Author Topic: The problem with Islam  (Read 13936 times)

Riz

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The problem with Islam
« on: July 02, 2005, 05:19:21 AM »
Ok this is kind of long, so if you want to skip my little intro and just get to the main issue, scroll down to the part where it says 'Main Problem'


I have been Sunni most of my life, but later leaned more towards being just a Muslim by following the Quran only.  I thought by following the Quran only I would be able to be much happier and have a much closer relationship with God.  Unfortunatly as I have experienced during the past 3 years or so, this isn't the case at all.  I felt much closer to God while being a Sunni, probably because there was no confusion in the religion.  I used to pray 3,4, maybe 5 times a day before. I stopped doing that when I found little basis of this practice from the Quran.  I still fast during Ramadan like the Sunni way while fully knowing that the way the Quran describes fasting is different and a bit vague to be blunt.  There is no longer a need to do the 'Hajj' because the way the current Hajj is performed has absolutly no basis in the Quran.  

Although 'salat' is emphasised so often in the Quran, I have stopped praying simply cause I'm confused as to what God wants.  I've read people debating the issue of salat endlessly on this forum yet there is no conclusion.  So how did this fully detailed book left out such a big detail?  It doesnt help me knowing that birds form an assembly or Zachariah was on his knees in an alter.  Am I supposed to form a line and kneel down in some temple?  Well there certainly arent enough, or any Quran only believers to pray next to me. And even if there were any Quran only believers around here, each would have his/her own way of praying.  There would be no point of a temple or lining up next to each other.  

You say that the Quran is complete and detailed yet you guys are all confused as to what it really says about topics such as prayer, hajj, and fasting.  Or where it is allegorical and where it is literal.  Ofcourse no one is to blame for that really because Arabic, more specifically a 1400 year old dialect or Arabic is not our native tongue.  All we can do is rely on others translations.  There are so many different translations though and with the coming of this Quran only movement, there are certain verses which have been translated completly different. For example 22:40:
"And if it were not for mankind being pitted against one another, then many monasteries, synagogues, assemblies, and temples where the name of God is frequently mentioned would have been destroyed."

In this translation the word for mosque is translated as assemblies, which in my opinion makes no sense.  God is mentioning places of worship such as monasteries and synagogues and then mentions mosques.  Now because some Quran only people tend to believe that mosques are not necessary or were a later inventions, this has been changed to assemblies.  After finding this strange change in translation, I decided to look at another transation available through free-minds.org: The Message.  In this translation it seems the translater noted the obvious problem of simply changing the word for mosque so he/she decided to change all of the words.  
"gathering, and markets, and support centers, and temples where the name of God is frequently mentioned..."     So now we bascially went from the classical translation of  " monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques," to "monastries, synagogues, assemblies" to "gathering, and markets, and support centers"
Now theres an obvious agenda behind all of this which is to fool the reader into thinking that theres no such things as mosques.  Rather we got this vague idea of a 'support center.'   Is that what mosques were really meant to be? I dont know, I'm  can't speak Arabic and I didn't live in Medina 1400 years ago.  All I can do simply rely on one of these translations which in turn leads to a lot of confusion.  This brings me to the bigger issue here.


Main problem:
---------------

It is outragous for anyone here to call any other form of Islam 'fake.'  Why is Sunnism or Shi'ism or Ahmedism any more fake or absurd then this movement?  For now lets just look at Sunnism.  People here claim that Sunnis are idol worshippers because they bow to a man made structure, that Sunnis have invented rituals, that Sunnis don't follow the Quran.  Ok, I agree that Sunnis bow down to a man made structure, but Muslims have done that since the very start of Islam.  You people have great conspiracy theories about how pagan beliefs were added into Islam at a later date.  You try to back up your statements by showing similarities between certain symbols and practices in Islam to pagan beliefs.  Those are interesting and all but still not convincing, and either way you are forgetting about the biggest thing, these practices and symbols have been around in Islam since the very start.  Rituals and practices such as kissing the black stone at the Kabbah have been recorded by outside sources as early as 720 and again around 765.  Accounts of Arabs performing pilgrimages and associating the Kabah have been around since as early as 660, thats less than 30 years after Muhammad.   Simple fact is, the Kabbah, the pilgrimage, the black stone were not later add ons, they were always there unless all the Muslims went back to their pagan beliefs immediatly after Muhammads death.  This is hard to believe considering that during this time the Khalif was still a disciple of Muhammad.  

So where is your evidence that Sunni beliefs are all invented by later generations?  From the looks of it, Islam always had these 'pagan' beliefs in it. Here comes another great problem.  

If the Quran really is the uncorrupted word of God, then we can fully rely on it.  According to the Quran, Abraham built the first shrine in Bekka.  Now, although the tradition holds that Bekka is none other than Mecca, there is simply no evidence of this claim.  Mecca was never called Bekka or anything equivalent. If you are able to find proof that Mecca was Bekka, please point it out to me.  Where is Bekka? Who knows.  In my opinion Bekka is Beqaa valley in Lebanon.  Did Abraham pass through Beqaa in Lebanon? Maybe.  In the Bible he passes through places very close to Beqaa, but never really in Beqaa.  Nevertheless, Becca/bekka/beka of the Quran being Beqaa in Lebanon would be much less of a stretch than it being Mecca if the Bible is to be taken for anything.

So how is this Becca/Mecca problem a big issue?  Well, the Kabah has apparently always been a part of Islam.  So one can assume these stories of Muhammad, and later the early Khalifs, making pilgrimage to Kabbah as being somewhat credible.  Anyone see the problem here?  According to the Quran, the Kabah isn't the shrine built by Abraham.  It was probably a pagan shrine.  So why didn't Muhammad destroy this along with the other statues when he conquered Mecca?  Obviously it meant something to him.  According to Muhammad, this Shrine was a shrine to which the pilgrimage was made.  What about the stone? Why wasn't that removed?  Did Muhammad really kiss this stone even though that seems to be idol worship?  Both tradition and historical evidence would say yes. He did apparently consider both of these as important parts of the religion.  

Now, one could argue that Muhammad was only human and could have wrongly interpreted the revelations he was recieving.  Problem here.  Kissing a stone, bowing down to a stone structure,  and continuing to perform pagan rituals is quite a big deal. If he really did misinterpret the Quran accidently, then logically God would have stepped in and corrected him.  This doesn't happen in the Quran.  And besides, weren't the Muslims to take anything Muhammad gave them?  I always interpreted this as only the Quran, but if God wanted to say Quran, he would have done so.

So what about prayer?  For the most part, the Quran is mute on the subject. Its as if it assumes people know what prayer is and how to perform it.  Would that include bowing down to the Kabah? Sure if thats how the people had been performing prayer.  Would you like to argue that these were later inventions?   I would really love to believe you because bowing down to a man made structure seems very blasphemous to me, however is there any evidence that this practice was added post-Muhammad? No. None.  Muhammad probably prayed the same way.  

What about fasting?  Well we all know the traditional way, but some of you might also know that this method is not very Quranic. The Quran says the fasting should only be for a few days and should continue until night.  So is tradition wrong or did Muhammad and the early Muslims simply perform fasting in a different way than that prescribed in the Quran?  Hard to imagine the a prophet of God would have done that, yet that is exactly what everything points to.  

So whats going on?  Was Islam corrupted right after the death of Muhammad or did Muhammad just practice Islam differently than the Quran and continued performing pagan rituals of his forfathers?   Being a Muslims I find the latter hard to believe yet those are the choices I am faced with.

If Islam was corrupted so soon after Muhammad, one would expect great turmoil within the Islamic community during this time.  Do we see this? Yes, kind of:  the civil wars.  Now according to tradition and history, these wars were caused by different people wanting to become Caliphs, but could there really have been more behind this? Perhaps, but there is no record of that.  According to all records, these battles were mostly political and had little effect on religion.

To sum up the issue here, the Islam of Muhammad was probably very similar to the tradition Sunni Islam. This includes prayers, fasting, and pilgrimage.  Does the Quran support all of these practices? No, infact the Quran makes the traditional Hajj look like a pagan festival.  But is that what Muhammad practiced? Yes, I think so.  What does this say about Muhammad?  Did he invent the whole thing? Because his practices certainly don't seem to be coming entirly from the Quran.  Or maybe he just followed his interpretation of it which in turn we should also practice, or Islam was corrupted after his death, for which there is no evidence.

What do you guys think?  I know I generalized a few thing, but I was trying to compress this as much as I could.  Don't think I am attacking any of your in particular, this is simply my view of things as of now.  Feel free to point out my mistakes, I am always open for new ideas.

PRIEST_BOKMEI

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The problem with Islam
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2005, 06:26:00 AM »

enigma

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The problem with Islam
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2005, 01:49:12 PM »
Hi Riz.

I understand your problem, becuse there was a time when I felt the same way (back in the late 90's) I became an all-out aetheist.

I will give my humble opinion about prayer and Ramadan . I m only human and I may be wrong, but this is how I understand it.

1) Prayer:

We know that the word "salat" actually means "relation" literally. So , when you are doing "salat" it means you are making a relation with God. This general meaning doesn't have a ritualistic form. It can be done 1000 times each day if you want. Simply mumbling silent prayers or  دعاء  when in your car, or about to start your day's work, or in a certain dangerous situation, or faced with hardships....etc.... All this is considered as "salat" in its general meaning.

The second meaning is the one concluded from the term : "Akimu AlSalat"
or "Ikamat al Salat". The word  أقم  seems to indicate a regularity and organization of prayer. This is the ritualistic prayer that is performed on a regular basis, and in an orderly fashion at certain times of the day. This is the prayer that you have to perform what is known as "ablution" before doing it ( as opposed to the first kind - or the general prayer discussed previously- which can be done at anytime and does NOT require "ablution" ).

This second kind of prayer ( the ritualistic one ) is to be done, in my opinion, TWO times each day, and not more:  Dawn and Dusk. Simple as that. If you read the Quran carefully, you will find nearly a dozen verses that stress the importance of these two times.

بكرة و أصيلا
بالغدو و الآصال
العشي و الأشراق
قبل طلوع الشمس و قبل الغروب
etc... All these meanings indicate dawn and dusk.

Read Verse 58 of Surat Al-Nour. You will find God mentions explicitly two prayers: Salat al Fajr ( Dawn ) and Salat al- Isha'a ( Dusk ). He also mestions الظهيرة  but not as a time of prayer, but as a time of rest and sleep ( and possibly a state of undress requiring permission to enter by certain household members - a knock on the door please!!!.  :wink: )

Nowhere is a Noon or middle prayer mentioned in the Quran. Also, the correct word for noon time is ظهيرة  and not ظهر . The correct meaning of sunset time is GHOUROUB and NOT MAGHREB.
Hence, the phrase "Salat al-Maghreb" that people use is ridiculous and laughable from a linguistic point of view. Maghreb is a DIRECTION and NOT a time.  The correct way to say it would be "Salat al Ghouroub." or more precisely "Salat al Isha'a" as God calls it.

Now some of you may ask: " What is Salat al Wusta then?"  
IMHO, I don't think it means middle prayer. If there was indeed a middle prayer, and one so important, why didn't God mention it in all those other verses ( with dawn and dusk???) I think what is meant here by Salat al Wusta is a ritualistic prayer that is neither too short, nor too long, but somewhere in between.

2) Ramadan.

The word is actually derived from رمضاء  which means the   sun-scorched or superheated earth. The word has the suffix  ا ن  and follows the rule of the فعلان  example well known in the Arabic language

عطش-----عطشان
حياة------حيوان
رحم------رحمان
شاط------شيطان
رمض------رمضان
شعب-----شعبان
etc....

Ramadan in therefore a SUMMER month, and should ALWAYS come in the summer. The name is NOT islamic. It was known to the Arabs before the Quran. In fact the "Hijri" months ,as they are called, all have meanings which were derived from natural phenomena of the desert life. Because of the ignorance of the Arabs of later ages and their insisting of using a purely lunar calendar, without paying attention to the seasons, the names of these months became meaningless.
Example:  "Rabee' al Awwal " and " Rabee' al Thani " literally mean First Spring and Second Spring. Yet nowadays we see that these months sometimes come in winter and sometimes in summer and sometimes in automn ( LOL )
"Muharam" should be a month were people abstain from hunting wild mamals because it is their mating season. And we know that mating season is in springtime. Hence Muharam should ALWAYS come in the spring.

"Jamadi" is a time when the world is cold and nature is figuratively frozen or barren ( it is a winter month )
Believe me when I say this . The desert climate can be horribly cold in winter ( especially night time ) I live in Kuwait. I know what it's like!!

Al these "Hijri" months have meanings derived from the natural world. But becuse of the ignorance of man, look what they've done with the Islamic "Taqweem" It is ridiculous to the extreme.

IMHO. Ramadan is a whole MONTH. 30 days to be fasted during late summer of every year. " Ayyam Maadoudat " can mean 30 days . So what??? I dont' see the problem of fasting 30 days every year during a FIXED and unchaging time.

doesn't God say : "...من شهد منكم الشهر فليصمه  "
So it's OK to fast the whole month .

The importance is that Muslims learn WHEN this month is , and to quit their differences and bickering over moonsightings. They can't even agree on this simple thing.

How sad.

sytalls

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The problem with Islam
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2005, 02:57:00 PM »
Peace Riz.

You make some interesting points. Thank you for bringing to the forum those questions/confusing thoughts that may be running through the minds of others who read some of the debates here.

I think what may be troubling at this point is that the ideas expressed here are relatively new. They are emerging from old distorted ideas of Islam based on a variety of cultures and practices. As such, there is bound to be turmoil. People are earnestly seeking to do what pleases God, so there is debate and discussion.  

People on this site aren't organizing or determining anything for you or anyone else--they are openly discussing ways that could lead to better understanding and spiritual growth.  There are no definite answers, only ideas that move us toward enllightenment.

Plus, reformation is often chaotic...but necessary. If we all lived in the same physical community, for instance, perhaps we could decide on how, where and when mutual prayers could be conducted. I would love to join in prayer/remembrance in a group setting with people here. That motivation alone would probably be a driving force for reaching a consensus quicker.

If, say, an entire city or region were made up of FM-type people, it's very likely that different groups would choose different ways of worshipping or holding prayer services. I see nothing wrong with that, as long as one group doesn't see only its tenets as being right to the exclusion of others (as we are warned about in 30:32).

I understand what you are saying about the practices of being a Sunni. I went from being a Methodist (family's choice) to spending a few years as a Catholic to becoming a Muslim. Like you, with your Sunni practices, I really miss going to Catholic mass--it's highly ritualistic, has singing and incense and communion. There are clear cut rules, dictated by the Pope. But it isn't right in terms of worshipping God. I have no business being with people who pray to saints and bow down to idols. There are so many intercessors, it's hard to reach God at all.

And in choosing to go my own way when I became a Muslim, when knowing in my heart that what the Sunni were telling me was wrong, I chose isolation. In my search for right practices, I sought God's guidance. When I read the discussions about salat, there are new things to consider, but I am not bothered by things that do not seem to fit with what I believe to be right.

If the debates about salat cause you to stumble, don't read them. Seek God's guidance. If it brings you peace to pray five times a day in a certain way, then perhaps that's what you should do. Just remove anything that sets up equals with God--such as the part of the shahada that mentions Mohammed. I have three times a day when I recite the Quran as part of my salat and two times a day when I stop to remember God. This practice works for me. It is my own personal understanding of what God wants me to do.

If this helps any, I will share with you that I believe the Quran builds on Judaism and corrects the many misconceptions of Christianity, since God says that His teachings are consistent. In lookng at things from that perspective, I find it interesting that Jewish people have three formal prayer times a day--morning (the longest), afternoon and night--in which they stand, face toward Jeruselum and recite the Scripture (preferably in Hebrew but not necessarily so). There is also grace said at meals, which would likely add lunch and dinner prayers. They fast  for 25 hours for Yom Kippur (which is the time when Moses brought the second set of tablets containing the Law down from the mountain), avoiding all food and drink from sunset until dark (not sunset) the following day.

Doesn't this all sound familiar? It's as if Christianity removed everything, then the Quran brought things back with modifications and new understanding. Instead of blindly following rigid rules, we are advised to reason and consider the evidence/signs--which is exactly what I always got from Jesus' teachings in the Gospel.  Again, this is only my understanding, which is always evolving and changing as I seek God's guidance and encounter new ideas. I feel free to mention it here, but I've been blasted by Sunni in the past for even mentioning the Jews...as if God never gave them a line of prophets or the Law. Or gave any of us the ability to look at various Scriptures and compare them.

Overall, it is much easier to be "religious" than it is to be "spiritual." Organized religion dictates the rules, so you never have to seek the difficult path of finding right guidance from God. You can submit your will to people who tell you how to worship God, or you can work to submit your will to God and earnestly seek His Divine Guidance.  One path is easy; the other more difficult.

Peace and blessings to you, Riz...may God guide you and me and everyone seeking Truth ever closer to the Right Path. :)

Riz

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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2005, 03:24:42 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys. It all makes sense, but the problem I pose wasn't really answered. The problem being that Quranic Islam has never existed.  From the very start, probably even during Muhammads time there has always been ritualistic prayers and ritualistic Hajj.  The Kabah was always associated with Abraham and prayer has always been conducted the Sunni way.  

So while the Quran leaves a lot of things open and says the shrine is in Bekaa, Muslims have never practiced a Quranic Islam. All this points to the fact that Muhammad himself never practiced a Quranic Islam and God seemed to be fine that.

mquran

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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2005, 03:37:16 PM »
Salaamun alaikum Riz,

I empathise with your situation. Often when 'quran only' comes and destroys the Sunnism one has conviction in, it leaves nothing but a vaccum.

I would ask you not to give up your quest. Instead, deepen your search by doing the following:
a. Omit 'historical documents' from your search. They are conjectural and will mislead you. Read the Quran as if it was revealed to you today.

b. Make an effort to learn Quranic Arabic. Use this:
http://www.emuslim.com/Quran/Lughat.asp
10 minutes of this for 6 months will allow you the mastery of the Quranic language.

c. Acquire an understanding of how the Quran interprets itself. If you know the principles of how this works, you will see that we can only reach one conclusive meaning and this meaning will be in total harmony with the rest of the book (4/82).

d. look at the end shorter chapters. they give you an immediate start to bring islam into your own life.

In this Quranic path, you can't expect to have many people walking alongside you nor can you expect to be spoon-fed. I have to say though, seeing even this little i've seen of al-quraan speak for itself is worth this and more.

thanks and peace.

Riz

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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2005, 03:59:22 PM »
I can agree to an extent there, but I don't think its right to simply discard all historical data just because it doesn't fit with my beliefs. Thats what the Christians seem to do and I don't want to make the same mistake.  If everything is pointing to the fact that Quranic Islam has never existed, then thats a really big problem.  It either implies that Islam was corrupeted or its a bunch of ideals that not even the founder practiced.  

I would like to believe it was corrupted, but theres no evidence of this great corruption.  But the problem with the corruption idea is that if there really was such a big change after Muhammads death, what prevented these people from changing the Quran?  Nothing, yet it wasn't changed to coincide with their practices, meaning there was no big change to the practices of the early Muslims after Muhammad.  Islam has always been the way the traditionalists practice it.  A bit troubling, yet its the only logical conclusion I can come up with.

sytalls

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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2005, 04:33:38 PM »
Peace all.

There are some remarkable posts here.

Please pardon my total ignorance, but since my background is different, maybe someone could explain what Riz is talking about? I'm uncertain how such ideas form.

Thank you.

zenje

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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2005, 04:58:38 PM »
These are the ayat of Allah which We recite to you with truth; then in what hadith would they believe after Allah and His ayat? (45:6)

Woe on that day to the disbelievers!  So in what hadith after this will they believe? (77:49-50)      

Did they not look at the dominion of heavens and earth, and all that God has created? Perhaps their time is drawing near; so in which hadith after this one will they believe? (7:185)

And from the people, there are those who accept baseless hadith to mislead from the path of God without knowledge, and they take it as entertainment. These will have a humiliating retribution (31:6)

God has sent down the best hadith, a scripture that is similar in two ways. The skins of those who reverence their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and their hearts soften up to the remembrance of God. Such is God's guidance; He guides with it whoever He wills. And for whomever God misguides, then none can guide him. (39:23)

Let them produce a hadith like this, if they are truthful. (52:34)


And when God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice! [39:45]


Is God not enough for His servant?...  [39:36]
If they turn away, then Say: "God is enough for me, there is no god but He, in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the great throne." [9:129]

Someone

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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 05:18:37 PM »
Peace Riz, all

I would like to make some points in relation to your concerns :

1- History is always written by the winning side. So don't expect to find anything saying that the "loosers" were right. For example you can look at the major historical situations of this century (like wars) and try to find your way to understand who was right and who was wrong, even if it's documented in videos, articles and all. So, for 1400 years old events, you can spend a life on it....

2- I don't think that the system of the god is a rigid one. Indeed, it's rigid for one criteria "Don't associate anything or anyone with the god", meaning don't ever consider anything as "sacred" because "sacred" relates to the divine, and everythings already belongs to the god the creator, we don't need to make anything sacred.

3- The system of the god leaves to eachone the choice to experience any other philosophy as long as the previous rule is respected. This is what is refered to as "hanif" meaning "ever changing" or "not static" (I believe that this word have been wrongly tranlated to mean "monotheist").

4- As for "al-quran" been preserved; the hypocrites know the power of the knowledge that this book brings, they try to use it to atract people, and then get them braiwashed by their dogmas, without allowing them time to examine the book for themselves (as sytalls has explained from her experience).

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