Did Prophet Muhammad Legislate According to His Desire?

By

Jalal Abualrub (www.IslamLife.com)

I am not a fan of blogs nor have the time to spend on such type of media, even though it is popular these days and has a wide audience.  I have a hard time as it is concentrating on my books and articles, and my books are the most important project of my life.  Somehow, I was able to read through a few issues about which David Wood is arguing on his blog with Brothers Bassam Zawadi, Sami Zaatari and others.
 

I cannot possibly comment on all of what David Wood says, especially since Bassam and Sami are doing a good job countering every argument he is making.  However, I will comment on what I read on David's blog dated Sunday, January 25th, 2009.


David Wood wrote in, Muhammad's Reason for Not Forbidding Ghilah,


"The following Hadith gives us a glimpse of Muhammad's method of forbidding and accepting various practices: Sunan an-Nasa'i 3328--It was narrated from Aishah that Judamah bint Wahb told her that the Messenger of Allah said: 'I was thinking of forbidding Ghilah until I remembered that it is done by the Persians and Romans'--(one of the narrators) Ishaq said: '(They) do that--and it does not harm their children.' Ghilah refers to having sex with a woman who is breastfeeding. Muhammad says that he was thinking of forbidding the practice. But then he remembered that the Persians and Romans do it, so he didn't forbid the practice. Apparently, if he hadn't remembered that the Persians and Romans practice Ghilah, he would have condemned it, and Muslims today would say that Allah forbids Ghilah. Isn't it obvious that this had nothing to do with any divine insight on Muhammad's part, and that what he rejected and accepted was simply a matter of his all-too-human thought processes? If so, why are Muslims so obsessed with following Muhammad's regulations (especially when they include pagan practices, such as bowing to the Ka'ba, etc.)? Here Muslims will say, 'We follow Muhammad's regulations because he commanded us to follow his regulations.' But that's exactly my point. As this Hadith shows, Muhammad's reasoning had nothing to do with revelation. Why, then, accept his command to follow his regulations?"

 

And they Say They Studied Islam!

 

What amazes me first and foremost is that these types of Evangelical Christians, who takes it upon themselves to criticize Islam, claim that they have studied Islam for such and such years, but they were not convinced it is a true religion.  Well, it is clear they are not convinced, or they pretend to be unconvinced, but did they really study Islam? 

First, on his blog, David Wood posts a picture of a Muslim carrying a poster that reads, 'Islam Will Dominate the World'.  David Wood said something about violence in his comment on the poster. 

Since David Wood seems to take offense at this statement and what he thinks it implies, then, I guess this means that Christianity does NOT seek to dominate the world?  This is good news for Muslims, especially at a time when one of these two situations has occurred: (a) Muslim navies are cruising all the water-bodies of the world that border Christian countries and are currently occupying at least three Christian countries; or, (b) Christian navies are cruising all the water-bodies of the world that border Muslim countries and are currently occupying at least three Muslim countries. 

If one's choice is (a) then nothing we may say can change one's view of the world.  It needs a pure and live heart to see correctly, and only Allah can grant such a heart.  If one's answer is (b) then one would be as amazed as I am at this strange attitude displayed by bashers of Islam.  To truly describe it, we quote an old Arab saying that reads, "Ramatni bi-da-iha wa-nsallati".  Translated, it means, "She accused me of having the sickness she is suffering from, while claiming she does not suffer from it herself!"

Second, David Wood quotes an-Nasaii's version of a Hadeeth also collected by Muslim, without mentioning Muslim's narration or the fact that he collected it.  Muslim's narrations are at a higher grade than an-Nasaii's narrations.  But, who am I to tell these experts on Islam, who studied Islam for years, about what Hadeeth collection is higher in grade, especially evangelicals who use Ibn Ishaq's Seerah as a Hadeeth collection, even though Seerah could never sound like Hadeeth even if transliterated in English or Latin! 

Third, David Wood wrote,

"The following Hadith gives us a glimpse of Muhammad's method of forbidding and accepting various practices." 

Here are a few comments on this segment of Wood's argument.

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, "Laqad hamamtu an anha ani-l-Ghilah", which could translate into, "I thought of forbidding al-Ghilah."  Thus, he, peace be upon him, did not forbid Ghilah forever.  Hammun, the root-word of hamamtu, pertains to a thought crossing one's mind without acting upon the thought.  Surprisingly, David Wood used the words thought process in his article while describing what was indeed thought process.

There is nothing wrong with Prophet Muhammad's method here or anywhere else.  What's wrong is to intentionally deviate and corrupt this Hadeeth from its true meaning relying on the old/new Christian method of rejecting anything and everything that Prophet Muhammad said or did.

David Wood is apparently confused, torn between what is an aspect of life and what is an aspect of religion in Islam.  He decided on his own that the topic of this Hadeeth was about how Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, received revelation.  Islam is again being explained by Christian enthusiasts regardless of what knowledgeable Muslims may say about their own religion. 

The Hadeeth about Ghilah is about a matter of life that the Prophet discussed, and he often benefited from the experience of other nations in this regard.  There is nothing in the Hadeeth to suggest that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was discussing how he received revelation or how to add whatever to the revelation.  This is a fantasy invented by those who have no clue what context is about in such texts.  The Hadeeth about Ghilah was not about adding or not adding Ghilah to divine inspiration.  It was about an entirely different aspect of Islamic Law. 

There are Hadeeths that demonstrate how and when the Prophet, peace be upon him, received revelation, such as this Hadeeth,

"Allah, the Exalted, revealed to me that, 'Be humble, and, none of you should oppress others'" (Sahih al-Jami`, by al-Albani). 

The Hadeeth about Ghilah was not of this type. 

The Hadeeth about Ghilah is not of the type where the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) would inspire the Prophet's heart by Allah's Permission, "

Ru`hu-l-Qudus (Angel Jibril) inspired my heart that no soul shall die except after it completes its life-span and consumes its entire Rizq (sustenance). Therefore, fear Allah and seek your sustenance righteously. One of you should not become hasty and, instead of patiently awaiting his sustenance, seek his sustenance through disobedience of Allah (through theft, usury, selling alcohol, etc.), because what's with Allah the Exalted (i.e., blessed sustenance, Paradise) can only be earned through obedience to Him." (Sahih al-Jami`, by al-Albani)

In fact, the Hadeeth about Ghilah is not among the types of revelation that the Prophet of Allah received at all,

"The Angel sometimes comes to me with a voice which resembles the sound of a ringing bell, and when this state abandons me, I remember what the Angel has said; this type of Divine Inspiration is the hardest on me. Sometimes the Angel comes to me in the shape of a man and talks to me, and I understand and remember what he says." (Bukhari and Muslim)

The type of Hadeeth the Hadeeth about Ghilah was from:

Imam Muslim reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying that he was practicing al-`Azl, i.e., he did not ejaculate inside his wife's womb, or he refrained from having sexual intercourse with his wife altogether.  When the Prophet asked him why he did that, the man said that he was worried about their nursing baby, i.e., if his wife becomes pregnant while still nursing.  The Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, said, "If that [Ghilah] would have carried harm, it would have harmed the Persians and the Romans."

The Arabs used to say that having sexual intercourse with one's nursing wife causes adverse health effects to the nursing baby and reduces the quality of the mother's milk.  The Arabs observed through their own experience that babies of Ghilah grow up to be weaker than others while riding horses, for example.  This was the reason behind the man mentioned in the previous Hadeeth practicing al-`Azl. 

However, the Prophet, peace be upon him, stated that since this practice was used by Romans and Persians, it would be alright for Muslims to practice it since it did not have substantial health risks on Roman and Persian babies of Ghilah, or the risk was negligible.  He did not completely deny that there are risks.  Rather, in another authentic Hadeeth found in Sahih Ibn Majah, he stated that because of Ghilah, a child may fall off of his horse when he becomes a man.  This may have been the reason why he initially disliked Ghilah, as a Hadeeth found in Sahih Ibn Majah indicates.

Had the Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, outlawed Ghilah as part of eternal prohibitions, and he did not do that, it would have been because of the physical harm it may cause.  A hint: the Prophet, peace be upon him, said in the Hadeeth quoted by Wood that he observed that this practice did not have adverse effect on suckling babies of Persia and Rome.  Therefore, this practice was discussed as a health issue. 

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said that the Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, stated that Ghilah may cause the nursing baby to grow to be a man who falls off his horse, saying that even though this may cause some harm, it does not kill the baby or cause it to perish.  Ibn al-Qayyim added that the Prophet

"Thought of forbidding [Ghilah] as a preventive measure to avoid the harm that may touch the nursing baby. But he realized that preventing this probable harm carries less weight than the ill effect of men stopping having sexual intercourse with their wives while their wives are still nursing. This is especially the case with regards to young men and those who have a strong sexual drive which cannot be satisfied except if they have sexual intercourse with their wives. He, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, saw that the two nations, Persia and Rome, which were among the most numerous and strongest nations then, practice [Ghilah] and do not avoid it, yet, maintain their vigor and strength. So he decided not to forbid it [forever]." (Mufta`h-u Dar-i-s-Sa`adah, by Ibn al-Qayyim)

Imam al-Khattabi added,

"The Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, meant that if the nursing mother had sexual intercourse and became pregnant; her milk may spoil [or become less nutritious] which may make the nursing baby weak. . When the baby grows up to be a man and rides a horse, the weakness of Ghilah may cause him to fall off of the horse."

Therefore, the Hadeeth about Ghilah was about a health issue, discussing the harm or benefits of forbidding Ghilah.  The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not say to his companions that he was thinking about adding Ghilah to divine revelation or that this is how he received inspiration from Allah.  David Wood invented this notion on his own.

Currently the topic of Ghilah is still discussed by medical authorities.  Here is an example,

"Globally, a new pregnancy is one of the most common reasons for weaning. Sometimes the baby will initiate weaning because the milk tastes different or is less plentiful. Sometimes the mother will decide to stop from fatigue, from nipple pain, or from fears about the effect of nursing on the new baby. Still, millions upon millions of women around the world do choose to continue nursing while pregnant. Some people feel that if you do nurse while you are pregnant, you will somehow steal nutrients away from the baby forming inside of you, or your breast milk wouldn't be an adequate source of nutrition for your older child. I disagree with this. Your body instinctively makes the forming baby a very important priority. Whatever nutrients you take in will be given directly to help the unborn baby. If you maintain adequate fluid intake and adequate nutrition, there will be plenty left over for your breast milk to be a rich source of nutrition. Moreover, your one-year-old should be getting so many other rich sources of nutrition at this age that she'll do fine. I believe continued nursing can be a great experience, provided that Mom pays attention to her own body's needs. It is the norm in many, many cultures today and in most cultures throughout history. The luxuries of formula, other sources of infant nutrition, and birth control are relatively recent inventions: in other societies women have had to nurse while pregnant, and have done just fine." (Dr. Greene, Nursing While Pregnant, Source)

The Prophet of Allah, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, gave his companions a sufficient answer about Ghilah centuries before David Wood ever heard of this topic. 

Note that the segment of the article quoted here states the following:

1.      "Globally, a new pregnancy is one of the most common reasons for weaning." 

As the Hadeeth above states, a man practiced al-`Azl to avoid the effects of Ghilah on his suckling child if his wife became pregnant while nursing. 

2.      ".the milk tastes different or is less plentiful. Sometimes the mother will decide to stop from fatigue, from nipple pain, or from fears about the effect of nursing on the new baby."

This part of the quoted article demonstrates some of the adverse effects of Ghilah. 

3.      "If you maintain adequate fluid intake and adequate nutrition, there will be plenty left over for your breast milk to be a rich source of nutrition. . your one-year-old should be getting so many other rich sources of nutrition at this age . continued nursing can be a great experience, provided that Mom pays attention to her own body's needs."

This and similar advice was not adequately available to women before recent times, let alone finding rich sources of nutrition, adequate fluid intake, etc.  In older times, Ghilah was rightfully a source of worry for nursing mothers; "The luxuries of formula, other sources of infant nutrition, and birth control are relatively recent inventions."

4.      "[Ghilah] is the norm in many, many cultures today and in most cultures throughout history" including the Persians and the Romans as the Prophet remarked.

The Prophet of Allah, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, allowed Ghilah for Muslims since its adverse effect is negligible compared to the effect it would have on young men who have to wait for years to have sexual intercourse with their nursing wives.  Also, nations that practiced Ghilah still produced men who were healthy and strong. 

And David Wood is teasing us about the thought process of Prophet Muhammad!

Fourth, David Wood added,

"Muhammad says that he was thinking of forbidding the practice. But then he remembered that the Persians and Romans do it, so he didn't forbid the practice." 

As stated here, there is nothing in this Hadeeth to indicate that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was receiving divine revelation or that he was discussing this issue as more than a health issue that was of concern to his generation.  This was not part of the revelation to begin with.  Rather, this Hadeeth applies to another type of the Islamic Law, as the rebuttal Bassam posted in the comments section of David's article indicates, that is,

"La Dharara wa-la Dhirar."  Translated, this Hadeeth means, "Neither cause harm to your-self, nor to others." (Sahih al-Jami`, by al-Albani)

As the rebuttal Bassam posted states, the Hadeeth about Dharar (i.e. harm) is used even today in various ways such as forbidding smoking and using drugs.  These two practices, in particular, cause grave harm and various illnesses to one's ownself and to others.  There are no explicit Islamic texts that specifically outlaw using drugs or smoking. 

Outlawing smoking, for instance, is not part of the divine revelation.  Rather, it is part of the Islamic method of avoiding Dharar, a law that is tremendously helpful in that when we realize that smoking causes harm to one's own health and to second and third-hand smokers, we use the method of Dharar to outlaw it.  This is what the Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, was discussing in the Hadeeth about Ghilah. 

The Prophet, peace be upon him, weighed the effect of Ghilah and thought about outlawing it as part of Sadd adh-Dharee`ah (i.e. preventing harm), which seeks to close the doors to harm, or Dharar, and preventing it before it occurs.  This and similar aspects fall under a category of Islamic legislation, the judgment about which is left for Muslims to decide if they may cause harm severe enough to warrant their being designated as outlawed or not. 

This flexibility granted to Muslims was practiced by the Prophet himself in the Hadeeth about Ghilah to teach Muslims that not everything in their life has a definite divine rule that regulates it.  Some things are left to their judgment either totally or partially, such as what Allah stated in this Ayah,

{O you who believe! Kill not the game while you are in a state of Ihrâm [for Hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage)], and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is an offering, brought to the Ka'bah, of an eatable animal (sheep, goat, cow) equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you.} (5:95) 

It is up to the Muslims in the community to decide who is "just" and who isn't.

This flexibility is only part of what makes Islam the dynamic religion it is.  Millions of western Christians freely chose Islam as their religion, partly because it is the religion that provides them with the perfect balance between life and religion.

Contrary to what David Wood and other evangelicals like him may think, not all aspects discussed by Islam's Prophet were part of divine revelation.  Wood and other evangelicals like him are just like someone going to the forest by night to cut wood in complete darkness.  They severely lack knowledge in Islam.  Yet, they often invent topics and issues that Muslims do not propagate as part of Islam then criticize Islam based on what they invented (i.e. they attack strawman).  This is a typical case where Wood claims that a Hadeeth about a matter of life is an example of how Prophet Muhammad received revelation. 

What is sad, though, is that these type of Christians only fishes for mistakes.  They do not make the least effort to seek the truth.  Otherwise, what Muslim scholar and what book written by Muslims suggested that the Hadeeth of Ghilah is an example of how the Prophet of Islam received divine revelation?

As indicated in the rebuttal posted by Bassam, this is not the only time that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, treated issues of life or health as a man who was aware of the practices of people around him, or even as a man who made mistakes in his judgment.  Here are a few examples:

1.      Anas reported that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, passed by some people who were grafting date trees and said to them, "If you were not to do it, it might be good for you."  They abandoned this practice (even though he did not tell them to abandon it; he only offered his opinion) and there was a decline in the yield.  The Prophet, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, passed by them later on and asked them about what went wrong with their trees.  They said, "You said so and so."  He said, "You have better knowledge (technical skill) in the affairs of your world." (Muslim).

2.      The Prophet of Allah, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, thought about surrendering a share of the produce of Madinah to a major Arab tribe in return for their refraining from joining a coalition of major pagan Arab tribes that surrounded Madinah during the battle of al-Khandaq (the Trench).  When he consulted with two of his major companions, they asked him if he was willing to do that to save them or if it was a revelation.  When he said that it was his own opinion, they said that they would not give that tribe what they demanded (Majma` az-Zawa-id, by Imam al-Haithami, who stated that the chain of narration for this Hadeeth is trustworthy, except for one of the narrators whose trustworthiness was of a lesser grade but still acceptable).

3.      The Prophet Muhammad made a decision to accept ransom from the captured pagans of Quraish after their defeat during the battle of Badr.  Allah criticized His Prophet for not making the better decision,

{It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allâh desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allâh, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took. So (now) enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good, and be afraid of Allâh. Certainly, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (8:67-69)

Fifth, David's statement next, "Apparently, if he hadn't remembered that the Persians and Romans practice Ghilah, he would have condemned it, and Muslims today would say that Allah forbids Ghilah", is utterly false.

Prophet Muhammad did not forever forbid this practice to begin with.  Also, he was discussing this practice as it pertains to health, not as part of Islamic divine legislation.  The words of the Hadeeth said so, ".it does not harm their children." 

Prophet Muhammad did not refrain from forbidding Ghilah merely because he remembered what the Romans and Persians did as contrasted to he forgot.  He did not forbid it because he knew that Ghilah does not seem to cause severe harm to the nursing mother or her suckling baby.  This is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said in another narration collected in Ghayat al-Maram, "Thumma ra-aitu."  In yet another narration collected by Imam Muslim, he said, "Fa-nadhartu fee."

'Thumma ra-aitu' used in the narration collected in Ghayat al-Maram translates into 'then I saw'.  "`Hatta dhakartu" found in the narration quoted by Wood does not only mean "remembered".  Dhikr, the root-word of, Dhakartu, pertains to remembrance, knowledge, realization, frequent recitation, observance, etc.  The narration found in Sahih Muslim that reads, 'Fa-nadhartu fee', literally translates into, 'I looked into.' 

Thus, the correct meaning here is that the Prophet, peace be upon him, thought about forbidding Ghilah forever if it wasn't for the fact that he knew (observed; witnessed; realized; saw) that the Romans and Persians practiced it and it did not cause substantial harm to their infants. 

As usual, David Wood, who does not speak Arabic, relies on an English translation that cannot possibly list all various meanings for, dhakartu, or elaborate at length about its full context in this Hadeeth. 

Certainly, Muslims do accept the Prophet's religious commandments and do obey them.  How can Wood possibly criticize this aspect when it is an essential part of the Islamic faith?  We, the Muslims, thank Allah that we are not like those who claim to believe, yet, break every law Allah sent to the prophets. 

Sixth, David Wood said,

"Isn't it obvious that this had nothing to do with any divine insight on Muhammad's part, and that what he rejected and accepted was simply a matter of his all-too-human thought processes?"

Here, David admits to the obvious, that this had nothing to do with any divine insight on Muhammad's part.  This Hadeeth was indeed about the Prophet's "human thought process".  Prophet Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, did not say that he was discussing this as a matter of revelation.  He did not include it in revelation.  He did not say, "Should we add this aspect to divine revelation, then claim it came from Allah?" 

How did this, become these and those?  This particular issue has nothing to do with other Islamic legislations where the Prophet commanded Muslims to do or not to do.  David Wood tries to refute Prophet Muhammad's divine inspiration with regards to the entire religion of Islam based on what Prophet Muhammad did not include in divine inspiration to begin with. 

Ghilah was not discussed as part of divine inspiration, but as a health issue as the Hadeeth clearly indicates.  In contrast, here is part of divine inspiration and why it is part of divine inspiration, "It was revealed to me that you will be tested in the grave" (Bukhari, and, Muslim).  The topic is: being tested in the grave; why it is a revelation: because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said so!

Seventh, David said,

"If so, why are Muslims so obsessed with following Muhammad's regulations (especially when they include pagan practices, such as bowing to the Ka'ba, etc.)?"

Muslims are not obsessed with anything.  They do what the Quran and even the Bible says to do: obey the Prophets.  Allah said in the Quran,

{He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allâh} (4:80). 

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament agree,

"Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper" (2 Chronicles 20:20);

"And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22). 

Otherwise, why were the prophets sent, to be disobeyed?  Muslims can never follow the Christian method of believing in the prophets by disobeying them.  If Muslims follow this wicked path, they will never prosper. 

However, I do not really find it strange that David Wood would criticize Muslims for obeying their Prophet.  He belongs to a flock that would eat what Jesus never ate and never allowed them to eat.  This is how they show their obedience and loyalty to their claimed lord, by disobeying him and contradicting his practices.  Then they have the courage to criticize Muslims for obeying their Prophet.

I am surprised, though, at David Wood for repeating the sick joke that Muslims bow to the Ka'bah, insinuating that Muslims worship the Ka'bah.  I and other Muslims have repeatedly refuted this utter lie and in various ways, but these people just can't stop repeating false claims about Islam. 

The vast majority of Christians (i.e. Catholics) pray to statues and pictures, as in invoking statues and pictures, as in worshipping statues and pictures.  Here, for example, is the decision of the seventh session of Nicaea II,

"We define . with all certainty and care that both the figure of the sacred and life-giving Cross, as also the venerable and holy images . are to be placed suitably in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, on walls and pictures, in houses and by roads; that is to say, the images of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our immaculate Lady the holy Mother of God, of the honourable angels and all saints and holy men. . For honour paid to an image passes on to its prototype; he who worships . an image worships the reality of him who is painted in it. . That is still the stand-point of the Catholic Church." 

The decision has been made and most Christians abided by it until the present time.

You can even see how Catholics defend and justify this practice over here www.catholic.com/library/do_catholics_worship_statues.asp

David Wood seems to act like other protestant evangelicals, who arrogantly act as if they are the only true representatives of Christianity when they are but a minority sect which started fifteen centuries after the early era during which Jesus lived.  He should make "Dhikr" of the fact that much of his views are not mainstream Christian, but minority sectarian. 

I have not heard about a single protestant evangelical leader or enthusiast who stated that Catholic and Orthodox Christians are true Christians.  These two sects comprise the vast majority of Christians, and they worship statues, icons and pictures as I clearly stated, with evidence, in my book, 50 Righteous and Humane Concepts Brought by Muhammad.  Wood seems to dislike this practice and falsely insinuate that Muslims worship objects other than Allah, when he knows for a fact that Muslims do not worship the Ka'bah or the Black Stone,

{And the Masajid are for Allâh (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allâh } (72:18). 

The Masajid, (plural for Masjid), is the name of the Islamic places of worship.

Most Christians would not find a problem with this fallacy about Islam to begin with, because their religious practice accepts the worship of various religious objects, including statues, i.e., idols.  I am quite certain that the vast majority of Christians do not care what David Wood claims to be the true Christianity.  They consider David's sect to be misguided, not a true Christian faith.  Just ask the new Pope and he will tell you all about it with passion.  Pope Benedict XVI recently reiterated the age-old view that the Catholic Church is the only true church (See 50 Righteous and Humane Concepts Brought by Muhammad, by Jalal Abualrub, Pg., 116, footnote number 51).

In contrast to the pagan practice that most Christians consider an essential aspect to worship, Muslims do not pray to the Ka'bah.  It is the direction of prayer as Allah clearly stated in the Quran,

{Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Harâm (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka'bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allâh is not unaware of what they do. And even if you were to bring to the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) all the Ayât (proofs, evidences), they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction), nor are you going to follow their Qiblah (prayer direction). And they will not follow each other's Qiblah (prayer direction). Verily, if you follow their desires after that which you have received of knowledge (from Allâh), then indeed you will be one of the Dhâlimûn (polytheists, wrongdoers). Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Muhammad or the Ka'bah at Makkah) as they recognize their sons. But verily, a party of them conceals the truth while they know it ? [i.e., the qualities of Muhammad which are written in the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)].} (2:144-146)

Thus, the Quran clearly designates the Ka'bah as the direction of prayer, the Qiblah, not as the object receiving the bowing.  David Wood is welcome to consult Arabic dictionaries, even those written by Arab Christians, to find out what Qiblah means.  Qiblah, here means, direction; in the context of the Ka'bah, it is the direction of prayer. 

I refuted this utter lie that Wood keeps repeating when I and the Muslims present then prayed where we had the debate in California then reminded all those present that the Ka'bah was not there when we prayed, how then can we bow to it?  If unavoidable, Muslims pray while flying in airplanes even without facing the Ka'bah if it is not in their control to stay facing the Ka'bah during the entire prayer.  Wood does not seem to listen with care.  Rather, he continues to repeat what he knows to be false.

Wood does not seem to have a problem with the fact that Muslims used to take the direction of Jerusalem's al-Masjid al-Aqsa, may Allah return it to Muslims soon, as the direction of prayer before the Ka'bah became their Qiblah instead of Jerusalem.  Were Muslims bowing to the Temple during that era?  Was this a pagan practice or a righteous practice?  To make his a perfect lie, why doesn't Wood claim that taking Jerusalem's sacred place of worship as the direction of prayer is a pagan practice?  If he does that, he will not be only offending the Jews, but also his claimed lord and savior.

We recommend our readers to consult brother Bassam Zawadi's article:

- Was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) An Idol Worshipper?

How the Ka'bah Was Built

David Wood hides the truth about the Ka'bah from his readers and audience.  He, being a supposed Christian expert on Islam (and the earth is just full of them nowadays) should know what the Quran says about the story behind building the Ka'bah since he claims that he studied or at least read the Quran.  He chose to be an enemy to Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, but he can still be honorable in his enmity by not hiding the truth about, among many other things, how the Ka'bah was built.  Instead, Wood continues to spread the utter lie about the Ka'bah being a pagan house of worship, thus insinuating that when Muslims pray to its direction, they are simply practicing paganism.

Here is the story of the Ka'bah from the Quran.  I will mention Ayat 2:127-130 in segments and follow each segment with a brief comment.  Allah said, what translated means, {And (remember or mention) when Ibrâhîm (Abraham) and (his son) Ismâ'îl (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower."}, thus, the Ka'bah was built by two Prophets from Allah for Allah, Alone, {"Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You"}, "make us Muslims", {"and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You"}, the Arabs are the direct descendants of Prophets Ibrahim and Isma`eel, {"and show us our Manâsik (the ceremonies of pilgrimage (Hajj and 'Umrah)"}, which Muslims still practice until today following the tradition established by Prophets Ibrahim and Isma'eel, {"and accept our repentance; Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful"}, they prayed to Allah, Alone, just as Muslims after them pray to Allah, Alone, {"Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own who shall recite unto them Your Ayat and instruct them in the Book (this Qur'ân) and Al-Hikmah (Islâmic laws; wisdom; Prophethood), and purify them; Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."}, and Allah accepted their invocation by sending Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, {And who turns away from the religion of Ibrâhîm (Abraham) (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism) except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous}, not only did the Christians and Jews change the religion of Prophet Ibrahim, but also the Arabs who introduced idols to the Ka'bah, the House of Allah that was built on Monotheism from the first day, changed the religion of Prophet Ibrahim. 

The Arabs changed the religion of their two righteous fathers, Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Isma'eel, and placed hundreds of idols in and around the Ka'bah as Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, the Prophet's companion.  When Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was sent as Allah's Last and Final Prophet and Messenger, he remained in Makkah for thirteen years calling the Arabs back to the Islamic Monotheism started by their father Ibrahim.  In the early era of Islam, Muslims were ordered to pray in the direction of the al-Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.  The Qiblah, direction of prayer, was then changed to al-Ka'bah at Makkah. 

The thirteen years the Prophet spent in Makkah before he immigrated to Madinah were full of violent opposition from his own people, the Quraish, who oppressed and tortured Muslims, killed some of them and tried to kill the Prophet.  Muslims had no power to remove the idols from around the Ka'bah or to destroy them.  They prayed to the Ka'bah's direction in defiance of the pagans who introduced idols and paganism to the House of Monotheism.  The rituals of pilgrimage started by Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, were still largely unchanged.  However, the pagans changed the religion of Ibrahim by introducing idols to the Ka'bah.  The first to introduce idols to the Arabs, thus changing the religion of Ibrahim and Isma'eel, was an Arab man called `Amr Ibn Lu`hai (Silsilat al-A`hadeeth as-Sahihah, by al-Albani).  The idols were not in or around the Ka'bah before then. 

When Islam was restarted in Makkah by Prophet Muhammad, a direct descendant of Prophet Ibrahim through his son Prophet Isma'eel, Islam was and still remains built on the Islamic Monotheism that defied paganism in every respect.  The pagans of Quraish did not pray like Muslims prayed, and when they prayed, they prayed to the idols and not to the Ka'bah.  This is where the readers of this article should realize how ugly Wood's lie is.  He is challenged to bring any evidence that the pagans of Quraish prayed just like how Muslims pray.  He is challenged to bring a shred of evidence that when the pagans of Quraish prayed in the vicinity of the Ka'bah they prayed to the Ka'bah itself. 

For Wood to claim that bowing in the direction of the Ka'bah is a pagan tradition that Muslims imitate, he needs to bring proof that the pagans bowed to the Ka'bah to begin with, as well as, they bowed to it whether they saw it or were far away from it.  It's possible that some pagans bowed towards the Ka'bah because their idols were present in them. However, their intention was to bow down to the idols, not to Ka'bah. For at times they would bow down to an idol that was not present in the Ka'bah. Just because the pagans introduced idols to the Ka'bah does not diminish in any way its value as being a house build on Islamic Monotheism from the first day.  Just because the pagans introduced idols to the Ka'bah, does not mean that Muslims cannot pray in its direction as being the house of monotheistic worship started by the Prophets of Monotheism, Ibrahim and Isma'eel, peace be upon them. 

To truly dissipate the lie that claims that Muslims imitate pagan traditions, we remind the readers of what happened when the Prophet of Allah finally was able to retake the Ka'bah from the pagans:

he destroyed all of the idols that were in or around the Ka'bah (Bukhari and Muslim). 

How then can Wood make such a false claim?

Another house of worship built on Monotheism from the first day went through a similar transformation to that which happened to the Ka'bah.  Idols and pagan practices were also introduced to that house.  This did not stop the believers from taking that house as the direction of prayer.  The believers who came afterwards cannot be accused of imitating pagan practices just because the generations that came before them had introduced idols into the house of worship which was started on monotheism. 

Surely, David Wood knows that Jesus frequently entered the Temple in Jerusalem to worship Allah in it; Jesus never knew the word God nor ever used it to describe the Creator.  When he, peace be upon him, entered the Temple to worship Allah, he must have bowed to the direction of prayer inside it,

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple . And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer" (Matthew 21:12-13). 

Surely, David knows that the Temple that Jesus prayed in was the direction of prayer for the Children of Israel (1 Kings 8:44).  Surely, Wood and his likes must have heard about the Mizrah and must have seen the Jews of the current era and also the Christians who visit Jerusalem nod their heads repeatedly and cry while praying towards the wall of the al-Masjid al-Aqsa. 

Using Wood's sick logic, Jesus must have bowed to the walls of the Temple and also to the east.  Hopefully, Wood remembers that when Jesus prayed, he usually bowed down as the New Testament testifies,

"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). 

The Temple was the place of worship for the Children of Israel during the Jesus era as it was before that, including when the Jews erected idols inside the Temple (2 Chronicles 33). 

Clearly, the method of prayer practiced by Jesus himself to his Creator was the very Islamic Sujud prostration.  Why then do Christians dance, sing and jump in churches instead of prostrating as their falsely claimed lord and savior did when he prayed?  In contrast, Muslims pray as Jesus used to pray, taking a direction for the prayer as Jesus did, and, during the early era of Islam, prayed to the same Qiblah direction of prayer as Jesus did.  Who is practicing paganism then?

The Qiblah direction of prayer is not unique to Muslims.  The prophets of old also had a direction of prayer, as these examples testify in the clearest of terms.

1.      The Bible states:

"And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them" (Numbers 20:6). 

The Prophets Moses and Aaron prostrated before the door of the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them!

2.      It also says:

"And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. . And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees." (1 Kings 18:39, 42) 

Elijah prostrated down upon the earth, as Muslims do, on the top of the mountain.  Do Wood and his brand of Christians prostrate as Elijah prostrated?

3.      It says elsewhere:

"If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name." (1 Kings 8:44) 

The 'Lord's people' prayed toward Jerusalem, toward the Temple.  Is there a need for comment here, except to emphasize the hypocrisy of the bashers of Islam?

4.      And also:

"Daniel . went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God." (Daniel 6:10-11) 

Daniel prostrated facing Jerusalem.  Muslims too prostrated to Allah facing Jerusalem's al-Masjid al-Aqsa, before Allah ordered them to change the direction of prayer towards the Ka'bah at Makkah.  The first direction of prayer for Muslims before the Ka'bah was the same that Daniel faced when he prayed. 

Do Wood and his brand of Christians face the Qiblah of the biblical prophets?  Of course, nothing Allah commanded in the Old Testament seems to apply to Christians, only Jews were meant to obey them!  All Christians need to do is love Jesus, and they will end up in heaven, no obedience necessary!

I challenge David Wood to bring evidence that when Muslims take the Ka'bah as the direction of prayer they in fact bow to the Ka'bah itself rather than pray to Allah in the Ka'bah's direction.  This evidence can be in the form of what Muslims says in their prayer, such as, if they invoke the Ka'bah, or admire how high and beautiful it is, or say anything in the prayer that indicates they are bowing or praying to the Ka'bah. 

Proof that Wood Utters a Lie

David, why don't you stop?  You know Muslims do not worship the Ka'bah; it is the direction of prayer whether Muslims face it directly or face its direction from ten thousand miles away.  Wood knows that Muslims do not bow to the Ka'bah, but to Allah,

{And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Harâm (at Makkah), and wheresoever you are, turn your faces towards it (when you pray) so that men may have no argument against you except those of them that are wrongdoers, so fear them not, but fear Me! And so that I may complete My Blessings on you and that you may be guided.} (2:150) 

This Ayah proves that Wood continually repeats a lie, and as Allah commanded Muslims in it, Muslims do not fear Wood or his likes, nor do they fear their lies about Islam.  This Ayah explicitly orders Muslims that when they start praying, to face the direction of the Ka'bah. 

Muslims face the Ka'bah in prayer but pray to Allah Alone, prostrating to Him, bowing down to Him, invoking Him, seeking His forgiveness and seeking refuge with Him from His and their shameless enemies, {And (remember; mention) when We showed Ibrâhîm (Abraham) the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me, [Lâ ilâha illallâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh) ¾ Islâmic Monotheism], and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up (for prayer), and those who bow (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allâh), and make prostration (in prayer)} (22:26).

Eighth, David Wood said next,

"Here Muslims will say, 'We follow Muhammad's regulations because he commanded us to follow his regulations.' But that's exactly my point.'"

I am not sure what Wood's point exactly is.  Prophet Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, did not give any regulation to Muslims in this Hadeeth, except to say that because people practiced Ghilah and it did not adversely affect the health of mother or suckling baby, he did not outlaw it for them.

Does Wood agree with the conclusion that, based on the fact that it had been safely practiced, Ghilah can be practiced?  I do not understand what his point exactly is, and I doubt he can explain what he exactly wants.  He is the one who came up with the idea that this Hadeeth is about divine revelation, not Muslims.  The Prophet did not say it was divine inspiration; the scholars of Islam did not say this Hadeeth was about adding or not adding divine inspiration.  So what is David's point exactly?

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, stated that sometimes he offers his own opinion which can sometimes be mistaken.  When he passed by a people who were grafting date trees by combining the male with the female trees so that the trees yield more fruit he said that he did not think it is useful to do so.  When he passed by them later on, he found that they had abandoned that practice, even though he did not tell them to do that, and the produce declined.  He said,

"If there is any use of it, they should do it. It was just a personal opinion of mine; do not go after my personal opinion (if it was mistaken). However, when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious." (Muslim)

Muslims firmly follow Prophet Muhammad's regulations when they are a part of the religion.  The Hadeeth about Ghilah was not about legislating in Islam based on what Romans do so as to claim afterwards it was a revelation from Allah that came to the Prophet through the Romans.  It was about the effect of Ghilah on nursing mother and suckling baby. 

Ninth, David Wood said,

"As this Hadith shows, Muhammad's reasoning had nothing to do with revelation. Why, then, accept his command to follow his regulations?"

The Hadeeth about Ghilah, as repeatedly stated, has nothing to do with divine revelation.  Wood cannot bring a shred of evidence that the topic of the Hadeeth under discussion was about adding a practice the Persians and Romans practiced to the revelation the Prophet received from Allah.  Rather, it discussed a health issue and how to deal with it by observing the effect it had on those who practiced it.

Also, Prophet Muhammad, salla-llahu alaihi wa-sallam, did not give any regulation in this Hadeeth except to affirm that Ghilah is allowed as a practice, since it does not greatly affect mother and baby.  If anything, this Hadeeth proves that the Prophet's human wisdom is humanly perfect, since he did not outlaw for Muslims what did not prove to carry substantial health risks.  If anything, this makes it even more convincing to Muslims that the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad, the Final and Last Prophet and Messenger, was rightly guided and had qualities that did not only touch religion, but also matters of life and health.

These are a few words responding to the arguments David Wood made on his blog.  Why would Wood's brief article require such a lengthy response?  Because what Wood wrote was so wrong, so lacking in knowledge as to require such a lengthy response! 

I am not sure why David Wood keeps repeating the same arguments even though he was refuted on them in various ways.  He seems to be consumed by his dislike of Islam so much that his criticism of it is always flawed, because it is not based on reasonable human processing of information but on his personal dislike of the religion and its Prophet.  He seems to deny that there is anything good about Islam. 

I do not like Christianity, and I certainly do not believe in it.  However, in my books and articles, where there are aspects shared between Islam and Christianity, I acknowledge them and usually assert that they are part of the divine revelation that came to the Children of Israel that was untouched by corruption.  Can David Wood afford the same treatment to Islam or will his hatred of it consume him even more? 

Islam shall surely dominate the world as Prophet Muhammad promised, when he said that Islam will reach on earth all the areas where day and night reach (Ta`hdhir as-Sajid, by al-Albani).  It will not happen because of violence as David Wood insinuates, but because of Islam's superior creed. 

Muslims are currently weak and divided.  How is it that Islam continues to expand its sphere of influence throughout the world and reach every inhabited area, without violence?  If anything, Muslims are the recipients of violence directed at them mainly by the hands of Christians, Jews and Hindus.  Yet, Islam continues to prosper unhindered.  The glory in all of this belongs to Allah, Alone, because He tied the success of Islam to Himself not to Muslims. 

What we said here should open your eyes to the truth, David Wood.  Perhaps one day you will publicly admit to the truth, {And they belied them (the Ayât) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their own-selves were convinced thereof. So see what was the end of the Mufsidûn (disbelievers; disobedient to Allâh; evildoers; liars).} (27:14) 

Allah willing, we will keep refuting with ease every claim David Wood makes against Islam.  Islam shall prevail, a promise from Allah that shall come to pass, {They (pagans; Jews; Christians) want to extinguish Allâh's Light (with which Muhammad peace be upon him was sent - Islâmic Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allâh will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kâfirûn (disbelievers) hate (it). It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad, peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islâm), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters) hate (it).} (9:32-33)

Jalal Abualrub

www.IslamLife.com

 

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