| 1) MUSLIMS, SECTISM & DEVELOPMENT OF QURAN
2) IGNORANCE BASED ISLAMIC BELIEFS & POVERTY
1) MUSLIMS, SECTISM & DEVELOPMENT OF QURAN
As far as islam is concerned the muslims are divided as to what islam is, just like the other people of other religions. Each sect claims they are the only ones who have the true islam and everyone else is wrong. There are sects within sects, some believe the quran as the original book which the prophet left behind others do not. They say, the original quran that was revealed to the prophet has been lost through quarrels after the death of the prophet. The prophet left that quran with his daughter Fatima and her descendents. They looked after the quran till the twelth imaam disappeared with it. The first imaam is Fatimasâ€™s husband Ali and the last Mehdi. They believe in the authority of their imaams ie allegedly heavenly appointed infallible religious leaders. Those who believe in the quran that exists today they are divided into various groups. Some believe they should only and only follow the quran and leave the rest alone while the others believe in hadith as well. Now those who believe in hadith they are also divided into a few groups. Some believe in one set of hadith books eg sunnies believe in books like Mota of Malik, Mota of Muhammad, Masnad of Humble, collection of Bukhari, collection of Muslim, collection of Tirmizi, collection of Tabrani, collection Ibn MAJA, collection of NISAI and collection of Abu Dawoud etc etc. These collections contain thousands of narrations.
The others have their own set of hadith books eg shias believe in collection called Saheefa of Ali,, Saheefa of Jafr, Musaf of Ali, Musaf of Fatima and Jameh Alkafi which is in three parts Asool alkafi, Fruh alkafi and Rozatul Kafi and contains about 16000 reports. There are yet others who believe in countless hadith books. Each sect disregards other sectâ€™s hadith books or books of fiqh. Moreover each set of hadith books held by one sect is in conflict with the sets held by other sects. The people who accept hadith authentic are divided yet further about the need for books of fiqh. And those who believe fiqh authentic they each have there own sets of books of fiqh. So that ensures there is not and there cannot be an islamic state in the world, for people of different sects will always be fighting between themselves dividing the muslim countries into parts according to their sectarian beliefs. On top of all this each sect has its own interpretation of the quran, the hadith and the fiqh and their followers are always ready to kill each other. As far as the quran is concerned, we are told that it was originally written in ancient Arabic on animal bones, skin and other materials. It was very different from what it is today.
Most Arabs were very backward as a people. Their language was yet undeveloped. It did not have dots to distinguish letters nor it had diacritical marks for differentiation of very long and very short vowel sounds. Some letters shared the very same shape or symbol. For example, letters ba,ta,tha,na & ya had exactly the same shape and were only distinguishable later on by means of addition of different number of dots at appropriate places with respect to the relevant shapes. Dots are numbered from none to three. They are placed in, above or below a shape. Likewise letters ja,ha & kha, letters da & za, letters ra & za, letter sa & sha, letters sa & da, letters, ta & za, letters a & gha, and finally letters fa & qa used exacly the same shape. This is obvious from the copies of the quran that are still around from the olden times in various museums & libraries through out the world. As a result people of different places used to read the quran by making sense of the text. In doing so there developed variations in recitations of the quran.
When islam expanded and people of different places came into contact with each other, they began to question each othersâ€™ recitations of the quran. So according to sunnies, Abubakar, the first ruler after the prophet, thought it better to create a textually fixed copy of the quran. We are told that somehow he managed to do that despite the fact that there were no means of writing nor many people knew how to read and write. You could count the number of people who could read and write on fingers in those days. We are told that most people had the quran in their memory rather than on the paper but there was always a battle going on for expansion of islam and Muhammad was always making changes in the quranic text because he claimed it was being revealed bit by bit. Under such circumstances who had the time to know the book from start to finish in order or correctly? In fact the prophet never told anyone to reduce the whole quran into a textually fixed written book otherwise there would not be any reason for anyone to write it down again. Also it would have been silly to write it down in a fixed codex as the quranic text was going through many changes due to the way it was allegedly revealed ie bit by bit with abrogations here and there. So no matter how you look at the quran it seems silly for god to leave his final universal message at the mercy of ordinary people or even on his prophet instead of himself.
Moreover as there were many variations of the quran available at the time there also ought to be mistakes as well. This is the reason we are told that people were told to gather the quran and if anything seems wrong therein then correct it. However, how could anyone know what should the quran be and what it should not be? Looking at the state of the knowledge of those people who hardly knew how to read and write, the way they were busy fighting holy wars, the way the prophet made changes in the quran, the length of time needed for memorizing such a lengthy text perfectly, it seems odd that they would spell the quran correctly or have the correct fixed text for writing it down when even the alphabet system was not yet perfected. However we are told that a copy of the quran was prepared, which was obviously different from the copies the others had in their private possession, and given to the first ruler after the prophet ie Abubakar. He never ordered anyone to destroy variant copies of the quran but he did not get the time to publish it either so it was passed onto Umar the second ruler after the prophet. He did not order the destruction of variant copies of the quran nor had he the time to publish the copy he received. People continue copying the quran from each other which magnified the wrong quranic versions as time went by. Umar did not pass on the copy of the quran on to the 3rd Caliph for some reason rather Uthman the 3rd Caliph was forced by circumstances to get it and publish it because muslims of different areas began fighting over differences they found in the quranic copies they had. This is how important the correct preservation of divine message was to the founders of islam. This brings in a new dimension to origin of Islam. It means originally muslims were fighting a political battle, first to get out of control of their chiefs and then to try and takeover their power seat. The quran only became something important when people thought they were getting somewhere as regard their objective.
Anyway we are told by the sunnies that Uthman ordered that all other variant copies of the quran are to be destroyed and since then all people had the very same copy of the quran as we have it today. However, the fact is all people did not destroy the variant copies of the quran and a few of them survived for centuries after the time of Uthman. In fact, we have different quranic texts even today about which most muslims are unaware. Moreover in time of Uthman there broke out a power struggle between various relatives of the prophet amongst muslim groups and Uthman was killed by one of the factions and so things went from bad to worse. Many people have written many books about the original collections of the quran as well as the variant texts of the quran. The stories are found in books of tafaseer and sharah books of ahadith written by muslim scholars like Alama Abubakar Jlal uddin Sayooti, Imaam Nuvi, Alama Ibn Hajr Makki and Mullah Ali Qari etc etc. As I said already my objective is putting forth the fundamental arguments for educational purposes not references. I believe in the strength of the argument itself rather than personalities. It is important to understand the gravity of this point. What is wrong is wrong no matter who says it and that includes god, prophet, saint, you and I, scholar or not.
According to shias (who dismiss the existing quran as made up by the earlier muslim rulers) their final imam took the original copy of the quran and disappeared with it. It was passed onto him through generations of Ali the forth ruler who was paternal cousin and son in law of the prophet who was given this copy of the quran by the prophet himself. The imam was called imam Mahdi who will reappear at the time of second coming of Jesus and bring the original quran with him. The existing quran according to them has been edited and manipulated because of power struggle through out centuries by various original tribal groups or dynasties to suit themselves and to justify themselves. They say the original quran was in forty parts not thirty. The parts which contained information about rights of Ali as the rightful successor of the prophet were discarded from the sunni quran. There were suras in the quran which were named like Alvalaya, Ali and Nurain etc, which showed glory of Ahlay Bayet household of the prophet ie Ali, Fatima, Hussan and Husain. The quran also talked about twelve godly appointed imaams known as the innocent ones ie MASOOMIN.
Not only that muslims dispute the text of the quran like christians and others but also it was not enough for muslim sects to have the same copy of the quran to avoid quarrels between themselves, for interpretational differences arose every now and again even amongst sunnies and shias, leading people to form more and more sects. This happened because of power struggles between the prophet related tribes, which broke out each time a ruler died or was killed as each group tried to justify itself as a legitimate successor. Later there arose divisions amongst Arab muslims themselves and thereafter between Arabs and non-Arabs. So islam met the same fate as other religions in the world. The Arabian built muslim empire collapsed in such a way never to be rebuilt again. The truth is that if a religion becomes instrument of the rich for exploiting the ordinary people, ignoring their needs, it cannot survive their wrath when they realise it. Remember, muslims came to power by getting support of mostly desperate people for change for the better so when muslims began taking more interest in power struggles on one hand and in superstition as oppose to materialism in this world on the other, people became disillusioned with islam and its leaders and it toppled. To put it in another way, islam also became a mechanism for the rich and powerful muslims to exploit the weak and the poor amongst themselves when they could no longer conquer any more countries. Therefore sooner or later it had to meet the same fate as the Makkan paganism.
People always join groups to accomplish something but when they canâ€™t they leave. Even if they are successful in accomplishing what they want yet their need to progress or next step forward if they do not see forth coming then again they see no reason to continue the group. This showed up even during Muhammadâ€™s own life ie when his authority became established in Madina people began to demand ease and freedom for which they joined Muhammad. These people are mentioned in the quran as hypocrites who keep on plotting against Muhammad as he used to plot against Meccans. Unfortunately they were not as clever as Muhammad, because he had done such a thing himself already so he was well aware of their tactics and strategies. However such things ie power struggles continued between muslims till Muhammadâ€™s Arab empire was brought down by muslims themselves and they still continue today in forms of sects. How Muhammad built his Arab empire can be found from history books that have been written reasonably critically. The muslim point of view is very biased one in this regard and therefore must not be trusted at all unless it stands to reason.
2) IGNORANCE BASED ISLAMIC BELIEFS & POVERTY
The quran states sins of prophets, miracles of prophets and saints. Slave taking or making is allowed in islam. Muslims believe in virgin birth of Jesus and Jesus being raised to heavens alive and that he will descend on earth near the time of the end of the world. The quran also tells that a human is made of two things ie spirit and body. When a person dies his spirit remains alive with personality intact. Moreover muslims believe Muhammad is alive in his tomb both in spirit and in body and he is aware of all his followers and that dead people in general can hear the living who come to visit their graves etc. Muslims also believe in existence of various kinds of invisible beings called angels -who have been created from light- and the demons (who have been created from fire) and spirits. These beings can affect the material world, can be controlled by people and people can be controlled by them etc etc. There is no difference in end result if we believe in created gods or angels and devils etc instead of cause and effect or causes and effects. The thinking level of people does not improve and they still end up refusing to take on the responsibility for themselves. This is why muslims were always poor and they are poor except for some who ruled them. Or when they went out to wage wars on people to plunder and pillage and to make slaves and maids of them. Muslims claim credit for inventions but the people who invented things were secular minded with muslim names employed by muslim rulers to solve any problems the rulers came across not that religious minded muslims had a spiritual urge for inventions. The spiritual demand of muslims was always to live as simple lives as possible.
To claim the credit for inventions muslims need to be secularists because material inventing is all about satisfying material needs. That is what every inventor did throughout times and places including all the animals, birds or insects. Inventions were pure and simple evolution based by everything not only by humans but other living creatures as well. The quran is based on psyche of the people in Arabia at the time. It is informative because Muhammad and his close associates traveled widely and came across a lot of different civilisations eg jewish, christian, parsee, hindu, budhist, chines etc etc. They tried to ensure that whatever was criticised in other religions was not part of the quran but it is still here. For example, miracles by various prophets are mentioned, superstitious beings eg angels, demons, spirits and devils etc are mentioned and so is magic. Moreover if we look at the story of Adamâ€™s creation it is very much like a myth ie god making Adamâ€™s body and then breathing life into it and asking angels to bow down to him but devil refuses to do so and he is cursed for ever. This story is like the ones that were always in fashion ie every people created some sort of explanation about the beginning of the universe or human beings or other creatures and things. One will find that quran repeats same stories in various chapters for which there is no need instead some other useful information could have been given. This shows the author ran out of ideas, so repetition was used to lengthen the text to create elusion of a hefty divine scripture.
In the quran people are treated like children who are encouraged to believe for a reward or threat of punishment in here as well as hereafter. One can see that if a scripture forces people to believe on the basis of threats and punishment rather than proof and reasoning then that cannot be a divine scripture, because god is supposed to be rational, loving and kind being not a terrorist who goes around terrorising his poor helpless creatures. The quran does not base itself on proof and reasoning instead it tells what happened to people who denied god in the past ie they were destroyed by god, which goes to show this god is an emotional wreck. One can see how long it takes to educate a human being to be a descent member of a civilised human society yet god destroyed civilizations in wholesale ie massively. So what can people expect from such a god who instead of giving people the clearcut proof, the clearcut way of proving and the necessities that go with it (eg time for getting educated in order to be able to examine the proof etc) he thinks it easy to get rid of a them. The quran is full of stories of destruction of this people and that people but fails to mention any sensible proofs and the ways to prove them. The sensible people of Arabia also accused Muhammad of making up stories and that was also one of their their reasons for not believing him. These things which were so obvious to contemporaries of Muhammad are now ignored by lots of people who follow the quran. If people realised the faults that were pointed out by the people of the time which are quoted in the quran and in other alleged divine scriptures then they are quite sufficient to make people think before accepting them as divine revelations. The quran tells us that Muhammadâ€˜s contemporaries accused him of a group effort for producing the quran. This means the quran was not work of Muhammad alone but of many others who conspired with him for the betterment of themselves and their tribes or people. What Muhammad did was not any different from jews or christians etc etc, because they too gathered their own people first and when they had sufficient force they moved out against the other people in order to expand.
If one looks at mughal empire that was built by the great Changes Khan, that too started with gathering of mughal tribes and when there was sufficient force the empire was created and expanded from east to west likewise did his descendent Taimur etc. As far as peopleâ€™s reputation is concerned, people build reputations particularly around a religious figure as they go along. Of course anyone who was able to create an empire and expanded it was extraordinary person, for such things are not easy to do but people have been doing so always. Some empires lasted more than others but none of them was divine so that it could not be defeated. In fact as soon as Muhammad died there arose serious disputes as to who is his rightful successor and such battles continued for centuries and they still continue between sunnies and shias for example.
It is important for people to realise there is no god therefore no divine scripture or prophet or any way to prove divine origin of anything. We cannot accept any religion the way it is, for there are many wrong ideas in all religions therefore we must invent a way of life that is good for our survival and to do so we must learn to work together for the greater good of mankind. It makes no sense whatsoever that why some people cannot accept existence of this universe all by itself, for accepting existence of an imperfect simple universe all by itself is easier as compare to existence of a god who is supposed to be all perfect and sophisticated being in every sense. If we accept that nothing can exist without something or someone creating it then god needs another god to create it so this becomes an unending cycle of gods. Since we have no proof of existence of a god then there should not arise any question of a creator. If we only follow our own assumptions and assume a god and give him powers over ourselves and attribute to him everything that is there or happens then again there is no end to it, for we can assume. whatever we wish about that god. It would have been different if there was a god who revealed himself to us and there was a clearcut proof for it and the clearcut way to prove it. Since all this is absent it is purely stupid to invent a god or gods and create a religion out of it and then decide all our life and death matters only and only on that basis alone.
The truth is, once we are free from baseless beliefs or superstition etc only and only then we will be able to concentrate on things which really matter for us eg eliminating ignorance, poverty, illiteracy, disease and creating a better life standard for ourselves. One of the main reasons for poverty could be the belief in a religion which puts much too much emphasis on spiritualism instead of balanced daily life and as a result simple minded people put too much effort in trying to be better spiritually rather than materially. Therefore as a consequence of that they get nothing from spiritualism because there is nothing to gain and they lose out materially as well, for they ignore their material needs because of their beliefs. This is the main reason for poverty in the world because if you do not take part in getting things for whatever reasons, you donâ€™t get them. If some generations of people live their lives like this ie isolating themselves from material world and the others live a bit more fulfilling lives then after some generations the difference between them will become obvious. At present west has become secular and democratic and so has advanced in scientific and technical knowledge and is therefore a better society compare to the east. There are more educated people who make efforts for things they need and as a result the whole countries are benefiting or reaping the fruits of doing so.
Western system is by no means perfect but it is better than all the other systems that exist in the world. I do not mean that there is no ignorance or poverty in the west at all but that it is much less than anywhere else in the world. People who allege to be divine messengers are ending up in pain and suffering and that tells us a lot about such people and their beliefs and where they are leading them and where they would lead us if we followed them. I am writing this essay only to help fellow human beings to think in a right way to better themselves through helping each other towards a better life. Religion only creates elusion of better life in hereafter and people fall for it without any questions while the world is real in which people can create a better life for themselves yet they ignore it or ask so many useless questions to keep to religion. All this because of the first indoctrination they received by their parents, teachers and society when they couldnâ€˜t reason things out. People can change but only if they come to realise that they are wrong. The problem is, who is going to tell them they are wrong and how? Because the first indoctrination cannot be undone unless these people are placed under similar situation and circumstances once again for unwinding. These people cannot be unwound easily, because they are no longer interested in anything other than what they have already learned through indoctrination.
One can see in the quran that when muslims see non-muslims having a better life than muslims they wish they too had a life like that but the prophet is told to discourage them, why? Because if he encouraged them to have such a life then he had to lead the way, which he couldnâ€™t, for that needed the knowledge which he did not have ie knowledge for growing wealth through personal thinking, planning and effort etc. In civilised societies wealth comes from mass inventions of needed or useful things, mass production of things and their mass distribution and by expanding these aspects. So instead he discouraged them by saying this life is too short for luxuries rather we should wait for next life and anyway god will punish these unbelievers through us in here as well as himself in hereafter so let them enjoy for a while and on that basis he created a party of bandits who robbed other civilised people in the name of holy wars. This clearly shows that muslims are bound to be poor and remain so by the nature of their very belief system. They only can be rich by robbing others and at the moment they cannot do that because other people have become well defended so there are no easy targets any more. Had they lived by inventing producing and distributing things they would have been a top civilisation the world has ever seen. Hence there is urgent need for change of direction for muslims and other religion based communities in order to make things better for themselves and others.