Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 26, “The Poets”

posted at 8:00 am on May 25, 2008 by Robert Spencer

This is a Meccan sura; its name comes from v. 224, which tells us that only those who are going astray follow the poets. The import of this is that Muhammad, of course, is not a poet, and the Qur’an not merely a poetical work, but a divine revelation, although the pagans of Mecca persistently refuse to accept this.

And that refusal causes Muhammad constant distress (verses 2-9). Allah worries that Muhammad will fret himself to death over their unbelief (v. 3), and assures him that if he willed, he could send down a sign that would make them all believe (v. 4). However, there no sooner comes a new message from Allah than they reject it (v. 5) – but soon they will discover that it really is true (v. 6). Haven’t they even seen on earth the many signs of Allah’s power (vv. 7-8)?

Then verses 10-68 return yet again to the story of Moses, which we have already seen in suras 2, 7, 10, 17, and 20. The comparisons to Muhammad’s own story are frequent and unmistakable. When Allah tells him to go to preach to “the people of Pharaoh” (v. 11), Moses says to Allah: “I do fear that they will charge me with falsehood” (v. 12), just as they charged Muhammad (25:4). Moses is afraid the unbelievers will kill him (v. 14), just as they plotted to kill Muhammad (8:30). After Moses preaches to him, Pharaoh says Moses is a “veritable madman” (v. 27), just as the pagan Arabs have said about Muhammad (15:6).

Then follows the story of Moses’s miracles, and the attempts by Pharaoh’s sorcerers to replicate them. After Moses wins over Pharaoh’s sorcerers and they profess belief in Allah (vv. 47-48), Pharaoh warns them that he will punish them by amputating their hands and feet on opposite sides or crucifying them (v. 49) – the same punishment that Allah commands for those who “wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land” (5:33). But the sorcerers stand firm, hoping that Allah will forgive them for their past sins (vv. 50-51). Moses parts the sea (v. 63) and the Children of Israel pass to safety.

Verses 69-104 return to the story of Abraham (also told in suras 15, 19 and 21), again showing him confronting his people in their worship of idols. The idolaters readily tell Abraham that their idols are useless, and that they’re only worshiping them because their fathers did (v. 74). “They knew that their idols could not do anything,” says Ibn Kathir, “but they had seen their fathers doing this, so they made haste to follow in their footsteps.” This recalls Ibn Ishaq’s account of a delegation of Christians who came from the Yemeni city of Najran to see Muhammad. One of the leaders of this delegation was a bishop, Abu Haritha ibn ‘Alqama, who received money, servants, and other favors from “the Christian kings of Byzantium.” Abu Haritha, says Ibn Ishaq, knew that Muhammad was a prophet, and told the other members of the delegation that he was, but refused to accept him for fear of losing the loot that the Byzantines were lavishing upon him.

In other words, whether out of cultural inertia or love of money, the unbelievers are in bad faith: there is no consideration of the possibility that people might reject Islam simply because they don’t think it is true. Everyone knows it is true, but some find it inconvenient, for various reasons, to admit that. Says Maududi: “The mentality of the disbeliever has been the same throughout the ages; their arguments and their objections, and their excuses and subterfuges for not believing have been similar and ultimately the fates that they met have also been the same.”

Then comes, in verses 105-122, the story of Noah (also in suras 10, 11, and 23). Noah tells the unbelievers that he is only a “plain warner” (v. 115) – exactly like Muhammad (7:184). Noah then appeals to Allah to judge between himself and his people, and the people are accordingly drowned while he is saved in the ark (v. 119). This is a sign, but most still persist in unbelief (v. 121). In verses 123-140 there follows another account of the prophet Hud, whom we have met in suras 7 and 11. He too warns his people, but they reject him, and Allah destroys them (v. 139). Likewise in verses 141-159 the unbelievers reject the message of the prophet Salih (who also appears in suras 7 and 11), and are also destroyed (v. 158). Here is told again the story of the “she-camel of Allah,” a miraculous beast Salih brings forth in answer to the people’s demand for a sign (vv. 154-155). Says Ibn Kathir: “A crowd of them gathered and demanded that he immediately bring forth from the rock a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, and they pointed to a certain rock in their midst. Allah’s Prophet Salih made them promise that if he responded to their request, they would believe in him and follow him. So they agreed to that. The Prophet of Allah Salih, peace be upon him, stood and prayed, then he prayed to Allah to grant them their request. Then the rock to which they had pointed split open, revealing a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, exactly as they had requested. So some of them believed, but most of them disbelieved.” Indeed, some of them set upon the camel and hamstrung it (v. 157), for which they were duly punished.

The pattern continues. Verses 160-175 tell the story of Lot (also in suras 7 and 15). Lot castigates the unbelievers for their homosexuality (vv. 165-166) and Allah destroys them all (v. 172), rescuing Lot and his family – all except for one old woman (v. 171), a vestige of Lot’s wife of Genesis 19:26. Verses 176-191 return to the prophet Shu’aib (who also appears in suras 7 and 11). The unbelievers charge that he is bewitched (v. 185), just as they say about Muhammad (17:47), as well as a mortal man like them and a liar (v. 186) – again, just like Muhammad (17:93, 25:4).

The sura culminates with verses 192-227, which makes the point explicit: this is a revelation from Allah (v. 192), in plain Arabic (v. 194), as was prophesied in the earlier Scriptures (v. 196). Isn’t it a sign that the Children of Israel recognized it as such (v. 197)? That is, says Ibn Kathir, “is it not sufficient witness to the truth for them that the scholars of the Children of Israel found this Qur’an mentioned in the Scriptures which they study?” He asserts that “the fair-minded among them admitted that the attributes of Muhammad and his mission and his Ummah were mentioned in their Books, as was stated by those among them who believed, such as ‘Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others who met the Prophet.”

The unbelievers wouldn’t have believed a non-Arab messenger (vv. 198-199), and indeed, they will not believe until they taste hell (v. 201). Destruction will come suddenly, but Allah never destroys a population without warning it first (v. 208). So believe in Allah alone (v. 213), not the accursed poets (v. 224).

Next week: Sura 27, “The Ant” – featuring a talking ant!

(Here you can find links to all the earlier “Blogging the Qur’an” segments. Here is a good Arabic/English Qur’an, here are two popular Muslim translations, those of Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, along with a third by M. H. Shakir. Here is another popular translation, that of Muhammad Asad. And here is an omnibus of ten Qur’an translations.)


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Jealousy has been there since the very beginning.

All nations had their “prophets” except the Arabs, so what the hell, let’s make our own too.

Just like Hussein Obama, an empty suit named Muhammad copied and mixed stories from the folklore and the Bible to pretend to be knowledgeable and a prophet.

What a striking similarity between Hussein and Muhammad!

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 8:18 AM

And let’s have our “first Black president.”

The Whites had their chance.

Hussein Obama, Muhammad of the 21st century.

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 8:20 AM

…that only those who are going astray follow the poets.

I wonder if Mohammed was aware of Homer?

Another great lesson Robert. Thanks.

Zorro on May 25, 2008 at 8:22 AM

“The mentality of the disbeliever has been the same throughout the ages; their arguments and their objections, and their excuses and subterfuges for not believing have been similar and ultimately the fates that they met have also been the same.”

Given that Islam hasn’t changed in centuries, it’s no surprise that non-Muslims of all stripes have had to employ the same arguments for why they aren’t Muslims. What’s more suprising is that even though Islam’s empirically-testable (thinking specifically about the claims that Hebrew and Christian scriptures were tainted and the claims that the Koran did not evolve at all) claims have been disproven, Muslims continue to believe in the metaphysical doctrines. Muslims willingly falsify history in the service of their religion and if anything deserves to be called a “subterfuge”, it’s that, and the perpetrators are Muslims who are in a position to know that the Muslim version of history is false, but do not tell the masses of less-well educated Muslims of this fact.

venividivici on May 25, 2008 at 8:32 AM

In other words, whether out of cultural inertia or love of money, the unbelievers are in bad faith: there is no consideration of the possibility that people might reject Islam simply because they don’t think it is true. Everyone knows it is true, but some find it inconvenient, for various reasons, to admit that.

So how does a Muslim deal with doubt? Or is it enough for the religion to just have the other followers turn on the doubter? It feels rather Emperor’s New Clothesish.

- The Cat

P.S.

Next week: Sura 27, “The Ant” – featuring a talking ant!

I’ve seen thems on B.C.

MirCat on May 25, 2008 at 8:33 AM

If memory serves Muhammad did put out some contracts on a few poets later on.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Isn’t it a sign that the Children of Israel recognized it as such (v. 197)? That is, says Ibn Kathir, “is it not sufficient witness to the truth for them that the scholars of the Children of Israel found this Qur’an mentioned in the Scriptures which they study?” He asserts that “the fair-minded among them admitted that the attributes of Muhammad and his mission and his Ummah were mentioned in their Books, as was stated by those among them who believed, such as ‘Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others who met the Prophet.”

As someone with a Jewish religious educational background, including several years of Talmudic study, can anyone give me a hint where there’s anything near a mention of this nonsensical book called the Quran within Jewish Scriptures?

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 9:38 AM

All religions seem to have as their default starting positions that their books contain the unvarnished, absolute and non contradictory revelations of their deity(ies). When it is eventually realized that this is an untenable position one suddenly observes that these words passed through inspired humans with further rewrites down the line and that is where the seeming contradictions slipped in.Or one starts the allegorical interpretation mechanisms whence it becomes unclear what is absolute at what is relative.

The same is true with some inconvenient (by today’s standards) revelations like Leviticus where wholesale reinterpretation to find allegorical messages and avoid the obvious consequences of literalism seems mandated. (Nonetheless, I’ve heard several loonies, Christian and Jew, say the literal Leviticus still applies and were it not for the satanical secular forces in place, they would be just fine with that.)

Islam leaves no wiggle room at all. What is in the Qur’an is Allah speaking in the first person without error and one reinterprets at the risk of hellfire. Since Moe is the last prophet no clarifications are forthcoming from a new revelation. The Shi’a do seem to allow some reinterpretation through certain holy men but, according to the Sunni majority, they are just fire destined heretics anyway.

Perhaps what is needed is a ‘Jefferson Qur’an’ with all the superstition, hellfire, misogyny and general cruelty removed and a ‘yes we can’ missionary to sell the product.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM

The same is true with some inconvenient (by today’s standards) revelations like Leviticus where wholesale reinterpretation to find allegorical messages and avoid the obvious consequences of literalism seems mandated. (Nonetheless, I’ve heard several loonies, Christian and Jew, say the literal Leviticus still applies and were it not for the satanical secular forces in place, they would be just fine with that.)

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 9:48 AM

I’ll bite. I might be one of those “loonies”, of the Jewish variety. Give me an example of what you’re talking about.

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Shy Guy, there is no mention of any koran or anything else nonsensical like that.

What Annar misses is the brilliance of Leviticus – God training the Jews for His mission through art and music, protecting them in their wandering existence with health and hygeine laws that also affirm the dignity of every last human being from the embryo to the oldest member of the 12 tribes.

And the Bible is HONEST. Not one infallible cartoon in there. There are liars and adulterers and thieves and the fearful, murderers and all other sorts, warts and all, portrayed as real men and women whom God, for His own reasons, chooses to do His work.

Annar would like to skim the Bible, and not READ it, not think about it or see how it could be a collection of TRUTH about the way the universe was created and how it best works, revealed by a God who LOVES what He created and wants to redeem and reconcile it to Himself.

Mommynator on May 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM

protecting them in their wandering existence with health and hygeine laws

Mommynator on May 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Food for thought.

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Allah worries that Muhammad will fret himself to death over their unbelief

Oh, if only …

Tony737 on May 25, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 10:23 AM
Mommynator on May 25, 2008 at 11:03 AM

In my post, my reference to Leviticus was incorrect since I was thinking more generally of the punishments mandated for various ‘sins’ and I should not have phrased my message as to refer to individuals when I meant the ideas.

The punishments mandated for adultery, sodomy and heresy are just as barbaric as those ordered by Islam. For example,

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

Death for worshipping other gods Deuteronomy 13:5-10

Death for disobeying one’s parents Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Death for sorcery (popular during the Inquisition) Leviticus 20:27

Different reasons are put forward as to why these punishments are no longer valid or applied. Some say, simply, that Christ rendered all that stuff no longer applicable but no one seemed to have informed Pope Innocent III and some of his successors.

As a child I was force fed the Catholic variety of Christianity and I have read the Bible from cover to cover more than once, but do not believe it to be anything other than interesting fiction, some parts glorious and others banal. As for it being a code by which to lead one’s life it leaves a lot to be desired.

For me Islam is obviously false since Judaism and Christianity are necessary conditions for its validity. Being interested in religions, without reference to their validity, I have read the Qur’an several times in English, French and German translations but I have nowhere near the expertise of Robert Spencer or Ibn Warraq whose interpretations I value.

Again, I do not mean to insult anyone by expressing my opinion.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 1:26 PM

In other words, whether out of cultural inertia or love of money, the unbelievers are in bad faith: there is no consideration of the possibility that people might reject Islam simply because they don’t think it is true.

This explains so much. The Muslims are right and evryone else is WRONG. Non-believers are either deluded or stuck in willfull sin. Why should the Muslims bother with the rest of us if this is their attitude? Why not lie to us? We are dangerous. We might make them think.

Craniac on May 25, 2008 at 1:32 PM

From Balaam’s donkey to a talking ant, should be interesting next week.

koolbrease on May 25, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Annar – those of us who have been following closely have noticed that one of the “first principles” of Islam is that the Quran is “final and unchanging.”

While it is true that there likely have been a few changes here and there, esp. in the more powerful Caliphates, the resistance to any changes is massive and widespread.

Yeah, we could use a reformed Islam. Also, free energy, immortality, world peace, etc.

In other words, it’s not a new idea, and unless you have a really stunningly innovative method, not very likely either.

Merovign on May 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Moses, Abraham, Noah…and I know Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet as well. Were the early converts to Islam coming from Christianity, Judaism, or something similar?

JetBoy on May 25, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Annar:

If memory serves Muhammad did put out some contracts on a few poets later on.

Yes, notably Kab bin Ashraf, and Asma bint Marwan.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:07 PM

The punishments mandated for adultery, sodomy and heresy are just as barbaric as those ordered by Islam. For example,

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

Death for worshipping other gods Deuteronomy 13:5-10

Death for disobeying one’s parents Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Death for sorcery (popular during the Inquisition) Leviticus 20:27

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 1:26 PM

I actually have no problems with any of the above. You find them barbaric. I find them moral and just in G-d’s world. I view the transgressions themselves as abominable in contrast to the expected behavior of human beings.

However, the laws of Islam are nowhere near the laws of Judaism (and I do not speak on behalf of Christianity). There’s a famous Talmudic quote:

“A Sanhedrin that executes once in seven years, is called murderous.
Rabbi Eliezer b. Azariah Says: once in seventy years.
Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say: “Had we been members of a Sanhedrin, no person would ever be put to death.
Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel remarked: “They would also multiply murderers in Israel.”

– Tractate Makot, Mishnah 1:10

Yes, there were capital executions but prerequisite circumstances and especially obligations and testimony of witnesses had to be met 100%, a very rare event. Try learning the Talmudic laws of what it takes to convict someone of capital crimes and you’ll see that the Torah’s goal wasn’t to have a society which punishes all the time but to have a just and upright society which understands the severity of their immoral actions.

Regarding the “damsel”, I bet you misunderstand the circumstances of the case. The Torah’s laws are completely different in 100s of ways from Islam’s.

Regarding “witches”, we are not talking about Uri Geller and David Copperfield, who are illusionists. We are referring to people who use spiritual forces in this world. In this day and age, I have yet to meet one.

Different reasons are put forward as to why these punishments are no longer valid or applied. Some say, simply, that Christ rendered all that stuff no longer applicable but no one seemed to have informed Pope Innocent III and some of his successors.

As I said, I am not commenting on behalf of Christianity regading this matter.

As a child I was force fed the Catholic variety of Christianity and I have read the Bible from cover to cover more than once, but do not believe it to be anything other than interesting fiction, some parts glorious and others banal. As for it being a code by which to lead one’s life it leaves a lot to be desired.

For me Islam is obviously false since Judaism and Christianity are necessary conditions for its validity. Being interested in religions, without reference to their validity, I have read the Qur’an several times in English, French and German translations but I have nowhere near the expertise of Robert Spencer or Ibn Warraq whose interpretations I value.

Again, I do not mean to insult anyone by expressing my opinion.

Understood.

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 2:08 PM

ShyGuy:

As someone with a Jewish religious educational background, including several years of Talmudic study, can anyone give me a hint where there’s anything near a mention of this nonsensical book called the Quran within Jewish Scriptures?

I am not Talmudic scholar by a long shot, but I would venture to say that there is no prophesy of Muhammad or the Qur’an within Jewish Scriptures. Islamic tradition claims that there is in both Jewish and Christian Scripture, but there isn’t. The Muslim claim seems to have been manufactured to buttress the claim that Muhammad’s message merely confirms that of the earlier prophets. If it doesn’t confirm their messages, it must be because their followers have tampered with their holy books to remove references to Muhammad’s coming.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Annar:

(Nonetheless, I’ve heard several loonies, Christian and Jew, say the literal Leviticus still applies and were it not for the satanical secular forces in place, they would be just fine with that.)

I cannot speak for Judaism, but I can tell you that any Christian who believes that the laws of Leviticus still apply has placed himself outside the mainstream of Christianity as it has been consistently understood since the apostolic council recorded in Acts 15.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:11 PM

Annar:

Perhaps what is needed is a ‘Jefferson Qur’an’ with all the superstition, hellfire, misogyny and general cruelty removed and a ‘yes we can’ missionary to sell the product.

Maybe, but take all those things out and the remaining book would fit neatly on a 3 by 5 card, or perhaps in a trifold pamphlet.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:13 PM

Mommynator:

And the Bible is HONEST. Not one infallible cartoon in there. There are liars and adulterers and thieves and the fearful, murderers and all other sorts, warts and all, portrayed as real men and women whom God, for His own reasons, chooses to do His work.

Nicely put.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:14 PM

Annar:

Different reasons are put forward as to why these punishments are no longer valid or applied. Some say, simply, that Christ rendered all that stuff no longer applicable but no one seemed to have informed Pope Innocent III and some of his successors.

Pope Innocent III didn’t apply any of those laws. Whatever he did do, he didn’t justify it on the basis of Deuteronomic law, which Catholicism and all other Christian sects have consistently held to be no longer applicable after the resurrection of Christ.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Craniac:

This explains so much. The Muslims are right and evryone else is WRONG. Non-believers are either deluded or stuck in willfull sin.

Yes, I do believe that understanding this serves well to illumine the attitude of many Muslim spokesmen today toward non-Muslims with whom they enter into dialogue. I myself have had many, many experiences of this: they come in assuming I am lying or stupid or both, and never can deal with me with minimal respect as an equal.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:17 PM

JetBoy:

Moses, Abraham, Noah…and I know Islam considers Jesus to be a prophet as well. Were the early converts to Islam coming from Christianity, Judaism, or something similar?

They were pagan Arabs, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:18 PM

If it doesn’t confirm their messages, it must be because their followers have tampered with their holy books to remove references to Muhammad’s coming.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Do Islamists even try to place a period when this tampering took place? It must have been before the destruction of the 1st Temple, because after that Jews were scattered far and wide yet still retained the exact same Torah texts, as if they carried it in a PDF file on a USB key in their pockets. :)

Also what reason would there have been for all Jewish communities all over to remove these supposed exact references to Muhamed/Islam/Quran? The whole Jewish religion is based on G-d’s direct communication to Moses and then the further conveyance of prophetic messages through G-d’s prophets. Or did the prophets lie, too? Yet Islam gripes all the time about the Jews’s disobeying their prophets.

Is there one single Islamic scholar in Islam’s history who tries to logically explain all of this?

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Shy Guy:

Do Islamists even try to place a period when this tampering took place? It must have been before the destruction of the 1st Temple, because after that Jews were scattered far and wide yet still retained the exact same Torah texts, as if they carried it in a PDF file on a USB key in their pockets. :)

No, it couldn’t have been then. It had to have been after Muhammad came, since Allah refers Muhammad to those who received the Scriptures before him in order to assuage his doubts (Qur’an 10:94-95). That assumes that the real Torah and real Gospel existed as of around 620 CE, and that the corruption happened after that or around that time — which is historically preposterous for both Torah and Gospel.

Also what reason would there have been for all Jewish communities all over to remove these supposed exact references to Muhamed/Islam/Quran? The whole Jewish religion is based on G-d’s direct communication to Moses and then the further conveyance of prophetic messages through G-d’s prophets. Or did the prophets lie, too? Yet Islam gripes all the time about the Jews’s disobeying their prophets.

These prophets, in the Muslim view, taught Islam. The fact the Jewish books do not reflect the Islamic character of their teaching is, for Muslims, proof that those books have been corrupted. But this is an ex post facto claim, based on absolutely zero historical evidence.

Is there one single Islamic scholar in Islam’s history who tries to logically explain all of this?

I have seen Islamic apologists make canny use of the historical criticism that both Jewish and Christian scholars have undertaken since the 19th century. They quote some of the more extreme assertions of those scholars — assertions which are by no means accepted by the mainstream — for both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures to posit the idea that the originals have been drastically altered, and then they claim that the originals were Islamic.

A variant of this is a newer claim, based on the “DaVinci Code”‘s fictionalization of Christian history, that the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE was the occasion of the corruption by the Christians. The “DaVinci Code” states, falsely, that the New Testament canon was settled at the Council of Nicaea, and despite this being complete fiction — the Council did not deal with canonical issues at all — I’ve been amazed how quickly it has entered the popular consciousness that at Nicaea the assembled divines essentially created mainstream Christianity by approving some books and throwing out others.

The Muslim view of this is that Arius, the heretic whose teachings were (really) condemned at Nicaea, and who denied the divinity of Christ, was actually a follower of the Islamic prophet Jesus, and that’s why he was denying his divinity, which in this view was a late invention that had nothing to do with Jesus’ real teachings. There are two problems with this, aside from the canon fantasy: one is that Arius himself taught that Jesus was indeed divine, but was a lesser god, and that doesn’t square with Islamic theology at all. Another is that the divinity of Christ was not invented at Nicaea, but was clearly taught by Christians from the first century on. It was Arius’ teaching that was the new invention.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:40 PM

I am not Talmudic scholar by a long shot, but I would venture to say that there is no prophesy of Muhammad or the Qur’an within Jewish Scriptures.
Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:09 PM

I would say that there is…(at least in the New Testament)..the similarities between Apollyon, the false prophet and the hidden mahdi and false muslim jesus are striking.

SaintOlaf on May 25, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Saint Olaf:

I would say that there is…(at least in the New Testament)..the similarities between Apollyon, the false prophet and the hidden mahdi and false muslim jesus are striking.

That isn’t, of course, quite what Muhammad had in mind!

Qur’an 61:6 has Jesus prophesying about the coming of Muhammad, and his words there appear to be based on Jesus’ words about the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16. Indeed, Muslims often point to that passage in John and claim it is an altered version of Jesus’ original prophecy about Muhammad. The only catch there is that there is absolutely no textual or historical evidence to back up that claim.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:44 PM

In other words, it’s not a new idea, and unless you have a really stunningly innovative method, not very likely either.

Merovign on May 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Unfortunately, I don’t any stunning new idea at present but I’m willing to support someone who does. Our future may depend on finding some way to deprogram the extremists.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Annar:

Perhaps what is needed is a ‘Jefferson Qur’an’ with all the superstition, hellfire, misogyny and general cruelty removed and a ‘yes we can’ missionary to sell the product.

Maybe, but take all those things out and the remaining book would fit neatly on a 3 by 5 card, or perhaps in a trifold pamphlet.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:13 PM

One could add some Danish illustrations as filler.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 3:15 PM

I have seen Islamic apologists make canny use of the historical criticism that both Jewish and Christian scholars have undertaken since the 19th century. They quote some of the more extreme assertions of those scholars — assertions which are by no means accepted by the mainstream — for both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures to posit the idea that the originals have been drastically altered, and then they claim that the originals were Islamic.

Man, if you look up the word “shameless” in the dictionary, there should be pictures of these Muslim apologists claiming this sort of nonsense. Talk about practicing “The Big Lie”.

venividivici on May 25, 2008 at 3:20 PM

A variant of this is a newer claim, based on the “DaVinci Code”’s fictionalization of Christian history, that the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE was the occasion of the corruption by the Christians. The “DaVinci Code” states, falsely, that the New Testament canon was settled at the Council of Nicaea, and despite this being complete fiction — the Council did not deal with canonical issues at all — I’ve been amazed how quickly it has entered the popular consciousness that at Nicaea the assembled divines essentially created mainstream Christianity by approving some books and throwing out others.
Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 2:40 PM

I do not recall the Catholic church ever having officially adopted the four canonical gospels as such, this came about as a matter of tradition given that sources as early as the beginning of the third century (Ireneus d. 202), in particular) assumed these to be reliable and the others, what are now known as the Gnostic gospels, show problems as to source (truly unknown) and content (contradictions). Thus, the matter was, de facto, decided well before the Council of Nicea.

Sorry if this is off topic.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 3:46 PM

For me Islam is obviously false since Judaism and Christianity are necessary conditions for its validity.
Annar on May 25, 2008 at 1:26 PM

The fundamental tenet of Moral Relativism: “Everything everyone ELSE believes is equally wrong.”

Islam is getting a bad rap these days, but only SOME of its core beliefs are based on nihilistic deconstructionism. Atheism consists of absolutely nothing else besides that.

logis on May 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM

The fundamental tenet of Moral Relativism: “Everything everyone ELSE believes is equally wrong.”

Islam is getting a bad rap these days, but only SOME of its core beliefs are based on nihilistic deconstructionism. Atheism consists of absolutely nothing else besides that.

logis on May 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Could you explain that?

If you do attempt to explain it, please try to keep it in the context of atheists who don’t give a crap what others believe as long as they never have deal with it on a personal level.

Like, for example, having my 6 year old daughter come home from school and asking me why her little Christian friends told her she was going to burn in hell for all eternity because she had no idea what god is.

Like that.

Jaynie59 on May 25, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Do Islamists even try to place a period when this tampering took place? It must have been before the destruction of the 1st Temple, because after that Jews were scattered far and wide yet still retained the exact same Torah texts, as if they carried it in a PDF file on a USB key in their pockets. :)

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 2:27 PM

Ding Ding Ding! Great question! I will remember to ask this of any Muslim I discuss this subject with.

Mr Spencer, I have one(slightly off topic) issue with your otherwise great answer

…that the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE was the occasion….

What is this CE stuff? When I went to school it was BC for before Christ and AD for Anno Domini. When did CE and BCE become the accepted norm? Unless you mean Christian Era?

dentalque on May 25, 2008 at 5:16 PM

What is this CE stuff? When I went to school it was BC for before Christ and AD for Anno Domini. When did CE and BCE become the accepted norm? Unless you mean Christian Era?

dentalque on May 25, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Common Era.

Works for me! :)

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 5:22 PM

dentalque:

I was just trying to be nice.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 5:32 PM

Shy Guy on May 25, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Here in New York State, my kid’s textbooks all have BCE/CE which is different that it was 25 years ago when I was in school, also in NYS.
Is it just all change is bad on my part or are they secularizing society? I also took several years of Latin in school and hate to see that whitewashed from society as well.
Once again, sorry if this is off topic, I just expected RS to be a BC/AD type of guy!

dentalque on May 25, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 5:32 PM

So are most non-Muslims in Muslim societys.

dentalque on May 25, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Islam is getting a bad rap these days, but only SOME of its core beliefs are based on nihilistic deconstructionism. Atheism consists of absolutely nothing else besides that.

logis on May 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM

I’m not sure what you mean. Atheists have nothing to deconstruct. Of course one cannot prove that god does not exist but neither can one prove that there is not a herd of purple unicorns on the fifth planet of a G class star on the other side of the central black hole of the Milky Way.

On the other hand there are thousands of Christian sects and many subsets of contradictory belief systems so someone from outside with no particular reference point might have a hard time deciding which one, if any, is really the true religion that the deity prefers.

Probably for those who do believe in god it’s best to pick a religion they are comfortable with (so long as it does no harm to others), follow it and hope that if it turns out to be not the true one that the godhead will be merciful and say that you tried your best with the available information.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 5:47 PM

dentalque:

So are most non-Muslims in Muslim societys.

The difference is that mine was a voluntary gesture of kindness to an ally, involving no sacrifice of anything I believe, versus a coerced gesture of submission to an adversary.

What you point out is happening in the schools is more like the latter than the former.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Point understood. Thank you again for continuing this series.

dentalque on May 25, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Islam is getting a bad rap these days, but only SOME of its core beliefs are based on nihilistic deconstructionism. Atheism consists of absolutely nothing else besides that.
logis on May 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM

I’m not sure what you mean. Atheists have nothing to deconstruct.
Annar on May 25, 2008 at 5:47 PM

That you should make at least some tiny little effort to try and understand your own religion before you criticize everyone else’s.

And, since I’ve heard the same sermon a thousand times: OF COURSE you have a religion, you dunce!

logis on May 25, 2008 at 6:25 PM

The “Satanic” verses prove that Mohammad was a fallible human being, like any other.

Which undermines confidence in the entire “inspiration” of the Recitation (al-Qur’an), since, if one group of “Allah’s word” turned out to “be from the Devil”, who’s to say that they weren’t all equally delusional and demonic?

Poetic justice, I call it.

(But, then logic hasn’t been a vital component of Islam since they over-ruled the Aristotelian influences upon Mohammadism in the early second millennium, and returned it to superstitious irrationalism.)

profitsbeard on May 25, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Muhammad’s animus toward poets puzzles me sometimes: I mean, I dislike Bukowski’s poetry, but I don’t feel the need to put a contract out on him :)

Robert, did poets in pre-Islamic Arab society play a role similar to skalds in Scandinavia or bards in Celtic societies? That is, the keepers of historical memory in a pre-literate society whose knowledge made them very influential with the general public? It makes more sense to me that Muhammad would, for example, have bint Marwan murdered because her words were likely to sway potential followers away from him, and not just that she was a rhymer who mocked him.

irishspy on May 25, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Irishspy:

Yes, they did. And she also mocked him.

Robert Spencer on May 25, 2008 at 7:58 PM

There’s the irony about atheists. Those whom have it as their faith that something doesn’t exist and everything happened by chance or collision. Cause and effect while defining the cause as the empty set with the answer to everything being “because.”

viking01 on May 25, 2008 at 9:11 PM

Anar:

I guess being in my third year of my Master of Divinity has sheltered me from the fact that people still use the argument that God could be a purple people eater or a yellow pokadotted walrus. (This is in no way insulting you or your point. Strangely I have heard such absurdities postulated in college, surprise, surprise) I understand what you are saying and guess that you have some good reasons to say it. I do wonder though if you have read Saint Anselm’s arguments or for a more modern treatment of the ontological argument, Alvin Plantinga? I’m just trying to help you not create a straw man ‘god’.

Concerning the CE/BC issue, I don’t know if I am willing to die on it’s shores. However, I must admit that the argument seems to fall in line with the recent hooplah over flag pin/non-flag pin. I do wonder if by letting little things go here and there just because they seem “small” doesn’t lead to bigger snow balls down the road? Sorry for such a cliche analogy but it works.

brotherbell on May 26, 2008 at 1:09 AM

We could switch over to the Muslim calendar. However, I don’t like “Hegirae” and “anno Hegirae” (in the year of the Hijra), abbreviated “H” and “AH”.

I would go for something more snappy, like “Mohamed Onward” and “Sans historic Mohamed” – “MO” and “SHMO” for short.

Shy Guy on May 26, 2008 at 1:49 AM

It’s Islamic jihad, not extremism, Uncle Sam – or – Whom the God’s wish to destroy, they first drive Politically Correct

And so the besieged victim pretends: Daddy doesn’t really want to hurt me; if I’m a better girl, he’ll stop. Israel pretends: Muslims don’t really want to destroy our state, and so we’ll give them land for peace. Jews in pre-Nazi Europe pretended: The anti-Semites are really right; we deserve a pogrom. Intriguingly, Levin writes:

“But the book’s themes have a still broader relevance. Even ostensibly powerful and secure populations, under conditions that entail ongoing threat and vulnerability, can manifest similar trends.”

I got a new one for the doctor: a trend of delusion so enormous as to beg for immediate hospitalization and a transfer of power of attorney. Problem is, the patient here is the United States government (USG), which now says: If we just stop talking about jihad, Muslims will neither become jihadis nor sympathize with them.

Such is the message of a crazy new government guide called “Words that Work and Words that Don’t” urging federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, to eliminate all references to Islam when discussing, well, Islamic terrorism.

Not only does that mean no more talk of “Islam,” it also means no more talk of “jihad.” (“Extremism” is the new “jihad.”) And forget about the “caliphate.” (Try “global totalitarian state.”) Even such politically correct terms as “Islamist” and “Islamofascist,” which take the traditional teachings of Islam off the hook, are now verboten. And so, more curiously, is the term “Muslim moderate.” Says the government: “The term `moderate’ has become offensive to many Muslims, who believe that it refers to individuals whom the USG prefers to deal with, and who are only marginally religious.”

- Diana West

MB4 on May 26, 2008 at 1:59 AM

logis on May 25, 2008 at 6:25 PM
Your childish name calling is based on your (unstated) definitions of god and religion. Religion, as generally understood, requires a god or gods or, minimally, a set of beliefs pertaining to some supernatural or mystical power.

It is indeed possible for one to have no religion. If one attempts to trivialize the debate by proclaiming that not having a religion is itself a religion of sorts then you’re playing a non serious word game.

I hope you’re not trying to say that atheism is a religion. That is prima facia nonsense since religion requires the existence of the supernatural in some form which atheists reject. Of course, one can again play around substituting your personal definitions where needed but that is just an indirect way of attacking the integrity of those who don’t agree with you.

Annar on May 26, 2008 at 6:49 AM

I guess being in my third year of my Master of Divinity has sheltered me from the fact that people still use the argument that God could be a purple people eater or a yellow pokadotted walrus. (This is in no way insulting you or your point. Strangely I have heard such absurdities postulated in college, surprise, surprise) I understand what you are saying and guess that you have some good reasons to say it. I do wonder though if you have read Saint Anselm’s arguments or for a more modern treatment of the ontological argument, Alvin Plantinga? I’m just trying to help you not create a straw man ‘god’.
brotherbell on May 26, 2008 at 1:09 AM

The purplish point you so readily reject merely states that which should be obvious; proving a negative about an event in the universe is virtually impossible in all but the most circumscribed cases.

St. Anselm’s ontological proof for the existence of god was completely destroyed by Immanuel Kant and David Hume by observing that it contains the unjustified assumption that the real is more perfect than the unreal or that existence is more perfect than non existence; these are belief statements which should have no part in a logical argument. That argument is nonetheless better than those given by St. Thomas Aquinas which are truly vacuous.

A better argument, which plays on both universal and ontological arguments, was given by the Islamic philosopher Avicenna. It too has been refuted but it has served as the basis for many serious modern attempts. One such was published by William S. Hatcher in ‘One Country’ the on line Baha’i news letter, Vol. 10, Issue 2/ July-Sept. 1998. I have a print copy but it should be available on the Baha’i web site.

Good luck in your continuing studies.

Annar on May 26, 2008 at 7:21 AM

Thank you, Robert.

awake on May 26, 2008 at 10:40 AM

I hope you’re not trying to say that atheism is a religion. That is prima facia nonsense…
Annar on May 26, 2008 at 6:49 AM

Newsflash, Einstein: Anyone who injects himself into a theological debate is always (at least for the sake of that discussion) “prima facia” religious. And of course declaring yourself The Sole Arbitor Of Universal Reality within that discussion doesn’t make your Edicts any LESS subject to theological critique than everyone else’s. That’s why Atheists are always the ultimate zeolots: the most devout practitioner of any other religion can, in a moment of weakness doubt the existence of God. But no Atheist has ever done that – and none ever will.

Atheism is nothing but the theological version of moral equivalency: “My absolute lack of moral standards gives me absolute authority to condemn the behavior of others.” And by precisely the same token, the Atheist claims an absolute right to the ultimate high ground in every theological discussion into which he interjects his own personal beliefs.

But, as unlikely as it seems, you “unholier than thou” types are actually correct about one thing: your religion does differ in a very tiny (albeit significant) way from all others. The craziest Muslim extremist in the world at least acknowledges that he HAS a beliefs; he just suspects that all the rest of us have been duped by an evil God. But moral relativists sever that one tiny little thread back to objectivity. Your theology maintains that whatever you happen to believe from one moment to the next is by definition “real,” and that everyone who disagrees with you is (again, by definition,) mentally defective.

What you people fail to comprehend is that every belief has SOME degree of merit. For example: a wrongfully executed man returning from the grave in order to forgive his murderers is, admittedly, not a commonly observed event. Likewise, the theory that our ancestors’s spirits return in the form of farm animals has not yet been conclusively proven with absolute scientific certitude. But either of those beliefs – or any one of a hundred others – could form the basis of a very rich spiritual life.

However, the fundamental tenet of the Atheism – that there is no distinction between your belief and reality – isn’t just harmless pontification; it’s the very definition of psychosis.

logis on May 26, 2008 at 2:09 PM

Annar:

Thanks for such a great response. I don’t want to seem like I’m coming after you and I think you may have gotten that impression. My point in all of this is as follows:

I would be interested to know if your belief statement about there being no belief statements in a logical argument is or is not a belief statement? I also wonder what you have experienced that is ‘non-real’. That isn’t a sarcastic question but an honest one.

I also wonder if you were familiar with Anselm; I wasn’t trying to fully defend his argument. Hence why I mentioned Antinga’s updated version of it. I know what Hume did and I also know that Kant still believed in God.

I also find it interesting that God believers are accused of making others argue from a negative. “A-Theism” is simply a negation and stating that nothing came from nothing? I understand what you were saying and that is why I wasn’t mocking your beliefs, my simple point was that you have a very convenient straw-man god and I wouldn’t want to worship him/her either.

brotherbell on May 26, 2008 at 4:24 PM

I hope you’re not trying to say that atheism is a religion. That is prima facia nonsense…
Annar on May 26, 2008 at 6:49 AM

Absolutely correct. Atheism is simply not believing in the nonexistent or the invisible, both of which “look” remarkably alike. Atheism is the absence of religion. It is no more a religion than not believing in Bigfoot is a religion.

MB4 on May 26, 2008 at 5:08 PM

Absolutely correct. Atheism is simply not believing in the nonexistent or the invisible, both of which “look” remarkably alike.
MB4 on May 26, 2008 at 5:08 PM

In other words: “Atheism means jabbering like an imbecile.” Looks like we’re all in agreement here.

logis on May 26, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Like, for example, having my 6 year old daughter come home from school and asking me why her little Christian friends told her she was going to burn in hell for all eternity because she had no idea what god is.

Like that.

Jaynie59 on May 25, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Sorry, but kids can be cruel.

I would ask one thing of you – are you sure of yourself? Your children will follow you, wherever you lead.

Squiggy on May 26, 2008 at 5:57 PM

In other words: “Atheism means jabbering like an imbecile.” Looks like we’re all in agreement here.

logis on May 26, 2008 at 5:54 PM

If believing that comforts you so be it, but always remember that blasphemy is a victimless crime.

MB4 on May 26, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Let’s be careful to separate denotation from connotation and independent faith or lack of it from advocacy groups seeking to enforce a lack of it.

The denotative definition of Atheism is the individual not believing. Nowadays when there exist political action committees of self-proclaimed atheists seeking to deny the free expression of believers and their rituals, effigies, and texts. Whether to define such as an organized cult or assembly may be difficult to do therefore political action committee or secularist lobbying group may be the closest denotation. It may have no ritual to speak of besides seeking to limit the rituals of others. It can also easily be Marxists cloaking themselves as atheists (to make government their religion) at the expense of atheists whom are otherwise neutral.

I wonder how the Founders would view this. Many were Deists, some were probably agnostic or atheist yet one wonders if they expected activist groups of atheists (or poseurs claiming to be) to seek denial of the free expression by believers. Then again, they probably didn’t expect a Supreme Court to someday reinterpret Eminent Domain in such slovenly fashion or the Ten Commandments to be viewed as a threat. Ben Franklin got it right when asked what form of government our fledgling Congress had chosen: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

viking01 on May 26, 2008 at 6:14 PM

brotherbell on May 26, 2008 at 4:24 PM
I am well aware of St. Anselm and his argument and its shortcomings. As for the term ‘non-real’ I meant the conceived thought as contrasted to the existing ‘real’ object. For example, the concept of a car as contrasted to a 2008 Mercedes parked outside, a ‘real’ car.

The ‘improved’ version of the argument you cite is no better. The probability arguments put forward are poorly conceived and based on much unverified data and poorly understood physics. I could play an equivalent game and say that the probability of humans evolving on Earth is one, since we are here. So the question is not could it happen, it did, but how. Whether intelligent life exists elsewhere is currently unknown. If E.T. showed up at our front door we would have an immediate answer. If not we could look for life elsewhere but we could never know for sure that it did not exist until all possibilities will have been checked.

The statements about ‘something from nothing,, Nothing from nothing,’order implying design’ usually indicate that one has closed down an argument before examining all the possibilities.The big bang is one scenario where theologians lurking in the bush ask about what happened before or about that dimensionless point with infinite mass. Our limited senses only allow us to perceive a three dimensional space sliding along a time line whereas current physical theories place us in an 11 dimensional universe. So that nothing you worry about has 7 dimensions to roam around in masquerading as something. So don’t worry, modern physics is nowhere near postulating creation ex-nihilo.

We perceive the universe as ordered since we are part of it. This is almost a condition for us to remain sane and is certainly necessary for survival. This perceived order does not imply that there is a creator. In any event, if there were some super creator entity would still be legitimate to ask who or what created the creator. The usual answer about god always existing does not suffice since the universe could also have always existed without this add on.

Annar on May 26, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Well my friend, I appreciate the excellent verbal sparring match. I guess it comes down to this. I chose to believe that every cause has an effect and that order is not some cosmic trickery. That such a thing as an uncaused cause is not to hard to fathom given the alternatives. I guess we both carry presuppositions on this matter but my simple point was that I think the god you think of is to small. It is also interesting to me that a galaxy made up of matter and the second law of thermodynamics could even be thought of as being eternal. Another old argument I thought ended when we discovered that the universe had a beginning. I learn new things every day! Either way, I appreciate the conversation and thanks for the encouragement on the studies! Greek and Hebrew are never easy to learn ;)

brotherbell on May 26, 2008 at 8:58 PM

The denotative definition of Atheism is the individual not believing. Nowadays when there exist political action committees of self-proclaimed atheists seeking to deny the free expression of believers and their rituals, effigies, and texts.
viking01 on May 26, 2008 at 6:14 PM

“Denotative definition?” OK, I have absolutely no way of guessing what you think that term means.

…At any rate, you can feel perfectly free to call yourself any sound you can make with your mouth. But what you expressed in your first sentence (before you negated it in your second sentence) is not a USEABLE definition in terms of communicating with other people.

If someone is not particularly religious, then he would simply refer to himself as “not particularly religious.” Another (and infinitely more likely) option is that he could simply refrain from theological argument altogether. Or, if he wanted to say precisely the same thing, but be a pretentious twat about it, he can always refer to himself as “agnostic.”

But, of course, the word Atheist doesn’t mean that. It is a different word (hence, the different letters and arrangement thereof.) What the word Atheist means to DENY the existence of God.

I suppose you could say that some people (none of whom have posted in this thread) are – I don’t know – maybe “introverted Atheists,” who sit in their basements and quietly disbelieve in everything without pestering innocent people about it.

And if so, then the folks you refer to in your second sentence (along with some of the people who’ve posted in this thread) would have to be described as “practicing Atheists.”

But that distinction isn’t really necessary, because it’s hard to imagine why anyone would have to refer to non-proselytizing Atheists at all. So there’s no problem with lumping them all together, as there is no chance that could ever result in anyone being unfairly attacked.

logis on May 26, 2008 at 10:02 PM

Logis:

Linguistics and etymology. Denotative definition being strictly literal. Connotative definition, connotation, is the common tongue. Slang if you like. Swell can mean nifty or inflamed. Progressive can mean advancing. It can also mean Socialist / Communist. The idea here being the dangers of what Orwell called Newspeak in his 1984.

The point I sought to communicate wasn’t quite so devious or complicated. Some now claiming to pushing an atheistic in the courts (not here) are merely co-opting the term to lobby for restrictions of believers expressions of faith. Evangelists of non-faith as it were. The way the Soviets did it was to make all the churches state museums to reduce any diversion from government knowing what is best. Most can probably see how removal of nativity scenes constitutes a para-Constitutional limitation on free religious expression instead of simply not deciding to believe the content of the symbols. So there’s a point at which a word defining a group can often become co-opted by an activist element to mean more than simply a non-believer. What I’m suggesting is to watch for and be aware of the transitions from thought to advocacy to restriction to code while the word stays the same. Lenin was a master of it. The Ninth Circus Court of Appeals often tries it under a guise of protecting diversity (another co-opted code-word) or political correctness but typically gets smacked down.

Some of my post may have been truncated while editing it and I won’t be able to review it at this late hour. In any case my second paragraph above is the intended content.

viking01 on May 27, 2008 at 12:39 AM

Mr Spencer, thanks for addressing this question from last week. The question was whether Islam considers unbelievers to be willfully rejecting an axiomatic truth of Allah. It seems that it does.

From Maududi’s commentary:

Such were the conditions when this Surah was revealed. It begins with words of consolation to the Holy Prophet, implying, “Why do you fret for their sake?If these people have not believed in you, it is not because they have not seen any Sign, but because they are obdurate. They will not listen to reason they want to see a Sign which makes them bow their heads in humility. When this Sign is shown in due course of time, they will themselves realize that what was being presented to them was the Truth.

Deep down, we know Islam is true, if only we could be honest and admit it. But we are willfully rejecting Allah and his messenger because we are prideful and stubborn. We therefore have no excuse, and deserve the Hell that awaits us.

HeIsSailing on May 27, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Continuing down this line, is it fair to say that, according to Islam, we non-believers are without excuse because Allah has written the Quran on the hearts of the non-Arab?

v197- 201:

Is it not a Sign to them that the Learned of the Children of Israel knew it (as true)? Had We revealed it to any of the non-Arabs, And had he recited it to them, they would not have believed in it. Thus have We caused it to enter the hearts of the sinners. They will not believe in it until they see the grievous Penalty…

HeIsSailing on May 27, 2008 at 12:34 PM