Ambiguities in The Qur’an

· Islam
Authors

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 (Revised 22.11.08)

(1628 words)

Looking at the Qur’an

The basis of Islam is the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the indisputable “Word of Allah” and this is accepted by all Muslims. But scholars have scrutinized its origins, and have noted that there are certain discrepancies, and with different translations, and varying interpretations that cast doubts on its origins and its reliability or authenticity.

“For example, the famous passage about the virgins is based on the word “hur,” which is an adjective in the feminine plural meaning simply “white”. Islamic tradition insists the term “hur” stands for “houri”, which means “virgin,” but Mr. Christoph Luxenberg insists that this is a forced misreading of the text. In both ancient Aramaic and in at least one respected dictionary of early Arabic, “hur” means “white raisin”.

Mr. Luxenberg has traced the passages dealing with paradise to a Christian text called Hymns of Paradise by a fourth-century author. Mr. Luxemberg said the word paradise was derived from the Aramaic word for garden and all the descriptions of paradise described it as a garden of flowing waters, abundant fruits and white raisins, a prized delicacy in the ancient Near East. In this context, white raisins, mentioned often as “hur”, Mr. Luxenberg said, makes more sense than a reward of sexual favours.” [1]

Sceptics quick to criticize Islam latch on to Mr. Christoph Luxenberg’s interpretation of the Arabic translation of the work “hur.” However, having read Asif Iqbal’s analysis I have sympathies Asif Aqbal’s views:

“Since when we are talking about the Hereafter we are dealing with a spiritual scenario, therefore everything associated with its rewards or punishments is necessarily spiritual. The same goes with the houris.

The same is clearly acknowledged and stated by Louis Massignon:

…the symbolism of the houris of Paradise… alludes basically to the simple regaining, by the human species, of the first Paradise [i.e., Garden of Eden and its heavenly prototype], where sexual life was well established. (Mystique et continence en Islam, 1952, p. 95).

Now, in two occasions in the Qur’an the verb “to wed” is used with reference to the houris:
and We shall espouse them (Zawwajnahum) to wide-eyed houris. (52:20, Arberry’s translation).and We shall wed them (Zawwajnahum) [i.e. the God-fearing believers] unto fair ones (bi hrin `anin). (44:54).
Both of these verses belong to the first Meccan Period. Now consider how the same theme is introduced in the Medinan period, with special attention to the word Zawwajnahum:
for them shall be spouses purified (Azwaj-un-Mutahhat-un)… (2:25) (Arberry’s translation)For those that are godfearing, with their Lord are gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein dwelling forever, and spouses purified (Azwaj-un-Mutahhat-un), and God’s good pleasure. (3:15) (Arberry’s translation).And those that believe, and do deeds of righteousness, them We shall admit to gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein dwelling forever and ever; therein for them shall be spouses purified (Azwaj-un-Mutahhat-un)… (4:57) (Arberry’s translation).
How can you imagine the concept of marriage (Zawwajna) if the spouse (Zawj), i.e., the houris, is a grape?
This ridiculous equation of houris = grapes, was presented by the anonymous Christoph Luxenberg (assumed name), which is clearly proven false by the above statement. [2]

Asif Iqbal’s analysis and logic makes more sense than that of Mr, Christoph Luxenberg’s arguments in my view. So that dismisses the possibility that “houris” represents “white grapes.”

But if you tried to read the Koran, you will find that often it appears irrational in statement and arrangement and rather repetitive. There is a reason for that as explained by Pastor Jim Croft  [3]

“About the Koran’s verses – The Koran was written in two major stages. These have been integrated and arranged by chapter length as opposed to the chronological order in which they were initially written. The first part was penned in the early years of the Islamic movement while Mohammed was living in Mecca, Arabia. The experts boast the verses from these chapters as proof that Islam is a bastion of peace, love, and tolerance. They avoid references to verses from the second and largest portion of the Koran. It was written after the movement relocated its headquarters to Medina, Arabia, and increased in strength. These verses often reflect religious intolerance and encourage cruel hostility towards non-Muslims. Here are two examples that were aimed at Jews, Christians, and Arabs that clung to traditional tribal polytheistic beliefs. –

“So when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush…. (Koran 9:5)”

“The only punishment of those that wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut-off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned…. (Koran 5:33)”

About the stage of weakness/the stage of strength strategy – The stark differences in the tone of the verses that were written in Mecca and those written in Medina exposes a tactic that has been characteristic of Islam throughout its history. Traditionally, Muslims determine the strength of the religion in various settings as being in one of two states; the stage of weakness and the stage of strength. When Muslims are in the minority and perceive that they are vulnerable, it is their custom to agree to most anything and to be conciliatory towards other religious groups. The moment that they sense superiority in numbers and influence, a form of ruthlessness sets in. They begin to oppress minority religious groups and to demonstrate a blatant disregard for the agreements that they made during the stage of weakness.”

This would explain many of the contradicting statements throughout the Koran. But if you could differentiate those phrases made by Muhammad during the weak or defensive periods of Islam compared to the aggressive statements made by him during his strong and aggressive periods, it all makes sense and everything falls into place. So there are two phases of Islam, the submissive or weak phase, and the strong or aggressive phase. [2]

Let me remind you of that part of history when Islam was on an aggressive phase in the 7th century:

< www.iranian.ws/cgi-bin/iran_news/exec/view.cgi/2/4793>

Islam, “Spread by Sword”Dec 7, 2004
This is how Islam spread by sword. So much for religion of peace. Submit to arab way of life(Islam) or die.Muslims’ movement speak for itself, even today after 1400 years of bloodshed.
570 – Birth of Muhammad in Mecca into the tribe of Quraish.
577 – Muhammads mother dies
580 – Death of Abdul Muttalib, Muhammads grandfather.
583 – First journey to Syria with a trading Caravan
595 – Muhammad marries Khadijah a rich widow several years older than him.
595 – Second journey to Syria
598 – His son, Qasim, is born
600 – His daughter, Zainab, is born
603 – His daughter, Um-e-Kalthum, is born
604 – His daughter, Ruqayya, is born
605 – Placement of Black Stone in Kaaba.
605 – His daughter, Fatima, is born
610 – Mohammed, in a cave on Mt. Hira, hears the angel Gabriel tell him that Allah is the only true God.
613 – Muhammads first public preaching of Islam at Mt. Hira. Gets few converts.
615 – Muslims persecuted by the Quraish.
619 – Marries Sauda and Aisha (9 years old)
620 – Institution of five daily prayers
622 – Muhammad immigrates from Mecca to Medina, which was then called Yathrib, gets more converts.Power of Sword
623 – Battle of Waddan 623 – Battle of Safwan
623 – Battle of Dul-Ashir
624 – Muhammad and converts begin raids on caravans to fund the movement.
624 – Zakat becomes mandatory
624 – Battle of Badr 624 – Battle of Bani Salim
624 – Battle of Eid-ul-Fitr and Zakat-ul-Fitr
624 – Battle of Bani Qainuqa
624 – Battle of Sawiq 624 – Battle of Ghatfan
624 – Battle of Bahran 625 – Battle of Uhud. 70 Muslims are killed.
625 – Battle of Humra-ul-Asad
625 – Battle of Banu Nudair
625 – Battle of Dhatur-Riqa
626 – Battle of Badru-Ukhra
626 – Battle of Dumatul-Jandal
626 – Battle of Banu Mustalaq Nikah
627 – Battle of the Trench
627 – Battle of Ahzab
627 – Battle of Bani Quraiza
627 – Battle of Bani Lahyan
627 – Battle of Ghaiba
627 – Battle of Khaibar
628 – Muhammad signs treaty with Quraish.
630 – Muhammad conquers Mecca.
630 – Battle of Hunsin.
630 – Battle of Tabuk
632 – Muhammad dies.
632 – Abu-Bakr, Muhammads father-in-law, along with Umar, begin a military move to enforce Islam in Arabia.
633 – Battle at Oman
633 – Battle at Hadramaut.
633 – Battle of Kazima
633 – Battle of Walaja
633 – Battle of Ulleis
633 – Battle of Anbar
634 – Battle of Basra,
634 – Battle of Damascus
634 – Battle of Ajnadin.
634 – Death of Hadrat Abu Bakr. Hadrat Umar Farooq becomes the Caliph.
634 – Battle of Namaraq
634 – Battle of Saqatia.
635 – Battle of Bridge.
635 – Battle of Buwaib.
635 – Conquest of Damascus.
635 – Battle of Fahl.
636 – Battle of Yermuk.
636 – Battle of Qadsiyia.
636 – Conquest of Madain.
637 – Battle of Jalula.
638 – Battle of Yarmouk.
638 – The Muslims defeat the Romans and enter Jerusalem.
638 – Conquest of Jazirah.
639 – Conquest of Khuizistan and movement into Egypt.
641 – Battle of Nihawand
642 – Battle of Ray in Persia
643 – Conquest of Azarbaijan
644 – Conquest of Fars
644 – Conquest of Kharan.
644 – Umar is murdered. Othman becomes the Caliph.
647 – Conquest of the island of Cypress
644 – Uman dies and is succeeded by Caliph Uthman.
648 – Campaign against the Byzantines.
651 – Naval battle against the Byzantines.
654 – Islam spreads into North Africa
656 – Uthman is murdered. Ali become Caliph.
658 – Battle of Nahrawan.
659 – Conquest of Egypt
661 – Ali is murdered.
662 – Egypt falls to Islam rule.
666 – Sicily is attacked by Muslims
677 – Siege of Constantinople
687 – Battle of Kufa
691 – Battle of Deir ul Jaliq
700 – Sufism takes root as a sect of Islam
700 – Military campaigns in North Africa
702 – Battle of Deir ul Jamira
711 – Muslims invade Gibraltar
711 – Conquest of Spain
713 – Conquest of Multan
716 – Invasion of Constantinople
732 – Battle of Tours in France.
740 – Battle of the Nobles.
741 – Battle of Bagdoura in North Africa
744 – Battle of Ain al Jurr.
746 – Battle of Rupar Thutha
748 – Battle of Rayy.
749 – Battle of lsfahan
749 – Battle of Nihawand
750 – Battle of Zab
772 – Battle of Janbi in North Africa
777 – Battle of Saragossa in SpainAnd they call it, ” ‘Islam’, Religion of Peace “.

That is the early history of the glory of the sword of Islam. It worked then, it will work now! [4]

References

[1] Scholars Scrutinize the Koran’s Origins

[2] Bismika Allahuma: Asif Iqbal: http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/luxenberg-on-houris/

[3] What you need to know-Pastor Jim Croft

[4] Islam, “Spread by Sword.” http://www.iranian.ws/cgi-bin/iran_news/exec/view.cgi/2/4793

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