Wednesday, May 31, 2006

US Assistance, US bombs

My letter to Jakarta Post. Printed on Wednesday 31 May 2006.


US Assistance, US bombs

Houses destroyed. Communities devastated. Thousands of civilian deaths. Tens of thousands of injured and suffering. Hospitals lacking basic supplies. No electricity. No sanitation. Total disruption of daily life. No end to the suffering in sight.

But is this Yogya or Baghdad? How can we tell the difference? It’s easy. In one city, the Bush administration is offering condolences and lots of assistance. In the other city, the US is the direct cause of the devastation. I’m sure you know which is which. Bombs or earthquake? Isn't the result much the same?

Many critics of the US war of aggression against Iraq cite the fact that US troops only secured the Iraqi Oil Ministry and none of the hospitals, which allowed them to be looted at gunpoint. How does a civilized country in this day and age cause untold suffering against one civilian population with one hand and then offer much needed assistance to a different civilian population with the other? Does no one see the hypocrisy? Where is the international media? More to the point, where is the US media? How come no one is speaking about this?

During the Soeharto era, I proudly told my students about how great America was because of its many freedoms, especially freedom of the press. The US was once a great and noble country that others aspired to follow. Where have all the good Americans gone? More importantly, when are they coming back? For what its worth, here’s my advice: fewer bombs, more medicine. People tend to notice the difference!


Gene Netto

Jakarta, Indonesia

29 May, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Watching TV harms kids’ academic success


Source: New Scientist

  • 21:00 04 July 2005
  • NewScientist.com news service


Too much time in front of the TV reduces children’s learning abilities, academic achievement, and even the likelihood of their graduating from university, suggest three new studies. But it may be the quality, not quantity, of the programmes that really matters.

Decades of studies have linked childhood hours in front of the TV with aggressive behaviour, earlier sexual activity, smoking, obesity, and poor school performance. The research has lead the American Academy of Pediatrics to suggest children watch no more than 2 hours of TV per day and that children under 2 years old watch none at all.

But results from studies on cognitive abilities and TV watching have been mixed. Some researchers have found that high quality, educational TV programmes are a boon for learning. Others have shown that the negative effects of hours in front of the TV disappear when confounding factors - such as IQ or socioeconomic status - are included.

So Robert Hancox at the University of Otago in New Zealand and colleagues studied nearly 1000 children born in Dunedin, NZ, in 1972 and 1973. The researchers gathered data from both parents and children on how many hours a day were each spent watching TV at age 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15. The team then re-evaluated participants at the age of 26.

Drop outs

Kids who watched the least TV – especially between the ages of 5 and 11 – had the highest probability of graduating from university by the age of 26, regardless of IQ or socioeconomic status. While those who watched the most TV, more than 3 hours per day, had the highest chance of dropping out of school without qualifications.

Furthermore, the effects seemed to be strongest for those who had a median IQ level, probably because the outcomes for the children at either IQ extreme are less likely to be affected by TV watching.

Two other studies, also published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found similar results. Dina Borzekowski at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues found that Northern Californian third-graders - aged about 8 - with a TV in their bedroom watched more TV and performed worse on standardised tests than classmates without a bedroom TV.

Sesame Street

Frederick Zimmerman and Dimitri Christakis at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that kids who watched the most TV before the age of 3 performed poorest on reading and mathematics tests at ages 6 and 7. But there did seem to be some benefit for TV watching in 3 to 5 year olds, possibly because of the large number of educational programs targeted at this age category, such as Sesame Street. For the duration of this study – 1990 to 1996 – very little educational programming for under-threes was available in the US.

In an accompanying editorial, Ariel Chernin and Deborah Linebarger at the University of Pennsylvania, US, points out that all three studies do not separate the effects of educational versus entertainment programming.

One proposed mechanism of how TV harms educational achievement is that TV takes time away from creative play, reading or doing homework. But, the editorial notes, research specifically examining this suggests "it is not the amount of viewing that matters but the content of what is viewed".

They suggest that parents should encourage kids to watch quality, educational programming. But Barry Milne, a co-author on the New Zealand study and now at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK, points out this may be simpler said than done: “Content could well be a confounding factor. But what we did find is that the type of TV kids actually do watch is not good for them."

Journal reference: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (vol 159, p 607, p 614, p 619, p 687)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Examples of Errors in the Bible

Biblical Errancy Pamphlets
by
Dennis McKinsey

(Downloaded from: http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/)

Questions on pamphlet #1 entitled:

THE BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD?

Dear Believer:

I can't accept the Bible as God's Word because it contains hundreds of problems and contradictions that can't be solved, only rationalized. I ask only that you read what follows in line with James' teaching that Christians should be "open to reason" (James 3:17 RSV) and Isaiah's belief that we should "reason together" (Isa. 1:18) to see just a few of the Book's many shortcomings.


1. If you must accept Jesus as your Savior in order to be saved (John 14:6), what about the billions of beings that die as fetuses, infants, and mentally deficient, etc.? For them to accept Jesus would be impossible. So they are condemned to hell because of conditions over which they had no control. Deut. 32:4 says God is just, but where is the justice?


2. Why are we being punished for Adam's sin? After all, he ate the forbidden fruit, we didn't. It's his problem, not ours, especially in light of Deut. 24:16, which says children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers.


3. God created Adam, so he must have been perfect. How then, could he have sinned? Regardless of how much free will he had, if he chose to sin, he wasn't perfect.


4. How can Num. 23:19, which says God doesn't repent, be reconciled with Ex. 32:14, which clearly says he does?


5. How can 2 Kings 8:26, which says Ahaziah began to rule at age 22, be reconciled with 2 Chron. 22:2, which says he was 42?


6. How can Ex. 33:20, which says no man can see God's face and live, be squared with Gen. 32:30, which says a man saw God's face and his life was preserved?


7. Rom. 3:23 says "all have sinned." All means all. Yet, Gen. 6:9 says Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations. Job 1:1 & 1:8 say Job was perfect. How could these men have been perfect if all have sinned?


8. How could Moses have written the first five books in the Bible (the Pentateuch) when his own death and burial are described in Deut. 34:5-6 ("So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab ... and he buried him in a valley. . . .")?


9. Did Solomon have 40,000 stalls for his horses (1 Kings 4:26) or 4,000 (2 Chron. 9:25)? Did Solomon's house contain 2,000 baths (1 Kings 7:26) or 3,000 (2 Chron. 4:5)?


10. Paul says Christianity lives or dies on the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:14,17). Yet, why would it be of any consequence since the Widow at Nain's son, Jairus's daughter, Lazarus, and many others rose before Jesus? By the time he rose this was a rather common occurrence. I would think it would have been met by a resounding yawn rather than surprise followed by: So what else can you do. Adam's act of coming into the world as a full grown adult is more spectacular.


11. Was Jehoiachin 18 years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem and did he reign 3 months (2 Kings 24:8), or was he 8 years old and reigned 3 months and 10 days (2 Chron. 36: 9). Did Nebuzaradan come to Jerusalem on the 7th (2 Kings 25:8) or 10th (Jer. 52:12) day of the 5th month?


12. How could we follow the 6th Commandment, even if we wanted to, when the authors of the various versions of the Bible can't agree on whether the key word is "kill" or “murder”? Surely they recognize the difference?


13. We are told the Bible has no scientific errors, yet it says the bat is a bird (Lev. 11:13,19), hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:5-6), and some fowl (Lev. 11:20-21) and insects (Lev. 11:22-23) have four legs.


14. Matt. 27:9-10 quotes a prophecy made by Jeremy the prophet. Yet, no Bible believer has ever been able to show me where it lies in the Book of Jeremiah.


15. Heaven is supposed to be a perfect place. Yet, it experienced a war (Rev. 12:7). How can there be a war in a perfect place and if it happened before why couldn't it happen again? Why would I want to go to a place in which war can occur? That's exactly what I'm trying to escape, aren't you?


16. Believers are told in Mark 16:17-18 that they can drink "any deadly thing" and "it shall not hurt” them. But I don't think you would be naive enough to drink any arsenic offered. Perhaps I'm wrong and you would be willing to test the Book's veracity-"lay it on the line" so to speak?


17. We are told salvation is obtained by faith alone (John 3:18,36) " yet Jesus told a man to follow the Commandments-Matt. 19:16-18 (saving by works)-if he wanted eternal life.


18. According to the text there are 29 cities listed in Joshua 15:21-32 (RSV). One need only count them to see that biblical math is not to be trusted. The total is 36.


19. Surely you don't believe Eccl. 1:9 RSV ("What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun")? How many cities had an atomic bomb dropped on them prior to 1945, and how many people walked on the moon before 1969?


20. If the Bible is our moral guide, then how can it make pornographic statements such as: “...they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you" (2 Kings 18:27)? Is that what you want your children reading on Sunday?


21. If God created everything, (Col. 1:16, Eph. 3:9, Rev. 4:11, John 1:3), then he did create the world's evil (Isa. 45:7, Lam. 3:38). Thus, he is responsible.


22. In Psalm 139:7-11 we are told God is everywhere. If so, why would God need to come down to earth to see a city (Gen. 11:5) when he is already here? And how could Satan leave the presence of the Lord (Job 1: 12, 2:7)?


23. For justice to exist, punishment must fit the crime. No matter how many bad deeds one commits in this world, there is a limit. Yet, hell's punishment is infinitely greater. It’s eternal.


24. Last, in Acts 20:35 Paul told people “to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Since Jesus never made such a biblical statement, isn't Paul guilty of deception?


These examples expose only a few of the many reasons I can't accept the Bible as the word of a perfect being. A far greater number can be found in the monthly publication, BIBLICAL ERRANCY, which is “An international periodical focusing on biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists.”


A free copy is available at 2500 Punderson Drive, Hilliard, Ohio
43026 (614) 527-1703

Questions on pamphlet #2 entitled:

JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER?


Dear Believer:

You ask me to accept Jesus as my personal Savior; yet his behavior and teachings often expose one who should be escaped, not sought. I ask only that you read what follows in the spirit of open-mindedness taught in Prov. 15:10 NIV ("he who hates correction will die") and Prov. 12:1 NASB ("he who hates reproof is stupid") because I seek to "Prove all things" (1 Thess. 5:21).


1. While on the Cross Jesus said, "My God my God, why hast thou forsaken me" (Mark 15:34). How could Jesus be our savior when he couldn't even save himself? Those aren't the words of a man voluntarily dying for our sins; those are the words of a man who can think of a hundred other places he would rather be.


2. Jesus said, "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt. 5:22). Yet, he himself did so repeatedly, as Matt. 23:17, 19 and Luke 11:40 and 12:20 show. Shouldn't he be in danger of hell too?


3. Except those of biased Christian writers, there isn't one writing outside the Bible in all of ancient history that clearly refers to Jesus of Nazareth.


4. Isn't Jesus a false prophet since he wrongly predicted in Matt. 12:40 that he would be buried three days and three nights as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights? Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning is only one and a half days.


5. Jesus' prophecy in John 13:38 (“The cock shall not crow, till thou [Peter] hast denied me three times”) is false. Mark 14:66-68 shows the cock crowed after the first denial, not the third.


6. How could Jesus be our model of sinless perfection when he denies he is morally perfect in Matt. 19:17 ("And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God")?


7. In 1 Cor. 1: 1 7 ("For Christ sent me [Paul] not to baptize but to preach the gospel”) Paul said Jesus was wrong when he said in Matt. 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them....” So how could Jesus be the fountain of wisdom?


8. How could Jesus, whom the New Testament repeatedly refers to as the son of man, be our savior when this is clearly forestalled by Psalm 146:3 ("Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man in whom there is no help") and Job 25:6 ("How much less man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm")?


9. How can Jesus be God when he repeatedly said he was not God's equal, wasn't God? Obvious examples are: John 14:28 (“...for my Father is greater than I”), John 20:17 ("I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God"), and John 7:16 ("My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me").


10. While on the Cross Jesus said, "Forgive them Father they know not what they do.” To whom was he speaking? They say, "God.” But I thought he was God. How can God speak to God if there is only one god? That's two gods.


11. Jesus told us to "honor thy father and mother” (Matt. 15:4), but contradicted his own teaching in Luke 14:26 ("If any man comes to me and does not hate his father and mother ... he cannot be my disciple").


12. In John 3:13 ("And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man...) Jesus erred because 2 Kings 2:11 (“. . . and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven") shows Elijah went up earlier.


13. In Matt. 16:28 Jesus said, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Yet, they all died and he never came.


14. Jesus told us to "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you,” but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition. Matt. 23:17 ('Ye fools and blind"), Matt. 12:34 ("O generation of vipers"), and Matt. 23:27 (". . . hypocrites ... ye are like unto whited sepulchres...”) are excellent examples of hypocrisy.

15. Even many of the staunchest defenders of Jesus admit that his comment in Matt. 10:34 ("I came not to send peace but a sword") contradicts verses such as Matt. 26:52 ("Put up again thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword").


16. The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Rom. 1:3, Acts 2:30). Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matt. 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father (the Virgin Birth)?


17. Jesus told a man in Mark 8:34 that "whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." The obvious question is: What cross? He hadn't yet died on the cross. There was nothing to take up. That man would have had no idea what he was talking about.


18. In Mark 10:19 Jesus told a man to follow the Commandments. Yet one of those listed by Jesus was "defraud not," which isn't even an Old Testament commandment.


19. In Luke 12:4 Jesus told his followers to "Be not afraid of them that kill the body." But Matt. 12:14-16, John 7:1, 8:59, 10:39, 11:53-54, and Mark 1:45 show that he hid, escaped, and slunk around often.


20. In Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." But how could they have been together in paradise that day if Jesus lay in the tomb for three days?


21. For Jesus to be executed for our sins makes about as much sense as my son telling a judge that he would accept execution for my crimes. Although a nice gesture, it has nothing to do with justice. What judge worthy of the title would agree?


22. Lastly, in Matt. 15:24 Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," but later told his followers to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matt 28:19). To whom, then, are they to go--only to the Jews, or everyone?


These examples expose only a few of the many reasons I can't accept Jesus as a Savior. A far greater number can be found in the monthly publication, BIBLICAL ERRANCY, which is “An international periodical focusing on biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gus Dur Menghinakan Al Qur’an

Saya sangat heran. Kok masih ada orang yang memuji dan menjadi pengikut setia bagi orang seperti Gus Dur. Lebih memalukan lagi, dia adalah mantan Presiden. Menyedihkan sekali...

Sumber: JIL (Lihat artikel lengkap di sini)

Berikut petikan wawancara M. Guntur Romli dan Alif Nurlambang (JIL) dengan Gus Dur tentang pelbagai persoalan mutakhir negeri ini pekan lalu.

JIL: Gus, ada yang bilang kalau kelompok-kelompok penentang RUU APP ini bukan kelompok Islam, karena katanya kelompok ini memiliki kitab suci yang porno?

Sebaliknya menurut saya. Kitab suci yang paling porno di dunia adalah Alqur’an, ha-ha-ha.. (tertawa terkekeh-kekeh).

JIL: Maksudnya?

Loh, jelas kelihatan sekali. Di Alqur’an itu ada ayat tentang menyusui anak dua tahun berturut-turut. Cari dalam Injil kalau ada ayat seperti itu. Namanya menyusui, ya mengeluarkan tetek kan?! Cabul dong ini. Banyaklah contoh lain, ha-ha-ha…

****

JIL: Bagaimana dengan soal tak boleh membuka dan melihat aurat dan karena itu orang bikin aturan soal aurat perempuan lewat perda-perda?

Menutup aurat dalam arti semua tubuh tertutup itu baik saja. Namun belum tentu kalau yang disebut aurat itu kelihatan, hal itu tidak baik. Aurat memiliki batasan maksimal dan minimal. Nah bukan berarti batasan minimal itu salah… Cara pandang seorang sufi berbeda dengan ahli syara’ tentang aurat, demikian juga dengan cara pandang seorang budayawan. Tukang pakaian melihatnya beda lagi; kalau dia tak bisa meraba-raba, bagaimana bisa jadi pakaian… ha-ha-ha… Saya juga heran, mengapa aurat selalu identik dengan perempuan. Itu tidak benar. Katanya, perempuan bisa merangsang syahwat, karena itu tidak boleh dekat-dekat, tidak patut salaman. Wah… saya tiap pagi selalu kedatangan tamu. Kadang-kadang gadis-gadis dan ibu-ibu. Itu bisa sampai dua bis. Mereka semua salaman dengan saya. Masak saya langsung terangsang dan ingin ngawinin mereka semua?! Ha-ha-ha..

****

JIL: Sekarang tentang SKB pendirian rumah ibadah. SKB itu sudah disahkan. Bagaimana tanggapan Gus Dur terhadap revisi SKB itu?

…Karena itu, sebelum menetapkan suatu keputusan, isu-isu perlu dibicarakan bersama secara serius. Kita tahu sendirilah, Departemen Agama itu adalah departemen yang paling brengsek. Hal lain, pemerintah tidak boleh campur terlalu banyak dalam soal-soal agama, karena itu akan menggiring kita menjadi negara agama.

****

JIL: Gus, saat ini marak konflik Sunni-Syiah di Irak. Banyak masjid dibom dan antar muslim saling berseteru. Sebenarnya, bagaimana asal-muasal sejarah konflik Syiah-Sunni?

Konflik itu muncul akibat doktrin agama yang dimanipulasi secara politis. Sejarah mengabarkan pada kita, dulu muncul peristiwa penganiaan terhadap menantu Rasulullah, Ali bin Abi Thalib dan anak cucunya. Keluarga inilah yang disebut Ahlul Bayt, dan mereka memiliki pendukung fanatik. Pendukung atau pengikut di dalam bahasa Arab disebut syî`ah. Selanjutnya kata syî`ah ini menjadi sebutan dan identitas bagi pengikut Ali yang pada akhirnya menjadi salah satu firkah teologis dalam Islam. Sedangkan pihak yang menindas Ali dan pengikutnya dikenal dengan sebutan Sunni.

Persoalan sesungguhnya waktu itu adalah tentang perebutan kekuasaan atau persoalan politik. Namun doktrin agama dibawa-bawa. Maka dari itu, janganlah bawa-bawa agama dalam masalah politik. Jadinya akan seperti itu; campur-aduk tidak karuan. Kaum Syiah, tidak terima dengan penindasan itu, dan mereka terus-menerus menyusun kekuatan dan ingin merebut kekuasaan. Dan waktu itu pula, kekuasaan Islam dipimpin oleh pemimpin-pemimpin Sunni yang sangat kejam dan memusuhi Syiah, seperti Khalifah Yazid bin Mu’awiyah di Damaskus. Contoh dari kekejaman dia adalah melakukan pembantaian terhadap Husein bin Ali berserta keluarga dan pengikutnya di Padang Karbala. Bayangkan, padahal Husein adalah cucu Rasulullah dan putra Ali bin Abi Thalib.

Yazid juga mengangkat seorang gubernur Irak yang sangat kejam, namanya Yusuf Hajjaj al-Tsaqafi. Nah, penindasan terhadap kaum Syiah berlangsung selama berabad-abad, dan alasannya lebih karena soal kekuasaan. Salah satu jalan keluar dari konflik ini adalah: jangan bawa-bawa agama dalam persoalan politik. Dan persoalan hubungan Syiah dan Sunni di Irak mestinya dilihat sebagai problem politik, bukan problem agama.

****

JIL: Kita kembali ke persoalan negeri kita. Sekarang ada kelompok-kelompok yang sangat rajin melakukan tindak kekerasan, ancaman, intimidasi, dan lain-lain terhadap kelompok yang mereka tuding melakukan penodaan atau penyimpangan agama. Gus Dur menanggapinya bagaimana?

Tidak bisa begitu. Cara itu tidak benar dan melanggar ajaran Islam. Tidak bisa melakukan penghakiman dan kekerasan terhadap kelompok lain atas dasar perbedaan keyakinan. Siapa yang tahu hati dan niat orang. Tidak ada itu yang namanya pengadilan terhadap keyakinan. Keyakinan itu soal batin manusia, sementara kita hanya mampu melihat sisi lahirnya. Nabi saja bersabda, nahnu nahkum bil dlawâhir walLâh yatawalla al-sarâ’ir (kami hanya melihat sisi lahiriah saja, dan Allah saja yang berhak atas apa yang ada di batin orang, Red). Sejak dulu, kelompok yang suka dengan cara kekerasan itu memang mengklaim diri sedang membela Islam, membela Tuhan. Bagi saya, Tuhan itu tidak perlu dibela!

JIL: Kalau orang muslim tidak melaksanakan syariat Islam seperti salat atau ibadah wajib lain, diapakan, Gus?

Begini ya… Saya sudah lama mengenalkan beberapa istilah penting dalam melihat persoalan keberagamaan dalam masyarakat kita. Golongan muslim yang taat pada masalah ritual, biasanya kita sebut golongan santri. Namun ada golongan lain yang kurang, bahkan tidak menjalankan ritual agama. Mereka ini biasanya disebut kaum abangan, atau penganut agama Kejawen. Lantas, kita mau menyebut golongan kedua ini kafir? Tidak benar itu!

Saya baru saja yakin bahwa Kejawen itu Islam. Baru setengah tahun ini. Saya baru yakin ketika mendengarkan lagu-lagunya Slamet Gundono (seorang dalang wayang suket kondang, Red). Saya baru paham betul; ooh, begitu toh Kejawen. Inti ajarannya sama saja dengan Islam. Bedanya ada pada pelaksanaan ritual keagamaan. Kesimpulannya begini: Kejawen dan Islam itu akidahnya sama, tapi syariatnya berbeda. Penganut Kejawen itu Islam juga, cuma bukan Islam santri. Gitu loh… selesai, kan? Gitu aja repot.


Iraq: Recent Surge in Violence


Dalam artikel ini, dikutip bahwa SEMUA media masa di seluruh dunia menggunakan suatu istilah untuk menggambarkan keadaan perang di Iraq. Istilah itu adalah: “recent surge in violence” = suatu tambahan kekerasan belakangan ini.

Artinya, pada setiap kali dibaca, istilah ini memberi kesan bahwa kekerasan yang terjadi pada saat ini adalah suatu tambahan sesaat saja, dan bukan suatu kebiasaan sehari-hari. Anehnya, kalau kita mencermati betapa sering istilah ini digunakan, kesannya adalah bahwa kekerasan justru meningkat terus-terusan karena selalu ada “tambahan” kekerasan.

Source: Truthout

Deranged, Disconnected, and Dangerous
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 17 March 2006

[Bagian atas dipotong..]

This was put together by one of the administrators of the web forum DemocraticUnderground, who noticed that news reports out of Iraq seem to continuously use the phrase "a recent surge of violence" to describe what is happening there.

2003

Middle East Online, September 3, 2003: "Meanwhile, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac were to meet in Germany on Thursday to discuss ways for the West to respond to the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the Middle East."

UK Telegraph, October 31, 2003: "Ansar is believed to be channeling into Iraq the foreign fighters who are behind a recent surge in violence in the country, officials say."

KNI News, November 3, 2003: "Bush blamed loyalists to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorists for the recent surge in violence in Iraq."

2004

Reuters, March 4, 2004: "A wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad and Karbala killing at least 171 people earlier this week has highlighted the difficulties in rebuilding the country and restoring peace. But Mr. Blair, speaking after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, said the recent surge in violence in Iraq did not constitute civil war."

Radio Free Europe, April 14, 2004: "US President George W. Bush held a major news conference at the White House on 13 April in the middle of the deadliest month for Americans in Iraq since Baghdad fell a year ago. He spoke of the recent surge in violence there, but urged his countrymen not to lose faith. He also said he would adhere to the 30 June deadline for handing over sovereignty to Iraqis."

US State Department, April 15, 2004: "Pace said the recent surge in violence in Iraq is being driven by 'terrorists' who see the June 30 deadline for turnover of sovereignty approaching rapidly and are petrified by the promise of democracy."

CBS News, April 26, 2004: "Lt. Gen. David Barno, the top American commander in Afghanistan, said Monday that the military has seen a recent surge in violence, but that most attacks were directed against soft targets, such as civilians or isolated Afghan security outposts."

Pew Research Center, May 12, 2004: "Despite the prison abuse scandal and the recent surge in violence in Iraq, a majority of the public (53%) continues to support keeping troops in Iraq until a stable government is established."

China Daily, May 25, 2004: "In his speech to the Army War College here, Bush warned that 'there are difficult days ahead and the way forward may sometimes appear chaotic.' Yet he vowed the handover would take place on schedule and that the US-led coalition would not be defeated by insurgents blamed for the recent surge in violence."

The New Standard, June 24, 2004: "Compelled by the recent surge in violence, US Central Command (CentCom) has informally asked Army planners for as many as 25,000 more troops in Iraq, the Baltimore Sun reports."

The Washington Post, July 22, 2004: "Despite a recent surge in violence, including kidnappings, car bombings and assassinations, senior US and Iraqi officials gave a relatively optimistic assessment on Wednesday of the security situation in Iraq since the transfer of political authority from US to Iraqi authorities June 28."

Progress Magazine, July/August, 2004: "In the short term, ongoing help will be required with the maintenance of security within the country. The response to the recent surge in violence must emphasize political solutions and not be just a simple deployment of military power."

The Washington Post, September 9, 2004: "'The recent surge in violence has been especially surprising because in the weeks after the transfer of power there was a phase that, for Iraq, felt to some almost like a lull.'"

Al Jazeera, September 17, 2004: "The assessments, made before the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the US military death toll there topping 1000, appear to conflict with Bush's upbeat description of the US-led effort to stabilize and democratize Iraq."

The Washington Times, September 22, 2004: "The Iraqi leader also said that despite a recent surge in violence in Iraq, it is 'very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq, we are defeating terrorists.'"

Al Jazeera, December 18, 2004: "Mosul has experienced a recent surge in violence. On Friday, a car carrying Turkish security guards was attacked in the city, in Iraq's far north near the Turkish border, and four people were killed, one of them decapitated."

2005

Radio Free Europe, January 4, 2005: "The incident marks the most senior assassination since the death in May of Governing Council president Abd al-Zahra Uthman Muhammad and should be seen within the context of the recent surge in violence ahead of national and provincial elections slated for 30 January."

CBS Chicago, January 17, 2005: "The area around Kut has seen a recent surge in violence. In a separate attack, two Iraqi provincial government auditors were shot to death late Sunday after armed gunmen stopped their car in Suwaira, about 25 miles southeast of Baghdad, an official at a Kut hospital said."

ABC News, March 2, 2005: "Most of the victims were Shiites, the targets of a recent surge in violence, most notably a series of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed nearly 100 people during the Shiite religious commemoration known as Ashoura."

The BBC, April 27, 2005: "But he added it was too early to say if a recent surge in violence amounted to a concerted campaign, and insisted that US-backed forces were 'winning.'"

The International Herald-Tribune, May 16, 2005: "The insurgents' choice of adversary is unusual. But the recent surge in violence, at least, follows a time-tested pattern."

The Washington Post, May 19, 2005: "A senior US military official told reporters Wednesday that the recent surge in violence in Iraq followed a meeting in Syria last month of associates of the Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi."

The Council on Foreign Relations, May 20, 2005: "It's unclear how much of the recent surge in violence stems from tribal leaders, but as Metz points out: 'Local elites recognize that in a secular, modernized Iraq, their power would be challenged.'"

Salon, May 23, 2005: "Even despite the recent surge in violence, in some areas - downtown Mosul, for example - Iraqi forces have begun limited independent operations."

Associated Press, June 17, 2005: "It is also believed to be the main hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant whose al Qaeda-linked group has carried out many of the deadliest attacks in Iraq and who US forces believe is behind a recent surge in violence."

White House press conference, June 20, 2005: "Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq. Why did this become necessary? And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney's assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?"

Iran Focus Online, August 4, 2005: "His comments came as the 15-nation council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution condemning a recent surge in violence in Iraq that has killed hundreds ..."

Radio Free Europe, August 12, 2005: "But a recent surge in violence and reports of growing public hostility to the Japanese presence are prompting many to question the prospects for continued humanitarian assistance there."

Associated Press, September 17, 2005: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has reportedly said the recent surge in violence is in retaliation for a coalition offensive against the group's stronghold in the northern city of Tal Afar."

The Washington Times, October 31, 2005: "The fresh US effort to crack down on insurgents followed a recent surge in violence caused by the passing of the new Iraqi constitution in a referendum held earlier this month."

2006

Agence France Presse, January 7, 2006: "US officials have sought to downplay a recent surge in violence that on Thursday alone claimed the lives of more than 115 Iraqis and 11 US servicemen."

The Sidney Morning Herald, January 8, 2006: "The recent surge in violence is "an anomaly" and Iraq is not on the verge of civil war, the top US commander there said yesterday, after one of the country's bloodiest days since the fall of Saddam Hussein."

The American Chronicle, February 1, 2006: "Recently, five other members of Congress and I sat on a C-130 transport plane surrounded by soldiers going from Kuwait to Baghdad. The backdrop is a recent surge in violence."

The Associated Press, February 4, 2006: "Dozens of bodies have been discovered in various parts of Baghdad gagged, bound and shot repeatedly in the past week, amid recent surge in violence, which analysts have repeatedly described as initial stages of an open-ended civil war between Iraq's ethnic groups."

Associated Press, March 1, 2006: "AP reports that he was giving an unusually frank assessment of the stakes in the country's recent surge in violence."

The Baltimore Sun, March 4, 2006: "The top US commander in Iraq said yesterday that he hopes to make an assessment this spring about whether to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq. But Pentagon officials speaking anonymously said a recent surge in violence there has dampened hopes that force levels can be cut anytime soon."

Associated Press, March 6, 2006: "The training at the desert village is especially important for the Marines of the First Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. The battalion, made up mostly of Marine reservists, is leaving soon for Iraq, where sectarian tensions have brought a recent surge in violence - and growing concerns about civil war."

Reuters, March 10, 2006: "Iraqi forces, not American troops, would deal with a civil war if one erupts in Iraq and US troop cuts remained possible despite a recent surge in violence, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday."

Al Jazeera, March 11, 2006: "Moving to the recent surge in violence that has swept Iraq, Ritter said he wasn't surprised as the only thing holding the three infighting ethnic and religious groups (Kurds, Shia, and Sunnis) together since the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War I was Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist Party."

The New York Times, March 13, 2006: "Despite the recent surge in violence in Iraq, Mr. Reid said he believed that civil war was "neither imminent nor inevitable." He said Iraqi security forces now numbered around 235,000, with 5,000 more volunteering to join every month."

There you have it, folks. There isn't anything to worry about in Iraq. It has only been a "recent surge of violence" we have been hearing about ... every week for the last three years since this whole catastrophe was first undertaken. Have no fear, though. As Army General George Casey states in the January 8, 2006, article above, "This level of violence, I think as we've seen, is an anomaly." George can keep right on admiring his rug.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Menjawab Alasan Rasulullah Beristri Lebih dari 4 Orang

Sumber: Era Muslim


Assalamu'alaikum Wr Wb,

Segala pujian hanya dipanjatkan atas kehadirat Allah dan nikmat iman yang masih diberikan-Nya pada kita. Tak lupa shalawat beriring salam dimuliakan kepada Rasulullah SAW beserta sahabat dan keturunannya.

Pak Ustadz, ada hal yang mungkin agak mengganggu pemikiran saya. Tanpa bermaksud meragukan kerasulan Nabi Muhammad, saya ingin bertanya tentang pernikahan Rasulullah yang mempunyai isteri lebih dari 4 orang. Saya tidak menyangsikan atau mempermasalahkan hal itu sebenarnya, sebab saya yakin dan mengimani kerasulan beliau, dan insya Allah setelah membaca banyak buku, saya mengerti alasan dakwah, politis, dan logis beliau menikahi banyak wanita. Namun jika kita dikritik oleh orang non-muslim yang minta penjelasan, mengapa Al-Qur'an yang jelas-jelas membatasi beristeri sampai dengan 4, malah dilanggar oleh Nabi-Nya sendiri yang menyampaikan ayat tersebut. Mohon penjelasan tentang bagaimana menjelaskan bagi orang yang non-muslim, yang tidak mengimani kerasulan beliau sehingga tidak bisa mengerti atas dasar iman semata. Terima kasih Pak Ustadz, Wassalam.

Aditya Sonihaya

Jawaban

Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Pertanyaan anda itu memang menarik untuk dikaji, terutama sebagai benteng pertahanan para juru dakwah, bila menghadapi serbuan tasykik (membuat keraguan) para zindiq dan musuh-musuh Allah yang menggoyahkan keyakinan kita.

Untuk itu perlu dijelaskan kepada siapapun, bahwa kedudukan orang nabi di tengah umatnya tidak sama. Kedudukannya jauh lebih tinggi, bahkan dari derajat para malaikat sekalipun. Bukankah sampai pada titik tertentu dari langit yang tujuh itu, malaikat Jibril pun harus berhenti dan tidak bisa meneruskan perjalanan mi'raj? Sementara nabi Muhammad SAW sendiri saja yang boleh meneruskan perjalanan. Ini menunjukkan bahwa derakat beliau SAW lebih tinggi dari malaikat Jibril `alaihissalam.

Demikian juga dengan masalah dosa. Kalau manusia umumnya bisa berdosa dan mendapat pahala, para nabi justru sudah dijamin suci dari semua dosa (ma'shum). Artinya, seandainya mau, para nabi itu mengerjakan hal-hal yang diharamkan, sudah pastiAllah tidak akan menjatuhkan vonis dosa kepada mereka. Sebab tugas mereka hanya menyampaikan syariah saja, baik dengan lisan maupun dengan peragaan. Namun karena para nabi itu dijadikan qudwah (contoh) hidup, maka mereka pun beriltizam (berpegang teguh) pada syariat yang mereka sampaikan.

Pengecualian Syariat Buat Pribadi Rasulullah SAW

Dalam implementasinya, memang secara jujur harus diakui adanya sedikit detail syariah yang berbeda antara Rasulullah SAW dengan umatnya. Namun pengecualian ini sama sekali tidak merusak misi utamanya sebagai pembawa risalah dan juga qudwah. Sebab di balik hal itu, pasti ada hikmah ilahiyah yang tersembunyi.

Misalnya, bila umat Islam tidak diwajibkan melakukan shalat malam, maka Rasulllah SAW justru diwajibkan untuk melakukannya.

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَى مِن ثُلُثَيِ اللَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ وَاللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ عَلِمَ أَن لَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ فَاقْرَؤُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ عَلِمَ أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُم مَّرْضَى وَآخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَآخَرُونَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَاقْرَؤُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا وَأَعْظَمَ أَجْرًا وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Sesungguhnya Tuhanmu mengetahui bahwasanya kamu berdiri (sembahyang) kurang dari dua pertiga malam, atau seperdua malam atau sepertiganya dan (demikian pula) segolongan dari orang-orang yang bersama kamu. Dan Allah menetapkan ukuran malam dan siang. Allah mengetahui bahwa kamu sekali-kali tidak dapat menentukan batas-batas waktu-waktu itu, maka Dia memberi keringanan kepadamu, karena itu bacalah apa yang mudah (bagimu) dari Al-Qur'an. Dia mengetahui bahwa akan ada di antara kamu orang-orang yang sakit dan orang-orang yang berjalan di muka bumi mencari sebagian karunia Allah; dan orang-orang yang lain lagi yang berperang di jalan Allah, maka bacalah apa yang mudah (bagimu) dari Al-Qur'an dan dirikanlah sembahyang, tunaikanlah zakat dan berikanlah pinjaman kepada Allah pinjaman yang baik. Dan kebaikan apa saja yang kamu perbuat untuk dirimu niscaya kamu memperoleh (balasan) nya di sisi Allah sebagai balasan yang paling baik dan yang paling besar pahalanya. Dan mohonlah ampunan kepada Allah; sesungguhnya Allah Maha Pengampun lagi Maha Penyayang. (QS. Al-Muzzammil: 20)

Bila umat Islam diharamkan berpuasa dengan cara wishal (bersambung hingga malam), maka Rasulullah SAW justru diperbolehkan bahkan diperintahkan.

عن ابن عمر - رضي الله تعالى عنهما - قال: { واصل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رمضان, فواصل الناس.. فنهاهم, قيل له: إنك تواصل, قال: إني لست مثلكم, إني أطعم وأسقى

Dari Ibnu Umar ra berkata bahwa Rasulullah SAW berpuasa wishal di bulan Ramadhan. Lalu orang-orang ikut melakukannya. Namun beliau SAW melarangnya. Orang-orang bertanya, "Mengapa Anda melakukannya?" Beliau menjawab, "(Dalam hal ini) aku tidak seperti kalian. Sebab aku diberi makan dan diberi minum."

Bila isteri-isteri umat Islam tidak diwajibkan bertabir dengan laki-laki ajnabi, khusus buat para isteri Rasulllah SAW telah ditetapkan kewajiban bertabir. Sehingga wajah mereka tidak boleh dilihat oleh laki-laki, sebagaimana mereka pun tidak boleh melihat wajah laki-laki lain. Hal itu berlaku buat para isteri nabi SAW. Kejadian itu bisa kita lihat tatkala Abdullah bin Ummi Maktuh yang buta masuk ke rumah nabi SAW, sedang saat itu beliau sedang bersama dua isterinya. Rasulullah SAW lalu memerintahkan mereka berhijab (berlindung di balik tabir), meski Abdullah bin Ummi Maktum orang yang buta matanya. Namun Rasulullah SAW menjelaskan bahwa kedua isterinya bukan orang yang buta.

Karena itulah Allah SWT berfirman di dalam Al-Quran:

وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا

Apabila kamu meminta sesuatu kepada mereka (para isteri nabi), maka mintalah dari belakang tabir. Cara yang demikian itu lebih suci bagi hatimu dan hati mereka. Dan tidak boleh kamu menyakiti Rasulullah dan tidak mengawini isteri-isterinya selama-lamanya sesudah ia wafat. Sesungguhnya perbuatan itu adalah amat besar di sisi Allah. (QS. Al-Ahzab: 53)

Bila wanita yang telah ditinggal mati oleh suaminya selesai dari 'iddah mereka boleh dinikahi oleh orang lain, maka para janda Rasulullah SAW justru haram dinikahi selamanya oleh siapapun. Bahkan kepada mereka disandangkan gelar ummahatul mukminin yang artinya adalah ibu orang-orang mukmin. Haramnya menikahi janda Rasulullah SAW sama dengan haramnya menikahi ibu sendiri.

Dan masih ada beberapa lagi kekhususan Rasulullah SAW. Salah satunya adalah kebolehan beliau untuk tidak menceraikan isteri yang jumlahnya sudah lebih dari 4 orang. Sedangkan umat Islam lainnya, disuruh untuk menceraikan isteri bila melebihi 4 orang.

Sebagaimana kita ketahui di masa lalu dan bukan hanya terjadi pada bangsa Arab saja, para laki-laki memiliki banyak isteri, hingga ada yang mencapai ratusan orang. Barangkali hal itu terasa aneh untuk masa sekarang. Tapi percayalah bahwa gaya hidup manusia di masa lalu memang demikian. Dan bukan hanya tradisi bangsa Arab saja, melainkan semua bangsa. Sejarah Eropa, Cina, India, Afrika, Arab dan nyaris semuanya, memang terbiasa memiliki isteri banyak hingga puluhan. Bahkan para raja di Jawa pun punya belasan selir.

Lalu datanglah syariat Islam yang dengan bijaksana memberikan batasan hingga maksimal 4 orang saja. Kalau terlanjur sudah punya isteri lebih dari empat, harus diceraikan suka atau tidak suka. Kalau kita melihat dari sudut pandang para isteri, justru kita seharusnya merasa kasihan, karena harus diceraikan.

Karena itulah khusus bagi Rasulullah SAW, Allah SWT tidak memerintahkannya untuk menceraikan para isterinya. Tidak ada pembatasan maksimal hanya 4 orang saja. Justru pengecualian itu merupakan bentuk kasih sayang Nabi SAWkepada mereka, bukan sebaliknya seperti yang dituduhkan oleh para orintelis yang hatinya hitam itu. Mereka selama ini menuduh Rasulullah SAW sebagai orang yang haus perempuan, nauzu bilahi min zalik.

Semoga Allah menghancurkan tipu daya para orintalis terlaknat, merusak semua sumber dana dan media propaganda sesat mereka, serta meruntuhkan kesombongan mereka. Amien Ya Rabbal 'alamin.

Wallahu a'lam bishshawab wassalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Ahmad Sarwat, Lc.

Examples Of Prophet Muhammad’s Miracles


Source:

Examples of the Prophet’s miracles related to his effective increase in food

As related by Anas ibn Malik, Abu Talha, on seeing God’s Messenger hungry, invited him to a meal. The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, came with a crowd of people. Abu Talha had only one loaf of rye bread at home. Umm Sulaym, Abu Talha’s wife, spread some butter on it. The Messenger prayed for abundance, and since there was not enough space for all the people, they ate of the bread ten by ten and left satisfied. They were about seventy to eighty people.1

As another example, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr relates that they, one hundred and thirty Companions, were in the company of God’s Messenger during an expedition. The Messenger asked them whether they had something to eat. One of them had about one or two sacks of flour . Dough was prepared to make bread and a sheep was bought from a polytheist who happened to pass by with his flock. They roasted the liver of the sheep, which the Messenger divided among those present, giving each a piece of it, and put aside the share of those who were not present there then. They cooked the meat in two bowls and everyone ate of it. After they finished eating all satisfied, the meat was still as if no one had eaten of it at all.2

There are many other examples of this kind of miracle. They were all transmitted through various-sometimes as many as sixteen-channels. Most of them took place in the presence of large assemblies and were narrated by many persons of truth and good repute.

Examples of the Prophet’s miracles concerning water

The Companions were left without water in a place called Zarwa. They were going to do wudu’ (ritual ablution) but they could not find enough water. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, ordered them to bring a bowl of water. He dipped his hands into the bowl and water began to run from his fingers like a fountain. Anas ibn Malik says that on that day they were three hundred people.3

Anas relates this incident on behalf of three hundred persons. Is it at all conceivable that those three hundred people would not have confirmed him, if they thought him to be truthful, or otherwise contradicted him?

As a second example, during the campaign of Hudaybiya, the Companions complained to God’s Messenger about the lack of water. The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, took an arrow out of his arrow-bag and ordered them to put it in the well of Samad. When they did that, the water of the well began to gush. During the campaign, all of the Companions drank from it and did wudu’ with it.4

There are many examples of the Prophet’s miracles concerning water. They were related by numerous Companions and transmitted through various reliable channels.

Examples of the miracles of the healing of ill and wounded people

Authentic books of Tradition, including primarily Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim, report:

During the Battle of Khaybar, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, asked where ‘Ali was. ‘He is suffering from sore eyes’, the Companions answered. He sent for him. ‘Ali came and the Messenger applied his healing saliva to his eyes. At the same moment the pain ceased and ‘Ali’s eyes became better than before.5

‘Uthman ibn Hunayf relates:

A blind man came to God’s Messenger and requested him to pray to God to recover his eyes. The Messenger said: “If you desire, I’ll not pray-being blind may be better for your afterlife-or I’ll pray.” The man chose to be relieved of blindness and the Messenger told him: “Go and do an ablution. Then pray two rak‘as and say: ‘O God! Surely my appeal is to You and I turn toward You through the Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy: O Muhammad, surely I turn toward God through you, that He uncover my sight. O God, make him my intercessor.’” The man did what the Messenger told him and his sight was restored.6

There are many more examples concerning this kind of miracle God’s Messenger worked, all of which are recorded in books of Tradition.

The testimony of animals to Muhammad’s Prophethood

The animal kingdom recognized God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and became the means for him to work miracles. Although there are many examples, we will mention here only a few that have become well-known and agreed on by exacting authorities.

During the Hijra, when God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, took shelter from the pursuit of unbelievers in the cave of Thawr, two pigeons stood guard at the entrance like two sentries, and a spider, like a doorkeeper, covered the entrance of the cave with a thick web. As Ubayy in Khalaf, one of the chieftains of the Quraysh, was examining the cave, his friends suggested that they should enter, but he answered: ‘There is a web here, which seems to have been spun before the birth of Muhammad.’ The others added: ‘Would those pigeons, standing there, still be there if someone were in the cave?’7

As another example, Jabir relates:

I was with God’s Messenger during a military campaign. When my camel became exhausted and left behind, God’s Messenger prodded it slightly. This made the camel so fast that I had to pull on the reins to make it slower so that I could listen to the Messenger, but Iwas unable to [slow it down].8

Anas ibn Malik reports:

After the conquest of Khaybar, a Jewish woman offered God’s Messenger a roasted sheep. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, ate a piece of it but, according to the narration of Abu Dawud, stopped eating and said: This sheep says that it is poisonous. Then he turned to the woman and asked her why she offered him a poisonous sheep. When the woman replied that she wanted to kill him, the Messenger responded: God will not let you attack and annoy me.9

‘A’isha reports:

We had in our house a kind of pigeon. When God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was at home, it would stay quiet, but as soon as he left home, it would continually pace to and fro.10

Anas ibn Malik relates:

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was the comeliest and the most generous and courageous of people. One night the people of Madina heard some voices and set out to investigate in fear. On their way, they saw a man coming towards them, who appeared to be God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. He said to them: There is nothing to be distressed about. He had mounted Abu Talha’s horse and himself investigated the matter before anybody else. He turned to Abu Talha and said: I found your horse fast and comfortable. Whereas, that horse had been a very slow one. After that night, no other horse could race against it. 11

Examples of the Prophet’s miracles concerning inanimate objects

Jabir ibn Samura reports:

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, once said: “Prior to my Prophethood, a rock in Makka used to offer me greetings. I still recognize it.”12

‘Abullah ibn Mas‘ud reports:

We could hear food glorifying God while we were eating with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.13

Traditionists unanimously report from Anas, Abu Hurayra, ‘Uthman and Sa‘id ibn Zayd, who said:

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, climbed up Mount Uhud, accompanied by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman. The Mountain, either in awe of them or because of its joy, trembled. God’s Messenger ordered it: Be still, O Uhud, for on you there is a Prophet, a truthful one, and two martyrs.14

In this saying, the Messenger predicted the martyrdom of ‘Umar and ‘Uthman.

It is established through authentic narrations from ‘Ali, Jabir and ‘A‘isha Siddiqa that rocks and mountains would say to God’s Messenger, ‘Peace be upon you, O Messenger of God!’ ‘Ali says: ’Whenever we went for a walk in the suburbs of Makka in the early times of his Prophethood, trees and rocks we encountered would say, ‘Peace be upon you, O Messenger of God!’15

The Prophet’s protection as a miracle

As related through various channels, during the military campaign of Ghatfan and Anmar, a courageous chieftain named Ghowras unexpectedly appeared at the side of God’s Messenger, who was lying under a tree. Ghowras unsheathed his sword and asked God’s Messenger, ‘Who will save you from me now?’ God will, the Messenger replied. “God!” Then he prayed: “O God, suffice me against him in any way You will.”16

At that moment, Ghowras was knocked down and his sword slipped from his hand. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, took the sword and asked him: Now, who will save you from me?

Ghowras began to tremble and entreated God’s Messenger to spare his life. ‘You are a noble, forgiving one; only forgiveness is expected of you,’ he pleaded. God’s Messenger forgave him, and when Ghowras returned to his tribe, he said to them: ‘I have just come from the best of mankind.’

Abu Hurayra relates:

Abu Jahl once asked those near him:

'Does Muhammad still rub his face against earth [i.e. make prostration]?'

'Yes, he does', they answered.

Abu Jahl added:

'By Lat and ‘Uzza, if I see him doing that again, I will tread on his neck or bury his face with soil.'

A short while later God’s Messenger came and set out to pray. When he was in prostration, Abu Jahl approached him but suddenly turned back in fear and amazement, trying to protect himself with his hands. When asked why he had done so, he answered: ‘Truly, between him and me is a trench filled with fire, and something horrible and some wings.’

God’s Messenger commented on the event:

'If he had approached me, the angels would have torn him to pieces.'17

God promised to guard him against people:

O Messenger! Make known whatever is revealed unto you from your Lord, for if you do it not, you will not have conveyed His Message. God will protect you from people. Surely, God guides not the unbelieving folk. (5:67)

The acceptance of the Prophet’s prayers

The authorities of Hadith (Tradition) including, notably, Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, unanimously report that whenever God’s Messenger prayed for rain, his prayer was immediately accepted by God. There were even times when the rain unexpectedly began before he had lowered his hands while on the pulpit. As mentioned in books of Tradition and the Prophet’s biography, when his army ran out of water, clouds would appear to give them water. Even in his childhood, his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib would go with him to pray for rain, and rain would come out of God’s love for him. This fact became famous through a poem of ‘Abd al-Muttalib’s. After the Prophet’s death, once ‘Umar took ‘Abbas as a means to pray for rain, saying, ‘O God, this is the uncle of Your beloved Prophet. Give us rain for his sake.’ Thereafter it rained.18

As was reported by Anas ibn Malik, while one Friday God’s Messenger was giving a sermon, a man came into the mosque and said to him: ‘O Messenger of God! There is drought. Please pray to God to send us rain.’ The Messenger prayed and it rained until the next Friday.

The rain continued for one week. The next Friday, while God’s Messenger was on the pulpit again giving sermon, a man stood up and said: ‘O Messenger of God! Please pray to God to avert rain from us.’ The Messenger prayed: “O God! Send the rain onto the places around us, not onto us.” Anas, the reporter of the event, says: “By God, I saw the clouds scatter and rain fall onto other places, the people of Madina being not under rain.”19

‘Adbullah ibn ‘Umar relates:

When the number of the Companions was about forty, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, prayed: “O God! Give strength to Islam with which of those two, namely ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab and ‘Amr ibn al-Hisham, is more pleasing to You.” The next morning, ‘Umar came to the Messenger and accepted Islam.20

‘Adbullah ibn ‘Abbas reports:

God’s Messenger was in the toilet when once I carried water to where he would do wudu’. When he came out, he asked who had put the water there. ‘I did,’ I answered. Whereupon he prayed: “O God, make him profoundly knowledgeable in religion and teach him the meaning of the Qur’an.” 21

It is because of this prayer of the Messenger for Ibn ‘Abbas that Ibn ‘Abbas would later be called with the titles of the ‘Profound Scholar of the Umma’ and the ‘Interpreter of the Qur’an’. When he was still a young man, ‘Umar included him in his consultative assembly which consisted of the high-ranking scholars and elders of the Companions.

Anas ibn Malik relates:

My mother took me to God’s Messenger and said:

'O Messenger of God! This is my son Anas. Let him serve you. Please pray for him.'

The Messenger prayed:

'O God! Give abundance to his wealth and offspring.' 22

Anas remarked in his old age, swearing by God:

'You see the abundance of my wealth, and the children and grand-children I have number about one hundred.'

Abu Hurayra once complained to God’s Messenger about forgetfulness. The Messenger told him to spread out a piece of cloth on the ground. Then he made some movements as if he were filling his hands with some invisible things and emptying them out on the piece of cloth. After repeating this three or four times, he told Abu Hurayra to pick it up. Through the mysterious effect of these actions of the Messenger, Abu Hurayra, as he himself later stated swearing by God, never forgot anything again. This is also among the well-known events related to the Companions.23

The Prophet met with angels and jinn and spoke to them

‘Umar reports:

We were sitting with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, when a man appeared beside us. He had dark black hair and was wearing a white robe. There were no signs of traveling upon him. He sat before the Messenger and, touching his knees to the Messenger’s, asked him about faith, Islam, perfection of virtue (ihsan) and the Last Day. After the interview, the man left and disappeared. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, turned to me and asked who that man was. ‘God and His Messenger know better’, I answered. The Messenger concluded: “He was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion.”24

Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas relates:

At the Battle of Uhud, I saw two men dressed in white at each side of God’s Messenger, fighting for his sake. I had never seen them before, nor have I seen them since. (Sa‘d meant that they were two archangels, Gabriel and Michael.)25

Rifa‘a ibn Rafi‘ reports:

Gabriel asked God’s Messenger what was their opinion of the Companions who participated in the Battle of Badr. The Messenger answered like this: “We consider them among the most virtuous of Muslims.” Gabriel responded: “So do we; we consider the angels who were present there among the most virtuous of angels.”26

In his Musnad, Ahmad ibn Hanbal reports from ‘Adbullah ibn Mas’ud that God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, invited jinn to accept Islam and taught them of the Qur’an. 27

The appearance of invisible objects and realms to the Prophet

‘A’isha Siddiqa reports:

One day the sun was eclipsed. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, performed the prayer of eclipse and then explained:

Surely, the sun and the moon are two of God’s signs. When you witness an eclipse, pray until it ends. By God, in this place where I have performed the prayer I have seen everything promised to me. When you saw me move forward during the prayer, I did that to take a cluster of grapes which appeared to me from Paradise. Again, by God, when you saw me move backward, I did that because I saw Hell roaring with its parts piling one upon another.28

‘Adbullah ibn ‘Abbas relates:

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, passed by two graves and said: “Heed what I will tell you: Those lying in those graves are suffering torments. They are suffering torments because of two grave sins. One of them used to backbite and slander others everywhere. The other was not careful [about guarding himself] against urine-stains.”29

The testimony of trees to Muhammad’s Prophethood

Jabir ibn ‘Adbullah reports:

We were walking with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. We went down a wide valley. The Messenger searched for a place to relieve himself. When he saw that there was not a single covered place, he went to the two trees he had caught sight of by the valley. He pulled one of them by one of its branches, next to the other tree. The tree was like an obedient camel being pulled by its reins. He addressed them: Join together over me by God’s leave! The trees joined together and formed a screen. 30

‘Adbullah ibn ‘Umar reports:

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to lean against a pole called the ‘date-palm trunk’ when delivering a sermon. Later a pulpit was built and when the Prophet started giving his sermons from it, the pole moaned because of its separation from him. The Messenger climbed down and stroked it. The pole stopped moaning.31

‘Abu Sa’id al-Khudri relates:

God’s Messenger gave Qatada ibn Nu‘man a stick on a dark night, saying: “This stick will light up your surroundings as far as seven meters. When you get home, you will see a black shadow. Without giving it respite to tell you anything, strike it with this stick. Qatada did what God’s Messenger told him to.32


References:

1. Bukhari, Ayman, 22; Muslim, Ashriba, 142.
2. Bukhari, At‘ima, 6; Muslim, Ashriba, 175.
3. Nasa’i, 1.60; Bukhari, 4.233; Muslim, Hadith No. 2279.
4. Bukhari, Shurut, 15.
5. Bukhari, Fada’l al-Sahaba, 9; Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 34.
6. Tirmidhi, Da‘awat, 119; I. Hanbal, 4.138; I. Maja, Iqama, 189.
7. I. Hanbal, Musnad, 1.348.
8. Bukhari, Nikah, 10.22.
9. Muslim, Salam, 45; Abu Dawud, Diyat, 6.
10. I. Hanbal, Musnad, 4.112.
11. Bukhari, Adab, 39; Muslim, Fada’il, 48; I. Hanbal, 3.147.
12. Muslim, Fada’il, 2; Darimi, Muqaddima.
13. Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; I. Hanbal, Musnad, 1.460.
14. Muslim, Fada’il, 50.
15. Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 3630; Hakim, 2.607.
16. Bukhari, Maghazi, 31, 33; Muslim, Fada’il, 13.
17. Muslim, Sifat al-Munafiqin, 38.
18. Bukhari, 2.35; Bayhaqi, Sunan, 6.147.
19. Bukhari, Istisqa’, 7; Muslim, Istisqa’, 1.
20. Bukhari, Istisqa’, 7; Muslim, Istisqa’, 1.
21. Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 17; Muslim, Fada’il, 137.
22. Muslim, Fada’il, 143.
23. Muslim, Fada’il, 159.
24. Bukhari, Iman, 37.
25. Bukhari, Maghazi, 18; Muslim, Fada’il, 46-7.
26. Bukhari, Maghazi, 11.
27. Musnad, 1.455.
28. Bukhari, Abwab ‘amal fi l-Salat, 2; Muslim, Kusuf, 3.
29. Bukhari, Adab, 46; Muslim, Tahara, 3.
30. Muslim, Zuhd, 74.
31. Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 6; Nasa’i, Jumu‘a, 17.
32. I. Hanbal, Musnad, 3.65