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Back to index   Eternity: What is Islam?
Part One

 
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Eternity: What is Islam?
Experts from the Masterpiece of Anwar Shaikh
Part One
Anwar Shaikh


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Hope Value

Nobody has ever exploited more successfully than the prophet Muhammad, the human mechanism of fear and favour. He knew that death is man's worst dread and eternity is his greatest desire. He presented these two opposite concepts with the mastery that has remained unsurpassed until our time. Further, as a patient in pain feels relieved to see a doctor irrespective of whether or not he can cure him, mankind is hypnotised by the person who claims to possess a supernatural remedy for all human ills. His promises of protection carry a hope value. The prophet provided that hope through his own agency as the divine messenger.


Mohammed the Prophet
(True Face of Mohammed)

For hope of everlasting life, man will frantically catch any straw to save himself from drowning but when the straw is presented as the oar of eternity under the dazzling hues of revelation; he holds it with the tenacity of faith, which defies reason, and rules of normal conduct. The stronger his faith the more exclusive his loyalty to the revelationist - at the expense of humanity. The revelationist who seeks personal glory through the imagination of his followers usually projects himself as a prophet or an incarnation of God.

Significance of Viceroyalty

Every prophet encounters a good deal of opposition from the people whose liberties he tries to curb by imposing new rules of conduct on them. He protests his innocence by declaring that he is only a vicar and claims that the message he delivers is not his, but God's.

Therefore, he has no axe to grind in it. People find it hard to believe on rational grounds because they know that the vicar or the messenger is not asking them just to believe in God but is stressing emphatically that unless they believe in him as well, their belief in God alone is of no avail to them because it will not save them from the leaping flames of hell.

Cult of Divinity

However, every community has a certain number of individuals who possess high moral, intellectual and administrative abilities but are credulous. The credulity of such persons is not unlimited; it is usually confined to a particular bias or susceptibility and may be the foundation stone of one's personality. This bias or susceptibility may be the inclination towards a faith or fallibility to the particular charm of its presenter. When such people are converted to the new faith, they rank as Apostles or Companions of the revelationist and mobilize their intellectual, political and administrative forces to drum up the divinity of their leader with tales of supernatural performances and sparkling miracles for creating a divine legend to enhance the emotional appeal that forms the crux of every religion. As time marches on there emerge new followers who seek divinity for themselves but lack the courage and inspiring skill of their founder to set up a new faith. However, they follow the same course of action: as he (the founder) projected himself the Vicar of God, they declare themselves to be his lieutenants. They are more easily accepted by the people who already believe in what they preach but with a greater fervour. Thus these new gurus invent more uncanny tales about the miraculous powers and nominous accomplishments of their founders to intensify the existing emotional appeal for the masses who become pawns in the chess game of their faith.

Muhammad, the Pivot of Salvation

The Prophet Muhammad of Arabia, declared at the age of forty that he was the Messenger of God; he was sent by the Almighty as a warner to frighten people so that they should believe in Him and do good works. However, belief in God alone and righteous deeds did not possess sufficient power to save them from hell because for the belief to be effective it must include Muhammad who had been appointed by God as His sole source of guidance which can be achieved through revelation only, and human deliberation and efforts play no part in it:

Say: "Bring a Book from God that gives better guidance than these, and follow it, if you speak truly . . . Surely God guides not the people of the evildoers . . ." (The Story 50).

Here the belief in Muhammad takes precedence over Allah (God) because those who do not follow Muhammad are evildoers and Allah does not guide them despite the fact that it is only the evildoers who need guidance!

Reality of Hell and Heaven

Having instituted his paramountcy as the foundation of the Moslem faith, it became easy for the Prophet to establish the credibility of hell. One must remember clearly that both hell and heaven are an Islamic reality, and not metaphorical statements because their descriptions are graphic and entry into these places as a reward or punishment is a binding promise on Allah. Muhammad activates' human instincts of fear and favour with a masterly description of heaven and hell:

". . . Therein they shall have what they desire
dwelling for ever; it is a promise binding
upon Allah, and of Him to
be required" (Salvation: 15).

Description of Hell

What is Hell?

a. The roaring fire of God lit
over the hearts
in stretching columns (The Backbiter).

b. "Surely those who disbelieve in Our signs - We will
roast them at a Fire; as soon
as their skins are completely burned, we shall
give them in exchange other skins, that they
may taste the torture. Surely God is
All-mighty, All-Wise" (Women: 55).

c. The dweller of hell:
"is given to drink of oozing pus,
the which he swallows, and can hardly follow
and death comes upon him from every side,
yet he cannot die; and still awaits him a
grim torture" (Abraham: 20).

d. ". . . As for the unbelievers,
for them garments of fire shall be cut
and there shall be poured over their heads
boiling water whereby whatsoever is in their abdomens
and their skins shall be melted; for them await
hooked iron rods;
as often as they desire in their anguish to come forth from it, they shall be
restored into it, and: "Taste the torture
of the burning!" (The Pilgrimage: 20).

e. The dwellers of hell shall eat of the Tree of Ez-Zakkoum
What is the Tree of Ez-Zakkoum,
"It is a tree that grows in the root of hell;
its spathes are as the heads of Satans
and they eat of it, and it fill their bellies,
then on top of it they have a brew of bong water
then their return is unto hell". (The Rangers. 60-65)
The theme of the Ez-Zakkoum is further continued in "Smoke: 45"
"Behold the Tree of Ez-Zakkoum
is the food of the wicked,
like molten copper, bubbling in the belly
like the bubbling water.
"Take him, and thrust him into the midst of Hell,
then pour over his head the torture of
boiling water!'

f. "Faces on that day humbled,
labouring, fatigued,
scorching as a boiling fountain,
no food for them but cactus thorn
unfastening, unsatisfying hunger". (The Enveloper)

Retributive Punishment

This description of hell hardly needs any comment from me except that the civilized man has come to the conclusion that punishment cannot be retributive; it must be reformative. Allah is the least interested in reforming the unbelievers. He is obsessed with revenge yet He calls Himself the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, All-pardoning, All-forgiving, All-gentle, All-Clement, and so on. These are His frequently repeated attributes though He also calls Himself "All-terrible".

What will you call the person whose desire for vengeance surpasses the wildest flight of imagination? What will you call a person who enjoys torture and is delighted by extreme severity? What will you call a person who is glad when other people feel sad?

Divine Unstability

It proves one thing beyond a shadow of doubt: Allah is subject to the spasms of happiness and unhappiness; when He is believed He is happy and when he is not believed He becomes extremely unhappy. He, obviously has a very unstable personality and thus cannot form the proper object of worship and adoration.

What is Islam?

Islam means "surrender", that is, Allah wants man to submit to Him under all circumstances. To secure man's total obedience, Allah is prepared to bribe when the threat of violence proves abortive. This is the reason that He offers man the choice between hell and heaven. Having studied the description of hell, we may now cast a glance at heaven:

Description of Paradise

a. Paradise is offered to a Moslem in exchange for total surrender:
"God has bought from the faithful themselves and their
belongings against the gift of paradise; they fight in the
way of God; they kill, and are killed . . ." (Repentance: 110).

b. Life in the paradise shall be as physical as it is on the
earth, and carries a special fascination to the Arabs living in
torrid and treeless surroundings:

"See, the inhabitants of Paradise today are busy in their merriments along with their spouses, reclining upon couches in the shade; therein they have fruits, and whatever they desire." (Ya Sin: 55).

c. What will the believers find in the Paradise?
". . for them is reserved a definite provision,
fruits and a great honour in the Gardens of Bliss
reclining upon couches arranged face to face,
a cup from a fountain being passed round to them,
white, a pleasure to the drinkers,
wherein no sickness is, neither intoxication
and with them wide-eyed maidens
flexing their glances
as if they were slightly concealed pearls" (The Rangers: 40-45).

Wide-eyed Beautiful Women

This is a highly poetic description of the female beauty whose intrinsic appeal is intensified by its ability to coax and allure with delicate bodily gestures. In fact the wide-eyed, pearl-like and ever-young houris (paradise women) versed in the art of flexing their glances present a spectacle of charm, which is often dreamt of, but seldom found on earth.

Maidens with Swelling Breasts

The fascination of the paradise is further augmented by the assurance given to the believers:

"Surely for the God-fearing awaits a place of security,
gardens and vineyards
and maidens with swelling bosoms . . ." (The Tiding: 30).

A View of Paradise

Even more alluring details of the beautiful houris with wide-eyes and springing breasts are to be found in "The All-Merciful" (45-75). For the sake of brevity and better understanding, I may paraphrase its contents: The Paradise is the sign of Allah's mercy. It is a garden of delight which abounds in trees, shade and gushing fountains where Lord's bounties consist of "reclining upon couches lined with brocade", and where the fruits of the gardens are nigh to gather. The good and comely houris who are as lovely as rubies and as beautiful as coral, are virgins: they have not been touched by any man or jinn. They are cloistered in pavilions where they recline on green cushions and attractive carpets, and the pavilions themselves are surrounded by green, green pastures profusely studded with fruit-bearing trees such as palms and pomegranates.

The splendour of the Paradise becomes even more dazzling when wine is made a part of the paradisiac habitation:

"Surely the pious shall be in bliss,
upon couches gazing;
you find in their faces the shining bliss
as they are offered to drink of a wine sealed
whose seal is musk - so after that let the strivers strive
and whose mixture is Tasnim
a fountain at which to drink those brought nigh". (The Stinters: 20-25).

Vessels of Silver and Beautiful Immortal Boys

Attractions of the Paradise keep multiplying themselves to assure the believers of the tremendous rewards which await them:

". . . God has . . . provided them radiancy and delight
and recompensed them for their patience
with a Garden, and silk;
therein they shall see neither sun nor bitter cold;
near them shall be its shades, and its clusters hung
meekly down,
and there shall be passed around them vessels of
silver, and large drinking cups of crystal,
crystal of silver measured very exactly,
And therein they shall be given to drink a cup whose
ingredient is a ginger;
therein a spring whose name is Salsabil
Immortal youths shall go about them;
when thou seest them, thou supposes" them
dispersed pearls
when you see them then you see the divine happiness
and a great kingdom.
Upon them shall be green clothing of silk
and brocade, they are embellished with
bracelets of silver, and their Lord shall
give them to drink a pure draught.
Behold this is a reward for you, and
your toiling is thanked" (Man: 10-25).

Purpose of Young Boys

The presence of the immortal young boys who are immune to the rigour of time, and the deliberate mention of their beauty which matches the radiance of scattered pearls, and the fact that they are dressed up like brides, makes one wonder about their real purpose.

The boys are again mentioned in the "Mount" (20): "While they hand therein a cup one to another wherein is no idle talk, no cause of sin, and there go round them youths, their own, as if they were concealed pearls".

Abundance of Houris and Boys

The Moslems believe that each of them shall be given seventy two houris. Here, the words "their own" show that in addition to the ever-young maidens, each faithful shall have his own boys. We must note that there will be "no cause of sin". Does this phrase convey the ordinary sense of the words or does it imply that nothing can create sin in paradise? It is a confusing issue and is made even more baffling by the fact that the boys have been repeatedly projected as a thing of physical beauty. However, it is better if its interpretation is left to the believers.

Since the Koran is addressed not only to the Arabs and Moslems but to the entire mankind, one is inclined to raise a few points about hell and heaven:

1. God desperately wants to be believed and worshipped by man. If it were not so, He would not offer the alternative of hell and heaven: the former amounts to blackmail and the latter constitutes a bribe which is a sin itself. A desperate God lacks stable nature and is, therefore, not worthy of submission.

2. Paradise is a form of temptation based on sex appeal. Its enormity is enhanced by the fact that the faithful will have no duties whatever, and all their time shall be taken up by merriments. Is sexual gratification the goal of existence?

3. The description of hell is contrary to Allah's claim of being merciful and compassionate.

Interpretation of Hell and Heaven

The educated Moslems evade this issue by declaring that hell and heaven are metaphorical descriptions and refer to psychological experiences. This cannot be true because Moslems believe that every word of the Koran is literally true. Secondly, they believe in an individual's physical resurrection on the Day of Judgement. Obviously, as in this life we want food and sex, the resurrected bodies will have similar needs which will be provided by the Paradise. If this were not true, the paradise would have no purpose at all.

Again, a metaphor is brief e.g. black as coal, white as milk, etc., whereas the Koranic description of the paradise is detailed and graphic.

Provision of the paradise is a promise binding on Allah and therefore it has got to be real and not metaphorical. Otherwise, He is just fooling the faithful.

Moreover, all Moslems believe in the physical existence of the paradise, and this is the main reason for their belief in the Koran. Without anticipation of houris and youths, the numbers of the Moslems shall dwindle dramatically.

Why will people deserve hell or heaven in the life-after-death? The Moslem scholars argue that man has been given free will, that is, the power to choose the right or wrong, and therefore, he qualifies for a reward or punishment. To prove that Islam is based on reason, they further argue that nobody will go to hell or heaven without a fair trial, which will be held on the Day of Judgement.

Rational though this statement looks on paper, it loses its glow of reason when subjected to a logical examination, and also disturbs the fundamental claim of the Koran as the Divine Book:

"What, do they not delve deeper into the Koran?
If it had been from other than God
certainly they would have found in it much
inconsistency" (Women: 80).

Mutazilites and Asharies

Before proceeding any further, let me state for better comprehension of the issue that the Moslem scholars started indulging in philosophic expression c.757. It became fashionable to discuss whether the Koran is eternal or created. The school known as the "Mutazilites" (the Seceders) denied the eternity of the Koran because it implied total predestination. The caliph Al-Mamun championed this interpretation. However, Abul-Hasan Al-Ashari (873-935) preached that Allah is the supreme sovereign and He does what He wills. He has predetermined every act and event and is the primary cause of everything that is or may happen.

Inconsistencies of Koran

The Mutazilites and the Asharies stood on the opposite sides of the fence. If the Koran is the basis of the argument, then the latter are right but their accuracy creates inconsistencies in the Koran. Let us review this situation with reference to:

a. Determinism, and

b. The Day of Judgement

Determinism

"Say, O God, Master of the Kingdom
You give the Kingdom whom you will,
and seize the Kingdom from whom you will,
you raise whom you will, and you
abase whom you will . . . you
are all-powerful . . .
you provide whomsoever you like limitlessly" (The House of Imran: 25).
"Whomsoever God will, He leads astray,
and whomsoever He will, He sets him
on a right path" (Cattle: 35 and 125)

". . . If God had willed, He would have
guided men all together" (Thunder: 30).

"It is not given to any soul to die, except by the
leave of God, at an appointed time" (The House of Imran: 135).

Allah and Vice

It is quite clear that everything is predestined by God. Why then the Day of Judgement? Obviously Allah has made people what they are, and has deliberately withheld guidance from those who have sinned.

Satan Accuses Allah

When we examine the doctrine of vice and virtue, Allah seems to be the sole and active cause of vice. In the myth of creation as described in El-Hijr (25-40), Iblis (Satan) accuses Allah openly for perverting him. He asks Allah for a respite until the Day of Judgement so that he can lead people astray as a revenge. Strange as it may seem, the most compassionate Allah grants this request to Satan so that he can help Allah to fill Gehenna (Hell) with people!

Satan, the Agent of Allah

Not only the perversion of Iblis (Satan) is a deliberate act of Allah but Iblis also acts as His agent in misleading mankind:

"Have you not seen how we sent the
Satans against the unbelievers, to
prick them?" (Mary: 85).
Yet the All-Merciful declares in the same Chapter that He would "drive the evildoers into Gehenna, herding".

Day of Judgement

Is there really any point in resurrecting people for trying them? A trial unless fair, is just a farce and the source of injustice. Is it right of me to blind someone and then accuse him for not being able to see? If it is Allah who is the cause of human perversion through Iblis or the creative design, then has He any reason to resurrect people for punishing and rewarding them? One must also remember that in Al Araf (178) Allah declares: "We have created most of the people and Jinn for Gehenna (Hell) only . . .". The Day of Judgement is an unjust principle and therefore below the dignity of God. The Prophet like the Christians, borrowed it fom Zarathustra. Dynamics of this doctrine become obvious when we realize that death is man's greatest fear, and the concept of resurrection gives him the hope of eternity. Having laid it down as one of the fundamental principles of the Islamic faith, the Prophet substituted himself for Jesus Christ and declared that he would share the Throne of Justice with Allah on the Day of Judgement; he would sit on the right hand side of God and exercise his intercessionary powers to damn or deliver people. Flocking to the prophet, who claimed to possess the divine stature, was quite natural for the ordinary mortals who had been frightened by the description of the most torturous hell. Is it not natural to shun the raging flames and run into the most luscious embraces of houris with musky bodies, swelling breasts and large restraining eyes?

Scene of Resurrection

At this juncture, it seems appropriate to describe the Islamic scene of the Day of Resurrection and Judgement:

Koran repeatedly assures people that they will be resurrected for the dispensation of justice according to the evidence that has been collected and recorded from birth to burial:

The Recorders

"He sends recorders over you till,
any one of you is visited
by death, our messengers take him
and they neglect not.
Then they are restored to God,
their protector, the true. Surely
His is the judgement; He is the
fastest of censors". (Cattle: 60)

Register of Deeds

Surely it is We who bring the dead to life
and write down what they have forwarded
and what they have left behind, everything
We have numbered in a clear register" (Ya Sin: 10).
"We have been registering all that you were doing" (Hobbling: 519).
Book of evidence
"With us a book recording" (Qaf: 1).

The Watchers

In Qaf, The Splitting and the Night Star, the Koran repeatedly says that God has appointed Watchers, i.e. two angels over every human; they record everything he does.

Significance of Evidence in Islam

On the Day of Judgement, everybody shall be presented with his book of record and told: "Read thy book" (The Night Journey: 10-15 and JO, also the Resurrection: 10).

The relevance of testimony is so vital to the Day of Judgement that besides the presentation of individual records, a person's own limbs such as tongue, hands, feet will give evidence about him! (Light: 20 and Distinguished: 15).

Doubting Arabs

Arabs found the concept of Resurrection hard to believe:

"What, when we are dust,
shall we indeed then be raised up again
in new creation" (Thunder: 5).

Resurrection as God's Promise

The Koran declared that disbelief in Resurrection shall be punished with hell, and positively asserted that Resurrection "is a promise binding on Him (Allah)" (The Bee: 40).

Islamic view of justice

The concept of justice as depicted by the Koran seems to be based on natural justice:

No Intercession

"and warn them against the Day of Judgement
when, stricken with extreme fear, the hearts are in the throats
and the evildoers have not one loyal friend,
no intercessor to be heeded" (The Believers: 15).

No Befriending

" . . before a day comes
wherein shall be neither haggling
nor befriending" (Abraham: 35).


Allah, the Sole Judge

". . judgement belongs not to any
but God. In Him I have put my trust;
and in Him let all put their trust
who put their trust" (Joseph: 65).


The Strange Turn

So far the Koranic statements conform to the principles of natural justice, but for lack of favour, do not seem to carry an effective appeal to the audience for conversion to Islam. Then the tone changes:

The Prophet Assumes Intercessionary Role

"Intercession will not avail Him
except for him to whom He gives leave" (Sheba: 20 also The Star: 25).
Gradually, the Prophet's intercessionary powers become the plenary powers:
"No! I swear . . .
truly this is the Word of a noble Messenger
having power, with the Lord of the Throne secure,
obeyed, moreover trusty" (The Darkening: 15).

Perversion of Justice

According to the Moslem belief, the Prophet will sit on the right hand side of God on the Throne of Justice and his intercession will be final. The hymnal poetry of Islam zealously sung by the believers make no apology about their belief that Allah cannot pardon anyone whom He likes but Muhammad can. They hold that the first element that ensures salvation is the belief in the Prophet.

Natural justice has always been based on deeds and not beliefs. What kind of justice is associated with the Day of Judgement? It makes fun of the concept of Justice because intercession is as alien to it as heat is to snow or as flying is to a reptile.

Is Physical Resurrection Possible?

The idea of physical resurrection also looks puerile. The modern scientists claim that man as a species has evolved over a period of ten billion years but on the Day of Judgement when the trumpet is blown, the dust and ashes of the dead will instantly resume their original form and present themselves for an unusual brand of justice which condemns most of them to an eternal hell without any regard to the righteousness of their deeds.

Man is so frightened of death that he will believe even in self-deception if it offers him a glimmer of hope to evade death.

Muhammad and Resurrection

However, it may not be a bad idea if the faithful remember that the Prophet himself was afraid of the Day of Judgement (Cattle: 15) and being a mortal was equally subject to Resurrection: "You are mortal; and they are mortal; then on the Day of Resurrection before your Lord you shall dispute" (The Companies: 30).

This verse throws an entirely different light on the role of Muhammad in relation to Resurrection! The Koran contains a multitude of contradictions. Let me give a few examples.

Koranic Contradictions

The Prophet Claimed:

"This Koran could not have been produced
apart from God . . ." (Jonah: 35) and stressed that "if it had been from other
than God, surely they would have found in it much inconsistency" (Women: 80).
We have just seen that Allah had predestined everything yet he holds people responsible for their actions. He wants to punish them with hell and reward them with heaven but both these concepts are below the dignity of the Universal God. Again, to enforce his judgement, He will resurrect the dead but His method and standard of judgement are quite contrary to the principles of natural justice. Finally, the doctrine of physical resurrection is far-fetched and irrational.

The Koran

In view of the above facts, one feels inclined to look into:

a. the purpose and
b. composition of the Koran.

The purpose of the Koran

The Koran has been revealed to guide mankind but it does not guide the wicked:

" . . Who is further astray than he who
follows his whim without guidance from
God? Surely God guides not the people
of the evildoers" (The Story: 50).
"God does not guide the evildoers" (The Table: 55).

Since the righteous require no correction, and it is only the evildoers who need guidance, the Koran, obviously, has no purpose.

Composition of the Koran

Regarding the composition of the Koran, we should remember:

". . . a Koran we have divided
for you to recite it to mankind
at intervals, and we have sent it down
piecemeal" (The Night Journey: 105).


Arab Objection

It means that the Koran was not revealed all at once but successively. The contemporaries of the Prophet argued that as his revelations were connected with certain occasions, they could not form God's Book. If the Koran were a Divine Book, it must have descended upon him as a whole. Its relationship with particular events, they held, proved that the Koran was Muhammad's own authorship which he pretended to be from Allah:

"The unbelievers say, 'Why has the Koran
not been sent down upon him all at once?" (Salvation: 30).
To stress the point Allah claims:
"Of course, We have sent the Koran and
of course, we are its guardian" (El-Hijr: 8).
". . . it is a glorious Koran,
in a guarded tablet" (The Constellation: 20).

"No man can change the words of God; and
there has already come to you some news
of the envoys" (Cattle: 124).

Muhammad declared that Allah had sent a prophet to every locality along with His Word. Especially, the Books of the Jews and Christians were divine revelations but had been interpolated and tampered with!

Word of God is incorruptible

One wonders if God's previous Books were corruptible, why did God have to protect the words of the Koran? One cannot say that God guards the Koran because it is His last Word: Jesus had a similar claim about His Word, yet Muhammad emphasized that it had been falsified. Again, if God must guard the Koran because it is His Word, He must have guarded the Old and New Testaments as well because they also were the Word of God.

Composition of Koran

Man is man only when he is a rational being and, thus, cannot be deprived of the rights that reason bestows upon him. Therefore, one is entitled to review critically even the Word of God for satisfying one's curiosity. The following points must be borne in mind when considering the composition of the Koran:

1. Muhammad claimed to be the Messenger of God; he declared that the Koran was the message of God who revealed it piecemeal at certain occasions.

2. Koran is not created and has always existed; it is only its revelation, which was made in terms of time.

3. Koran is the final expression of God's will and He will not send any further guidance or messengers.

4. The Koran promulgates the Law of God; it is complete, immortal, immutable and capable of guiding through all the situations, eternally.

5. There is no certainty that the whole text of the Koran was ever committed to writing during the lifetime of the Prophet. Nobody can make such a claim either. The Prophet was said to be illiterate. The fact that in the beginning, there were many hypocrites among his followers, it is likely that his messages had not been recorded exactly the way he might have dictated them. Being illiterate, he could not have known it. There is no proof that his famous amanuensis Zaid Ibn Thabit had acted for him right from the start of his apostolic ministry.

6. It is generally agreed that the first revelation (Sure XCVI) dates back to A.D. 610 and the last one was received shortly before the death of the Prophet on 8th June 632. Thus it took twenty two years to complete the revelation of the Koran. Again, the Koran was not compiled during the lifetime of the Prophet. As revelations gathered momentum they were written upon scraps of parchment and leather, flat pieces of stone, camel's ribs and shoulder-blades, and palm leaves. The fragments were never numbered and dated and were deposited in various receptacles without regard to any particular system.

These scattered fragments were compiled long after the death of the Prophet and the first authorised text appeared during the caliphate of Uthman C.660. It means that from the commencement of revelations in 610 to 660, it took fifty years to collect various bits and pieces of the Koran from different people and containers. One ought to remember that revelations were recorded not only by the appointed recorders but also by the members of the Prophet's company, i.e. the followers who assembled around him most of the time. Again, there were some followers who memorized the Koranic verses, and their memories also served as the record for the compilation of the Koran.

7. The 114 Suras or Chapters which constitute the Koran, lack chronological and rational sequence and thus most verses do not form a cohesive narrative to facilitate an easy understanding, especially to the layman to whom the Koran is addressed.

8. If Allah has accepted the responsibility of guarding the Koran, then it extends not only to words but its meanings as well.

9. Comprehensiveness is claimed to be the integral part of the composition of the Koran: the Moslems believe that there is nothing which has not been mentioned in the Koran, and this claim extends to astronomy, the physical laws of nature, scientific formulas and discoveries, medical and biological innovations, history and knowledge of the future events and anything else one can think of.

10. The Koran confirms the divine origin of the Old and New Testaments and exalts Moses and Jesus to the rank of a prophet.

In view of what I have said above, one comes to the following conclusions:

1a. Since the Koran was the message from Allah, and this is what made Muhammad the Messenger, his foremost duty was to compile it himself in the most orderly fashion. He, obviously, neglected this task which deserved the highest priority.

2a. If the Koran is not created and has always existed as it is, then all the events that it refers to, had been predestined. Therefore, it is futile to send a Messenger to argue for or against them. Thus, the Koran has no purpose and is quite unnecessary.

3a. If the purpose of revelation is to guide people, then it has to be a continuous and everlasting process because they need leadership all the time. Again, time is progressive and human culture keeps changing constantly. If revelation ceased after Muhammad, then it implies that the generations that follow him after 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 years must live at the same level as did Muhammad. This makes the Koran an unnatural book.

Christ and Mani also claimed that the revelation had ended with them, and did not want anyone else to be believed in as a Messiah or Messenger. It is like the power-hungry mundane rulers who want to rule every territory to the total exclusion of other monarchs. This is what makes revelation, the device of dominance.

4a. The Koran contains some eighty verses, which can be construed to contain the Islamic Law. They are confined to a very limited area and cannot extend to the vast reaches of life. This is the reason that the Shariah or the Islamic Law could not be introduced in its pure form in any part of the Moslem empire and they had to borrow from the Roman, Byzantinian and Persian legal systems.

The very nature of law makes it (the law) mortal, that is, laws become obsolete and irrelevant over a period of time and have to be replaced by new laws. Therefore, the Koranic Law which was revealed nearly 1,400 years ago cannot be immortal, comprehensive and everlasting. Its proof is found in the Koran itself:

"And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it . . ." (The Law: 100).

Further evidence of this is to be found in The Spoils: 65, The Bee: 100 and The Most High: 6.

If several verses had to be rescinded and replaced by others within the twenty years of the Prophet's ministry, then how come, the rest of the Koran can stay intact over a period of centuries and millennia?

5a. The Prophet's illiteracy and the fact that the whole of the Koran was never written down in his lifetime, are likely causes of omissions from, and additions to, the Koran.

6a. The facts that had been preserved haphazardly, when compiled after half a century must be liable to error by way of omission, addition, exaggeration or understatement. This state of affairs is confirmed by the fact that the abrogated verses, which should not form part of the Koran, are still there. Again, this is especially true because many of the Prophet's followers were hypocrites who intentionally wanted to harm Islam.

7a. The Koran lacks chronological order completely. The Prophet received his first revelations when he was in Mecca and the last ones came down to him during his residence in Medina. The compilers omitted the chronological sequence completely and arranged Suras in their order of length. The Koran is arranged back to front and the Western Scholars have called it "history in reverse order". This is the reason that an ordinary believer cannot comprehend it readily despite the Koranic claim that Allah has made it "of easy understanding". If Allah has not thought it fit to guard the sequence of the Koran, which is vital to its true preservation and understanding, He cannot be expected to guard its words. I am referring to the pre-Uthman era which covers a period of fifty years. There is no doubt that since Uthman's authorization, the words of the Koran have suffered no change, whatever.

8a. Of course, words have their significance but of much greater importance are their meanings. If word "orange" comes to mean apple or banana, then the preservation of its letters, spellings and pronunciation ceases to have any significance at all. This is exactly what has happened to the Koran. The words are the same but different scholars stand miles apart in interpreting them. If it were not so, Moslems would not be divided into so numerous irreconcilable sects. Has Allah really guarded the Koran?

9a. If everything, as the Moslems claim, has been described in the Koran, they would have been the most advanced nation of the world because all they would have to do would be to look into the Koran to find out the remedy for cancer and the formulas for the atom bomb and space control. This has obviously not happened. It is a pity that they declare the existence of such knowledge in the Koran only when non-Moslem scientists have made them public! It is a tragedy of Islam that the Moslems look for things in the Koran which are not supposed to be there.

10a. If Prophets like Moses and Jesus were needed before Muhammad, they should be needed after him as well because life goes on varying all the time. If the earlier divine books could be tampered with, the Koran being a similar book cannot escape falsification. And falsification does not have to be wilful it can happen quite naturally by way of inadvertent addition or deletion.

As mentioned under 4a and supported by the quotations from The Cow, The Spoils, The Bee and the Most High, the Prophet was liable to forget certain verses, which could not have been recorded. This amounts to omission; replacing them with new and better verses constitutes revision, which is against the Koranic claim that it is immortal and immutable.

Finally, as a footnote to the above observations, I may add that there are several narratives in the Koran which are not attested by the facts of history. Let me give you two examples:

1. In the cave (80-95) the Koran has portrayed Alexander, The Great (Dhool Karnain) as a prophet and a monotheist. He was nothing of the kind. Knowing full well that Philip of Macedonia was his father, he claimed to be the son of the chief Egyptian god Amon.

After conquering the Persian Empire, he demanded deification and was acknowledged and worshipped as a god in many countries. Again, the Koran is not aware of the story of Alexander's retreat from India. Nor has history recorded that he built any wall of iron and brass to keep the imaginary Gog and Magog at bay. These facts are more relevant to the Chinese Wall but Alexander had not put his foot on the Chinese soil.

2. In Chapter XXXI, headed as Lokman, the Koran depicts Lokman as if he were a true Moslem who practiced Monotheism and condemned shirk, that is worshipping someone else in association with God.

Alcmaeon was a student of Pythagoras who established a school of natural philosophy at Crotone in southern Italy. Known to the east as Lokman Hakeem or Lokman the Wise or Lokman the Physician, he earned this reputation for investigating the animal structure; he distinguished arteries from veins, established brain as the center of intellect, discovered optic nerve, and because of his insight into the development of embryo, came to be acknowledged as the founder of embryology.

But Lokman the Wise was not a monotheist; he was a polytheist and an idolater!

Nature of Koranic Law

Having briefly considered the purpose and composition of the Koran, one is inclined to look into the nature of the Koranic Law.

The Koran clearly lays down its fundamental principle of law: "(O Prophet) you shall find no change in the law of God" (The Confederates: 61).

I must point out that the "Law of God" has also been interpreted as the "Way of God" and the "Custom of God". As Moslems believe that the Koran is the Law and it is unchangeable, it makes no difference whatever, whether we translate the original verse as the Law of God, the Way of God or the Custom of God.

Equality at Law

The second principle of the Koranic Law declares that nobody is above the law and it equally applies to the Prophet himself:

"Follow you what has been revealed to you
from your lord;" (Cattle: 105).
Allah commands the Prophet:
"and this (Koran) is My Path, straight; so do you
follow it, and follow not other paths
lest they mislead you from His path" (Cattle: 150).
One cannot underestimate the warning given in this verse yet we find it difficult to reconcile some of the prophet's deeds with the Koranic Law. Let me give you just two examples:
". . . marry such women as seem good to you, two,
three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable,
then only one, or what your right hand owns;
so it is likelier you will not be one-sided" (Woman: 2).
This verse allows polygamy on two conditions:

a. A Moslem can have up to four wives provided

b. b. He is equitable, and does not show partiality to any of them.

Essence of Law

It is the essence of jurisprudence that unity of the law is preserved under all circumstances i.e. there cannot be two laws, one for the mighty and one for the meek, and secondly, a law-giver is required to observe his own laws while he allows them to stand. This is especially true in the case of the Prophet because every word of the Koran is addressed to him for direct compliance.

History has recorded that the Prophet did not pay any attention to either of these rules because:

When he died he left eight widows and one Christian concubine, and He was partial to Aisha. His deep inclination towards Aisha, the youngest wife, caused a good deal of discord amongst his other wives. The following verses testify to this fact:

"It is possible that, if he divorces you
Allah will give him in exchange wives
better than you, women who have surrendered,
believing, obedient, penitent, devout,
giving to fasting, who have been married
and virgins too" (The Forbidding: 5).

The furore that the Prophet's partiality caused, is well portrayed by this verse: the attitude of his wives bordered on rebellion and he threatened to divorce them and replace them with better wives. When this threat did not prove effective, Allah sent down a special law which applied to the Prophet's wives exclusively:

"Wives of the Prophet, whoever among you
commits a gross indecency, for her
the punishment shall be doubled; that is
easy for God.
But whomsoever of you surrenders to God and His
Messenger, and does righteousness, We shall pay
her wage twice over; We have prepared for her
a generous reward.
Wives of the Prophet, you are not as other
women. If you are God-fearing, be not
vile in your speech, so that he in whose
heart is sickness may be lustful; but speak
honorable words" (The Confederates: 30)

This law reveals not only the matrimonial background including "vile speech" of Prophet's wives but also lays down that if the Prophet's wives obey him, they will be entitled to twice the reward of an ordinary wife and if they disobey him they will attract double the punishment! Why? Draw your own conclusions.

There cannot be duality in a true law because equal application is its essence. Without this virtue, it cannot guarantee justice, its main purpose. Yet the Koranic law provides duality to justify the Prophet's deeds:

"You can suspend any of your wives as you will
and receive any one of them as you will; and whomsoever
you desire of those whom you have set aside,
it is no sin for you; now it is likelier they will be
comforted and not grieve, and everyone of them
will be well pleased with what you give her" (The Confederates: 50).

As already stated, the basic condition of polygamy is that the husband is equitable to all his wives and does not practice partiality. But here Allah has given special dispensation to the Prophet who can suspend any of his wives as he pleases but his followers can't!
One must remember that the Koran projects Muhammad as the model for all the faithful. If the Prophet can't practice his own laws, how can they be binding on the believers? Next page

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