Sunday, 29 January 2017

Did the Slaughter of the Innocents Happen?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Catholic Church commemorates the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents on the 28th December.  The Slaughter of the Innocents is the biblical account of the infanticide committed by Herod the Great.  In the Gospel according to Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all male children, below the age of two, in the vicinity of Bethlehem, to secure his throne from the infant “King of the Jews”.

Matthew 2:16-18
16 Meanwhile, when he found that the wise men had played him false, Herod was angry beyond measure; he sent and made away with all the male children in Bethlehem and in all its neighbourhood, of two years old and less, reckoning the time by the careful enquiry which he had made of the wise men.  17 It was then that the word spoken by the prophet Jeremy was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and great mourning; it was Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because none is left.”

This last portion is in reference to this line from the Book of Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:15
15 Now, the Lord Says, “A voice is heard in Rama, of lamentation and bitter mourning; it is Rachel weeping for her children, and she will not be comforted, because none is left.

The canonical evidence that such an event occurred is found only in the Gospel according to Matthew.  This casts great doubt on the historicity if this event.  In fact, most recent biographers of Herod deny that the event occurred.  The Roman Jewish historian, Josephus, did not mention it in his Antiquities of the Jews, even though he recorded many of Herod’s misdeeds and failing.  Josephus reported Herod’s murder of three of his own sons, his mother-in-law, and his second wife.  But no such massacre.  I think, like many passages in the Gospel according to Matthew, this could be another creative device to link the story of the Messiah (a.s.) to events in the Old Testament, regardless of their authenticity, or no matter how tenuous.

Other than the Gospel according to Matthew, the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents was also recorded in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.  The Protoevangelium of James is also known as the Gospel according to James, or the Infancy Gospel according to James.  This apocryphal gospel is thought to have probably written between 145 to 150 CE, and expands, backwards in time, the infancy stories contained in the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke.  It also presented a narrative concerning the birth and upbringing of Mary (a.s.) herself, somewhat similar, in parts, to that which is found in the Qur’an.  It is also the oldest source to assert the perpetual virginity of Mary (a.s.).  The document presented itself as written by James (r.a.), the brother of Jesus (a.s.), beginning with, “I, James, wrote this history in Jerusalem.”  It is established that James (r.a.) most certainly did not write this.

This gospel excluded the Flight into Egypt, and switched the protagonist of the story regarding the slaughter to the infant John the Baptist (a.s.).  The passage went:

And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them, “Slay the children from two years old and under.”  And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled him, and put him into an ox-stall.  And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him.  And there was no place of concealment.  And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, said, “O mountain of God, receive mother and child.”  And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her.  And a light shone about them, for an angel of the Lord was with them, watching over them.

The first non-Christian reference to the massacre was only recorded four centuries later by Macrobius, his Saturnalia: “When he heard that among the boys in Syria under two years old whom Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered killed, his own son was also killed, he said, ‘It is better to be Herod’s pig, than his son.’”  “He” here, referred to Emperor Augustus.  The joke here being that Herod, a Jew, could not eat pork, so pigs were safe from him,

The story became ridiculous in later Christian tradition; Byzantine liturgy estimated 14,000 “holy Innocents”, an early Syrian list of saints stated the number at 64,000, while Coptic sources raised the number to an incredible 144,000 and placed the event on 29th December.  Taking the smallest number here, assuming infants at 2% of the population, in line with demographics of the time, that would place the population of Bethlehem and surrounding villages at 700,000, dwarfing Jerusalem at that time.  If 144,000 infants were killed, that would raise the population to a staggering 7.2 million.  And how could Herod get away with slaughter of children on that scale and not have the population descend into outright revolt?

In contrast, the Catholic Encyclopaedia suggested that these numbers were inflated, and that the probable death toll was between six and twenty children killed in the town itself, with perhaps a dozen or so more in the surrounding areas.  These are more plausible numbers.  If that were so, it could also explain why the Slaughter of the Innocents was not recorded by Josephus or any other historians.  In an age of violence, twenty infants murdered is a mere footnote.  The Slaughter of the Innocents could have happened, or it could have been made up later to retroactively fulfill a prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah.  In any case, it developed a significance later.


Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Lineage & Character of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from “The Prophet Muhammad Musthafa the Elect (s.a.w.),” by Shaykh Osman Nuri Topbas.

Allah (s.w.t.) Brought His Beloved to the realm of being by Filtering him through the noblest and purest of lineages beginning with the first page of the book of humanity.  Bestowing upon this lineage, a pre-eminence above others in many respects, the Almighty Made each and every ancestor of the Prophet (s.a.w.), a person honoured and respected during his or her time.

Beginning with Adam (a.s.), the first man and prophet, an oath was taken from every single prophet to believe in the Final Messenger (s.a.w.), and disclose the news of his coming, which has been bolstered by many incidents alluding to the awaited arrival.  Allah (s.w.t.), thus Introduced His Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.), whom He was to Grant to humanity, with all His Signs, easing the path for His right-minded servants to affirm their faith in him once he appeared.

By leaving him an orphan without parents, the Almighty Himself Undertook the training of the gracious soul exclusively, Imparting unto him the best of conduct.  Giving him the sour taste of the greatest vulnerability and helplessness one can endure, the Glorious Enabled him to reach the apex of mercy, compassion and altruism with regard to the people he was to be entrusted with in the near future.

Protecting His Beloved (s.a.w.) from the repugnance of the Age of Ignorance, the Almighty did not allow even the slightest blot of vice to mar the clean sheet that was his life, ensuring thereby the manifestation of the zenith of virtue in his conduct.

People knew him for his virtues of trustworthiness, dependability, sincerity, generosity, nobility and loyalty, and preeminent features like intelligence and prudence, placing their trust in him in all their affairs.

The Almighty Combined in him, all things beautiful and the most exemplary attributes, conceded even by his enemies.  It was they who, after all, had named him “al-Amin”, “the Trustworthy”, well before the time of prophethood.  The arbitration of the Blessed Messenger (s.a.w.) at the Ka’bah, testifies to his inimitable position in the eyes of Makkan notables.

It never even crossed their minds that there could be any untruth to his words or that his moral fibre could harbour any misgivings.  They never doubted the sublime level of his sincerity whenever his aid was sought and things depended on him for the better.

Character wise, the Almighty had Created the Blessed Prophet (s.a.w.) in the most excellent manner and ensured he lived accordingly, as he was going to constitute the best example for the rest of mankind and steer them onto the path of guidance.  In essence, man becomes attracted to figures of exceptional character, and not to those in possession of worldly goods.  However praiseworthy geniuses are, people only follow those with exemplary disposition.


Seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a Waking State

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah’s response when he was asked, “Is it possible to physically see the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state and what is the reality of this?”

Seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state is not something based on the issues of the shari’ah that causes a positive or negative change in faith.  Rather, it is an issue based on real life events, and causes an immense amount of responsibility for the one that claims it.  Seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state comes as a glade tiding and as a miracle.  It does not contradict that he has passed from this life nor does it mean that one has become one of his companions; in actuality nothing is and can be based on it.

After these introductory remarks, to analyse this issue we must first ask, “Is this rationally possible or not?”  That which is rationally impossible is that one entity be present in two locations.  Seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state, though, does not mean him being present in two locations as his location is the Rawdhah, where he is alive in his grave praying and being intimate with Allah (s.w.t.) as is the case with all the prophets and Messengers in their graves.  Anas (r.a.) reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The prophets are alive in their graves praying.”  Also, there is the statement of the Prophet (s.a.w.), “I passed by Moses on the Night of Ascent near the red dune and he was standing praying in his grave.”

Seeing him in a waking state is not something that is limited to the saint seeing his current state in his grave.  This is something that the intellect does not refuse.  Likewise, this is aided by textual proof as it is narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) was delivering a sermon when Allah (s.w.t.) revealed to him the state of Sariyyah (r.a.), as a miracle to him, while the latter was in Nahawand, in Persia.  ‘Umar (r.a.) called out, “O Sariyyah the mountain, the mountain!” and Sariyyah (r.a.) actually heard this.  As long as this is something that can happen to other than the Prophet (s.a.w.), then it is not something that is restricted to ‘Umar ibn Khaththab (r.a.), or the companions.  Likewise, that which is seen can be Sariyyah (r.a.) or otherwise.

The vision can be an actual vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.), meaning that one sees his actual state in the Rawdhah so one sees an image of this and this image is from the imaginal realm.  This results from immense love and contemplation on the person of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  A person can have many images of himself if the plains of reflection are many such as a mirror.

There is also a clear hadits indicating the permissibility of seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.), who said he heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) say, “Whomsoever sees me in their dreams, they will see me in a waking state, and Satan does not imitate my person.”  The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) statement, “they will see me in a waking state,” is an indication of the permissibility of seeing him during one’s life.  Restricting this to mean seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Resurrection is a stretch for two reasons: one, all people will see the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Resurrection, those who have seen him in dreams and others, and two, the hadith itself gives no indication of restriction of the meaning, therefore for us to restrict it is false.

The issue of seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in waking states was asked during the time of Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.), who composed a treatise on it entitled, “Enlightening Darkness Concerning Seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) & the Angels.”  He said, in the beginning, “There have been many questions regarding those of spiritual states who see the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state.  Those who have no firm grounding in knowledge have exaggerated in denouncing this act and acting surprised upon hearing it claiming that it is impossible. Therefore, I composed this treatise.”  Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) went on to provide the proof text regarding the possibility of seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state and hearing his voice as well as the voice of the angels.

Imam ibn Hajr al-Haystami (r.a.) said, “This matter has been denied by some and upheld by others who are correct.  This has been mentioned by those amongst the righteous who are not found blameworthy.  As well as reported in the hadits found in Swahih al-Bukhari, ‘Whoever has seen me in their sleep will see me in a waking state.’ by his eyes, or his heart.  The meaning, that this is a reference to the Day of Reckoning, is a stretch as there is no point in constricting the meaning to this as all of us will see the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Reckoning, those who have seen him during sleep and those who have not.

ibn Abi Jamrah, in his commentary on the ahadits he selected from the collection of al-Bukhari, held this particular hadits to have a general meaning of both during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) life and after.  This vision being for the one who is able to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and others.  He said, ‘Whoever claims that this hadits has restricted by the Prophet (s.a.w.) has deviated.’  He went on to say that anyone who denies this denies the trustworthiness of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Ability of Allah (s.w.t.) and is a denier of the miracles of the saints which have been confirmed by the sound proofs of the sunnah.”

The noble scholar, Imam an-Nafrawi al-Maliki (r.a.) wrote, “It is possible to see the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state as well as in one’s sleep by consensus of the ahadits masters.  The debate is, however, whether one sees his noble essence or an image of it.  The first is the opinion of some, while the second is held by al-Ghazali, al-Qarafi, al-Yafi’i, and others.  The first opinion is supported by the fact the Prophet (s.a.w.) is the lamp and light of guidance and the sun of the gnosis.  Therefore, as one sees the light, the lamp, and the sun distinctly, and what is seen is a body of the sun caused by its accidents, likewise the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) noble body.  Therefore, nothing leaves his body in his grave, rather Allah (s.w.t.) Removes the veils so one can see him in his location no matter his location, be it east or west.  Or the veils are kept but made transparent so as not to veil what is behind them.  What al-Qarafi has argued, however, is that seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a night vision is accomplished by the heart, which is not blocked by the aspects of sleep.  Therefore, the vision is through one’s inner perception, not one’s actual vision.  The proof of this is that even a blind person can see him.”

Some people have claimed that they have seen and met the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state such as Imam ibn Abi Jamrah (r.a.) and others.  Their proof is the well-known hadits, “Whoever sees me in their sleep will see me in a waking state.”  The person that denies this is truly at a great loss since if he is amongst those who deny the miracles of the saints, then researching this matter is entirely lost as he has denied the confirmed sunnah.  The teacher of our teachers, Imam al-Laqani (r.a.) addressed all these matters in his didactic poem, Sharh Jawharat at-Tawhid.

Imam ibn al-Hajj (r.a.), in his Madkhal, wrote, “Some have claimed that they have actually seen the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state.  However, this is a narrow happening and those who can claim this are few and require a level of purity that is rare in this age; rather, it is near extinction.  We do not, however, deny it from happening to those whom God protects in their outer and inner states.”

Shaykh ‘Ilish (r.a.) even spoke of seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state as a cause to reinforce the opinions of the scholars.  He said, quoting Imam ash-Sha’rani (r.a.), “I heard my shaykh, ‘Ali al-Khawasw say, ‘According to the people of gnosis and insight without exception, nothing that the mujtahid a’immah say can ever contradict the shari’ah.  How can what they say stray from the shari’ah when they have examined and weighed their words with the Qur’an and sunnah and the statements of the companions as well as their meeting the Messenger of God and asking him concerning all the issues regarding proofs they have come across.  They would ask him, ‘Is this from your statement, O Messenger of God?’ in a waking state and orally.

Likewise, they would ask him concerning everything related to the Qur’an and sunnah before incorporating it into their books, making it religious knowledge by which they worship God with and they would ask him, ‘O Messenger of God we have understood such and such from your statement in hadits such and such, are you content with this or not?’ They would act according to his statements and indications.  Whosoever questions the gnosis and insight of the a’immah and their meeting with the Messenger of God from the realm of the soul, we shall say to them, ‘This is from the miracles of the saints.’’”

From the above discussion, we can see that the pious seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in waking states indeed occurs.  There is no rational or scriptural opposition to this; however, this door is precious and not open to everyone.  It is incumbent on the one who sees the Prophet (s.a.w.) in this manner to not relate it to those who cannot understand it and therefore lead to them denying the possibility altogether.  Speaking to people with that which they can understand and comprehend is better and Allah (s.w.t.) is Most High, all Knowledgeable.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Wishing "Happy Chinese New Year" is Now Haram?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

It has to be asked, what good is MUIS’ Asatidzah Recognition Scheme, when instead of helping the Muslims by accrediting scholars, it is used as a means to normalise extreme ideas by giving Wahhabis legitimacy?  According to this group, which lists MUIS accredited scholars, even wishing the Chinese, “Happy Lunar New Year” is kufr.  This is from their web site’s metadata, and is shared around by the usual suspects.

What will MUIS do about this?  Absolutely nothing.  Just like they did nothing about Murad Said saying celebrating National Day is haram, and how we should kill apostates.  He is still on the ARS, and still teaching at various mosques.  Just like they did nothing about Rasul Dahri all these years, despite the fact he radicalised Mas Selamat and taught the same things all these years.  People, including myself, have written in and called in, and they either claimed they cannot do anything, or they do not know.







Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Imam ibn al-Hajj (r.a.) on the Vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a Waking State

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ibn al-Hajj (r.a.), in his Madkhal, wrote, “Some have claimed that they have actually seen the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state.  However, this is a narrow happening and those who can claim this are few and require a level of purity that is rare in this age; rather, it is near extinction.  We do not, however, deny it from happening to those whom God protects in their outer and inner states.”


Imam an-Nafrawi al-Maliki (r.a.) on the Vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a Waking State

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The noble scholar, Imam an-Nafrawi al-Maliki (r.a.) wrote, “It is possible to see the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state as well as in one’s sleep by consensus of the ahadits masters.  The debate is, however, whether one sees his noble essence or an image of it.  The first is the opinion of some, while the second is held by al-Ghazali, al-Qarafi, al-Yafi’i, and others.  The first opinion is supported by the fact the Prophet (s.a.w.) is the lamp and light of guidance and the sun of the gnosis.  Therefore, as one sees the light, the lamp, and the sun distinctly, and what is seen is a body of the sun caused by its accidents, likewise the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) noble body.  Therefore, nothing leaves his body in his grave, rather Allah (s.w.t.) Removes the veils so one can see him in his location no matter his location, be it east or west.  Or the veils are kept but made transparent so as not to veil what is behind them.  What al-Qarafi has argued, however, is that seeing the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a night vision is accomplished by the heart, which is not blocked by the aspects of sleep.  Therefore, the vision is through one’s inner perception, not one’s actual vision.  The proof of this is that even a blind person can see him.”


Imam al-Haystami (r.a.) on the Vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a Waking State

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Regarding the vision of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a waking state, Imam ibn Hajr al-Haystami (r.a.) said, “This matter has been denied by some and upheld by others who are correct.  This has been mentioned by those amongst the righteous who are not found blameworthy.  As well as reported in the hadits found in Swahih al-Bukhari, ‘Whoever has seen me in their sleep will see me in a waking state.’ by his eyes, or his heart.  The meaning, that this is a reference to the Day of Reckoning, is a stretch as there is no point in constricting the meaning to this as all of us will see the Prophet (s.a.w.) on the Day of Reckoning, those who have seen him during sleep and those who have not.

ibn Abi Jamrah, in his commentary on the ahadits he selected from the collection of al-Bukhari, held this particular hadits to have a general meaning of both during the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) life and after.  This vision being for the one who is able to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and others.  He said, ‘Whoever claims that this hadits has restricted by the Prophet (s.a.w.) has deviated.’  He went on to say that anyone who denies this denies the trustworthiness of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Ability of Allah (s.w.t.) and is a denier of the miracles of the saints which have been confirmed by the sound proofs of the sunnah.”


Quora Answer: Would You Allow Muhammad (s.a.w.) to Marry Your 6 Year Old Daughter?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


Question: If, today, Muhammad (s.a.w.) comes to your home and says he wants to marry your 6-year-old daughter, then what would you do?

Answer: There are a lot of assumptions here, since this is a leading question.

Firstly, in that unlikely scenario, the answer is obviously “no”.

Secondly, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is not going to people’s houses to ask for their hand in marriage.  In fact, a look at the sirah, the story of the Prophet (s.a.w.), there is actually not a single instance where the Prophet (s.a.w.), out of his own volition, went and looked for anybody’s hand in marriage.

Thirdly, if this is in reference to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) marriage to ‘Aishah (r.a.), the circumstances are disputed.  There are those who do believe that they were married when she was 6 years old, and the marriage was consummated when she was 9.  The understanding was that this was a tribal society in an age where the life expectancy was much lower and puberty came much earlier – nature compensates.  This is a feature of all primitive societies with reduced life spans.  But again, this is also disputed.  Here are some points to ponder below.

Abu Bakr (r.a.) married twice, and fathered four children, before the beginning of the Revelation, at least thirteen years before the Hijrah: ‘Abdullah (r.a.), Asma’ (r.a.), ‘Abd ar-Rahman (r.a.), and ‘Aishah (r.a.).  This is uncontested and well-known to the Muslims.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) was betrothed to Jubayr ibn Muth’im ibn ‘Adi (r.a.), before Abu Bakr (r.a.) accepted Islam in the first year of Revelation, twelve to thirteen years BH.  This is uncontested.  When Abu Bakr (r.a.) planned to go to Abyssinia during the fifth year of Revelation, eight or nine years BH, Muth’im (r.a.) broke off the engagement because Abu Bakr (r.a.) had accepted Islam.  This is uncontested.

‘Aishah (r.a.) remembered the Revelation of a verse known to have been Revealed in the fifth year of the Revelation, or before, eight to thirteen years BH.  This is uncontested.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) was betrothed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) two years after the death of Khadijah (r.a.), a year BH.  This is uncontested.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) did not accompany her father and the Prophet (s.a.w.) during the Hijrah, but arrived in Madina later.  She became so ill that all of her hair fell out.  This is uncontested.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) moved in with the Prophet (s.a.w.) a year or two AH, or two to four years after her betrothal.  This is unclear from the various reports, which give different time periods, but all are agreed as to the general time frame.  ‘Aishah (r.a.) was widowed in 11 AH.  This is uncontested.  She was a widow for about forty years and passed away on 50 AH.  This is uncontested.

Among the people who report these facts is one Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, the grandson of Asma’ (r.a.) and grand-nephew of ‘Aishah (r.a.), who lived in Madina for 71 years and then moved to Iraq; he also reported that ‘Aishah (r.a.) passed in 50 AH.  This is uncontested.

‘Aishah’s (r.a.) older sister, Asma’ (r.a.) was ten years older than ‘Aishah (r.a.).  Asma’ (r.a.) was 27 at the time of the Hijrah, making ‘Aishah (r.a.) 17.  This is uncontested.  Asma’ (r.a.) passed away at the age of 100 in 73 AH.  23 years earlier, when ‘Aishah (r.a.) passed away, Asma’ (r.a.) was 77.  This is uncontested.

Thus, based on simple mathematics, ‘Aishah (r.a.) was 67 when she passed away in 50 AH, seventeen at the time of the Hijrah, sixteen at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet (s.a.w.), and nineteen when she moved in with him.  This cannot be contested unless we bend the rules of arithmetic.

All of the reports saying that ‘Aishah (r.a.) was six at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet (s.a.w.) come from Iraq, as do all of the reports that she was nine when she moved in with the Prophet (s.a.w.).  There are no reports of this from Makkah or Madina, where she lived.  This is uncontested.  Most of these reports from Iraq came through Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, mostly from his father.  This is also indisputable.  Hisham ibn ‘Urwah is said to have reported that ‘Aishah (r.a.) was nine in the second year of the Hijrah, was widowed in the eleventh year of the Hijrah, and passed away in the fiftieth year of the Hijrah, when his grandmother, ten years older than his great aunt ‘Aishah (r.a.), was 77.  The same person who said ‘Aishah (r.a.) was nine in 2 AH also said she was 67 in 50 AH.  So, the only reports that ‘Aishah (r.a.) was six, or nine, come from someone who also reports that she had to be sixteen when betrothed, and nineteen when she moved in with the Prophet (s.a.w.).  And every other report showing her to be much older than six is uncontested and considered reliable, while Hisham’s (r.a.) reports from Iraq are considered unreliable for obvious reasons.


Quora Answer: Why Does the Qur’anic Rejection of Jesus’ (a.s.) Death on the Cross not Refute Islam for Muslims

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


Question: Was Why does the Qur’anic rejection of Jesus’ (a.s.) death on the Cross not refute Islam for Muslims?  In modern scholarship, the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion are considered to be two historically certain facts about Jesus (a.s.).  Islamic texts categorically deny the idea of crucifixion or death attributed to Jesus (a.s.) by the New Testament.

Answer: In modern scholarship, there are still people who dispute the existence of Jesus (a.s.).  The Qur’an Affirms his existence, his miraculous birth and his baptism by John the Baptist (a.s.).  It rejects his dying on the cross and resurrection.  The Qur’an Treats the question of Christ’s (a.s.) crucifixion in a single verse where it affirms that the Jews did not kill Christ (a.s.) but, rather, that this was Made to seem to happen to them.


That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”; - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was Made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. ― (Surah an-Nisa’:157)

In the same verse, it talks about his being raised to heaven.  The Qur’an is silent beyond this, leaving two possible conclusions: that another person in the likeness of Jesus (a.s.) was crucified or that the crucifixion never took place, but was Made to seem so.

Regarding the person who supposedly took the place of Jesus (a.s.) on the Cross, Imam ar-Razi (r.a.), in his commentary, provided five accounts about this person Made to look like Jesus (a.s.) for them.  The first is that “They took a man and killed him and crucified him and dressed him like Christ (a.s.) for the people.”  Another account named “Titayus”, one of the companions of Judas.  The third account is that they assigned a man to guard Jesus (a.s.) and God Cast his resemblance upon that guard, and they killed him while he said “I am not Jesus.”  The fourth account, and the one most quoted in Arabia is that when the Jews planned to take him, Jesus (a.s.) had ten of his companions with him.  He said to them, “Who wishes to purchase Heaven by having my resemblance Cast upon him?”

One of them, the youngest, said, “I do.”  So God Cast Jesus’ (a.s.) image upon him and he was brought out and killed.

And the final account was of a man from among the companions of Jesus (a.s.), who was a hypocrite, so God “Cast Jesus’ (a.s.) resemblance upon him and he was killed and crucified.”

Imam ar-Razi (r.a.) wrote that, “these accounts are contradictory and confused, and God Knows best the truth of the matter.”

Muslims take the Qur’an to be Kalamullah, the Words of God.  And that is important since if there is any incontrovertible fact that contradicts the Qur’an, the entire basis of the religion will be called into question.  If there is certain proof that Jesus (a.s.) was crucified, that would destroy the credibility of the Qur’an and demolish the foundations of Islam.  But so far, there has been none.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Quora Answer: Why did Muhammad (s.a.w.) Reject the Crucifixion

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was my answer on Quora: Why did Muhammad (s.a.w.) reject the Crucifixion?

Question: Why did Muhammad (s.a.w.) decide to reject the death, crucifixion, bodily resurrection, and divinity of Jesus (a.s.)?  Could Muhammad (s.a.w.) still have argued that he was a prophet after Jesus (a.s.) if he had accepted the death, resurrection, and divinity of Jesus (a.s.)?

Answer: The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (s.a.w.), was the recipient of Revelation, the Qur’an, and the Qur’an is Explicit about the Crucifixion:


That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the Messenger of God”; ― but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was Made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. ― (Surah an-Nisa’:157)

As such, every Muslim rejects it.  The second part of the question is actually irrelevant since the Qur’an also Denies that Jesus (a.s.) is part of a Triune Godhead.


They do blaspheme who say, “God is Christ, the son of Mary.”  But said Christ, “O children of Israel!  Worship God, my Lord, and your Lord.”  Whoever joins other gods with God ― God will Forbid him the Garden and the Fire will be his abode.  There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.  They disbelieve who say, “God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God.  If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.  Why turn they not to God and seek His Forgiveness?  For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah al-Ma’idah:72-74)

Hypothetically, perhaps it could be said argued that if these verses did not exist, and the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) accepted the Divinity, death and Resurrection of Jesus (a.s.), then there is nothing that actually precludes him being a prophet.  But again, the Christian definition of “prophet” and the Muslim definition is not the same.  A prophet in Christianity is basically a spokesman for God, and a caller to the faith.  It may be self-proclaimed.  A prophet in Islam is a recipient of Divine Revelation, no less.


Quora Answer: What do Sunni Muslims Think of the Day of 'Ashura?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was my answer on Quora: What do Sunni Muslims think of the Day of ‘Ashura?

Question: What do Sunni Muslims think of the Day of ‘Ashura?

Answer: In Sunni Islam, ‘Ashura has a spiritual meaning.  Each prophet experienced a significant event on that day.  All those prophets except Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had a positive development on that day.  Adam (a.s.) was Forgiven by Allah (s.w.t.); Noah (a.s.) was Saved from the flood and the ark came to rest; Moses (a.s.) was Saved from Pharaoh with the Israelites and received the Commandments; Abraham (a.s.) was Saved from the fire of Nimrod and received his title, “al-Khalil” and Jesus (a.s.) was Raised up to Heaven.

Additionally, this was also the Day, Enoch (a.s.) was Raised to the Heavens; Job (a.s.) was Relieved from his trial; Jonah (a.s.) was Saved from the three layers of darkness; David (a.s.) was Forgiven; Solomon (a.s.) Received his kingdom and was Restored to it.  As for our prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.), this was the day he married Khadijah (r.a.).  It was also that day, his grandson was murdered along with his family in a barbaric manner.  It is a day of rejoicing for all the followers other prophets because their prophets were Saved.  But for our Prophet (s.a.w.), for his people, it is not necessarily a day of rejoicing.  Rather, it is a day of mourning.  This contrast has a spiritual meaning.

So, for Sunni Islam, it is bitter sweet.  However, we also recognise Divine Decree and husn azh-zhann, believe the best, with God Almighty.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said that Hasan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.) are the leaders of the youths of Paradise.  He always knew that they would die young, and in that trial, they were emancipated from the world and have Returned to a Greater Reward.  And God Almighty Knows best.


Quora Answer: Was Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) a Creationist?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was my answer on Quora: Was Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) a creationist?

Question: Was Muhammad a creationist?

Answer: Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life is by Divine Action.  Since he is a prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w.) was certainly a Creationist.  However, I believe the question you are really asking is whether he believed in evolution.

There are various forms of Creationism, and some believe in evolution and some do not.  There is a form of Christian Creationism that believes that the account of Creation in Genesis should be taken literally, for example.

There are many anecdotal verses in the Qur’an itself that support the idea of evolution such as creation in stages, the origin of life from water and the spread of species.  The vast majority of Muslim scholars believe in evolution.  In fact, it was a Muslim scientist, Abu ‘Utsman ‘Amr ibn Bahr al-Kinani al-Baswri, better known as al-Jahizh, who proposed a theory of evolution a thousand years before Charles Darwin.  Modern Muslim Creationism by people such as Harun Yahya are based on nothing more than pseudo-science.

As for the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself, he was silent on the matter.


Quora Answer: Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) Da'wah to Modern Christians & Atheists

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


Question: What arguments would Muhammad give to modern day Christians and atheists to believe in his Qur’an?

Answer: The Prophet (s.a.w.) was not Sent to argue or engage in debates, but to be an example.  People believed in the Revelation of the Qur’an because they believed in the person receiving it.  It was his excellent morals and etiquette that drew people to him.  The majority of people will believe, as they did in his time, because they know him, and they love him.

From a Muslim perspective, and this can be vouched by many others, the Qur’an as Scripture speaks to any person who reads it with an open heart.  It cites the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the best example.  If, a thousand and a half years later, people are still inspired by love of a man they never met, what more if they actually have the chance to meet him?


Quora Answer: Do Sunni Muslims Believe in Swalawat?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was my answer on Quora: Do Sunni Muslims Believe in Swalawat?

Question: Do Sunnis believe in the Swalawat Ibrahimiyyah?  To them, what does it exactly mean?  I am asking this question after reading the answers on the following question: Is there scriptural evidence regarding the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.)?  If yes, why the split between Sunni and Shi’ah?  If no, why were succession plans not made?  I am really wanting to know if they give any importance to this.  Do they even believe it to be something true?

Answer: The Swalawat al-Ibrahimiyyah was the initial swalawat taught by the Prophet (s.a.w.) to the ummah.  It is recited in every swalah, in the tahiyyat.  In the zhahir, the Prophet (s.a.w.) taught us that Allah (s.w.t.) Blessed him and his family just as He Blessed Ibrahim (a.s.) and his family.  The swalawat is special since it is proof that Allah (s.w.t.) Answered the du’a of Ibrahim (a.s.) and Isma’il (a.s.) as Mentioned in the Qur’an here:


And remember Abraham and Isma’il raised the foundations of the House (with this prayer): “Our Lord!  Accept (this service) from us; for thou art the All-Hearing the All-Knowing.  Our Lord!  Make of us muslimin bowing to Thy (Will) and of our progeny a people muslim, bowing to Thy (Will) and show us our places for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning Most-Merciful.  Our Lord!  Send amongst them a Messenger of their own who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and purify them; for Thou art the Exalted in Might the Wise.” (Surah al-Baqarah:127-129)

And in that, Allah (s.w.t.) Sent the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), his descendent to preach to his descendants, the Quraysh.  And it was by this du’a that the Ka’bah was Sanctified and Made a place of pilgrimage again.

But the reason why we mention Swalawat Ibrahimiyyah in every swalah is because of this du’a:


“Grant me honourable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations).” (Surah ash-Shu’ara:84)

Allah (s.w.t.) Honoured us by Making us the means by which He Blessed Ibrahim (a.s.) and his progeny.  And in that, due to Divine Generosity, we Bless ourselves since we are the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the keepers of the sunnah of Ibrahim (a.s.), the hajj.  And that is why we say, “O Allah, Send Blessings upon Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, just as you have Sent Blessings upon Ibrahim and the people of Ibrahim.”  That Blessing Sent to Ibrahim (a.s.) and his people, all of us, is the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) himself.