Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Category

Answers to quizzes 5-10

Monday, December 31st, 2012

See if your answers to quizzes 5-10 match these:

5. Noah said it to his son who did not accept his message and thought that climbing a mountain will save him from the Great Flood. It is from verse 11:42.

6. Shu`ayb’s (Jethro’s) daughter said it to her father, suggesting to him that he hire Moses as his assistant. It’s from verse 28:26.

7. Abraham said it to God out of curiosity and fascination only. It is from verse 2:260.

8. Moses said it to God. God told him that he couldn’t possibly see him and then showed him why. It is from verse 7:143.

9. A host from Solomon’s court said it to the Queen of Sheba who was visiting him in Jerusalem. It is from verse 27:42.

10. Jesus says it to God on the Day of Judgment. It is from verse 5:117.

Questions from a Christian

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I read the Quran over three years ago and I’ve asked these questions about Islam before and did not get an answer. Maybe you can answer them?

  • Why is Mohammed called a Prophet when he has apparently not prophesied anything?

The Quran has plenty of prophesies. Did you actually read it, or did you just skim through it?

  • Why is the Quran such a small book after 23 years of revelation?

Teachings that guide humanity to truth and justice are simple. They do not take up many pages. What takes up pages is the correction of false doctrines that people keep developing, which lead them astray from the straight path.

  • WHY, do Muslims think they need to pray to Mecca when God is everywhere and actually the earliest discovered mosques were directed towards Palestine?

Muslims don’t think that; God told them that they must. Mecca is the direction of prayer commanded to all the Prophets. Jews and Christians who prayed toward Jerusalem did that in violation of God’s orders. God never ordered any people to direct their prayers toward Jerusalem. One of the primary objectives of the Quran is to restore the laws of God which people keep changing.

If a Muslim cannot tell which direction is Mecca, he is allowed to pray in the direction he thinks it is, precisely because God is everywhere. The uniformity of the direction is intended symbolism to unite Muslims toward the One True God.

  • Why do Muslims and many other religious people think the enemy is other people?

Most Muslims don’t think so. The enemy is people who fight us. Everybody else is a brother or sister in humanity, which the Quran instructs us to get to know.

  • What NEW Wisdom (no scientific knowledge is not the same as wisdom so) is in the Quran that was not already in the holy bible?

The New Testament reversed many teachings of the Torah and added blasphemous dogma. The Quran came, in part, to restore the original teachings of the Torah and the Gospel which the Jews and the Christians changed.

  • WHY is the Koran supposed to be only beautiful in Arabic?

Because any translation is a human effort, while the Quran is divine providence.

  • WHY IS Mohammed not in the line from Noah down through Solomon to Jesus not from the same line as any other prophet?

He is from the same line. He is a descendant of Ishmael and Abraham, who trace back to Shem, Noah and Adam.

But what if he wasn’t? What difference does that make? A prophet is not respected because of his lineage, but rather because of his message.

  • WHY, when the Bible is apparently a complete Book about this eternity and this universe and the whole history of life did we even need an extra book?

Because the Bible contains a mix of what God revealed and what people changed, added and deleted. The Quran confirms what was from God and corrects what was from people.

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.

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 did God change the prayer direction?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Why did God change the direction of prayer (Qibla)? Did He just change His mind?

God can do anything He wants. “Change mind” is something that applies to creatures only, not God. When God orders you to do something then orders you to stop doing it and do something else, He’s not changing His mind; He’s testing your obedience. This is exactly the reason God gives in the Quran, “And We did not let the direction (Qibla) that you used to face but to know who would follow the messenger and who would turn his back.” (2:143)

Plain and simple. No need to be confused. God further adds, “It is a big matter except for those whom God has guided.” (2:143) It was indeed a big event, a tough test of faith.

That said, there is no evidence that the facing of Jerusalem in prayer was by order from God. It was simply the choice of the people of Medina and the Prophet (PBUH) did like them when he migrated from Mecca to Medina. There was no specific direction of prayer until about eighteen months later when the order was revealed in 2:144.

I also find it fascinating that the main detractors were the Jews of Medina. It’s understandable that they would be upset that Jerusalem was no longer the direction of prayer, but God tells us that they knew from the Torah that the direction of prayer is Mecca,
“And verily those who have been given the Book know that it is the truth from their Lord. God is not unaware of what they do.” (2:144)