If the story of Islam was told to me in a pub
2.2 Archie Loses It!
Uzza: It was at Badr that Muhammad first informed his followers of the concept of life in the grave after he was seen shouting at dead Meccan corpses that had been unceremoniously thrown down a well after the battle. He explained that dead people cannot talk but they can hear.
Archie: That sounds a lot like Zombies?
Uzza: It does, doesn't it. Islam teaches that our existence has four stages: life in the womb, life in the world, life in the grave, where the undead can be found, and the afterlife. Islam teaches that when a person dies his zombie essence, to use your analogy, sinks into the ground. Even the Prophet Muhammad will not escape life in the grave and he is regarded as the greatest of them all.
Bob: No kidding?
Uzza: I am not in a kidding mood.
Uzza: Still, Muhammad is more fortunate than most as he is visited many times a day by angels who bring him the blessings of the living. Whenever you hear a person say "SALLALLAHU 'ALAIHI WA SALLAM", in English "May the blessings and the peace of Allah be upon him" whenever Muhammad's name is mentioned, it is said an angel visits him in his grave to tell him that so-and-so sends his blessing. Muhammad will be able to intercede for a finite number of believers on Judgement Day. He will intercede for those who have sins that need to be forgiven if they are to get into Paradise on the basis of who sent the most blessings to him in his grave.
Archie: Many times a day... if every Muslim sends only one blessing on any given day that's more than a billion visits a day. And have you ever listen to those TV preachers who can't complete a sentence without sending the Prophet their blessing.
Bob: Maybe they are more in need of forgiveness than most. Just kidding.
Gerry: What about the ordinary undead, do they get daily visits to relieve the boredom of years, thousands of years for many?
Uzza: Thank you Gerry for taking me seriously.
Gerry: I like you.
Uzza: [blushing] If a person dies a believer and is literally in Allah’s good books, they are provided with a spacious grave, a cave below ground, complete with curtains and a bed. Every day an angel will visit them to open the curtains and show them Paradise, their final destination on Judgment Day. If they died an unbeliever, their grave will be a cramped space with walls constantly closing in on them, making every breath a laboured one. And every day, an angel will come to visit them and open the curtains to show them their final destination, Hell!
Archie: Psychological and physical torture combined. Who would have thought of that.
Bob: A bloody sadist that's who!
Uzza: The Prophet said that “we would faint in terror if we could hear the screams of those being tormented” in their graves.
Archie: That is insane!
Bob: Aren't sadist insane people?
Uzza: GOD IS NOT A SADIST and neither is Muhammad. And neither are insane.
Archie: Could have fooled me.
Uzza: Muhammad was a product of his time and what he revealed was simply what people believed then. What is insane is that suicide bombers are encouraged by Islamists, and we let them, to believe that martyrs skip the life in grave part and go directly to heaven to enjoy all it has to offer.
Archie: That has to be a real incentive for believers who are into instant gratification.
Uzza: That's not funny.
Archie: No it isn't!
Bob: So the Jews were not spooked by the Prophet admitting to the existence of zombies.
Uzza: Of course not. The idea of life in the grave actually has it roots in Jewish folklore. Muhammad admitted as much to his child-bride Aisha who said she heard the story about people tortured in their graves from some old Jewish women, only to be told by her husband that they were telling the truth.
Bob: So, if Jews were not spooked by zombies, why be concerned about the believers successfully attacking and plundering another caravan which you said is what they did all the time?
Uzza: Badr was different. A rag tag bunch of believers had defeated the equivalent of regular army troops. It was a real confidence booster and that confidence was reflected in what Muhammad did next and which made the Jews apprehensive.
Archie: Real nasty things, I'll bet.
Uzza: The victory at Badr and the prestige and plunder that came with it emboldened Muhammad to silence his most vocal and persistent critics: the poets.
The first poet to be killed was al-Nadr. The Meccans had praised his verses as superior to those of Muhammad. When he spotted al-Nadr among the prisoners captured at Badr, Muhammad had him beheaded on the spot. Next to die was the poetess Asma bint Marwan. She was stabbed to death while sleeping with an infant suckling at her breast.
Next, the Jewish poet Abu Afak who was also killed while he slept. After every murder the assassin would go to the Mosque to inform God’s Messenger and be praised for what they had done at his insistence.
Archie: I'll bet if cartoonists had existed they would have suffered the same fate.
Uzza: Islamists consider the Prophet Muhammad the personification of the perfect human being whose every action is to be emulated as closely as possible. Muhammad used targeted assassination to silence his critics and advance Allah's Cause. Therefore, from an Islamist's point of view they are simply doing what he would do if he were still here to those who made fun of his perfection or his message.
Bob: I thought only god was perfect?
Uzza: That the Prophet Muhammad is considered the most perfect of human beings does not mean he is as perfect as God. However, when you question the perfection of what Islamic scriptures proclaim is the greatest Prophet of all times sent to correct the errors of those who came before, you are impugning God's choice as His last and greatest spokesperson. When Muhammad had his critics killed it was not because he was insulted but because they had insulted god.
Gerry: So a tradition that started with the Prophet murdering his critics was not because he was thin-skinned but to protect god's reputation for perfection.
Archie: I don't' buy it.
Uzza: [getting angry] Muhammad was not yet born when Hypatia of Alexandria was set upon by crazed monks. Cheered on by Cyril the Christian bishop of the city, which she had criticized, "they dragged her from her carriage and into the cathedral, where they stripped her; gauged her eyes out, skinned her alive, and tore her to pieces with jagged tiles ripped from the mosaics."
What does your god tell you about not complaining about the speck in another man's eye while ignoring that large piece of wood in your own.
Gerry: [calmly] If I remember my history, Hypatia died in the fifth century the beginning of the Dark Ages.
Uzza: And that is where we are going back too thanks to your stupidly. At least Muhammad knew exactly what he was doing, and Islamists are following his example and achieving the promised victories.
Gerry: What could we have done differently when our politicians were falling over themselves to prove that they were the most tolerant and passed laws to prove it.
Uzza: God's first instruction to Muhammad was to read and he would be successful. And he did, and what he was told to read was the Koran.
Bob: But I thought the Prophet could not read or write?
Uzza: Muhammad was a very successful merchant and that is reflected in the mercantile nature of much of Islamic scriptures. An illiterate merchant would have been taken to the cleaners by the people he dealt with, but that is the miracle of Muhammad the successful merchant and the most successful Prophet of all times, if you believe in miracles. Muhammad told the angel Gabriel that he could not read, so the angel recited the Koran to him. But that is not the point I am trying to make.
Archie: Are you saying that we should read the Koran?
Uzza: If the British population had read Mein Kamp and accepted that the author meant to carry out what he said he would do given the opportunity, don't you think Chamberlin would have been less inclined to pander to a sociopath. If more Germans had taken Hitler's rants seriously, chances he would never have been made Chancellor. If more people had read the Koran and accepted that the author meant to carry out what He revealed in easy to understand if convoluted prose, chances are Western Civilization would not be staring into the abyss.
Archie: It's a bit to late for that now.
Uzza: Mein Kamp is banned, but not the Koran. There is nothing stopping you from reading it and learning a few verses, if only save your life when they come for you.
Archie: For what?
Bob: To take your head off like they did at Badr. Can we get to that battle and what happened next.
Gerry: In a minute. Uzza, I always thought that it was Allah who taught the Koran to Muhammad. Now you are telling us that it was an angel all along.
Uzza: Yes. You could consider Gabriel the Messenger to the Messenger.
Bob: So Muhammad never spoke to God directly or God directly to him.
Uzza: I did not say that. Gabriel used to visit Muhammad on a regular basis usually at night, which is why some have speculated, and there is a saying of Muhammad to that effect, that much of the Koran was delivered in dreams.
Archie: So the Koran was all dreamt up?
Uzza: I did not say that either. As I was saying, the angel Gabriel used to visit Muhammad at night and help him memorise as many of Allah's revealed truths as possible so that he could repeat them word-for-word to his followers the next day or during the Friday sermon.
Bob: What is a revealed truth again?
Uzza: What you commonly refer to as verses, revealed truths are immutable facts revealed to a mortal by a god. The Koran is considered a collection of revealed truths.
Bob: So a saying or a story told by the Prophet is not a revealed truth?
Uzza: As you can expect, an observation made by a perfect human being carries some weight. A saying, or a story reported as the truth, even an action of Muhammad that has been authenticated as being genuine by scholars, such as the one where a believer asked a companion of the Prophet to show him God's spokesperson receiving a communication from heaven and the companion pulled open a tent flap to reveal a snoring Muhammad, carries as much weight as a revelation if it does not contradict the Koran. That is why, both the more than 6,000 revealed truth that make up the the Koran and the more than 14,000 authenticated sayings, stories and example of Muhammad which are part of the Sunni cannon are the basis of the Sharia which means God's law.
Gerry: Are you saying that what Allah and His spokesperson, the Prophet Muhammad said and did are legal precedents?
Uzza: Yes, I guess.
Bob: Can we finish with the Messenger to the Messenger so can get back to the interesting stuff.
Uzza: As I was saying, one night Gabriel showed up, not to deliver another batch of revealed truths but with a flying horse telling Muhammad to get on it and ride it to Paradise. God wanted to talk to him personally about something important which He craved.
Bob: A flying horse?
Uzza: A horse with wings by the name of Al-Burak.
Archie: You're making that up?
Uzza: In Greek mythology you have Pegasus, the flying stallion with wings that Bellerophon rode in his attack on the Chimera.
Gerry: Yes, but this flying horse of the Prophet is an article of faith, right? To the believers Al-Burak the flying horse is not myth?
Uzza: Of course not. If Muhammad said he rode a horse with wings to Paradise for a private meeting with God you have to believe that it happened, to deny it is to risk being labeled a heretic and killed on the spot.
Archie: So this horse and this trip are mentioned in the Koran.
Uzza: Not exactly. Only the trip part and that the person who made the trip "they almost set upon him in throngs."
Bob: Who are they?
Uzza: The jinn.
Gerry: That rings a bell.
Uzza: Dear, Gerry, you are probably thinking genie.
Gerry: That's it! Yes.
Uzza: The caricature of the genie is undoubtedly based on this creature of the Koran. Of all the inhabitants of the Koran, jinns, Allah refers to them collectively as the jinn are the most fascinating. They even have a chapter of the Koran named after them, surah 72, The Jinn.
Archie: Then why have I never heard a TV preacher talking about them?
Uzza: It's not something that preachers like to talk about. In fact, they are a bit of an embarrassment. To believe in the jinn you literally have to believe in ghosts. While Allah in his Koran vouches on numerous occasions that they exist they are not part of what a person must believe to get into heaven. Pre-Islamic Arabs believed in the existence of the jinn and this may explain their significant presence in the Koran.
Bob: So do jinns behave like genies and when you capture one they grant you three wishes?
Uzza: [hesitatingly) No. The jinn spent most of their time between heaven and earth near the lowest of the seven heaven eavesdropping on Allah's conversations with his angels and reporting to people who employ them about God's plan for the future, the so-called soothsayers. The angels try their best to keep them away. The Koran tells us that shooting stars are rocks thrown at the jinn to get them to keep their distance, but there are too many of them as Muhammad discovered when he was swarmed on his way to see God.
Archie: I need a drink. This is too weird.
Gerry: Exactly how far is heaven that a flying horse can get there in one night with time to spare for its rider to visit God, and return home that same night, I have to assume?
Uzza: The Koran places Paradise just above the clouds held up by invisible pillars anchored to a flat earth floating on a sea of mud. A short flight for a horse like al-Barack even if he did not fly there directly but made a detour to Jerusalem.
Archie: And getting weirder by the minute.
Gerry: Why Jerusalem? Why not take the more direct route if Paradise is not much more than five miles up from what you say. Nothing that a flying horse in his prime could not easily cover.
Archie: Gerry, are you serious? Do you actually believe any of this?
Gerry: It has nothing to do with what I believe but what Uzza believes. And what Uzza believes I want to hear about.
Uzza: Thank you Gerry, you are very kind; and what I am telling you is what Islamists believe to be true, and what Islamists believe is now the norm. And there is nothing we can do about it. But I have talked enough about that.
Bob: So why did the Prophet fly to Jerusalem first then up to heaven?
Uzza: When he got to Jerusalem he landed on an outcrop of rock, where he rested al-Burak and over which the Dome of the Rock was built after the Muslim conquered Jerusalem, consecrating it as the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.
Bob: The Prophet flew to Jerusalem to consecrate a rock. That's crazy!
Uzza: He did not fly to Jerusalem to sanctify a rock. Others did that. He flew to Jerusalem to meet with the prophets of the Bible before his important meeting with God. His meeting with Moses in particular would prove extremely valuable in his negotiations with the Almighty
Bob: I guess it would make sense for their graves to be located in Jerusalem. Still, meeting with the undead before meeting with god, that took guts.
Uzza: He did not meet with them in their graves. He met with them as he made his way up to the seventh heaven for the meeting with God. The Hebrew Prophets are alive and well in that area of Paradise just about Jerusalem.
Gerry: That sort of make sense.
Archie: NO IT DOESN'T! And, Uzza, didn't you just say that everyone, including the greatest of them all must spend time in the grave until Judgement Day.
Archie: So, what are these lesser fortune tellers doing in heaven?
Uzza: [taken aback] I am no imam, I have not spent a lifetime making sense of these things, and Prophets are not fortune tellers.
Archie: If the shoe fits. [not letting up] The people of Jerusalem must have been surprised when a man on a flying horse landed in their midst? The Prophet must have been the talk-of-the-town?
Uzza: There were no witnesses to Muhammad's landing or takeoff. We only have his word that the trip actually took place.
Archie: Why am I not surprised.
Gerry: I assume the Prophet made it pass the swarm of genies, I mean jinns, and made it to Paradise in one piece.
Uzza: Yes, he did and when he got to the second level he spotted Jesus in conversion with John the Baptist.
Archie: I'll bite. What does Jesus look like?
Uzza: Muhammad was obviously enthralled with his trip Paradise, and it was a busy time with all he had to do in one night. In one account of his trip Jesus has lanky hair and is of medium height and moderate complexion, in another Jesus has curly hair and a broad chest and still in another, Jesus has a red face as if, according to Muhammad, he had just experienced a difficult bowel movement.
Bob: Wo! Too much information.
Archie: Basically, from the Prophet's description, it could be anybody.
Bob: Forget Jesus, what does God look like?
Uzza: Muhammad does not say.
Archie: Go figure.
Gerry: What was so important that God could not entrust Gabriel with the negotiations.
Uzza: It had to do with the number of prayers. God initially told Muhammad that He wanted everyone to pray fifty times a day.
Gerry: Fifty times day! You have to be kidding?
Uzza: That is more or less what Moses told Muhammad when he met him again on the way down. Moses told Muhammad to get back up there and tell God that it was unrealistic. After bouncing between Moses and God a few more times, God finally agreed to five prayers a day. Moses still thought this was too much, but Muhammad refused to ask God for a further reduction, and that is how, according to the man himself, the five daily prayers required of all Sunni were set.
Bob: What about the Shias?
Uzza: They agreed with Moses, I guess, and combined the night prayer and the after sunset prayer into one and the noon and afternoon prayer into one for a total of three prayers a day.
Archie: Forget the prayers. This is nuts. This is absolutely friggin nuts. A guy who took his dreams for reality flies into the middle of what has to be one of the largest cities in the Middle East on a horse with wings, tethers it to a rock in the middle of town and nobody notices. He then gets back on the same horse, and still nobody notices, to fly to Paradise, which is held up by invisible pillars which nobody has yet to walk into or planes crashed into to be swarmed by ghost on his way up to meet with people who should be living a zombie-like existence underground, not above it, in what has to be a massively honeycomb earth to provide individual caves for the undead since Adam and Eve, or earlier if you believe the earth is more than 6,000 years waiting for Judgement Day, before his meeting with the big guy, whom he can't describe, to negotiate, spurred on by Moses of all people, the number of prayers God expects his followers to perform every day.
Gerry: Breath, Archie, breath.
Archie: It's a bloody fairy tale, and not a very good one at that. A fairy tale for which people have been murdered in their 100s of millions, most by people using only knives and swords. Think about that. And more millions, you are telling us are about to meet a similar fate as the Islamists attempt to bring a war started to convert the planet through terror to a successful end.
Gerry: Archie, relax.
Archie: Next, you will be telling us that Islamists, our enlightened self-righteous would-be murderers, believe in witches on flying brooms?
Uzza: [sheepishly] I'm sorry, but yes. Maybe not the flying broom part. Allah was not that specific. In the Koran witches and sorceresses are referred to as "those who blow into knotted reeds." In fact, Muhammad on his death bed recited the surah about seeking Allah's protection from them.
Bob: Scared of women was he?
Archie: I've heard enough!
Bob: Well I haven't.
Archie: I thought you wanted to know about what happened to the Jews after the battle of Badr?
Bob: Later, this is more interesting.
Archie: Fairy tales usually are.
Gerry: You know that Uzza could have you arrested for what you have just said about her religion.
Archie: I know.