Rebuttal to Silas' article

THE PAGAN SOURCES OF ISLAM

 

By Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

http://answering-islam.org/Silas/pagansources.htm

 

 

 

Much like his other articles Silas has come up with yet another bad article, this time he tries to claim that Islam's foundation is from paganism.

 

Silas' comments will be in red followed by our responses in black.

 

 

KNOWN PAGAN HISTORY

           

Apart from Muslim myths, little is really known about the history of the Kaba.  About 60 years before Christ, the Roman historian Diodorus Siculus commented that there was in Arabia a temple greatly revered by the Arabs.  It is probable that he had the Kaba in mind.  It was later mentioned to have existed in the 2nd century; Ptolemy, the geographer mentions it in his work, calling it the 'macoraba'.  The Kaba was a sanctuary dedicated to one or more pagan deities.  The accounts of the campaigns of Abraha note that it was a place of pagan worship in the 6th century.  Information on the distribution of the offices among the sons of Kusayy show that the worship of the sanctuary had developed into a regulated cult several generations before Muhammad.

 

Silas' blunders start early on, since he wants to try and prove that the Kaaba is a pagan shrine and not a real house of God he brushes The Quranic passages and the hadiths regarding the Kabba and it's history as myths! Silas has to prove they are wrong, not suggest it, and this is very typical with Answering-Islam they often make so many suggestions and claims with no proof.

 

With all that said we now post the Quranic passages and the hadiths that relate to the Kaaba showing that the Kaaba was not pagan in origin.

 

002.125
YUSUFALI: Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma'il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).

 

002.126
YUSUFALI: And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of
Peace, and feed its people with fruits,-such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He said: "(Yea), and such as reject Faith,-for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire,- an evil destination (indeed)!"

 

002.127
YUSUFALI: And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

 

Ibn Kathir's tafsir writes:

 

Makkah is a Sacred Area

Allah said,

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(And (remember) when Ibrahim said, "My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.'')

Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir At-Tabari narrated that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

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(Ibrahim made Allah's House a Sacred Area and a safe refuge. I have made what is between the two sides of Al-Madinah a Sacred Area. Therefore, its game should not be hunted, and its trees should not be cut.) An-Nasa'i and Muslim also recorded this Hadith.

There are several other Hadiths that indicate that Allah made Makkah a sacred area before He created the heavens and earth. The Two Sahihs recorded `Abdullah bin `Abbas saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

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(Allah has made this city a sanctuary (sacred place) the Day He created the heavens and earth. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection because Allah made it a sanctuary. It was not legal for anyone to fight in it before me, and it was legal for me for a few hours of one day. Therefore, it is a sanctuary until the Day of Resurrection, because Allah made it a sanctuary. None is allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, or to chase its game, or to pick up something that has fallen, except by a person who announces it publicly, nor should any of its trees be cut.) Al-`Abbas said, `O Messenger of Allah! Except the lemon-grass, for our goldsmiths and for our graves.' The Prophet added, (Except lemon-grass.)

This is the wording of Muslim. The Two Sahihs also recorded Abu Hurayrah narrating a similar Hadith, while Al-Bukhari recorded a similar Hadith from Safiyyah bint Shaybah who narrated it from the Prophet .

Abu Shurayh Al-`Adawi said that he said to `Amr bin Sa`id while he was sending armies to Makkah, "O Commander! Let me narrate a Hadith that the Messenger of Allah said the day that followed the victory of Makkah. My ears heard the Hadith, my heart comprehended it, and my eyes saw the Prophet when he said it. He thanked Allah and praised him and then said,

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(Allah, not the people, made Makkah a sanctuary, so any person who has belief in Allah and the Last Day, should neither shed blood in it nor should he cut down its trees. If anybody argues that fighting in it is permissible on the basis that Allah's Messenger fought in Makkah, say to him, `Allah allowed His Messenger and did not allow you.' Allah allowed me only for a few hours on that day (of the Conquest), and today its sanctity is valid as it was before. So, those who are present should inform those who are absent (concerning this fact).)

Abu Shurayh was asked, `What did `Amr reply' He said, (`Amr said) `O Abu Shurayh! I know better than you about this, the Sacred House does not give protection to a sinner, a murderer or a thief.' This Hadith was collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

After this, there is no contradiction between the Hadiths that stated that Allah made Makkah a sanctuary when He created the heavens and earth and the Hadiths that Ibrahim made it a sanctuary, since Ibrahim conveyed Allah's decree that Makkah is a sanctuary, before he built the House. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah was written as the Final Prophet when Adam was still clay. Yet, Ibrahim said,

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(Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own) (2: 129).

Allah accepted Ibrahim's supplication, although He had full knowledge beforehand that it will occur by His decree. To further elaborate on this subject, we should mention the Hadith about what the Messenger of Allah said when he was asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Tell us about how your prophethood started.'' He said,

(I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim, the good news of Jesus, the son of Mary, and my mother saw a light that radiated from her which illuminated the castles of Ash-Sham (Syria).)

In this Hadith, the Companions asked the Messenger about the beginning of his prophethood. We will explain this matter later, if Allah wills.

Ibrahim invokes Allah to make Makkah an Area of Safety and Sustenance

Allah said that Ibrahim said,

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(My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security) (2:126) from terror, so that its people do not suffer from fear. Allah accepted Ibrahim's supplication. Allah said,

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(Whosoever enters it, he attains security) (3:97) and,

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(Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them) (29:67).

We have already mentioned the Hadiths that prohibit fighting in the Sacred Area. Muslim recorded that Jabir said that the Messenger of Allah said,

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(No one is allowed to carry weapons in Makkah.) Allah mentioned that Ibrahim said,

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(My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security) meaning, make this a safe city. This occurred before the Ka`bah was built. Allah said in Surat Ibrahim,

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(And (remember) when Ibrahim said, "My Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security...'') (14:35) as here, Ibrahim supplicated a second time after the House was built and its people lived around it, after Ishaq who was thirteen years Isma`il's junior was born. This is why at the end of his supplication, Ibrahim said here,

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(All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has given me in old age Isma`il (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Isaac). Verily, my Lord is indeed the Hearer of invocations) (14:39).

Allah said next,

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("...and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.'' He (Allah) answered: "As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!'')

Ibn Jarir said that Ubayy bin Ka`b commented on,

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(He answered: "As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!'') "These are Allah's Words (meaning not Ibrahim's)'' This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid and `Ikrimah. Furthermore, Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,

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(My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.) "Ibrahim asked Allah to grant sustenance for the believers only. However, Allah revealed, `I will also provide for the disbelievers, just as I shall provide for the believers. Would I create something and not sustain and provide for I shall allow the disbelievers little delight, and then force them to the torment of the Fire, and what an evil destination.'' Ibn `Abbas then recited,

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(On each these as well as those We bestow from the bounties of your Lord. And the bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden) (17:20).

This was recorded by Ibn Marduwyah, who also recorded similar statements from `Ikrimah and Mujahid. Similarly, Allah said,

[ - ]

(Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah will never be successful. (A brief) enjoyment in this world! And then unto Us will be their return, then We shall make them taste the severest torment because they used to disbelieve.) (10:69-70),

[ - ]

(And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you (O Muhammad ). To Us is their return, and We shall inform them what they have done. Verily, Allah is the Knower of what is in the breasts (of men). We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.) (31:23-24) and,

[ - - ]

(And were it not that mankind would have become of one community (all disbelievers desiring worldly life only), We would have provided for those who disbelieve in the Most Gracious (Allah), silver roofs for their houses, and elevators whereby they ascend. And for their houses, doors (of silver), and thrones (of silver) on which they could recline. And adornments of gold. Yet all this would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world. And the Hereafter with your Lord is (only) for the Muttaqin (the pious).) (43:33-35). Allah said next,

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(Then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!) meaning, "After the delight that the disbeliever enjoyed in this life, I will make his destination torment in the Fire, and what an evil destination.'' This Ayah indicates that Allah gives the disbelievers respite and then seizes them in a manner compatible to His greatness and ability. This Ayah is similar to Allah's statement,

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(And many a township did I give respite while it was given to wrongdoing. Then (in the end) I seized it (with punishment). And to Me is the (final) return (of all)) (22:48).

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded,

(No one is more patient than Allah when hearing abuse. They attribute a son to Him, while He grants them sustenance and health.)

The Sahih also recorded,

(Allah gives respite to the unjust person, until when He seizes him; He never lets go of him.)

He then recited Allah's statement,

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(Such is the punishment of your Lord when He punishes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe). (11:102) Building the Ka`bah and asking Allah to accept This Deed

Allah said,

[ - ]

(And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma`il (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 Hearer, the Knower. Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.'')

Allah said, "O Muhammad! Remind your people when Ibrahim and Isma`il built the House and raised its foundations while saying,

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(Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.'')

Al-Qurtubi mentioned that Ubayy and Ibn Mas`ud used to recite the Ayah this way,

[ ]

[ ]

(And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma`il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah), Saying, "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.'')

What further testifies to this statement (which adds `saying' to the Ayah) by Ubayy and Ibn Mas`ud, is what came afterwards,

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(Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You).

The Prophets Ibrahim and Isma`il were performing a good deed, yet they asked Allah to accept this good deed from them. Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Wuhayb bin Al-Ward recited,

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(And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma`il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us'') and cried and said, "O Khalil of Ar-Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of Ar-Rahman (Allah), yet you are afraid that He will not accept it from you'' This is the behavior of the sincere believers, whom Allah described in His statement,

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(And those who give that which they give) (23:60) meaning, they give away voluntary charity, and perform the acts of worship yet,

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(with their hearts full of fear) (23: 60) afraid that these good deeds might not be accepted of them. There is an authentic Hadith narrated by `A'ishah on this subject, which we will mention later, Allah willing.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Prophet Ibrahim took Isma`il and his mother and went away with them until he reached the area of the House, where he left them next to a tree above Zamzam in the upper area of the Masjid. During that time, Isma`il's mother was still nursing him. Makkah was then uninhabited, and there was no water source in it. Ibrahim left them there with a bag containing some dates and a water-skin containing water. Ibrahim then started to leave, and Isma`il's mother followed him and said, `O Ibrahim! To whom are you leaving us in this barren valley that is not inhabited' She repeated the question several times and Ibrahim did not reply. She asked, `Has Allah commanded you to do this' He said, `Yes.' She said, `I am satisfied that Allah will never abandon us.' Ibrahim left, and when he was far enough away where they could not see him, close to Thaniyyah, he faced the House, raised his hands and supplicated,

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(O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka`bah at Makkah)) until,

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(Give thanks) (14:37). Isma`il's mother then returned to her place, started drinking water from the water-skin and nursing Isma`il. When the water was used up, she and her son became thirsty. She looked at him, and he was suffering from thirst; she left, because she disliked seeing his face in that condition. She found the nearest mountian to where she was, As-Safa, ascended it and looked, in vain, hoping to see somebody. When she came down to the valley, she raised her garment and ran, just as a tired person runs, until she reached the Al-Marwah mountain. In vain, she looked to see if there was someone there. She ran to and fro (between the two mountains) seven times.'' Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said, "This is why the people make the trip between As-Safa and Al-Marwah (during Hajj and Umrah).''

"When she reached Al-Marwah, she heard a voice and said, `Shush,' to herself. She tried to hear the voice again and when she did, she said, `I have heard you. Do you have relief' She found the angel digging with his heel (or his wing) where Zamzam now exists, and the water gushed out. Isma`il's mother was astonished and started digging, using her hand to transfer water to the water-skin.'' Ibn `Abbas said that the Prophet then said, "May Allah grant His mercy to the mother of Isma`il, had she left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.''

"Isma`il's mother started drinking the water and her milk increased for her child. The angel (Gabriel) said to her, `Do not fear abandonment. There shall be a House for Allah built here by this boy and his father. Allah does not abandon His people.' During that time, the area of the House was raised above ground level and the floods used to reach its right and left sides.

Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, passing through Kada', made camp at the bottom of the valley. They saw some birds, they were astonished, and said, `Birds can only be found at a place where there is water. We did not notice before that this valley had water.' They sent a scout or two who searched the area, found the water, and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to Isma`il's mother, next to the water, and said, `O Mother of Isma`il! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)' She said, `Yes. But you will have no exclusive right to the water here.' They said, `We agree.''' Ibn `Abbas said that the Prophet said, "At that time, Isma`il's mother liked to have human company.''

"And thus they stayed there and sent for their relatives to join them. Later on, her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them, for Isma`il learned Arabic from them, and they liked the way he was raised. Isma`il's mother died after that.

Then an idea occurred to Abraham to visit his dependents. So he left (to Makkah). When he arrived, he did not find Isma`il, so he asked his wife about him. She said, `He has gone out hunting.' When he asked her about their living conditions, she complained to him that they live in misery and poverty. Abraham said (to her), `When your husband comes, convey my greeting and tell him to change the threshold of his gate.' When Isma`il came, he sensed that they had a visitor and asked his wife, `Did we have a visitor' She said, `Yes. An old man came to visit us and asked me about you, and I told him where you were. He also asked about our condition, and I told him that we live in hardship and poverty.' Isma`il said, `Did he ask you to do anything' She said, `Yes. He asked me to convey his greeting and that you should change the threshold of your gate.' Isma`il said to her, `He was my father and you are the threshold, so go to your family (i.e. you are divorced).' So he divorced her and married another woman. Again Ibrahim thought of visiting his dependents whom he had left (at Makkah). Ibrahim came to Isma`il's house, but did not find Isma`il and asked his wife, `Where is Isma`il' Isma`il's wife replied, `He has gone out hunting.' He asked her about their condition, and she said that they have a good life and praised Allah. Ibrahim asked, `What is your food and what is your drink' She replied, `Our food is meat and our drink is water.' He said, `O Allah! Bless their meat and their drink.''' The Prophet (Muhammad ) said, "They did not have crops then, otherwise Ibrahim would have invoked Allah to bless that too. Those who do not live in Makkah cannot bear eating a diet only containing meat and water.''

"Ibrahim said, `When Isma`il comes back, convey my greeting to him and ask him to keep the threshold of his gate.' When Isma`il came back, he asked, `Has anyone visited us.' She said, `Yes. A good looking old man,' and she praised Ibrahim, `And he asked me about our livelihood and I told him that we live in good conditions.' He asked, `Did he ask you to convey any message' She said, `Yes. He conveyed his greeting to you and said that you should keep the threshold of your gate.' Isma`il said, `That was my father, and you are the threshold; he commanded me to keep you.'

Ibrahim then came back visiting and found Isma`il behind the Zamzam well, next to a tree, mending his arrows. When he saw Ibrahim, he stood up and they greeted each other, just as the father and son greet each other. Ibrahim said, `O Isma`il, Your Lord has ordered me to do something.' He said, `Obey your Lord.' He asked Isma`il, `Will you help me' He said, `Yes, I will help you.' Ibrahim said, `Allah has commanded me to build a house for Him there, ' and he pointed to an area that was above ground level. So, both of them rose and started to raise the foundations of the House. Abraham started building (the Ka`bah), while Isma`il continued handing him the stones. Both of them were saying, `O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.' (2.127).''' Hence, they were building the House, part by part, going around it and saying,

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(Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the Hearer, the Knower.)

 

So as you can see the Kaaba was not pagan in origin, it was the Arabs in Makkah who had gone astray and began to get into paganism and began putting their pagan idols within the Kaaba.

 

Silas has to prove that those hadiths quoted by Ibn Kathir in his commentary are false and un-true, not simply suggest they are false, he has to prove it, as they say talk is cheap.

 

There were 360 idols around the Kaba.  The pilgrimages to the Kaba were all pagan pilgrimages, the ritual processions around the Kaba were part of pagan beliefs and custom, the white robes worn by the pilgrims were from pagan faiths, the veneration of the Kaba and black stone are derived from pagan rituals and beliefs.

 

Once again Silas is wrong, Islamic sources show us that the Kaaba was not pagan at all, nor were the rites that are performed during the pilgrimage, all this was done by Abraham and his son Ismael. As time went by the inhabitants of the area began getting into paganism, introducing idols and placing them as intercessors to Allah.

 

This is exactly why the prophet Muhammad destroyed the 360 idols in the Kaaba, because they were all invented pagan innovations which had nothing to do with the Kaaba, nor the true faith Islam.

 

The chief pagan god worshipped there was Hubal, who could be called the god of Mecca and of the Kaba.  Hubal is not mentioned in the Quran. The goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat were also worshipped there and are mentioned in the Quran.

 

Lat, Uzza, and Manat are mentioned in the Quran, but in what context? Silas simply says they are mentioned in the Quran and moves on, he wants to give the false impression that just because they are named in the Quran then they have some legitimacy and that we should worship these idols. Let us see what the Quran says concerning these pagan idols:

 

053.019
YUSUFALI: Have ye seen Lat. and 'Uzza,

053.020
YUSUFALI: And another, the third (goddess), Manat? 053.021
YUSUFALI: What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female?

053.022
YUSUFALI: Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair!

053.023
YUSUFALI: These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!

 

So as you can see Quran attack's these idols as mere names who have no authority, they are a simple object who a few pagans have named and these pagans had no authority at all.

 

Silas then brings up the issue of the black stone, I shall quote from a colleague of mine Abdullah Kareem who wrote in a rebuttal of his:

 

There is no idolatry here, the Prophet did not worship the black stone, and if this were true, why did Muhammad record those verses against idolatry if he were the Quran's author? The Prophet rejected idolatry his entire life, he was never seen bowing to the false gods, and he adhered to the religion of Abraham known as Hanafi.

 

The Quran rejects idolatry 1, Muhammad rejected idolatry 2, and his wife rejected idolatry and testified to his prophethood 3 

The edicts contained in the Quran as amplified and exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are meant to guide humans to develop themselves to be as perfect as possible with maximum Godly qualities so that a society is established which at the very least a) Comprises of people who fully utilize the faculties of learning and reasoning by acquiring knowledge for the purpose of making the world to be a better place to live in and not for its destruction. b) Is peaceful, just and ensures equal justice for all. c) Cares for the needy and oppressed. d) Preserves and protects mutual rights and obligations. e) Ensures that there is no exploitation. f) Ensures equality of opportunity for all. g) Ensures that the resources of the universe are employed to the best advantage and well being of the society equitably and without harming or damaging the resources but in fact maintaining a perfect balance.  (1)

The teaching of Prophet Muhammad is based on the Quran alone; the edicts were exemplified as guidance for mankind:

 

His is the only example where all the excellences have been blended into one personality. He is a philosopher and a seer and also a living embodiment of his own teachings. He is a great statesman as well as a military genius. He is a legislator and also a teacher of morals. He is a spiritual luminary as well as a religious guide. His vision penetrates every aspect of life and there is nothing which he touches and does not adorn. His orders and commandments cover a vast field from the regulation of international relations down to the habits of everyday life like eating, drinking, and cleanliness of the body. On the foundations of his theories he established a civilisation and a culture and produced such a fine equilibrium in the conflicting aspects of life that there is to be found not even the slightest trace of any flaw, deficiency, or incompleteness. Can anyone out any other example of such a perfect and all-round personality? (Abul Ala Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam, p. )

 

The Prophet rejected the worship of idols before the Quran was revealed.

The entire nation calls him "Al-Ameen"(the Truthful and the Trustworthy). Even his enemies deposit their costly belongings with him for safe custody and he scrupulously fulfils their trust. He is the very embodiment of midst of a society which is immodest to the core. Born and bred among a people who regard drunkenness and gambling as virtues, he never touches alcohol and never indulges in gambling. His people are uncouth, uncultured and unclean, but he personifies in himself the highest culture and the most refined aesthetic outlook. Surrounded on all sides by heartless people, he himself has a heart overflowing with the milk of human kindness. He helps the orphans and widows. He is hospitable to travellers. He harms no one; rather, he goes all out to suffer hardships for others' sake. Living among those for whom war is bread and butter, he is such a lover of peace that his heart melts for them when they take up arms and cut each other's throats. He keeps aloof form the feuds of his tribe, and is foremost in bringing about reconciliation. Bred up in an idolatrous race, he is so clear-minded and possesses such a pure soul that he regards nothing in the heavens and the earth worth worshipping except the One True God. He does not bow before any created thing and does not partake of the offerings made to idols.

Instinctively he hates all kinds of worship of all creatures and beings besides God. In brief, the towering and radiant personality of this man in the midst of such a benighted and dark environment, may be likened to a beacon-light illumining a pitch-dark night or to a diamond shining in a heap of dead stones. (ibid, p. )

As mentioned earlier, the Prophet adhered to the religion of Abraham, and his wife Khadijah followed the same religion, they never worshipped any false gods during the Jahiliya period.

 

The Holy Prophet (May peace of God be upon him) was a born thinker. He was always found in serious meditation, as if deliberating upon the knotty problems of the World here and in the World hereafter. The religion of the Prophet Ibrahim (May peace of God be upon him) was prevailing then, but it was twisted and changed, altogether, so as to suit the whimsicality of the followers. The newly wedded wife Hazrat Khadijah (May peace of God be upon her) was also not an idol worshipper. She was among the Hunafa - the followers of the Prophet Ibrahim (May peace of God be upon him). Therefore, the union of the two was that of the monotheists. (Mohammad Anisur Rahman, The Historical Role of The Woman, 1985, p. 32)

 

It is clearly established from various sources that in Arabia, particularly in Mecca and Medina there were many who had revolted against idol-worship and were thirsting for the faith of Abraham. This was because the time for the appearance of the renovator of Abraham's faith had come near. The existence of these seekers after Truth in Arabia leads the European writers to hold that pure monotheism had been fairly popular amongst the Arabs even before the propagation of Islam. (Shibli N'umani, A Biography of the Prophet, 1995, p. 113)

 

The Prophet kissed the Black stone to show respect, not worship, and the black stone was never defied even to this day, the Prophet kissed the stone because it's an object from Heaven, and it was given to Abraham by God Himself.

 

Shabir Ally provides the answer to this common question.

 

Muslims say they do not worship idols. When they go to Mecca, why do they kiss a black stone? Isn't that like worshipping an idol?

Muslims do not worship the black stone. They regard the stone as a created thing. The most fundamental principle of Islam is that nothing or no one is to be worshipped except Allah, the one true God.

Muslims who can afford the journey are required once in their lifetime to visit the House of Worship in Makkah. This was the first house built for the worship of the one true God. It was constructed by Abraham and his son Ishmael, peace be upon them. The black stone was brought to them from heaven by the angel Gabriel to function as a corner stone. It was thus affixed in one corner.

Because Muslims kiss that stone, some observers hastily conclude that Muslims worship it. A kiss, however, is not an act of worship unless it is accompanied by an intention to worship. If you kiss your child, for instance, that does not mean you worship your child.

Some may find it strange that Muslims should treat a stone with respect. But this is not just any old stone. It is an item out of paradise.

The act of fixing a stone to mark a place of worship is as old as history. In the Bible we are told that Jacob, on whom be peace, had fixed a stone at a place where he saw a vision. He poured oil on it and called it
Bethel meaning 'house of God' (see Genesis 28:18). He did this again upon God's instruction (see Genesis 35:1, 14, 15). No one should understand from this that God instructed Jacob to worship the stone. (Shabir Ally, Common Questions People Ask About Islam, p. 46)

The Black stone is not worshipped by the pilgrims:

 

Muslims go to Makkah to glorify God, not to kiss a stone or worship a man or a semi-divinity. Kissing or touching the Black Stone at the Ka`bah is an optional action, not obligatory or prescribed. Those who kiss the Black Stone or touch it do not do it because they have faith in the Stone or attribute any superstitious qualities to it. Their faith is in God only. They kiss, touch or point at the Stone only as a token of respect or a symbol of love for Prophet Muhammad, who laid the Stone at the foundation of the Ka`bah when it was reconstructed. (1)

 

 

Silas then writes:

 

Every man living in Mecca before and during Muhammad's life had some relationship with the Kaba.  If the Kaba was the house of God, why did Muhammad order his followers to face Jerusalem?  Muhammad's 'revelation' in the Quran says that when Allah had Muhammad change prayer directions, it was a test of the Muslims.  This sounds like a lame excuse on Muhammad's part.  What's the test?  Face another direction?  That does not appear to be such an incredible challenge!

 

Instead of talking rubbish and trying to be insulting, quote the tafsir of Ibn Kathir to get your answer, but since you are a missionary it is your job to try and insult Islam and Muslims. Here is what Ibn Kathir's tafsir writes regarding the Qiblah direction:

 

Changing the Qiblah Direction of the Prayer

Imam Al-Bukhari reported that Al-Bara' bin `Azib narrated: "Allah's Messenger offered his prayers facing Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) for sixteen or seventeen months, but he wished that he could pray facing the Ka`bah (at Makkah). The first prayer which he offered (facing the Ka`bah) was the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer in the company of some people. Then one of those who had offered that prayer with him, went out and passed by some people in a mosque who were in the bowing position (in Ruku`) during their prayers (facing Jerusalem). He addressed them saying, `By Allah, I bear witness that I have offered prayer with the Prophet facing Makkah (Ka`bah).' Hearing that, those people immediately changed their direction towards the House (Ka`bah) while still as they were (i.e., in the same bowing position). Some Muslims who offered prayer towards the previous Qiblah (Jerusalem) before it was changed towards the House (the Ka`bah in Makkah) had died or had been martyred, and we did not know what to say about them (regarding their prayers towards Jerusalem). Allah then revealed:

[ ]

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e., the prayers of those Muslims were valid)) (2:143).''

Al-Bukhari collected this narration, while Muslim collected it using another chain of narrators. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Al-Bara' narrated: Allah's Messenger used to offer prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem), but would keep looking at the sky awaiting Allah's command (to change the Qiblah). Then Allah revealed:

[ ]

(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-Haram (at Makkah).) (2:144)

A man from among the Muslims then said, "We wish we could know about those among us who died before the Qiblah was changed (i.e., towards Makkah) and also about our own prayers, that we had performed towards Bayt Al-Maqdis.'' Allah then revealed:

[ ]

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.) (2:143)

The fools among the people, meaning the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), said, "What made them change the former Qiblah that they used to face'' Allah then revealed:

[ ]

(The fools (idolators, hypocrites, and Jews) among the people will say...)

until the end of the Ayah.

`Ali bin Abu Talhah related that Ibn `Abbas said: When Allah's Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, Allah commanded him to face Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem). The Jews were delighted then. Allah's Messenger faced Jerusalem for over ten months. However, he liked (to offer prayer in the direction of) Prophet Ibrahim's Qiblah (the Ka`bah in Makkah) and used to supplicate to Allah and kept looking up to the sky (awaiting Allah's command in this regard). Allah then revealed:

[ ]

(turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.) meaning, its direction. The Jews did not like this change and said, "What made them change the Qiblah that they used to face (meaning Jerusalem)'' Allah revealed:

[ ]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to the straight way.'')

There are several other Ahadith on this subject. In summary, Allah's Messenger was commanded to face Bayt Al-Maqdis (during the prayer) and he used to offer prayer towards it in Makkah between the two corners (of Ka`bah), so that the Ka`bah would be between him and Bayt Al-Maqdis8. When the Prophet migrated to Al-Madinah, this practice was no longer possible; then Allah commanded him to offer prayer towards Bayt Al-Maqdis, as Ibn Abbas and the majority of the scholars have stated.

Al-Bukhari reported in his Sahih that the news (of the change of Qiblah) was conveyed to some of the Ansar while they were performing the `Asr (Afternoon) prayer towards Bayt Al-Maqdis, upon hearing that, they immediately changed their direction and faced the Ka`bah.

It is reported in the Sahihayn (Al-Bukhari Muslim) that Ibn `Umar narrated: While the people were in Quba' (Mosque) performing the Fajr (Dawn) prayer, a man came and said, "A (part of the) Qur'an was revealed tonight to Allah's Messenger and he was commanded to face the Ka`bah. Therefore, face the Ka`bah. They were facing Ash-Sham, so they turned towards the Ka`bah.

These Hadiths prove that the Nasikh (a Text that abrogates a previous Text) only applies after one acquires knowledge of it, even if the Nasikh had already been revealed and announced. This is why the Companions mentioned above were not commanded to repeat the previous `Asr, Maghrib and `Isha' prayers (although they had prayed them towards Jerusalem after Allah had changed the Qiblah). Allah knows best.

When the change of Qiblah (to Ka`bah in Makkah) occurred, those inflicted with hypocrisy and mistrust, and the disbelieving Jews, both were led astray from the right guidance and fell into confusion. They said:

[ ]

(What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah to which they used to face in prayer.)

They asked, "What is the matter with these people (Muslims) who one time face this direction (Jerusalem), and then face that direction (Makkah)'' Allah answered their questions when He stated:

[ ]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "To Allah belong both, east and the west.) meaning, the command, the decision and the authority are for Allah Alone. Hence:

[ ]

(...so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne).) (2:115),

and:

[ ]

( It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is the one who believes in Allah.) (2:177) This statement means, the best act is to adhere to Allah's commands. Hence, wherever He commands us to face, we should face. Also, since obedience requires implementing Allah's commands, if He commands us every day to face different places, we are His servants and under His disposal, and we face whatever He orders us to face. Certainly, Allah's care and kindness towards His servant and Messenger, Muhammad , and certainly, his Ummah (Muslim nation) is profoundly great. Allah has guided them to the Qiblah of (Prophet) Ibrahim -- Allah's Khalil (intimate friend). He has commanded them to face the Ka`bah, the most honorable house (of worship) on the face of the earth, which was built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil in the Name of Allah, the One without a partner. This is why Allah said afterwards:

[ ]

(Say (O Muhammad ): "To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to the straight way.'')

Imam Ahmad reported that `A'ishah (the Prophet's wife) said that Allah's Messenger said about the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians):

:

(They do not envy us for a matter more than they envy us for Jumu`ah (Friday) to which Allah has guided us and from which they were led astray; for the (true) Qiblah to which Allah has directed us and from which they were led astray; and for our saying `Amin' behind the Imam (leader of the prayer).)

 

The Wisdom behind changing the Qiblah

Allah then said:

[ ]

(And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad ) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e., disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy, difficult) except for those whom Allah guided.)

Allah states thus: We have legislated for you, O Muhammad, facing Bayt Al-Maqdis at first and then changed it to the Ka`bah so as to find who will follow and obey you and thus face whatever you face.

[ ]

(...from those who would turn on their heels.) meaning, reverts from his religion. [Allah then said:]

[ ]

(Indeed it was great (heavy, difficult))

The Ayah indicates that changing the Qiblah from Bayt Al-Maqdis to the Ka`bah is heavy on the heart, except for whomever Allah has rightly guided their hearts, who believe in the truth of the Messenger with certainty and that whatever he was sent with is the truth without doubt. It is they who believe that Allah does what He wills, decides what He wills, commands His servants with what He wills, abrogates any of His commands that He wills, and that He has the perfect wisdom and the unequivocal proof in all this. (The attitude of the believers in this respect is) unlike those who have a disease in their hearts, to whom whenever a matter occurs, it causes doubts, just as this same matter adds faith and certainty to the believers. Similarly, Allah said:

[ ]

(And whenever there comes down a Surah (chapter from the Qur'an), some of them (hypocrites) say: "Which of you has had his faith increased by it'' As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy), it will add doubt and disbelief to their doubt and disbelief; and they die while they are disbelievers.) (9:124, 125)

and:

[ ]

(And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the wrongdoers in nothing but loss.) (17:82)

Certainly, those who remained faithful to the Messenger , obeyed him and faced whatever Allah commanded them, without doubt or hesitation, were the leaders of the Companions. Some scholars stated that the Early Migrants (who migrated with the Prophet from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and Ansar (the residents of Al-Madinah who gave aid and refuge to both the Prophet and the Migrants) were those who offered prayers towards the two Qiblah (Bayt Al-Maqdis and then the Ka`bah). Al-Bukhari reported in the explanation of the Ayah (2:143) that Ibn `Umar narrated: While the people were performing the Fajr (Dawn) prayer in the Quba' Mosque, a man came and said, "Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet and he was ordered to face the Ka`bah. Therefore, face the Ka`bah.'' They then faced the Ka`bah. Muslim also recorded it.

At-Tirmidhi added that they were performing Ruku` (bowing down in prayer), and then changed the direction (of the Qiblah) to the Ka`bah while still bowing down. Muslim reported this last narration from Anas. These Hadiths all indicate the perfect obedience the Companions had for Allah and His Messenger and their compliance with Allah's commandments, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Allah said:

[ ]

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.) meaning, the reward of your prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis before would not be lost with Allah. It is reported in Sahih that Abu Ishaq As-Sabi`y related that Bara' narrated: "The people asked about the matter of those who offered prayers towards Bayt Al-Maqdis and died (before the Qiblah was changed to Ka`bah). Allah revealed:

[ ]

(And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost.)''

It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi from Ibn `Abbas, and At-Tirmidhi graded it Sahih.

Ibn Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas narrated:

[ ]

(And Allah would never make your faith to be lost.) entails: Your (prayer towards) the first Qiblah and your believing your Prophet and obeying him by facing the second Qiblah; He will grant you the rewards for all these acts. Indeed,

[ ]

(Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind.)''

Furthermore, it is reported in the Sahih that Allah's Messenger saw a woman among the captives who was separated from her child. Whenever she found a boy (infant) among the captives, she would hold him close to her chest, as she was looking for her boy. When she found her child, she embraced him and gave him her breast to nurse. Allah's Messenger said:

: . :

ǻ

(Do you think that this woman would willingly throw her son in the fire) They said, "No, O Messenger of Allah!'' He said, (By Allah! Allah is more merciful with His servants than this woman with her son.)

[ ]

(144. 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-Haram (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scripture (i.e., 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 Allah is not unaware of what they do).

 

The First Abrogation in the Qur'an was about the Qiblah

`Ali bin Abu Talhah related that Ibn `Abbas narrated: The first abrogated part in the Qur'an was about the Qiblah. When Allah's Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, the majority of its people were Jews, and Allah commanded him to face Bayt Al-Maqdis. The Jews were delighted then. Allah's Messenger faced it for ten and some months, but he liked to face the Qiblah of Ibrahim (Ka`bah in Makkah). He used to supplicate to Allah and look up to the sky (awaiting Allah's command). Allah then revealed:

[ ]

(Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's) face towards the heaven), until,

[ ]

(turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.)

The Jews did not like this ruling and said:

[ ]

("What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah (prayer direction) to which they used to face in prayer.'' Say (O Muhammad), "To Allah belong both, east and the west.'') (2:142)

Allah said:

[ ]

(. ...so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah) (2:115),

and:

[ ]

(And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad ) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e., disobey the Messenger).) (2:143)

 

The reason why it was a test was because many people from Madinah had converted to Islam, Silas leaves this information out, and many of those were former Jews, so Allah wanted to test them now and see if they were true Muslims and would now follow the official Qibla (prayer direction) or would they become rebellious arrogant people and reject facing the Kaaba.

 

           

A short time later, al-Hadjdjadj conquered Mecca and killed Zubayr.  He modified the Kaba's structure.

 

           

In 929, the Karmatians invaded Mecca and carried off the black stone!  20 years later it was returned.

 

           

Other natural events (bad weather) have also caused the Kaba to need repair.

 

           

Muslims erroneously claim that God has protected the Quran from corruption, yet their god was not able to protect his sacred house!

 

 

Silas compares apples and oranges, the Kaaba is not equated with the Quran, and never has been, in fact Allah letting the Kaaba get damaged sometimes is to send a message to the Muslims that the Kaaba should not be worshiped nor idolized. Muslims do not believe that Allah lives in the Kaaba and never have, it seems Silas thinks that we believe that Allah lives in the Kaaba and is confined to it, that is not the case at all. The Kaaba area and Makkah is a sacred area, but it is not to be idolized or over-exaggerated and every Muslim knows that.

 

So if the Kaaba gets some minor damages or major ones it does nothing to shake our faith nor our belief in Allah.

 

         

In the Muslim Hadith, the Devil has a certain name - Azazil.

The name does not occur in the Quran.  The name may come from Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 - the scapegoat in Hebrew is Azazil.  From another source it means 'the demon of the desert'.

 

           

There are Apocrypha Jewish books - Enoch and Apocalypse of Abraham, that mention Azazil.  Islamic traditions - Hadiths develop their story.  Muslims associate Azazil with the fallen angels Harut and Marut.  Ibn Abbas tradition has the strongest Islamic reference developing it as Satan's name, before the fall of Adam.

 

In which hadith? Notice Silas says it is in the hadiths and does not quote it, why?

 

This supposed hadith is not to be found in any of the authentic hadiths of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu dawud, or Malik. The hadith Silas mentions is weak and not a fundamental of Islam, the hadith is derived from Israeliyat narrations which are not completely reliable.

 

Silas then writes:

 

THE NIGHT JOURNEY

           

The Night Journey describes Muhammad's ascent into heaven.  It is briefly mentioned in sura 17:1, and described in Sahih al-Bukhari, in several of his volumes, notably in vol 1, #345.

 

           

Muhammad's story parallels a Zoroastrian story.  It is found in an old Pahlavi book known as "The Book of Arta Viraf".  The Zoroastrian story describes the journey of a saintly priest (Arta Viraf), who went into a trance and his spirit went up to the heavens under the guidance of an angel named Sarosh.  He passed from one utopia (7 heavens?) to another until he reached the presence of Ormazd, the great deity of the whole universe.  When Arta saw everything in heaven and that the inhabitants were very happy, Ormazd commanded him to return to earth as his 'messenger' and to tell the people all that he saw and heard.

 

           

Also, the Zoroastrians taught, long before Islam, there was a marvelous tree in Paradise called 'humaya', which corresponds very closely to the 'sidrah', the lote tree of Islam.

 

           

Finally, there is another Zoroastrian work the 'Zerdashtnama', which has a story of how Zoroaster himself ascended into the heavens and obtained permission to visit hell, where he found Ahriman, the Devil.

 

The story Silas mentions comes nowhere close to the Night Journey of Muhammad, there are many differences to be noted:

 

Muhammad went into the heavens not by spirit, rather he went up to the heavens PHYSICALLY.

 

Muhammad was already a messenger of God before he went up into the heavens, the event was to mark another miracle and proof of him being a prophet.

 

Among other things how did Arta prove his story was true? Because the Islamic sources show that the prophet Muhammad backed his story up in a way which a liar could not have:

 

Section: Concerning the isra, the night journey, of the Messenger of God (SAAS) from Mecca to Jerusalem, his ascent from there to heaven and the signs he saw there.

 

We will give here the gist of the words of Ibn Ishaq, God bless him. Having recounted the earlier sections, he went on, "Then the Messenger of God (SAAS) was taken by night from the masjid-al haram to the masjid al-aqsa, the latter being the holy temple of Aelia. By then Islam had spread in Mecca into Quraysh and all the Arab tribes."

 

He continued, "Concerning the night journey of the Messenger of God (SAAS), I learned what follows from a hadith that came down from Ibn Musud, Abu Said, Aisha, Muawiya, Umm Hani, daughter of Abu Talib, God bless them all, and al-Hasan b. Abu al-Hasan, Ibn Hisham al-Zuhri, Qatada and other scholars. Individually that combines in this account.

 

"The night journey of the Messenger of God (SAAS) was filled with trials and tribulations and (instances) of God's power and authority; it provides a lesson for men of intelligence, a guidance, a mercy and an affirmation for those with faith and belief. It was certainly an act of God.

 

"He carried him on his journey as and how He wished, to show him those of His signs He desired. He thus surveyed some of the Might of God, His will, power and authority by which he accomplishes His purposes.

 

"Abd Allah b. Masud would say, as I have been informed, the Messenger of God (SAAS), was brought al-Buraq, that being the name of a mount on which previous prophets were carried; its stride was such that it could place its hooves as far as it could see. He was borne away on it.

 

"His companion (Gabriel) then took him off to see signs between heaven and earth. Eventually he reached Jerusalem, where he found Abraham, Moses and Jesus, in a company of prophets assembled for him. He led them in prayer. "Then he was brought three vessels, containing milk, wine and water. He said that he drank the vessel of milk and was told by Gabriel, ?You have been given guidance, and so has your nation.'"

 

...Ibn Ishaq related, quoting Umm Hani as his source, that she said, "It was from nowhere but my home that the Messenger of God (SAAS) made his night journey. He slept that night after having made the final evening prayer. When it was just before dawn he woke up and when it was morning we prayed together and he said, ?O Umm Hani, last evening I prayed with you in this valley, then I went to Jerusalem and prayed there. And now here I am having said the morning prayer with you, as you see.'

 

"He then arose to leave, but I took hold of the hem of his cloak and said, ?O Messenger of God, do not make that statement to the people; they will surely disbelieve you and do you harm.'

 

"But he replied, ?By God, I will certainly tell it to them!' And he did tell them and they did disbelieve."

 

Ibn Ishaq went on (and the Prophet (SAAS) told the sceptical, tr.) "And the proof of this is that I passed by the caravan of such-and-such a tribe in such-and-such a valley, and the sound of (al-buraq) startled them and so one of their camels ran away. I led them to it, being then on my way to al-Sham. Then I continued on until I reached Dajanan, where I passed a caravan of such-and-such tribe. I found the people asleep. They had a vessel with water in it that they had covered it with something. I took off the cover and drank the water and replaced its cover. And the proof of this is that their caravan is now making its way down from the pass at al-Tanim al-Bayda. Leading it is an ash-coloured camel on which are two sacks, one of which is black, the other black and white.

 

"On hearing this, people hurried to the pass. The first camel, which was as he described to them, was insufficient proof for them, so they asked about the vessel and the camel, and those in the caravan did tell them just as the Prophet (SAAS) had recounted."

 

Yunus b. bukayr related, from Asbat, from Ismail al-Suddi, that the sun had almost set before that caravan arrived and so he prayed to God, Almighty and Glorious is He, who slowed it down until they came, just as he had described it to them.

 

He stated, "And the sun was never slowed down for anyone except on that day for him, and also for Yusha (Joshua) b. Nun.

 

Al-Bayhaqi related this account. ( Pg 62-64)

 

 

As you can see the prophet showed that he was not lying nor made this event up, and as you can also see the story comes nowhere close to the Zoroastrian one.

 

HOURIS

           

The Quran mentions 'houris' several times 44:50, 52:20, 55:60, 56:20, 78:33.  Who or what are they?  They are 'bashful virgins', 'fair as coral and ruby', 'dark eyed youths', 'high bosomed maidens (big breasted)'. In sum, they are creatures put in Paradise, primarily for men's sexual pleasures.  Each man will have at least two of them.

 

This concept is derived from the Zoroastrian sources.  In Zoroastrian writings they are referred to as 'Faries' - spirits in bright array and beautiful to captivate the heart of man.  The name 'Houris' comes from a Pehlavi source, as does the Islamic 'Jinn' for Genie.

 

 

Just because a Zoroastrian text says there are beautiful spirits that captivate the heart of man, and the Quran mentions beautiful houris this means the Quran got it from this source?! This is very funny I must say, secondly the houris are not spiritual women or some spirits unlike the source Silas mentions. And once again Silas must PROVE IT, not suggest it! All he has done in his article is give flimsy claims with no PROOFS, the only proof he has is his own missionary biased opinion!

 

And Allah Truly Knows Best!

 

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