Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

“Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.”

~ Exclaimed Cat Stevens when his leisurely swim off the coast of Malibu turned into a nightmare. He was busy drowning.

21 of July 1948, Steven Demetre Georgiou who would later be known by his stage name Cat Stevens was born to a Greek Orthodox father and Swedish Baptist mother. “I was born to a Christian family which revered money and I did the same, I felt in admiration for singers to the extent that I made of them my supreme god , then decided to become one of them. I ended up becoming one of the biggest Pop stars, and media made of me an icon, bigger than life itself and will live forever.” He said.

Cat Stevens is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, and philanthropist. He had been a pop star since his teens. Under the name “Cat Stevens”, he has sold over 60 million albums around the world since the late 1960s. The world famous British pop singer used to earn sometimes more than $ 150 000 a night. Cat Stevens had everything most people aspire to achieve: fame, talent, wealth, good looks, and strong magnetism towards the opposite sex, yet he felt something was seriously missing. Living a fast-moving pop-star life, Stevens for once, received a call to spiritual awakening.  He became very ill with tuberculosis and a collapsed lung. Consequently, Cat Stevens got hospitalized for a long period, an experience that made him search for the meaning of life.

In 1976, Stevens received yet another call to spiritual awakening. This time, at the coast of Malibu, California, where he nearly drowned. He shouted in the bid to conform with the constant calls, “Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.” This near-death experience intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth. Cat Stevens had looked into other spiritual formulas including Buddhism, Zen, and I Ching, Numerology, Tarot cards and Astrology. He writes:

My quest for truth continued in parallel with my artistic career, till the day when a friend of mine who came back from a trip in the East told me that he found serenity inside a mosque which he didn’t in a church, which led me to shift my interest to that religion and bought a translated Koran. At last I found answers to my questions: Who I am? Where I come from? And what is my goal in Life? Through my several readings of this holy book, I concluded that there is only one God with whom we can communicate directly without any interference.

It was the Qur’an that gave him the peace he was searching as he says, “. . . I would like to stress that I did not come into contact with any Muslim before I embraced Islam. I read the Qur’an first and realized that no person is perfect. Islam is perfect, and if we imitate the conduct of the Holy Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) we will be successful.”

He further states:

Everything made so much sense. This is the beauty of the Qur’an; it asks you to reflect and reason….When I read the Qur’an further, it talked about prayer, kindness and charity. I was not a Muslim yet, but I felt the only answer for me was the Qur’an and God had sent it to me.

He formally reverted to the Islamic faith in 1977, and took the name Yusuf Islam in 1978. After reverting to Islam, Yusuf Islam denounced his pop career calling music un-Islamic, auctioning his guitars and gold records and used the proceeds for Islamic charities. He even urged record companies to stop stocking his music, some of which he viewed as “immoral”. Talking about the need for dropping out of music, he said, “. . .  I had another agenda to fulfill; I had to learn my faith and look after my family, and I had to make priorities.”

Estimating in January 2007 that he continues to earn approximately $1.5 million USD a year from his Cat Stevens music, he decided to use his accumulated wealth and continuing earnings from his music career on philanthropic and educational causes in the Muslim community of London and elsewhere such as supporting orphans in Bosnia. In 1982, he and other concerned Muslims were troubled to see their children not getting proper Islamic education in Britain. Hence they founded the Islamia Schools’ Trust, a registered British charity which led to the opening of a Muslim primary school in London the following year and secondary schools later.

Yusuf Islam was famed for publicly endorsing the death sentence issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in February 1989. “Salman Rushdie, indeed any writer who abuses the Prophet or indeed any Prophet under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death,” he said at the time, stating the punishment for blasphemers required under Islamic law.  Showing that blasphemy is a capital offense according to God’s standards, he said; “If you ask a Bible student to quote the legal punishment of a person who commits blasphemy in the Bible, he would be dishonest if he didn’t mention Leviticus 24:16.” The verse reads: “And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.”

Yusuf Islam has been given several awards including 2004 Man for Peace Award presented by Mikhail Gorbachev for his dedication to promote peace, the reconciliation of people and to condemn terrorism; (2005), Honorary Doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire for services to education and humanitarian relief; (2007), The Mediterranean Prize for Peace in Naples, Italy; Honorary Doctorate (LLD) by the University of Exeter (10 July 2007), in recognition of his humanitarian work and improving understanding between Islamic and Western cultures.

He lives with his wife, Fauzia Mubarak Ali, and five children in Brondesbury Park, London and spends part of each year in Dubai. In response to those who take black-sheep’s of Islam as the benchmark for its truth, Yusuf Islam said:

It will be wrong to judge Islam in the light of the behavior of some bad Muslims who are always shown on the media. It is like judging a car as a bad one if the driver of the car is drunk and he bangs it into the wall. Islam guides all human beings in the daily life – in its spiritual, mental and physical dimensions. But we must find the sources of these instructions, the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet. Then we can see the ideal of Islam.

Websites:

www.mountainoflight.co.uk

www.yusufislam.com

www.yusufislam.org.uk.

Contact Information:

Mailing address

2 Digswell Street,

London N7 8JX,

United Kingdom.

 

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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[References: Islam, Yusuf. “My Journey from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam.” Mountain of Light, 2001; Islam, Yusuf.  “Questions for Yusuf Islam.” By Deborah Solomon. The New York Times 7 Jan. 2007; Craig R. Whitney. “Cat Stevens Gives Support To Call for Death of Rushdie.” The New York Times May 22, 1989; Brown, George. Cat Stevens: The Complete Illustrated Biography & Discography. George Brown, 2006; Islam, Yusuf. “Yusuf Islam.” an interview by Nigel Williamson. Billboard magazine 25 Nov. 2006; Paphides, Pete. “Notions of Islam.” The Times 6 July 2007; “Cat Stevens-one man, two identities.” The Sydney Morning Herald 24 Sept. 2004; Schwartz, Stephen. “Why Yusuf Islam was turned away from the United States.” The Weekly Standard.  22 Sept. 2004; “Cat Stevens becomes Yusuf Islam.” video.google.com 16 Feb 2006. <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6157965900354777626&gt;;”Prince goes pop to praise school.” bbc.co.uk 10 May, 2000. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/743894.stm>%5D

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During the Santa Clara University School of Law Graduation ceremony on May 21, 2005, Nicole Aeschleman was among the many grinning new graduates. Nicole Aeschleman is (now) a 27-year-old lawyer who reverted to Islam in 2004 after emerging from a six-month partying spree–getting drunk and dating men. Admitting that such a life can’t bring happiness, she says, “It was not a good time.”

 Nicole baptized an Episcopalian adopted the Islamic Faith and married Nabil Michraf, a soft-spoken Moroccan studying in France. The two met during a summer law course in Strasbourg, France. They struck up a friendship, started to correspond through e-mails and Nicole began inquiring about Nabil’s religion. She reverted out of her own conviction without Nabil’s insistence. “He never tried to convert me—which was one of the reasons why I eventually did,” she says. Later, Aeschleman flew to Nice for a face-to-face meeting with her e-mail pal—and the two fell in love. “I just realized he was the most amazing man,” she says. The couple wed in March. Drafting her own marriage contract in consultation with Muslim legal scholars—she added provisions that she can divorce Michraf should he ever try to forbid her from working, going to school, studying Islam—or should he ever take additional wives, as permitted by the religion.

Her parents were in complete shock on hearing that she embraced Islam. Her father did not speak to her for a while, though they are now on good terms. Aeschleman has given up some of her previous lifestyles. She no longer celebrates Christmas, and she never leaves her hair uncovered.

Nicole Aeschleman has worked at her law firm, McManis, Faulkner & Morgan. She has also worked as an Attorney at Law Office of Nicole L. Aeschleman, Attorney at Law Offices of Stuart Fishman (Sole Proprietorship) and as a Research Assistant at Santa Clara University Law Review.

Contact Information:

Address

McManis Faulkner and Morgan

Fairmont Plaza – 10th Floor 50 West San Fernando Street

San Jose, California  95113

Phone: 408-279-8700

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

…………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..     …………..
Buy Ebook Smart

[References: Marquez, Sandra. “Choosing Islam: My Life as a Convert.” People 4 Sept. 2006. Vol. 66. No. 10; www. statelawyers.com]

“I found it hard believing that Jesus did not die on the cross”

~ Balqis’ perception after reading Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction! by Ahmed Deedat

Either the sky or the heaven was the limit for Caroline Chelang’at Chepkwony. She was a brilliant student always topping in her primary school. Her father wanted her to become a doctor but a white man, a friend to Mr. Chepkwony (her father) suggested that Caroline pursue Actuarial Science. They heeded the advice.  It is only the top scorers nationwide that are eligible for places in the very few highly selective national government-supported secondary schools in Kenya and Caroline Chelang’at was one of the students selected. She chose Alliance Girls High School. A school reputed as a high-standard institution of secondary learning in Kenya, often attracting news coverage on radio, television, and newspaper. Students at Alliance Girls High School often refer to their school as “Bush” and the students as “Busherians.” Most likely the informal name was because of the dense vegetation that used to surround the school. It is by no way related to the former President of America who was missed by a shoe. The school has consistently excelled in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, frequently earning the position of top 10 best schools in Kenya.

After scoring KCSE score an aggregate A-, with plain A’s in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Geography, Caroline automatically qualified for a place in the state-supported universities. University of Nairobi (UoN), the largest university in Kenya, enrolled her in the department of mathematics to undertake a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Sciences. University of Nairobi was the only University in Kenya offering Bachelor of Science (Actuarial Science). Back then in 2002, University of Nairobi was taking only 16 government-selected students nationwide and Chelang’at was one of those who qualified.

In the second year of her academic study, the then Caroline Chelang’at met Salim, a BA student at the University of Nairobi. Salim’s priority list of conversation included religion. He provoked Chelang’at’s mind regarding her belief systems. Salim invited her to do research on religion and Caroline listened to him. Without much ado, Salim handed her some thought-provoking literatures on comparative religion and a list of websites that scrutinize religions in the light of reason and intellect.

Among the books Caroline read are the works of the great Muslim scholar Ahmed Deedat such as:

►Is the Bible the word of God?

►Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction!

►Resurrection or resuscitation?

►What was the sign of Jonah?

►Who moved the Stone?

►Qur’an Miracle of Miracles

►What the Bible says about Muhammad (pbuh)?

►Christ in Islam

►Combat kit

Ahmed Deedat’s books wrecked her Christianity and Caroline was left with only one choice; to convert to Islam. That was 14 April 2005 at the age of 22 when Caroline made the decision to embrace Islam and traded her Christian first name for a Muslim one, while retaining her Kalenjin names. She had become Balqis Chelang’at Chepkwony. Before her conversion, her mind had been full of negative ideas about Islam and Muslims. “I used to perceive Muslims as weird, disillusioned people who believe in a dead Prophet,” she said. Other books she read before her conversion, included Let the Bible Speak by Abdul Rahman Dimashkiah, Oneness of God: The Ultimate Solution to the Trinitarian Controversy by Marmarinta Umar P. Mababaya and The Pillars of Faith by Jaafar Shaikh Idris. Furthermore, Balqis had watched Ahmed Deedat debating prominent Christian theologians. Remarkably, after her conversion, she took a month and a half to memorize Juzuu Amma, one part (Juzuu) of the Qur’an (i.e 1/30 of the entire Qur’an). Despite her busy program doing her final years’ project, Balqis managed to memorize the 1/30 of the entire Qur’an. This may be equivalent of memorizing the entire Gospel of Mathew, word after word! Kenya’s largest mosque, Jamia Mosque has a department for Reverts where classes are organized to teach the new Muslims about Islam. Immediately after her reversion, Balqis grabbed the chance and graduated from the Reverts Program at the Jamia Institute.

Balqis took Qur’anic teachings seriously, in compliance with the verse, “. . . take the Scripture [i.e., adhere to it] with determination.” [Q 19:12]. After she graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2006, like any other graduate, Balqis ventured into job searching expedition. Her family and friends also helped in hooking her up with lucrative job positions. Her father working as a Chief Accountant at Moi University would definitely have a myriad of business connections with people from different other institutions and Companies. This would be enough leverage to get Balqis a job. With Actuarial Science, Balqis had a 100% chance of being recruited by Insurance Companies* and Banks. In fact, she got many companies willing to hire her at a starting salary of Kshs 40 000 (about 520 $). Despite being financially crippled, Balqis turned down the offers just because the insurance companies and Banking companies were illegal according to Islamic Sharia. “She must be fanatically crazy,” her friends and relatives wondered. But to her, it was unethical to work in an interest-based company while defying God’s words: “Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest.” [Q 2:275]. She had strong hope that by leaving something for the sake of God, God would compensate her with something even better than what she left. She took the words of Prophet Muhammad very seriously: “You will never give up anything for the sake of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, but Allah will give you something better than it in its stead.”[1]Balqis was consoled by Islamic teachings which gave her enormous hope and strength. She was putting the following saying of Prophet Muhammad into practice: “O people, fear Allah and be moderate in seeking a living, for no soul will die until it has received all its provision, even if it is slow in coming. So fear Allah and be moderate in seeking provision; take that which is permissible and leave that which is forbidden.”[2]

Instead, Balqis took up a job in an Auditing firm along Mombasa Road which paid her Kshs 10 000 (about 130$) per month. From the salary she was to spend Kshs 2500 (about 32$) to pay rent to her Guantanamo-looking-like room in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi City. The room she rented was around 2.5 by 1.5 square meters, too small to accommodate a bed. She just had a mattress which was suspended to the window during the day to pave way to a sitting room and at night the mattress was spread to the ground for the place to be transformed to a bedroom. Her monthly transport expenses to her place of work was Kshs 3 000 (about 40$) and her food cost per month was around Kshs 3 000 (about 40$). Putting aside other expenses like medical, the Kshs 10 000 (about 130$) salary was not enough but Balqis persevered.

After one month she got another job as a Bursar at WAMY High School earning Kshs 20 000 (about 260$). She worked with the High School for two months before God’s promise started to materialize. She received an unexpected call. “Is this Chelang’at . . .” the caller asked, “could you please avail yourself for a job interview at our offices.” She had got a good job at Nairobi based Hass Petroleum Company as an accountant. Hass Petroleum is the regional oil Marketing company that has fully fledged operations in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region and is rapidly expanding its activities to other areas. Balqis calls the company a great blessing from Allah for it is the only company in Kenya that does not only separate women’s offices from men’s but also women are allowed to wear their Islamic attires including niqab (face veil). In addition, the company has a reserved place for prayers and at the stipulated Islamic prayer times the employees are allowed to pause their work for prayers. Her starting Salary was double what she was earning from WAMY high School. Moreover, the company has given her an interest-free loan to which she intended to buy land in Nairobi. Currently, the figures in her paying slip is not less than Kshs 80 000 (about 1039$). She now understands that whoever leaves something for the sake of Allah will surely be rewarded with something far better. She left interest-based jobs for the sake of God and now she is working with an Islamic friendly Company. Indeed, this lady had the audacity to go to Heaven by becoming God-conscious in denouncing the forbidden businesses. Ibn Masood, a great scholar and disciple of Prophet Muhammad, defined Piety in these terms: “. . . to obey God and never disobey Him, to remember Him and not forget Him, to thank Him and never be ungrateful to Him.”

At this point, it is vital to digress from her story to remind ourselves that all our needs are broadly categorized as something good you are looking for or something bad you fight against.  One solution for the two needs is provided in the two different verses of the Qur’an. If you are working hard to run away from misfortunes/harms e.g. diseases, joblessness, bad boss, distress, insecurity . . . God says: “And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.” [Q 65:2]. A way out of your hardships and adversities, a way out of your fears, a way out of your worries, way out of bankruptcy, unemployment, damage to reputation in the market, natural disaster, technical failure, business failure, ill-health, poverty, and most importantly a way out of Afterlife punishment.

The Go-getters will find the path to achieve their dreams so easy if they are God-conscious. The things you want to possess such as a good job, good house, a dream car, outstanding spouse, riches, anything you want it is easily achievable with the help of piety. The Qur’an reveals: “And for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.” [Q65:4]. Even your path to Paradise would be made easier. And that is the greatest success.

Success is therefore determined by the level of God-consciousness. All your dreams will be easily achieved if you have piety and at the same time, with piety, God will make a way out of all the misfortunes and worries that harbors your mind. To build the bridge between success and you, piety must be observed. To be pious means that you must search for the true religion/revelation, know the do’s and don’ts of God and keep up to them. There are others who become ‘successful’ without being pious. This transient earth-based fleeting ‘success’ will avail them not in the hereafter. Their abode will be hell. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” [Mark 8:36].

Balqis is now married, and adding to her stock of blessings, God gifted her with a baby boy. Inspired by the world’s most influential person* and his recommendation: “Give name (to your children) after my name (i.e. Muhammad) . . . .”[3]the couple rejoiced naming their baby Muhammad. If they get another boy, they intend to name him Ahmad*, yet another name of the Messenger of Allah as mentioned by Jesus himself in a Qur’anic prophecy:

“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O Children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to  them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”[Q 61:6].

“Oh wait a minute,” one would question, “did Jesus predict a phenomenon called ‘Holy Ghost’ or a being named Ahmad?” The answer depends on how much we know about the authenticity of the Bible. Whether it was written according to inspiration or according to uninspired human beings. Or whether it was originally preserved or tampered with! Basically, the answer depends on whether we studied the Bible employing a historical-critical approach or the usual devotional-approach to understanding the Bible. Ignorance in its best manifestation is captured when a person who has never read even a single book evidencing the bible to be inauthentic persists that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Dr. Laurence B. Brown who did an extensive research on the authenticity of biblical scripture is one person who is qualified in giving the following statement: “In the face of modern textual criticism, we deceive ourselves (as well as invite ridicule and condemnation) if we believe the Old or New Testaments to be the unadulterated Word of God.”[4]Before you unleash a plethora of qualms and quibbles . . .  or rather I should say, a fair and scholarly response to Brown’s statement should be made after you have read either his  book Mis’Goded or any scholarly work on textual criticism such as the best-seller Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by the world renowned Bible scholar, Bart D. Ehrman. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the recipient of the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement. For more about Ehrman, visit his website, http://www.bartdehrman.com. From Jesus, Interrupted, Bart D. Ehrman writes:

Scholars have made significant progress in understanding the Bible over the past two hundred years and the results of their study are regularly and routinely taught, to both the graduate students in universities and to prospective pastors attending seminaries in preparation for the ministry. Yet such views of the Bible are virtually unknown among the population at large. As a result, not only are most Americans (increasingly) ignorant of the contents of the Bible, but they are also almost completely in the dark about what scholars have been saying about the Bible for the past two centuries.[5]

Another statement that might send shockwaves is that of Professor John Rogerson of Sheffield University, in The Expository Times, 113/8, p.255: “Most congregations are kept in ignorance of the findings of biblical criticism.”

Regarding the Qur’anic verse affirming that the Gospel predicted the coming of Muhammad, it is worth educating the fact that in the Bible, there is the word paraclete (from the Greek parakletos) which can mean “helper, defender, mediator, consoler.” It may be by coincidence or by design that  “the word Paraclete occurs only five times in the Bible, and all five occurrences are in the purported writings of St. John: 1st Epistle of John 2:1; and the Gospel according to John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7.”[6]Another observation that beseeches amazement is the fact that, also in the Qur’an, Prophet of Islam is mentioned by name only five times (Q 3:144; Q 33:40; Q 47:2; Q 48:29 and Q 61:6). This may be food for reflection.

Balqis is not the only lover of Muhammad, the Messenger of God. The Times reports that “Muhammad is now second only to Jack as the most popular name for baby boys in Britain and is likely to rise to No 1 by next year, a study by The Times has found.”[7]And in January 2005, an article in The Guardian stated that: “In Brussels, Mohammed has been the most popular name for boy babies for the last four years.”[8]Besides, in Religion on the Rise, Hofmann declares: “. . . for years now, “Muhammad” has been the name most frequently given to baby boys in France.”[9]

Back to Balqis’ story. I forgot to mention that Balqis did French at Alliance Française in Nairobi. Also, she is about to be a CPA (K), which is obtained by  passing all the six sections of the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exams administered by Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB). Having passed section five, Caroline is planning to sit for Section six exams as soon as possible. Besides engaging in a perpetual study of Islam, she is also doing some private studies in Arabic. She has greatly progressed to an extent of saying, “No one can now say things in Arabic behind my back.”

Contact Information:

P.O. Box 102489 – 00101

Nairobi,

Kenya.

Email: balqischepkwony@yahoo.com

Phone: +254722941896

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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Buy Ebook Smart

 

FOOTNOTES


[1] *See Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 15/8: {“Life insurance is a kind of commercial insurance, which is haraam (forbidden), because it involves uncertainty, interest and gambling, and consuming wealth unlawfully. It is not permissible to work in commercial insurance companies, because this is a kind of cooperating in sin, which Allah has forbidden, as He says: “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment”[Q 5:2]}

. Ahmad # 22565.  It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah, hadith no. 5.

[2]. Ibn Maajah #2144, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

[3] * Dr. Michael H. Hart wrote a book titled The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History and to people’s surprise, he could only (objectively) see Prophet Muhammad fit to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons. See Hart, Michael H. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2000.p.3.

. Muslim Bk. 25, No. 5325. Also Prophet Muhamad had said, “Name yourselves by my name. . . .” See Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 207; Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 216;  Bukhari Vol. 8, Bk. 73, No. 217.

* Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said: “I have many names, I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, I am Maahi (the one who erases-eradicates) through whom Allah has eradicated kufr (Disbelief). I am Haashir, whom Allah will raise first on the day of Qiyama (Resurrection Day), the whole Ummah (Nation) will be judged before my feet on the day of Qiyama. I am ‘Aaqib (the one who comes last), and that ‘Aaqib, after whom there shall be no other nabi (Prophet).” See Tirmidhi Chapter 51, Hadith No. 1 (360).

[4]. Brown, Laurence B. MisGod’ed: A Roadmap of Guidance and Misguidance in the Abrahamic Religions. USA: BookSurge Publishing, 2007.p. 219.

[5]. Ehrman, D. Bart.  Jesus Interrupted. Front Flap. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. ; Also see “Cover Content From the Publisher.” bartdehrman.com. Retrieved on 25 Nov. 2009. <http://www.bartdehrman.com/books/jesus_interrupted.htm&gt;

[6]. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol 10, p. 989.

[7]. Nugent, Helen  and Nadia Menuhin. “Muhammad is No 2 in boy’s names.” The Times 6 June 2007.

[8]. Browne, Anthony. “The Triumph of the East.” The Guardian 27 Jan. 2005.

[9]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 183.

 “. . . for His (God’s) mercy endures forever.”

[Psalm 136:1]

This one sentence is repeated 26 times in the 26 verses of Psalm 136. What a miracle!

The Nokia Manufacturing Company would not manufacture a phone without supplementing it with a Manual. Just recently, I had bought a new Nokia Phone, a 1203 Nokia Model. It came with a User Guide (manual) detailing important information on how to use the device. In the General Information corner of the manual, it read:

Check http://www.nokia.com/support or your local Nokia Web site for the latest version of this guide, additional information, downloads, and services related to your Nokia product. On the website, you can get information on the use of Nokia products and services. If you need to contact customer service, check the list of local Nokia contact centers at http://www.nokia.com/customerservice. For maintenance services, check your nearest Nokia service center at http://www.nokia.com/ repair.[1]

 Now that is what I call caring for the customers. The Manual went further to provide a diversity of resources for helping customers to properly use the phone. On page 6 of the Manual, it warned: “Read these simple guidelines. Not following them may be dangerous or illegal. Read the complete user guide for further information.” And we hear shameless people wanting us to believe that God is a “don’t carer” because He didn’t provide us with simple guidelines on how to use the planet earth in the most efficient way. It is only those who prefer to die than endure the pain of thinking, who assumes God created them without a manual. Some consider thinking is the greatest torture, some believe thinking is the hardest work on earth and others have the conviction that if you think hard, you will die, and some are made to believe that if they think, they will go to hell, hence very few people take the risk of thinking.

God made the sun to provide light during the day and at night the moon reflects the Suns’ light assisting us to fight waves of darkness. And the stars had been useful for navigation. God gifted creatures with perfect systems best suited for their conditions and needs thus you hear that migrating birds can navigate, even on overcast days, by light polarization. The pit viper (a type of snake) uses a natural infrared sensor to sense warm-blooded animals. Animals give off different heat signatures. The pit viper senses body heat from animals and gives the snake a ‘picture’ of that animal. This helps the snake to find prey in the dark and defend itself against intruders, even in complete darkness. Sharks possess what is called passive electroreception; they sense electric fields hence they can identify obstacles, potential prey, or even a mate. Using such sensory system, the sharks can even locate living fish under the sand. Bees use the earth’s magnetic field for comb building and navigation. Bats and dolphins “see” with sonar. Whales migrate by “reading” the Earth’s magnetic fields. The mentally-handicapped and those who take little or no pleasure from thinking would have the right to say animals were endowed with a perfect and systematic program of survival while man was totally neglected. “And they did not appraise Allah with true appraisal when they said, “Allah did not reveal to a human being anything.” [Q 6:91]

Do you think you can count all the favors of God on mankind! I doubt if there is someone  capable of counting them. Those demanding ignorance think God has bestowed us with infinite favors save the favor of a Life-Manual. Among the blessings is that:

. . . the grazing livestock He (God) has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat. And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture]. And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know . . . It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals]. He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason. And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember. And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful. And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided. And landmarks. And by the stars they are [also] guided . . . And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [Q 16:5-18]

All these God does for His creation. All the innumerable favors which God bestows man, all these favors . . . I mean, in all the immeasurable favors, God did not include the favor of a revelation/divine book/blueprint whereby man can know how to live according to God’s wish. More grippingly, loving parents guide their children by providing good education, good health, protect them against harm and so forth. Sometimes your mother will provide you with some recommendations such as: It’s going to rain, don’t forget to carry your umbrella! Carry a jacket, its really cold out there! Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise! Wash your hands before you eat! For strong and healthy teeth, brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste! Son, carrots are good for your eyes! Don’t eat too much candy dear! I don’t want to see you walking with those thugs! e.t.c. No one doubts that such do’s and don’ts have a lot of benefits. I am wondering that our mothers (just human beings with limited knowledge) could give us such useful recommendations while our good and loving God (the All-knower of what harms and benefits mankind) decided not to list some tips of smart living on the surface of earth. I beg to differ.

At the time of Prophet Muhammad, there was a woman who was frantically searching for her baby in a crowd. Naturally, mothers have overwhelming feelings of love, tenderness and mercy for their babies. So when she finally found the baby, she took it in her arms, cradled it next to her chest and suckled it. Then the Prophet asked his disciples, “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” Of course our fast and furious reply would be “hell no!” and similarly the disciples responded by saying that the woman would never do such a thing. The Prophet then said, “Allah is more merciful to His slaves (i.e. human beings) than this lady to her son.”[2] In Psalm 23 God is described as a “shepherd” who cares for His sheep but which kind of a shepherd is this, one may ask, who does not provide a map/manual/textbook/scripture which would lead people to the right path? Those who are not deprived the right to think will know that God can never condemn us to Hell without revealing to us what it takes to be a candidate of Hell. What is the point of the government establishing prisons if they don’t set to its people what is lawful and what is unlawful. It would be accusing God of felony criminal neglect if he will let us suffer on earth and later be cast in tormenting Hell Fire because He fails to give us perfect guidance on the most important aspect of life which is how to worship God. It is really funny that everything has been figured out, except how to live! Men who employ just a modicum of commonsense will agree for sure that God must have given us a perfect and systematic guidance of worshipping him.

There is the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights yet we are selfish not to give the Creator of the Universe a chance to make some few Declarations of Rights. We are living in a world of rules and regulations. Every game has a rule; you’ve also heard safety rules, rules of grammer, rule of law, rule of the land, rules of engagement (ROE), military rule, library rules, rule of court, rule of thumb, rule of force e.t.c. but intellectual dwarfs launch protestations when God frames His rules. When invited to someone’s house, you will struggle to conform to the standards and rules of that home. The while-in-Rome-do-as-Romans-do principle otherwise don’t go to Rome. But stupidity of man is manifested when he is invited in a home called planet earth, he does not respect the Owner and His rules, and to make things worse, man decides to establish his own rules (Way of life/Laws/Policy/Religion/Ideology). “Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allâh for a people who have firm Faith.” [Q 5:50] And to escape from reality, man pretends that God did not reveal a certain code of behavior. Almost every country has a constitution. Some marvel at the ingenuity of this man-made document as in the example of a British prime minister, William Gladstone describing the US constitution as “. . . the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”[3]When you open the American Constitution, the first thing you will come across is the following statement:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.[4]

Someone might inquire: “Did your God ever ordain any document that is meant to establish Justice, insure domestic and international Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to people?” Again, am still troubled at hearing that God did not establish a constitution for mankind.

We are told that, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, “My Mercy overpowers My Anger.”[5]Moreover, Psalm 136 goes with repetitive message that “. . . His mercy endures forever”, but why would God abandon us on this planet without supplementing us with a systematic way/formula of living? According to the Qur’an, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were expelled to earth, but God in his mercy promised them that He will send them a Manual from which the dwellers of earth will get guidance. Addressing them, God said, “Descend from it [i.e., Paradise] – all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance (i.e. manual/revelation/scripture) from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer. And whoever turns away from My remembrance (revelation) – indeed, he will have a depressed [i.e., difficult] life. . . .” [Q 20:123-124] So we see that through God’s enduring mercy, man is given a Life-Manual but because of man’s ignorance of the existence of the manual, his life becomes enveloped with difficulties. Those who assumed God didn’t lay down a systematic code of living didn’t utilize their huge frontal lobes to come up with a better idea. Behind wrong living is wrong thinking and just like operating any garget without a manual (or using a wrong manual) is distressful, similarly living without a God-given manual is stressful.

We know man should have a divine guidance either in the form of a Prophet or a Scripture, but what about those generations that lived prior the Torah, Gospels and Qur’an? The answer is very simple. God’s knowledge of the past outmatches the knowledge of all world historians and record keepers. The Qur’an describes God in the following format: “Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills . . . .”[Q 2:255] That is a God who knew the number of all galaxies even before man came up with the Hubble Telescope. And as you haven’t imagined, “. . . with Him (i.e. God) are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.” [Q 6:59] As we browse through the verses of the Qur’an, the following message pops up: “. . . No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive (within her womb), nor brings forth (young), except by His (i.e. God’s) Knowledge.” [Q 41:47] So it means that God even knows the birthdays and deathdays of all the 6 billion people on earth! “And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom’s weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register (i.e. God knows it).” [Q 10:61] So Allah knows the word count of this book! And what if I say I have a secret that is confined in my heart and I haven’t confided it to anyone, would you say that Allah knows of it? “It is the same (to God)” Qur’an Chapter 13 verse 10 states, “whether any of you conceal his speech or declare it openly, whether he be hid by night or go forth freely by day (Allah knows all that).” In fact, even a mystified pregnant woman heading to hospital for an ultrasound check may get a miscarriage when she astonishingly discovers that “Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or exceed.” [Q 13:8] He is a God who knows the weight of every mountain, a God who knows the exact number of litres of waters present in our oceans, a God who knows the exact number of raindrops when it rains. A God who knows all the leaves of plants and trees, a God who knows the precise number of people sleeping at this minute on this planet and the number of people who will wake up after exactly one hour from now. When we read the verse “And there is no creature on earth but that upon Allah is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. . . .” [Q 11:6] does it mean that God knows the room I slept in last night? You should also know that God even knows that right now, right there, you are reading this book! So you mean “Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” [Q 64:11]. That’s my point.

Now, when such a God says “. . . We certainly sent into every nation a messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (i.e. all false deities)….” [Q 16:36], no clever person should dispute. Even Muhammad was not fully aware of past history of divine guidance. God taught Muhammad saying, “And We (i.e God) have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those [whose stories] We have related to you, and among them are those [whose stories] We have not related to you.” [Q 40:78]. So not only is God aware of the fact that every nation had a messenger preaching the true religion, but also there is a “. . . Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when Allah will resurrect them (i.e. mankind) all together and inform them of what they did. Allah has kept account of it, while they have forgotten it. And Allah is Witness over all things.” [Q 58:6] Because God is Just and “. . . His mercy endures forever.” [Psalm 136:1], every people/generation was given a manual on how to worship God. But because of the injustice of man, he doesn’t want to know whether God sent divine guidance and even if he acknowledges the existence of the Guidance, he doesn’t care its do’s and don’ts.

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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REFERRENCES:


[1]. Nokia 1202/1203 User Guide in English. 9211638/ Issue 2, 2008.p.9.

[2]. Bukhari Vol.8, Bk.73, No.28. Also see Muslim, Bk. 37, No. 6635.

[3]. The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation. Preface. By Alexander Willey. Washington D.C.,: United States Government printing Office, 1953.

[4]. The Constitution of the United States of America, Analysis and Interpretation. Washington D.C.,: United States Government printing Office, 1953. p.19.

[5]. Bukhari Vol.4, Bk. 54, No. 416. Also see Muslim Bk. 37, No. 6628.