Friday, June 17, 2005

Moussa naby.. Eissa naby.. Mahammad naby..

we kol men loh naby yessaly 3aleih.

Why do people tend to idolize their prophets and raise them upto a superhuman level? Muslims overdo it, Christians way overdo it, and Jews just abandon their prophet and worship a hollow statue.

I was at that religion lesson at a friend's home once and the sheikh asked the attendants if they did their homework. I thought to myself, that's interesting, he's giving them religious exercises, I'm getting excited. Then the guy goes around asking each one how many times they prayed on the prophet during the last week. Those who didn't say the prayers failed, those who did 500 times in one day and stopped failed, and only those who did it frequently on a daily basis passed. I was astonished. These are highly educated people, some received their PhDs from the States and they are apologizing to the sheikh for not praying on the prophet 100 times a day! Is this what we've reduced our religion to? Is this the best religious exercise they could come up with? Are we to elevate the prophet to a godly status to feel better about ourselves as Muslims, that we are special.

Muhammad is a messenger, Jesus is a messenger, Moses is a messenger. All messengers with one message, from one God, and no god but God.


chor said...

ya Mohammed.
Ugg. Blogspot now requires anyone to signup for Blogspot just for the purpose of commenting, any reason, what happened to regular comments?

Anyways, I was reading the entry, and I'm not quite sure I know how I feel exactly about the people you were describing. I suppose in some ways, a certain number of times and counting makes faith a little more quantifiable and tangible. I for one don't find this necessary... why the number 500+? Seems a little arbitrary to me, but then I don't know much about rules.

Someone once told me that if you know the Fatiha and the surah (I cant remember the name, but its the one that goes Qulu Allah al Ahad), then you have pretty much 2/3rds of things down... Personally I think faith is not about counting how many times, or other similar things, but its much more personal than that. Not sure whether that sentence makes sense. I'm not anywhere close to knowledgeable, and if I said anything may Allah forgive me for my ignorance.


LouLou said...

Don't you think people need precise means of measuring their devoutness or lack thereof in order to feel safe?It's human nature to feel uncomfortable with uncertainty. Some people can't handle the concept of never having any tangible indication of just how far they've gone on the road to Islam/Iman. They want a milestone. It is reassuring to think ok if I repeat this phrase 55 times or read this surah 40 times I've done my religious duty for today & I can sleep easy.

haal said...

Everyone overdo it. Christians for sure overdo it, and Shi'a muslims are overdoing it through the figure of al-Hussien, who to them is another Jesus who sacrified himself to save the world, in Hussien's case, Muslims against Umayads. Both are overdoing it. Why this concept of sacrifice has to be so there. Sacrifice, throughout history had been done over and over as a mean to get closer to God. So now (in the case of Jesus and Hussine) has been taken to mean 'saviours'. Even some people talk about 'Ali and his sleeping in the prophet's bed as 'Ali's willing to sacrify himself to save the prophet. One of the major pivots that comes up all the time in a shi'a debate as a precedence of 'Ali and a resemblance to Ishmael.

OFf topic? I think I caught it.

programmer craig said...

How do you quantify faith? Am I misunderstanding what this word means? I am one of those few Christians that believes faith must be proven, and not just professed - but it's not proven, in my opinion, by saying prayers. It's proven in your heart and in your mind. Just my opinion, but I don't put much store in practicing the mechanics of religion.

I won't even comment on the tendency of people to raise their prophets to deity status. This topic is way too controversial amongst Christians for me to touch it :p

MoonLightShadow said...

I believe that faith is something within the heart. Something that can’t be measured by anyway.. not by the number of prayers, nor by how much we read a certain surah, etc..

It’s a private relation between a person and God.. None should interfere in this relation.
However, I believe that faith in the heart results in the outward actions.. meaning, I might read a certain surah everyday for example.. but that’s from my inner belief in the cause I’m doing if for.. not to just say that I’ve read it, and I’m not to be asked about it by people.

Some of the outward actions are sometimes judged mistakenly coz a lot of people tend to do these outward actions only. But still, this doesn’t decrease from the value of the act itself.. wish you get my point.

Twosret said...


You have said it correctly. It is a personal relationship between man and God.

Religious discussions are mainly futile. Those who want to grow in faith search, read and consult with religious leaders.

Focusing on people's action as a representation of one's faith is a big mistake because you lose focus on the religion itself. People were never a good representers of their faith simply because they are humans.

Also, El Monazarat and attacking religions doesn't usually strengthen faith it only shows insecurity in one's belief.


haal said...

It is our everlasting problem that we keep underestimating our capabilities and continously looking for a semi-divine, or a miraculous figure to guide us. In doing that, we tend to forget that God has chosen US, HUMAN, to be his vicegerent on earth, his representers. If He doesn't feel we are a good representers of faith, faith in him, He wouldn't have insisted on sending prophets to us, HUMAN prophets. Differing how similar or different these prophets are from us is irrelevant, at the end they are human. Bashar. Flesh and Blood. Otherwise, He could have sent angles.

In the Coran, the impressive story of Shiba and SOliman is but a pure example of the capabilites and power of Human. I am not talking physical power, but power of 'Knowing', power of 'Connection' with the divine, power of 'surrender' and 'servanthood'.

programmer craig said...

Yes, haal, Jesus told his followers that they could do as he did, that they were capable of anything he was capable of. He would not have expected his disciples to follow his example if he were anything but a human, because they would have been incapable of it. Catholics in particular seem to have almost an obsession with treating Jesus as if he was more than human, and most other Christian denominations do to a lesser extent as well. I don't really understand it, because Jesus never made such a claim - and it seems his very teachings contradict that position. Yes, he was the son of God. But did he not also say that we are ALL Children of God? That makes me a son of God as well. What part of that claims a unique and non-HUMAN status for Jesus?

But if I walked into any Church in America and voiced this opinion, I'd be lectured at the least, and probably denounced!

So, I don't do that :p

Mohamed said...

Guys, Craig and Haal, that's good stuff. Thanks.

LouLou said...

Craig & Haal,

It seems strangely perverse that while we give our religious leaders/saints/prophets Divine, non-human status, we tend to 'personify' God at the same time.
As humans we try to project many of our own characteristics & failings onto God. For example, the tendency to think that God has a Chosen People who are saved while everyone else is lost. Because it's human nature to be prejudiced in favor of your community/group/race/sect we assume that God must also play favorites. But God has no race & no family & we are all the same to Him.
The desire to quantify Faith also seems to me to be an example of this. Because we Humans think in terms of quantity & numbers we think God will also be counting how many times we repeat some phrase & handing out points. But God can see into hearts & minds & so clearly He would have different standards.

Alina said...

What can I say? The Jesus topic is really tabu for Christians! I read a little about it, said what I found out, and the reply was "you read stupidities"! But I guess people (Christians mostly) really need to know God loved them so much as to sacrifice a part of Him for them. Someone to die for all of us, a strange need for pain and blood...I don't know what side of the story is true...But I know Jesus was presented as this holly, perfect, divine being, and the Bible actually stated he was single, forgetting the fact that Jews would have considered him an outcast if he were single...A lot of the facts are mistified, it is a habit we developed over the centuries - we need to know every little detail about important people - to throw dirt at them if they are considered only humans (see movie stars and singers), or to praize them and make a perfect image of them if they are considered more than humans.

Twosret said...

"Catholics in particular seem to have almost an obsession with treating Jesus as if he was more than human, and most other Christian denominations do to a lesser extent as well."

last I heard Catholics are widely criticized for their obsession with the Virgin Mary not Jesus.

I am not commenting on the topic simply because there is a red line that I usually don't cross when it comes to the prophets :) I respect God's choice of Jesus (the holy trinity et all). My "Capabilities" haven't reached the holy place of awakening of the dead or writing a Quaran. Until then I remain the humble believer human.

May be one of the above posters can work on their capabilities and be the new kid (puppet not prophet) on the block.

haal said...

Yeah, please. Just hold it over there next to your RED, ehm, line. We don't want you to cross it either until you have the capabilities!

haal said...

BTW, are you trying to say that 'Prophet Mohamed' wrote the Coran. Or did you mean that the Coran was revealed on him and then later was written down by his followers? Please, make yourself clear.

Twosret said...

Do you have a hick up?

Twosret said...

OMG sorry Saad Zaghloul it is hiccup:)I will go and sin no more LOL!

programmer craig said...

"I am the one God. You shall have no God but me."

I criticise all Christians, Catholic or Protestant, who treat Jesus as if he were God. They are wrong, and clearly so :)

The powers that are atributed to Jesus were given to him by God, they were not innately his. Which really proves the whole point, doesn't it? When Jesus cried out on the cross "Father, why have you forsaken me?" - if he was an incarnation of God, was he talking to himself? Asking himself for help? Really, there is so much evidence in scripture that Jesus was not Divine, I don't understand how Christian doctrine got to the point it currently is at.

However, I choose not to argue these points with my fellow Christians. I can read as well as the next guy, and better than most! I have a genius IQ and even I can't convince true believers that what they've been taught is wrong. So, I just don't bother. When I go to Church, I keep my mouth shut, and I try to evolve my understanding of what Jesus was teaching on my own :D

programmer craig said...

Er... forgot to comment on the Catholic thing and Mary... I wasn't really sure what you meant by this, Twosret. I went to Catholic school for a couple years and while I'm uncomforatble with the way Catholics pray to Mary and most of teh Saints, I don't really have a problem with that. People can pray in whatever way they choose as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure if that's what you mean about criticism regarding the Virgin Mary?

My problem is when people use Jesus as another name for God. Father, son, holy ghost. The trinity of Catholocism. Three iterations of the same being. Protestants don't do the holy trinity thing, but they frequently replace the word God with the word Jesus when they talk, as if Jesus WAS God on earth. I have a real problem with all of this. It creeps me out and turns me off whenever I hear somebody do this.

This is one of two major problems I have with established Christian doctrine. The other is the belief that only Christians can be saved.

And here I said I wasn't going to talk about this stuff because it's too controversial... if any crazy Christian shows up here and starts damning me to hell I'm outta here :\

haal said...

Craig, do you think that you are attacking your religion (since you are negating a core belief), or you are just rethinking, contemplating out loud on, may I say, a historical, political, philisophical development of the image of Jesus.

Alina said...

There is a very strong theory according to which Christianity today is the result of a very long and deep modeling. It all started with choosing what texts to have in the New Testament and continued with diminishing the role of women in the new religion...
About the Virgin Mary obsession...Well, Catholics, especially those in France and South America have an obsession with the Black Virgins which are actually related to Mary Magdalene and her role in this story...
The texts left out of the Bible actually speak of a human Jesus and of the important role Mary Magdalene held in his life. There are stories showing the male followers of Jesus were very jealous on her.
Other than that, a group of researchers proved the Turin Shroud is a fake misteriously made using a process similar to todays photography by the one and only Leonardo da Vinci! His works actually show an obssesion/admiration for the feminine side of divinity and for John the Baptist...
I know all this data might seem weird due to its being presented by a Christian...The thing is such theories have a strong research on Bible and other texts and it's better to take a look at what others have to say instead of using ignorance as a shield...

jtb-in-texas said...

Jesus claimed to be co-equal with God. He was crucified for that. He was therefore either a liar, a lunatic, or in-fact Lord of creation.

You can believe what you want; but there is only one way to please God--by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior.

Your attacks on my lack of eloquence are not important--I already know my weaknesses. Your soul is so valuable that God sent His Son to die in your place. Get right with God.

Do it now!

Mohamed said...

Will get right to it jtb!

haal said...

'Your soul is so valuable that God sent His Son to die in your place.'

You look to God's son the same way human look at their own SOns. God is able to create billions of sons for Himself if He sending one son to be die is not really a big deal???!

'only one way to please God--by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior.'
All this for the Saviour. What about believing in God Himself and get down with the whole loop. Why do I have to believe in the picture if the Origin is there. Why God has to go round and round in show us He loves us? Well, if this is teh case, He failed! I still dont believe Jesus is the Saviour, nor His son.... so He sacrified His son in vain.

Alina said...

Do you know there is actually no evidence of Jesus saying that? Do you know the followers of John the Baptist had no idea of this? If you believe everything stated in the Bible, then how come they didn't know if John the Baptist recognized Jesus as Mesiah and Son of God? I can pretty much mess with your arguements if I want to! No one is saying something should undoubtably be believed, we're just discussing things from several points of view, Jtb! You can believe what you want, just as we will do! Oh, and we are not attacking your lack of eloquence, maybe your arguements, if needed!

programmer craig said...

Haal - no, I don't believe I am attacking my religion. I am attacking (if that's the right word!) my religion's established doctrine, which I believe to be wrong!

In fact, I don't merely believe it to be wrong, I know that it is. The Bible I use is the authorized King James Bible, which was first published in 1611. The committees that translated this Bible freely admit that they added a lot of text that was not in the original, to make it more readable... that they deliberately used english words that did not mean quite the same thing as the original, in order to make passages make more "sense"... that they changed sentence structure and added more "exalted" terminology to make verse more inspiring when it's written aloud, etc.

And consider that this version wasn't even based on the original text anyway! It was based on past Greek, Latin, Hebrew and other translations! Were the previous translations as flawed as this one was? Five layers of translation, all translated incorrectly - for the best of reasons, of course! And this is the word of God?

The dead sea scrolls raise quite a dilemma for Christian scholars, that I have not yet seen them address. They cast serious doubt on some of the most basic and controversial parts of the Bible. I'm not a religious scholar and I'm not going to comment on this. I'm not going to argue with people who tell me to repent my sin questioning things I think need to be questioned either :)

My faith is my own. When I read even the King James Bible, I think I can see what the real intent of Jesus was, and I ignore the passages that clearly are intended to support an agenda that seem to be at odds with what Jesus was teaching. And that works for me. But, you know, when I go to church, I don't gain faith, I lose it. I get confused that Christians could say this kind of hateful and condemning stuff about their fellow human beings, and think that's what Jesus wanted them to do, and that's what God wants them to do! The flaws in this sort of thinking seem so obviously UN-Christian to me! Why don't they see it?

But they don't. And they never will. The Church is as reformed as it will ever be. And that's why it's a VERY good thing that Christians do not have any governmental powers, anywhere on earth. Because you better believe if they did, they'd be doing evil in God's name and claiming it was justified. Same as they did so many times before.

programmer craig said...

Kayla... yes, there's been a lot of excellent scholarship done on how existing Christian doctrine has evolved the last few decades. Even scholars with impeccable Christian credentials have been questioning some of the teachings of the Church. It all seems to have very little impact on accepted doctrine, though. Maybe we need these scholars to do a new translation of the Bible which they feel to be historically accurate, and to include all of the texts in the New Testament instead of just the "best" ones. Until that happens, I'll interpret what I read in my own way. My reading comprehension is pretty good... much better than the average fundamentalist preacher! :P

Mohamed said...

You know Craig. It sounds like we believe in the same religion.

Alina said...

"The dead sea scrolls raise quite a dilemma for Christian scholars, that I have not yet seen them address" - well, Programmer Craig, they prefet to waste their time fighting against the Da Vinci Code and not bring the dead see scrolls and other scrolls in the public eye...It is easier to fight against a book that does not present the whole theory than to let people know there's this research book saying Jesus knew a lot about the Isis-Osiris mysteries, that all the stories about his birth were first about Jhon the Babtist and that the two of them were actually rivals! They would really harm their own image if they would start to question the Bible and what would happen then to the Vatican and its precious bank?