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December 22, 2007

Islam

What Is Islam?

The religion of Islam is the acceptance of and obedience to the teachings of God which He revealed to His last prophet, Muhammad .

Some Basic Islamic Beliefs

1) Belief in God:

Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable God, Who has no son nor partner, and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone. He is the true God, and every other deity is false. He has the most magnificent names and sublime perfect attributes. No one shares His divinity, nor His attributes. In the Quran, God describes Himself: Say, “He is God, the One. God, to Whom the creatures turn for their needs. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him.” (Quran, 112:1-4)

No one has the right to be invoked, supplicated, prayed to, or shown any act of worship, but God alone.

God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, the Sovereign, and the Sustainer of everything in the whole universe. He manages all affairs. He stands in need of none of His creatures, and all His creatures depend on Him for all that they need. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and the All-Knowing. In a perfect manner, His knowledge encompasses all things, the open and the secret, and the public and the private. He knows what has happened, what will happen, and how it will happen. No affair occurs in the whole world except by His will. Whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not and will never be. His will is above the will of all the creatures. He has power over all things, and He is able to do everything. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficent. In one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad , we are told that God is more merciful to His creatures than a mother to her child.1 God is far removed from injustice and tyranny. He is All-Wise in all of His actions and decrees. If someone wants something from God, he or she can ask God directly without asking anyone else to intercede with God for him or her.

God is not Jesus, and Jesus is not God.2 Even Jesus himself rejected this. God has said in the Quran:

Indeed, they have disbelieved who have said, “God is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary.” The Messiah said, “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever associates partners in worship with God, then God has forbidden Paradise for him, and his home is the Fire (Hell). For the wrongdoers,3 there will be no helpers.” (Quran, 5:72)

God is not a trinity. God has said in the Quran:

Indeed, they disbelieve who say, “God is the third of three (in a trinity),” when there is no god but one God. If they desist not from what they say, truly, a painful punishment will befall the disbelievers among them. Would they not rather repent to God and ask His forgiveness? For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a messenger… (Quran, 5:73-75)

Islam rejects that God rested on the seventh day of the creation, that He wrestled with one of His angels, that He is an envious plotter against mankind, or that He is incarnate in any human being. Islam also rejects the attribution of any human form to God. All of these are considered blasphemous. God is the Exalted. He is far removed from every imperfection. He never becomes weary. He does not become drowsy nor does he sleep.

The Arabic word Allah means God (the one and only true God who created the whole universe). This word Allah is a name for God, which is used by Arabic speakers, both Arab Muslims and Arab Christians. This word cannot be used to designate anything other than the one true God. The Arabic word Allah occurs in the Quran about 2700 times. In Aramaic, a language related closely to Arabic and the language that Jesus habitually spoke,4 God is also referred to as Allah.

2) Belief in the Angels:

Muslims believe in the existence of the angels and that they are honored creatures. The angels worship God alone, obey Him, and act only by His command. Among the angels is Gabriel, who brought down the Quran to Muhammad .

3) Belief in God’s Revealed Books:

Muslims believe that God revealed books to His messengers as proof for mankind and as guidance for them. Among these books is the Quran, which God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. God has said:

Indeed, We have sent down the Quran, and surely We will guard it (from corruption). (Quran, 15:9)

4) Belief in the Prophets and Messengers of God:

Muslims believe in the prophets and messengers of God, starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them). But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last prophet sent by God, as God has said:

Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets… (Quran, 33:40)

Muslims believe that all the prophets and messengers were created human beings who had none of the divine qualities of God.

5) Belief in the Day of Judgment:

Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) when all people will be resurrected for God’s judgment according to their beliefs and deeds.

6) Belief in Al-Qadar:

Muslims believe in Al-Qadar, which is Divine Predestination, but this belief in Divine Predestination does not mean that human beings do not have freewill. Rather, Muslims believe that God has given human beings freewill. This means that they can choose right or wrong and that they are responsible for their choices.

The belief in Divine Predestination includes belief in four things: 1) God knows everything. He knows what has happened and what will happen. 2) God has recorded all that has happened and all that will happen. 3) Whatever God wills to happen happens, and whatever He wills not to happen does not happen. 4) God is the Creator of everything.

Is There Any Sacred Source Other than the Quran?

Yes. The sunnah (what the Prophet Muhammad said, did, or approved of) is the second source in Islam. The sunnah is comprised of hadeeths, which are reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions of what he said, did, or approved of. Belief in the sunnah is a basic Islamic belief

n {The believers, in their love, mercy, and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever.}1

n {The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals. And the best among them are those who are best to their wives.}2

n {None of you believes (completely) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.}3

n {The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and God will show mercy to you.}4

n {Smiling at your brother is charity…}5

n {A good word is charity.}6

n {Whoever believes in God and the Last Day (the Day of Judgment) should do good to his neighbor.}7

n {God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and looks into your deeds.}8

n {Pay the worker his wage before his sweat dries.}9

n {A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well, he descended into it, drank his fill, and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man said, “This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt.” So he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water, and gave the dog a drink. So, God thanked him and forgave his sins.} The Prophet was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?” He said: {There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.}10

What Does Islam Say about
the Day of Judgment?

Like Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence. This life is a test for each individual for the life after death. A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment by God. This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end. This day is the Day of Judgment. On that day, all people will be rewarded by God according to their beliefs and deeds. Those who die while believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” and are Muslim will be rewarded on that day and will be admitted to Paradise forever, as God has said:

And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever. (Quran, 2:82)

But those who die while not believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” or are not Muslim will lose Paradise forever and will be sent to Hellfire, as God has said:

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter. (Quran, 3:85)

And as He has said:

Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if it were offered as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers. (Quran, 3:91)

One may ask, ‘I think Islam is a good religion, but if I were to convert to Islam, my family, friends, and other people would persecute me and make fun of me. So if I do not convert to Islam, will I enter Paradise and be saved from Hellfire?’

The answer is what God has said in the preceding verse, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter.”

After having sent the Prophet Muhammad to call people to Islam, God does not accept adherence to any religion other than Islam. God is our Creator and Sustainer. He created for us whatever is in the earth. All the blessings and good things we have are from Him. So after all this, when someone rejects belief in God, His Prophet Muhammad , or His religion of Islam, it is just that he or she be punished in the Hereafter. Actually, the main purpose of our creation is to worship God alone and to obey Him, as God has said in the Holy Quran (51:56).

This life we live today is a very short life. The unbelievers on the Day of Judgment will think that the life they lived on earth was only a day or part of a day, as God has said:

He (God) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day….” (Quran, 23:112-113)

And He has said:

Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to Us (in the Hereafter)? So, God is exalted, the True King. None has the right to be worshipped but Him… (Quran, 23:115-116)

The life in the Hereafter is a very real life. It is not only spiritual, but physical as well. We will live there with our souls and bodies.

In comparing this world with the Hereafter, the Prophet Muhammad said: {The value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like what your finger brings from the sea when you put it in and then take it out.}1 The meaning is that, the value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like a few drops of water compared to the sea.

How Does Someone Become a Muslim?

Simply by saying with conviction, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah, one converts to Islam and becomes a Muslim (to hear it click here). This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1 and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. To be a Muslim, one should also:

n Believe that the Holy Quran is the literal word of God, revealed by Him.

n Believe that the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) is true and will come, as God promised in the Quran.

n Accept Islam as his or her religion.

n Not worship anything nor anyone except God.

The Prophet Muhammad said: {God is more joyful at the repentance of someone when he turns to Him in repentance than one of you would be if he were riding his camel in the wilderness, and it runs away from him, carrying his food and drink, so that he loses all hope of getting it back. He comes to a tree and lies down in its shade (awaiting death), for he has lost all hope of finding his camel. Then, while he is in that state (of desperation), suddenly it is there before him! So he seizes its halter and cries out from the depth of his joy, “O God, You are my servant and I am Your Lord!” His mistake comes from the intensity of his joy.}2

What Is the Quran About?

The Quran, the last revealed word of God, is the primary source of every Muslim’s faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, transactions, law, etc., but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. At the same time, it provides guidelines and detailed teachings for a just society, proper human conduct, and an equitable economic system

Note that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad in Arabic only. So, any Quranic translation, either in English or any other language, is neither a Quran, nor a version of the Quran, but rather it is only a translation of the meaning of the Quran. The Quran exists only in the Arabic in which it was revealed.

Who Is the Prophet Muhammad ?

Muhammad was born in Makkah in the year 570. Since his father died before his birth and his mother died shortly thereafter, he was raised by his uncle who was from the respected tribe of Quraysh. He was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained so till his death. His people, before his mission as a prophet, were ignorant of science and most of them were illiterate. As he grew up, he became known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere. He was so trustworthy that they called him the Trustworthy.1 Muhammad was very religious, and he had long detested the decadence and idolatry of his society.

At the age of forty, Muhammad received his first revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. The revelations continued for twenty-three years, and they are collectively known as the Quran.

As soon as he began to recite the Quran and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered persecution from unbelievers. The persecution grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This emigration from Makkah to the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

After several years, Muhammad and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies. Before Muhammad died, at the age of sixty-three, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the truth and clarity of its doctrine. Islam calls for faith in only one God, Who is the only one worthy of worship.

The Prophet Muhammad was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful, and brave human being. Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and His reward in the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.

(For more information on the Prophet Muhammad , please refer to the links at More on the Prophet Muhammad .)

 

Islam & science :

Islam instructs man to use his powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years of the spread of Islam, great civilizations and universities were flourishing. The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas, and of new thought with old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history. Many crucial systems, such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and the concept of zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval Europe from the Muslim world. Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of discovery, such as the astrolabe, the quadrant, and good navigational maps, were also developed by Muslims

What Does Islam Say about Terrorism?

Islam, a religion of mercy, does not permit terrorism. In the Quran, God has said:

God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about religion and have not driven you out of your homes. God loves just dealers. (Quran, 60:8)

The Prophet Muhammad used to prohibit soldiers from killing women and children,1 and he would advise them: {…Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.}2 And he also said: {Whoever has killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance is found for a span of forty years.}3

Also, the Prophet Muhammad has forbidden punishment with fire.4

He once listed murder as the second of the major sins,5 and he even warned that on the Day of Judgment, {The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed.6}7

Muslims are even encouraged to be kind to animals and are forbidden to hurt them. Once the Prophet Muhammad said: {A woman was punished because she imprisoned a cat until it died. On account of this, she was doomed to Hell. While she imprisoned it, she did not give the cat food or drink, nor did she free it to eat the insects of the earth.}8

He also said that a man gave a very thirsty dog a drink, so God forgave his sins for this action. The Prophet was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?” He said: {There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.}9

Additionally, while taking the life of an animal for food, Muslims are commanded to do so in a manner that causes the least amount of fright and suffering possible. The Prophet Muhammad said: {When you slaughter an animal, do so in the best way. One should sharpen his knife to reduce the suffering of the animal.}10

In light of these and other Islamic texts, the act of inciting terror in the hearts of defenseless civilians, the wholesale destruction of buildings and properties, the bombing and maiming of innocent men, women, and children are all forbidden and detestable acts according to Islam and the Muslims. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the vast majority have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with Muslims. If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.

 

Human Rights and Justice in Islam

Islam provides many human rights for the individual. The following are some of these human rights that Islam protects.

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person is Muslim or not. Islam also protects honor. So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Truly your blood, your property, and your honor are inviolable.}1

Racism is not allowed in Islam, for the Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms:

O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious.2 Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran, 49:13)

Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favored because of their wealth, power, or race. God created human beings as equals who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety. The Prophet Muhammad said: {O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person,3 except in piety.}4

One of the major problems facing mankind today is racism. The developed world can send a man to the moon but cannot stop man from hating and fighting his fellow man. Ever since the days of the Prophet Muhammad , Islam has provided a vivid example of how racism can be ended. The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah shows the real Islamic brotherhood of all races and nations, when about two million Muslims from all over the world come to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage.

Islam is a religion of justice. God has said:

Truly God commands you to give back trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice…. (Quran, 4:58)

And He has said:

…And act justly. Truly, God loves those who are just. (Quran, 49:9)

We should even be just with those who we hate, as God has said:

…And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety…. (Quran, 5:8)

The Prophet Muhammad said: {People, beware of injustice,5 for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.}6

And those who have not gotten their rights (i.e. what they have a just claim to) in this life will receive them on the Day of Judgment, as the Prophet said: {On the Day of Judgment, rights will be given to those to whom they are due (and wrongs will be redressed)…}7

What Is the Status of Women in Islam?

Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings without any guardianship over her (whether that be her father, husband, or anyone else). She has the right to buy and sell, give gifts and charity, and may spend her money as she pleases. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s.

Islam encourages the husband to treat his wife well, as the Prophet Muhammad said: {The best among you are those who are best to their wives.}1

Mothers in Islam are highly honored. Islam recommends treating them in the best way. A man came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” The Prophet said: {Your mother.} The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your mother.} The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet said: {Then your father.}

The Family in Islam

The family, which is the basic unit of civilization, is now disintegrating. Islam’s family system brings the rights of the husband, wife, children, and relatives into a fine equilibrium. It nourishes unselfish behavior, generosity, and love in the framework of a well-organized family system. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and it is seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families and by treasuring children.

What Are the Five Pillars of Islam?

The Five Pillars of Islam are the framework of the Muslim life. They are the testimony of faith, prayer, giving zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime for those who are able.

1) The Testimony of Faith:

The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah. This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1 and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which should be said with conviction in order to convert to Islam (as explained previously on this page). The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.

2) Prayer:

Muslims perform five prayers a day. Each prayer does not take more than a few minutes to perform. Prayer in Islam is a direct link between the worshipper and God. There are no intermediaries between God and the worshipper.

In prayer, a person feels inner happiness, peace, and comfort, and that God is pleased with him or her. The Prophet Muhammad said: {Bilal, call (the people) to prayer, let us be comforted by it.}2 Bilal was one of Muhammad’s companions who was charged to call the people to prayers.

Prayers are performed at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night. A Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories, or universities.

(For detailed information on how to perform prayer, please refer to the links at How to Perform Prayer or refer to the book entitled A Guide to Salat (Prayer) by M. A. K. Saqib.3)

3) Giving Zakat (Support of the Needy):

All things belong to God, and wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The original meaning of the word zakat is both ‘purification’ and ‘growth.’ Giving zakat means ‘giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people.’ The percentage which is due on gold, silver, and cash funds that have reached the amount of about 85 grams of gold and held in possession for one lunar year is two and a half percent. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a small portion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

A person may also give as much as he or she pleases as voluntary alms or charity.

4) Fasting the Month of Ramadan:

Every year in the month of Ramadan,4 all Muslims fast from dawn until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.

Although the fast is beneficial to health, it is regarded principally as a method of spiritual self-purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry, as well as growth in his or her spiritual life.

5) The Pilgrimage to Makkah:

The annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah is an obligation once in a lifetime for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. About two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. Male pilgrims wear special simple clothes which strip away distinctions of class and culture so that all stand equal before God.

 

Some benefits of Islam

Islam provides many benefits for the individual and the society. This chapter mentions some of the benefits gained through Islam for the individual.

(1) The Door to Eternal Paradise

God has said in the Quran:

And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds, that they will have gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow…. (Quran, 2:25)

God has also said:

Race one with another for forgiveness from your Lord and for Paradise, whose width is as the width of the heavens and the earth, which has been prepared for those who believe in God and His messengers…. (Quran, 57:21)

The Prophet Muhammad told us that the lowest in rank among the dwellers of Paradise will have ten times the like of this world,1 and he or she will have whatever he or she desires and ten times like it.2 Also, the Prophet Muhammad said: {A space in Paradise equivalent to the size of a foot would be better than the world and what is in it.}3 He also said: {In Paradise there are things which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has thought of.}4 He also said: {The most miserable man in the world of those meant for Paradise will be dipped once in Paradise. Then he will be asked, “Son of Adam, did you ever face any misery? Did you ever experience any hardship?” So he will say, “No, by God, O Lord! I never faced any misery, and I never experienced any hardship.”}5

If you enter Paradise, you will live a very happy life without sickness, pain, sadness, or death; God will be pleased with you; and you will live there forever. God has said in the Quran:

But those who believe and do good deeds, We will admit them to gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow, lasting in them forever…. (Quran, 4:57)

(2) Salvation from Hellfire

God has said in the Quran:

Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one offered it as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers. (Quran, 3:91)

So, this life is our only chance to win Paradise and to escape from Hellfire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not have another chance to come back to this world to believe. As God has said in the Quran about what is going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment:

If you could but see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and say, “Would that we might return (to the world)! Then we would not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!” (Quran, 6:27)

But no one will have this second opportunity.

The Prophet Muhammad said: {The happiest man in the world of those doomed to the Fire (Hell) on the Day of Judgment will be dipped in the Fire once. Then he will be asked, “Son of Adam, did you ever see any good? Did you ever experience any blessing?” So he will say, “No, by God, O Lord!”}

(3) Real Happiness and Inner Peace

Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world. God has said in the Quran:

Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest. (Quran, 13:28)

On the other hand, the one who turns away from the Quran will have a life of hardship in this world. God has said:

But whoever turns away from the Quran,1 he will have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. (Quran, 20:124)

This may explain why some people commit suicide while they enjoy the material comfort money can buy. For example, look at Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer who used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night. After he converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success.2

(4) Forgiveness for All Previous Sins

When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all of his previous sins and evil deeds. A man called Amr came to the Prophet Muhammad and said, “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty.” The Prophet stretched out his right hand. Amr withdrew his hand. The Prophet said: {What has happened to you, O Amr?} He replied, “I intend to lay down a condition.” The Prophet asked: {What condition do you intend to put forward?} Amr said, “That God forgive my sins.” The Prophet said: {Didn’t you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?}1

After converting to Islam, the person will be rewarded for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad : {Your Lord, Who is blessed and exalted, is most merciful. If someone intends to do a good deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten to seven hundred or many more times (the reward of the good deed), will be recorded for him. And if someone intends to do a bad deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded against him or God will wipe it out.}2

 

Some evidence for the truth of Islam

God supported His last Prophet Muhammad with many miracles and much evidence which proved that he is a true Prophet sent by God. Also, God supported His last revealed book, the Holy Quran, with many miracles that prove that this Quran is the literal word of God, revealed by Him, and that it was not authored by any human being. This chapter discusses some of this evidence.

(1) The Scientific Miracles
in the Holy Quran

The Quran is the literal word of God, which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized by Muhammad , who then dictated it to his Companions. They, in turn, memorized it, wrote it down, and reviewed it with the Prophet Muhammad . Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad reviewed the Quran with the Angel Gabriel once each year and twice in the last year of his life. From the time the Quran was revealed, until this day, there has always been a huge number of Muslims who have memorized all of the Quran, letter by letter. Some of them have even been able to memorize all of the Quran by the age of ten. Not one letter of the Quran has been changed over the centuries.

The Quran, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago, mentioned facts only recently discovered or proven by scientists. This proves without doubt that the Quran must be the literal word of God, revealed by Him to the Prophet Muhammad , and that the Quran was not authored by Muhammad or by any other human being. This also proves that Muhammad is truly a prophet sent by God. It is beyond reason that anyone fourteen hundred years ago would have known these facts discovered or proven only recently with advanced equipment and sophisticated scientific methods. Some examples follow.

A) The Quran on Human Embryonic Development:

In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development:

We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)… 1 (Quran, 23:12-14)

Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has three meanings: (1) leech, (2) suspended thing, and (3) blood clot.

In comparing a leech to an embryo in the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two2 as we can see in figure 1. Also, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others.3

The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing.” This is what we can see in figures 2 and 3, the suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother.

The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot.” We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage4 (see figure 4). Also during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week.5 Thus, the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.

So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage.

The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance.” If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his or her mouth and then compare it with an embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that the embryo at the mudghah stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance. This is because of the somites at the back of the embryo that “somewhat resemble teethmarks in a chewed substance.”6 (see figures 5 and 6).

How could Muhammad have possibly known all this 1400 years ago, when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time? Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using an improved microscope in 1677 (more than 1000 years after Muhammad ). They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract.7

Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore8 is one of the world’s most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled The Developing Human, which has been translated into eight languages. This book is a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by one person. Dr. Keith Moore is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. There, he was Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and for 8 years was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy. In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences.

In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.”).

Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Quran is the word of God?” He replied: “I find no difficulty in accepting this.”10

During one conference, Professor Moore stated: “….Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah (what Muhammad said, did, or approved of). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Quran and hadeeth (reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions of what he said, did, or approved of) in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D. Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages. As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century. For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Quran cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century. The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God. He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.”11

B) The Quran on Mountains:

A book entitled Earth is a basic reference textbook in many universities around the world. One of its two authors is Professor Emeritus Frank Press. He was the Science Advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter, and for 12 years was the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC. His book says that mountains have underlying roots.1 These roots are deeply embedded in the ground, thus, mountains have a shape like a peg (see figures 7, 8, and 9).

This is how the Quran has described mountains. God has said in the Quran:

Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs? (Quran, 78:6-7)

Modern earth sciences have proven that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground (see figure 9) and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground.2 So the most suitable word to describe mountains on the basis of this information is the word ‘peg,’ since most of a properly set peg is hidden under the surface of the ground. The history of science tells us that the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter half of the nineteenth century.3

Mountains also play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.4 They hinder the shaking of the earth. God has said in the Quran:

And He has set firm mountains in the earth so that it would not shake with you… (Quran, 16:15)

Likewise, the modern theory of plate tectonics holds that mountains work as stabilizers for the earth. This knowledge about the role of mountains as stabilizers for the earth has just begun to be understood in the framework of plate tectonics since the late 1960’s.5

Could anyone during the time of the Prophet Muhammad have known of the true shape of mountains? Could anyone imagine that the solid massive mountain which he sees before him actually extends deep into the earth and has a root, as scientists assert? A large number of books of geology, when discussing mountains, only describe that part which is above the surface of the earth. This is because these books were not written by specialists in geology. However, modern geology has confirmed the truth of the Quranic verses.

C) The Quran on the Origin of the Universe:

The science of modern cosmology, observational and theoretical, clearly indicates that, at one point in time, the whole universe was nothing but a cloud of ‘smoke’ (i.e. an opaque highly dense and hot gaseous composition).1 This is one of the undisputed principles of standard modern cosmology. Scientists now can observe new stars forming out of the remnants of that ‘smoke’ (see figures 10 and 11).

The illuminating stars we see at night were, just as was the whole universe, in that ‘smoke’ material. God has said in the Quran:

Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke… (Quran, 41:11)

Because the earth and the heavens above (the sun, the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, etc.) have been formed from this same ‘smoke,’ we conclude that the earth and the heavens were one connected entity. Then out of this homogeneous ‘smoke,’ they formed and separated from each other. God has said in the Quran:

Have not those who disbelieved known that the heavens and the earth were one connected entity, then We separated them?… (Quran, 21:30)

Dr. Alfred Kroner is one of the world’s renowned geologists. He is Professor of Geology and the Chairman of the Department of Geology at the Institute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. He said: “Thinking where Muhammad came from . . . I think it is almost impossible that he could have known about things like the common origin of the universe, because scientists have only found out within the last few years, with very complicated and advanced technological methods, that this is the case.”2 (Also he said: “Somebody who did not know something about nuclear physics fourteen hundred years ago could not, I think, be in a position to find out from his own mind, for instance, that the earth and the heavens had the same origin.

D) The Quran on the Cerebrum:

God has said in the Quran about one of the evil unbelievers who forbade the Prophet Muhammad from praying at the Kaaba:

No! If he does not stop, We will take him by the naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)! (Quran, 96:15-16)

Why did the Quran describe the front of the head as being lying and sinful? Why didn’t the Quran say that the person was lying and sinful? What is the relationship between the front of the head and lying and sinfulness?

If we look into the skull at the front of the head, we will find the prefrontal area of the cerebrum (see figure 12). What does physiology tell us about the function of this area? A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology says about this area, “The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex…”1 Also the book says, “In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression….”2

So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior and is responsible for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth. Thus, it is proper to describe the front of the head as lying and sinful when someone lies or commits a sin, as the Quran has said, “…A lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)!”

Scientists have only discovered these functions of the prefrontal area in the last sixty years, according to Professor Keith L. Moore.3

E) The Quran on Seas and Rivers:

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them. This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.1 For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water. When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics. The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth2 (see figure 13).

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress. God has said:

He has set free the two seas meeting together. There is a barrier between them. They do not transgress. (Quran, 55:19-20)

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier. God has said in the Quran:

He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter. And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition. (Quran, 25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet. It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”3 This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water4

This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc. The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea. Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).

G) The Quran on Clouds:

Scientists have studied cloud types and have realized that rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and certain steps connected with certain types of wind and clouds.

One kind of rain cloud is the cumulonimbus cloud. Meteorologists have studied how cumulonimbus clouds are formed and how they produce rain, hail, and lightning.

They have found that cumulonimbus clouds go through the following steps to produce rain:

1) The clouds are pushed by the wind: Cumulonimbus clouds begin to form when wind pushes some small pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds) to an area where these clouds converge (see figures 17 and 18). 2) Joining: Then the small clouds join together forming a larger cloud1 (see figures 18 and 19).

3) Stacking: When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts near the center of the cloud are stronger than those near the edges.2 These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the cloud is stacked up (see figures 19 (B), 20, and 21). This vertical growth causes the cloud body to stretch into cooler regions of the atmosphere, where drops of water and hail formulate and begin to grow larger and larger. When these drops of water and hail become too heavy for the updrafts to support them, they begin to fall from the cloud as rain, hail, etc.3

God has said in the Quran:

Have you not seen how God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it…. (Quran, 24:43)

Meteorologists have only recently come to know these details of cloud formation, structure, and function by using advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers, balloons, and other equipment, to study wind and its direction, to measure humidity and its variations, and to determine the levels and variations of atmospheric pressure.4

The preceding verse, after mentioning clouds and rain, speaks about hail and lightning:

….And He sends down hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky, and He strikes with it whomever He wills, and turns it from whomever He wills. The vivid flash of its lightning nearly blinds the sight. (Quran, 24:43)

Meteorologists have found that these cumulonimbus clouds, that shower hail, reach a height of 25,000 to 30,000 ft (4.7 to 5.7 miles),5 like mountains, as the Quran said, “…And He sends down hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky…” (see figure 21 above).

This verse may raise a question. Why does the verse say “its lightning” in a reference to the hail? Does this mean that hail is the major factor in producing lightning? Let us see what the book entitled Meteorology Today says about this. It says that a cloud becomes electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of supercooled droplets and ice crystals. As liquid droplets collide with a hailstone, they freeze on contact and release latent heat. This keeps the surface of the hailstone warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals. When the hailstone comes in contact with an ice crystal, an important phenomenon occurs: electrons flow from the colder object toward the warmer object. Hence, the hailstone becomes negatively charged. The same effect occurs when supercooled droplets come in contact with a hailstone and tiny splinters of positively charged ice break off. These lighter positively charged particles are then carried to the upper part of the cloud by updrafts. The hail, left with a negative charge, falls towards the bottom of the cloud, thus the lower part of the cloud becomes negatively charged. These negative charges are then discharged as lightning.6 We conclude from this that hail is the major factor in producing lightning.

This information on lightning was discovered recently. Until 1600 AD, Aristotle’s ideas on meteorology were dominant. For example, he said that the atmosphere contains two kinds of exhalation, moist and dry. He also said that thunder is the sound of the collision of the dry exhalation with the neighboring clouds, and lightning is the inflaming and burning of the dry exhalation with a thin and faint fire.7 These are some of the ideas on meteorology that were dominant at the time of the Quran’s revelation, fourteen centuries ago.

H) Scientists’ Comments on the Scientific Miracles in the Holy Quran:

The following are some comments of scientists1 on the scientific miracles in the Holy Quran. All of these comments have been taken from the videotape entitled This is the Truth. In this videotape, you can see and hear the scientists while they are giving the following comments

1) Dr. T. V. N. Persaud is Professor of Anatomy, Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. There, he was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy for 16 years. He is well-known in his field. He is the author or editor of 22 textbooks and has published over 181 scientific papers. In 1991, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. When he was asked about the scientific miracles in the Quran which he has researched, he stated the following:

“The way it was explained to me is that Muhammad was a very ordinary man. He could not read, didn’t know [how] to write. In fact, he was an illiterate. And we’re talking about twelve [actually about fourteen] hundred years ago. You have someone illiterate making profound pronouncements and statements and that are amazingly accurate about scientific nature. And I personally can’t see how this could be a mere chance. There are too many accuracies and, like Dr. Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind that this is a divine inspiration or revelation which led him to these statements)

Professor Persaud has included some Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in some of his books. He has also presented these verses and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad at several conferences.

2) Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson is the Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA. Formerly, he was Professor of Ob-Gyn and the Chairman of the Department of Ob-Gyn at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He was also the President of the American Fertility Society. He has received many awards, including the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Public Recognition Award in 1992. Professor Simpson studied the following two sayings of the Prophet Muhammad :

{In every one of you, all components of your creation are collected together in your mother’s womb by forty days…}2

{If forty-two nights have passed over the embryo, God sends an angel to it, who shapes it and creates its hearing, vision, skin, flesh, and bones….}3

He studied these two sayings of the Prophet Muhammad extensively, noting that the first forty days constitute a clearly distinguishable stage of embryo-genesis. He was particularly impressed by the absolute precision and accuracy of those sayings of the Prophet Muhammad . Then, during one conference, he gave the following opinion:

“So that the two hadeeths (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ) that have been noted provide us with a specific time table for the main embryological development before forty days. Again, the point has been made, I think, repeatedly by other speakers this morning: these hadeeths could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available [at] the time of their writing . . . . It follows, I think, that not only there is no conflict between genetics and religion but, in fact, religion can guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches, that there exist statements in the Quran shown centuries later to be valid, which support knowledge in the Quran having been derived from God.”

3) Dr. E. Marshall Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. There, for 22 years he was Professor of Anatomy, the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy, and the Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute. He was also the President of the Teratology Society. He has authored more than 200 publications. In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Johnson said in the presentation of his research paper:

“Summary: The Quran describes not only the development of external form, but emphasizes also the internal stages, the stages inside the embryo, of its creation and development, emphasizing major events recognized by contemporary science.” Also he said: “As a scientist, I can only deal with things which I can specifically see. I can understand embryology and developmental biology. I can understand the words that are translated to me from the Quran. As I gave the example before, if I were to transpose myself into that era, knowing what I knew today and describing things, I could not describe the things which were described. I see no evidence for the fact to refute the concept that this individual, Muhammad, had to be developing this information from some place. So I see nothing here in conflict with the concept that divine intervention was involved in what he was able to write.”)

4) Dr. William W. Hay is a well-known marine scientist. He is Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA. He was formerly the Dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA. After a discussion with Professor Hay about the Quran’s mention of recently discovered facts on seas, he said:

“I find it very interesting that this sort of information is in the ancient scriptures of the Holy Quran, and I have no way of knowing where they would come from, but I think it is extremely interesting that they are there and that this work is going on to discover it, the meaning of some of the passages.” And when he was asked about the source of the Quran, he replied: “Well, I would think it must be the divine being)

5) Dr. Gerald C. Goeringer is Course Director and Associate Professor of Medical Embryology at the Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA. During the Eighth Saudi Medical Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Professor Goeringer stated the following in the presentation of his research paper:

“In a relatively few aayahs (Quranic verses) is contained a rather comprehensive description of human development from the time of commingling of the gametes through organogenesis. No such distinct and complete record of human development, such as classification, terminology, and description, existed previously. In most, if not all, instances, this description antedates by many centuries the recording of the various stages of human embryonic and fetal development recorded in the traditional scientific literature.”

6) Dr. Yoshihide Kozai is Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University, Hongo, Tokyo, Japan, and was the Director of the National Astronomical Observatory, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan. He said:

“I am very much impressed by finding true astronomical facts in [the] Quran, and for us the modern astronomers have been studying very small pieces of the universe. We’ve concentrated our efforts for understanding of [a] very small part. Because by using telescopes, we can see only very few parts [of] the sky without thinking [about the] whole universe. So, by reading [the] Quran and by answering to the questions, I think I can find my future way for investigation of the universe

7) Professor Tejatat Tejasen is the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Previously, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the same university. During the Eighth Saudi Medical Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Professor Tejasen stood up and said:

“During the last three years, I became interested in the Quran . . . . From my study and what I have learned from this conference, I believe that everything that has been recorded in the Quran fourteen hundred years ago must be the truth, that can be proved by the scientific means. Since the Prophet Muhammad could neither read nor write, Muhammad must be a messenger who relayed this truth, which was revealed to him as an enlightenment by the one who is eligible [as the] creator. This creator must be God. Therefore, I think this is the time to say La ilaha illa Allah, there is no god to worship except Allah (God), Muhammadur rasoolu Allah, Muhammad is Messenger (Prophet) of Allah (God). Lastly, I must congratulate for the excellent and highly successful arrangement for this conference . . . . I have gained not only from the scientific point of view and religious point of view but also the great chance of meeting many well-known scientists and making many new friends among the participants. The most precious thing of all that I have gained by coming to this place is La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah, and to have become a Muslim.” After all these examples we have seen about the scientific miracles in the Holy Quran and all these scientists’ comments on this, let us ask ourselves these questions:

n Could it be a coincidence that all this recently discovered scientific information from different fields was mentioned in the Quran, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago?

n Could this Quran have been authored by Muhammad or by any other human being?

The only possible answer is that this Quran must be the literal word of God, revealed by Him.

 

(2) The Great Challenge to Produce
One Chapter Like the Chapters
of the Holy Quran

God has said in the Quran:

And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed (the Quran) to Our worshiper (Muhammad ), then produce a chapter like it, and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides God if you are truthful. And if you do not do it, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones. It has been prepared for disbelievers. And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow…. (Quran, 2:23-25)

Ever since the Quran was revealed, fourteen centuries ago, no one has been able to produce a single chapter like the chapters of the Quran in their beauty, eloquence, splendor, wise legislation, true information, true prophecy, and other perfect attributes. Also, note that the smallest chapter in the Quran (Chapter 108) is only ten words, yet no one has ever been able to meet this challenge, then or today.1 Some of the disbelieving Arabs who were enemies of the Prophet Muhammad tried to meet this challenge to prove that Muhammad was not a true prophet, but they failed to do so.2 This failure was despite the fact that the Quran was revealed in their own language and dialect and that the Arabs at the time of Muhammad were a very eloquent people who used to compose beautiful and excellent poetry, still read and appreciated today.

(3) Biblical Prophecies on the Advent of
Muhammad , the Prophet of Islam

The Biblical prophecies on the advent of the Prophet Muhammad are evidence of the truth of Islam for people who believe in the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 18, Moses stated that God told him: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).1

From these verses we conclude that the prophet in this prophecy must have the following three characteristics:

1) That he will be like Moses.

2) That he will come from the brothers of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites.

3) That God will put His words in to the mouth of this prophet and that he will declare what God commands him.

Let us examine these three characteristics in more depth:

1) A prophet like Moses:

There were hardly any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad . Both were given a comprehensive law and code of life. Both encountered their enemies and were victorious in miraculous ways. Both were accepted as prophets and statesmen. Both migrated following conspiracies to assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlook not only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well. These include the natural birth, the family life, and death of Moses and Muhammad but not of Jesus. Moreover Jesus was regarded by his followers as the Son of God and not exclusively as a prophet of God, as Moses and Muhammad were and as Muslims believe Jesus was. So, this prophecy refers to the Prophet Muhammad and not to Jesus, because Muhammad is more like Moses than Jesus.

Also, one notices from the Gospel of John that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The first was the coming of Christ. The second was the coming of Elijah. The third was the coming of the Prophet. This is obvious from the three questions that were posed to John the Baptist: “Now this was John’s testimony, when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” (John 1:19-21). If we look in a Bible with cross-references, we will find in the marginal notes where the words “the Prophet” occur in John 1:21, that these words refer to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18:18.2 We conclude from this that Jesus Christ is not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:18.

2) From the brothers of the Israelites:

Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 21). Ishmael became the grandfather of the Arab nation, and Isaac became the grandfather of the Jewish nation. The prophet spoken of was not to come from among the Jews themselves, but from among their brothers, i.e. the Ishmaelites. Muhammad , a descendant of Ishmael, is indeed this prophet.

Also, Isaiah 42:1-13 speaks of the servant of God, His “chosen one” and “messenger” who will bring down a law. “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:4). Verse 11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Kedar. Who is Kedar? According to Genesis 25:13, Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad .

3) God will put His words in the mouth of this prophet:

The words of God (the Holy Quran) were truly put into Muhammad’s mouth. God sent the Angel Gabriel to teach Muhammad the exact words of God (the Holy Quran) and asked him to dictate them to the people as he heard them. The words are therefore not his own. They did not come from his own thoughts, but were put into his mouth by the Angel Gabriel. During the life time of Muhammad , and under his supervision, these words were then memorized and written by his companions.

Also, this prophecy in Deuteronomy mentioned that this prophet will speak the words of God in the name of God. If we looked to the Holy Quran, we will find that all its chapters, except Chapter 9, are preceded or begin with the phrase, “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”

Another indication (other than the prophecy in Deuteronomy) is that Isaiah ties the messenger connected with Kedar with a new song (a scripture in a new language) to be sung to the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). This is mentioned more clearly in the prophecy of Isaiah: “and another tongue, will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11 KJV). Another related point, is that the Quran was revealed in sections over a span of twenty-three years. It is interesting to compare this with Isaiah 28 which speaks of the same thing, “For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.” (Isaiah 28:10).

Note that God has said in the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18, “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” (Deuteronomy, 18:19). This means that whoever believes in the Bible must believe in what this prophet says, and this prophet is t

(4) The Verses in the Quran That Mention Future Events Which Later Came to Pass

One example of the events foretold in the Quran is the victory of the Romans over the Persians within three to nine years after the Romans were defeated by the Persians. God has said in the Quran:

The Romans have been defeated in the nearest land (to the Arabian Peninsula), and they, after their defeat, will be victorious within bedd’ (three to nine) years…. (Quran, 30:2-4)

Let us see what history tells us about these wars. A book entitled History of the Byzantine State says that the Roman army was badly defeated at Antioch in 613, and as a result, the Persians swiftly pushed forward on all fronts.1 At that time, it was hard to imagine that the Romans would defeat the Persians, but the Quran foretold that the Romans would be victorious within three to nine years. In 622, nine years after the Romans’ defeat, the two forces (Romans and Persians) met on Armenian soil, and the result was the decisive victory of the Romans over the Persians, for the first time after the Romans’ defeat in 613.2 The prophecy was fulfilled just as God has said in the Quran.

There are also many other verses in the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad that mention future events which later came to pass.

 

(5) Miracles Performed by
the Prophet Muhammad

Many miracles were performed by the Prophet Muhammad by God’s permission. These miracles were witnessed by many people. For example:

n When the unbelievers in Makkah asked the Prophet Muhammad to show them a miracle, he showed them the splitting of the moon.1

n Another miracle was the flowing of water through Muhammad’s fingers when his companions got thirsty and had no water except a little in a vessel. They came to him and told him that they had no water to make ablution nor to drink except for what was in the vessel. So, Muhammad put his hand in the vessel, and the water started gushing out between his fingers. So, they drank and made ablution. They were one thousand five hundred companions.2

(6) The Simple Life of Muhammad

If we compare the life of Muhammad before his mission as a prophet and his life after he began his mission as a prophet, we will conclude that it is beyond reason to think that Muhammad was a false prophet, who claimed prophethood to attain material gains, greatness, glory, or power.

Before his mission as a prophet, Muhammad had no financial worries. As a successful and reputed merchant, Muhammad drew a satisfactory and comfortable income. After his mission as a prophet and because of it, he became worse off materially. To clarify this more, let us browse the following sayings on his life:

n Aa’isha, Muhammad’s wife, said, “O my nephew, we would sight three new moons in two months without lighting a fire (to cook a meal) in the Prophet’s houses.” Her nephew asked, “O Aunt, what sustained you?” She said, “The two black things, dates and water, but the Prophet had some Ansar neighbors who had milk-giving she-camels and they used to send the Prophet some of its milk.”1

n Sahl Ibn Sa’ad, one of Muhammad’s companions, said, “The Prophet of God did not see bread made from fine flour from the time God sent him (as a prophet) until he died.”2

n Aa’isha, Muhammad’s wife, said, “The mattress of the Prophet , on which he slept, was made of leather stuffed with the fiber of the date-palm tree.”3

n Amr Ibn Al-Hareth, one of Muhammad’s companions, said that when the Prophet died, he left neither money nor anything else except his white riding mule, his arms, and a piece of land which he left to charity.4

Muhammad lived this hard life till he died although the Muslim treasury was at his disposal, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula was Muslim before he died, and the Muslims were victorious after eighteen years of his mission.

Is it possible that Muhammad might have claimed prophethood in order to attain status, greatness, and power? The desire to enjoy status and power is usually associated with good food, fancy clothing, monumental palaces, colorful guards, and indisputable authority. Do any of these indicators apply to Muhammad ? A few glimpses of his life that may help answer this question follow.

Despite his responsibilities as a prophet, a teacher, a statesman, and a judge, Muhammad used to milk his goat,5 mend his clothes, repair his shoes,6 help with the household work,7 and visit poor people when they got sick.8 He also helped his companions in digging a trench by moving sand with them.9 His life was an amazing model of simplicity and humbleness.

Muhammad’s followers loved him, respected him, and trusted him to an amazing extent. Yet he continued to emphasize that deification should be directed to God and not to him personally. Anas, one of Muhammad’s companions, said that there was no person whom they loved more than the Prophet Muhammad , yet when he came to them, they did not stand up for him because he hated their standing up for him,10 as other people do with their great people.

Long before there was any prospect of success for Islam and at the outset of a long and painful era of torture, suffering, and persecution of Muhammad and his followers, he received an interesting offer. An envoy of the pagan leaders, Otba, came to him saying, “…If you want money, we will collect enough money for you so that you will be the richest one of us. If you want leadership, we will take you as our leader and never decide on any matter without your approval. If you want a kingdom, we will crown you king over us…” Only one concession was required from Muhammad in return for that, to give up calling people to Islam and worshipping God alone without any partner. Wouldn’t this offer be tempting to one pursuing worldly benefit? Was Muhammad hesitant when the offer was made? Did he turn it down as a bargaining strategy leaving the door open for a better offer? The following was his answer: {In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful} And he recited to Otba the verses of the Quran 41:1-38.11 The Following are some of these verses:

A revelation from (God), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful; a Book whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Quran in Arabic, for people who know, giving good news and warning, yet most of them turn away, so they do not listen. (Quran, 41:2-4)

On another occasion and in response to his uncle’s plea to stop calling people to Islam, Muhammad’s answer was as decisive and sincere: {I swear by the name of God, O Uncle!, that if they place the sun in my right-hand and the moon in my left-hand in return for giving up this matter (calling people to Islam), I will never desist until either God makes it triumph or I perish defending it.}12

Muhammad and his few followers did not only suffer from persecution for thirteen years but the unbelievers even tried to kill Muhammad several times. On one occasion they attempted to kill him by dropping a large boulder, which could barely be lifted, on his head.13 Another time they tried to kill him by poisoning his food.14 What could justify such a life of suffering and sacrifice even after he was fully triumphant over his adversaries? What could explain the humbleness and nobility which he demonstrated in his most glorious moments when he insisted that success is due only to God’s help and not to his own genius? Are these the characteristics of a power-hungry or a self-centered man?

n Stories of New Muslims (how they converted, their thoughts, and feelings):

Stories of Converts

Stories of Priests Who Converted to Islam

How Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) Converted to Islam (formerly a famous pop singer)

Stories of New Muslims

My Journey to Islam (from IslamiCity web site)

My Journey to Islam (from IslamOnline web site)

New Muslims’ Stories (from IslamWeb web site)

 

 

 

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December 22, 2007

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