The Lowest Heaven

Muslim celebrated Shab-e-Qadr or the night of Destiny or the night of Power on the last Wednesday. Shab-e-Qadr is believed to be the night when the Quran was first revealed. Muslims believe that revelation of the Quran occurred in two phases, first revelation of the entire Quran came from Allah to the angel Gabriel in the lowest heaven , then the verses were transmitted through the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, a camel driver on Earth. Muhammad received revelations while he was sitting at the cave of Hira on Mount Nur in Mecca, in 610 CE. Millions of Muslims pray as much as they can on the night of Shab-e-Qadr. It is believed to be the night when God descends to the lowest heaven and decides the destiny of everyone.

I have been very curious to learn what the lowest heaven is, and where it is located.
The Quran says, ‘Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?(Quran 021.030), And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (Quran 021.032),,And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure.(Quran 055.007), Allah it is Who raised up the heavens without visible supports. (Quran 013.002), He raised the height thereof and ordered it. (Quran 079.028)’

There are seven heavens. Allah descends to the lowest heaven every night. The Sahih hadith says: ‘the prophet said : The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?'(al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-Tawheed, 6940; Muslim, Salaat al-Musaafireen, 1262)

Not only during Shab-e-Qadr, during Shab-e-Barat, or Mid-Sha’ban, Allah descends to the lowest heaven to see what is happening on Earth, whether everyone praying to him. Allah writes the destinies of all for the coming year by taking into account the deeds committed by them in the past. It is believed that the lowest heaven is the most nearest heaven to earth. Allah can see what is going on Earth much better from the lowest heaven. From his arsh or throne, the place where he stays in most of his times, Allah doesn’t see things well. Shab-e-Barat or the night of records, or the night of assignment or the night of deliverance, or the night of observance involves a festive nightlong prayers. Muslims believe that on that particular night the doors of mercy and forgiveness are opened wide, and those who sincerely grieve over and repent for their past sins and seek forgiveness from Allah are pardoned and forgiven. The night of Shab-e-barat is the greatest night for sinners and criminals because all their crimes are forgiven by the almighty merciful Allah. They do not care much about judicial system on Earth. Life on Earth is temporary anyway. A night-long prayer and Allah’s assurance of forgiveness give them the strength to go on committing further crimes until the next Shab-e-Qadr or Shab-e-Barat, the great nights of prayers and forgiveness arrive.

Yesterday I asked some educated and clever Muslims, where is the lowest heaven?
They said, nearest.
I asked again, nearest to what? earth?
They said, yes.
-Somewhere between moon and earth?
(silence)
-On the Asteroids passing close to Earth?
(silence)
I said, okay, leave it.
They were happy.
But I was not happy. I asked, why does Allah need to descend to the lowest heaven to see who are praying and who are not? Can’t he see them clearly from the place he lives?
One of them said, probably..
I asked, probably what?
He smiled nervously.
I said, man, use your brains!
After a few minutes he looked more confident. He said, Allah descends to the lowest heaven because it is night, it’s too dark outside to see things. In this kind of situation it is better to come closer to the objects you want to see.
I smiled and said, you are right.

Islamic fairy tale

Muhammad visited heaven and hell. He met Allah, the creator of the universe. It was 7th century. There was no space-shuttle or airplane or helicopter. He did not have wings to fly. Angle Gabriel brought a buraq, a white animal, smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey. Some people imagined buraq as kamdhenu, a beautiful winged animal with a face of a human and with a body of a horse. Muhammad rode buraq from Mecca to the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem. After his prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque he was raised to heaven in the sky. Where the hell is heaven? We do not know, our astronauts also do not know anything about it. The Quarn says, ‘Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.’ (Qur’an 17:1), ‘Behold! We told thee that thy Lord doth encompass mankind round about: We granted the vision which We showed thee, but as a trial for men,- as also the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Qur’an: We put terror (and warning) into them, but it only increases their inordinate transgression!’ (Qur’an 17:60), ‘For indeed he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass:Near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!) (His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest!'(Qur’an 53:13-18).

Muhammad saw heaven.

He met Abraham, Moses, and Jesus in heaven.

Muhammad visited hell.

Muhammad met Allah. The bargaining part is the best part. After much persuasion, Allah reduced the number of prayers from 50 times to 5 times a day.

Narrated Abbas bin Malik: Malik bin Sasaa said that Allah’s Apostle described to them his Night Journey saying, “While I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr, suddenly someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here.” I asked Al-Jarud who was by my side, “What does he mean?” He said, “It means from his throat to his pubic area,” or said, “From the top of the chest.” The Prophet further said, “He then took out my heart. Then a gold tray of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and was filled (with Belief) and then returned to its original place. Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me.” (On this Al-Jarud asked, “Was it the Buraq, O Abu Hamza?” I (i.e. Anas) replied in the affirmative). The Prophet said, “The animal’s step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal’s sight. I was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven. When he asked for the gate to be opened, it was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel answered, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has Muhammad been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!’ The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Gabriel said (to me). ‘This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.’ So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel answered, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!’ The gate was opened. When I went over the second heaven, there I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and ‘Isa (i.e. Jesus) who were cousins of each other. Gabriel said (to me), ‘These are John and Jesus; pay them your greetings.’ So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!’ The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Joseph. Gabriel said (to me), ‘This is Joseph; pay him your greetings.’ So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Gabriel’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed, what an excel lent visit his is!’ The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Gabriel said (to me), ‘This is Idris; pay him your greetings.’ So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fifth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked. ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is! So when I went over the fifth heaven, there I saw Harun (i.e. Aaron), Gabriel said, (to me). This is Aaron; pay him your greetings.’ I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me to the sixth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked. ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. It was said, ‘He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!’ When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Moses. Gabriel said (to me),’ This is Moses; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.’ When I left him (i.e. Moses) he wept. Someone asked him, ‘What makes you weep?’ Moses said, ‘I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.’ Then Gabriel ascended with me to the seventh heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Gabriel.’ It was asked,’ Who is accompanying you?’ Gabriel replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, ‘He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!’ So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Abraham. Gabriel said (to me), ‘This is your father; pay your greetings to him.’ So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.’ Then I was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) Behold! Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (i.e. a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Gabriel said, ‘This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) . Behold ! There ran four rivers, two were hidden and two were visible, I asked, ‘What are these two kinds of rivers, O Gabriel?’ He replied,’ As for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.’ Then Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur (i.e. the Sacred House) was shown to me and a container full of wine and another full of milk and a third full of honey were brought to me. I took the milk. Gabriel remarked, ‘This is the Islamic religion which you and your followers are following.’ Then the prayers were enjoined on me: They were fifty prayers a day. When I returned, I passed by Moses who asked (me), ‘What have you been ordered to do?’ I replied, ‘I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.’ Moses said, ‘Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah, I have tested people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers’ burden.’ So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Moses, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Moses he said the same, I went back to Allah and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he said, ‘What have you been ordered?’ I replied, ‘I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.’ He said, ‘Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, and no doubt, I have got an experience of the people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel, so go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your follower’s burden.’ I said, ‘I have requested so much of my Lord that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now and surrender to Allah’s Order.’ When I left, I heard a voice saying, ‘I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden of My Worshipers.” (Book: 8, Bukhari Hadith: 227)

After meeting with Allah Muhammad returned to Mecca. The end of the fairy tale. But the Quran and the Hadith claim Muhammad’s visit to heaven is a fact, not a myth. Islam says that he who does not believe in the Quran and the Sahih Hadith is not a Muslim. ‘Do Muslims really believe this fairy tale is a true story?’ I asked a friend. He said, ‘Of course they believe in Miraj, Muhammad’s night journey to heaven.’ I said, ‘How can they believe in such an weird thingy?’ He laughed, said, ‘Muslims believe in weird thingy exactly the way Christians believe that Jesus walked on water or Jews believe in heaven and hell or Hindus and Buddhists believe in reincarnation!’
I smiled and said, ‘It makes sense.’

Islam’s most terrible law: It prevents Muslims from adopting children

Facts say:

In our world-
12 million children die before reaching their fifth year.

100 million homeless children living in the streets around the world.

250,000 children die every week from diseases and malnutrition.

2 million children are objects of sexual abuse – child pornography and demand for child prostitutes has increased globally.

20 million children are refugees or internally displaced in their homeland.

10 million children are child slaves.

More than 30 per cent of children in developing countries – about 600 million – live on less than US $1 a day.

Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.

There are 2.1 billion Muslims in the world. But the sad news is, not a single Muslim is allowed to adopt a poor homeless child because ‘the religion of peace’ forbids abortion. If adoption were legal, so many millions of orphans could get home, food, cloths, care and education. Why is Islam so cruel to helpless orphans? There is a bizarre story behind it. Muhammad the prophet got sexually aroused after seeing his son’s wife. Either he asked his son to divorce his wife so that he could marry her or his son understood the situation and told his father that he would divorce his wife, and then his father would have no problem to marry her. His son was ultimately forced to divorce his wife. Muhammad married his son Zayd’s wife. People started criticizing Muhammad. He was in deep doo doo. He then dragged God down from the sky to save his ass. God came too quickly to his rescue.

God said:

“…Nor has He made your adopted sons your (biological) sons. Such is (only) your (manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and He shows the (right) Way. Call them by (the names of) their fathers; that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith, or your trustees. But there is no blame on you if you make a mistake therein. (What counts is) the intention of your hearts. And Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an 33:4-5)

“And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, “Keep your wife and fear Allah ,” while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.”(Qur’an 33: 37).

“Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing.”(Qur’an 33: 40)

“You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will. And any that you desire of those [wives] from whom you had [temporarily] separated – there is no blame upon you [in returning her]. That is more suitable that they should be content and not grieve and that they should be satisfied with what you have given them – all of them. And Allah knows what is in your hearts. And ever is Allah Knowing and Forbearing.” (Qur’an 33:51)

When God was trying to help Muhammad, Aisha, the most intelligent wife of Muhammad said her famous words, ‘O prophet, I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires.’ (Sahih Bukhari 6:60:311, Sahih Bukhari 6:60:312, Sahih Bukhari 7:62:48, Sahih Muslim 8:3454, Sahih Muslim 8:3453, Sahih Muslim 8:3454 & Sahih Muslim 9:3499)

An Indonesian artist drew the story of Muhammad’s scandalous marriage. The illustrated story is based on the history of Islam written by early Islamic scholars.

Whenever Muhammad had problems, God solved them right away. Muhammad’s son was adopted and thus not his real son, so the marriage between Muhammad and his daughter-in-law was therefore justified. Further, a new law was created to justify Muhammad’s marriage more strongly: ‘Muslims are not allowed to adopt.’

Muhammad was a clever man. He did everything to fulfill his desires. I do not blame a lone Muhammad much for what he did 1400 years ago, I blame billions of modern Muslims for not trying to move their butts in order to get rid of the terrible anti-adoption law. Childless couples would be happy to adopt children. Kind and generous Muslims would be able to make their lives meaningful by providing a family-friendly environment for children to grow up in. All children have the right to survive, the right to be safe, the right to have caring parents, the right to receive love and care and the right to grow up in a protective environment.

Fostering is allowed in Islam. But foster care and adoption are not the same. Foster care is fine. But two questions we should always ask: Why shouldn’t people have the right to adopt children? Why shouldn’t orphan children have the right to have adoptive parents?

Why I am a Feminist – Bina Shah

As a child in Pakistan, I grew up observing the lives of the women in my father’s family. Members of a type of religious nobility who claim lineage from the Prophet Muhammed, they followed the traditions of the Prophet’s wives and segregated themselves from all men outside their own blood relatives – a system known in Pakistan as pardah or “curtain”. They wore burqas or chadors when travelling outside their houses, in cars with curtained or tinted windows. On the rare occasions they walked in the streets of the village the men were expected to turn their faces to the walls as they passed. They did not go to school and many of them were functionally illiterate. There was no question of school or jobs for them. Their sole function was to marry and produce children for their husbands, chosen for them from the many cousins in the family.

My father, academically brilliant and ahead of his time, didn’t agree with these traditions and he didn’t expect his own family to live the same way as his aunts had; my mother, a college graduate with a degree in psychology and a love of all things fashionable and modern, detested the harsh customs and made sure they had no place in our lives. In Karachi, the cosmopolitan port city where we lived, I went to an American school where I excelled in every subject; I read hundreds of books and played sports with children of all nationalities and both genders. My mother instilled in me the idea that not only would I receive the best education possible, but that I would learn to be independent so that I could support myself if I had to. My father went along with this, proud of his intelligent daughter but always fearful that his more conservative family members would disapprove of my upbringing.

But no matter how visionary or open-minded my parents were, they still had to make compromises for the restrictive environment in which we lived, and I was the victim of those compromises. When I went to , the seat of my father’s family in a rural part of Sindh two and a half hours’ drive from Karachi, I played and romped like the other children, running freely back and forth between the two sections of our family house, but as I grew older, I was not allowed to leave the walls of the “family” compound for the men’s section. My father no longer took me to his farm with him, as the “ladies” of the family were not permitted to be seen by the ordinary labourers who tilled the fields and kept the livestock.

As I approached adolescence, my clothing was restricted: I couldn’t wear anything but baggy shalwar kameezes, as my skirts and shorts were forbidden from me. Back in Karachi, I continued to excel in school but my social life was curtailed: I was not allowed to go to mixed parties or sleepovers; beach trips with friends were a no-no, and permission to go on school trips to other cities in South Asia were a hard-fought battle that I didn’t always win. Whenever I asked why I wasn’t allowed to do the things that I wanted, I was told “Because you are a girl.” And no amount of crying, pleading or begging could change that.

Thanks to my mother’s support and my father’s courage to break with tradition, I went to the United States to attend Wellesley College, a private liberal arts college in Massachusetts for women. I was the first women in my father’s family to go to university, let alone leave the country for an education. Officially I earned a degree in psychology like my mother, but I received an education of a different kind: I learned about women’s rights, the fight for justice and equality, and male privilege. When I came back to Pakistan, I had words for what had happened to me and what was happening to millions of Pakistani women every day: patriarchy, chauvinism, and misogyny. My eyes were opened and what was seen could never be unseen: I was aware and vigilant about a society that thought of women as inferior in every way to men. More than that: I was angry about the injustice, and determined to raise my voice against it as loudly as possible.

So I began to speak out, by writing about women’s issues. I wrote about the need for laws against domestic violence, the need to strengthen girls’ education, the need for economic independence for women, the need to reject hijab, burqa, chador and niqab as religious requirements. I wrote about the particular horrors enacted against girls and women in Pakistan: forced marriages, dowry, bride-burning, acid attacks. Today I’m an avowed feminist, thanks to my childhood experiences, my mother’s encouragement, and my academic education in the United States and my real-world education in Pakistan, where I’ve observed how religion, culture and society oppresses Pakistan women and I witness every day how women are fighting back against their oppressors. Feminism in Pakistan is a dirty word, a sign that you’re an atheist, a Western agent, a threat to the system. I’m neither an atheist nor a Western agent, but I’m proud to be a threat to this unfair and intolerant system and I’ll keep raising my voice against this system until it changes or I die, whichever comes first.

Ramadan was a non-Muslim pagan Arab festival

The difference between pre-Islamic Ramadan and Islamic Ramadan is, pre-Islamic Ramadan was practiced by a Pagan tribe in Arabia, and Islamic Ramadan is practiced by Muslims all over the world.

During Ramadan, Pagan Arabs used to abstain from food, water, sexual contact etc. Muslims practice the same Pagan Ramadan rituals.

It is a well-known fact that Islam adapted the Pagan practice of fasting. There is a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari that mentions the ritual.
Bukhari 5:58:172 – Narrated Aisha: ‘Ashura was a day on which the tribe of Quraish used to fast in the pre-lslamic period of ignorance. The Prophet also used to fast on this day. So when he migrated to Medina, he fasted on it and ordered (the Muslims) to fast on it. When the fasting of Ramadan was enjoined, it became optional for the people to fast or not to fast on the day of Ashura.’

The fasting for Ashura (10th of Muharram) originated from a Quraish Pagan practice. Ramadan fasting came later from Sabian tradition. Sabians are mentioned in several verses of the Quran [al-Baqarah 2:62], [al-Hajj 22:17] , [al-Maa’idah 5:69] along with Christians and Jewish. Sabians, a non-Muslim Iraqi tribe, believed in monotheism, observed fasting 30 days a year, and prayed 5 times a day.

Not only Ramadan fasting, other Pagan rituals were also Islamized. The Ka’aba in Mecca was a center of idol-worship. 360 idols were kept in the Ka’aba. According to Hadith Bukhari 3:43:658 Narrated Abdullah bin Masud: The Prophet entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka’aba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: “Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished.”

The Black-stone or al-Ḥajar al-Aswad of the Ka’aba became the central shrine object in Islam. It was one of the many stones and idols venerated by pre-Islamic Pagans. The Black Stone was kissed by people during pre-Islamic pagan worship. Muhammad did not completely abolish Idol worship, he made the Black Stone stay and allowed people to continue the practice of kissing the stone. It is the same pre-Islamic Pagan stone that Muslims kiss today during Hajj and Umrah. The Islamic historians believe that the black stone was a pagan deity called ‘Al-Lat’, one of the three daughters of Allah, the Pagan moon-god. She was once venerated as a cubic rock at Ta’if in Arabia.

Hisham ibn-Al-Kalbi (819 CE) in his ‘The book of Idols’ wrote that ‘Al-lat stood in al-Ta’if, and was more recent than Manah. She was a cubic rock beside which a certain Jew used to prepare his barley porridge (sawiq). Her custody was in the hands of the banu-‘Attab ibn-Malik of the Thayif, who had built an edifice over her. [...]She is the idol which God mentioned when He said, “Have you seen al-lat and al-Uzza?” (Surah 53:19)

Muslims in the 21st century believe that the Black Stone fell from the heaven during the era of Adam and Eve. They also believe that the stone was originally white, but it turned black because of absorbing human sins.

Pre-Islamic Pagans prayed five times a day facing Mecca. Persian Zoroastrian tribe prayed five times a day too, in the direction of the Sun or fire temple. Before prayers, Zoroastrians cleaned themselves or practiced ablution. Ablution and the prayers for 5 times are not something Islam invented. The Hadith [Sahih Bukhari Book 8, no. 345] tells us that when Muhammad met Allah in heaven, Allah demanded 50 prayers per day. But with the help of Moses, Muhammad bargained with Allah and finally he was successful to reduce 50 prayers per day to 5 prayers per day. Even the Quran (4:28) says, ‘God wishes to lighten your burden, for the human being is created weak’.

During Hajj, Muslims walk between two mountains seven times. It is also a pre-Islamic practice. Let’s see what the Quran and the Hadith say about the special mountain walk.

Hadith Bukhari. Volume 2, Book 26, Number 710: Narrated ‘Asim: I asked Anas bin Malik: “Did you dislike to perform Tawaf between mountain Al-Safa and mountain Al-Marwa?” He said, “Yes, as it was of the ceremonies of the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, till Allah revealed: ‘Verily! Al-Safa and Al-Marwa are among the rites (or symbols) of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who performs the pilgrimage to the Ka’ba, or performs ‘Umrah, to perform Tawaf between them.’ ” (Quran 2.158)

Many non-Islamic Pagan rituals are now known as Islamic rituals. Pagan’s crescent moon: the symbol of the moon god, circumambulation, Ihram etc. were taken or stolen by Islam. Muslims now begin their Ramadan fasting after seeing a crescent moon in the sky. Ramadan is a kind of a month-long food festival for Muslims. It is supposed to be a month of sacrifice and Muslims are expected to eat less. But in reality, Muslims eat more in Ramadan than any other month. Some people call Ramadan the holy month of feasting, instead of the holy month of fasting. They make sense.

There are some unscientific, nonsense verses in the Quran about Ramadan.

Quran.Sura 2:187: “Eat and drink until white thread of dawn appears to you and then complete your fast till the night appears.”

Quran.Sura 18:83-86:“Zulkharnain reached the setting place of the sun. He saw that it set in a pool of black muddy water.”

Quran.Sura 67:3-5; 37:6-9: “We created 7 heavens one above the other and decorated the lowest heaven with lamps – The Stars. We made such lamps as missiles to drive away Satan, who try to listen the conversation of the higher group — i.e., Conversation between Allah and his angels.”

There are many Hadith on Ramadan too. The most interesting ones are the ones about Muhammad kissing his wives and the way he permitted old men to embrace their young wives but prevented young men from embracing their young wives. Needless to say, Muhammad was old.

Hadith. Bukhari, Vol.3:149: narrated Aisha, ‘Muhammad used to kiss and embrace his wives while he was fasting and he had more power to control his desires than any of you.’

Hadith.Bukhari, Vol.3:151: Narrated Zainab: (daughter of Umme Salma) that her mother said, The prophet and I used to take a bath from one water pot and he used to kiss me while he was fasting.”

Hadith. Book 13, No.2381: Narrated Abu Hurayrah: A man asked Muhammad whether one who was fasting could embrace his wife and he gave him permission; but when another man came to him, and asked him, he forbade him. The one to whom he gave permission was an old man and the one whom he forbade was a youth.

Hadith. Book 13, No. 2380: Narrated Aisha: Prophet Muhammad used to kiss and suck her tongue, while he was fasting.

Women had more rights in pre-Islamic period.

Pre Islam Arab Women 4th to 6th century C.E. Women in Islam. 21st century Women in Iran Sassanid era (226–651 C.E.) Scythian woman warrior. Ancient pre-Islamic Persia had female warriors and chieftains. A Persian Sassanid Female Warrior. Before Islam. Muslim women in Iran. 21st century Artemisia was a daughter of Hecatomnus, the founder of the Hecatomnid house that had ruled Caria since the beginning of the 4th century. She was the warrior-Queen of Halicarnassus (now in modern western Turkey). Artemisia statue in Bodrum, Turkey. Muslim women in Turkey. 21st century. Al-Uzza, Warrier Goddess. Pre Islamic Arabia. Allah, the moon god and his three daughters, Goddess Al-Lat, Goddess Al-Uzza, and Goddess Manat. Pre Islamic Arabia. Pre Islamic Arab pagan goddess Al-Uzza temple, Petra, Jordan. Islam brought this slogan. Khadija Bint Khuwaylid was a successful business woman. She inherited her father’s business and made it a much more profitable one. She was from a noble family. She earned three titles: Ameerat-Quraish (Princess of Quraish) and al-Tahira (the Pure One), and Khadija Al-Kubra (Khadija the Great). She was a nice and a kind woman. She helped the poor. Khadija was a very wealthy woman, many men asked for her hand in marriage but she refused to marry them. Some of her relatives requested her to hire a man called Muhammad from Quraish tribe. Even though he was illiterate he was known to them as a clever man. Khadija employed Muhammad as an agent for her trade with Syria. Muhammad used Khadija’s  trade caravans for work. He helped her make profit in business. He was considered a trustworthy hard working man. Khadija was so impressed that she doubled Muhammad’s salary and then decided to marry him. She was 40-year-old when she married Mohammad, a 25-year-old man. Khadija  married twice before marrying Mohammad. She gave birth to three daughters when they were together. Khadija had other children from previous marriages. Mohammad had his first revelation when he was 40. He was financially dependent on Khadija. He did not marry other women until Khadija died. After she died, Muhammad married 12 more women including a 6-year-old child.

Muhammad was worried that his wives might get angry with him and leave him. He was so jealous that he revealed some verses.

The Quran: 33.30 O wives of the Prophet! If any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the Punishment would be doubled to her, and that is easy for Allah.

33.31 But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Messenger, and works righteousness,- to her shall We grant her reward twice: and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance

He was worried that his wives would attract the attention of other men. So he asked them to wear veils.

33.32 O wives of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just. 33.33 And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance ; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.

Muhammad desperately wanted his wives to be submissive. He threatened his wives.

The Quran: 66.5 It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allah), believers, obedient to Allah, turning to Allah in repentance, worshiping Allah sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allah’s sake), previously married and virgins.”

Many verses of the Quran and the Hadith (Sayings of Muhammad) prove that Islam did not elevate the status of women, rather it was the cause of the humiliation, subjugation, denigration of women. Here are a very few examples.

The Quran 4.34 Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

Bukhari Hadith Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301 says

Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.”

Bukhari Hadith Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648 says

‘…Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said. “I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in ‘Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the ansar, we noticed that the ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the ansari women. Once i shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and i disliked that she should answer me back.She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ …’

Bukhari Hadith Volume 2, Book 18, Number 161 says

‘I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, “They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’

Bukhari Hadith Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460 says

Allah’s Apostle said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.”

Sahih Muslim Hadith Book 008, Number 3466 says

Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Woman is like a rib. When you attempt to straighten it, you would break it. And if you leave her alone you would benefit by her, and crookedness will remain in her.