Islam’s Allah is Definitely Greater than God
By Louis Palme
Ever since Muhammad’s surprise attack on the Jewish enclave at Khaybar in 629, Muslims have tried to strike fear in the hearts of non-Muslims by shouting “Allahu Akbar!” – Allah is Greater. The same shout of “Allahu Akbar” was used by the Islamic airplane hijackers on 9/11/01 and by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood on 11/5/09.
For some reason, newscasters and journalists insist on insulting Allah by translating that exclamation merely as “God is great.” Such a depreciating distortion is — or should be — considered blasphemy by devout Muslims.
Allah Doesn’t Get Tired
We all know that God created the heaven and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day God rested. Jews and some Christians still consider the seventh day of the week a day of rest. Not only do they refrain from working, they won’t even distract from remembering God by doing such trivial things as cooking or switching lights on and off.
Allah also created the heavens and the earth in six days (Surah 7:54), but unlike God, Allah was not tired by all of that creation work. Surah 46:33 says, “Do they not see that Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and was not wearied by their creation, has power to raise the dead to life. Yes, he has power over all things.” There was no need for Allah to rest, and to this day Muslims do not set aside a day of rest to remember Allah’s feat of creation.
Allah Can Dispense Both Good and Evil
People often consider God to be all-powerful, but he is actually constrained in a very important way: He cannot do evil. James 1:13 says, “If a person is tempted by such trials, he must not say, ‘This temptation is from God.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Even in the familiar Old Testament story of Job, it was Satan who tested Job’s faith by stripping him of all his blessings. Satan’s test failed.
On the other hand, Allah can inflict both good and evil on his subjects. Surah 4:78 says, “When they are blessed with good fortune, they say, ‘This is from Allah.’ But when evil befalls them, they say: “it was [Muhammad’s] fault.’ Say to them, ‘All is from Allah.’”
Allah Measures Out His Blessings to Keep His Subjects in Line
God is known for His unconditional love (hecedh) and the many blessings he bestows on those who believe in him. This is expressed in Ephesians 3:20 – “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” This generosity is also expressed in 2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Does this mean that all those who worship God are rich? No, but they are never wanting of blessings from God.
Meanwhile, since the beginning of Islam, people have noticed that Muslims in general are among the poorest and most oppressed faith group known to mankind. Allah has a reason for that, expressed in Surah 42:27, “Had Allah bestowed abundance upon His servants, they would have committed much injustice in the land. He gives them what He will in due measure; He knows and observes his servants.”
Allah Needs no Partner to Defend Him
Christians believe that God is revealed to mankind in three forms – God, His Son Jesus Christ — a human manifestation of God, and the Holy Spirit an omnipresent invisible God-force. A blessing by the Apostle Paul is expressed this way in 1 Corinthians 13:14: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Of course, the idea of Allah having partners is unthinkable to Muslims. For God to have a “son” he would have had sex with consort (wife). (See Surah 6:101 and 72:3) Besides, He needs no assistance in His work. Surah 17:111 expresses it this way: “Say: ‘Praise be to Allah who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom, who needs none to defend him from humiliation.’”
Allah Should Never be Confused with the Judeo-Christian God
Arabic translations of the Bible often use “Allah” for God because it is a familiar term. However, compromising Allah’s reputation by using His name in place of the more limited god of Jews and Christians has become a point of aggravation for many devout Muslims. In 2009, Malaysia (which is 61% Muslim and 9% Christian) passed a law forbidding Christians from using “Allah” for the Judeo-Christian God. Muslims were afraid that using the same word Allah would make it easier for Christians to persuade Muslims to convert to Christianity. Islamic authorities went so far as to confiscate Bibles that contained the word Allah. Brunei went a step further and banned 19 religious terms from being used by non-Muslims.
So the next time you hear or see someone insulting Allah by referring to Him as God or translating “Allahu Akbar” as Allah being merely great and not greater, please help correct that gross error. We need to make sure Allah gets proper recognition for all he has done.
How Muslims Understand History
By Louis Palme
“This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favour to you. I have chosen Islam to be your faith.” (Surah 5:3)
This pronouncement was “handed down” to Muhammad on his final pilgrimage to Mecca in 632. It takes a stretch of the imagination to consider Islam perfected at that time. Of the five Pillars of Islam, prayer and charity were not yet defined. One hundred years after Muhammad’s death, five different “schools” still could not agree on the tenants of Sharia law.
Faith is a virtue, but blind faith can sometimes trap people in an imaginary world divorced from reality. Muslims not only believe that their religion is “perfect,” but they also believe that all events in history were not only “Islamic,” but they were the perfect will of Allah.
To Muslims, it’s quite simple: Allah created the world and everyone in it. What sense would there be for there to be more than one religion in Allah’s creation? Allah would never allow that! Therefore, Adam was a Muslim, Abraham was a Muslim, David was a Muslim, and of course, Jesus was a Muslim. Because some drifted away from Islam, Muhammad was sent to bring them back.
Also, all of the territories of the world are actually Muslim territories. Yes, unfortunately some Muslim lands have been occupied by people who have rejected Islam. It is the right and duty for Muslims to reclaim those territories for Allah. Thus, there is no such thing as Islamic imperialism – only Islamic restoration.
What non-Muslims call terrorism are merely situations where Muslims engage in carrying out Allah’s justice – commanding the good and forbidding evil. It would be an insult to Allah for people who reject Him to go unpunished.
This gets us to Surah 5:32, which Muslims frequently quote (in an abbreviated form) as evidence that Muslims are opposed to violence and extremism: “Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” President Obama actually quoted the same line in his speech at Al Azhar University in Cairo in 2009. (See: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/politics/04obama.text.html )
There are two major problems with this quote: 1) There are over 50 English translations of the Quran, but there is no known English translation of the Quran that uses “innocent” in this verse. (See http://islamawakened.com/quran/5/32/); 2) This edict applies specifically to the “Children of Israel.” The verse after 5:32 gives the punishments ordained for Muslims — execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land.” These, of course, are extreme punishments forbidden by the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Articles 5 and 9 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For Muslims, however, this edict in 5:32 was merely the natural result of Muslim Cain killing Muslim Abel, and hence it applies to all people, not just “the Children of Israel.”
The sheer will of Allah to make something happen overrides any reasonable test of historical accuracy
In the Eleventh Century, Muslim scholars got into a heated debate over whether the Quran was created over time or whether it just existed in its entirety from the beginning of time. Reason would hold that specific contemporary passages about Muhammad’s infidelity (66:3) and Muhammad marrying his daughter-in-law (Surah 33:37) could not have existed “from the beginning of time.” Of the course, the latter view would jeopardize the statement that the Quran was the verbal word of Allah. This controversy is sometimes referred to the Mu’tazilite – Ash’arite debate. Ultimately it was concluded that Islamic knowledge belonged to a category of knowledge that cannot be obtained by reason. (See: Robert R. Reilly, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, (2010), page 109.)
This view is actually codified into Sharia Law, where it is an act of apostasy punishable by death to believe that “things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah.” (Al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller, paragraph o8.7(17)) This provision is a reflection of Surah 16:78-79: “Allah has power over all things. . .Do they not see the birds that wing their flight in heaven’s vault? None but Allah sustains them.” (See also Surah 67:19.)
If the will of Allah trumps reason, there is no need for historical explanations or logical analyses of historical claims. All of that is a waste of time.
Islamic History Often Compiled from Contradictory Tales
When historian Patricia Crone set out to understand why Mecca – an isolated town far from the main trade routes – became such an important center of religion and commerce at the time of Muhammad, she hoped to rely on commercial correspondence and accounts of travelers to Mecca. Unfortunately, such documentation did not exist. The Quran actually mentions only 16 places, cities, or countries by name. (Compared with 1,172 in the Bible.) The hadith accounts are numerous, but they were compiled almost 100 years after-the-fact, and they contain numerous contradictions.
Dr. Crone concluded, “It is clear, then, that much of the classical understanding of the Quran rests on the work of popular storytellers, such storytellers being the first to propose particular historical contexts for particular verses. . . That these accounts represent some fifteen different versions of the same event is unlikely to be disputed by anyone. Which one of them is true, then? Evidently none. . . There was no continuous transmission. Ibn Ishaq, Waqidi, and others were cut off from the past: like the modern scholar, they could not get behind their sources.” (Patricia Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. (2004), pages 216 – 226.)
This problem shows up in public school social studies textbooks today. In a single textbook (Discovery, Medieval and Early Modern History – 2017), there is a series of inconsistencies and outright contradictions. Clearly, there was no attempt to make a unified presentation. Nowhere is this more evident than in the description of Muhammad’s return to Mecca. There are three different versions of the event, and not one tells the whole story. It even states that Muhammad wrote the Quran while he was in Medina. How could a text be so sloppy? Other accounts indicate that Saudi Arabia destroyed most of the historical evidence that did exist in Mecca and Medina. See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/medina-saudis-take-a-bulldozer-to-islams-history-8228795.html
Islamophobia is actually contemporary English for fitna
Muhammad’s first “booty” raid was at Nakhla, where Muslims killed one merchant, captured another and took their merchandise. The attack was justified as revenge for fitna — opposing Islam. Here is how it was stated in the Quran:
Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter.” (2:217 – Yusuf Ali)
The Arabic word for tumult and oppression is fitna. That Arabic word is actually used in several English translations. Here are some other renderings: oppression, to disbelieve, tumult, dissention, sedition, persecution, persecution for creed or opinion , temptation, disorder (rooted in rebellion to Allah and recognizing no laws), faithlessness, disbelief in Allah, fitnah (to create disorder), mischief, corruption, mischief mongering, turmoil, mischievous behavior, treason, temptation to idolatry, civil strife, idolatry, provocation. (See: http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/217/ ) Why so many meanings for fitna? For the same reason that Islamophobia is used in so many situations. Anything that resists, opposes, or hinders the advance of Islam is considered fitna or Islamophobia. Is such a grave offense in the view of Muslims that slaughtering the offenders is a lesser crime.
With this interpretation in hand, it is easy for Muslim historians to argue that all fighting by Muslims has been “defensive” in nature. For them, resisting fitna is a defensive act. Ironically, Islam uses a Christian parable by Jesus to justify their actions. Once Muhammad had achieved submission of all of the tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, he sent messages to surrounding rulers inviting them to submit to Islam. Here is one example from Ibn Ishaq’s The Life of Muhammad, page 655 f:
Muhammad sent a letter to Heraclius the Byzantine ruler of Syria saying, ”If you accept Islam you will be safe; if you accept Islam, Allah gives you a double reward; if you turn back, the sin of the husbandmen will be upon you,” i.e., the burden of it. To understand this veiled threat, see Jesus’ parable of the tenants in the vineyard in Matthew 21:33 f. When the tenants refused to pay rent and actually killed the landlord’s son who came to collect the rent, the landlord returned himself. Jesus asked the chief priests what the landlord would do. They said, “He will certainly kill those evil men and rent the vineyard out to other tenants, who will give him his share of the harvest at the right time.” Muhammad saw himself as the rightful landlord and his letter to Heraclius was a demand for submission.
Of course, the Muslim view of history hasn’t been embraced by the non-Muslim world. In “multicultural” Sicily, Muslims were driven out in 1189. Muslim rule in Andalucía (Spain) was considered by Muslims the golden age of Muslim-Christian-Jewish harmony, but the Muslims were expelled in 1609. Millions of Muslims self-evacuated India when that country won its independence in 1947. Today, the government of Myanmar is trying to rid itself of illegal Muslim immigrants from Pakistan/Bangladesh. If Allah bequeathed the world to Muslims, they have hardly earned or maintained that trust.