// 99 names and nothing like him. Contradiction in Koran.
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Author Topic: 99 names and nothing like him. Contradiction in Koran.  (Read 7620 times)
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LukeS
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« on: Sep 05, 2008 04:29 PM »


Allah has 99 names like king and loving etc all of which get their meaning from secular life and can apply to humans or objects. For example Henry the 8th was a king.

Now in surah Ikhlas it is said "and there is nothing in existence like unto him".

So how do you reconcile that there are kings (like Allah, insofar as he is a king), and there is allegedly nothing like him?

It is proven that children learn the meanings of terms like "alive", "king" and "high" from secular material examples (who would contest that?) and they certainly do not have innate understanding of arabic "hayy" etc. Therefore the world is the ground for conceiving of Allah, so he must be *like* things in the world.

If you can conceive of Allah, the koran has a contradiction.

Helllp!
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 05, 2008 04:36 PM »

salam

He is King of kings, He begets not nor was He begotten. He is the most Beneficient the most Merciful (you can't call Henry VIIIth that now, certainly not from the perspectives of Anne Boleyn, and Anne of Cleves, don't suppose Katherine Par would say so either).


You may as well be aware, that nothing I say, or anyone else does will sway your thoughts, and nothing you say will sway our belief, it may be for the best to live and let live.



Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 05, 2008 05:26 PM »

Hi Luke!

There is absolutely no contradiction. There is none like Him. He is Eternal. He is God, the one and only. Who do you know that have all those 99 aspects together?
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 05, 2008 06:54 PM »

Sorry did you feel threatened?
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 05, 2008 08:00 PM »

Sorry, did you feel like that was a real contradiction?

Luke we welcome people who are genuinely learning and asking questions. But not those who are not here to learn or understand. We dont' expect everyone in the world to agree with Islam or become Muslim, but a basic understaning and respect for it's beliefs and open-mindedness is something everyone should have for every tradition, muslim or non-muslim.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 05, 2008 09:10 PM »

So lets use logic to debate then.

"King" is an attribute of both person and God, therefore they are alike.
"Hearing" is another (unless you're deaf).

Quote from: jannah
Luke we welcome people who are genuinely learning and asking questions. But not those who are not here to learn or understand. We dont' expect everyone in the world to agree with Islam or become Muslim, but a basic understaning and respect for it's beliefs and open-mindedness is something everyone should have for every tradition, muslim or non-muslim

Pleeeze don't get all huffy and offended like this is a personal ssault (or am I misreading the text), or an chance at being plain rude, I am at least hoping to present a logical point of view and would hope for a logical, reasoned answer. Just claiming critique breaks etiquette is to isolate oneself from the wider rational community and is basically a rational auto-destruction. I am not here to hurt but to discuss an issue. If you have taken offence *I am not a troll*, sorry, I'll try to be more sympathetic, but making a point and challenging your beliefs might cause alarm, just as I am alarmed by some religious views. If you wan't me to "learn and understand" and "respect and open-mindedness" meaning simply and uncritically convert, wouldn't that be to degrade the whole affair?

I have heard that Islamic apologetics are not as advanced as Christian because they have not had centuries of open debate like the West after the collapse of the tyrannical clergy. If you're stuck, then ask for help from others, and you might be bonded together in friendship.

I am for an open debate, are you?


Quote from: Blackrose
There is absolutely no contradiction.
Well just saying so doesn't make it true now, you'll have to put an argument together if you know what one is Kiss.

Quote from: Blackrose
There is none like Him. He is Eternal. He is God, the one and only.

Yes, I have heard the claims of Muslims before, but well, they are more shrouded in mystique than proven on paper.

Quote
Who do you know that have all those 99 aspects together?
A rhetorical argument?* That misses the point entirely. One can say a red pen is like a red car, even though the 'only thing' they have in common is being red. They are similar, alike, because they are both red. The pen not having wheels and the pen not having an engine is besides the point! Likewise, a deaf king is like Allah even if he does not hear, for they are both kings.

Ps I love the forum set up, very professional. Wink

pps
Quote from: Blackrose
Hi Luke!
"Hi" back and salam this ramadan! Do not be afraid the devils are chained. You can earn points with Allah by debating I am sure (or would be sure if I was not an evil atheist).

*An argument with a implicit premiss is called an enthymeme.
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 05, 2008 10:30 PM »

salam


Why would anyone want you to convert?

I find the very idea rather disturbing to be honest.

My answer to the OP I've already posted. I find nothing wrong with a live and let live attitude. I don't want to convert you as it happens. Religion is a very personal issue, if you want to be an 'evil atheist' thats completely your own choice I very firmly go by the 'let there be no compulsion in religion...' stance, the idea of forcing you to conform to a life that you do not believe in is repugnant to me.

Years ago at school, we had a debate in RE, the class was split between those who believed in God (regardless of religion), and those who didn't believe in God.

The ones who didn't believe in God (about four pupils who had been born in the Roman Catholic faith interestingly), insisted that if there was a God he must have been born and if he was born there was someone greater than this God. One person was then randomly picked to answer the question.....me.

My answer was God is eternal, with no beginning and no end. So no birth no death, God is forever, the ones who believed in God got it, the CofE teacher got it, and tried to explain my answer.
But, the ones who professed to not believe in any God didn't get it. So debating the issue was pointless on both sides.


Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 06, 2008 12:18 AM »

Dear Luke,

Welcome to Madinat al-Muslimeen.

If I understand you correctly, your argument is the following:

Since God is loving, and human beings are also loving, there is a similarity between God and human beings, which is a concept that contradicts the Qur'anic verse, "There is nothing like Him."

I don't buy your argument.  I would argue that despite the fact that God is loving, and human beings are also loving, that does not make them similar to each other.

How often do we use the word 'love' to refer to different feelings?  I love pasta.  I also love my newborn son.  Yet, are both feelings the same?  I must say that they are not.

Just because I use the same word for different things, it does not make them all the same.

So I love pasta.  And I love my son.  But my love for pasta is not like my love for my son.  Allah also loves.  But His love is not like my love.  And therefore, He is not like me.

One thing that we have to understand is that the Qur'an uses human language to describe the divine.  Human language has its limits, just like everything else that is human.  So the words that are used to describe God convey ideas, but they all fall short of giving a full description of His essence.  His essence is beyond the human intellect.  Yet He gives analogies for us to get a sense of what He is like, so that we may adore Him.

One last thing: if what you call a contradiction is really a contradiction, you don't have to go far to prove it.  It's right there in the remainder of the verse: "There is nothing like Him, and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing."  Now the question is, do you really believe the author of the Qur'an made a blunder by putting those two things in the same verse, oblivious to the inherent contradiction?  Or could it be, perhaps, that you are missing the point?

With peace,

al-Azhari

P.S. Just to make a correction, the number of Allah's names is not restricted to 99.  He has many more.  But one Prophetic report exhorts the believers to memorise 99 of His names, which is the reason for their fame among the Muslim community.

“By Allah, if Muhammad b. Idris did not know with certainty that he will see his Lord in the afterlife, he would not have worshipped him in this life!” (Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi'i)
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 06, 2008 12:46 AM »

Peace be on the followers of guidance,


Thank you brother al-Azhari for your scholarly answer.  The answer to this question and others are widely available on the Internet, in articles on Aqeedah and the Sifaat of Allah.

However I believe it is wise to avoid debating with missionaries, since they are often stubborn rejectors of the truth, and follow their vain desires and false beliefs, and do not want to learn, rather their only goal is to spread doubts. 

In fact, they are trained on how to attack Islam and exploit Muslims' weaknesses, such as criticizing Allah's Mercy in Islam, trying to point out contradictions between the Quran and the hadith, etc.  For the common Muslim, is best to not engage such people, since they may expose themselves to doubts, or, because of insufficient knowledge, they are unable to respond strongly to the falsehood being presented. 

Instead of engaging such people, they should be banned and removed from our circles.  Our Ummah is not in need of more doubtful matters being thrown at them in this time when Imaan is so weak and many are on the verge of apostasy.  Why should we give them a platform?  The great Imam and Shaikh Muhammad Hassan turned down an offer to debate the Ahmediyyah deviant sect.  He said:  "The wisdom of our scholars is that when fitnah exposes itself, it should be contained and isolated.  If it is engaged, its evil will spread far and wide.  Thus we reject their offer to engage in a debate." 


Don't these missionaries reflect on their false beliefs, such as claiming that Jesus the Son of Mary is the son of God, subhanAllah.  How could someone make such a claim?

If you are reading a Juzz of the Quran every day in Taraweeh, then today you will read in Surah Ma'idah a verse that addresses the Christians:  that Jesus and Mary ate food.  SubhanAllah, while reflecting on the verse, I realized this is a very polite way of God Almighty saying: Jesus the Son of Mary, may peace be upon him, had to use the bathroom, the toilet.  And you worship him, and claim he is God?  How can anything divine use a toilet, this is completely unbefitting of God's Majesty. 

Jesus son of Mary, may peace be upon him, is a creation of God, he belongs to God, and he is not God himself, nor part of God.  I am always one to answer questions when there is genuine sincerity on the part of the questioner, but if the other side is interested in debate and not learning, perhaps I could better spend the time studying from the great Ulema and scholars.



May Allah make us keys to goodness and locks to evil, and make goodness come from us.  Ameen.


And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 07, 2008 12:42 PM »

But, the ones who professed to not believe in any God didn't get it. So debating the issue was pointless on both sides.
So, if someone doesn't share your point of view, you don't debate with them? What if they were right and you were wrong (or vice versa)? Wouldn't the lack of dialogue be detrimental to the community?
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 07, 2008 01:20 PM »

Dear Luke,

Welcome to Madinat al-Muslimeen.
Thankyou for your welcome. I hope that if you visit an unbelieving community someday to test their views, or just to say hello, that they will be equally well mannered and warm in welcome.

Quote
If I understand you correctly, your argument is the following:

Since God is loving, and human beings are also loving, there is a similarity between God and human beings, which is a concept that contradicts the Qur'anic verse, "There is nothing like Him."

I don't buy your argument.  I would argue that despite the fact that God is loving, and human beings are also loving, that does not make them similar to each other.

How often do we use the word 'love' to refer to different feelings?  I love pasta.  I also love my newborn son.  Yet, are both feelings the same?  I must say that they are not.

Just because I use the same word for different things, it does not make them all the same.

So I love pasta.  And I love my son.  But my love for pasta is not like my love for my son.  Allah also loves.  But His love is not like my love.  And therefore, He is not like me.


If I understand you correctly you are saying that God's "love" is nothing like our love. His "hearing" is nothing like our hearing. His closeness is nothing like our closeness.

That raises a couple of issues, at least.

One is if his and our attributes have nothing in common, then why use words which describe our, or worldly, attributes. For example if his closeness is not a relationship of proximity, then why use the word " close" in the first place. Wouldn't that give us the wrong idea?

Secondly, when Muslims speak of God as "loving" or "close" etc, in ordinary debate, they seem to use the common definitions of the words, not unspecifiable esoteric meanings which your approach would imply. Now, either you are an unusual Muslim with unorthodox beliefs, or much of the ummah are in confusion about the attributes of Allah. This may seem like a complex point, but really it is no more profound than using the right, not the wrong, terminology.

I know that Wikipedia is not a Muslim source, but it's explanation of the 99 names includes links to each of the words, and those Arabic terms are defined using conventional definitions. Surely if the "love" or "closeness" of Allah did not mean anything at all like the love of a charitable person, or a brother, or a father, or a mother, or the closeness of A to B, then any reliable source would state this clearly.

So, why use human language if this misleads us as to what Allah is like, and why do Muslim and other sources interpret the so-called "love" (etc) of Allah in conventional, secular terms and not as something necessarily beyond our comprehension and properly indescribable in every way - beyond language, description and human comprehention (and that is not a complement under the circumstances)?

Finally, with regards to "tawhid" in this present context. Does the oneness and unity of allah, and the freedom of partners he has, bear any relation or similarity to what we understand as unity, freedom and 'partner' unsing conventional human language? If not, conventional theology seems to be in trouble. You know, in using the term "one" - if it bears no relation to "one bun" or "one object", or "1+1=2" - surely the vast majority of Muslims misunderstand what Allah is like, for not only is he not like anything, but it follows from this that you cannot use even mathematical or numerical terms to understand his "attributes" (as if something unlike anything could even have any attributes at all, for all things have attributes). So, even tawhid is in a theological crisis. If not, then what, for starters, what exactly does "oneness" connote? Is it a quasi-oneness?  Do you intend to redefine the term without referring to anything in existence as an example or part of the process, as if that were possible? Or redefine it bypassing other ordinary terms? For believe me, "oneness" and "unity" are ordinary terms with ordinary intension and extension, and apply first and foremost to ordinary things.

Please, I am not meaning to be pathologically aggressive, but merely to understand the ins and outs of Islamic theology and apologetics.
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 07, 2008 01:38 PM »

Peace be on the followers of guidance,


Thank you brother al-Azhari for your scholarly answer.  The answer to this question and others are widely available on the Internet, in articles on Aqeedah and the Sifaat of Allah.

However I believe it is wise to avoid debating with missionaries, since they are often stubborn rejectors of the truth, and follow their vain desires and false beliefs, and do not want to learn,

(bold mine)




Quote
In fact, they are trained on how to attack Islam and exploit Muslims' weaknesses, such as criticizing Allah's Mercy in Islam, trying to point out contradictions between the Quran and the hadith, etc.  For the common Muslim, is best to not engage such people, since they may expose themselves to doubts, or, because of insufficient knowledge, they are unable to respond strongly to the falsehood being presented. 

You mean you can't defend yor own beliefs? Shame. Maybe if you stopped 'passing the buck' you would grow in ilm and hikma through personal hard effort.
Quote
Instead of engaging such people, they should be banned and removed from our circles.


So you want to have your cake and eat it then, as a Muslim? You would be free to criticise the unbelievers, and to distribute critiques of their "false" theology and erronous ways perhaps, but you want to be isolated from any questioning of your own views?


Quote

 "The wisdom of our scholars is that when fitnah exposes itself, it should be contained and isolated.  If it is engaged, its evil will spread far and wide.  Thus we reject their offer to engage in a debate."
 
Perhaps the present "fitna" is not really a fitna at all. It could be that I am in the right, or is that a logical impossibility, or a contradiction in terms.You might be being mislead by the scholars, and bypassing thought yourself, subject to the misunderstanding they promulgate. After all, just because something is said, that does not make it true, even if someone is paid and trained and even highly respected, and even if he has a white turban and long beard. The test of truth rests in rational scrutiny, if anywhere, not in isolationism, not unsubstatiated claims, not in anger, not in prayer, not even in taqleed.


Quote
Don't these missionaries reflect on their false beliefs, such as claiming that Jesus the Son of Mary is the son of God, subhanAllah.  How could someone make such a claim?

If you are reading a Juzz of the Quran every day in Taraweeh, then today you will read in Surah Ma'idah a verse that addresses the Christians:  that Jesus and Mary ate food.  SubhanAllah, while reflecting on the verse, I realized this is a very polite way of God Almighty saying: Jesus the Son of Mary, may peace be upon him, had to use the bathroom, the toilet.  And you worship him, and claim he is God?  How can anything divine use a toilet, this is completely unbefitting of God's Majesty. 

Jesus son of Mary, may peace be upon him, is a creation of God, he belongs to God, and he is not God himself, nor part of God.  I am always one to answer questions when there is genuine sincerity on the part of the questioner, but if the other side is interested in debate and not learning, perhaps I could better spend the time studying from the great Ulema and scholars.

Don't worry, I don't believe in Jesus.
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 07, 2008 01:49 PM »

I wish here to thatnk those who would openly debate with me, as this is one of the few places I know of online where Muslims will discuss their beliefs in a critical manner., the other being the yahoo group "Islam Muslims" (I think they *might* be open). Other Yahoo groups I know of are censored behing the scenes, though they pretend to be open forums.
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 07, 2008 07:52 PM »

Peace, Luke --

I love a good debate, too, but not sure if this truly is one/was one (did I miss it? that might be a good timing on my part)...and if it is one, what kind of debate is it? Smiley

From what I'm understanding, the original proposition made is basically that God is not unique, therefore, the Qur'aan is contradictory. Right, or did I miss something?

A few words about the assumptions originally made:

First, it may be more practical to debate whether God exists or not. As it seems you're an atheist, and on a board full of mostly Muslims who believe in a Creator, that's a pretty basic concept to tackle first. So if the metaphysical isn't discussed first, this debate will seem detached from any real connection between both "platforms."

Second, there is a certain assumption made in Islam that God, the Creator, is not like the created, in the sense that the Creator has control to make His creation in any way he wants, and that the creator controls the created, not the other way around. For example, I can create a new laptop that is super fast, and I may be super fast at running, but am I like the laptop?
One may argue, yes, the creator of the laptop and the laptop are both fast.
Another may argue, they may both be fast at something, but are relatively different in nature.

Third, now that we've mentioned relativity, how much can we (the created, according to Muslim thought) be like the Creator? See, it's a debate that doesn't really start off on an "equally presumed" assumption/presumption, due in part, to relativity and to what Muslims call/believe, the "ghayb" (knowledge of the unknown, as God has, and few of His creation are given).

See, there is a tradition of Prophet Muhammad (which I know is another debate, whether or not he was a messenger of God, etc) that states: when God created, He instilled in His creation 1/100th of His mercy. Such that a mare is careful not to step on her foal (and it goes on to explain that the greater part of God's mercy is preserved for a later purpose). So it leaves the question in most Muslim's minds: How much greater is the mercy of God?

It also makes it apparent that there are qualities shared between the Creator and the created, but in a relative way. We cannot fully understand the Creator (as we are limited to being the created, as understood by Muslims), but He allows us to catch a glimpse of what we need to know about Him (which does not need to be everything about the Creator, as we are hopeful to "catch" more of Him in the Afterlife). More on that in another debate.

Peace and hope that made sense,
Sofia


"My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." (Qur'aan 20.114)
"Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!" (23:109)
"And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves..."(3:10)
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 08, 2008 05:28 PM »

Well. at last I've not been banned from the forums.
I know that 100th mercy hadith, with the rest reserved for later.
Also I am interested in a discussion about the existence of God, if you want to move it there.
I will start a thread, "inshaallah."
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 08, 2008 06:24 PM »

Sigh.
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 08, 2008 11:04 PM »

salam

Depends on what the point of debating is really, if it's to get a spectacular headache then no, I'd rather walk away.

You are welcome to your opinions and I am happy with mine.



Wassalaam

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 09, 2008 06:40 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

I would definately read Al Ghazali's Ninety Nine Names of Allah on this topic.

It takes a while to get into but definately worth it if you want to understand more about Allah and His Attributes.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 09, 2008 07:16 PM »

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem

A belated Ramadhan Mubarak to my dearest Brothers/Sisters (including certain little new additions to Da Mafia, yeah, you heard…)

Hi Luke,

Be warned, I tend to ramble!

You know when, in the Dojo, Shifu asks Po to show him what he can do in terms of his martial arts skills, in Kung Fu Panda, and Po meekly asks if he can demonstrate his “skills” using what turns out to be their doorstop? That’s what your venturing here made me think of. When I was little, I’d watch Bruce Lee movies and then imagine I was real hard and could take on all comers, having picked up those moves from Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon. But reality was, my thinking that would have been like the fella who reads a couple of books on surgery techniques and then bursts into the Operating Theatre demanding someone lace him up and hand him a scalpel, quicktime! Who’s going to take him seriously?

Or if that same guy thinks it clever to discuss his (pseudo-)knowledge of surgery with his friends at a dinner party, none of whom has studied medicine, let alone be a surgeon, and can therefore not engage with him as an equal, let alone offer an informed opinion. And even if one of them did humour him, what’d be the point? Worse, if they actually engaged with him as if they were capable of holding the discussion, without being qualified, it’d probably achieve little, beyond providing him with a bedfellow.

No, if he was serious about learning and understanding the craft, he’d first find out what the process of pedagogy was for that discipline, and respect it, knowing that his embarking upon its study itself testifies to his ignorance of it. Else if he already had the knowledge/understanding, what would be the need to acquire it? Moreover, humility would dictate his realising that with this being a science that is mature, and which has developed over the millennia, there is most likely some protocol associated with exactly how it should be approached. Rather than diving headlong into some text, flicking to whatever section takes his fancy, and deciding to start from there. There is a reason why such books have an Introduction and a Chapter One. They tend to state elemental precepts, upon which more advanced compound concepts are then constructed.

Furthermore, such a one might suppose that his questions may not be original. So to state them with such conviction and so boldly, using a title like ‘99 names and nothing like him. Contradiction in Koran.’ hardly seems befitting of a desire for genuine discussion. When you write like one who thinks they’ve stumbled across a big discovery, and blasted a big hole into the Islamic edifice, it is a little off putting.

If you don’t mind me asking, what is your intended aim here? What are you trying to achieve? Because thus far the only things which are obvious are your questions. Your motives remain less clear, and hence this exercise is somewhat open-ended. For anyone can ask questions, and anyone can try to answer them. But answers take time, and I am not predisposed to expending my time and energy unless I know what the goal is here. So, you need to state your aim, and then we need to agree on some premises, since some of yours are faulty and you may well find some of mine objectionable.

You expressed a view that:

“Just claiming critique breaks etiquette is to isolate oneself from the wider rational community and is basically a rational auto-destruction.”

Personally, I’m not here to appease “the wider rational community,” so to isolate myself from them doesn’t really bother me. And most definitely I would desist from debate if the critic I was engaging with employed critique that lacked etiquette. Moreso when I’m a guest in someone else’s community. You make the above point as if we need to bow to the dictates of the “wider rational community,” like as if both parties to your contentions must proceed on the grounds that said community are the arbiters of right and wrong, truth and falsity, belief and scepticism. I don’t. I defer to Allah ta’ala, not the wider rational community. Why should ration be the criterion here? Of what epistemic value is ration when discussing issues that are by definition supra-rational?

Somehow, something tells me we’ve not seen the real you (yet). As if you’re toying with us. I get the sense you’re more familiar with the subject you’re broaching than you’re letting on. But Allah ta’ala knows best and it behoves me not to speculate on your intentions.

Notwithstanding the above, I’ve been pondering on what you wrote, since yesterday, after my attention was brought to the thread by a dear friend of mine. Since it is the month of Ramadhan, I have little time, so I’ll restrict myself to some remarks, which you’ll probably come to rue, since I have a habit of droning on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…lol.

Firstly, I have hands, and my watch has hands. They are neither alike in form, function, description or substance. In fact aside from the noun being the same, there really is no likeness whatsoever. Unless you want to claim that they are alike insofar as hands perform a function. But then red and yellow are alike only inasmuch as they belong to the same set (i.e. are colours). Aside from this they have nothing in common, do they? So one needs to define the category of likeness which can be said to constitute similarity, for just saying I hear and God Hears doesn’t in and of itself denote likeness.

I download a movie, it eats up space on my hard drive. When I break my fast I eat food. Aside from the consequence being that each is getting fuller, there is really no similarity again in relation to the act.

Hopefully these two examples suffice to show that merely by a word being used to describe two completely distinct entities, there need not thereby be indicated some sort of resemblance, similarity or likeness.

You ventured:

“It is proven that children learn the meanings of terms like "alive", "king" and "high" from secular material examples (who would contest that?) and they certainly do not have innate understanding of arabic "hayy" etc. Therefore the world is the ground for conceiving of Allah, so he must be *like* things in the world.”

There are a number of flaws in the above. The first is that it presupposes that English is the mother tongue of all children, which is patently false. And given that that is true (i.e. your assumption being false), tell me, if you can, do children whose birth language is Arabic, grow up wondering the same questions as you’ve posed? No. Why? Because inherent in their language are meanings which avoid the kinds of conflations you’re coming up with. Your questions partly exist because you are taking your meaning not from the language which Allah ta’ala rooted His Revelation in, but from other than that. For Muslim children who grow up with Arabic, they would not face any such (apparent) paradox. Not only because of their innate comprehension of the language (given that the language of the Qur’an isn’t necessarily the same as modern day colloquial Arabic), but also because their education since childhood would give them the right sort of framework within which to understand the Divine Names and Attributes, along with how not to understand them (which is important too!).

So that’s one point in relation to what I quoted from you above. Aside from this though, one can confidently also state that even if one doesn’t know Arabic, it doesn’t mean one will naturally, or even upon reflection, find themselves facing some of the issues you’re raising. Why? Because if one studied Islamic theology formally, properly, and systematically, one would be provided with the correct framework within which to understand the Divine Names and Attributes of Allah ta’ala. Whereas your questions, are from one who is wearing glasses that don’t contain lenses. Which is just a frame that doesn’t work (no framework!)

Also, your above conclusion doesn’t follow from the (questionable and questioned) premises preceding it. Because as I will explain further on, there isn’t any controversy in understanding words from language. What needs to be borne in mind though is that those understandings are projected correctly (i) onto the Arabic word(s) denoting the Divine Name or Attribute, for that is the language through which Allah ta’ala has informed us about Himself, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and (ii) they take into consideration all that needs to be factored into our understanding of the Divine Nature, rather than just a few select verses and/or words in isolation, without a context, and in the absence of any governing principles/rules related to theology and the arabic language. I’ll elaborate on this as I proceed.

Someone may not be Muslim yet understand the word ‘existence.’ They may then embrace Islam and study Islamic theology and come to understand the existence of Allah ta’ala. There need not be any cause for confusion, given that their study of the science will teach them the meaning of existence within this context as opposed to it’s lexical meaning only in the absence of said context. So one’s comprehension of the linguistic meaning of a word becomes conditioned by it’s technical meaning in relation to that specific discipline. This happens often and across many Islamic sciences.

Now, to drill down a bit more on one of your examples, Allah ta’ala did not describe Himself as a King. Because the language with which He revealed the Qur’an was not english. Man came and attempted to translate the meaning of what Allah ta’ala revealed into other languages, to convey the intended meaning of Al-Malik. But it is an imperfect science, and you only need to look to the plethora of translations of the Qur’an that exist in the marketplace to get an idea of this.  In fact a cursory question to Sheikh Google would itself reveal a variety of translations of this Divine Name. This is your first hurdle if you truly wish to comprehend. To learn the language in which Allah ta’ala revealed the Qur’an, so you may appreciate it own it’s own terms, rather than on the terms of some other language which tries to approximate to meanings which often it cannot do. By definition, if you don’t know Arabic, your only recourse will be to project the meanings of English words onto their Arabic counterparts, which itself presupposes the validity of those English translations for those Arabic words in the first place. And since without knowing Arabic you would be unable to gauge the accuracy of that translation, your argument is immediately handicapped. Speak to any scholar of Arabic language and they will be able to tell you there are certain words for which there simply cannot be found a direct translation in English. In fact forget even that, there are certain sounds in Arabic, which don’t exist in English (and vice versa, for example, the english letter P)! So, you need to be aware that you’re working off a faded photocopy here, not an original manuscript.

Somewhere else you asserted:

""King" is an attribute of both person and God, therefore they are alike.
"Hearing" is another (unless you're deaf)."

In logic this is termed the Fallacy of Analogy, since you have given a false analogy. The analogies of King and Hearing are not akin, for one is a noun, the other is an attribute. Not being able to distinguish between the two is another reason for your invalid contentions, which is why you have conflated Divine Names with Divine Attributes. And that is aside from the rather moot point of whether King is an apt translation for Al-Malik, if that is where you’re taking that from. Please show me a single work of Islamic theology which considers King to be an attribute of Allah ta’ala? I think I’m safe to say you won’t be able to. Why? Because it isn’t. Answer me this too please: do Muslim theologians consider that every Divine Name is an Attribute? Unless you know the answer you should not be presupposing some of your questions, since asking some of them presupposes their validity, and clearly to anyone who might have studied some Islamic theology, some of your questions lack validity and grounding in basic knowledge of Islamic theology. This is why I expressed surprise at the outset of this post at the boldness with which you’ve stated your hypothesis.

I cannot speak for others who’ve responded to you in this thread, but I’d like you to know that for myself, I have actually tried to give you your due here. Take for instance when you said,

“I know that Wikipedia is not a Muslim source, but it's explanation of the 99 names includes links to each of the words, and those Arabic terms are defined using conventional definitions.”

I took the time to visit Mufti Wikipedia, and noted your tendency to not recognise essential points of detail, that actually have a crucial and critical impact upon the case you’ve tried to build here. Aside from the troublesome issue of often not knowing who author Wikipedia entries (i.e. are they qualified to do so), Wikipedia hasn’t defined the terms, if what you mean by terms are the Divine Names, it has merely attempted a translation of the Arabic word denoting the Divine Name. Please don’t underestimate the criticalness of this. Take the example of King. The Divine Name is Al-Malik, whereas what Wikipedia has explained is Malik, not Al-Malik. That is, Wikipedia is explaining the generic Arabic word, not the actual Divine Name. This is not me being pedantic, because when you then go on to say:

“Surely if the "love" or "closeness" of Allah did not mean anything at all like the love of a charitable person, or a brother, or a father, or a mother, or the closeness of A to B, then any reliable source would state this clearly.”

I cry Bingo! Well said. You’ve hit the nail on the head. That day when you’re able to access a reliable source, in this case the standard accepted reference works of classical Islamic theology, you will note exactly this. Namely, the absolute otherness of Divine Attributes from human characteristics. So, how is it that you’ve constructed a hypothesis on a source you admit to not being a Muslim source – surely a given of basic credible research is to go to the relied-upon and authoritative sources of the science concerned? – instead of taking the time to consult an authoritative Islamic source? Can you cite me any authoritative sources in Islamic theology which don’t comply with what I’m saying and do not state clearly or apply a principle that “the "love" or "closeness" of Allah” does “not mean anything at all like the love of a charitable person, or a brother, or a father, or a mother, or the closeness of A to B”?

You asked in a subsequent post:

“…if his and our attributes have nothing in common, then why use words which describe our, or worldly, attributes. For example if his closeness is not a relationship of proximity, then why use the word " close" in the first place. Wouldn't that give us the wrong idea?”

This is known as a loaded question, because it contains a conditional premise whose validity is assumed. As if, in this case, the only reason for using a word which denotes some sort of proximity could be if there was something in common with the Creator and the created (aside from the mistake of translating the Arabic into English yet defaulting the meaning to the English word rather than it’s Arabic original).

Let me flip your question on it’s head, to illustrate how simple it would be for you to rebut yourself. So, you’ve chosen to cite a few examples that you’ve come across, of “attributes” which you claim Allah ta’ala shares with mankind, such as Hearing, Seeing, to name but two. From this you’ve built an “argument.”

You could equally have approached the matter by recognising that there are characteristics which humans have that Allah ta’ala does not have, such as non-existence, beginning, and ending, to select but a few. Could you then have constructed an argument for dissimilarity between the Creator and the created?

In other words, your argument is conjectural, it is not based on the sum total of all that needs to be considered to draw your conclusion. It is selective and lacking, for the reasons cited above.

You went on to state:

“when Muslims speak of God as "loving" or "close" etc, in ordinary debate, they seem to use the common definitions of the words, not unspecifiable esoteric meanings which your approach would imply.”

Again, a loaded statement which contains an unsubstantiated premise. You have exhibited a tendency to make generalisations about Muslims. Generalisations that are questionable. As in the above. You talk about Muslims per se, and the definitions they use. But I am a Muslim, yet I certainly don’t use the common definitions of the words you’re referring to, when I refer to Allah ta’ala. So what poll have you conducted, or wherefrom have you canvassed this generality of Muslims, to cite such a consensus?

The issue is not with the use of the word, but how it is understood. Take for example the issue of Allah ta’ala being closer to me than my jugular vein. There is no problem in me believing that until I start delving into what exactly it means. If I start considering it as a physical closeness, then I start running into problems. But then why would I default the meaning to physicality when in ordinary English I could say, “It’s close to my exams now,” and no one would extrapolate from the context of that sentence, physical closeness, for an exam is not a physical entity such that proximity applies to it, is it?

For Muslims, and Islamic theology, the issue is not the usage of a word, but how it is understood, because there are ramifications to our belief if we conceive of Allah ta’ala wrongly. There are grave implications, and history testifies to this (which is why I alluded earlier to your questions hardly being original), of misunderstanding, or not understanding, this properly. And there are principal governing rules that condition, inform and qualify, our understanding of Allah ta’ala, His Divine Names & Attributes, which, incidentally, conform perfectly to the rules of the Arabic language. That is, there is no contortion, or spin, required, of the Arabic language, in understanding Allah ta’ala in the way that Islam requires. Nor is there some preconceived notion of Allah ta’ala that exists outside of the revelatory sources and methodological principles used in relation to these sources, which necessitates any intellectual acrobatics, such that one such as yourself could contend that we’re using/applying the language unnaturally to reach some farfetched notion of what Allah ta’ala is, or is not, may He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, protect us from this. For instance, we don’t conceive of God as being some Morgan Freeman kind of entity in Evan Almighty. We do conceive of God as being utterly transcendent.

When I say in English to my Brother who is feeling a bit despondent because things aren’t going his way, that, “Don’t worry bro, make du’a [supplication], and know that Allah ta’ala will Hear your du’a,” I’m not delving into how Allah ta’ala Hears. That is not my concern, the howness of it. The cardinal rule is one of transcendence and avoiding conclusions of resemblance, likeness and similarity. Because for this we have no frame of reference when it comes to Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala. In Islam, the Arabic language, as a medium of communication into the nature of the Almighty, is conditioned by cardinal principles, which serve to govern how we understand the Divine Names and Attributes. Unlike your assertion, which basically amounts to language being its own proof.

This is why when you ask,“why use human language if this misleads us as to what Allah is like,” I wonder from where you’ve gotten the erroneous idea that this is a widespread phenomenon, or even any kind of phenomenon, because I don’t believe it is, beyond your own limited window. The language used in the Quran only misleads as to what Allah ta’ala is like when one doesn’t obtain a strong enough foothold in orthodox Islamic theology. I’ve already told you that the masterworks of Islamic theology guide us in understanding the Divine Nature to the extent that the human mind is able to.

My final point is one concerning redundancy. As a self-proclaimed atheist, why would you quote from the Qur’an, when you don’t believe that the One who Revealed it, does in fact exist? So for you to state as fact that “in surah Ikhlas it is said "and there is nothing in existence like unto him,"” presupposes your acceptance that what is stated in the Qur’an is fact, given that you then go on to use what is stated in the verse, as the basis of your contention that some contradiction exists. How could you quote as factual a source which you, by definition, cannot accept as being factual given that you don’t admit of the existence of a Deity?

Forgive me Luke, now you can see why I am loathe to engage such polemics, as my wont is to write much, yet life doesn’t afford me the time these days. I’m happy to take this offline if you wish to continue it, as that is the only way I can commit to continuing it, but you’ll need to be patient as I have many other more important commitments that I need to tend to. I can however, maybe point you in some directions where you may find others with more time and inclination to engage with you. Obviously that assumes your wishing to engage with me, which you may not be inclined to doing. If you are though you’re welcome to obtain my email from the moderators of this Board.

All the best,

Abu Khaled
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 09, 2008 08:20 PM »

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So, you need to state your aim, and then we need to agree on some premises, since some of yours are faulty and you may well find some of mine objectionable.
My main, proximate, motive is to find responses to my "contradiction" theory. Beyond that, though I see virtues in the Mulsim community I live alongside, I think that they are too unscientific and not used to proper (Western) logical argument. If they continue to breed as they are, our society, as well as being less of a porn addict, might also have less understanding of medicine and other sciences, which seem to be neglected bu the "ummah".


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Why should ration be the criterion here? Of what epistemic value is ration when discussing issues that are by definition supra-rational?
I personally try to be reational if I can. If something is supra-rational, I wuold think it wiser to abandon the practice, lest one makes a fool of oneself.

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Not only because of their innate comprehension of the language

An innate comprehension of Arabic, that wuld be something. I suppose you have no evidence for this, for I certainly don't, and it is unheard of here in the UK?
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In other words, your argument is conjectural, it is not based on the sum total of all that needs to be considered to draw your conclusion. It is selective and lacking, for the reasons cited above.
I see it as a simplification, of many points A,B,C,D etc I have focused on A.

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You talk about Muslims per se, and the definitions they use. But I am a Muslim, yet I certainly don’t the common definitions of the words you’re referring to, when I refer to Allah ta’ala. So what poll have you conducted, or wherefrom have you canvassed this generality of Muslims, to cite such a consensus?
It is a generalisation form experience of meeting mislims. You are right, I never met them all. You have said thaough: "Don’t worry bro, make du’a [supplication], and know that Allah ta’ala will Hear your du’a,” " and it is that type of statement I allude to.
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But then why would I default the meaning to physicality when in ordinary English I could say, “It’s close to my exams now,” and no one would extrapolate from the context of that sentence, physical closeness, for an exam is not a physical entity such that proximity applies to it, is it?
The examination is close in time, which is a physical phenomena, and the test itself is of understanding in your head (I am a materialist when it comes to consciousness).

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The language used in the Quran only misleads as to what Allah ta’ala is like when one doesn’t obtain a strong enough foothold in orthodox Islamic theology. I’ve already told you that the masterworks of Islamic theology guide us in understanding the Divine Nature to the extent that the human mind is able to.
So ebven koran and sunnah are insufficient to "grasp" Allah, and it takes the likes of Ghazali etc to "elucidate" (or obfuscate) the being of Allah?

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My final point is one concerning redundancy. As a self-proclaimed atheist, why would you quote from the Qur’an, when you don’t believe that the One who Revealed it, does in fact exist? So for you to state as fact that “in surah Ikhlas it is said "and there is nothing in existence like unto him,"” presupposes your acceptance that what is stated in the Qur’an is fact, given that you then go on to use what is stated in the verse, as the basis of your contention that some contradiction exists. How could you quote as factual a source which you, by definition, cannot accept as being factual given that you don’t admit of the existence of a Deity?
I quote from a Muslim source because I am talkingto muslims about (putative) Muslim theology, so where better to quote from for reference thanthe Koran?

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Forgive me Luke, now you can see why I am loathe to engage such polemics, as my wont is to write much, yet life doesn’t afford me the time these days. I’m happy to take this offline if you wish to continue it, as that is the only way I can commit to continuing it, but you’ll need to be patient as I have many other more important commitments that I need to tend to. I can however, maybe point you in some directions where you may find others with more time and inclination to engage with you. Obviously that assumes your wishing to engage with me, which you may not be inclined to doing. If you are though you’re welcome to obtain my email from the moderators of this Board.

All the best,

Abu Khaled
Thanks bro' may do, insha allah, and may you find peace outside of death.
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« Reply #20 on: Sep 09, 2008 10:51 PM »

Hi Luke,

Many thanks for taking the time to comment.

LukeS: “My main, proximate, motive is to find responses to my "contradiction" theory.”

Why is this so important to you? What criteria would a response need to satisfy in order for it to be acceptable to you, and why? And what would be achieved if you got a response that was acceptable?

LukeS: “Beyond that, though I see virtues in the Mulsim community I live alongside, I think that they are too unscientific and not used to proper (Western) logical argument.”

I agree with the latter, and consider it to be a problem. Witness the dismal level of apologia that barely scrape muster as defences for aspects of Islam which get challenged. As for the former, perhaps you’d care to read the first post that I wrote in this archived thread, and let me know your thoughts sometime?

http://www.jannah.org/madina/archives/year2006and2007/index.php?topic=2816.0

If you could qualify what you mean by “too unscientific” as well, that would be useful.

LukeS: “I personally try to be reational if I can. If something is supra-rational, I wuold think it wiser to abandon the practice, lest one makes a fool of oneself.”

Do you not feel that this forecloses your receptivity to possibilities of truth which your limited education and understanding might have placed parameters on, in terms of your intellectual horizons, at this stage in your life? Rationality has it’s place, and scope, for sure. Your saying “I wuold think it wiser to abandon the practice” in relation to supra-rational matters makes me think we might not be on the same page here. What do you understand by supra-rational? I was alluding to aspects of the Divine Nature, so I’m not sure what you’re referring to here by “practice”?

LukeS: “An innate comprehension of Arabic, that wuld be something. I suppose you have no evidence for this, for I certainly don't, and it is unheard of here in the UK?”

My bad, let me clarify. I meant the natural knowledge of the language the child whose borne tongue is Arabic, grows up with. Sorry, I did not mean to imply by “innate” non-taught and non-learned, if that is what you thought I was suggesting.

“The examination is close in time, which is a physical phenomena, and the test itself is of understanding in your head (I am a materialist when it comes to consciousness).”

Hmm, o k a y. If I were Amir Khan and this was the fight on Saturday (6th September), I’d be protesting to the Ref that that can’t exactly be classed a KO.

“So ebven koran and sunnah are insufficient to "grasp" Allah, and it takes the likes of Ghazali etc to "elucidate" (or obfuscate) the being of Allah?”

Well, that depends if one is looking to answer the question within the context of when the Qur’an was first revealed, or today, as I think the passage of time has thrown up certain realities which Muslims were affected by, and had to contend with. Its not so much that they are insufficient, as the tools required to access them properly need to acquired first, in order to ensure proper utility.

As Islam grew and reached shores afar, it naturally came into contact with new ideas, some of which posed challenges. Hence the application of Qur’anic and Sunnaic concepts which may not have had a precedent (though the root would have been there, waiting to be unearthed, in the sources) up till that point. Scholars like Imam al-Ghazali – radhi’Allahu ‘anh – acted like lenses to the Book and Sunna.

The Qur’an and Sunna, if they are to be understood correctly, require some ancilliary sciences to be learned, along with knowing Arabic to a proficient degree. There is nothing troubling in this, given that the Qur’an itself informs us that we will need to ask those who know if we don’t. This asking is not understood to be confined to the Prophetic period, but stands for all time. And it presupposes the existence of scholars like Imam al-Ghazali, radhi’Allahu ‘anh.

Another point is that some of those who embraced Islam as it spread far and wide, needed to learn those sciences in order to be able to access the Book and Sunna. Some of them did not know Arabic initially.

Today has been a bit of an exception for me timewise, as I came back from hospital and had the rest of the day free, hence my finding myself composing these responses. But I’m not so sure how often I’ll be back from hereonin, so I cannot promise further replies in a timely fashion, sorry. I will try though. My offer to continue offline still stands if you care to.

At the least I hope we part on good terms, and if I can ever be of any service please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re not all scientifically illiterate. Some of us might even have a soft spot for logic…

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« Reply #21 on: Sep 10, 2008 06:19 AM »


If you can conceive of Allah, the koran has a contradiction.


Congratulations for winning billions of dollars. How?

Allah says in Holy Quran (4:82)
"Do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from (any) other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.”

Now take the contradiction you found to some christian or jewish or some american/european organisation they will be happy on this and will give billions in return as they have got a means to prove Holy Quran wrong and thus negate faith of a billion people in a moment. All of the infidels problems solved with no effort.

you must be knowing this is not a knowledge forum where scholars are available this is a social networking forum. This fact that you started debate on the topic here proves that you are here to try to put doubts in minds of common muslim who donot have scholarly knowledge. This is the way of people-of-hell/missionaries-- debating with common people on illogical things and putting doubts in their minds.

If you people were actually searching for answers you would have contacted some Scholar; as Allah states in Holy Quran
(25:59) ...therefore ask the one who knows, concerning Him!
(16:43) ...so O people, ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.

i had lot to say but i am restricting myself.

I donot know why admin is not blocking users like you who get to muslim forums and allow them to spread the flith that is in their minds.

[Edited by Admin: Refrain from calling people names.]
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« Reply #22 on: Sep 10, 2008 07:53 AM »

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Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem

A belated Ramadhan Mubarak to my dearest Brothers/Sisters (including certain little new additions to Da Mafia, yeah, you heard…)

wsalaam!, and khair mubarak to you and your family as well. indeed the amount of madina kids keeps growing Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: Sep 10, 2008 11:47 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

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A belated Ramadhan Mubarak to my dearest Brothers/Sisters

Indeed it's been too long!!!

One does get quite nostalgic when one sees a good 'ole long Abu Khaled post.  bro




Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #24 on: Sep 10, 2008 02:53 PM »

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I donot know why admin is not blocking users like you who get to muslim forums and allow them to spread the flith that is in their minds.


I dont think he has done anything like that, you know when I was learning about Islam (im not a convert) I would go to forums like this and question the beliefs very strongly and the people who judge me and asked just made me run away and think they cant answer that is why they talk like that. we have to becareful to judge people to quickly. Only Allah swt knows whats in the minds and hearts. You should commend the person for actually coming to a muslim site and debating. If you dont debate its hard to find the truth. So far I have just seen that he has been mostly 'respectful' I hope we can do the same if not more.

JazakAllahu Kair brother Abu Khaled
I hope we can all learn by your example.
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