Archive for March, 2011

March 28th, 2011

Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Muslims and Hell

There has been a lot of discussion about “Hell” lately, courtesy of Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. I have heard cases the news coverage of this book has made some conversations with non-believers possible.

What does Islam teach about Hell and who goes in it? Prophet Muhammad—the closest Muslim to Allah—said in the Hadith that he did not know if Allah would let him into paradise or send him to Hell. This happened when he was asked whether a pious Muslim man who had died would go to paradise. He didn’t just answer the question but dropped a bombshell. He responded, “As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266.).”[1] Do ordinary Muslims stand any chance of escaping Hell?

Allah said in the Qur’an, in Suratul Al-Maryam, 19:71, “There is not one of you but shall come to it, that is, [but] shall enter Hell. That is an inevitability [already] decreed by your Lord, [something which] He made inevitable and [which] He decreed; He will not waive it.”

This verse is pretty clear Allah said all Muslims will go to Hell, regardless of their pious lives. Some Muslim scholars disagree. However, they are in disagreement with Prophet Muhammad who said, “The believers, after being saved from the (Hell) Fire, will be stopped at a bridge between Paradise and Hell.”[2] Who are the believers who are “saved from Hell”?

What is this Bridge? A widely used Qur’an commentary written by Abdullah Yusuf Ali states “the Bridge over Hell, the Bridge Sirat, over which all must pass to their final Destiny. This Bridge is not mentioned in the Qur’an.” Yusuf Ali was forthright in bringing to his readers’ attention the bridge Muslims widely believe would stretch over Hell is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Since Allah didn’t reveal it to Prophet Muhammad, where did Muhammad get it? That is another Crack in the Crescent for another time.[3]

 

 

 


[1] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266.

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 542.

[3] Chapter 12 of Cracks in the Crescent.

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 542.
March 10th, 2011

Islam’s Prohibition of Alcohol Consumption Started as Sanctions Against Non-Muslims

Today’s Reuters news article on “Alcoholic drinks market booming in Muslim Gulf” might be a surprise to many because it is widely known Islam prohibits the use of alcohol. Do you know that Muslims used to drink alcohol during Prophet Muhammad’s time and it was only outlawed later in his life? Do you also know Muslims are promised alcohol in paradise?

Muslims in my home area in Kenya used to mock drunkard non-Muslims who staggered home after drinking sprees. There was one thing most of them did not acknowledge publicly: although Islamic teachings prohibit alcohol consumption here on earth, they also teach that it will be in ample supply in paradise. Alcohol will be flowing like a river, and Muslims will be enjoying it. The Qur’an promises wine that tastes delightful.[1]

Why would Islam ban the use of alcohol here on earth but sanction its use in paradise? There are a few reasons. The Hadith states, “Some people drank alcoholic beverages in the morning [of the day] of the Uhud battle and on the same day they were killed as martyrs, and that was before wine was prohibited.”[2] Wine was popular among Muslims even in 625 AD—fifteen years after the advent of Islam. Even on a momentous day of a major battle it was consumed in large quantities. Many drank Muslim warriors were killed.

Another reason the Hadith gives for the banning of alcohol was the scarcity of dates in Medina. Instead of “importing” dates from neighboring territories out of Muslim control to keep up with the demand, alcohol was banned outright by Muhammad.[3] What an indirect economic sanction against those who were not receptive toward Islam!

Some Muslims still believe alcohol is permissible. Prominent Egyptian Sunni Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa showing that “there was no religious ban on consuming drinks with a minute amount of alcohol in them if it was formed naturally through the process of fermentation. He quoted the rule derived from the sayings of the Prophet that if drinking a lot of alcohol makes you intoxicated then drinking a little is also forbidden.”

Islam is an invention of Prophet Muhammad. Had the revelations he received come from God, there is no way there would have been a double standard. Why would alcohol be permissible in paradise but forbidden on earth? Why would the ban only become necessary because Muhammad and his fellow Muslims faced the scarcity of dates? These are questions we should ask our Muslim friends. They need to realize Islam was an invention of Prophet Muhammad. If the Almighty God had had a hand in it, there would have been consensus in his teachings.

 

Hussein Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent. He blogs here. You can listen to his testimony here or read it here.


[1] Suratul Al-Muhammad, 47:15.

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 142. Bracket mine.

[3] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 69, Number 486.