Archive for the ‘Torah’ Category

What does Zikr mean?

Monday, July 6th, 2015

God has vowed to preserve the Quran Himself. He says, most emphatically, in verse 15:9,
“Verily, it is We who sent down the Zikr and verily, We surely shall be of it Preservers.” (15:9)

The word Zikr (with a fricative Z as in this or that) means mention, remembrance or reminder. The syntax and context are what determines which semantic is meant. The scholars have been unanimous that the Zikr mentioned in 15:9 is the Quran. What they did not agree on is whether it is only the Quran. The reason they thought other items may be included in the Zikr in 15:9 is the apparent implication of other verses. For instance,
“And We sent down to you the Reminder that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might reflect.” (16:44).

In this verse, if the Zikr is only the Quran, then what is “what was sent down to them”? Isn’t that the Quran also? That is why many scholars have opined that the Zikr here refers to the Hadeeth.

But if the Zikr includes the Hadeeth, then it too must have been preserved by God. While the strict Muslims take that position, historical evidence begs otherwise. While the Quran was written down before the death of the Prophet (PBUH), and committed to memory by thousands of people, the Hadeeth was not written down for two hundred years after the Prophet’s death. It was only then that the Hadeeth was meticulously authenticated and less than one in ten narrations have been found to be authentic. This means that the Hadeeths evaluated as authentic can be relied on in matters of the religion, but it also means that the Hadeeth was not preserved, or else it would not have required such massive effort to authenticate.

Therefore, I respectfully disagree that the Zikr refers to the Hadeeth, or includes it. So, how can we explain 16:44?

The key to understand 16:44 is to notice the word “people” in it. People include non-Muslims! Thus, what this verse is saying is that one of the functions of the Quran is to clarify to non-Muslims the scriptures which were sent to them, e.g., the Torah and the Gospel.

This conclusion is backed up by a later verse in the same Chapter,
“By God, We did certainly send [messengers] to communities before you [, O Muhammad], then Satan embellished for them their works, so he is their ally Today and for them is a painful torment.

And We have not sent down upon you the Book [, O Muhammad], but so that you may clarify to them what they differed about and as guidance and mercy for a folk who believe.” (16:63-64)

16:63 makes it clear that the pronoun “them” in 16:64 refers to followers of prior scriptures.

A reader may jump in here and quote,
“And We certainly did write in the Zaboor (Psalms), after the Remembrance (Torah), that the land – shall inherit it My righteous worshipers.” (23:105)
and argue that the Torah has been described as the Zikr. It was. But then, it was humanly altered thus it ceased to be Zikr. Only the original, pure revelation from God qualify as Zikr. The only scripture that God has vowed to preserve Himself is the Quran.

Drawing images of living beings

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Forgive my bad English (I’m from Spain).
I heard that Prophet Muhammad said that making a picture of a human or animal being is haram (prohibited) and in the Day of Judgement God will ask us to turn our pictures to life. Is it true? Can’t we paint this beings?
God bless you

Your English is just fine! Thanks for writing. And may God bless you too for doing the research and verifying what you hear. Too many people simply take for granted what they have been told, without ever attempting to ask themselves if it is true.

The hadeeth you refer to is authentic. It was narrated by Ibn Abbaas (RA) and reported by Al-Bukhaari. Another version of it, also reported by him, was narrated by Ibn Umar (RA).

Those two hadeeths, and there are other, use the Arabic word صورة “Şoora”, which in today’s Arabic is often used to mean a picture, but it actually means “likeness” and that is how it was used by the Arabs of the Seventh Century. The word for picture is actually رقم “Raqm”, which in today’s Arabic has come to mean marking or engraving.

This distinction can be discerned from another authentic hadeeth, reported by Muslim and narrated by Abu-Talha, where the Prophet (PBUH) made an exception from the prohibition a raqm on a cloth. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that the prohibition applies only to three-dimensional images, i.e., statues, figurines, embossed images, etc.

The ending of the two hadeeths of prohibition give away the reason for the prohibition. It’s what Americans call “playing God.” That is, the attempt by humans to do things that only God may do. Creation of living beings is God’s domain only.

This prohibition is not unique to Islam. The exact same thing is said in the Second Commandment, prohibiting making engraved images and bowing to statues.

This is the key to understanding the prohibition of sculpting images of living beings. It is God’s protection of us from Shirk (associating others with Him in worship).

One may think that shirk is far-fetched in today’s educated world. One, therefore, may think that this prohibition may have been called for in ancient times, when shirk was rampant, but not relevant in today’s sophisticated societies. But that is not actually the case! There are millions of people in today’s sophisticated world who pray to statues. Many even bow down to images on the wall. Many believe that a token or a figurine will bring them good fortune, heal them or stave evil away from them. All of that is shirk.

Why is shirk so dangerous? Because it creeps on people’s psyche, with enthusiastic help from Satan, until they are detached from God. That is the greatest loss.

Tawheed (the oneness of God) is the central teaching of Islam. It is also the subject of the First Commandment. God is teaching us to worship Him only and abandon any hint of worship of anyone or anything else – not because He needs it, but because we do. Human nature is such that we look for idols, literal or figurative. We keep aggrandizing the people we admire. Americans have coined a good term for that: hero worship. Shirk can be subtle.

The issue at hand is not art, creativity or expression, all of which are allowed in Islam. Rather, it is the kind of art, creativity or expression that is dangerous to our souls.

Isn’t the Torah sufficient?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The Quran says that the Torah has in it guidance and light and detailing of all matters. So, why do we need anything else?

The Torah is not available anywhere; the Jews changed it. What we have is the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, the Tenach, etc. None of it is the Torah.

If the Torah was not altered, there would not have been a reason to reveal the Gospel or the Quran. The Gospel was revealed in order to correct the changes the Jews made to the Torah, and the Quran was revealed in order to correct the changes the Jews and Christians made to the Torah and the Gospel.

I respectfully disagree with your statement, “If the Torah was not altered, there would not have been a reason to reveal the Gospel or the Quran.” It looks like an explanation of a decision of Allah, for which we have no knowledge. In general I agree, that the religion in its origin has always been the same. However, there have been some changes in the medicine according to the state of the patient.

From the sermon of the mount, which looks like a excerpt from the original gospel, it looks like the Jewish scholars of that time (and seemingly also today) had lost the real understanding of faith and they were more into the textual interpretation of the laws. This is why, it contains less laws and more topics regarding spirituality and theology. Apparently, that was the missing part, at that time.

But we have knowledge; God told us. The Quran quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, saying to the Jews,

“And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me. ” (3:50)

Why were these things made unlawful to the Jews? God tells us it was because of their rebellion against Him,

For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [some] good things which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of God many [people], ” (4:160)

I also respectfully disagree that the Gospel had few laws. We don’t know that because we don’t have the Gospel; it’s been altered. If we accept what Jesus is reported in the New Testament to have said as authentic, then we find the explanation of why there are few laws in the Gospel: “Do not think that I am come to abolish the law. I’m not come to abolish the law, but to complete it.” Other translations say, “to correct it.”

The Quran was revealed for the same purpose, to confirm what remained unchanged in the Torah and the Gospel and correct what was changed. God addresses the people of the Book,

“O you who were given the Book, believe in what We have sent down [to Muhammad], confirming that which is with you, before We obliterate faces and turn them toward their backs or curse them as We cursed the sabbath-breakers. And ever is the decree of God accomplished. ” (4:47)

That is what happened. God sent a complete guidance to humanity, the Torah. But the Jews altered it, added to it and deleted from it, so God sent the correction: the Gospel. People altered that too, so He sent the final correction and restoration of His original Message and vowed to keep it from alteration.

Who was the sacrificial son?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Muslims believe that the son who was to be slaughtered by Abraham, by command from God, was Ishmael, but the Jews and the Christians believe it was Isaac. Who is right? What is the reason for the discrepancy?

The reason is simple: The Jews edited the Torah. They were jealous that the honor of the sacrifice was given to the child of Hagar, whom they viewed as an illiterate slave, and not to themselves, and they viewed themselves to be educated and privileged.  So, they simply changed words to ensure that the name Ishmael gets less attention, even though in their tradition the first born son has tremendous advantages.

In their editing of the Torah, they overlooked one place! There is a verse there where God tells Abraham, peace be upon him, that He wants him to slaughter his only son. It is established by most scholars of the Bible that Ishmael was 13 years older than his brother Isaac, peace be upon them, and therefore, Isaac was never Abraham’s only son!

Realizing this, the Jews had to come up with an explanation, so they explained that obvious verse away by claiming that Ishmael was not a legitimate son because, they claimed, Hagar was a slave and not a wife. Hagar was Abraham’s legitimate wife. In fact, she was Sarah’s maid and when Sarah saw how sad her husband was that he did not have children, it was she who suggested to him to marry Hagar, so he can have children. I firmly believe that it was because of this selfless love for her husband that God rewarded her with her own son, Isaac, at an age no woman can normally conceive. Praise the Lord, and may peace be upon the house of Abraham.

Do Muslims accept the Bible or reject it?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Muslims don’t believe in the Bible as it exists today, but they are also required not to disbelieve in it! That’s because it’s a mix of what God said and what man added or changed.

The original scripture is no longer there in the way God revealed it to Moses, David and Jesus, peace be upon them. Muslims only believe in the original Torah (which in edited format is the first five books of the Bible), the original Psalms of David, also edited and made part of the Old Testament, and the original Gospel, which in edited format is narrated by four different disciples in the first four books of the New Testament.

Questions about the Gospel

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
I am a Christian who is earnestly seeking to learn more about Islam.

I have a couple questions about what the Quran says about the Gospel. They are:

1. Why does the Quran refer to the Gospel or Injil as if it is one book, when at the time of Muhammad there existed the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Christian Bible and many more apocryphal texts and so-called Gospels besides?

If there was one Gospel, what happened to it? Is there any historical record of such a thing (besides the Diatessaron?)

Welcome. Please ask all the questions you have in mind.

The Gospel was revealed to Jesus, peace be upon him, on Mount Olives. There is no evidence that he wrote it down. After the departure of Jesus, several disciples wrote down their recollection of what Jesus said and did. That’s not the same thing as the Gospel. That’s why you hear the gospels called, “The Gospel according to John,” etc.

The Church decided which books to include and which to exclude from the New Testament. They excluded books such as the gospels of Barnabas, James, Peter, the children, and many more. The Church instead included letters written by Paul, whom the disciples distrusted and who never met Jesus or ever hear him talk.

2. I am stumbling over there ever existing one Injil and that it was Christ’s mission to give the people of the world a book of God’s teachings.

Why are you stumbling over that? Jesus said that what he said was not of his own but of “the one who sent him“. So, he was the messenger of God. A messenger has a message to deliver, doesn’t he?

BTW, the mission of Jesus was never for the world. He said it was for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” only. The Quran confirms it in 3:49 among other verses.

3. What does Islam say of the prophecies of the Jewish scriptures and Christ’s fulfillment of them? Do y’all believe that they are fabrications?

Jesus, peace be upon him, did fulfill the prophecies of the Torah. He was the Messiah promised the Jews and the Quran confirms it in 3:45, among other verses.

4. But to get to what you were saying, the Christians, the early ones at least did not believe that Christ came to bring them any book from God, but that he came to show them the way of salvation through his teachings and example. The early Christians relied heavily on the Jewish scriptures, especially in terms of prayer.

That’s not what the Quran says. The disciples clearly believed in and followed the Gospel which Jesus taught. The purpose of the Gospel was to restore the original Torah which the Jewish rabbis and scribes edited to suit their needs. If the Torah had not been altered, there would not have been a need for the Gospel or for Jesus! The disciples and their followers struggled for 300 years to make sure those teachings remain pure. They were fed to lions and thrown into pits of fire but they did not relent. May God reward them handsomely for their sacrifice. Their sacrifice, sadly, was not enough as the Council of Nicaea decided in 325 A.D. to adopt the Pauline version of Christianity. The original teachings of Jesus were lost until God sent Muhammad, peace be upon him, to restore them.

5. It seems to me that every time that Allah of Islam sends a messenger He gives him some book. Am I mistaken? If so, why? Is this the way He chooses to reveal himself?

Allah of Islam is the same God whom Jesus called, in his native Aramaic, Alaha. He is the same God whom Moses, peace be upon him, called in his native Hebrew, Eloah.

The reason God sent down the Gospel is because the Jews tampered with the Torah. The reason God sent down the Quran is because the Christians tampered with the Gospel. God has vowed in the Quran that He will preserve the Quran Himself. He sure did! For the past 1400 years since the Quran was revealed, not one letter, consonant, vowel, diacritic, punctuation or even intonation has changed. How is that for preservation?

Was Sarah jealous of Hagar?

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Sarah, the first wife of Abraham, peace be upon him, has been accused of being jealous of Hagar, his second wife, (Haajar in Arabic) and that is why she had Abraham send her away and her son, Ishmael, peace be upon him.

If Sarah was such a terrible person then why would God tell us in 11:73 in the story of the angels visiting her house and giving her the good news that she will be pregnant with Isaac and then give her and her husband the wonderful greeting, “The mercy of God and His blessings are upon you, people of the house. He is Praiseworthy and Glorious.”?

Far from it. Sarah was a virtuous, believing woman and the wife of the patriarch of the prophets. When she saw how much her husband wanted a son and she knew she couldn’t give him one, she did a most generous and unselfish thing that only a few wives will ever consider: She gave him her maid to marry! She picked a virtuous, believing woman because that’s what her husband deserved. May God have been pleased with Sarah. I strongly believe that it’s precisely because Sarah was so unselfish, compassionate and loving to her husband that God rewarded her with her own son.

In every prayer, during Tashahhud, all Muslims say this, “O God, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have blessed Abraham and the family of Abraham.” How many confirmations have Muslims made so far that Sarah was blessed? Trillions!

I find it infinitely amusing that the evidence that Ishmael was the sacrificial son comes from the Torah and not from the Quran! The Quran seems to be deliberate in not telling us the name of the sacrificial son while the Torah states that God instructed Abraham to slaughter his only son. Isaac was never Abraham’s only son since he was younger than Ishmael by all accounts. Thirteen years difference in their ages seems to be the consensus. In fact, the entire story of the sacrifice may have taken place before Isaac was even born.

Don’t believe any talk of mad jealousy between Sarah and Haajar. It’s an attempt from religious agitators to sew the seeds of hatred between Muslims and Jews. Muslims and the authentic Jews are not only cousins in blood line, they are also cousins in faith.

Do Muslims believe in the Messiah or don’t they?

Friday, December 14th, 2007

The following is from an article entitled “Bethlehem 2007 A.D” in the Dec 2007 issue of the National Geographic Magazine:

“For Jews, still awaiting their Messiah, Froman says it’s possible that he will arrive right here, in the eroded back-country of Bethlehem, the presence of God palpable in the desert’s sandpaper wind. For Christians anticipating their Messiah’s return, why shouldn’t he come back to the spot he was born? Muslims do not believe in a messiah – there is only Allah, only God – but Palestinian Muslims also revere this land as sacred, since Jesus is one of their prophets.”

I have seen the use of the word “Messiah” in translations of the Quran (e.g., 3:45) so I feel that the above statement is not true…. unless the Jews and Christians have a different interpretation of “Messiah” from the Muslims.

The issue is what people mean when they say “messiah.” The Jews mean the man who will make them kings again. The Christians mean a divine son of God who will take away humanity’s sins. Muslims mean what the word means, “the anointed one.” The word “messiah” simply means one whose hair is so oily it looks like it’s dripping. That’s how Jesus peace be upon him looked and how the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him saw him during the night journey (Israa’). God told the Jews in the Torah that the upcoming prophet who will restore their true faith is anointed, so they had a way to recognize him when he comes. When the old and new testaments were translated to Greek, the Greek word for anointed one was Khristos. That’s where the word Christ comes from.

There is nothing mythical or fantastic about the words messiah or Christ. It’s a distinctive mark, like when you describe someone and say that he has, say, a thick mustache.

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to give her baby Jesus, he told her (see 3:45) two very significant facts: That the baby’s title is Al-Maseeh (The Messiah), so that she knows that her son is the prophet promised to the Jews, and secondly that he will be called the son of Mary and the word of God, so that she will have no doubt that his conception is miraculous.

Does the Quran confirm or abrogate the Torah?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

If the Qur’an confirms the written Torah, then it means that the corruptions/deletions/fabrications/omissions/lies must have happened after the lifetime of Mohammed. And finally, it was not the Jews who wrote the Torah. Therefore it must be the author/s, who happen to be prophets, that “fabricated the lies”. Right?

The Quran does not confirm the Old Testament. It confirms the original Torah revealed to Moses. What is called the Torah today is the result of editions of the original Torah. These editions were made by many people, but not by the prophets. The prophets conveyed the true message of God. It’s some of their followers who changed what they said and attributed it to the prophets. The Quran came to correct the alterations the Jews made to the Torah and the Christians to the Gospel.

Why are there many religions?

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Moses, peace be upon him, was given a true book from God, the Torah, but his followers edited it to fit their desires. If they didn’t there would not have been a need for the Gospel or for Jesus.

Jesus, peace be upon him, was given a true book from God, the Gospel, but his followers edited it to suit their desires. If they hadn’t there would be no need for the Quran or Muhammad, peace be upon him.

God vowed in the Quran that He will preserve it Himself (15:9) and He sure did! Every consonant, vowel, diacritic, punctuation and even intonation has been the same from the time of the revelation till today in every country in the world the whole time! That is why the Quran is the final scripture and Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the last and final prophet and messenger of God.