Thursday, 2 April 2009

Is the pure Islamic concept of Monotheism (Tawhid) really so pure? Part II

Of the worship of Muhammad and of other Gods

It is a typical Muslim assertion that Islam has the most pure version of Monotheism (besides the fact that the Qur’an is crystal clear and perfect).

The facts are, that you can find in the Qur’an some verses, where other creatures receive worship that should be due only to God (Q 2:34: to Adam), Q 15:28-32 (to men), Q 12:4 (to Joseph and to Muhammad (Q 12:100, 48:9). It seems that even Jews were more monotheistic than Islam: Yahweh prohibits angels and men to kneel itself in front of the creation, while Allah commands to his angels to kneel down in front of Adam.

Let’s give a look to 48:9 where we can find something very strange (Muhammad associated with Allah): “In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you assist and honour him, and (that you) glorify (Allah's) praises morning and afternoon.” (Hilali-Khan).

Pay please attention to the fact that Hilali-Khan (the KSA “version of the Qur’an) have to add into brackets “Allah” , since the construction of the sentence is so unclear to let many Islamic commentators doubt that it is referring to Allah only. In fact, the nearest referent, the closest antecedent of the pronouns, is not Allah but Muhammad. The accusative pronoun in ‘assist  and honour Him’ refers, beyond doubt, to Muhammad, who was mentioned earlier, not to God as the English translator understood it. The risk is of course to commit kuffr (unbelief) and shirk (association with Allah, the only sin that –following Islamic orthodoxy- will never be forgiven). The sentence however makes no sense: God doesn’t need any help, does he? Actually, a simple insertion of a pronoun would have clarified everything. This could show the human origin of the Qur’an.

Other example where Muhammad finds his place next to Allah: In 17:79, we have that Muhammad will be put on the Maqaman Mahmuda (the highest place in Paradise). Now, it is wildly debated between Islamic scholars if this means that he will stay a step below Allah, or if he will actually really sit on Allah’s throne.

Another example: in 4:65; it seems that submission is due as well to Muhammad. It is enough to read the Tafsirs (comments) of Jalalayn (link) and of ibn Kathir: (link); both state that you have to submit to Muhammad as well. In another tafsir (of Q 8:24), it still seems that replying to Muhammad is more important than praying (link)!

In some ahadith, it seems that Muhammad takes precedence over Allah while praying (link).
We have as well the possibility to have other gods besides Allah (we will touch the issue of Muhammad praying to other gods in one of the next articles (see Satanic verses)?

Let’s take for example Q 3:18: “Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilah illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise” (Hilali-Khan).

Consider again that the authors had to put into brackets “also give witness”, that’s something that doesn’t exist in the original Arabic script. Was the Qur’an not to be said to be clear and eloquent? A miracle that only God could write (Q 16:103; Q 26:192-193)? What actually comes out from the original text is that Allah himself testifies that there are no other Gods than him, angels and men.

Let’s take another example: Q 9:31 where the Jews are accused of taking their rabbis and monks as God besides Allah and Jesus:

They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God AND the Messiah Mary's son, and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate”. (Arberry)

In Arabic: “Ittakhathoo ahbarahum waruhbanahum arbaban min dooni Allahi WAalmaseeha ibna maryama wama omiroo illa liyaAAbudoo ilahan wahidan la ilaha illa huwa subhanahu Aaamma mushrikoona

It is amusing to see that the Arabic text doesn’t attack the Christians for taking Jesus as Lord, but rebukes them for taking their monks as lords besides Allah and Jesus.

Because of the way the Arabic text is worded, the above passage is actually saying that Jesus is Lord along with Allah. Hence, the Qur’an’s author ended up confessing that both Allah and Jesus are Lord!

What the text is saying is that the believers have to take Allah and Jesus as their Lord, not the rabbis or monks. The Qur’an is saying that it is wrong to take Jewish rabbis and priests as Lords when their Lord is Allah and Jesus! Translators usually add a comma after Allah or God in order to separate Allah from the Messiah, but in the original Arabic there is no justification for placing this comma into the English translation.

There are as well several verses where Allah glorifies and prays God!!! Please give a look to the following Qur’anic verses: Q 6:114; 17:1-2; 19:34-40; 19:49-64; 37:170-184; 70:38-41. Especially in Q 19:49-64, Allah swears, glorifies and worships Allah who is his Lord and states that he does not come down except by his permission!! Either the author of the Qur’an believes that there are other gods or there should be some bad communication.

Historically, it seems that the “extreme” Qura’nic monotheism is of late evolution. We have the famous satanic verses uttered by Muhammad, where he exalts and praises the sisters of Allah. These verses were later revoked and eliminated, (for more details, on another soon to be published post). The satanic verses were uttered publicly and for obvious reasons, it is very improbable that they were invented by Muslims themselves. Who eliminated and how were these verses “missed”? Islamic orthodoxy supports the idea that there was no evolution of the text. This means that they are obliged to think that everything is very clear since the beginning. But this actually finds some problems with the “satanic verses”. Reality seems that the Islamic monotheism was very vague, at least at the beginning, not incompatible with the existence of lower gods.

A hint: Muhammad was thinking, at the beginning, to be under the influence of “bad spirits”. Another time, Muhammad was thinking to have had sexual relationships with all of his women, but actually it wasn’t true (Aisha: “he is under the effect of magic” (Bukhari 8.073.089) (Link)

Excursus: About the use of “wa” (and) in conjunction with the name of Allah:

About the conjunction “wa” (and), that’s the usual Islamic standpoint: This leads us to discuss the Arabic conjunction wa, and the significance it has on how we are to understand the above citations. While commenting on the importance the conjunction had on the Muslim confession of faith (i.e., there is no god but Allah AND Muhammad is his messenger), Qadi 'Iyad Ibn Musa al-Yahsubi noted:

The fact that mention of the Prophet is directly connected to mention of Allah also shows that obedience to the Prophet is connected to obedience to Allah and his name to Allah's name. Allah says, "Obey Allah and His Messenger" (2:32) and "Believe in Allah and His Messenger." (4:136) Allah joins them together using the conjunction WA WHICH IS THE CONJUNCTION OF PARTNERSHIP. IT IS NOT PERMITTED TO USE THIS CONJUNCTION IN CONNECTION WITH ALLAH IN THE CASE OF ANYONE EXCEPT THE PROPHET.

Al-Khattabi said, "The Prophet has guided you to correct behaviour in putting the will of Allah before the will of others. He chose ‘then’ (thumma) which implies sequence and deference as opposed to ‘and’ (wa) WHICH IMPLIES PARTNERSHIP."

Abu Sulayman said, "He disliked the two names being joined together in that way BECAUSE IT IMPLIES EQUALITY."… (Qadi ‘Iyad, Kitab Ash-shifa bi ta'rif huquq al-Mustafa (Healing by the recognition of the Rights of the Chosen One), translation by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley
[Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K.; third reprint 1991, paperback], p. 8)


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