This is the 34th in a series of posts dealing with the history of what I call “the Mountainous God Lie”. By that expression, I mean mistakes by primitive people and manipulations by conniving clerics that, when repeated and reflected in the light of current knowledge, are now seen to be mountains of clerical lies. The first 30 posts in this series dealt with mistakes and manipulations at the foundations of the related religions known as Zoroastrianism and Judaism, which evolved from myths and mysticism of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and India.
I devoted only three posts to Christianity, which evolved from Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Indo-European polytheism. Those three posts dealt only with the first three-or-so centuries of Christianity, not only because voluminous literature is readily available describing Christianity’s theocratic expansion and humanist containment since the time of “the butcher emperor” Constantine but also because (thanks to that containment) Christianity is now relatively benign, unlike Islam.
This post is the second of three dealing with Islam. In the previous post, I provided a little information about major mistakes and failures of the alleged founder of Islam, i.e., the pathetic, psychotic Muhammad (pbuh = pity be upon him). Islam is another offshoot of Zoroastrianism (via Judaism), degraded with some pre-Islamic Arab culture, such as its anti-human misogyny, polygamy, patriarchy, tribalism, and totalitarianism.
Similar to my review of Christianity, my review of Islam will be curtailed. Thus, I don’t intend to review the massive, readily available literature on Islam’s theocratic expansion and military containment since the time of Muhammad. Instead, for these final two posts in this series dealing with the major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), my goal is to outline today’s Islam, in large part because oil revenues have unfortunately resuscitated an otherwise-dying religion, whose disease is now harming the health of the entire world. In this and the next post, I’ll focus on Islam’s errors and evils.
As the reader probably knows, Islam is described as being built on “five pillars of faith”, which are usually abbreviated as follows.
1. Faith in the Oneness of God and finality of the prophethood of Muhammad,In this post, I’ll try to outline the following “five structural errors in Islam”, which are five fatal structural faults in the pillars of Islam:
2. Establishment of daily prayers,
3. Concern for and alms giving to the needy,
4. Self-purification through fasting, and
5. A pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able.
1. Islam’s error of identifying Muhammad as “the perfect man”,In the next post, I’ll try to outline the following “five foundational evils of Islam”, which are five deadly foundational failures in the pillars of Islam:
2. Islam’s error of assuming that the Koran is from God/Allah,
3. Islam’s error of adopting Muhammad’s laws as Allah’s laws (sharia),
4. Islam’s error of promoting deception (taqiyya), and
5. Islam’s fatal philosophical errors.
1. Islam’s evil of promoting beliefs in the absence of reliable evidence,As Muslims become more adept at critical thinking, the above listed errors and evils of Islam will lead to its collapse.
2. Islam’s evil of demanding adherence to dogmatic ignorance,
3. Islam’s evils of violating human rights and advocating hate,
4. Islam’s evil psychological manipulations of “true believers”, and
5. Islam’s evil of waging incessant, immoral war against “unbelievers”.
1. Islam’s error of identifying Muhammad as “the perfect man”.
In view of information cursorily reviewed in the previous post, it’s difficult to imagine how any sane, humane person (not indoctrinated in ignorance) could consider Muhammad to have been “the perfect man”. Muslims do. Their phrase for “the prefect man” is al-insan al-kamil. They’re convinced that Muhammad was al-insan al-kamil, because Muslims abide by the Koran (or spelled Quran or Qur’an), and it states, for example:
Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah [i.e., Muhammad] an excellent exemplar… (Quran 33:21)In total, the Koran states 91 times that Muhammad is “the perfect man” – or variations thereof, e.g., “the ideal man”, “a superior being”, “the mercy of God among mankind”, “the noblest of all humanity”, “the seal of the prophets”, etc. [That is, in reality, Muhammad wrote into the Koran 91 times that he was “the perfect man” (or variations thereof), thus demonstrating that he (similar to Moses) didn’t consider humility to be a virtue.] As a result, descriptions of Muhammad such as the following are readily available (e.g., on the internet), this example copied from muhammad/pefect man.html:
The Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam [viz., “Muhammad, may Allah exalt the mention of his name at the highest angelic sphere” – whatever that might mean!] is thus a true example of a perfect man. He lived the life of an ordinary man. He helped the poor, orphans and widows. He was kind to the weak and hospitable to strangers and travelers. He suffered from all but harmed none. He was affectionate and loving towards his friends and forgiving and merciful towards his enemies. He was sincere and honest in his mission; good and fair in his dealings; and just in deciding affairs of friends as well as of enemies. In short, all goodness and excellence have been combined in the person and personality of Hazrat Muhammad Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim.What a disconnect between what a perfect person would be and what Muhammad actually was! Actually, though, although I wouldn’t be too harsh in my criticism of the above-quoted description of a perfect person, I’d add that, in my view, a perfect person would also be a producer rather than a parasite: the contributions from a single Faraday, Edison, or Marconi, for example, were worth more that a billion times the “contributions” from Moses, Muhammad, Mao, or similar. But regardless of such an addition to any description of a perfect man, and for reasons outlined in the previous post, the above quotation certainly doesn’t describe the Muhammad of Islamic literature.
When I encounter such a disconnect (or “cognitive dissonance”), what comes to mind is the following penetrating assessment by the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860):
We know that man is in general superior to all other animals, and this is also the case in his capacity for being trained. Mohammedans [Muslims] are trained to pray with their faces turned towards Mecca, five times a day; and they never fail to do it. Christians are trained to cross themselves on certain occasions, to bow, and so on. Indeed, it may be said that religion is the chef d’oeuvre [masterpiece] of the art of training, because it trains people in the way they shall think – and, as is well known, you cannot begin the process too early. There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity [italics added]…And thus the poor children born into Islam are indoctrinated with the lie that Muhammad was a perfect man – just as the poor children born into Christianity are indoctrinated with the lie that Jesus was the son of God, the poor children born into Judaism are indoctrinated with the lie that God communicated laws to Moses, and the poor children born into Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, etc. are indoctrinated with the lie that such things as gods actually exist (rather than being what they are, i.e., mistaken speculations by primitive, ignorant people).
Now, I won’t use additional space (beyond what I used in the previous post) to debunk the claim that Muhammad was “the perfect man”. Readers can find thousands of such assessments on the web. In my opinion, one of the best assessments is the following Challenge by the ex-Muslim Ali Sina, who “put his money where his mouth is”:
I receive many emails from angry Muslims, who sometimes beg me and sometimes order me to remove this site. I consider both, pleading and bullying, signs of psychopathology. Argumentum ad baculum and argumentum ad misericordiam are both logical fallacies.Associated with his Challenge, Ali Sina provides links to his writings that detail each of his listed accusations against Muhammad (or, actually, against the person depicted in basic Islamic literature as Muhammad). Readers may want to pursue those details or see some of the details here. After studying such sources, if anyone should still maintain that Muhammad was “the perfect man”, then I’d recommend that Schopenhauer’s statement be reconsidered:
If you do not like this site and want me to remove it, [then] instead of acting as a bully or as a victim, disprove my charges against Muhammad. Not only will I remove the site, I will publicly announce that Islam is a true religion. I will also pay $50,000 U.S. dollars to anyone who can disprove any of the dozen… accusations that I have made against Muhammad. I accuse Muhammad of being a narcissist, a misogynist, a rapist, a pedophile, a lecher, a torturer, a mass murderer, a cult leader, an assassin, a terrorist, a madman, [and] a looter.
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity…2. Islam’s error of assuming that the Koran is from God/Allah.
I admit that I sometimes despair for humanity. Approximately a billion Christians firmly “believe” (i.e., “wish to be”) that the Bible is “God’s holy words” (the other billion-or-so Christians are less adamant). Simultaneously and similarly, somewhere around a billion Muslims firmly believe that the Koran is “Allah’s final, complete, and perfect message to mankind.” Meanwhile, the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to gain (even more certain than the knowledge that we exist) is: there are no gods (and never were any). With equal certainty, therefore, we can be sure that no god communicated any message to anyone; consequently, logically consistent with the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to gain is that roughly two billion people in the world are bonkers. And I’m sorry, but I additionally admit that, were it not for the possible harm to sensible humans, I sometimes think that the best way to eliminate such ignorance would be if those two billion people would confront each other – maybe in the middle of the Sahara desert – to establish whose “holy book” is “true”, fighting it out to mutual annihilation.
Otherwise, attempts are made to eliminate the ignorance of such boneheads by trying to explain to them that their “holy books” certainly weren’t written by (or on behalf of) any god. In the case of Islam, in particular, many methods are available to demonstrate that the Koran isn’t from God/Allah. Below, I’ll briefly describe three such methods.
2.1 Applications of logic.
One method is to apply even just a little logic. For example, the following quotation is from pp. 22–23 of the 2010 e-book Unmasking Muhammad – The Malignant Narcissist and His Grand Delusion Allah by Sujit Das:
Discrediting Muhammad by His Own Words and ConductIn his referenced e-book, Sujit Das provides other examples of blatant logical errors in the Koran (see, e.g., pp. 23–32), but rather than apply additional logic to debunk the Koran, I’ll move on to
It is strange but true that, after a logical analysis, it is possible to discredit Muhammad by using his own words and actions. His life was full of contradictions. There is a vast difference between “Muhammad of faith” and “Muhammad of fact”. Often he did not practice what he preached. [The] Qur’an originally treated Muhammad as a humble messenger of Allah, gradually this relationship developed into duality, and ultimately Muhammad appeared as God’s superior. This is the time when the whole Divine drama of Muhammad is exposed, and the stupid Prophet of Islam hammers a nail in his own prophetic coffin.
In context of the satanic verses [i.e., verses that Muhammad composed but later withdrew, as famously outlined in Salman Rushdie’s 1988 book The Satanic Verses, which led to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa (ruling) for Rushdie’s murder] Tabari and Ibn Sa’d recorded these disgraceful words of Muhammad:
“I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to Him words which He has not spoken.” (Tabari: 6.111)
“I ascribed to Allah, what He had not said.” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, vol. 1)
This single confession of Muhammad is enough to disqualify him of his prophetic claim. Muhammad said that he was deceived by Satan [into writing the satanic verses] and a revelation from Allah confirmed it. But how can we be sure that the second revelation was not also from Satan? The guaranty of “genuineness” of one revelation cannot be another revelation. It’s beyond any logic. If Muhammad could be deceived by Satan once, how could he know on all other occasions that he hadn’t been deceived? How can we ignore the possibility that Gabriel was actually Satan himself in disguise and hence the whole Qur’an is satanic?
Allah challenged in the Qur’an,
And if you are in doubt concerning that We have sent down on Our servant [Muhammad], then bring a Sura like it. (Q.2:23)
Satan took Allah’s challenge and easily produced “a Sura like this”. Muslims believe that Qur’an is miraculous in beauty and no one can make anything to compare to it because it is Divine. Satan produced the verses and Muhammad spoke those words from Satan, but everyone including Muhammad himself thought these verses were part of the Qur’an. Surely those satanic verses sound exactly like those of the Qur’an. If they did not sound like the Qur’an, then surely Muhammad, his followers and the Quraysh would never have accepted them…
2.2 Evaluations based on common decency.
For both novice and expert, perhaps the best way to debunk the idea that the Koran is from God/Allah is just to read the text and judge it based on your own sense of morality and justice. As a novice, that’s what I did in my on-line book in the four chapters starting here. More significant than anything I wrote, however, is the following written by the amazing Ali Sina, describing how he first began to explore details of the religion (Islam) in which he was indoctrinated when he was young. This quotation is from his essay “From Belief to Enlightenment”.
It didn’t take long before I came upon verses I found hard to accept. One of these verses was:For sensible people (those who hold beliefs only as strongly as relevant evidence warrants, those who therefore conclude that there are no gods and never were any gods and that, consequently, there are no prophets of any gods or any “holy books” from any god) and for people who through nature and nurture have acquired (similar to other social animals) moral principles that permit and expedite the smooth functioning of their society, then analyses of the Koran such as the above by Ali Sina would normally be enough to lead them to conclude something similar to: “The Koran is horrible! It’s worse than Hitler’s Mein Kampf. It should be banned – or at least restricted, to be read only by acknowledged scholars for their study of how hideous humans once were.”
Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed. (Quran 4:48)
I found it hard to accept that Gandhi [for example] would burn in hell forever because he was a polytheist with no hope of redemption, while a Muslim murderer could hope to receive Allah’s forgiveness. This raised a disturbing question. Why is Allah so desperate to be known as the only God? If there is no other god but him, what’s the fuss? Against whom is he competing? Why should he even care whether anyone knows him and praises him or not.
I learned about the size of this universe. Light, which travels at a speed of 300 thousand kilometers per second, takes 20 billion years to reach us from the galaxies that are at the edges of the universe. How many galaxies are there? How many stars are there in these galaxies? How many planets are there in this universe? These thoughts were mind-boggling. If Allah is the creator of this vast universe, why he is so concerned about being known as the only god by a bunch of apes living on a small planet in the Milky Way?
Now that I had lived in the West, had many western friends who were kind to me, liked me, opened their hearts and homes to me, and accepted me as their friend, it was really hard to accept that Allah didn’t want me to befriend them:
Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah. (Q.3:28)
Isn’t Allah the creator of the unbelievers too? Isn’t he the god of everybody? Why should he be so unkind to unbelievers? Wouldn’t it be better if Muslims befriended unbelievers and taught them Islam by good example? By keeping ourselves aloof and distant from unbelievers, the gap of misunderstandings will never be bridged. How in the world will unbelievers learn about Islam if we do not associate with them? These were the questions I kept asking myself. The answer to these questions came in a very disconcerting verse. Allah’s order was to, “slay them wherever ye catch them.” (Q.2:191)
I thought of my own friends, remembering their kindnesses and love for me, and wondered how in the world a true god would ask anyone to kill another human being just because he does not believe. That seemed absurd, yet this concept was repeated so often in the Quran there was no doubt about it. In verse 8:65, Allah tells his prophet:
O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers.
I wondered why would Allah send a messenger to make war? Shouldn’t God teach us to love each other and be tolerant towards each other’s beliefs? And if Allah is really so concerned about making people believe in him to the extent that he would kill them if they don’t believe, why would he not kill them himself? Why does he ask us to do his dirty work? Are we Allah’s hit men?
Although I knew of Jihad and never questioned it before, I found it hard to accept that God would resort to imposing such violent measures on people. What was more shocking was the cruelty of Allah in dealing with unbelievers:
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them. (Q.8:12)
It seemed Allah was not just satisfied with killing unbelievers; he enjoyed torturing them before killing them. Smiting people’s heads from above their necks and chopping their fingertips were very cruel acts. Would God really give such orders? And yet the worst is what he promised to do with unbelievers in the other world:
These two antagonists dispute with each other about their Lord. But those who deny (their Lord), for them will be cut out a garment of Fire: over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies, as well as (their) skins. In addition there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be forced back therein, and (it will be said), “Taste ye the Penalty of Burning!” (Q.22:19-22)
How could the creator of this universe be so cruel? I was shocked to learn that Quran tells Muslims to:
• Kill unbelievers wherever they find them (Q.2:191),
• Murder them and treat them harshly (Q.9:123),
• Fight them (Q.8:65) until no other religion than Islam is left (Q.2:193),
• Humiliate them and impose on them a penalty tax if they are Christians or Jews (Q.9:29),
• Slay them if they are Pagans (Q.9:5), crucify, or cut off their hands and feet,
• Expel them from the land in disgrace. And as if this were not enough, “they shall have a great punishment in [the] world hereafter” (Q.5:34),
• Not befriend their own fathers or brothers if they are not believers (Q.9:23), (Q.3:28),
• Kill their own family in the battles of Badr and Uhud and asks Muslims to “strive against the unbelievers with great endeavor” (Q.25:52),
• Be stern with them because they belong to hell (Q.66:9).
How can any sensible person remain unmoved when he or she finds the Quran saying: “strike off the heads of the unbelievers” then after a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (Q.47:4)?
I was also shocked to learn the Quran denies freedom of belief for all and clearly states Islam is the only acceptable religion (Q.3:85). Allah relegates those who do not believe in the Quran to hell (Q.5:11) and calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (Q.9:28). He says unbelievers will go to hell and will drink boiling water (Q.14:17). Further, “As for the unbelievers, for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods” (Q.22:9). How sadistic!
The book of Allah says women are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to beat them (Q.4:34), and that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (Q.66:10). It says men have an advantage over women (Q.2:228). It not only denies women equal right to their inheritance (Q.4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their testimony alone is not admissible in court (Q.2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce [four] male witness[es], which of course is a joke. Rapists don’t rape in the presence of witnesses. But the most shocking verse is where Allah allows Muslims to rape women captured in wars even if they are married before being captured (Q.4:24; Q.4:3). The holy prophet raped the prettiest women he captured in his raids on the same day he killed their husbands and loved ones. This is why anytime a Muslim army subdues another nation, they call them kafir and rape their women. Pakistani soldiers raped up to 250,000 Bengali women in 1971 and massacred 3,000,000 unarmed civilians when their religious leader decreed that Bangladeshis are un-Islamic. This is why the prison guards in the Islamic regime of Iran rape the women and then kill them after calling them apostates and the enemies of Allah…
A similar conclusion was reached by Indian scholar Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who in the late 19th Century summarized his view of the Koran as follows (as reported in the already referenced book by Sujit Das):
Having thus given a cursory view of the Qur’an I lay it before the sensible persons, with the purpose that they should know what kind of book the Qur’an is. If they ask me, I have no hesitation to say that it cannot be work either of God or of a learned man, nor can it be a book of knowledge. The Qur’an is the result of ignorance, the source of animalization of humans… a fruitful cause of destroying peace, an incentive to war, a propagator of hostility amongst men and a promoter of suffering in society.2.3 Explorations of the Koran's human origins.
In addition to the above, two, simple methods to debunk the idea that the Koran is from God/Allah (i.e., via logical analyses and via relying on common-sense ideas of morality and justice), then still another method is to uncover the human origins of the Koran, similar to studies that have revealed the human origins of the Bible.
In my online book and in the previous posts of this series, I’ve tried to provide ample reasons and references for the conclusion that none of the entire Bible (Jewish and Christian) is a communication from any god. Trying to follow the scholarly studies of others, I tried to show that the Old and New Testaments are collections and contortions of assorted myths, mysticism, and mistakes from the ancient mid-eastern milieu. A few examples that I’ve already described in detail are the following.
• The myth about Adam and Eve is a sloppy amalgamation of the Mesopotamian myths about Adapa and Ninti (“the lady of the rib”) and of similar Egyptian and Ethiopian myths,Thereby, as a result of such investigations into the human origins of the Bible, the human origins of the Koran are already obvious. Thus, since the Koran retells the stories about Adam, Noah, Lot, Moses, Jesus, et al., the Koran is therefore obviously not from any god but is simply derived from the same, human, milieu of myths and mistaken ideas about gods.
• The myth about Noah is a rehash of the Mesopotamian myth about Utanapishtam (or Ziusudra or Ubar-Tutu or Atrahasis or Shuruppak) from approximately 2,000 years earlier,
• The myth about Lot (Sodom and Gomorrah) is possibly derived from the eruption of the island of Thera (or Santorini) in about 1500 BCE, causing massive destruction in the Minoan society (in which homosexuality was common),
• The myths about Moses were fabricated from stories about Sargon the Great (2334–2279 BCE) and from ancient Egyptian myths, and
• The myths about Jesus (e.g., about his alleged virgin birth and sundry miracles) were fabricated from similar stories about imagined Egyptian, Greek, and Hindu gods, and so on.
In the case of the Koran, unfortunately, not many scholars have published detailed analyses similar to those that have revealed the human origins of the Bible. To make significant progress (in historical, archeological, etymological and similar studies of the Koran’s human origins) is difficult; it’s a task that can only be undertaken by experts – who must have the freedom to follow the evidence, wherever it leads. Thwarting such efforts, the damnable Islamic clerics (called ulema) erect enormous barriers, out to and including issuing death-penalty fatwas (rulings) against anyone (Muslim or not) who threatens to upset their cozy financial interests in maintaining the status quo. For example, Saudi clerics [who collected SR60 billion (~20 billion $US) in Saudi zakat tax last year!] don’t permit the needed archaeological studies in their country. Nonetheless, in spite of obstructions, death threats, murders, and forced recantations (e.g., see the Introduction of the book by Dr. A.A. Ahmed), progress has been made. The details, however, are far too complicated to be reviewed in a single post; therefore, I’ll simply provide just a few references for interested readers.
• Here are a few samples of ancient accounts of pre-Islamic Arabia from c.430 BCE (from The Histories by Herodotus) to c. 550 CE (from History of the Wars by Procopius of Caesarea). From Procopius’ account, the reader can gain some appreciation that the Arabs were considered to be ferocious warriors:
It seemed to the Omeritae [living in what is now Yemen] a difficult thing to cross a country [now Saudi Arabia] which was a desert and which extended so far that a long time was required for the journey across it, and then to go against such a people much more warlike than themselves.• Here is a brief summary of the history of pre-Islamic Arabia, which includes the statement:
The Bedouin’s love of poetry was his only cultural asset and legacy. Their poets were held with great esteem and were extremely influential because of their mastery of the spoken word. They acted as the historians, propagandists and spokesmen of their tribes. They were in fact the equivalent of the modern news media reporters.• Consistent with his Bedouin culture, Muhammad considered himself a poet (the Koran is written as poetry). The essay by Abul Kasem entitled Who Authored the Qur’an? – an Enquiry identifies many people who apparently contributed (either directly or indirectly, e.g., by supplying Muhammad with stories) to writing what is now called the Koran:
During my investigative phase I found that a lot of people were involved in the compilation and the construction of the Qur’an. Unknown to the vast majority of Muslims, and buried deep inside the Qur’an, Ahadith [i.e., the collection of hadith] and Sirah there [is] copious evidence to reject, out of hand, the contention that the Qur’an is the creation of Allah. Making Allah the author of the Quran, I think, is the prime lie perpetrated on mankind for more than a millennium. We can, with certainty, say that it was not even Muhammad alone who authored the Qur’an. In fact, the major part of the Qur’an was either composed by or inspired and written by a few other individuals. The most notable among them were:An illustration given by Kasem (on p. 7 of his essay) is the following:
• Imrul Qays – an ancient poet of Arabia who died a few decades before Muhammad’s birth,
• Zayd b. Amr b. Naufal – an ‘apostate’ of his time [i.e., an apostate from polytheism] who preached and propagated Hanifism [which is what Muhammad originally called his “new” religion],
• Labid – another poet,
• Hasan b. Thabit – the official poet of Muhammad,
• Salman, the Persian – Muhammad’s confidant and an advisor,
• Bahira – a Nestoraian Christian monk of the Syrian church,
• Jabr – a Christian neighbor of Muhammad,
• Ibn Qumta – a Christian slave,
• Khadijah – Muhammad’s first wife,
• Waraqa – Khadijah’s cousin brother,
• Ubay b. Ka’b – Muhammad’s secretary and a Qur’an scribe, and
• Muhammad himself.
There were other parties involved too. They were:
• The Sabeans,
• Aisha – Muhammad’s child bride,
• Abdallah [or Abdullah] b. Salam b. al-Harith – a Jewish [rabbi] convert to Islam,
• Mukhyariq [or Mukhayriq] – a Rabbi and another Jewish convert to Islam.
Of course, my list of the possible authors of the Qur’an is not exhaustive. There may be many other parties involved that I might not have even heard of. But for a concise discussion the above list should be ample… In this article I have simply enumerated the contribution of the above sources in the authorship of the Qur’an.
W. St. Calir-Tisdall, the author of the famous essay The Origin of Islam (The Origins of the Koran, pp.235-236), by comparing two passages from the Sabaa Mu’allaqat, finds close similarity with… verses from the Qur’an… Commenting on verse 54.1 W. St. Clair-Tisdall writes:For extensive examples of how pre-Islamic poetry was used in the concoction of the Koran, I heartily recommend the 2006 on-line book The Hidden Life of the Prophet Muhammad by A.A. Ahmed.
It was the custom of the time for… orators to hang up their compositions upon the Ka’aba; and we know the seven Mu’allaqat [i.e., poems by seven, famous, pre-Islamic poets] were exposed. We are told that Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, was one day repeating as she went along the above verse. Just then she met the daughter of Imrul Qays, who cried out, “O that’s what your father has taken from one of my father’s poems, and calls it something that has come down to him out of heaven”…
• To gain an overview of how the Koran and the “biographies” of Muhammad were cobbled together during the first three-or-so centuries of “Islam”, the reader might first want to study Sharon Morad’s summary (a little of which I quoted near the start of the previous post) of the 1998 book The Origins of the Koran: Classic Essays on Islam’s Holy Book, edited by the ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq. As Morad points out, though:
Most of the essays are now a bit dated, and those familiar with the modern revisionist approach to Islamic history will recognize the areas where further study has proposed conclusions very different to some of the authors included here. [Nonetheless,] These essays are foundational reading for all students of the Koran.Readers may be interested to know that the first chapter of Ibn Warraq’s referenced book is available at the Resources Center of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain. The following excerpt from Chapter 2, “The Origins of Islam”, of the 1995 book Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq is enlightening:
Muhammad was not an original thinker: he did not formulate any new ethical principles, but merely borrowed from the prevailing cultural milieu. The eclectic nature of Islam has been recognized for a long time. Even Muhammad knew Islam was not a new religion, and the revelations contained in the Koran merely confirmed already existing scriptures. The Prophet always claimed Islam’s affiliation with the great religions of the Jews, Christians, and others. Muslim commentators such as al-Sharestani have acknowledged that the Prophet transferred to Islam the beliefs and practices of the heathen or pagan Arabs, especially into the ceremonies of the pilgrimage to Mecca.Readers interested in more recent results from historical studies of the Koran might want to first read the summary by Sean Gannon available here.
And yet Muslims in general continue to hold that their faith came directly from heaven, that the Koran was brought down by the angel Gabriel from God himself to Muhammad. The Koran is held to be of eternal origin, recorded in heaven, lying as it does there upon the Preserved Table (suras 85.21, 6.19; 97). God is the source of Islam – to find a human origin for any part of it is not only vain but also meaningless and, of course, blasphemous. Perhaps Muslims have the unconscious fear that if we can trace the teachings of the Koran to a purely human and earthly source, then the entire edifice of Islam will crumble. But as Renan used to say, “Religions are facts; they must be discussed as facts, and subjected to the rules of historical criticism.” To paraphrase Renan again, the critical study of the origins of Islam will only yield definitive historical results when it is carried out in a purely secular and profane spirit by people uninfluenced by dogmatic theology. Only then will we recover the historical Muhammad, and only then will his extraordinary life be integrated as a part of human history, with a secular meaning for all of us – Muslims and non-Muslims alike…
While Muir and Torrey are convinced that the Abrahamic origin of the Kaaba [the square stone building at Mecca, “the site most holy to Muslims and toward which they must face when praying”] was a popular belief long before the time of Muhammad, Snouck Hurgronje and Aloys Sprenger agree that the association of Abraham with the Kaaba was Muhammad’s personal invention, and it served as a means to liberate Islam from Judaism. Sprenger’s conclusion is harsh: “By this lie… Mohammed gave to Islam all that man needs and which differentiates religion from philosophy: a nationality, ceremonies, historical memories, mysteries, an assurance of entering heaven, all the while deceiving his own conscience and those of others”…
The works of Ignaz Goldziher and Henri Corbin on the influence of Zoroastrianism on Islam; the works of Geiger, Torrey, and Katsch on the influence of Judaism; Richard Bell’s pioneering work on the influence of Christianity; the work of Wellhausen, Noldeke, Hurgronje, and Robertson Smith on the influence of Sabianism and pre-Islamic Arabia; and the work of Arthur Jeffery on the foreign vocabulary of the Koran, all combine to make us concur with Zwemer’s conclusion that Islam “is not an invention, but a concoction; there is nothing novel about it except the genius of Mohammad in mixing old ingredients into a new panacea for human ills and forcing it down by means of the sword.”
In sum, whichever way it’s examined, Islam’s claim that the Koran was conveyed to Muhammad from God/Allah is ridiculous. Moreover, such a conclusion certainly isn’t recent. For example in his 2010 e-book already referenced, Sujit Das relays the following:
Perhaps the greatest freethinker in the whole of Islam was Muhammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (865–925). His general philosophy was that no authority was beyond criticism. He was a true humanist and had boundless faith in human reason. Al-Razi argued…Yet, merchant/trader that he was, Muhammad deserves some credit: he repackaged available Zoroastrian / Jewish / Christian / Sabian and pre-Islamic polytheistic poems and myths, and offered his “customers” more for less, i.e., a sexier heaven (literally!) and a more sadistic hell, at a cost of not the usual 10% tithing but only 2.5% – although the fine print adds: not 2.5% of one’s income, but an annual tax of 2.5% of one’s net worth! But even if they failed to read the fine print, sensible Arabs of Mecca refused to join his religion and (as I demonstrated in the previous post by quoting the Koran) they called him “mad” and “a mad poet”. During the first ten-or-so years of his promoting his “new” religion (which was just a sloppy amalgamation of old religions), Muhammad did, however, manage to convince a hundred-or-so people to join him – mostly women and slaves (i.e., those who had little to lose and whose sanity was questioned).
On what ground do you deem it necessary that God should single out certain individuals [by giving them prophecy], that he should set them up above other people, that he should appoint them to be the people’s guides, and make people dependent upon them?
If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.
Al-Razi maintained the view that reason is superior to revelation and salvation is only possible through philosophy. The Prophets, the billy goats with long beards (as Al-Razi disdainfully described them), cannot claim any intellectual and spiritual superiority. These billy goats pretend to come with a message from God, all the while exhausting themselves spouting their lies and imposing on the masses blind obedience to the “words of the master”. As for the Qur’an, it is but an associated mixture of “absurd and inconsistent fables”. Al-Razi continued,
You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: “Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one”. Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter… By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: “Produce something like it”?!
Undaunted even after his uncle and his first wife died (who were his prime supporters) – that is, after he relocated from Mecca to Medina – the merchant/trader Muhammad offered even more for still less: he saw how to capitalize on the malignant desires of brigands, sex maniacs, and assorted other brutes and beasts. First, he promised them all the booty and women they could plunder (for a mere surcharge, payable to him, of 20% of the booty and the first pick of captured women – to be his personal sex slaves). Then, applying the experience he gained in his “cut-throat” religious business, Muhammad sold his customers the next phase of the martyrdom craziness: not just the Jewish instant-heaven for defending your religion, not just the Christian instant-heaven for perseverance in your religion, but “guaranteed” instant access to paradise (complete with 72 “renewable” virgins for each brute) for “martyrs” killed in their pillage and plunder, euphemistically called “holy war” or jihad.
With that offer, Muhammad had more recruits (i.e., rabid dogs) than he could satisfy by looting other Arab tribes. So, he (and subsequent Muslim leaders) proceeded to attack and loot other countries: to the North, which had been weakened by centuries of wars between the Roman and Persian empires (both of which were unprepared for attacks on their “soft underbellies” by marauding, fanatic Arabs), and to the West, across North Africa, which had been weakened and demoralized by centuries of Christian sectarian strife. The result was to expand Islam’s real estate holding – which Muslim terrorists continue to seek to do, to this day.
Unfortunately for past and present Muslim terrorists, however, Muhammad seems to have made a slight mistake in promising his martyrs 72 perpetual virgins. Thus, as explained in a 4 March 2002 article in The New York Times by Alexander Stille:
…the famous passage about the virgins is based on the word ‘hur’, which is an adjective in the feminine plural meaning simply “white”. Islamic tradition insists the term ‘hur’ stands for ‘houri’, which means “virgin”, but Mr. Luxenberg [a German scholar of ancient Semitic languages and author of The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran] insists that this is a forced misreading of the text. In both ancient Aramaic and in at least one respected dictionary of early Arabic, ‘hur’ means “white raisin.”It’s a pity (for victims of Islamic idiocy) that mujahideen maniacs don’t realize that white raisins are readily available at local supermarkets.
Mr. Luxenberg has traced the passages dealing with paradise to a Christian text called Hymns of Paradise by a fourth-century author. Mr. Luxenberg said the word ‘paradise’ was derived from the Aramaic word for ‘garden’ and all the descriptions of paradise described it as a garden of flowing waters, abundant fruits, and white raisins, a prized delicacy in the ancient Near East. In this context, white raisins, mentioned often as ‘hur’, Mr. Luxenberg said, makes more sense than a reward of sexual favors.
3. Islam’s error of adopting Muhammad’s laws as Allah’s laws (sharia).
It’s mind boggling that any human living today would choose to abide by laws based on the words and deeds of the seventh century Bedouin bandit Muhammad, justifiably described by Ali Sina as “a narcissist, a misogynist, a rapist, a pedophile, a lecher, a torturer, a mass murderer, a cult leader, an assassin, a terrorist, a madman, [and] a looter.” Yet, a billion Muslims do accept Muhammad’s laws as Allah’s laws.
Their logic is sound: in their indoctrinated view, God/Allah communicated with Muhammad (via the fictitious angel Gabriel); Muhammad was “the perfect man”; therefore, his words and deeds should be the basis of their laws (called sharia or spelled shari’a or shari’ah, meaning “pathway”, and “based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet as given in the Hadith and Sunnah”). But although their logic is sound their conclusion is wrong (in fact, doubly wrong), first because it’s based on Muhammad’s faulty claim that he was “the perfect man” and second because it rests on the untestable premiss (and therefore, gobbledygook) that God/Allah exists.
Of course, Muslims don’t agree that their conclusion is wrong, since they obviously don’t mind relying on meaningless premisses. Even they, however, admit that deriving laws from Muhammad’s words and deeds is complicated, requiring the guidance of Islamic clerics [those who are pleased to be called “scholars” (ulema), i.e., people who waste their lives studying Islam’s “sacred literature”]. In fact, history has shown that following Muhammad’s path (sharia) has been so complicated (and contentious) that Islam split into multiple sects (e.g., Sunni, Shia, Khawariji, Kalam, Sufi) and sub-sects (e.g., only within the Sunni sect, Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki, and Hanbali/Wahhabism), each of whose members commonly call members of competing sects “not true Muslims” or “apostates”, thereby “justifying” murders and wars. A recent example is the Iraq (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) war, which raged from 1980 to 1988 and in which approximately a half a million people were killed. The loss of so many lives, however, is apparently not to be grieved, for as the dictators and clerical leeches on both sides consoled, those who died were martyrs for their causes and are now in paradise enjoying their 72 white raisins.
The resulting murders and wars within and between sects have persisted essentially continuously since 24 years after Muhammad’s death (“when the head of universal Islamic community, the caliph Uthman, [was] murdered by political rivals”), in spite of Allah’s alleged injunction:
Do not be like those who became divided and disputed, despite the clear proofs that were given to them. (Q3:105)From which the obvious conclusion is that, in reality, no communication from any god ever provided “clear proofs” – which (surprise, surprise) is logically consistent with the premisses that there are no gods (and never were any gods) and that all religious murders and wars have been caused (and continue to be caused) by ignorant and power-mongering clerics. As an Iranian recently said about Iran’s current, leading clerics:
[They’re] society’s dregs and fascists who consist of a concoction of ignorance and madness… [and] those who are convinced that yogurt is black.But continuing with the silly speculation that a creator god exists (rather than the more reasonable conclusions that either the universe has always existed or, e.g., it was created by a quantum-like symmetry-breaking fluctuation in total nothingness), Islamic clerics during the past millennium and more have continuously churned out sharia rulings (or fatwas).
Some recent rulings have ranged from the ridiculous to the absurd, including the following:
• In 1993, the “supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia” (the “Grand Mufti”) Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz (or written Abdillah Bin Baz) ruled, consistent with the Koran:
The earth is flat, and anyone who disputes this claim is an atheist who deserves to be punished.Again, that was the Grand Mufti’s ruling in 1993 not 993.
• In 2007, the “head of Al-Azhar University’s department of Hadith” (Al-Azhar being “one of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution”) ruled that, based on the hadith in which Muhammad allegedly told a woman to nurse a teenage boy to establish a family bond, unrelated men and women would be permitted to work together in the same office or other facility if the employed women would similarly nurse their male colleagues. Many males were apparently willing to comply, but wouldncha know, once again, the trouble-making women were hesitant to cooperate, apparently having the audacity to claim that they own their own bodies.
• And then there are Islam’s list of 70 toilet-rules, which I’ll leave to readers to ridicule – although, maybe I should a least mention the required, final prayer: “Praise be to Allah who relieved me of the filth and gave me relief.” Isn’t it great the way Allah gets down and digs into the dirty details? Although, truth be known, I’d rather prefer if Allah paid more attention to the big picture, e.g., progress toward more peace and prosperity, which Islam seems hell-bent on flushing down the toilet.
But beyond such asinine fatwas (which may, in fact, follow from sound logical analyses – but are unreliable, because once again, they’re based on the untestable premiss that Allah exits and the faulty premiss that Muhammad was “the perfect man”), Islamic “scholars” (who apparently don’t have the smarts to question their premisses) do encounter other logical problems. Thus, disregarding the many problems that engage the “minds” of today’s Islamic clerics [such as whether women are permitted to drive cars (when Bedouin women were permitted to drive camels), whether DNA evidence can be used as a “witness” of rape, and so on], a logical conundrum arises from what’s identified in the Koran as abrogation.
Specifically, according to no less an authority than the Koran itself, God/Allah allegedly revised/ redacted/ changed his most holy of creations (the Koran), abrogating or canceling what allegedly he had previously dictated (via Gabriel) to Muhammad as inviolable. The pertinent “communication” is in the sura (chapter) called Al-Barqarah:
None of our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar… (Q.2:106)So, maybe my statement should be abrogated: God/Allah didn’t abrogate anything in the Koran; instead, given that ‘abrogate’ means to “repeal or do away with”, then according to the above quotation, God/Allah “substituted something better or similar” – which to the rest of us means ‘abrogate’!
If that’s still unclear, maybe an example will help. Thus, at one point the Koran provides Allah’s immutable rule (and sweet sentiment):
If anyone slew an innocent person it would be as if he slew all mankind, and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. (Q.5:32)Not incidentally, the above verse was quite likely written by the Jewish rabbi Al-Husayn ibn Sailam (who converted to Islam, whose name Muhammad changed to Abdullah ibn Sallam, and who, subsequently, was “constantly in his [Muhammad’s] company”), because Q.5:32 is almost identical to the statement in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a), which was finalized hundreds of years before Muhammad was born and which Rabbi Al-Husayn almost certainly would have known:
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.Anyway, the challenge for Islamic clerics was (and still is!) to explain how Q.5:32 (equating the slaying of an single person to slaying all mankind) could be consistent with other statements in the Koran, such “the Sura of the Sword”:
…slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush… (Q.9:5)Well, never underestimate the ability of any religion’s clerics to squirm out of logical absurdities by redefining words and introducing new balderdash: the result is new dogma and resulting sectarian divisions. In the case under consideration, some illustrative squirming is the following.
• One group of Islamic clerics claim (with zero evidence to support their claim) that “abrogation” doesn’t apply to the Koran, itself. Instead, what Allah meant (say these clowns who claim to know “the thoughts” of the first symmetry-breaking quantum-like fluctuation in a total void) was that some statements given to other “prophets” (Moses, Jesus, et al.) were abrogated. Thus, in the current case (claim these clerics), what Allah abrogated was the earlier Jewish statement,
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world…And what Allah did (wise as such an unstable quantum-fluctuation must have been) was to introduce the word ‘innocent’:
If anyone slew an innocent person it would be as if he slew all mankind… (Q.5:32)Consequently (claim these clowns), whereas nonbelievers aren’t innocent, therefore in the Sura of the Sword, Allah has given his approval to slaughter unbelievers – because they’re obviously guilty (of not believing Muhammad’s balderdash).
• A second group of Islamic clerics also claims that abrogation doesn’t apply to the Koran, and what people are to understand (according to these idiots) is that Allah has proclaimed different rules to apply to different cases: slaying (innocent) Muslims is forbidden, but slaying (guilty) unbelievers is approved – because they’re not really people, doncha know.
• A third group of Islamic clerics accepts abrogation within the Koran, but what’s to be understood (according to these imbeciles) is that Allah’s rules are so versatile that they adjust with changing times, as illustrated in the Koran. Thus, when Muhammad was starting out (in Mecca) peaceful rules applied, when he began to gain strength (in Medina) he was permitted to defend himself (killing people in the process), and when he had assembled the most powerful army in Arabia, then he was permitted to “kill the unbelievers”. Therefore, claim these imbecile clerics, Allah’s rules change with changing times – and, of course, it’s the prerogative of the clerics to choose which rules apply at the present time.
• And still another group of devious Islamic clerics accept abrogation within the Koran basically without qualification. They admit (at least among themselves, rarely to others – and never to new recruits to Islam) that the Sura of the Sword does in fact abrogate all “124 verses [in the Koran] that call for tolerance and patience.” Thereby, for example, they throw out the familiar:
There is no compulsion in religion. (Q.2:256)There are other manipulations, misrepresentations, and obfuscations (e.g., effectively, “Of course there’s no compulsion in religion; it’s not our fault that you unbelievers feel compulsion about keeping your head attached to the rest of your body”), but I won’t go into them. New interpretations lead to new sects and sub-sects – and the volcanic eruption of another mountain of lies.
Meanwhile, those of us whose brains are still functioning easily see through the entire charade of abrogation and resulting sharia law: Muhammad changed the rules as he went along (when he was weak, he preached peace and harmony; when he was strong, he preached war). It’s been similar for all subsequent charismatic, charlatan clerics. As Salman Rushdie said:
Fundamentalism isn’t about religion; it’s about power.Yet, in spite of the confusion and troubles caused by abrogation, most Islamic clerics have agreed on a set of laws that Allah allegedly dictated. In their scheme, the usual “rationale” behind establishing any law is the following, applied in the indicated order, as relayed by “abbas” at The Philosophy Forum:
1. Does the Koran say anything about the situation? If so, follow that! – no further consideration.The author comments further:
2. Does the life of Muhammad tell us anything about the situation? If so, follow that! – no further consideration.
3. Have there been past Sharia rulings about the situation? If so, follow that! – no further consideration.
4. Have there been any opinions by past or present Imams of great respect? If so, follow that! – no further consideration.
5. Does the local Imam have an opinion? If so, follow that! – no further consideration.
6. If none of the above, the Sharia court shall render a verdict in accordance with Koranic principles.
This type of law is based in the past. It offers little opportunity for evolution of thought to fit evolution of society. In fact, it discourages societal evolution and encourages continuance of old tribal ways… which can still be observed today in almost all aspects of daily life in Muslim states. Tribalism and sectarianism are the factors that are preventing Muslim states from entering the modern age. Of course, the POV [point of view] of Muslim leaders is that they don’t want to enter the modern age.Examples of well-established sharia law include the following, copied from Gadi Adelman’s article Discussing Islam:
• Sharia law commands that drinkers and gamblers are to be whipped.I recommend that all non-Muslims re-read the last-four of the above laws, think about them, and realize that, thereby, Islam has declared war on you, to be waged (surreptitiously when necessary) until you surrender to Islam. In the next post, I’ll comment further on the evil of Islam’s declaring and waging incessant war against humanity.
• Sharia law allows a plaintiff to exact legal revenge, literally an eye for an eye.
• Sharia law commands that a thief must have a hand cut off.
• Sharia law orders death for both Muslim and non-Muslim critics of the Quran, Mohammed, and even Sharia itself.
• Sharia law orders apostates to be killed.
• Sharia law commands offensive, aggressive, and unjust Jihad (war).
• The Quran instructs Muslims to lie to further and protect Islam (Taqiyya).
4. Islam’s error of promoting deception (taqiyya).
I especially recommend considering the final law listed above, dealing with deception, i.e., taqiyya. Raymond Ibrahim provides details in his article “How Taqiyya Alters Islam’s Rules of War”, published in the Winter 2010 issue (Vol. XVII, No. 1, pp. 3–13) of The Middle East Quarterly (quoted below with references omitted):
Qur’anic verse 3:28 is often seen as the primary verse that sanctions deception towards non-Muslims:
Let believers [Muslims] not take infidels [non-Muslims] for friends and allies instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.
Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923), author of a standard and authoritative Qur’an commentary, explains verse 3:28 as follows:
If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them… [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.
Regarding Qur’an 3:28, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), another prime authority on the Qur’an, writes, “Whoever at any time or place fears… evil [from non-Muslims] may protect himself through outward show.” As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad’s close companion Abu Darda, who said, “Let us grin in the face of some people while our hearts curse them.” Another companion, simply known as Al-Hasan, said, “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment [i.e., in perpetuity].”Thereby, in short, Islam informs the world that no Muslim can be trusted in dealing with non-Muslims.
Other prominent scholars, such as Abu ‘Abdullah al-Qurtubi (1214-73) and Muhyi ‘d-Din ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240), have extended taqiyya to cover deeds. In other words, Muslims can behave like infidels and worse – for example, by bowing down and worshiping idols and crosses, offering false testimony, and even exposing the weaknesses of their fellow Muslims to the infidel enemy – anything short of actually killing a Muslim: “Taqiyya, even if committed without duress, does not lead to a state of infidelity – even if it leads to sin deserving of hellfire.”
That’s an astounding error – unless (of course) Muslims don’t expect non-Muslims to learn what Islam teaches or Muslims don’t want non-Muslims as friends. In fact, the latter is what Islam teaches:
Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers [in Muhammad’s balderdash]… except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them... (Q.3:28)And I admit that, if you don’t want friends, then being deceitful is a sure-fire method of not having any. Yet, most people consider it an error to avoid friendship – or even an evil, as I’ll address in the next post.
5. Islam’s fatal philosophical errors.
Islam’s philosophical errors are like explosives planted to demolish decrepit building. Here, in this final section of this long post, I’ll just very briefly describe some of Islam’s explosive and fatal philosophical errors. By ‘fatal’, I mean that, as the minds of more Muslims are freed from their clerics’ dogma and deception, as more Muslims begin to be able to think for themselves and think critically rather than emotionally, then upon realizing Islam’s philosophical errors, Islam will explosively collapse under the weight of its own absurdities.
5.1 Islam’s fatal epistemological errors.
Epistemology (from Greek epistēmē meaning ‘knowledge’) is “the study of the methods, validity, and scope of knowledge”, providing the ability to distinguish justified belief from balderdash. The scientific method (“guess, test, and reassess”) has been found to be the only way to gain justifiable knowledge about the world external to our minds – and even about how our minds work. The scientific method (coupled with Bayes' theorem) yields estimates for the probability that any claims to truth for “open systems” are valid.
In contrast, Islam (similar to all Abrahamic religions) is based on the nonsense that absolute truth (a concept appropriate only to “closed systems”, such as all religions) can be or has been obtained in some “prophet’s” revelations (i.e., dreams, hallucinations, or similar) and that such closed-system truths are valid in the open-system known as reality. People believe such closed-system truths are true in reality simply because such beliefs are satisfying (the “proof-by-pleasure logical fallacy”, consistent with the root of the word ‘be-lief’, i.e., “wish to be”). As Bertrand Russell wrote:
What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires – desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way… So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence [italics added], they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely that their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans.5.2 Islam’s fatal ontological errors.
Ontology (from Greek ōn, ont- meaning ‘being’) is the study of the nature of existence or being. Just as there are two types of ‘truth’ [for open systems (such as natural systems, for which ‘truth’ can be approached only asymptotically, using the scientific method) and for closed systems (such as all games, including all religions), in which ‘truth’ is defined by “the rules of the game”], there are two types of existence: things and processes (or ‘phenomena’) that exist in reality and those that exist only as ideas.
That specific phenomena exist in reality is established as a hypothesis by collecting relevant evidence, i.e., phenomenologically. The probability that some existence hypothesis is true can then be estimated (using Bayes’ method) via tests of predictions of the hypothesis. For example, the hypothesis “I exist” leads to predictions (e.g., that I should be able to type the next few words). From the outcomes of such tests, I’ve concluded that the hypothesis “I exist” is valid to within about 1 part in 10^24 – leaving room for the miniscule possibility that, in fact, I may be just a simulation in some humongous computer.
Meanwhile, in our minds, we can imagine many more phenomena than exist in reality, e.g., invisible flying pink elephants. The electro-chemical signals in our brains exist in reality, but the objects of our thoughts exist only as ideas. As an example, the famous dictum of Descartes, “I think; therefore, I am”, is invalid: his more complete statement (which would have been tautologically valid) should have been: “I think; therefore, I am thinking.”
In particular, no reliable evidence has ever been obtained to support the hypothesis (or better, the ‘speculation’) that any god exists in reality. I’ve crudely estimated the probability that any creator god exists (or has ever existed) – based not on evidence (since there is none) but on the possibility that such a god could come into existence – to be less than one part in 10^500. Stated differently, the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to obtain, vastly more certain even than the knowledge that we exist, is that no creator god exists or has ever existed.
When Muslims (and other religionists) realize their mistake of confusing existence in reality with existence of ideas in their minds, they’ll realize how foolish they have been to fall for their clerics’ con game. As Sunand Tryambak Joshi summarized:
The atheist, agnostic, or secularist… should not be cowed by exaggerated sensitivity to people’s religious beliefs and fail to speak vigorously and pointedly when the devout put forth arguments manifestly contrary to all the acquired knowledge of the past two or three millennia. Those who advocate a piece of folly like the theory of an “intelligent creator” should be held accountable for their folly: they have no right to be offended for being called fools until they establish that they are not in fact fools.5.3 Islam’s fatal logical errors.
The fatal errors in logic, especially by those Muslims who claim to be logical, are so egregious as to be laughable. They pride themselves with their applications of Aristotle’s logic but have apparently failed to notice that neither Aristotelian logic nor any other deductive logic is capable of producing new information: at best, sound deductions can produce only knowledge consistent with premisses. Thus, if one assumes that a creator god exists who communicated the Koran to humans, then sound logic leads to logically correct (but horrible) conclusions such as the correctness of beating women, raping female captives, cutting off the hands of thieves, and smiting off the fingertips and necks of “unbelievers” (in Muslim balderdash).
Such conclusions, however, aren’t “true” (in reality) because they start from the untestable premiss (and therefore gobbledygook) that a creator god exists. To determine the existence of anything (e.g., some god), deductions are completely useless, since (again) deductions can’t produce new information. To obtain new information (e.g., about the existence of any god), then ontology teaches us that we must rely on phenomenology: evidence must be obtained, hypotheses must be formulated that are testable, and so on, via the scientific method.
And as I’ve written so many times that I’m becoming “sick and tired” of writing it, there’s zero evidence that any creator god exists or has ever existed. Yes, certainly, data support the hypotheses that we and the universe exist, but the data provide evidence only that we and the universe exist. How we and the universe seem to have come into existence are entirely different questions, which I’ve explored elsewhere. Here, I’ll let Joseph Daleiden summarize:
In the final analysis all theology… is a marvelous exercise in logic based on premisses that are no more verifiable – or reasonable – than astrology, palmistry, or belief in the Easter Bunny. Theology pretends to search for truth, but no method could lead a person further… from the truth than that intellectual charade.5.4 Islam’s other, fatal, philosophical errors.
In this post, I won’t go into additional details of Islam’s fatal philosophical errors, e.g., in aesthetics, ethics, politics, etc. Partly for fun, however, consider how far a society can advance starting from the aesthetic idiocy pronounced by the founder of Iran’s current theocracy, the Ayatollah Khomeini (who was also a professor of philosophy!):
Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.Really? Some of us enjoy ourselves – and we’re serious – when we poke fun at sanctimonious BS from supercilious fools. As H.L. Mencken said about 75 years ago:
The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe – that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.And thus, all praise is due his noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pbuh = pesto be upon him)!
What’s not so much fun, however, is to consider (as I’ll do in the next post) the evils resulting from Islam’s errors in personal and interpersonal morality and in political and social philosophy.
[To be continued]