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Messages - Joseph Islam

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Q&As with Joseph Islam - Information Only / Re: Tawaaf
« on: December 30, 2018, 04:27:44 PM »

The Quran provides no explicit number of circuits required. [1]

However in my humble view,  it is useful to acknowledge that the current practice of 7 or even more (in remembrance of God) is not incongruent with the Quran’s overarching teachings. Also one circuit close to the Ka’aba is not the same as a circuit completed at the outermost boundaries of the Ka'aba's precinct. Arguably, the intentions will remain paramount with the Quranic proviso “to keep your duty to God as best you can / what you are able... (Arabic: ma is’tata’tum)”

Given the above and personally, I have not found any cogent reason to breach the current practice if I am able to fulfil it. Completing more or less circuits would be a matter of choice given the circumstances presented at the time.

I hope this helps, God willing




Wa alaikum assalam


The verses you have cited of Surah Najm do not provide irrefutable evidence that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet all at once. However, there is explicit and more cogent 'implicit' evidence throughout the Quran that it's revelation was piecemeal.

As I have noted:

"The disbelievers ask, ‘Why is the Quran not revealed to him all at once?’ [25:32] i.e. as one integral unit (Jumlatan Wahida). Regardless of the obvious charge of the polemics of Islam at the time of the Prophet with this statement which hints at a Prophet of God revealing verses to suit certain conditions, the Quran’s statement clearly denies the insinuations and admits to a well-planned and arranged structure despite its piecemeal revelation." [1]


It is correct in my humble view to assert that the Quran provides evidence that the Prophet experienced 'the one mighty in power (shadidu'l-quwa)' twice. This is most likely a reference to Gabriel (2:97) who was tasked with the piecemeal revelation to the Prophet.

Furthermore, it is perfectly reconcilable given the verses cited in this response that the Prophet did see Gabriel in his physical form twice (53:13) but also had the Quran's revelation revealed to him subsequently (as the Quran claims - to his heart) over a period of time (2:97).

There is also further arguable evidence that once these revelations were 'inspired' to the prophet's 'heart', these revelations further manifested to the Prophet in the likeness of dreams (21:5).

I hope this helps, God willing





Wa alaikum assalam

As I trust that you will appreciate, in this context, it would be pointless for me to provide a counter argument for a subjective claim from either someone today or someone from antiquity (or 3rd party claims of what someone may have allegedly said in antiquity). As you will know, there are many that arguably hold a completely different view and remain resolute that the Quranic narrative is in a form that is par excellence.

Furthermore, being 'recognised' as a 'scholar' or having bound written parchments in one's name doesn't automatically entitle one to the mantle of absolute truth. All human endeavour concerning opinions / wider epistemology remains open to critique.

However, what I will respectfully assert is that contrary to popular belief, neither does the Quran make claims of Arabic being a superior language [1], nor does the challenge of the Quran to produce a Surah like it founded on the premise to produce a more eloquent script / narrative. [2]

The Quran simply professes to be a scripture that provides clear / plain guidance in a particular language of a particular people who spoke it [3], clear proof, an explanation of all things necessary for religious guidance for wider believers, a discernment between truth and falsehood and a powerful evidence based scripture imbued with a fine balance [4].

Personally, I have found that the Quran wholly lives up to its claims and to me, provides irrefutable evidence to the truth. Others can disagree of course, that is again, wholly their prerogative.

I hope this helps, God willing



Wa alaikum assalam

The first point I would like to advance is that God's knowledge or decree of our death is not incongruent with the notion that we also have free will to act out our choices (within the constraints that God allows). Thus the verses you have quoted in which we have input into the outcomes as a consequence of our  choices / endeavours (53:39, 13:11, 14:7) does not necessarily conflict with the knowledge that God possesses (or it’s decree) of the time and place of our demise (56:60).

One way to think of life is in the form of a ‘matrix’. We have an entrance point (birth) and an exit point (death) from this matrix which is decreed. The constraints of the matrix are governed by the Almighty, All Wise Creator who allows us to make ‘certain’ choices (exercising our free will) 'within' the matrix.

With a view to broaden the response further and as I have argued elsewhere, 'free-will' in this context is also better understood as 'managed’ free will. [1] 

All life on earth is temporal. It is a trial bed for humankind which is not without purpose (75:36) but 'designed' to test our mettle (29:2). Therefore, it is not left completely uncontrolled, but is actively managed by God ('yudabbiru l-amra' 13:2) to necessitate a fair platform from which human accountability (of choices) can be justifiably deduced.

This is also supported by numerous verses in the Quran where it is explicit that God 'intervenes' to allow for certain outcomes to take place. For example, please see places of worship being protected (22:40) or the dispatching of angelic forces for the assistance of the believers (3:124).

Another example can be inferred from verse 25:20 where there is the inherent implication that situations / circumstances are ordained. "...And We have made some of you as a trial for others, will you have patience?" (25:20). Another well-known example is within the narrative concerning Prophet Moses and the servant of God, where the latter marred a boat, killed a young boy and where the refusal of hospitality was met with an act of grace with the construction of a wall. (18:65-82). These are all arguably examples of 'divine intervention' that are enacted to manifest a certain outcome.

One mechanism to allow for a certain outcome to take place is through ‘inspiration’ as can be seen when the mother of Prophet Moses placed him in the river (20:38-39) or when a certain outcome was required and the incident of the ‘cup’ was deliberately contrived by God to yield the particular result (12:76).

It also remains noteworthy that God's infinite knowledge transcends time and space.

As I have also mentioned (which supports the above):

“…having infinite knowledge (as God has) DOES NOT mean that human choices were 'ENFORCED'. These are two separate matters which are oft confused under the guise of predestination. God certainly knows our start and our end as part of being the One who encompasses His creation holistically from outside the realms of time (eternity) and space with infinite knowledge. [2] But His purpose was to try us within a ‘created closed realm of time and space’ in a constant battle for us to seek out truth from falsehood whilst exercising our volition in all its widest remit. He then holds us accountable for our choices granting us perfect requital based on our endeavours with not an iota of injustice. [2]

So it all depends on how we define 'destiny' and what we actually mean by 'predetermined' in this context. If 'destiny' is seen as our involvement in the 'matrix' as illustrated above and 'predestination' in terms of 'extent' and 'constraints', I truly believe the topic becomes easier to comprehend. 

I hope this helps, God willing


[1] Who made God?
[2] Predestined Destinies;topicseen#msg1559
[3] Predestination, Afflictions and Trials

Dear brother Hamzeh,

As-salamu alaykum

Thank you for your post which is well argued and really appreciated.  :)
As you also quite rightly point out:

  • "What needs to be made clear from this point is that, the Quran does not lack any details at all. It only lacks details from the relative point of whats been added or invented in the name of religion over the past 1400+ years or in others words from the lenses of a present day Islam which one needs to admit that over the span of time could of intentionally or unintentionally obscured its message with false prohibitions and legislations if not resorting to reassessing the source."

I think the prescription of 'ablution' in the Quran also makes this point quite cogently. Here we have a religious ritual that has details unequivocally furnished by the Quran (4:43, 5:6). However, one finds that extra rituals are performed by the traditionalists 'as religious decree' which finds no explicit mention in the Quran such as the rinsing of one’s mouth, the nose cleanse, repeating the washing of the arms thrice etc.

From a Quran-centric position of course, there is no harm in performing these extra rituals as long as they are not considered 'compulsory' as part of religious divine decree. However, the traditionalist must resolve the question that if the Quran does not provide these extra details which the traditionalists accept as compulsory, then how do they square this with the verses where the Quran describes itself as ‘explained in detail’ (11:1) and an ‘explanation / clarification of everything ‘ in matters of religious guidance?

This is a matter they must resolve, cogently.



Q&As with Joseph Islam - Information Only / Re: Meaning of the word 'Junub'
« on: November 02, 2018, 03:59:55 PM »

'Junub' in the context of verse 4:43 refers to a state that is caused by sexual intercourse and discharge of semen.

"He was, or became, in the state of one who is termed جُنُب; (S, IAth, Mgh, L, Msb, K;) i. e., under the obligation of performing a total ablution, by reason of sexual intercourse and discharge of the semen." [1]

I hope this helps, God willing



[1] LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 2, Page 465

What the Quran-centric approach is and what it is not for me.

Discussions / Quran-centrism
« on: October 23, 2018, 07:07:11 PM »

1. To uphold the Quran as the final divine testimony and authority for believers.

2. Rejects the 'authority' of any other source as a divinely ordained religious source for believers.

3. Continues to engage with any secondary source to better understand communities in antiquity, their thoughts, expressions and how they interpreted / practiced their religion. This is only with a view to extract wider wisdom if possible. This engagement does not imply validation of its 'religious authority'. These sources are always open to debate / discussion and critique.

4. Appreciates the efforts of the intellectuals and thinkers of the past and present. However, this does not imply that their views are to be followed as if they possess divine authority. Their thoughts are always open to scrutiny and critique.

5. Does not reject the 'Ahadith corpus' in toto on the basis of its inauthenticity. Whilst the corpus may have doubtful integrity, it is the 'religious authority' of the corpus which is denied.

6. The Biblical scriptures, the particular canons available during the Quran's revelation are appreciated with a view to engage with. They are to be utilised if a further enquiry to context is of interest. It is important to remember that the Prophet was also referred back to the knowledgeable folk from the People of the Book to verify claims if he was in doubt (16:43; 21:7-8).

7. Does not dismiss traditions outright. Only those traditions, practices and beliefs are dismissed that are deemed to be incongruent with the overarching message of the Quran. There is no intention to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'.


[1] The Quran-centric Position

[2] Two Crucial Differences Between the 'Quranist' (ism) and 'Quran-Centric' Approach

[3] An example of a Quran-centric approach - Wash or Wipe in Ablution?

The traditionalist argument has become increasingly sophisticated as wider discourses with Quran-centric Muslims have become more prevalent through 1-1 engagement and the Internet. This is an expected development and can only serve to refine the arguments from both sides.  For the traditionalist, the key is to establish the need for the 'Sunna' (and all that it entails) as an authoritative part of religion.

Here are some techniques that are usually deployed by the traditionalist with some accompanying thoughts:

1. TECHNIQUE: Moving the discussion away from providing evidence that the Quran 'authorises' the secondary sources (as they have reached us today) as divinely ordained and hence, a compulsory part of religion.

COMMENTS: Firstly, establish the axioms for the debate firmly. What are the agreed sources? If the only agreeable source for admission between the parties is the Quran, the ‘criterion between right and wrong’ (which it should be), then remain resolute. Do not let the argument diverge from this source. Respectfully, yet firmly demand unequivocal proof that the Quran authorises the secondary sources as a necessary part of 'religion’. Do not allow the discussion to divert until a satisfactory answer is provided.

2. TECHNIQUE: Without using traditions, demanding to know how one can conclude the Quran is from the Prophet and therefore God.

COMMENTS: This is an irrelevant question with its roots in blind following. One does not submit to the Quran because traditions provide alleged evidence of its transmission to an Arabian Prophet. That is simply a claim. Even if the traditions were indisputably reliable in their transmission, it would only prove that an Arabian man uttered the words in antiquity. What provides evidence that the Arabian man was a Prophet and his utterances were indeed inspired by God are the 'arguments' the Quran presents. If the arguments of the Quran were found to be wanting / weak, then all it would prove was that an Arabian man was a false prophet and deluded. A serious analysis / enquiry of the Quran clearly indicates that this is not the case.

What must be posited as a question is how else could some non-Muslims or even atheists ever find the Quran to be credible? It is arguably not due to the claimed authenticity of transmission or because secondary sources claim that the Quran came from a Prophet that convinces them. These are wholly irrelevant claims for such non-believing enquirers. Undoubtedly, it is ultimately the arguments that the Quran presents which convinces them of its veracity, its prophetic provenance and its divine origins.

There is a reason why the Quran's lecture is considered so powerful that if it were possible, it would be able to cause the mountains to move, the earth to be torn asunder and the dead to speak (13:31). The power is in the narratives, not in its claimed preservation. Preservation only leads back to a human source. It does not make it of divine origin.

3. TECHNIQUE: Attempting to smuggle the need for secondary sources as a necessary part of religion through out of context verses and inferences to the prophet requiring him to explain the Quran to his people.

COMMENTS: Deliberate intensely on each inference and verse cited by scrutinising context and surrounding verses. Established themes will be found consistently throughout the Quran. For example, a commonly cited verse for support of the authority of the secondary sources is verse 59:7 which when cited, often completely dismisses the context which is a reference to war booty. Surrounding verses must be examined. Once again, do not admit attack on why you accept the Quran as the final authority. This should have already been established at the start of the discussion (The axioms and the sources admitted for the debate (i.e. the Quran)).

Please also see technique Number 3 and 4 below where it is alleged that 'wisdom' or the 'prophetic explanations' necessitate the authority of the secondary sources.

4. TECHNIQUE: Asking the question: What was the ‘wisdom’ that the prophet imparted?

COMMENTS: All prophets were granted ‘hikmah’ (wisdom). This question completely dismisses any acknowledgement that the Arabian prophet was part of a time slice of history, a product of his community, his environment and his circumstances. It is to be recognised that Quranic instructions can be applied in different ways if the circumstances change. The Quranic edict remains timeless, but the circumstances do not. Therefore, much of the Sunna that may have resulted from his wisdom would have been a combination of both the divinely inspired guidance and the context driven situations the prophet and his community were part of and had to deal with. To apply ancient context specific solutions to a different culture, period and circumstances could potentially result in catastrophic outcomes. To recognise this point is absolutely crucial to understand the true nature of the 'Sunna' and how it is to be understood in light of the Quran and its time specific circumstances. Furthermore, be acutely aware of the attempt to ‘conflate’ prophetic wisdom with the Hadith corpus that has been collected by fallible men allegedly centuries after the death of the Prophet. The two are not the same and must be kept separate.

5. TECHNIQUE: Asking the question: What was the ‘explanation’ that the prophet imparted?

COMMENTS: Notwithstanding that the Quran claims to be the 'best tafsir' (25:33) and further, claims to be an explanation of all that is necessary for timeless guidance (tibiana lekulli shayin - 16:89), this question also does not appear to appreciate that the Prophet had many roles, not only as a Spiritual guide. In these roles, explanations / Quranic application would become necessary.

The prophet was not only a spiritual guide, but also made judgements on specific situations by making use of the Quran's guidance (24:48). The prophet was an arbitrator and settled disputes (24:51; 8:46). He was a counsellor / consultant (58:12); He was a military leader and made use of the Quran's guidance to conduct his affairs during war (8:1; 8:7).He was a community leader (60:12) and consulted with his contemporaries to make best decisions for the community (3:159). He was the state leader of a chain of commands (4:59). He was the community's treasurer (8:41). He was a spiritual guide in his personal sphere (e.g. with his wives 33:33).

All these required the Quran's guidance and the specific circumstances that the Prophet encountered. It is arguable that if the prophet was to apply the same Quranic principles to a different community of a different time period, the explanation and guidance proffered would also be different.

6. TECHNIQUE: Attack independent use of logic or intellectual reasoning (aql) to the Quran to form a conclusion.

COMMENTS: This is a self-defeating argument not only because the Quran provides ample evidence to the contrary, but also as the hypocrisy of this question is evident in the traditionalist approach when the Quran is provided to non-Muslims for them to use their 'aql' in order to leave their established faith and convert based simply on a copy of the Quran. Logic or intellectual reasoning by definition should have strict principles of validity and it is how humans accept better arguments and achieve an enlightened conscience. To dismiss this is wholly unwarranted.

7. TECHNIQUE: Creating 'Straw Man' arguments and diversions. How do you pray? How do you bathe?

COMMENTS: This approach is designed to elicit finer details which are not mentioned in the Quran. This is once again a deliberate ploy to establish the need for secondary sources as a compulsory part of religion.

This question must be summarily dismissed as any religious action must provide some basis of proof from the Quran, not the other way around. It is for the traditionalist to provide evidence from the Quran why they adhere to a particular ritual no matter how detailed, not the other way around.

There is also a dangerous inference in the question that the Quran is not complete for necessary guidance. This is easily dismissed by the Quran’s own admission that it is ‘detailed’ (fussilat - 41:3; 11:1), a clear explanation of everything necessary for religion (tibiana lekulli shayin - 16:89), the criterion between right and wrong (furqan - 25:1; 2:53) and the perfect balance (mizaan - 42:17). It is also evidence absolutely clear (bayyina - 20:133; 6:157).

Be careful not to be drawn into attacking the ‘Hadith’ corpus. (e.g. Not one Hadith can be found to teach one how to pray either; the Hadith corpus cannot provide ‘chains of narrators’ for all the verses of the Quran etc). This will only serve to move you into the quagmire of the secondary sources and will often lead to circular arguments. The focus is the Quran as the agreed source.
[Side note: The Quran only instructs one to 'establish prayer'. Certain expectations of what forms the prayer are provided in different verses (bowing, standing, ablution, direction etc.). If those actions are completed by a congregation, then the prayer is arguably complete. Does the current prayer method that has reached us through en masse practice satisfy the Quran's requirements? Many Quran-centric folk would agree that it does and hence would be happy to assimilate.]

8. TECHNIQUE: Asking the question: How can you even understand the Arabic language of the Quran and what it says as you need the secondary sources to interpret it?

COMMENTS: This is the Achilles heel of some of the ‘Quranist’ claims that professes to dismiss all secondary sources in toto. The traditionalist inference is correct. The Quran is not a dictionary and cannot be interpreted without an independent source of language interpretation which by definition would be a secondary source. There are also words in the Quran that have only been used once in the entire Scripture (hapax legomenon) and thus, would necessitate the use of another source of interpretation.

However, the Quran-centric approach accepts engagement with sources to interpret the language of the Quran. The protection of the 'dhikr' (reminder) is assured by the Quran (15:9). This implies both the 'words' (kalimaat) of the Quran and an appropriate ability to discern its 'meanings'. Otherwise, the 'dhikr' would be meaningless.
Therefore any source, including classical lexicons, works of grammarians, dictionaries or indeed, any Islamic secondary source which is used to understand the classical Arabic language is implicitly ratified by the Quran (15:9). The Prophet was tasked with a responsibility to convey the message of the Quran in Arabic to his people. His people had a responsibility en masse to pass the message to mankind (22:78) both in Arabic and to convey its meaning to those who did not understand the language.

However, the maxim still stands. No secondary source is divinely ratified and therefore, the linguistic instruments used to extract best meanings can still be debated. This is also the expectation of the Quran (i.e. to extract best meaning - 39:18). 

Finally, beware of Ad Hominem. Attacks against you, your reasoning and your beliefs are not dealing with the argument. Do not engage in it and do not accept it in any form from another.

Wa alaikum assalam

As I trust you will kindly appreciate, my remit of interpretation would be primarily governed by the extent of the verse. Therefore, that particular statement [1] was made in context of verse 24:31 which governs ‘al-muminati’ (believing women).

With regards your second paragraph, I have admitted the sentiment ‘respect to prevailing customs’ in the same article [2] where I accept a balance needs to be struck whilst remaining intentionally non-committal to ‘what’ coverage would exactly entail. Therefore on a personal level, I would have no qualms in accepting your comment as fair and reasonable, particularly with focus on your comment which I’ve emphasised in bold.

“…or also accept different styles where some hair is exposed (but still looks completely decent) in some cultures such as Pakistan. I mean a "dupatta"

I hope that helps, God willing


[2] Ibid

As-salamu alaykum

As I have mentioned before in my writings, the Quran translates dialogues from other languages / speech into Arabic.

"Therefore it is the message which is important, not the language it is delivered in for the Quran itself is a translation from other tongues into Arabic.

For example, one notes of all the dialogue captured in the Quran, of Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (pbut), different messengers, angels, Iblis (Satan), Pharaoh, even of an ant (27:18) and a Hoopoe bird (27:22). All this speech has been captured and translated by God Himself for an Arabic audience to grasp the message and its wisdom."

Even the name 'Musa' in Arabic is arguably not how Prophet Moses's people or his mother would have known him. It would have been arguably 'Moshe' [2]. Prophet 'Isa' would have arguably been known as 'Yeshua' (Hebrew) / 'Jeshua' (Aramaic). [3]

Therefore from a Quran's perspective, there is no reason to assume that the ants knew the name 'Solomon' as the Arabic 'Solomon', it is what they 'perceived' in their own communication method which the Quran is capturing. They saw an impending army approaching with a leader at its helm, whether it is from ground vibrations or else, they were informed to dissipate into their dwellings. This may have been a frequent route that the army personnel traversed hence the implied familiarity.

I hope this helps, God willing.



[3] Ibid

Wa alaikum assalam

The term admits shades of meaning depending on context. The term 'al-nas' can also describe broadly the entire human race. Please kindly see just two examples below:
11:103   "…that is a day mankind (al-nas) are to be gathered…"
010:24   "…the plants of the earth mingle with it where mankind (al-nas) and cattle eat…"
As I have mentioned in my writings, the Prophet was tasked with a responsibility to convey the message of the Quran in Arabic to his people as a witness to the truth. His people had a responsibility en masse to pass the message to mankind (22:78) as witnesses to the truth. This would imply a discourse both in Arabic and an ability to convey its meaning to those who did not understand the language.
"...The messenger is a witness over you and you may be a witness on mankind (al-nas)..." (22:78)
Please also kindly note above how the responsibilities are clearly delineated. There would be no point of his people passing the message separately on to wider mankind as witnesses to the truth if the intention was to reveal the Quran to a specific people exclusively. In that case, the Prophet would have sufficed as witness.
I hope that helps, God willing

General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 09, 2018, 08:12:03 AM »
Dear All,

As-salamu alaykum

I trust that many will kindly appreciate that at times, my silence on a particular thread or question directed at me is deliberate. One of the reasons governs my humble desire to provide as much opportunity for diverse discourse to take place on a topic (collective wisdom to be imparted by others).

Thank you brothers Wakas, Ilker, Duster, Hamzeh and Athman for your responses and contributions to the thread.

Enjoyed reading them  :)

May God bless you all.


Discussions / Re: Eid Mubarak
« on: June 15, 2018, 10:04:21 AM »
Wa alaikum assalam Yahia,

Eid mubarak to you and everyone on this forum too. May God accept all our fasts, God willing.

Dear brother Niaz,

As-salamu alaykum

Thank you for a very well written and argued post, the contents of which I fundamentally concur with.


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