Comment: Democratic bargaining over religion

Although an Islamist party heads the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the coalition government of President Mohamed Nasheed, he chose not to mention religion either of his two presidential addresses to the parliament so far. This is only the latest incident that has led to suspicions of ‘almaniyya’ pursued by President Nasheed.

On the other hand, the more liberal or ‘moderate’ Maldivians have lamented over the ‘leglessness’ of the government in the face of the steady growth of religious puritanism and conservatism in society.

It is no easy job for any president or government to carve out a religious public policy that will satisfy both these groups at the same time.

History’s lesson for us is that it is only through a painful process of democratic bargaining over the place of religion in government that we can consolidate liberal democracy.

Price of ignoring or thwarting religion

The history of several Muslim majority countries shows that governments cannot afford to have a top-down policy of ignoring or thwarting religion when religion is a significant part of social identity.

The Iran of Pahlavis, where religion was either ignored or thwarted by the government, only contributed to the rise of mullahs and a bloody Islamic revolution giving power to an elitist group of religious guardians who surpassed their secular predecessors in imposing their brand of Islam on the Iranian population.

Equally true is the case of Turkey where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk pursued a rigid French Republican style laïcité ignoring the religious sentiments of the population. This hard secularism had failed to provide a tolerant and fair democratic system for Turkey, where an Islamic party now heads the government (their second term), which was a slap on the face of the secular establishment.

Top-down secular modernisation programmes have failed in all post-colonial Muslim societies, which are instead mired in corruption, religious and political suppression and autocracy. As a consequence, in these societies, religious puritanism, Islamism, and re-Islamisation have steeply gained ground, and a home-grown, bottom-up, democratically-negotiated secularism has not materialised.

The calls for a so-called Islamic state have been the rallying cry in the wake of these crises.

But is an Islamic state the solution?

Men behind Sharia: the illusion of an Islamic state

A typology of religious views in the Maldives could show that there are at least three broad positionings on Sharia and its place in government. They include the more nuanced, eclectic and ijthihad-friendly version of Gayoom; the more conservative-Islamist yet religion-government-conflationary version of the Adhaalath; and, the more government-independent and insular versions which despise ‘democracy’ and similar concepts as bid’a and Western constructs.

The rule, rather than the exception, is that there are deep religious-political disagreements among these camps, as depicted by their different politico-religious groupings which compete and contest with one another, even when they are doing the same things!

Now, whose interpretation of Sharia would you like to implement?

Such disagreements are the inevitable outcome of the fact that both Sharia and fiqh are products of human interpretation of Qur’an and Hadith. There is no way one can delineate the anthropocentrism involved in this. Even the categorical injunctions like “cut off hand for theft” are bound to be differently interpreted, for instance, as to the exact meaning of the words ‘cut off’ or ‘theft’. Even more disagreements are bound to happen where their practical applications are concerned.

To take an example from among our own clerics, for instance, Sheikh Shaheem’s translation of verse 59 of Al-Nisa (in his book entitled ‘Islam and Democracy’, 2006, p. 15)[1] is literally very different from any of the translations (Yusuf Ali, Shakir, Mohsin Khan, Pickthal, or even the recent Dhivehi translation commissioned by President Gayoom) that I have read.

The religious reason for such disagreements is that even if there is a divine concept of Sharia that is eternal, there is no divine interpreter of Sharia amongst us. If so, whatever interpretation of Sharia you want to enforce as public policy, that is inevitably a human choice, not Allah’s. If so, such policy is strictly speaking always secular. And such policy can always be contested.

It is then not just too naïve to rally blindly behind an illusory ‘Islamic state’ as the final solution to all our problems. It is also dangerous. The only thing close to such a so-called Islamic state is utter political despotism.

The first step

As elsewhere in the Muslim countries, ‘secularism’ is a very negatively loaded term in the Maldives. Unfortunately, it is also a misunderstood concept – both in the Muslim world and in the West.

Dhivehi, like several other languages, including Arabic, do not have an equivalent term for the concept. We have seen in recent Divehi religious literature a term called almani – meaning ‘worldly’ – for ‘secular’. Originally in Muslim literature, the term dahr – roughly ‘atheist’ – was used for ‘secular’, which explains the pejorative view of the concept early on.

Influential Muslim intellectuals such as Jamaluddin Al-Afghani, Sayyid Qutb, Maulana Mawdudi, Ayottalah Khomeini, Yusuf Qardawi, Sayed Naquib al-Attas of Malaysia, who have voiced against ‘secularism’ referring to it as ladeeni, only added to our dislike towards ‘secularism’.

They, like Sheikh Farooq’s article on the 12th March 2010 issue of Hidhaayathuge Magu, assert religion will wither away or is relegated to private sphere in liberal democracy.

But the fact is, in the United States where there is a constitutional separation of religion and state, to this day religion is very much alive and active in the public sphere. Religion has been a strong voice in public policy and law making. Incidentally, Islam is also one of the fastest growing religions in the US.

On the other hand, how many of us remember that even in this 21st century, for instance, Scotland, England, Norway, Finland, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, and the Netherlands, could have officially recognised religions? Or why have Christian parties often ruled in several European countries?

What then is the ‘secularism’ proper for liberal democracies?

To be a liberal democracy, the minimum requirement from religion is that no religious institution must have the constitutional right to mandate a government to implement their views without a due democratic process or have the right to veto democratic legislation.

This minimum institutional separation of religion from state does not preclude religion from politics. If you want to implement amputation for robbery, you must go through the democratic process of convincing others through accessible reasons.

The right steps

Religion is an important part of our identity – even our political identity. As the historical lesson has shown in other places, it is therefore naïve, cruel and arrogant for a government to ignore or suppress religion.

Bringing on board religious people in public affairs or using religious language where appropriate does not make a head of state any less democratic or liberal. If President Obama, as in his Cairo speech, can quote from the Bible, Qur’an or Talmud, and speak about his policies towards religion, including Islam, and still be a liberal democrat, why cannot we be? President Nasheed therefore can show more of his religious side.

But, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ mandate must be overhauled so that they do not have an undemocratic, and unfair bargaining position to influence the national education curriculum and use public resources unchecked as a platform to promote their own interpretation of Sharia both within the government and society. This is unfair and religiously unjust because there are other religious groupings that do not have a similar advantage. Their mandate must be limited to undertaking training in Qur’an recitation, looking after mosques, regulating zakat, managing annual hajj, and similar non-interpretative religious matters.

This does not mean religious parties do not have a role in politics. On the contrary, religion can and should be part of the political process. It is unreasonable to ask from religious people to separate their religious identity and religion-based norms from politics whenever they step in the public sphere. A case in point is the recent protests on the liquor issue: religious individuals played a politically legitimate role to influence the government.

It is not toothless of the government to respond to those protests, given the profundity of religion in our social identity. Those who opposed the regulation – which itself was not democratically legitimised – might be a minority. Yet the alleged majority was simply democratically dead.

And, this brings us to the single most important arena where we ought to tackle religious issues: civil society.

Through the bloody wars of religion, it is with long, painful democratic bargaining of the role of religion in public affairs that we saw liberal democracy consolidated in Europe. It is only through difficult hermeneutical exegesis of religious texts and reformulation of religious views within the public sphere that we saw its tolerance in Europe.

This was not done by governments. The State, as a coercive apparatus, simply does not have the democratically appropriate resources to tackle and interpret normative issues.

In the face of growing conservative-Islamism and Puritanism in our society, what we need is a functioning civil society, bargaining for religious tolerance and promoting the universal goals of justice and equality envisioned in Qur’an.

What we need are our equivalents of the Sisters-in-Islam of Malaysia or our Sunni equivalents of Iran’s New Religious Thinkers, who will use the resources of religion to engage with the Islamist and puritan appropriations of religion.

We need to invite people like Khaled Abou El Fadl, who will help us ‘Rescue Islam from the Extremists’ who are committing a ‘Great Theft’ in daylight by sacrilising Mohamed Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who was even opposed by his own father and brother Sulaiman Ibn Abdul Wahhab.

We need an Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im who will help us ‘Negotiate the Future of Sharia’ and bring us ‘Towards an Islamic Reformation’ by teaching us the possibility of re-interpretation of religious texts through abrogation and teaching us more about the tolerant, pragmatic Mecca period of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

We need a Mohamed Charfi to clarify the ‘The Historical Misunderstanding’ of Liberty in Islam and show us that our practice of Sharia is not fixed, as, for example, the dhimma system, slavery and concubines (all allowed and practised under traditional Sharia) have become untenable and officially banned in several Muslim majority countries.

We need a Nurcholish Madjid who will challenge those for whom “everything becomes transcendental and valued as ukhrawi” while the Prophet (PBUH) himself made a distinction between his religious rulings and his worldly opinions when he was wrong about the benefits of grafting of date-palms. Is Sheikh Shaheem fully certain that when the Prophet (PBUH) is believed to have said “those who appoint a woman as their leader will not be successful” whether or not he was making a personal opinion?

What we need is not another religious minister, but an Abdulla Saeed to teach at our schools what a more tolerant and just Islam will tell us about ‘Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam’, and engage with (Islamic NGO) Salaf to argue that Qur’an as in verse 4:137 assumes situations when an apostate (however we dislike it) continues to live among Muslims.

We also need a reformed former president Gayoom to lecture in the Faculty of Shari’a and Law to show that the ‘door of ijthihad is not closed’ as he argued in a lecture in Kuala Lumpur in 1985.

Last, but not least, the Richard Dawkins-style or Ayaan Hirsi Ali-style calls from fellow Maldivians for outright rejection of religion and exclusion of religion from politics can only hinder such ‘immanent critique’ of religious puritanism and Islamism.

It is through a religious discourse that is democratically promoted within civil society that we could negotiate with our fellow Islamists, puritans, and the rest that Islam’s permanent and ultimate goals are liberty, equality, justice, and peaceful co-existence – that is, constitutional democracy.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


93 thoughts on “Comment: Democratic bargaining over religion”

  1. Dear Marina and all liberals and atheists,
    INSHA ALLAH i will smell the virgins and taste the wine in heaven.For that we are striving.We are not like you who follow your own desires and the worldly pleasures you adorn.
    Nothing is impossible if ALLAH(SWA) is with us and if we are steadfast.See the number of people gathering to hear the religious sermons.This is a proof that we are winning.INSHA ALLAH we will never let this country fall to the hands of atheists,liberals and allow other religions been practiced here.
    Anyone who strives to establish an Islamic state or Islamic ideas are know as terrorists or fundamentalists.Maududi or Qutb fought to achieve this in return they are labeled as terrorists and fundies.In Palestine if a five year old kid throws rocks at Israeli soldiers who are throwing them out of their houses and killing their mothers,fathers,sisters and brothers they are terrorists.If these people are terrorists Mohamed Thakurufaanu who fought against Portuguese is a terrorist.
    Today there are 1.66 billion Muslims through out the world and they are growing.If the law ALLAH(SWA)set down 1400 years ago is not for valid for this century why are the number of Muslims growing everyday day.You guys are day in day out shouting to the top of the voice that we evolved from chimps and God is a joke.But still youths are seeking the salvage of this blessed religion.WHY?CAUSE IT IS THE ONLY WAY FOR ETERNAL BLISS.

  2. “…whatever interpretation of Sharia you want to enforce as public policy, that is inevitably a human choice, not Allah’s…”

    Thanks for pointing out. And Riluwan, you're an idiot, it is highly likely that you evolved from a chimp.

  3. Mr zaahiru
    How can the public gaze be of any importance when the gaze of Allah is upon you? Leave aside the way of the public and try to see that of God...

  4. Dear Mr Azim Zahir..
    Better u have to find authentec infromation abt Islam .. I think u dont know much abt Islam.. Plz one again do research and improve ur article.

  5. Rilwan, you didn't really get the concept of 'evolution' - I'm not here to explain it to you - just to put it into a nutshell: We did not evolve FROM apes. We are just having a COMMON ANCESTOR. We are cousins, so to speak!

    Now you can continue denying it, but with a remark on the Genesis:

    "Then, on the eight day, giggling to himself, God buried fossils all over the place..." 😉

  6. Fanaticism and extremism will exist in any country. What is required is to create a situation of security and protection for people who have differing issues. Just as a Fareed can preach his views freely liberals should have the opportunity to discuss and engage in dialogue about the religious issues without getting threats of violence. In a democracy everyone's views should be respected, insofar as no harm is caused or intended.

    There also a need to take back religion from the clutches of a select few. The Quran is for the people and Islam does not have a clergy system, so why should we depend of a select few to tell us what it means, especially if they themselves cannot agree on things. If the people reads, analyses and draws from various interpretations and comes to their own conclusion on things that is not blasphemy. We should drive out the fear and learn to use our own god given intellect.

  7. @rilwan and in support of Marina

    why is it so hard for you to believe that Allah (SWT) created humans through the process of evolution? Why do you undermine Allah's powers? Why can't evolution be a concept/process Allah herself came up with, not the scientists?

  8. Well from what i see today, Maldives is and has been worst than afghan or iran or Haiti or maybe even hell.
    We've got the worst of kinds, even in our judicial system , our police , our Human Rights Office , our Majlis and last our Islamic Ministry. aah and yes even within our bloggers.
    I might be labeled as 'dumb' but just want to point out one little fact about the guy wrote this article. The guy who wrote this is either a Coward or he is Foreign or He doesent know the Dhivehi Phonetics on his/her keyboard or maybe he/she is just a lame lazy writer Westerner life seeking chimp. ..

    MY QUESTION IS WHY ALL THIS INFORMATION IN ENGLISH AND NOT IN DHIVEHI.... well to get a true inspiration or to acutally awaken the 'democratically dead' people of Maldives , u my friend have to wake up first.

    to find out what our people would think about these things you have to write it in dhivehi and get dhivehi remarks and learn to write in dhivehi first.

    thats why the hijabs and sheiks always criticizes the westerns of influencing countries because they get to write first about anything happening in any country.?(not the guys who live in it)... try for once discussing these things written on dhivehi texts and see the actual maldivians brainstorming issues like this. please start with this article.

    and yes, Life is about Living , religion is about GOOD & BAD, and GOD is always the issue . so now you to live your life choosing good or bad and always making GOD an ISSUE. lovely is'nt it.

  9. The Maldivian should accept that Islam is also one of the religions practiced by a portion of world population. And there should not be any exception to Islam what other religion does not have. No any other religion is trying to impose its way of life as a compulsory for day today life. Islam in the Maldives is becoming the way of life for every Maldivian and who he does not agree on this is labeled non Maldivian.

  10. God was found by people when there was no science. Every event, disaster and phenomena was answered as an act of god. Today we know why wind is blowing, why the earth quakes are happening, why ocean rise and waves breaks, for everything there is an answer where the god does not fit.
    God may have created the world, but now it is out of his hand. There is so sense why god shakes the world and kills million indiscriminately. Why god would want people to die with hunger, disease.
    The atheist has more morality and ethics than god fearing people. The atheist knows everything in this world is interconnected; they respect everything that exists in this world because they know they part of themselves.
    When you believe immoral god how can you be moral

  11. People always wants a higher being to support them, guide them, comfort them, this is the nature of human being. Why people elect presidents? Why in every culture they had chosen someone above then to rely on, like kings, learned people. God is one of them who the people have created by themselves.

  12. Stupids!

    All of you are cowards and lazy bums to live your life like God asked you to through his prophets throughout the centuries. You are afraid of death so you want to live your life and make as much as possible from the four day of your life - because all you atheists destination is HELL!

    Chimps belongs in the zoo - not human societies.

  13. Arshad!

    Why do atheists have the highest rate of suicide in the world!!?

    Isn't it because they are morally and spiritually BANKRUPT??!

    Atheist should keep their mouths bandaged - cause they speak nonsense!

  14. "A little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God."

    prof. Francis Bacon

  15. Athiests: What is the evidence pointing to the existence of Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala)?

    Imam :Forget it! At the moment, I am busy thinking about this ship. People tell me there is a big ship, it contains different goods on board. There is no one to steer it, no one maintaining it. Yet, this ship keeps going back and forth; it even traverses big waves on the oceans; it stops at the locations that it is supposed to stop at; it continues in the direction that it is supposed to head. This ship has no captain and no one planning its trips.

    The atheist who posed the question interrupted and exclaimed, “What kind of strange and silly thought is this? How can any intelligent person think that some thing like this can occur?”

    Imam :I feel sorry about your state! You cannot imagine one ship running without some one looking after its affairs. Yet you think that for this whole world, which runs exactly and precisely, there is no one who looks after it, and no one owns it.

    Hearing the reply, the atheist was left speechless.

  16. The question is here about Islam being a way of life in the Maldives, it is not question of existence of God or not. Every religion believes in a supreme being. The difference is, Islam imposes on people to live based on a code of conduct that was formalized by medieval Arabs and forcing people to adhere these laws threatening a god named Allah is waiting there to catch you.
    Every logic you use is within the capacity of your thinking level and what you see. A ship and the captain do not prove the existence of a god. The universe is more complex than what you think of a ship and a captain. Some time it looks like this ship “Universe” does not have a captain. That is the reason atheists believe that there is no captain here.
    And Maldives is falling in to a failed state like Thalibanised Afghanistan.

  17. Arshad
    Do you know what Einsteins biggest blunder in his career was. He wrote a theory which states universe does not expands nor contracts, a static universe, but after Edwin Hubble and Lemaître found out that universe is expanding in an enormous rate, Einstein him self stated his static universe was his biggest blunder. After that Einstein and even Stephen hawking and all scientists were forced to beleive that universe and time had a beginning and the universe isn't infinite. The scientists are unable to find anything beyond the point of big band due to its infinite density.
    so its not only my logic but its many other leading scientists logic that there is a beginner for the beginning.
    and yes the universe is complex but much more complex that it was created by mere chance. (and humans its another story, look at the DNA, where did all the information in the DNA came from..) The universe’s expansion is critical to the formation of its present state. Had it been a fraction slower, the whole of the universe would have contracted once again and collapsed on itself,before the fledgling solar systems had any chance to develop.Had its rate of expansion been only a fraction faster, matter would have been dispersed irretrievably in the vastness of space, unable to form neither stars nor galaxies.

    here is what Alan Sandage, winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy, says about bigbang and order of the galaxies
    "I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There
    has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but
    is the explanation for the miracle of existence"

  18. The difference between other religions and Islam is that others take partners with God while Islam is about submitting to one and only God Allah.
    Islam teach us the best way of life not Arabs ways..Islam teaches our purpose of life that we came to existence only to worship Allah, (worship means living our life as Allah our creator wants us to live)not just eat and enjoy in this short time and die. the result is being happy in this world and afterlife. this is the reason why many people who had all what they wanted in this life converted to Islam to find peace and comfort deep within their heart.(for example former rap artist Loon and many other)..and this is why islam is the fatest growing religion in the world.

  19. big bang in Quran
    "Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (The Noble Quran, 21:30)"

    big crunch in Quran
    On the day when We will fold the heaven, like the folder compacts the books, and as We originated the first creation We shall return it; a promise (binding on Us); surely We will deliver.[Quran 21.104]

  20. Juggy
    All your scientific explanation is to prove that for every beginning there should be beginner. So God also should be something which needs someone to switch on to begin. If God does not need a beginning, why can’t we assume that the universe is the first beginning with mere chance, the same way god existed? Why it has to be the clock and clock maker theory. The universe does not function this way. Some living thing can live in a certain temperature while others live in an acid environment with a temperature of above boiling point. Does this not prove that this happens through adaptation and evolution?
    It is common for every Islamic man to give scientific evidence from Quran which they quote out of context. You have to read the whole Quran and translate it within the context of each saying. Quran does not have any scientific theory in it. If you find anything that relates to science, it comes from Greek philosopher Aristotle whose teaching was influenced in Jewish teaching.

  21. Arshad - I don't think juggy said Quran denies evlolution - just that man is not part of evolution - man originated from Adam - not your cousin the jungle chimp.

    Arshit, if you believe man has been evolving -why did he lose his chimp facial hair but not the hair around the mouth - moustache and beard?! What are these patches for? To protect him from diseases for his flesh eating habit? Well! Leaving them around the mouth would leave blood and flesh particles near the mouth and nose and make him easy prey for disease - is this the best evolution can do?

    Give me another but this - boy!

  22. Arshad
    Your question is illogical and childish but again a prophecy of our beloved prophet (pbuh) has been proved.That was a question never asked by any mushrik in the time of prophet(pbuh).Prophet(pbuh) foretold the coming of people who ask such things.

    A day will certainly come when some people will sit with their legs crossed and ask: ‘Given that God created everything, who created God?’ (Bukhari, ‘I‘tisam,’ 3).

  23. According to the Quran, Allah tells us that He is the only creator and sustainer of all that exists and that nothing and no one exists alongside Him, nor does He have any partners. He tells us that He is not created, nor is He like His creation in anyway. He calls Himself by a number of names and three of them are:

    A) The First - (Al-Awal)
    B) The Last - (Al Akhir)
    C) The Eternal, who is sought after by His creation, while He has no need from them at all. (As-Samad)

    He always has existed and He never was created, as He is not like His creation, nor similar to it, in any way.

  24. Aristotle was proven wrong in many of his philosophies, for example he thought atom does not the Quran it is mentioned

    Not even an atom’s weight in the heavens and the earth, or something smaller or greater than it is hidden from Him, but all are in a clear record.
    34-Sheba, 3

    this ayah does not only refer to atom but sub atomic particles and its weight too.

  25. If all things related to science mentioned in Quran is from aristotle philosophies what about the eloquence and the beauty of Quran. Did prophet pbuh seeked a poets help. and remember our beloved prophet (pbuh) was illiterate and no one ever claimed that prophet(pbuh) was literate.

    One of the most well-known stories of how the Qur’an’s miraculous eloquence effected individuals is the story of al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah, who was the most eloquent and highly esteemed poet of Makkah at the time of Muhammad (pbuh)
    Al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah passed by Muhammad (pbuh) and heard him reciting the Qur’an and this had a visible effect upon him. He was shaken and startled by what he had heard. The news of this incident spread throughout Makkah. Abu Jahl (the arch enemy of Islam) afraid that the people of Makkah might be affected by the news and convert to Islam, rushed to al-Waleed and told him “Oh my uncle! Say
    something (against Muhammad) so that the people will know that you are against him and hate (his message)”
    Al-Waleed replied, “And what can I say? For I swear by Allah, there is none amongst you who knows poetry as well as I do, nor can any compete with me in composition or rhetoric-not even in the poetry of the jinns! And yet, I swear by Allah, Muhammad’s speech (meaning the Qur’an) does not bear any similarity to anything I know and I
    swear by Allah, the speech that he says is very sweet, and is adorned with beauty and charm. Its first part is fruitful and its last part is abundant (meaning that it is full of deep
    meaning) and it conquers (all other speech) and remains unconquered! It shatters and destroys all that has come before it (because of its eloquence)
    Abu Jahl responded “Your people will not be satisfied until you speak against him!” Al-Waleed therefore requested Abu Jahl “Leave me for a few days, so that I may think of an appropriate response to give the Qur’aish” After a few days, Abu Jahl came back to him and asked him what he had prepared. Al Waleed, during this time could not think of any explanation to give except “This (the Qur’an) is a type of magic that has an effect on its listeners.”
    Biography of Prophet Muhammad, Ibn Hishaam p. 225

  26. Orientalist Author Arthur Arberry, who studied and became fluent in the Arabic language while studying in Egypt recognized the beauty of the Qur’an.
    He said: “…the rhetoric and rhythm of the Arabic of the Qur’an are so characteristic, so powerful, so highly emotive, that any version whatsoever is bound by the nature of things to be but a copy of the glittering splendor of the original”
    Arthur Arberry, The Koran Interpreted p. 24
    Many other non-Muslims have also confirmed the Qur’an’s unmatched eloquence.
    Hamilton Gibb, the famous University of Oxford Arabist said:
    ...the Meccans still demanded of him a miracle, and with remarkable boldness and self confidence Mohammad appealed as a supreme confirmation of his mission to the Koran itself. Like all Arabs they were the connoisseurs of language and rhetoric. Well, then if
    the Koran were his own composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evident miracle
    H A R Gibb, Islam - A Historical Survey, 1980, Oxford University Press, p. 28

  27. here are some miracles performed by our prophet(pbuh)
    The splitting of the moon, water flowing from between his fingers, increasing the quantity of food and water, the glorification of the food, the palm tree yearning for him, stones greeting him, the talking of the poisoned leg [of roasted sheep], trees walking towards him, two trees that were far apart coming together and then parting again, the barren [and therefore dry] sheep giving milk, his returning the eye of Qatidah bin an-Nu`man to its place with his hand after it had slipped out, his spitting lightly into the eye of Ali when it had become inflamed and its being cured almost immediately, his wiping the leg of `Abdullah bin `Atiq whereupon he was immediately cured.

    That the Muslims would fight the Turks who were described as having small eyes, wide faces and small, chiselled noses and that Yemen, Syria and Iraq would be conquered by the Muslims.

    He informed us that Ruwayfi` bin Thabit would live a long life, that Ammar bin Yasir would be killed by the transgressing group, that this nations shall divide into sects and that they would fight each other.

    He said to Thabit bin Qays, "You will live being praised... and you will die as a martyr", and he lived being praised and was martyred at al-Yamamah. He said to `Uthman, "He would be afflicted by a severe trial." [The meaning of severe trial is his being imprisoned in his house and his being killed by the transgressors.]

    On the Day of Hunain he threw a handful of dirt at the disbelievers and said, "May the faces be disfigured", and Allah, the Exalted, vanquished them, filling their eyes with dirt. He once went out to one hundred of the Quraysh who were waiting to do something horrible to him and he put dirt on their head and went on his way without their seeing him.

    Substantially abridged. Please note that copy-pasting extensive tracts of text from other websites violates points 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of our Commenting Guidelines, and future such posts will be simply deleted. Instead consider linking, referencing or paraphrasing external content.

  28. Qur'an 18:83 "They ask about Dhu'l-Qarnain [Alexander the Great]. I shall recite to you something of his story. We established him and gave him the means to do everything. So he reached the setting place of the sun and saw that it set in a muddy spring of hot, black water. Around it he found people. He asked if he might punish them."
    Quran says Alexander the Great was a Muslim but in fact he was pagan. And how Quran describes the Sun Set

  29. Don't talk bull Arshad and don't be a kiddy asking silly questions.

    The sunset is figuratively described in that verse, not literally - you thought God did not know how sun sets? Then how come in the Quran you find verses like the Earth and Moon - each swimming in it's own orbit?

    "It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (falak) (according to Law). (The Noble Quran, 36:40)"

    Really no time wasting and being apologetic about Quran!

  30. arshad
    The following script is taken from a Debate titled: "Quran & bible in the Light of Science". Dr William Campbell attempts to prove Quran has scientific errors, Dr Zakir Naik refutes his attempts in the following manner:

    Dr. William Campbell raised a point regarding Surah Kahf Chapter No.18, Verse No.86, that… ‘Zulqarnain sees the sun setting in murky water… in turbid water - Imagine sun setting in murky water… unscientific.’ The Arabic word used here is 'wajada' meaning, ‘it appeared to Zulqarnain.’ And Dr. William Campbell knows Arabic. So 'wajada' means - if you look up in the dictionary also, it means it appeared.’

    So Allah (swt) is describing what appeared to Zulqarnain. If I make a statement that… ‘The student in the class said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5.’ And you say… ‘Oh Zakir said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5. I did not say. I am telling…‘The student in the class said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5.’ I am not wrong - The student is wrong. There are various ways to try and analyze this verse. One is this way - according to Muhammad Asad, that 'wajada' means… ‘It appeared to’… ‘It appeared to Zulqarnain.’

    Point no.2 - Even if Dr. William Campbell says… ‘No No, the basic assumption is too much - It is not… ‘Appeared to’… it is actually this.’ Let us analyze it further. The Qur'anic verse says… the Sun set in murky water.’ Now we know, when we use these words, like ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ - does the sunrise? Scientifically, sun does not rise - neither does the sunset. We know scientifically, that the sun does not set at all. It is the rotation of the earth, which gives rise to sunrise and sunset. But yet you read in the everyday papers mentioning, sunrise at 6 a.m. sun sets at 7.00 p.m. Oh! The newspapers are wrong – Unscientific!’

    If I use the word ‘Disaster’, Oh! There is a disaster’ – ‘Disaster’ means there is some calamity which has taken place. Literally, ‘disaster’ means ‘an evil star.’ So when I say… ‘This disaster’ every one knows what I mean is ‘a calamity’, not about the evil star.’ Dr. William Campbell and I know, when a person who is mad, we call him a lunatic - Yes or no? At least I do, and I believe Dr. William Campbell also will be doing that.

    We call a person ‘a lunatic’ – He is ‘mad.’ What is the meaning of ‘lunatic’? It means… ‘struck by the moon’ - But that is how the language has evolved. Similarly sun rise, is actually, it is just a usage of words. And Allah has given the guidance for the human beings also - He uses so, that we understand. So it is just ‘sunset’ - Not that it is actually setting - Not that sun is actually rising. So this explanation clearly gives us a clear picture, that the Verse of the Qur’an of Surah Kahf, Chapter.18, Verse No 86, is not in contradiction with established science - That is the way how people speak.


  31. Arshad
    dul qarnain was a beleiver and a just ruler and many scholars have said he is not alexender the great..

  32. Juggy,

    Why it is so hard for you to digest the truth if it does not suit what you have believed for centuries.
    We are not in a theological debate and it is not in our interest. The Scripture from which I quoted supposed to be a book for human being to read and to follow its orders.
    This was a story which was told in the Quran to simple audience who questioned Prophet Mohammed about these stories and Mohamed could not answer immediately and waited his God to reply him. Mohamed waited in a Cave for few days and God has answered his call. And the verse I quoted was part of the stories Mohamed was asked to reply what God had to tell Mohamed
    Some Islamic scholar always use this kind of formula 1 plus 1, 2 plus 2 to mislead people like you, which does not make any sense, to prove something is right when it is totally wrong without any doubt.
    Zulqarnain story is like a fairy tale read to medieval ignorant audience and we are still trying to prove that this was a story told by almighty who may had big issues to sort out than telling fairy tales.

  33. Arshad - don't think even for one second that corrupted people like you are products of intelligent thinking!

    Shortsighted people like you lived even during the time of the Prophet(SAW.

    Al-furqan: 25;5-6

    And they say: "Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon."

    Say: "It (this Qur'ân) has been sent down by Him (Allâh) (the Real Lord of the heavens and earth) Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

  34. Why it was so hard for Almighty to prove his power, why ancient stories. Time and time Quran repeats the biblical stories to prove his existence, power and rage.
    This is not for any intelligence thinkers to think, these are common sense.

  35. Why don't examiners allow candidates to correct their mistakes in the paper after you have come out of the exam hall and time is up?!

    Pin heads like you light a candle and expect God to lift it when you arrogantly and ignorantly demand God to "lift it - this is your chance to prove you exist!"

    Instead if you open the Quran you are asked by God to "look at the greater wonders of creation around you" not to demand God coming down your backyard to prove He exists!

    Any more silly excuses to deny creation?

  36. I am Pin Head when I have disagreement with you,. What I disagree is something that million in the world question about it. If Heaven is something you can see and you know that definitely you will be going there, you would never expect any one else to go there except you because you are so greedy. Have you ever thought to give some homeless a room at your home? I don’t think so. So I have doubt about what you say, am I not fair in my judgment?

  37. These tales you are talking about are another miracle of Quran. mushriks of mekka, christians , jews and many other people who seeked the true religion came to our prophet (pbuh)to find out the truthfullness of the prophecy asking various questions and Allah the Almighty answered them because it could not possibly have been obtained from elsewhere as our prophet(pbuh) did not visit the Jewish or Christian monks to learn about previous nations and their prophets from their books(bible, gospel..). and there are many other reasons why Allah related the stories of the past.

  38. only intelligent people are able to recognize the power of Allah. for example look at this verse of the holy Quran.

    "So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs , revelations, etc.)." (The Quran, 10:92)

    Allah relates this story of pharaoh (prophet moses time) as a miracle of the Quran. the body of pharaoh was discovered in this century and still is is lying in cairo as a miracle of Quran and as a sign of the power of Allah. Do you know who is now preventing the pharaoh body from further damage. The Ameicans themselves. Allah is making the Americans with their own hands protect the body and show us the power of Allah.

  39. sorry the body was discovered in 1898.


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