Archive for June, 2011

June 17th, 2011

Interfaith Dialogue: Faith Shared’s Read this Qur’an Verse but Don’t Read that?

Sunday, June 26, 2011 is a day Muslims, Christians and Jews will gather together in worship services to read passages from the Qur’an, Torah and the Gospel. Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First are jointly offering this event dubbed Faith Shared. The main purpose of Faith Shared is to combat Islamophobia.

I strongly believe Faith Shared is an exercise in futility because its organizers do not acknowledge there is a problem in Islam. They think taking verses of the Qur’an out of their contexts for photo-ops would combat Islamophobia. We can only combat Islamophobia candidly if we distinguish it from Muslimophobia. Photo-ops wouldn’t do it. Only open and honest discussions away from places of worship would do it.

Here are verses (in red) of the Qur’an Faith Shared has suggested for congregants to read next Sunday:

  1. O humankind, We (God) have created you male and female, and made you into communities and tribes, so that you may know one another. (49:13) This verse only applies to Muslims. “O humankind” in the Qur’an is not always inclusive of all mankind. Faith Shared would like the world to believe so. This verse was revealed because a Muslim had insulted a fellow Muslim. More details HERE.
  2. Let there be no hostility except against those who practice Zulm (oppression). (2:193) This verse which organizers of this can only quote partially clearly shows Muslims are not supposed to turn the other cheek. So much for Faith Shared gathering with Christians and Muslims discussing nonviolence. The most prominent Sunni Tafsir says: (And fight them) if they initiate fighting against you whether you are in the Sacred Precinct or not (until persecution is no more) until there is not association of partners with Allah in the Sacred Precinct, (and religion is for Allah) and Islam and worship of Allah reign in the Sacred Precinct. (If they desist) from fighting you in the Sacred Precinct, (then let there be no hostility) you are not allowed to kill them (except against wrong-doers) except those who start the fight against you.

The Qur’an and the Hadith consider Christians who didn’t acknowledge Muhammad’s prophethood as enemies. In fact Christians are considered the worst of sinners because they associate “partners with Allah.” Sadly, this verse does not support the goal of Faith Shared.

3. There shall be no compulsion in matters of faith. (2:256)

This is one of the most misunderstood verses of the Qur’an. Do you know that it was revealed when Muhammad had very few followers? He cursed the first two Muslims who had apostatized and when he gained more power prescribed death for apostasy. You can find more details HERE.

4. Verily! Those who have attained faith as well as those who follow the Jewish Faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians—all who believe in God and the last Day and do righteous deeds—shall have their reward with their Sustainer, and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve. (2:62)

This verse is about “Christians” and Jews who had acknowledged Muhammad as a prophet. Here is what the commentary says:

The verse (Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews…) was revealed about the monks with whom Salman al-Farisi kept company. When Salman went to see the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, he informed him about their worship and striving. He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! They used to pray and fast; they believed in you and bore witness that you will be sent as a prophet’. When Salman finished his praise of them, Allah’s Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘O Salman! They are of the dwellers of hell fire’. Allah then revealed (Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews) up to His saying (neither shall they grieve).

5. Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness are better than a charitable deed followed by insulting words. (2:263)

Now that you have read Faith Shared suggested readings from the Qur’an that supposedly foster interfaith dialogues, please consider these Qur’an verses in three widely available and most notable translations:

3.85

YUSUFALI: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).

PICKTHAL: And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter.

SHAKIR: And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.

4.101

YUSUFALI: When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers May attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.

PICKTHAL: And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.

SHAKIR: And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will cause you distress, surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.

5.33

YUSUFALI: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

PICKTHAL: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;

SHAKIR: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,Surah 8:12: “God revealed His will to the angels, saying…I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers”

5.51

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

SHAKIR: O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

5.59

YUSUFALI: Say: “O people of the Book! Do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?”

PICKTHAL: Say: O People of the Scripture! Do ye blame us for aught else than that we believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed aforetime, and because most of you are evil-livers?

SHAKIR: Say: O followers of the Book! do you find fault with us (for aught) except that we believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed before, and that most of you are transgressors?

5.60

YUSUFALI: Say: “Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!”

PICKTHAL: Shall I tell thee of a worse (case) than theirs for retribution with Allah? (Worse is the case of him) whom Allah hath cursed, him on whom His wrath hath fallen and of whose sort Allah hath turned some to apes and swine, and who serveth idols. Such are in worse plight and further astray from the plain road.

SHAKIR: Say: Shall I inform you of (him who is) worse than this in retribution from Allah? (Worse is he) whom Allah has cursed and brought His wrath upon, and of whom He made apes and swine, and he who served the Shaitan; these are worse in place and more erring from the straight path.

8.60

YUSUFALI: Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.

PICKTHAL: Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not. Allah knoweth them. Whatsoever ye spend in the way of Allah it will be repaid to you in full, and ye will not be wronged.

SHAKIR: And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.

8.61

YUSUFALI: But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).

PICKTHAL: And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower.

SHAKIR: And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

Muslims who are involved in interfaith dialogues need to explain the meanings behind these verses. I have deliberately left out the so-called “verse of sword” and a few others because the post is getting too long. I am not opposed to Christians having dialogues with Muslims as long as the discussions are open and candid.

June 16th, 2011

The Qur’an, a Donkey, Peace and Interfaith Dialogue

Muslims know what is at stake in interfaith dialogues. They participate in them knowing Islam has a battered image around the world that desperately needs improvement. Sadly, some Christians who participate in these dialogues have no clue about Muslims’ intentions. They are involved in promoting “peace” but fail to realize their efforts inadvertently improve Islam’s global image.

Muslims and even some Christians who engage in interfaith dialogues misquote the Qur’an in order to bolster Islam’s image, promoting its nonexistent image of inclusiveness. They often selectively quote chapters of the Qur’an while leaving out verses that would obliterate their arguments. There are many examples but today I will deal with the most abused verse of the Qur’an in interfaith dialogues, which is found in Suratul Al-Hujraat (chapter 49 of the Qur’an). Verse 13 states:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

Every article I have read on interfaith dialogue involving Muslims uses this Qur’an verse. Unfortunately, this verse has nothing to do with non-Muslims. Many non-Muslims sell out on the “O mankind” portion of the verse but mankind does not always include non-Muslims in the Qur’an. Islam is not as inclusive as Muslims and non-Muslim interfaith interlocutors would like people to believe.

This verse was revealed to address a case of racism, which involved Bilal, a Black Muslim during Muhammad’s time who used to call Muslims to pray. One day when Bilal sounded the call to pray, an Arab Muslim said, “Did Allah and His Messenger not find anyone to call to prayer except this raven.” That was when verse 13 was revealed. It clearly has nothing to do with non-Muslims but everything to do with Muslims. Mankind here referred to Muslims.

Muslims and Christians who quote verse 13 and mislabel it as a verse that promotes interfaith dialogue also totally ignore verse 9 of the same chapter, which called on Muslims to fight each other over a trivial issue. Verse 9 commands:

If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies, then make peace between them with justice, and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).

This verse was revealed when a donkey urinated and one Muslim quipped “the smell of the donkey’s urine is sweeter-smelling than” another Muslim’s fragrances. This trivial insult escalated into a fight then this verse was revealed.

The Qur’an calls on Muslims to fight each other over a minor issue like a donkey’s urine, what are the chances for ardent Muslims to live at peace with Christians who are the worst of the sinners! The same book accuses Christians of ascribing partners to Allah, calling their worship the most heinous sin.

It is mind-boggling Muslims and non-Muslims take the Qur’an out of context or change intended meanings of its verses in order to come up with a palatable message on interfaith dialogue. I am not opposed to interfaith dialogues as long as they candidly tackle issues at hand. Jesus Christ has called us to be peacemakers but let us not use our calling as an occasion to spread a fake image of Islam.

June 15th, 2011

Islam’s Debilitating Public Relations Hemorrhage and Christian Rescue Efforts

Islam has faced a debilitating public relations hemorrhage since September 11, 2001. That dreadful day brought to the fore some manifestations of Islamic teachings, which led ordinary Muslims, Muslim civil leaders, scholars and civil rights organizations scampering to mitigate further damage to their religion. Some Muslims even enlisted non-Muslims’ help in this endeavor. Surprisingly, even prominent Christian clergies and scholars have inadvertently answered the Muslim call.

If you think some prominent Christian leaders in the West are confused about Islam, you are not alone. Faith Shared—a project of Interfaith Alliance—reflects some of that confusion. It has nationwide events scheduled for Sunday, June 26, 2011. Various churches are hosting worship services where suggested verses from the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an will be read. Faith Shared will provide suggestions on how to incorporate this program into hosting churches’ regular Sunday worship services “but communities are encouraged to choose readings that will resonate with their congregations.”

The purpose of this event is to combat “a pervasive and unsettling trend of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination, and rhetoric, as well as a general lack of understanding about Islam in America today.” Gathering together in these worship services is necessary “for faith communities to strengthen ties with each other.”

While I commend Interfaith Alliance for coming up with an idea of getting Christians, Jews and Muslims together, here are three problems:

  1. Muslim misconceptions about Christians and Christianity predate any Muslim’s (other than Prophet Muhammad’s) encounter with a Christian or Christianity and have nothing to do with Islam being misunderstood or Muslims being persecuted. Reading the Qur’an in worship service for photo-ops is not going to alleviate Muslims’ misconceptions of Christians and Christianity.
  2. Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance claims “specific passages in each tradition can be and have been ripped from their historical/scriptural context and manipulated to promote division, nurture hatred, and even inspire violence.” There is no such thing as “historical/scriptural context” in the Faith Shared suggested Qur’an verses, which remotely come close to Faith Shared goal of Christians, Muslims and Jews strengthening “ties with each other.”
  3. A Sunday worship service is not a place to achieve this faith-shared goal. A better idea would be inviting Muslims to congregants’ homes for meals. Having discussions over a meal about these suggested texts, especially Qur’an verses, and their “historical/scriptural context” would have had significant effect.

Faith Shared and whoever advises them totally don’t get the Qur’an’s central theme. I will write a post explaining the meaning behind these verses and will go through the exegeses of each one of them to show how historically and contextually these verses were not intended for interfaith outreach. I will explore and expound on each verse using classical Islamic commentaries and Hadith. Interfaith dialogues are noble for promoting peace. However, Faith Shared’s idea is an interfaith dialogue riddled with ignorance.

Muslims’ intention in interfaith dialogues is about propagating Islam. Even Sufi Muslims want a dialogue to end with a non-Muslim converting to Islam. Sufi scholar Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani of Islamic Supreme Council of America says:

As for interfaith, I am not saying I care for it, I don’t. But if someone wants to make interfaith to make an introduction to Islam, it is OK. As long as they don’t become Christian or Jew or Zoroastrian, then it is acceptable. That is a way to tell people they are wrong and tell them their mistakes.

Rev. Gaddy laments “a general lack of understanding about Islam in America today.” Why is he doing public relations work for Islam, promoting it through interfaith dialogues when even Muslims have made their motives clear? Muslims use interfaith dialogues as a venue to stop Islam’s public relations hemorrhage. Many Christians are ignorant of that fact and come to Islam’s rescue. They perhaps confuse Muslimophobia with Islamophobia. Every followers of Jesus Christ ought to fight Muslimophobia but should leave Islamophobia to Muslims. For more information, please read HERE.

June 10th, 2011

When Jesus Died, Did the Trinity Reduce to two?

One of my Muslim Facebook friends asks:

If the father and Jesus are one, then if Jesus died, the father [sic] died. If they are separate and only Jesus died, then the father and the holy spirit [sic] remained, and thus Jesus and the father are not the same. Can you address this issue without talking about Muslims.

When Jesus died, the Father didn’t die. When Jesus died, the Three (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) did not reduce to the two. Please, read a good explanation HERE. I would like to enlist the Belgic Confession of Faith to answer my friend’s question further. The Confession reads:

According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, who is the one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is the cause, origin and beginning of all things visible and invisible; the Son is the word, wisdom, and image of the Father; the Holy Ghost is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, have each his personality, distinguished by their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence then, it is evident, that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed: for the Father hath not assumed the flesh, nor hath the Holy Ghost, but the Son only. The Father hath never been without his Son, or without his Holy Ghost. For they are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last: for they are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.

The Belgic Confession of Faith is available online on several websites. You can read this version HERE.

The Nicene Creed (circa 325 A.D.) and the Creed of Chalcedon (circa 451 A.D.) have some excellent explanations on the Three and the two natures of Jesus Christ respectively. How would you respond?

June 8th, 2011

Answered Prayers: End of My Asylum Case Imminent

I am very grateful to all who prayed for my wife and I the past year. My asylum case has been reopened, which means I will not be leaving the United States in order to pursue other legal US immigration status.

A year ago the Associated Press broke the news that the federal court of appeals had declined to overturn a lower court’s decision to deny me asylum and refused to reverse the order to send me back to Kenya, where I had suffered persecution for converting to Christianity. I learned of the court’s decision from the media. Since then, I filed a motion to reopen my asylum case with the Board of Immigration Appeals and it has been granted (AP story). The decision in part reads:

Considering the totality of circumstances presented in the respondent’s motion, which has not been opposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the proceedings are reopened under the provisions of 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(a), and the record will be remanded to the Immigration Judge to provide the respondent a further opportunity to establish his eligibility for relief from removal…

FURTHER ORDER (sic): The record is remanded to the Immigration Judge for further proceedings not inconsistent with this order and for the entry of a new decision.

The motion, which you can find HERE, showed new evidence of change in country conditions in Kenya. I cited sworn statements of cases of severe persecutions of Muslim converts to Christianity with at least one of them killed since my petition was denied in 2006.

This has been a long and arduous process for my wife and I. The order to reopen my asylum case is our first real good news regarding immigration in almost 9 years. If you think only those who overstay their visas or undocumented immigrants run into manifestations of broken US immigration laws, think again. I filed for asylum in August 2002 while I was still in legal status, but my application was denied and was not referred to the Immigration Court for adjudication. My asylum interview was only 45 minutes long. A veteran immigration attorney and law professor told me afterward the asylum office normally decides even before an interview which asylum application to deny. Since my interview was short, it met that criterion. I reapplied and the asylum office told me to petition the Immigration Court. Here is an excerpt of a message I received from my attorney about my subsequent application:

I have some disturbing news for you.  I just received back from the Chicago Asylum Office your application for asylum. In the cover letter from the Immigration Service, I am told that, because your previous application was denied by the Asylum Office, that you must make your request for asylum to the Immigration Court.

This makes no sense and does not comport with the Immigration Service’s own rules.It is also not consistent with other cases: for example, I just filed an application for a young man from Ivory Coast who is in your same procedural situation and his interview at the Asylum Office is next week.

My question for you is this:  given that you would likely be denied again by the Asylum Office (it is very rare that the Asylum Office will grant asylum on a second application if the first application was already denied) and sent to the Immigration Court, do you wish to make your request to the Immigration Court directly?  Where you make your application makes very little difference but, in terms of timing, if you skip the step of going to the Asylum Office interview, you could have a hearing in the Immigration Court in late-summer or early-fall while, if you go through the Asylum Office, you will not have a hearing in the Immigration Court until late-fall. Either way is fine for me but I want you to make the decision because the timing may affect other plans you have. [Emphasis mine.]

I filed my third application with the Court and had a hearing in 2006!

The Judge found my testimony credible but denied my asylum petition because US State Department Country Reports on Kenya did not show any persecution of Muslim apostates in Kenya. Sadly, US Embassy in Nairobi mostly relies on Kenyan mainstream media to compile Kenya Country Report and there are reasons discussed below they have been silent on issues of religious persecution. I have complied with every request or order of the US government and appealed every adverse decision in accordance with established US immigration laws.

In the case of a Muslim convert who was killed in February 2010, the Kenyan police determined his murder was a robbery, even disregarding death threats he had reported to them. There is no known media report in Kenya of his gruesome murder, let alone a report revealing his killing was on the account of his apostasy.

I am in contact with other Muslim apostates in Kenya. Some of them receive death threats on regular basis. The police have been of little help. The Kenyan media has turned a deaf ear to their plights as well. The closest to a news report is in the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report 2010:

Local Christian organizations reported that individuals who converted to Christianity from Islam, particularly individuals of Somali ethnic origin, were often threatened with violence or death by Muslim religious leaders and their families. These threats prompted some individuals to go into hiding.

I have made inquiries to the Kenyan media regarding the lack of coverage of religious persecution. A Kenyan reporter said there was news blackout because the Kenyan “media policies are very strict, especially when it comes to reports on religion.” He even averred how the East African Standard offices were burnt down in the mid 1990s because the newspaper published an article on Islam written by a Muslim scholar. An Ismaili Muslim organization is the principal shareholder of the Daily Nation, a Kenyan newspaper with a wide circulation. Perhaps that explains why Muslim persecution of apostates got no coverage in the paper.

I am grateful for the Board’s decision granting me options for immigration relief. The order for me to leave the United States has been vacated and I will have a new hearing to determine my new immigration status.

Going through the asylum process has been very hard for me. Thoughts of whether I have been trying to “save” my life have lingered. Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”[1] Am I putting my trust in the United States’ government to save me from persecution that God has apportioned for me? I have sometimes wondered why I have been going through this arduous process with everything seeming to work against me but now I am very thankful for this good news. The end is imminent.


[1] Luke 17:33, NIV.

June 2nd, 2011

Cracking the Five Daily Prayers (Salah): Did Allah Give the Command?

Have you ever encountered a Muslim who dismisses the authority of the Hadith, claiming to follow only the Qur’an? If so, you are not alone. I have met a lot of them. These Muslims are uncomfortable with the Hadith which contains information that are contradictory because they are based on the life of Prophet Muhammad who lived his life as he willed.
A Muslim I met online recently—a convert to Islam—particularly insisted all a Muslim ever needed to know was in the Qur’an. That prompted me to ask him if the command for Muslims to pray 5 times a day was in the Qur’an. He claimed it was. He pointed to some verses trying to prove his claim. Let us see if the Qur’an actually says Muslim must pray 5 times a day and if it doesn’t, where Muhammad got the idea.
The Qur’an mentions only two out of the five daily prayers by name namely, Fajr (dwan) and Isha (late evening) in Qur’an 24:58. The other three: Dhuhur (solar noon), Asr (mid afternoon) and Maghrib (right after sunset) are not mentioned in the entire Qur’an.
There are indirect references like “two ends of the day” and “approaches of the night” in Qur’an 11:114 which Muslims interpret to mean Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers.
Qur’an 17:78 has “Establish regular prayers-at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer” which has Fajr directly and Isha indirectly mentioned.
Qur’an 30:18 “Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline” has some Muslims commentaries trying to squeeze in Asr and Dhuhur as what this verse was alluding to even when the verse was not a command to pray. I thought Allah gave Muhammad the 5 daily prayers when he “ascended” to the heavens! What happened? Why does the Qur’an only mention two of these important daily prayers by name and does not command Muslim to pray at least 5 times a day?
My online Muslim friend continued to tell me in Qur’an 2:238 “middle prayer” apparently refers to Asr even when the verse does not say so. He just assumes since Muslims currently practice 5 daily prayers and Asr is the middle prayer, he sells out on the idea. Little does he know only at most three prayers are “mentioned” in the Qur’an at one time and even these three have a “middle prayer.” To make the matter even worse, this verse was revealed in Medina, years after the command for the 5 compulsory daily prayers were supposedly given in the Hadith. Qur’an chapter 17 contains Muhammad’s alleged ascension to the seven heavens and only mentions two daily prayers: Fajr (directly) and Isha (indirectly). The Hadith is the only source that has the number—five—and all the names of the compulsory daily prayers
If Allah really meant Muslims must observe the 5 daily prayers (Salat), shouldn’t he have made it clear in the Qur’an? He didn’t. Muhammad’s Hadith appear more lucid on the 5 daily prayers (Salah) than the Qur’an.
Prophet Muhammad must have borrowed the idea of the 3 daily prayers in the Qur’an from the Jews. Daniel 6:10:
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Daniel prayed toward Jerusalem. Muhammad prayed toward Jerusalem for the first 14 years of Islam. Daniel, like others who practice Judaism, prayed three times a day.
I have no doubt Muhammad borrowed the idea of the 3 daily prayers which are in the Qur’an from the Jews and the 5 daily prayers from Zoroastrians. He did not ascend to the heavens to get the command to pray five times. Even the Qur’an claims the “ascension” was a mere dream (Qur’an 53:13-18).
The Hadith is the only source where Muslims can find information on the 5 daily prayers and how to observe them. Though it is a boom for critics of Islam like me, it has answers to key issues in Islam as mundane as the 5 daily prayers without which a Muslim would not be granted paradise. That is another Crack in the Crescent for you.