verse 5:32 is what Muslim apologists want non-Muslims to believe is in the Qur’an, rather than the dozens of other open-ended passages that command warfare, beheadings and torture. But even what they usually quote from 5:32 isn’t quite how it appears. Remember all those ellipses? There’s something being left out.

Here’s the full text of the verse:

“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”

First, notice the gaping loophole. Killing is allowed in cases of murder or “for spreading mischief in the land.” Murder is pretty straightforward, but “spreading mischief?” If anything begged for a careful and precise explanation, this phrase certainly would. But generations of Muslims are left to apply their own interpretation of what “mischief” means. (Needless to say, the standards vary).

Secondly, note the broader context of this verse. It turns out that this isn’t a command to Muslims after all. It’s a recounting of a rule that was handed down to the Jews. It isn’t an admonition against killing. It’s an indictment against the Jews for violating the law given to them. “Any one” doesn’t mean “anyone,” but rather “any one” of the Jews.

Rather than encouraging tolerance, Sura 5 as a whole is actually an incitement of hatred with a hint of violence. Jews and Christians are explicitly cursed as ‘wicked’ people with ‘diseased hearts’ and as hateful ‘blasphemers’ respectively. Muhammad goes on to coyly remind his people that Allah loves those who “fight” in his service – and it’s fairly obvious who the enemy is.

Muslims also conveniently leave out the fact that the verse which follows 5:32 actually mandates killing in the case of the aforementioned “mischief.” It even suggests crucifixion and “the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides.”

With this being the best that Islam has to offer, it’s not hard to guess why the religion contributes over a thousand deadly terrorist attacks to the world each and every year.

“Muslims only kill in self-defense.”

The Muslim Game:

Muslims often claim that their religion only orders them to kill in self-defense (ie. when their own lives are in danger).

The Truth:

In fact, self-defense is just one of several conditions under which Muslims are permitted to take the lives of others. The myth of killing only in self-defense is easily disproved from the accounts of Muhammad’s own life as recorded in Islam’s sacred texts (with which Muslim terrorists are only too familiar).

Muhammad’s career of killing began with raids on merchant caravans traveling between Syria and Mecca. His men would usually sneak up on unsuspecting drivers and kill those who defended their goods. There was no self-defense involved here at all (on the part of the Muslims, at least). This was old-fashioned armed robbery and murder – sanctioned by Allah (according to Muhammad, who also demanded a fifth of the loot for himself).

The very first battle that Muhammad fought was at Badr, when a Meccan army of 300 was sent out to protect the caravans from Muslim raids. The Meccans did not threaten Muhammad, and (turning this Muslim myth on its ear) only fought in self-defense after they were attacked by the Muslims. Following the battle, Muhammad established the practice of executing surrendered captives – something that would be repeated on many other occasions.

The significance of this episode can hardly be overstated, because it lies at the very beginning of the long chain of Muslim violence that eventually passed right through the heart of America on September 11th. The early Muslims were not being threatened by those whom they attacked, and certainly not by those whom they had captured. They staged aggressive raids to eventually provoke war, just as al-Qaeda attempts to do in our time.

Muslims try to justify Muhammad’s violence by claiming that he and his followers “suffered persecution” at the hands of the Meccans in an earlier episode, in which Muhammad was evicted from the city of Mecca and had to seek refuge at Medina. But even the worst of this persecution did not rise to the level of killing. Nor were Muhammad and his Muslims in any danger at all in their new home of Medina. They were free to get on with their lives.

Even Muhammad’s own men evidently questioned whether they should be pursuing and killing people who did not pose a threat to them, since it seemed to contradict earlier, more passive teachings. To convince them, Muhammad passed along a timely revelation from Allah stating that “the persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter [of non-Muslims]” (Sura 2:191). This verse established the tacit principle that the authority of Muslims is of higher value even than the very lives of others. There is no larger context of morality against which acts are judged. All that matters is how an event impacts or benefits Muslims.

Under Muhammad, slaves and poets were executed, captives were beheaded, and adulterers were put into the ground and stoned. None of these were done during the heat of battle or necessitated by self-defense. To this day, Islamic law mandates death for certain crimes such as blasphemy and apostasy.

Following his death, Muhammad’s companions stormed the Christian world – taking the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. They attacked and conquered to the East as well, including Persia, Central Asia, and well into the Indian sub-continent. Few, if any, of these campaigns involved the pretense of self-defense. They were about Jihad.

“The words, ‘Holy War’, aren’t in the Qur’an.”

The Muslim Game:

In early 2005, a well-known Muslim apologist named, Jamal Badawi, offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that the Qur’an contained the words, “Holy War.” Whether he actually had the money to put up is somewhat in question, but his intention was to make people believe that Jihad is not advocated in the Qur’an and that the terrorists are somehow tragically mistaken when they wage their campaigns of holy war in the cause of Islam.

So successful is this myth, that it has been repeated on popular television shows, such as “Criminal Minds.” Many now believe that not only is holy warfare not advocated by the Qur’an, but that the word, “Jihad” must not appear in it either, since Jihad has come to mean “Holy War” (most especially by those who kill in the name of Allah).

The Truth:

In fact, not only is the word “Jihad” mentioned in several places within the Qur’an, such as the infamous Sura 9 (which includes the “Verse of the Sword”), there are over 150 calls to holy war scattered throughout the entire text.

So what’s the catch?

Well, when knowledgeable infidels such as Robert Spencer immediately responded to the challenge and went to collect their prize, Mr. Badawi was forced to reveal the fine print on his offer. You see, he wasn’t talking about the concept of holy war. He only meant the exact Arabic phrase, “Holy War.”

And what about “Jihad?” Well, this doesn’t count, according to Mr. Badawi, because technically it can be used in a context that doesn’t mean ‘holy war’ (even if that is not how it was interpreted in Muhammad’s time, nor in ours). “Jihad” is like the word “fight,” which can be used in a benign sense (as in, “I am fighting a craving to call Mr. Badawi a disingenuous hack”).

If “Jihad” is holy without war, then “Qital” must be war without the holy. It is an Arabic term that literally means to wage military combat. But, like Jihad, it is most certainly used within the context of holy war, such as in Sura 2: “Fight against them until idolatry is no more and religion is only for Allah.” Mr. Badawi is even on record as admitting that Qital can be a form of Jihad… but even this doesn’t qualify according to the niceties of his offer.

So, although the Qur’an tells believers to “slay the infidels wherever ye find them,” and “smite their necks and fingertips,” showing “ruthlessness to unbelievers,” and 150 other violent admonitions to fight explicitly in the cause of Allah… the Arabic words “holy” and “war” don’t literally appear side-by-side. (Neither do the German words, “concentration” and “camp,” appear consecutively in Nazi documents, by the way).

My, what a hollow victory this is! One has to wonder whether Mr. Badawi sincerely believes that he has a point or if he recognizes this for the shameful word game that it is.

At the very least, people should know that “Jihad” is used within the context of religious warfare time and time again throughout the Qur’an and Hadith, and that, regardless of the exact terminology, Islam’s most sacred texts clearly advocate the sort of holy war that propels modern-day terrorism.

“Verses of violence are taken out of context.”

The Muslim Game:

Verses like, “Slay the infidels wherever ye find them,” were issued during times of war, according to the apologists. They accuse critics who use Qur’anic verses to discredit Islam of engaging in “cherry-picking” (pulling verses out of context to support a position, and ignoring others that may mitigate it).

The Muslims who rely on this argument often leave the impression that the Qur’an is full of verses of peace, tolerance and universal brotherhood, with only a small handful that say otherwise. Their gullible audience may also assume that the context of each violent verse is surrounded by obvious constraints in the surrounding text which bind it to a particular place and time (as is the case with violent Old Testament passages).

The Truth:

The truth, unfortunately, is just the opposite. This is why new Muslims and non-Muslims alike, who begin studying the Qur’an and Hadith, are often confronted with an array of disclaimers and warnings by well-meaning Muslims who caution that it takes “years of study” to fully understand the meaning of certain passages. Neophytes are encouraged to seek the “counseling” of a Muslim scholar or cleric to “help them” interpret what they read.

It is not the verses of violence that are rare, unfortunately, it is the ones of peace and tolerance (which were narrated earlier in Muhammad’s life and superseded by later ones). Neither is the “historical context” of these verses of violence at all obvious from the surrounding text (in most cases).

In the Qur’an, constructs and topics often come from out of nowhere and merge randomly in a jumbled mess that bears no consistent or coherent stream of thought. But, with external references to the Hadith and early biographies of Muhammad’s life, it is usually possible to determine when a Qur’anic verse was “handed down from Allah,” and what it may have meant to the Muslims at the time. This is what apologists opportunistically refer to as “historical context.” They contend that such verses are merely a part of history and not intended as imperatives to present-day Muslims.

But “historical context” cuts both ways. If any verse is a product of history, then they all are. Indeed, there is not a verse in the Qur’an that was not given at a particular time to address a particular situation in Muhammad’s life, whether he wanted to conquer the tribe next door and needed a “revelation” from Allah spurring his people to war, or if he needed the same type of “revelation” to satisfy a lust for more women (free of complaint from his other wives).

Here is the irony of the “cherry-picking” argument: Those who use “historical context” against their detractors nearly always engage in cherry-picking of their own by choosing which verses they apply “historical context” to and which they prefer to hold above such tactics of mitigation.

This game of context is, in fact, one of the most popular and disingenuous in which Muslims are likely to engage. Simply put, the apologists appeal to context only when they want it to be there – such as when the bellicose 9th Sura of the Qur’an, which calls for the subjugation and death of unbelievers, is at issue. They ignore context when it proves inconvenient. An example of the latter would be the many times in which verse 2:256 is isolated and offered up as proof of religious tolerance (in contradiction to Muhammad’s later imposition of the jizya and the sword).

Islamic purists do not engage in such games. Not only do they know that the verses of Jihad are more numerous and authoritative (abrogating the earlier ones), they also hold the entire Qur’an to be the eternal and literal word of Allah… and this is what often makes them so dangerous.

“Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion”

The Muslim Game:

How can Islam be a bad religion if it is growing so fast? Doesn’t this mean that it is actually a truthful religion, since so many are accepting it?

The Truth:

In the first place, the truth of an idea or doctrine is never established by mere belief. Up until the last hundred years or so, the vast majority of people on our planet did not even believe that they were on a planet. Nor did they believe that the earth was spinning at a thousand miles an hour or hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour. Does this mean that the earth wasn’t doing these things up until people believed that it was?

Secondly, Islam is not “growing faster” than other religions because “people are accepting it,” but rather because the

    birthrate among Muslims is significantly higher than it is among Christians and others, particularly in the West.

Kids can be raised to believe in just about anything, so this hardly constitutes any sort of accomplishment.

Of the so-called “converts” from other religions, only a miniscule number were active believers. Nearly all are really just people who had no faith to convert from – regardless of their nominal designation. In the West and other parts of the non-Muslim world in which all religions are allowed to compete equally such people experiencing a spiritual awakening are far more likely to turn to Christianity than to Islam.

There are also some women who “marry into Islam” (a nominal change in official designation), but in terms of raw conversions, there is almost no comparison between Islam and Christianity. It is estimated that thousands of Muslims convert to Christianity each day, while only a handful of non-Muslims actually adopt Islam.

This leads to our final and most important point, which is that decent Muslims should feel a sense of embarrassment, rather than pride over the rules that they have to enforce in order to maintain Islam’s status as the “fastest growing religion.” In truth, it speaks more to the insecurity that Muslims have in their own religion, and the banal immaturity that Islam has compared with other faiths.

Let’s say that you are playing chess with a 6-year-old boy. Instead of following the same set of rules, however, the child is allowed to make up rules that are preferential to him. One of the rules he decides on is that you aren’t allowed to make any moves on his half of the board, but he is allowed to make moves on yours. Another might be that it is impossible for any of his pieces to be taken.

Now, if the child is winning the game – which is assured by the conditions that he has imposed – is it really something in which he can truly take pride?

The rules that Muslims impose on the “conversion game” are almost exactly like this chess analogy. Other religions are not allowed to operate in Islam’s own territory (ie. preaching their faith and evangelizing) as Muslims are in others. Neither is conversion away from Islam allowed – on penalty of death.

Watching Muslims gloat over conversions to Islam or in being the “fastest growing religion” is no different than watching a child delude themselves into thinking that they are smarter and better for “beating” a much wiser adult in a game played under manufactured conditions that render the artificial “victory” entirely meaningless.

Islam has been playing by its own rules since its inception. It is unlikely that Muslims will soon develop the confidence in their own religion (or the required social maturity) to lift the shameful restrictions to which it owes its success and risk competition with other faiths on a level playing field.

As was first mentioned, the truth of a belief or creed is never established by how many followers it has. But when a religion has to be supported by double standards and death threats, there is all the more reason to doubt its veracity.

(Note: Our article does not take issue with the claim that Islam is the fastest growing religion, not because we necessarily believe it, but because others have done a better job of refuting it. See Islam is not the Fastest Growing Religion in the World for an example.)

“The Qur’an Can Only be Understood in Arabic”

The Muslim Game:

The Qur’an can only be fully understood in Arabic. One cannot criticize Islam without knowing Arabic.

The Truth:

Although Muslims often tell critics of Islam to “read the Qur’an,” they are usually unprepared for what happens when their advice is heeded. An honest translation of Islam’s holiest book generally reinforces negative opinion. The fallback is to then claim that the Qur’an can only be understood in Arabic.

Of all the efforts to artificially insulate Islam from intellectual critique, this is probably the most transparent. Unfortunately, for those Muslims craving reassurance from the more embarrassing passages of the Qur’an and Sunnah, this cheap tactic of arbitrarily dismissing anything they disagree with still comes at a heavy price, since Islam cannot be protected in this way without sacrificing its claim to being a universal religion.

In the first place, it is fundamentally impossible for anyone to learn a language that cannot be translated into the only one they do know, which means the apologists who insist that “one must learn Arabic” in order to understand the Qur’an are committing a logical fallacy. Either the Arabic of the Qur’an is translatable (in which case there is no need to learn Arabic) or it is not (in which case it can never be learned by the non-native speaker).

Enter the skeptic. While every language has its nuances, how is that Arabic is the only one with words and phrases that are literally untranslatable? More importantly, why in the world would Allah choose to communicate his one true religion for all men in the only language that cannot be understood by all men – including all Muslims, since most do not speak Arabic?

Even more suspicious is that this amazing linguistic “discovery” was only recently made – and that it corresponds quite remarkably with the contemporary rejection of Islamic practices that were considered acceptable up until the religion’s recent collision with Western liberalism. In fact, there is an astonishing correlation between the argument that hidden and alternate meanings exist to unflattering Qur’anic passages (justifying slavery, the inferior status of women, sexual gluttony, holy warfare, wife-beating, and religious discrimination) and the level of embarrassment that modern scholars have about the presence of such verses in the Qur’an!

No other world religion makes this claim about itself or its holy texts. While the Bible is distributed pretty much as is by various Christian groups, for example, it is rare to find a Qur’an that does not include voluminous and highly subjective footnoted commentary deemed necessary to explain away the straightforward interpretation of politically-incorrect passages.

An additional problem for the apologists is that they want to have it both ways. On the one hand they declare that (for some strange reason) the “perfect book” can’t be translated and that Allah’s perfect religion thus cannot be understood by most of humanity without a battery of intercessors and interpreters. Then they turn around and blame the reality of Islamic terrorism on this same “necessary” chain of intermediaries by claiming that the Osama bin Ladens of the world have simply gotten bad clerical advice, causing them to “misunderstand” the true meaning of the Religion of Peace (in the most catastrophic and tragic way imaginable).

Of course, another irony here is that, as a Saudi, the Qur’an-toting Osama bin Laden is a native Arabic speaker – as are most of the leaders and foot soldiers in his al-Qaeda brotherhood of devout Muslims. In fact, many critics of Islam are Arabic speakers as well.

At this point there is only one avenue of escape open to the beleaguered apologist, which is the weak claim that the Qur’an can only be understood in Classical Arabic, an obscure Quraish dialect which has not been commonly used in over a thousand years and is only known by a few hundred people alive today (generally Wahabbi scholars, who are – ironically enough – accused of taking the Qur’an ‘too literally’).

Although it is hardly plausible that the differences between classical and modern Arabic are such that peace and tolerance can be confused with terrorism, even if this were true, it merely begs the question all the more. Why would such a “perfect book” be virtually impossible for the rest of us to learn – and susceptible to such horrible “misinterpretation” on an on-going basis?

Really, it isn’t hard to see through this childish game, particularly since the rules are applied only to detractors and not to advocates. Apologists never claim that Arabic is a barrier to understanding Islam when it comes to lauding the religion, no matter how less knowledgeable those offering praise are than the critics.

Obviously, the real reason for this illogical myth is that, for the first time, the information age is making the full history and texts of the Islamic religion available to a broader audience, and it is highly embarrassing to both Muslim scholars and their faithful flock. Pretending that different meanings exist in Arabic is a way of finding solace and saving face.

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Politics/Government/Freedom, Societal / Cultural Issues, Understanding Islam, World Affairs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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