Showing posts with label FAQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAQ. Show all posts

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Original Sin, Messiah & Salvation of Humanity

Bible and Qur'an al Kerim both narrate Adam's creation; his wife; his first dwelling in a garden and the many freedoms he and his wife enjoyed in this garden. Only one prohibition they had to live with: The fruit of a specific tree wasn't allowed for them to eat.

The Bible then says, in Genesis 3, how man was seduced by woman to eat the fruit, after the woman had been seduced by Satan to eat it. The text actually doesn't say, why Satan picks her first, or why she responds first. It has, however, big consequences for them both. Eve and Adam are described as if they represent humanity. After their disobedience, which rests on both of them, they repent. They are forgiven, but they are dismissed from the garden and sent down to Earth, where they receive a new assignment, different for men and women.

Judaism doesn't recognize an original sin shared by humanity as a whole. Judaism relies on personal responsibility and intent of each believer to abstain from Satan and sin. Moses, Musa, said this in a sermon, Deuteronomium 30:1-14, verses present in every Bible:

10 when you obey the Lord, your God, to observe His commandments and His statutes written in this Torah scroll, [and] when you return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 For this commandment which I command you this day, is not concealed from you, nor is it far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will go up to heaven for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us and fetch it for us, to tell [it] to us, so that we can fulfill it?" 14 Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.

In Christianity, however, there's a gap between Adam and Jesus. It's only to be filled centuries later, when Jesus arrives. Jesus is God's only child, only son, and God's manifestation on Earth as a living man. He has come to live with people; to introduce himself as the One God who will later, at the Day of Resurrection, raise people from death and judge them. Christianity says, that Jesus had come to put it right: The first sin, committed by the first human couple. It still weighed upon the fate of all mankind. Humanity had never been fully exonerated of the disobedience in Eden, until Jesus came. The original sin story is a Christian concept. It suggests, that God had corrected Himself by sending His only son, to remove imperfection from humanity: Negative behaviours and inclinations. Jesus also restored good relations between man and woman, as we may see in Paulus' letters, NT.

Many Christian commentators say, the Old Testament mentions several predictions of Jesus' arrival on Earth with the aim to exonerate mankind of this first sin. Such as Ps 16:8-11 and Dan 9:24-27:

Psalm 16:8-11 New International Version (NIV):
'8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful [a] one see decay. 11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.' Jesus speaks directly here, according to some commentators.

Daniel 9:24-27 Tanakh Online:
24 Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed upon your people and upon the city of your Sanctuary to terminate the transgression and to end sin, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring eternal righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. 25 And you shall know and understand that from the emergence of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed king [shall be] seven weeks, and [for] sixty-two weeks it will return and be built street and moat, but in troubled times. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his end will come about by inundation, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation. 27 And he will strengthen a covenant for the princes for one week, and half the week he will abolish sacrifice and meal- offering, and on high, among abominations, will be the dumb one, and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one.

Old Testament translations aren't always identical. For instance, verse 7:13, Daniel, says in the English Tanakh: 'I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him.' The King James Bible uses different words: 'I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.' Same thing we see in verse Ps 16:10. The Tanakh mentions 'Your pious one' and King James Bible mentions 'thine Holy One'. So, there's no unanimous approach towards Jesus. Christian Bible translations see predictions of Jesus in certain Biblical verses, where the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, refrains from such comment.

Jewish commentators, such as Rabbi Baruch, say that Christian commentators must have made translation errors and must have been mistaken in dating the events. They neglected the difference between the Jewish and their own calendars. Therefore, the messiah mentioned in book Daniel 9 must have been someone other than Jesus. Generally, with exception of Messianic Jews, Jewish scholars doubt that Jesus was the messiah mentioned in the Old Testament. They deny that Jesus was supposed to remove sin from humanity, but do acknowledge a Messiah. This Messiah can't be Jesus, as Messiah will rebuild the Temple and restore Jerusalem as city of power, and he will restore justice. This is a future event, not yet happened. And, Jesus didn't acquire worldly power; he was executed and Jerusalem was destroyed soon after that. Jewish sources doubt Jesus' execution as a Jewish act. The Romans must have tried and convicted him for an offense that would require other punishment method in Jewish law. The New Testament says, Jesus was executed without proper trial, in the Pesach-season, at whimsical popular request. The Romans executed many Jews, among whom many with messianic claims, but not without trial. Jewish sources do not deny Jesus' crucifixion (with some exceptions); they do question or debate a Jewish role:

'From the Jewish point of view, the crime of which Jesus was convicted by the Jewish priests is greatly in doubt (see Jesus). If it was blasphemy, lapidation should, according to Jewish law, have been the penalty, with suspension from the gallows after death (Mishnah Sanh. iii. 4; Sifre, iii. 221). Nor were any of the well-known measures taken (Sanh. vi.) which provide before execution for the contingency of a reversal of the sentence. Neither was the "cross"—i.e., the gallows for hanging—constructed as usual after lapidation, and as ordained in Sanhedrin vi. 4. His hands were not bound as prescribed; the "cross" was not buried with his body (Maimonides, "Yad," Sanh. xv. 9). Whether the Jewish law would have tolerated a threefold execution at one and the same time is more than uncertain (Sanh. vi. 4; Sifre, ii. 221).' (JewishEncyclopedia.com | Crucifixion)

Then, later again, comes the Qur'anic story, in verses 7:10-27. It doesn't have the same high degree of mysticism as the Biblical story, in my opinion. Adam's story is brought to us rather as a generalised allegory about the human lifecycle ~ though there's nothing wrong with seeing Garden of Eden just as it is: a garden away from Earth. All people can relate to his journey. No differences is made between Adam and his wife. Every human being, or at least most of us, enjoy a sheltered childhood environment, at the latest until puberty. Childhood is an age of great freedom to experiment, also for the mind. Puberty is the age where the human brain gains awareness of sin, evil. It's an age of testing boundaries; getting caught by supervisors or not; finally repenting. At some moment, the lesson is taken that it's better to abstain from breaking rules, because not everything was meant for us, or me, to use, own, or eat. Which is valid for each creature, human or not. And: Puberty and adolescence are the age where people gain awareness of two life aspects: That it's their life assignment to enter the world, and they gain awareness of their specific stance. They become self-conscious. However, their assignment to lead a specific, decent life on Earth, in obedience to Allah swt, has been given from the first moment they existed. And, it is not a safe life without enemies. Personal responsibility and intent of each believer decide forgiving of sins, and many sins are forgiven. Like Judaism, Islam doesn't recognise a collective, inherited sin. A believer must acknowledge the prophets, especially the messiah, who will collect humanity at judgement day.

My own conclusion after reading several texts about the (proverbial) original sin is that, as faitful, we should read each others' books, if only for verification of certain facts and quotes. It would be great to come to better understanding and knowledge. And hence, hopefully, to better relations.

A few Qur'anic verses concerning sin, forgiveness and Adam:
2:30-39, 2:134, 2:286, 4:1, 4:28, 4:31, 6:98, 7:10-35, 8:28, 33:35&36, 64:15

Biblical verses about Adam and OT-verses understood by commentators as prophesies about Jesus:

Gen 3:15, 9:27, 12:2-3, 16:13, 17:1, 19:1, 49:8-12; Ex 3:6; Num 24:15-19; Deut 18:15-18; the Psalms, but mostly Ps 16:8-11, Ps 2, 16, 22, 40, 45, 68, 69, 69:25, 72, 109, 110, 118, 118:25,26; Judg 13:2-25, 20; Isa 2:3,4, 9, 12, 40:3-5, 53:6,9a, 63:9; 1 Samuel 2:1-10,35,36; 2 Samuel 7, 24; 1 Chron 21; Job 33:23-28; Mt 1:33, 2:1, 6, 3:3, 21:9; Mal 3:1; Dan 2:44, 7:13,14, 9:24-27; I Pt 2:21-25; Zech 9:9,10, 10:12; Mic 5:2


Sources & Further Read: 

Quran Explorer
The Noble Quran

Jews for Jesus 
Official King James Bible Online
Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
https://www.biblegateway.com
The Complete Tanakh
QuranIndex.com | Shaytan
Outreach Judaism | Original Sin
Torah Class | Daniel and the Messiah I
Torah Class | Romans Chapter 5
JewishEncyclopedia.com | Crucifixion


Friday, May 10, 2019

Changing Religion & Your Future In The Hereafter: It Has Several Pitfalls

Changing religion may have legal implications in the country you live. But, those may be considered temporary, also because life itself is temporary. Your future in the hereafter, is eternal. Religions have different answers to life after death. It's wise to consider that, also related to those you might want to share it with. And, study the religion you take in interest in. As I said before, it isn't impossible to keep your rights to goodness in the hereafter, when leaving Islam. But, there's no guarantee -- nor is there a guarantee you will be reunited with those you love. Supplication for your deceased loved ones, however, will increase their (and your) chances to paradise and a reunion with those you loved.

Second aspect you may need to ask yourself, before changing religion, is this:

Was my religious conviction, so far, untruthful?

If it's untruthful, it says a lot about my whole environment: Family, upbringing, education, and religious or other scriptures and literature I may have read. Latter aspect, study of scriptures, should be done or rehearsed, before making a change as drastic as religion. Denying an aspect of your past, ie your religious outlook so far, may be denying certain parts of yourself and those immediately around you. It's not something to think lightly of.

And, there is a third aspect. In drastic, unusual situations, in times of persecution and war violence only, it is allowed to killed those who left our faith, says Qur'an. Hadiths confirm killing of apostates. It's possible to give these texts a sincerely positive twist:

It is always, always possible to return to faith, because your membership is forever, even if you have been elsewhere.

Just like the lost son, mentioned in the Old Testament. It is always allowed to forgive and re-embrace. Unless you committed atrocities and didn't intend to stop them.

Applicable Qur'anic verses:
2:62, 3:85, 5:69, 2:256, 4:451, 9:113, 13:23, 32:17, 43:70&71, 50:61, 52:21; 60:1-10.

Hadiths of Sahih Bukhari:
Book 2, Belief; Book 88, Apostates.

Sources & Further Reading:
Islam Question & Answer
Dar-Alifta.org
Islam.Stackexchange.com




Sunday, April 21, 2019

Islam, Jesus, & the Cross

'And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -' (4:157-159)

Qur'an al Kerim denies here an important topic in Christianity: The Crucifixion of Jesus. What thoughts may this lead to?

Here's a quotation of Wikipedia, which mentions the best known Muslim replies to questions about Jesus' crucifixion:

'The issue of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus (Isa) is rejected by most Muslims, but similar to Christians they believe that Jesus ascended to heaven and will return before the end of time. Most Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified, but was raised bodily to heaven by God. The general Islamic view supporting the denial of crucifixion was possibly influenced by Manichaenism (Docetism), which holds that someone else was crucified instead of Jesus, while concluding that Jesus will return during the end-times.[1]:41

Depending on the interpretation of the following verse, Muslim scholars have abstracted different opinions. Some believe that in the Biblical account, Jesus's crucifixion did not last long enough for him to die, while others opine that God gave someone Jesus's appearance or someone else replaced Jesus and the executioners thought the victim was Jesus, causing everyone to believe that Jesus was crucified. A third explanation could be that Jesus was nailed to a cross, but as his soul is immortal he did not "die" or was not "crucified" [to death]; it only appeared so (this view is rare). In opposition to the second and third foregoing proposals, yet others maintain that God does not use deceit and therefore they contend that crucifixion just did not occur.'

Islam may have a 1 - 0 setback behind Christianity, because the Crucifixion is a well-documented event, with many witnesses. Even though not all their stories fully match. But any police officer can explain us, that this is a classic issue of eye witness accounts: Contradictions. On one topic, there's no contradiction: many people were witness of Jesus' death on the cross; the empty grave next day; his appearances later; his ascension to heaven. His followers died for this story at the hands of authorities who couldn't believe their story.

What would be my suggestion? How to deal with this difference between Bible and Qur'an?

We are nearly twenty centuries later now. We notice a difference between both stories, but in all honesty, we can't explain it. We have no forensic evidence. I'd say, there's only one possible attitude: 

Do not judge.

It's one word against the other. It's very well possible, there's been a switch of men, just before captivity. Allah swt is the almighty and is most sure capable to introduce a stand-in. This may be anyone, even an angel. We also know, Qur'an al Kerim contains verses of unspecific meaning, as is mentioned in verse 3:7. It is possible to believe, that indeed Jesus didn't die at the cross. None of us know for sure, what exactly happened. Both Bible and Qur'an give reports of miraculous events. It's not up to us to dismiss them without evidence. And evidence, we don't have -- in the scientific, forensic sense of the word. Qur'an al Kerim doesn't give enough detail to give a scientific report of events. Shouldn't that be enough to abstain from filling in gaps.

There's perhaps a second aspect. The Qur'anic text mentions 'they' and 'we' killed the Messiah. It could mean, that humans have no say in life and death. They lack the authority here to claim taking the life of this important messenger of Allah swt.

USCatholic.org: What do Muslims think of Jesus?







Thursday, November 15, 2018

Socratic Dialogue: Is It Possible In Islam?

Socrate has abandoned philosophy of nature, as practised by many of his fellow Greek thinkers. In his view, it is best to not dwell on those phenomenons we can't explain anyway, such as explaining what stars are; what is night and day, how it's come into existence. His people didn't possess the tools and equipment, yet, to travel far, or look at small particles and cells. Socrate found it good enough to perfect human life, morality, politics, present living conditions, economics, and how to improve and embellish these, now. This is only possible as a result of reason and dialogue. It is necessary to think and exchange views about the important aspect of human life, in order to reach personal perfection, and a good system for society. In later days, western culture has differentiated between natural science, which is about explaining objective and proven facts, and philosophy in the sense as Socrate has meant it: A rational exercise about other aspects of life, where objectivity may not come first. Aspects as human living conditions, beauty, morality, politics, economics, peace, religion. Natural Science and technology are seen as necessary to support other aspects of life, because they are objective and beyond questioning, and because they provide tools for living. But, even they, aren't ways to one ultimate truth.

Islam, has tried to combine natural science, philosophy of nature, and ethical intellectualism, with some rules and boundaries, to make a fair play possible. Investigating a text without immediate aim of giving absolutely true answers, but rather aiming to approach an issue from several angles and then encouraging use of logic and exchanging different views, can be a good approach towards better understanding Qur’an al Kerim. The ultimate aim is to come to truth, within natural limitations set forth by Allah SWT. 'People who think' will notice, that not everything is possible, even after the most excellent technology has been explored. Ultimate possibility, has been ordained by the creator of everything: Allah SWT. And, even Allah SWT is bound to absolute truths. 'Thinking' and 'mutual consultation' are encouraged. It is, however, not encouraged to make severe conflict about the 'ambiguous' verses in Qur'an. Ambiguous verses are those with, to us, incomprehensible or multiple meanings. Fighting about ambiguity, is seen as a sign of disbelief or injustice. It is not allowed in Islam, to invent or phantasize things, that clearly aren't there, or can't be perceived. It is allowed to phantasize about them, as long as we're clear about them being our own opinion, and as long as we are kind to those who disagree with us. There's a point, where Islam and Socrate diverge: Islam does believe in an ultimate truth. However, this truth may not be perceivable to humans. As not all truth is perceivable to humans, humans are allowed many freedoms of thinking and believing, as long as they do not lie, or oppress dissident thinkers. If opponents don't harm others, then let them. Discuss with others, is okay, but it may cause spiritual or religious harm to yourself. That is your problem, and not of a government censor. Censorship, isn't necessary anyway, because there's freedom of thought and no compulsion in religion. Because we can't observe Allah SWT, we can't legally enforce people to believe in Him. Many aspects of life are ambiguous, or lead to more than one way. Those very same people may be wrong about one aspect of truth, yet, they may be very truthful about another aspect of truth. Truth is a big thing, as big as the universe, with many facets. That's why, in Islam we must live by this rule: Live and let live, in honesty, humility, and tolerance -- until life has been made impossible by oppressors, or by natural impossibility.

Perhaps, Socratic dialogue is not the first way to understand most ahadith, as these transmit very specific sayings, actions and decisions of the Prophet saws. And, many scholars have classified and interpreted them and channeled them into jurisprudence. That doesn’t mean, it isn't allowed. There's some etiquette involved, however. You want a discussion with knowledgeable Muslims? Then, respect their privacy, safety, and personal lives. Discussions about philosophy and the meaning of life tend to take place in informal surroundings, among friends and relatives. And, Qur'an al Kerim was revealed exactly in answer to prevailing questions that people may have. Having said that, it is allowed to ask those who may have knowledge, any question. There are no inferior questions, nor inferior information seekers. The first 12 verses of Surah 80 mention a blind man who asked the Prophet questions, but the Prophet initially dismissed him. The verses, however, exhorted to answer questions. Furthermore, we live in a time where technology has changed living conditions and has literally shrunk distance between people globally. Another aspect is, that Islam was absent in many government systems, during the colonial era. So, it is possible, to look at ahadith from a fresh philosophical and legal perspective, without immediately ending up with untruth.

All the same. As Muslims, we receive the questions. Not just about what Islam is, but also the more fundamental questions, of why you should believe; if you 'have to' believe and if yes, then why. And more specific questions about certain verses, especially those that may offer more possible answers. We'd like to counter them with relevance and wit, if possible. And, we'd like to pose our own questions. To non-Muslims and other Muslims alike. So, why not exercise in Socratic dialogue? Socrate offered here a methodology, not a full philosophical or religious theory. A discussion method is neutral and doesn't clash with other religion.




Some applicable Qur'anic verses:
2:255-258; 3:7-8; 3:200; 5:100-102; 10:18-20; 16:4-11; 24:58,59,61; 55:33; 60:5-9; 64:2-3; 67:3; 80:1-12; 112:1-4.

'Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (255) There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower. (256) Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. (257) Bethink thee not of him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom; how, when Abraham said: My Lord is He Who giveth life and causeth death, he answered: I give life and cause death. Abraham said: Lo! Allah causeth the sun to rise in the East, so do thou cause it to come up from the West. Thus was the disbeliever abashed. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (258)' (2:255-258)
'He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations - they are the substance of the Book - and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed. (7) Our Lord! Cause not our hearts to stray after Thou hast guided us...' (3:7-8)

'O ye who believe! Endure, outdo all others in endurance, be ready, and observe your duty to Allah, in order that ye may succeed. (200)' (3:200)

'Say: The evil and the good are not alike even though the plenty of the evil attract thee. So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O men of understanding, that ye may succeed. (100) O ye who believe! Ask not of things which, if they were made known unto you, would trouble you; but if ye ask of them when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made known unto you. Allah pardoneth this, for Allah is Forgiving, Clement. (101) A folk before you asked (for such disclosures) and then disbelieved therein. (102)' (5:100-102)
'They worship besides Allah that which neither hurteth them nor profiteth them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah. Say: Would ye inform Allah of (something) that He knoweth not in the heavens or in the earth? Praised be He and high exalted above all that ye associate (with Him)! (18) Mankind were but one community; then they differed; and had it not been for a word that had already gone forth from thy Lord it had been judged between them in respect of that wherein they differ. (19) And they will say: If only a portent were sent down upon him from his Lord! Then say, (O Muhammad): The Unseen belongeth to Allah. So wait! Lo! I am waiting with you. (20)' (10:18-20)

'He hath created man from a drop of fluid, yet behold! he is an open opponent. (4) And the cattle hath He created, whence ye have warm clothing and uses, and whereof ye eat; (5) And wherein is beauty for you, when ye bring them home, and when ye take them out to pasture. (6) And they bear your loads for you unto a land ye could not reach save with great trouble to yourselves. Lo! your Lord is Full of Pity, Merciful. (7) And horses and mules and asses (hath He created) that ye may ride them, and for ornament. And He createth that which ye know not. (8) And Allah's is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (9) He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. (10) Therewith He causeth crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. (11)' (16:4-11)

'O ye who believe! Let your slaves, and those of you who have not come to puberty, ask leave of you at three times (before they come into your presence): Before the prayer of dawn, and when ye lay aside your raiment for the heat of noon, and after the prayer of night. Three times of privacy for you. It is no sin for them or for you at other times, when some of you go round attendant upon others (if they come into your presence without leave). Thus Allah maketh clear the revelations for you. Allah is Knower, Wise. (58) And when the children among you come to puberty then let them ask leave even as those before them used to ask it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations for you. Allah is Knower, Wise. (59) ... No blame is there upon the blind nor any blame upon the lame nor any blame upon the sick nor on yourselves if ye eat from your houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers' brothers, or the houses of your fathers' sisters, or the houses of your mothers' brothers, or the houses of your mothers' sisters, or (from that) whereof ye hold the keys, or (from the house) of a friend. No sin shall it be for you whether ye eat together or apart. But when ye enter houses, salute one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and sweet. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations for you, that haply ye may understand. (61)' (24:58,59,61)
'O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited, enter, and, when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! that would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the messenger of Allah, nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him. Lo! that in Allah's sight would be an enormity. (53)' (33:53)
'O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! Not without authority shall ye be able to pass!' (55:33)
'Our Lord! Make us not a prey for those who disbelieve, and forgive us, our Lord! Lo! Thou, only Thou, are the Mighty, the Wise. (5) Verily ye have in them a goodly pattern for everyone who looketh to Allah and the Last Day. And whosoever may turn away, lo! still Allah, He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (6) It may be that Allah will ordain love between you and those of them with whom ye are at enmity. Allah is Mighty, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (7) Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers. (8) Allah forbiddeth you only those who warred against you on account of religion and have driven you out from your homes and helped to drive you out, that ye make friends of them. Whosoever maketh friends of them - (All) such are wrong-doers. (9)' (60:5-9)

'He it is Who created you, but one of you is a disbeliever and one of you is a believer, and Allah is Seer of what ye do. (2) He created the heavens and the earth with truth, and He shaped you and made good your shapes, and unto Him is the journeying. (3)' (64:2-3)

'He Who created the seven heavens one above another, no want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of the Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?' (67:3)

'He frowned and turned away (1) Because the blind man came unto him. (2) What could inform thee but that he might grow (in grace) (3) Or take heed and so the reminder might avail him? (4) As for him who thinketh himself independent, (5) Unto him thou payest regard. (6) Yet it is not thy concern if he grow not (in grace). (7) But as for him who cometh unto thee with earnest purpose (8) And hath fear, (9) From him thou art distracted. (10) Nay, but verily it is an Admonishment, (11) So let whosoever will pay heed to it, (12)' (80:1-12)

'Say: He is Allah, the One! (1) Allah, the eternally Besought of all! (2) He begetteth not nor was begotten. (3) And there is none comparable unto Him. (4)' (112:1-4)


Sources & further reading:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Creation and Purpose of Humanity in Qur'an al Kerim

Humanity and Jinn, says Qur'an al Kerim, have been created to worship Allah swt. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. The creation of humanity, is briefly, but in good clarity, described in Qur'an al Kerim. Humans do not resemble Allah swt, may we conclude from Sourah Al Ikhlas. Several Qur'anic verses in Sourah 7 suggest, that humanity descends from first prophet Adam. It is likely to assume, he and his wife, were the first humans. Man was created from 'earth', from 'water', 'a single being, soul', and from 'a fluid', says Qur'an al Kerim. Qur'an does not confirm Darwin's evolution theory; that humans, and other living creatures, were gradually and over several generations, developed from one species into another. Qur'an says, the first human was, deliberately and willingly, created from 'mud', 'clay', 'earth', 'dust'; then from 'a drop of fluid'. Apparently simultaneously, each human is created from 'a soul'. Not only Adam; each individual is created from a single soul, as a man or as a woman, and is given a mate from it. Humans are created as pairs. Created from one soul, yet, no two humans are identical. It's most likely, that indeed Adam had a spouse, but Qur'an doesn't say, how she was created, nor if she was created 'from' Adam. She and Adam may also be created simultaneously from 'one soul'. Her name isn't mentioned. Tradition says, her name was Hawwa. (Chawa in Hebrew, or Eve in the Christian Bible.) There's a hadith saying, 'woman' is created of a 'rib' -- but, it doesn't say, what rib it is. Is it man's rib; is it the X-chromosome, or other. We now know, however, that the female egg contains two X-chromosomes, and only the male seed contains the gender-deciding X- or Y-chrosome. So, woman receives her gender, indeed, from man. And, the hadith seems to imply all women in general, not only Adam's spouse. Not all Qur'anic words have been verified. It's not verified, how humans are created in pairs. What's the plan behind that. Yet, the physical creation of humans, the pregnancy, has been described in fairly identifiable and accurate wording. Each fetus is developed and formed 'in stages', as say verses 22:5; 18:37; 39:6; 75:37-40. Traditionally, commentators focused more on the male seed than on the female egg, yet, Qur'an doesn't always mention, which of them is the 'fluid' that develops into a 'clot'. The female egg is the biggest human cell and is filled with, mostly, water and is transported through the fluid of the ovary. The male seed, however, is the smallest human cell and travels independently in water. So, sometimes, both can be the 'drop of fluid' mentioned in Qur'an.

Adam was created as 'viceroy' on Earth. He was given a leading position on Earth, however, he wasn't made with moral perfection. This much, the angels knew, when Allah swt announced, He had planned to place a leader figure on Earth, for whom they all had to prostrate. The angels had many questions, yet they all resigned to Divine rule -- except for one, Iblis. Iblis was the only angel, who couldn't accept Adam's leadership. Iblis's disobedience led to his downfall forever, away from the rank of angels. But, Iblis requested respite from downfall till the day of humanity's resurrection from their death. He was granted respite, but no forgiveness. From then, he received the title 'Satan'. Iblis, from then on, made it his life task to spite humanity and lead them astray from the righteous path of Allah swt. Adam and his wife were given a privileged dwelling place in the proverbial Garden, but not without strings attached. They were tested in their obedience to Allah swt. Everything in this garden was allowed to them as food, except a specifically mentioned tree. If more people were present in the Garden, is unknown, btw. Satan was swift to find them in the Garden and, successfully, entice them both to eat from this tree. Their disobedience, made Adam and his wife self conscious. Some commentators, compare this state of awkwardness and shame with coming of age: loosing childhood innocence, when committing the first act of grownup disobedience. They implored Allah swt for His forgiveness. Allah did forgive them partially. This incident led to a new decision by Allah swt: Humanity lost their privileged residence in the Garden and was sent 'down' to Earth. We can't say, however, Allah swt had made a new plan; it was plan to release then on Earth anyway. Residence on Earth, was, most probably, to be their main life assignment, as says verse 2:30. They were allowed to use whatever they needed on Earth, until a specified time, the day of humanity's resurrection. They would receive Divine guidance, however, Satan, too, was dismissed from the Garden. If more people were dismissed from the Garden, is unknown. If any human would lend his or her ear to Satan and his helpers and allow themselves to be led astray from the Divine path, he or she would then be assigned hellfire, after the day of resurrection. So, angels and humans alike, they all are given Divine bounty, but they may loose it, once they decide for disobedience. From then, Allah swt will stop His guidance to them, individually.

Humanity's second creation and new future will start at the day of resurrection, Yawm al Qiyamah. Then, those who followed Divine guidance, will be allowed into Jennah, paradise, and those who rejected it, will go to hellfire, Jahannam. In a nutshell.




These are applicable Qur'anic texts and ahadith:

'And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. (30) And He taught Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful. (31) They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. (32) He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide. (33) And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever. (34) And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (35) But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. (36) Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. (37) We said: Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (38) But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. (39)' (2:30-39)

'O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you.' (4:1)

'And He it is Who hath produced you from a single being, and (hath given you) a habitation and a repository. We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have understanding.' (6:98)

'And We have given you (mankind) power in the earth, and appointed for you therein livelihood. Little give ye thanks! (10) And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration. (11) He said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? (Iblis) said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of mud. (12) He said: Then go down hence! It is not for thee to show pride here, so go forth! Lo! thou art of those degraded. (13) He said: Reprieve me till the day when they are raised (from the dead). (14) He said: Lo! thou art of those reprieved. (15) He said: Now, because Thou hast sent me astray, verily I shall lurk in ambush for them on Thy Right Path. (16) Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right hands and from their left hands, and Thou wilt not find most of them beholden (unto Thee). (17) He said: Go forth from hence, degraded, banished. As for such of them as follow thee, surely I will fill hell with all of you. (18) And (unto man): O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden and eat from whence ye will, but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (19) Then Satan whispered to them that he might manifest unto them that which was hidden from them of their shame, and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest ye should become angels or become of the immortals. (20) And he swore unto them (saying): Lo! I am a sincere adviser unto you. (21) Thus did he lead them on with guile. And when they tasted of the tree their shame was manifest to them and they began to hide (by heaping) on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And their Lord called them, (saying): Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you: Lo! Satan is an open enemy to you? (22) They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost! (23) He said: Go down (from hence), one of you a foe unto the other. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while. (24) He said: There shall ye live, and there shall ye die, and thence shall ye be brought forth. (25) O Children of Adam! We have revealed unto you raiment to conceal your shame, and splendid vesture, but the raiment of restraint from evil, that is best. This is of the revelations of Allah, that they may remember. (26) O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you as he caused your (first) parents to go forth from the Garden and tore off from them their robe (of innocence) that he might manifest their shame to them. Lo! he seeth you, he and his tribe, from whence ye see him not. Lo! We have made the devils protecting friends for those who believe not. (27)' (7:10-27)

'And know that your possessions and your children are a test, and that with Allah is immense reward.' (8:28) & (64:15)

'And his comrade, while he disputed with him, exclaimed: Disbelievest thou in Him Who created thee of dust, then of a drop (of seed), and then fashioned thee a man?' (18:37)

'Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?' (21:30) 

'We appointed immortality for no mortal before thee. What! if thou diest, can they be immortal! (34) Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us ye will be returned. (35)' (21:34,35)

'O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).' (22:5)

'And of His signs is this: He created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely! (20) And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. (21)' (30:20-21)

'Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay; (7) Then He made his seed from a draught of despised fluid; (8) Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit; and appointed for you hearing and sight and hearts. Small thanks give ye! (9) And they say: When we are lost in the earth, how can we then be re-created? Nay but they are disbelievers in the meeting with their Lord. (10) Say: The angel of death, who hath charge concerning you, will gather you, and afterward unto your Lord ye will be returned. (11)' (32:8-11)

'Allah created you from dust, then from a little fluid, then He made you pairs (the male and female). No female beareth or bringeth forth save with His knowledge. And no-one groweth old who groweth old, nor is aught lessened of his life, but it is recorded in a Book, Lo! that is easy for Allah.' (35:11)

'He created you from one being, then from that (being) He made its mate; and He hath provided for you of cattle eight kinds. He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom. Such is Allah, your Lord. His is the Sovereignty. There is no God save Him. How then are ye turned away?' (39:6)

'I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. (56) I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. (57)' (51:56,57)

'And that thy Lord, He is the goal; (42) And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep, (43) And that He it is Who giveth death and giveth life; (44) And that He createth the two spouses, the male and the female, (45) From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth; (46)' (53:42-46)

'Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth? (37) Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (38) And made of him a pair, the male and female. (39) Is not He (Who doeth so) able to bring the dead to life? (40)' (75:37-40)

'And We have created you in pairs' (78:8)  

'From what thing doth He create him? (18) From a drop of seed. He createth him and proportioneth him, (19) Then maketh the way easy for him, (20) Then causeth him to die, and burieth him; (21) Then, when He will, He bringeth him again to life. (22)' (80:18-22)

'He is created from a gushing fluid (6) That issued from between the loins and ribs. (7)' (86:6,7)

'Say: He is Allah, the One! (1) Allah, the eternally Besought of all! (2) He begetteth not nor was begotten. (3) And there is none comparable unto Him. (4)' (112)


And, finally, these ahadith:

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 114, Sahih Bukhari:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women."

Book 008, Number 3467, Sahih Muslim:

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her.


Sources:


 MuslimMatters 
Quran Miracles
Embryology
BioNinja
Wikipedia
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Birth Of Jesus Christ in Qur'anic Verses: Christmas


As known, Muslims don't celebrate Jesus' birth. There's even debate, whether Muhammad's birthday should be celebrated, but that's another topic in itself. Qur'anic verses 3:42-46 and 19:16-27 narrate Jesus' birth. These words '... Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee, And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. So eat and drink and be consoled...' may indicate, that Jesus was born in Summer. Indeed Jesus had no father, like the Biblical story. 'We made the Son of Mary and his mother a portent', says verse 23:50. The Qur'anic story about Jesus' miraculous birth is only short and largely confirms the Biblical story -- but for the season. Christianity celebrates Christmas at 24 and 25 December, or at 6 and 7 January -- in Winter. There's been much speculation, whether these dates are correct. Are they chosen only to correspond with ancient Midwinter celebrations? Astronomers and other scientists have tried to pinpoint the apparition of the symbolic Star of Bethlehem. This star is an important Christian symbol, meant to announce an important birth: The birth of the King of humanity, Jesus Christ. They didn't reach a unanimous answer, as illustrates this article in Daily Mail, or this article at Earth Sky, that the actual Birth might have taken place some six to four years earlier than current year 0 AD.

Verses 4:157-159 and 19:27-36 confirm the miracle, yet also emphatically deny Jesus divine qualities -- Jesus is a man without a father. He and his mother are important personalities in human history. They are sent to humanity as a warning for a day to come, Yawm al Qiyamah, when Jesus will testify for or against each human soul, and as witnesses of Divine kindness, providence and mercy. A Muslim is, therefore, asked to revere Jesus, but not worship him as God. And, therefore, see his birthday in a more modest perspective. Verses 29:46-47 exhort us to abstain from arguing with 'the People of the Scripture', unless they do wrong, because the Scripture was revealed to them and to us, and their God is our God.

Therefore, whoever you are: Merry Birthday of Christ. Enjoy @}}-

Friday, November 3, 2017

Jesus and Trinity

Many of the World's religions, have, at least, some kind of monotheistic view on God, but it's a complicated multiplicity. God may have several personifications or manifestations, even when only one and the same god and creator is referred to. People have tried it, but haven't found out, whether their definition or concept was right. I'll try to give some kind of comparative parable and start with Christianity.

The Bible defines God as one true god, made up of three individuals: God the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Here's a compilation of relevant Biblical verses: Genesis 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Colossians 1:15-17; Colossians 2:9; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 44:6; John 1:14; John 10:30; John 10:30-36; John 14:9-11; John 14:16-17;  1 John 5:7-8; Luke 1:35; Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Romans 14:17-18; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Ephesians 4:4-6; and Philippians 2:5-8. God the Son, the Lord Jesus, wasn't just Prophet Jesus during his lifetime. The Bible says, there's 'one God, the Father from whom all things came and for whom we live', and there's 'one Lord, Jesus Christ, from whom all things came and for whom we live':

'For there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are in agreement.'
(1 John 5:7-8)

'I and the Father are one.' (John 10:30)

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[a]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?' (John 10:30-36)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

According Christianity, Jesus now sits at God the Father's right hand, next to His throne:

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)

(He) who has gone into heaven and xis at the right hand of God, ywith angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (Peter: 3:22)

If I may take some liberty, while avoiding dogmatism ~ I'd say, Christian Trinity may best be explained as the devine force, the devine wisdom, and the devine creation, if we see devine creation as perpetual matter, and God as living and working within creation, with His wisdom. In this case, it's impossible to separate God, devine force, and devine creation from each other. The Son, the Father, and the holy Spirit are the same and forever. Also Jesus is forever, and, also today, very much alive. For me, it makes sense to see Jesus as creation as a whole, the universe. Then, also Eucharist makes sense, because the bread and the wine are part of Jesus, as much as is the rest of creation.

Jesus will return, says the Bible, and at His arrival, Resurrection starts:

'For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.' (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

'... and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

Islam doesn't recognize Trinity. Islam sees God as the perpetual creative force behind creation and the holy Spirit. This, because creation is a systematic structure of separate items, each with a temporary lifespan; they all are, directly or indirectly, made by God, even if people, or other creatures, function as productive intermediaries. They are God's protected property. God doesn't resemble creation in any way imaginable. To humans, and other creatures, creation and the holy spirit are tools, and a tool has to answer to God the same way as that humans have to.  Qur'an looks at creation as Allah SWT's immediate property, directly linked to Him. Thus, it's not possible to worship creation. Creatures are created to serve, not worship, each other. Reality is, that people are inclined to worship one item, or a person in creation, as a God, or manifestation of God. This would injustly favor one creature over other creatures, or a human-made concept, and that would create chaos, unjustified competition that's bound to be lost by the human-made god figure, or distortion. It would cause a wound to it all. Jesus was elavated alive, towards Allah, in heaven, without being crucified. Note well, that Jesus, Isa, is the only living prophet, now. The Holy Spirit is God's wisdom, which is revealed in the scriptures, including Qur'an; to the prophets, including Mohammad; and to the faithful. Qur'an al Kerim says:

'Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.' (2:255)

'And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -' (4:157-159)

'O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him; ...' (4:171-172)

'They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away! Say: Serve ye in place of Allah that which possesseth for you neither hurt nor use? Allah it is Who is the Hearer, the Knower. Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from a plain road.' (5:72-77)

'Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (102) And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech.' (16:102-103)

'They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. (85) And if We willed We could withdraw that which We have revealed unto thee, then wouldst thou find no guardian for thee against Us in respect thereof. (86) (It is naught) save mercy from thy Lord. Lo! His kindness unto thee was ever great. (87) Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of another.' (17:85-90)
'And she (Maryam) who was chaste, therefor We breathed into her (something) of Our Spirit and made her and her son a token for (all) peoples.' (21:91)

Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him; else would each God have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible! and Exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)! (23:90-91)

Lo! Allah is the Knower of the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. Lo! He is Aware of the secret of (men's) breasts. He it is Who hath made you regents in the earth; so he who disbelieveth, his disbelief be on his own head. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers, in their Lord's sight, naught save abhorrence. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers naught save loss. Say: Have ye seen your partner-gods to whom ye pray beside Allah? Show me what they created of the earth! Or have they any portion in the heavens? Or have We given them a scripture so they act on clear proof therefrom? Nay, the evil-doers promise one another only to deceive. Lo! Allah graspeth the heavens and the earth that they deviate not, and if they were to deviate there is not one that could grasp them after Him. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving. (35:38-41)

'When thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to create a mortal out of mire, (71) And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate,' (38:72)

'The Exalter of Ranks, the Lord of the Throne. He casteth the Spirit of His command upon whom He will of His slaves, that He may warn of the Day of Meeting, ...' (40:15)

'And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path, (52) The path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah at last.' (42:52-53)

'Were We then worn out by the first creation? Yet they are in doubt about a new creation. We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. When the two Receivers receive (him), seated on the right hand and on the left, He uttereth no word but there is with him an observer ready.' (50:15-18)

'Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are Allah's party. Lo! is it not Allah's party who are the successful?' (58:22)

'On the day when the angels and the Spirit stand arrayed, they speak not, saving him whom the Beneficent alloweth and who speaketh right. That is the True Day. So whoso will should seek recourse unto his Lord.' (78:38-39)

'Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.' (112:1-4)

There is a disclaimer ~ Thank God, it's not up to us, to decide whether the difference between Bible and Quran is only words and naming, or whether there's a genuine difference in meaning. I'd say, Qur'an and Bible describe God and His creation as one cluster, created in wisdom, but the Bible gives a bigger place to Jesus, 'Isa. There's no compulsion in religion, because we can't picture or perceive God. Allah SWT knows, and we don't. We can let loose reason on the unseen, but miss observation to back up our reasoning. This isn't always necessary, when logic is used properly. But in this case, our logic can't reach far enough to get to the truth. And, it's better to live and let live, instead of trying to falsify religious teachings about their very core. Nevertheless, what's my conclusion? Islam, accepts only one, unambiguous God. God has defined creation, but not the other way round.

Both the Bible and Qur'an say, Jesus is alive and in heaven now and, at the Day of Resurrection, Jesus will testify for, or against, each one of us. Jesus' present and future role matters, to those who believe. Qur'an and Bible resemble, and should be taken at heart, though we may question Trinity.

Sources:
Bible Study Tools https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-the-trinity/
Quran Explorer http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/
GotQuestions.org https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-in-Heaven.html
BibleInfo.com http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/second-coming-jesus#when
BibleGateway.com https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thessalonians+1%3A7-10




Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quatras Politicas, A Muslim suggestion on how the West can end its debt crisis

What is it, Westerners should let go of, in order to become a less indebted society? That would be the fear of self-reliance; the exaggerated specialization; the fear of individualism; the fear of small-scale; the fear of humble labor. Is there a thing as humble labor, anyway. They should let go any glorification of co-operation and doing things 'together'. All-in: Developing a more positive, proud concept of human nature, and their own populations, in general. Many, many nations on this Earth, have survived with small governments that don't plan an entire economy and have less bureaucracy, though their people have had to rely on their own capcacity to take care of their families and property. This is possible, because individual citizens are allowed ownership more than food, cloths, furniture, books, and decorations only. They can inherit their family home, or family business, and the land on which it is built, without having to pay huge taxes. They are allowed to build their own home and business, even if it's only as simple as a tent of a shed. They are allowed to be self-reliant and humble, in other words. Let's remember, that a humble start, even more so with family or neighborhood support, may very well grow and develop into sophistication. The West should, really, abandon centralized housing and real estate. It's former colonies, such as countries in the Islamic world; Africa; Latin America; Asia, have carried out landreforms, in many cases. They dismantled large landownership and gave the land back to those who live and work on it: The average citizens. It's true, that this hasn't always been a peaceful process. Zimbabwe is example of a country that made the right choice at great cost and with much bloodshed. They should have allowed white landowners a reasonable patch of land for themselves, like everybody else, and others could have put their expertise to good use. This is a valid question to ask. Yet, Zimbabwe made the right choice, towards genuine independence, in spite of the difficult transition it no doubt had to go through.

Arriving at sophistication, starts with hard work and building experience, and it can't always be delegated to others. The fashion industry is a good example. It's for a reason, that some Asian peoples are the world's clothes manufacturers: They realize, good clothes come with a price, which is hard labor and gaining skill, in small-scale business. In the West, many people receive several years of education to become a fashion designer, but what happens, after they finally get their degree...? Usually, they haven't got a clue, how to produce and sell the cloths and other fabrics they design. And end up doing something, they weren't educated for. Such a pity! This is, because actual production, is an overlooked aspect in all those years of education. The West should arrive at a better balance between education and gaining skills in work. This needn't be cruel or abusive. More manual work and more trading skills, would be needed in this example. Humility, is overlooked.

What kind of society and governance, will land reform lead to? 

It will lead to a society with more personal freedoms. That, is sure. But, also, with more personal responsibility. One may choose between producing themselves, or buying. It will create markets with many participants, both suppliers and buyers. Prices will lower. There's more space for competition. There will be healthy chaos: The chaos of an active and roaming population. This can be an envigorating force in society. People are allowed to develop themselves freely and keep more benefits to themselves. And because they don't have to pay half their earnings to the state, or more, they can also affort to not work. Those who own a  modest estate, can afford to reduce their work efforts. This is beneficial in times of illness, and may lead to more modest spending. Or, if they want to spend time and effort on another business, job, or hobby, as well. This, is good. It may lead to less stress -- whereas Westerners can't easily take a break from work, because they live in debt.

A society with small-scale ownership, needn't be a society wholly without regulating or protecting government, but government can be smaller. Also in a society with less difference between those who own nearly everything and those who own nothing but debt, Satan is still roaming. There still is crime and abuse. And, there may be threat from abroad. So, a government is still needed. Government exists to make sure, that existing legislation for economic life, is carried out. That those who enherit, buy, own, sell, initiate, produce, etc, indeed get what they are entitled to. That truthful standards are maintained. For instance, that people indeed sell the product they say it is, in quality and in quantity, and that sanctions exist to those who transgress. A product can be an apple, but also a complete college education. Government is there for those jobs that can't have owners: Communal tasks, such as infrastructure, the military, protection of the environment, geographical planning. And, government is needed for those tasks, where the private sector cannot always step in. It needs to take care of those vulnerable people (and other creatures) who have nobody to take care of them. It's good, that state education and health care exist. But, is it necessary to keep all education and health care in state hands? I'd say, it isn't. Quality of institutions, isn't always a matter of size or finance, nor of private versus public. So, a society with small-scale ownership, will still need taxes and bureaucracy, but considerably less than in the West. Not the entire people, needs to be kept hostage by the sheer thought, that there's always a small group of truly vulnerable people who need protection. That thought, is neglected in the West.

There will be a sharper separation between public and private tasks. Also that, is a good thing. Montesquieu invented trias politicas: A separation between legislation, governance, and justice. This plan isn't completed, yet. Montesquieu was child of a feudal society. Not even the French Revolution, has ended the feudality, for the French and other Westerners. Let's introduce something else: Quatras Politicas. Legislation, Governance, and Justice belong to the State, and Business, Residence, and Production belong to the Citizens :) @}}- A sharper separation between citizens and state in economic life, will lead to bringing back tasks to those where they naturally belong: The direct users and producers. It will lead to market balance, because monopolies and oligopolies will be broken. Markets will have many participating suppliers and buyers. Prices will lower; choice will multiple; there will be freedom of choice. And, specialization needn't end. Those who are trained for the job, will have success in their efforts. So at the individual's level, specialization will continue. But, it may also be easier, to have other, extra activity. There will be more separation between public and private money flows. The advantage of this is, that public debt has smaller impact on the private sector. State money creation stays within a smaller circle. Now, Westerners have lost sight of everything that matters to them, because there's huge conflict of interest between public and private tasks. And high taxes, make state money creation indispensable. The state would swallow its own citizens, otherwise.  Government is everything, does everything, either directly, or through privatized institutions, that have one owner only: Government. Noted should be, that not all Western nations are full feudalities, or welfare states. South European nations have much small-scale ownership and business, have a smaller welfare state, and lower taxes.

Also in democratic systems, government needs to go back where it belongs: In the ivory tower. Let it be three ivory towers, the smaller angles of the green, brown, yellow and blue cube of life and nature.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Redivision of Wealth in Islam

The big difference between European economic systems, and that of Islam is, that in Islam, traditionally everyone has had a right to own, enterprise, work, and inherit. Islam doesn't strive to fully equal division of wealth, but, contrary to Western systems, it does strive to equality of opportunity and access to markets to everybody of sufficient mental health and maturity. In the short run, difference between poor and wealthy people emerges. In the long run, however, there are many barriers against centralization of property and opportunity in the hands of few. This is, because everybody has his or her estate redivided over his or her legal heirs. And those heirs may loose or gain property, from then on. Islam tries to meet the needs of everybody to be self-sufficient, yet allows for a social network for the really vulnerable, without unjustly demoralizing talented people by taking too much of their earnings. The advantage of being able to help oneself and deciding for oneself, is not only cost. As we know, in an oligarchy, prices are high. It leads to citizens and governments being perpetually in debt. The other advantage is freedom. Freedom to do independent business, or to design one's own home, whether it's a tent, a trailer, or a luxury villa. And freedom to produce your own food, if you want to. In countries like Egypt, also townspeople keep their own poultry, to mention something. In the Netherlands, that's not even allowed. Thanks to these Qur'anic verses, everybody of sane mind, has the opportunity to participate in economic life:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it groweth seven ears, and each ear hath a hundred grains. Allah giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth: and Allah careth for all and He knoweth all things. Those who spend of Allah, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Kind words and covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is Free of all wants and He is most Forbearing. Q:2:261-263
O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. Give unto orphans their wealth. Exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth into your own wealth. Lo! that would be a great sin. And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. And give unto the women (whom ye marry) free gift of their marriage portions; but if they of their own accord remit unto you a part thereof, then ye are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). Give not unto the foolish (what is in) your (keeping of their) wealth, which Allah hath given you to maintain; but feed and clothe them from it, and speak kindly unto them. Prove orphans till they reach the marriageable age; then, if ye find them of sound judgment, deliver over unto them their fortune; and devour it not by squandering and in haste lest they should grow up Whoso (of the guardians) is rich, let him abstain generously (from taking of the property of orphans); and whoso is poor let him take thereof in reason (for his guardianship). And when ye deliver up their fortune unto orphans, have (the transaction) witnessed in their presence. Allah sufficeth as a Reckoner. Q:4:1-6
Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do but swallow fire into their bellies, and they will be exposed to burning flame. Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother's side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent. Qur'an 4:10-12

Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favoured are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favours of Allah? Qur'an 16:71

Woe to those that deal in fraud, those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due, do they not think that they will be raised up? On a Mighty Day a Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds? Q:83:1-6

Several hadiths show market regulations that also today are modern and in use also outside Muslim countries:

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 266:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

‘Ukaz, Majanna and Dhul-Majaz were market-places in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance. When Islam came, Muslims felt that marketing there might be a sin. So, the Divine Inspiration came: “There is no harm for you to seek the bounty of your Lord (in the seasons of Hajj).” (2.198) Ibn ‘Abbas recited the Verse in this way.


Volume 3, Book 34, Number 267:

Narrated An-Nu’man bin Bashir:

The Prophet said “Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So who-ever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and who-ever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah’s Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment.”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 286:
Narrated Al-Miqdam:
The Prophet said, “Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor.”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 301:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abu Aufa:
A man displayed some goods in the market and swore by Allah that he had been offered so much for that, that which was not offered, and he said so, so as to cheat a Muslim. On that occasion the following Verse was revealed: “Verily! Those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s covenant and their oaths (They shall have no portion in the Hereafter ..etc.)’ (3.77)

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 360:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not go forward to meet the caravan (to buy from it on the way before it reaches the town). And do not urge buyers to cancel their purchases to sell them (your own goods) yourselves, and do not practice Najsh. A town dweller should not sell the goods for the desert dweller. Do not leave sheep unmilked for a long time, when they are on sale, and whoever buys such an animal has the option of returning it, after milking it, along with a Sa of dates or keeping it. it has been kept unmilked for a long period by the seller (to deceive others).

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 379:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet said, “The selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) except if it is handed from hand to hand and equal in amount. Similarly the selling of barley for barley, is Riba except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates is usury except if it is from hand to hand and equal in amount. (See Riba-Fadl in the glossary).

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 430:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “Allah says, ‘I will be against three persons on the Day of Resurrection:
1. One who makes a covenant in My Name, but he proves treacherous.
2. One who sells a free person (as a slave) and eats the price,
3. And one who employs a laborer and gets the full work done by him but does not pay him his wages.’ ”

Volume 3, Book 34, Number 414:
Narrated Hisham bin ‘Urwa from his father:
who heard Aisha saying, “The Holy Verse; ‘Whoever amongst the guardians is rich, he should take no wages (from the property of the orphans) but If he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his labors)’ (4.6) was revealed concerning the guardian of the orphans who looks after them and manages favorably their financial affairs; If the guardian Is poor, he could have from It what Is just and reasonable, (according to his labors).”

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
The Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said, “Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 629:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else, he should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money (to compensate for wrong deeds), but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done, and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him.”

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 634:
Narrated Salim’s father (i.e. ‘Abdullah):
The Prophet said, “Whoever takes a piece of the land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.”


Volume 3, Book 43, Number 639:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:
The Prophet said, “Whoever has (the following) four characters will be a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. These are: (1 ) Whenever he talks, he tells a lie; (2) whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; (3) whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous; (4) and whenever he quarrels, he behaves impudently in an evil insulting manner.” (See Hadith No. 33 Vol. 1)

Volume 3, Book 43, Number 640:
Narrated Aisha:
Hind bint ‘Utba (Abu Sufyan’s wife) came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Abu Sufyan is a miser. Is there any harm if I spend something from his property for our children?” He said, there is no harm for you if you feed them from it justly and reasonably (with no extravagance).”

Source:
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje