Hadith Hadith Exegesis

Camel Milk And Urine Hadiths

I. The Arabian Camel

“Do they not look at the Camels, how they are made?” (Qur’?n, 88:17)

The ability of Arabian camels to withstand water deprivation as well as help humans in harsh arid climates is truly remarkable and stems from several factors. They do not overheat, can withstand water loss, and store fats in the hump for use in times of food and water deprivation. In times of dehydration, the water seems to be lost from tissues, but not blood. For this reason there is no circulatory distress and the animals can sustain a loss of up to 25% of their body weight – up to 200 kilos! – without dehydration (Humans lose water from blood and tissue and will die of sluggish circulation at a loss of 12% of their body water). Camels can also re-hydrate very quickly.1

Camel meat is healthier than beef. A single camel, when slaughtered, feeds ninety to an hundred people. A Bedouin out of water can survive for weeks by slitting the lower lip of his camel and sharing its cud then, later, slaughtering it and drinking the water stored in its four-tiered stomach. In addition to their famed benefits in desert survival, they are highly resistant to many deadly viral diseases and their antibodies could be used for new drugs. Their immune systems are so robust that they remain free from many of the viral diseases that affect other mammals such as foot-and-mouth and rinderpest.2

II. Had?th of Milk

A lactating camel can produce 4 to twelve kilos of milk a day for 9 to eighteen months. Camel milk is so rich in potassium – which helps retain water in the tissues – that the desert Bedouin who drinks it needs only 2 to 4 liters a day, as opposed to twelve liters of water a day to survive. Camel milk also contains lactose – a diuretic, – protein, iron, and more fat, water, phosphorus, calcium, and Vitamin C than cow’s milk in addition to the diuretic and liver-strengthening properties of the wild herbs preferred by camels such as rosemary (ikl?l), thyme (sa`tar), wormwood (shayh), and southernwood (qays?m). It also stays fresh much longer than cow’s milk. In times of drought the camel continues to lactate long after goats, sheep, and cows have stopped.3

The Prophet Muhammad – upon him and his House blessings and peace – alluded to the above facts when he stressed the merit of milk over any other food and said, as narrated from Ibn `Abb?s – All?h be well-pleased with both of them – by al-Tirmidh?, Ab? D?w?d, Ibn M?jah, and Ahmad:

the one All?h feeds milk, let him say: “O All?h, bless us with it and give more!” For I know of nothing that suffices better food drink.

III. Camel Urine in Arab Medicine

The medicinal properties of the Arabian camel were known to Arab physicians. In his magisterial Canon – “a medical bible for a longer time than any other work”4, Ibn S?n? (Avicenna) mentions that chronic imbalance of the liver produces jaundice, dropsy (istisq?’), and swelling of the belly and that the health of the liver can be restored through a temporary diet of camel milk and male Arabian Naj?b camel urine, “the most beneficient type of urine, then human urine.”5 Avicennan textbooks by Ibn al-Azraq (d. 890) and al-Suwayd? (600-690) state, “The cure [for dropsy] is to drink the milk of the she-camel – together with its urine – fresh out of the udder6, and to use that every day and leave everything else, for it is extremely efficient and of proven results.”7

Ibn Sayyid al-N?s specifies, “notably desert camels feeding on wormwood and southernwood.”8 Wormwood is among the herbs that are extremely useful in correcting digestive disorders in general and for helping detoxify the liver in particular, and is used in the treatment of hepatitis.9

Thus, Arabian camel urine was a standard prescription in Arabic medicine and remains a staple of Bedouin natural remedies to this day both as diuretic, snuff and delousing hair wash.10

One of the great Arab physicians was the Antiochene D?w?d ibn `Umar al-Ant?k? (d. 1008) who knew Greek as well as Arabic, worked in Cairo and Damascus, and died in Makka. He produced a number of Arabic treatises, the most famous being his two-volume Tadhkirat Ul?l-Alb?b wal-J?mi` lil-`Ajab al-`Uj?b or “Memorandum Book for Those Endowed with Hearts and the Encyclopedia of Wonders” – still available in print – in which he says:

Urine differs according to its animal origin but it all tends to heat and dryness provided it does not come from an animal devoid of bile such as the camel. In the latter case, its dryness is minimal because it is devoid of salinity since nothing breaks down salinity, with water, other than the bile. All urine types dispel the effects of disease, cure the eye and the ear, chronic cough, difficulty in respiration, the spleen, and uterine pains, especially aged and/or congealed. The most effective types are human urine then the camel’s.11

A camel needs eight times more salt than ovines and bovines – 1kg weekly – and the low salinity of its urine is due to the fact that it produces ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) and aldosterone, a hormone that facilitates reabsorption of urine water from the urinary tracts into blood, reducing the quantity of urine. The liver has few excess amino-acids to degrade into urea and uric acid – highly toxic substances – because of the camel’s vegetarian regimen. At the same time, aldosterone helps retain sodium at the level of the kidneys, which keeps water in the body. All this produces such a concentrated urine that the volume excreted can be reduced from 20 to 5 liters.12

IV. Use of Animal Urine in Modern Medicine

Use of animal urine is endorsed in mainstream modern medicine. Pregnant mare urine is the source of conjugated equine estrogens and has been marketed for over fifty years as the pharmaceutical brand Premarin, “an estrogen treatment for menopausal and premenopausal women” especially postpartum – one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States.13 It was very recently discovered that adding distilled cow urine to medicaments increases their effectiveness while decreasing their side-effects, making anti-cancer and anti-tubercular drugs twenty times more effective and anti-bacterial drugs eighty times more effective.14 Human “urine therapy” is a staple of ayurveda but remains an underground semi-science in the West.

V. Had?th of Stomach Putrescence

The Prophet Muhammad (P) indicated the medicinal properties of camel urine for gastro-intestinal disorders 1,400 years ago when he said, as narrated from Ibn `Abb?s(R) by Ahmad, al-Tah?w? in Sharh Ma`?n? al-Ath?r, and al-Tabar?n? in al-Mu`jam al-Kab?r – a firmly established narration according to al-Shawk?n? in Nayl al-Awt?r:

there is, in the urine of camels and their milk, a cure for those with putrescent stomachs (al-dharibati but?nuhum)15

The Damascene and Cairene physician `Izz al-D?n Ab? Ish?q Ibr?h?m ibn Muhammad al-Suwayd?16 defined putrescence of the stomach as “a disease of the stomach that prevents it from disgesting aliments. They rot in it and it cannot retain them.”17

VI. Had?th of the `Uraniyy?n Nomads

This Prophetic prescription is reiterated in the famous had?th of the `Urayna Bedouins as narrated from Anas – All?h be well-pleased with him – in its main variant wordings by al-Bukh?r?, Muslim, al-Nas?’?, al-Tirmidh?, Ibn M?jah, and Ahmad:

[B = Bukh?r?; M = Muslim; T = Tirmidh?; N = Nas?’?, IM = Ibn M?jah, A = Ahmad, all in the `Alamiyya numbering]

“Some people from `Urayna found Madina noxious (ijtawaw) so the Prophet (upon him peace) allowed them to go to the camels of s.adaqa and drink from their milk and urine.” B 1405 Shu`ba from Qatada from Anas; T 67 and 1965 H.amm?d ibn Salama from H.umayd, Qat?da, and Th?bit, from Anas; N 3961 `Abd All?h al-`Umar? and others from Humayd from Anas.

“Some people [var. Some people or men] from `Ukl and `Urayna had come to Mad?na to see the Prophet (upon him peace) and pronounced Isl?m. They said, “Prophet of All?h, we were people of udders; we were not people of plantation [i.e. nomads, not farmers].” They found Madina insalubrious (istawkham?), so the Prophet (upon him peace) ordered that they be given some three to ten-year old milch camels (dhawd) with a camelherd and that they set out with them to drink [i.e. keep a regimen] of their milk and urine.” B 3871 and 5286; N 303 Sa`?d ibn Ab? `Ur?ba from Qatada from Anas; N 3965 Shu`ba from Qatada from Anas.

“A group from `Ukl came to the Prophet (upon him peace) and stayed in the Suffa. They found Mad?na noxious so they said, “Messenger of All?h, we need milk!” He said, “I have none to give you except if you catch up with the camels of the Messenger of All?h.” They went to them and drank from their milk and urine until they were cured and regained their weight.” B 6306 Ayy?b from Ab? Qil?ba from Anas.

“A group of eight from `Ukl came to the Messenger of All?h (upon him peace) and pledged their oath of Isl?m. Then they found the land insalubrious, they became emfeebled and complained of this to the Messenger of All?h (upon him peace). He said, “Will you not go out with our herdsman and his camels, to drink some of their milk and urine?” They said yes and did so. Then they got better.” B 6390; N 3958 Ab? Raj?’ from Ab? Qil?ba from Anas.

“Bedouin Arabs from `Urayna came to the Prophet (upon him peace) and accepted Isl?m then found Mad?na noxious to the point they became jaundiced and their bellies became swollen. The Messenger of All?h (upon him peace) sent them out to some of his milch-camels that had just given birth (liq?h)18 and ordered them to drink of their milk and urine until they got better.” N 304 and 3967 Talha ibn Musarrif from Yahy? ibn Sa`?d from Anas.

“A group from `Ukl and `Urayna pronounced Isl?m then came to the Messenger of All?h (upon him peace) and told him they were people of udders not people of plantation. They complained of the fever of Madina. The Messenger of All?h (upon him peace) ordered that they be given some three to ten-year old milch camels (dhawd) and ordered them to exit al-Mad?na and drink from their milk and urine. They set out to the vicinity of al-Harra.” A 12207 Ma`mar from Qat?da from Anas.

“A group from `Urayna came to the Messenger of All?h (upon him peace) and said, “We found al-Mad?na noxious, our bellies have swollen and our limbs have thinned!” The Messenger of All?h ( ordered them to join up with the camelherd and drink from the camel’s milk and urine. They did, until their bellies and complexions improved.” A 13572 Hamm?m from Qat?da from Anas.

All the above wordings are narrated solely from Anas ibn M?lik by at least eight trustworthy T?bi`?n with close agreement in both content and wording, give or take certain peripheral additional details, in the 70 chains of the six cited compilations alone.

VII. The Pre-Hijra Pestilence in Mad?na

Yathrib was insalubrious and known for its endemic fever, the humm? of Yathrib. Al-Bukh?r? narrated that `A’isha said: “We came to al-Mad?na when it was the most plague-infested land of All?h. [The valley of] Buth?n was covered with stagnant water.” Dr. Ghiy?th Hasan al-Ahmad avers that the disease referred to in the humm? had?ths is malaria-type marsh fever and chills (humm? al-bard?’).19 The humm? was grave enough to warrant visits and exhortations about death as narrated by al-Tirmidh?, Ibn M?jah, and Ahmad from Ab? Hurayra. Al-Bukh?r?, Muslim, and M?lik narrate from `A’isha(R) that after their emigration Ab? Bakr(R) and Bil?l(R) – All?h be well-pleased with all of them – suffered painful bouts of high fever (wa`k) during which Bil?l(R) would exclaim:

Will I ever sleep again in the valley fragrant with idhkhir and jal?l? Will I ever drink again from the spring of Majanna? Will I ever see again Sh?ma and Taf?l? O All?h, curse [those] who expelled us from our lands to the land of plague!

Then the Prophet(P) pronounced his famous supplication:

O All?h, make al-Mad?na as beloved to us as Makka, and even more beloved! O All?h, bless us in our s?` and our mudd, make it wholesome for us, and take away its fever to al-Juhfa!

`A’isha said: “We came to al-Mad?na when it was the most plague-infested land of Allah. Buthan was covered with stagnant water.”

Al Bukh?r?, Muslim, and al-Nas?’? narrate that another time, a desert Arab caught the fever of Mad?na then came to the Prophet(P) saying, “Rescind my pledge!” But the Prophet(P) refused on two successive occasions. Then the man left Mad?na and the Prophet(P) said: “Al-Mad?na is like a forge. It expels its impurities while its good becomes burnished.” He also said: “I was ordered to a town that devours the other towns. They call it Corrupt – Yathrib – but it is The City – al-Mad?na. It expels [the wrong] people the way a forge expels impurities from iron” (narrated from Ab? Hurayra by al-Bukh?r? and Muslim).

This fever is the immediate reason the Mad?nans on pilgrimage were ordered to practice ramal or vigorous circumambulation, despite their fatigue, as a deterrent showoff to any enemy Meccans that would prey on them due to their ailment, as narrated from Ibn `Abb?s by al-Bukh?r? and Muslim.

VIII. Malaria, Typhus, Dropsy, or Hepatitis?

Dr. Mahm?d N?zim al-Nusaym? saw the diseases caused by the fever of Mad?na as one of two types: either fever caused by gastrointestinal infections such as typhoid and other types of salmonella; or malaria-type marsh fever and chills (humm? al-barda’). The former causes a swelling of the stomach and intestines while the latter causes a swelling in the pancreas and liver. These diseases are carried by insects such as mosquitoes, which fester in stagnant-water and vegetation-rich environments.20

Two Syrian contemporaries, the savant Shams al-D?n Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751) in al-Tibb al-Nabaw? (“Medicine of the Prophet”) and the eye specialist and antimonist of Safad al-Kahh?l `Al? ibn `Abd al-Kar?m ibn Tarkh?n (d. 759) in al-Ahk?m al-Nabawiyya f?l-Sin?`at al-Tibbiyya (“The Prophetic Prescriptions in Medical Science”) both believed that the disease diagnosed in the had?th of the `Uraniyy?n was a form of dropsy.21 Ascites dropsy is caused mostly by liver imbalance and can lead to cirrhosis.22 We mentioned the standard Avicennan prescription in such cases. This was tested recently. A researcher from a teaching hospital in the Sudan presented a study of 30 patients with ascites dropsy, an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen that causes distended stomachs.23 The study found that patients responded slightly better to 150ml of camel urine a day than to the standard chemical-based medicine, the strong diuretic furosemide.24 However, ascites is not acquired in a short time and is a lifelong ailment. Nor is it infectious, so it is unlikely that eight people would contract it in a brief time and all at once.

According to our teacher Dr. S?mir al-Nass, the likeliest diagnosis of the symptoms and background described in the had?th of the `Uraniyy?n is that the patients suffered from viral hepatitis (= literally “swelling”), a highly infectious inflammation of the liver that causes jaundice, bloating of the abdomen due to accumulation of fluid, and fever. Among its treatments are diuretics and low-fat diets.

IX. Synopsis of the `Uraniyy?n Had?th

The picture that emerges from the collated variants of the `Urayna had?th is as follows: A group of eight poor desert nomads came to Mad?na, announced their Isl?m, and stayed at the Suffa or Shelter along with the destitute among the Companions. During their stay they contracted hepatitis, possibly complicated by typhoid or malaria resulting in jaundice, weight loss, and distended stomachs. They craved milk and mentioned the fact that they were “people of udders,” not farmers. The Prophet(P) sent them out of Mad?na on a regimen of radical low-sodium diuretics25 – pregnant camel milk and urine – with his herd – the proceeds of zak?t for which they, as travellers, were eligible – at al-Harra for a few days or weeks, where they got better. The camels were herded by a Najd? freedman of the Prophet’s (upon him peace), Yas?r, who had been captured in a raid on the Ban? Tha`laba.

X. But Is Not Urine Filthy (najis)?

Im?m al-Tirmidh? said, after narrating the `Urayna had?th, that the majority of the authorities do not consider the urine of edible animals filthy. Ibn Qud?ma reiterates this ruling in the Mughn? and cites, among those that consider it pure, al-Zuhr?, Yahy? al-Ans?r?, `At?’, al-Nakha`?, al-Thawr?, M?lik, and Ahmad. This is also the position of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shayb?n? as stated by al-Tah?w? in Sharh Ma`?n? al-Ath?r and al-Sarakhs? in al-Mabs?t. `Abd al-Razz?q in his Musannaf and al-Tah?w? narrate the same from Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya, Ibr?h?m al-Nakha`?, and `At?’, some adding that camel urine is also sniffed for medicine as well as cow urine and sheep urine. Al-Bukh?r? narrated:

Y?nus ibn Yaz?d asked Ibn Shih?b al-Zuhr?: “Can we make ablution with or drink the urine of camels?” He said: “The Muslims of old would use it as medicine and saw nothing wrong with it.”

Im?m al-Sh?fi`? considered the Prophetic prescription of camel urine a life-and-death exception that has the same status as the dispensation for eating carrion meat in case of extreme necessity (and any filthy substance for medication other than intoxicants).26 Similarly, the Hanaf? School considers the ruling of filth annulled if there is certainty of medicinal benefit, otherwise, camel urine remains najis according to Ab? Han?fa and al-Tah?w?. In addition, the `Uraniyy?n had?th itself is abrogated in the Hanaf? view. Several major Sh?fi`?s such as Ibn Khuzayma, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Hibb?n, al-Istakhr?, and al-R?y?n? defected to the position of M?lik and Ahmad.27 In the M?lik? madhhab prayer is valid even on road-paths soiled with the urine and droppings of edible animals.28 Ibn Rushd – Averroes – in his masterpiece of comparative fiqh titled Bid?yat al-Mujtahid says the rationale of the permissive ruling is that the refuse of edible animals is not repugnant, unlike that of humans and inedible animals.

XI. The Colostrum Hypothesis

Shaykh Muhammad al-`Ak?l?, the Syrian-American translator of Ibn al-Qayyim’s al-Tibb al-Nabaw? under the title Medicine of the Prophet(P), informed this writer that he considered the mention of the term “their urine” (abw?lih?) in all the above had?ths a copyist’s mistaken rewording of the word “their colostrum” (alb?’ih?) in view of two factors: the word alb?’ih? is so rare as to remain incomprehensible and therefore implausible to most copyists; second, alb?’ih? looks so much like alb?nih?, “their milk,” as to suggest diplology. The well-intentioned copyist then supplied the closest possible term in his or her mind – abw?lih? (colostrum even beats milk as a vitamin and antibody- packed diuretic and is produced by the parturient camel for four to five days). Yet the hypothesis does not stand to scrutiny in light of the profusion of the transmission chains and written manuscripts unanimous on the abw?lih? wording and the fact that camel urine had a history of medicinal use among desert Arabs with which all the early scholars seemed familiar. And All?h knows best.

XII. Conclusion of the `Uraniyy?n Had?th

As for the conclusion of the had?th of the `Uraniyy?n in which the nomads commited apostasy, killed the camelherd after blinding and maiming him, stole the camels, were caught, blinded, maimed, and left to die of thirst, their execution was a literal retaliation according to Mosaic Law “before the penal laws were revealed” as narrated from Ibn S?r?n by al-Bukh?r?, Ab? D?w?d, al-Tirmidh?, and Ahmad. And All?h knows best.

XIII. Would-be Objectors to the `Uraniyy?n Had?th

As for those that would object to the had?ths of camel urine, they usually share one or more of the following attributes:

  • Ignorance of the Arabic language. They are unable to read the Qur’?n and had?th in the original Arabic, much less discuss them.
  • Ignorance of Arabic history, ethnography, and literature. They do not know the culture of the people among whom circulated the texts that they purport to discuss.
  • Ignorance of Arabic medicine. The have no idea that the medical works of the Islamic world “are the foundation upon which our modern Western medicine is built” (Elizabeth Fee, Chief Librarian, History of Medicine Division, United States National Library of Medicine)29. They are unable to assess the currency of certain medical practices in pre-Islamic and Islamic civilization and in the Arabo-Perso-Turkic literatures on anatomy, embryology, ophthalmology, botany, nutrition, etc. and could not fathom, for example, that non-intrusive diagnosis and treatment for the majority of non-terminal diseases be far superior in a place such as pre-1990s Kabul than in the U.S.A. and Europe.
  • Inability to approach the issues scientifically and reliance on emotion and prejudice. They consider it rational to ask: “Have you filled a prescription for animal urine lately?” (an appropriate answer to such a question could be: Your mother most probably did after giving birth and did or will again around menopause, in the form of “Premarin” equine urine estrogens).
  • Ignorance of Islamic Law. They have no idea of the legal rulings on either filth or medication in Isl?m, nor the methods by which those rulings were extracted.
  • Non-Arabic and/or non-Muslim background. Their knowledge of Islam and Arabic culture is mostly bookish, through the prism of orientalism whose mistakes they slavishly reduplicate, mostly in the language of modernism and agnosticism even if they identify themselves as Muslim.

And only God knows best.

  1. See the comprehensive sites in this link (in French) and Information Resources on Old World Camels: Arabian and Bactrian 1962-2002, November 2001 (Updated August 2002) [Online Documents] []
  2. David Bamford, “Camels could help cure humans”, 10 December 2001 (BBC World), and The Camel: Ancient Ship of the Desert [Online Documents] []
  3. Le DROMADAIRE: Un monde de soif (in French) and Ghiy?th Hasan al-Ahmad, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? f? Daw’ al-`Ilm al-Had?th (2:215). []
  4. William Osler as cited by Monzur Ahmed in his article “Ibn S?n?, Doctor of Doctors”, Muslim Technologist, November 1990. []
  5. In Mahm?d al-Nusaym?, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? wal-`Ilm al-Had?th (3:242) and Muhammad Niz?r al-Daqr, Raw?’i` al-Tibb al-Isl?m?: al-Qism al-`Il?j? (1:257). []
  6. Jaw?d `Al? in al-Mufassal f? T?r?kh al-`Arab Qabl al-Isl?m asserts they used to boil the urine first cf. al-Nusaym?, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? wal-`Ilm al-Had?th (3:237). []
  7. Ibn al-Azraq, Tas-h?l al-Man?fi` fil-Tibbi wal-Hikma [“The Facilitation of Benefits in Medicine and Wisdom”] (1206 Khayriyya Cairo ed. p. 60 =1315 Ham?diyya Cairo ed. p. 51=another old Cairo edition p. 66) cf. al-Sha`r?n?’s epitome of al-Suwayd? titled Mukhtasar al-Suwayd? fil-Tibb (1302 Halab? Cairo ed. p. 51). []
  8. Cited by al-Suy?t? in his Sharh on al-Nas?’?’s Sunan (1:161). []
  9. Andrew Pengelly, Herbal Treatments for Hepatitis [Online Document] []
  10. Cf. Gibr?l Jabb?r, The Bedouins and the Desert, transl. Lawrence I. Conrad (State University of New York Press, 1995) and Hilda & Dagg Gauthier-Pilters, The Camel, Chicago and London, 1981. City Arabs apparently know it only as a hair tonic. []
  11. Al-Ant?k?, Tadhkira (Cairo: Maym?niyya 1308/1891 ed. 1:77). []
  12. Le chameau roule sa bosse au soleil,, and Chameaux, lamas et alpagas (all in French) []
  13. PREMARIN Family of Products; The Truth about Premarin; and Premarin (Premarine) ERT/HRT & PMU Farms Controversy [Online Documents] []
  14. (in French), quoting the British magazine Chemistry and Industry. [Online Document] []
  15. As for the narrations “The stomach is the central basin of the body and the veins are connected to it…” and “The stomach is the house of disease” they are both forgeries cf. al-`Uqayl?, Du`af?’ (1:51), al-Suy?t?, Tadr?b (1:287), al-Q?r?, Masn?`, etc. []
  16. Author of a treatise on synonyms for plant names, a treatise on the medical uses of stones, and a Tadhkira of recipes and procedures for medicaments extracted from a large number of Islamic, Greek, and other sources, arranged from head to foot. Al-Sha`r?n? epitomized his Tadhkira cf. []
  17. Cited in al-Nusaym?, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? wal-`Ilm al-Had?th (3:237). []
  18. The terms used by the Arabs for their camels can be counted in the hundreds. []
  19. Ahmad, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? f? Daw’ al-`Ilm al-Had?th (2:214). []
  20. Al-Nusaym?, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? wal-`Ilm al-Had?th (3:218, 241); al-Daqr, Raw?’i` al-Tibb al-Isl?m? (1:257). []
  21. In al-Nusaym?, al-Tibb al-Nabaw? wal-`Ilm al-Had?th (3:241). []
  22. Search “ascites” at Surgical Tutor [Online Document] []
  23. and []
  24. with the misspelling frusimide. []
  25. “Most patient with cirrhotic ascites respond to dietary sodium restriction and diuretics.” []
  26. Cited by al-Bayhaq?, al-Sunan al-Kubr? (2:413 #3949) cf. al-Nawaw?, Sharh Sah?h Muslim (11:154), al-Sh?fi`?, al-Umm (2:253), al-Suy?t?, Medicine of the Prophet, Ta-Ha Publishers, 1994 (p. 93, 143). []
  27. Cf. Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Awsat (2:199) and Ibn Hajar, Fath al-B?r? (1:338). Yet the latter claims naj?sa is the Jumh?r’s position. See also his Talkh?s al-Hab?r (1:43-44). []
  28. Al-Mudawwana al-Kubr? (1:151). []
  29. Cf. []
Allah (God) Islam

Classical Islamic Arguments for the Existence of God

After Wensinck’s brilliant study1, a fresh examination of the argument for the existence of God in Islam might appear impertinent. Some justification for the present discussion, however, may be found in the fact that some of the material on which this study is based was not available to Wensinck, when his monograph appeared in 1936, and in the slightly different interpretation of certain relevant data here attempted.

The systematic examination of the proofs of the existence of God should be preceded by a legitimate enquiry: Is the demonstration of God’s existence possible at all? In the Latin scholastic treatises of the Middle Ages, as for example in the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) this enquiry figures as the prelude to the demonstration of God’s existence proper. Although Wensinck has discussed some aspects of the problem of knowledge (erkenntnislehre) in his celebrated Muslim Creed2, he does not touch upon this particular aspect of the problem in his monograph, except incidentally, as, for example, in connection with Al-Ghazali’s attitude to the question of God’s existence.3 But this question, it would seem, requires a fuller treatment than is accorded it in that parenthesis.

In his two little tracts; Fasl al-Maqal and al-Kashf ‘an Manahij al-Adillah, Ibn Rushd (d. 1198) raises this question in a systematic way. In the former tract, he is concerned with a wider problem: viz. Whether the philosophical method tallies with the teaching of revelation or not –- to which he replies in the affirmative. “For if the aim of philosophy,” he writes, “is nothing other than the consideration of existing things and their examination, in so far as they manifest the Creator — viz. in so far as they created objects…revelation (al-shar’) definitely enjoins the consideration of existing things and commends it”4 -– a thesis which he supports by a wealth of Qur’anic quotations. When he returns to this question at the beginning of Al-Khasf, he distinguishes between three schools of thought on the specific problem of God’s existence:

(1) The Literalist who reject rational argument altogether5 and claim that God’s existence can be known by means of authority (al-sam‘) only.6

(2) The Ash‘arites (with whom he includes the Mu‘tazilites) who admit the possibility of a rational demonstration of the existence of God from the concepts of temporality (huduth) or contingency (jawaz), as we will see later and;

(3) finally the Sufis who claim that we apprehend God directly but “whose method,” as Ibn Rushd observes, “is not speculative at all” and which, even if its validity is conceded, is not common to all men.7

The earliest systematic discussion of the problem of knowledge (erkenntnis) as a prelude to theological discussions which has come down to us is found in Al-Baghdadi’s (d. 1037) Usul al-Din.8 It is possible that Al-Baghdadi continues a more ancient tradition, initiated by the Mu‘tazilite doctors of the 9th century, as their preoccupation with such abstract questions as notions (ma‘ani), science (‘ilm), etc. suggests.9 But it is significant that al-Baqilani (d. 1013), who is credited by some ancient authorities with having refined the methods of Kalam, does not dwell on this question at any length in the opening chapter of his Tamhid.

The introductory chapter of Usul, to which Wensinck has drawn attention and discussed in some length in The Muslim Creed, is thus of considerable importance for the understanding of the Islamic approach to the question of knowledge or science.

We cannot dwell at length here on Baghdadi’s analysis of the divisions of knowledge (‘ilm), its presuppositions, the conditions of its validity, etc. which are genuinely reminiscent of Kant and the subsequent schools of modern epistemology. On the particular issue with which we are here concerned, it should be noted that Al-Baghdadi defines demonstrative knowledge “by means of reason” and instances “the knowledge of the temporally of the world, the eternity of its Maker, his unity, his attributes, his justice, his wisdom and the possibility (jawaz) of religious obligations (taklif),”10, etc.

In further expounding the objects of knowledge, as distinct from the objects of revelation (al-shar‘), he states that the Ash‘arites (ashabuna) hold that reason is capable of proving the temporality of the world and the unity of its Maker, etc., as well as the admissibility in reason (jawaz) of what is possible and the inadmissibility of what is impossible, but adds significantly that religious obligations or prohibitions arising therefrom are not known by reason but only by revelation.11

Hence were one to arrive at knowledge of God, the creator of the universe, etc. prior to revelation by means of natural light of reason he would be “a believing monotheist” but he would not thereby deserve any particular reward; so that if God were to reward him in the life-to-come, such reward would be an act of divine grace.12 The Mu‘tazilah, on the other hand, argue that man was capable of discriminating between good and evil, prior to revelation, and was in proportion deserving of punishment and reward in the life to come.13

Now it is patent that despite this distinction between the two aspects of our knowledge of God by means of reason: the one entailing reward and punishment, the other not, both the Mu‘tazilah and the Ash‘arites were in agreement, as Ibn Rushd remarks, on the actual demonstrability of God’s existence. What they differed on was simply the moral or religious implications of such knowledge: the Ash‘arites holding that punishment and reward are conditional upon the “advent of the law,” the Mu‘tazilah making them independent of the explicit dictates of the law.

Prior to the rise of the Mu‘tazilah, who initiated the whole current of scholastic theology (kalam) in Islam, of course, the question of the demonstrability of God’s existence, like the remaining questions of rational theology, could hardly arise. The early jurists and theologians, such as Malik b. Anas (d. 795) and his followers were content with a theological knowledge rooted in Scripture. Like the Sufis, who believed that God could be apprehended directly, these Traditionalist sought the ground of their belief in God in a non-rational sphere: that of revelation or authority.

Thus neither for Traditionalism nor for Sufism was a proof of the existence of God necessary at all, since the existence of God was given directly either in Scripture, according to the former, or in the mystical process of direct apprehension, according to the latter.

If the argument from causality (cosmological or aitiological argument), initiated by Aristotle and developed by his followers throughout the centuries, is rightly regarded as the classical argument for the existence of God in the West, the argument a novitate mundi (dalil al-huduth), of which the argument a contingenti mundi (dalil al-jawaz), is a mere variant, can be safely asserted to represent the classical argument for the existence of God in Islam.

The Aristotelian argument, which rested upon the concept of causality, was never viewed with favor in the Muslim world, not even by the great representatives of Arab Aristotelianism: Avicenna (d. 1037) and Averroes (d. 1198). The former laid special emphasis on the argument from contingency in a manner which definitely influenced the later Mutakallims; the later showed definite predilection for the teleological argument (dalil al-‘inayah) which had a basis in the Qur’an,14 and was of a more compelling nature than the other arguments, according to him.

The main reason why the cosmological argument was thus rejected out of hand by both the philosophers and the theologians was the fact that the concept of causality upon which it rested had been exposed to doubt since the beginning of Kalam. Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) continuing a long tradition of speculation on this theme, repudiates the validity of the causal principle in Question 17 of his famous Tahafut on the ground that the alleged necessity of this principle is a mere illusion; because it is unwarranted inference, based on observation from the correlation of events. Observation, however shows simply that the alleged effect happens alongside the cause rather through it (cum se non per se: ‘indahu la bihi) and accordingly, such a correlation is not logically necessary but is rather the outcome of a correlation is not logically necessary but is rather the outcome of mere psychological disposition or habit.15

It is clear from the foregoing that Wensinck’s statement that the argument a novitate mundi is ‘analogous’ to the Aristotelian-Thomist proof ex parte motus et ex ratione cause efficientis16 is rather surprising, since the very validity of the causal principle is challenged by the Mutakallims. Moreover, the Aristotelian argument presupposes the cardinal metaphysical distinction between potentiality and actuality (which the Mutakallims also rejected, substituting for it the duality of substance and accidents); and is further independent, as Maimonides (d. 1204) and Aquinas (d. 1272) both recognized, from the thesis of the beginning of the world (round which the argument of the Mutakallims centers as we are going to see). Instead, Aristotle’s casual argument for the existence of the Unmoved Mover grew logically and naturally from the Aristotelian thesis of the eternity of motion in an eternal universe.17

The Traditional argument of Kalam presupposes a preliminary thesis upon which the theological treatises place a considerable emphasis: the thesis of the newness or temporality of the universe (al-huduth). This circumstance explains the vehemence with which the opposite thesis of an eternal universe is combated by the advocates of Orthodoxy. Ibn Hazm, the Zahiri jurist and heresiographer, who died in 1064, employs this as the principle on the basis of which he distinguishes between the orthodox or heterodox sects. Muslims or non-Muslim. Al-Ghazali, as is well-known, devoted the first question of his Tahafut to a refutation of the thesis of eternity, which he consider the most pernicious thesis of the philosophers.

The general procedure of the Mutakallims in proving the temporality of the universe considered in showing that the world, which they defined as everything other than God.18 was composed of atoms and accidents. Now the accidents (singular ‘arad) they argued, cannot endure for two instants of time, but are continually created by God who creates or annihilates them at will. Al-Bailani (d. 1013) who appears to follow the lead of Al-Ash‘ari in this respect, actually defines the accident as entities “the duration of which is impossible…and which cease to exist in the second instant of their coming to be.”19

Similarly, the atoms (sing. al-juz’) in which the accidents inhere are continually created by God and endure simply by reason of the accident of duration (baqa’) which God creates in them.20 But insofar as this accident of duration, like the other accidents, is itself perishable, the whole world of atoms and accidents is in a state of continuous generation and corruption. Although the argument for the temporality of the universe form the temporality of its component parts is the favorite argument of the Ash‘arite doctors, it is by no means the only argument of Islamic scholasticism. Unfortunately we are in no position, owing to the scantiness of our sources, to reconstruct the reasoning of the Mu‘tazilite doctors on this question; nevertheless there is good reason to suppose that Al-Ash‘ari and his successors simply inherited the methods of argument, on this and allied subjects, which the Mu‘tazilah had initiated.

As an instance of the interest of the Mutakallims in the thesis of a temporal universe, we might examine here at some length the five arguments for the beginning of the world which Ibn Hazm, the great Zahiri theologian (d. 1064) advances in his Fisal;21 especially since Ibn Hazm appears to be the first Muslim theologian to have attempted a refutation of the eternity of the world, on the one hand, and a proof of its temporality, on the other, with any completeness.22

The biographer of Al-Ash‘ari, Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 571 A.H.), reports that Al-Ash‘ari wrote a treatise called Kitab al-Fusul, in refutation of the Materialists and the ‘philosophers,’ who professed the eternity of the universe,23 which as far as I am aware, is the earliest scholastic treatise dealing with the question of eternity in a systematic way, our sources record. Despite the statement of Al-Shahrastani that Al-Ash‘ari preferred the negative method of refutation (al-ibtal),24 as distinct from the method of positive proof, it is reasonable to assume that like Ibn Hazm, Al-Razi and others, he coupled the former with the latter species of argument. Ibn Hazm’s first proof of the temporality of the universe rests on the premise that the accidents and substances (sing. shakhs) composing the universe are finite and that time, which he conceives as consisting of transient moments, is finite also.

In proving the finitude of these three terms: accident, substance and time, Ibn Hazm does not resort to the traditional method of the Mutakallims already mentioned, but maintains that the finitude of substance is evident from the finitude of its dimensions, that of accidents from the finitude of substances in which they inhere and the finitude of time from the transitoriness of the moments composing it. The second proof involves the Aristotelian dictum that everything in act is finite. The universe exists in act and is numerically determinate, therefore it is finite. In the third argument he resorts to the process of reductio ad absurdum. The thesis of an infinite time, which the eternity of the universe, implies, involves the following absurdities:

(a) Since infinity cannot be increased, all the time that will elapse would add nothing to the time elapsed hitherto.

(b) The revolutions of a planet (e.g. Saturn) which revolves once every thirty years would be equal to the revolutions of the Upper Heaven, which amount to some 11,000 revolutions during the same period since one infinity is not greater than another.25

(c) The time elapsed since the beginning of time till the Hijrah (622 A.D.) and the time elapsed since the beginning till our day would be equal.

In the fourth and fifth arguments, he argues that, were the universe without beginning and without end, it would be impossible to determine it in number or in nature and consequently we could not speak of first, second, or third, in speaking of existing things. But this is contradicted by the fact that we can number things and refer to the first and last things. Hence the universe must have a beginning (awwal).26

We cannot dwell longer on Ibn Hazm’s discussion of this cardinal theme and the manner in which he resolves the many objections to his arguments. But it is worth noting that most of the arguments of the later doctors such as Al-Ghazali and Al-Razi (d. 1209) are found here in an embryonic, though sometimes confused, state. This circumstance would appear to strengthen the view expressed by Maimonides (d. 1204), the great Jewish philosopher, that the Mutakallims were influenced in these arguments by John Philoponus (d. 568), author of De aeternitate mundi, a refutation of Proclus’s argument for the eternity of the universe27 — since it would imply that the Mutakallims from Ibn Hazm downwards were drawing on some common source.

With the temporality of the world as a premise, the Mutakallims proceeded to prove that the world being created (hadith) must necessarily have a Creator (muhdith), by recourse to the so-called “principle of determination”. In its barest form, this principle meant that since prior to the existence of the universe it was equally possible for it to be or not-to-be, a determinant (murajjih) whereby the possibility of a being could prevail over the possibility of not-being was required; and this “determinant” –- they argued -– was God.

Al-Baqilani (d. 1013), who belonged to the second generation of Ash‘arite doctors and who is credited with refining the methods of Kalam, sums up this argument in succinct way. The world being temporal (hadith), he writes, it must of necessity have a Maker and Fashioner (muhdith wa musawwir), “just as writing must have a writer, a picture must have a painter and building a builder.”28

To this argument, however, he adds two others in which the ‘middle term’ differs but which reveal the same dialectical structure. In the first, he maintains that the priority of certain things over others presupposes an “Agent who made them prior” (muqaddiman qaddamahu) since priority does not belong by nature to a pair of equals; and this “determinant of priority” is God. In the second, he introduces a concept of contingency (jawaz) and argues that things in themselves are capable of receiving various ‘forms’ or qualities. The fact that existing things are endowed with certain determined ‘forms’ presupposes a “determinant” who has determined that they should receive these ‘forms’ and no others; and this “determinant” is God.29

The element common to these three arguments, it will be noticed, is the “principle of determination” which they all invoke. Only the first argument, however, resupposes in addition the beginning of the world or its temporality. As to the third, it constitutes the basis of the argument a contingentia mundi (dalil al-jawaz) which was later developed by Al-Juwayni (d. 1086) as Averroes states in Al-Khasf, in a treatise which has not come to us, Al-Risalat al-Nizamiyyah.30 This proof, as Wensinck rightly observes,31 is affiliated to Ibn Sina (d. 1037) who seems to follow the lead of Al-Farabi (d. 950) in his respect, as Madkour has shown in his monograph on al-Farabi.32 In his major treatise, Al-Irshad, Al-Juwayni sets forth the more popular argument from temporality or huduth:

“If the temporality of the world (hadath) is established and if it is established that (the world) has a beginning (muftatah al-wujud), since the temporal can equally exist or not exist …reason requires that (the world) must have a determinant (mukhassis) who determined its actual existence.”33

Al-Baghdadi’s argument, as expounded in Usul ‘al-Din, differs little from that of either Al-Baqilani or Al-Juwayni. All rest, as we have seen, on the thesis that the world consists of atoms and accidents which have no subsistent being in themselves since they cannot endure for two moments of time. What, we might ask, is the extent of their debt to ‘Abul-Hasan al-Ash‘ari?34 The publication recently of Kitab al-Luma‘ enables us to give a provisional answer to this question, pending the discovery of fresh material.

The arguments of Al-Ash‘ari in this treatise has a distinct Qur’anic ring. It has nothing of the dialectical stringency of the later arguments and rests on the observation of the ‘phases’ of man’s growth from “a drop of water, to a leech to an embryo,” which the Qur’an has rendered classical. In so far as it is impossible for man himself to cause this change in his condition (tahawwul), the author argues, it is necessary that an “Agent should have transformed him from one phase to the other and disposed him according to his actual state;” for it impossible that this should happen without an agent of transformation,35 and by analogy the whole universe requires such an “agent of transformation.” This terse argument is of course in keeping with the nature of Al-Luma‘, as an introductory treatise, but confirms nevertheless the view that Ash‘arite Kalam was not fully developed by the beginning of the 10th century so that the authors of this period in general were content with purely rhetorical arguments based on the Qur’an or the Traditions. It is only with Al-Baqilani that a rigorous application of syllogistic methods of proof begins to make its appearance. But even here as we have seen no attempt at an elaborate analysis of the logical concepts involved is made.

The later history of Kalam reflects greater refinement in employing the technique of argument and a greater subtlety in handling logical concepts. Ibn Khaldun distinguishes between modern and the ancient stages in the development of Kalam and assigns the credit for introducing the ‘method of he moderns’ to Al-Ghazali.36 whether the credit for initiating this new ‘philosophical’ stage in the development of Kalam rightly belongs to Al-Ghazali or some earlier theologian, as Al-Juwayni or Al-Baqilani, is a controversial issue. It is certain, however, that this stage, as we have seen, is subsequent to Al-Ash‘ari’s time, and belongs to the latter half of the 10th century.

Al-Ghazali’s major contribution to the discussion of the problem at issue was twofold. In the first place, he brought out in a very forcible way the radical opposition between the teaching of Islam and the Aristotelian conception of a universe developing itself eternally and everlastingly; and in the second place, he gave added point to the arguments already advanced by the Mutakallims, by amplifying and perfecting them. Wensinck’s stress on the bipolarity in the thought of Al-Ghazali, the mystic, and Al-Ghazali, the theologian,37 is perfectly justified. Nevertheless it is only in Al-Ghazali as a Mutakallim and in his version of the argument a novitate mundi the we are interested here. The most succinct statement of this argument is found in Kitab al-Iqtisad fi’l-‘Itiqad, which he invokes, in the traditional manner of the Ash‘arites, the “principle of determination.” The syllogism runs as follows:

    Everything temporal (hadith) must have a cause. The world is temporal. Therefore the world must have a cause.

By hadith, Al-Ghazali tells us, he means “what did not previously exist and then began to exist.” Prior to its existence, this ‘temporal world’ was “possible” (mumkin) i.e. “could equally exist and not exist.” To tilt the balance in favor of existence a “determinant” (murajjih) was necessary — since otherwise this “possible” universe would have always remained in a state of not-being.38

It would seem, considering the devastating attack which Al-Ghazali levels against the concept of causality in Question 17 of Al-Tahafut, flagrant contradiction. Al-Ghazali, however, explains in the same passage that by cause here he simply means a ‘determinant’ (i.e. murajjih) and consequently the apparent contradiction vanishes. Owing to its Aristotelian associations, this term was never in vogue among the Mutakallims.

The earliest systematic refutation of the concept of causality as implicit in the doctrine of Tawallud (or production), of which I am aware, is found in Usul al-Din39 of Al-Baghdadi, who died in 1037, and which bears a striking resemblance to the more elaborate refutation of Al-Tahafut. Nevertheless, theologians of the later period are not entirely averse to the use of the term cause in this special sense of determinant. For instance, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 1209) one of the subtlest theologians of Islam, employs this term and its synonym ‘illah repeatedly in his exposition of the scholastic proofs for the existence of God.40

We might examine here Al-Razi’s exposition of the traditional proofs for the existence of God as outlined in Kitab al-Arba‘in, especially since this is one of the fullest expositions which our classical sources record, and one which Wensinck does not seem to have consulted in his important monograph.41 Al- Razi sums up the proofs of the existence of God under four arguments.

  • The argument from the possibility (Imkan) of the universe to the existence of a necessary being (wajib al-wujud), Creator thereof. (p. 70f)
  • The argument from the possibility of the qualities of the universe to the necessity of a Determinant of the form, characteristics, and locus of bodies composing it, who is not Himself a body. (pp. 84-86)
  • The argument form the temporality of substances and bodies to the existence of a Maker thereof (p. 86), and finally;
  • The argument from the temporality of qualities of the universe to the existence of an intelligent Designer who disposes things according to His power and will. (p. 91)

It will appear from this brief analysis that these four arguments resolve themselves — as Al-Razi himself points out in the preface to his discussion (p. 67) – into two: the argument from temporality (huduth) and that from possibility (imkan). The root-concept in the former proof is the concept of time; viz. the fact that the world has had a beginning in time or in Al-Razi’s words, the fact that, before its existence, the world was in a state of not-being (al-‘adam). The root-concept in the latter proof is the concept of contingency (jawaz or imkan); viz. the fact that the world, considered singly as in argument (1), or as a whole as in argument (2), could have been otherwise.

Al- Razi, like the rest of the Mutakallims, however, does not distinguish sharply between these two distinct proofs, as Ibn Sina justly remarks,42 and is on that account liable to some confusion. Al-Razi, for instance, defines the “temporal” (al-muhdath) in his third argument as “that whose being in itself is contingent” which he further describes “as that whose essence is equally susceptible of not-being and of being,” which he adds significantly, “is the precise meaning of the possible.”43

We might overlook this point an dwell on the similarities between these two distinct arguments. In the first place, whether we argue from contingency for from temporality, a necessary Being distinct from the series of sensible things (p. 70) must be posited as a Determinant of the being of the universe, on the one hand, and of the particular mode or being proper to it, on the other. This in fact is the point of distinction between the two concepts round which these two arguments center. For the argument a novitate mundi presupposes as we have seen, that prior to its existence the being and the not-being of the universe were equally possible, no account being take of the mode of being proper to this universe as in the argument a contingentia mundi.

In the second place, the positing of a Necessary Being outside the series of temporal beings flows logically from the impossibility of the regress ad infinitum. That is why Al-Razi, more conscious of the importance of this circumstance than the earlier theologians, devotes a lengthy discussion to the refutation of the two concepts of circularity (al-daur) and the regressus ad infinitum (al-tasalsul).44 Although he summarizes what appears to be the traditional argument against circularity, viz. that if two possible things were said to cause each other, each would precede the other an consequently itself, which is absurd,45 Al-Razi proposes a different argument which he states thus:

“The effect (ma‘lul) requires the cause. Now if each of two (possible) agents was the effect of the other, each of them would require the other and accordingly each would require what requires itself. Therefore, each would require itself, which is absurd.” (p.81).

In refuting the regressus ad infinitum, Al-Razi begins by laying down as a postulate that it is necessary that the cause should exist actually at the time of the existence of the effect, or else the latter would be capable of existing by itself — i.e., independently of the agency of the cause — which contradicts our original postulate.

1. If so, then the regression of the series of causes an effects to infinity would entail that the whole series existed simultaneously. Now the whole series is either necessary in itself or possible in itself. The former alternative is absurd because “a whole requires each of its parts and each of these parts is possible in itself and that which requires the possible in itself is a fortiori possible in itself too.” Consequently, the whole series is possible in itself and requires a necessary determinant (mu’aththir) distinct from itself, and this determinant is the Necessary Being.

2. If the whole series is contingent or possible-in-itself as we have seen, and if every possible-in-itself must have a determinant, this determinant is either (a) the whole series itself, (b) something pertaining to it, or (c) something outside it. (a) is absurd since it entails that the series determines itself. (b) is also absurd because it entails the member of the series, which was assumed to determine it, was also its own cause or of the cause of its cause. The former is absurd for the same reason as above (viz.: that a thing cannot be its own cause); the latter because it involves us in the impasse of circularity. Hence the determinant must be something outside the series as in (c). But what lies outside the series of possibles must be necessary-in-itself, which is the Necessary Being.46

3. Let us imagine a portion of the series of effects extending from the last effect (L) to infinity and consisting of five segments. Let us next imagine another portion extending from the fifth segment to infinity.

Now if we compare the first portion (A) with the second (B) then they would either be equal –which implies that the whole is greater than its parts –or that one is greater than the other; so that the shorter portion (B) would be finite, since it is shorter by four units; and the longer would be finite also, since it exceeds the former by four units. Consequently, the ascending (tasa‘ud) series of causes and effects would have an extremity and a starting-point which is contrary to the statement that it is infinite.47 Not if that extremity is possible-in-itself, then it would require another determinant and thus would not be the extremity; if, on the other hand, it is necessary-in-itself, then we would have proved our case.48

With Al-Razi, we might safely state, the “Golden Period” in the history of Kalam comes to an end. The merit of this subtle theologian is that he reintroduced into scholastic discussions certain formal philosophical aspects which the overthrow of Arab Aristotelianism in the 11th century had tended to put aside the pale of orthodoxy. Even the casual perusal of his major works would show the extent of his debt to Ibn Sina. This partial readmission of philosophy into the counsels of scholastic theology in Islam will continue throughout the two subsequent centuries. But the theological treatises of this period, such as the Commentary on Al-Mawaqif of Al-Iji (d. 1355) by Al-Jurjani and Al-Maqasid of Al-Taftazani (d. 1389) — reflect the general cultural decadence of the times. We can hardly expect to find in these treatises any original contribution to the question at issue. At best they are debased imitations of earlier treatises, which make up in length for what they lack in depth or originality.

First published in The Muslim World, 47:1957, pp. 133-145
  1. Les preuves de l’existence de Dieu dans la Théologie Musulmane, in Mededeelingen der Konink. Akademie van Wetenschappen, Deel 81, Serie A, No. 2, Amsterdam, 1936. []
  2. Cambridge, 1937, pp. 249f. []
  3. Ibid., p. 8 and again p. 9 []
  4. Cf. op. cit., Cairo, 1935, p. 9 []
  5. Fasl, p. 11 []
  6. Kashf, p. 42 []
  7. Ibid., p. 63 []
  8. Stambul Ed., 1928, pp. 4-32 []
  9. Cf. Maqalat, Stambul, 1930, pp. 372-3, 391 f., 471f. []
  10. Cf. op. cit., p. 14 []
  11. p. 24. In Nihayat al-Iqdam, Shahrastani ascribes this view to Al-Ash‘ari himself “who distinguished between the act of knowing God by means of reason and its certainty through it, stating that all knowledge is arrived at by means of reason but becomes a matter of religious obligation (tajib) by means of revelation.” p. 371 []
  12. Ibid. []
  13. Ibid., p. 26 and Al-Shahrastani , Milal, p. 31 []
  14. Cf. Kashf, p. 45 and Wensinck, op. cit., p. 23 []
  15. Cf. Tahafut, Ed. Bouyges, 1927, p. 285 Cp. Hume, Treatise, Oxford 1941, p. 165, 93 []
  16. Op. cit., pp. 26-27 []
  17. Cf. on this question a discussion by the author on the eternity of the world in Maimonides, Averroes and Aquinas, in Les Museon, 1953, LXVI, pp. 139f []
  18. Usul, p. 33 []
  19. Cf. Tamhid, Cairo, 1947, p. 42, Cp. Maqalat, p. 370, where verses 8:67 and 46:24 of the Qur’an are quoted in support of the thesis that accidents are perishable by nature. []
  20. Cf. Usul, p. 56 and Tahafut, p. 88. For a full discussion on this subject see my article in Al-Mashriq, 47, 1953, pp. 151-172, and Pines, Isalmische Atomanlehere, Berlin, 1936. []
  21. Bk. I, Cairo, 1317 A. H., pp. 3 f. []
  22. Some of Ibn Hazm’s arguments figure in a treatise by the philosopher Al-Kindi (d. 870?) entitled: “On the Unity of God and the Finitude of the Body of the Universe”. Cf. Rasa’il al-Kindi al Falsafiyyah, Cairo, 1950, pp. 201 ff. []
  23. Tabyin Kadhib al-Mufatari, Damascus, 1347 A.H., p. 128 []
  24. Niyahat, p. 11 []
  25. Compare Al-Ghazali, Tahafut, p. 32 and Iqtisad, p. 18 []
  26. It is noteworthy that the Arabic (awwal) corresponds to both “first” and “beginning” or “firstness”, hence the plausibility of this argument. []
  27. Cf. Guide of the Perplexed, Eng., trans., London 1947, p. 109 and Al-Fihrist, Leipsig, 1871, Vol. I., p. 254. Cf. also De Boer’s statement on Al-Ghazali’s debt to Philoponus, History of Philosophy in Islam, London, 1903, p. 159. []
  28. Cf. Tamhid Cairo, 1948, p. 45 []
  29. Op. cit., Thus Al-Baqilani seems to antedate Al-Juwayni (1065) in formulating this last argument, which Wensinck ascribes to Al-Juwayni. []
  30. Cf., op. cit., p. 54-56. Compare Wensinck. []
  31. Ibid., p. 55. This statement should be revised in light of the more complete edition of Al-Baqilani’s Tamhid by Fr. R. J. McArthy, Beirut, 1957. []
  32. Al-Farabi et sa Place dans l’école philosphique Arabe []
  33. Op. cit., p. 16 []
  34. I should perhaps note here that the earliest statement of the argument a novitate mundi is found in treatise of the philosopher Al-Kindi (d. 870?) already referred to. This statement is identical, in all essential respects, with the argument of the later Ash‘arite doctors. Al-Kindi, it will be recalled was a Mu‘tazilite in theology. []
  35. Kitab al-Luma‘, Ed. Macarthy, Beyrouth, 1952, p. 6 This tallies with Shahrastani’s account of this argument in Nihayat, p. 12 and Milal, p. 66. []
  36. Cf. al-Muqaddimah, ed. De Slane, p. 61 Cp. Gardet, Introduction, 1948, p. 72 []
  37. Op. cit., p. 8 f. []
  38. Cf. op. cit., Cairo, N.D., p. 14 []
  39. Ibid., p. 137 []
  40. Cf. e.g. Kitab al-Arba‘in, pp. 71, 77, 69, etc. []
  41. Kitab al-Arba‘in was published in 1934, Wensinck’s article in 1936. Of Al-Razi’s works he only mentions Tawali‘ al-Anwar and Mafatih al-Ghayb. []
  42. Kitab al-Najat, Cairo, 1331, pp. 347 and 363 []
  43. Op. cit. p. 86 []
  44. Op. cit. pp. 80-84 []
  45. Compare Baidawi’s argument reported in Wensinck, op. cit., p, 13 []
  46. Compare Ibn Sina, Al-Najat, Cairo, 1331, p. 383 []
  47. This argument is analogous to one of Ibn Hazm’s arguments for the finitude of time –- cf. Fisal, I, p. 16 []
  48. Kitab al-Arba‘in, p. 83 []
History Op-Ed

King Abdullah I: As the Arabs See The Jews

Editor’s Note: This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

The Transcript

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine — perhaps more than on any other subject in history — that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered — a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less “anti-Semitic” than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment — far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow “always been a Jewish land.” Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their “historic claim.” I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most — but not all — of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines — not the Jews — gave their name to the country: “Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.”

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly — but not all — the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, “homeland” of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the “homeland” of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid — or just as fantastic — as the Jewish “historic connection” with Palestine. Most are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish “religious claim” to Palestine is as absurd as the “historic claim.” The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now — almost three years after war’s end — still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine — a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. “We have hurt these people terribly,” cries the West to the East. “Won’t you please take care of them for us?”

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore “cruel and heartless nationalists”?

We are a generous people: we are proud that “Arab hospitality” is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us — even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America — the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known — refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that “the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine.”

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: “My Jewish advisors tell me so.” He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives — or Palestine — we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them — give them any other choice, and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors — just a little — to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.

The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years — unless stopped now — it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called “Balfour Declaration,” which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a “national home” for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year — the year of Hitler — it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the “National Home” of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine — to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the “refugee ships” that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers — your allies — and Arab citizens — your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago?

Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

Abdullah I was the first King of Jordan. This article was published in The American Magazine, November, 1947
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "King Abdullah I: As the Arabs See The Jews," in Bismika Allahuma, January 16, 2009, last accessed September 25, 2022,
Polemical Rebuttals Qur'anic Commentary The Qur'an

Does “Musi’un” Mean “Expanding”?


It has come to our attention that Avijit Roy, webmaster of the Mukto Mona website, wrote an article titled Does the Qur’an Have any Scientific Miracles? One portion of the article on the subject of Sura’ az-Zaariyaat is worth commenting on, as it is an exhibition of some of the common problems with non-Muslim critiques of Muslim arguments over the Internet. These would include an unjustified confidence with the relevant subject matter, a poor understanding of the arguments involved and a possible tendency to bluff with the hopes that no one else notices.

What is at issue here is the fact that the word (musi`un) in Sura’ az-Zaariyaat 51:47 can be translated as “expanding”, thus some Muslims have argued that this is a Quranic reference to the expanding of the universe. Whatever the soundness of that position, Mr. Roy’s attempt to refute it included some statements that were so ridiculous that one could not simply let them pass.

Deceit or Sincere Ignorance?

One of the first statements that raised a red flag was one that attempted to lean on the arguments of Denis Giron.

Mr. Roy writes:

    Denish [sic] Giron also explained in one of his wonderfully written pieces that the verb from which the Arabic word (musi’un) is derived cannot mean “expand”

Then Mr. Roy cites Giron’s article entitled Expansion of the Universe in the Bible and the Qur’an: Comparing Isaiah to Soorat az-Zaariyaat.

The first problem is that Giron’s article blatantly contradicts Mr. Roy’s claim. In fact, Giron’s article explicitly states that “the verb from which this word is derived can mean expand.”

One has to wonder: did Mr. Roy even bother to read Giron’s article? The simple fact is that Mr. Roy’s argument says that the word cannot be translated as “expanding”, yet he calls to witness an article that gives a rather clear argument for why it can be translated as “expanding”!

After that, Mr. Roy calls to witness an article by Ali Sina. In this case, Mr. Roy actually manages to cite a person who agrees with him, but Sina’s argument is simply ridiculous, to put it mildly. Roy’s mentioning of this article is appreciated, however, as it can serve as a prime example of Sina’s total ignorance regarding the Arabic language. Mr. Sina argues as follows:

The word used here is moosiAAoona which drives from word vaseun. It means vast. It has nothing to do with expanding. When you say al rezwano vaseun (the garden is vast). It does not mean that the garden is expanding.

While this may seem like a case of belaboring a minor point, it might be worth noting that most people who employ a double-A (“AA”) in their transliterations of Qur’anic words or phrases over the net are probably novices who merely lifted the relevant transliteration off one of the websites which provide this odd symbol as designation of the presence of the Arabic letter ayn. Regardless, Sina’s attempt to prove that musi’un cannot be translated as “expanding” betrays a rather pathetic ignorance on his part regarding the Arabic language, and thus Mr. Roy’s decision to call him to witness is a true example of “the blind leading the blind”. Most ironic of all, the article by Denis Giron itself refutes Ali Sina’s ridiculous claim.

The Islamophobes’ “Expanding” Stupidity

As it was noted in Giron’s article, and would be known by just about anyone familiar with Arabic grammar, a verbal root in Arabic can take different verbal forms (or known as wazan). The following chart will serve to illustrate the various forms of wazan in the Arabic language and this chart will form the basis of what follows.

When the verbal root is in the (af`ala) form (or, as Giron puts it, “the FORM IV verb stem”), it can take on a causative function.

E.H. Palmer states that:

This is also expressed by Socin as follows:

The word musi’un is the plural of a participle from the verb root in this verbal form, which is (awsa`a). Thus, the related verb can mean something along the lines of causing something else to be wide or vast (i.e. expanding that thing). This is supported by various modern Arabic-English dictionaries and concordances.3 Hans Wehr4 gives the meaning “expand” under the form II stem for the root, and notes that the form IV stem can have all the same meanings as the form II.5 For form II as given by Wehr, Lane6 gives “made wide, broad, spacious […] amplified, enlarged, made ample”.

As also has been noted in Giron’s article, participles can be translated as the verbal form in the present tense. This is explained by Thackston, who says that:


Regarding the example provided by Thackston (saajid), it appears in the plural (saajideen) in Sura’ ash-Shu’ara, 26:46. The reader might be interested in comparing all translations of this verse. Critics of the claim that m?si’un can be translated “expanding” (present tense) try and lean on the fact that “certain” translations don’t render it that way. Looking at the translations with a non-controversial example such as Sura’ ash-Shu’ara, 26:46 might be worthwhile because we see that while “certain” translations do not render the active participle as a present tense verb, others do (e.g. “prostrating” or “bowing”), and this is a very possible translation.

We are also told in another reference that:


One may ask, what does the derived participles from the verb signify? Kasis explains:

The participles are derived from the verb to signify the doer (active participle) or recipient (passive participle) of the action. In addition, they signify an action which may be temporary, continuous or in a habitual state of being […] The active participle is very frequently translated as an adjective or as a substantive noun. Thus katib may be translated, depending on the context, as either “writing” (adj) or “scribe” (n).9

Thus “expanding” is a very real meaning for the word musi’un. Our points above are hence summarised as follows:

    (1) That the (Form IV) af`ala stem is causative.
    (2) That awsa`a (or musi`) can have the meaning “expand”.
    (3) That active participles can be translated as present tense verbs.

But here is a food-for-thought for even those unfamiliar with Arabic to ponder. The word under discussion was (musi’un). Yet Ali Sina went on to expound on the word “vaseun” without making any recourse to the word originally under discussion. It should be noted that there is no consonant “v” in Arabic. Perhaps he meant wasee` or (waasi`). This is not a very subtle attempt of bait and switch, which makes one wonder how had this argument managed to fool Avijit Roy. Do these two men honestly believe that every word from the same root in Arabic have the same meaning? When trying to discuss the meaning of a word, why hinge your entire argument on the meaning of a completely different word? The question even those who do not know Arabic can ask Sina and Mr. Roy is: are we discussing thw word “vaseun” or are we discussing musi`un?


How seriously can Muslims take Ali Sina or his cohort Aijit Roy when they put forth such poor arguments which is reflective of their command in Arabic? Certainly when it comes to issues of Arabic grammar, even their supporters should not hold to closely to their arguments. Did either of these men honestly believe they could just bluff their way through these arguments? Or did they actually convince themselves that these were good arguments? What kind of (a lack of) attention is required for one to not realize that they are calling to witness an article which disagrees with the very core of their claim? How did Mr. Roy managed to attribute a claim to an article which states the exact opposite?

Now non-Muslim readers (particularly the supporters of Ali Sina or Mr. Roy) may object that we have not mentioned the fact that Denis Giron’s article was attempting to disprove the claim that Sura’ az-Zaariyaat is a scientific miracle. This was not the issue under discussion here. Note that we did not make any positive claim about this verse necessarily being an obvious scientific miracle, hence we are not under any requirement to defend such a position or refute every attempt to critique it.

However, it should be stated that Denis Giron’s actual argument should not be considered terribly controversial by any Muslim who understands it. What was at issue here was the absurd level reached in these articles by Ali Sina and Mr. Roy in their attempt to tackle this issue. Can their supporters at least agree with us that in these instances, these two men committed some rather laughable errors and put on an exhibition of just how little they know about Arabic grammar?

And only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Does “Musi’un” Mean “Expanding”?," in Bismika Allahuma, November 25, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022,
  1. E.H. Palmer, Simplified Grammar of Hindustani Persian and Arabic, 3rd ed., (Kegan Paul Trench Trubner & Co., 1890), p. 65 []
  2. A. Socin, Arabic Grammar, (GE Stechert & Co., 1922), p. 26 []
  3. See, for example Rohi Baalbaki, al-Mawrid: Modern-Arabic English Dictionary, (Dar el-Ilm Lilmalayin, 1988), p. 1233 and Hanna E. Kassis, A Concordance of the Qur’an, (University of California Press, 1983), p. 1294. The latter gives the meaning “extend”. []
  4. J. Milton Cowan, Hans Wehr: A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 4th ed. (Otto Harrassowitz, 1979), p. 1251 []
  5. It should be noted that ibid., 2nd ed. (Cornell University Press, 1966), p. 1067, is exactly the same as the previous edition. []
  6. Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Islamic Book Center, 1978), p. 3053 []
  7. Wheeler M. Thackston, An Introduction to Koranic and Classical Arabic, (Iranbooks, 1994), p. 58 []
  8. Eckehard Schulz, Gunther Krahl & Wolfgang Reuschel, Standard Arabic (Cambridge, 2000), p. 280 []
  9. Hanna E. Kassis, A Concordance of the Qur’an (University of California Press, 1983), p. xxxiv []
History Jerusalem Polemical Rebuttals

A History of Zionism and Its Ideological Roots


This article was written to provide a scholarly analysis on the ideology of Zionism, its origins and purpose, as well as its past “achievements” in having successfully displaced thousands of Palestinians who suddenly lost their homeland to this group of terrorists. We seek to confront and expose the true nature of the ideology of Zionism, often touted as “Jewish nationalism”. Can Zionism be equated with the Jews and Judaism? Is Zionism wholly grounded on religious grounds as the Zionist themselves try to claim, or just another name for the secular and/or racist ideologies that we have seen in the last century in the likes of Nazism, Fascism and Apartheid? These are the fruits of our research on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions and decide whether Zionism should be rightfully confronted and opposed, or otherwise.

The Origins of Zionism

“Tyranny is always weakness”, said James R. Lowell, and tyranny constitutes the fundamental implementations of Zionism. Contrary to common belief, Zionism first emerged as a secular ideology in the 19th century. Under “Zionism”, the Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 12, 1990, p. 922) states that:

…Zionism originated in Eastern and Central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century.

This is further collaborated by Sierra Reference Encyclopedia (Collier’s, 1995), when it states under “Zionism” that:

ZIONISM, a Jewish national movement, which had as its objective the reconstitution of an independent Jewish life in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews. Zionism was rooted in the traditional attachment of Jews to their homeland. This feeling was strengthened when the political emancipation of Jewish communities in Western Europe in the 19th century and their assimilation of European culture failed to gain them acceptance. The movement was given urgency by new waves of anti-Semitism in Europe in the late 19th century, particularly the pogroms in Russia, and by the genocidal policies of Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The Zionist movement achieved its aim with the founding of Israel in 1948.

Theodor Herzl was an Jewish-Austrian journalist largely credited with being the “Father of Zionism”, just as Karl Marx and Hitler were credited with being the fathers of Communism and Nazism respectively. Theodor Herzl’s book Der Judenstat (The Jewish State), clearly stated that a future Jewish state should not build upon democracy, and in fact suggests that it should be built upon dictatorship. This is contrary to the Zionist cries of Israel being “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

We read that:

People are not fit for democracy, and will no be so in future either. Sane and mature policies are not the product of parliamentary institutions. Personalities, which are the product of forces of history, best represent the wishes of the people and safeguard the interests and security of the state. It is these personalities and not people who are born to rule and it is their will which should ultimately prevail. 1

A publication issued by the Zionist Organization in London wrote that:

Democracy in American too commonly means majority rule without regard to diversities of types or stages of civilization or differences of quality. Democracy in that sense has been called the melting pot in which that quantitatively lesser is assimilated into quantitatively greater. This doubtless is natural in America, and works on the whole very well. But if American idea were applied as an American administration might apply it to Palestine, what would happen? The numerical majority in Palestine today is [Palestinian] Arab, not Jewish. Qualitatively, it is a simple fact that the Jews are now predominant in Palestine, and given proper conditions they will be predominant quantitatively also in a generation or two. But if the crude arithmetical conception of democracy were to be applied now, or at some early stage in the future to Palestinian conditions, the majority that would rule would be the Arab majority, and the task of establishing and developing a great Jewish Palestine would be infinitely more difficult. The problem at the heart of the Zionist claim was rarely articulated so clearly: the Zionist dream ran counter to the principle of democracy. 2

The Zionist desire for the alienation and eventual expulsion of the original inhabitants residing in the land designed for a “Jewish state” is no secret. Earlier in 1895, Theodor Herzl wrote in his Diary that:

We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.3

In October 1882, Validimir Dubnow, one of the earliest Zionist pioneers in Palestine, wrote to his brother articulating the ultimate goals of the Zionists movement:

The ultimate goal…is, in time, to take over the Land of Israel and to restore to the Jews the political independence they have been deprived of for these two thousand years…The Jews will yet arise and, arms in hand (if need be), declare that they are the masters of their ancient homeland.4

In October 1882 Ben-Yehuda and Yehiel Michal Pines, few of the earliest Zionist pioneers in Palestine, wrote describing the indigenous Palestinians, that

…There are now only five hundred [thousand] Arabs, who are not very strong, and from whom we shall easily take away the country if only we do it through stratagems [and] without drawing upon us their hostility before we become the strong and populous ones. 5

In 1916 Lord Balfour declared that he is a “Zionist” during a British Cabinet meeting. In an encounter between Weizmann and Balfour:

“[Weizmann] laid out his much repeated argument – that Zionists and British interests are identical. The Zionist movement spoke, Weizmann said, with the vocabulary of modern statesmanship, but was fueled by a deep religious consciousness. Balfour, himself a modern statesman, also considered Zionism as an inherent part of his Christian faith. . . . Soon after, Balfour declared in a cabinet meeting, I am a Zionist.”6

In 1936 the Mapai leader David Hacohen explained how Zionist socialism should be for Jews not Arabs, he stated that:

I remember being one of the first of our comrades [of the Ahdut Ha’avodah] to got to London after the first World War. … There I became a socialist. … [In Palestine] I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to the housewives that they not buy at [Palestinian] Arab stores, to prevent [Palestinian] Arab workers from getting jobs there. …. To pour kerosene on the [Palestinian] Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash the Arab eggs they had bought; to praise to the skies the Keneen Kayemet [Jewish National Fund] that sent Hankin to Beirut to buy land from absentee effendi [landlords] and to throw the fellahin [peasants] off the land– to buy dozens of dunums– from an Arab is permitted, but to sell, God forbid, one Jewish dunam to an Arab is prohibited.7

In 1937, David Ben-Gurion eloquently articulated the Zionist goals regarding population transfer as the following:

With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] ….I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.8

Such racist sentiment was the norm among the early Zionist leaders, similar statements were constantly repeated by Ben-Gurion and Jabotinsky. Zionism has always been recognized as a form of racism and this is evident when in 1975 the U.N. General Assembly first adopted a resolution equating Zionism with racism. The U.N. adopted that resolution annually until 1991 when the Madrid Accord began.

The Zionist Expansionism and The Palestinian Dilemma

“…after a lapse of 1800 years, it could not be said that Palestine was the land of the Jews. Otherwise the United States of America should now belong to the Red Indians and the situation in England, and in many countries of the world should be different. In my opinion, the Jews have no right in Palestine except their right to personal property. They do not have the right to establish a State. It is most unfortunate that a state is based on religious basis.

The above citation is from A. Toynbee, a well-known historian. His criticism of the Zionist theory of returning to Palestine clearly underlined the sentiments of those who clearly see no justification for a Jewish State to be established in Palestine. Palestine has always been recognized as belonging to Palestinians, not to a group of secular terrorists who uses religion as a justification for a State. As a researcher points out:

History tells us that the first people to settle in Palestine were the Canaanites, six thousand years BCE. They were an Arab tribe who came to Palestine from the Arabian Peninsula, and after their arrival, Palestine was named after them [i.e., Canaan]. 9

And further, he added that:

As for the Jews, the first time they entered Palestine was approximately six hundred years after Abraham had entered the land, i.e., they entered it approximately 1400 years BCE. So the Canaanites entered Palestine and lived there approximately 4500 years before the Jews.10

Hence it is clear that the Jews have no right to the land, whether according to religious law or in terms of who lived there first and possessed the land. Despite this, the state of Israel was recognized by the U.N. in 1948 on condition that it accepted the right of the Palestinians to an independent state, and implementation of Security Council Resolution 194 guaranteeing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Over half a century later, these inalienable rights remain unfulfilled. The implantation of the Zionist entity in Palestine has been rightly described as An-Nakba (The Catastrophe) by the Palestinians. The hoopla surrounding Israel conveniently ignores the fact that Palestine was stolen by European Jewish terrorists in connivance with the European powers, primarily Britain but also France (and later the U.S.) to create a western beach-head in the heartland of Islam. This was only made possible by driving out the indigenous population – the Palestinians – from their ancestral lands, through terror and mass murder.

The Zionists have also constantly peddled the mythology of turning ‘deserts into orchards’, a claim already responded to, with the active collaboration of the Western media. Their claim to Palestine is based on a complete perversion of historical facts sprinkled with Biblical references to geography. The Zionists – most of them secular fanatics who have nothing to do with Judaism — have reduced the Bible to a real estate manual.

The Zionist colonial settler enterprise was launched by shedding the blood of the Palestinians. It has been sustained through terror, the most common characteristic of the Zionists, for 50 years. More than 475 Palestinian towns and villages were completely wiped out. There is no trace left of them anymore. Soon after the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed Israeli general, had boasted to a group of visiting Jews from the U.S. that the present generation had expanded the boundaries of the State of Israel this far. Now it was up to the next generation to take them further. He also candidly admitted that hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns had been wiped out. And it was this same general who proclaimed that:

“…a new State of Israel with broad frontiers, strong and solid, with the authority of the Israel Government extending from the Jordan [river] to the Suez Canal.11

The above quote should clarify the reality of Zionist expansionism. This certainly refutes the Zionist propaganda that Palestinian inhabitants of towns fled on orders from the Arab governments, it is clear that they fled in the face of the Zionist terror machine. Deir Yassin (April 9, 1948) was but one example of numerous Zionist atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians. Palestinian women were paraded naked in the streets. Many of them were bayoneted to death before their bodies were dumped in wells. At least 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in this campaign to settle the European Jews in Palestine. This obscenity is being celebrated today as a great achievement. Former Israel Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, boasted of the importance of the massacre of Deir Yassin in his book “The Revolt: The Story of the Irgun”. He wrote that there would not have been a State of Israel without the “victory” of Deir Yassin: “The Hagganah carried out victorious attacks on other fronts… In a state of terror, the Arabs fled, crying, ‘Deir Yassin’.”

Nor did the massacres cease after the establishment of the Jewish State; they continued in times of both peace and war. Following are the names of some of them: Sharafat Massacre, Kibya Massacre, Kafr Qasem Massacre, Al-Sammou’ Massacre, the Sabra And Shatila Massacre, Oyon Qara Massacre, Al-Aqsa Mosque Massacre, the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, the Jabalia Massacre.

Many leaders of the Zionist terrorist gangs — Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, et al — later became prime ministers of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. The ‘most powerful democracy’ in the world – the U.S. – has such a close relationship with the so-called ‘only democracy’ that massive annual handouts are bestowed upon it even while American citizens are denied many of their basic needs. Further, these very same Zionists are wasting U.S. taxpayers’ money by advocating and supporting the building of a shrine to a militant Jew, Baruch Goldstein who massacred a group of praying Muslims at a mosque in Hebron, in 1994. And we see that until today, thousands of militant Jews visit his grave annually to ‘celebrate’ the murders committed by this Jewish terrorist. This is just one out of the various examples on why it is the Zionist regime of Israel that is the ‘only American-funded country in the Middle East’ to fund and to support State terrorism. But as we have seen, State terrorism is nothing new to the Zionist regime.

And if taking away their land is not enough to humiliate the Palestinians, the Zionists tried to wipe out the identity of the Palestinians, by pretending that they do not exist as a people and as a nation. A Zionist scholar, Israel Eldad, also promulgates this claim of ‘no Palestine or Palestinians’ , in his book The Jewish Revolution as follows:

Can this [Jewish] rich existence be compared with the Palestinian nation? Who is that nation? What is it? Where and when was it born? What is its identity? What are its distinctive features- physical and mental? And except for the feats of its marauding gangs, what has it ever been known for?” (p. 119)

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Golda Meir, Israel’s Prime Minister between 1969-1974, stated in June 1969

It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them, they did not exist.12

Of course Ms. Meir conveniently fails to mention that prior to 1948, the Jews do not exist with a single national identity, but that did not stop them from being identified as such, did it? We don’t expect her and her ilk to mention it anyway, since it is clear that it was the Zionists who drove Palestinians into the sea, not vice-versa. And as recent as 1968, the Jewish historian Maxime Rodinson wrote that

the Arab population of Palestine was native in all the usual senses of the word. 13

Claiming that there was no such thing as Palestinians is merely but one of the many ways the Zionists perform their version of ‘ethnic cleansing’, effectively wiping out the existence of the Palestinians as a distinct social, political, and cultural entity and rewriting the history books with their perverted ‘version’ of the events.

The Palestinian Resistance and Zionist War Machine

The attacks by the Zionists, whether militarily or by propaganda, prompted several Palestinian resistance groups to be formed against the Zionist regime, which the regime conveniently labels them as “terrorists”. But a distinction must be made between terrorism and the resistance to occupation which international conventions authorize. The Declaration on Principles of International Law (1970) emphasized that all states are under a duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives people of their right to self-determination. The Declaration also notes that “in their actions against, and resistance to, such forcible action” such peoples could receive support in accordance with the purpose and principles of the UN Charter. Various UN resolutions have reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for liberation from colonial domination and alien subjection, “by all available means including armed struggle” (see UNGA 3070, 3103, 3246, 3328, 3481, 31/91, 32/42 and 32/154). Article 1(4) of Protocol I (additional to the Geneva Conventions) considers self-determination struggles as international armed conflicts situations. The principle of self-determination itself provides that where forcible action has been taken to suppress the right, force may be used in order to counter this and achieve self-determination.

It is obvious that with the systematic ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Zionist regime, these Palestinian resistance groups are certainly not “terrorists”. On the contrary, these resistance groups are fighting a legitimate war, against a enemy that has oppressed their people for so long that it would be a crime to themselves and to the Palestinians if they do not oppose the enemy and stand by and watch the Zionist pillaging what is left of Palestine.

Israel is the only country in the world where torture of political prisoners is not only legal but its supreme court actively endorses it. Palestinians are held without trial under what is euphemistically called ‘administrative detention.’ The maximum period is six months but it is routinely extended. There are Palestinians who have been held without charge or trial for four or five years. While the Western media routinely present Israel as a beleaguered State in a sea of hostile neighbors, it is the only nuclear power in the region with more than 200 nuclear weapons. Its army has grown to 600,000 and it can deploy more than 2,800 tanks and 700 combat planes, according to the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. This gives it a formidable military muscle against the Arab armies which it has defeated in almost all the wars. But since 1982, Israel’s military has found itself mired in less glorious adventures, including the costly 1982-1985 invasion of Lebanon and its attempts to crush the Intifada from 1987 to 1994. In Lebanon it got a bloody nose at the hands of the Hizbullah, whose spirit of sacrifice put the fear of God into the pleasure-loving Zionist thugs. Instead of confronting the Islamic fighters, the Zionists bombard Lebanese villages using long-range artillery and planes.

Hostage-taking is also a favorite ploy of the Zionists. Literally hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese are incarcerated in the Khiam concentration camp where torture is rampant. Similarly, Palestinians held without trial are also tortured in prisons inside what is called Israel. If young Palestinians are incarcerated, their leaders are expelled from their own land. It is ironic that alien occupiers from eastern Europe and America should expel people from their own homes and land where their forefathers have lived for millennia. The Zionists are also extremely sadistic. Young children are targeted for special wrath. Thousands of Palestinian children have been brutally beaten up by the gun-toting Zionists. Young stone-throwing Palestinians have been buried alive; others have had their bones broken with rocks, on direct orders from Yitzhak Rabin, the Nobel peace prize winner! During the Intifada, the Zionist occupiers frequently used tear gas in confined spaces, resulting in hundreds of pregnant Palestinian women suffering miscarriages. Another of their favorite ploys is to mix flour and kerosene in Palestinian homes, making it unfit for consumption. Despite such cruelties, the Zionists have failed to break the spirit of the Palestinians. Every Israeli cruelty brings out an even greater determination to stand up to the occupiers. As the Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem admitted, “An army which fights against the weak, becomes weak itself.” He went on: “In these instances, the army is the sure loser because its victories are without honor and its defeats are always humiliating”.

The Jerusalem Issue and Al-Aqsa Mosque

Jerusalem is better known to the Muslims by the means of Bayt al-Maqdis (the holy house) or simply al-Quds (the holy); the latter is the most common name at the present. Since 638 A.D. when the second Caliph ‘Umar Al-Khattab liberated the city, Jerusalem had always been ruled by a succession of Muslim rulers. But of course, the Zionist mind is uncomfortable with the fact that Jerusalem has always been Muslim in history and therefore tries to manipulate Jerusalem’s history. The UN Resolution 181, which divided Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, specifically declared Jerusalem “corpus separatum” and placed the city under international jurisdiction. However, in 1948 the military forces of Israel occupied the western part of the city. In 1967 the conquest was completed when Israel forcibly occupied the city’s eastern half. In 1980, Israel passed a Basic Law declaring Jerusalem its capital. The international community responded decisively to this provocative act. UN Security Council Resolution 476 (June 30, 1980) says that Israeli actions to change the status of Jerusalem “constitute a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention” and declares such measures ‘null and void'”. UN Security Council Resolution 478 (August 20, 1980) states that “the enactment of the ‘basic law’ by Israel constitutes a violation of international law”. All nations have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv.

In the past, the Zionists tried to and partially succeeded in burning-down Islam’s third holiest sanctuary, the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque. The nefarious sacrilege was by no means, as the Israeli government then suggested, an isolated act committed by a deranged man who acted on his own. Quite the contrary, the morbid Israeli designs against the sacred Muslim shrine show that diabolical feat was a deliberate collective act of aggression carried out with the unmistakable acquiescence of the Israeli political establishment and the active encouragement of much of the world’s Jewry and their fundamentalist Christian allies.

The following is a list of the acts of aggression and desecration against Al-Aqsa Mosque since June 7, 1967:

    June 7, 1967: The occupation authorities confiscated the keys of the Western Gate known as Bab El-Magharba immediately after Israeli troops seized the town from the fleeing Jordanians.

    June 9, 1967: The congregational Friday prayer was not held on orders from the occupation authorities. That was the first time the Juma’a prayer didn’t take place since the liberation of Jerusalem from the hands of the Crusades in 1167 AD on October 19,1990, The Juma’a prayer was delayed for two hours because the the occupation authorities denied Muslim worshiper entry to the Haram compound.

    June 21, 1969: An Australian-born terrorist, Denis Michael Rohan, entered the mosque and set the magnificent Nurruddin Zinki Mihrab on fire. The fire gutted the unique Mihrab, which has restored. The sacrilegious act against the mosque was condemned world-wide, but was praised by wide segments of world Jewry and Christian fundamentalists who view the creation of Israeli in Palestine as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and a precedence to the second advent of Jesus.

    November 16, 1969: The Israeli occupation authorities seized the Fakhriyya Corner on the south-western side of the Haram Al-Sharif.

    August 14, 1970: The Gershon Solomon group, and ultra-fanatic groups dedicated to the so-called rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon of the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque after it is demolished, forcibly entered the premises of the Haram, but were repulsed by Muslims. The confrontation resulted in tens of worshippers being injured by Israeli troop gunfire.

    April 19, 1980: A group of Jewish rabbis and sages held a semi-secret conference devoted to exploring ways and means “to liberate the Temple Mount from Muslim hands”.

    August 28,1980: The Israeli occupation authorities dug a tunnel right underneath the Mosque.

    March 30, 1982: Numerous letters were sent by Muslim Waqf authorities urging them to abandon the Temple Mount and warning them of the dire consequence of their “usurpation of our Temple”. The letters were written in Hebrew, English, French ,Spanish and Polish.

    May 20, 1982: Several Zionist organizations sent death threats to Waqf officials.

    April 11, 1982: An Israeli soldier named Allen Goodman stormed the interior of the Mosque, spraying worshipers with bullets from his M-16 assault rifle, killing and wounding over 60 Palestinians.

    March 26, 1983: The main entrance to the Jerusalem’s Waqf department collapsed due to Israeli excavations underneath.

    August 21, 1985: The Israeli police permitted Jewish extremists to hold prayers within the confines of the Haram premises.

    August 4, 1986: A group of Rabbis issued final ruling allowing Jews to pray at the Haram Al-Sharif and demanded the establishment of a Synagogue in the area.

    May 12, 1988: Israeli soldiers opened fire on a peaceful Muslim march at the Haram, killing and wounding about a hundred Palestinians.

    August 8, 1990: The Israeli authorities committed a grisly massacre at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, killing 22 worshipers and injuring over 200.

    July 25, 1995: The Israeli High Court of Justice issued a ruling, allowing Jews to pray at the “Temple Mount”. The decision sparked off widespread protests among Muslims.


We have seen the origins and the basic goals of Zionism, at the expense of its original inhabitants. The Zionists, in the mould of the colonialism of the British, French, Portuguese and Dutch in the 17th and 18th century, seek to rewrite history and thus effectively try to blot out the historical existence of Palestine and the right of Palestinians to their own State. In the process, the Zionist regime have built Israel upon the blood of thousands of Palestinians killed during An-Nakba, as well as the millions of Palestinians that were dispossessed of their land, citizenship, culture and history. Not to mention that these power-hungry Zionist thugs also try to deny Muslim control of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state and Haram As-Shareef, the third-most holiest site in Islam.

No one, after weighing the evidence above, would consider Zionism to be a legitimate ideology of peace. On the contrary, Zionism must be condemned and rejected in the same way Fascism, Apartheid, Nazism and other racist ideologies had been rejected in the past. The day Israel shakes free of its Zionist ideals and its anti-Arab schizophrenia is the day Palestine will finally exist with Jerusalem as its capital, and only then will the Israel-Palestine conflict will come to an end.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "A History of Zionism and Its Ideological Roots," in Bismika Allahuma, December 14, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022,


Online resources:

  1. Theodor Hertzl, The Jewish State, p. 69 []
  2. One Palestine Complete, p. 119 []
  3. America and The Founding Of Israel, p. 49 []
  4. Righteous Victims, p. 49 []
  5. Righteous Victims, p. 49 []
  6. One Palestine Complete, p. 41 []
  7. Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 25 []
  8. Righteous Victims, p. 144 []
  9. Ahmad al-‘Awadi, al-Suhyooniyyah, Nash’atuhaa, Tanzeemaatuhaa, Inshitatuhaa, p. 7 []
  10. Ibid., p. 8 []
  11. Iron Wall, p. 316 []
  12. Iron Wall, p. 311 []
  13. Rodinson, M., Israel and the Arabs, Penguin, 1968, p. 216 []
Islam Women In Islam

A Comparison of Women in the Qur’an and the Bible

Christians claim that the current equality of women now enjoyed by Christian women came from the Bible, and that Islam is cruel towards women. Below are the comparisons of issues on women between the Bible and the Qur’an I leave it to you to decide which Book is the one which truly gives freedom to women and elevate their status and which Book is the hypocritical one.

1. The Bible convicts women as the original sinners (i.e. Eve picking from the forbidden tree) (Genesis 2:4-3:24)

The Qur’an clarifies that it was both Adam and Eve at fault, equally. For example, in Sura’ al-Baqarah, Allaah says:

“fa azallaHUMAA ash-shayTaan..” meaning “And Satan caused them (DUAL) to err..”

The same is found in Qur’an 7:19-25 wherein it says:

“fa-waswasa laHUMAA ash-shayTaan..” meaning “So Satan whispered to them (DUAL)”.

Both the man and woman were equally to blame. Thus, in Islam there is equity in rights as well as blame.

2. The Bible says “the birth of a daughter is a loss”. (Ecclesiasticus 22:3)
The Qur’an says both are an equal blessing (Qur’an 42:49)

3. The Bible forbids women from speaking in church (I Corinthians 14:34-35)
The Qur’an says women can argue with the Prophet (Qur’an 58:1)

4. In the Bible, divorced Women are labeled as an adulteress, not men (Matthew 5:31-32)
The Qur’an does not have Biblical double standards (Qur’an 30:21)

5. In the Bible, widows and sisters do not inherit any property or wealth, only men do (Numbers 27:1-11)
The Qur’an abolished this male greediness (Qur’an 4:22) and God protects all.

6. The Bible allows multiple wives. (I Kings 11:3)
In the Qur’an God limits the number to 4 only under certain situations (with the wife’s permission) and prefers that you marry only one wife (Qur’an 4:3). The Qur’an gives the woman the right to choose who to marry.

NOTE: Nowhere in the Bible does it forbid polygamy, or says that the male must marry one woman. Single marriage is a Greco-Roman tradition – one of the many influences on the true teachings of Jesus. Jesus lived for 33 years among a nation that practiced polygamy and he never prohibited, nor even ever talked about it in his teachings.

7. “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” (Deuteronomy 22:28-30)

One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished, the man who raped the woman or the woman who was raped? According to the Bible, you have to spend the rest of your life with the man who raped you, and therefore had obviously low morals.

However, even before the marriage women in Islam are given right to choose their husband, and they can even reject if they are forced to marry somebody. In a hadith narrated by Aisha’, the Prophet said, “It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage)”.

Other similar hadith are as follows:

Narrated Abu Hurairah r.a, that the Prophet said, “A divorcee cannot be forced to marry before she agrees, and a virgin cannot be forced to marry before her permission is obtained. The Sahaba’ asked “How can we obtain her permission?” The Prophet said, “Her permission is when she keeps quiet.” (Muslim)

Ibn Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of Allah Muhammad and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of Allah gave her the choice (between accepting the marriage and invalidating it). (Ibn Hanbal)

Would the Christian men reading this prefer the women they know to be Christian or Muslim?

8. The Bible also asks women to wear veils as in Islam (I Corinthians 11:3-10)

9. Women were given rights to vote less than a 100 years ago in the U.S. while the Qur’an gave women voting rights almost 1400 years ago.

In a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, the Apostle of God said, “Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.” (Sahih Bukhari)

And only God knows best!