The orientalists, The seerah and the qur’an-2

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The orientalists, The seerah and the qur’an-2

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    The orientalists, The seerah and the qur’an-2

    Jassim Ibn Da’yan


    A.2 RELIGIOUS ILLUSION THEORY

    INSINUATION


    Apart from the epileptic theory, there is what they call the religious illusion theory – conscious or sub-conscious. According to this theory put forward by the orientalists, a man who is deeply religious may have vision which may lead him to think that what he imagines come from God while that is not the case.
    Rev. J.M. Rodwell has been quoted as saying that, “He (Muhammad) was probably, more or less, throughout his whole career, the victim of a certain amount of self-deception. A cataleptic subject from his early youth, born - according to the traditions – of a highly nervous and excitable mother, he would be peculiarly liable to morbid and fantastic hallucination, and alternations of excitement and depression, which would win for him, in the eyes of his ignorant countrymen, the credit of being inspired..”


    R.A. Nicholson is another scholar who seems to propound the religious illusion theory. He says, “Whether we regard it as ‘ pathological case’ or a grand example of mystical ecstasy, the thing outset of his mission a dominating motive can be discerned in his conviction that, the Last Judgment was near and that he must at all costs warn his countrymen of the doom impending.”


    Nicholson magnanimously says, that although the Qur’an was uninspired, Muhammad (pbuh) was not conscious of his fabrication. “To say that.. ‘ the Qur’an is, on the whole, uninspired does not mean that its author was conscious of fraud when he gave out all sorts of regulations and instructions in Qur’an’s name.”
    However, he betrays his hidden bias when he says that, ‘Muhammad (pbuh) was addicted to the practice of solitary prayer, especially during the night, and may well have cultivated it for the purpose of inducing the abnormal states, which caused his enemies to describe as possessed by the jinn.’
    نقره لتكبير أو تصغير الصورة ونقرتين لعرض الصورة في صفحة مستقلة بحجمها الطبيعي

    تحمَّلتُ وحديَ مـا لا أُطيـقْ من الإغترابِ وهَـمِّ الطريـقْ
    اللهم اني اسالك في هذه الساعة ان كانت جوليان في سرور فزدها في سرورها ومن نعيمك عليها . وان كانت جوليان في عذاب فنجها من عذابك وانت الغني الحميد برحمتك يا ارحم الراحمين

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    The religious illusion theory or the sub-conscious theory of the orientalists alleges that the Qur’an had actually emanated from the knowledge, imagination, experience and environment of Muhammad (pbuh), although he himself was unaware of this fact. The difficulty, which seems to controvert these theories, is the fact that there are numerous statements in the Qur’an that could not have emanated from his consciousness or sub-consciousness. One can cite several examples dealing with historical events, future events and other psychological considerations.
    One example is chapter 18 of the Qur’an which was sent down in answer to the three questions which the non-believers of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, had put to the holy Prophet (pbuh) in order to test him. These were:


    Who were “the sleepers of the Cave?”
    What is the real story of Khidr? and
    What do you know about Zul-Qarnain?


    As these three questions concerned the history of the Christians and Jews, and were unknown in Hijaz, a choice of these was made to test whether the Holy Prophet (pbuh) possessed any source knowledge of the hidden and unseen things.
    When the three questions were put to him, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Tomorrow I will tell you”, but he did not say “If God wills”. When they came for the answers he had to put them off and so it went on day after day until fifteen nights had passed and still he had received no revelation of any kind. The people of Makkah taunted him, and he was distressed by what they said and greatly saddened that he had not received the help he had hoped for. Then Jibreel brought him a revelation reproaching him for his distress on account of what his people said, and telling him the answers to their questions. The long wait he had to endure was explained in the words:
    “And say not of anything ‘ Verily I shall do that tomorrow, except thou sayest if God wills” Ch.18: V23-34
    It is from these verses that Muslims have learned to say “Insha Allah” whenever they make a promise about the future. Discussing the significance of this rather long delay, Martin Lings says:
    “But the delay of this revelation, although painful to the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers, was in reality an added strength. His worst enemies refused to draw conclusions from it, but for those Quraish who were in two minds, it was a powerful corroboration of his claim that the revelation came to him from Heaven and that he had no part in it and control over it. Was it conceivable that if Muhammad (pbuh) had invented the earliest revelations, he could have delayed so long before inventing this latest one, especially when so much appeared to be at stake?”
    The point worth considering here is that Muhammad (pbuh) was asked about specific events. It is difficult to conceive how religious illusions could have helped him to make the correct replies, which completely silenced his critics. What is even more striking, while narrating about the duration which the Sleepers stayed in the Cave, the Qur’an says:
    “So they stayed in their Cave three hundred years and add nine.” Ch.18: V25
    The wording is significant. The verses do not say ‘ three hundred and nine years’, but used the apparently cumbersome wording of ‘three hundred years and add nine’. Why add nine? This is because their stay was 300 years if one used the solar calendar and 309 years by the lunar calendar. The lunar year is 11 days shorter. Now 11 days times 300 years divided by 365 is 9 years. The argument that such amazingly accurate calculations spring from the sub-conscious or are mere hallucinations of an illiterate person does not seem to offer a satisfactory explanation.
    Another example can be found in chapter 89: verses 6 to 8 of the Qur’an, which mentions an ancient city, called Iran.
    “Did you (O Muhammad Pbuh) not see how your Lord dealt with Aad (people) of the (city of) Iram, with lofty pillars, the like of which were not produced in (all) the land? ”
    Apart from its being mentioned in the Qur’an, there were no historical records about this city, the name itself was obscure, even during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) himself. This led to a number of speculations about its possible geographical location. Some commentators of the Qur’an went to the extent of suggesting that probably Iram was the name of an eponymous hero of the Ad.
    The research findings published by the official journal of the American National Geographic Society in December 1978 have conclusively shown that Iram was a city. In 1975 Dr. Paolo Mathiae of the University of Rome, director of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Syria ‘hit an archaeological jackpot’. In the ruins of a palace apparently destroyed in the 23rd century BC, he came upon the greatest third millennium archive ever unearthed. More than 15,000 cuneiform tablets… were discovered. Among the rich details revealed by these tablets is the fact that Ebla used to have trading links with Iram.
    It is inconceivable that the sub-conscious or religious illusions could have been the guide which helped Muhammad (pbuh) describe so accurately in the Qur’an, the physical features and the level of architecture of a people who lived in an ancient city which was destroyed 3,000 years before he was born.
    Moreover the Qur’an itself declares in several places that neither Muhammad (pbuh) nor his people had ever known about some of the stories previous to the revelation.
    “This is of the news of the unseen, which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad pbuh), neither you nor your people knew them before this. So be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqun (pious).” Ch. 1: V49
    It is significant that no one ever stood up to say, “You are grossly mistaken, O Muhammad (pbuh)! I am an Arab like you and I knew about these stories even before this revelation.” It would also appear that Muhammad (pbuh) was taking an unnecessarily suicidal risk by reciting the above verse. Even if we assumed that he had actually known those stories before, but was merely feigning ignorance, (and in that case he could not be the only one to know them) how could he be so boldly definite about the ignorance of others? Even if what he said of them was true, his enemies could have easily exploited the situation to contradict him, especially since the statement came after he had already told them the story. Yet, not a single of his adversaries used that opportunity!
    The sub-conscious according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is,
    ‘The hidden level of the mind and the thoughts that go on there, beyond conscious knowledge’.
    The Qur’anic statement is conscious, bold and definite. How could Muhammad (pbuh) have known so accurately and beforehand that even if he made such a bold statement no one including his enemies would ever think of using it against him? The fact that the Qur’an had made definite statements about future events all of which were accurate and still hold good after one thousand four hundred years, weakens the idea that the Qur’an is the product of experience or sub-consciousness of Muhammad (pbuh).
    Footnotes:
    The findings have also confirmed the position held by Muslim scholars that Abraham’s epic journey occurred about 2300 B.C., as opposed to the year 1800 B.C. held by most biblical scholars. Asked about the importancece of the Ebla tablets, Dr. Diovanni Pettinato former epigraphist of the Italian Mission said, “Remember this. All the other texts of this period recovered to date do not total a fourth of those from Ebla.”
    نقره لتكبير أو تصغير الصورة ونقرتين لعرض الصورة في صفحة مستقلة بحجمها الطبيعي

    تحمَّلتُ وحديَ مـا لا أُطيـقْ من الإغترابِ وهَـمِّ الطريـقْ
    اللهم اني اسالك في هذه الساعة ان كانت جوليان في سرور فزدها في سرورها ومن نعيمك عليها . وان كانت جوليان في عذاب فنجها من عذابك وانت الغني الحميد برحمتك يا ارحم الراحمين

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The orientalists, The seerah and the qur’an-2

The orientalists, The seerah and the qur’an-2