MUHAMMAD

 

The Paper was addressed to Evelyn Hammond.
It was published November 15, 2001

Dear Evelyn:

 

You asked:

 

----- Original Message -----

From: Evelyn Hammond

To: <epmoyer@netrax.net>

Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 3:33 PM

 

Dear Ernest - What are your thoughts about the current war and the Urantia community? How does it compare to the happenings you have anticipated for the world? I have a feeling that it may all come down to a war of religions in the end.
 
Evelyn

 

This response will go to a wide distribution.

 

Directly, the answer is yes. We have now entered, and will continue to deepen into a war of religions, in a manner totally unexpected. The first phase is the rise of Islam, and the countries of that religious faith. The second phase is the rise of a people directly subject to the influence of Caligastia. The third phase is the material destruction of our civilization.

 

My wife Peggy asked: "Who are these people? What do they want?" She was referring to the Muslim terrorists.

 

I replied that they live by their emotions, and that they are under religious delusion.

 

I shall explain.

 

Because of the importance for our understanding I shall enter into some detail, and divide this response into more than one post.

 

THE KORAN AND THE MUSLIM FAITH

 

The foundation of Muslim religious faith is the Koran.

 

But what is the Koran, and how did it come into existence?

 

The Koran is a channeled work, delivered piecemeal to Muhammad ibn Abdillah.

 

Following is a brief biographical sketch.

 

He was born in Mecca in 569 AD. His father died before he was born. His mother died soon after. He was raised by his grandfather and an uncle. He earned his living as a trader and was known as al-amin (the trustworthy one). Respected in the Arab community for his personal equanimity, he arbitrated the placement of a holy stone which had been subject to contest by local merchants. The event was a key moment for Muhammad. Thereafter he became absorbed in spiritual meditations. Like his grandfather, he would retire during the month of Ramadan to a cave in Jabal-an-Nur (mountain of light). There he prayed, meditated, and shared his meager provisions with travelers who passed by. When he was forty years old, in the fifth consecutive year of his retreats, he was visited one night towards the end of the month by an angel. The apparition announced that God had chosen him as His messenger to all mankind.

 

Deeply affected, he returned home and related to his wife what had happened, expressing his fears that it might have been something diabolic or the action of evil spirits. She consoled him, saying that he had always been a man of charity and generosity, helping the poor, the orphans, the widows and the needy, and assured him that God would protect him against all evil.

 

He received no further revelation for three years. The news of the first vision had spread and sceptics in the city began to mock at him and cut bitter jokes. They said that God had forsaken him.

During the next three years Muhammad gave himself more and more to prayers, to meditation, and to spiritual practices. The revelations then resumed and the apparition, who announced himself as the angel Gabriel, assured him that he had not been forsaken. On the contrary it was He who had guided him to the right path. According to Ibn Ishaq, a biographer, the first revelation came to Muhammad during his sleep. Later revelations came in full wakefulness.

 

Muhammad began his preaching mission secretly, first among intimate friends, then among members of his own tribe, and thereafter publicly in the city and suburbs. He insisted on the belief in One Transcendent God, in Resurrection and the Last Judgment. He invited men to charity and beneficence. Since he was illiterate he asked others to preserve in writing the revelations he was receiving. He instructed his adherents to learn them by heart. Such practice would ensure survival of the revelations. This continued through his life, since the Koran was not revealed all at one time, but in fragments as occasions arose.

 

Muhammad was instructed to call this religion "Islam," i.e. submission to the will of God.

 

The number of his adherents increased gradually, but with his denunciation of paganism, opposition grew more intense. This soon degenerated into physical torture of himself and of those who had embraced his religion. They were stretched on burning sands, cauterized with hot irons, and imprisoned with chains. Some of them died. In despair, Muhammad advised his companions to quit their native town and take refuge in Abyssinia "where governs a just ruler, in whose realm nobody is oppressed."

Unfortunately, Muhammad was mistaken. In Abyssinia, the group was again subject to intense persecution, cut off from food, and outside contacts. Local leaders sent an ultimatum to the group, demanding that Muhammad be excommunicated, outlawed, and delivered for execution. Every member of the group refused. Some of them succumbed yet nobody would hand over Muhammad. After three dire years, during which the victims were obliged to eat even crushed hides, four or five non-Muslims, more humane than the rest and belonging to different clans, proclaimed publicly their denunciation of the unjust boycott. The boycott was lifted, yet owing to the privations family members died. Muhammad died in 632.

 

We can see from the above biographical sketch that much debate exists over the actual history of the Koran. While Christianity resisted critical study of the Bible well into modern times, Muslims have offered even stronger resistance to historical and critical examination of the Koran. They do not want anyone to challenge a direct revelation from God.

 

An example of modern textual studies of the Koran is found in the Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. Jane McAuliffe, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Toronto, is general editor. Much of this new examination was inspired by the accidental discovery of early manuscripts of the Koran in 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a, in Yemen. The Antiquities Authority of Yemen, recognizing the importance of the find, persuaded German scholars to examine the documents. The German government funded further investigation. In 1981, Gerd R. Puin, a specialist in Arabic calligraphy and Koranic paleography based at Saarland University, in Saarbrüücken, was sent to organize and oversee the restoration project. Some 35,000 photographs were made, but open publication of the text has been delayed for political reasons. Potential damage to the notion of a perfect Koran, given by God, was persuasive in those decisions. Many modern scholars, delving into Islamic history, feel the actual text of the present Koran is an edited version of earlier manuscripts.

 

Clearly, from Muhammad's personal history, and the form of his revelations, the Koran could not have been revealed as a perfect continuous document. If the piecemeal text was written by different persons over a period of twenty years, and those pieces were copied by others, surely there were diverse versions. Since Muhammad was illiterate, and since his revelations continued to the end of his life, other people had to compile those texts into a more complete document. This embryonic Koran would then have been subject to human editing to polish it into a canonical text. A similar process took place to make the Jewish Old Testament into a canonical text. Three hundred years passed from the time of Jesus until opposing views of what were considered reliable documents were reconciled to what we know today as the canonical Christian New Testament. The Koran differs in that it is claimed as a totally revealed text, not as a compilation of different authors. However, we can see from Muhammad's history that the Koran also has been subject to human selection and canonization.

 

But these facts are mostly unknown to fundamentalist Muslims, just as fundamentalist Christians are unaware of the historical path of the New Testament. Hence, Muslims vociferously defend the foundation of their faith. Christians were willing to burn people for heresy. Should we be surprised that Muslims are willing to kill those who challenge the principle tenets of their faith? However, a basic difference exists between the religious principles of Christianity and those of Islam, as I shall show.

 

We know the cost for challenge brought against the Koran. Salman Rushdie was nearly killed for his novel, The Satanic Verses. Although Rushdie's work was fiction, he used it as a pretext to expose what he felt was the satanic nature of the book.

 

The Internet site

http://www.trill-home.com/rushdie.html

makes the following remarks, a succinct statement of the situation we face.

 

"To many Western readers The Satanic Verses appears as a brilliant attack on religious bigotry. To many Muslims, East and West, it appears as a vicious series of insults to many of their most cherished beliefs. There are other positions: liberal and conservative non-Muslims deplore his irreverence, and liberal Muslims deplore the fatwa against Rushdie and support his right to publish, or even admire his work; some American and British non-Muslim critics have been critical of him. But the important debate, the one that makes a difference in the real world, is the one between the extremes, and between those extremes there remains a seemingly unbridgeable gulf."

To quote another review:

 

"Muslims have disagreed over the exact interpretation of Koranic verses as much as followers of other religions have disagreed over their own scriptures. One of the sources of the richness of Islamic intellectual history is the variety of interpretations provided for the same verses. Muslim thinkers often quote the Prophet to the effect that every verse of the Koran has seven meanings, beginning with the literal sense, and as for the seventh and deepest meaning, God alone knows that."

 

And so the entire world has now become subject to preferred interpretations of the Koran.

 

Here my discussion is based on a current published version, subject to the vagaries of English translation. This was obtained from

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/koran.html

 

The Holy Qur'an

Translator: M. H. Shakir

Prepared for the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center.

 

Other sites with the text of the Koran may be found at:

http://www.alhanif.com/1/lessons.html

http://www.unn.ac.uk/societies/islamic/index.htm

 

A summary of the history of the Koran, from the perspective of a devout Muslim, may be found at the last site. This site also offers the Arabic text.

 

MUHAMMAD'S VISITATIONS

 

Some idea of the form of Muhammad's communication may be found in the following passage. (The numbers are chapters, known as Suras, and verses in the Koran.)

 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Q86.1: I swear by the heaven and the comer by night;

Q86.2: And what will make you know what the comer by night is?

Q86.3: The star of piercing brightness.

 

We can see, from this classic example of a psychic experience, that Muhammad was visited by a Spirit Personality. Clearly we have a phenomenon that resembles reports of other "revelations."

 

Compare John Philip Newbrough. Newbrough has similar visionary experiences that led to the origin of the book of Oahspe. However, the book of Oahspe can lay more valid claim to a "perfect" document since it was performed on a primitive typewriter through automatic writing without the conscious intervention of Newbrough. See also the reports by Edgar Cayce, Sun Myung Moon, and many others. For a detailed discussion see my book, Spirit Entry Into Human Mind. As the Apostle Paul said: "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

 

MUSLIM INTERPRETATIONS

 

Following are examples of instructions fundamentalist Muslims feel under obligation to obey:

 

Q2.90: Evil is that for which they have sold their souls -- that they should deny what Allah has revealed, out of envy that Allah should send down of His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases; so they have made themselves deserving of wrath upon wrath, and there is a disgraceful punishment for the unbelievers.

 

Modern materialistic godlessness is viewed as a selling of the soul. Godless minds deny revelation. Therefore they deny that Allah is real, or that he could reveal. Certainly Islam is more than just another evolutionary religion. It is based on a "Revelation." Hence godless people should expect wrath upon wrath. Whether that wrath should be brought my Allah, or by those who believe in him as his agents, is subject to interpretation by Muslims. The disgraceful punishment wrought today by Muslim fundamentalists is viewed as the wrath of Allah.

 

Q2.98: Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His apostles and Gabriel and Michael, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.

 

While God as a Judge is taught in both the Old and New Testament, here he is portrayed as an enemy of those who are enemies to him. This view helps us to understand the vehement difference in conduct between Islam and those of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Enmity is at the center of their regard for other religious faiths. All infidels must be condemned and destroyed. They believe they have Allah as the inspiration and force behind their actions. Christians, on the other hand, teach differently. See discussion below.

 

Q3.91: Surely, those who disbelieve and die while they are unbelievers, the earth full of gold shall not be accepted from one of them, though he should offer to ransom himself with it, these it is who shall have a painful chastisement, and they shall have no helpers.

 

The wealth of the western nations is regarded as the gold they offer to betray Allah. That wealth, enjoyed by multitudes of liberal Muslims, brings betrayal of loyalty to Allah. The gold that has flowed into the Muslim coffers through the purchase of oil is essentially a betrayal of their religious teachings. We can see how easy fundamentalist Muslims can carry this teaching to the belief that the western nations will have a painful chastisement.

 

Q4.151: These it is that are truly unbelievers, and We have prepared for the unbelievers a disgraceful chastisement.

 

In the eyes of devout Muslims, more specific instructions are given:

 

Q8.36: Surely those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (people) from the way of Allah; so they shall spend it, then it shall be to them an intense regret, then they shall be overcome; and those who disbelieve shall be driven together to hell.

 

Q8.37: That Allah might separate the impure from the good, and put the impure, some of it upon the other, and pile it up together, then cast it into hell; these it is that are the losers.

 

Q8.38: Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed.

 

Q8.39: And fight with them until there is no more disbelief and religion will be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.

 

Here Muslims are instructed to fight those who disbelieve. The fact that fundamentalist Muslims feel they can operate as the agents of God should surprise no Jew or Christian. Our western history is full of individuals and groups who felt they were God's special servants. Witness the Catholic Holy Inquisition. Witness the Christian Crusades that attempted to wrest control of Jerusalem and the ancient lands from the Muslims, and that expressed such enmity against them. Consider how Muslims despise of the word Crusade today. Modern policies of the western nations in establishing a new Israel, and adamant pursuit by the Jews to establish residence and control of all the "Promised Land" is seen merely as a new Crusade. The present battle is merely another campaign in that long struggle. Fundamentalist Muslims believe that in the end they will be victorious, and then only Allah will be worshiped.

 

Unfortunately, modern technology has provided the power for individuals or small groups to wreck terror and wide destruction on all mankind.

 

Modern secular Muslims, much of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, Hosni Mubarrak of Egypt, as examples, and the intellectual elite of Muslim countries, do not accept fundamentalist interpretations of such passage as guides to their lives. Further, many Muslims who have reaped the benefit of modern commercialism and physical benefits are loathe to follow such precepts. This includes the majority of Muslims who now live in the United States, Europe, and other industrialized countries.

 

Fundamentalist Muslims consider such groups as hypocrites.

 

Q66.9: O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be hard against them; and their abode is hell; and evil is the resort.

 

Since fundamentalist Muslims believe strongly in such teachings, and since many Muslims of more liberal views are uncertain of their individual positions, a dichotomy in policy exists for all Muslim countries, swinging between the opposite poles of secular compromise to religious extremism. Jews are a cancer in the "homeland" of the Muslim world, a land they believe belongs to all of the children of Abraham, not merely the Jews. When Egypt signed a peace agreement with the Jews Muslim fundamentalists were outraged. The Saudi Arabian ruling family today has many members who are persuaded to fundamentalist views. Our military presence in Saudi Arabia is a festering sore in the side of Islamic fundamentalism. As allegiances become more polarized the Saudi Arabian government will return to fundamentalist policies. The current arrangement of the United States with Muslim Pakistan is a temporary convenience. They too will revert to fundamentalist Islam. They have nuclear weapons, an ominous sign in a volatile and uncertain political country. Hence, religious forces will produce a domino effect that will ripple through all the Muslim nations and bring the conditions for the destruction of our civilization.

 

(More detail on Muhammad's life may be found in such source as the Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001.)