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 expression, sinks into the ground. Even Muhammad will not escape life in the grave.
Bob: After all he did for God; I almost feel sorry for the guy.
Uzza: Don’t. 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, an angel, some say, visits him in his grave to tell him that so-and-so sends his blessing.
Archie: “Many times a day...” If every Muslim sends only one blessing on any given day that's more than a billion and half visits a day. That is [taking out a cell-phone to do a quick calculation), that is more than 17,000 gesundheits every second of every day.
Uzza: That may be why some say that the angels tell Allah that so-and-so has sent his blessings on Muhammad and for a god like Allah, who sees and hears everything, listening to a billion conversation simultaneously even a million what you called gesundheits per second would not escape His attention especially when bestowed on the apple of His eye.
Gerry: But why bother asking Allah to bless his pet prophet who should not have any trouble getting into Paradise being His latest and greatest?
Uzza: Because a verse in the Koran tell the believers to do just that. They do it not to help Muhammad get into Paradise, as you pointed out he does not need anyone’s help to get there, but to help themselves. Muhammad said that for every blessing bestowed on him Allah forgives the blesser ten sins.
Bob: That would explain why all those TV preachers can't complete a sentence without sending the Prophet their blessing.
Uzza: [laughing] I shouldn’t laugh, but that is so funny.
Gerry: What about the ordinary undead, Uzza, do they get daily visits to relieve the boredom of years, thousands of years for many below ground with nothing to do, nothing to read?
Uzza: 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 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 where they will spend an eternity on fire, Hell!
Gerry: Psychological and physical torture combined to achieve maximum terror. Who would have thought of that.
Archie: A bloody sadist that's who!
Uzza: Muhammad 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 Allah said that those who die in His Cause are with him in Paradise well provided for, not in the grave.
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: 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: If the Jews were not spooked by zombies, why be scared by the believers 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 Muhammad and be praised for what they had done at his insistence.
Two other poets of note who were killed on the orders or urging of Muhammad were Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf and Abu Rafi
Archie: I'll bet if cartoonists had existed they would have suffered the same fate.
Uzza: Islamists consider Muhammad the personification of the perfect human being whose every action is to be emulated as closely as possible. He 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 Muhammad 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 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 Ggod.
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 stupidity. 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 Kampf and accepted that the author meant to carry out what he said he would do given the opportunity; don't you think Chamberlain would have been less inclined to pander to a sociopath. If more Germans had taken Hitler's rants seriously, chances are 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 too.
Uzza: Mein Kampf is banned, but not the Koran. There is nothing stopping you from reading it and learning a few verses, if only to 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 back 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.
Gerry: 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: The Koran was all dreamt up???
Uzza: I did not say that either, although we have an authenticated account of a companion of Muhammad, when asked by a believer to show him God’s spokesperson receiving a communication from above, pulling open a tent flap to show a snoring Muhammad.
As I was saying, the angel Gabriel used to visit Muhammad at night, and sometimes during the day, with the latest of Allah’s revealed truths which Muhammad committed to memory and repeated 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 a collection of revealed truths.
Gerry: That would mean that a saying of the Prophet is not a revealed truth?
Uzza: As you can expect, an observation made by a person tutored by the angel Gabriel 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 tent flap story 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 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: That would make what the Prophet Muhammad said and did legal precedents?
Uzza: Yes, I guess.
Bob: Can we get back to the interesting stuff.
Uzza: You want interesting stuff! One night, Gabriel showed up, not to deliver another batch of communications from Allah but with a flying horse, telling Muhammad to get on it and ride it to Paradise, God wanted to talk to him personally.
Bob: A flying horse, couldn’t God have just beamed him up?
Uzza: But then people would not have believed him and then people believed in flying horses.
Gerry: Does this horse have a name?
Uzza: Yes, Al-Burak.
Archie: This is crazy?
Uzza: In Greek mythology you have Pegasus, the flying stallion with wings that Bellerophon rode in his attack on the Chimera.
Archie: Yes, but in this flying horse the beleivers beleive, right? To the believers Al-Burak the flying horse is not a myth?
Uzza: 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.
Gerry: I don’t remember reading about a flying horse in the Koran.
Uzza: The only reference in the Koran to this trip to Paradise is about a night journey between two mosques during which the traveller is set upon by throngs of what are believed to be the jinn.
Bob: Do you mean genies?
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. Like men, He created the jinn to worship him not to feed Him . Jinns can be persuaded to do good if given the proper incentive. Some less than cooperative jinn, with a little prodding from Allah, helped Solomon build the first temple . Some even became believers after listening to Muhammad recite verses from the Koran. They even have a chapter of the Koran named after them, surah 72, The Jinn. If some jinns are more perverted than others it is because of humans who spent time with them and told them that Allah could not raise the dead. Some even had the nerve to say that jinns have a connection with Allah, that they are kin . It does not matter, they will all be lumped together on Judgement Day to be judged.
Bob: That is unreal!
Archie: That is ridiculous.
Uzza: You don’t often hear imams preaching about the jinn. They are a bit of an embarrassment. Believing in the jinn is like believing in ghost, you can’t see them, but you have to believe that they are there.
Bob: Just like believing in god. You can’t see him, hear him or smell him but you know he’s there. Does that mean, to be a Muslim is to believe in ghosts?
Uzza: Jinns are not ghost.
Bob: But you just said…
Uzza: I said, like believing in ghosts. Pre-Islamic Arabs believed in the existence of the jinn and this may explain their significant presence in the Koran.
Archie: How do you create something you can’t see? And how do you prove you've created anything when normal people have never seen one?
Uzza: From fire, He created them from fire, and you can see fire.
Archie: If jinns are like fire what is it that's burning?
Uzza: I don't know. I don't even know if they are like fire. Just that Allah says he created them from fire.
Archie: I'm sorry Uzza, I didn't mean to put you on the spot. It's hard enough trying to explain what our invisible so-called friend in the sky looks like, let alone the invisible things he claims to have created.
Bob: Do jinns behave like genies and when you capture one they grant you three wishes?
Archie: If you’re going to try to catch one you better be wearing oven mitts.
Uzza: [hesitatingly) No. The jinn spent most of their time between heaven and earth near the lowest of the seven heavens eavesdropping on Allah's conversations with his angels and reporting to soothsayers who employ them about God's plan for the future.
Bob: So soothsayers can see them?
Archie: Fortune-tellers are not normal people.
Uzza: The most famous soothsayer in Islamic traditions is the one whom Muhammad’s father Abdallah consulted about the cost to renege on his promise to God if he granted him ten sons, that he would sacrifice the tenth one in gratitude.
Archie: Too bad he didn’t.
Uzza: Too bad for you.
Bob: I don’t get it.
Archie: The tenth son had to be the one who would grow up to be the Prophet Muhammad.
Archie: So how much did Allah demand to release Abdulla from his pledge?
Uzza: Not Abdulla, Abdallah. The jinn who flew the mission reported to his employer that he had overheard Allah in a conversion with His angels about Abdallah’s plight that a hundred camels would suffice. That is still how Sharia law sets the cost of a human life should the family of a person killed by another demand blood-money instead of capital punishment. Muhammad in his last sermon warned that anyone who asked for more than a hundred camels was from the age ignorance.
Bob: And that’s in the Koran?
Uzza: The Koran sanctions blood-money payments, it does not set the amount.
Archie: Wish I had a jinn in my employ.
Bob: To hear what God has to say about you.
Archie: To tell God what I think of him.
Uzza: Good luck with that. It’s only the odd jinn that make it pass the barrage of rocks, what we call comets and shooting stars, thrown by angels to get them to keep their distance, even if there are many of them, as Muhammad discovered when he was swarmed on his way to Paradise on the back of al-Burak to confer with God.
Archie: I need a drink. This is too weird.
Uzza: I thought bartenders did not drink when on duty.
Archie: What can I say, Islam is driving me to drink on the job. Besides, it’s only us here.
Bob: 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 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 with Paradise not much more than five miles up? 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 proclaim to be true, and what Islamists believe to be the truth is what we all must all eventually profess to believe if we want to live.
Bob: Good enough for me. But, why did the Prophet fly to Jerusalem first then up to heaven?
Uzza: When he got to Jerusalem Muhammad 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 is crazy!
Uzza: He did not fly to Jerusalem to sanctify anything. 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 scholar, 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 theret? 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 to 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: Whoa! Too much information.
Archie: 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 Muslims 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 ghosts 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 bloody 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!
Gerry: I haven’t.
Bob: And neither have I.
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.