Surah Rome: A Powerful Case for Our Creator God

Northern lights
Northern lights in Iceland. The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles about the holy Quran and Monotheism

Allah says in verses 17-27 and I am quoting from the translation by Muhammad Abdel Haleem:

So celebrate God’s glory in the evening, in the morning – praise is due to Him in the heavens and the earth – in the late afternoon, and at midday. He brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. He gives life to the earth after death, and you will be brought out in the same way. One of His signs is that He created you from dust and – lo and behold! – you became human and scattered far and wide. Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colors. There truly are signs in this for those who know. Among His signs are your sleep, by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. There truly are signs in this for those who can hear. Among His signs, too, are that He shows you the lightning that terrifies and inspires hope; that He sends water down from the sky to restore the earth to life after death. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason. Among His signs, too, is the fact that the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command. In the end, you will all emerge when He calls you from the earth. Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, and all are obedient to Him. He is the One who originates creation and will do it again – this is even easier for Him. He is above all comparison in the heavens and earth; He is the Almighty, the All Wise.

Suggested reading

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

How Islam has Influenced Christian understanding of God

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

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

How Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque prepares Iftar for 30,000

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Arabic: جَامِع ٱلشَّيْخ زَايِد ٱلْكَبِيْر‎, romanized: Jāmiʿ Ash-Shaykh Zāyid Al-Kabīr) is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.[1] The largest mosque in the country, it is the key place of worship for daily prayers, Friday gathering and Eid prayers. During Eid, it may be visited by more than 41,000 people.[1]

History The Grand Mosque was constructed between 1996 and 2007.[2] It was designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky.[3] The building complex measures approximately 290 by 420 m (950 by 1,380 ft), covering an area of more than 12 hectares (30 acres), excluding exterior landscaping and vehicle parking. The main axis of the building is rotated about 11° south of true west, aligning it in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Dimensions and alignment are estimated from satellite images; this information is not available at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque Web site as of 2014.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Muslim Times has the best collection to refute sectarianism among the Muslims

The project was launched by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art.[4] His final resting place is located on the grounds adjacent to the complex.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) offices are located in the west minarets. SZGMC manages the day-to-day operations and serves as a center of learning and discovery through its educational cultural activities and visitor programs.

The library, located in the northeast minaret, serves the community with classic books and publications addressing a range of Islamic subjects: sciences, civilization, calligraphy, the arts, and coins, including some rare publications dating back more than 200 years. The collection comprises material in a broad range of languages, including Arabic, English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Korean.

For two years running, it was voted the world’s second favorite landmark by TripAdvisor.[5]

Suggested reading

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

Forty Hadiths or Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about Compassionate Living

Understanding Satan in the Quran Provides for Progressive Islam

Adam and Eve
Where was Eden, wherein Satan seduced Adam and Eve?

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

Satan or Iblis is mentioned no less than 60 times in the holy Quran. Is Satan a real physical entity or only a metaphorical construct?

The understanding of Satan by 1.6 billion Muslims is bogged down by the commentaries of these verses by numerous scholars in the last 1400 years.

I have found Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī to be one of more progressive scholars in recent times and I have learnt from him on several issues, yet his description of Satan, even though modern in some ways is still elusive in other ways and self-contradictory, for his obsession with Jinn as beings created from energy, among his other ideological limitations. He is a Pakistani Muslim 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.[1] 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.[2] He also taught Islamic studies at the Civil Services Academy for more than a decade from 1979 to 1991.[3] He was also a student of the famous Islamic scholar and exegete, Amin Ahsan Islahi. He is running an intellectual movement similar to Wastiyya in Egypt on the popular electronic media of Pakistan.[4]

Here are his videos about Satan in Urdu:

Before dwelling further on this subject that many will find controversial, let me say, read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

I believe the best understanding of Satan and the best commentary of these verses is provided in light of modern psychology and biology and a short description here will clarify centuries of debate and also give us a paradigm for a progressive understanding of the holy Quran and Islam.

Study of human mind in the last two centuries in the field of psychology has not shown any evidence of thought insertion by external beings in normal and healthy human functioning.  As a physician and a student of psychology, I know, I own all my thoughts and am responsible for them.  All Knowing God can reveal Himself to the prophets and saints, He is Omnipresent and Omniscient, attributes that our conscience refuses to attribute to Satan, or we will be believing in almost two Gods, one of virtue and the other of evil, akin to a belief in Zoroastrianism.

Please find all the sixty two mentions of Satan or Iblis in the Quran, in the references below.[1]  In each instance it is easy to attribute the sin or misconduct to human failings rather than an external invisible being. I will examine just one instance here today, “And he who turns away from the remembrance of the Gracious God, We appoint for him a Satan, who becomes his companion.” (Al Quran 43:36) As someone gradually grows away from the concept of All Knowing God, who is All-Aware of our inner most thoughts and all our deeds, he becomes more and more vulnerable to sins and crime, as human psychology and daily experience suggests and we need not invoke an external Satan. Suggested reading and viewing of a National Geographic documentary: All Knowing, All Seeing God Keeps Us Away from Crime and Sin: See the Evidence.

The holy Quran describes a meeting of God, angles, Satan, Adam and Eve on several occasions.  Such a meeting never happened in a physical sense and is only a metaphor.  A metaphor that was very necessary for the first addressees of the holy Quran, the seventh century Arab desert dwellers, unless Allah was going to teach them all about human biology and evolution, with proofs and details.  A discussion which would have been very likely to transform the struggle for spiritual life into modern day debates among the creationists and evolutionists.

Homo-sapiens have evolved from chimpanzee like animals in the last 200,000 years or so.  Molecular biology has become fool proof evidence for the common ancestry of all life on the planet earth.  The debate is over as far as this aspect of evolution is concerned.  Now only the ill informed or stubborn debate this issue.

Watch the logical presentation of molecular biology in the short video below and think, would you rather agree with this or with the convoluted  description of Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī above?

If our understanding of the 62 verses talking about Satan and Iblis is guided by human psychology and biology, rather than an insistence on literalism, then stage is set for reading the holy Quran with an open mind, rather than in a fixed framework of our ideology and instead of using the scripture for legalistic debates we begin to read it in the privacy of our minds for a better understanding of religion for individual spirituality, rather than making it into a dueling sport or the basis of our politics or governance.

The Eden from which Adam and Eve were expelled was not somewhere in heavens or paradise, but on this very planet earth!

Suggested reading:

Biology of Our Human Family: Who are We Related To?

Jinn: Do They Exist?

Hamza Yusuf on Jinns: Powerful Men or Demons?

Saving the Muslims From Exorcisms and Jinns

The Holy Quran and the Seventh Century Arabian Metaphors

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

Possessed by Jinns: Many Medieval Muslim Scholars Need Exorcism

References

  1. 2:34, 36, 168, 208, 268; 3:175; 4:76, 117, 120; 6:43, 142; 7:11, 27, 175, 200, 201; 12:5, 42; 15:17, 31, 32;  16:63, 98; 17:27, 53, 61; 18:50, 63; 19:44, 45, 68, 83; 20:116, 117, 120; 22:3, 52, 53; 24:21; 25:29, 55; 26:95;  27:24, 25; 29:38; 31:21; 35:6; 37:7; 38:41, 74, 75; 34:20; 36:60; 41:36; 43:36, 62; 47:25; 58:10, 19; 59:16; 67:5; 81:25.

We have saved the above videos in the Muslim Times as well to preserve them for the posterity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 59:24/25)

universe-and-man
The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles on the theme of religion and science, interfaith tolerance, Judaism and Christianity

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

Albert Einstein, the man of the century for the 20th century, according to the Time magazine has the following quote attributed to him.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.  Albert Einstein

I will let any true atheist explain the first half of the quote, while I will explain the second half of the quote, which I live by and which I believe, ‘everything is a miracle,’ is not only a quote of Einstein, but a central tenant of the holy Quran and which is repeated often in the scripture, alluding to different things or phenomena with different emphasis on each occasion.

quote-there-are-two-ways-to-live-you-can-live-as-if-nothing-is-a-miracle-you-can-live-as-if-everything-albert-einstein-56459

In the epigraph of this article we read, “All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah;” in other words every thing is a miracle. Stated another way in the holy Quran: “Indeed, in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe.” (Al Quran 45:3)

In Surah Rome we read:

So celebrate God’s glory in the evening, in the morning–praise is due to Him in the heavens and the earth– in the late afternoon, and at midday. He brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. He gives life to the earth after death, and you will be brought out in the same way.  One of His Signs is that He created you from dust and– lo and behold! – you became human and scattered far and wide. Another of His Signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are Signs in this for those who reflect. Another of His Signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colors. There truly are Signs in this for those who know. Among His Signs are your sleep, by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. There truly are Signs in this for those who can hear. Among His Signs, too, are that He shows you the lightning that terrifies and inspires hope; that He sends water down from the sky to restore the earth to life after death. There truly are Signs in this for those who use their reason. Among His Signs, too, is the fact that the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command. (Al Quran 30:17-25)

The very creation of the universe, what the scientists describe as the Big Bang, was a miracle, which in turn set up a chain of events of further miracles and the holy Quran alludes to this in the following verses:

Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? And We put firm mountains on the earth, lest it should sway under them, and set broad paths on it, so that they might follow the right direction, and We made the sky a well-secured canopy– yet from its wonders or miracles they turn away. It is He who created night and day, the sun and the moon, each floating in its orbit.  (Al Quran 21:30-33)

Having outlined the miracles or Signs mentioned in the Quran, Today I want to share only one miracle in our world, from a scientific perspective, what has been dubbed as Quantum entanglement, as described by a NOVA documentary:

If we start our spiritual journey from the study of the nature, as is suggested by the holy Quran dozen of times, all the Monotheists, be they Jews, Christians or Muslims of whatever sect, will be drawn together in glorifying and worshiping the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; rather than being cleaved apart by details where they differ, in different revelations to the different prophets including the person of Jesus, may peace be on him.

Suggested reading

Deism: Common between Islam, Christianity and Judaism

Patriarch Abraham’s Deism and Monotheism: The Best Paradigm For Interfaith Tolerance

12 Famous Scientists On The Possibility Of God

Every Ray of Light Gives Us Eternal Hope in God’s Providence

Religion and Science: The Indispensable God-hypothesis

We have saved the above documentary in the Muslim Times as well so we do not loose the miracle of this article in future:

 

Demystifying Freedom of Speech from the Holy Quran

FREEDOM-facebook
The Muslim Times has collected every thing useful about free speech and its limitation

Source: The Muslim Sunrise; Summer 2016

By Zia H Shah MD

As I write this article in April of 2016, two very dramatic events have occurred in the domain of freedom of speech or shall we say lack thereof, within the last month.

In Bangladesh, Nazimuddin Samad, 28, who had been on a hit list of 84 bloggers drawn up by Islamists in Bangladesh, was hacked to death and then shot. Last year, suspected militants hacked to death at least four atheist bloggers and a secular publisher in one of a series of targeted killings.i

In Glasgow, UK, the man accused of murdering Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah has issued a statement, saying he carried out the killing because he believed Mr. Shah had “disrespected” Islam. Tanveer Ahmed, 32, from Bradford, is accused of killing Mr. Shah outside his shop in Glasgow.

In the statement he denied the incident had anything to do with Christianity.

Mr. Ahmed claimed Asad Shah had “disrespected” Islam. The shopkeeper, an Ahmadi Muslim, who had moved from Pakistan to Glasgow almost 20 years ago, was found with serious injuries outside his shop on Minard Road in Shawlands on the 24th of March. He was pronounced dead in hospital. Mr. Shah was killed just hours after he posted an Easter message on Facebook, wishing his Christian customers a happy Easter.ii

Such violence in the name of Islam is complete antithesis of what Islam truly stands for.

Those of us, who have seen the Message movie, about the life of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, would recall a scene, when the companions of the Prophet are saying the creed of Islam or Kalimah in Kaaba.

The non-Muslim Meccans start throwing stones at them and start beating them.

The character of Hamza, who is not a Muslim yet, being played by Anthony Quinn, enters the courtyard of Kaaba and says tauntingly to Abu Jahal, one of the main leaders of the Meccans, “He is the bravest man in the desert, when he meets unarmed men!”

Abu Jahal retorts, “Muhammad is a liar.”

Hamza responds, “Where is the lie and where is the truth, when it has not been spoken yet.  You do not let him speak?”

Early Muslims were for free speech and their opponents, the Meccans for coercion and taking away the freedom of speech of the early Muslims.

Free speech is certainly a tool of the believers and it is mentioned as such several times in the Holy Quran.  For example, “And let there be among you a body of men who should invite to goodness, and enjoin equity and forbid evil. And it is they who shall prosper.”iii And, “And the believers, men and women, are friends one of another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and observe Prayer and pay the Zakat.”iv

The Holy Quran issues a challenge to the non-believers to produce its equivalent, if they do not esteem it to be word of All Knowing God: “And if you are in doubt as to what We (Allah) have sent down to Our servant (Muhammad), then produce a Chapter like it, and call upon your helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful.”v

The Quranic challenge is indeed freedom of speech for the non-believers.

The Holy Quran repeats this challenge with slight variation several times:

  • Do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘Bring then a Surah (chapter) like unto it, and call for help on all you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.’vi
  • Do they say, ‘He has forged it?’ Say, ‘Then bring ten chapters like it, forged, and call on whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful.’vii
  • Say, ‘If mankind and the Jinn gathered together to produce the like of this Quran, they could not produce the like thereof, even though they should help one another.’viii

The Holy Quran is inviting non-believers to bring their proofs and argue against every Quranic proposition.  If this is not freedom of speech, I do not know what is?

The Quranic freedom is not only for the likeminded or the yes men, but for the contrarians or those who beg to differ. For example the Quran says: “And the Jews and the Christians say, ‘None shall ever enter Heaven unless he be a Jew or a Christian.’ These are their vain desires. Say, ‘Produce your proof, if you are truthful.’”ix

Many a non-Muslim philosophers have expressed similar sentiments, for example, Noam Chomsky says, “If we do not believe in the freedom of expression for the people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”x French philosopher François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), known by his pseudonym Voltaire is attributed the following quote, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I ‘ll defend to the death your right to say it.”xi

Read further on page 27 of: The Muslim Sunrise; 2016_summer

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Al Wassay God and the Expanding Universe

Epigraph:

And the heaven We built with our own powers and indeed We go on expanding it. . (Al Quran 51:47)

galaxy_universe-normal
The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles on the theme of religion and science

By Dr. Zia H Shah and Dr. Lutf ur Rehman

Published in the Muslim Sunrise (The Oldest Muslim Publication of North America)

The Holy Qur’an invites mankind to ponder on the universe that He has created.  The Qur’an urges us to reflect on the Laws of Nature — with examples drawn from cosmology, physics, biology and medicine — as signs for all men. For example the Glorious Qur’an says, “Do they not then look at the camel, how it is created? And at the heaven, how it is raised high?’ (Al Quran: chapter Ghashiayah)

Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, wrote in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth:

At the time the Holy Qur’an was revealed, the human understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the movement or the stillness of the heavenly bodies was extremely primitive and obscure. This is no longer the case, as our knowledge of the universe has considerably advanced and expanded by the present age.  Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored.  The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as ‘fact’. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Qur’an in Sura Dhariyat: And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi’un).  It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Qur’an. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it.

Read further on page 27 of the Winter 2016 volume of the Muslim Sunrise: Muslim Sunrise Winter 2016 volume

The Concept of Justice in Islam by Sir Zafrulla Khan

scales-of-justice

Author: Sir Zafrulla Khan

The Quran has at various places reiterated this principle.

And the recompense of an injury is a penalty the like thereof; but whoso forgives and his act brings about reformation, his reward is with God. Surely, He loves not the wrongdoers.(XLII. 41)

This verse lays down the principle that the penalty in respect of a wrong or injury should be in proportion thereto, but that where forgiveness would lead to reformation, the injury should be forgiven or the penalty may be reduced. A Contravention of either of these principles would amount to wrong doing. A penalty severer than that demanded by the wrong or injury done, or, forgiveness or lenience in a case where the circumstances do not indicate that forgiveness might result in improvement or reformation would both be wrong.

Again:

Surely, God wrongs not anyone even by the weight of an atom. And if there be a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward. (IV. 41)

The same principle is repeated in various contexts. For instance:

For those who do good deeds, there shall be the best reward and yet more blessings. And neither darkness nor ignominy shall cover their faces. (X. 27)

And as for those who do. evil deeds, the punishment of an evil shall be the like thereof, and ignominy shall cover them. (X. 28)

It may be pointed out that the safeguarding against darkness and ignominy in one case and being subjected to ignominy in the other is, in the strict sense, not a part of the reward or the penalty, but is a consequence which flows from the nature of the act in each case. It is a quality of good and evil respectively.

Whoso does a good deed shall have ten times as much; but he who does an evil deed, shall have only a like reward; and they shall not be wronged. (VI. 161)

Whoso does evil will be requited only with the like of it; but whoso does good, whether male or female, and is a believer-these will enter the Garden; they will be provided therein without measure. (XL. 41)

Read the book in PDF format: The-Concept-of-Justice-in-Islam

The author has counted the very first verse of each surahBismillah, which is common to all surahs except for one. So please adjust the count by one depending on your volume of the Quran.

About the author of the book from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan

“Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was a Pakistani politician, diplomat, and international jurist, known particularly for his representation of Pakistan at the United Nations (UN).

The son of the leading attorney of his native city, Zafrulla Khan studied at Government College in Lahore and received his LL.B. from King’s College, London University, in 1914. He practiced law in Sialkot and Lahore, became a member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1926, and was a delegate in 1930, 1931, and 1932 to the Round Table Conferences on Indian reforms in London. In 1931–32 he was president of the All-India Muslim League (later the Muslim League), and he sat on the British viceroy’s executive council as its Muslim member from 1935 to 1941. He led the Indian delegation to the League of Nations in 1939, and from 1941 to 1947 he served as a judge of the Federal Court of India.

Prior to the partition of India in 1947, Zafrulla Khan presented the Muslim League’s view of the future boundaries of Pakistan to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the man designated to decide the boundaries between India and Pakistan. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Zafrulla Khan became the new country’s minister of foreign affairs and served concurrently as leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN (1947–54). From 1954 to 1961 he served as a member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He again represented Pakistan at the UN in 1961–64 and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63. Returning to the International Court of Justice in 1964, he served as the court’s president from 1970 to 1973.

He was knighted in 1935. He is the author of Islam: Its Meaning for Modern Man (1962) and wrote a translation of the Qur’an (1970).” [Encylopaedia Britannica]