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Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Who Determines What is Absurd?
« on: May 06, 2013, 10:32:28 PM »
I come across many Quranists who claim that they reject many ahaadith because they appear to be "absurd" and "ridiculous" and "an insult to one's intelligence".

But whose subjection opinion is the correct one when it comes to determining what is absurd? There are many atheists who would claim that the following things from the Qur'an:

- Jesus made birds from clay
- One of the Jins claimed to bring the throne of the Queen of Sheba within the blink of an eye
- Moses parted the sea with his staff
- The staff turned into a snake
- The hoopoe bird spoke to Sulayman
- Ibrahim was shown split dead brids brought back to life
- Some men slept for 300 years.
- Sodom and Gomorah were destroyed
- A she camel came out of a mountain for the people of Saleh
- A floating mountain was brought on top of Banu Israel
- A stone gave water for the twelve tribes of Israel
- An ant spoke and Sulayman heard it talk
- The army of elephants was destroyed by little birds
- The Prophet was taken to masjid al Aqsa and then to the seventh heaven in one night
- etc. etc. etc.


Are ridiculous.

So who draws the line? How do we remain intellectually consistent?


Bassam

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 11:02:09 PM »
Dear Bassam,

May peace be with you.

You may be surprised what some 'Quranists' claim. As I am not a Quranist, I would find it inappropriate to defend their position personally.

However, you ask a relevant question.

I suppose if the Quran only made the above claims that you share, then even you and I would arguably question whether the Book was merely a source of myths and fantasies.

But as you and I both know, the above narratives are provided with a context and in the main to support the extant knowledge of certain factions of the primary audience be they People of the Book, or otherwise. They are narrated with an underlying premise and subsequent purpose.

For the major part of the Quran, it is interlaced with a plethora of narratives which speak very convincingly of matters which assault the intellect inclining one to consider its Divine provenance.

Narrating history to the ancients is one thing, dealing with arguments to prove an evident reality of God's authority and evident truth is quite another.

I trust that you will agree.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Wakas

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 09:12:50 PM »
salaam Bassam,

But whose subjection opinion is the correct one when it comes to determining what is absurd?

The Quran is the criterion. Here is a short list:

Quote
What does The Quran say?

The following is a brief list taken directly from The Quran on how to process information, read, study and understand it:

16:98 - seek God's spiritual aid, away from the forces of satan/opposition (e.g. emotional instability, personal desire, self-delusion, arrogance, prejudice, deviation).
3:7 - ground oneself in solid principles, maintain sincerity.
6:56, 13:37, 30:29, 42:14-15 - be wary of following desires as opposed to following God's revelation.
3:195, 4:135, 5:8, 8:61, 28:54, 42:40 - remain true to its principles of justice, equivalence, fairness, compassion, opting for the good/better response etc.
6:114, 12:111, 15:90-91, 17:89, 16:89, 18:54, 39:27 - try to utilise and appreciate its complete system of concepts.
4:82 - anything from God will not have contradiction/inconsistency/variance. This also applies to our understanding as well. If we formulate a correct interpretation of The Quran, we will find that everything falls into place. This is one of the most crucial criteria.
5:101, 20:114, 25:32, 73:20, 75:17 - do not rush our learning, read what is easy of it, gradually build knowledge and acceptance to strengthen one's heart, and ask God to increase our knowledge.
73:4-5 - in order to receive a weighty or profound word or saying, we need to arrange the likenesses in The Quran, e.g. cross-reference concepts/words/topics.
21:10, 30:30, 41:53, 51:20-21  - its information and teachings should map to our reality (within our psyche, experience and to the furthest horizons). All signs, internal and external can point to the truth of it and act as a verification mechanism.
29:20, 3:137, 3:190-191, 45:3-4 - knowledge of archaeology/biology/physics/history/sciences/philosophy etc will all help to better understand it.
6:75-79, 21:57-67, 36:78-79, 21:22, 23:91, 2:258, 12:26-27, 22:5-6, 2:260 - promotes logical thinking.
2:269, 8:22 - strong affinity towards use of wisdom and reason.
49:6, 45:24, 6:116, 53:28, 2:111, 21:24 - disapproves of conjecture/guesswork and promotes examination of evidence.
34:46, 6:50, 2:219, 3:191, 10:24, 16:44, 30:21 - shows the importance of reflection, to deeply consider/think.
47:24, 23:68 - "tadabbur" means to ponder over something giving careful consideration to its consequences.
41:44 - language is not a barrier, belief/acceptance of it will help understanding.
25:33, 17:41 - it contains the best response/explanation.
39:18, 42:38 - listen and consider other views and follow what is best of them.
6:116, 12:106 - majority opinion can be baseless.
2:2, 3:138, 10:37 - a guide for the god-conscious/forethoughtful, there is no doubt in it, thus understandings which raise doubt about it must be carefully reviewed.
17:45-46 - to not believe in the hereafter can act as a barrier to its understanding.
12:3, 18:54, 17:89, 7:176, 12:111 - look to its internal examples, stories within it give us lessons, it is a clarification for all things.
2:170, 7:28, 6:112, 7:70, 26:74, 43:23 - advised not to blindly follow the teachings of our ancestors.
17:36, 39:9 - seek knowledge, verify, use your God-given senses.
25:1, 2:185, 6:114-115 - it is the criterion with which to determine/judge.
7:204, 9:122, 6:104-105 - give it full attention, focus, spend time studying it.
19:76 - it increases guidance for the guided, i.e. those who continuously turn towards, seek it and follow it.
22:46, 7:179 - open your heart and mind.
13:17 - any interpretation must always be understood in a way that is focused on benefiting mankind and our development.
15:1, 17:82, 36:2, 2:97, 45:20, 10:57, 56:77, 85:21 - any understanding should reflect its attributes, such as: wisdom, mercy, healing, noble, glad tidings, blessing, clear etc.
17:9 - guides to what is straight/upright/establishing.
20:2 - it has not been sent to make us suffer unnecessarily, thus any interpretation should bear this in mind.
22:54, 34:37 - those closest are those who believe and do good works, implying god-consciousness/righteousness and understanding could go hand in hand.
56:79 - purity of mind/heart will grasp it. Work on this aspect of oneself as you seek guidance.
3:79, 75:18 - apply what you learn/know.
39:27-29 - variance rejected, no crookedness, one consistent source is the preference.
4:87, 31:6 39:23, 77:50 - stick with a solid/proven source, not a baseless narration/hadith. The Quran is the best, most truthful and only obligatory hadith.

Offline optimist

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2013, 05:55:20 PM »
Salaam!

Actually what is ridiculous is to compare the things mentioned in Quran with ahaadith.  Even the eyes of shame will bow down in shame at some of the ahaadith attributed to the prophet.  If common people read one time (with eyes open) the so called ahaadith (not just the ones normally narrated to them with care) they would revolt against the clergy for sure. 

Thank you brother Wakas for your useful quote.

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

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 06:21:36 PM »
I don't think I am satisfied with any of the responses I have seen. Allow me to share with you the testimony of a person who converted to Quran onlyism and then eventually abandoned it. See his testimony below:

Quote
My testimony already appears in Ibn Warraq's anthology on apostates, so I will only summarize here (and add a few things, as I presently feel that if I could edit my testimony in Warraq's book, I would).

I came from a liberal Christian background, but in 1996 (at the very end of high-school) I became part of the New York City Church of Christ (which is, for the most part, a fundamentalist Evangelical sect/cult). Very quickly, however, I began to have doubts due to a number of issues (on the one hand I wondered about the Church's approach dietary habits and, to a lesser degree, the sabbath, and on the other hand I began to be troubled by the doctrine of the Trinity and apparent "contradictions" in the Bible).

By the time I reached college, I already began to become interested in Islam (this was brought on by a combination of Ahmed Deedat videos, websites that attempted to establish the veracity of Islam over Christianity, and discussions with various Muslims I had met at the City University of New York). Looking back, I'm a bit ashamed of how easily I believed the dawaganda I read (at the time I was particularly interested in the claim that the Bible predicted the coming of Muhammad).

However (and there are many who will say something similar), while I was very pleased with Ahmed Deedat's onslaughts on the Bible, I began to get the feeling that the ahaadeeth could not stand up to the criteria Deedat demanded the Bible be judged by. As a result, I began to seriously doubt Orthodox Islam as well, before I even had a chance to convert! Ironically, I met a Submitter (i.e. a hadith-rejecting Muslim) at school, and he introduced me to other Submitters (a bunch of whom went to my college).

Very quickly I embraced the version of Islam espoused by the Submitters (note however that the group I was associated with was not connected to Rashad Khalifa's group, though I imagine they got the idea from his group). Once a Muslim, I set out to debate Christians on the internet (mainly via AOL chats and instant messages, though to a lesser degree via usenet), hoping to show the "Tri-Theists" the new truth I had discovered.

However, there was a perverse nature to my behavior, as I was anxious to bring the Christians to Islam, but not as anxious to do such with the so-called "Sunni pagans". We would sit around and say many negative things about Sunni Muslims (even criticizing the shahaada, which I never recited because it was a statement of shirk developed by the innovating Sunni pagans), but not once did I ever make a face-to-face attempt to convince one on campus that he was off the path (even more ironic, and blatantly contradictory, we interpreted verses in Soorat al-Baqara and Soorat al-Maida as teaching that Christians and Jews could go to Jannah, yet we simultaneously thought that "Sunni Pagans" were on their way to Jahannam, with the Hindus and Atheists). We were simply a small close-knit group of heterodox Muslims who made a real effort to be invisible to the Orthodox Muslims (in fact, not once while I considered myself a Muslim did I ever go to an MSA meeting!).

By 1999, I started having doubts after taking a class on Hinduism. While reading the colorful stories about castles made of bees wax, Siva replacing Ganesh's head with that of an elaphant, or Hannuman jumping over the ocean, I suffered a moment of doubt. I was in the middle of laughing at the stories and silently mocking them, when suddenly it hit me that they are no more absurd than the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin, that Moses split the ocean and turned a stick into a snake, or that Solomon had conversations with animals.

Once the doubt set in, the flood gates were open. I suddenly realized that the only reason I converted to Islam in the first place was because I had doubts about specific parts of Christianity, but still wanted to hold on the core myths and legendary figures. Islam provided me with a solution to that problem. Not once had I ever questioned the stories in Islam. Now I began to doubt them all.

I spent the fall of 1999 in a fog, not sure if I was an Atheist or a Muslim. I even began to put forth Atheistic arguments before officially considering myself an Atheist. It was when a disappointed friend asked me "are you an Atheist?" that I responded with "yeah, I guess so." The next day I was in Thompkin's Square Park and the full-implications of Atheism hit me: there is no God. I took a deep breath, and looked around me, and a very beautiful feeling came over me. While I don't claim that Atheism is the cure for depression -in fact I know that some people have sunk into depression after becoming Atheists- it is nonetheless a fact that I spent most of my life depressed (even when I was a Christian and Muslim), yet when I went Atheist in 1999, my depression vanished, and has yet to return. Regardless of that, the fact is nonetheless that I had reached a point of no return - I could never go back to believing such fantastic stories (just as we immediately doubt the reliability of tabloid newspapers dedicated to stories about UFOs, Big Foot, and two-headed babies, so too I feel we should agree that the fantastic stories in Islam are a sure sign that the authors of the Islamic texts were writing theology, not history).

Ever since abandoning Islam, I have investigated the religion, and I continue to wonder how I ever could believe something like that without really thinking about it. While I know a great deal more about Islam now than I did then, I still feel uncomfortable with how little critical thought I put into my decision to consider the religion in the first place.

While my position has towards Islam has softened over the years (most apostates from a faith often have a bloody-thirsty zeal for destroying the faith in the beginning), I still think it is important to directly call into question the veracity of Islam. This is particularly true with regard to the aggressive forms of apologia employed (exempli gratia: claims about scientific miracles, Muhammad in the Bible, et cetera). This is why it is important to explain (a) why one left Islam, and (b) why one continues to disbelieve in Islam. The opposing view is, at this point, still so rarely expressed.


This is the point I am making. This whole "I find it ridiculous and absurd, hence I will reject it" approach seems quite subjective to me. I don't think we should reject things for subjective reasons. This is why I don't take the "this hadith is absurd and laughable" route of many Quranist polemicists very seriously.

Offline optimist

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 08:37:17 AM »
Salaam!

Fristly, to calssify all the people who focus on Quran alone without relying on secondary 'sources' as "Quranist" is a an agenda of traditionalists to corner them and project them as a deviated group/sect.   I can agree with you there are many people who claim to focus on Quran try to interpret its verses to promote their personal views/ agenda (for instance, I read some one saying permission to have sexual relation with aw mamalakat aymanuhum includes permission to have sex with girl friend).

Anyhow, regarding your comment, the so called claim of atheists about "absurdities" from Quran, the maximum one can say it is impossible to believe in literal sense those things mentioned in the Quran, like the staff turned into a snake,  the hoopoe bird spoke to Sulayman, and Ibrahim was shown split dead birds brought back to life, an ant spoke and Sulayman heard it talk, the army of elephants was destroyed by little birds, etc.   There is also the issue of literal interpretation of certain allegorical narratives as pointed out by many scholars.  Brother Wakas has pointed out how we should approach Quran, process information, read, study and understand it. 

What you are doing here is wrong.  You are purposefully trying to compare certain verses from Quran (in the pretext of atheist claim) with the things mentioned in the ahaadith.  The case of ahaadith is totally different.  If I start posting some of the so called authentically recorded hadiths from Bukhari and Muslim (contradicting Quran, contradicting common sense, tarnishing the image of the prophet, even insulting Allah) you will flee away from this thread.

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

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 12:51:30 PM »
Again, you aren't answering the question. What is the objective standard for determining what is absurd or not? Can you tackle this question directly please?

As for taking those things from the Qur'an metaphorically..... well I see no evidence for doing so. There is nothing metaphorical about them. Musa either parted the sea or he didn't. Musa's staff either transformed into a snake or didn't. The context no where shows that it's metaphorical.

Given that they are literal... again.... why aren't those "absurd" but things from the ahaadith are?

Bassam

Offline Adil Husain

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 01:04:51 PM »
May Peace be with you dear members ,

The Concept of God itself can not be proved scientifically and will appear 'Absurd' to many Atheist. This does not mean that God does not exist. Science has it limits. there are many questions that science can not answer. Like , How the universe came into existence ? , etc...

The believers have faith in God  and anyone who have faith in God will not deny that Miracles can happen if it is God's will . If it is God's will , anything can happen including the the points you mentioned above.

2:117
Initiator of the heavens and the earth, when He decrees a command, He merely says to it: ‘Be,’ and it is.

Quran speaks about  events of the past to guide the mankind. There is no way to to prove  that the miracles mentioned in the Quran were myths and false stories.  On the Other Hand , Hadith Instructs to adopt inappropriate lifestyle in our day to day life and this can be disproved Quranically and scientifically.


Hadith Contradicting Quran :


Quran : there is no compulsion in Deen 2:256 ;
 Hadith : Death penalty to the one who leave Islam.

Quran : Prophet never performed miracles 17:59 , 6:35 ,
 Hadith : prophet performed miracles publicly like splitting the moon , etc.

Quran : There should not be an intention of lust while marrying.
Hadith : Temporary marriage in allowed when Women is scarce and badly needed (Bukhari 7/51).



If a  narration contradicts Quranic teaching , isn't it absurd ?

There is another Hadiths which are scientifically wrong :

I will mention 2 examples here.

BUKHARI HADITH :  VOLUME  , BOOK 54, NUMBER 537:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said "If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease."

Houseflies are recognized as carriers of easily communicable diseases. Flies collect pathogens (disease causing organisms) on their legs and mouths when female lay eggs on decomposing organic matter such as feces, garbage and animal corpses.
 
Diseases transmitted by flies
Typhoid
-Anthrax
-Cholera (watery Diarrhea)
-Dysentery (bloody diarrhea)
-Viral Hepatitis (Disease of liver)
-egg of helminths ( worms of intestine)
-Amoebiasis (ulcer causing disease of intestine leading to amoebic dysentery )
-Enteroviruses

BUKHARI HADITH:  Volume 4, Book 55, Number 546:
Narrated Anas:
When 'Abdullah bin Salam heard the arrival of the Prophet at Medina, he came to him and said, "I am going to ask you about three things which nobody knows except a prophet:
1)What is the first portent of the Hour?
2)What will be the first meal taken by the people of Paradise?
3)Why does a child resemble its father, and why does it resemble its maternal uncle"...............As for the resemblance of the child to its parents: If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble the father, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her."............(continued)

Unlike Quran , This Hadith is not mentioning event of the past but a process which happens during each and every intercourse with successful  fertilization.

And lastly , I will personally dislike if someone writes  about my life  more than 200 years after my death and describing about my sexual relations with my wife in it.  and if someone does so for our beloved Prophet Muhammad , how can it be acceptable to me ?


Regards,
Adil



'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline Saba

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 02:30:50 PM »
Salaam....I wanted to say thank you to br. Bassam and br. Joseph (as usual) for a thoughtful and v. friendly discussion on this topic! I can often be quite short and this is nice for me too see and learn from - so thanx much!

>br. Bassam you said "What is the objective standard for determining what is absurd or not? Can you tackle this question directly please?"

I think brother Adil also makes a valid point to this question .....

The question can be asked what 'objective' standard can be used to determine God's existence as an atheist may ask?.... Are not all interpretations subjective? If so, would it not be unfair to ask this about someones' interpretation of the Qur'an?   Saba  8)

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2013, 12:34:17 AM »
I don't think the arguments for the existence of God are subjective at all. I believe there are sound rational arguments for his existence which hold true regardless of time and place and aren't dependent on one's personal experience and opinion.

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 12:35:28 AM »
Adil,

I wouldn't mind addressing each and every single point you raised, since they've been addressed already by traditional Muslims.

However, it's not related to the topic of this thread.

Thanks

Offline optimist

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 08:22:18 PM »
Again, you aren't answering the question. What is the objective standard for determining what is absurd or not? Can you tackle this question directly please?
Salaaam!

In one word, to answer you, the objective standard for us should be if it is from God.  And if it is from God there shall be no contradiction and there is no question something to be absurd (provided that the verses of the Quran are studied and researched keeping in mind the points brother Wakas has quoted and without interpreting the verses based on other sources. 

Quote
As for taking those things from the Qur'an metaphorically..... well I see no evidence for doing so.

As you are aware, the verses of the Quran are two kinds - one consists of those verses which have definite meaning-mukakamaat”, and the other kind is that of those verses which are figurative and explain abstract realities metaphorically (3:6).  At one place, the Quran has been mentioned as “..kitaabam mutashaabikum...” (39:23).  There its meanings are that all its verses have similarity with each other - there is no contradiction or discrepancy among them ie. these are consistent with each other (4:82).  To explain the point little more;

In connection with Nikah, it is said: “Hurrimat alaykum ummahaatukum...” (4:23) - “prohibited to you (for marriage) are your mothers...”.  Here the real meaning of umm (mother) will be taken. But where it is said., “with Him is the Mother of the Book." (13:39), here the meaning of the word Umm will be taken as a metaphor or it will be said that the Quran has explained the reality allegorically, i.e. their description is metaphorical.

It has been said about Allah “...Summas tawaa alal arsh...” (and is firmly established on the Throne).  The real meaning of arsh is “throne”, but in this context it does not mean a real wooden cot but it means  “Allah’s power and authority”.    Therefore the word arsh has been used metaphorically.  The meaning totally will change if the words are taken in their real meaning.

The Quran also uses metaphorical language in regard to Jannah.  Even the verse starts with explaining Jennah, “A similitude of the Jannah which is promised unto those keep their duty to Allah: underneath it streams flow; its fruit everlasting and its shade” (13:35; 47:15).  "Similitude" is the key-word in the above verse. It is significant and highly suggestive. We are clearly warned against insisting on the literal meaning of the words in which the pleasures and comforts of Jannah are described.  In fact, Jannah cannot be described: it can only be symbolised. The Quran is explicit on this point, as the following verse shows: “No one knows what joy of the eye is reserved for them as a reward for what they do”(32 : 17).

Quote
There is nothing metaphorical about them. Musa either parted the sea or he didn't. Musa's staff either transformed into a snake or didn't. The context no where shows that it's metaphorical.
Given that they are literal... again.... why aren't those "absurd" but things from the ahaadith are?

Firstly, let me tell you that, even without proving metaphorical understanding of the verses, one can easily prove that the absurdities mentioned in the ahaadith does not qualify to be even compared with the things stated in the Quran.  You are simply shooting in the air to make confusion in the mind of ordinary people in your attempt to justify some of ridiculous and absurd hadiths collected by hadith compilers and presented to us as authentic reports.

Anyhow, regarding the possibility of metaphorical explanation, I will explain in short metaphorical meaning of some of the verses you have have quoted above in your initial post. 

- The army of elephants was destroyed by little birds

The Quran did not mention in the verse the birds threw stones.  What happened was flocks of eagles and vultures (which normally fly over the armies/ over caravans of trade to pick up remnants of dead bodies and other eatables) started hovering over their heads and people realized some army was on the move behind the mountains and the secret plan was thus exposed.  Then people climbed over the mountain and started pelting them with stones,  and it is the severe stone pelting and terrified elephants fleeing back crushing the army that made them to look like chewed-up stubble.

- An ant spoke and Sulayman heard it talk

This is a beautiful narration that explains the status of the people lived in the valley in comparison to the mighty army of Sulayman.   It has nothing to do a valley containing full of ants.  The people in the valley were afraid that Sulayman’s army might crush them on his way for an attack on state of Sheba and the Namlath (probability of a woman ruling) directed her subjects not to cause disruption to the army of Sulayman and directing her people to confine to their dwellings without causing any disruption to Sulayman.  When Sulayman heard about this news he smiled, because the poor souls misunderstood that Sulayman would crush them since normally when a royal army passes an area, it brings nothing but haphazard destruction for all those on their way. 

The hoopoe bird spoke to Sulayman

The literal understanding of Tair is the problem for creating confusion here.  Tair in the context of the verse means fast horses: (cavalry).  It is said prophet David: wattiara mahshoora: 38:19 he had an army of very fast horses. Also Sulayman syas in 27:16 ullimna mantiqat tair which literally means “we were taught the languages of the tair”, however, it actually means "we have been trained as how to man the horses".  It may be noted the usage of plural word "we" herem referubg not just prophet solomon.  Wa tafaqqadat tayr in 27:20 means that prophet Solomon searched for riders of fast horses (who were not present there at that time). And when they arrived he asked them, where is your chief Hud-Hud?  Has he gone somewhere for a while or is he absent from his duty? If he is absent (then according to the rules of the army) I will severely punish him.  And if he does not produce any explicit authority (permission slip), he may even be sentenced to death.  Prophet solomon made use of horses and the power of wind and all natural resources in its best use to strengthen his army.   Kindly check verse 34:12 which states; “And to Solomon (We made) the Wind (obedient): Its early morning (stride) was a month's (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month's (journey).   Can you tell me what does it mean wind obedient?  It is a beautiful representation of how he ulilized and exploited the power of wind for the fleet of boats he had.   Solomon had full knowledge of the direction of winds and how to utilize it in the most efficient way.  As a result, in one day or even the earlier part of the day, his boats covered distances that other boats would travel in a month.  Similar long distances were covered in the later part of the day.  Can you tell me your understanding of "Its early morning (stride) was a month's (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month's (journey)"?  I believe what I mentioned above is the best explanation.   

- The staff turned into a snake

The staff turned into snake is another beautiful allegory of the actual truth prevailing over  falsehood.  What was actually happened was not a magical victory but a victory in an intellectual debate.  You may note the initial speech made by Prophet Moses giving a strong warning to the “magicians” (his priests) not to fabricate lies against Allah.  Do you think such a command will be directed to some magicians who came there to perform magical tricks?  Also kindly note the comment in verse 26:40 "Perhaps we can follow the magicians if they are the winners”.  What way people thought to follow magicians?  Also note the request from Moses to strengthen him with his brother since he is an expert in public speech.  It is interesting to note, in biblical narration it is brother Aaron who is in fact throwing the stick which points the possibility of Aaron doing a major role in the public debate.   There are several interesting points I want to point out, but not now, at some other stage.

- Moses parted the sea with his staff

This is the perfect example of forces of nature siding with those who remain steadfast in the path of Allah. In verse 41:30, ‘In the case of those who say, Our Lord is Allah", and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them’.  On that occasion of battle of badar notice Allah said to the Malaika: “I have promised My succour to the Momineen. I will be with you. You steady the hearts of the faithful and I will cast dread into the hearts of their enemies.” (8:12). Notice how some of the forces of nature sided with Muslims in badr giving Muslims great psychological strength.  Quran says there was raining (8:11) that made them relaxed and removed from them all anxieties.  The forces of nature also sided with Moses and his people.  Biblical narration states that the sea went back by a strong east wind, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  But the incident is symbolically explained by way of Moses hitting on the surface of the sea with his staff and the sea getting split.

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

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 08:48:47 PM »
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In one word, to answer you, the objective standard for us should be if it is from God.

I agree with you..... we should first find out God's true word and then determine what is absurd based on that.

We cannot in our quest for truth reject something by claiming it's absurd.

This is why the argument "this hadeeth is for sure not from God because it's absurd" isn't a convincing argument to the traditionalist.

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You are simply shooting in the air to make confusion in the mind of ordinary people in your attempt to justify some of ridiculous and absurd hadiths collected by hadith compilers and presented to us as authentic reports.

That's your own personal opinion backed with no objective evidence.

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The Quran did not mention in the verse the birds threw stones.

Surah 105: 4-5:

And He sent against them birds in flocks, Striking them with stones of hard clay,




Offline optimist

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2013, 06:14:25 AM »
This is why the argument "this hadeeth is for sure not from God because it's absurd" isn't a convincing argument to the traditionalist.
Salam,

Even a single hadith from Bukhari iteself will demolish the claim that ahaadith is from GOD.

Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 283: Narrated Abu Juhaifa: I asked Ali, Do you have the knowledge of any Divine Inspiration besides what is in Allah's Book?" 'Ali replied, "No, by Him who splits the grain of corn and creates the soul. I don't think we have such knowledge, but we have the ability of understanding which Allah may endow a person with, so that he may understand the Qur'an, and we have what is written in this paper as well. I asked, what is written in this paper? He replied, (The regulations of) blood-money, the freeing of captives, and the judgment that no Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel.

Can you let me know if there is any footnote for the above hadith (from any scholar) saying that it is unauthentic?

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And He sent against them birds in flocks, Striking them with stones of hard clay,

The phrase in the Quran is thought provoking.  I can agree with you the act of throwing here could be interpreted to mean as birds throwing (even the enemy army on the ground might have felt it in the way).  The Quran says Allah sent birds of flocks, focusing on the point the complete plan of destroying the enemy army was initiated and based on Allah's plan.  The actual throwing of stones by people on top of the mountain is not focused here, because, please note, in verse 8:17 wherein it says وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَىٰ .  Here, actually the shooting of arrows which was taking place in the battle of badr was not actually done by Allah, but Allah attributes this act as if He himself is doing.  So the point must be clear now why in 105:4-5 the focus is not on thowing of stones by the people on top of the mountain, but attributable to mean the birds thowing the stones (birds can only drops stones!).   I strongly believe that in view of verse 8:17 mentioned above the act of thowing could be be interpreted to mean actually people on top of the mountain thowing the stones but attributable to birds to establish Allah's direct and complete control of the whole incident and to confirm the point that it was ultimately Allah who destroyed the enemey.

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

Offline Bassam Zawadi

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Re: Who Determines What is Absurd?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2013, 06:49:35 AM »
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Even a single hadith from Bukhari iteself will demolish the claim that ahaadith is from GOD.

Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 52, Number 283: Narrated Abu Juhaifa: I asked Ali, Do you have the knowledge of any Divine Inspiration besides what is in Allah's Book?" 'Ali replied, "No, by Him who splits the grain of corn and creates the soul. I don't think we have such knowledge, but we have the ability of understanding which Allah may endow a person with, so that he may understand the Qur'an, and we have what is written in this paper as well. I asked, what is written in this paper? He replied, (The regulations of) blood-money, the freeing of captives, and the judgment that no Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel.

Can you let me know if there is any footnote for the above hadith (from any scholar) saying that it is unauthentic?

Notice the bit...

and we have what is written in this paper as well. I asked, what is written in this paper? He replied, (The regulations of) blood-money, the freeing of captives, and the judgment that no Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel.

That's all that Ali had written with him at the time.

Of course much more clarification could be given, however I don't see the point since you apriori appear to reject traditional sources.

I just want to bring to your attention that it's wrong to cherry pick this hadeeth and ignore the other narrations containing 'Ali. For example, if Ali were truly a Qur'an Only Muslim like yourself would he have said...

Narrated `Ali:
Allah's Messenger () prohibited Al-Mut'a marriage and the eating of donkey's meat in the year of the Khaibar battle. (Bukhari, Book 72, Hadith 50)

Make sure if you want to cite one hadeeth, then allow the others to clarify.

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I strongly believe that in view of verse 8:17 mentioned above the act of thowing could be be interpreted to mean actually people on top of the mountain thowing the stones but attributable to birds to establish Allah's direct and complete control of the whole incident and to confirm the point that it was ultimately Allah who destroyed the enemey.

I think this is an example of why Qur'an Onlyism is problematic. It allows us to interpret things the way we see fit.

Surah 8:17 emphasizes Allah's complete control, while in Surah 105 it makes no sense to say that it's human beings throwing stones off mountains, but attributable to birds in order to "confirm the point that it was ultimately Allah who destroyed the enemey". I can't see how attributing it to birds instead of Allah like in 8:17 achieves what you say.

Again, this is the problem with Qur'an Onlysim. There is standard for interpretation.