Friday, July 29, 2011

The New Strasbourg Grand Mosque Hopes to Open for Ramadan

 The Grand Mosque of Strasbourg is expected to welcome its first Ramadan, which begins 1 August.

The building, whose main prayer room can accept 1,500 worshippers, has yet to obtain approval from the prefectural security committee, whose official visit will take place on the same day.

Agreements are being sought with the Strasbourg municipality to allow the mosque to open for worshipers throughout the month and then close thereafter until construction is complete.

Aalla Said, the mosque's president said: "A preliminary visit of the technical committee went well. We have some details to work out. But in terms of safety, we are up to par. "

"We are confident. The mosque is ready. It only needs the interior, " the mosque's real estate manager, Fouad Douai, said on Wednesday.

The interior of the mosque will be conducted in zellige, a glazed terracotta by Moroccan craftsmen by the end of the year. The inauguration is scheduled for November.

Though there are many mosques in Strasbourg, the Grand Mosque will be the first purpose-built mosque in the entirety of France's Alsace region. Other mosques are converted buildings, the largest of which is the Eyyub Sultan, a former industrial building that still claims to offer the largest prayer hall in Strasbourg, with a capacity for 1750 worshippers.

Approval for the construction of the new mosque was given way back in 1999 by the socialist municipality, but its size was called into questioned by the UMP, which came to power in 2001. The mosque effort was relaunched in 2008 with the return of Socialist Roland Ries. The project has struggled to complete the mosque on a budget of 8.7 million euros.

Local, city, regionional governments will ultimately provide 26% of the amount under the bankruptcy law in force in Alsace and Moselle, with the balance divided between the Strasbourg Muslim community on the one hand, and Morocco, the Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on the other.

The Grand Mosque of Strasbourg, which has a copper dome rising 24 meters, will not have a minaret, at least initially. While the right was vetoed, Roland Ries said there be no objection.

"It's a sign of openness, but we are in no hurry," said Fouad Douai about this architectural element that was planned in the initial project to reach 28 meters .

The Grand Mosque will conduct services in French and Arabic, and hopes to attract much of the Muslim community in the city of Strasbourg, which is estimated to be around 50,000 people, about 10% of the population.


"La Grande mosquée de Strasbourg espère ouvrir pour le ramadan" AFP July 27, 2011

"La Grande Mosquée de Strasbourg fête son premier Ramadan" Mosquée de Strasbourg July 27, 2011

"Ramadan 2011 : la grande mosquée de Strasbourg juste à temps"

"Phillipe Wendling, "LE RAMADAN FÊTÉ À LA GRANDE MOSQUÉE" Grand Strasbourg July 12, 2011

When One's Spouse Commits Adultery

It is one of the greatest calamities that can beset a marriage. Either the husband or the wife betrays Allah and the trust of their marriage partner and engages in adultery. It more often than not leads to the end of the marriage and the ruin of the family. In traditional societies, this is more likely to be the case when the woman has committed adultery.
Some people believe that adultery requires the dissolusion of the marriage as a religious obligation. This is not true. The choice to forgive and try to save the marriage remains with the other spouse. In many cases, the marriage can be saved.
If a man or woman commits adultery, it does not affect the lawfulness or validity of the marriage from an Islamic legal perspective. The man who committed adultery remains the lawful husband of his wife. The woman who committed adultery remains the lawful wife of her husband. It is not obligatory for them to get divorced.
The proof for this is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not seek out the married woman whom Mâ`iz committed fornication with. He did not inquire after her husband and command him to divorce her. All he said was: “O Unays, go to that man’s wife, and if she confesses, then have her stoned.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6633) and Sahîh Muslim (1698)]
We can see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not instruct that the husband must divorce his wife or that she had become unlawful to him.
The children born of a woman who committed adultery are attributed to the woman’s husband according to Islamic Law. The integrity and continuity of the family is in this way preserved, as well as the legitimacy of the child and its place in its parents' home.
Adultery has no legal effect in such matters, because what is unlawful in Islam is regarded as nonexistent for such purposes. The evidence for this is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The child belongs to the (marriage) bed, and the adulterer is stoned.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2053) and Sahîh Muslim (1457)]
Therefore, the child is attributed to the woman’s husband. Any paternity claim of the man with whom she committed adultery is of no consequence in contesting the husband’s paternity.
A repentant adulterer can still be a good husband or wife. If a man claims he has sincerely repented for his sin, his wife can keep him as her husband. Likewise, if the woman claims that she has repented for her mistake, then her husband has every right to keep her as his wife. Allah says about those who repent: “Say: O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 53]
Allah also says: “And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with true repentance.” [Sûrah al-Furqân: 71]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah accepts the repentance of His servant as long as he has not reached the throes of death.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (3537) and Sunan Ibn Mâjah (4253)]
He also said: “Allah stretches forth his hand at night to those who had sinned during the day, and he stretches forth His hand during the day for those who had sinned during the night.” [Sahîh Muslim (2759)]
The spouse will be able to tell if the adulterous husband or wife is sincere in repentance by observing the behavior after repentance. The truly repentant person who has returned to the obedience of Allah will tend to exhibit more piety . Signs of this include observing prayers and fasts, modesty in dress, engaging in voluntary worship, and her feeling remorse for the mistake. These are among the signs that the person has truly repented to the Lord.
Moreover, the husband and wife are free to engage in intimacy after coming to know that the other spouse has committed adultery. There is no sin in this, and no prescribed waiting period when the adulterer is the woman. The reason for this is that the default ruling in Islamic Law is that a wife and husband are lawful for each other. Allah says: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth as you will.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 223]
However, if a spouse is persistent in adultery, exhibits a wanton attitude, and is unrepentant; then that person should not be kept as a marriage partner. Allah says: “The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden to the believers.” [Sûrah al-Nûr: 3]
And Allah knows best.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is Arabic the Language of Adam? or of Paradise?

 [This article is a full translation of the fifth chapter of Ibn Hazm's Ihkâm fî Usûl al-Ahkâm. It's original title is: "The Origins of Language: Divine Providence or Human Codification". It is presented here for the interesting points it makes about matters of general interest, and should not be taken as the final word on linguistic matters.]

Regarding how languages came about – was it by divine instruction or by human codification – is a question that people have debated considerably. The correct view is that the origin of spoken language is instruction from Allah. The evidence for this comes from revelation and what reason demonstrates to be necessary.

As for revelation, Allah says: "And He taught Adam the names of all things then he presented them to the angels…" [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 31]

The rational necessity for this is as follows: Had speech been established by direct human codification, it would have been necessary for the people who set down its code to have had complete mental faculties, rational discipline, comprehensive knowledge, and direct experience with all thing found in the world along with knowledge of the limits, similarities, differences, and natures of those thing. However, we know by necessity that the interval of time between the first appearance of a person and the time when that person attains such a level is a considerable number of years, requiring education, protection, and the care of others. A person becomes independent only many years after being born. There is no way for a parents, responsible people, and nursemaids to cooperate in life without having a language by which they understand each other's essential needs. These include their tilling, herding, and planting activities, also the means by which they protect themselves from the heat, cold, and wild animals, as well as their ways of treating illness. Every individual has to have gone through the experience of childhood, which we have already mentioned is a state of inability and dependency on others.

Moreover, the idea of codification necessitates that there was a time beforehand when language was not in existence, since it came about as the result of the activity of those who codified it. Yet, every activity requires speech in order to carry it out, sow how were the codifiers of language supposed to go about the business of codifying it without having a language already at their disposal? This is an impossible situation.

This rational proof follows necessarily from the evidence that the human species came about after having not existed, and from the evidence that there is a single Creator, and from the evidence proving the existence of prophethood and messengership. This is because no human being can remain in existence without speech, and speech is composed of letters, and composition is an activity that requires an actor to carry it out, and every activity that (the actor) carries out has a starting point in time. This follows from the fact that an activity is movement requiring aptitude. So it is affirmed that the composition (of letters) had a starting point and that the human being cannot exist without speech. Whenever the existence of one thing depends upon the existence of something else that has a starting point, then it necessarily has a starting point as well.

So it is affirmed that one thing must have come about after the other in succession, and it is confirmed that what is known of (language) is first known from the Creator, since (language) is something which, in its very nature, can only be known by way of being taught, and therefore requires that its first (human) teacher was taught directly by Allah. Then he in turn taught the members of his own kind what his Lord had taught him.

Also, the codification needed to establish a language necessarily needs to be conducted by way of an earlier language that the codifiers had in common or by a system of gestures that they all understood. They could only have come to a mutual agreement on understanding those gestures if they used a language to do so. Knowledge of the definitions and natures of things which is communicated through language utterances cannot be obtained except by way of language and explanation. There is no other way. From this we know that speech could not have come about as a result of human codification.

The only objection that can still be raised is that language is an instinctive act.

Rational necessity dictates that this idea is false. Instinct only brings about a single behavior, not a number of different ones. The composition of speech is a voluntary act that is carried out under many different circumstances. Some of the proponents (of this idea that language is instinctive) have resorted to a confused argument, saying that geographical differences necessitated by nature the different languages that the inhabitants of different regions speak.

This is also something impossible, for if differences in language are necessitated by the natural demands of different geographical environments, it would not be possible for more than one language to exist in the same locality. We can see with our eyes that this is not the case, since in most localities we find that various languages coexist, due to the movements of populations who speak different languages and those populations living alongside one other. This is enough to demonstrate the falsehood of that idea. Also, there is nothing in the nature of a geographical environment that would necessitate calling water by the name "water" instead of by another name composed of the same alphabet set. Whoever insists obstinately that there is (such a natural imperative) is one of two things: he is either being deliberately false or he is out of his mind. Therefore, the correct stance is that (language) came by way of by divine instruction by Allah's command and His teaching it.

At the same time, we do not deny that people brought about a variety of languages after there had been a single language that they used to have in common by way of divine instruction, and by which they had been able to know the natures, modalities, and definitions of things. We have no way of knowing what the original language was that Adam (peace be upon him) spoke. All that we can say for certain is that it must have been the most comprehensive of all languages, the clearest in expression, the least ambiguous, the most concise, and the most extensive in vocabulary to comprehend the names of all things, whether substances or accidents. For Allah says: "And He taught Adam the names of all things…" [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 31] And this is the confirmation that dispels all problems and disputations on the matter.

Some people have suggested that the first language was Syriac. Others have said it was Hebrew. And Allah knows best.

What we do know for certain is that Syriac, Hebrew, and Arabic – the last being the language of the tribes of Mudar and Rabi`ah, not the (Old South Arabian) language of Himyar – are all a single language, and that language underwent change when its speakers settled in different geographic localities, so that it was fragmented. This is just like what happens when an Andalusian encounters the Qairawani dialect or vise versa, or when a Khorasani encounters either of the above. When we listen to the speech of people from Fahs al-Ballut, it is almost a different language than that spoken in Cordova, though it is only one night's journey away. The same situation can be found for many other parts of the world, because when the people of a region live in close proximity to another people, their language changes in a way that is obvious to anyone who gives thought to the matter.

We find that the masses have changed the vocabulary of Arabic so significantly that their words have become as distant from the original as to be another language. different we find them saying "`eenab" for "`inab" (grape), "astoot" for "sawt" (whip), and "thalathdaa" for "thalaathah danaaneer" (three dinars). When a Berber becomes Arabized and wants to say "shajarah" (tree) he says "sajarah", and when a Galician becomes Arabized, he replaces both the letters `ayn and the aspirate h with the throaty h, so he says Muhammad with a throaty h instead of an aspirate h. Such things are commonplace.

Therefore, whoever investigates Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac will ascertain that the differences between them are of the nature we have just described. Those differences came about as changes in people's pronunciation over long periods of time, from geographical dispersion, and from proximity to other nations, and that they are a single language in origin.

Having established that, we say that Syriac is the ancestor of both Arabic and Hebrew. It is generally known that the first to speak this Arabic was Ishmael (peace be upon him) and it became the language of his progeny. Hebrew is the language of Isaac and his progeny. Syriac is without doubt the language of Abraham (peace be upon him and upon our prophet), as it is narrated by the general historic consensus to such degree that we can be secure in our knowledge of it. Therefore, Syriac is the ancestor of both Hebrew and Arabic.

Some people have claimed that Greek is the simplest of languages. However, it is possible that this is only true for Greek in the present time, since much of it is lost. It has been marginalized by the fall of its speakers' nation and the foreign occupation of their lands, or by their migrating from their lands and intermixing with others. A nation's language, learning, and history are only maintained by the strength of its polity and by the vibrancy and leisure of its people.

As for those whose state has collapsed and whose enemies have vanquished them, who are preoccupied with fear, need, disgrace, and serving their enemies, their creativity dies. This may be why the Greeks have lost their language, forgotten their genealogy and history, and had their sciences perish into nothingness. This can be confirmed both through observation and through reason. The Assyrian Empire passed into obscurity so many thousands of years ago that now its language is completely forgotten. So how much easier can it be for most of a language be lost? And Allah knows best.

We cannot say that for certain that it is the language that Allah first bequeathed. It might be suggested that the original language has been lost without leaving a trace, or that it endures until today but we have no way of knowing which language it is. This is something we must admit. We know that there must have been some original language. Yet, maybe Allah taught Adam all of the languages that people speak today. Maybe it was one language back then with many synonyms signifying one signified, that then became many languages distributed later on among his progeny. This seems to me the most likely scenario. However, we can never know for certain. All we can say for sure is that there was one original language bequeathed by Allah.

What makes me feel that whatever Allah originally bequeathed must have comprised all of the languages spoken today, is that I see no reason why people who already have a common language they speak and understand would bother to develop a new one. That would be a tremendous and meaningless effort, the type of excess that no sensible person would think of undertaking. If such a person did exist, he would have to be excessively frivolous and poor in judgment, busying himself with what has no benefit while neglecting what concerns him – things far more relevant to him like the affairs of his afterlife, his worldly interests, his pleasures, and all the beneficial sciences,

Furthermore, how would such a person get the people of his county to abandon their own language and adopt the new one that had been concocted for them? I am not saying it is an impossibility, just that it is an extremely remote possibility.

If someone argues suggested that the king of a multilingual kingdom might try to unite everyone upon a common language, we could argue back that this is the very opposite of the codification of many languages; it is the reduction of many languages down to one. Moreover, why would the king go to the immense trouble of doing so when it would be much easier for him to unite them upon one of the languages they already speak or better yet his own language? This would be easier and more plausible than concocting a whole new language. And Allah knows best.

There are those who assume their language is better than others. This means nothing, since superiority comes about in certain well-known ways: either by deeds or by special distinction. A language has no deeds and there is no scriptural text conferring the distinction of superiority to one language over another.

Allah says: "And We did not send any messenger but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly." [Sûrah Ibrâhîm: 4]

He also says: ", We have made this (Qur'an) easy, in your tongue, in order that they may give heed." [Sûrah al-Dukhân: 58]

So Allah tells us that He only revealed the Qur'an in Arabic so that the Prophet's people could understand it. That is the only reason.

Galen was very much mistaken when he said: "Greek is the superior language, because all other languages sound like either the barking of dogs or the croaking of frogs."

This is blatant ignorance, since when anyone hears a language other than his own, a language he does not understand, it invariably sounds to him the way that Galen describes it.

People have said that Arabic is the best of languages, because Allah's words are conveyed by it.

This does not mean a thing, because Allah has told us he always sent a Messenger speaking his native tongue, and Allah says: "There never was a people without a warner having lived among them." [Sûrah Fâtir: 24]

He also says: "" [Sûrah al-Shu'arâ': 196]

This means that Allah's words and revelations were sent down in every language. He sent the Torah, the Gospel, and the Psalms. He spoke to Moses in Hebrew. He sent the Scrolls to Abraham in Syriac. Therefore, languages are equal in this regard.

Regarding the language of the denizens of Paradise and that of the denizens of Hell, we do not have any knowledge about these except by way of scripture or consensus, neither of which exists on the matter. They certainly must speak some language, so there are three – and only three – possibilities: they will speak some language presently in existence, they will speak a language unlike any that presently exists, or they will speak a plurality of languages. In any event, the depiction Allah gives of their conversing with each other shows with certainty that they will all able to communicate intelligibly with one another, either in Arabic as it is given in the Qur'an, or in some other language, and Allah alone knows what it will be

Someone asserted to me that that their language will be Arabic, citing Allah's words: "And their final supplication will be: 'Al-Hamdu Lillaahi, Rabbi-l-`Aalameen'." [Sûrah Yûnus: 10]

I countered this by saying to him: In the same way, it will have to be the language of Hell, since Allah informs us they said: "Sawaa'un `alaynaa a jazi`naa am sabarna, maa lanaa min mahees." [Sûrah Ibrâhîm: 21]

And that they said: "An afeedu `alaynaa min al-maa'i aw mimmaa razaqakum Allah" [Sûrah al-A`râf: 50]

And likewise that they said: "Law kunnâ nasma`u aw na`qilu maa kunnaa fee ashaab al-sa`eer." [Sûrah al-Mulk: 10]

He then said: "Yes. This is the case."

I then said to him: Then you must furthermore assert that Arabic was the language of Moses and all of the prophets (peace be upon them), since all of their words are quoted to us in the Qur'an in Arabic.

However, your Lord shows your assertion to be a lie when He says: "And We did not send any messenger but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly." [Sûrah Ibrâhîm: 4]

This means that Allah only quotes to us the meaning of what they said in their various languages in a language we can understand, to make it clear to us. That is all.

The letter-sounds of languages are all the same, none take precedence over any others, and there is no inherent ugliness or beauty in some to the exclusion of others. They are the same for all languages. Therefore such a flimsy and spurious claim is false. And success rests with Allah.

It was such misguided and common notions that led some Jews to permit telling lies and swearing false oaths in other than Hebrew. They claimed that the angels who convey human deeds to heaven do not understand anything but Hebrew, so they do not record against them anything else. This is patent foolishness. The Knower of the unseen and of what is in the hearts surely knows all the languages and their meanings – there is no God but He. He is sufficient for us and the best of protectors.

Al-Khabīr - Allah is All-Aware

Allah is referred to as “the All-Aware” forty-five times in the Qur’an. The name sometimes appears by itself and sometimes in connection with another of His names.

For example, we find:

“He is the Knower of Subtleties, the All-Aware” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 103]

“I was informed by the All-Knowing, the All-Aware” [Sūrah al-Tahrīm: 3]

“And Allah is Well-Aware of all that you do.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 234]

This meaning of this name is closely related to that of al-`Alīm (the All-Knowing). It is used, however, more in the context of Allah knowing secrets and things that are kept hidden.

Allah says: “None can inform you like Him who is All-Aware.” [Sūrah Fātir: 14]

Therefore, this name is implied whenever the Qur’an discusses how Allah’s knowledge embracing all things visible and hidden and how nothing, no matter how seemingly imperceptible, escapes Allah’s awareness.

An aspect of our knowing that Allah is All-Aware is the assurance that He knows everything about what we are going through as well as everything about the things that we do. When Allah recompenses us in this world and the Hereafter for our deeds, he does so knowing every aspect of what is in our hearts.

On the Day of Judgment, Allah will make all these things manifest to us: “Does he not know that, when the contents of the graves are poured forth, and the secrets of the hearts are made known, on that day (they will find) their Lord is Well-Aware of them.” [Sūrah al-`Ādiyāt: 9-11]

Knowing that Allah is aware of our deeds, we should rush to perform as many good deeds as we can. Knowing that He is well-aware of our weakness, we should not hesitate to appeal to Him for help. Knowing that he is aware of our sins, we should turn to Him in repentance.

Those who plot and scheme in secret should know that Allah is aware of their scheming and can bring all of their malicious plans to naught.

Allah says: “And Allah encompasses them on every side.” [Sūrah al-Burūj: 20]

Allah refers to Prophet Muhammad as being “well aware” (khabīrSūrah al-Furqān: 59]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) knows more than anyone else about Allah. Of all people, his awareness of the Lord is the strongest.

Above All, See Others as Human Beings

Once, while sitting in a public venue, a young man was seated next to me who behaved quite strangely. He looked unbearably sad and distraught. He recoiled from everyone around him, as if he thought that everyone was out to cause him injury. It then occurred to me that this young man was closed off to any possibility of positive engagement with others. In order to reach out to this person, you would first have to know how to get through the barriers that he has erected around himself.

There may be a person who you want to do business with, or who you need to cooperate with in some scientific project or cultural event. Or you may want to call that person to righteousness, or protect that person from harm. Or maybe that person may be able to help you in some way and you wish to ask for help. Or maybe you know there is some way you can help that person.

This person you need to engage with on a personal level for one reason or another may be someone who is wealthy, or a great thinker, or highly educated, or dangerously misguided… This person may be many things, but one thing is for certain: before everything else, you are dealing with another human being.

At the day of his or her birth, none of those other attributes were in evidence. Allah reminds us: “And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that perchance you might give thanks.” [Sūrah al-Nahl: 78 ]

He also says: “And behold! You come to us as bare and alone as We created you the first time: you have left behind you all (the favors) which We bestowed on you” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 94]

All human beings share the same essential qualities. Therefore, any type of contact or interaction you have with another person which disregards that person’s essential humanity is bound to fail. At the same time, it is good to know that you have a starting point. You are a human being too, so there is so much that you already know about the other person: those essential needs, sentiments, experiences and feelings that we all share.

This is why Allah, in His wisdom, sent Messengers to humanity from among themselves. Those messengers ate food, walked in the marketplaces, got married, fell ill, and suffered pain like everyone else.

Every person has unique sensitivities that must be respected and idiosyncrasies that must be negotiated. At the same time, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, respect, and sympathy.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever wishes to be saved from Hell ad admitted into Paradise as desired, they should believe in Allah and the Last Day and treat other people the way they themselves would like to be treated." [Sahīh Muslim]

Here, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is giving us a beautiful approach for dealing with others. We should always put ourselves in the place of those we are dealing with and then ask ourselves what would make us happy if we were in their place? This is the way the Prophet (peace be upon him) related to people, and this is the model that we should follow.

For instance, we know that people like to hear good things about themselves. Everyone has some good qualities, and it is not necessary to flatter people with lies in order to say something good about them.

It is also generally good to let people know that you like them and regard them highly. This should be something we generally feel about all people in principle, since Allah has honored all human beings and chosen them above His other creations.

Allah says: "Verily we have honored the children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preference. " [Sūrah al-Isrā': 70]

And He says: "We have indeed created man in the best of forms." [Sūrah al-Tīn: 4]

Look at the other person and smile sincerely. Have a pure heart and speak as a friend. Talk about good things in a simple way. Enjoy the conversation.

If you are dealing with people you wish to assist or give charity to, before handing over the money, show them respect. Treat them well and deal with them warmly. Allah says: "A kind word and clemency are better than charity followed by abuse." [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 263]

You should be this way with our spouse whom you live all your life, as well as with your children. Our children may have come from us, but we raise them to grow up into independent human beings, accountable directly to their Lord.

You should be this way with your co-workers, colleagues, and neighbors. If you have employees working for you, or you are in a position to have servants and drivers in your employ, show them the same respect you show other people. You should truly feel in your heart that if Allah has blessed you in this world to have greater wealth or social status than someone else, that does not mean you are better. Those others who possess less in this world may have greater status with Allah on account of their character or their piety, or some other quality you might be unaware of. Ultimately, they may enjoy a higher status in the eternal abode of Hereafter.

You should approach strangers in the same way. It may be the only time you meet. Leave them with a good impression. Remember, what they think of you personally will also influence their attitudes about the groups and affiliations they identify you with. Make sure the dealings they had with you were happy ones. Do good by them, and who knows how many of Allah's blessings your kindness will bring you in this world and the next.

Make the same positive attitude the basis for your dealings with those you wish to criticize for their faults or to advise in order to bring them away from their misconduct or guide them to what is right. You should be sincerely concerned for them as people, even if you disagree with them or disapprove of their conduct. You should always have their welfare at heart. Do not engage in making accusations or use insulting words that will ensure your failure to reform their errors even before you begin to try. Ahmad b. Hanbal advised: "Rarely will you make someone angry and then find them agreeing with you."

Those of us who wish to engage in teaching people or in calling others to Allah, or who wish to reform society should heed this advice. They need to consider it all the more. They should follow the Prophet's guidance and "treat other people the way they themselves would like to be treated." This is wisdom.

The Ideal Divorce

 Most people do not take divorce seriously enough. Some spouses threaten divorce at the least trouble, and consequently break apart happy homes for the most trivial of reasons. Others refuse to give the option of divorce any serious consideration at all, even when their married lives are a living hell.

Hastiness in divorce is the most common problem. So many divorcees wring their hands in grief after their marriages are over, thinking about the happy times they had and all the pleasantness, warmth, and comfort that they enjoyed with their spouses only realized they missed after it is too late. They look back longingly to the embrace of their loved ones and being together with their children under the same roof, knowing that in anger and haste, they broke their homes forever.

Divorce is literally a breaking of what was once together, and unraveling of what had been tightly knit. This is why Islam has placed conditions upon divorce and recommended steps that should be taken before resorting to such an extreme step. For instance, Islamic Law provides measures like three separate pronouncements an a waiting period to give the estranged couple a chance to rethink their decision and come to a reconciliation.

However, hastiness is not the only problem that causes sorrow and suffering. The refusal to accept divorce under any circumstance brings its own collection of miseries, and it can be just as reprehensible as haste.

The fact that Islam provides for divorce and sets forth its shows that Islam is truly the religion of the All-Wise, All-Knowing Creator. Allah only prescribed divorce as an option because sometimes it is truly in the best interest of the people concerned.

Therefore, we have no reason to become so averse to the idea in principle that we shun it when it is really necessary – when the alternative to divorce is to make two people persist in living lives of distress and suffering. What is the point in a couple subjecting themselves to that? How long should a household remain in a state of perpetual strife and psychological pain?

Marriage is one of the greatest of blessings Allah has provided for us. It is a covenant between two hearts, a union of two souls, and also a coming together of two bodies. When discord comes between those hearts, the mercy, love, and affection that marriage brings are threatened. Every effort should be made to repair the damage and bring reconciliation between the two spouses.

However, if every attempt at reconciliation ends in failure, and it becomes clear that the temperament of one or both of the spouses is such that it is impossible for them to live together on a footing of mutual respect and affection, then it is more merciful to both of them that they go their separate ways, peacefully and amicably.

Unfortunately, divorce is not always peaceful and amicable. Often, one of the spouses is not content to just let the other person go on with their life unscathed. Instead, they find the need to publicize their spouse's "wrongdoings" and even make up faults that do not even exist – things that could imperil that person's chances of getting remarried. Even worse, they sometimes lack the common decency to spare their children from hearing those foul things, and may go so far as to actively turn their children against other parent!

This is blatantly unjust. It is enmity at its ugliest and pettiest. This is why Allah has commanded: "the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 229]

The faults and deficiencies of both spouses must be kept private as much as possible, and never be used as a means to cause injury or public shame. They should keep in mind that Allah is most generous and His world is spacious, and that each spouse has more to look forward to in their future than the prospect of debasing the other!

People are of different temperaments and they have different needs. What might prove an irreconcilable fault in one marital relationship might prove to be the basis of success in another.

I would like to share with you the story of a divorce that happened to someone I know personally. Indeed, if I did not know this man and had not been part of his life at the time he got divorced, I would have dismissed the story as an incredible fiction.

This man that I knew had remained with his wife for a number of years, and the two of them were blessed with children. He was from one city in Saudi Arabia and his wife and her family were from another. They often had difficulties in their marriage due to their differing temperaments. He was a laid-back, cool-tempered person while she was disposed to being passionate and hot-tempered.

One day, he sat down with her and said: "My dear, we should not keep on like this, always bickering and always goading each other. Either we come to some sort of understanding or we should go our separate ways. We should either 'hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness'."

She said: "Let me think about it and pray to Allah for guidance. I implore that you do the same."

After a period of time, she said to him: "I think it is best for both of us that we part. Perhaps Allah will provide each of us from His grace with something better."

He said to her: "We should, then, think about divorce, and implore Allah's blessings."

Then the day came that he drove her to her parent's city and left her with her family. He then went to the courthouse and filed the divorce papers as an uncontested and finalized divorce. He then returned to her at her family home and informed her that it was done. He stayed at the house with her family for a few more hours and had lunch with them, then departed.

He then returned to his own home. At that point he broke down. He told me:
I just cried and cried until I couldn't cry any more, in grief, thinking back on all those years we had lived together. Then, when I finally collected my composure, I called her and her mother – her father was deceased. I said to her: "The children belong to both of us. If you want them to stay with me, that is good. If you want them with you, then I will bring them to you."

She consulted with her mother and said: "We would like them here with us."

So I said: "Then, you should tell me how much child support you think is needed and I will send it to you regularly."

We agreed on an amount, which I pay to them regularly. I keep close tabs on my children. They visit me at home quite often. I also visit them at times. I keep in touch with their mother on maters concerning the children.
After a time, he remarried and had children from his second marriage. His former wife also remarried. However, the two of tem remained in contact with each other concerning the children that they shared. Whenever he went to his former wife's city for any reason, he would make sure to visit his former mother-in-law (his children's grandmother) at her home and share lunch or dinner with her family.

To this day, he is happy in his new marriage and attentive to his children from his first marriage. He tells me: "For our children, we make sure that it is as close as possible to their living with both their parents."

I asked him: "Don't you and your former wife ever have arguments now regarding the children?"

He said: "No. I am very thankful for the way they are raising my children. It is enough distress for the children that we – their parent – got divorced. We do not need to add to their distress by fighting."

This is the story of one of my closest friends and I can attest to his situation up to this very day. He and his former wife give us a good example of how people should behave with each other when they disagree – and no disagreement can be more poignant or trying than divorce.

It is sad that when divorce happens, such stories of amicability are very rare. Usually there is a lot of vindictiveness, protracted fighting between the spouses, and much injury. The result is that they both suffer and their children suffer even more. If they would only follow their Lord's command and "hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness", then theغ would find so many blessings in their lives.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Evolution? Creation?

For the Muslim there is no need for separation between religion and science. It is understood from the Quran, revealed over 1,400 years ago, that there is both; "Creation" and "Evolution." And in both instances, it is only Allah who is "Able to do all things." In fact, it was the Muslim scientists, more than 1,000 years ago, who set the stage for the advancement of learning, technology and disciplines in science that we know today. Allah has explained how He created everything in the universe and brought all life out of water. He created humans from earth (not monkeys) and there is no need to attempt fabrications of "links" to the animal world in Islam. The Christian Bible says that Adam & Eve were both created here on Earth, less than 10,000 years ago. The Quran says that Adam & Eve were created in Heaven, and NOT on Earth. When they disobeyed God, He expelled them from Heaven, down to Earth. Muslims believe that souls are assigned to humans 40 days after the human inception. The Quran says that angels retrieve human souls on two occasions. One occasion is when humans die. The other occasion is every time humans fall asleep. When humans wakeup, the angels release those souls back to them:

It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that did not die, during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back, but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.

[Noble Quran 39:42]

And Allah has Created every animal from water; of them are some creeping on their bellies; some walk on two legs; and some on four. Allah Creates what He wills: for sure Allah has Power over all things.

[Noble Quran 24:45]

The Quran has set a precedent 14 centuries before modern science, explaining in simple and direct terms about his "creation" of animals and their various functions and then assures us it is He who has the Power over everything. This statement includes the fact Allah can if He Wills, reshape and alter his creation as He Chooses. There is clear evidence within many species of alteration and changes within the species. However, there is no concrete evidence to support a cross over in development from one type to another, such as reptiles turning into birds or alligators turning into cows. The statements made in Quran are quite clear when Allah tells us of having brought forth other life forms and then destroying or replacing them with others. This again, does not imply evolution in the sense of one type becoming or changing into another. Allah tells us He is Al-Bari, (The Shaper or Evolver) but once again, this does not mean He has a need to bring about each individual life form all from one kind. Actually, while reading the Quran you learn He has brought many types and shapes and sizes as He Wills. Changes within species occur even as quickly as one or two seasons, not even taking a whole year, much less millions as was supposed by Darwin. Speaking of Charles Darwin, he was only an armature naturalist and had only observed the finches (birds) on the Galapagos Islands for the first time in the mid 1850s. He noticed that on each island the birds had different shaped beaks according to the type of food available on their particular island. For this reason, he assumed, the birds had progressed over millions of years and only the hardiest of the species had survived the climate and vegetation changes. However, this is totally inaccurate and was dismissed as a mere humor in a TV series on the educational channel in October of 1998. According to the scientists’ discoveries in that very same year, the effects of the weather phenomenon known as El Nino, the climate on these same exact islands had drastically changed in a single year within a number of months. And to their surprise, the eggs of the finches on each island hatched open producing birds with beaks already altered to accommodate the changes of their environment. The commentator even said this shoots Darwin's theory completely down and he laughed. There is no DNA research pointing to a connection between apes and humans as was supposed by the scientists and those who had financed them over the years. In fact, the barnyard pig is closer to humans in many aspects, than a monkey or a gorilla. Consider the fact, doctors use the skin from pigs to replace needed tissue on burn victims and the famous movie actor, John Wayne had a pig's heart valve installed in his own heart in a 1977 operation to save his life. It worked, too - until his smoking caused him to die of cancer. The rational approach to the whole subject is rather simple. Just as He is able to Create the universe and bring forth life, it is simple also for Him to produce as many different types of forms of life as He Wills. No problem for Him, after all - He is the Creator and He is the Shaper. And most important, He can change anything as He Wills - even today.

UNIQUE QURAN Sheikh Yusuf Estes Watch it

UNIQUE QURAN Sheikh Yusuf Estes Watch it


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Sections, Surahs, Ayahs, and Make up

Sections, Surahs, Ayahs, and Make up Reciting the Quran is the duty of every good Muslim on a daily basis. Whether in congregation or separately, every literate believing man, woman and child should be reading, learning and sharing from the Book of Allah. For those who desire to complete their recitation or reading of the Quran within a certain time frame, they are most pleased to find the Quran is separated into thirty (30) even parts called "juz-un" in Arabic or Para in Persian (Farsi). It is also divided into seven equal parts. If someone reads a "juz'un" each day, in 30 day they will have completed the entire Quran in one month. The seventh part of the Quran is called a manzil, which if read all the way through in one day will make the complete recitation of the entire Quran in only one week. Ordinarily the quarters of each sipara (1/4, 1/2, 3/4) are also marked in Arabic language as Ar-rub', An-nisf and Ath-thalata. Divisions according subjects are quite different. Quran is comprised of 114 surahs of unequal size. Surahs (chapters) are numbered and consecutive numbers are displayed just before the title of each surah. Each surah consists of ayahs (verses?) and there are a total of about 6,327 ayats in the entire Quran. Surah (or chapter) Baqarah has 286 ayahs and that makes it the biggest of surahs in the Quran. It is better to leave the words "surah"; "ayah" and even "Quran" in the Arabic language rather than attempt to translate them to words in English. This is better because they are technical terms used for Muslim's religious literature. The ayat (similar to verse) is usually determined by the rhythm and cadence in Arabic Text. Sometimes an ayah contains more than one sentence or may even have many sentences within the ayah. A sentence may also be divided by a break in the ayah and you would have to read from the next ayah to complete the subject, or topic. However, there is usually intended in these cases, a pause in meaning at the end of the ayah. There are also logical divisions of the surahs into sections to indicate divisions according to the meanings. There is a word for these sections in Arabic called "ruku" and it means bowing the head toward the ground in respect to Almighty Allah in the prayer.

Opinions of Famous Non-Muslims

Opinions of Famous Non-Muslims Speaking about the Quran, Goethe says, "It soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence... Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand - ever and always, truly sublime - So, this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence."

[Goethe - quoted in T. P. Huges "Dictionary of Islam", p. 526]

"The Koran (Quran) admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. Though it is the youngest of the epoch making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politico-religious organizations of Muslims world wide which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon with today."

[G. Maragliouth in his Introduction to J. M. Rodwells - 'The Koran", New York - 'Everyman's Library, 1977, p VI]

"A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production... indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind."

[Dr Steingass quoted in T. P. Hughes - "Dictionary of Islam", pp 256-257]

"It is impossible that Muhammad (peace be upon him) authored the Quran. How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important author, in terms of literary merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human-being could possibly have developed at that time, an all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?"

[Dr. Maurice Bucaille - author of "The Bible, the Quran and Science" 1978, p. 125]

"Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well organized body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history"

[Dr. Steingass, quoted in Hughes' Dictionary of Islam p. 528]

"In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pain to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the message itself - constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind.. This very characteristic feature - 'that inimitable symphony', as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book, 'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original.."

[Arthur J. Arberry - "The Koran Interpreted", London: Oxford University Press . 1964, p. x.]

"A totally objective examination of it [the Quran] in the light of modern knowledge leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur'anic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide and explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning."

[Dr. Maurice Bucaille in his book: "The Bible, The Quran and Science" 1981, p. 18]

Quran (Divine Book)

Quran (Divine Book) The Revelations of the Quran Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips According to Allah's statements in His Book, there were two distinct revelations of the Quran which took place. It is important that these two revelations be understood in order to clear up the apparent contradictions in the various terms used in the Quran and Sunnah to describe the Quran's revelation. On one hand, the Quran is referred to as having been revealed in its totality in Ramadan or on Laylatul-Qadr, the Night of Decree; while on the other hand, it is referred to as having been continuously revealed in segments up until just before the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The First Revelation Allah caused the Quran to descend from the Protected Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuth) on which it was written to the lowest heaven. In this revelation all of the Quran was sent down at one time to a station in the lowest heaven referred to as "Bayt al-'Izzah" (The House of Honor or Power). The blessed night on which this descent took place is called "Laylatul-Qadr" (The Night of Decree), one of the odd-numbered nights in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. Allah referred to this initial revelation as follows:

"Haa Meem. By the Clear Book, verily, I revealed it in a blessed night."

[Noble Quran 44:1-3]

"Verily, I revealed it on the Night of Decree."

[Noble Quran 97:1]

"The month of Ramadan in which I revealed the Quran as guidance to mankind ..."

[Noble Quran 2:185]

These verses have to refer to the initial revelation because it is a known fact that the whole Quran was not revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on a single night in Ramadan. Ibn 'Abbas stated that the Quran was first separated from its station in the upper heavens and placed in Bayt al-'Izzah in the lowest heaven. One version states that this took place on the Night of Decree in Ramadan. Had it been Allah's wish, the Quran could then have been revealed as a whole to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a single revelation. This was the method by which all of the earlier books of revelation were sent down. But, Allah chose to divide the revelation into two parts. The first revelation within the heavens represented an announcement to the inhabitants of the heavens that the final book of revelation was being sent down upon the last of the prophets. From the lowest heaven sections of the Quran were then taken down by the angel Jibril to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This process of revelation continued over the twenty-three years of his prophethood. This revelation began with the first five verses of Surah al-'Alaq. These verses were revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he was on a spiritual retreat in the cave of Hira' near Makkah. However, the first complete Surah to be revealed was Surah al-Fatihah. The revelation of this portion of Quran marked the beginning of the final phase of prophethood. The last Surah to be revealed was Surah an-Nasr. This Surah was brought down in Mina during the Farewell Hajj of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which took place at the end of the tenth year after the Hijrah. According to Ibn 'Abbas, the last verse to be revealed was verse 281 in Surah al-Baqarah, the last of a series of verses dealing with interest. Allah has referred to the second revelation in the following way:

"And (it is) a Quran which I have divided into parts in order that you (Muhammad) may recite it to the people gradually, and I have revealed it by successive revelation."

[Noble Quran 17:106]

Quran: Definition of the Term The word "Quran," a verbal noun, is equivalent in meaning to "qira'ah," as both come from the verb "qara'a" which means "to read." That is, Quran literally means "a reading or reciting." However, the term "Quran" has been historically used specifically to refer to the book which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The term "Quran" is mentioned in a number of places throughout the book in reference to itself. For example:

"Verily, this Quran guides (humanity) to that which is most just."

[Noble Quran 17:9]

The name Quran is used to refer to both the Quran as a whole, as in the previously quoted verse; as well as to each verse or group of verses, as in the following verse:

"And if the Quran is recited, you should listen to it and be silent, that you may receive mercy."

[Noble Quran 7:204]

The Book has also been referred to by other names; for example, the Furqan (The Distinction):

"Blessed is He who revealed the Furqan to His slave in order that he may be a warner to all the worlds."

[Noble Quran 25:1]

and the Dhikr, (The Reminder):

"Verily, I revealed the Dhikr and verily I will preserve it."

[Noble Quran 15:9]

The Quran could be defined as Allah's words which were revealed in Arabic in a rhythmical form to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Its recitation is used in acts of worship and its smallest chapter (Surah) is of a miraculous nature. The Prophet's divinely inspired statements which were recorded by his followers are generally referred to as hadiths. For example, the Prophet's companion (sahabi), 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, reported that he once said, "Verily, deeds are (judged) by their intentions." However, in some of his statements, the Prophet (peace be upon him) attributed what he said to Allah; for example, another sahabi, Abu Hurayrah, reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Allah, Most High, says, 'I am as My slave thinks of Me and I am with him when he remembers me. So if he remembers Me to himself, I will remember him to Myself and if he remembers Me in a group, I will remember him in a better group.' " In order to distinguish this type of hadith from the previous type, it is referred to as hadith qudsi (sacred hadith) and the former referred to as hadith nabawi (prophetic hadith). The Quran, however, is not the same as hadith qudsi for a number of reasons. First, the Quran is from Allah both in its wording and in its meaning, while in the case of hadith qudsi, its meaning is from Allah but its wording was the Prophet's (peace be upon him). Second, Allah challenged the Arabs and mankind in general to produce even a chapter equivalent to one of the Quran's chapters, and their inability to do so proves its miraculous nature. This is not so in the case of hadith qudsi. Third, the recitation of the Quran is used in salah and is itself considered a form of worship. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, "Whoever reads a letter from the book of Allah, the Most High, will get a good deed (recorded for him), and each good deed is worth ten times its value. I am not only saying that Alif Laam Meem is a letter, but I am also saying that Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter." However, the recitation of hadith qudsi carries none of these properties. The Main Theme of the Quran Not only is the Quran unique among books today in its origin and purity, but it is also unique in the way it presents its subject matter. It is not a book in the usual sense of the word wherein there is an introduction, explanation of the subject, followed by a conclusion. Neither is it restricted to only a presentation of historical events, problems of philosophy, facts of science or social laws, though all may be found woven together in it without any apparent connection and links. Subjects are introduced without background information, historical events are not presented in chronological order, new topics sometimes crop up in the middle of another for no apparent reason, and the speaker and those spoken to change direction without the slightest forewarning. The reader who is unaware of the Quran's uniqueness is often puzzled when he finds it contrary to his understanding of a book in general and a "religious" book in particular. Hence, the Quran may seem disorganized and haphazard to him. However, to those who understand its subject matter, aim and its central theme, the Quran is exactly the opposite. The subject matter of the Quran is essentially man: man in relation to his Lord and Creator, Allah; man in relation to himself; and man in relation to the rest of creation. The aim and object of the revelations is to invite man to the right way of dealing with his Lord, with himself, and with creation. Hence, the main theme that runs throughout the Quran is that God alone deserves worship and, thus, man should submit to God's laws in his personal life and in his relationships with creation in general. Or, in other words, the main theme is a call to the belief in Allah and the doing of righteous deeds as defined by Allah. If the reader keeps these basic facts in mind, he will find that, from beginning to end, the Quran's topics are all closely connected to its main theme and that the whole book is a well-reasoned and cohesive argument for its theme. The Quran keeps the same object in view, whether it is describing the creation of man and the universe or events from human history. Since the aim of the Quran is to guide man, it states or discusses things only to the extent relevant to this aim and leaves out unnecessary and irrelevant details. It also repeats its main theme over and over again in the presentation of each new topic. Significance of the Quran's Preservation Allah promised in the Quran that He would take on the responsibility of protecting His final word from loss. He said, "Verily I have revealed the Reminder (Quran), and verily I shall preserve it." (Surah al-Hijr (15):9) Thus, the Quran has been preserved in both the oral as well as written form in a way no other religious book in history has. Why did Allah preserve the Quran and allow His earlier books of divine revelation to be changed or lost? The answer to that question lies in the following three facts: The earlier prophets and their books were sent to a particular people in particular periods of history. Once the period ended, a new prophet was sent with a new book to replace the previous book. So, it was not necessary that these books be preserved by Allah. The preservation of the earlier books was left up to the people as a test for them. Thus, when the people went astray, they changed what was written in the books which their prophets brought in order to make allowable the things which were forbidden to them. In that way, all of the earlier books of revelation became either changed or lost. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last prophet whom Allah sent, and he was not sent to a particular people or a particular time. He was sent to all of mankind until the end of the world. Allah said in the Quran,

"I have only sent you (Muhammad) as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all mankind, but most men do not understand."

[Noble Quran 34:28]

Thus, his book of revelation, the Quran, had to be specially preserved from any form of change or loss so that it would be available to all the generations of man until the last day of the world. The Quran was the main miracle given to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to prove that he was a true prophet of Allah and not an imposter. So, the Quran had to be saved to prove to the later generations that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was really the last prophet of Allah. All of the false prophets who came after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought books which they claimed to be revealed from Allah, but none of them have the miraculous ability to be memorized by thousands, nor have they improved on the message of the Quran. The significance of the Quran's preservation is that Islam has been kept in its original purity because of it. Humanity can always return to the sources of Islam no matter what people may have added or forgotten in time. All of the essential principles of Islam are to be found in the Quran. Consequently, the preservation of the Quran meant the preservation of Islam in its final form. The loss of the Gospel of Jesus means that Christians can never return to the true teachings of Prophet Jesus except by accepting Islam. Similarly, the original Torah was lost when Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. Thus, the Jews cannot return to the pure teachings of Prophet Moses except by following Islam. It is only in Islam that the pure teachings of the prophets have been preserved without any change. That is why Allah said in the Quran,

"Verily, the only acceptable religion to Allah is Islam."

[Noble Quran 3:19]

Some of the Magnificent Characteristics of the Quran Allah has described the Noble Quran with a number of magnificent characteristics of which Ibn Qudamah mentioned eight in points 27 - 30 of Lum'atul-I'tiqad. They are as follows: That it is clear (mubin) and makes clear the laws and reports which it contains. That it is Allah's firm rope (Hablullah), that is, it is the solid contract which Allah made a reason for reaching Himself and the attainment of success by His Grace. That it consists of distinct chapters (muhkamat), each distinct from the other, perfected and preserved from any flaws or contradictions. That it consists of clear verses (ayat bayyinat) which are clear and obvious signs indicating Allah's unique unity, the perfection of His attributes, and the goodness of His laws. That it contains clear and obscure verses (ayat muhkamat wa mutashabihat); the clear being that whose meaning is clear and the obscure being those whose meaning is hidden. And this does not contradict point number three above because the clarity there refers to perfection and protection from flaws and contradiction, while here it refers to clarity of meaning. If the obscure is referred back to the clear, all of it will become clear. That it is the truth (haqq) that cannot be affected by falsehood from any direction. That it is free from its description by the disbelievers as being poetry, magic or human speech. That it is a miracle that no one can imitate even with the help of others. The Hoax of the Numerical Miracle of the Quran The most famous proponent of this idea was Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian biochemist educated in the United States. According to Dr. Khalifa, there is a miraculous numerical code to the Quran based on its "first" verse (Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim), which consists of 19 letters. This miraculous code is supposedly referred to in verse 30 of Chapter 74 (al-Muddath-thir) which states "Over it are 19." Based on these two premises, Dr. Rashad claims to have discovered an intricate mathematical pattern involving 19 and its multiples throughout the Quran and especially in what he calls the Quranic initials which precede 29 chapters (Alif, Laam, Meem, etc.). From this discovery, Dr. Khalifa concludes that the complexity of this mathematical code's pattern in a literary work of the Quran's size is far beyond human capabilities, and that it alone constitutes the only real miracle of the Quran which proves its divine origin. He further concludes that 19 and its multiples represent the key to the correct interpretation of the Quran and Islam, and the reason why 19 was chosen is that 19 means "God is One," which is the message of the Quran. Many Muslims at first received Khalifa's theories with uncritical enthusiasm. However, when more rigorous critics began checking his numbers, they found numerous discrepancies and some outright fabrications in his data. His claims were based on the number of times a given letter or word occurs in a given Surah or group of Surahs. It was discovered that he would sometimes treat hamzahs like alifs and sometimes he wouldn't, depending on the totals he needed in a given Surah to confirm his theory. Sometimes he counted letters that weren't there, sometimes he failed to count existing letters, sometimes he counted two words as one, sometimes he added to the Quranic text and sometimes he deleted from it, all for the purpose of making the letter and word counts conform to his theory. On top of that, his letter counts changed over time, depending on whether he wanted to establish a pattern for a Surah by itself or as part of a group of Surahs. When confronted with inconsistencies in his data, he began claiming that certain verses had been inserted into the Quran that did not belong there. After this clear statement of disbelief he went on to claim knowledge of the exact date of the Day of Judgment and eventually claimed prophethood for himself. He attracted a group of followers in Tucson, Arizona, but his career was cut short when he was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant in 1990.