Sunday, 23 April 2017

Evidence for alteration of the Quran - The Sana'a Manuscript

Muslims from all over the world claim that the Quran has been perfectly preserved and is still in the original form as it was recited by Muhammad. Many of them go as far as saying "not a word of it has been changed or removed". The hadiths tell us that Caliph Uthman made 4-7 standard copies of the Quran in the written form and distributed to various provinces like Medina, Kufa, Basra, Syria and according to some later reports - to Mecca, Egypt and Bahrain as well. What is interesting is that none of these 4-7 copies exist today. Uthman died in 656 AD and this is attested by a very early source outside hadith as well. The writings in the earliest manuscript collections of the Quran that exist today are all dated to 670 - 750 AD.

Many people will jump in and say that the Birmigham Manuscript of the Quran (which is part of the Mingana collection) is dated to 568 - 645 AD. What they miss is that the mentioned date range shows only the dating of the animal skin, not the writings. The animal from which the skin was taken, supposedly died between 568 AD and 645 AD. The writings could have come much later, and infact the features used in the writings show a date later than 630 AD and could be as late as 690 AD. The Birmigham manuscript is also extremely fragmentary in nature. It contains Quran verses 18:17 - 18:31, 19:91 - 19:98 and 20:13 - 20:40 and the writings are also somewhat continuous, with chapter separators. So, let us go to the earliest known large manuscript collection of the Quran - The Sana'a Manuscript:

The Sana'a manuscript is a palimpsest, ie, it has a lower text which was erased and in its place the content was rewritten - which is called the upper text. The upper text contains about 75% of the content of the Quran, whereas the lower text contains a little lesser. The traces of lower text have been highlighted and reconstructed using ultra-violet photography. The texts are inscribed on a parchment (animal skin) which has been carbon-dated to the period from 632 AD - 671 AD. That means, the lower text was certainly written after 632 AD. The literary features of the lower text indicate a somewhat early dating - somewhere around the 640s and 650s. The upper text, on the other hand is dated to late seventh century or early eighth century (670 - 715 AD).

Gerd R Puin, an expert on Arabic calligraphy and orthography, dated the upper text to 705 - 715 AD. The evidence is the illustrous drawings of mosques found on fragments along with the collection, which corresponds to the reign of Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid who reigned during the above mentioned period. Here is a video of Puin's testimony (watch from 1:30 - 2:15):

Some of the findings of Puin have been removed from multiple websites (Wikipedia, Islamic Awareness), as such a later dating of the upper text would be destructive to the Muslim belief that the Quran was standardized during Uthman's period.

The upper text does not have too much variations from the Quran that we read today. However, the lower text has more than 100 variations from today's Quran. Words are totally omitted in many places, whereas they are replaced with new words in other places.

Here is a full comparison of the lower text with the upper text (you can even find the original Arabic text here), published by Muslim research scholars Behnam Sadeghi and Mohsen Goudarzi who studied the manuscript collection in detail:

Here are a few examples of verses that have been changed. Follow carefully, the parts that are put in bold:

Quran 2:87 - For the word by word translation of the standard text:

a) Lower Text: "Wa-laqad aataynaa moosaa al-kitaaba wa-qaffaynaa 'alaa aathaarihi bi-alrrusuli wa-aataynaa 'eesaa ibna maryama al-bayyinaati ..."

Translation: "And certainly, we gave Moses the scripture and we followed up on his footsteps with messengers and we gave Eesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam, clear signs ..."

b) Standard Text: "Wa-laqad aataynaa moosaa al-kitaaba wa-qaffaynaa min ba'dihi bi-alrrusuli wa-aataynaa 'eesaa ibna maryama al-bayyinaati ..."

Translation: "And certainly, we gave Moses the scripture and we followed up after him with messengers and we gave Eesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam, clear signs ..."

Quran 2:196 - For the word by word translation of the standard text:

a) Lower Text: "... wa-laa tahlikoo hattaa yabhlugha al-haydu mahillahu fa-in kaana ahadun minkum mareedan aw bihi adhan min rasihi fa-fidyatun min siyaamin aw nusukin ..."

Translation: "... and not shave until the offering reaches its destination, then if anyone among you is sick or has an ailment of his head, then a ransom of fasting or sacrifice ..."

b) Standard Text: "... wa-laa tahlikoo ruoosakum hattaa yabhlugha al-haydu mahillahu fa-man kaana minkum mareedan aw bihi adhan min rasihi fa-fidyatun min siyaamin aw sadaqatin aw nusukin ..."

Translation: "... and not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination, then whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of his head, then a ransom of fasting or charity or sacrifice ..."

Quran 9:74 - For the word by word translation of the standard text:

a) Lower Text: "... wa-in yatawallaw yu'adhibhumu allahu fee al-dunyaa wa-maa lahum fee al-ardi min waliyyin wa-la naseerin"

Translation: "... and if they turn away, allah will punish them in this world and there will not be for them on the earth, any protector or helper"

b) Standard Text: "wa-in yatawallaw yu'adhibhumu allahu 'adhaaban aleeman fee al-dunyaa wa-al-aakhirati wa-maa lahum fee al-ardi min waliyyin wa-laa naseerin"

Translation: "... and if they turn away, allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and in the hereafter and there will not be for them on earth, any protector or helper"

Quran 63:7 - For the word by word translation of the standard text:

a) Lower Text: "humu alladheena yaqooloona laa tunfiqoo 'alaa man AAinda rasooli allahi hattaa yanfaddoo min hawlihi wa-lillaahi khazaainu al-samaawaati wa-al-ardi ..."

Translation: "They are those who say - donot spend on those who are with messenger of allah until they disband from around him and for allah are treasures of the heavens and the earth ..."

b) Standard Text: "humu alladheena yaqooloona laa tunfiqoo 'alaa man AAinda rasooli allahi hattaa yanfaddoo wa-lillaahi khazaainu al-samaawaati wa-al-ardi ..."

Translation: "They are those who say - donot spend on those who are with messenger of allah until they disband and for allah are treasures of the heavens and the earth ..."

So what do we have here? Many verses with words that have been inserted, deleted or replaced with new ones. If anyone is to argue that the lower text was an old corrupted quran, let me remind you that there is no reason to believe that the upper text which was written later on, is any more "original" than the lower text. As Sadeghi and Goudarzi pointed out, many of the variants in the lower text correspond to those reported in the recitation of Ibn Masud. The "Standard Quran" was supposedly compiled by Zayd bin Thabit under Caliph Uthman. Ibn Masud was reportedly one of the highest authorities of Quran as narrated by Muhammad.

Sahih al-Bukhari 6:61:521
Narrated Masriq:
`Abdullah bin `Amr mentioned `Abdullah bin Masud and said, "I shall ever love that man, for I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, 'Take (learn) the Qur'an from four: `Abdullah bin Masud, Salim, Mu`adh and Ubai bin Ka`b.' "

So where is Zayd bin Thabit here? Nowhere... He had basically no authority on the Quran.

To continue the story, Uthman had ordered all the copies that disagreed with his version, to be burned. And Ibn Masud clearly dismissed Zayd as a rookie.

Jami at-Tirmidhi 5:44:3104
Narrated Az-Zuhri:
from Anas who said: "Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman came to 'Uthman, at the time when the people of Ash-Sham and the people of Al-'Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminiyah and Adharbijan. Hudhaifah saw their (the people of Ash-Sham and Al-'Iraq) different forms of recitation of the Qur'an. So he said to 'Uthman: 'O Commander of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book as the Jews and the Christians did before them.' So he ('Uthman) sent a message to Hafsah (saying): 'Send us the manuscripts so that we may copy them in the Musahif (plural of Mushaf: a written copy of the Qur'an) then we shall return it to you.' So Hafsah sent the manuscripts to 'Uthman bin 'Affan. 'Uthman then sent order for Zaid bin Thabit, Sa'eed bin Al-'As, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Harith bin Hisham, and 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair to copy the manuscripts in the Musahif. 'Uthman said to the three Quraish men: 'In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the (recitation dialect of the) Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish for it was in their tongue.' So when they had copied the manuscripts, 'Uthman sent one Mushaf from those Musahif that they had copied to every province." Az-Zuhri said: "Kharijah bin Zaid [bin Thabit] narrated to me that Zaid bin Thabit said: 'I missed an Ayah of Surat Al-Ahzab that I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) reciting: Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, of them some have fulfilled their obligations, and some of them are still waiting (33:23) - so I searched for it and found it with Khuzaimah bin Thabit, or Abu Khuzaimah, so I put it in its Surah.'" Az-Zuhri said: "They differed then with At-Tabut and At-Tabuh. The Quraish said: At-Tabut while Zaid said: At-Tabuh. Their disagreement was brought to 'Uthman, so he said: 'Write it as At-Tabut, for it was revealed in the tongue of the Quraish.'" Az-Zuhri said: "'Ubaidullah bin 'Abdullah bin 'Utbah informed me that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud disliked Zaid bin Thabit copying the Musahif, and he said: 'O you Muslims people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and the recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man' - meaning Zaid bin Thabit - and it was regarding this that 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: 'O people of Al-'Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them. For indeed Allah said: And whoever conceals something, he shall come with what he concealed on the Day of Judgement (3:161). So meet Allah with the Musahif.'" Az-Zuhri said: "It was conveyed to me that some men amongst the most virtuous of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) disliked that view of Ibn Mas'ud."

There goes the myth of "perfect preservation of the Quran, down to each word".

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Historical Error: Mary, the mother of Jesus as Miriam, the sister of Moses

The Quran makes a clear historical error when it borrows stories from the Bible. The error we have in spotlight here is that the Quran mentions Mary, the mother of Jesus as the same Miriam (both names are written as Maryam in Arabic) who was supposedly the sister of Moses and Aaron according to the Bible. This is totally absurd since Moses (if at all he existed) lived more than 600-1000 years before Jesus.

The evidence for this is so strong that the Quran repeats this mistake in two different ways.

1) By addressing Maryam, the mother of Jesus as "Sister of Harun (Aaron)" (Quran 19:28)
2) By mistaking Imran (Amram), the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam as the Grandfather of Jesus (Quran 3:35 - 3:45, 66:12)

Before I describe the evidence, let us consider the possibility that the verse 19:28 is not referring to a biological sister. Is it then a mere coincidence that Aaron actually had a sister with the same name Maryam as per the Torah? Think over it. If the Quran is from God, then we have to accept that God was deliberately misleading humans into believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus was Aaron's sister. Or is God so careless that he didn't realize this and ended up using the word "sister"?

Let us forgive this and see if there is any other place in the Quran where this confusion between Mary and Miriam is repeated. Yes there is! The Quran verses 3:35 - 3:45 describe that the wife of Imran gave birth to Maryam, who later became the mother of Jesus. Verse 66:12 describes Maryam, the mother of Jesus as the daughter of Imran. There are absolutely no inscriptions or scriptures mentioning Imran as the father of Mary, till the author of Quran came up with this claim in the 7th century. Strange! So, from where did the author pull out the name "Imran" from? The answer is Torah. Exodus 6:20 and 15:20 describe that Amram was the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam. Amram is arabicised to Imran. This idea that Imran had a daughter "Maryam" made the author of Quran think that this was talking about Maryam, the mother of Jesus.

Here is a verse from the Torah that state that Moses and Aaron had a sister named Miriam:

Here is another verse from the Torah that state that Amram (Imran) was the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam:

Here are the verses 19:27 - 19:34 from the Quran which show that the author of Quran mistook Mary, the mother of Jesus as the sister of Aaron:

19:27 - Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! You have come with an amazing thing.
19:28 - O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a wicked man nor was your 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 spoke: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and has appointed me a Prophet,
19:31 - And has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive,
19:32 - And (has made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and has not made me arrogant, unblessed.
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.

Here are the verses 3:35 - 3:45 and 66:12 which show that the author of Quran further affirms his previous error by mistaking Amram, the father of Moses, Aaron and Miriam as the grandfather of Jesus:

3:35 - (Remember) when the wife of 'Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto you that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo!  you, only you, are the Hearer, the Knower!
3:36 - And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave your protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast.
3:45 - (And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah).
66:12 - And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient.

A hadith from Sahih Muslim states that the Christians of Najran actually realized this error and questioned Mughira bin Shu'ba, one of Muhammad's men regarding this. Mughira was clueless how to respond to this and met Muhammad, who tried to cover it up by saying that the verse 19:28 was referring to another Harun. This incident is depicted in Sahih Muslim:

Sahih Muslim 25:5326
Mughira b. Shu'ba reported:
When I came to Najran, they (the Christians of Najran) asked me: You read" O sister of Harun" (i. e. Hadrat Maryam) in the Qur'an, whereas Moses was born much before Jesus. When I came back to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) I asked him about that, whereupon he said: The (people of the old age) used to give names (to their persons) after the names of Apostles and pious persons who had gone before them.

Muhammad obviously did not want to change the Quran and attempts to cover it up - "The people of old age used to name people after the names of Apostles". And Muhammad wanted to tell people that it is a mere coincidence that there was actually an Aaron/Harun as per the Torah AND that same person had a sister with the same name Maryam. Not to mention depicting Mary's father as having the same name as Miriam's father. It is well understandable because he would not want to admit having made a mistake, at all cost!

Later Muslim writers were so embarrassed with this error. Ibn Kathir in the 14th century writes that the Quran actually did not mean "biological sister" when it said "O sister of Harun" and meant that Mary was actually resembling Harun in worship, thus completely overturning the explanation that Muhammad gave.

Is it still possible that Mary's father was actually named Imran and that she had a brother named Harun? If you are thinking that way, you need to think why no other book ever mentioned this for more than 600 years since Mary's era until the Quran mentioned it? The obvious answer is that the author of Quran borrowed it from the Torah while making a fatal error. Infact, multiple Christian traditions including the Gospel of James from the second century state that Mary's father was named Joachim:

Many Muslim apologists point out Bible verses depicting Jesus as "son of David", Quran verses depicting Abraham as "brother of Lut", Shuaib as the "brother of Midian" etc and state that it was common in semitic languages for such references to be made depicting a symbolic relationship. The problem however is that we have absolutely no examples in any semitic languages before 8th century of any person A being referred to as "brother/sister of person B" when B lived centuries before A. Whenever there are such references, A and B are contemporaries such as in the example of Abraham and Lut. And in case of Shuaib being referred to as "brother of Midian", Midian was his own tribe. And when Jesus is depicted as the son of David, there is no parallel Jesus character who was actually the son of David in the books that describe David's life. As such, the usage "son" is understood as "descendant". This brings us to another observation - the phrase "brother of" and "sister of" are not used to denote descendency. Rather, "son of" and "daughter of" are used when such references don't bring any confusion to parallel characters with the same name.

There is no way to reconcile this embarrassing historical error. This only affirms that the author of Quran was actually borrowing second hand knowledge from scriptures such as the Torah and Gospels.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Sun Stopping its Movement During Night

Here is one of the clearest and most embarrassing scientific errors in the Quran. The Quran explicitly states that sun stops its motion during the night time. This is stated in verse 36:38. Let us see verses 36:37 - 36:39 (Translated by Pickthall)

036.037 A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness.
036.038 And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise.
036.039 And for the moon We have appointed mansions (phases) till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf.

The sequence is very clear and simple.

1) Day changes to night. (36:37)
2) Sun runs to its resting place. (36:38)
3) Moon appears in the night sky. (36:39)

Arabic transliteration:

36:38 - wa al-shamsu tajri li-mustaqarrin laha dhalika taqdiru al-azizi al-alimi

"li-mustaqarrin" means "to a resting place". Here is the meaning of "mustaqarr" referencing the famous Lane's Lexicon:مستقر

مُسْتَقَرّ ‎(mustaqarrm
  1. fixed domicile, fixed residence, fixed lodging
  2. place of stability, of quiet, of rest, of permanence
Many Quran translators such as Yusuf Ali have hidden this embarrassing error by mistranslating "li-mustaqarrin" as "for a term appointed" or "for a period determined". I expect the readers to understand that a false translation is false, no matter who translates it. You do not need to take my words for granted. I will show you the word "mustaqarr" mentioned several places in the Quran almost always meaning "resting place", "dwelling place" or "settlement". See verses 2:36, 6:98, 11:6, 75:12 and you will see that mustaqarr is used with the above meaning, and not "term appointed".

If the author meant to say "for a term appointed", or "for a period determined", he could have simply used the proper Arabic for that - "li-ajalin musamman". Throughout the Quran, the same words "ajalin musamman" have been used to refer to "term appointed", as demonstrated in verses 13:2, 14:10, 16:61, 22:5, 22:33 and 46:3.

Another apologetic argument is that the Quran is talking about the end of the life of sun in 36:38. That argument does not really stand when the Quran is clearly talking about a resting/settling place for the sun. To interpret this as the end of sun's life is actually twisting what is stated in the verse. It is also odd to think that the author of the Quran would be placing a verse about the end-times exactly in between two verses that describe what appears to be the daily observable phenomena in the sky.

If you are still not convinced, let us refer Sahih Muslim, one of the most trusted hadith-collections ever.

Sahih Muslim 1:297
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one day said:
Do you know where the sun goes? They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything ( unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith.
Notice Muhammad asking his followers "Do you know where the sun goes?". The question is about the daily routine of the sun. They reply that Muhammad and Allah knows best. To this, Muhammad informs them without any doubt that sun keeps moving till it reaches its resting place. He even explicitly mentions that this is the regular phenomena by affirming that this happens repeatedly. Please note that only the last part (which says that one day, the sun will rise from the west) is about judgement day. The first part describes the regular daily phenomena.
Conclusion: The Quran has an embarrassing scientific error in stating that sun stops moving after setting. The authentic hadiths confirm this with even more clarity. This is what one would expect from a seventh century Arab who simply had no idea what the sun does after it sets.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Earth Created Before the Stars

The Quran clearly states that the Earth was created before the Stars - A grave scientific error. This is clear from the Verses 41:9 - 41:12. Here I will quote two different translations of the Quran to show it - Translations of Pickthall and Yusuf Ali. Pickthall makes it absolutely certain, so let us give the Quran a chance and go straight to Yusuf Ali's translation.

41:9. Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.
41:10. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance).
41:11. Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
41:12. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.

The start of verse 41:12 uses the Arabic word "fa" which indicates a sequence of events between 41:11 and 41:12. See the word by word grammar of the Quran:

Yusuf Ali translates "fa" as "so" and Pickthall translates it as "then". In either case, the events in 41:11 occurred before the events in 41:12. Notice that at the end of verse 41:11, the earth was surely existant, no doubt. And when does the Quran claim that stars were created? In 41:12, that is after the creation of the Earth! Yusuf Ali describes stars as "lights" and Pickthall describes it as "lamps". Either way, the verse is talking about stars (whether it includes sun or not). There are no other "lights" or "lamps" (notice the plural) that fit the context.

Things are even clearer when we go to Pickthall's translation:

041.009 Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals ? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds.
041.010 He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask;
041.011 Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.
041.012 Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower.

The best argument someone can put up against this is that the verse 41:12 does not explicitly say that stars were "created". Rather it says that the "nearest heaven" was "beautified" or "adorned" with stars. But think about this: If the author of the Quran knew that stars were already shining there long before the earth was created, then why would he say that god beautified the nearest heaven with stars after the earth was created? If the stars were already there, this beautification was already there. It makes no sense to say this beautification was made after the creation of earth.

Modern science has made considerable progress in the study of the formation of planets through astronomical observations. Planets in general form as a result of the coming together and solidification of matter thrown outwards from their parent stars. This explains why they orbit stars. Thus, there is simply no way that earth was created before stars. Studies estimate the age of the earth as approximately one-third the age of universe from the time of the big bang. Stars were there long before the formation of the earth.

To conclude, this is a grave scientific error in the Quran that simply cannot be reconciled with scientific observations.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Mass Deportation of Non-Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula

Towards the later years of his life, Muhammad declared that he would expel all Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and leave only Muslims there. He had already started this mass deportation programme by expelling all Jews from Medina - including the tribes of Banu Mustaliq, Banu Qanuqa and Banu Nadir. He also mass-murdered the entire male population of Banu Quraiza (except boys who did not start growing pubic hair yet) for breaking a treaty to help him in war. Even two or three people trying to assassinate him was enough reason for him to expel an entire tribe, as was the case with Banu Nadir (read Muhammad's earliest biographies - Ibn Ishaq and Al-Tabari).

What is even more remarkable is that the Christians in the Arabian Peninsula caused no trouble for Muhammad and the Muslims. Yet he wanted to mass-deport them, something that his companion Umar fulfilled later.

Let us look at the authentic hadiths that show this:

1) Sahih Muslim 19:4366
It has been narrated by 'Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:
I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.

2) Jami at Tirmidhi 3:19:1607
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah : "Umar bin Al-Khattab informed me that he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: 'I will expel the Jews and the Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and I will not leave anyone in it except a Muslim."

3) Sahih Muslim 19:4364
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraiza fought against the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him. Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) turned out all the Jews of Medina. Banu Qainuqa' (the tribe of 'Abdullah b. Salim) and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina.

4) Sahih Muslim 19:4363
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira who said:

We were (sitting) in the mosque when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to us and said: (Let us) go to the Jews. We went out with him until we came to them. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up and called out to them (saying): O ye assembly of Jews, accept Islam (and) you will be safe. They said: Abu'l-Qasim, you have communicated (God's Message to us). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: I want this (i. e. you should admit that God's Message has been communicated to you), accept Islam and you would be safe. They said: Abu'l-Qasim, you have communicated (Allah's Message). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: I want this... - He said to them (the same words) the third time (and on getting the same reply) he added: You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I wish that I should expel you from this land. Those of you who have any property with them should sell it, otherwise they should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle (and they may have to go away leaving everything behind).

Hadith #4 shows Muhammad repeatedly asking Jews to embrace Islam and when they rejected, he proceeded on to expel them. Hadith #3 shows that he expelled every single Jew from Medina. This proves that the real reason for expulsion was their religion.

Muhammad forced the Jews to pay him a tax of half of their total produce if they wanted to stay in Khaibar until his close companion Umar expelled them. Umar completed the expulsion of Christians from Hijaz (Mecca plus Medina) and Jews from the Arabian Peninsula (Mecca, Medina, Yemen, Al-Yamama and Al-Arj combined) as we can see below:

5) Sahih al Bukhari 3:39:531
Narrated Ibn `Umar:
`Umar expelled the Jews and the Christians from Hijaz. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) had conquered Khaibar, he wanted to expel the Jews from it as its land became the property of Allah, His Apostle, and the Muslims. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) intended to expel the Jews but they requested him to let them stay there on the condition that they would do the labor and get half of the fruits. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) told them, "We will let you stay on thus condition, as long as we wish." So, they (i.e. Jews) kept on living there until `Umar forced them to go towards Taima' and Ariha'.

6) Sahih al Bukhari 4:52:288
Narrated Sa`id bin Jubair:
Ibn `Abbas said, "Thursday! What (great thing) took place on Thursday!" Then he started weeping till his tears wetted the gravels of the ground . Then he said, "On Thursday the illness of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) was aggravated and he said, "Fetch me writing materials so that I may have something written to you after which you will never go astray." The people (present there) differed in this matter and people should not differ before a prophet. They said, "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) is seriously sick.' The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Let me alone, as the state in which I am now, is better than what you are calling me for." The Prophet (ﷺ) on his death-bed, gave three orders saying, "Expel the pagans from the Arabian Peninsula, respect and give gifts to the foreign delegates as you have seen me dealing with them." I forgot the third (order)" (Ya'qub bin Muhammad said, "I asked Al-Mughira bin `Abdur-Rahman about the Arabian Peninsula and he said, 'It comprises Mecca, Medina, Al-Yama-ma and Yemen." Ya'qub added, "And Al-Arj, the beginning of Tihama.")

I would like to remind the Muslims that they would feel really horrible if someone expelled them from their homes as retaliation to crimes committed by a group of Muslims. A little empathy would be enough to understand how the Christians and those Jews who did not do any aggression against Muslims felt when they were deported from their homes by Muhammad and his men. You can find occasions where Muhammad was tolerant to non Muslims, but that will not negate these cruelties that he committed. It is thus clear that Muhammad became extremely intolerant towards non-Muslims towards his later years and is a very bad example for humanity.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Chapter 9 of the Quran - The Final Violent Orders of Islam

What is important about Chapter 9 of the Quran is that it is the last major chapter (in the actual order of how events took place). These verses are the final orders given to Muslims by whom they believe to be God. These commands have higher precedence than the earlier commands, some of which even preached tolerance and peace. I am not asking Muslims to obey these violent commands, but rather I am requesting them to examine the information that I am about to give. Obviously, they do not need to obey a war manual that is filled with scientific errors and moral problems.

All of us who read this chapter knows that there are very violent verses in it. But what Muslims do to make their religion look peaceful, is that they claim these verses were orders given on how to behave in the battlefield. Hell, no. Many of those violent verses had nothing to do with battlefield, such as 9:5, 9:73. Then there is a common myth that verse 9:29 (about fighting disbelievers till they pay an oppression tax (Jizya) or convert to Islam) was meant for the battle of Tabouk. Not at all! Verse 9:29 commands Muslims to keep fighting disbelievers aggressively till they pay the tax or embrace Islam. Battle of Tabouk was a result of this violent command. And so were the endless conquests made by the caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali and so on. It is foolish to think that these were all "defensive wars". So defensive that they even conquered Persia, North Africa and Spain within one hundred years of Muhammad’s death.

I) Verse 9:5

Prelude - Muslims under Muhammad captured Mecca in 629 AD December. Then they killed a few people including a girl for singing satirical songs about Muhammad. Many converted to Islam, mainly due to fear. Then Muhammad went to to fight more battles - Hunayn, Taif, Tabouk and came back to Medina at the start of the sacred months - during which fighting was seen as forbidden. This was around October 631 AD. Thus, for a bit less than two years, there were no fights between the pagans of Mecca and Muhammad. However, Muhammad remarked the pagans as "unclean" and didnot like them performing the pilgrimage around Ka'Aba naked (Refer Tafsir Ibn Kathir: So here we go.

Quran 9:1 - 9:6 ( - Pickthall's Translation)

[1. Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty.

2. Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance).

3. And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve,

4. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).

5. Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

6. And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.]

Here, Muhammad announces the cancellation of all treaties that Muslims have made with the pagans of Mecca (9:1) except those who never violated any treaty, with whom the treaties would be fulfilled till the end of their term (9:4). He gives the pagans, a deadline of four months, after which he orders the Muslims to kill or take captive (9:5) the ones who did not leave the land (ie, Hijaz - a large area surrounding and including Mecca and Medina, seen as the Holy Land by the Muslims). If any pagan comes to Muslims seeking protection from this genocide that had been ordered, then Muhammad asks them to show them the word of Allah (Quran) and then escort them to a safe place, outside the Hijaz (9:6). This is understood since expulsion had been ordered from the Hijaz.

Let us look at what the authentic commentaries (Tafsirs) have to tell about these verses. Quoting Tafsir Ibn Kathir which is widely regarded as the most authentic commentary of the Quran and is based on information from early Islamic sources:

9:5 - (So when the Sacred Months have passed...), meaning, `Upon the end of the four months during which We prohibited you from fighting the idolators, and which is the grace period We gave them, then fight and kill the idolators wherever you may find them.' Allah's statement next, (then fight the Mushrikin wherever you find them), means, on the earth in general, except for the Sacred Area, for Allah said, (And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, unless they fight you there. But if they attack you, then fight them. )﴿2:191﴾ Allah said here, (and capture them), executing some and keeping some as prisoners, (and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush), do not wait until you find them. Rather, seek and besiege them in their areas and forts, gather intelligence about them in the various roads and fairways so that what is made wide looks ever smaller to them. This way, they will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam.

Some apologists claim that the verse 9:6 allows the peaceful pagans to remain in the land. Nope. It asks the Muslims to give the Quran to the pagans who come to them, seeking protection. If they do not embrace Islam, they would be escorted to a safe place, outside the Hijaz. The pagans who had not violated any treaty would be allowed in the Hijaz, only till the end of the treaty. No new treaties would be made with the pagans (9:1).

This is partly why Muslims still do not allow a single non-Muslim inside the Hijaz.

II) Verse 9:29

[Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture and believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.]

Clearly, this verse asks the Muslims to fight those who were given the word of Allah and do not believe in Islam, until they pay the Jizya (oppression tax on non muslims). So, this definitely was not a fight for survival, but rather a fight to expand Islamic rule. The verse doesn't say "fight those who attack you"... rather it says to fight non Muslims till they pay a special tax. Apologists claim that this verse was specifically meant for Battle of Tabouk. Wrong.. Let us read Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

(Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.) Therefore, when People of the Scriptures disbelieved in Muhammad , they had no beneficial faith in any Messenger or what the Messengers brought. Rather, they followed their religions because this conformed with their ideas, lusts and the ways of their forefathers, not because they are Allah's Law and religion. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad , because all Prophets gave the good news of Muhammad's advent and commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him, even though he is the mightiest of all Messengers. Therefore, they do not follow the religion of earlier Prophets because these religions came from Allah, but because these suit their desires and lusts. Therefore, their claimed faith in an earlier Prophet will not benefit them because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all Prophets . Hence Allah's statement, (Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture,) This honorable Ayah was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book, after the pagans were defeated, the people entered Allah's religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims' control. Allah commanded his messenger to fight the people of the scriptures - Jews and Christians, on the ninth year of Hijrah, and he prepared his army to fight the Romans and called the people to Jihad announcing his intent and destination. The Messenger sent his intent to various Arab areas around Al-Madinah to gather forces, and he collected an army of thirty thousand. Some people from Al-Madinah and some hypocrites, in and around it, lagged behind, for that year was a year of drought and intense heat. The Messenger of Allah marched, heading towards Ash-Sham to fight the Romans until he reached Tabuk, where he set camp for about twenty days next to its water resources. He then prayed to Allah for a decision and went back to Al-Madinah because it was a hard year and the people were weak, as we will mention, Allah willing.

Thus, it is very clear that this was not a command of self-defense, rather a command to keep expanding the Islamic rule.

III) Verse 9:73

[O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end.]

This verse is self-explanatory. The Muslims are commanded to be harsh against both disbelievers and hypocrites (namesake Muslims). People who do not join the fight for expanding Islamic rule, and stay at home are seen as hypocrites. Ever wondered why the ISIS are harsh against Muslims who do not join their attempts to expand their rule? This verse is part of the reason.

Let us read Tasir Ibn Kathir to clear any doubts:

Allah commanded His Messenger to strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and to be harsh against them. Allah also commanded him to be merciful with the believers who followed him, informing him that the destination of the disbelievers and hypocrites is the Fire in the Hereafter. Ibn Mas`ud commented on Allah's statement, (Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites) "With the hand, or at least have a stern face with them.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah commanded the Prophet to fight the disbelievers with the sword, to strive against the hypocrites with the tongue and annulled lenient treatment of them.'' Ad-Dahhak commented, "Perform Jihad against the disbelievers with the sword and be harsh with the hypocrites with words, and this is the Jihad performed against them.'' Similar was said by Muqatil and Ar-Rabi`. Al-Hasan and Qatadah said, "Striving against them includes establishing the (Islamic Penal) Law of equality against them.'' In combining these statements, we could say that Allah causes punishment of the disbelievers and hypocrites with all of these methods in various conditions and situations, and Allah knows best.

Thus, it is very clear that this is not at all for self-defense and rather for aggression against disbelievers with the sword and to be rude to the namesake Muslims who do not join the war or follow Islamic rules properly.

To Be Continued...