Hard Questions

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Posts Tagged ‘Miracles

The Signs of God

with 2 comments

The main advantage of literal translation of scriptures, is that, it removes one layer between you and the original text, the layer imposed by the translator interpreting the text for you. take this example:
God says:

“And you see the mountains you think they are stationary, and they are passing like the passing of clouds. The Working of God who perfected everything. Indeed He is Well Acquainted of what you do”
[27:88]

This is a beautiful verse, a great sign pointing to its divine source. One possible interpretation is that this verse describes the rotation of Earth as seen from a frame of reference beyond the gravitational field of Earth.

It is one of many verses in the Quran, which describe with great accuracy, scientific phenomena that were completely unknown to humanity in the seventh century AD, when the Quran was revealed.

How on earth did prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) have known that mountains are not stationary?

Unlike all previous prophets and messengers of God, the miracle of the last prophet, Mohamed pbuh, is an enduring one. It is a sign that stays with us today and will stay for those who will come after we depart from this world. You too can see it and appreciate it.

The Sign given to the prophet whose mission includes the era of a scientific and materialistic world, is different. It is a Sign that speaks to your mind and to your intellect. It is for those who think for themselves, those who honestly seek the truth.

The splitting of the sea, was very visible and- no doubt- an astounding miracle bestowed on Moses, Similarly, raising the dead, with the will of God, was performed by Jesus and Moses, These miracles which defied the norms of worldly laws and customs were intended for specific people, and were witnessed by a limited audience who were present at a certain place at a particular point in history.

The Quran, the miracle of prophet Muhammad, is a book. A miraculous book that can be read by people long after the prophet has died, and long after the revelation itself.

Notes on the translation of the verse:

Non Arabic speakers who translated the Quran, did a great job, but in a few instances they relied on “Tafseers” or peshers (interpretations) and in those instances, they would translate their understanding of the verse, which was derived from the interpretations they received.

The above verse was translated as:

“And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds. The Work of Allâh, Who perfected all things, verily He is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

Early Muslim scholars who wrote interpretation of the Quran, could not imagine the mountains moving. Most of them interpreted the verse as a future occurrence on the day of judgement.

The only exception was an interpretation attributed to IBN ABBAS, who was quoted by Al-Qurtubi as saying “the mountains are standing but moving fast”.

There could be a merit in the old interpretation, which assumes the verse to be a continuation from the previous passage. That is perfectly plausible, however, there is nothing in the original words that exclude the possibility that the verse is describing a contemporary, worldly scene.

The translation I wrote above is a literal translation, the Arabic sentence is ” and it passes like the passing of clouds” is in the present tense, and not future tense,

It is true that the Quran, in many places, refers to the future in the present and even the past tense, to give the meaning of certainty to a scene. This verse however has no future context at all. It speaks of looking at the mountain, and after describing the motion of the mountains, it says: “The making of Allah, who perfected every thing, verily, He is Well Acquainted with what you do” so this is an added emphasis on the contemporary nature of what the verse is describing.

Written by Rasheed Gadir

December 27, 2007 at 8:18 pm

Thoughts on the crucifixion

with 58 comments

Can we reconcile the Christian and Muslim differences over the Crucifixion? Probably not, but we can still explore and look closely at them. We might learn something useful.

The Gospels confirm that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. Muslims insist that he was not crucified, but saved by God, so obviously, our views on the historical event can not be reconciled, however, unlike other differences between the two faiths, I believe our difference on the crucifixion can be ‘explained’.

The source of the Muslim view on the crucifixion is the Quran. Allah says in the Quran, Chapter 4:

[Quran 4:154] And We caused the Mount to tower above them at (the taking of) their covenant: and We bade them: Enter the gate, prostrate! and We bode them: Transgress not the Sabbath! and We took from them a firm covenant.

[4:155] Then because of their breaking of their covenant, and their disbelieving in the revelations of Allah, and their slaying of the prophets wrongfully, and their saying: Our hearts are hardened – Nay, but Allah set a seal upon them for their disbelief, so that they believe not save a few –

[4:156] That they rejected Faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge;

[4:157] That they said, “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:

[4:158] Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Mighty in Power, Wise;

[4:159] And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgement he will be a witness against them;-

Based on the verses above, God made it appear to those present at the scene, that Jesus was being crucified. It is no wonder then, everyone thought what they were witnessing was the crucifixion of Jesus.

But the Quran also confirms that God saved Jesus. This is one further reason for Muslims to revere Jesus. He had a high standing before God, that Almighty did NOT allow his enemies to kill him.

On the other hand, there are varying accounts of the date of the resurrection of Jesus in the Gospels. Similarly, much of the story of the empty tomb in the Bible and the subsequent appearance of Jesus to the disciples described in the Gospel of Mark, turned out to be an unreliable later addition. There are several conflicting accounts of what happened after the crucifixion.

All this leads me to think that, people believed the Messiah was crucified, but they were unable to find his blessed body.

This secret was only revealed in the Quran centuries later: God has saved his prophet Jesus from his enemies. He did not allow the plotters to prevail against Jesus, who is one of five “Willful” major prophet.

This is consistent with what happened with All the the major messengers of God. Each one of them was saved from his enemies:

  1. Noah was saved from the flood.
  2. Abraham was saved when he was thrown into a raging fire.
  3. Moses was saved from the army of the Pharaoh of Egypt.
  4. Jesus was saved from those who plotted to kill him.
  5. Muhammad was saved from the Meccans who plotted to murder him. God’s peace and blessing be upon all of them

In other areas where Islam and Christianity differ, I believe that the true teachings of Jesus were altered, and I have explained this position in other posts on this blog.

The crucifixion is different. There was simply no way for Christians and Jews to know that their Messiah was saved, not until God sent his last prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) with the Quran, to tell the true story of what really happened on that day, and how God saved his prophet Jesus, in what was the last miracle bestowed on Jesus before his second coming.

Written by Rasheed Gadir

December 15, 2007 at 1:09 am

The First Miracle of Jesus in the Quran

with 19 comments

Just imagine, Mary, mother of Jesus, in a very conservative and religious community. She is from a well known family- a daughter of a priest , and has spent most of her life in the Temple.

This virtuous, saintly, unmarried woman arrives carrying her child, in front of people who new her and her family very well. It must have been an AWFUL experience for her.

How can she prove her innocence? Would anyone believe her? What on earth is she going to do?She needed a miracle.

You can not find the answer to these questions in the canonical Gospels. You will not find the answer even in the non-canonical Gospel of Infancy of Jesus, which has Jesus speaking in the cradle but only to his mother and Joseph, who is described as her spouse. But if she was married, there would be no cause for concern!

You will, however, find the answers in the Quran.

Only a miracle could vindicate Mary in front of the people. She needed a miracle, and that is precise;y what she got. A great miracle:

It was baby Jesus, still in the cradle, who spoke to the crowd, defending his mother, and vindicating her for ever, and dispelling any doubt about her purity.

This is how the whole scene is beautifully described in the Quran:

The Quran, Chaper 19: MARY
[19:16] And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East,
[19:17] And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man.
[19:18] She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art Allah-fearing.
[19:19] He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son.
[19:20] She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste?
[19:21] He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.
[19:22] And she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place.
[19:23] And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!
[Pickthal 19:24] Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee,
[19:25] And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee.
[19:26] So eat and drink and be consoled. And if thou meetest any mortal, say: Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.
[19:27] Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing.
[19:28] O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.
[19:29] Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?
[19:30] He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,
[19:31] And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive,
[19:32] And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest.
[19:33] Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
[19:34] Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt.
[19:35] It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is

Written by Rasheed Gadir

December 12, 2007 at 1:07 pm