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let's get real Raqib

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Reply to Lactantius

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Dec 16, 2006 at 19:23

To Raqib,

Thank you for the courtesy you show me by referring to me as "Brother Lactantius," I appreciate that Raqib, and whilst we clearly have sharp and irreconcilable differences of our core beliefs, I am pleased we can conduct our exchanges with such courteousy.

You are completely wrong Raqib, in saying the Bible we have today is the product of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, and I have already dealt with this claim in my previous postings at:-

Council of Nicaea, the Bible and Gospel Truth

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/68233

and at:-

Nicaea, The Bible and the GOB ("Gospel of Barnabas")

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/68346

both of which demonstrate the falsity of your claim, showing that what would be included in the Bible, or excluded from it, were not even considered at Nicaea in AD 325, and I quoted two online publications describing the deliberations of the Council of Nicaea, firstly,

"Edicts of the Council of Nicaea," http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum01.htm

and secondly, "The Council of Nicaea and the Bible" http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/nicaea.html

Didn't you read my previous postings Raqib? it's tiresome to keep going over the same old ground, when the falsity of your claims can be so readily demonstrated, and my posting at:-

Nicaea, The Bible and the GOB ("Gospel of Barnabas")

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/68346

amply demonstrated the falsity of the so-called "Gospel of Barnabas" (GOB), which was not even considered at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, let alone rejected as you wrongly claim, and whilst the GOB usually supports the teaching of Islam, it does not always do so, contradicting the Qur'an a number of times, as the examples I quoted showed, So Raqib, which is it to be, the Qur'an or the GOB, which is the word of Allah? Do please remember, when you quote the GOB to present the Islamic Isa, you are quoting a book which contradicts the Qur'an, which for you as a Muslim automatically rules it out doesn't it? and the GOB is also demonstrably false, because of the numerous other errors it contains, errors such as historical, geographical, climatic and internal inaccuracies, the GOB is thus best left well alone Raqib, since it can so easily shown to be fraudulent.

Your claim that "the divinity of Jesus was established by debate" at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 is wrong Raqib, there was no vote taken at the Council of Nicaea about Jesus' divinity, He already was divine, and had been recognised to be so by His followers in the first century. What took time to work out and articulate, was the relationship between Jesus the Incarnate Son of God, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, and your claim is similar to that made in the recent film "The Da Vinci Code" one of its most dramatic claims being that before the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, no Christians believed Jesus Christ to be anything more than a human prophet, the idea of a divine Christ being invented by Constantine in AD 325 for mainly political reasons. This is one of the most demonstrably inaccurate claims in "The Da Vinci Code" as is your claim that "the divinity of Jesus was established by debate" at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.

So just when did Jesus' followers began to regard Him as divine, and what did they say about Him in the earliest centuries? Far from being invented in AD 325 at the Council of Nicaea, the belief in Jesus' divinity was already held in the first century AD, documented in the primary source of reliable information about Him, the New Testament Gospels. It is clear that Christians believed Jesus was divine by the time the New Testament was written ~ AD 50-120, and between the writing of the New Testament and the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 , virtually all Christian writers spoke of Jesus as divine.

Do you realize Raqib, the problems raised by insisting on only an Arabic Qur'an? Not being an Arabic speaker, I cannot read the Qur'an, and if your train of thought is correct Raqib, that excludes me (and all others not reading Arabic), from what you believe to be the word of Allah. Given that exact word-for-word translation from one language to another can be problematic, you don't seriously suggest that the meaning of one language can't be translated into, and communicated by another language do you? Many Muslims cannot read Arabic, and cannot therefore read the Qur'an, what about them Raqib, are they "inferior" Muslims? You don't believe this do you?

Your reference to Tashkent and Istanbul, prompts me to comment on the Topkapi and Samarkand Qur'ans, with John Gichrist's detailed notes about them published in Jam' Al Qur'an and online at,

http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/Gilchrist/Jam/chap7.html

Gilchrist concludes by saying, "The Samarqand and Topkapi codices are obviously two of the oldest sizeable manuscripts of the Qur'an surviving, but their origin cannot be taken back earlier than the second century of Islam. It must be concluded that no such manuscripts of an earlier date have survived. The oldest manuscripts of the Qur'an still in existence date from not earlier than about one hundred years after Muhammad's death."

Jam' Al Qur'an was published in 1989, some 17 years after the discovery, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a, in Yemen, of tens of thousands of fragments, from close to a thousand different parchment codices of the Qur'an, which labourers discovered, when working in a loft between the structure's inner and outer roofs, the labourers gathering up the manuscripts, and pressing them into some twenty potato sacks!!! what a way to treat priceless Qur'anic manuscripts!!! and there is no evidence I am aware of that Gilchrist has seen the Sana'a manuscripts, discoveries of which were reported in "The Atlantic Online" at,

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99jan//koran.htm

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99jan//koran2.htm

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99jan//koran3.htm

it being reported in the first publication that "some of the parchment pages in the Yemeni hoard seemed to date back to the seventh and eighth centuries AD, or Islam's first two centuries, they were fragments, in other words, of perhaps the oldest Koran's in existence. What's more, some of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text-------------------- preliminary inspection also revealed unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment. Enticing, too, were the sheets of of the scripture written in the rare and early Hijazi Arabic script, pieces of the earliest Korans known to exist, they were also palimpsets, versions very clearly written over even earlier, washed-off versions. What the Yemeni Korans seemed to suggest, Puin began to feel, was an evolving text, rather than simply the word of Allah as revealed in its entirety to the Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century AD. Since the early 1980's, more than 15,000 sheets of the Yemeni Korans have painstakingly been flattened, cleaned, treated, sorted , and assembled; they now sit ("preserved for another 1000 years," Puin says), in Yemen's House of Manuscripts, awaiting detailed examination. That is something the Yemeni authorities have seemed reluctant to allow however.

So I ask again Raqib, what is there to hide??

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In speaking of corruption and defilement of the Bible, you put yourself in a very serious position Raqib, both with your prophet Muhammad, and with Allah.

When did this "corruption" and "defilement" take place? Was it before Muhammad, or after him?

The Qur'an gives massive and eloquent testimony to the Bible as the unchanged, unchangeable word of Allah, every mention confirming the Bible, so if the "corruption" and "defilement" you wrongly allege, took place before Muhammad, why would he, supposedly receiving revelation from Allah, testify to a book which was "corrupted" and "defiled," and if the "corruption" and "defilement" you claim took place after the time of Muhammad, this self-destroys, because the documents Allah allegedly inspired Muhammad to testify to, are still in existence, without "corruption" or "defilement" and may be referred to. So which is it to be Raqib? Before or after Muhammad?

You do you believe the Qur'an to be the word of Allah do you Raqib? because the Qur'an at Surah 3:3 claims that Allah is the author of the Bible, also claiming that "there is none that can alter the words and decrees of Allah (Sura 6:34)

and:- "----------none can change his words-----------" (Sura 18:27)

Please explain therefore Raqib, why, if the Bible was good enough for Muhammad and Allah, it isn't good enough for you?

"Find a single verse in Qur'an which is unscientific" you say Raqib, here's one, the scientific disaster contained in Surah 18:86

"Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people. We (Allâh) said (by inspiration): "O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness."

Muhammad also taught that the sun rests in a muddy spring from which it returns back on its course:

"Narrated Abu Dharr: The prophet asked me at sunset, ‘Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?' I replied, ‘Allah and his messenger know better.' He said, ‘It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates itself underneath the throne, and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course, but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the West. And that is the interpretation of the statement of Allah: "‘And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term appointed). This is the decree of (Allah) the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing."'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Number 421)

The translator of this Hadith states:

"The procedure of the sun mentioned in this Hadith and similar other things mentioned in the Qur'an like the prostration of the trees, herbs, and stars, etc. (v. 55:6) are beyond our limited knowledge of this universe. It is interpreted that these are mentioned so because of our limited understanding of the people at that time about the matters of the universe."

Where does the sun travel to after receiving permission from Allah to return on its course? The Qur'an gives us the answer:

"Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people. We (Allâh) said (by inspiration): "O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness." Surah 18:86

Muhammad and his companions clearly believed that the sun literally set in a muddy spring.

Al-Zamakhshari remarks in his book, Al-Kash-shaf: "Abu Dharr (one of Muhammad's close companions) was with Muhammad during the sunset. Muhammad asked him: ‘Do you know, O Abu Dharr where this sets?' He answered: ‘Allah and His apostle know better.' Muhammad said: ‘It sets in a spring of slimy water.'" (3rd Edition, Volume 2, p. 743, 1987)

Hence, Muhammad believed that the sun literally sets in a spring. In his book, The Lights of Revelation (p. 399), al-Baidawi indicates,

"The sun sets in a slimy spring; that is, a well which contains mud. Some of the readers of the Qur'an read it, ‘... a hot spring', thus the spring combines the two descriptions. It was said that Ibn 'Abbas found Mu'awiya reading it (as) hot. He told him, ‘It is muddy.' Mu'awiya sent to Ka'b al-Ahbar and asked him, ‘Where does the sun set?' He said in water and mud and there were some people. So he agreed with the statement of Ibn al-'Abbas. And there was a man who composed a few verses of poetry about the setting of the sun in the slimy spring."

Ibn Abbas, who was both a Sahabah and a cousin of Muhammad, also believed along with Ka'b al-Ahbar that the sun literally set in a muddy spring.

In Al-Jalalan's Commentary, p. 251, we are told that the setting of the sun is in a well that contains murky mud. The same interpretation is given by al-Tabari in his commentary (The History by Tabari, The Scientific Books, p. 339) as well as in the Concise Interpretation of al-Tabari (pt 2, p. 19) where he states that the well in which the sun sets "contains lime and murky mud".

Hence, Muhammad believed and the Qur'an teaches, that the sun rests in a muddy spring from where it then travels throughout the galaxy until it appears before Allah and returns back again!

Without sourcing it, you conclude with a quotation by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd. President of the United States of America 1801-1809, vilifying Christianity, and I now quote a transcription of a letter written by Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush on April 21st.1803, which transcription, together with a copy of the original, may be seen at http://christianparty.net/tjchristian2.htm

DEAR SIR, -- In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you, that one day or other, would give you my views of it. They are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other. At the short intervals since these conversations, when I could justifiably abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my contemplation. But the more considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of my late departure from Monticello, I received from Doctr Priestley, his little treatise of "Socrates & Jesus compared." This being a section of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of reflection while on the road, and unoccupied otherwise. The result was, to arrange in my mind a syllabus, or outline of such an estimate of the comparative merits of Christianity, as wished to see executed by some one of more leisure and information for the task, than myself. This I now send you, as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text for new misrepresentations & calumnies. I am moreover averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the public; because it would countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that inquisition over the rights of conscience, which the laws have so justly proscribed. It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own. It behoves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith, which the laws have left between God & himself. Accept my affectionate salutations.

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Please carefully note the underlined paragraph Raqib, and whilst Jefferson described himself as a "Christian," he quickly goes on to describe his heretical view of the Lord Jesus Christ as only human, showing his Biblical ignorance by saying he believed Jesus never claimed any other than humanity. So, whilst Jefferson quite obviously wasn't a Bible-believing Christian, he clearly says "To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." so I am left wondering how to reconcile your unsourced Jefferson quotation with the comments of his that I quote.

I conclude Raqib, by asking you to engage with the information contained in my postings, saving both of us the tiresome task of going over the same material again, and I quote some words of the French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) that are as unflattering to Islam, as the unsourced words of Thomas Jefferson's that you quoted are to Christianity,

On page 322 of Andre Jardin's Biography of Alexis deTocqueville, published in 1984 by Farrar, Staruss Giroux, Tocqueville wrote,

"I studied the Koran a great deal, mainly because of our position vis-a-vis the Muslim populations of Algeria and throughout the Near East. I must tell you that I came away from the study with the conviction that by and large, there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Mohammed. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though it is less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence, rather than a form of progress, in relation to paganism itself."

Preceding this quote, the author states that "...Tocqueville was interested above all in studying the moral influence that a religion exercised on a society. The Christian spirit of American society made democracy possible there, while the Muslim morality that so profoundly impregnated minds and manners, crushed man with its materialism and fatalism."

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr.

Submitting....

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