Saturday, 22 August 2009

Book review: “Living by The Point of My Spears” by Zaki Amin

”One citation: Prostitution is allowed in Islam (Q 4.24)”

By Copperkid

I am an Indonesian non-Muslim, and has been active discussing about Islam at Indonesian Faithfreedom forum in the last 4 years. I decided to write a review of Zaki Ameen’s book titled “Living by the Point of My Spears” because I think people should know more about this great book. The explanation of “Living by the Point of My Spears” can be read in Zaki Ameen’s website: . This small book is only a chapter of the original book, which is 700 pages long, written in Arabic and is not translated into English yet. Although the size of the book is rather small, but it contains so many new information for me. For instance, it provides new information about the cultural background of Muhammad and his reasoning, why the Qur’an translation in English and Indonesian is not exactly right, what exactly the meaning of Surah 9 in Qur’an, etc. I know that there are many Islamic books out there that dealt with these matters, but Zaki Ameen offers different point of views that answers so many questions in my mind about Muhammad and his teachings.

For instance, I always wonder how come they were so many different versions of Qur’an, which lead to Uthman burnt versions which were different from his Qur’an. Zaki Amin explains that this is because Muhammad intentionally recite different verses of each Surah in Qur’an to each of his secretaries. Therefore, each secretary had his own version of Qur’an, and this, at the end, caused so much discrepancies among Muslim ummah. Not only he burnt many versions of Qur’an, but Uthman also get rid of many verses that did not sound as they were said by Allah but by Mohammed. Nevertheless, some of these Muhammad’s words or prayers in Qur’an still exist today, such as Surahh al-Fatiha.

Another example is about female genital mutilation in Islam. We, the proud kuffars of Indonesian Faithfreedom, always made fun of Mohammed’s idea that women produce sperm just like men do. But Zaki Ameen explained it further about the implication of this foolish idea. First, this idea is a typical ancient superstition among Arabian society in Mohammed’s era. They thought if a woman reaches climax and ejaculates sperm earlier than her male sex partner, then she may have a baby girl or baby boy with female tendencies. Mohammed preferred to have strong boys that would grow up to become Jihadis and fight for him. Next, to prevent women to produce sperm and had baby girls, Mohammed recommended female genital mutilation. You see that now the real horror of this foolish idea is completely exposed. This is much more insane than I originally thought. This also means that millions of Muslimah suffer so much nowadays because of this idiotic reasoning.

Another examples is about the prostitution in Islam based on Qur’an, Surah An-Nisaa (4), verse 24. Zaki Ameen explains the real meaning of this verse, in page 112:

Seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their money as agreed; but if, after the money is paid, ye agree mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you.” This means that if a Muslim man admires a woman that is not his wife, he is not considered sinful to entertain himself with her, provided she is willing and he pays her an agreed amount of money. In one saying he has permitted the temporary whoredom. (Sahih Al Bukhari, tafsir Qur’an, saying 4556). (ref. Zaki Ameen, Living by The Point of My Spear, page 112).

We discussed Q 4:24 in Indonesia Faithfreedom forum, and the Indonesian Muslim members opposed strongly Ameen’s tafsir of this verse because the Indonesian translation of Q 4:24 is so much different than what is written in Ameen’s book. To inspect the origin of this verse, we examined Qur’an tafsir by Tabari ( and Suyuti, and then found out that in the past, this verse is even different than the one that still exist nowadays:

… So for whatever you have had of pleasure (Istamta’tum) with them by the contract (prescribed period) , give unto them their appointed wages as a duty.

Muslims nowadays can not read the words “contract” or “prescribed period” in modern Qur’an, but those words existed in the past. So, it is true that Q 4:24 is the order to do Zawaj al Mut’ah (contract marriage). Our senior netter Hillman further explains that this verse also produce Zawaj al Misyar (travellers’ marriage, meaning the marriage is over after travelling is done), Zawaj al Urufi (marriage of convenience or marriage just for sex only), and Zawaj al Siry (secret marriage so that the old wives do not need to know). This small research concludes that Zaki Ameen was right and that most Indonesian Muslims have no clue about the real meaning of Q 4:24.

Zaki Amin’s book does not examine tafsir Q 4:24 by Tabari or Suyuti, but his explanation open up doors for us, both Indonesian Muslims and non-Muslims, to understand why the meaning of Q 4:24 in English and/or Indonesian Qur’an translation is different than the Arabic version. It surprises me how far Muslim clergymen are willing to go to lie about Islam, even changes the meaning of Qur’an verses. About 99% of Indonesian Muslims are Sunnis and they opposed Zawaj al Mut’ah (Mut’ah niqa) strongly, claiming that only Muslim Shiahs practice that kind of marriage. Apparently, they did not realize that the order to do Zawaj al Mut’ah is still valid in Q 4:24 and Mohammed never created any other verse to cancel it. This also explains why there are so many Saudi Arabian men, which are mostly Sunnis, came to Indonesia as tourists, did contract marriages with Indonesian girls, and then divorce them after the vacations were over. Unfortunately, most of the time, the Indonesian girls and her families did not even realize that the marriage will only last as long as the vacation period. Indonesian media and society condem type of marriage and describe it as prostitution in disguise. They claim that Niqa Mut’ah is haram in Islam and only Muslim Shiah do this. They did not realize that Muslim Sunni called it with different name: Zawaj al Misyar. The name can be different, but the practice is exactly the same, they both came from the same source: Q 4:24. The news about this trend can be read over here:

Zaki Ameen also explained thouroughly in his book about the meaning of Qur’an, Surah Al-Taubah (9). His tafsir is quite different than what we usually know from other Islamic books. It is very interesting to see his point of view, and he back it up with references and historical event.

My critique for his book is related to information about how Mohammed inserted some Meccan verses inside Medinan Surahs and the other way around. He listed these verses in page 12, and I wish he explained step by step thoroughly the history or event that lead to this conclusion, the same way he explained the meaning of each verse in Surah 9.

The other thing I would like to mention is about the explanation that Mohammed hated his nickname Abu Kabsha (Little Lamb) because it reminded him of his past job as a shepherd. Zaki Ameen wrote that “He would have paid any price to get rid of this label!” He also said that the explanation about Arabian shepherd mentality is written in earlier chapter of the original book in Arabic, which is not translated into English yet. I wish to know more about this information. Fortunately, Zaki Ameen told me that he is trying to translate the whole book into English soon. To that, I say Alhamdulillah and look forward to reading it.

I translated the book into Indonesian and it is available to download over here:

Since Zaki Ameen said that the book was written mainly for Muslim, to help them to be free from Islam, I think it would be great if anybody would like to volunteer to translate this small book into Urdu, Persian, Turkish, or other language from Muslim countries.

The e-book version of the book can be purchased (only $4.95) from here:

The YouTube film of the book can be seen over here:

I highly recommend anybody who would like to know more about Muhammad and his teachings to buy this small book. The price of $4.95 is nothing compares to how much knowledge you can gain out of it. You will never see Islam the same way again and can never be fooled by Muslim clergymen. The book is easy and fun to read with down to earth English writings.



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