Pus is better than Poetry

Pus is better than Poetry? Hey wait a minute, isn't the Quran the best poetry e-v-e-r ?!!

Abu Sa`id Khudri reported: We were going with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). As we reached the place (known as) Arj there met (us) a poet who had been reciting poetry. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Catch the satan or detain the satan, for filling the belly of a man with pus is better than stuffing his brain with poetry.

I think Muhammad was simply jealous of other poets' work which prompted him to eliminate better opponents.

Bonus Hadith:

Buraida reported on the authority of his father that the Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: He who played chess is like one who dyed his hand with the flesh and blood of swine.

Source: Sahih Muslim, Book #28 Hadith 5609-5612.
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Alexander the Great, Dhū al-Qarnayn & the Qur’ān

Alexander the Great, Dhū al-Qarnayn & the Qur’ān

By Klingschor

There appears in the Qur’ān a mysterious figure by the name of Dhū al-Qarnayn, a mighty hero who travelled to both the Eastern and Western extremities of the earth, where the sun rose and fell (respectively). At the former location he encountered peoples who (due to the close proximity of the sun) endured great heat without respite during the daytime, whilst at the latter he found a body of murky water.
Dhū al-Qarnayn proceeded to travel elsewhere until he came across two great barriers, in whose shadow lived a strange race of bestial and subhuman people who begged him for help; beyond the barriers lay the lands of the foul Gog and Magog, an evil and apocalyptic race against whom the bestial peoples sought protection.  In response to their plight, Dhū al-Qarnayn constructed a gigantic bastion of iron and brass to shore up the barriers betwixt his clients and the vicious nations of Gog and Magog, a wall that (according to the Qur’ān) still stands to this day and will only crumble on Judgement Day. When this occurs, the evil hordes of Gog and Magog will be released from their imprisonment behind Dhū al-Qarnayn’s iron wall and scourge the world.[1]

The identity of Dhū al-Qarnayn (literally the ‘Two-Horned One[2]) has been the source of much speculation throughout history. Although opinions vary, the most common identity posited for Dhū al-Qarnayn by Classical Muslim exegetes of the Qur’ān (such as ‘Abd-Allāh al-Qurtubī, Ismā‘īl ibn Kathīr, Muhammad al-Tabarī and Jalāl al-Suyūtī) was that of Alexander the Great.[3], [4] The evidence for this conclusion is compelling, and incidentally reveals an interesting plagiarism within the Qur’ān.

The very name Dhū al-Qarnayn (the Two-Horned One) is extremely revealing as to the identity of the so-called character in the Qur’ān, as the title was actually a commonly used epithet for Alexander the Great in Antiquity:

The epithet he [Alexander the Great] is given in the Koran and in Islamic tradition is already known in the Syriac Alexander Legend which itself goes back to Jewish and probably Egyptian tradition. The name is also found in the Greek, Coptic and Ethiopic Alexander tradition.[5]

This title actually originated from the association of Alexander with a horned composite-deity known as Zeus-Ammon,[6], [7] which led to the Macedonian being depicted with two ram’s horns protruding from his head:

The iconography of Amun would surround Alexander even after his own death: “The god Ammon became increasingly important to Alexander after siwah … [and] after his death the men who knew him well would incorporate the horn of Ammon into the canonical iconography of Alexander”. To support his claims to divinity as the son of Amun (whom the Greeks venerated as an avatar of Zeus), Alexander began to sanction official graphic representations of himself with the ram’s horns of Amun curling through his hair. This image of Alexander fitted with the horns of a ram […] can still be seen on various ancient coins.[8]

Thus it was that Alexander the Great became known as the Two-Horned One, an epithet that was used throughout the ancient world and even appeared pictorially on coinage for many centuries to come.

It isn’t just the name that identifies Dhū al-Qarnayn as Alexander the Great, however – the story of Dhū al-Qarnayn in the Qur’ān finds a great degree of parity with the myths and legends that developed around Alexander the Great in the centuries following his death: According to the Qur’ān, Dhū al-Qarnayn the Two-Horned One travels to the Western and Eastern extremities of the earth to lands ravaged by the heat of the sun, before travelling to a place between two barriers where he constructed a giant bastion of iron to keep at bay the evil tribes of Gog and Magog. This narrative actually predates the Qur’an by several centuries and has its origins in an ancient legend pertaining to Alexander the Great “According to Greek and Latin traditions from the first century CE onward”, who spoke of him “building gates in the Caucasus to keep out invaders”.[9]
The famous first century Roman historian Pliny the Elder noted this peculiar legend, and spoke giant iron gates and a fortress in the Caucasus Mountains, “erected for the purpose of barring the passage of the innumerable tribes”.[10]

In the Middle East, however, the story was far more elaborate and had become interwoven with popular Biblical apocalyptic legends, as was duly noted by the First Century Roman-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus:

The link between the apocalyptic peoples of Gog and Magog on the one hand, and Alexander and the wall he is said to have built on the other, apparently took origin in Jewish Hellenistic circles in Alexandria at the beginning of the Christian era. It is Flavius Josephus (d. around 100) who witnesses at first to the trend. […] It is in his Jewish War, that Josephus links the biblical Gog and Magog with the popular Hellenistic Alexander-tradition. He says that Alexander closed a mountain pass by erecting iron gates south of the Caspian Sea[11]

Thus it was that in the 1st Century CE, Alexander the Great (or the Two-Horned One, as he was also popularly known) was attributed with having constructed a giant bastion of iron in the Caucasus Mountains of Central Asia to keep at bay the evil hordes of Gog and Magog.

The Hun invasions of the late 4th Century CE that devastated Syria and the Northern-Mesopotamia were reminiscent of the Biblical menace of Gog and Magog, a fact that helped to further develop the tradition surrounding Alexander the Great. He became “a superhuman protector of civilization” and

With God’s help he was to build a barrier that should shut off the apocalyptic nations until the time fixed by God Himself. Only at God’s signal could they get loose and ravage the earth before they would be finally destroyed.[12]

By now, the various legends surrounding Alexander the Great portrayed the Macedonian conqueror as “an almost mythical hero performing numerous deeds which brought him to the farthest ends of the world[13] and attributed to him the construction of a gigantic iron bastion in the Caucasus Mountains of Central Asia to imprison the evil hordes of Gog and Magog until Judgement Day, when the peoples of Gog and Magog will escape and lay waste to the world.
Nowhere was this more evident than the Alexander Romance, a collection of ahistorical legends penned by an unknown author commonly titled ‘Pseudo-Callisthenes’ that

seems to have received its literary form in Alexandria at the end of the 3rd century. The text became soon very popular and was rewritten and adapted to the different readers’ cultural or national environment. The Romance was spread in numerous versions and languages to the East and to the West. The oldest testimonies of the Romance are the Latin (4th c.) and Armenian version (5th c.).[14]

It was the Syriac rendition of the Alexander Romance, however, the truly brought together these various Alexander traditions into a single unified narrative:

The Syrian redactor, probably an East Syrian Christian, added a certain number of until then unknown episodes to the text. The episode of Alexander’s building a wall against Gog and Magog, however, is not found in the oldest Greek, Latin, Armenian and Syriac versions of the Romance. Though the Alexander Romance was decisive for the spreading of the new and supernatural image of Alexander the king in East and West, the barrier episode has not its origin in this text. The fusion of the motif of Alexander’s barrier with the Biblical tradition of the apocalyptic peoples of Gog and Magog appears in fact for the first time in the so called Syriac Alexander Legend. This text is a short appendix attached to Syriac manuscripts of the Alexander Romance.[15]

The Syriac Alexander Legend was composed 629-630 CE in the Northern Levant following the Byzantine victory over the Sāssānid Empire, and details how a God-fearing Alexander the Great (the King of the West and the East) travelled to the ends of the earth: at one he finds an inhospitable land girt by foetid water, and at the other (the place where the sun rises) he finds a land where the peoples fear the scathing burn of sunlight. After visiting these places, Alexander travels on and constructs a giant iron bastion in-between two mountain barriers to keep at bay the tribes of Gog and Magog. In the Legend the old epithet of the ‘Two Horned One’ is taken literally, and Alexander is described as possessing a set of horns.[16], [17]

This legend persisted for more than a millennium in Persia, where the celebrated poet Firdausi included in his masterpiece the Shahnameh a section devoted to the tale of how Alexander the Great “went to the East, saw wonders, and built a barrier against Gog and Magog”.[18]

There is no room for ambiguity on this matter – the story of Dhū al-Qarnayn—the Two-Horned One who travelled to the ends of the earth and found a pool of foetid water at one and people living in fear of the rising sun at the other, before constructing a giant wall of iron between two barriers to keep at bay the evil tribes of Gog and Magog until Judgement Day—is a direct plagiarism from ahistorical pre-Islāmic stories and legends pertaining to Alexander the Great. These legends originate from the 1st Century CE and were widely disseminated throughout the ancient world up til the birth of Islām. Muhammad’s prophetic career (610-632 CE)[19] even coincides with the Syriac Alexander Legend (629-630 CE), although many of the stories it contains had already filtered into the Arabian Peninsula in the years preceding Islām:

Alexander the Great is an important figure in Arabic literature. Incidental mentions of him, either under his own name (al-Iskandar) or as Dhu’l-qarnain, ‘the two-horned one’, appear from the earliest times, even in pre-Islamic poetry[20]

Two examples of this are the pre-Islāmic poet Maymūn ibn Qays al-A‘shā and Muhammad’s contemporary Hassān ibn Thābit, both of whom composed verses relating to Dhū al-Qarnayn’s travels to the eastern end of the earth and to his construction of a wall to imprison Gog and Magog.[21]

When all of these facts are taken into consideration, it’s little wonder that Classical exegetes of the Qur’ān took Dhū al-Qarnayn to be Alexander the Great:

the two stories […] associated with Dhu’l-qarnain [in the Qur’ān] are precisely those two associated with Alexander in the Syriac Legend of Alexander, current shortly before the composition of the Qur’an.[22]

In summation, ancient legends pertaining to Gog and Magog (as related in the Bible) and ancient ahistorical stories pertaining to Alexander the Great’s iron barrier in the Caucasus (as noted by Pliny the Elder) became interwoven into a single myth (according to Flavius Josephus): Alexander the Great built a giant barrier of iron in the Caucasus to imprison Gog and Magog. The Hun Invasions in the 4th Century CE inspired the narrative further, wherein it was said that Gog and Magog will be imprisoned behind Alexander’s barrier until Judgement Day. This story was further elaborated in the Alexander Romance (first compiled by Pseudo-Callisthenes in the 3rd  Century CE and further redacted many times in many different languages over the following centuries), and by the 7th Century CE (the time of the formative years of Islām) it attained the following form (as culminated in the Syriac Alexander Legend): Alexander the Great was a God-Fearing Monotheist who travelled to the ends of the earth and encountered foetid water at one and people living in fear of the rising sun at the other; in Central Asia between two mountain-barriers he built a gigantic wall of iron and brass to imprison the evil nations of Gog and Magog that will last until Judgement Day, whereupon Gog and Magog will break free and wreak havoc upon the world.
Furthermore, Alexander the Great was always depicted with ram’s horns in Antiquity and was known throughout the ancient world by the epithet of the ‘Two-Horned One’ – the Syriac Alexander Legend even describes him with literal horns.
This ahistorical narrative of Alexander the Great (well known throughout the ancient Middle East and even the Arabian Peninsula) was subsequently incorporated into the Qur’ān, where Dhū al-Qarnayn (the Two-Horned One) travels to the ends of the earth (encountering a murky body of water and people beset by the rising sun, respectively) before building a giant wall of iron and brass between two barriers to imprison Gog and Magog until Judgement Day.

In conclusion, it seems clear beyond dispute that Muhammad (or perhaps some other later author) draw upon pre-Islāmic legends and appropriated them into Qur’ān.

Primary Sources:

Al-Mahallī, Jalāl al-Dīn, & Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūtī, (Translated by Feras Hamza), ‘Tafsir al-Jalalayn’, at http://tinyurl.com/3hruw8c, accessed 27 June 2011.

Budge, Ernest A. W. (ed.), The History of Alexander the Great: Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo Callisthenes, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1889.

Khalidi, Tarif, The Qur’an: A New Translation, London, UK: Penguin Classics, 2009.

Secondary Sources:

Barletta, Vincent, Death in Babylon: Alexander the Great & Iberian Empire in the Muslim Orient, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Campo, Juan E., Encyclopedia of Islam, New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2009.

Donzel, Emeri Van, & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources: Sallam's Quest for Alexander’s Wall, Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2009.

Fildes, Alan & Joann Fletcher, Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods, Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications, 2002.

Goldsborough, Reid, ‘Alexander the Great Numismatic Portrait’, 2010, at http://tinyurl.com/66g3r7x, accessed 24 June 2011.

Lawrence, Bruce, The Qur’an: A Biography, Crows Nest, AUS: Allen & Unwin, 2006.

Meserve, Margaret, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

Panayotakis, Stelios, Maaike Zimmerman & Wytse Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond, Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2003.

Reynolds, Gabriel S. (ed.), The Qur’ān in Its Historical Context, New York, NY: Routledge, 2008.

Wheeler, Brannon M., Prophets in the Qur’an: An Introduction to the Qur’an and Muslim Exegesis, London, UK: Continuum, 2002.

[1] Qur’ān 18:83-99, Qur’ān 21:96-97.

[2] Juan E. Campo, Encyclopedia of Islam (New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2009), pp.30-31.

[3] Brannon M. Wheeler, Prophets in the Qur’an: An Introduction to the Qur’an and Muslim Exegesis (London, UK: Continuum, 2002), pp.227-237.

[4] Jalāl al-Dīn al-Mahallī & Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūtī (Translated by Feras Hamza), ‘Tafsir al-Jalalayn’, at http://tinyurl.com/3hruw8c, accessed 27 June 2011.

[5] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources: Sallam's Quest for Alexander’s Wall (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2009), p.57.

[6] Reid Goldsborough, ‘Alexander the Great Numismatic Portrait’, 2010, at http://tinyurl.com/66g3r7x, accessed 24 June 2011.

[7] Alan Fildes & Joann Fletcher, Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods (Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications, 2002), p.58.

[8] Vincent Barletta, Death in Babylon: Alexander the Great & Iberian Empire in the Muslim Orient (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp.183-184.

[9] Gabriel S. Reynolds (ed.), The Qur’ān in Its Historical Context (New York, NY: Routledge, 2008), p.186.

[10] Cited in Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), p.252.

[11] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, pp.10-11.

[12] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, p.16.

[13] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, p.16.

[14] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, p.17.

[15] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, p.17.

[16] Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, pp.18-19.

[17] Ernest A. W. Budge (ed.), The History of Alexander the Great: Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo Callisthenes (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1889), p.148.

[18] Ernest A. W. Budge (ed.), The History of Alexander the Great, p.133.

[19] Bruce Lawrence, The Qur’an: A Biography (Crows Nest, AUS: Allen & Unwin, 2006), pp.4-5.

[20] Stelios Panayotakis, Maaike Zimmerman & Wytse Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2003), p.3.

[21] Stelios Panayotakis, Maaike Zimmerman & Wytse Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond, pp.7-8.

[22] Stelios Panayotakis, Maaike Zimmerman & Wytse Keulen, The Ancient Novel and Beyond, p.8.

See Also: 

Dhu’l Qarnayn and the sun controversy in the Qur’an: New evidence

A comprehensive examination with new evidence and many new arguments concerning the different interpretations of Qur’an 18:86 and 18:90 By Martin Taverille.

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A list of unanswered questions

This is an incomplete list of questions on Islam. Muslims usually do not seem to have answers or become hesitant to give clearcut answers to these difficult but important questions.

Tell me one good thing that you learned from Islam which you would not have learned had you not been a muslim?

Tell me one moral action that a non-muslim is unable to do precisely because he doesn't believe in Islam?

Show me a photo of 9 year old girl that you're willing to have sex with?

If you love Muhammad so much, then would you do your prophet a sexual favour if he had asked for it? (it is a hypothetical question and no pun is intended)

Why sex with female slaves is not considered adultery in islam?

How many slaves can a muslim have? And why Muhammad practiced slavery?

Why are 4 wives allowed but 5 wives are forbidden?

Why this life is a test if the result is already known to omniscient allah?

What was the point for this God in creating the human race? Are we just for a bit of fun - a type of game or thought experiment for him?

If allah is perfect who has no needs then why did he create human beings to worship him?

Why does Allah hand out an infinite punishment for a finite crime? Is allah perfectly just?

Was there a time before the creation of Universe? What was allah doing before he created the Universe?

Why was the rest of the universe created when only sun and earth would be enough for Allah's stated purpose?

Why do muslims accept and attempt to show us that Quran confirms the Big Bang theory albeit most of them do not understand it?

Why don't muslims accept Evolution theory which they do not understand and reject it simply because evolution of human goes against the islamic creation story? If you accept evolution theory, how can you explain Hominid ancestors of modern human in light of islamic creation story where it says Adam had no parents?

Regarding the Quran, how do we decide which translation & understanding is correct?

Is their anyway of doing a textual analysis to see how accurate the final version of the Quran was to the original? Or are we simply left having to accept Uthman’s word for it?

A challenge from an Ex-muslim: Answer these questions and i'll convert back to Islam.

And don't forget to check out these funny questions about Islam and 72 virgins on Wikiislam.
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Fastest growing religion in America.

For a summary, go to page 4 and take a look at table 2.

"The largest net increase in numbers went to the Nones (atheists) which have grown by 138% in the period"

Table 2 illustrates the dynamics of religious population changes over the period 1990-2008 which saw the total population grow by 30 percent. As was stated previously every group has increased in absolute numbers but the rate of growth has varied. The largest net increase in numbers went to the Nones which have grown by 138% in the period. The right hand column reflects the distribution of the population gains since 1990. The Nones also secured nearly 38 percent of the total population increase. Catholics and the Other Christians groups each received around a 21 percent share of the population increase. The Other Religions group rose by 50 percent in absolute numbers and gained 6 percent of the share of the national growth. Download ARIS_Report_2008 (PDF).
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Produce a Sura like it

You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: "Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one." Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter.
By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: "Produce something like it"?!

This is how Al-Razi, the brilliant persian polymath and rationalist expressed his utter disbelief towards the Quranic challenge which is proposed in several (52:33-34, 11:13, 2:23, 17:88) verses of the Quran. Allah challenged not only mankind but also the Jinns (ancient mythical creatures of desert arabia) to produce ten chapters or single chapter or 3 verses similar to that of Quran. There are several objections to this supposed challenge readily pop up in my mind. These are the following.

Objection 1: The Quran contains many grammatical, logical and scientific errors in it. It also has glaring contradictions. Now muslims will always deny these facts. Thousands of arguments, counter-arguments, apologetics and counter-apologetics, refutation and counter-refutation, articles and you tube videos have been produced and re-produced which continues to this day and will most likely continue in future. These debates and discussions proves there are people who do not consider Quran a miracle in any sense. I don't think Quran is a literary masterpiece. I don't think it is a miracle.I don't think it is poetic or divine and see no reason to think it is inimitable.

My point is, how many people have to consider something exceptional in order to take it as exceptional? How many muslims need to recognize Quran a literary miracle in order to take Quran's claims as legit? To me, Quran is just another ancient book of mythical stories and guidelines reflecting 7th century moral values written by illiterate, superstitious tribal goat herders. I don't consider it a divine literary masterpiece from a supernatural deity like the millions of muslims do. therefore I don't have to take the claims seriously...yet I'm here writing this article precisely because so many muslims insist on it. it's like, "if you can't prove it is wrong then it is right"!!

Objection 2: Depending upon the different opinions of many muslims, the exact meaning of "surah like it" varies greatly. Some say it has to be eloquent and stylish like Quran, some say the verses should match the exact grammatical rules of Quran, some say verses must have to be meaningful, others say verses should not sound like that of soothsayers or pre-islamic poetry etc. There are many other such conditions muslims insist on in order to make the challenge as hard as possible.

First of all the challenge should not contain conditions like beauty, eloquence, poetic etc. because these factors vary in different observers. they are subjective. I can claim that Leonardo da-Vinci's Monalisa is poetic, beautiful and inimitable. None can produce a similarly beautiful artwork ever. Is my claim a valid challenge if I appeal to subjective emotion? Or does that make Monalisa a divine art if nobody can produce an artwork as beautiful and magnificent as Monalisa? The same could be said about van Beethoven’s extraordinary Ninth Symphony, or Ennio Morricone’s heartrending Gabriel’s Oboe. The point is, beauty and such things are totally subjective in nature. What one person finds beautiful and poetic, other person may reject that as utter gibberish. There's no way to meet these conditions. Besides who's gonna be the judge, what would be his qualities and what would be his religion? There's a helluva lot objections for which no one knows the answers.

Objection 3: Despite all of that, muslims made their mind from the begining that there will be no surahs like Quran. Immediately after the proposed challenge allah says the challenge can never be met.
But if you do not - and you will never be able to - then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.
It's worth noting that allah in addition to muslims, have decided that there will be no sura like it! Since muslims have already believed in Quran, no muslim will ever consider any human made sura similar or better than Quran. This is the main reason behind declaring simulated surahs ineligible. Not because of poetry or grammar, but rather because it is considered a disbelief! If any muslim recognizes Quran's fallibility, then immediately he becomes an apostate. And we all know how apostates are dealt with in islam. So I think that this is the main (sublime but intense fear, bias and other emotional) factor that prohibits a muslim from using his better judgement. Allah already claims none will be able to meet the challenge. The challenge is invalid if you refuse to even admit the chance of defeat and declare yourself infallible.

Objection 4: There is a logical fallacy in this challenge. The Quran doesn't specifically say who will be the judge to determine whether the challenge has been met of not. If I produce a piece of literature and claim it supercedes quran's linguistics then there must have to be some person who will judge both literature and declare a verdict. A person who judged my literature AND THE QURAN fully... Then and only then he can give his decision. A person who judged the Quran fully means there is no knowledge given in the Quran that is beyond his understanding capacity. He has understood the Quran 100%. For if he is unable to understand the Quran then he only has partial knowledge and is by default unqualified to be a judge of this challenge.

It is said that ordinary human can not grasp the full knowledge of the Quran because it came from god. Only god has the full knowledge of Quran. The person who says he can be a judge of this challenge has fully understood Quran and nothing in the Quran is beyond his understanding. He is absolutely sure about his knowledge of Quran. Therefore the person who claims to be able to judge the Quran 100% implicitly acknowledging it didn't came from god. Only god can be the judge of this challenge. But the aim of the challenge is to prove the quran is divine which ultimately proves the existence of god. Therefore the challenge is invalid. *Note: to understand the Quran fully means a person is absolutely certain what allah says in the Quran. In his mind, there is not a slightest amount of confusion and no information given in the Quran is beyond his understanding.

Objection 5: We can logically construct a refutation based on this challenge of Quran. Read Irrefutable refutation of islam.

Objection 6: A similar situation can be found in case of Hinduism. The Vedas are a collection of 4 vedic scriptures. It is written in Sanskrit language. Just like the muslims think Quran is divine, Hindus also think Veda is divine in origin, directly revealed and heard (it can be compared to the situation where muhammad heard from gabriel) Just like Quran is the first work of any significant length written in the classical arabic language, Vedas are a large body of texts in oldest sanskrit language. Sanskrit is thought to be the mother of all languages. Now question is: Can muslims bring three verses written in oldest Sanskrit which exceeds the Veda? If they can't then does it prove Veda's divinity? Then they should also start following Vedas.

The concept is called Apaurusheyatva. Basically it says that the phonemes of Vedas are eternal and can not be created or destroyed by anyone. Panini confirmed this in his book. So there is a similarity here. Although I think Vedas don't explicitly make the claim like Quran but the concept is there.

Objection 7: Even if no human can emulate Quran, that does not necessarily make its origin divine. Attributing the Quran to an omnipotent god, & ignoring the other more plausible alternatives (Aliens, Satan, Jinn, Time-Travellers, lingering Atlantean Knowledge, etc) is illogical.

The Guideline: There needs to be a guideline in order to complete this challenge. The surah like it challenge can be divided into three phases, as discussed below.

Phase 1: Creating Surahs [By Kafirs]

Mission: Kafirs assemble to write 1 surah with the same quality and rhythm of the quran.

Odds: - Kafirs are afraid of getting killed by Muslims, so they won’t even think about it

- Kafirs are not capable of writing a single surah because of its miraculous nature, and will back off from the challenge

- Kafirs are not sure whether they can write a surah or not, so they won’t take the risk, and will back off from the challenge

- Kafirs will successfully write 1 surah to meet up with the challenge

Phase 2: Transmission [By Kafirs]

Mission: Kafirs, after writing a surah, will give it to Muslims for evaluation purposes.

Odds: - Kafirs are afraid of getting killed by Muslims, so they won’t advertise their surah

- Kafirs will not give Muslims the surah because the fear of failure and embarrassment

- Kafirs will try to publish the surahs, but some Muslim cowards will persist on obstructing that action (e.g. AOL protestors)

- Kafirs, somehow, will be successful in giving Muslims the surahs for evaluation.

Phase 3: Evaluating Surahs [By Muslims]

Mission: Muslims will assemble to evaluate the surah, to decide whether the challenge is met or not.

Odds: - Muslims will give logical proof that the challenge is not met

- Muslims will be honest and admit that the challenge met

- Muslims will act blind, and will pretend that there is no challenge at all (e.g. most Islamic Institutions)

- Muslims will be very illogical, and will respond by stupid answers (e.g. “Allah said no one can do it!”)

- Muslims, who are terrified from the challenge, will back off by persisting to stay in their imaginary status quo that Islam is “one up,” which is not substantiated by any kind of evidence, thus null.

Now there are several method in which this challenge could be met.

Refutation 1: I could say that, I have met the challenge of Quran of making the similar verse, that is, "Aleef. Jeem. Meem" which is similar to "Alef. Lam. Mem". A muslim might ask what is the meaning of "Alef, Jeem, Mem"? I would answer that the meaning of "Aleef. Lam. Meem" is only known to Allah (the author of the quran) and similarly the meaning of "Alef. Jeem. Mem" is only known to the Author of that verse.

Refutation 2: The following logical refutation was written by Muhammed Chalhoub.
For those muslims who want to argue that none other than Allah is capable of producing something like the Qur'an , I have bad news : the Qur'an itself admits that this supposedly impossible feat has already long been accomplished by certain beings other than Allah , and i can prove it.

In what follows , i will use a method known as proof by contradiction , i.e. i will start out by assuming a few central and essential beliefs in Islam to be true . Then , by analyzing particular Qur'anic verses , i will derive certain implications for each of these assumptions and show them to be contradictory with the rest of the assumptions.

In other words , for those who didn't understand : I will show that the following two central beliefs of Islam are incompatible with each other :

Premise 1 - The Qur'an is perfect and inimitable. Nobody other than Allah, whether human or jinn is capable of producing the equivalent of a surah of the Qur'an (and a surah according to most if not all Islamic websites is equal to at least 3 verses, Fathima Faisal has earlier said that a surah should be equal to 10 words at least). Plus, this perfection and inimitability is maintained all throughout the book.

Premise 2 - The Qur'an is wholly true, i.e. there is no single error/falsehood/lie found in the Qur'an.

Now, take a look at Chapter 72 , Surat Al-Jinn , and read (the following verses are taken from the Pickthall translation):

072.001 Say (O Muhammad): It is revealed unto me that a company of the Jinn gave ear, and they said: Lo! we have heard a marvellous Qur'an,

072.002 Which guideth unto righteousness, so we believe in it and we ascribe no partner unto our Lord.

072.003 And (we believe) that He - exalted be the glory of our Lord! - hath taken neither wife nor son.
continue to read all the way up to verse 20 .

There are a few things to note here:
- In the first 19 verses of the surah , it is clear that the words aren't Allah's words. The Qur'an here is clearly quoting what the jinn supposedly said.

- From the use of first-person narrative mode in those verses, we deduce that the Qur'an isn't simply "paraphrasing" what the jinn supposedly said . Instead , it is quoting their speech as it is, word for word.

- Those verses certainly amount to a surah ( and even more).

So, if we assume that #2 earlier ( that the Qur'an is wholly true) is correct, then it is a fact that at some point of time in the past, the jinn said precisely those words. But since those exact words were included in the Qur'an among Allah's words, that can only imply that they are of the same style and eloquence as Allah's words, and therefore #1 is false and the Qur'an is NOT inimitable since - according it - the jinn had managed to produce something similar.

The only way a muslim could find out of this, and the only way to maintain his/her book's inimitability is to claim that those words have never actually been said by the jinn ( or anyone else), and that the Qur'an perhaps said so simply for rhetorical purposes. However, this claim would directly contradict assumption # 2 since the Qur'an in that case would not be wholly true.

Refutation 3: Listen to this Video.

Sura al-Dajaj سورة الدجاج

Another one: These are three arabic verses produced by Muadit Muanqady.

إذا جاء خسارة الله و الهزيمة * و رأيت الناس يخرجون من دين الله أفواجا * فاستمتع بنعمة العقل إن الله كان زهوقا

Here are some other verses produced by Native Arabic speakers: 2 Surahs ( Chapter ) whose verses have the same rhyming and style as that of the Qur'an.

The first one is called Surat Al-La Deeniyon ( i.e. "The Surah of The Non-Religious"). It starts out by explaining who the non-religious are , then carries on by pointing out scientific and logical errors in the Qur'an, and ending with a message for everyone to adhere to humanistic rather than religious principles.

The second one is Surat Al ' ilm (The Surah of Science) . It starts out by explaining how the islamic world declined since they started relying on revelation rather than reason. And then carries on until the end by debunking claims of scientific miracles and pointing out scientific errors in the Qur'an just like the first one, and all this with a style that matches that of the Qur'an.

Here is an English one produced by Saif Rahman which in my opinion, sounds very poetic and eloquent. It's called Surat al ByManat Noon.
Alif .X.Z.

1. Verily, this verse is unlike any other
2. A clear prose for those willing to believe.
3. And have we not told you the story of Lyar?
4. Verily, he was wise and Kiddermaan and Bullmaan as well.
5. O People! Tell your women to stay in the homes
6. For verily, it is better for them, if only they knew.
7. And that they should not create undue attention
8. with petty banter and laughter.
9. And what is like the stars? Shall I strike you a similitude?
10. For the sun is a signs of my mercy and greatness,
11. as it radiates in servitude
12. For you shall have fear of the lord and remember well
13. his benevolence. For verily, S’alah is all knowing, and all seeing.
14. And those of you who fast and submit to the way of the Lord,
15. verily, they shall eat grapes on reclining chairs forever and ever.
16. But those whose brains S’alah hath rewired,
17. verily, their souls shall be immersed in molten lead and shall
18. drink potassium permanganate as an everlasting torment, though they cry
19. 'Our lord! We would have believed if you had shown us evidence!'
20. But verily, I did show them but it's too late for them now.
21. Lo, did I not present them with this passage which is clear?

(Saifhall translation)

Refutation 4: In this article, the "Islamic Awareness" team attempts to defend the Qurânic challenge - that none can produce "a sûrah like it". The article begins with an informative discussion of Arabic poetry, and then tells us:

So, the challenge, as Abdur Rahîm Green mentions, is to produce in Arabic, three lines, that do not fall into one of these sixteen al-Bihar, that is not rhyming prose, nor like the speech of soothsayers [Emphasis is ours], and not normal speech, that it should contain at least a comprehensible meaning and rhetoric, i.e. not gobbledygook. Indeed,
The Quran is not verse, but it is rhythmic. The rhythm of some verses resemble the regularity of saj, and both are rhymed, while some verses have a similarity to Rajaz in its vigour and rapidity. But it was recognized by Quraysh critics to belong to neither one nor the other category.

Quotes provided by the "Islamic Awareness" team must also be placed in the context in which they were written. In this case, Beeston, Johnstone, Serjeant and Smith were quoting Mubarak's Nathr. The authors agree that the Qur'an is in a literary category of its own. However, on pages 196-197, they tell us:
The Qur'an is written throughout in rhyming prose (saj'), and appears therefore, to a greater or lesser extent, artistically constructed and strongly rhetorical in comparison with ordinary prose. The individual parts of a sentence, the sentence or combination of sentences which end with a rhyme and are called verses (ayah, plural ayat) follow the rhyme scheme a-a, b-b, c-c. The same rhyme is repeated not only once but as often as the author pleases, e.g. a-a-a, b-b, c-c-c-c (surah ci). Short surahs sometimes have only one rhyme. Ideally, as in the earliest surahs, the rhymes follow in rapid succession at fairly equal intervals; this also seems to have been the case with the rhymes of the ancient Arabic soothsayers. (Presumably the Prophet in fact adopted the alternation of short rhyme sequences from the practice of these soothsayers ...). In the surahs from the latter years of Muhammad's career the verses lengthen increasingly, and the rhymes no longer have the effect of rhetorically enlivening elements, but sound monotonous and often forced, as though they have been added later.
On page 198, we are told:
A large number of early pronouncements in the Qur'an are introduced by strange oaths, or rather asseverations, a stylistic device which Muhammad in all probability copied from the old Arabic soothsayers.

What Do The Orientalists Say About The Inimitability Of The Qur'ân?

The "Islamic Awareness" team provides us with several quotes from H.A.R. Gibb which cast a favorable light on the style of the Qur'an. They establish his credibility by stating:

The famous Arabist from University of Oxford, Hamilton Gibb was open upon about the style of the Qur'ân.
H.A.R. Gibb indeed admired the literary merits of the Qur'an :
Though to be sure, the question of literary merit is one not to be judged on a priori grounds but in relation to the genius of the Arabic language; and no man in fifteen hundred years has ever played on that deep-toned instrument with such power, such boldness, and such range of emotional effect as Mohammed did. (Mohammedanism; an historical survey, London, New York, Oxford University Press, 1953, p. 37)
However, Gibb was indeed "open" about the style when he said, on the previous page (36) :
In the earliest period of his preaching Mohammed's utterances were delivered in a sinewy oracular style cast into short rhymed phrases, often obscure and sometimes preceded by one or more formal oaths. This style is admittedly that of the ancient kahins or Arabian oracle-mongers, and it is not surprising that Mohammed's opponents should have charged him with being just another such kahin. For this and other reasons his style gradually loosened out into a simpler but still rhetorical prose; and as social denunciations and eschatological visions passed into historical narrative, and that in turn at Medina into legislation and topical addresses, little was left of its original stylistic features but a loose rhyme or assonance marking the end of each verse, now anything from ten to sixty words long.
see Pro and Contra arguments and a related thread.

In the book The Art of Reciting the Qur'an by Kristina Nelson who is a trained arabist and musicologist, it is said that some of the verses of Quran indeed follow certain Bihars.

Refutation 5: Is the Qur’ān Inimitable? See the video from Klingschore or read the article here which clearly shows with references that heterodox Arabic materials were considered by Muhammad’s family, companions and even the greatest reciters and memorizers of the Quran to be part of the true revelation, but according to orthodox Islāmic tradition, these were fabricated chapters and verses.

Refutation 6:
  • You most probably know the website Sura like it where it contains several surahs imitating Quran.
  • Check out the FSM Quran written by Muddy Abbas where he has provided far more scientifically accurate information than Muhammad's Quran.
  • And The True Furqan.

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Heavens and Earth were joined together

Allah says in the Quran that, heavens and earth were joined together and he clove them asunder. While muslims try their best to protray this verse as nothing short of a brilliant scientific miracle, an indication of modern day Big Bang theory, a little honest research proves otherwise. A cocktail of ancient greek and hebrew creation myths plagiarised by muhammad as he slowly proceeded with his compilation work.

Euripedes (480 - 406BC): said,
Heaven and Earth were once one form..

Anaxagoras (500BC-428BC): wrote,
..all things were together...

Diodorus (1st century BC):
..all things at the first were jumbled together, heaven and earth were in one mass, and had one and the same from...

Hebrew Creation Myth:
God divided the light from the darkness. . . and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, what al-Nadr used to claim makes sense,
And when Our verses, namely, the Qur’ān, were being recited to them, they said, ‘We have already heard! If we wish we can speak the like of this — al-Nadr b. al-Hārith said this, for he used to travel on trading business to al-Hīra, where he would buy books containing the tales of the Persians, and would recount these to the Meccans; this, Qur’ān, is nothing but the fables, the lies, of the ancients’.
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Is allah perfectly just?

Allahs attributes as decribed in the quran leads to philosophical contradictions
Contradiction of "Allahs Justice" with "Eternal punishment":

1) Allah is perfectly just (i.e. he can never do injustice)

2) Allah will punish non-beleiver in hell forever

3) Concept of justice requires that Punishment be always propotional to the crime (i.e. greater the crime, greator the punishment for example it is unjust to give death penalty to a school child for not doing homework , identically it is unjust to punish a serial killer by simply hitting 5 times on the hand with a ruler like they do in school)

4) since unbeleivers will be punished in hell forever therefore they are being given unlimited punishment but from (3) unlimited punishment implies that they must have done an unlimited crime

5) since human beings are finite creatures they are by definition incapable of commiting an infinite crime. every action they do is finite and thus every crime they do (which is a subset of a actions) must also be necessarily finite
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290 million victims of Islamic terror!

290+ million victims of Islamic terror! Much more than all the wars in the west and east combined!!

120 million Africans, according to Woman’s Presbyterian Board of Missions, David Livingstone, page 62, in 1888.

80 million Hindus, according to Koenard Elst, in Negationism in India, page 34.

60 million Christians, according to David Barrett and Todd Johnson, in World Christian Trends AD 30 to AD 2200, page 230. and by Raphael Moore in History of Asia Minor.

10 million Buddhists. [David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trends AD 30-AD 2200, William Carey Library, 2001, p. 230, table 4-1.

And 220,000 Jews, just in one year, 1146, in Morocco, according to H. Z. Hirschberg, A History of the Jews of North Africa, 1974, page 127-28.

Adding 14 million of Slaves traded and shipped to Islamic countries, Thomas Sowell [Thomas Sowell, Race and Culture, BasicBooks, 1994, p. 188] And still goes on to this day
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