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AUGUST 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-08 No:164    *   AUGUST 2000 / JAMADI-UL-AWAL 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

OUR DIALOGUE

By S. Abdullah Tariq


Heaven, Hell, Intoxication
Freedom of Will and Action

Heaven, Hell, Intoxication

Q. Can I ask you a few questions about Islam?
  1. Can Allah give assurance to a believer that he/she be saved from the pits of hell? If a Muslim dies now, where will he/she go? Heaven or Hell? Why do you have to work to/for heaven?

  2. Where is Muhammad today? Can the Qur’an or the Hadith give any clues/answer to this? I am not talking about what you believe, I am talking about Qur’anic/Hadith evidence or Allah’s promise in the Qur’an.

  3. Is the Jesus of the Bible same as Isa and the God of the Bible is the same as Allah? Is it the same God of the Jews?

  4. I cannot understand this. Here in your website and many other Muslim sites, you condemn that alcohol is sinful.
    http://www.islamicvoice.com/march.99/zakir.htm#QUE
    Is it really sinful? I don’t think so.

Sura 47, vs. 15, Pickthal: A similitude of the garden which those who keep their duty (to Allah) are promised: Therein are rivers of water unpolluted, and rivers of milk whereof the flavour changeth not, and rivers of wine delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of clear-run honey; therein for them is every kind of fruit, with pardon from their Lord. (Are those who enjoy all this) like those who are immortal in the fire and are given boiling water to drink so that it teareth their bowels? How can sinful alcohol be allowed into the presence of the Allah in heaven? Either alcohol is sinful or it is not. Or is it because Allah is uncertain about the state of alcohol? Why is there inconsistency?

Can you explain this attribute of Allah? Why is He a changing God? Alcohol is some times sinful, and if it is, why does He allow sinful practices in heaven??? Then the heaven is not a holy place free of sin!!

(William Joseph Anon ; leaverome@hotmail.com)


The Torah and the Bible carry the news of death of Prophet Moses and Jesus.
This means they were not the words of God revealed on the Prophets but were inducted by the narrators.

Judged according to Faith

1. The Creator and Lord of whole universe, the heavens and hell and the mankind can assure any one of anything. No one has a right to question His authority. There can be no question about what He can do but He has told us that Justice is one of His attributes and not an iota of injustice shall be done to any one of the mankind on The Day of Judgment.

Being born in a Muslim family and blindly believing in what their ancestors had been believing, will not save any one. Whether one is born in a Muslim family, or a Christian, Jew or others, he will be judged according to his faith and works. Qur’an testifies to it.

"Believers (in Qur’an), Jews, Christians and the Sabians - whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and works righteousness - shall be rewarded by their Lord; They have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.” (2:62)

Faith or in other words loyalty with the only Creator and the Lord of all creation is the pre-requisite for the life of reward in the eternal life. Loyalty in short, means the belief and acceptance of His sole authority without ascribing a partner, wife or son to Him, believing in His judgement after the worldly life and believing in all the messengers appointed by Him. But the claim of loyalty or faith alone will not rescue any one. Actions and deeds are proof of one’s faith.

He cannot be faithful who claims to be loyal but acts against the wish of the Lord or the path shown by His prophets. You have to work righteously according to prophets’ instructions to prove your loyalty. He is a liar and hypocrite who professes faith and leads a life (as a whole) against His wish.

A Muslim is not one who is born in a Muslim family or who is declared a Muslim in government census or even who claims to be a Muslim by his own mouth. Muslim means one who submits to the will of God. The destination of a Muslim is paradise but not immediately after his death. There is an appointed Day of Judgment when all the dead shall be raised to life again and only after the records of their life are recalled and produced in an open court the dictates of justice shall be fulfilled.

Where is the Prophet?

2. This is not an appropriate question. Simple logic will tell you that since the prophets were the role model for the mankind to enter into paradise, they are destined for paradise before all the others. Maybe you doubt it and do not mind associating hell with them because the interpolators have distorted the piousness of the prophets in the Bible.

There are hundreds of evidences in Qur’an and Hadith that the ultimate destination of Prophet (Pbuh) and all the prophets is paradise after the Day of Judgment but you want to know where Prophet Muhammad is today? Again on the pattern of Bible, which has undergone thousands of interpolations, you think that Qur’an contains the history, narration and opinions offered by people after Prophet Muhammad. Torah was the God’s message or The Book revealed to Moses for Beni Israel but today’s book of Moses offers the information of his death and post-death events like the following.

“So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, over against ‘Beth-pe-or’ but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” (Deut. 34:5,6)

Clearly the above lines are not the revelations of God to Moses. They have been added to The Books of Moses long after his passing away. Similarly in today’s gospels, we find a narration about Jesus:

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

Above are not the words of gospel told by Jesus. They are said to be the words of a person Mark who reportedly wrote them long after Jesus’ departure. Jesus himself never said anything about sitting on the right hand of God.

Qur’an is the unadulterated word of God. It comprises of the words spoken by the Prophet (Pbuh) exactly as revealed to him by Allah. Even those who do not believe it to be the Word of God, acknowledge that every word in Qur’an, we find today, was spoken by Muhammad (Pbuh). How do you expect to find a direct statement about where he is today?

You cannot answer this question about Jesus Christ. What would you say if I ask you: “Where is Jesus today? Can the ‘Gospel told by Jesus’ give any clues/answer to this? I am not talking about what you believe or what the later writers have added to his Gospel. I am talking about the evidence in the words spoken by Jesus or God’s promise in the Gospel told by Jesus”. Though a Muslim knows on the authority of Hadiths that Jesus, the esteemed prophet of Allah is in heavens, you cannot produce a direct answer to the question, ‘where Jesus is today’ from the gospels reportedly written by four persons much after Jesus’ ascension (not to talk about later additions and interpolations). If he sat at the right hand of God after his ascension, is he still sitting there? Does he just keep sitting and sitting, doing nothing. Will he remain in heavens till his second coming? Remember, I am not talking about your belief. I want to know what the four writers of the gospels say about this? Many Christian clergymen have even claimed that he visited hell for three days after his death (God forbid). Is not such haggling with the words ridiculous?

Yes, we have clues from the Qur’an and Hadiths about the role of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) before the Last Day and the Day of Judgment but it serves none of our purpose to go into it. The prophets came to show us the right path, led the lives as according to Allah’s will and passed away. We must follow their footsteps for our success in the Life Hereafter instead of investigating which prophet is doing what and where at this particular moment.

God is One

3. Jesus of the English Bible is same as Isa (Pbuh) of Qur’an. The translators of the Bible have been changing his name in different languages. In Hindi Bible, it is ‘Yeeshu’ and in Urdu it is ‘Yesu’. In Hebrew, the name as pronounced today, is ‘Isu’, which is not much different from ‘Isa’ in Arabic. The most ancient available manuscripts of the Bible, are from the 4th Century CE in Latin and Greek which were not the languages spoken by Hazrat Isa or Jesus. We accept his real name as ‘Isa’ as told by the only safe and unadulterated word of God available.

The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is One according to all religious communities who believe in the existence of a Creator, be they Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or others. They invoke Him by different attributive names in different languages. Incidentally Allah is the only name whose root is found to form words for ‘The worshipped’ in all the original languages of all the scriptures. It is Ila in Sanskrit, Lah in Pali and Eloh in Hebrew. We believe that God of Jews (see Mat. 22:34-38) and the God of Jesus Christ (see Jn. 17:3) is Our God and the only God of all universe. We call Him by different attributive Names.

Alcohol

4. All over the world, the bad effects of intoxicants and liquors are being felt and efforts are being made to check the menace. If you do not think so it is your personal opinion against the collective wisdom. The Bible says: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)

Alcohol in itself is not sinful. Drinking it is sin because God has prohibited it. God is not opposed to our pleasures, entertainment or enjoyment but our pleasures must not be at the cost of other’s discomfitures. Parents, spouse, children, other family members, neighbours, colleagues and other people of the society are affected too and the balance of the society is disturbed. Qur’an acknowledges that intoxicants have some advantages but their negative consequences are greater than their benefits. So God prohibited the drinks that may give a little pleasure to someone at the cost of others at often their own interests. While asking us to stay away from such pleasures that harm others in this very short life, He promised them multitudes of such pleasures in the eternal life where the balance of the society will not be disturbed. And others will not be harmed through their pleasures.

Besides the rewards of paradise will be different from the things we know here though their appearances and names be the same as here for the sake of identification. The promise of a reward loses its appeal if the recipient knows nothing about it, especially when the promise is made in lieu of staying away from some personal pleasures. The promise of meat means nothing to a person who does not know anything about the taste of meat. Therefore the things promised in the paradise are in the likeness of things people desire here and bear the same names too, so that they may have some vague idea of the reward they would get. It has however been made clear that the promised rewards shall be far superior to their counterparts here. The drinks the people of paradise will get will give unimaginable more pleasure than the drinks we know but the hangover or the bad effects will not be there. This has been explained in Hadiths but the Qur’an has also hinted that the things given there would be in similitude to the things but not exactly the same, they knew here. “...Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they (will identify them with fruits of the world and) say: This is what we were fed with before - For they are things in similitude...” (2:25)

Thus though they will be identified as drinks but will be different from wines here, as they will not carry bad effects of wines here. The word ‘Tahoor’ (pure, wholesome, clean) is associated with those drinks. “Their Lord will give them pure, wholesome and clean beverage to drink.” (76:21) We should try to follow the path of Prophet instead of fighting over which Prophet is doing what at a particular moment. Liquour has been prohibited because one’s pleasure causes other’s discomfiture.

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Freedom of Will and Action

Q. Allah says in the Qur’an, “la hawla wa la quwwatha illa billah” (there is no power other than the one with Allah). Yes, no one can act on their own, whatever their status, except with the power and help of Allah. It is Allah who is helping us to act; even the smallest movement of our fingers is due to Allah providing us His power”.

This is a question from one of my non-Muslim friends, Karthekeyan. I tried my best by explaining him that selection of evil and good is in Humans hand for which humans are fully responsible, but he is not fully convinced with it, can any one bring about proper explanation for this so that it will help him as well us all of us.

(Anas M ; anasm@inf.com)

A. No one can act on his own except by Allah’s Will. This is true. If it is His will that He grant freedom of choice to His bondsmen in their actions in some spheres and not interfere in their intentions to choose good or bad, then who is to stop Him from fulfilling His will and who has a right to object to it or even say that he is not satisfied?

Consider a man engages a servant and puts him on probation. He has fixed close circuit cameras and hidden microphones all over the place to keep a watch over him. If the servant does not perform his appointed duty or misappropriates the property, he lets him do it for a limited time of his choosing, though he can interfere and stop him from acting against his liking. What would you call this situation? Is the servant misbehaving by his Lord’s will? The boss has given him freedom to do wrong for a limited time only to judge him after the expiry of the probation period. The servant is acting on his own but at the same time his actions are by his Lord’s will because he knew and had powers to stop him from misappropriation. You or your friend may probably understand the meaning of the following verses now:

“If it had been Allah’s plan they would not have taken false gods: but We have not made you their keeper, nor are you their guardian.” (6:107)

“...If Allah had willed they would not have done so: but leave alone them and their inventions.” (6:137)

“If it had been the Lord’s will they would all have believed all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe!” (10:99)

The Lord tells the Prophet (Pbuh) force any one to faith. Had it been His will, to force them to act according to His bidding, none would have disobeyed. It was His will that those who chose to go astray, He will let them go astray. Their time of probation will ultimately come to an end and they will be called to reckoning on an appointed day.

He has clearly declared about man: “Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm in order to try him: so We gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight. We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (76:2,3)

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News from Islamic World | Community Roundup | Editorial | Reader's Comments | Community Initiative | Investigation | Features | Muslim Education | Children's Corner | Understanding Qur'an | Hadith | Book Review | Islam and Science | Our Dialogue | Culture | Women in Islam | Religion | Why I Embraced Islam | Matrimonial | Search new | Subscription | Guest Room | Previous Issue | HOME | Islamic Links | Al-Nasr Exports | Preserve Flowers

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