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Offline Mubashir

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2012, 05:54:40 AM »
Dear Friends, Salam

The issue seems to be whether Allah sticks to His Ways/Laws (By choice) or not. Does He chooses, sometimes, to change laws of nature?

Parwez and Dr. Shabbir seem to suggest that He does not (He can but chooses not to) based on an ayah or two which says the we will not find Allah Changing His Ways. Some suggest read in context, it means He does not changes His ways when dealing with the rise and fall of nations and not laws of nature.

This creates many issues with interpretation like the topic being discussed here, birth of Jesus. Jesus speaking from the cradle, Jesus giving life and death by Allah's leave. Jesus breathing a soul into a clay bird and releasing it in air, Moses's encounter with the magicians in Pharoes' court and his stick swallowng up their snakes. Ants and birds talking in the story of Solomon. A few incidences regarding the Queen Sheba story, etc. etc.

We also repeatedly read about the Mushriks demanding a Miracle which is not granted but the possiblity of miracles is not denied either. They were told that producing miracles in the past did not work for some who are predisposed towards unbelief. If fact we read that Allah warns them if a Miracle was to be granted and if the Mushriks still did not believe they  would not be given a chance to repent (if I remember the verse correctly).

It is important, therefore, as Br Joseph suggested to further explore whether Allah uses miracles to advance His Deen or not or rather before the blessed Muhammad, whether, based on the Bible as well, He used Miracles to advance His Deen. The New Testament is full of marvellous miracles!!

Regards

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2012, 11:52:05 AM »
Salaam,

I am really pleased to read your comment regarding miracles. When looking at the verses about 'miracles' as a whole, we cannot simply put it down to allegory.

We must be open minded and not interpret things the way we want to rationalise them. In my opinion there are so many verses describing miracles, that they cannot simply be overlooked.

You mention the verses where the people demand miracles as proof of God's existence and also the Quran mentions that from the time of prophet Muhammed ( pbuh) there will be no more miracles because when God had shown the previous generations, they still disbelieved


This confirms the fact that miracles existed. It is a great shame then when I see the translations by G.Parvez and Shabbir.

They have had to go to great lengths in order to rephrase the verses and to present them as non miracles.

Even in the case of prophet Jesus, they deny his miraculous conception. In this case I note that Shabbir decides to promote the fact that Joseph is the biological father.This purely because he does not believe in miracles.

In my view, it is outrageous for someone who claims to explain the Quran from within itself, to start inserting external references into the text only when it supports his ideology.

Just something to think about...
 

Offline Mubashir

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2012, 11:35:28 PM »
Dear Truth Seeker, I see your point; There is room for allegory in the Qur'an but it must be used with wisdom.

The other day, upon asking the possiblity of Miracles, I received the following reply which I would like to include in our discussion:


".....Please ponder over implication of verses 6:101 and 10:64 read together.
 
Mohsin Khan: 6:100 .....
 and they attribute falsely without knowledge sons and daughters to Him.
 Be He Glorified and Exalted above all that (evil) they attribute to Him.

Mohsin Khan: 6:101 He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth.

How can He have children when He has no wife?

He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything .

Transliteration 10:64 ... la tabdeela likalimati Allahi .....
Mohsin Khan: 10:64 ...... No change can there be in the Words of Allah. ......
 
Now, see what above verses telling us............?"


The Brother who replied wants to know how can Jesus be born without a father when Allah is highlighting a law here through a question to the Mushriks?

Those opposing miracles assert that the word Mujiza means an incident that renders the intellect "Aajiz" (unable to comprehend). Furhter, they say, Allah wants us to accept his deen based on logic and intellect and not by confounding it. Okay, that is true started with the blessed Muhammad. What about His dealings through Messengers before Muhammad?

Kindly comment. Thanks.



Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2012, 12:20:44 AM »
Dear brother Mubashir,

Salamun Alaikum. 

Just a few sentiments if I may indulge with respect …

If God does not change a 'system', then what did God stop doing in the following verse which He did before?

Something was clearly stopped – What was it?

017:059                
"And We refrain from sending signs / miracles (Arabic: bil-ayati), only because the former generations treated them as false: We sent the she-camel to the Thamud to open their eyes, but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the signs by way of a warning"

This verse in one single stroke in my opinion, puts an end to the claims of those that deny portents ever being received by communities before Prophet Muhammad. Something 'was' clearly stopped by God as the previous people denied it. It cannot be 'verses' as the Quran came with verses.

What was sent to the communities before which they denied and which God stopped from sending any more? This is a simple question.

To anyone who clearly understands Arabic, the 'text' is clear. God says "wama mana'ana an nursila bil-ayati illa .." People can make up their own translations and interpolations all day long, but no one on Earth can change clear Arabic and sincere believers bear clear witness to God’s words.

6:101 is clearly negating the claim in 6:100 i.e. How can God have sons and daughters when he has no consort? This has nothing to do with God's ability to suspend laws if He so wills! He doesn't beget - Yes, but if he wants a man to be born of a mother alone, He simply says 'kun'!  This is no different from when he desired the creation of the first man, He simply said "Kun"! - and then the process simply began (3:59)

Furthermore, 10:64 talks about 'kalimati'. (i.e. that there is no changing (tabdeel) in the words of God). This once again has no connection with God's ability to suspend his laws if He so wills.

The simple question remains. What did God suspend in 17:59, if He does not alter His ways?

I hope this helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2012, 12:46:38 AM »
Salaam,

The people here are talking about attributing literal sons and daughters in the biological sense to God.

The response is that He is not like His creation.

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) had no father but was carried in the womb as any other child would be. The process of creation began when God simply willed it, as Joseph mentioned, similarly to when God began the creation of mankind.

If we take away the miraculous birth of Jesus, and say that he had a biological father, Mary's claim that no man has ever touched her would then be a lie.

Offline Mubashir

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2012, 03:01:06 AM »
Salam Br Joseph,

To remind us, what exactly was the sign relating to the she camel in 017:059?

Thanks.               

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2012, 03:20:50 AM »
Salam Br Joseph,

To remind us, what exactly was the sign relating to the she camel in 017:059?

Thanks.               


Please see: 7:73-79, 26:155-157, 54:27-29, 11:63-68, 91:13

But let us go back to the fundamental questions.

  • What did God stop / withhold / arrest / prevent / refrain / suspend (mana) in 17:59 going forward that He had sent to previous communities?
  • How could God stop something he did before if He did not alter His ways?

With respect and as I'm sure you will appreciate, it is pointless in my humble opinion discussing peripheral matters if we cannot or do not address fundamentals.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline optimist

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2012, 12:56:09 PM »
Salamun alaikum,

Here is what Parwez has stated for the verses, though I have not yet fully understood the interpretation of parwez based on his views, taking into consideration also the question posted by brother Joseph Islam.

(17: 59) They say, O Rasool, that if you are truthful in your claim you should show them some visible proof of it. Nothing can hinder Allah from bringing forth such proof but history has shown that human beings who do not apply their reason seldom learn from such proofs. For instance, the people of Thamud had made an agreement with their Rasool that they would allow all animals to drink water from the springs. To see whether they honoured the agreement, a she-camel was marked for the purpose. Not only did they disregard their agreement but they ham-strung her and We do not send these signs for any other purpose than to convey a warning (7:77, 11:65, 26:155-156, 54:28-29, 91:11-15).

I am also curious to know what does it mean "We only send the signs by way of a warning"
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline optimist

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2012, 03:39:06 PM »
Salam,

In connection with mircales performed by Jesus (as we know some people explains them as allegorical)  I have some comments.  Let me first quote the following verse;

Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith." They said: "We only wish to eat thereof and satisfy our hearts, and to know that thou hast indeed told us the truth; and that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle."  Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)." Allah said: "I will send it down unto you: But if any of you after that resisteth faith, I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on any one among all the peoples."(5:112)

I have the following questions/ comments;

1.   Why Jesus was telling them initially to fear Allah and do not ask for any such miracle.  Jesus is reported to have done more than big miracles like making a bird from clay and giving life to it, curing blind, etc.   All these miracles would have been sufficient for his people “to satisfy their hearts"

2.   The statement from Allah, “I will send it down to you, but if any of you after this disbelieves will be punished with punishment never inflicted on any of the peoples” is very important.   Why does Allah punish them with a punishment never inflicted on any humanity?  The issue here, I think, clearly implys that no humanity was given any such similar proofs, otherwise why they are singled out with a warning of punishment never inflicted on anyone.  If Allah had already shown such similar miracles to others (including the other equalent and greater miracles by Jesus) no such warning need to have been given.  It is my thinking.

3.   It is not mentioned in the verse whether Allah had indeed given them the table of food as requested.   There is a possibility that after the warning about such severe punishment, the disciples Backtracked from the request.

I am not trying to impose any view here.   I am just sharing some thoughts.  I look forward others views.  It will help us to go more deep into the meaning of the verses  in the Quran.

Alhamdulillah always
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2012, 05:02:36 AM »
Salaam,

The verse regarding sending signs by way of warning to my mind conveys the fact that God sends messengers and prophets to a community conveying the message and also accompanies them with 'signs' to make things crystal clear. Some signs are in the form of miracles and others are used to warn people before they will be ultimately punished.

What we have seen from the past, is that so many people have disbelieved regardless of the message being made clear so certain signs are presented as warnings.

The she camel was one of them. When the people transgressed, they disregarded the warning and thereafter met their end.

Offline optimist

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2012, 08:34:58 PM »
Thanks....

I also noticed another verse;

“And those who have no knowledge say, 'Why does God not speak to us, or a Sign come to us direct?' Likewise said those before them what was similar to their saying. Their hearts are all alike. We have certainly made the Signs plain for a people who firmly believe.” (2:118)

Here Allah says demand for miracles had been made in the past by people with a similar mentality, howevever, those who understand the nature of Revelation do not make such a demand and a sign/ miracle is not associated with revelation....I feel like there are lot of hidden meanings.
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Mubashir

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2012, 10:13:05 PM »
Dear Friends, Thanks for your input.

for those of us who are mere students, this issue of interpretation becomes extremely confusing. Consider what is going on:

Two different groups, having extensive knowledge of Arabic differing over this issue of Miracles !!

What is a common man supposed to do?

That leads me to another major point I have with religion:

When a Prophet is alive, all such matters are resolved by an authority sent by Allah. When the Prophet is no longer with us within a few years, disputes over interpretation emerge and then conflict starts. Take the differences over Imamat vs Khilafat dispute between Shias and Sunnis. Each argue that their position is right. Now, with the Prophet no longer around what this leads to is division and it's consequences.

Question is when such major disputes arise, how are we to resolve them with no Divine Interpreter present. Sure we have the Qur'an but people differ over it's meaning as well!!

Sometimes, in such situations one wishes that another Messenger arrives and settles such disputes uniting the Ummah.  Since that is no longer the case what are we supposed to do? Differ with grace and agree to disagree? In certain matters not vital for peace we can do so but how about sectarian conflicts. Look what is going on in Syria. It is about to blow up taking down Lebanon with it.

Offline optimist

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2012, 06:38:00 PM »
Dear Friends, Thanks for your input.

for those of us who are mere students, this issue of interpretation becomes extremely confusing. Consider what is going on:

Two different groups, having extensive knowledge of Arabic differing over this issue of Miracles !!

What is a common man supposed to do?

That leads me to another major point I have with religion:

When a Prophet is alive, all such matters are resolved by an authority sent by Allah. When the Prophet is no longer with us within a few years, disputes over interpretation emerge and then conflict starts. Take the differences over Imamat vs Khilafat dispute between Shias and Sunnis. Each argue that their position is right. Now, with the Prophet no longer around what this leads to is division and it's consequences.

Question is when such major disputes arise, how are we to resolve them with no Divine Interpreter present. Sure we have the Qur'an but people differ over it's meaning as well!!

Sometimes, in such situations one wishes that another Messenger arrives and settles such disputes uniting the Ummah.  Since that is no longer the case what are we supposed to do? Differ with grace and agree to disagree? In certain matters not vital for peace we can do so but how about sectarian conflicts. Look what is going on in Syria. It is about to blow up taking down Lebanon with it.

Assalamu alaikum,

Issues like miracles should not be dragged so as to cause a division or dispute.  There is no problem for having an intellectual discussion.  We will be able to go deeper into the meanings of verses in Quran.   I tolerate both views so long as we are focused on the Quran only for our guidance.   Like parwez himself had stated, it is an issue that concerns a scholar how he is interested in the mental development of man.  My first impression after coming across this view was that how logical and scientific is the Quran if it is the case.  Anyhow, our primary objective should be, as I said, to focus only on Quran for our guidance.  Differences of opinion of issues like miracles should be tolerated.  I also do not think people who object to miracles are just simply shooting in the air without any basis.   

Personally, I have found satisfactory explanation for the possibility of allegorical narrations in several things which are traditionally interpreted as miracles.   There are certain things I have not yet convinced about the possibility of allegorical usage, for instance,  the miraculous birth of Jesus.   I have tried to understand the issue and even come across certain logical analysis different from traditional understanding.  let me post here some points.  My intention is not to take a stand, but to analyze the counter argument. 

1. We do not know exactly when the good news about a son was told to Mary, however it is clear she is not married yet.    When events are told in an order suddenly we think these things are happening right after each other in small time span.  May be most things happen with much time in between

2. Mary’s  comment “How can I have a son, when no man hath touched me, nor am I unchaste?” in verse 19:20 is a clear inference to unmarried status which is relevant from Mary’s comment that she is also not unchaste.    The statement “No man has touched” is also relevant because she was in the temple, and she lived a virtuous life and has been raised as a nun.  And therefore it is likely to be a normal comment.

3. Allah had made decisions for Mary which would create conflicts with the Temple customs, this is why she reacted on the malikah as such, why she had to flee the Temple and why her people reacted as such.  All the verses involved show that Allah made her go against the Priesthood rules.

4. Mary faced accusation from others not for having an ‘illegitimate’ child, but for violating the custom and revolting against the Temple norms.   Bagiyaa in 19:28means 'to go beyond the bounds of normal conduct'. Unchaste is not the real meaning, but an interpreted one.

5. The comparison of Jesus to Adam in verse 3:59 is to state strongly that Jesus is not the son of God and to make it clear that Jesus is just like any other human by comparing him to adam, all mankind. Adam, or the first humans, was made in stages and was a khalifah, a successor of the earlier human species. 

6. Regarding mentioning about Jesus speaking to people in the Cradle, the point is that Mary left her people who were angry with her because in their opinion she had given up a life of celibacy and now Mary comes back (she had a child) and this was against the rule of monasticism.  Actually Mary returns back only after Jesus bestowed with Nabuwwah at a young age.   When events are told in an order there is no need to assume everything is happening right after each other in small time span.   After Mary was questioned again for her conduct,  Mary, without answering, pointed to the child to answer them.  At this, the priests said sarcastically: kaifa nukallimu mun kaana fil mahdi sabiyya:  19:29 how can we talk to a child who is newly born? How can we talk to a child for explanation: this makes the meaning of al mahd (cradle) clear:  This is ‘takallum fil mahd’: (i.e. talking about the universal truths at a young age) also in 3:45, 5:110.  The reply that was given by  Jesus to the priests also shows that it was not a reply from the cradle: i.e. was not the reply of a child: Jesus said inni abdul laahi aataaniyal kitaaba wa ja’alni nabiyya…: 19:30 I am a banda (slave) of God : He has given me the Book: and made me a prophet: this shows that this a period when Jesus has been endowed with prophet hood.

I am just sharing all these views in order for us to get the inspiration to ponder deed into the meaning of the Quran
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline optimist

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2012, 06:54:25 PM »
Let me quote the following verse also from Quran;

"And the Messengers indeed have been rejected before thee, but notwithstanding their rejection and persecution they remained patient until Our help came to them. There is none to change the words of God. And there have already come to thee some of the tidings of the past Messengers.  And if their turning away is hard on thee, then, if thou art able to seek a passage into the earth or a ladder unto heaven and bring them a Sign, thou canst do so. And had God enforced His will, He could surely have brought them all together to the guidance. So be thou not of those who lack knowledge" (6:35)

The above verse contains a hidden warning to prophet not to have any thought of possessing the power to work miracles so that people could be persuaded to accept his teaching and follow the right path.  The verse also reminds the prophet how messengers before worked hard and how they remained patient during difficult times until victory came to them.  This verse also seems to imply that other messengers also did not perform miracles to persuade people to believe.
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: four birds or four parts of the bird
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2012, 09:43:15 PM »
Dear All,

Salamun Alaikum

The Quran's treatment of Biblical narratives should not be appreciated in silo. It is important to remember that the People of the Book had been familiar with these narratives for centuries. If the Quran intended to depart from the traditional understanding of the Jews and Christians, it would have clearly stated it.

However, we find in most instances, the Quran 'confirming' (musaddiqan) the Biblical narratives (3:3). The Quran also recognises what the People of the Book were reading at the time of the Prophet's ministry [1] so therefore, was clearly in dialogue with their understanding at the time.

For us to accept an allegorical meaning, we have to prove the Quran clearly challenged the same stories that were known to the Jewish and Christian audience.

So for example, if Prophet Moses's rod became a snake (Hebrew - naw-khawsh: snake, serpent - Exodus 4:3) and this is how it was always understood by the People of the Book for generations, why did the Quran use a similar expression to describe the same narrative (Arabic: jannun - serpent, snake (27:10) thu'banun: serpent)? 

This is clearly a 'confirmation'. Why did the Quran not challenge this Biblical understanding? Why did it confirm it in Arabic? This would be the perfect place for the Quran to challenge the Biblical understanding of portents.

To impose new allegorical meanings which were never understood by its primary Jewish and Christian audience for me is intellectually unacceptable. Therefore, I will add a fourth, fifth and sixth question to my list of academic contentions that challenge those that deny the Quran's clear testimony of portents.

  • Given God's infinite capacity, please provide clear Quranic proof that He cannot temporarily suspend / alter / interfere with the laws He himself has created as and when 'He so wills' to manifest a particular truth
  • What did God stop / withhold / arrest / prevent / refrain / suspend (mana) in 17:59 going forward that He had sent to previous communities?
  • How could God stop something (17:59) He did before, if He did not alter His ways?
  • Why does the Quran 'confirm' (musaddiqan) the traditional understanding of the Jewish and Christian audience at the time of the Prophet's ministry with regards portents and not challenge it?
  • Why does the Quran use similar terms in the Arabic language to support the existing understanding of the Jews and Christians regarding portents?
  • Why would one not accept the Quran's clear testimony, even though the Quran says it is not a book of riddles and has no crookedness?
    "...qur'anan arabiyyan ghayra dhi iwajin ..." (A Quran in Arabic without any crookedness...)

Finally, I ask another humble question. Do some simply not accept the Quran's testimony as it doesn't fit in with their worldview? Do they look for allegorical meanings because they do not want to accept the Quran at its word?

Respectfully, we cannot skirt fundamental questions in the name of being students. We all have an individual responsibility as believers to address fundamental questions rather than spending time focusing on peripheral matters.

Dear Mubashir - Even if a prophet came to our midst - those that don't want to accept certain passages of the Quran be they miracles or otherwise, simply won't. They would have arguably done exactly the same at the time of the Prophet as well. Why wouldn't they? The Prophet would have narrated exactly the same as what we read today. No one from antiquity has ever understood Biblical portents narrated by the Quran as just simple allegories.

So the Quran had to wait till the 20th century for this meaning to become apparent? I find this assertion as untenable as some other modern 'discoveries' pertaining to the Quran.

This kind of denial has happened before when revelations were challenged because they did not fit one’s ‘worldview’.  "...Bring us a reading other than this, or change this..." (10:15). Then there were those that changed words out of context later and pinned their own meanings to the text. (5:13: 5:41).

It would simply make no difference. They even made a mockery out of Prophet Jesus's example when it was quoted to them (43:57).

We may criticise the Ummah for disputations. But I ask with humbleness, how willing are we ourselves to accept the Quran at its word? We need to ask ourselves a very honest question:

"Do we impose our view on the Quran or do we simply accept what it says in clear Arabic?" I believe, deep down we know where we sit with this uncomfortable question and so does our Lord and Master.

Regards,
Joseph.

Related Articles:

[1] 'BETWEEN HIS HANDS' OR 'BEFORE IT' (MA BAYNA YADAYHI)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/between%20hands%20or%20before%20it%20FM3.htm

[2] PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (JEWS & CHRISTIANS)
http://quransmessage.com/articles/people%20of%20the%20book%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell