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

John 17: Showing Jesus to be a Prophet of God and Not Divine

 Secularism is our focus for politics, governance and human rights.  We believe theology and religion is a separate and independent discussion
Secularism is our focus for politics, governance and human rights. We believe theology is a separate and independent discussion

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

After Jesus said the following, he looked towards heaven and prayed:

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  (John 17:1-3, New International Version)

Not to speak of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew or Luke, even in the Gospel of John, which was the last to be written, 60-70 years after crucifixion, as the status of Jesus was being unduly raised and he was evolving into a deity, Jesus is still a prophet and not God, in the whole of the chapter 17.  In this chapter Jesus, may peace be on him, acknowledges several times, “you have sent me” and “you have given me,” as he addresses God the Father.

The confusion arises only when people try to explain, what is central and fundamental in the light of what is peripheral and allegorical.

Jesus, may peace be on him, is not only praying in the beginning of this chapter, but, through out, to God the Father.  Not once or twice, but over and over again and towards the end he mentions again that he is a prophet of God.

In the words of Sir Francis Bacon’s advice, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

Exterior of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher: The site is venerated as Golgotha, where Jesus was put on cross
Exterior of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher: The site is venerated as Golgotha, where Jesus was put on cross

Trinitarians allege that Jesus was perfect man and fully divine.

The portrait of Jesus, in John 17, as you will read below, is not of some one who is fully divine, but a humble man, who is not Omnipotent and does not know the future and is praying to God the Father, for help for himself and his followers.  Read for yourself, I have taken the liberty to highlight in red color, what I mean to emphasize:

 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:4-26, New International Version)

The emphasis is constantly on God the Father, His message and His glory and Jesus is constantly praying to him.

Read the whole chapter again and again, until you begin to see that Jesus, may peace be on him, is not co-equal to God the Father, as suggested in the Nicene creed.

In the last paragraph, Jesus is loud and clear that he is a Prophet of God and no literal son of God.  I rest my case!

Now, I link two debates between Unitarian Christians and Trinitarians:

Debate: Who was Jesus? Man or God? Sir Anthony Buzzard vs Drew Ayers

The Great Debate: Is Jesus God? ( 1 of 3 ) Sir Anthony Buzzard vs Dr. James  White

Suggested reading

Joel Osteen: Enlarging the Circle of Love

24 Video lectures: The Great Courses: How Jesus Became God?

The Best Collection to Introduce Islam to the Fellow 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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A Ted Talk As Commentary of A Verse of the Quran

Epigraph:

“I have created men, high and low, but to worship Me.” (Al Quran 51:56)

Jonathan Haidt’s Ted Talk: Religion, evolution, and the ecstasy of self-transcendence

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt asks a simple, but difficult question: why do we search for self-transcendence? Why do we attempt to lose ourselves? In a tour through the science of evolution by group selection, he proposes a provocative answer.

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles about the Quran and human psychology

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

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

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

The above one minute video clip is by Jaggi Vasudev also known as Sadhguru.

His criticism certainly needs to be tackled by the three Abrahamic faiths, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as they all believe in Afterlife.

Many a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim believe that their belief in Afterlife gives them hope, inspiration and sense of purpose.

To state the obvious, Afterlife and heaven and hell are described both in the Bible and the Quran.

The believers base their belief in the Afterlife on their faith in the respective scriptures, which is all well and good. But, this does not open up an avenue of discussion for them against the views of the agnostics, the atheists or those who do not believe in their respective scriptures.

The holy Quran does not only claim Afterlife but also suggests a poignant philosophical argument for it that is based in science.

The simple yet very profound argument has two parts:

A. This universe is not an accident. Its beauty, complexity and wonderful organization suggests an Insightful, All Knowing Creator.

B. The Creator of the first creation, in His creation, has certainly demonstrated His ability to recreate it.

Now, I propose to elaborate these two claims.

According to a Gallup poll in 2019, a large majority of the US population, 78% to be exact, believes in God the Creator, this includes both the camps of those who believe in guided evolution or creationism.

Despite the fact that significant population now identifies itself as unaffiliated to any religion, only 22% of Americans do not believe God had any role in human evolution.

I believe in guided evolution, as I believe both in a Creator God and in the facts of biological evolution.

Scientists and philosophers from all Abrahamic faiths, including myself, have laid out forceful arguments for our Creator God and I have been collecting these over the years and I propose to put them at your finger tips here:

How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution

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

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

The above should suffice for the first part of my thesis: This universe is not an accident. Its beauty, complexity and wonderful organization suggests an Insightful, All Knowing Creator.

Once the reader is comfortable with the first part, the next part, the Creator of the first creation, in His creation, has certainly demonstrated His ability to recreate it, naturally flows from it.

The holy Quran presents this reasoning, with different aspects of God’s creation several times. For starters: “Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, has the power to create the like of them?” (Al Quran 17:100)

Next I present, a verse of the Holy Quran, where Allah cites gravity and planetary motion as a pointer, towards His creativity and eventual hereafter:

Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne. And He pressed the sun and the moon into service: each pursues its course until an appointed term. He regulates it all. He clearly explains the Signs, that you may have a firm belief in the meeting with your Lord.  (Al Quran 13:3)

The Quran offers only one line of reasoning for the second creation, namely the first creation. Allah argues that one who has created this complex and awe inspiring universe and all  the life forms on our planet earth, should be able to recreate human life and of course the individual humans.

The Holy Quran discusses reincarnation in greater detail in the following verses in the chapter Yasin, adding the domain of biology to that of astronomy as the argument is built further, from the first creation:

Does not man see that We have created him from a mere sperm-drop? Yet lo! he is an open quarreler!  And he coins similitudes for Us and forgets his own creation. He says, ‘Who can quicken the bones when they are decayed?’  Say, ‘He, Who created them the first time, will quicken them; and He knows every kind of creation full well. He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, and behold, you kindle from it.  Has not He Who created the heavens and the earth the power to create the like of them?’ Yea, 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 36:78-84)

In several places the Quran uses biology and regeneration of earth in spring as a metaphor for Afterlife:

Among His Signs is this that you see the earth lying withered, but when We send down water on it, it stirs and swells with verdure. Surely He Who quickens the earth can quicken the dead also. Indeed, He has power over all things. (Al Quran 41:40)

And:

He brings forth the living from the dead, and He brings forth the dead from the living; and He gives life to the earth after its death. And in like manner shall you be brought forth. (Al Quran 30:20)

The debate we are having here is not a new one but is an age old conflict between the believers and non-believers, as the holy Quran describes:

They say, ‘What! when we are dead and have become mere dust and bones, shall we indeed be raised up again? This is what we have been promised before, we and our fathers. This is nothing but fables of the ancients.’ Say, ‘To whom belongs the earth and whosoever is therein, if you know?’‘To Allah’, they will say. Say, ‘Will you not then be admonished?’ Say, ‘Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, and the Lord of the Great Throne?’ They will say, ‘They are Allah’s.’ Say, ‘Will you not then take Him as your Protector?’(Al Quran 23:83-88)

The Quran is well aware of comments of critics like Jaggi Vasudev:

And they say, ‘There is nothing but this our present life; we die and we live here; and nothing but Time destroys us.’ But they have no knowledge of that; they do but conjecture. And when Our clear Signs are recited unto them, their only contention is that they say, ‘Bring back our fathers, if you are truthful.’ (Al Quran 45:25-26)

The Quran has a clear answer for its critics. As long as the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other scientist are able to demonstrate there is a Creator of our universe, we are on very firm grounds to believe in the Afterlife. The first creation is proof enough for the future second creation.

I rest my case.