Showing posts with label dr Maurice Bucaille. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dr Maurice Bucaille. Show all posts

Monday, November 5, 2018

Qur'an al Kerim is a truthfinders' supreme linguistic challenge; Greek Philosophy Of Nature is a philosophical theory

The idea of a realistic and systematic plan and purpose for creation was familiar to the ancient Greeks; much of their philosophical effort to find logical explanation behind the regular forces of nature are inspired by the need to understand a universal cause behind it all. They found that much of their effort stranded on its unreachable quality. In their days, the modern tools for scientific research lacked. Yet, it didn't stop the Greeks from developing a mathematical language and methodology, and systematic philosophy, some of which are still in use today. They made educated guesses based on philosophical thinking, but, also based on their everyday life and social and religious environment. That led to theories that sometimes make us smile, today, and sometimes compel us to deep respect for their forwardness.

Earlier, we saw, Anaximander assume the Earth was a flat barrel floating in space, with people living on its top. Anaximander must have seen enough wine barrels in his days to make his thought plausibel and natural, but we know now, that it isn't true. It also led to efforts to gain correct knowledge of nature. But, today, we still use Thales' theorems of triangles and diameters. Another example, Demokritos' Atomism, can be seen as an early precursor to chemistry.

Diogenes of Apollonia, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, were among those who had formed theories about matter, particles, and the elements (water, air, earth, and fire were seen as the most prominent ones), but also here, disagreement was an issue.

Not to forget, Pythagoras and other mathematicians.

We won't find mathematical methodology in Qur'an al Kerim. Qur'an al Kerim has a different, more verbal approach to mathemetical phenomenons. Qur'anic verses below show the importance of knowledge in general and how knowledge may lead to thinking and eventually to faith; they are incentives to gather knowledge, even to personal growth in science and arts, rather than scientific treatises. Verses 55:17 and 70:40 can be seen as references to goniometry, but they lack the terminology and abbreviations. Yet, the thought behind them, is mathematically correct. Indeed we can conclude, the Earth has two permanent rotations: one around its own axis, and other as a larger circle in space. Also can we conclude, that East and West are infinite -- which very well may refer to the Earth being a ball. Qur'an is very consistent about this topic, too -- contrarily to Greek philosophers of nature, who disagreed. This, and the fact, that not very much of the oldest Greek philosophy of nature has been preserved in texts, makes it unlikely, that Qur'an al Kerim is just a blind copy of Greek philosophy.

The Greeks had noticed, that some things are naturally and logically impossible and Qur’an appears to support this idea. Optimization of proportion, goals, time plan, is essential in creation. Not without reason, Qur’an says: ‘but most of them do not know’; ‘no want of proportion in creation, seest thou any flaw?’; 'Not without authority shall ye be able to pass'; 'We created [...] them but for just ends, and for a term appointed'. The idea of duality in creation is mentioned in Qur’an in several verses, sometimes referring to gender; sometimes, like in verse 36:36, also to other opposing or complementing forces. Humans may certainly go search for knowledge, but there's no guarantee they will receive it.

As I've said earlier, many efforts have been made to prove, that Qur'an al Kerim is a book of scientific correctness. I'm familiar with Maurice Bucaille's book 'The Bible The Koran and Science'; I'll give an example that, in my opinion, shows, how careful we should be, looking at Qur'an al Kerim as such. Dr Bucaille says, in his comment to Qur'anic verse 16:66, page 130 and 131 at a pdf by, and I think he's right, that many translators are inclined to give too specific translations of Arabic homonyms, such as the words batn and baini. Batn means both 'belly' and 'center'; baini means 'in the middle of', and 'within'. Some translators said: 'We give you to drink of that is within their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood'; Bucaille said 'We give you to drink of what is inside their bodies, coming from a conjunction between the contents of the intestine and the blood' This is no doubt utterly true -- but, would it have been understood by Rasulullah and the sahabah? Not likely. And, they might have dismissed it -- if I may assume like that.

Good translators know their place. Modesty, honesty and precision, is their role; anything else, is interpretation. And not translation. They must stick to the most original, indisputable, and obvious solution, without filling in what they 'think' is 'meant' with a word. If the Arabic homonym has no same homonym in another language, then why not stick to a brief, ambiguous description, that leaves the homonym intact? In other words, a description that is multi-interpretable. If they don't know the true meaning, then why do they fill in their own, too specific assumption, no matter how well-educated and honest it may be? It is, as it is. Don't make more of it, than that is actually said. In this case, I, personally, would give this translation:

'We give you to drink from what is inside their bodies, from what's among their bowels and their blood' (16:66)

'Among' is a word that may catch precisely this ambiguous, both abstract and very literal, situational meaning, that we also may find in the word 'baini'.

Another, much simpler example: Qur'anic verse 13:4 mentions the palmtree. Some translations talk about palmtrees, sec; others about date-palmtrees. Dear translators, why are coconut palms not included in your words? Are you sure, here? We can spot many differences between translations, alas, that shouldn't be there.

Main issue, perhaps, is not even translation; it's honest, clean, undecorated, and uncoloured interpretation. That really is enough to appreciate the scientific correctness, or at least non-incorrectness, of the content. I mention translation, because, like Greek philosophy, most people must appreciate Qur'an al Kerim, in its full meanings, from a translation.

Personally, I say, that Qur'an al Kerim touches the meaning of life here: That it's meant to be experienced, foremost. Life as a classroom, test field, and finally launch market, is part of this experience. It triggers those who find happiness in gaining knowledge. And nearly all of us enjoy gaining knowledge; it is part of human nature to inquire. And, it's made one of humanity's assignments during lifetime.

Some Qur'anic verses:
16:8; 16:66; 22:5; 30:30; 32:5-9; 36:36; 44:38; 46:3; 55:17; 55:33; 67:3; 70:40

'And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and as an adornment; and He has created things of which ye have no knowledge.' (16:8)

'And lo! in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood, pure milk palatable to the drinkers.' (16:66)

'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)

'So set thou thy face truly to the religion being upright, the nature in which Allah has made mankind: no change in the work by Allah: that is the true Religion. But most among mankind know not.' (30:30)

'He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5) Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful, (6) 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)' (32:5-9)

'Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own kind and things of which they have no knowledge.' (36:36)

'We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them merely in sport. We created them not except for just ends, but most of them do not know.' (44:38)

'We created not the heavens and the earth and all between them but for just ends, and for a term appointed. But those who reject Faith turn away from that whereof they are warned.' (46:3)

'Lord of the two Easts, and Lord of the two Wests!' (55:17)

'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)

'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)

'But nay! I swear by the Lord of the rising-places and the setting-places of the planets' or 'Yet no, I swear by The Lord of the Easts and the Wests' (70:40)

Quran Explorer

Friday, January 12, 2018

Gog and Magog; Space, Sun, Moon, Earth and Celestial Bodies in Qur'an: True or False?

When the Qur'an mentions celestial bodies in space, it's unavoidable to talk about their beginning and their end. Yawm al Qiyama, the Day of Resurrection, is usually mentioned in the same verses. The verses' focus is on our destination and task during our lives, rather than on explaining physical creation, nature and function.

Qur'anic perspective is a long term, divine observation. It's not a human observation. Hence words as 'We molded the Earth and planted there firm mountains,' or 'a Day that lasts a thousand years in your calculation' (32:5 & 22:47); 'a Day whereof the span is fifty thousand years' (70:4) or 'he reached the setting-place, or the rising-place of the Sun.' It refers to, firstly, the divine concept of time. Allah, God, is eternal, whereas every creature, has a temporary lifespan only. And, that lifespan is always 'short', compared with eternity. And, Allah can't be calculated in size, time, or limits. Therefore, it's justified to speak of 'molding' the mountains with 'hands', when to humans, the process of mountain formation, is a lengthy, immense, and sometimes violent process. And obviously, a day on Jupiter is longer than a day on Earth.

Living creatures, are created from water and 'clay', earth. Water is always same, but clay and earth, are not. The different colors of latter, indicate difference in substance, though Qur'an doesn't elaborate on that. (Verses 35:27,28 and 30:22.) We best read Qur'an as an invitation to gain knowledge of everything around us, because knowledge may help us connect with Allah. And, secondly, there's also reference to light and its sources. For a reason, the Sun and stars, are described as 'lamps' and the Moon as 'a light'. We know now, that the stars, among which the Sun, are direct sources of light.

Qur'anic stories about nature, usually can't be described as mythology. There's a few exceptions, such as the story of Gog and Magog. The story is an allegory rather than a myth. The story appears in other literature, too. Many commentators have referred to Alexander the Great being its main character. Alexander romances, which first appeared in Greece in the third century BC, were favorite reading and reciting material in medieval Europe. There are hadiths about a man claiming, towards the prophet, having seen the gate of Gog and Magog. The Torah and Bible (Ezekiel 38) mention Gog, ruler of land named Magog. Also in more recent days, these names have reappareared. Russian Jews spoke of Napoleon invading Russia. A few years ago, a book was written, 'Gog and Magog, the clans of chaos', with tales from all over the world about newcomers who are seen as primitive clans who overthrow the existing order. Turcs overthrew parts of ancient Persia; the Mongols overthrew Southwest Asia; Indonesian examples appear, too. I'd say, the Qur'anic story may be a reference to mythology, but Gog and Magog generally indicate change and ending, rather than hostile people or tribes. It perhaps indicates beginning and ending of world history. In the Qur'anic story, a primitive, perhaps ancient, people could florish after a heroic, traveling warrior had pushed back Gog and Magog by erecting a wall, with help of these people, as ordered by Allah swt. However, Gog and Magog return at the Day of Resurrection, which is the end of the world. If we look at it this way, the Qur'anic tale is a story of its own, with reference to mythology. It's meaning as a natural phenomenon cannot be disputed: Earth had a beginning, and it will have an ending. Earth was given the chance to live by keeping Gog and Magog at bay. But, it will die, at a pre-ordained day, under the turmoil of Gog and Magog. Qur'an says, Yawm al Qiyama is a misfortune only to those, who rejected Allah swt during their lives.

Qur'an doesn't say which was created first: Heaven; matter; celestial bodies, among which Earth; fluids; or gas. All Qur'an says, is: They've always been there, and once, heavens and earth were one clutter; then they were separated. This makes sense, because the thought that matter was created from the non-existing or nothing, is an impossibility. Qur'an doesn't say, whether only our planet Earth was made from this earth, or also the other celestial bodies. Heaven was 'a smoke', ie small, gaseous particles floating in space, some of which were 'molded' into bigger celestial bodies. Qur'an says, distances, positions and orbits of Sun, Moon, and other celestial bodies, are regulated and planned. They are 'punctual', so people may orientate at sea and enjoy the benefit from the rotation of light: Night and day. The cosmos has been created and, then, extended. Life is created from water and earth, 'clay', in several colors. Let's remember, that Qur'an was written for an everyday human perspective; hence it uses metaphors that are useful to the average person. That doesn't mean, Qur'an contains incorrect texts. We can't falsify them. The texts correspond with modern theories -- and also theories, partly haven't been falsified.

Qur'anic verses quoted here, are 2:255, 6:95-99, 10:5, 18:83-99, 21:30-37, 32:5-10,47,65; 35:27,28, 36:36-42, 39:5, 41:9-12, 51:47-49, 54:1-6, 55:5-12, 70:1-11, 71:16, 75:6-10, and Surah 81:

'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)

'Lo! Allah (it is) Who splitteth the grain of corn and the date-stone (for sprouting). He bringeth forth the living from the dead, and is the bringer-forth of the dead from the living. Such is Allah. How then are ye perverted? (95) He is the Cleaver of the Daybreak, and He hath appointed the night for stillness, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise. (96) And He it is Who hath set for you the stars that ye may guide your course by them amid the darkness of the land and the sea. We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. (97) 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. (98) He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, and therewith We bring forth buds of every kind; We bring forth the green blade from which We bring forth the thick-clustered grain; and from the date-palm, from the pollen thereof, spring pendant bunches; and (We bring forth) gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike. Look upon the fruit thereof, when they bear fruit, and upon its ripening. Lo! herein verily are portents for a people who believe.' (6:95-99)

'He it is Who appointed the sun a splendour and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge.' (10:5)

'They will ask thee of Dhu'l-Qarneyn. Say: I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him. (83) Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave him unto every thing a road. (84) And he followed a road (85) Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. (86) He said: As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with awful punishment! (87) But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command. (88) Then he followed a road (89) Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom. (90) So (it was). And We knew all concerning him. (91) Then he followed a road (92) Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their hither side a folk that scarce could understand a saying. (93) They said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Lo! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay thee tribute on condition that thou set a barrier between us and them? (94) He said: That wherein my Lord hath established me is better (than your tribute). Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank. (95) Give me pieces of iron - till, when he had levelled up (the gap) between the cliffs, he said: Blow! - till, when he had made it a fire, he said: Bring me molten copper to pour thereon. (96) And (Gog and Magog) were not able to surmount, nor could they pierce (it). (97) He said: This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will lay it low, for the promise of my Lord is true. (98) And on that day we shall let some of them surge against others, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering.' (18:83-99)

'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? (30) And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way. (31) And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32) And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. (33) 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) And when those who disbelieve behold thee, they but choose thee out for mockery, (saying): Is this he who maketh mention of your gods? And they would deny all mention of the Beneficent. (36) Man is made of haste. I shall show you My portents, but ask Me not to hasten.' (21:30-37)

'And they will bid thee hasten on the Doom, and Allah faileth not His promise, but lo! a Day with Allah is as a thousand years of what ye reckon.' (22:47)

'Hast thou not seen how Allah hath made all that is in the earth subservient unto you? And the ship runneth upon the sea by His command, and He holdeth back the heaven from falling on the earth unless by His leave. Lo! Allah is, for mankind, Full of Pity, Merciful.' (22:65)

'Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. Then He mounted the Throne. Ye have not, beside Him, a protecting friend or mediator. Will ye not then remember? (4) He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. (5) Such is the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, the Mighty, the Merciful, (6) 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.' (32:4-10)

'Hast thou not seen that Allah causeth water to fall from the sky, and We produce therewith fruit of divers hues; and among the hills are streaks white and red, of divers hues, and (others) raven-black; (27) And of men and beasts and cattle, in like manner, divers hues? The erudite among His bondmen fear Allah alone. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.' (35:27,28) (And 30:22)

'Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth groweth, and of themselves, and of that which they know not! (36) A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness. (37) And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise. (38) And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf. (39) It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit. (40) And a token unto them is that We bear their offspring in the laden ship, (41) And have created for them of the like thereof whereon they ride.' (36:36-42)

'He hath created the heavens and the earth with truth. He maketh night to succeed day, and He maketh day to succeed night, and He constraineth the sun and the moon to give service, each running on for an appointed term. Is not He the Mighty, the Forgiver?' (39:5)

'Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds. (9) He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask; (10) Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. (11) Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower. (41:9-12)

'We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof). (47) And the earth have We laid out, how gracious is the Spreader (thereof)! (48) And all things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect.' (51:47-49)

'The hour drew nigh and the moon was rent in twain. (1) And if they behold a portent they turn away and say: Prolonged illusion. (2) They denied (the Truth) and followed their own lusts. Yet everything will come to a decision (3) And surely there hath come unto them news whereof the purport should deter, (4) Effective wisdom; but warnings avail not. (5) So withdraw from them (O Muhammad) on the day when the Summoner summoneth unto a painful thing.' (54:1-6)

'The sun and the moon are made punctual. (5) The stars and the trees adore. (6) And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure, (7) That ye exceed not the measure, (8) But observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof. (9) And the earth hath He appointed for (His) creatures, (10) Wherein are fruit and sheathed palm-trees, (11) Husked grain and scented herb.' (55:5-12)

'A questioner questioned concerning the doom about to fall (1) Upon the disbelievers, which none can repel, (2) From Allah, Lord of the Ascending Stairways (3) (Whereby) the angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day whereof the span is fifty thousand years. (4) But be patient (O Muhammad) with a patience fair to see. (5) Lo! they behold it afar off (6) While we behold it nigh: (7) The day when the sky will become as molten copper, (8) And the hills become as flakes of wool, (9) And no familiar friend will ask a question of his friend (10) Though they will be given sight of them. The guilty man will long to be able to ransom himself from the punishment of that day at the price of his children' (70:1-11)

'And hath made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp?' (71:16)

'He asketh: When will be this Day of Resurrection? (6) But when sight is confounded (7) And the moon is eclipsed (8) And sun and moon are united, (9) On that day man will cry: Whither to flee!' (75:6-10)

And, Surah 81.

Hadith: Imam Al-Bukhari transmitted in his Sahih the following Hadith: A man told the Prophet (S.A.W.S) that he had seen the dam of Gog and Magog. The Prophet (S.A.W.S) asked: “How did you find it?” The man said: “I found it like Al-Burd Al-Muhabbar (striped garments).” The Prophet (S.A.W.S) said: “You have seen it.”

Sources & Further Reading:
Quran Explorer
The story of Dhul Qarnain at Wikipedia
The story of Gog and Magog at Wikipedia
The story of Yajuj and Majuj at
Ezechiël 38 at Shalomgemeente
Cool Cosmos for comparative studies of Quran, Bible and science Open source full text of Maurice Bucaille's book 'The Bible, Qur'an, and Science

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Male & Female and what Islam says about it's existence

If ever a topic in Islam gets people's attention, it's this: The relation between men and women. At some moment, it's unavoidable. But where to start... and where to finish. It's tempting to enter worn out, overly treaded routes, too, and resort too much to other commentators, which is not always helpful in today's much changing world. It's best to start with the most obvious topics,

How, firstly, are we described in the Qur'an, as men and women?

'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'. Qur'an 4:1

'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).' Qur'an 22:5

Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward. Qur'an 33:35

'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 Allah save Him. How then are ye turned away?' Qur'an 39:6

'And all things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect.' Qur'an 51:49

'Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth?

Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned

And made of him a pair, the male and female.' Qur'an 75:37-39

These verses could describe the very first human beings. They also describe us as individuals, who receive in the human growing process qualities that make us man or woman, and ready to be the partner of another woman or man. Many commentators, among who Harun Yahya and Maurice Bucaille, wrote extensive works emphasizing how these verses comply with today's scientific knowledge about the human pregnancy and procreation. The verses themselves, however, give little detail and no hierarchy between men and women. The Qur'an does mention the first humans, too:

'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. 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. They said: Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower, the Wise. 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. And when We said unto the angels: Prostrate yourselves before Adam, they fell prostrate, all save Iblis (Lucifer, Satan). He demurred through pride, and so became a disbeliever. 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. 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. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful 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. But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful Peoples of the Fire. They will abide therein.' Qur'an 2:30-39

What do these verses tell us? Firstly, Qur'an mentions in several verses the polarity in nature, 'everything was created in pairs'. Some of these verses deal with gender--not only in humanity--and some deal with other kinds of polarity in nature. Secondly, man and woman were created equally, without hierarchy, and each person is personally responsible for his, or her, relationship with Allah, God. And Adam, most likely, was the first human and scholars also see him as the first prophet. Several Qur'anic verses refer to mankind as 'Adam's Children', too:

'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. 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. Qur'an 7:30,31.

True, hadiths mention creation of woman from 'a rib'. Nothing of its provenance is said. It could be anything; the X-chromosome, or even a metaphore:

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 114:

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."

If you're a non-Muslim and would like to know more about Islam, it's helpful to also read the scriptures of your own creed--if you have one. If you live in a predominantly Christian environment, you may compare these Qur'anic verses with applicable Biblical verses. (There's nothing wrong in doing this anyway, considering the similarities between both, and their intertwined history.) Bible Book Genesis, Chapter 2 and 3 describes the creation of man and woman, and their expulsion from the garden. The first man was created first from the soil. He was allowed to live in the garden of Eden. Then the animals were created to help and accompany him. Adam was the one to give the species their names. Finally, for the same purpose, the first woman was created from the man's rib. Chapter 3 describes how the woman was seduced to eat from the tree, which led to the downfall of humanity from the garden. Their life would from now on consist of hard work, worry, and man would rule over woman.

Now you may say 'what does it matter' what those books say. I think it matters, even if only indirectly. The image men and women have of their own status in the bigger picture, has been determined by religious scriptures. These have had their impact on legislation, and on general ideas of male and female capabilities and roles. The Bible primarily blames woman for the original sin, and her entire posterity will be tainted ever since, especially her female posterity. Islam doesn't share this thought. It's true, that we don't know which is right. This may be a reason to avoid the temptation to turn this into a contest. All we can say here is, that Islam gives no details about the creation of man and woman. And Islam does give details about human pregnancy and growth that fairly well approach real life. Islam has an advantage here. Let's at least admit that much.

The reason I took up writing these articles, is my hope to show where Islam reaches out to people of all creeds. People travel more today, the world has become a global village. Many people, me included, have friends and family members with different religions. Islam deserves to be seen as s free, happy religion that promotes love. Especially gender is a topic that left too many people in a situation of limitation, where it isn't needed. I'm convinced of that. Read the scriptures, think about them. It gave me new perspectives on this topic.

University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts)  
The Official King James Bible Online

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why This Blog?

Islam is a world of truth and depth. For good reasons, Islam is vibrant and very much alive, also today, in our age of technology. Modern ideas and knowledge, don't clash with ancient Islamic texts. Yet, Islam is under constant scrutiny, nowadays. In itself, this is no problem. I'll do my best to react to some of the frequent questions and criticism, as open minded as I can. Is it true, that Qur'an is just a copy of ancient Greek, Biblical, Persian, or other scriptures? Is there an 'easy' permission to kill those who leave Islam, or don't want to enter Islam? Where does it mainly differ from, or agrees with other scriptures? In my own opinion, religious scriptures are a labor of love and a study topic for life. They are modern. There's always new information and guidance in religious scriptures.

I've used, among others, Qur'anic translation into Dutch 'De Koran' by prof dr J.H. Kramers, Uitgevery De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam, 1992/1997, ISBN 9789041705983; 'Quran Explorer',; and Maurice Bucaille's book 'The Bible, The Qur'an, and Science'