Truth Cannot Contradict Truth: Understanding the Holy Quran

By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

What was the age of the prophet Noah when he died? Many Muslims over the centuries and even now believe that Noah had an age of 950 years. This misinformation is based on the misreading and literal understanding of the following verse of the Quran, “And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he dwelt among them a thousand years save fifty years. Then the deluge overtook them, while they were wrongdoers.” (Al Qur’an 29:14/15)

As the understanding of human physiology has increased in the last few centuries, no knowledgeable physician can conceive such long spells of human life now or in the past. So it has become obvious that this verse cannot imply the physical age of the prophet Noah. The ‘Truth’ of the literal word of God, the holy Quran, cannot contradict, the ‘Truth,’ of laws of nature, the God’s creation or vice versa. The subject of Noah’s age I have discussed in some detail in my previous article: Science in the Service of the Scriptures.

The term Truth cannot contradict Truth, has not been coined by me but rather by Pope John Paul II. For the historic background and my proposed debate with him about the Bible versus the Quran please see the article: Pope John Paul II and Me: ‘Truth Cannot Contradict Truth?’

Did the prophet Noah take Kangaroos with him in his ark? The literalist Christian readers of the Bible would answer in the affirmative, based on the literal reading of the some of the verses of Genesis, in the Bible. But I beg to differ, simply based on the geographical understanding of Australia and the fact that Kangaroos only exist in Australia. While Noah was in Middle East and the sea travel was not advanced enough to go to Australia and then come back for demonstration to the local audience.

If my articles are boring to you, it may be that you need to read more of them, as was suggested by John Cage, one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

The holy Quran is the truth and nothing but the truth and this is a fundamental belief of every Muslim. However, the truth in the creation or nature may not be so self evident to many. So, let me quote a few verses from the holy Quran to illustrate my point:

He it is Who made the sun radiate a brilliant light and the moon reflect a luster, and ordained for it stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning of time. Allah has not created this but in truth. He details the Signs for a people who have knowledge. (Al Quran 10:5/6)

We have not created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, but with truth, and for an appointed term; but those who disbelieve turn away from that of which they have been warned. (Al Quran 46:3/4)

And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in accordance with the requirements of wisdom; and the day He says, ‘Be’, it will be. His word is the truth, and His will be the kingdom on the day when the trumpet will be blown. He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen. And He is the Wise, the All-Aware. (Al Quran 6:73/74)

In the following the converse is denied that Allah has not created the universe without truth or in vain:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding; Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: ‘Our Lord, You have not created this in vain; Nay, Holy are You; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire. (Al Quran 9:190-191/191-192)

The last verse of Sura Luqman reads:

Only God knows the time of the Day of the resurrection. Only God sends down the rain. Only God knows what is taking shape in the womb of the mother. No living being knows what he will earn the next day, nor does anybody know in what land he will die. Only God knows everything and is All-Aware. (Al Quran 31:54/55)

This is from a recent translation by Bijan Moeinian Ph.D. It is possible to know many details of the fetuses in the womb these days. It is possible to know the whole of the genetic make up of the fetuses and if he or she is carrying any genetic diseases. The commentators of earlier centuries could have understood the term, “Only God knows what is taking shape in the womb of the mother,” in ways that would be contrary to the facts, as we understand them today.

As our knowledge of nature and laws governing it increases our knowledge of several different verses of the Quran embellishes over time.

Muhammad Asad writes in his introduction to the translation of the holy Quran, regarding how one’s insight into the Quran improves as one’s worldly knowledge increases, which in my opinion also includes our scientific knowledge:

If, on occasion, I have found myself constrained to differ from the interpretations offered by the latter (early commentators), let the reader remember that the very uniqueness of the Qur’an consists in the fact that the more our worldly knowledge and historical experience increase, the more meanings, hitherto unsuspected, reveal themselves in its pages.

The holy Quran, God has sent for every Tom, Dick and Harry, in other words for the common man. Not withstanding this simple fact, many a sect leader and Muslim scholars try to monopolize the understanding of the Quran to the detriment of their followers and marginalize the other students and scholars of Islam, in the eyes of their followers.

If only such leaders were supposed to be the exclusive medium for the transmission of the message of the Quran, Allah could have said that I am sending my message for these leaders so they can pass it to the common man. But this was not to be! The Quran does the very opposite and on dozens of occasions addresses the common man.

One area where one can easily expose the false claims of such claimants of false authority, who try to monopolize the scriptures, the Quran and the Bible, is when their teachings or their interpretations go against the laws of nature. Truth cannot contradict truth! So a teaching attributed to the Divine can never be against the laws of nature.

No matter however many followers a given scholar or the Muslim leader may have or how much humanitarian contributions he or she may have made, the laws of nature are supreme and over riding. The Truth of God’s creation can never contradict His revealed word or any other teaching or vice versa. The laws of nature become a litmus test. A key to judge the authenticity of teachers of Abrahamic faiths, be they Jews, Christians, or Muslims and their understanding of the scriptures.

Additional suggested reading

Book Review: The Bible, The Quran and Science

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

One of the Best English Translations of the Quran Now Available Online

Surah Yasin’s Lucid Argument About the Afterlife

To Know more how you can benefit from the Muslim Times, go to our Homepage or About Us page

“Does not man see that We have created him from a mere sperm-drop? He disputes openly, producing arguments against Us, forgetting his own creation. He says, ‘Who can give life back to bones after they have decayed?’ Say, ‘He who created them in the first place will give them life again: He has full knowledge of every act of creation. It is He who produces fire for you out of the green tree, lo and behold, and from this you kindle fire. Has not He Who created the heavens and the earth the power to create the like of them?’ Yes, and He is indeed the Supreme Creator, the All-Knowing. Indeed, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!,’ and it is. So Holy is He, in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things. And to Him will you all be brought back.’” (Al Quran 36:77-83) — Surah Yasin verses 77-83.

Suggested Reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times:

Everything is a Miracle According to the Holy Quran and Albert Einstein

‘There is no God,’ says Stephen Hawking in final book

Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story!’

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Arctic Ramadan: fasting in land of midnight sun comes with a challenge

Source: The Guardian

BY  in Iqaluit

In Canada’s Arctic, summers are marked by a bright light that bathes the treeless tundra for more than 20 hours a day.

For some, it’s a welcome change from the unrelenting darkness of winter. But for the small but growing Muslim community of Iqaluit, Nunavut, life in the land of the midnight sun poses a singular challenge during the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims typically fast from sunrise to sunset.

“I haven’t fainted once,” said 29-year-old Abdul Karim, one of the few in the city who has fastidiously timed his Ramadan fast to the Arctic sun since moving from Ottawa in 2011. This year that means eating at about 1.30am before the sun rises and breaking his fast at about 11pm when the sun sets.

“The only reason to stop would be if it hurts my health,” Karim said. Pointing to his sizable frame, he laughed as he added: “But looking at my condition, I don’t think fasting will hurt me.”

As the end of Ramadan draws near for Muslims around the world, much of the holy month’s focus on community work, prayer and reflection has been a constant in communities around the world. But in Iqaluit and the other Muslim communities that dot the Arctic, the long days have forced a shift in how the element of fasting is approached.

Most in Iqaluit adhere to the timetable followed by Muslims in Ottawa, some 1,300 miles south of the city – a nod to the advice of Muslim scholars who have said Muslims in the far north should observe Ramadan using the timetable of Mecca or the nearest Muslim city.

It still means fasting for some 18 hours a day, said Atif Jilani, who moved to Iqaluit from Toronto a little over a year ago. “It’s long days, but more manageable.”

Many in the 100-strong community break their fast together, gathering in the city’s brand new mosque – completed in February amid temperatures that dropped as low as -50C with windchill – for nightly potluck suppers. As they tuck into traditional meals such as dates, and goat or lamb curries, the sun shines brightly through the windows.

It’s a scene that plays out across Canada’s northernmost mosques during Ramadan, as Muslim communities wrestle with the country’s unique geography.

The 300 or so Muslims in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, have several options when it comes to fasting during Ramadan, said Nazim Awan, president of the Yellowknife Islamic Centre, with exceptions made for those who are pregnant or ill.

“There might be some superhumans who want to fast for 23 hours, but the other option is to follow the intent and spirit of fasting by following nearby cities, or they can follow the times of Mecca and Medina.”

In recent years, much of the community has opted to follow the Ramadan timetable of Edmonton, in Alberta. Some, such as Awan – a father of two young kids, including a 12-year-old who recently started fasting – follow the timings of Mecca. He hopes to encourage his son with the more manageable timetable of about 15 hours of fasting as compared with about 18 hours in Edmonton. “If I fast Yellowknife or Edmonton times, my son might say, Papa, you are really insane, what are you doing?” he said.

Faced with the impossibility of following the local movements of the sun, the 100 or so Muslims in Inuvik, a small town that sits 125 miles north of the Arctic circle, have also been following Edmonton’s timetable. “We currently have 24 hours a day of sun,” said Ahmad Alkhalaf. “There’s no sunrise or sunset.”

The adherence to Edmonton’s schedule was already in place in 2001 when he moved from Toronto to the small northern community of 3,500 people. “My first Ramadan here was in December. There’s no sun at that time; it’s dark all day and night. So we used Edmonton time.”

At times, it can be psychologically challenging to follow the clock rather than what is happening outside, Alkhalaf said. “You’re supposed to break your fast when it’s dusk, and we eat when the sun is out. It’s not usual to have iftar [the meal breaking the fast] when the sun is up,” he said.

In Inuvik, where much of the population is Inuit, the Muslim community has sought to strike a balance between Ramadan and the local culture and traditions. The iftar meal includes dates and rich curries – as well as local game such as reindeer, prepared in accordance with Islamic law. “We make a soup or curry it – we make a biryani, but instead of using beef, we use reindeer.”

In Iqaluit, as the Muslim community prepares to mark the end of Ramadan, some reflect that this year’s timing – stretching across some of the longest days of the year – has made this year one of the more challenging of recent years.

It’s particularly true for those like Karim who have determinedly followed the local sunrise and sunset. But his efforts will be rewarded years from now, said Karim, thanks to the lunar calendar. Ramadan will eventually fall during winter, which in Iqaluit sees the sun rise and set within a few hours each day. “I’ll follow those hours too,” he said with a laugh. “Oh yes, definitely.”

Reference

Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran

The Muslim Times, Perhaps the Only Medium Presenting the Creator God of the Holy Quran

Epigraph:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise (Al Quran 59:24)

Suggested reading and viewing by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times for the Creator God of the Abrahamic Faiths:

A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths

Corona-virus Reminds Once Again: The Indispensable God-hypothesis

Whatever is in the Heavens or the Earth Glorifies Allah

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

Charles Darwin: An Epiphany for the Muslims, A Catastrophe for the Christians

Photosynthesis: deserving of our awe or ridicule?

Allah the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner: The Best Documentary on Birds

The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe

The Beauty and the GPS of the Birds and the Quran

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

Plain Water will Tell you the Story

Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe by Martin Rees

The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies

Moon: Does it have a purpose?

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

Twelve Famous Scientists On The Possibility Of God

Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature

National Geographic Video: All Knowing, All Seeing God Keeps Us Away from Crime and Sin, See the Evidence

Epigraph:
For those who do not believe in the Hereafter are negative metaphors, while all the best attributes and metaphors are for Allah alone. He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al Quran 16:60)

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Afterlife and interfaith tolerance

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Agnostics and atheists argue against accountability and stress that they can also be moral without belief in God.   They can certainly be.  As every human being has a conscience and each one of us embellishes it to a variable degree, in that sense both theists and atheists can be moral.

However, theists have an additional factor driving them to be moral, namely a belief in All-Seeing God. I do not want to argue this issue at length here, but would just suggest watching 6 minutes of a recent 50 minute documentary by National Geographic starring Morgan Freeman, season 01, episode 05, starting at minute 32 of the video below and focus on the work of a New Zealand researcher, Jesse Michael Bering, with 6 year old children, how a belief in invisible Princess Alice affects their behavior and their honesty:

Just like a belief in invisible princess Alice makes the 6 years old more honest, a genuine belief in All-Seeing God can improve the character and the morality of the believers.

The above researcher, Jesse Michael Bering (born 6 May 1975) is an American writer and academic. He is Associate Professor in Science Communication at the University of Otago (where he serves as Director of the Centre for Science Communication), as well as a frequent contributor to Scientific AmericanSlate, and Das Magazin (Switzerland). His work has also appeared in New York MagazineThe Guardian, and The New Republic, and has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and elsewhere.

The holy Quran makes a repeated case for Monotheism, with the background of Judaism and Christianity. The other article of faith which finds numerous mentions, with one metaphor or the other, is the belief in the accountability in the hereafter, which is mentioned in almost every chapter of the Quran.

Suggested reading

Surah Qaf: The First Creation as the Foremost Proof for Afterlife

The West Needs Islam: Because Ashley Madison Revealed 38 Million Cheating Spouses

Stephen Hawking Passes Away – May God Bless His Soul, But He Didn’t Believe in One

Seven Reasons Why European Agnostics and Atheists Should Consider Islam

Charles Darwin: An Epiphany for the Muslims, A Catastrophe for the Christians

Michael Shermer with Bart Ehrman — Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife

To Know more how you can benefit from the Muslim Times, go to our Homepage or About Us page

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times:

“But you prefer the life of this world, whereas the Hereafter is better and more lasting. This indeed is what is taught in the former Scriptures — The Scriptures of Abraham and Moses.” (Al Quran 87:16-19)

How Can the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims Argue Afterlife

Human Soul: The Final Frontier?

A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths

Is There an Afterlife? – Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, David Wolpe, Bradley Artson Shavit

Hijab: Quran is to be Understood in the Context of Time – Every One Knows It But Does Not Say It

burqa
Burqa – This could be my paternal grandmother in her younger years

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

The picture above could be of my paternal grandmother in her younger years, she was born in 1910 and passed away in 1982, except that there were no color cameras in Pakistan, when she was in her twenties and thirties.

I do not remember her ever wearing such a Burqa, but I remember clearly from my early childhood that she had one, I believe her’s was white in color.

I loved my grandmother, however, I do not remember having any positive or negative emotions or associations about this article of clothing until 2001.  Since, September 11, 2001, I have come to abhor this article of clothing, given its association with the Taliban and it becoming a symbol of lack of human rights in the Muslim societies, compared to the Western world.

burka_1927573c
Another form of Burqa – My mother could be in this picture but obviously I cannot tell

My mother in her twenties through forties dressed like what is shown in the above picture. It was an overcoat of a thin soft black clothing and a separate headgear with two relatively transparent face veils. Individually the veils were some what see through, but together these became almost opaque. Many of the ladies of her generation would use both of the face veils in public.  During that time it was not uncommon to hear from devout Muslims that only hands and feet of women can be uncovered in public.

In her fifties through seventies, she would be in what we call Hijab these days, but without any make up.  The picture below would represent that:

Hijab
This is what is conventionally called Hijab these days

The above is what is called Hijab these days. The above lady could be my sister, cousin, niece or daughter-in-law, except that she is not. Many of the ladies in my family now will dress like her.

The Holy Quran has a couple of verses about modest dressing. In the most often quoted verse on the subject, it says:

And say to the believing women that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts, and that they disclose not their natural and artificial beauty except that which is apparent thereof, and that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and that they disclose not their beauty save to their husbands, or to their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands or their sons or the sons of their husbands or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their women, or what their right hands possess, or such of male attendants as have no sexual appetite, or young children who have no knowledge of the hidden parts of women. And they strike not their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may become known. And turn ye to Allah all together, O believers, that you may succeed. (Al Quran 24:31/32)

This verse defines immediate family and modest dressing.

How do the Muslims understand the above verse and what has it meant over the decades in the last century, as far as modest dressing is concerned?

The apologists for Islam, from all sects, would have debated tooth and nail for the exclusive validity and approval in the eyes of Allah, for only one of the three above examples, in the relevant era.

Today some of them will deny that such a progression has happened in the last century and would like to find comfort in their emotionally and strongly held belief that the Quran does not change over time and need not be understood and interpreted in the light of demands and needs of the time.

burkini
These could be my nieces on a Western beach. I do not have any daughters, but for my generation or my parents’ generation even this small degree of freedom would have been inconceivable

Omar Naseef; Muslim, Writer, Traveler, Author, Foodie and Adventurer, in a recent article, titled, God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead? wrote in the Huffington Post, what is meant by a ‘living’ or a ‘dead’ document:

There’s a vigorous debate in the United States about the nature of our constitution. Liberals tend to argue that the constitution is a living document, while conservatives, like the late Justice Scalia, claim our constitution is ‘dead, dead, dead’.

If the authors of the constitution were alive today – having lived through 239+ years of U.S. history – do we really think they would ask their 1787 selves how to interpret the constitution?

This same ‘living’ versus dead argument often happens in religion. Those who argue for ‘dead’ are often conservatives, and they are hurting their own cause. It is proper for all of us to deliberate before breaking with long-held tradition. However, insisting that the understanding of sacred text is frozen puts the most fundamental belief of religion at risk.

When any religious person claims that a sacred text is ‘dead’ – in that the understanding of its meaning is fixed forever – they are directly at odds with their own idea of a living, active God.

Each one of the Muslims, whether conservative or liberal, young or old, man or woman, actually has seen many examples in their lives that the Holy Quran is to be interpreted in the context of time, whether he or she fully realizes it or acknowledges it or not.

In this article I have talked about only Hijab, but, a series of articles will follow.

Zafrulla and JFK
Sir Zafarulla Khan in a meeting with President John F Kennedy

Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, the first foreign minister of Pakistan and one time President of the United Nations General Assembly,  highlighted in his book, Islam – Its Meaning for Modern Man, in the chapter about the Holy Quran that it is a dynamic and a living document. He writes:

It is this comprehensiveness of the Quran, the need to make provision for guidance in every respect for all peoples for all time, that made it necessary that the guidance should be conveyed in verbal revelation. The Quran is literally the Word of God and possesses the quality of being alive, as the universe is alive. It is not possible to set forth at any time the whole meaning and interpretation of the Quran or, indeed, of any portion of it with finality. It yields new truths and fresh guidance in every age and at every level. It is a standing and perpetual miracle (18:110).

The world is dynamic and so is the Quran. Indeed, so dynamic is the Quran that it has always been found to keep ahead of the world and never to lag behind it. However fast the pace at which the pattern of human life may change and progress, the Quran always yields, and will go on yielding, the needed guidance in advance. This has now been demonstrated through more than thirteen centuries, and that is a guarantee that it will continue to be demonstrated through the ages.

The Quran has proclaimed that falsehood will never overtake it. All research into the past and every discovery and invention in the future will affirm its truth (41:43). The Quran speaks at every level; it seeks to reach every type of understanding, through parables, similitudes, arguments, reasoning, the observation and study of the phenomena of nature, and the natural, moral, and spiritual laws (18:55; 39:28; 59:22).

The Quranic principles are profound and everlasting, but, the details are negotiable. We will always be able to demonstrate the benefits of modest dressing and modesty in general, in any society or at any time. For example, read: Modesty–A universal Value and Wearing Hijab for Modesty in All Things. But, modest dressing will look some what different in different times and places.

This is an age of information and younger generations are very proficient in quickly finding out relevant details on any issue. So, the apologists of Islam need to do due diligence if they want to remain relevant.

I do love the Quran and study it every day. But, I am also a pragmatist and do not want to hold any positions that a little Google search or listening to a few videos in YouTube exposes.

Welcome to the new world and a more rational understanding of the scriptures. Stay tuned for future examples to show in the words of Sir Zafrulla: “The world is dynamic and so is the Quran. Indeed, so dynamic is the Quran that it has always been found to keep ahead of the world and never to lag behind it. However fast the pace at which the pattern of human life may change and progress.”

Suggested Reading about the Quran

Reading the Quran and the Bible Literally Means Demons and Jinns Will Rule Humans

The Holy Quran Does Not Exhaust Any Subject in Any One Chapter

God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?

Explaining Misinterpretations of the Holy Text to a Christian Audience

Meeting the Quranic Adam with Charles Darwin

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Covid 19: Religious Versus Scientific Perspectives, Now that We Have Two Vaccines?

Epigraph:

Allah has created the heavens and the earth with a purpose and based on precise truth. In that surely is a sign for the believers. (Al Quran 29:44/45)

leaning tower of pisa
If you take off to fly from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, after devout prayers by the Pope, Imam of Kaaba and the Chief Rabbi, you will crash to the ground no matter what. It is not that the prayers do not work but they do not work against the laws of nature, made by the Creator of our universe

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

I wrote this article in May of 2020, but now six months later in Nonmember as Pfizer and Moderna have reported that their vaccines have almost 95% effectiveness, I am choosing to republish this article, as it may give readers a new experience with this enhanced perspective. 

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has slammed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not endorsing its COVID-19 herbal cure.

Last month, the Malagasy president officially launched Covid-Organics (CVO), an organic herbal concoction, claiming that it can prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.

“If it were a European country which had discovered this remedy, would there be so many doubts,” he said in an exclusive interview with France 24, Paris-based international television news network and Radio France International.

”The problem is that it comes from Africa. And they cannot accept that a country like Madagascar, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, has discovered this formula to save the world,” he added (1).

But, how does WHO know quackery from real treatments? After all some fundamentalist Hindus in March 2020, were promoting cow urine as prevention against coronavirus infection.

Many news channels covered cow urine drinking party. US News, for example wrote: “A Hindu group hosted a cow urine drinking party on Saturday as they believe it wards off the coronavirus, as many Hindus consider the cow sacred and some drink cow urine believing it has medicinal properties.

Experts have repeatedly asserted that cow urine does not cure illnesses like cancer and there is no evidence that it can prevent coronavirus.

The ‘party,’ hosted by a group called the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (All India Hindu Union) at its headquarters in the country’s capital, was attended by 200 people, and the organizers hoped to host similar events elsewhere in India.

‘We have been drinking cow urine for 21 years, we also take bath in cow dung. We have never felt the need to consume English medicine,’ said Om Prakash, a person who attended the party.

Chakrapani Maharaj, the chief of the All India Hindu Union, posed for photographs as he placed a spoon filled with cow urine near the face of a caricature of the coronavirus.

Leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party have advocated the use of cow urine as medicine and a cure for cancer.

A leader from India’s north eastern state of Assam told state lawmakers earlier this month during an assembly session that cow urine and cow dung can be used to treat the coronavirus.” (2)

The fundamentalist Muslims were quick to promote black seed or Kolonji as a prevention and cure for Covid 19 infection.

Bishop Gerald Glenn, the founder and pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (NDEC) in Chesterfield, Virginia, died on April 11, 2020, church elder Bryan Nevers said in a video post on the church’s Facebook page.

“During this time of intense grief, we ask that you pray continually for the FIRST FAMILY of NDEC,” a Facebook post from the church read. “While they are mourning the heartbreaking earthly absence of their family patriarch & spiritual father, they also have family members who are struggling to survive this dreaded pandemic.”

Glenn and his wife, Marcietia Glenn, tested positive for the virus, their daughter Mar-Gerie Crawley said in a video shared on Facebook. Crawley said in an update Friday that Gerald Glenn was very sick but had improved slightly after being put on a ventilator.

“I just beg people to understand the severity and the seriousness of this because people are saying it’s not just about us, it’s about everyone around us,” Crawley said.

She told Richmond station WTVR that Glenn had diverticulitis and that it was not uncommon for him to get sick or have a fever. Glenn’s health worsened despite trips to urgent care and the emergency room, she added.

Despite authorities urging people to practice social distancing, Glenn held an in-person service on March 22.

“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” Glenn told his congregation in a sermon that day, according to video of the service shared by WTVR. He vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” the New York Times reported.  He died three weeks later of Covid 19 infection (3).

God may applaud the Pastor’s religious zeal in the Hereafter, but, He certainly did not appreciate the Pastor’s flaunting of the laws of nature.

In the meanwhile, there has been growing disquiet in Israel about the slowness of some ultra-Orthodox communities to adopt official measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

Many ultra-Orthodox live within large families in crowded neighborhoods. Their access to the internet and social media is also limited for religious reasons, meaning news and information from the outside world is comparatively poor.

In some strictly religious communities, gatherings for prayer and celebrations including weddings have continued to take place, despite the nationwide ban.

BBC reported, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town with one of the highest rates of coronavirus cases in Israel has been placed under effective lockdown.

Residents of Bnei Brak, just outside Tel Aviv, will only be allowed out in exceptional circumstances. Only some key workers will be allowed in.

A senior health official said almost 40% of the town’s 200,000 inhabitants probably had the virus (4).

Happy Science is a Japanese doomsday cult. It claims 11 million members worldwide in more than 50 countries, operates a publishing company and several film/animation studios, funds a political wing that fields candidates in Japan, runs a system of unaccredited “universities” and holds events and enlightening seminars.

Formerly known as The Institute for Research in Human Happiness, Happy Science is one of a large number of new religions which have sprouted up in post-war Japan, generally regarded derisively and suspiciously by most Japanese, particularly after a 1995 terrorist attack perpetrated by a different cult in Tokyo’s subway. The group’s English-language reading materials seem benign enough, but the group’s far-right political agenda is expressed much more openly and unambiguously in their Japanese-language media, which espouses extreme Japanese nationalism, social conservatism and xenophobia (5).

According to Happy Science, the virus was created as a bioweapon by the Chinese government in Wuhan, and then, in a twist, it was unleashed by a U.F.O. to punish the communists for their godless ways. It has spread to other lands that lack true faith.

This material was quickly published as three booklets in Japanese and has now been translated in English this month as “Spiritual Reading of Novel Coronavirus Infection Originated in China.”

But there is hope for the faithful, the Happies say. Along with the book series, they now sell coronavirus-themed DVDs and CDs of Mr. Okawa, the supreme head of Happy Science lecturing; the sound alone of his voice is meant to hold immune-boosting power.

In one video clip, Mr. Okawa advised, “You must knock out the coronavirus with your El Cantare belief.”

He also introduced the sacred text of a new ritual purported to miraculously cure the disease. It is conducted in private at temples, in exchange for donations. Japanese ads list several prices for virus-related blessings, going from $100 to more than $400.

Numerous members of the congregation have requested the coronavirus prayer.

“It’s amazing,” Mr. Hagimoto said. “We’re seeing people being cured.”

Before his extravagant reinvention, Mr. Okawa was born Takashi Nakagawa in 1956, on the southern island of Shikoku in Japan. The postwar decades in Japan had seen a surge in new and novel forms of religion that blended imported New Age texts with longstanding Japanese traditions. It was in this soul-searching mélange that Mr. Okawa came of age.

In the early days of the virus, Happy Science had proudly kept its Manhattan doors open for business even as some churches closed. But as infections in the city soared, the temple announced that it would lock up.

Beginning in April, Happy Science will administer spiritual vaccines remotely (6).

Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and author of this article. The Muslim Times has the best collection for religion and science themes

There is a legendary experiment that young Galileo Galilei did in the sixteenth century, perched atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa, he dropped cannonballs of different weights to see if all objects fall at the same rate due to gravity. They did. It’s a story that’s easy to remember, but whether it actually took place is debatable. If a Muslim saint, a Christian Pastor, a Jewish Rabbi, a Hindu Pundit or a Buddhist incarnation of Buddha were to jump off from Leaning Tower of Pisa to fly after their prayers, they will crash to the ground at the same speed. Gravity rules no matter what!

Likewise these religious experts despite their set of beliefs, dogma and rituals cannot fight or deny the biology of Covid 19.

In the words of Charles Darwin, as he quoted Francis Bacon from his book Advancement of learning, in the later editions of On the Origin of Species, to establish the proper relationship between religion and natural science: “To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.”

WHO has not directly responded to the President of Madagascar, but they have posted on their website, under the heading of, WHO supports scientifically-proven traditional medicine:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes innovations around the world including repurposing drugs, traditional medicines and developing new therapies in the search for potential treatments for COVID-19.

WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits and Africa has a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations. Medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments for COVID-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side effects. Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice and natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.” (7)

As noted in the epigraph of this article, Allah has created our universe based on precise truth, which here will imply scientific truth and laws of nature, any attempts to succeed in such a universe that are not based in reality and instead bank on emotional or ill placed religious zeal are destined to fail. Indeed, only honest scientific method and not religious dogma or ritual will offer us prevention and cure of the novel Covid 19.

Additional reading

From the Muslim Sunrise: Truth and Science

Science: The Only Present Day Arbiter Between Religions?

References

  1. https://themuslimtimes.info/2020/05/16/madagascar-slams-who-for-not-endorsing-its-herbal-cure/
  2. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-03-14/hindu-group-offers-cow-urine-in-a-bid-to-ward-off-coronavirus
  3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/14/coronavirus-bishop-who-defied-social-distancing-dies-covid-19/2987693001/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=111da5ac62-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_14_12_57&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-111da5ac62-400098637
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-52149316
  5. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Happy_Science
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/article/happy-science-japan-coronavirus-cure.html
  7. https://www.afro.who.int/news/who-supports-scientifically-proven-traditional-medicine?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhf7k9NK66QIVQb7ACh2IjAeoEAAYAiAAEgJgLfD_BwE

Moderna Vaccine More Than 94% Effective

Epigraph:

Every human life is precious and sacred and saving one is like saving the whole of humanity. (Al Quran 5:32)

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles for the war against Covid 19, especially the vaccines. Suggested reading by the Muslim Times: Covid 19 is Not, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist

Moderna Vaccine Found Highly Effective at Preventing Covid

Source: Bloomberg

By Robert Langreth

  •  Vaccine has 94.5% efficacy in an analysis of late-stage trial
  •  Interim results suggest vaccine may also block severe cases

Moderna Inc. said its Covid-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial, another sign that a fast-paced hunt by scientists and pharmaceutical companies is paying off with potent new tools that could help control a worsening pandemic.

The highly positive readout comes just a week after a similar shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE was found to be more than 90% effective in an interim analysis. Both shots rely on a technology called messenger RNA that has never been used to build an approved vaccine. Soon, millions of people around the world could be spared from illness by the breakthroughs.

A preliminary analysis of data from more than 30,000 volunteers showed Moderna’s vaccine prevented virtually all symptomatic cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Moderna shares rose more than 9% in pre-market U.S. trading, while in Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was up 1.5%.

Read further

Ghamidi the Most Pluralistic Muslim Scholar from Pakistan

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, reformist scholar and popular television preacher. The Muslim Times has an extensive collection about pluralism and to overcome sectarian divide among the Muslims

Jāvēd Ahmed Ghāmidī (Urduجاوید احمد غامدی‎) (born April 18, 1951) is a PakistaniMuslim theologian, Quran scholar, Islamic modernist, exegete and educationist. He is also the founding President of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organisation Danish Sara.[3] He became a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology (responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistani Government and the country’s Parliament) on 28 January 2006, where he remained for a couple of years.[4] He also taught Islamic studies at the Civil Services Academy for more than a decade from 1979 to 1991.[5] He was also a student of Islamic scholar and exegete, Amin Ahsan Islahi. He is running an intellectual movement similar to Wasatiyyah, on the popular electronic media of Pakistan.[6] Currently he is Principal Research Fellow and Chief Patron of Ghamidi Center of Islamic Learning in Dallas, Texas, United States. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi was named in The Muslim 500 (The World’s Most Influential Muslims) in the 2019 and 2020 editions.

There are dozen of his videos in the YouTube. We have highlighted a few before as well in the Muslim Times.

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