Today marks the beginning of my 37th trip around the sun. I don’t celebrate birthdays, but I think completing a trip around the sun is full of significance. Here are some of my thoughts on that, as a gift to you:
Today marks the beginning of my 37th trip around the sun. I don’t celebrate birthdays, but I think completing a trip around the sun is full of significance. Here are some of my thoughts on that, as a gift to you:
Ahmad ibn Ya’qub al-Thaqafi narrated to us: ‘Ubayd ibn Ghannam narrated to us: ‘Ali ibn Hakim narrated to us: Sharik narrated to us: from ‘Ata: from Abu l-Duha: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said in regards to His (Exalted is He) statement “and of the earth the like thereof”:
This is a hadith with a sahih isnad.
‘Ubaydullah narrated to us: Ibrahim ibn al-Husayn narrated to us: Adam narrated to us: from Shu’bah: from ‘Amr ibn Murrah: from Abu l-Duha: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said:
This hadith is [sahih] according to the criteria of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. End
I.e. seven also, as established in the two Sahihs,
Whoever interprets [it to mean] seven regions has missed the point, fallen into disputation and contradicted the Qur’an and hadith without support. Mention of the seven earths, and the distance between them and the density of each of them being five hundred years, has passed in Surah al-Hadid upon His statement, “He is the First and the Last”. This was what Ibn Mas’ud and others said.
Likewise, another hadith [mentions]:
Ibn Jarir said: ‘Amr ibn ‘Ali narrated to us: Waki’ narrated to us: from Al-A’mash: from Ibrahim ibn Muhajir: from Mujahid: from Ibn ‘Abbas [that] he said in regards to His (Exalted is He) statement, “and of the earth the like thereof”,
Ibn Humayd narrated to us: Ya’qub ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d al-Qummi al-Ash’ari narrated to us: from Ja’far ibn Abi l-Mughirah al-Khuza’i: from Sa’id ibn Jubayr: he said:
Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah in marfu’ form:
Ishaq ibn Rahwayh and Al-Bazzar transmitted it from the hadith of Abu Dharr in like manner. End, in summary-form.
Abu Ya’la transmitted from Jabir that
Ibn ‘Abbas said,
In Jawahir al-Qur’an by Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr al-Razi:
The soil is wet earth which is below the dry earth, and from it [derives] His (Exalted is He) statement “and whatever is beneath the soil” (20:6), and the intent is: whatever is beneath the seventh earth. End
Ibn al-Mundhir transmitted from Ibn Jurayh [that] he said,
[It is mentioned] in Al-Tuhfat al-Saniyyah fi Ajwibat al-As’ilat al-Mardiyya by Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Latif al-Bashishi: Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted from Ka’b that
the marfu’ hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr which is narrated in al-Mustadrak and other [books that] he said: Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
since this report informs [us] that in the strata of the earth are snakes, scorpions, winds etc. and the athar of Ibn ‘Abbas informs [us] that therein are accountable creatures and prophets, and there is a difference between them, and when they conflict, the marfu’ [narration] is adopted, and the non-marfu’ [narration] is abandoned.
The verifiable truth in this subject that is closest to the truth, is to say:
and the athar of Ibn ‘Abbas proves that there are Adams like our Adam and Prophets like our Prophet therein.
[This] was clarified by a group of verifiers, but of them were those who consigned its details to the knowledge of Allah (Exalted is He), like Al-Shihab al-Khufaji in Hawashi Tafsir al-Baydawi and Sayyid al-Jurjani in Sharh al-Mawaqif and Ibn Abi Jumrah in Sharh Mukhtasar Sahih al-Bukhari.
according to what is mentioned in some reports, like Al-Shibli, Al-Zurqani, Al-Halabi and Al-Qastallani.
as in Bada’i al-Duhur and others. Wahb ibn Munabbih said:
“Quite against my will, my lecturer has managed to convince me that the Theory of Evolution is actually true. I felt very uncomfortable in class” said Nazri, one of my fellow coursemates.
“The point now is to figure out whether or not the Theory of Evolution is really against the teachings of Islam. Exactly what is Islam’s stand on Darwin’s Theory? Is it 100% against it?” I asked him.
“Well, it’s difficult to say” said he.
“In my opinion, the challenge is for us to not making any kind of blanket statements. We should differentiate between Charles Darwin, Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, Social-Darwinism, and the Theory of Evolution itself”, I suggested.
“There are indeed many differences between them. However, when translated to Bahasa Melayu and our mindset, it is collectively termed as ‘Darwin’s Theory’. That’s all” he continued.
“Therein lies the problem. In my opinion, the behaviour of many Moslem lecturers who pronounce blanket condemnations of Darwin’s Theory will lead to problems later, especially for those like you, who are studying for the Biology A-Level. There are many who think that Darwin’s theory and its evolution…. Is 100% against the teachings of Islam” I expanded upon my thoughts.
“Their arguments are very simplistic. If one believes in Darwin’s Theory, it means one believes that our ancestors are apes! It starts and ends that way” supported Nazri.
We paused to ponder. The issue is not one that is particularly easy.
The Breadth of the Theory of Evolution
Our attempt to try and understand the Theory of Evolution is based not solely on the need to answer the question of who or what our forefathers were. It is also not for the purpose of condemning the imperialism of the West, imperialism that was based on the Social Darwinist theory of survival of the fittest.
Coincidentally, in my Muslim Historiography class with Assoc Prof Dr Ahmed Elyas Hussein, we had discussed a question more basic than the need to correctly assess the truth of the Theory of Evolution, namely the question of the “Beginning of History”.
This involves testing the Theory of Evolutionary Biology against questions related to the creation of Adam and life on earth before Adam.
Without this understanding, we will always be troubled by discoveries arising from advances in DNA profiling techniques. These techniques enable scientists to calculate the mutation rates of living structures, which solidifies the evidence obtained from fossil dating and challenges our simplistic understanding of the “Beginning of History” question posed earlier.
Up till now, scientists have been able to distinguish roughly 15 species of early man. However, it is not trivial to categorize these various species, how they inter-relate, and how each species ends. The early Australopithecine species, estimated to be 5 to 2 million years old, leads to the Neanderthal species, estimated to be 200,000 to 24,000 years old. All this brings up questions related to the creation of Adam and Islam’s stand on evolution itself. Did Adam live as early as the Australopithecine era?
I am not an expert in the field, especially in Biology. However, I would like to share some thoughts with you, with the intention of helping you make some early assessments regarding this issue.
Islam’s Stand on the Creation of Man
Below are some verses that touch on the origin of man:
Allah SWT says in the Quran:
He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery [Surah ar-Rahman, 55: 14]
Similar messages are presented in 22:5, 23:12, 30:20, 32:7, and 37:11.
Allah SWT also says:
We have indeed created man in the best of moulds [Surah at-Tin, 95: 5]
In translating these verses, Mohammad Asad says: Allah SWT has created man in the best of forms, with positive qualities both physical and mental, sufficient for him to complete the task(s) for which he was created.
Consider too verses 8:2 and 7:8.
Allah SWT also states in the Quran that all of mankind descends from Adam. He says:
O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. [Surah an-Nisa, 4: 1]
And man was created by Allah as a khalifah (vicegerent) on this earth:
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:30]
Opinions from Islam’s Early Scholars
When studying Islamic history, we usually look at how well the ummah carries out Allah’s commands, and how this relates to the rise and fall of civilizations. This viewpoint sometimes causes us to overlook the opinions of the ‘ulama on matters related to pre-history.
In the same way that the Theory of Evolution has philosophical roots that extend to the eras of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, as well as to religion, so too do the ‘ulama look to these sources in order to help seek answers to questions related to pre-history. However, the thrust of the understanding always comes from Quranic verses, which carry their own principles. Even though the ‘ulama make use of various other sources, Quranic principles remain the main source for them.
Just look at al-Mas’oudi’s book, Akhbar al-Zaman. Before talking about Adam and the generations after him, Al-Mas’oudi included the chapters, “On the Age of the World”, “On the Peoples before Adam”, “On the Earth and What Is In It”, “On the Sea that Covers (Al-Bahr al-Huhi?) and the Amazing Things Contained Within It”, etc.
Al-Mas’oudi explains that there were 28 groups of peoples created on this earth before Adam. These consisted of flora and fauna as well as a mankind that resembles the people of Adam. These groups mixed and interacted, leading to the expansion of the peoples to 120 groups.
Al-Thabari also says in his tafsir that all of creation was created before Adam.
Al-Maqdisi explains that there were three main groups in this world before Adam, two of which were groups of Jinn, whereas the third is slightly different in that they were made of flesh and blood. This third group consists of those referred to as “man yufsidu feehaa wa yasfiku al-dimaa”, i.e “one who will make mischief therein and shed blood”, as this group was called by the angels in the Quranic verses of 2:30.
These explanations by al-Mas’oudi demonstrates how previous ‘ulama have been debating matters regarding pre-history well before these discussions appeared in Europe during relatively current times.
These matters are important for Islamic knowledge in order to build and structure a World History based on an Islamic perspective. Muslims see the question of God, mankind, and the world, as subjects that cannot be separated. Based on this principle, the historical context cannot simply start with the creation of Adam, but pre-Adamic eras should also be considered.
This really amazes me. All this while, the fact that ‘ulama as early as the 10th century have been paying attention to this issue, had escaped my attention. Their efforts and interest show the importance of paying some attention to this subject.
‘Adams’ before ADAM
Regarding the creation of Adam, the majority of ‘ulama believe that Adam and Eve were created in their complete form in Heaven. They were then sent to earth after partaking from the forbidden fruit. Their progeny populated the earth and thenceforth started the history of mankind.
What is not explained explicitly by Allah SWT in the Quran is how Adam is created. Was he created in stages or in just one process? A fraction of tafsir scholars are of the opinion that when Allah SWT created Adam, it was not until 40 years later that his ruh (spirit) was blown into him. In this is clear the influence of Ancient Persian tradition towards this tafsir.
Another fraction of ‘ulama are of the opinion that Adam was not the first man created to be on earth. In their opinion, hundreds and thousands of previous ‘Adam’s have existed before Adam our father. Each previous ‘Adam’ had their own progeny and life, were destroyed completely, and replaced by the following ‘Adam’, until the time came to Adam, our father. Adam our father is seen as being the last of the ‘Adam’s on this earth.
Then there are also ‘ulama who are of the opinion that Adam and Eve were not created in Heaven, but on earth, and from the earth.
(Refer al-Maqdisi: Al-Bad’ wa al-Tarikh and Ibn al-‘Arabi: al-Futuhat al-Makkiyyah)
Ikhwan al-Safa too explained a bit more on this aspect. They state that all creatures were created from dry clay and inhabited the Equatorial regions, unaffected by weather extremes. This created a good environment for procreation. It is in this environment that Adam was created (takawwana). Ikhwan al-Safa are also of the opinion that Adam and Eve spent the first half of their life on earth (Rasaa’il Ikhwan al-Safa, chapter 181, pg 229. There is a possibility that this concept was taken from come Biblical concepts, where Heaven is termed the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived in purity).
Some of us might see the above-mentioned issues as trivial and unimportant. It could easily be labeled khurafat, victims of Israiliyyat, made-up imaginings, etc. What should not slip from our minds is that it is not the factual details that are important. I say this because, whether seen from the aspect of religious textual interpretations, or from the aspect of scientific achievement itself, this field is still inundated with hypotheses. In fact, it should never be forgotten that Allah said “I KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW NOT”.
Our knowledge is not limitless.
What we should hold as important is the questioning of ideas related to evolutionary biology, the existence of ideas related to the possibility of previous ‘Adam’s before Adam, and the opportunity for these questions to be researched by Muslims. This will prevent Science students from feeling guilty merely because they think that evolution is completely against Islam.
As was demonstrated previously, the principles of evolution have already been in the minds of Muslim historians as early as the 10th century. If it was accepted as a subject worthy of study by Muslims then, why is it that in this day and age, we feel that there is no more room for discussion regarding this matter? Evolution is against Islam, 100% we say!
What worries me is that the behaviour of religious people towards these issues will create problems for Muslims in the same way that the arrogant attitude of Christian religious leaders led to the distancing of the scientific community from religion. Their simplistic and narrow-minded pronouncements resulted in religion being discarded as the source of truth, without even discussing the question of the truth of their religion itself.
People turned to science due to their disgust with religious zealots whose ideas were static and unappealing.
The Divine Evolution
Even in the West, some researchers try to harmonize between evolution and religious doctrine. Even though theologians and the Church are adamant in rejecting evolution, there are some who accept the rules and laws of the natural world without denying God’s process of creation. They believe that the Hand of God is behind the evolutionary processes of this world, and that man is at the end of this evolutionary process.
This explanation is called ‘The Divine Evolution’.
There also exist church leaders who accept that the texts of the Holy Book are imperfect and who see the Theory of Evolution as being in tune with Christian belief (see Maurice Bucaille, What is the Origin of Man? The Answers of Science and the Holy Scripture).
Regular checks and updates should also be carried out by us, the Muslims.
Muhammad Iqbal and other learned men accepted the idea of evolutionary biology. However, Iqbal explains that evolution only affects man’s physical development. It has nothing to do with the non-physical or spiritual dimensions of man (see Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam).
This issue involves Islam’s stand on fossil finds, matters related to the truth of a primitive man as the start of life, issues related to the great flood, as well as Gog and Magog, among others.
In America, genetic science and paleontologists at the end of the 20th century unanimously supported the theory of mtEve after researching ancient fossil remains. This theory suggests that current mankind descended from one man and one woman. This acceptance opened up a path to the religious establishment who then went on to forward hypotheses related to the ship of Noah and the Garden of Eden.
If Muslims take the easy way out and call all this nonsense, then it will become much easier for Islam itself to be seen as being nonsensical. This will happen if we fail to interact with the scientific achievements and genetic technology of today.
I worry about a fraction of our community who extricate themselves from others due to ideas presented in the mainstream media, ideas that are comfortable with the thought that science and religion are at loggerheads.
It is my hope that sharing this information with you will prove how ‘ulama, scientists, and historians, are in need of each other in order to better understand religion, Allah SWT, mankind and the rest of creation.
Let us not be the cause of the destruction of Islam and Muslims by succumbing to simplistic musings.
This article was written for those who are familiar with the subjects discussed: perspectives related to the history of Darwinism, biological science, genetic engineering, and a little exposure to early Islamic scholars. If some terms are confusing, please utilize Wikipedia. Thank you.
HASRIZAL @ http://www.saifulislam.com
Yes, lets imagine a world WITHOUT MUSLIMS, shall we?
Without Muslims you wouldn’t have:
– Experimental Physics
That’s right. Cannabis, and the word ‘marijuana’ were spread around the world by Muslims.
Franz Rosenthal’s study of the use of hemp in medieval Islamic culture and its associated controversies includes catalogues of epithets drawn from the lists of medieval Muslim commentators. These include ‘the shrub of understanding’ and some still in use to this day, such as the Turkic esrar, or ‘secrets.
“Cannabis was used medicinally across the Arabic world in Roman times, applied to a wide variety of ailments (from migraines to syphilis) and as an analgesic and anesthetic. The great ninth-century Islamic physician Rhazès prescribed it widely; a contemporary, the Arab physician Ibn Wahshiyah, warned of the potential effects of hashish which he wrote was a lethal poison.”
Martin Booth Cannabis: A History, 2005 – http://www.mjic.com/cannabis-a-timeline
Islam reached West Africa by 900 AD, almost 600 years before the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and, if not established earlier, the use of cannabis as an intoxicant likely followed the spread of Islam and Middle Eastern culture through trade. However, pre-Columbian transatlantic contacts with the Americas have been argued for with as much enthusiasm as transpacific contacts and it is possible that cannabis reached the Americas from Africa or the Mediterranean before its introduction by the Portuguese.
Professor Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations has suggested to me that the root of the word marijuana might be a Semitic loan word in Spanish, having an Arabic origin, later being imported to Mexico from Moorish Spain.
Professor Mair has identified the consonantal group mrj, pronounced something like *maraj or *mraj, as the root of the Chinese word for ‘hemp’ ma? He suggests a possible connection with the Semitic root mrr, meaning bitter, which he thinks predates the ancient Chinese *maraj or *mraj = hemp.
Although one might expect any Arabic mrj root associated with cannabis to be well attested in Medieval Spanish, associations between the herbologies of Moorish Spain, Morocco and Mexico also have been noted. Mary Austin in her foreword to Healing Herbs of the Rio Grande by L. S. M. Curtin, refers to the intrusion of the influence of the Moors, the Arab and North African conquerors of Spain, which, transferred from Spain to America, formed part of the overlapping of traditional Indian, Spanish, and Moorish lore.
The author L. S. M. Curtin himself thanks Dr. J. P. Harrington of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, for ‘proposing Morocco as a valuable source of herbal comparisons and etymologies’. He points out that the Southwest became a Spanish colony only a few generations after the Moorish hold upon most of Spain was broken and that, like many other parts of Hispanic America, ‘the Southwest felt the direct and the indirect influences of that Moorish occupation of Spain: direct, in the persons of Moorish artisans, Moorish architects, and Moorish servants, who accompanied the conquistadores and their successors to the New World; indirect, in the infusion of Moorish customs, words, and knowledge which every Spaniard brought to the Americas’.
Curtin proposes the urgent need for a thoroughgoing study of Moorish influence throughout the three Americas during the colonial period.
From Piper, Alan. “The Mysterious Origins of the Word ‘Marihuana’”. Sino-Platonic Papers (153): July 2005. Retrieved from http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp153_marijuana.pdf
Islam was revealed in Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, but what does it actually say about Arabs? What is their place in Islam and Islamic history? And does this apply to today’s modern musta’rab (Arabized people) or only to the original Arabs?
“So when you have accomplished your (Hajj) rituals, remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with a greater rememberance…” (Qur-an 2.200)
This refutes a custom the Arabs had introduced into the Hajj (a pilgrimage which precedes Allah’s revelation to Muhammad). In it, they would spend hours praising their forefathers in poetry and song, an exercise in tribal pride.
Bedouin Arab Culture is Disbelief and Hypocrisy
“The wandering desert Arabs are the severest in disbelief and hypocrisy, and most likely to be ignorant of the limits which Allah hath revealed unto His messenger. And Allah is Knower, Wise.
Some of the desert Arabs look upon their payments as a fine, and watch for disasters for you: on them be the disaster of evil: for Allah is He That heareth and knoweth (all things).
But some of the desert Arabs believe in Allah and the Last Day, and look on their payments as pious gifts bringing them nearer to Allah and obtaining the prayers of the Messenger. Aye, indeed they bring them nearer (to Him): soon will Allah admit them to His Mercy: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur-an 9.97-99)
“He Who belongs to the Bedouin is most likely harsh and hard of heart”
[Reported by Abu Y’ala on the authority of Al-Bara’. Also by Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurairah].
“All the following people are cursed by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) until the Day of Judgment, the man who lends money at interest (Riba), the man who accepts to pay it back at interest, the man who writes down this usurious agreement, the two witnesses of it at those times, the tattooer and the tattooed for the of beauty, the procrastinator of Zakah, whoever turns back to the Bedouin life after his immigration.”
[Reported by lbn Khuzaimah in his Sahih (No.2250), Al-Hakim (vol. 1, pp.387, 388), Al-Baihaqi (vol.9, p.19), and `Abd Al-Raziq in his Musanaf with difference in words (No.15350). It is also reported by Ahmad (No.3881), Al-Nasa’i (vol.8, p.147), and Ibn Hibban (No .3252) on the authority of Al-Harith Al-A’war]
The apostate to Bedouin life, as Ibn Al-‘Athir said, is the one who returns to desert and live with the Bedoums after his immigration. The man who returned to Bedouin life after immigration without excuse was considered an apostate.
Abu Hurairah reported in a hadith that:
“The great sins are disbelief in Allah, killing a fellow man without a just cause, devouring usury, eating up the property of orphans unjustly, turning one’s back to the disbelievers in a battlefield at the time of fighting, accusing chaste women, and to go back to the Bedouin after one’s immigration.”
[Al-Haitharni said: It is reported by Al-Bazar, vol.1, p.103]
Sahl Ibn Abi Hathamah narrated after his father that he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying:
“Avoid the great seven sins. When the Prophet saw that the people kept silent, he went on: “Won’t you ask me about them? They are: to associate partners in worship with Allah and to turn and live in the desert with Bedouin after the immigration etc.”
[Al-Haithami said: It is reported by Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabir, vol.1, p.103]
“And give to the women (whom you marry) their dowry with a good heart…” (Qur-an 4.4)
This bans the practice of giving dowries to the fathers of the bride, effectively ending the custom of selling daughters and buying wives against their will.
O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good. (Qur-an 4.19)
The Arab custom of widows being inherited by their brother-in-law or other in-laws is banned.
And marry not women whom your fathers married,- except what is past: It was shameful and odious,- an abominable custom indeed. (Qur-an 4.22)
Another Arab custom is banned.
If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar, they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is one that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again).
But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered,- (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.
And he who findeth not (the wherewithal), let him fast for two successive months before they touch one another; and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones. This, that ye may put trust in Allah and His messenger. Such are the limits (imposed by Allah); and for disbelievers is a painful doom. (Qur-an 58.2-4)
Zihar, the Arab custom of divorcing a wife by saying approaching her is like approaching the back of his mother, is condemned, punished and banned.
“O you who believe! The Law of Equality in Punishment is prescribed for you in the case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.
But if the killer is forgiven by the brother (or relatives, etc.) of the killed for blood money, then adhering to it with fairness and payment of the blood-money to the heir should be done in fairness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. So after this, whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood-money), he shall have a painful torment.
And there is a saving of life for you in the Law of Equality in Punishment, O people of understanding, that you may become righteous.” (Qur-an 2.178-9)
Previously, tribes would retaliate for a murder by murdering any other member of the offending tribe, which would in turn retaliate, starting a vicious cycle of vengeance. At the time of Allah’s revelation to Muhammad, a blood feud had been running for centuries between two tribes that began with a member of one drinking from the other’s well.
“And when the female infant is asked: for what sin was she killed?… …every soul will know what it has brought (of good and evil).” (Qur-an 81.8-9, 14)
When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief!
He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that which is announced to him. Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge. (Qur-an 16.58-9)
The Arabs used to dig a hole for the mother to deliver over. If it was a girl, they would simply bury her in the hole. This is the amount of shame and inferiority that was attached to females. There is a narration in which a man once informed Prophet Muhammad that he buried his daughter alive after she was several years old. It is also reported that a man once told the Prophet that he had buried eight of his daughters alive before Islam.
Today, Arab men publicly greet each other by kissing and hugging each other multiple times, and also hold hands when they walk. Any display of affection towards a woman is generally forbidden.
“And as such do the idols beautify for the idolaters the killing of their children, in order to lead them into their own destruction and confuse them in their religion. And if Allah Had Willed, they would not have done so. So leave them alone in their fabrications.
And they say: “What is in the bellies of these cattle is for our males alone, and forbidden to our females, but if it is born dead, the all have shares therein.” He Will Punish them for their attribution (of such evils to Himself). Verily, He Is Wise, Knowing. (Qur-an 6.137, 139)
The Khawarij- extremist rebels- were and will be Arabs
Jabir b. Abdullah reported that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) at Ja’rana on his way back from Hunain, and there was in the clothes of Bilal some silver. The Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) took a handful out of that and bestowed it upon the people. He (the person who had met the Prophet at Ja’rana) said to him: Muhammad, do justice. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Woe be upon thee, who would do justice if I do not do justice, and you would be very unfortunate and a loser if I do not do justice. Upon this Umar b. Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said: Permit me to kill this hypocrite. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: May there be protection of Allah! People would say that I kill my companions. This man and his companions would recite the Qur’an but it would not go beyond their throat, and they swerve from it just as the arrow goes through the prey.
[Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2316]
In one narration the words are:
A person among the people then sought permission (from the Holy Prophet) for his murder. According to some, it was Khalid b. Walid who sought the permission. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam), said: From this very person’s posterity there would arise people who would recite the Qur’an, but it would not go beyond their throat; they would kill the followers of Islam and would spare the idol-worshippers. They would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray. If I were to ever find them I would kill them like ‘Ad.
[Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2318]
*”Deceiving Anointed One”, False Messiah, Anti-Christ
No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, “While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka’ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ The people said, ‘He is the son of Mary.’ Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘He is Ad-Dajjal.’ (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 650)
In another narration:
The Prophet added, “The man he resembled most is Ibn Qatan, a man from the tribe of Khuza’a.” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 242)
The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said,
“O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Shaam [The Levant]. O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Yemen.”
The people said, “O Messenger of Allaah, and our Najd [Central Arabia or Iraq].”
I think the third time the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “There (in Najd) will occur earthquakes, trials and tribulations, and from their appears the Horn of Satan.”
(Reported in al-Bukhaaree [Book of Trials, Chpt. ‘The afflictions will come from the East’ 9/166 no. 214 Eng. Trans])
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established till the buttocks of the women of the tribe of Daus move while going round Dhi-al-Khalasa.” Dhi-al-Khalasa was the idol of the Daus tribe which they used to worship in the Pre Islamic Period of ignorance. (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 232)
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established till a man from Qahtan appears, driving the people with his stick.” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 233)
Qahtan is a large tribe in the Arabian Peninsula.
Salman al-Ouda is a respected Muslim scholar from the Arabian Peninsula. He is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees, and a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today. He and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.
The mythology of the Aten, the radiant disk of the sun, is not only unique in Egyptian history, but is also one of the most complex and controversial aspects of Ancient Egypt. This term initially could be applied to any disk, including even the surface of a mirror or the moon. The term was used in the Coffin Texts to denote the sun disk, but in the ‘Story of Sinuhe‘ dating from the Middle Kingdom, the word is used with the determinative for god. In that story, Amenemhat I is described as soaring into the sky and uniting with Aten his creator. In the New Kingdom, Amenhotep I, becomes in death “united with Aten, coalescing with the one from whom he had come”.
Text written during the New Kingdom‘s 18th Dynasty frequently use the term to mean “throne” or “place” of the sun god. The word Aten was written using the hieroglyphic sign for “god” because the Egyptians tended to personify certain expressions. Eventually, the Aten was conceived as a direct manifestation of the sun god.
Amāna- ātpa (Amenhotep III, Amenophis III; “Amun is Satisfied”)- Father of Akhenaten
Prior to Amenhotep IV, the sun disk could be a symbol in which major gods appear and so we find such phrases as “Atum who is in his disk (‘aten’). However, from there it is only a small leap for the disk itself to become a god.
It was Amenhotep IV who first initiated the appearance of the true god, Aten, by formulating a didactic name for him. Hence, in the early years of Amenhotep IV’s reign, the sun god Re-Horakhty, traditionally depicted with a hawk’s head, became identical to Aten, who was again worshipped as a god, rather than as an object associated with the sun god.
To honor his new god, Amenhotep IV constructed an enormous temple east of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak during the third year of his reign. The temple included pillared courts with striking colossal statues of the king and at least three sanctuaries, one of which was called the Hwt-benben (‘mansion of the Benben’). This emphasized the relationship between Aten and the sun cult of Heliopolis. The Benben symbolized the primeval mound on which the sun god emerged from Nun to create the universe.
Amenhotep IV, who would change his name to Akhenaten to reflect Aten’s importance, first replaced the state god Amun with his newly interpreted god. The hawk-headed figure of Re-Horakhty-Aten was then abandoned in favor of the iconography of the solar disk, which was now depicted as an orb with a uraeus at its base emitting rays that ended in human hands either left open or holding ankh signs that gave “life” to the nose of both the king and the Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti.
Nefertiti Bust, a 3300-year-old painted limestone bust of the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, believed to have been crafted in 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose.
Around the ninth year of of Akhenaten‘s reign, the name of the god Aten was once more changed. Now, all mention of Horakhty and Shu disappeared. Horakhty was replaced by the phrase, “Ruler of the Horizon”. No longer was the hawk form of the god acceptable and this image was definitively replaced with new iconography and a purer form of monotheism was introduced. Now, Aten became “the Living One, Sun, Ruler of the Horizon, who rejoices on the horizon in his name, which is Sunlight, which comes from the disk”.
Left: Akhenaten in an exaggerated form; Right: Nefertiti in a form less attractive then her Berlin Bust. Both are receiving “life” from the Aten
Aten was now considered the sole, ruling deity and celebrated its own royal jubilees (Sed-festivals).
The concept of the new god was not so much the sun disk, but rather the life giving illumination of the sun. To make this distinction, his name would be more correctly pronounced, “Yati(n)”.
Aten was now the king of kings, needing no goddess as a companion and having no enemies who could threaten him. In effect, this worship of Aten was not a sudden innovation on the part of one king, but the climax of a religious quest among Egyptians for a benign god limitless in power and manifest in all countries and natural phenomena.
After Aten ascended to the top of the pantheon, most of the old gods retained their positions at first, though that would soon change as well. Gods of the dead such as Osiris and Soker were several of the first to vanish from the Egyptian religious front.
Akhenaten‘s new religion, which inaugurated theocracy and systematic monotheism, manifest itself with two central themes surrounding light and the king. It was probably after the god’s final name change that Akhenaten ordered the closure of the temples dedicated to all other gods in Egypt. Not only were these temples closed, but in order to extinguish the memory of these gods as much as possible, a veritable persecution took place. Literal armies of stonemasons were sent out all over the land and even into Nubia, above all else, to hack away the image and name of the god Amun.
In year six of his reign, Amenhotep IV became weary of Thebes and the old powerful Amun priesthood, and thus founded a new capital city in the desert valley area we now call el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) somewhat north of the old capital in Middle Egypt. Amenhotep IV mentions on two stelae that the priests were saying more evil things about him than they did about his father and grandfather, so from this we learn that there must have been a conflict that dated back at least to the reign of Tuthmosis IV. Luckily for the king, however, the priesthood was apparently not strong enough to curb a pharaoh’s inclinations at this point in time.
There, in his new capital of Akhetaten (‘horizon of Aten’), Aten could be worshipped without any consideration of other deities. Thus he built both a Great Aten temple in the city. Outside of Akhetaten, there appears to have also been temples dedicated to Aten at Memphis, at Sesebi in Nubia, and perhaps elsewhere during at least part of Akhenaten‘s reign.
Around the time Akhetaten was founded, Amenhotep IV changed his own birth name from Amenhotep, which may be translated as “Amun is content”, to Akhenaten, meaning “he who is beneficial to the Aten” or “illuminated manifestation of Aten”. Afterwards, the king proceeded to emphasize Aten’s singular nature above all other gods through excessively preferential treatment. Ultimately, he suppressed all other deities.
But indeed, Akhenaten‘s new creed could be summed up by the formula, “There is no god but Aten, and Akhenaten is his prophet”. The hymn known as the “Sun Hymn of Akhetaten” offers some theological insight into this newly evolved god. Scholars have noted a similarity between the hymn and Biblical Psalm 104, although the distinct parallels between the two are usually interpreted simply as indications of the common literary heritage of Egypt and Israel.
Head of colossal statue of Akhenaten; Karnak; Aten Temple;
Inscribed in thirteen long lines, the essential part of the poem is a hymn of praise for Aten as the creator and preserver of the world. Within it, there are no allusions to traditional mythical concepts, since the names of other gods are absent. Hence, it should be noted that, unlike other supreme gods of Egypt, Aten did not always absorb the attributes of other gods. His nature was entirely different.
The hymn abounds with descriptions of nature and with the position of the king in the new religion. Irregardless of the existence of a priesthood devoted to Aten, only to Akhenaten had the god revealed itself, and only the king could know the demands and commandments of Aten,
However, while the hymn seems to provide exclusive rights to the Aten only to the king, his family appears to have been included within this inner circle. The new myths of the religion were filled with the ruler’s family history and it is not surprising that the faithful of the Amarna period prayed in front of private cult stelae that depicted the royal “holy” family.
Aten had to be forced on the Egyptian people, and outside of Akhetaten (and really even there) and the official state religion, Aten never replaced all the traditional Egyptian gods. In effect, among the common Egyptians, if anything, the situation created a religious vacuum which was unstable from the beginning. And while it is clear that the elite of Akhetaten certainly paid respect to Aten, there is no real evidence for personal individual worship of the god on the part of the ordinary Egyptians whose only access to the god was through the medium of the king. On the contrary, at even the workers village in eastern Amarna, there has been unearthed numerous amulets of traditional gods, as well as some small private chapels probably dedicated to ancestor worship but showing no traces of the official religion.
A painted ivory relief of a royal child picking grapes. Amarna period, New Kingdom, Egypt
Soon after the death of Akhenaten, his capital was dismantled, as was his religion. Aten was removed from the Egyptian pantheon, and Akhenaten as well as his family and religion, were now the focus of prosecution. Their monuments were destroyed, together with related inscriptions and images. While the Aten did continue to be worshipped for some period after Akhenaten’s death, the god soon fell into obscurity.