Archive for the ‘Angels’ Category

Can logic and reason be used in religion?

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I’ve noticed that in many of your articles, you use logic and critical thinking, but can they be used in religion? I’ll give you an example. Prophet Muhammad Went from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night, can you explain to me how this is logically possible? We know also Angel Gabriel took Prophet Muhammad’s heart out and cleansed it and put it back when he was little. Can you logically prove this? And Allah turned some Jews from among the Children of Israel into apes and swines, Can you explain this to me as well?

That’s easy! Let me start with the night journey. An object will move at a speed proportional to the force that pushed it, the stronger the force, the faster the move. That is why airplanes get us to our destination faster than automobiles and faster than walking. God has infinite power, therefore, He can push any object any distance in no time at all.

Creatures differ in their abilities. A horse can live and build muscles from a diet of grass and hay, but man can’t. Birds can fly but man can’t. Likewise, angels have powers that man doesn’t have.

And because God has infinite creation powers, He can turn any creation into any other creation. It’s the same logic with which a worm, the caterpillar, which can only crawl, has many legs and looks creepy, turns in three weeks into another species, an insect, a butterfly, which can fly thousands of miles, has only two legs and looks beautiful. The same logic that turns a seed into a palm tree, or a fertilized egg into a baby. Glory be to God.

What about God settling on His Throne? Where is the logic here?

It’s a metaphor, a figure of speech. The Arabs use metaphors all the time. You can see that a lot when you read their poetry. Exegesis books have pointed that out too about the Quran in abundance.

Please tell the story of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raaj (The Night and Ascension Journey)

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raaj (The Night and Ascension Journey)

Stated by the Quran (17:1 and 53:13-18), Islam’s holy scripture, and by the authentic Hadeeth (quotes of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), the Night Journey, Al-Israa’ and the Ascension journey (Al-Mi`raaj) are the two parts of a journey that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took in one night around the year 621. While some Muslims consider it a spiritual journey made in a vision, the majority believes it was a physical journey, evidenced by the fact that the Prophet named all the caravans that were travelling between Mecca and Jersulam that night and he described Jerusalem accurately though he had never been there.

After reaching Jerusalem, the Prophet met with and lead in prayer, at the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, all the other Prophets and Messengers of God, from Adam to Jesus, peace be upon them. Hadeeths report that he described some of the prophets. He said that he looked a lot like Abraham, that Adam had a dark skin and that Jesus had very oily hair.

Starting off on a rock in the site of the Dome of the Rock, the Prophet was ascended to heaven. He was accompanied by archangel Gabriel. As he visited each heaven, he would see sites and people and would ask Gabriel about them and Gabriel would tell him what the sites mean.

Then, at the last heaven, Gabriel said to Muhammad, “You can ascend farther up but if I try, I’d burn.” No creature has ever been there before. The Prophet ascended up and saw God. God greeted the Prophet, blessed him and gave him the mandate of the formal, ritual prayers of Islam.

Scholars have offered several purposes for that miraculous journey. Some said it was consolation for the Prophet, who in that year had lost his beloved wife, Khadeeja and his uncle Abu-Taalib, who was his protection from the violent opposition of his tribe, Quraysh, and his mistreatment at At-Taa’if, a close-by city he went to calling them to Islam. Others said the purpose of the trip was to highlight the paramount importance of prayer and to give all Muslims a chance to have a similar experience to that of the Prophet. Several scholars have described prayer as the “ascension of the believer.”

The event is commemorated each year on the eve of the 27th of the seventh lunar month, Rajab. It is regarded as one of the most important events in the Islamic calendar. Though not required, many Muslims bring their children to the mosques, where the children are told the story, pray with the adults, and then afterward food and treats are served.

In a sermon I attended recently, the imam (preacher) mentioned three more lessons we can learn from that wonderful event,

  • No matter how hard times are, there is good news reserved for us from God. Good times ahead.
  • The connection between Mecca and Jerusalem is solid and was never severed as many Jews claim when they said that Hagar and her son Ishmael were “outcast” to the desert. Even today, Islamophobes and adversaries of Islam keep trying to isolate and alienate Islam and reject that it is part of the family of monotheist religions and Muhammad (PBUH) is part of the family of Prophets.
  • The quick move from Mecca to Jerusalem is a good omen to Muslims that Islam will reach Jerusalem and will spread fast and wide.

Do we know anything about the burak, the vehicle of the  journey, which I’ve read somewhere described as a winged horse? Is that true, or is it a wrong translation?

I found only one reference to Al-Buraaq in Al-Albaani’s book which he rated Hasan (OK). It describes it as a white, tall beast of burden. That’s all. All other references are either weak or fabricated.

I can’t find any authentic mention of it anywhere in the six acknowledged books of Hadeeth. If someone can, please reply.

The word Buraaq comes from the Arabic verb برق (bariqa) which means to appear suddenly and brightly and quickly disappear, like the English verb to flash. That is why lightning is called Al-Barq in Arabic.

Do Muslims believe in the Holy Spirit?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Quran refers to “the spirit of holiness” four times,

{2:87} And We did give Moses the scripture and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the spirit of holiness. Is it [not] so, that every time a messenger came to you (children of Israel) with what you do not desire, you grew arrogant and some [messengers] you belied and some you kill?

{2:253} Those messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others. Among them were those to whom God spoke, and He raised some of them in degree. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs, and We supported him with the spirit of holiness. If God had willed, those [generations] succeeding them would not have fought each other after the clear proofs had come to them. But they differed, and some of them believed and some of them disbelieved. And if God had willed, they would not have fought each other, but God does what He intends.

{5:110} [The Day] when God will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the spirit of holiness and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you the Book and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, This is not but obvious magic.”

{16:102} Say, “The spirit of holiness brought it down from your Lord in truth to affirm those who have believed and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims.”

It is that last verse that proves that the spirit of holiness is the archangel Gabriel, peace be upon him. He is most likely the angel who brought the news to Mary that she will bear Jesus and he is probably the angel who enabled, by God’s permission, all the miracles Jesus performed.

Angels having female names

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Chapter 53 of the Quran (The Star) has a strange verse. It says,
“Verily, those who believe not in the hereafter, name the angels with female name.” (53:27)

My questions:

1. Is it forbidden to give female names to angels?
2. What is the connection with believing in hereafter?
3. Is it a gender thing?

In order to understand a verse, you always need to study its context, the preceding and succeeding verses. Earlier in this chapter, (53:19-25), God ridicules the pagans’ idols, al-laat, al-uzza and manaat. They were given female names. Coming from people who used to bury their newborn daughters alive, it’s a truly strange belief. God tells us here that the pagans merely followed conjecture, whims and wishful thinking and that is what deniers of the hereafter do.

Then later, in 53:27-30, God tells us about how they do the same thing with angels. They name them as females, without knowledge but only conjecture and then tells us to “turn away from those who turn their backs on Our remembrance and do not want but this life!” (53:30). That’s the connection with the hereafter.

This has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with the belief system. Those people despised women yet they named angels and the idols they bow down to female names! They custom design God and religion as they see fit.

Why is Muhammad so special?

Friday, July 6th, 2007

God says in 2:253 that He has favored some prophets over others. He has that right! He made Muhammad, peace be upon him, the leader of all the messengers and prophets during the night journey (Israa’) to Jerusalem. God tells us that Muhammad, peace be upon him, will be the witness for or against all nations on the Day of Judgment (4:41). God tells us that He blesses the prophet and that His angels pray for him and so should we (33:56). Such high status is earned and is well placed as God says “God knows better where He places His message.” (6:124)

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the last and final prophet and Messenger of God, upon whom the last testament and scripture, the Quran, was sent down and preserved by God, a guidance to humanity for how best to connect with and please God till the Day of Judgment.

Did you know that the name Muhammad means “much praised”?

Why is God invisible?

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

Why is God invisible? If He were visible, everybody would believe in Him.

It is true that everybody would believe in God if they could see Him, but it is not true that they would obey Him. Case in point is Satan. Satan believes in God but has chosen to disobey His command. Angels are in total obedience to God not because they see Him but because they have no free will and thus they keep their original nature of submission to God.

It is also likely that Adam and Eve saw God when they lived in the Garden, but look what happened. Seeing is believing but seeing is not obeying.

In my humble opinion, the wisdom behind not seeing God is that seeing Him is the ultimate pleasure reserved in Paradise for the believers, as the Qudsi (holy) Hadeeth stated.