17 August, 2017

Forced Marriage And Islam: Forced Marriage Is Not An Issue Of Religion

By Against Forced Marriages

Statistics have shown that a large majority of victims are Muslim. However, Islam teaches that consent from both man and woman is a must before a marriage can take place. The Qur’an states “O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion…” (4:19). The Sahih al-Bukhari, one of the most revered sources of hadith (Islamic practice) amongst Islamic scholars, reports the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) as saying: “The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until her order is obtained, and the virgin girl shall not be married until her permission is obtained.” (Bukhari, 67:42). The next chapter of the Sahih al-Bukhari states: “When a man gives his daughter in marriage and she dislikes it, the marriage shall be repudiated” (Bukhari, 67:43), with further hadith providing examples of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) cancelling such marriages in which the daughter’s consent was not sought.

See: Al-Sahih al-Bukhari, by Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammed, Ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari.

Therefore, a forced marriage is not an issue of religion, but it is a cultural practice that violates your right as a woman and as a Muslim. The act of forcing someone to marry is in fact an act that is against the practices and teachings of Islam.

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    Stupid idiotic Why Why
    The answers I have given is for your idiotic out of context questions, it was you who asked me how many Allahsake Muslims coming for Subah prayers in my area, I have given clearcut answers where I go for Subah prayers & know very well, in return you criticize back accusing colombo Muslims piousness & where I took the survey , wasnt it sheer stupidity instead of telling what I know , you never told me to Go to Galle or Beruwala & make survey, you are accusing & doubting my Name too, I am not a fake & trash like you, I come from a leading well connected largest reputed SriLanka moor family from Colombo City, its my original Name, type that name search in Facebook profile, Most astonishing is a Muslim aligning with atheist & bashing Islam which has no pardon in Islam which hurts me most.

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      Hade Sheriff calm down. You are truely displaying your, anything but Muslim qualities and ignorance on top of that. These Forums are not meant for Handiye Chandiyas like you, shouting ‘Ado waren do, eliyata’ type. You claim that you are coming from a leading well connected largest reputed Sri Lankan Moor family from Colombo. Is it from Slave Island? Are you connected to that well to do Muslim Potta Naufer? Why are you fighting with Whywhy? If your God Allah is Powerful, then surely he must and can do something to me, for what I have called him. Why are you all so frightened of him? Morbid fear is it? Take a break man, take a break!

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        Gamini, your reply is like a pot calling a kettle black

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      Sheriff the Boss of Dengue land and Beira,
      What’s that well connected,leading, reputed and largest family?I have not seen such families being encouraged anywhere in Quran or hadiths.
      I know that there’s condom and other ways to plan your family getting
      out of control.And Gamini my icon thinks you must be from somewhere like Slave Island!Maybe the smell?Anyway Mr Slumdog,as Gamini has beautifully described, you creatures display the type of religion you
      belong to.Why hide behind Islam?One more thing,read and also UNDERSTAND what you read MR WELL CONNECTED,LARGEST,REPUTED COLOMBO CITY(DENGUE AND FAECES COTAMINATED DRINKING WATER LAND).Clean tap water is from CUCKOOS LAND.Rmember you said I must be from cuckoos land.I’m sorry other Colombo folks,not meant for all Colombans.You are a shame for muslims and shame to Colombo.

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    When it comes to religion, many people express that they have a hard time believing in something they can’t see. We can’t see microbes or things that affect our body. However, using a tool such as a microscope, we can see a magnified image of things too small to be seen with the naked eye. We are not actually viewing the specific thing, but we understand the principle of the microscope, and it seems to be a valid one. None the less, we’ll accept it as confirmation that such things smaller than our eyes permit exist.

    Is there anything smaller than them? Well, we could discuss atoms. And we could discuss quarks and subatomic particles, etc. We don’t see these things directly, but we can test their existence. And we even have to accept due to our own observations and deductions that at a microscopic level these things could be based upon even smaller things, and that they seem to (at that level) hold to their own kind of physics.

    Somehow, somewhere, buried in it all has to be some universal equation to describe how everything works, except that we can’t seem to get all the data. Based on experiments and with crude measuring (compared to the subatmoic levels) we can develop equations which closely approximate the behavior exhibited in nature as we casually observe it.

    In the meanwhile, we see oddities in nature that can’t be explained by our equations.

    Now on to a macro scale. How big is the sun… the orbit of the Earth… the size of our galaxy? Where are we positioned in it? We have images and pictures from the outside of the galaxy looking in. However these are all estimations based on information coming at us. We haven’t really been out that far.

    The time it takes for light to travel to us at our observation point interferes with our perception of the here-and-now. Objects we “see” are mere images of different times (based on distance) of distant object. As with stars, their real position is no where near the place we think we see them; we’re looking at light emitted from them long ago that’s just now reaching us.

    It is just as reasonable to assume that that which we can’t see on the extreme exists as well, and that it too could be just a piece of a larger component. Planets of star systems of galaxies of super clusters of…. It’s quite possible that the first light of things hasn’t even begun to reach us yet. Yet, somehow we believe they’re out there.

    I’ve never been to the North pole, but I’m sure it exists. How do I know pictures weren’t forgeries, or that the person wasn’t just showing me a picture of a snowbank in their backyard?

    Through our exploration and search for God, we will need to see, does God fit any of these descriptions? We’ve already given sight to assume it is reasonable to such things could exist. Do they though? We may not know, because we can’t measure them due to our limitations. However, references to such things should not be immediately dismissed.

    At this point, one can accept the possibility of things that can not be seen or scientifically measured having a probability of existence. Unfortunately, since specific probability is based solely on specific measurements, one can only conclude that there is a non-zero chance of such things possibly existing, and that should other pieces of evidence appear that support this theory, the level of ‘faith’ should be adjusted appropriately: a tangible acceptance of something currently intangible.

    Just because something can’t be seen or measured, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It could be bigger, smaller, distant, obstructed, evasive, existing in another moment in time, in another dimension, or in a parallel dimension. Unless we can conclusively check all places (and we physically can’t), the best we can do is conclude:
    The possibility of existence can’t be discounted. Therefore, we should be able to ascertain some degree of probability by examining other evidences.

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      Muslims view, Your narration is quite factual. However your winding up summerise that, ‘Just because something can’t be seen or measured, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It could be bigger, smaller, distant, obstructed, evasive, existing in another moment in time, in another dimension, or in a parallel dimension. Unless we can conclusively check all places (and we physically can’t), the best we can do is conclude:
      The possibility of existence can’t be discounted. Therefore, we should be able to ascertain some degree of probability by examining other evidences’.

      How can anything exist, within man’s perception, especially an unseen God? Yes indeed one can IMAGINE of a God, but has no proof, concrete or otherwise. Then you are back in square one again, reling on Belief alone. Here again no one can prove the existance of God. Besides I can go to any place of worship Muslim or otherwise and insult in the most disparaging manner the so called GOD and yet continue to live comfortably. Why and How? Because I fear none and especially of the non existent God. With this current controvessy, I read a fair amount in the Quoran and Prophet Mohamed’s Biography. I thought the ‘Jathaka Stories’in Buddhism was bad, but to find the Quoran was worse and so the Bible.

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        Gamini,man, why on earth would the Almighty God harm an harmless creature like you? If you want to hurl all the derogatory terms, abusive language and filth at Him, please go ahead! God is not a vengeful God but He is a Just God who is the Most Forgiving and Merciful!

        If you go on sinning and sinning until the whole world is filled with your sins and your sins reach right up to the heavens,and then just once you turn around say; Oh My God forgive! He will forgive you and wipe away all your sins and it will not matter to Him. That is God! Not some street thug who will punch your face if you accidentally knock him.

        This does not mean that you plan and plot your sins in advance. True, we are humans beset by faults and weaknesses. Sometimes we succumb to evil forces,and that’s a different story altogether. But it is not like okay, let me kill this person or let me commit adultery tonight and ask for forgiveness at the crack of dawn. Who are we trying to fool?!

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    @WhyWhy
    People who view this forum will know who should be ashamed & not, the clue i have given is enough for respectable people to dig & judge me.
    We cannot be silent when our very own align with the Kuffar & create doubt in Islam & lead them astray, there is a special punishment for betrayers of Islam, true Muslims blood should & will boil at such traitors of Islam, he may be from Slave Island, Afghanistan, Baghdad or from Damascus.

    We are used to Ridiculing, shaming, humiliating Islam by Anti-Islamists, this WhyWhy coward falls into the category of Salman Rushdie, & Taslima Nasreen character.

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      Hade Sheriff, at one point you state, as true Muslims your blood boils when Islam is under scrutiny and question. Then again you state that you are used to people humiliating Islam as Salmon Rushidie and Taslima Nasreen coupling Whywhy’s name as well. What I understand from the exposure of all who took up cudgels with me, is that all of you have a myopic fervour towards Prophet Mohamed, more than for Islam. Besides Islam had been there long before Prophet Mohamed came to life with idol worshipping of the statues of the supposed daughters of Allah. It was after Prophet Mohamed who inherited the business from his elderly wife Khadijah after her demise, that he gets recognition as a chief of the community. that he joins as one of the seekers of Truth. The questioning of Islam has been there even during the time of Prophet Mohamed. For that matter when this Prophet Mohamed has been in a quandry over an issue it has been the spouses that have advised him. That means the wives have been more knowledgeble than the Prophet. How could this be? Hope CT can keep this thread going till a finality is reached, for arguments sake. Thanks!

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        Dont try to attack anyone please just practise some meditation, Gamini.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuIsoom3IGc&feature=relmfu

        U can t change the world, but you can change yourself. why to argue on contents related to religions, Ur comments related to the religions sound as if your genes express only for know-all characteritiscs.

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      Hey WELL connected,
      No wonder you are WELL connected because FROGS live in the WELL.While
      you can’t call me a coward,I and the rest of the readers can call you a
      thug,because of your language.Let me repeat it,you are a SHAME to all muslims.Within you is,living an animal and not Islam.What the heck you know of Islam man,other than blind and blood thirsty rage?We are talking on this forum and not fighting.If you want a fight,go see someone in Kolonnawa and if you want to talk,take a chair and sit around a table.Gamini has come up with historical evidence of Allah which you don’t get from all of your majids,go answer them.Blood boiling?Not because someone discloses something but because you love to see the world in black.Islam in pure Islamic form,you haven’t seen man.You keep saying that I’m a coward.Who will take upon a coward?Remember I called you a super idiot,here I proved it.

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    Gamini
    Ive been watching this debate intently, Religion is very sensitive subject where no one have ever proved anything, its advisable to leave them alone without trespassing on their Religion.

    Let them mend their own fences without offending us.

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      you are spot on, Jim Hardy.

      Pleased to see atleast one of the commentators to this thread sees in that way :))))))))))))))))).

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      Jim Hardy, it is not a case of proving or disproving, but advancing knowledge with facts. Had it not been disputed after discovety that the world is not flat as stated in the Gospel, the world would have believed so. Like wise what has been the subject of discussion is with regard to what is stated in the man written Religious texts.

      Meditation help, I saw the videos in the links, which I call Moda Bana, as they are full of contradictions and half truths. They have been mostly composed by the overzealous monks.

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    Gamini, well well well, now we see an atheist turned amateur historian in you. I am sure all Muslims will not mind sincere criticism academically addressed. However the things you state are utter unsubstantiated rubbish. Please explain the following if you can:
    1.what was the concept of Islaam before the Prophet that you refer to.
    2.Your source of information that the statues were those of the daughters of Allah.
    3. What was the state of the finances of the Lady Kadijah at the time of her demise for the Prophet (on whom be peace) to inherit.What and how much did he inherit?
    4. The issues that put the noble Prophet in a quandary.
    5. What advice the wives gave to indicate that they were more knowledgeable than him.
    Really I hope CT will close this thread as you are aimlessly stirring peoples emotion with lies and falsehood and pretending to be seeker of truth. Your modus operandi is to state irrelevant lies as you have done above,denigrating the character of the Prophet(on whom be peace)at every turn and then concluding that in the century ahead all people will turn atheists. If that is your conclusion fine. If you say the concept of God is a myth. fine again. We have no problem in whatever you believe in. Please keep your belief to yourself and try not to impose on others. Most of the Muslims have given their point of view. So whether they are in congruence or not they have had their say. Accept it even if you disagree. Do not descend to the gutter level of saying unproven disparaging things or alluding the same about the Prophet(on whom be peace). He is revered by more than a billion of adherents and also by the cream of great celebrities across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Do you mean to say all these people I referred to are fools and mislead? and that you and few hundreds or thousands like yourself are correct? If you despise him or his message that is entirely up to you as long as you keep your feelings to yourself. Preach what ever you wish on solid facts not on falsehood. …Surely!falsehood is ever bound to vanish Surah 17 v81

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      Jamal what I have stated is not any concoction of mine. It is there for you to read and understand in your own Quoran and the biography written. Google and read it yourself. I noticed that when I pointed out that Prophet Mohamed was annoyed with wife no. eleven of her Jewish linage, you twisted it to state that he comforted her when ever her linage was revealed. Why don’t you read it in the above post of the wives and marriages of Prophet Mohamed? The word ‘annoyance’ is clearly stated.

      I can well understand your urgency to call it a day unable to sustain, of not what I say, but what I point out in your own Quoran.

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      Jamal,
      Rather ignore his comments to this topic can help many including me, dont want to see attacking any religions.

      It is not worth agueing about religions. His comments will not help any muslims or buddhists to become atheist- as he is.

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    Gamini’s reply to Muslims_View reveals the mind set of the man. I am sure that what Muslims_View wrote is a little beyond poor Gamini’s ability to comprehend. For Gamini to believe he has to meet God mano a mano as the spanish say. A child believes by sense perception. It has to poke its finger into the fire to learn that fire burns. Then he graduates to the state of reason from there. This is the state where conclusions are made by rationalisation, or acceptable evidence,or by mathematics. we conclude facts as explained by Muslims_View above or by my example of the sun being bigger than the earth dimensionally. You cannot arrive at these results by sense perception! Gamini has another state he says – that of Intuition. His findings are by Intuition (we see how fallible this can be by his conclusions). Why then cannot there be another state. Call it “Enlightment” where you are in a higher state of mind and can grasp knowledge of things which normal mortals are incapable of. I believe that religious leaders had the capability of coming to conclusions based on this. But then I am sure Gamini will only agree to disagree and start pummeling the Prophet(S) and the Quran and then we will be back in square one again!

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    Gamini what rubbish you write, making phony statements about a religion you know nothing about, except through learning from those Muslims who write in these Forums. Just because you have the opportunity to write what you want against anyone you fancy, you have no knowledge sufficient enough to take on the religion of Islam and its leader Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him – PBOH) to task. Your wild and spurious allegations against the religion, are to me, your calculated motives, to discredit and belittle the noble objectives they came to expound. Your so called ‘liberty’ is another mans ‘Provocation’, which only adds to more scorn and revulsion, and does nothing to promote peaceful co-existence and harmony with due respect for all religions and its great leaders. Probably you are void of such notions since you don’t have it in you, and therefore care less about such values of others.

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      Moor Talks shop. The rubbish is not written by me. According to Jamal there are so many websites that have written rubbish in the name of Islam. I would be grateful if you, Jamal or anyone else tell the readership where the correct version is recorded. Thanks!

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    Gamini, Yes it is not your concoction but somebody else’s. There are an umpteen number of false web sites purporting to be Islamic but run by Jews and Christians and spreading falsehood, even distorting the Quran. If one is not well versed with the Quran then even Muslims could be fooled by them and they are cunningly well designed. I do not have to google as I have the genuine books to refer to. As for the Prophet (S) wife Saffiya, who was a jewess, it is not I but you who twisted the facts. Saffiya was the daughter of Huyayy ibn Akhtab, the chief of the jewish tribe of Banu Najjar. Huyyay was a sworn enemy of the Prophet(S)and he planned to assassinate him in the battle of the Trench and failed. He was killed and His daughter would have gone into slavery if not for the noble gesture of the Prophet (S) in marrying her. She had a noble jewish lineage being able to trace it to Aaron the brother of Moses. Some of the Prophet’s wives who were also of noble lineage being from the tribe of the Quraish, had reminded her of being a Jewess. One day she went in tears to the Prophet(S) about this. I will quote Tahia Al-Islam’s The Life of Muhammed, his life based on the earlies sources,ISBN 0-90746-164-6 Page 205 quote’ and he(the Prophet) said to her, But did you not answer them? Did you not tell them,”How can you be better than me when Muhammed is my husband, Moses my (great) Uncle and Aaron my great grandfather?” These words were a balm to her wounded pride and from then on she felt inferior to no one” unquote
    Now I trust you will understand this in plain English and the import of my preface to this reply.
    Again you keep urging us to curse you. Why and what for? We can only pity you for what you are. Why play God ourselves? Let God give you your punishment or reward. The Pharoh did worse things to the Jews and he was able to do this for quite a long time. Moses bore this in patience and his end was startling and well known. To be patient in adversity is one of the things we learn in Religion.
    Gamini, you have abused the Prophet and Islam persistently, saying you bear no hatred and doing a “Mark Antony” plea. Spiteful to God you challenge the Muslims to curse you. I am now going to cite an incident in the life of the Buddha. I hope that would have some meaning to you and have some effect.

    THE Blessed One observed the ways of society and noticed how much misery came from malignity and foolish offenses done only to gratify vanity and self-seeking pride. And the Buddha said: “If a man foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my ungrudging love; the more evil comes from him, the more good shall go from me; the fragrance of goodness always comes to me, and the harmful air of evil goes to him.”

    A foolish man learning that the Buddha observed the principle of great love which commends the return of good for evil, came and abused him. The Buddha was silent, pitying his folly. When the man had finished his abuse, the Buddha asked him, saying: “Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?” And he answered: “In that case it would belong to the man who offered it.”

    “My son,” said the Buddha thou hast railed at me, but I decline to accept thy abuse, and request thee to keep it thyself. Will it not be a source of misery to thee? As the echo belongs to the sound, and the shadow to the substance, so misery will overtake the evil-doer without fail.”

    The abuser made no reply, and Buddha continued: “A wicked man who reproaches a virtuous one is like one who looks up and spits at heaven; the spittle soils not the heaven, but comes back and defiles his own person. The slanderer is like one who flings dust at another when the wind is contrary; the dust does but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt and the misery that the other would inflict comes back on himself.” The abuser went away ashamed, but he came again and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
    Buddha, The Gospel by Paul Carus

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      Final contention is that there has to be only one religion that is Right. Therefore all Religions can not be right, but all Religions can be wrong. Very simple Logic without hair splitting arguments.

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        It is relevant that you should be aware that it is only in Islam that the Creator Almighty Allah has mentioned in the Holy Quran ‘Worship Me’ twice in two different contexts, Sura An-Noor, Chapter 24, Verse 55 and also in Sura Yaseen – Chapter 36, Verse 61. In another instance, He also says ‘I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me’. Sura Adh-Dhariyat, Chapter #51, Verse #56. By the way, Jinns are spirits (there are both good and bad spirits, Muslim and non-Muslim). No other religious leader, nor any Prophet sent to this world, ever mentioned any such thing to worship them. Jesus (PBOH) did not say it, but people are worshipping him as God, or as Son of God, sometimes as a Tri God – as in Holy Trinity. The same holds true with Lord Buddha, never mentioned anywhere in any of his teachings to worship him. All of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses , all man made creations made into objects of worship. So many religious leaders of our past and even present times like Sai Baba, etc., never requested people to worship them, but people have made them into icons of worship. If you take into consideration what things people worship, you will be amazed, but none wanted or requested that they be worshipped. People have taken for worship the Sun, moon, fire, cows, trees, rivers Ganges, mountains, elephants, rats in India, snakes, statues, relicts of the dead, supposed pictures of people like you and I, who were religious leaders, and many more that we still unaware of. Islam decries all those forms of worship, and pure and simply requires all Muslims to worship the One True God Allah, which bears no image nor physical character as we know of , and live our lives emulating the life of our beloved Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him). Muslims are totally prohibited from indulging in any form of worship of any of the Prophets, and only view them as Messiahs – God’s Messengers. All Muslim customs, traditions and practices flow from what the Prophet did during his time. We practice it so diligently that there is no necessity for another new Prophet to come into our midst again, thus Allah fulfilled His promise not to send any more Prophets into this world again until Judgment Day when the world will end. We as Muslims (men and women) , collectively have a roll to play by doing the Prophet’s work, through disseminating the knowledge gained from him, whilst safeguarding his character including the character of all the other Prophets who came into this world before him. They all have a story to tell, like Adam and Eve’s first sin disobeying God’s order , Noah’s Ark, Solomon’s kingdom, Miraculous Birth of Jesus, Moses as an infant floated down the River Nile in a leaf woven basket by his mother and survived and brought up in the very Pharaoh’s palace, who ordered all male children to be killed, etc., etc., what many term as biblical stories, is also revealed to us Muslims in the Holy Quran. We believe in them whole heartedly. I, in my personal opinion can safely vouch that we Muslims are more keenly aware of our Faith, more than any other adherents, of their own faiths.

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          Views
          While Gallilio represented senses, Al Hazen/Ibn Al Hytham represented reasoning.He was called father of experiments and reasoning.So we have in our proud Islamic history,Great scientists
          who relied on reesoning,methodology to experiments which led to the success of today’s scientific achievements.This has been achieved while preserving his identity and not by being blind to
          reality.Now,back to your contribution,you have made your efforts
          to respond to investigative and doubtful readers and as a straight answer to Gamini that the word Allah is only mentioned in Quran.So,you are saying it’s prophet Muhammad who revealed what was revealed to him by Allah through Jibrael.Now,as a man who,on one of his earlier post raised the question as to who introduced Allah to this world,I want to ask you a question with good intention of making our people aware that the world look at us differently and with wide opened eyes.
          Ok Views,the question is very simple.What’s the meaning of the name Abdullah and who is he to Prophet Muhammad? you will know where you stand with reasoning.

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    That my dear Watson is your hurried conclusion. Whilst every one else is satisfied with their own. God in Heaven knows the right answer! Saying thus Holmes closed the case and retired. ( With apologies to Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle )

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    The following is from Michael Hart’s book and lists Prophet Muhammad (PBOH) as the most influential man in History. A Citadel Press Book,published by Carol Publishing Group Ranking, lists 100 most influential persons in history:

    1. Prophet Muhammad (PBOH)
    2. Isaac Newton
    3. Jesus Christ (PBOH)
    4. Buddha
    5. Confucius
    6. St. Paul
    7. Ts’ai Lun
    8. Johann Gutenberg
    9. Christopher Columbus
    10. Albert Einstein

    MUHAMMAD (PBOH), No. 1
    The 100, a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History
    according to Michael H. Hart

    His (Michael Hart’s) choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s greatest religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive. The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca, in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the centers of trade, art, and learning. Orphaned at age six, he was reared in modest surroundings. Islamic tradition tells us that he was illiterate. His economic position improved when, at age twenty-five, he married a wealthy widow Lady Kadija. Nevertheless, as he approached forty, there was little outward indication that he was a remarkable person. Most Arabs at that time were pagans, who believed in many gods. There were, however, in Mecca, a small number of Jews and Christians; it was from them no doubt that Muhammad first learned of a single, omnipotent God who ruled the entire universe. When he was forty years old, Muhammad became convinced that this one true God (Allah) was speaking to him, and had chosen him to spread the true faith. For three years, Muhammad preached only to close friends and associates. Then, about 613, he began preaching in public. As he slowly gained converts, the Meccan authorities came to consider him a dangerous nuisance. In 622, fearing for his safety, Muhammad fled to Medina (a city some 200 miles north of Mecca), where he had been offered a position of considerable political power. This flight, called the Hijira, was the turning point of the Prophet’s life. In Mecca, he had few followers. In Medina, he had many more, and he soon acquired an influence that made him a virtual dictator. During the next few years, while Muhammad’s following grew rapidly, a series of battles were fought between Medina and Mecca. This was ended in 630 with Muhammad’s triumphant return to Mecca as conqueror. The remaining two and one-half years of his life witnessed the rapid conversion of the Arab tribes to the new religion.

    How, then, is one to assess the overall impact of Muhammad on human history? Like all religions, Islam exerts an enormous influence upon the lives of its followers. It is for this reason that the founders of the world’s great religions all figure prominently in this book. Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Moslems in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons for that decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament. Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam. Moreover, he is the author of the Moslem holy scriptures, the Quran, a collection of certain of Muhammad’s insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah. Most of these utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad’s lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Quran therefore, closely represents Muhammad’s ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words. No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived. Since the Quran is at least as important to Moslems as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammad through the medium of the Koran has been enormous. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity.

    On the purely religious level, then, it seems likely that Muhammad has been as influential in human history as Jesus. Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time. Of many important historical events, one might say that they were inevitable and would have occurred even without the particular political leader who guided them. For example, the South American colonies would probably have won their independence from Spain even if Simon Bolivar had never lived. But this cannot be said of the Arab conquests. Nothing similar had occurred before Muhammad, and there is no reason to believe that the conquests would have been achieved without him. The only comparable conquests in human history are those of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, which were primarily due to the influence of Genghis Khan. These conquests, however, though more extensive than those of the Arabs, did not prove permanent, and today the only areas occupied by the Mongols are those that they held prior to the time of Genghis Khan. It is far different with the conquests of the Arabs. From Iraq to Morocco, there extends a whole chain of Moslem nations united not merely by their faith in Islam, but also by their Arabic language, history, and culture.

    The centrality of the Quran in the Moslem religion and the fact that it is written in Arabic have probably prevented the Arab language from breaking up into mutually unintelligible dialects, which might otherwise have occurred in the intervening thirteen centuries. Differences and divisions between these Arab states exist, of course, and they are considerable, but the partial disunity should not blind us to the important elements of unity that have continued to exist. For instance, neither Iran nor Indonesia, both oil-producing states and both Islamic in religion joined in the oil embargo of the winter of 1973-74. It is no coincidence that all of the Arab states, and only the Arab states, participated in the embargo. We see, then, that the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which Michael Hart feels entitles Prophet Muhammad (PBOH) to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.

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