Islam and stoning: A historical perspective

Many critics of Islam allege that Islam is barbaric because it legislates the capital punishment for offenses like rape, apostasy, heresy, blasphemy etc. etc. This is not a new allegation on Islam, many critics have been using the same rhetoric for a long time now. This perception of Islam (that it condones stoning to death) is built on the historic events that occurred during the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), where he suggested stoning of people.

If you study the Holy Quran, you will be astonished to know that there is no mentioning of this punishment in the entire scripture. There is punishment but death (no matter in what shape or form) is not even remotely mentioned for this offense. In the hadith (sayings / biography of the Prophet (Peace be upon Him)) we find certain accounts for when the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) ordained the stoning of death for adulterers. These rare events should be viewed in the historical perspective of that time. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) had migrated from Mecca towards Yathrib (which was later to be known as Medina), He was made head of state by an agreement between the dwellers of Medina and the surrounding (Jewish) tribes. It is important to remember that the Prophet’s (Peace be upon Him) reputation as a shroud and honest judge had perpetrated throughout entire Arabian peninsula. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) served as an arbitrator towards the community and people of all cast, creed and religion brought their feuds and conflicts to him and returned satisfied.

Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice. And surely excellent is that with which Allah admonishes you! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Chapter 4, Verse 59)

Having established his reputation as an unprejudiced, wise and honest judge, the people of Medina (and those of the surrounding Jewish tribes) brought their conflicts to Him in pursuit of justice. When the cases of murders, adultery and harassment, the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) inquired from the people what was the punishment ordained amongst them for these offenses. And the same punishment (according to the religion of the parties) was ordained for the accused. In simple words, the ‘stoning to death’ did not originate in Islam. Let us briefly explore the origins of this punishment.

Stoning to death: History

While the origins of stoning may be unknown outside the Abrahamic religions, what is known that Aztecs used to stone the adulterers to death. The first account of stoning to death in Abrahamic religions come from Torah, which is a part of the Old testament.

12 Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death.

13 They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”

(Exodus 19)

Here the bible is commanding the followers to kill those who touch the Holy Mountain without touching them. In Numbers we find texts which ordain the similar punishment but for another crime.

32 While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.

33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly,

34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.

35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”

36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

These are two of many examples where the bible commands for spiritual crimes be met with physical (and absolute) punishment. Even sleeping or lying with an engaged woman (who is engaged to another man and not violating the woman or abusing her) is punishable by stoning. Other crimes include: blasphemy, witchcraft, adultery, Overtime however the Jewish priests enacted some doctrines in order to prevent innocent from receiving capital punishment.

The Islamic link

As stated earlier, there is no account of stoning to death mentioned in the Quran. However, we find certain judgements during the time of Prophet (peace be upon him) that certain people were killed by stoning to death. Why? well the following Hadith sheds some light on the issue:

The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet said to them, “How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?” They replied, “We blacken their faces with coal and beat them.” He said, “Don’t you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?” They replied, “We do not find anything in it.” ‘Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them, “You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful.” (So the Jews brought the Torah). And the religious teacher who was teaching it to them, put his hand over the Verse of Ar-Rajm and started reading what was written above and below the place hidden with his hand, but he did not read the Verse of Ar-Rajm. ‘Abdullah bin Salam removed his (i.e. the teacher’s) hand from the Verse of Ar-Rajm and said, “What is this?” So when the Jews saw that Verse, they said, “This is the Verse of Ar-Rajm.” So the Prophet ordered the two adulterers to be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death near the place where biers used to be placed near the Mosque. I saw her companion (i.e. the adulterer) bowing over her so as to protect her from the stones. (Sahih Bukhari 6.79, Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar)

As you can see from the above account, the Prophet (peace be upon him) judged between the two parties on the basis of Torah (their religious scriptures). It was never sanctioned into Islam as far as history goes. This tradition spread through the Muslims, some of them spread the news without proper context, which was that the punishment was legislated within Torah and not Quran. Therefore after the death of Prophet (peace be upon Him) this false tradition was taken up by Muslims.

The punishment for adultery in Islam is for the perpetrator to be lashed out (which can be changed based on the culture), not put to death. This is evident from the following Hadith:

Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani: A bedouin came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s apostle! I ask you by Allah to judge My case according to Allah’s Laws.” His opponent, who was more learned than he, said, “Yes, judge between us according to Allah’s Laws, and allow me to speak.” Allah’s Apostle said, “Speak.” He (i .e. the bedouin or the other man) said, “My son was working as a laborer for this (man) and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife. The people told me that it was obligatory that my son should be stoned to death, so in lieu of that I ransomed my son by paying one hundred sheep and a slave girl. Then I asked the religious scholars about it, and they informed me that my son must be lashed one hundred lashes, and be exiled for one year, and the wife of this (man) must be stoned to death.” Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, I will judge between you according to Allah’s Laws. The slave-girl and the sheep are to be returned to you, your son is to receive a hundred lashes and be exiled for one year. You, Unais, go to the wife of this (man) and if she confesses her guilt, stone her to death.” Unais went to that woman next morning and she confessed. Allah’s Apostle ordered that she be stoned to death.The stoning was done to the woman because she was a jew and according to torah punishment is stoning.The son got 100 lashes because its the punishment for zina in quran.

(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50: Conditions, Number 885)

So it is safe to say that it is not Islamic law which dictates barbaric punishment, the fact is that these have nothing to do with Islam at all. Therefore all those out Islamophobes out there, when you talk about stoning, be prepared to criticize the Jews and the Christians for this cruelty not Islam. If you are curious to learn the status of capital punishments in Islam, please follow the link here.

Islam: A peaceful religion

Co-Exist

A few days ago, Reza Aslan (an Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions), gave a fitting rebuttal to Bill Maher on his views about Islam. Reza rightly pointed out the ‘phobia’ which has taken it’s roots among ‘westerners’ (apparently after 9/11) to justify their hatred towards Islam. Reza is of the view that religion in itself isn’t violent, it is the violent nature of a certain follower which is covered up in in religious veil that gets the religion denounced. He quotes the example of the Buddhists, who claim to be the followers of the most peaceful teachings (of Buddha), yet they are involved in the brutal massacre of Rohangya Muslims in Myanmar (former Burma).

Video clip of the interview follows:

It’s a strong argument, if you take into account the fact that every religion in the world have had some sort of violent history in the past (Islam is still young compared to others). The infamous Spanish inquisition marks the darkest history of Christianity, the persecution of Christians in their early days by the Jewish depicts a period of ignorance on the part of Jews. Hindus persecuted Muslims for over a century in the undivided  sub-continent and the Buddhists’ current drive of ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar are accounts of violence in the name of religion.

What Reza’s interview did is reduce (if not eliminate) the negativity in the viewpoint of those who don’t fully understand religion, specially Islam. But, as usual some criticism was due. I came across this post, which is circulating the internet and is written by two ex-Muslims (I am guessing they are atheists now since the blogs are more about atheism). They go as far as to state that everything Aslan said is completely false. So let’s take a look at the argument they are trying to sell:

Shariah Law & Gender equality

Indonesia has increasingly become more conservative. (Notoriously anti-women) Sharia courts that were “optional” have risen to equal status with regular courts in family matters. The conservative Aceh province even legislates criminal matters via Sharia courts, which has been said to violate fundamental human rights.

Let me make it clear, Islam does not have a church (a governing body that interprets the holy scriptures and is the final authority on it), which means every individual or community have their own interpretation of the Holy text. That is why we see so many sections sprung out of it in the very early ages (The Shia Sunni conflict took roots as soon as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) died). True Islam keeps religion and state as affairs separate. We have examples of governing from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where verdicts were carried out according to the religious interpretation of the conflicting parties (Jews and Christians lived in those states governed by the Muslims). Justice system within Islamic states was heavily overhauled, eliminating conflict of interests, equality of justice for the peasant and the Calph were some of the features of early Muslim rule. Another example we see during the rule of the last ‘Rashid’ Caliph Ali (may blessing of Allah be upon him). Muaviya created an independent state and became it’s (self appointed) governor within what is now Syria (which became the center of the Umaiyyads later on) and Caliph Ali did not pose any challenge towards him.

Now the Shariah law in modern times is a separate issue altogether. These days, it has become a mean of strengthening one’s rule on the ‘throne’. Religion specific state laws were first implemented during the Abbasid Caliphate, prior to which we see little or no reference towards such laws. For example, the punishment for apostasy is no where to be found in the holy scriptures, but some how a Hadith (which isn’t even attributed to the Prophet) circulates regarding the punishment of an apostate. Regarding the issue of gender equality, Islam was the first religion to truly talk about women rights.

While talking on the issue, one must certainly keep in mind the time when Quran was revealed. It was a dark era, especially for women. Girls were buried alive upon birth in pre-Islamic Arabia. People of every religion or cast were accustomed to this ignorant practice. It will be worth while mentioning that many atheists of pre-Islamic Arabia were following these practices.

Women were denied heritage and were traded freely. With the arrival of Islam, the Arab society (of those times) saw a gradual change in their attitude towards women. The change was not abrupt, rather it eased into people over time. Muslim women fought with men at times leading them in battles, they were working on their own and traveling across the world without any man chaperoning them. Things were changing for the better until the in-fighting began once again and Muslims were forced back into dark ages.

It was then everyone started making up laws, defining them ‘religious’ and using them against rebellions and enemies of the state.

Religion promotes violence

On the contrary, take any religious scripture, you will always find messages of peace and compassion towards fellow humans, even plants and animals. The notion that religion promotes violence is truly baseless, and here’s why. All fatalities committed in the name of religion are still less than the fatalities committed otherwise. The wars fought in Europe during the dark ages, the massacre of innocent people by the Mongols, the atrocities of Alexander (apparently titled ‘the great’) and the persecution of Jews at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar are all but trailers to the crimes against humanity committed by the ‘non-religious’ states. Both the world wars are recent examples of ‘non-religious’ wars. So for all these killings, should the atheists be held responsible?

Female heads of states

The article states that famous leader’s like Benazir Bhutto and Sheikh Haseena Wajid had little to do to achieve their greatness, which is utterly preposterous. Mrs. Bhutto, even though she was the daughter of the former Pakistani Prime minister had to face tough circumstances in her country. Her father was hanged and she fought her way through a dictatorship to become the Prime minister of Pakistan. Surely, the Ex-Muslims of North America can tell us when was the last time a female head of state was chosen for America? In Pakistan as well as Bangladesh, women are free to work and have all the rights (at least in the constitution). The practice of these rights is a separate issue altogether. Pakistan is plagued with illiteracy and people are very narrow minded, it is important to note that these people still have ‘cultural’ (not religious) practices of sheer ignorance they are accustomed to in this era. Blaming religion for it is ridiculous.

FGM

You can clearly feel the ignorance of the author when he puts forth a Hadith (saying of a Prophet) to prove that FGM is supported by Islam. The Hadith of Abu Dawood clearly indicates that FGM was already a practice (within non-Muslims of that area), but the Prophet requested them to be more gentle towards the women who come with the desire for it. The article claims that ‘two major’ Sunni factions support FGM. They don’t quote their sources but let’s say even if they do support it, they will be around 25 to 30 percent of the total Muslim population. To suggest that Islam supports it is absurd.

Towards, the conclusion the author attempts to further malign Islam by articulating the age old ‘myths’ and ‘allegations’ on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I have written about them extensively in my previous posts which I hope will catch the authors’ eye.

Logic is all there is

It’s been long overdue since I wrote on theology. I apologize to my readers for that, had a lot going on in life. I have a lot of catching up to do. I was just wondering on what to write but my good friend is always there to provide me a topic. In the latest article which I am afraid is more than a year old, the writer seems to be replying to a Muslim’s inquiry regarding the God-ship of Jesus Christ.

The topic under discussion is regarding the Christian concept of God. Evidently, both the Christian and the Muslim participant agree to one thing i.e. God is without contradiction (hence God is immutable). Next the writer discusses the Hypostatic Union which states that the Son of God(Jesus) took on Human nature, which according to the writer does not depict change. The writer first provides a definition of change and then goes on to claim that:

“By definition, to take on a second nature does not imply changing the first nature at all”-ibid.

The writer is trying to claim here that while Jesus is already God, taking up human nature for him does not necessarily means that the nature of God is changed. One may agree, but I think the writer does not seem to fully grasp the very concept of change. Logically anything which has a beginning and an end, is always in a state of change. For something to be immutable, it should be free of time. (Hence the saying, “Change is the only constant in life”)

God is eternal in (almost) all religions because time does not apply to God. Keeping this logic in mind, now let’s re-visit the first claim that Jesus is God. For Jesus to be God, he should be present in his original form(a God-man) from the start. Which according to the writer is not true since he took the human form later on. If however, I am mistaken and Jesus was a God-man from the start, then that begs the question if the Father (is also a God-man) (refer to my article [Son-ship of Jesus-Christ])

Furthermore, the writer goes on to explain this via a ‘Triangle-box’ analogy.

“Keeping in line with my wish for simplicity, let us imagine a triangle. Now we all know the nature of a triangle i.e. it’s attributes, the things that make a triangle a triangle as opposed to a rectangle or circle. Good. Now let us at this point imagine a box. Once more we know what is the nature of a box and furthermore, we are also aware that the nature of a box is in direct contradiction to the nature of a triangle. Now suppose that we were to place the triangle within the box, would we then have a confusion, a mixing, an intermingling of the two essences/natures? No, we would possess one unit (the Triangle-Box if you would like) with the essences of both objects intact.

The triangle would not cease to be a triangle and neither would the box cease to be a box—on the contrary we would now have a unit that possesses in its being the very attributes of both in that it is not half a box and half a triangle but rather a full (perfect) triangle and a full (perfect) box. A veritable Triangle-Box, wherein the unit is one but the essences are two.” –ibid

Now, this is a very simple analogy and I get it, that it seems to the the writer that there is no contradiction here.  I will  use this analogy to try and explain the Muslim viewpoint. It is understood that Christians have their work cut out when they try to explain the Trinity in terms of Monotheism (since early Christianity and even Bible talks of ONE God), therefore the writer fails to see the greater picture staring in the face of this analogy.

In this triangle-box analogy, it is very convenient to put the triangle in the box because common sense dictates that the box is bigger than the triangle. Hence the box becomes ‘superior’ because depending on the size, you can fit in as many triangles as the box allows. Unfortunately, thing aren’t that simple I am afraid, when viewed in relation to God and human beings. It must be defined here, which entity is superior to other and I am sure in every religion, God is superior to human kind in every way.

But, then one may say “AHA! You can see take the box to be God and the triangle to be a human being and then Jesus (the human) can become God”. That I am afraid will also fail when you place only a single triangle, depriving the box of its full potential. One key aspect of this analogy which is being overlooked by the writer is that while the ‘attributes’ or the essence of both the box and the triangle have not changed but the state of the box has definitely changed. Now the box holds a triangle which wasn’t present there before thus attributing to change.

Now, the writer after providing us with this defected analogy goes on to tell that this is why Jesus can have both contradictory natures within himself.

“As with the Triangle-Box, Jesus can claim the otherwise mutually exclusive prerogatives that come with each nature because of them being simultaneously existent in his being. Such that he can increase in knowledge as man, but always have known all things as God. Such that he can pray to the Father as man, yet have no need to do so as God. Such that should he will it, he is able to give his life unto death as man, and yet death never having any power or hold over him as God.” –ibid

I have already written an article on the issues of Jesus’ son-ship and why it defies logic, which the author is well aware of. For this, let’s take the life of Jesus as an example, the Jesus-man from the time of birth till death, had to eat, sleep, walk, work, pray and do every other chore as a normal human being, while the Jesus-God was present in him all this time (according to the writer). He conveniently used his ‘Godly’ powers on certain intervals but not every time (and definitely not when he needed it the most). This is a major contradiction. In all of Jesus’ life, we see him praying to God, eat on a regular basis and involve in other humanly duties and never choose otherwise. I am afraid that the concept of trinity is not that simple. Many Christians have taken up to explain it logically but it always end up badly. In no way I mean to offend Christians on their beliefs, it is one’s right to have a difference of opinion, I am merely trying to convey my point of view on this issue.

Now moving on to the writer’s claim that Muslims’ claim that God is immutable is false by quoting some Hadiths out of context.

“Now we understand that according to Islam, it is impossible for God to enter his creation because how could the infinite become finite so as to enter his creation, because if he were to take on the properties of his creation, he would cease to be God, et cetera, et cetera (might one say, yada, yada, yada?). If such is the case, could Muslims explain this (please read the section in red)?

It clearly says that Allah will take on a shape. Now a shape consists of something which is constrained by certain dimensions; these being length, width, height and so forth. Furthermore, we understand that length, width, height refer to area/space and such did not always exist. They are a creation of Allah. If then Allah can take on a shape (i.e. limit himself to certain dimensions) and as such exhibit the properties of what he has created (i.e. area/space) then has he changed the divine nature? Clearly Allah has just changed from how he existed before having created anything, to taking on the very properties of his creation and if any change in God must mean an inherent change in the divine nature then this must mean that Allah too is guilty of losing his divine attributes. Now of course Muslims will not like this but how will they explain away those clear statements by their Prophet?” -ibid

I invite the writer to go through the complete Hadith (all three of them) they are all depicting what will happen in the after-life on the day of resurrection, it talks of a place where all human beings will all be among the dead and their ‘SOULS’ will be resurrected. It is common sense that these Hadiths should not be put to the logic and rules of the physical world, but the spiritual world. I am sure it will clear the writer’s misconception. I am posting all the three Hadiths (which is one hadith reported thrice) in full text below for the writer’s reference. May ALLAH guide us all.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s:

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:

We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon when the sky is clear?” We said, “No.” He said, “So you will have no difficulty in seeing your Lord on that Day as you have no difficulty in seeing the sun and the moon (in a clear sky).” The Prophet then said, “Somebody will then announce, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship.’ So the companions of the cross will go with their cross, and the idolators (will go) with their idols, and the companions of every god (false deities) (will go) with their god, till there remain those who used to worship Allah, both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, and some of the people of the Scripture. Then Hell will be presented to them as if it were a mirage. Then it will be said to the Jews, “What did you use to worship?’ They will reply, ‘We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What do you want (now)?’ They will reply, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ Then it will be said to them ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). Then it will be said to the Christians, ‘What did you use to worship?’

They will reply, ‘We used to worship Messiah, the son of Allah.’ It will be said, ‘You are liars, for Allah has neither a wife nor a son. What: do you want (now)?’ They will say, ‘We want You to provide us with water.’ It will be said to them, ‘Drink,’ and they will fall down in Hell (instead). When there remain only those who used to worship Allah (Alone), both the obedient ones and the mischievous ones, it will be said to them, ‘What keeps you here when all the people have gone?’ They will say, ‘We parted with them (in the world) when we were in greater need of them than we are today, we heard the call of one proclaiming, ‘Let every nation follow what they used to worship,’ and now we are waiting for our Lord.’ Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The Shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover His Shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation. These people will try to prostrate but their backs will be rigid like one piece of a wood (and they will not be able to prostrate). Then the bridge will be laid across Hell.” We, the companions of the Prophet said, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the bridge?’

He said, “It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa’dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell (Fire). The last person will cross by being dragged (over the bridge).” The Prophet said, “You (Muslims) cannot be more pressing in claiming from me a right that has been clearly proved to be yours than the believers in interceding with Almighty for their (Muslim) brothers on that Day, when they see themselves safe.

They will say, ‘O Allah! (Save) our brothers (for they) used to pray with us, fast with us and also do good deeds with us.’ Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one (gold) Dinar.’ Allah will forbid the Fire to burn the faces of those sinners. They will go to them and find some of them in Hell (Fire) up to their feet, and some up to the middle of their legs. So they will take out those whom they will recognize and then they will return, and Allah will say (to them), ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of one half Dinar.’ They will take out whomever they will recognize and return, and then Allah will say, ‘Go and take out (of Hell) anyone in whose heart you find faith equal to the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant), and so they will take out all those whom they will recognize.” Abu Sa’id said: If you do not believe me then read the Holy Verse:–

‘Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it.’ (4.40) The Prophet added, “Then the prophets and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, ‘Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life.

They will grow on its banks, as a seed carried by the torrent grows. You have noticed how it grows beside a rock or beside a tree, and how the side facing the sun is usually green while the side facing the shade is white. Those people will come out (of the River of Life) like pearls, and they will have (golden) necklaces, and then they will enter Paradise whereupon the people of Paradise will say, ‘These are the people emancipated by the Beneficent. He has admitted them into Paradise without them having done any good deeds and without sending forth any good (for themselves).’ Then it will be said to them, ‘For you is what you have seen and its equivalent as well.'”

Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 105:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

During the lifetime of the Prophet some people said, : O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” The Prophet said, “Yes; do you have any difficulty in seeing the sun at midday when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” He said, “Do you have any difficulty in seeing the moon on a full moon night when it is bright and there is no cloud in the sky?” They replied, “No.” The Prophet said, “(Similarly) you will have no difficulty in seeing Allah on the Day of Resurrection as you have no difficulty in seeing either of them. On the Day of Resurrection, a call-maker will announce, “Let every nation follow that which they used to worship.” Then none of those who used to worship anything other than Allah like idols and other deities but will fall in Hell (Fire), till there will remain none but those who used to worship Allah, both those who were obedient (i.e. good) and those who were disobedient (i.e. bad) and the remaining party of the people of the Scripture. Then the Jews will be called upon and it will be said to them, ‘Who do you use to worship?’ They will say, ‘We used to worship Ezra, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son. What do you want now?’ They will say, ‘O our Lord! We are thirsty, so give us something to drink.’ They will be directed and addressed thus, ‘Will you drink,’ whereupon they will be gathered unto Hell (Fire) which will look like a mirage whose different sides will be destroying each other. Then they will fall into the Fire. Afterwards the Christians will be called upon and it will be said to them, ‘Who do you use to worship?’ They will say, ‘We used to worship Jesus, the son of Allah.’ It will be said to them, ‘You are liars, for Allah has never taken anyone as a wife or a son,’ Then it will be said to them, ‘What do you want?’ They will say what the former people have said. Then, when there remain (in the gathering) none but those who used to worship Allah (Alone, the real Lord of the Worlds) whether they were obedient or disobedient. Then (Allah) the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him. It will be said, ‘What are you waiting for?’ Every nation have followed what they used to worship.’ They will reply, ‘We left the people in the world when we were in great need of them and we did not take them as friends. Now we are waiting for our Lord Whom we used to worship.’ Allah will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say twice or thrice, ‘We do not worship any besides Allah.’ “

Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 577:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Some people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He said, “Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the sun when it is not hidden by clouds?” They replied, “No, Allah’s Apostle.” He said, “Do you crowd and squeeze each other on looking at the moon when it is full and not hidden by clouds?” They replied, No, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “So you will see Him (your Lord) on the Day of Resurrection similarly Allah will gather all the people and say, ‘Whoever used to worship anything should follow that thing. ‘So, he who used to worship the sun, will follow it, and he who used to worship the moon will follow it, and he who used to worship false deities will follow them; and then only this nation (i.e., Muslims) will remain, including their hypocrites. Allah will come to them in a shape other than they know and will say, ‘I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘We seek refuge with Allah from you. This is our place; (we will not follow you) till our Lord comes to us, and when our Lord comes to us, we will recognize Him.

Then Allah will come to then in a shape they know and will say, “I am your Lord.’ They will say, ‘(No doubt) You are our Lord,’ and they will follow Him. Then a bridge will be laid over the (Hell) Fire.” Allah’s Apostle added, “I will be the first to cross it. And the invocation of the Apostles on that Day, will be ‘Allahukka Sallim, Sallim (O Allah, save us, save us!),’ and over that bridge there will be hooks Similar to the thorns of As Sa’dan (a thorny tree). Didn’t you see the thorns of As-Sa’dan?” The companions said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle.” He added, “So the hooks over that bridge will be like the thorns of As-Sa-dan except that their greatness in size is only known to Allah. These hooks will snatch the people according to their deeds. Some people will be ruined because of their evil deeds, and some will be cut into pieces and fall down in Hell, but will be saved afterwards, when Allah has finished the judgments among His slaves, and intends to take out of the Fire whoever He wishes to take out from among those who used to testify that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah.

We will order the angels to take them out and the angels will know them by the mark of the traces of prostration (on their foreheads) for Allah banned the f ire to consume the traces of prostration on the body of Adam’s son. So they will take them out, and by then they would have burnt (as coal), and then water, called Maul Hayat (water of life) will be poured on them, and they will spring out like a seed springs out on the bank of a rainwater stream, and there will remain one man who will be facing the (Hell) Fire and will say, ‘O Lord! It’s (Hell’s) vapor has Poisoned and smoked me and its flame has burnt me; please turn my face away from the Fire.’ He will keep on invoking Allah till Allah says, ‘Perhaps, if I give you what you want), you will ask for another thing?’ The man will say, ‘No, by Your Power, I will not ask You for anything else.’

Then Allah will turn his face away from the Fire. The man will say after that, ‘O Lord, bring me near the gate of Paradise.’ Allah will say (to him), ‘Didn’t you promise not to ask for anything else? Woe to you, O son of Adam ! How treacherous you are!’ The man will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will say, ‘But if I give you that, you may ask me for something else.’ The man will say, ‘No, by Your Power. I will not ask for anything else.’ He will give Allah his covenant and promise not to ask for anything else after that. So Allah will bring him near to the gate of Paradise, and when he sees what is in it, he will remain silent as long as Allah will, and then he will say, ‘O Lord! Let me enter Paradise.’ Allah will say, ‘Didn’t you promise that you would not ask Me for anything other than that? Woe to you, O son of Adam ! How treacherous you are!’ On that, the man will say, ‘O Lord! Do not make me the most wretched of Your creation,’ and will keep on invoking Allah till Allah will smile and when Allah will smile because of him, then He will allow him to enter Paradise, and when he will enter Paradise, he will be addressed, ‘Wish from so-and-so.’ He will wish till all his wishes will be fulfilled, then Allah will say, All this (i.e. what you have wished for) and as much again therewith are for you.’ ”

Abu Huraira added: That man will be the last of the people of Paradise to enter (Paradise).

Narrated ‘Ata (while Abu Huraira was narrating): Abu Said was sitting in the company of Abu Huraira and he did not deny anything of his narration till he reached his saying: “All this and as much again therewith are for you.” Then Abu Sa’id said, “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘This is for you and ten times as much.’ ” Abu Huraira said, “In my memory it is ‘as much again therewith.’ “

Prophet Muhammad: A blessing for mankind

I am writing after a very long time, I have been busy with certain things in my personal life, I apologize to my readers. There is nothing better to resume my blog, other than the most gracious blessing of God upon mankind, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

Not so long ago, an infamous amateur film maker (not sure if he is that or not) released a short-film, in which he depicted the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) as an inhumane personality. Which has caused ripples of protests across the Muslim world, enraging then across the globe. I haven’t seen that infamous video myself but the act of this Coptic Christian was provocative and saddening. Surely one can see the lack of research on this subject by the team who publicized this video. I will prove it, without quoting any scripture today, I will give references of other (non-Muslim) personalities who analyzed and described the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in their words.

Reverent Bosworth Smith wrote:

Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Popes pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports.’

(R. Bosworth Smith ‘Muhammad and Muhammadanism’. Page 262)

Washington Irving wrote:

‘His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vainglory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power, he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance.’

(Washington Irving, The Life of Mahomet, page 272)

Karen Armstrong writes in her book ‘Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet’:

‘Muhammad had to start virtually from scratch and work his way towards the radical monotheistic spirituality of his own. When he began his mission, a dispassionate observer would not have given him a chance. The Arabs, he might have objected, were just not ready for monotheism: they were not sufficiently developed for this sophisticated vision. In fact, to attempt to introduce it on a large scale in this violent, terrifying society could be extremely dangerous and Muhammad would be lucky to escape with his life.

Indeed, Muhammad was frequently in deadly peril and his survival was a near-miracle. But he did succeed. By the end of his life he had laid an axe to the root of the chronic cycle tribal violence that afflicted the region and paganism was no longer a going concern. The Arabs were ready to embark on a new phase of their history.’

(Karen Armstrong, Muhammad – A Biography of the Prophet page 53-54)

She also writes:

‘Finally it was the West, not Islam, which forbade the open discussion of religious matters. At the time of the Crusades, Europe seemed obsessed by a craving for intellectual conformity and punished its deviants with a zeal that has been unique in the history of religion. The witch-hunts of the inquisitors and the persecution of Protestants by the Catholics and vice versa were inspired by abstruse theological opinions which in both Judaism and Islam were seen as private and optional matters. Neither Judaism nor Islam share the Christian conception of heresy, which raises human ideas about the divine to an unacceptably high level and almost makes them a form of idolatry.’

(Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, page 27).

Mahatma Gandhi’s statement published in ‘Young India,’1924:

‘I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind…. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.’

And finally here is the famous Sir George Bernard Shaw:

‘I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.’

(Sir George Bernard Shaw in ‘The Genuine Islam,’ Vol. 1)

James Michener writes in ‘Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,’ Reader’s Digest, May 1955:

‘No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Qur’an is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience’

I recon these references will be enough for the reader to wonder why on earth, some mad men came up with such filth about a personality that has been analyzed, studied and followed by every living person on earth? It is nothing but ignorance that prevails in the minds of such people.

اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد، اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد

Bless, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst bless Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou art indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

Prosper, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as Thou didst prosper Abraham and the people of Abraham. Thou are the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.

Save Burma, let Pakistan burn

Social networks are crowded with pictures, pleas and appeals for the Burmese Muslims caught in the midst of a terrible conflict with the Buddhist majority in Burma. The tales and pictures (most of which are fake though) being used on social media are gut-wrenching and horrifying. Amnesty international has accused the security forces and ethnic majority of Rakhine Buddhists for the violence being perpetrated in the north. It should be well-known that this conflict is purely ethnic and has nothing at all to do with religion. Loss of life (in any way or form) is condemnable and all measures should be taken, to bring these horrific crimes against humanity to an end.

As with everything remotely related to Muslim persecution, my Pakistani (Muslim) friends are at the forefront of the campaign to ensure that the news reaches everyone. They consider this their ‘religious duty’ to make sure every Muslims is actively participating in spreading the news of such violence. Words being used to describe the acts of the Rakhine Buddhists are “shameful”, “heinous”, “criminal”, “in-humane” etc. Just yesterday I noticed a poster where it was claimed that Muslims aren’t allowed to say “Azaan” and that this was “cruel in-justice”. I cannot say it is true but it did sadden me, to think that an individual is being deprived of his most basic religious activity.

But then, it hit me, Burma’s situation is not that different from Pakistan. The majority Muslims in this country impose on (whatever) minority (is left) in this country. Christians, Hindus and other minority religions are being persecuted all the time. Even minority Muslim sects like the Shia sect is not safe from this persecution. They are killed upon identification, Christians and Hindus are forced to give up their religious belief and convert. Those who do and revert back are killed again. Ahmadis are barred from praying, their places of worship (which cannot be dubbed as mosques according to the constitution) are being demolished. They, and other minorities, even some Muslim sects are dubbed ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ (obligated to be killed) and yet the same Pakistani Muslims feel sorry when they find Muslims in the same situation?
hypocritical isn’t it?

In no way I am justifying the crimes against humanity in Burma. They have the rights of religious liberty and freedom of living and speech. But since when does a Pakistani Muslim care about it? Burma is not a Muslim state, if Pakistanis can legislate killing of people who believe in the freedom of speech, why are they outraged if another country uses something similar to it for Muslims? They celebrate when Mumtaz Qadri kills someone who have a different opinion on some issue, but they protest if the same thing happens in Burma. I hope they understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of this persecution which is deemed ‘HOLY’ by many. It isn’t that holy when it is brought upon them (or people from their clan).

The point of writing this is not to condemn the protests against these crimes being committed in Burma (they are to be condemned strongly), but to make my fellow Muslims understand that they are no different from these Burmese military men or the Buddhist majority, imposing their will on the helpless and exposed minority. I hope this might help them understand.

Burnt alive: religion is served

While the 4th of July brought fireworks to the United States, a small town in Punjab Pakistan witnessed a totally different type of fireworks. An alleged blasphemer was burnt alive in front of hundreds of people, including those who are burdened with enforcing the law. The Police was found useless (as ever) in preventing mob justice. As always, none of the religious leader/(alleged) cleric failed to condemn the incident because it is a matter of ‘public emotions’. What is even worst is the fact that it was public knowledge that the man was mentally unstable. Even that never put any sympathy in the hearts of these (so-called) Muslims.

I am disgusted, both as a Pakistani and as a Muslim, I am ashamed to face questions which make their way towards me from non-Muslims outside of my country. How can I justify this barbarism to civilized people? How can I testify that Islam is a religion of peace and allows everyone the right to live freely? How can I tell people, that Pakistan is a nation of diversity, tolerance and compassion? A nation where Mumtaz Qadri, a convicted murderer gains fame by publicly killing someone whom he was asked to protect. A country where two innocent teenagers were beaten to death over an allegation of robbery.

These are just the highlights though, while other nations develop themselves day by day, Pakistan seems to be regressing into the dark ages.I am yet to see such incidents in Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia or even Saudi Arabia. Is Pakistan ‘more’ Islamic than these nations I quoted? I am sure the answer will be no. I wonder how many of these ‘Muslims’ present in the mob actually understand what are the teachings of the Quraan. I have given the famous example of the Ta’if incident, where Prophet (peace be upon him) was stoned by the ignorant people of Ta’if, rather condemn them, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed for them.

Do these people not read the Quraan? Can they not see that Quraan speaks of mercy more than punishment? Did they not learn the value of human life from the life events of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? When will Pakistanis stop being the care takers of Islam and understand that they are doing more damage to my religion than they are serving it.

The distribution of hate

Social MediaSocial media, over the years have become (somewhat) integral in our lives. Hence, it was a matter of time before our emotions became digital too. Social media provides means of mass information sharing, here a message can reach millions in mere seconds, it is playing a vital role in shaping point of views of people who are linked with social media.

Of all the social media portals, facebook have been in focus for spreading hatred and religious bias, while it is also responsible (some say) for bringing the uprising in the Arab countries. Last year, facebook was under heavy criticism from the Muslims for an event that called for the people to depict the Prophet (pbuh). Many people left facebook, some deactivated their accounts and it was banned in certain countries (for a certain time). Many users protested over facebook, and shared an ‘anti-depiction event’ on their facebook walls and with friends. The same thing (with a twist) is going on again, some ignorant has made a page which is defaming the holy places of Muslims and Muslims are spreading the ‘anti cause’ everywhere on facebook, demanding the page to be removed.

While I do not judge the intensity of anyone’s faith and love for their religion, I think these ‘religious e-warriors’ fail to understand that they are the prime bearer of the message the ‘anti-Islamic entity’ wants to send out. Many of the Muslim users were unaware of this ‘anti-Islamic page’  until one of their deeply Muslim friend shared the message of protest and invitation to join the cause with them (same was the case with the previous anti-Islamic facebook event). If the few Muslims who saw this earlier would have had succeeded in ignoring it, they would have stopped this menace from spreading in the first place.

I am yet to see any of my non-Muslim friends spreading that anti-Islamic agenda for which our Muslim friends are protesting and asking other Muslims to join in. These people who are spreading this protest fail to understand that by spreading this protest, they are actually bringing more attention to an otherwise stupid, baseless, lame and an ignorant facebook stunt, directed towards enraging Muslims and mess with their emotions. By sharing the ‘Islamic cause’ is more of a damage rather than service to Islam.

The problem with Muslims (specially those who are familiar with the use of internet), in my opinion, is that they fail to ignore things which are insignificant and successfully ignore something thing which can help them stand united against these menaces which pop up every once in a while. The only way one can fight such menace is by ignoring its existence. It is not hurting Islam in any way, nor it will hurt us if we ignore it. But if Muslims keep spreading the word about it, then it is we who are helping this otherwise insignificant menace, to spread across the medium.

P.S: The purpose of writing this post is not to spread this menace (since it has already spread on facebook), rather ask my fellow Muslims to stop falling for this scam again and again.
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