Generosity of the Prophet


No person could ever equal Muhammad in generosity. Whatever he received he gave away to others and felt more pleasure than those who received the gift. He never turned anyone away empty-handed from his house and always gave preference to the needy over his own needs.

His charity was of various kinds. Sometimes he gave a gift; sometimes he borrowed something and repaid it generously; sometimes he bought a thing and paid more than the price to the seller; and sometimes he gave charity. He accepted gifts from other people but always gave more gifts in return for them.

Muhammad never said no to any request from anyone in his life. He used to say that he was only a distributor and a treasurer and that Allah was the Bestower of everything. Once a man came to him and saw his herd of goats stretching over a vast area. He requested help and Muhammad gave him the whole herd of goats. He went back to his people and told them to accept Islam, for Muhammad was so generous that there was no fear of poverty. Another man asked him for help when he had nothing to give, so he told the man to borrow on his behalf and he would repay the loan. `Umar, who was present, asked Muhammad whether Allah had not burdened him more than he could bear. The Prophet kept quiet. However, a man was present there who offered to help. Muhammad smiled with great joy at his offer.

Muhammad was so generous that he always gave something to anyone who asked him for help, but if he had nothing, he promised help later on. Sometimes it so happened that Muhammad purchased an article for himself, then gave it as a gift to the seller. Once he bought a camel from `Umar and straightaway gave it as a gift to `Umar’s son `Abdullah. Once he bought something from Jabir and gave it back to him as a gift.

Sometimes Allah blessed the food that the Prophet shared so that it multiplied to feed many. During one battle, there were 130 Companions with the Prophet. He bought one goat, slaughtered it and ordered its liver to be roasted. When it was ready, he distributed it among all the Companions and kept a share for those who were not present.

Whenever he received anything, he did not sit in peace until it was finished. Umm Salmah, the Prophet's wife, reported that one day Allah's Messenger came home looking disturbed. She asked him what the matter was. He replied that the seven dinars he had received the day before had remained on the bed until evening and had not been distributed. He did not rest until they were given away.

Abu Dharr reported that one evening he was walking with Allah's Messenger when he said, "Abu Dharr, if the mountain of Uhud were turned into gold for me, I would not like three nights to pass and one dinar still be left with me, excepting what I would leave for paying my debts." He would never rest until all the cash in the house was completely finished. Once the Prophet went home in a hurry after the prayer and then immediately came out again. The people were surprised, but he told them that he had remembered during the prayer that there was some gold in his house. He thought that he might forget and the gold might remain there all night. He went back home to ask that it might immediately be given in charity.

He always paid the debts of the dead and issued instructions to the effect that if anyone died leaving any debt, he should be informed of it so that he could pay it off.

Whenever Muhammad met any miserly person, he advised him to be more generous and charitable. Ibn `Abbas said that he heard Allah's Messenger say, "The believer is not the one who eats when his neighbor beside him is hungry," Abu Hurayrah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "The believer is simple and generous, but the wicked person is deceitful and ignoble." In short, Muhammad was so generous and charitable that he never kept anything surplus for himself but gave all to those who came to him for help.

Reference url:

http://www.islamonline.net/English/In_Depth/mohamed/1424/manners/article08.shtml

Gheebah (Backbiting)

Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
 O you who have believed, avoid much suspicion, for some suspicions are sins. Do not spy, nor should any one backbite the other. Is there any among you who would like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?' Nay, you yourselves abhor it. Fear Allah, for Allah is Acceptor of repentance and All-Merciful. (49:12)


Gheebat (back-biting) has been defined thus: "It is saying on the back of a person something which would hurt him if he came to know of it. " This definition has been reported from the Holy Prophet himself. According to a tradition which Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and others have related on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet defined Gheebat as follows:
"It is talking of your brother in a way irksome to him." It was asked: "What, if the defect being talked of is present in my brother ?" The Holy Prophet replied: "If it is present in him, it would be Gheebat; if it is not there, it would be slandering him."
In another tradition which Imam Malik has related in Mu'watta, on the authority of Hadrat Muttalib bin `Abdullah, "A person asked the Holy Prophet: What is Gheebat? The Holy Prophet replied: It is talking of your brother in a way irksome to him. He asked: Even if it is true, O Messenger of Allah? He replied: If what you said was false, it would then be a calumny."

These traditions make it plain that uttering a false accusation against a person in his absence is calumny and describing a real defect in him Gheebat; whether this is done in express words or by reference and allusion, in every case it is forbidden. Likewise, whether this is done in the lifetime of a person, or after his death, it is forbidden in both cases.

According to Abu Da'ud, when Ma`iz bin Malik Aslami had been stoned to death for committing adultery, the Holy Prophet on his way back heard a man saying to his companion: "Look at this man: Allah had concealed his secret, but he did not leave himself alone till he was killed like a dog!" A little further on the way there was the dead body of a donkey lying rotting. The Holy Prophet stopped, called the two men and said: "Come down and eat this dead donkey." They submitted: "Who will eat it, O Messenger of Allah?" The Holy Prophet said: "A little before this you were attacking the honor of your brother: that was much worse than eating this dead donkey."

The only exceptions to this prohibition are the cases in which there may be a genuine need of speaking in of a person on his back, or after his death, and this may not be fulfilled without resort to backbiting, and if it was not resorted to, a greater evil might result than backbiting itself. The Holy Prophet has described this exception as a principle, thus: "The worst excess is to attack the honour of a Muslim unjustly." (Abu Da'ud).
In this saying the condition of "unjustly" points out that doing so "with justice" is permissible. Then, in the practice of the Holy Prophet himself we find some precedents which show what is implied by "justice" and in what conditions and cases backbiting may be lawful to the extent as necessary.

Once a desert Arab came and offered his Prayer under the leadership of the Holy Prophet, and as soon as the Prayer was concluded, walked away saying: "O God, have mercy on me and on Muhammad, and make no one else a partner in this mercy beside the two of us." The Holy Prophet said to the Companions: `What do you say: who is more ignorant: this person or his camel? Didn't you hear what he said?" (Abu Da`ud). The Holy Prophet had to say this in his absence, for he had left soon after the Prayer was over. Since he had uttered a wrong thing in the presence of the Holy Prophet, his remaining quiet at it could cause the misunderstanding that saying such a thing might in some degree be lawful; therefore, it was necessary that he should contradict it.

Two of the Companions, Hadrat Mu`awiyah and Hadrat Abu Jahm, sent the proposal of marriage to a lady, Fatimah bint Qais. She came to the Holy Prophet and asked for his advice. He said: "Mu`awiyah is a poor man and Abu Jahm beats his wives much." (Bukhari, Muslim). In this case, as there was the question of the lady's future and she had consulted the Holy Prophet for his advice, he deemed it necessary to inform her of the two men's weaknesses.

One day when the Holy Prophet was present in the apartment of Hadrat 'A'ishah, a man came and sought permission to see him. The Holy Prophet remarked that he was a very bad man of his tribe. Then he went out and talked to him politely. When he came back into the house, Hadrat `A'ishah asked: "You have talked to him politely, whereas when you went out you said something different about him. " The Holy Prophet said, "On the day of Resurrection the worst abode in the sight of Allah will be of the person whom the people start avoiding because of his abusive language." (Bukhari, Muslim). A study of this incident will show that the Holy Prophet in spite of having a bad opinion about the person talked to him politely because that was the demand of his morals; but he had the apprehension lest the people of his house should consider the person to be his friend when they would see him treating him kindly, and then the person might use this impression to his own advantage later. Therefore, the Holy Prophet warned Hadrat `A'ishah telling her that he was a bad man of his tribe.

Once Hind bint 'Utbah, wife of Hadrat Abu Sufyan, came to the Holy Prophet and said: "Abu Sufyan is a miserly person: he does not provide enough for me and my children's needs. " (Bukhari, Muslim). Although this complaint from the wife in the absence of the husband was backbiting, the Holy Prophet pemitted it, for the oppressed has a right that he or she may take the complaint of injustice to a person who has the power to get it removed.

From these precedents of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, the jurists and traditionists have deduced this principle: 'Gheebat (backbiting) is permissible only in case it is needed for a real and genuine (genuine from the Shari'ah point of view) necessity and the necessity may not be satisfied without having resort to it". Then on the basis of the same principle the scholars have declared that Gheebat is permissible in the following cases:

(1) Complaining by an oppressed person against the oppressor before every such person who he thinks can do something to save him from the injustice.

(2) To make mention of the evils of a person (or persons) with the intention of reform before those who can do expected to help remove the evils.

(3) To state the facts of a case before a legal expert for the purpose of seeking a religious or legal ruling regarding an unlawful act committed by a person.

(4) To warn the people of the mischiefs of a person (or persons) so that they may ward off the evil, e g. it is not only permissible but obligatory to mention the weaknesses of the reporters, witnesses and writers, for without it, it is not possible to safeguard the Shariah against the propagation of false reports, the courts against injustices and the common people or the students against errors and misunderstandings. Or, for instance, if a person wants to have the relationship of marriage with somebody, or wishes to rent a house in the neighborhood of somebody, or wants to give something into the custody of somebody, and consults another person, it is obligatory for him to apprise him of all aspects so that he is not deceived because of ignorance.

(5) To raise voice against and criticise the evils of the people who may be spreading sin and immorality and error, or corrupting the people's faith and persecuting them.

(6) To use nicknames for the people who may have become well known by those names, but this should be done for the purpose of their recognition and not with a view to condemn them. (For details, see Fat-h al-Bari, vol. X, p. 362; Sharah Muslim by An-Nawawi; Riyad us-Salihin; al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur an; Ruh al-Maani commentary on verse wa a yaghtab ba 'dukum ba 'dan).
 
Apart from these exceptions it is absolutely forbidden to speak ill of a person behind his back. If what is spoken is true, it is Gheebat; if it is false, it is calumny; and if it is meant to make two persons quarrel, it is slander. The Shari'ah has declared all these as forbidden. In the Islamic society it is incumbent on every Muslim to refute a false charge made against a person in his presence and not to listen to it quietly, and to tell those who are speaking ill of somebody, without a genuine religious need, to fear God and desist from the sin. The Holy Prophet has said: If a person does not support and help a Muslim when he is being disgraced and his honour being attacked, Allah also does not support and help him when he stands in need of His help; and if a person helps and supports a Muslim when his honour is being attacked and he is being disgraced, Allah Almighty also helps him when he wants that AIlah should help him. (Abu Da'ud).

As for the backbiter, as soon as he realizes that he is committing this sin, or has committed it, his first duty is to offer repentance before Allah and restrain himself from this forbidden act. His second duty is that he should compensate for it as far as possible. If he has backbitten a dead person, he should ask Allah's forgiveness for the person as often as he can. If he has backbitten a living person, and what he said was also false, he should refute it before the people before whom he had made the calumny. And if what he said was true, he should never speak ill of him in future, and should ask pardon of the person whom he had backbitten. A section of the scholars has expressed the opinion that pardon should be asked only in case the other person has come to know of it; otherwise one should only offer repentance, for if the person concerned is unaware and the backbiter in order to ask pardon goes and tells him that he had backbitten him, he would certainly feel hurt.


In the verse, Allah by likening backbiting to eating a dead brother's flesh has given the idea of its being an abomination. Eating the dead flesh is by itself abhorrent; and when the flesh is not of an animal, but of a man, and that too of one's own dead brother, abomination would be added to abomination. Then, by presenting the simile in the interrogative tone it has been made all the more impressive, so that every person may ask his own conscience and decide whether he would like to eat the flesh of his dead brother. If he would not, and he abhors it by nature, how he would like that he should attack the honour of his brother-in-faith in his absence, when he cannot defend himself and when he is wholly unaware that he is being disgraced. This shows that the basic reason of forbidding backbiting is not that the person being backbitten is being hurt but speaking ill of a person in his absence is by itself unlawful and forbidden whether he is aware of it, or not, and whether he feels hurt by it or not. Obviously, eating the flesh of a dead man is not forbidden because it hurts the dead man; the dead person is wholly unaware that somebody is eating of his body, but because this act by itself is an abomination. Likewise, if the person who is backbitten also does not come to know of it through any means, he will remain unaware throughout his life that somebody had attacked his honour at a particular time before some particular people and on that account he had stood disgraced in the eyes of those people. Because of this unawareness he will not feel at all hurt by this backbiting, but his honour would in any case be sullied. Therefore, this act in its nature is not any different from eating the flesh of a dead brother.

(Tafheemul Quran)

Islam and Civilization by Nadwi

 

Islam and Civilization

By Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

Scope and Significance

Islam and civilisation is a realistic and living issue which relates not only to the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the teachings of Islam, but also to the reality of life itself, the present and future of mankind and the historic role played by Muslims in the development of culture and the building up of a flourishing civilisation. This is a subject important enough to receive the attention of an academic body instead of by just a single individual. In its depth and scope, it can compare with any discipline of thought pertaining to the life of man. It covers an immense area in time and space, from the first century of the Islamic era to this day and from one corner of the world to the other. In its immanence, it encompasses everything from creed to morals and behaviour, individual as well as social, and is linked with diverse phenomena, whether if be law, political, international relations, arts, letters, poetics, architecture, cultural refinement, etc. Each of these aspects of human life are indeed many-sided and, hence, an academic body composed of scholars of different disciplines is required to study them so that each may undertake objective research and present his detailed findings courageously, without fear or favour. Each of these scholars, specialist in his own field, can discuss the issues in greater detail as, for example, one can study the creed and religious thought of Islam, another sociology and culture, a third Islamic law, a fourth the equality and dignity of man, a fifth the position of women, and so on. Detailed discussions on each such subject can indeed cover an encyclopaedia instead of being dealt with by an individual like me who has little time to spare for literary pursuits. But as the saying goes, the thing which cannot be owned completely should not be given up altogether. I have, in working on this subject, kept in mind the Qur’nic verse which says: And if no torrent falls on it, then even a gentle rain (Al Baqarah: 265).

Read more...

Prophet's Appearance and Dress

Appearance

Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) was of a height a little above the average. He was of sturdy build with long muscular limbs and tapering fingers. The hair of his head was long and thick with some waves in them. His forehead was large and prominent, his eyelashes were long and thick, his nose was sloping, his mouth was somewhat large and his teeth were well set. His cheeks were spare and he had a pleasant smile. His eyes were large and black with a touch of brown. His beard was thick and at the time of his death, he had seventeen grey hairs in it. He had a thin line of fine hair over his neck and chest. He was fair of complexion and altogether was so handsome that Abu Bakr composed this couplet about him:

"As there is no darkness in the moonlit night so is Mustafa, the well-wisher, bright."

His gait was firm and he walked so fast that others found it difficult to keep pace with him. His face was genial but at times, when he was deep in thought, there there were long periods of silence, yet he always kept himself busy with something. He did not speak unnecessarily and what he said was always to the point and without any padding. At times he would make his meaning clear by slowly repeating what he had said. His laugh was mostly a smile. He kept his feelings under firm control - when annoyed, he would turn aside or keep silent, when pleased he would lower his eyes [Tirmidhi].

Dress

His dress generally consisted of a shirt, tamad (trousers), a sheet thrown round the shoulders and a turban. On rare occasions, he would put on costly robes presented to him by foreign emissaries in the later part of his life. [Ahmed, Musnad, Hafiz Bin Qayyim]

His blanket had several patches. [Tirmidhi] He had very few spare clothes, but he kept them spotlessly clean. [Bukhari] He wanted others also to put on simple but clean clothes. Once he saw a person putting on dirty clothes and remarked,

"Why can't this man wash them." [Abu Dawood]

On another occasion he enquired of a person in dirty clothes whether he had any income. Upon getting a reply in the affirmative, he observed,

"When Allah has blessed you with His bounty, your appearance should reflect it." [Abu Dawood]

He used to observe:

"Cleanliness is piety."

 

Reference url: http://muslim-canada.org/muhammadatharhusain.html

MUHAMMAD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

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MUHAMMAD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT


I.  PREFATORY REMARKS

     I propose through this article and the ones which will follow to show that the doctrine of Islam concerning the Deity and the last great messenger of Allah is perfectly true and conforms to the teachings of the Bible.

I shall devote the present article to discussing the first point, and in a few other papers I shall attempt to show that Prophet Muhammad is the real object of the Covenant and in him, and him alone, are actually and literally fulfilled all the prophecies in the Old Testament.

I wish to make it quite clear that the views set out in this article and those which will follow it are quite personal, and that I am alone responsible for my personal and un- borrowed researches in the Hebrew Sacred Scriptures. I do not, however, assume an authoritative attitude in expound- ing the teachings of Islam, meaning submission to God.

I have not the slightest intention nor desire to hurt the religious feelings of Christian friends. I love Christ, Moses and Abraham, as I do Prophet Muhammad and all other holy prophets of God.

My writings are not intended to raise a bitter and therefore useless dispute with the Churches, but only invite them to a pleasant and friendly investigation of this all-important question with a spirit of love and impartiality. If the Chris- tians desist from their vain attempt of defining the essence of the Supreme Being, and confess His absolute Oneness, then a union between them and the Muslims is not only probable but extremely possible. For once the Oneness of God is accepted and acknowledged, the other points of difference between the two faiths can more easily be settled.

II. ALLAH AND HIS ATTRIBUTES

There are two fundamental points between Islam and Christianity which, for the sake of the truth and the peace of the world, deserved a very serious and deep investigation. As these two religions claim their origin from one and the same source, it would follow that no important point of controversy between them should be allowed to exist. Both these great religions believe in the existence of the Deity and in the covenant made between God and the Prophet Abraham. On these two principal points a thoroughly con- scientious and final agreement must be arrived at between the intelligent adherents of the two faiths. Are we poor and ignorant mortals to believe in and worship one God, or are we to believe in and fear a plurality of Gods? Which of the two, Christ or Prophet Muhammad, is the object of the Divine Covenant? These two questions must be answered once for all.

It would be a mere waste of time here to refute those who ignorantly or maliciously suppose the God as mentioned in Islam to be different from the true God and only a fictitious deity of Prophet Muhammad's own creation. If the Christian priests and theologians knew their Scriptures in the original Hebrew instead of in translations as the Muslims read their Quran in its Arabic text, they would clearly see that Allah is the same ancient Semitic name of the Supreme Being who revealed and spoke to Adam and all the prophets.

Allah is the only Self-Existing, Knowing, Powerful Being. He encompasses, fills every space, being and thing; and is the source of all life, knowledge and force. Allah is the Unique Creator, Regulator and Ruler of the universe. He is abso- lutely One. The essence, the person and nature of Allah are absolutely beyond human comprehension, and therefore any attempt to define His essence is not only futile but even dangerous to our spiritual welfare and faith; for it will certainly lead us into error.

The trinitarian branch of the Christian Church, for about seventeen centuries, has exhausted all the brains of her saints and philosophers to define the Essence and the Person of the Deity; and what have they invented? All that which Athanasiuses, Augustines and Aquinases have imposed upon the Christians "under the pain of eternal damnation" to believe in a God who is "the third of three"! Allah, in His Holy Quran, condemns this belief in these solemn words:-

"Because the unbelivers are those who say: 'Allah is one of three.' There is but One God. If they do not desist in what they say, a painful punishment will afflict those of them that disbelieve." (Quran Ch.5 v73).

The reason why the orthodox Muslim scholars have always refrained from defining God's Essence is because His Essence transcends all attributes in which it could only be defined. Allah has many Names which in reality are only adjectives derived from His essence through its various mani- festations in the universe which He alone has formed. We call Allah by the appellations Almighty, Eternal, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Merciful, and so forth, because we conceived the eternity, omnipresence, universal knowledge, mercifulness, as emanating from His essence and belonging to Him alone and absolutely. He is alone the infinitely Knowing, Powerful, Living, Holy, Beautiful, Good, Loving, Glorious, Terrible Avenger, because it is from Him alone that emanate and flow the qualities of knowledge, power, life, holiness, beauty and the rest. God has no attributes in the sense we understand them. With us an attribute or a property is common to many individuals of a species, but what is God's is His alone, and there is none other to share it with Him. When we say, "Solomon is wise, powerful, just and beautiful," we do not ascribe exclusively to him all wisdom, power, justice and beauty. We only mean to say that he is relatively wise as compared with others of his species, and that wisdom too is relatively his attribute in common with the individuals belong- ing to his class.

To make it more clear, a divine attribute is an emana- tion of God, and therefore an activity. Now every divine action is nothing more or less than a creation.

It is also to be admitted that the divine attributes, inas- much as they are emanations, posit time and a beginning; consequently when Allah said: "Be, and it was" - or He uttered, His word in time and in the beginning of the creation. This is what the Sufis term "aql-kull", or universal intelligence, as the emana- tion of the "aql awwal", namely, the "first intelligence." Then the "nafs-kull", or the "universal soul" that was the first to hear and obey this divine order, emanated from the "first soul" and transformed the universe.

This reasoning would lead us to conclude that each act of God displays a divine emanation as His manifestation and particular attribute, but it is not His Essence or Being. God is Creator, because He created in the beginning of time, and always creates. God spoke in the beginning of time just as He speaks in His own way always. But as His creation is not eternal or a divine person, so His Word cannot be consi- dered eternal and a divine Person. The Christians proceed further, and make the Creator a divine father and His Word a divine son; and also, because He breathed life into His creatures, He is surnamed a divine Spirit, forgetting that logically He could not be father before creation, nor "son" before He spoke, and neither "Holy Ghost" before He gave life. I can conceive the attributes of God through His works at manifestations a posteriori, but of his eternal and a prior attributes posses no conception whatever, nor do I ima- gine any human intelligence to be able to comprehend the nature of an eternal attribute and its relationship to the essence of God. In fact, God has not revealed to us the nature of His Being in the Holy Scriptures nor in the human intellect.

The attributes of God are not to be considered as distinct and separate divine entities or personalities, other- wise we shall have, not one trinity of persons in the Godhead, but several dozen of trinities. An attribute until it actually emanates from its subject has no existence. We cannot qualify the subject by a particular attribute before that at- tribute has actually proceeded from it and is seen. Hence we say "God is Good" when we enjoy His good and kind action; but we cannot describe Him - properly speaking - as "God is Goodness," because goodness is not God, but His action and work. It is for this reason that the Quran always attributes to Allah the adjectival appellations, such as the Wise, the Knowing, the Merciful, but never with such descriptions as "God is love, knowledge, word," and so forth; for love is the action of the lover and not the lover himself, just as knowledge or word is the action of the knowing person and not himself.

I particularly insist on this point because of the error into which have fallen those who maintain the eternity and distinct personality of certain attributes of God. The Verb or the Word of God has been held to be a distinct person of the Deity; whereas the word of God can have no other signification than an expression of His Knowledge and Will. The Quran, too, is called "the Word of God," and some early Muslim doctors of law asserted that it was eternal and un- created. The same appellation is also given to Jesus Christ in the Quran - Kalimatun minho, i.e. "a Word from Him" (Ch.3 v45). But it would be very irreligious to assert that the Word or Logos of God is a distinct person, and that it as- sumed flesh and became incarnate in the shape of a man of Nazareth or in the form of a book, the former called "the Christ" and the latter "the Quran"!

To sum up this subject, I insistently declare that the Word or any other imaginable attribute of God, not only is it not a distinct Divine entity or individuality, but also it could have no actual (in actu) existence prior to the be- ginning of time and creation.

The first verse with which St. Johns Gospel commences was often refuted by the early Unitarian writers, who rendered its true reading as follows: "In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God's."

It will be noticed that the Greek form of the genitive case "Theou" i.e. "God's" (1) was corrupted into "Theos"; that is, "God," in the nominative form of the name! It is also to be observed that the clause "In the beginning was the word" expressly indicates the origin of the word which was not before the beginning! By the "word of God" is not meant a separate and distinct substance, coeval and coexistent

______________

(1) Footnote: Concerning the Logos, ever since the the "Gospels" and "Commentaries" as well as the controversial writings belonging to the Unitarians, except what has been quoted from them in the writings of their opponents, such as the learned Greek Patriarch Photius and those before him.

Among the "Fathers" of the Eastern Christians, one of the most distinguished is St. Ephraim the Syrian. He is the author of many works, chiefly of a commentary on the Bible which is published both in Syriac and in Latin, which latter edition I had carefully read in Rome. He has also homilies, dissertations called "midrishi" and "contra Haeretici," etc. Then there is a famous Syrian, author Bir Disin (generally written Bardisanes) who flourished in the latter end of the second and the first of the third century A.D. From the writings of Bir Disin nothing in the Syriac is extant except what Ephraim, Jacob of Nesibin and other Nestorians and Jacobites have quoted for refutation, and except what most of the Greek Fathers employed in their own language. Bir Disin maintained that Jesus Christ was the seat of the temple of the Word of God, but both he and the Word were created. St. Ephraim, in combating the "heresy" of Bir Disin, says: -
( Syriac ): "Wai lakh O, dovya at Bir Disin Dagreit l'Milta eithrov d'AIIihi. Baram kthabha la kthabh d'akh hikhin Illa d'Miltha eithov Allihi,"

(Arabic) "Wailu 'I-laka yi anta' s-Safil Bir Disin Li-anna fara'aita kina 'I-kalimo li 'I-Lihi Li-kina 'I-Kitibo mi Kataba Kazi Illa 'I-Kalimo Kina 'I-Lih."

(English translation): "Woe unto thee O miserable Bir Disin That thou didst read the "word was God's"! But the Book [Gospel] did not write likewise, Except that "the Word was God."

Almost in all the controversies on the Logos the Unitarians are "branded" with the heresy of denying the eternality and divine personality of it by having "corrupted" the Gospel of John, etc. These imputations were returned to the Trinitarians by the true Nasira - Unitarians. So one can deduct from the patristic lite- rature that the Trinitarians were always reproached with having corrupted the Scriptures.
______________end footnote

with the Almighty, but saying of His Knowledge and Will when He uttered the word Kun, namely, "Be." When God said Kun, the worlds became; when He said Kun for His Words to be recorded in the Protected Tablets by the pen it became again.

By His saying: "Be," Jesus was created in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and so on - whenever He wills to create a thing He but only says "Be," to it and it becomes.

The Christian auspicatory formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," does not even mention the name of God! And this is the Christian God! The Nestorian and Jacobite formula, which consists of ten syllables exactly like the Muslim "Bismillahi," is thus to be transliterated: Bshim Abha wo-Bhra ou-Ruha d-Qudsha, which has the same meaning as that contained in all other Christian formulas. The Quranic formula, on the other hand, which expresses the foundation of the Islamic truth is a great contrast to the Trinitarians' formula: Bis- millahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Rahim; that is: "In the Name of the Most Merciful and Compassionate Allah."

The Christian Trinity - inasmuch as it admits a plurality of persons in the Deity, attributes distinct personal properties to each person; and makes use of family names similar to those in the pagan mythology - cannot be accepted as a true conception of the Deity. Allah is neither the father of a son nor the son of a father. He has no mother, nor is He self- made. The belief in "God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost" is a flagrant denial of the Oneness of God, and an audacious confession in three imperfect beings who, unitedly or separately, cannot be the true God.

Mathematics as a positive science teaches us that a unit is no more nor less than one; that one is never equal to one plus one plus one; in other words, one cannot be equal to three, because one is the third of the three. In the same way, one is not equal to a third. And vice versa, three are not equal to one, nor can a third be equal to a unit. The unit is the basis of all numbers, and a standard for the measurements and weights of all dimensions, distances, quan- tities and time. In fact, all numbers are aggregates of the unit 1. Ten is an aggregate of so many equal units of the same kind.

Those who maintain the unity of God in the trinity of persons tell us that "each person is omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and perfect God; yet there are not three omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and perfect Gods, but one omnipotent . . . God!" If there is no sophistry in the above reasoning then we shall present this "mystery" of the churches by an equation:- .

God = 1 God + 1 God + 1 God; therefore: 1 God = 3 Gods. In the first place, one god cannot equal three gods, but only one of them. Secondly, since you admit each person to be perfect God like His two associates, your conclusion that 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 is not mathematical, but an absurdity!

You are either too arrogant when you attempt to prove that three units equal one unit; or too cowardly to admit that three ones equal three ones. In the former case you can never prove a wrong solution of a problem by a false pro- cess; and in the second you have not the courage to confess your belief in three gods.

Besides, we all - Muslims and Christians - believe that God is Omnipresent, that He fills and encompasses every space and particle. Is it conceivable that all the three persons of the Deity at the same time and separately encompass the universe, or is it only one of them at the time? To say "the Deity does this" would be no answer at all. For Deity is not God, but the state of being God, and therefore a quality.

Godhead is the quality of one God; it is not susceptible of plurality nor of diminution. There are no godheads but one Godhead, which is the attribute of one God alone.

Then we are told that each person of the trinity has some particular attributes which are not proper to the other two. And these attributes indicate - according to human reasoning and language - priority and posteriority among them. The Father always holds the first rank, and is prior to the Son. The Holy Ghost is not only posterior as the third in the order of counting but even inferior to those from whom he proceeds. Would it not be considered a sin of heresy if the names of the three persons were conversely repeated? Will not the signing of the cross upon the coun- tenance or over the elements of the Eucharist be considered impious by the Churches if the formula be reversed thus: "In the name of the Holy Ghost, and of the Son, and of the Father"? For if they are absolutely equal and coeval, the order of precedence need not be so scrupulously observed.

The fact is that the Popes and the General Councils have always condemned the Sabelian doctrine which main- tained that God is one but that He manifested Himself as the Father or as the Son or as the Holy Spirit, being always one and the same person. Of course, the religion of Islam does not endorse or sanction the Sabelian views. God mani- fested Jamal or beauty in Christ, Jelal or Glory and Majesty in Prophet Muhammad, and Wisdom in Solomon, and so on in many other objects of nature, but none of those pro- phets are gods neither the beautiful scenery of nature are gods.

The truth is that there is no mathematical exactitude, no absolute equality between the three persons of the Trinity. If the Father were in every respect equal to the Son or the Holy Spirit, as the unit 1 is positively equal to another figure 1, then there would necessarily be only one person of God and not three, because a unit is not a fragment or fraction nor a multiple of itself. The very difference and relationship that is admitted to exist between the persons of the Trinity leaves no shadow of doubt that they are neither equal to each other nor are they to be identified with one another. The Father begets and is not begotten; the Son is begotten and not a father; the Holy Ghost is the issue of the other two persons; the first person is described as creator and destroyer; the second as savior or redeemer, and the third as life-giver. Consequently none of the three is alone the Creator, the Redeemer and the Life-giver. Then we are told that the second person is the Word of the first Person, becomes man and is sacrificed on the cross to satisfy the justice of his father, and that his incarnation and resurrection are operated and accomplished by the third person.

In conclusion, I must remind Christians that unless they believe in the absolute Oneness of God, and renounce the belief in the three persons, they are certainly unbelievers in the true God. Strictly speaking, Christians are polytheists, only with this exception, that the gods of the heathen are false and imaginary, whereas the three gods of the Churches have a distinct character, of whom the Father - as another epithet for Creator - is the One true God, but the son is only a pro- phet and worshiper of God, and the third person one of the innumerable holy spirits in the service of the Almighty God.

In the Old Testament, God is called Father because of His being a loving Creator and Protector, but as the Churches abused this Name, the Quran has justly refrained from using it.

The Old Testament and the Quran condemn the doctrine of three persons in God; the New Testament does not expressly hold or defend it, but even if it contains hints and traces concerning the Trinity, it is no authority at all, because it was neither seen nor written by Christ himself, nor in the language he spoke, nor did it exist in its present form and contents for - at least - the first two centuries after him.

It might with advantage be added that in the East the Unitarian Christians always combated and protested against the Trinitarians, and that when they beheld the utter destruc- tion of the "Fourth Beast" by the Great Prophet of Allah, they accepted and followed him. The Devil, who spoke through the mouth of the serpent to Eve, uttered blasphemies against the Most High through the mouth of the "Little Horn" which sprang up among the "Ten Horns" upon the head of the "Fourth Beast" (Dan. viii.), was none other than Cons- tantine the Great, who officially and violently proclaimed the Nicene Creed. But, Prophet Muhammad has destroyed the "Iblis" or the Devil from the Promised Land for ever, by establishing Islam there as the religion of the One true God.

 

I

"AND THE AHMED OF ALL NATIONS WILL COME." - HAGGAI, ii.7.

      Some two centuries after the idolatrous and impenitent Kingdom of Israel was overthrown, and the whole population of the ten tribes deported into Assyria, Jerusalem and the glorious temple of Solomon were razed to the ground by the Chaldeans, and the unmassacred remnant of Judah and Ben- jamin was transported into Babylonia. After a period of seventy years' captivity, the Jews were permitted to return to their country with full authority to build again their ruined city and the temple. When the foundations of the new house of God were being laid, there arose a tremendous uproar of joy and acclamation from the assembly; while the old men and women who had seen the gorgeous temple of Solomon before, burst into a bitter weeping. It was on this solemn occasion that the Almighty sent His worshiper the Prophet Haggai to console the sad assembly with this important message: -

"And I will shake all nations, and the Himdah all the nations will come; and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. Mine is the silver, mine is the gold, says the Lord of hosts, the glory of my last house shall be greater than that of the first one, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give Shalom, says the Lord of hosts" (Haggai, ii. 7-9).

I have translated the above paragraph from the only copy of the Bible at my disposal, lent to me by an Assyrian lady cousin in her own vernacular language. But let us consult the English versions of the Bible, which we find have rendered the original Hebrew words himda and shalom into "desire" and "peace" respectively.

Jewish and Christian commentators alike have given the utmost importance to the double promise contained in the above prophecy. They both understand a messianic predic- tion in the word Himda. Indeed, here is a wonderful pro- phecy confirmed by the usual biblical formula of the divine oath, "says the Lord Sabaoth," four times repeated. If this prophecy be taken in the abstract sense of the words himda and shalom as "desire" and "peace," then the prophecy becomes nothing more than an unintelligible aspiration. But if we understand by the term himda a concrete idea, a person and reality, and in the word shalom, not a condition, but a living and active force and a definitely established religion, then this prophecy must be admittedly true and fulfilled in the person of Ahmed and the establishment of Islam. For himda and shalom - or shlama have precisely the same significance respectively as Ahmed and Islam.

Before endeavoring to prove the fulfillment of this pro- phecy, it will be well to explain the etymology of the two words as briefly as possible: -

(a) Himda. The clause in the original Hebrew text reads thus: "ve yavu himdath kol haggoyim," which literally rendered into English would be "and will come the Himda of all nations." The final hi in Hebrew, as in Arabic, is changed into th, or t when in the genitive case. The word is derived from an archaic Hebrew - or rather Aramaic - root hmd (consonants pronounced hemed). In Hebrew hemed is generally used in the sense of great desire, covet, appetite and lust. The ninth command of the Decalogue is: "Lo tahmod ish reikha" ("Thou shalt not covet the wife of thy neighbor"). In Arabic the verb hemida, from the same consonants hmd, means "to praise," and so on. What is more praised and illustrious than that which is most craved for, coveted, and desired? Whichever of the two meanings be adopted, the fact that Ahmed is the Arabic form of Himda remains indisputable and decisive. The Holy Quran (ch.61:6 ) declares that Jesus announced unto the people of Israel the coming of Ahmad: "And when Jesus, the son of Mary said: 'Children of Israel, I am sent to you by Allah to confirm the Torah that is before me, and to give news of a Messenger who will come after me whose name shall be Ahmad.' Yet when he came to them with clear proofs, they said: 'This is clear sorcery.'"

The Gospel of St. John, being written in Greek, uses the name Paracletos, a barbarous form unknown to classical Greek literature. But Periclytos, which corresponds exactly with Ahmed in its signification of "illustrious," "glorious" and "praised," in its superlative degree, must have been the translation into Greek of Himda or probably Hemida of the Aramaic form, as uttered by Jesus Christ. Alas! there is no Gospel extant in the original language spoken by Jesus!

(b) As to the etymology and signification of the words shalom, shlama, and the Arabic salam, Islam, I need not detain the reader by dragging him into linguistic details. Any Semitic scholar knows that Shalom and Islam are derived from one and the same root and that both mean peace, sub- mission, and resignation.

This being made clear, I propose to give a short exposi- tion of this prophecy of Haggai. In order to understand it better, let me quote another prophecy from the last book of the Old Testament called Mallachai, or Mallakhi, or in the Authorized Version, Malachi (chap. iii. I):

"Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: suddenly he will come to his temple. He is the Adonai (i.e. the Lord) whom you desire, and the Messenger of the Covenant with whom you are pleased. Lo he is coming, says the Lord of hosts."

Then compare these mysterious oracles with the wisdom embodied in the sacred verse of the Quran: "Exalted is He who caused His worshiper (Prophet Muhammad) to travel in the night from the sacred Mosque (Mecca) to the farthest Mosque (Jerusalem) which We have blessed around it that We might show him of Our signs. He is the Hearer, the Seer." Ch.17:1 Quran

That by the person coming suddenly to the temple, as foretold in the two biblical documents above mentioned, Prophet Muhammad, and not Prophet Jesus, is intended the following arguments must surely suffice to convince every impartial observer:-

  1. The kinship, the relation and resemblance between the two tetrograms Himda and Ahmd, and the identity of the root hmd from which both substantives are derived, leave not a single particle of doubt that the subject in the sentence "and the Himda of all nations will come" is Ahmed; that is to say, Muhammad. There is not the remotest etymological connection between himda and any other names of "Jesus," "Christ," "Savior," not even a single consonant in common between them.
  2. Even if it be argued that the Hebrew form Hmdh (read himdah) is an abstract substantive meaning "desire, lust, covetousness, and praise," the argument would be again in favor of our thesis; for then the Hebrew form would, in etymology, be exactly equivalent in meaning and in similarity to, or rather identity with, the Arabic form Himdah. In whatever sense you wish to take the tetrogram Hmdh, its relation to Ahmed and Ahmedism is decisive, and has nothing to do with Jesus and Jesuism! If St. Jerome, and before him the authors of the Septuagint, had preserved intact the Hebrew form Hmdh, instead of putting down the Latin "cupi- ditas" or the Seek "euthymia," probably the translators appointed by King James I would have also reproduced the original form in the Authorized Version, and the Bible Society have followed suit in their translations into Islamic languages.
  3. The temple of Zorobabel was to be more glorious than that of Solomon because, as Mallakhi prophesied, the great Prophet or Messenger of the Covenant, the "Adonai" or the Seyid of the messengers was to visit it suddenly, as indeed Prophet Muhammad did during his miraculous night journey, as stated in the Quran! The temple of Zorobabel was repaired or rebuilt by Herod the Great. And Jesus, certainly on every occasion of his frequent visits to that temple, honored it by his holy person and presence. Indeed, the presence of every prophet in the House of God had added to the dignity and sanctity of the sanctuary. But this much must at least be admitted, that the Gospels which record the visitations of Christ to the temple and his teachings therein fail to make mention of a single conversion among his audience. All his visits to the temple are reported as end- ing in bitter disputes with the unbelieving priests and Pharisees! It must also be concluded that Jesus not only did not bring "peace' to the world as he deliberately declared (Matt. xxiv. Mark xiii., Luke xxi.), but he even predicted the total destruction of the temple (Matt. x. 34, etc.), which was fulfilled some forty years afterwards by the Romans, when the final dispersion of the Jews was completed.
  4. Ahmad, which is another form of the name Muhammad and of the same root and signification, namely, the "praised," during his night journey visited the sacred spot of the ruined temple, as stated in the Holy Quran, and there and then, according to the sacred tradition uttered repeatedly by himself to his companions, officiated the divine service of prayer and adoration to Allah in the presence of all the Prophets; and it was then that Allah "to travel in the night from the sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque which We have blessed around it that We might show him of Our Signs." (Ch 17:1 Quran) to the Last Prophet. If Moses and Elias could appear in bodily presence on the mount of transfiguration, they and all the thousands of Prophets could also appear in the arena of the temple at Jerusalem; and it was during that "sudden coming" of Prophet Muhammad to "his temple" (Mal. iii. 1 ) that God did actually fill it "with glory" (Hag. ii.).

That Amina, the widow of Abdullah, both of whom died before the advent of Islam, should name her orphan son "Ahmed," the first proper noun in the history of mankind, is, according to my humble belief, the greatest miracle in favor of Islam. The second Caliph, Hazrat Omar, rebuilt the temple, and the majestic Mosque at Jerusalem remains, and will remain to the end of the world, a perpetual monument of the truth of the covenant which Allah made with Abraham and Ishmael (Gen. xv.-xvii).

Short Quotes

Mercy

"And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to mankind" (The Holy Quran, Al-Anbiyah, The Prophets 21:107)