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Islam means "submission to God in peace". Islam teaches there is only One God, whose primary name is "Allah" in the Arabic language. Islam is the same essential message given to all the prophets, from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and finally to the Last Prophet, Muhammad, (peace be upon them all). They all proclaimed the same basic Divine message: worship only God, stop worshipping human beings and other created things There's a different between Islam and Muslims!! What's the purpose of life? What Do You Know About Islam? Not what you have heard about Islam, not what you have seen in the actions of some Muslims, but what do you really know about Islam?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Michael Wolfe





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After twenty-five years as a writer in America, I wanted something to soften my cynicism. I was searching for new terms by which to see. The way one is raised establishes certain needs in this department. From a pluralist background, I naturally placed great stress on the matters of racism and freedom. Then, in my early twenties, I had gone to live in Africa for three years. During this time, which was formative for me, I did rubbed shoulders with blacks of many different tribes, with Arabs, Berbers, and even Europeans, who were Muslims. By and large these people did not share the Western obsession with race as a social category. In our encounters being oddly coloured rarely mattered. I was welcomed first and judged on merit later. By contrast, Europeans and Americans, including many who are free of racist notions, automatically class people racially. Muslims classified people by their faith and their actions. I found this transcendent and refreshing. Malcolm X saw his nation’s salvation in it. “America needs to understand Islam,” he wrote, “because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem”.
I was looking for an escape route, too, from the isolating terms of a materialistic culture. I wanted access to a spiritual dimension, but the conventional paths I had known as a boy were closed. My father had been a Jew; my mother Christian. Because of my mongrel background, I had a foot in two religious camps. Both faiths were undoubtedly profound. Yet the one that emphasizes a chosen people I found insupportable; while the other, based in a mystery, repelled me. A century before, my maternal great-great-grandmother’s name had been set in stained glass at the high street Church of Christ in Hamilton, Ohio. By the time I was twenty, this meant nothing to me.
These were the terms my early life provided. The more I thought about it now, the more I returned to my experiences in Muslim Africa. After two return trips to Morocco, in 1981 and 1985, I came to feel that Africa, the continent, had little to do with the balanced life I found there. It was not, that is, a continent I was after, nor an institution, either. I was looking for a framework I could live with, a vocabulary of spiritual concepts applicable to the life I was living now. I did not want to “trade in” my culture. I wanted access to new meanings.
After a mid-Atlantic dinner I went to wash up in the bathroom. During my absence a quorum of Hasidim lined up to pray outside the door. By the time I had finished, they were too immersed to notice me. Emerging from the bathroom, I could barely work the handle. Stepping into the aisle was out of the question.
I could only stand with my head thrust into the hallway, staring at the congregation’s backs. Holding palm-size prayer books, they cut an impressive figure, tapping the texts on their breastbones as they divined. Little by little the movements grew erratic, like a mild, bobbing form of rock and roll. I watched from the bathroom door until they were finished, then slipped back down the aisle to my seat.
We landed together later that night in Brussels. Reboarding, I found a discarded Yiddish newspaper on a food tray. When the plane took off for Morocco, they were gone.
I do not mean to imply here that my life during this period conformed to any grand design. In the beginning, around 1981, I was driven by curiosity and an appetite for travel. My favourite place to go, when I had the money, was Morocco. When I could not travel, there were books. This fascination brought me into contact with a handful of writers driven to the exotic, authors capable of sentences like this, by Freya Stark:
The perpetual charm of Arabia is that the traveller finds his level there simply as a human being; the people’s directness, deadly to the sentimental or the pedantic, like the less complicated virtues; and the pleasantness of being liked for oneself might, I think, be added to the five reasons for travel given me by Sayyid Abdulla, the watchmaker; “to leave one’s troubles behind one; to earn a living; to acquire learning; to practise good manners; and to meet honourable men”.
I could not have drawn up a list of demands, but I had a fair idea of what I was after. The religion I wanted should be to metaphysics as metaphysics is to science. It would not be confined by a narrow rationalism or traffic in mystery to please its priests. There would be no priests, no separation between nature and things sacred. There would be no war with the flesh, if I could help it. Sex would be natural, not the seat of a curse upon the species. Finally, I did want a ritual component, daily routine to sharpen the senses and discipline my mind. Above all, I wanted clarity and freedom. I did not want to trade away reason simply to be saddled with a dogma.
The more I learned about Islam, the more it appeared to conform to what I was after.
Most of the educated Westerners I knew around this time regarded any strong religious climate with suspicion. They classified religion as political manipulation, or they dismissed it as a medieval concept, projecting upon it notions from their European past.
It was not hard to find a source for their opinions. A thousand years of Western history had left us plenty of fine reasons to regret a path that led through so much ignorance and slaughter. From the Children’s Crusade and the Inquisition to the transmogrified faiths of nazism and communism during our century, whole countries have been exhausted by belief. Nietzsche’s fear, that the modern nation-state would become a substitute religion, have proved tragically accurate. Our century, it seemed to me, was ending in an age beyond belief, which believers inhabited as much as agnostics.
Regardless of church affiliation, secular humanism is the air westerners breathe, the lens we gaze through. Like any world view, this outlook is pervasive and transparent. It forms the basis of our broad identification with democracy and with the pursuit of freedom in all its countless and beguiling forms. Immersed in our shared preoccupations, one may easily forget that other ways of life exist on the same planet.
At the time of my trip, for instance, 650 million Muslims with a majority representation in forty-four countries adhered to the formal teachings of Islam. In addition, about 400 million more were living as minorities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Assisted by postcolonial economics, Islam has become in a matter of thirty years a major faith in Western Europe. Of the world’s great religions, Islam alone was adding to its fold.
My politicized friends were dismayed by my new interest. They all but universally confused Islam with the machinations of half a dozen middle eastern tyrants. The books they read, the new broadcasts they viewed depicted the faith as a set of political functions. Almost nothing was said of its spiritual practice. I liked to quote Mae West to them: “Anytime you take religion for a joke, the laugh’s on you”.
Historically a Muslim sees Islam as the final, matured expression of an original religion reaching back to Adam. It is as resolutely monotheistic as Judaism, whose major Prophets Islam reveres as links in a progressive chain, culminating in Jesus and Muhammad. Essentially a message of renewal, Islam has done its part on the world stage to return the forgotten taste of life’s lost sweetness to millions of people. Its book, the Qur’an, caused Goethe to remark, “You see, this teaching never fails; with all our systems, we cannot go, and generally speaking no man can go, further”.
Traditional Islam is expressed through the practice of five pillars. Declaring one’s faith, prayer, charity, and fasting are activities pursued repeatedly throughout one’s life. Conditions permitting, each Muslim is additionally charged with undertaking a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime. The Arabic term for this fifth rite is Hadj. Scholars relate the word to the concept of kasd, “aspiration,” and to the notion of men and women as travellers on earth. In Western religions pilgrimage is a vestigial tradition, a quaint, folkloric concept commonly reduced to metaphor. Among Muslims, on the other hand, the hadj embodies a vital experience for millions of new pilgrims every year. In spite of the modern content of their lives, it remains an act of obedience, a profession of belief, and the visible expression of a spiritual community. For a majority of Muslims the hadj is an ultimate goal, the trip of a lifetime.
As a convert I felt obliged to go to Makkah. As an addict to travel I could not imagine a more compelling goal.
The annual, month-long fast of Ramadan precedes the hadj by about one hundred days. These two rites form a period of intensified awareness in Muslim society. I wanted to put this period to use. I had read about Islam; I had joined a Mosque near my home in California; I had started a practice. Now I hoped to deepen what I was learning by submerging myself in a religion where Islam infuses every aspect of existence.
I planned to begin in Morocco, because I knew that country well and because it followed traditional Islam and was fairly stable. The last place I wanted to start was in a backwater full of uproarious sectarians. I wanted to paddle the mainstream, the broad, calm water.

Monday, August 20, 2012


The Quran on Human Embryonic Development



In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development:
 We created man from an extract of clay.  Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed.  Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqahinto a mudghah (chewed substance)... 1(Quran, 23:12-14)
Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has three meanings: (1) leech, (2) suspended thing, and (3) blood clot.
In comparing a leech to an embryo in the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two2 as we can see in figure 1.  Also, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others.3
Figure 1
Figure 1: Drawings illustrating the similarities in appearance between a leech and a human embryo at thealaqah stage. (Leech drawing from Human Development as Described in the Quran and Sunnah, Moore and others, p. 37, modified from Integrated Principles of Zoology, Hickman and others.  Embryo drawing from The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 73.)
The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing.”  This is what we can see in figures 2 and 3, the suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother.
Figure 2: We can see in this diagram the suspension of an embryo during the alaqah stage in the womb (uterus) of the mother. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 66.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 2  (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 3: In this photomicrograph, we can see the suspension of an embryo (marked B) during the alaqah stage (about 15 days old) in the womb of the mother.  The actual size of the embryo is about 0.6 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore, 3rd ed., p. 66, from Histology, Leeson and Leeson.)
Figure 3
The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot.”  We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot.  This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage4 (see figure 4).  Also during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week.5  Thus, the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.
Figure 4: Diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage.  The external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot, due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo. (The Developing Human, Moore, 5th ed., p. 65.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 4  (Click here to enlarge)
So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqahstage.
The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghahstage.  The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance.”  If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his or her mouth and then compare it with an embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that the embryo at the mudghah stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance.  This is because of the somites at the back of the embryo that “somewhat resemble teethmarks in a chewed substance.”6 (see figures 5 and 6).
Figure 5: Photograph of an embryo at the mudghahstage (28 days old).  The embryo at this stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance, because the somites at the back of the embryo somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.  The actual size of the embryo is 4 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 82, from Professor Hideo Nishimura, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.)
Figure 5
Figure 6: When comparing the appearance of an embryo at themudghah stage with a piece of gum that has been chewed, we find similarity between the two.
A) Drawing of an embryo at the mudghah stage.  We can see here the somites at the back of the embryo that look like teeth marks. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 79.)
B) Photograph of a piece of gum that has been chewed.
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 6  (Click here to enlarge)
How could Muhammad  have possibly known all this 1400 years ago, when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time?  Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using an improved microscope in 1677 (more than 1000 years after Muhammad ).  They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract.7
Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore8 is one of the world’s most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled The Developing Human, which has been translated into eight languages.  This book is a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by one person.  Dr. Keith Moore is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  There, he was Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and for 8 years was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy.  In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists.  He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences.
In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development.  It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later.  This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.”9 
Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Quran is the word of God?”  He replied: “I find no difficulty in accepting this.”10
During one conference, Professor Moore stated: “....Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah (what Muhammad  said, did, or approved of).  The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge.  The intensive studies of the Quran and hadeeth(reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s  companions of what he said, did, or approved of) in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D.  Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages.  As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century.  For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Quran cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century.  The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God.  He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.”11


:Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore




_____________________________


Footnotes:
(1) Please note that what is between these special brackets  ...  in this web site is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran.  It is not the Quran itself, which is in Arabic. Back from footnote (1)
(2) The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 8. Back from footnote (2)
(3) Human Development as Described in the Quran and Sunnah, Moore and others, p. 36. Back from footnote (3)
(4) Human Development as Described in the Quran and Sunnah, Moore and others, pp. 37-38. Back from footnote (4)
(5) The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 65. Back from footnote (5)
(6) The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 8. Back from footnote (6)
(7) The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 9. Back from footnote (7)
(8) Note: The occupations of all the scientists mentioned in this web site were last updated in 1997. Back from footnote (8)
(9) The reference for this saying is This is the Truth (videotape).  For a copy of this videotape, please visit this pageBack from footnote (9)
(10) This is the Truth (videotape). Back from footnote (10)
(11) This is the Truth (videotape).  For a copy, see footnote no. 9. Back from footnote (11) 






Sunday, August 12, 2012

Researching Islam – Suggested Methodology (part 1 of 4): Looking for Proof? Start with Logic


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Any publicity is good publicity.  These words have been written and uttered so many times it is impossible to attribute the quote to any one person.  Any publicity is good publicity; meaning that it is better that something receives bad publicity rather than no publicity at all.  In the past decade we have been swamped with bad publicity about Islam, yet conversion statistics indicate that the number of people converting to Islam is growing at a phenomenal rate.  Why is this so?  Because wise people do not believe everything they read and see, they question, they apply critical thinking skills, they acquire knowledge and form their own conclusions. 
Finding the correct information does not come easily.  You need to search, to look for your proofs and evidences.  Do you want to know about Islam? Which one of the thousands of books will you turn to first? Everything you ever wanted to know about is out there is cyber space waiting for the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen.  Type Islam into Google search and what do you come up with? 479 million results in just .21 of a second.  Pretty impressive, but where do you start? Now here is a novel answer, how about at the beginning, back where it all began.  Let us begin when God spoke to the angels.
“‘Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.’  They said: ‘Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.’  God said: ‘I know that which you do not know.’” (Quran 2:30)
God knows what we do not know and contrary to what many would have us believe His words are not hidden and they are not obscure.  Do you want to know about Islam, do you want to prove to yourself that Islam is the true religion bestowed upon mankind? There is an easy methodology that will help you sort through the hundreds of thousands of different bits of information available.  It begins with the Quran.
The second verse of the second chapter of Quran begins with the words,“This is the book whereof there is no doubt, guidance to those who are righteous...” God knows that every human being is searching for that elusive connection and He says to humankind - this is the book, this is the guidance you have been searching for.  Is this enough? Yes it could be.  Throughout the centuries people have converted to Islam merely from hearing the recitation of Quran, still others have embraced Islam after hearing the soulful call to prayer.  Some people convert to Islam after observing a way of life that combines, tolerance and respect with forgiveness and mercy and then there are those who need proof. 
However, asking for proof is not to the seeker’s detriment.  Our religion, the way of life that is Islam, is not based on guess work, it is based on the words of God and the authentic teachings of His messenger Prophet Muhammad.  Islam is the religion of informed knowledge, not blind faith.  When Pharaoh asked Prophet Moses who was the Lord of humankind and all that exists, he, Moses, answered, “The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty”. (Quran 26: 24 & 25)Seek to be convinced.  Hold a copy of Quran in your hands and read, contemplate and ponder.  Seek your evidence and prepare to be amazed. 
The Quran tells us about the power of God and how it operates in the universe.  It explains that God’s knowledge encompasses all things and that He is not only the Creator but also the Sustainer of the universe. 
Evidence of the truth of Islam can be found in the scientific evidence that is found throughout the Quran.  Some people like to call them miracles - scientific miracles in the Quran.  There is complete consistency between many of the discoveries of modern science and the words of God written down more than 1400 years ago.  Amazing scientific facts that could not have been known until recently tend to prove that the Quran is the word of God and thus that Islam is the true religion of all human beings.  Logic tells us that 21st century knowledge in the 6th century could not be a coincidence.
Quran speaks eloquently about human embryonic development, and the fact that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground.  It describes one of the undisputed facts of cosmology, that the universe was formed out of the remnants of smoke.  Quran even describes the prefrontal area of the cerebrum as the place where lies and sins originate.  Modern science tells us that this is the area responsible for planning, and initiating and the area responsible for choosing either good or sinful behaviour.
Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, was unable to read or write yet scientific facts are also found in his authentic sayings and traditions.  While teaching and counselling his followers, Prophet Muhammad mentioned scientific facts including the seven layers of the earth’s crust.  In depth articles backed up by evidence from scientists and doctors can be found on this web site and many others.
In part 2 we will continue to examine the Quran and learn more about its miraculous nature; we will look at more evidence for the existence of God and discuss how logical proofs can only lead to one conclusion.

Researching Islam – Suggested Methodology (part 2 of 4): Logical Steps Lead to Logical Conclusions


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In part 1 we discussed the miraculous nature of Quran and asked a question.  How is it possible for a book written in the 6th century CE to contain knowledge only available in the 20th century CE?  We came to the logical conclusion that the Quran is the word of God.  However, is this enough, are scientific miracles proof that the Quran is the word of God? Yes, this may be enough for some, but others may want to look at further proofs. There are other aspects that can be taken into consideration particularly pertaining to what is often referred to as the linguistic nature of Quran.
In the 7th century CE the Arabs, although predominantly illiterate, were masters of the spoken word.  Their poetry and prose were considered a model of literary excellence.  When Prophet Muhammad recited the Quran, the Arabs were moved by its sublime tone, eloquence, and extraordinary beauty.  Amongst the Arabs, even those who rejected the call to Islam, there was no doubt that the words of Quran came from no earthly source.
The Quran challenges all to try and come forth with even a single chapterlike it, whose shortest chapter, al-Kawthar, consists of only three verses. 
“And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call your witnesses besides God if you be truthful.  If you do not do so – and you will never do so – then fear a fire whose fuel is men and stones prepared for the disbelievers.” (Quran 2:23-24)
The challenge stands till today and no one has been able to bring something even close to the Quran since the time of its revelation.
Thus, this fact demands us to ask yet another question.  How do we know that these words of God were not changed over the centuries?  The words we read and ponder over today, are the same words read over 1400 years ago.  More than 1.5 billion Muslims believe this and they do so because God Himself promised to preserve and protect the Quran.  God bestowed on humankind the gifts of hearing, seeing and thinking.  Thus we use our minds, ears and eyes to examine the authenticity of Quran.
“And God brought you out of your mother’s wombs devoid of all knowledge, but He has endowed you with hearing, vision, and intellect, so that you may be grateful.” (Quran16:78)
The words of the Quran have remained unchanged due to careful memorisation and meticulous recording.  As the Quran was being revealed, it was memorized by the companions of Prophet Muhammad and then carefully transmitted generation after generation.  According to one estimate there are over 10 million people today who have memorized the book cover to cover. If the book were to disappear it would be easily possible to reclaim each word, in the correct order with the correct pronunciation.  Besides, trustworthy scribesalso wrote down the revelation on flat stones, bark, bones, and even animal skins.  During his lifetime Prophet Muhammad supervised this himself.  Over the centuries Muslims and non Muslims alike have examined copies of Quran, some more than 1000 years old and found that they are all identical, apart from the introduction of vowel marks in the 7th century CE.  These marks were introduced to further guard the authenticity of Quran by demanding strict adherence to pronunciation rules.
“It is We Who have sent down the remembrance (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it from corruption.” (Quran 15:9)
Having established that, the Quran contains knowledge that could only be known by God and confirming the authenticity of the words we have in front of us today, we have again reached the same logical conclusion – that the Quran and thus the religion of Islam is the religion of truth.  When learning about Islam it is possible at every turning point to research and recheck.  However one might ask why the coming of Prophet Muhammad was not mentioned in previous revelations from God?  The answer to this question is - he most certainly was mentioned.
The Quran both confirms and abrogates the books that were sent from God before it, including the Jewish Torah and the Gospels of Jesus.  In our quest to confirm the truths of Islam we can look at these books and find clear predictions[1] of the coming of Prophet Muhammad.  The first chapter of the Old Testament refers to the coming of a prophet and all but describes Prophet Muhammad.  Prophet Muhammad could neither read nor write and the words of Quran that he spoke were words revealed to him by God.
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him” (Geneses 18:18)
“Neither does he speak out of his own desire: that [which he conveys to you] is but [a divine] inspiration with which he is being inspired.” (Quran 53:3-4)
In John 14:16 Jesus speaks to his disciples saying “And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” [2] He even said “…if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”[3]  Who exactly is the comforter?  Jesus was clearly referring to theMessenger of God - Muhammad, who would come after him and glorify him[4].  In his traditions, Prophet Muhammad glorifies Jesus in terms impossible to misinterpret.
Whoever testifies that none deserves worship except God, who has no partner, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, and that Jesus is the servant of God, His Messenger, and His Word which He bestowed in Mary, and a spirit created from Him, and that Paradise is true, and that Hell is true, God will admit him into Paradise, according to his deeds.[5]
Although there is no evidence to suggest that Hindu scriptures were revealed by God there is evidence that learned righteous Hindu scholars were searching for universal truths.  The truths, that connect humankind with a higher power.  The Hindu scriptures also mention Prophet Muhammad.  In the Samveda Book II Hymn 6 verse 8 it says “Ahmed[6]  acquired from his Lord the knowledge of eternal law.  I received light from him just as from the sun.” According to Bhavishya Purana in the Prati Sarag Parv III Khand 3 Adhay 3 Shloka 5 to 8.  “A malecha (belonging to a foreign country and speaking a foreign language) spiritual teacher will appear with his companions.  His name will be Mohammad.”[7] 
So far, we have established that the Quran contains knowledge unable to be proven until many centuries after it was revealed.  We used this fact and others to acknowledge that God Himself is the one who spoke the Quran.[8] The Quran is one of two principle sources of Islam; the other is the authentic teachings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad.  In this article we have also established that Prophet Muhammad was predicted in sacred scripture, both from other monotheistic faiths (Judaism and Christianity) and Hinduism.  Our next logical step and the subject of part 3 is to authenticate Prophet Muhammad’s prophet hood, and thus provide evidence that the second principle source of Islam is the truth.



Footnotes:

[1] A full discussion of the Biblical prophecies referring to Prophet Muhammad can be found at the following web site – (http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/200/viewall/)
[2] Bible - American Standard Version
[3] John 16:7 Ibid.
[4] John:16:14 Ibid
[5] Saheeh Bukhari
[6] Ahmad is the same name as Muhammad, both meaning the praised one.
[7] Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Hindu Scriptures by Dr. Zakir Naik.
[8] For a more detailed discussion on the miraculous nature of the Quran, please refer to the article “The Miraculous Quran” – (http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/528/viewall/)


Researching Islam – Suggested Methodology (part 3 of 4): God’s message is not hidden

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A very insightful person once said that if we want to establish the truth of the religion Muhammad bought to all humankind , we should first gather all the reliable sources, namely the Quran and then authentic traditions; after a thorough study and evaluation what is left, is Islam.  In our series of articles we have so far learned that asking logical questions leads us to logical answers.  By doing this we have discovered the miraculous nature of the Quran, including the advanced scientific knowledge contained therein and the sublime linguistic nature of Quran.   We also discovered that the words of Quran have remained unchanged, from the moment they were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad almost 1500 years ago, until now.  Thus logic tells us that Quran, one of the two primary sources of Islam was written by no earthly source.   We will now look at the other primary source of Islam, the Sunnah, or the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad. 
The first question that needs careful contemplation is whether or not Prophet Muhammad was a prophet of God.  More than 1.5 billion Muslims, believe without doubt that he was, however those searching for evidence of the truth of Islam may need proof.  The most obvious place to find proof is in the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, known as the Sunnah.   The sayings, actions, habits and silent approvals of one of history’s most observed men.
Many people have claimed that Muhammad declared himself a Prophet for fame and glory.  If we look into the authentic traditions, meticulously recorded for posterity, we find that Prophet Muhammad’s call to Islam actually stripped him of the fame and glory he already possessed.  Before the Quran was revealed to him, and before he became God’s messenger Muhammad was a member of the most influential tribe in Mecca.   In his own right he was known in Mecca and surrounds as the most trustworthy man among all the tribes.  After announcing his Prophethood Muhammad and his followers became social outcasts.
In authentic traditions and biographies we learn that Prophet Muhammad and the new Muslim community were persecuted and even tortured.   Sanctions were enforced and families disowned their own sons and daughters, leaving many to be beaten and starved by the more aggressive members of Meccan society.  Muhammad’s followers came from all social ranks, from slaves to wealthy traders and entrepreneurs.  Within a short space of time many people including Prophet Muhammad, had lost respect, status and wealth.  Muhammad’s claim to Prophethood was not for fame or glory.  Prophet Muhammad said, “By God, if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to leave this matter i would not leave it, until God makes it apparent or until I am killed calling people to it”.[1]
Nor was it for status or wealth.  The Meccan elders offered Prophet Muhammad money and prestige to renounce his call to Islam.  They even offered to make him the leader of all the tribes and clans yet he consistently refused even when they said, “If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed.  If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief.  If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that”.[2] Muhammad’s claim to prophet hood was not for wealth or status.  The traditions of Prophet Muhammad give us an insight into his life.  We are able to see and understand the life of a man of God.  Every moment of his life was a preparation for his coming prophet hood and this is obvious to all those who believe in God. 
Researching the miracles of Prophet Muhammad in both the traditions and the Quran, is a logical step that often convinces those from a Christian or Jewish background of the truth of Islam.  Prophet Muhammad is the last in a long line of recognisable prophets.  Noah, Abraham Moses, and Jesus are all Prophets of Islam and a Muslim is required to believe in all of them.  God gave Prophet Muhammad to the world to complete His message not destroy it.  For many Islam fills in the gaps and reawakens faith. 
“I am the nearest of all the people to the son of Mary, and all the prophets are paternal brothers, and there has been no prophet between me and him (Jesus).” Prophet Muhammad.[3]
“Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognise him (Muhammad) as they recognise their sons.” (Quran 2:146)
God supported His Prophets with miracles that are observable and they serve as a sign of a true Prophet.   At the time of Jesus, the Israelites were very knowledgeable in the field of medicine.   Consequently, the miracles Jesus performed (by the permission of God) were of this nature and included returning sight to the blind, healing lepers and raising the dead.   Prophet Muhammad’s major miracle was the Quran.  As mentioned earlier, even those who did not believe in Muhammad’s message knew the Quran to be literature beyond compare.  The traditions of Prophet Muhammad contain many other miracles including water flowing from his fingers and trees deliberating shading him.   Researching these events is certainly one way to confirm the truth of Islam.
Perhaps, finding clear evidence is not quite so easy for those from non monotheistic faiths or with no religious inclinations at all.  However, following our suggested methodology, asking logical questions, and expecting and searching for logical answers may reveal some unexpected truths.  The Quran invites humankind to ponder and contemplate.  God invites all of humankind, those with and without religious or spiritual convictions, to search for the truth.   One should  read, research, ponder and question, then reach a logical conclusion.  God’s message to humankind is not hidden.  It is out there within everybody’s grasp. 
“(This is) a Book (the Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Quran 38:29)



Footnotes:

[1] Ibn Hisham
[2] Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum THE SEALED NECTAR by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri.  Dar-us-Salam Publishers and Distributors Saudi Arabia.
[3] Saheeh Al-Bukhari

Researching Islam – Suggested Methodology (part 4 of 4): God’s Wisdom is Sometimes beyond Our Understanding


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In the previous three articles we discussed a suggested methodology for proving the validity and truth of Islam.  When researching it is important to not only ask logical questions but also to expect a logical answer.  In essence Islam is a message and guide from the Creator to the creation, therefore it should make sense.  Thus we research and ask all the relevant questions.  What is Islam and what do Muslims believe?  Soon, sometimes very quickly, or after long hours, months or years of study we discover the answer, but what happens now?  When it becomes clear that Islam is the true religion, what should be your next move? 
At this point, the point where the sheer overwhelming power of God becomes self evident it would make perfect sense to embrace the religion of Islam.  Many people do just that.  They begin their new life’s journey secure in the knowledge that they are standing firmly on the right path.  However, the research does not end there.  Islam tells us that acquiring knowledge is a life long journey.  New Muslims busy themselves in learning their new religion and marvel at the simplicity of a life lead by instructions from the Creator.
Others however feel driven to ask more questions, seek more answers and delve deeply into issues that are not immediately necessary.  The age old saying, you must walk before you can run, is no less true when you apply it to learning about Islam.  There is no relevant point to asking intricate questions when you have no yet understood the basics well.  Believing in Islam as the truth implies accepting the whole message even if the meaning behind, or reason for many rulings is not completely understood.  This may seem like a dilemma, especially if your research has led you to understand that Islam is the religion of informed knowledge not a religion based on blind faith. However trying to understand the wisdom in the secondary details before looking in to the proofs of Islam and its fundamentals, is not a good idea, because even if you find the wisdom in a few things but disagree with the main message, then there is no real benefit as it will not get you anywhere.
  God does what He does for reasons that are at times beyond our comprehension and for reasons that may or may not be apparent.  A Muslim learns to understand and accept this statement, not automatically or with blind faith, but by establishing a connection with God.  A Muslim is encouraged to maintain a connection and one easy, yet beneficial way of doing this, is to contemplate and understand His Beautiful Names.   Through these names, we are able to know our Creator and learn how to praise and worship Him.  We also gain an insight into how and why God’s wisdom and justice is sometimes beyond our understanding. 
The names Al-Hakeem (The Wise) and Al-Hakam (The Judge) indicate God is the source of all wisdom, in His creation and in His commands, and He is the Judge of all things.   He is the One Who created everything, and therefore He alone knows the true wisdom of everything. He judges with fairness and does not oppress anyone the slightest.   God is just in all His decisions.  This may be evident when one embraces Islam or it might be a slow realisation.
God’s unending justice and wisdom may not always be clear; it takes time and effort to truly understand the details.  Asking petulant questions can lead to confusion.  Once one has established the truthfulness of Islam the next step is to accept the entire message, embrace the religion and learn to pray.  It is no coincidence that the first pillar of Islam is to believe, with no reservations that God is One and that Mohammad is His messenger and that the second pillar is to pray.   Prayer establishes the connection and opens wide the path to lifelong learning and knowledge.   Prophet Muhammad, may God praise him, spoke to his companions about both the importance of learning about Islam in a sensible order, and the importance of gaining knowledge.
...so let the first thing to which you will invite them be the Oneness of God.  If they learn that, tell them that God has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night.[1]
Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, God will make a path to Paradise easy for him.[2]
Asking questions about minor details and expecting to understand everything before conversion is a pointless exercise.  One must assess the primary sources of Islam, both the Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, ask logical questions, and obtain logical answers to establish truthfulness.  If s person is satisfied that Islam is the true religion of humankind he or she should embrace the faith without delay and begin to learn its practices and details.



Footnotes:

[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[2] Ibid.




Friday, August 10, 2012

A Christian is asking about the reason for the prohibition on pork










Why does Islam forbid pork, when the pig is one of the creations of God
?

Praise be to Allaah.  

Firstly: 
Our Lord has forbidden eating pork in definitive terms. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“Say (O Muhammad): I find not in that which has been revealed to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it be Maytah (a dead animal) or blood poured forth (by slaughtering or the like), or the flesh of swine (pork); for that surely, is impure or impious (unlawful) meat (of an animal) which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering)…” [Al-An’aam:145] 
By the mercy of Allaah and His kindness towards us, Allaah has permitted us to eat all good things, and He has not forbidden anything but those that are impure. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“…he allows them as lawful At-Tayyibaat (i.e. all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods), and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabaa’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons and foods)…” [Al-A’raaf:157] 
We do not doubt for an instant that the pig is a dirty and filthy animal, and that eating it is harmful to man. Moreover it lives on dirt and filth, and it is something that is off-putting to those of a sound nature who refuse to touch it, because eating it is either a cause or a sign of a person’s oddness. 


Secondly
With regard to the physical harm caused by eating pork, modern science has proved a number of things, such as the following: 
    Pork is regarded as one of the kinds of meat that contain the most cholesterol, 

an increase of which in the bloodstream leads to an in


increased likelihood of blocked arteries. The fatty acids in pork are also of an unusual formation, when compared with the fatty acids in other types of food, which makes them more easily absorbed by the body, thus increasing cholesterol levels.
    Pork meat and pork fat contribute to the spread of cancers of the colon, rectum, prostate and blood.
    Pork meat and pork fat contribute to obesity and related diseases that are difficult to treat.
    Eating pork leads to scabies, allergies and stomach ulcers.
    Eating pork causes lung infections which result from tapeworms, lungworms and microbial infections of the lungs. 
The most serious danger of eating pork is that pork contains tapeworms which may grow to a length of 2-3 meters. The growth of the eggs of these worms in the human body may lead to insanity and hysteria if they grow in the area of the brain. If they grow in the region of the heart that may lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Another kind of worm that is to be found in pork is the trichinosis worm that cannot be killed by cooking, the growth of which in the body may lead to paralysis and skin rashes. 
The doctors have confirmed that tapeworm disease is regarded as one of the serious diseases that may result from eating pork. It may develop in the small intestine and after several months may grow into a large worm whose body is composed of a thousand segments, with a length of 4-10 meters, which lives alone in the intestine of the infected person and part of it may appear when he defecates. When the pig swallows and ingests its eggs, they enter the tissues and muscles in the form of larvae sacs containing fluid and the head of the tapeworm. When a person eats infected pork, the larva turns into a complete worm in the intestine. These worms cause weakness and vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to a specific type of anaemia, which may in turn cause nervous problems. In some cases the larvae may reach the brain, causing convulsions, increased pressure within the brain, epilepsy and even paralysis. 




Eating pork that is not thoroughly cooked may also lead to trichinosis (infestation with a hairlike nematode worm). When these parasites reach the small intestine, three to five days later many larvae appear which enter the intestine and reach the blood, from which they reach most of the tissues of the body. The larvae move to the muscles and form cysts there, and the patient suffers intense muscle pains. The disease may develop into infection of the cerebral membrane and brain, and infections of the heart muscle, lungs, kidneys and nerves. It may be a fatal disease in rare cases. 
It is well known that there are some diseases that are unique to humans and are not shared with any other animals except pigs, such as rheumatism and joint pain. Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):  
“He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Baqarah: 173] 
These are some of the harmful effects of eating pork. Perhaps after studying them you will not have any doubts that it is forbidden. We hope that this will be the first step in your being guided towards the true religion. So stop, research, look and think, objectively and fairly, seeking only to find out the truth and follow it. I ask Allaah to guide you to that which is best for you in this world and in the Hereafter. 
But even if we did not know about the harmful effects of eating pork, this would not change our belief that it is haraam in the slightest, or weaken our resolve to abstain from it. You know that when Adam (peace be upon him) was expelled from the Garden, it was because he ate from the tree from which Allaah forbade him to eat. We do not know anything about that tree, and Adam did not need to enquire into the reason why it was forbidden to eat from it. Rather it was sufficient for him, as it is sufficient for us and for every believer, to know that Allaah has forbidden it. 
Look at some of the harmful effects of eating pork; look at the research of the Fourth Annual Conference of Islamic Medicine, Kuwait edition, p. 731 ff; and al-Wiqaayah al-Sihhiyyah fi Daw’ al-Kitaab wal-Sunnah by Lu’lu’ah bint Saalih, p. 635 ff. 
But we ask you once again: Isn’t pork forbidden in the Old Testament which forms part of your Holy Book? 
“Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat… The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud, you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.”
(Deuteronomy 14:3-8) 
See also Leviticus 11-1-8. 
We do not need to quote evidence that pork is forbidden for the Jews. If you have any doubt then ask people and they will tell you. But what we think we need to draw you attention to is some other things that are also mentioned in your Holy Book, this time in the New Testament which tells you that the rulings of the Torah still apply to you and cannot be changed. Doesn’t it say in the Bible that the Messiah said: 
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Matthew 5:17-18? 
With this text, we do not need to look for another ruling on pork in the New Testament, but we will add here another quotation which shows definitively that pork is impure: 
“A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus: ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs.”
Mark 5:11-13 


Perhaps you will say that this is abrogated, and that Peter said such and such and Paul said such and such…? 
This is changing the words of Allaah and abrogating the Torah and the words of the Messiah who confirmed to you that it would abide as long as heaven and earth remain. Can this be abrogated by the words of Paul or Peter? 
Let us assume that this is true and that the prohibition was indeed abrogated, but why are you criticizing this prohibition in Islam when it was prohibited for you at first? 


Thirdly: 
With regard to your saying that if eating it is forbidden, then why did Allaah create pigs? We do not think that you are serious, otherwise we would ask you: why did Allaah create such and such of other things that are harmful or repulsive? Rather we would ask you: why did Allaah create the Shaytaan? 
Is it not the prerogative of the Creator to command His slaves as He will, and to rule them as He will? No one can overturn His ruling or change His words. 
Is it not the duty of the created being, the slave, to say to his Lord, whenever He commands him to do something: “We hear and we obey”
You may enjoy its taste and want to eat it, and those around you may enjoy it, but doesn’t Paradise deserve some sacrifice on your part of that which your heart   desires
? 


____________________________

Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid




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