Moses’ People and The Cow

by Abdul Rahman Al-Afasy


More people is becoming more familiar with this particular hadith/narration BY ALLAH. It is a good sign that more people started to understand the Quran and not just sing it.

This narration/parables/hadith FROM ALLAH is a two edged sword-

(i) it attacks the minds of people who thinks hadiths details the Quran.

God’s commands are simple and straight forward. He asks us to do things only to test our obedience to Him, and of course to have a peaceful living community. Nothing else. He did not set a particular detail because HE DOESNT REQUIRE IT.

(ii) it also attacks those who seek to redefine a well known word such as solat, zakat, fasting, Hajj, etc.

In that narration, God did not have to define what a cow is. Everybody is well aware of what a cow is. Same with solat. At the time of revelation, everybody knows what solat is – an act of remembering Him. He did not specify solat ways because like a cow, there are many variations to it, and God DO NOT REQUIRE A SPECIFIC WAY.

The Quran is wonderful in that way- that it attacks not only the disbeliever, but also attacks the believer, to ensure they are always pondering about it thereby following it the best they can.

These are my personal opinion and you may disagree. Salamun alaikum.

Six types of Hypocrisy

New Question in QRAC

“Ok this was on a wall I joined for New Reverts. I asked if this was in the Qur’an and have gotten No reply. Is this just someones belief?…..

Hypocrisy is of Two Types: With Respect to Belief and with Respect to Actions

Hypocrisy with respect to beliefs is of six types. The one who is guilty of any of them will be in the lowest pit of the Hellfire. These are:

(1) Denying or disbelieving the Messenger (peace be upon him).
… (2) Denying something that the Messenger (peace be upon him) presented or taught.
(3) Having hatred for the Messenger (peace be upon him).
(4) Having hatred for something the Messenger (peace be upon him) presented.
(5) Being pleased if the religion of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is diminished or weakened.
(6) Being displeased if the religion of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is strengthened or victorious.”

My reply: Here are some ayats which basically could be used to justify the list of 6 points , though I doubt the Quran limits “hypocrisy” or “disbelief/rejection/ingratitude” to only 6 types. I think it’s a nice idea to try to learn what kind of things are good things to do and bad things to avoid from the Quran but oversimplifying it to say there are 3 things that guarantee heaven and 6 that guarantee hell and things like that can be misleading and inaccurate (but I’m known to be picky and I over-analyse stuff so I’m bound to say that, but it is quite common to hear people saying things like this in Trad Islam (ironically, oversimplifying how easy it is to get into heaven – 3 things to guarantee no punishment in the grave, 1 thing to do at a certain time to make it as though you did it all your life, 2 words you can say 70 times to make your wishes come true etc etc and then all the other things that are completely the other extreme to over-complicate everything and make it so you will go directly to hell if you die with 1 drop of urine on your clothes, none of your prayers get accepted cos you pronounce it wrongly, having to become OCD about counting, rituals and making a conscious effort at all times to know which hand or foot you are doing what with, and even when you are asleep to know what side you are sleeping on so the shaytan cannot urinate in the wrong ear and all that mumbo jumbo!!).

If you do any one of the things on this list for example (and inshaaAllah you won’t!) of the supposed 6 types then (according to that list) you will automatically go to the lowest pit of the hell fire if the statement is true. What if 1 person broke 1 rule and another broke all 6? Allah is the Best Judge. (10:109) so you would expect that if there are higher pits and lower pits of hellfire then the one who broke all 6 rules would be in a lower pit than the one who only broke one rule and that’s not even taking into account good deeds which cancel out bad deeds, Allah’s abundant fountain of mercy and forgiveness and the subjectivity of the phrase “the religion of the messenger” (did he really teach Traditional Islam as we know it (Quran plus hadiths), or did he only recite what is revealed to him (18:27 and 7:203 and 10:15 and 11:12 ). I’m just thinking out loud on this!

Number 2 on the list is also subjective, depending on how you interpret a verse. Like if I say I understand “Ayat” to mean “sign” , am I rejecting that it means “verse”?! (told you, I’m picky about these things!) And there is a HUGE difference between denying the messenger’s authority to deliver the Quran and denying Other People’s interpretation of the recited Noble Words 🙂

I think the point I would like to make here is that if you say you think the hadith collections are dodgy, then ppl might assume you are automatically rejecting the messenger and call you a hypocrite (munafiq) or rejector (kafir) and give you this list (or something like it) to scare you. This article is good to clear up the misconception that being skeptical of the hadith collections authored by mortal man Bukhari and co is NOT the same as rejecting the messengers and the messages and examples contained in ALL the ayats in the Whole Quran. :

I have just put the Quran refs and some notes I made. These are just from my own understanding to re-iterate that these verses could be used to back up the sentiment of the list and indeed the things on the list are things to be avoided inshaaAllah (from my understanding anyway)

4:42 about rejecting and disobeying the messenger

38:14 consequence of disbelieving the messenger

33:21 messenger as an example

59:8 wayanṣurūna = helping

58:22 ḥādda = oppose

57:25 yanṣuruhu = helps him

7:157 yattabiʿūna = follow wanaṣarūhu = and help him

33:56-33:57 (the difference between supporting and reaching out to help the messenger and annoying/hurting him)

58:5 yuḥāddūna = oppose

57:19 (note it says “ayats” which are in the Quran not hadith collections)


47:32 washāqqū = oppose


4:150 – 4:152 (about making a distinction between messengers – why say Mohammad has a hadith collection and not allow the other messengers to have hadith collections? – isn’t that making a distinction?)

4:136 – the perfect place to say “whoever rejects the hadiths that Bukhari collected” (but it doesn’t)

10:104 shakkin = doubt dīnī = my deen

Was Muhammad Illiterate?

Thanks to Smple Trth for collecting and sharing this article in QRAC


The verse 7:157 states that Muhammad was a gentile:

“So you shall believe in God and His messenger, the gentile (ummy) prophet.”

The Arabic word “ummy” describes people who are not Jewish or Christian. The meaning of this word, which occurs six times in the Quran, has been changed to ” one who can neither read nor write”. This deliberate manipulation by Muslim scholars has become widely accepted as the true meaning of the word. For example Yusuf Ali, in his translation, follows this pattern: “… So believe in God and His Apostle, the unlettered Prophet,…”. Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation also reflects the same manipulation: “… So believe in Allah and His messenger, the prophet who can neither read nor write,..”.

The Quran explains the true meaning of “ummy”

Let’s examine the true meaning of “ummy” in the Quran. Anyone can easily understand that “ummy” does not mean an illiterate person by reflecting on the verse 3:20 below:

“And say to those who received the scripture, as well as those who did not receive any scripture (ummyyeen)…”

In this verse the word “ummy” describes Meccan idol worshipers. It is obvious that “ummy” does not mean illiterate because it has been used as the antonym of the people of the scripture. If the verse was ” … And say to those literate and illiterate”, then their above translation of “ummy” would be correct. According to the verse 3:20 the people of Arab peninsula were two main groups:

1. The people of the scripture, i.e., Jews and Christians.

2. Gentiles, who were neither Jewish nor Christian.

If the people who were neither Jews nor Christians were called “ummyyeen” (3:20; 3:75), then the meaning of “ummy” is very clear. As a matter of fact, the verse 3:75 clearly explains its meaning as gentile.

Mecca was the cultural center of the Arabs in the 7th century. Poetry competitions were being held there. It is a historical fact that Meccans were not familiar with the Bible, thus they were gentiles. So the verse 62:2 describes Meccan people by the word “ummyyeen”:

“He is the One who sent to the gentiles (ummyyeen) a messenger from among them, to recite to them His revelations, purify them, and teach them the scripture and wisdom. Before this, they had gone far astray.” (62:2)

The Quran does not classify the people of Arab peninsula as the literate and the illiterate, as Muslim scholars claim. The Quran classifies the people as people of the book (Jews & Christians) and gentiles. The second classification is the correct one, and the Quran supports it.

The disbelievers claimed that Muhammad was quoting verses from the Old and New Testaments (25:5; 68:15). The verse below refutes their accusation and gives the answer:

“You did not read any previous scriptures, nor did you write them with your hand. In that case, the objectors would have had reason to harbor doubts.” (29:48)

This verse tells us that Muhammad did not read nor write previous scriptures. The word “min qablihi = previous” proves that Muhammad read and wrote the final scripture.

Muhammad was a literate gentile (ummy)

After this examination on the true meaning of the word “ummy”, here are the reasons and proofs for the fact that Muhammad was a literate gentile:

ˆ To magnify the miraculous aspect of the Quran, religious people thought that the story of illiteracy would be alluring.

ˆ The producer of the illiteracy story found it easy to change the meaning of “ummy”, which in the entire Quran, consistently means “gentile” (2:78; 3:20; 3:75; 62:2).

ˆ The Arabs of the 7th century were using letters as numbers. This alphabetical numbering system is called “Abjed”. The merchants of those days had to know the letters of the alphabet to record their account. If Muhammad was a successful international merchant, then he most probably knew this numbering system. The Arabs stopped using the “Abjed” system in the 9th century when they took “Arabic numbers” from India.

ˆ The Quran’s spelling is unique. The mathematical miracle of the Quran, which proves that Quran is the word of God, confirms the unique spelling of the Quranic words. The different spellings of some words are not the personal preference of the scribes. For example, the words “salat”, “zakat”, “hayat” are written with “waw” instead of “alif”. In verse 3:96 the name of Mecca is spelled as “Bacca”. The word “bastatan” is written with “seen” throughout the Quran, except in 7:69 where it is written with “saad”.

ˆ If you write the first verse of the first revelation with Basmalah, you will conclude that Muhammad was literate. We know that Basmalah has 19 letters, the first revelation i.e., 96:1-5 consists of 76 (19×4) letters, this first chronological chapter consists of 19 verses and is placed first of the last 19 chapters and has 285 (19×15) letters. (The code 19 will be mentioned in the next questions). This information explains the different spelling of the word “bism” in the beginning of the Basmalah and in the first verse of chapter 96. You decide; is it reasonable for an illiterate to dictate two different spellings of the same word which is pronounced the same?

ˆ Traditional history books accept that Muhammad dictated the Quran and controlled its recording. Even if we accept that Muhammad did not know how to read or write before revelation of the Quran, we can not claim that he preserved his illiteracy during 23 years while he was dictating the Quran.

ˆ The first revelation was “Read,” and the first five verses of that revelation encourage reading and writing (96:1-5). The second revelation was “The pen and writing” (68:1).

Now, let’s ask our questions:

a) As you can see in verse 3:20 and 3:75, the Quran uses the word “ummy” as the antonym of the “ehlil kitab = people of the book”. Do you believe that Quran classifies people as literate and illiterate?

b) The Quran describes Meccan people with the word “ummyyeen = gentiles” (62:2). According to your claim, all Meccan people must have been illiterate. According to your holy books, who was writing poems in Mecca? Who was reading the poems hanging on the walls of the Kaba?

c) Which numbering system were the Arabs using in the 7th century? Did those who were making calculations with those numbers know how to read and write?

d) Is the unique spelling in the Quran the result of errors and personal opinions? How do you explain the different spelling of “bism” of the Basmalah and the first verse of chapter 96?

e) Does God command an illiterate man to “read”? Could Muhammad read after Gabriel’s instruction ? Does this story not contradict your claim that Muhammad died an illiterate?

f) Let us accept that Muhammad was illiterate before the revelation of the Quran. Why did he insist on staying illiterate for 23 years after the first revelation: “Read !”? Did he not obey his Lord’s command? Did he receive another command forbidding him from reading and writing?

g) Was it so difficult for Muhammad to learn to read and write? If a person still does not learn to read and write after 23 years of careful dictation of a book, what do you think about such a person? Is he stupid or a liar?

h) Was Muhammad encouraging his followers to read and write? If so, why did he exclude himself? How do you explain this strange attitude and verse 2:44?

i) How can an illiterate man insure the accuracy of a scribe?

j) You are trying to imitate Muhammad from his eating to his attire, from his beard to his toothbrush; why do you not imitate his illiteracy? Why do you not follow his sunnah?

k) You are the people who disagree on almost every subject; but you agree on the story of the illiteracy of Muhammad. How could you manage this agreement?

Questioning the Quranist Vision

I was recently asked whether it was really necessary for Quranism to be recognised as a valid form of Islam (from the Quranist Vision on It is great to have people interested and taking the time to think about these things and question everything! I applaud this attitude. Please keep the questions coming! Thanks for sending in this question.

“Salaam Alaykum Asfora Safarina. There is something awkward sounding (to me) in this paragraph:

“Our secondary vision is to have Quranism recognised as a legitimate form of Islam. At present, Quranism is seen as either heretical or worse still, totally irrelevant to Islamic discourse. ”

Is it necessary, truthfully, that one be “recognized” as a “form” of something, outside of the knowledge one already has about his/her beliefs? Does it matter, in *truth,* what others think of you or anyone else, if what you do is honest and sincere, and harming no one? Why would you seek validation (because it *sounds* like that is the “vision”) from people who would be so far removed from your belief system as to accuse you of being heretical–because you follow the Qur’an (solely)? Is it not also, in some way, taking steps forward on that slippery slope of establishing a ‘sect’, simply by hoping/wishing/envisaging that someone or group or entity outside legitimizes what you believe? Does it make you (or anyone for that matter) stronger in your belief/faith by gaining their “acceptance.”? “

My response: Walaikum salam – for me it makes no difference whether ppl accept my beliefs as heretical or not. Alhamdulillah I don’t live in a country ruled by man made “Shariah” law. I believe everyone should have the same privilege or should I say the same RIGHT. I believe if there are ppl who are living in fear that they must say they believe something out of force / oppression in order to spare their lives, then this is tantamount the to situation that Firawn had with his people. See 7:123 and 10:83. The prophetic example of Musa shows that he was sent to abolish this practice. I believe we were given those examples in the Quran for a reason – to learn, to acknowledge and understand and then put the wisdom into action, not to let such valuable guidance fall by the wayside. If, from the work we are doing at we can encourage people, whatever their approach is, to have respect for other people’s beliefs and interpretations and to discourage fundmentalist or extremist views, and promote a more quranic attitude of pluralisticism, acceptance and tolerance, then I would consider it a contribution to the betterment of society, inshaaAllah.

Angels are Daughters of Allah?

Sarah asked a great question on QRAC about the angels being daughters of Allah. I personally dont think the word ‘banat’ means daughters. However, the passage has become ‘flowing’ for me yet. Maybe in time, inshaa Allah

The Second Promise of Bani Israil

Lisa hit the nail on the head here when she mentioned the second promise to the Children of Israel in Quranology Discussions. She wrote:

I have a question regarding 17:104-111. I get the impression that God may have promised the Jews another revelation (17:104), that this revelation was eventually sent down to Muhammad (17:105-106), that Muhammad related it to the Jews (17:107), that they recognized the revelation (17:108-109), that Muhammad gave them further instructi…ons for prayer (17:110-111).17:104 We said after him to the Children of Israel: “Dwell in the land, then, when the time of the second promise comes, We will bring you all together as a mixed crowd.”

17:108 They say, “Praise be to our Lord. Truly, the promise of our Lord was fulfilled.”

Does “the promise of our Lord” (17:108) indeed refer to the “second promise” (17:104) then?

The Unsurpassed People of Luth

Interesting point by Manuel on QRAC today: I have been thinking about the story of Lut. When he goes around and tells the people of Sodom: “You are comitting an inmorality that no people in history has done before you”. I sometimes interpret this ayah as him meaning that they were the first people in history to engage in homosexual behaviour as an entire village. I mean, it is obvious that there were people who engaged homosexual behaviour before (and after) the people of Sodom, but possibly, they were the first ones to have all the townsfolk engaging into this kind of behaviour.

Here’s my take on it: I take ‘”You are comitting an inmorality that no people in history has done before you” in terms of severity of the crime. In other words, there is no one worse than the people of luth. I don’t believe this is homosexuality either but rather an extreme oppression which even Pharoah didnt practise.