Black Spirituality Religion : Things about Islam that Muslims will not Tell You

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I saw a one-eyed man searching for a blind world where he could be king. I sat in Church and heard the preacher, standing behind the pulpit, tall a straight-up, bald-faced lie. I sat there waiting for lightening to strike him down. However, lightening did not strike. No voice boomed down from Heaven, “He‘s lying!” That told me the Creator expects me to use my brain to discern the truth.

When a Muslim came to me preaching the wonders of Islam, I had not forgotten this lesson. The first thing I noticed was he did not say anything about the Quran and Islam that the Christians did not say about the Bible and Christianity. Our holy book contains no contradictions. Everyone else is in error, but we alone have the truth. We are a peaceful people who have been unjustly persecuted by evildoers. Everyone who rejects our religion is going to hell. These ultra-innocent, polemical claims made me look more closely with more than a little suspicion. The Muslim in question admonished me not to look at the fundamentalists fighting in the Middle East, but to go to the Quran and let it speak for itself the true word of Allah. So that is what I did and this is what I found.

Note: chapters and verses from the Quran will be referenced for any passages mentioned in this paper.




Underdeveloped Orthography


Despite what Muslims say, the Quran did not come down to us unchanged over the centuries. The script used by Muhammad’s companions was an inchoate one, lacking vowel markers and diacritical dots to differentiate the several identical letters in the Arabic alphabet. For instance, a letter depicting an upturned crescent is used for b, n, t and th. These identical letters meant that the reader was left to decide which letter to use. With so many identical letters, contextual clues were hard to come by.

In answer, Muslims assure us that early Muslims had developed a sophisticated system of memorization whereby they could instantly identify irregularities. So we are basically being asked to put our faith in the collective memory of the people. Given that the Quran itself permits a form of holy fabrication called taqiyyaa (or kitman), that’s asking a lot.

Al Hajjaj ibn Yusuf (not to be confused with the 20th century translator, Yusuf Ali) is given credit for introducing these marks and dots into the Arabic orthography some time in the early 8th century, long after Muhammad’s death. Without the Prophet or his companions to verify their choices, those who added the marks were left free to interpret the words as they saw fit.


Blind Faith


We are told that every copy of the Quran is identical to what was written fourteen hundred years ago by the companions of Muhammad. Conveniently, none of the original writings by the companions still exists to confirm or refute this claim. Since Muhammad is purported to have been illiterate, he had no way to tell if what his companions wrote was what he said. The people also are said to have been illiterate, so everyone had to take the companion’s word for it. Perhaps the fact that they weren’t struck down by lightening was proof enough to Muhammad and the people that the companions were acting in good faith.

One of the earliest manuscripts is the Uthman Codex. This manuscript is not one of the originals written by the companions. I am not sure if it was copied from their manuscripts or dictated from oral tradition. It has been sold and purloined, captured and moved around so many times throughout the centuries that only one-third of it still remains extant. Yet Muslims insist the Quran has remained unchanged for fourteen hundred years. Such belief in the absence of proof other than oral tradition is blind faith.


A Version by Any Other Name


Muslims assert that there are no versions of the Quran. There are only translations. A dictionary might make a distinction between a version and a translation, however, where the Quran is concerned, there is no practical difference. Above, we discussed the need for adding diacritical marks and how that left the Quran open to interpretation early in its existence (though not early enough to confirm these interpretations with the memories of Muhammad himself or his companions). All languages change over the centuries. Therefore, no modern translation of an ancient text can hope to convey exactly what the original writer had in mind. A translator must transfer not only the words, but also the meanings from one language to another. There are some concepts understood in one language that may not even exist in another language because the concepts describe cultural experiences outside the sphere of the second language. So a translator must also be an interpreter.

There are several translations of the Quran in the English language and these are not identical. There are differences in the text that go beyond mere style and word choice. These differences are due to the different way the translators interpret the Arabic text. We know that the differences begin with the Arabic, because if there were no difference, there would be no denominations of Islam. There would be no Summi and Shia sects. Everyone would interpret the Quran exactly the same. If there’s room in the original language for interpretation then the translators will reflect their respective denominational leanings in their translation. Some Muslims may write off the English translations and insist that only the Arabic copies are true to the original manuscripts. This reduces Allah to a low-level regional manager whose message is only for the Arabs.


Strong Caveat for Women


We are told that Islam exalts women. Do not mistake exaltation for equality and justice. It’s not women that they exalt, but their ideal of what a perfect woman must be like. Then they point to that ideal like a hoop that their women must jump through in order to be excepted. To put someone up on a pedestal where one false move can make her fall from being a queen to being a whore is not an act of justice. Some Muslims may jump up at this point and say they don’t act that way. Such Muslims do not have the Quran as their guide. The Quran says woman have rights similar to the rights of menb. Yet it abrogates this by declaring that men are the maintainers of womenc and giving men the right to withhold sex and even beat their wives if they fear desertiond. Wives, on the other hand, are to submit to their husbandse. The Quran gives men absolute freedom to have sex with their wives whenever and however they wantf. Not only with their wives but also with their slavesg. What is the point of having equal rights with an oppressor if he still has the right to oppress?


Quasi-Science


The so-called science in the Quran is sheer disingenuousness. When one reads the verses Muslims point to as prophecies of modern science Muhammad could not have known, one can see how modern ideas were superimposed onto text where those ideas do not exist. Muhammad was a master in the art of prophecy generation. To be successful, a prophecy must be vague enough that future generations can shoehorn the phenomenon of their respective eras into the text.


Do They Mean Peace or Piece?


Islam is said to be the religion of peace. As stated above, in the absence of diacritical marks and vowels, many words are open to interpretation and even misrepresentation. The consonants that make up the root of the word Islam can take on a number of different vowels and diacritical marks that change its meaning. Even if the original manuscripts still existed, as stated above, they would give no clue as to which vowels the prophet had in mind. Some Muslims appeal to the context as a means of knowing how to interpret the word. In doing this, they defeat their own purpose. I have found in the Quran enough violence and sexual debauchery to rival television. The context of the Quran suggest that the consonant root SLM be rendered al-silm, which means submit. Clearly, the idea that Islam means peace was an idea superimposed upon the text by the expediencies of modern society.


Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t


Allah feels just in sending unbelievers to hell because he has left a clear message in the Quranh. In fact, the Quran is not clear except to those who are adamant about their own interpretation of it. There are many contractions. A plethora of pronouns makes it difficult to know exactly who is being discussed. Colloquialisms obscure the meaning of many verses. The only clear message b

repeated over and over from the beginning is hellfire for the unbeliever. What

exactly one is supposed to believe is not clear. The Muslim is told to believe in the religion of Abrahami. What exactly is that? What are the rituals, creeds, holidays and mythology that make up the religion of Abraham? Hellfire is promised to Christians for believing that Jesus is the son of Godj. Yet, Christians are advised to follow their scripturek. Well, their scripture says Jesus is the son of God. At this point, we are told that the Christians and Jews altered their scripturel. That is as may be, but it’s rather arrogant to assert that the Quran abrogates the Torah and the Gospels and ascribe to Allah the attributes the Christians first ascribed to Jesusm.


What Does the Quran Say?


As I mentioned above, my Muslim friend cautioned me to let the Quran speak for itself. He proceeded to guide me through the verses that he wanted me to see. It wasn’t until I started reading on my own that I found verses that were more than a bit suspicious. He tried to explain, but his explanations were convoluted and lame. For instance, when I asked why, if Islam is about peace, did Allah tell the Muslims to torture unbelievers and cut off their heads and fingertipsn, he told me the Muslims never started anything. They were only defending themselves. Allah told them to cut off the unbeliever’s fingertips so they wouldn’t be able to hold weapons when they came to attack the Muslims. A self-defense military tactic? He said nothing about decapitation as a defense measure.

Soon, I guess, his explanations seemed lame even to himself. So he told me that I could not understand this supposedly clear message from Allah unless I read The Life of Muhammad. There are several versions of this biography. The earliest was written by ibn Ishaq 85 years after Muhammad died and was based on oral traditions. Ishaq himself had been run out of Medina after being accused of falsifying holy text called the Hadith. He had supporters and detractors, since the collective memory at that time could not agree if his hadith was authentic or not. When I pointed this out, my Muslim friend decides that the Life of Muhammad that he wanted me to read is the one written by Muhammad Haykal. This one turns out to have been written in 1953. If the one in the 8th century was based on second and third hand oral accounts, what was the one in the 20th century based on?

Below are a few of the passages that I found most troubling.

These verses are from the Yusef translation except where otherwise indicated.


References


a. 2:225
God will not Call you to account For thoughtlessness In your oaths,
But for the intention In your hearts; And He is Oft-forgiving
Most Forbearing.


16:106

Any one who, after accepting Faith in God, utters Unbelief,—Except under compulsion,
His heart remaining firm In Faith—


Show me a man’s god and I will show you the man. If a people believes that God approves if their words and heart don’t agree, can such a people be trusted under any circumstances?



b. 2:228b

And women shall have rights Similar to the rights

Against them, according To what is equitable;

But men have a degree (Of advantage) over them.

And God is Exalted in Power, Wise.


c. 4:34

Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, because God has given

The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them
From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient,

and guard In (the husband's) absence What God would have them guard.
As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct,
Admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly);
But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For God is

Most High, Great (above you all).


d. 4:34

Ibid

e. 4:34

Ibid

f. 2:223

Your wives are As a tilth unto you;
So approach your tilth When or how ye will;


Translator Maulana Muhammad Ali say”go into your tilth.”

g. 23:5, 6

Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined To them in the marriage bond,

Or (the captives) whom Their right hands possess,—For (in their case) they are
Free from blame,


h. 2:209

If ye backslide After the clear (Signs) Have come to you,
Then know that God Is Exalted in Power, Wise.


i. 2:135

They say: ‘Become Jews Or Christians if ye would be guided
(To salvation).’ Say thou: ‘Nay! (I would rather) the Religion
Of Abraham the True, And he joined not gods with God.’"


j. 9:30

The Jews call ’Uzair a son Of God, and the Christians Call Christ the Son of God.
That is a saying from their mouth; (In this) they but imitate What the Unbelievers of old
Used to say. God's curse Be on them: how they are deluded Away from the Truth!”


 

k. 5: 47

Let the People of the Gospel Judge by what God hath revealed Therein. If any do fail
To judge by (the light of) What God hath revealed, They are (no better than)
Those who rebel.


l. 2:75

Can ye (O ye men of Faith) Entertain the hope that they Will believe in you?—
Seeing that a party of them Heard the Word of God, And perverted it knowingly
After they understood it.


m. 2:105-107

It is never the wish Of those without Faith Among the People of the Book, Nor of the Pagans, That anything good Should come down to you From your Lord. But God will choose For His special Mercy Whom He will—for God is Lord of grace abounding.

None of Our revelations Do We abrogate Or cause to be forgotten, But We substitute Something better or similar: Knowest thou not that God Hath power over all things? Knowest thou not That to God belonged The dominion of the heavens And the earth?
And besides Him ye have Neither patron nor helper.


n. 8:12

Remember thy Lord inspired The angels (with the message): "I am with you: give
Firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror Into the hearts of the Unbelievers:
Smite ye above their necks And smite all their Finger-tips off them.



Disagreement Between Translations


There is some disagreement among Muslims as to which translator has rendered the most reliable translation. Given that Muslims believe anyone who believes something erroneous about Allah will wind up in hell, this disagreement can at times be quite vehement. The examples given below are by no means exhaustive. There are other translations, however, the claim that all copies of the Quran are identical falls apart when even two translators disagree.

67:3

He Who created
The seven heavens
One above another


Maulana Muhammad Ali replaces the words “one above another” with the word “alike.” in his comments, his explanation for this rendering does not attempt to reconcile it with that of Yusuf and Pickthall.

9:5

Forbidden month or sacred month

2:191

Al fitnah open to interpretation: translated persecution, sedition


Contradictions and Discrepancies


Again, this is not an exhaustive list. The presence of even one contradiction is enough to bring into question a book that purports to be the infallible word of God.

34:50 & 2:166,167

In the first verse, we are told that if Muhammad goes astray, he alone will be lost. In the second verse, we are told both the false teacher and those who follow him will be condemned.

3:133 & 57:21

Is the Garden of paradise as wide as all the heavens and the earth combined or just one heaven and the earth combined? The use of the definite article (the) in 57:21 implies that there is only one heaven.

2:30-32

These angels concur with Allah when he shows them how ignorant they are because they could not even give the names of the animals. Yet, they knew what man would be like before he was even created.

4:118

Is a portion of Allah’s servants appointed to be taken by Satan?

4:119

Who leads men astray, Satan or Allah?

2:34 & 18:50

Why was Iblis, a jinn, a transgressor for not obeying a command given to the angels? Muslims may have some convoluted gambit for resolving this contradiction in the Arabic, but whatever it may be doesn’t translate into the English. Again, appealing to the Arabic would reduce the Quran to a provincial document not meant for people outside the Arabic community.

7:179

Were they or were they not created for hell?


The So-Called Science of the Quran


Muslims often brag that the Quran is full of science that Allah revealed to Muhammad. Below we will examine just how scientifically inaccurate this book can get.

67:3-5

According to these verses, Allah placed the stars in the lowest heaven. Since there are stars all throughout the universe, the second heaven would have to be outside the entire universe. The universe is fractal, with concentric planets spinning around their respective solar systems and concentric solar systems in their respective galaxies and concentric galaxies spinning around the center of the universe. The concept of a lower heaven and incrementally higher heavens was not revealed by a deity who knows how the universe is structured, but perceived by the naked eye of an earthbound human.

16:4, 75:37

Sperm is not a drop or a fluid. It moves within fluid (semen). It doesn’t take a microscope to see semen and it doesn’t take divine revelation to know that a man’s ejaculation into a woman is the beginning of the baby she produces nine months later. Note how the translator, Muhammad Ali imposes modern terminology by translating sperm-drop as small life germ. Again, no appeal to the original Arabic or condemnation of Yusuf and Pickthall in favor of Muhammad Ali change the fact that these verses do not refer to anything that was not known in the 7th century.

86:6

The idea of semen originating between the loins and the ribs (the area of the kidneys) can be traced to Hippocrates in fifth century B.C.E.



22:5

The embryology in the Quran buck stops right here. To argue about whether or not the Quran accurately describes the development of sperm into embryos is a moot point, because it isn’t the sperm that develops. It’s the egg that is fertilized and, once it takes in the genetic material from the sperm, begins to divide from a zygote to a blastocyst to an embryo. True, it takes both an egg and a sperm to produce a baby, yet I have yet to find where the Quran says anything about the ovum. I don’t know if there were very many birds in the deserts of ancient Arabia, so I don’t know how familiar Muhammad and his people were with the concept of eggs. The book speaks about what can be seen, semen, and is silent about what cannot be seen, ovum. I challenge anyone to show a verse that speaks specifically about the egg. Since 22:5 already tells us the sperm develops into an embryo, it will hardly help the cause of Islam to point out a verse that contradicts this.


Misogyny


Muslims say Islam exalts women. They obviously have a definition of exalt that is somewhat contrary to what they would have us believe. Perhaps Muslim’s attitudes towards women are not based on their “Holy” books, but rather on the expediencies of modern politics.

Hadith Bukhari Book #54, Hadith #464


If the text you are looking at uses volumes rather than books you might find it in Volume 4, number 464.

The Prophet said,; I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women‘”


2:222

Here, the Quran tells us that menstruation is so harmful that men should not even go near women when they are on their cycle.

4:11

Leave your sons twice as much as you leave your daughters for one man is worth two women.

2:282

It takes the testimony of two women to equal that of one man.

4:3

The bottom line of this convoluted attempt at justice is, if you can’t afford free woman, marry your slave. You can pay them less.

65:4

Allah has appointed a proper time to have sex with prepubescent girls.

4:24

Not only can you have slaves, but you can have sex with them, even if they’re married.

 

33:50

O Prophet! We have
Made lawful to thee
Thy wives to whom thou
Hast paid their dowers;
And those whom thy
Right hand possesses out of
The prisoners of war whom
God has assigned to thee;
And daughters of thy paternal
Uncles and aunts, and daughters
Of thy maternal uncles
And aunts, who migrated
(From Mecca) with thee;
And any believing woman
Who dedicates her soul

To the Prophet if the Prophet
Wishes to wed her;—this
Only for thee, and not
For the Believers (at large);
We know what We have
Appointed for them as to
Their wives and the captives
Whom their right hands
Possess;—in order that
There should be no difficulty
For thee. And God is
Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful


4:34

Men are the protectors
And maintainers of women,
Because God has given
The one more (strength)
Than the other, and because
They support them
From their means.
Therefore the righteous women
Are devoutly obedient, and guard
In (the husband's) absence
What God would have them guard.
As to those women
On whose part ye fear
Disloyalty and ill-conduct,
Admonish them (first),
(Next), refuse to share their beds,
(And last) beat them (lightly);
But if they return to obedience,
Seek not against them
Means (of annoyance):

For God is Most High,
Great (above you all).


Note: The word “lightly” does not appear in all versions. Not that it matters.


Violence


9:5

But when the forbidden months
Are past, then fight and slay
The Pagans wherever ye find them,
And seize them, beleaguer them,
And lie in wait for them
In every stratagem (of war);
But if they repent,
And establish regular prayers
And practise regular charity,
Then open the way for them:
For God is Oft-forgiving,
Most Merciful.


9:111

God hath purchased of the Believers
Their persons and their goods;
For theirs (in return)
Is the Garden (of Paradise):
They fight in His Cause,
And slay and are slain:
A promise binding on Him
In Truth, through the Law,
The Gospel, and the Qur-ān:
And who is more faithful
To his Covenant than God?
Then rejoice in the bargain
Which ye have concluded:
That is the achievement supreme.


8:41

And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah, - and to the Apostle, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer, - if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing, - the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things.

24:2

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, -- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.

8:12

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."

8:67

It is not fitting
For an Apostle
That he should have
Prisoners of war until
He hath thoroughly subdued
The land. Ye look
For the temporal goods
Of this world; but God
Looketh to the Hereafter:
And God is Exalted in might, Wise


 

 

 

 

 
 

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