What About Islam?       

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By Merle Hertzler

Our discussion of Islam continues. Iesha had written to me and said, "write to me...all that you dislike about Islam...any 'mistake' in the quran." Iesha informed me that she would try to answer my objections. She wrote that when I get to know it, "You'll begin to love Islam." I wrote back, pointing out that the Quran sometimes encourages intolerance and evil acts. (I was not condemning all of Islam, nor was I condemning all Muslims. I was merely pointing out that I see that the Quran has faults, even as I point out that the Bible has faults.) Since the Quran approves of things that I consider unjust and intolerant, I do not love that book. Sure, there are good things in the book, but I find the intolerance unacceptable to my tastes.

After reading Iesha's later comments one might well ask if she ever really expected us to fall in love with the book, as opposed to following it out of fear of Allah. For fear seems to be the thrust of her latest posts, arguing that we need to be scared of Allah, lest he do horrible things to us.

So I find here another in the line of respondents warning me about hell. Some warn that if I do not believe Jesus, I will face eternal hell. Others warn that if I do not deny Jesus, I will face hell. So what should I do? Either way, I will have somebody saysing that I picked the wrong way and that I will burn forever for making the wrong choice.  

Iesha is quite certain that the correct answer is that I need Islam. Let's look at her argument. The discussion begins at my blog entry,  Branded on the Nose, where I show some verses in the Quran to which I object. Iesha responded. I address her responses here:



You write:

Im just returning from my Friday SALAAH or prayer, and now that i was reading the Chapter "The cave" or AL-Kahf of the Quran, I was as usual deeply moved by its tone and my heart really longs to share something with you. Its about the Quran.

Okay, let's look at chapter 18 of the Quran, The Cave.  Look at verse 29: "We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!" And you are moved by the tone of this chapter?You find this inspiring? How can you find it moving to read about threats to burn people who differ with you? Do you enjoy reading such threats?

I invite people to read this chapter for themselves, and see how it moves them. I suspect that many will be bored by The Cave, and will also be insulted by it threats on those that disagree with the writer.

What about verse 59 of that chapter," And (all) those townships! We destroyed them when they did wrong, and We appointed a fixed time for their destruction. "

Wait. Why are the "we" of this chapter destroying townships? If there was sin in the township, wasn't it the people that sinned, not the buildings? Why destroy the buildings? And I thought you said the destruction of the Quran was in the afterlife, not here and now. Here we find that the "we" of this chapter are destroying buildings on earth.

I don't agree with destroying townships.

And what about verse 90 which apparently refers to the conquests of Alexander the Great and says, "When he reached the rising-place of the sun"? Woah! Alexander conqured far to the east, but he never reached the rising place of the sun. There is no such place.  Muhammad must surely have been mistaken when he thought Alexander had reached the rising place of the sun.

And what about verse 86, "when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring." Uh, excuse me, but Alexander never reached the setting place of the sun either. And he certainly did not find the sun setting in a muddy spring. Apparently Muhammad goofed.

That's okay. We all make mistakes. The fact that Muhammad goofed doesn't make him a bad man. It just makes him human. That's okay, I like humans, even when they make mistakes (of course, I expect them to admit they make mistakes.)

And the Christians among us will be interested in verses 4 and 5, "And to warn those who say: Allah hath chosen a son, (A thing) whereof they have no knowledge, nor (had) their fathers, Dreadful is the word that cometh out of their mouths. They speak naught but a lie."  Ah, so Christians are lying when they speak of God's son? And this chapter warns them that they will face eternal doom for believing in Jesus? And they need to stop believing in Jesus or they will be tortured forever?

Many Christians will respond that it is not they, but you that will face this eternal fire. Can you understand how this all looks to a skeptic?  One side is screaming that I will go to hell if I believe in Jesus, and the other side screaming that I will go to hell if I don't. Where is the sense in all of this?

Is it possible that there is no hell to scream about, that you and I have a life here on earth that we can make something of and that we need not fear the grave?

Yes of course the Quran says that those who disbelieve in the word of God will be punished, that's because these are supposed to be signs for the men of understanding.

First, how can people possibly know which words are God's words? Some say God's words are in the Bible, some say in the Book of Mormon, and some say in other books. You say it is the Quran. How do you know you are right and others are wrong? So far you have not given us any convincing evidence.

Can you see that there is a difference between proving something is God's word and asserting it? If you want us to believe it, don't you need to give us some evidence?

And even if this is God's word, why punish a person if he is mistaken? What if he truly examines the evidence, and comes to a different conclusion from you? Why punish him for being mistaken?

If God did not want people to think for themselves, why did he give them minds? But if he wanted them to think for themselves, isn't it possible they might reach different conclusions?

The Quran expects the reader to pay heed and realize the beauty of these signs and let me tell you that not only an exceptionally intelligent man, BUT ALSO ANY FOOL WITH TWO EYES who reads the Quran correctly and in context will see that these signs are more than JUST CONVINCING, they have moved generations to tears, I have come to tears and prostrated my head in humility at Verses that would to a prejudiced mind, appear VAGUE.

Okay, I have two eyes, and I think I am at least as intelligent as a fool. Now please explain to me how you know The Cave is God's word (including the part about the sun setting in a muddy spring).

For example the Quran only contains a handful of verses relating to the Creation of the universe, but amazingly, they happen to be the Biggest Miracles of the Quran. Ask yourself How much can a Man convey in one sentence? Can even Einstein explain the whole creation of the universe in one sentence? And this is exactly what the Quran does!

What about Quran 50:38 which says, "And verily We created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six Days, and naught of weariness touched Us." Science completely disagrees with that verse. We now know that creation took billions of years, not six days. Since the Quran is so completely wrong on the length of the creation, the miracle verse to which you refer will need to be great to make up for Muhammad's blunder here. To which verse do you refer?

As far as the choice of religion is considered, it says very very clearly "LA IQRAHA FID DEEN"  ie. "THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION!" The correct path has been made distinct from the evil path? Is this intolerance?

No compulsion? Can I remind you once more of Quran 4:56--"Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty," How can you possibly say that this is not compulsion and is not intolerance?

Suppose somebody told you that, since you are a Muslim they would expose you to fire, and, as often as your skin was consumed, they would exchange it with new skin so they could torment you more.  Suppose they said that they were doing this because you were a Muslim, and that they would do this to you forever because this is what they do to Muslims. Would you tell us that this person is tolerant?

It would seem to me that a being who continually torments somebody because of their religion is intolerant. If you do not think this is intolerance, please define what you mean by intolerance. Obviously, you and I have very different meanings for this word.

Or is this intolerance? "O prophet! Say, This is the truth from the Lord, then those who wish to believe let them believe and he who disbelieves let him disbelieve? "

I know that verse! It comes from The Cave.

Why do you quote it out of context? Why do you not quote the whole verse? Here is all of Quran 18:29--"Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place! "

Is this intolerance? Yes, of course it is. To shower people with molten lead and burn their faces because their beliefs differs with one's own beliefs is certainly intolerance. How can you possibly suggest otherwise?

You seem to have lot of problems with the Quran talking about the punishments for man.

I do not have a problem with punishment. I have a problem with brutal torture, and with physical punishment that goes far beyond the evil of the original deed.

And I have a problem with punishing people who believe differently from us. If somebody believes differently from me, I try to instruct them, not punish them.

This shows that those people would be punished who turned away from VALID Poof and Evidence and disbelieved in the Warners apart from doing evil things.

Okay, so now you are talking about closed-minded people who ignore valid evidence. Yes, a person who ignores valid evidence is wrong. But I do not think punishment is the best way to deal with such people.

How about you? Are you open to valid evidence that differs with you? If people are punished for avoiding valid evidence, will you be punished for avoiding the valid evidence against the Quran?

The Quran says: "No soul shall be burdened more than what it can bear." "Every soul shall be paid back in complete recompense what it earned? "NO SOUL SHALL BE WRONGED! NOT EVEN AS MUCH AS A GRANT, NOT EVEN AS MUCH AS THE MEMBRANE ON THE DATE SEED!? AND THIS IS THE JUSTICE OF ALLAH.

Excuse me, but do you not think that pouring molten lead (Quran 18:29) on somebody because they have a different belief is wronging them? If pouring molten lead is not wronging them, please describe an act that you think would be wronging them.

And you people say this is a result of the Hallucinations of a Mad man? You start by saying Muhammad pbuh was a liar and end by saying he was crazy, but how could he have been both?

I do not know if Muhammad was crazy or a liar, and have made no such assertions. I can see that he was sometimes wrong. That's okay. Humans are sometimes wrong. That does not mean that they are crazy or liars.

Had it been from any one but Allah, it would have contained much discrepancy

Ah, I see, books with discrepancies are not from Allah.

So then the Quran must not be from Allah. For it has contradictions.

5. Mr. Merle as i had expected you quoted the FIFTH VERSE of The Chapter The Repentance ie. "And when the sacred months have passed then kill the polytheists where ever you find them and capture them and besiege them and prepare for them each and every ambush but if they REPENT and offer prayers then leave their way." In fact I believe this is the MOST quoted verse of the Quran but unfortunately it is quoted OUT OF CONTEXT and when it is quoted in context there is no room left for confusion.

If you have deliberately Quoted it out of Context then prepare to be ashamed but if you have quoted it simply then try to pay heed.

POINT NO.1 We need to see this verse in Context to know what does it ACTUALLY means.
POINT NO.2 We need to know when it was revealed& why it was revealed
POINT NO.3 We need to know whom does it refer to as ?THE POLYTHIESTS?

And in order to do this we need to read the preceding and proceeding lines of the Chapter.

Ah, I see. So Quran 9:5 tells certain people to slay polytheists only.

Woah! Hold everything! Polytheists are people. How can it possibly be right to slay people because we don't like their religion?

I am sorry, I do not like your book. If it tells some people to kill others because of their religion, then I do not like that book.

How about you? Do you or do you not think it is wrong to slay a person because he is a polytheist?

And yes one more thing please and please hold back ur quiries untill i finish completely answering those which u have asked till now.

Take your time in responding. In the meantime, I will not stop questioning.

The Quran says "We created the heavens and the earth ...etc" ufcourse refers to God.
Actually in Arabic we is not a separate pronoun, plurality, gender etc. are expressed by suffixing or prefixing syllables. YOU WANT THIS EXPLAINED? Ill be glad to.
And the Quran does specify where God is speaking and not because it is written in first person most of the time eg. it dosent always say God said so and so or God said to moses...etc It usually say :We said..or Your lord said etc U should remember rhis WE is the MAJESTIC WE as used by the king and queen etc.

Thanks for the offer, but no, I don't think I need you to teach me grammar.

A basic rule of good writing is that it should be obvious from the context what or whom a pronoun is referring to. I find the Quran to be very confusing. It generally makes no attempt to define whom it means when it uses the Arab suffix that is translated "we". And the word "we" apparently often refers to different sets of people/beings in the Quran. How is anyone supposed to understand this book?

For instance, Quran 4:56 says, " Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise." I can't find anywhere in this chapter where it defines who it means when it says, "we". One would think that a God would know how to write in such a way that it was clear what is meant when it uses the word, "we". Knowing whomever is included in the pronoun "we" singnificantly changes the implications of this verse.

But whomever "we" refers to in this chapter, they are doing something that I consider to be evil. That is the main point. Whether the evil of this verse is done by Allah and angels, or Allah alone, or Allah and Muhammad, or Muhammmad and his followers is not the main point. The big problem is that somebody is doing something I consider evil and is torturing others for their beliefs.

You say i invented questions and didn't answer the actual ones partly because those ones needed great detail and the ones  INVENTED  thought were going on in the minds of the other bloggers and they needed lesser time.

Ah, so you admit that you simply invented those questions. And you say you invented those questions to show what other people might think? Excuse me. Let me remind you what you actually said:

MERLE resorts to asking me and Muslims in general "Why do U want 2 burn me? or Why do U want burning water 2 b poured over me"

You used my name. You put it in all caps. You said I asked these questions. I did not ask these questions. And you now admit that you deliberately invented these questions.

Are you aware that deliberately inventing words and falsely saying that another person said those words is lying? If you mean to say that some people might say this, then word your response that way. But please do not invent questions and try to put those words into my mouth.

That's all for now. I look forward to reading your reply.