Spiritual Symbols (Karmasthana) – Ram Swarup

Sri Ram Swarup had wished the following note to be incorporated into a new edition of Hindu View of Christianity and Islam published by Voice of India. We have a copy of the note from Sri A.P. Joshi and herewith share it with readers. It will be of special interest to those who know Ram Swarup’s perceptive critique of Christianity and Islam. – IS

Ram SwarupSri Ram Swarup’s Note on Karmasthana

Prophetic religions have no worthwhile theory of self-purification. They have felt that they do not need one. They deal in ready-made truths received from their God by their prophet in a revelation and communicated to his followers as dogmas. In Hinduism there is a problem of truth itself, the problem of receiving and communicating it. In this tradition, problems relating to the message, the medium and the source are important and are open to questions and inquiry. In prophetic tradition, to raise questions about them is unbelief, infidelity and is punishable.

Prophetic religions have at best a theory of inspiration (ilham and the holy ghost). But in actual practice, this doctrine is a veritable psychological trap and has often led to much charlatanism and to excesses. Apollonius, the great saint of the Greco-Roman world advises that we should avoid philosophies and people who “claim to be inspired, for people like that lie about Gods and urge them to do many foolish things”.

In prophetic religions, the prophet is supposed to speak for God, but in most cases, it is difficult to decide who speaks for whom – the prophet for God or God for the prophet. Similarly, it is not sure where God begins if he begins at all and where the prophet ends. In the case of the prophet of Islam, it was seen that his revelations were quite accommodative and served his convenience as Aisha, his young wife, pointed out. Sometimes it also happened that words supplied by the recorder became part of the heavenly text which upset him greatly. But Umar  was flattered when he saw that some of the suggestions he had made became Allah’s injunctions.

Salman Rushdie has discussed the phenomenon of revelations of Islam’s prophet in his Satanic Verses from the modern psychological angle. He finds there is no Allah and no message. It is prophet all over. He dictates with one mind and listens to what he himself has dictated with the other.

We need not disagree with Salman’s observations about the prophet of his discussion. But we need not accept his larger intellectual format about spiritual life. Hinduism believes in Gods, in higher life and higher truth; it believes that this truth is not alien to man but is akin to him; that he is surrounded by it, lives in it and breathes in it, but to become aware of it requires a pure heart.

To a superficial look it may appear like prophetism, at least in some essentials. But a little discrimination will show that it is not so. Prophetism deals in special Gods, special revelations, special dispensation. Sanatana Dharma tradition is concerned with laws of the spirit that apply to all and are true for all time. It does not discuss historical oddities; it discusses higher life as a regular phenomenon of life. Revelation is taking place all the time and man is nourished regularly by heaven and he lives in interchange with Gods. Prophetism with its exclusive Gods and special messengers and revelations is a caricature of this truth.

Sanatana Dharma teaches that to become aware of the higher life and establish its rule, the soul has to develop new organs of perception like faith, dhyana or meditation (devout attention), discrimination and prajna. Faith is recognised in many religious traditions, but the others find emphasis mainly in Hindu tradition and those which are related to it, like the Greek Pythagoreans and Neoplatonists. Upanishads say that meditation is greater than thought and they found that the earth, atmosphere, waters, mountains, Gods as well as men, all are mediating as it were. In this tradition, spiritual discrimination (viveka) and purified intelligence (buddhi) are highly valued.

Upanishads also teach that a man becomes what he desires, aspires to, thinks and dwells upon. So it gives importance to purify his seeking, his desire and his thoughts. This can best be done by contemplating and dwelling on the objects of his seeking themselves.

In Hindu spiritual tradition, man’s seeking is for truth, for immortality, for light, for plenitude, for fullness, for the vast, for liberation. Lead me from falsehood to truth, from darkness to light, from death to deathlessness, from the small to the vast is the Upanishadic prayer. The Upanishads also teach that the best way to realise them is to meditate and reflect on them. The great truths of the spirit are also the great anusmritis and anudhyanas – that is subjects and objects worthy to be remembered and meditated upon reverentially again and again.

In Hindu Yogic tradition, there is a great emphasis on an in-gathered or recollected mind. A man can make no spiritual progress with a scattered mind. Such a mind is lost in its objects and it neither knows them nor itself properly. But once a mind is recollected, it knows what it is to be mindful. A dissipated mind is by nature sorrowful but a recollected mind is by nature joyful and luminous (vishoka and jyotishmati). A man with a recollected mind realises that he is more akin to mind than to its objects.

To conquer mind’s wanderings (vikshepa), it is necessary to acquire one-pointedness (ekagrata). For that one should practice the culture of One-principle (eka-tattva abbyasa). For this purpose, Indian Yoga has mentioned many subjects, objects and symbols for concentration and meditation (loosely rendered here as karmasthana). They help to settle the mind and a settled mind helps to purify them further.

Ultimately the best subjects and objects of dhyana are, as we just observed, the great truths of the Self itself but nothing that has a psychic and spiritual significance is ruled out. In India’s yogic tradition, friendliness, compassion, joy, passionlessness, mindfulness and equal-mindedness are considered great purifiers.

Many other subjects, symbols and objects are mentioned: elements, luminaries like fire, sun or sky and earth, any chosen deity or guru-figure, the mystic sound of Om, in short every symbol of psychic and spiritual potential is acceptable.

A karmasthana is not good enough and subtle enough to start with. But the process of meditation itself sets up a process which purifies it further, removes its blemishes and makes it a fitting channel for further spiritual progress. Under the alchemy of meditation, the symbol becomes increasingly more luminous, joyful and psychic. The process of meditation converts it into a new currency and makes it worthy of a new journey in a new terrain. Opened to higher influences, it is further purified and raised up. Unknown inner doors open and new Gods are born.

All this transformation is necessary. Any chosen symbol or figure must purify itself before it purifies others; it must become spirit-worthy before it guides on the spiritual path. The transformation takes place as a matter of course in accordance with the spiritual laws; it cannot be manipulated; it is self-determined and charters its own course. Its moving power is the aspirant’s sincerity and intensity of aspiration. On the spiritual path, nothing that is honest and sincere is lost and all lost and all threads meet and everything is added up and taken into account.

The process of meditation accepts all sattvika sentiments, objects and symbols but has no use for those which are rajasika and tamasika. Those who sit with their eyes closed but dwell with their mind on its lower attractions become worse. Strong hatreds, egoistic opinions, prejudices and preferences – whether one’s own or one’s God’s and prophet’s does not matter, for let us remember that there is lot of self-worship through worship of one’s deities and prophets – are most unacceptable. They add another danger. In a meditative mind, they appear as visions, voices and commands of one’s deity. They have deep roots, a stubborn life. A cat has nine lives, they have ninety-nine; they can remain dormant for a long time and reappear in many guises. To overcome them and to make them seedless is a great problem in the spiritual quest. But we are not taking up that question here.

Though Abrahamic religions lack the culture of meditation, pious and believing Muslims and Christians have often dwelt on their founders with great piety and reverence. This has benefited the symbols and under the alchemy of piety greatly improved them. In fact, some Sufis have given us a very different kind of prophet than the one we know in history. This prophet-figure of piety is at odds with the prophet of history. In some ways, this has produced much confusion and one figure has been mistaken for the other. It also became a source of mischief. The figure of the prophet of piety is used to sell the prophet of history and to propagate his cult.

Similarly, Christian monks have often meditated on Jesus in their monasteries. In one way, he is better fitted for this role. For in his case, there is little history to contend with and to shed. But he is a figure of theology which makes him equally intractable and impervious to light.

Meditation on historical Jesus also benefited the Jesus-figure. When dwelt upon with loving regard it tended to lose its blemishes and became more luminous. Thus it became acceptable to the meditating monks in spite of its inherent unreasonableness and untenability. And here too again as in Islam, the meditation-figure was used to promote the Jesus of theology.

For the sake of our Christian readers who lay great store by historical Jesus, let us dilate on the subject a little more. Let us say that Yoga does not care for a historical figure as such; it cares only for its psychic truth. It would suffice to say that to a man who sincerely follows the soul’s native aspiration for self-recovery, any chosen symbol, physical or psychic, historical or non-historical, any figure of a guru living or past – they are all acceptable starting points. The rest is added as he proceeds on the path and as the need arose. Therefore, a sincere Christian could, if he is so minded, adopt the figure of a historical Jesus without harm and even with profit. In the simplest way, it provides a focus for his religious impulses – in itself no small gain. And if his aspiration is pure, persistent and one-pointed, it could take him further on the spiritual path. As the believer dwells on his chosen figure with loving care, a process of change is set up which transforms the symbol. What is redundant drops and what is necessary is added. Under this alchemy, the figure thaws, becomes freer and is released from its historical and psychological confines; it turns to light above and within, absorbs it and is converted into its likeness; under this influence, it loses it opacity and becomes transparent and a reflector of truths beyond itself. [1]

If the figure of normal Jesus was allowed to run its course, it could become a channel of further spiritual progress. If a man has it in his soul and is spiritually ready, he would realise that though the figure is now lighted, it has no light of its own. He would become increasingly more aware of the forces at work within him – forces that bind and those that liberate. His soul may wake up and become a aware of its original, untarnished status. This would open up his prajna, or wisdom-eye; he would realise that salvation is a lawful act and it does not depend on a historical accident; that soul in its original status is not sinful but pure, untouched by evil (shuddham apapaviddham); that man is raised and saved by the Self, his true light and refuge; he would meet the indwelling saviour – who is in all and belongs to all. He would realise that he is nothing and God is everything, in all.

But a Christian believer operates in a very different atmosphere. He is not to find his God or saviour for himself, but both are given to him by the Church; he is not to follow his inner light – he is taught to distrust it – but be guided by an official theology. Under its tutelage, the saviour is conceived as a mediator between an offended deity and a sinful man; the figure obviously belongs to those religious cults and practices in which blood and sacrifice, both human and animal, dominate, not inquiry and contemplation.

It is obvious that such theology can have no exalted idea either of God or man. This theology is spiritually disabling in other ways too; it gives its believers exclusive revelations, exclusive Gods, exclusive saviours. It gives a God revealed to a chosen intermediary but to be believed by all; it gives a saviour who saves few but condemns many – the unbelievers invariably so. In this theology historical Jesus plays a pre-determined, ideological role. Under its influence, this figure deteriorates badly; instead of getting purified and uplifted as on the first route, it is debased and lowered in conception and spiritual quality; instead of converting into a psychic truth, it becomes a fanatic and intolerant idea; instead of becoming luminous and transparent, it becomes opaque with little capacity for receiving and reflecting higher truths.

The figure of Jesus as developed and available in Christian tradition is tamasika-rajasika. It would be difficult for it to recover whatever other possibility it ever had; it has now become a symbol – a frozen symbol – of religious aggrandisement; it is badly infected with raaga-dvesha – inwoven with its followers’ ambitions and hatred. The believer operates in the atmosphere of what is called theological odium; he learns to hate on a large scale, hate under many names and guises, hate his Pagan neighbours and the whole past of humanity. While he loves after a fashion his God – a form of self-love – he is taught to hate all other Gods or rather the Gods of others. While great claims are made for his God, Gods of others are abominated and denied. Thus the figure of a historical Jesus is made to support a huge, doctrinal superstructure of denials and arrogant claims; it presides over a vast apparatus of repression and self-aggrandisement. In this approach while history and the fraternity of believers run amuck, eternity and humanity have little place.

Christianity is a living example of a case where an innocent symbol was destroyed by a bad theology. But it does not mean there are no believing Christians now or in the past who did not overcome the faults of their theology. Many have loved their fellow believers without learning to hate their Pagan neighbours. All this shows that man is greater than his creeds and ideologies and that humanity could survive its hate-ideologies.

Note

This process should not be confused with the process that applies to cases like Krishna or Rama. Though these too could be and often are used as karmasthana, they are differently conceived. They are spiritual realities which took birth in the hearts of sages like Vyasa and Valmiki and given a psychic earthly life. But in the case of Jesus and Muhammad, they are historical characters being invested with a spiritual significance through the alchemy of piety. Psychically they were born – one in the mind of Paul and the other in the minds of Umar and Abu Bakr.

» Sri Ram Swarup (1920–December 26, 1998) was a Samkhya philosopher and Yogi who with Sita Ram Goel founded the publishing house Voice of India. He was a prolific author and one of the most influential independent Hindu thinkers of our time. He is best known for his profound critique of Christianity and Islam from the Hindu perspective and for his study of Hindu polytheism called The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods.

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Did Prophet Muhammad really exist? – Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer“There is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad, the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.  Muhammad and the Qur’an cemented the power of the Umayyad caliphate and then that of the Abbasid caliphate.” – Robert Spencer

Did Muhammad Exist?Why would it matter if Muhammad never existed?  Certainly the accepted story of Islam’s origins is taken for granted as historically accurate; while many don’t accept Muhammad’s claim to have been a prophet, few doubt that there was a man named Muhammad who in the early seventh century began to claim that he was receiving messages from Allah through the angel Gabriel.  Many who hear about my new book Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry Into Islam’s Obscure Origins ask why it would matter whether or not Muhammad existed — after all, a billion Muslims believe he did, and they are not going to stop doing so because of some historical investigations.  Yet the numerous indications that the standard account of Muhammad’s life is more legend than fact actually have considerable implications for the contemporary political scene.

These are just a few of the weaknesses in the traditional account of Muhammad’s life and the early days of Islam:

  • No record of Muhammad’s reported death in 632 appears until more than a century after that date.
  • The early accounts written by the people the Arabs conquered never mention Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur’an.  They call the conquerors “Ishmaelites,” “Saracens,” “Muhajirun,” and “Hagarians,” but never “Muslims.”
  • The Arab conquerors, in their coins and inscriptions, don’t mention Islam or the Qur’an for the first six decades of their conquests.  Mentions of “Muhammad” are non-specific and on at least two occasions are accompanied by a cross.  The word can be used not only as a proper name, but also as an honorific.
  • The Qur’an, even by the canonical Muslim account, was not distributed in its present form until the 650s.  Casting into serious doubt that standard account is the fact that neither the Arabians nor the Christians and Jews in the region mention its existence until the early eighth century.
  • We don’t begin to hear about Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and about Islam itself until the 690s, during the reign of the caliph Abd al-Malik.  Coins and inscriptions reflecting Islamic beliefs begin to appear at this time also.
  • In the middle of the eighth century, the Abbasid dynasty supplanted the Umayyad line of Abd al-Malik.  In the Abbasid period, biographical material about Muhammad began to proliferate.  The first complete biography of the prophet of Islam finally appeared during this era-at least 125 years after the traditional date of his death.

MohammadThe lack of confirming detail in the historical record, the late development of biographical material about the Islamic prophet, the atmosphere of political and religious factionalism in which that material developed, and much more, suggest that the Muhammad of Islamic tradition did not exist, or if he did, he was substantially different from how that tradition portrays him.

How to make sense of all this?  If the Arab forces that conquered so much territory beginning in the 630s were not energised by the teachings of a new prophet and the divine word he delivered, how did the Islamic character of their empire arise at all?  If Muhammad did not exist, why was it ever considered necessary to invent him?

Every empire of the day had a civic religion.  The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was Christian.  Its rival Persia, meanwhile, was Zoroastrian.  The Arab Empire quickly controlled and needed to unify huge expanses of territory where different religions predominated.  The empire was growing quickly, soon rivalling the Byzantine and Persian Empires in size and power.  But at first, it did not have a compelling political theology to compete with those it supplanted and to solidify its conquests.  It needed a common religion — a political theology that would provide the foundation for the empire’s unity and secure allegiance to the state.

Toward the end of the seventh century and the beginning of the eighth, the leaders of the Muslim world began to speak specifically about Islam, its prophet, and eventually its book.  Stories about Muhammad began to circulate.  A warrior-prophet would justify the new empire’s aggressive expansionism.  To give those conquests a theological justification — as Muhammad’s teachings and example do — would place them beyond criticism.

This is why Islam developed as such a profoundly political religion.  Islam is a political faith: the divine kingdom is very much of this world, with God’s wrath and judgement to be expected not only in the next life, but also in this one, to be delivered by believers.  Allah says in the Qur’an: “As for those disbelieving infidels, I will punish them with a terrible agony in this world and the next. They have no one to help or save them” (3:56).  Allah also exhorts Muslims to wage war against those infidels, apostates, and polytheists (2:191, 4:89, 9:5, 9:29).

Muhammad rides Al-BuraqThere is compelling reason to conclude that Muhammad, the messenger of Allah came into existence only after the Arab Empire was firmly entrenched and casting about for a political theology to anchor and unify it.  Muhammad and the Qur’an cemented the power of the Umayyad caliphate and then that of the Abbasid caliphate.

This is not just academic speculation.  The non-Muslim world can be aided significantly in its understanding of the global jihad threat — an understanding that has been notably lacking even at the highest levels since September 11, 2001 — by a careful, unbiased examination of the origins of Islam.  There is a great deal of debate today in the United States and Western Europe about the nature of Islamic law; anti-sharia measures have been proposed in at least twenty states, and one state — Oklahoma — voted to ban sharia in November 2010, although that law was quickly overturned as an infringement upon Muslims’ religious freedom.  Others have been successfully resisted on the same grounds.

If it is understood that the political aspect of Islam preceded the religious aspect, that might change.  But that will happen only if a sufficient number of people are willing to go wherever the truth may take them.

» Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.  His latest book, Did Muhammad Exist?, is now available. – American Thinker, 23 April 2012

Muhammad


Why Vasco da Gama came to India – Eric Ormsby

Nigel Cliff“Vasco da Gama’s ‘landing party had assumed that Hindu temples were Christian churches, they had misconstrued the Brahmins’ invocation of a local deity as veneration of the Virgin Mary and they had decided the Hindu figures on the temple walls were outlandish Christian saints.’ True, ‘the temples were also crammed with animal gods and sacred phalluses,’ but these surely reflected exotic local Christian practices.” – Nigel Cliff

Vasco da GamaThe Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama set sail from Belém, a village at the mouth of the Tagus River now part of greater Lisbon, on July 8, 1497. An obscure but well-­connected courtier, he had been chosen, much to everyone’s surprise, by King Manuel I to head the ambitious expedition to chart a new route to India. The king was not moved chiefly by a desire for plunder. He possessed a visionary cast of mind bordering on derangement; he saw himself spearheading a holy war to topple Islam, recover Jerusalem from “the infidels” and establish himself as the “King of Jerusalem.”

Da Gama shared these dreams, but like his hard-bitten crew, rogues or criminals to a man, he coveted the fabled riches of the East — not only gold and gems but spices, then the most precious of commodities. On this voyage, as on his two later ones, he proved a brilliant navigator and commander. But where courage could not bring him through violent storms, contrary seas and the machinations of hostile rulers, luck came to his rescue. He sailed blindly, virtually by instinct, without maps, charts or reliable pilots, into unknown oceans.

Da Gama's route to IndiaAs Nigel Cliff, a historian and journalist, demonstrates in his lively and ambitious “Holy War,” da Gama was abetted as much by ignorance as by skill and daring. To discover the sea route to India, he deliberately set his course in a different direction from Columbus, his great seafaring rival. Instead of heading west, da Gama went south. His ships inched their way down the African coast, voyaging thousands of miles farther than any previous explorer. After months of sailing, he rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the first European to do so. From there, creeping up the east coast of Africa, he embarked on the uncharted vastness of the Indian Ocean. Uncharted, that is, by European navigators. For at the time, the Indian Ocean was crisscrossed by Muslim vessels, and it was Muslim merchants, backed up by powerful local rulers, who controlled the trade routes and had done so for centuries. Da Gama sought to break this maritime dominance; even stronger was his ambition to discover the Christians of India and their “long-lost Christian king,” the legendary Prester John, and by forging an alliance with them, to unite Christianity and destroy Islam.

Thali Shiva TempleThe ambition was not entirely fanciful; there were Christian communities in India, founded according to legend by St. Thomas the Apostle. Da Gama couldn’t tell an Indian Christian from a cassowary, but on this occasion, ignorance was truly bliss. When his ships finally moored at Calicut, near the southern tip of the subcontinent, he and his crew rejoiced to learn that there were indeed many Christians long settled there. As Cliff recounts, the “landing party had assumed that Hindu temples were Christian churches, they had misconstrued the Brahmins’ invocation of a local deity as veneration of the Virgin Mary and they had decided the Hindu figures on the temple walls were outlandish Christian saints.” True, “the temples were also crammed with animal gods and sacred phalluses,” but these surely reflected exotic local Christian practices. What mattered to the Portuguese was that these long-lost Indian Christians permitted images in their “churches.” Thus, whatever their idiosyncrasies, they could not be Muslims. The Portuguese joined in the chants and invocations with gusto. When the Hindu priests chanted “Krishna,” the Portuguese heard it as “Christ.”

Such farcical episodes recur throughout Cliff’s account and add unexpected levity to what is otherwise a dismal record of greed, savagery and fanaticism, especially — but not exclusively — on the part of the European explorers. The Portuguese didn’t know that Hinduism, let alone Buddhism or Jainism, existed. For them, the world was starkly divided between Christianity and Islam. They knew about Jews, of course; they’d been steadily persecuting them with renewed vigor in the 1490s by forced conversion, expulsion and massacre, but to them, Judaism was merely a forerunner of Christianity, not a faith in its own right.

Holy War Book CoverCliff’s narrative covers a huge span of time. For once the term “epic” seems an understatement. Da Gama’s exploits alone demand such terms. His maiden voyage took two years and traversed an extraordinary 24,000 miles, all this in leaky wooden vessels battered by storms and riddled with scurvy, and it was only the first of his three pioneering voyages that together established little Portugal as a world power.

To provide the widest possible context, Cliff begins with the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of Islam in the early seventh century and concludes with the siege of Vienna in 1529 and the subsequent rise of Dutch maritime expansion. His account of early Islamic history is brisk and factual, but it has a somewhat potted feel, as does his chapter on the crusades, for all the horrific detail he provides. This is, after all, well-trodden turf. When he finally comes to Portugal and its succession of zealous, sinister and quite dotty monarchs, he is in his element, and his book really takes off. He has a novelist’s gift for depicting character. From the fabled Henry the Navigator who, despite his appellation, “never set foot on an oceangoing ship,” to Vasco da Gama himself, at once steely and quixotic, to formidable figures like Magellan and the brutal Afonso de Albuquerque, who terrorized his victims by threatening to build a fort out of their bones and nail their ears to the door, he brings 16th-­century Portugal in all its splendor and squalor pungently to life.

Cliff is good too at such mundane but intricate matters as shipbuilding, royal protocols and the hazards of trade, all of which he documents by well-chosen citations from travel accounts, official papers and personal correspondence. Rather surprisingly, however, he fails to bring the great 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões into his account (though he’s mentioned in the very full bibliography), even though Camões participated in later Portuguese expeditions and wrote his Virgilian-style epic “The Lusiads” in praise of da Gama.

Samuel P. HuntingtonWhile Cliff spins his tale under the aegis of “holy war” and in his subtitle invokes Samuel P. Huntington’s well-worn “clash of civilizations,” on the evidence of his own narrative this framework seems more than a little creaky. Though there was longstanding mutual detestation between Christians and Muslims, the real antagonism seems to have been mercantile. There was no “clash of civilizations” to speak of. The Portuguese gazed in covetous admiration at the trappings of the Muslim courts they visited, and Muslims showed no interest whatsoever in European culture (which they considered pitifully inferior to their own). When they clashed, they did so over lucrative trade routes and territorial hegemony; each was quite proudly ignorant of the other’s creed.

Cliff struggles to find relevance to present-day events, but his attempts are unconvincing. He notes, for example, that in 2006, Ayman al-Zawahri, now the head of Al Qaeda, called for the liberation of Ceuta — a North African city besieged by King John of Portugal in 1415 — from the Spanish Christians who now control it. Nevertheless, the real clash today is not between Christianity and Islam, nor between opposing civilizations, but between our own resolutely secular and consumerist culture and a rigid and absolutist mindset outraged by the prosperity Western “infidels” enjoy. That, however, is another epic, yet to be written. – The New York Times, New York, September 9, 2011

See also

Fatwa Number 41409: Thighing – Muslim Scholars

Muslim Scholar

Thighing: Fatwa Number 41409 dated 7-5-1421 or August 8, 2000

The permanent committee for scientific research and religious sanctions [in Saudi Arabia] are: 

• Abdel Aziz ben Abdullah ben Mohammed Aal Sheikh, Chairman
• Bakr ben Abdullah Abu Zeid, Member
• Saleh ben Fozan Al Fozan, Member

Praise is to God and blessings on the Prophet that is the last of all prophets.

The permanent committee for scientific research and religious sanctions [in Saudi Arabia] has looked onto the request of Abu Abdallah Mohammed Al Shamry which was sent to the committee from the general secretariat of the Committee of Higher Scholars number 1809 date 3/5/1421. The requester asked the following:

  • Lately, it has spread on a large scale, especially in weddings, the habit of thighing little boys; what is the ruling of the Quran on this? Especially, that God’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) has thighed Ayesha (may God be pleased with her).

The committee, after studying the request, has ruled the following:

  • It is not the true guidance of Muslims throughout centuries to resort to the use of these unlawful practices, which were imported to our countries through the immoral videos that are being sent by the infidels and enemies of Islam. As for the thighing of the messenger of God to his fiancée Ayesha, she was six years old and he could not engage in sexual intercourse with her because of her young age, therefore he used to place his penis between her thighs and rub it lightly. In addition, the messenger of God had full control of his penis in contrary to the believers. Therefore, it is not permitted to practice thighing, whether in weddings, or at homes, or schools, due to its grave harm. And may God curse the infidels who brought these practices to our countries. – Faith Freedom, Sept. 23, 2011

Fatwa on Thighing

The Little Green Book by Ayatollah Khomeini‘Thighing’—or mufakhafat—is an practice followed today in Muslim communities all over the world

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, The Supreme Leader of Iran, the Shia Grand Ayatollah, 1979-89 said in his official statements recorded in The Little Green Book (Tahrir al-Wasilah, fourth edition, Qom, Iran, 1990):

» A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby.  However, he should not penetrate vaginally, but sodomising the child is acceptable.  If a man does penetrate and damage the child then, he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life.  This girl will not count as one of his four permanent wives and the man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister…  It is better for a girl to marry at such a time when she would begin menstruation at her husband’s house, rather than her father’s home.  Any father marrying his daughter so young will have a permanent place in heaven. 

» A man can have sex with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on. However, he should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not sell the meat to the people in his own village, but selling the meat to a neighbouring village is reasonable.

» If one commits the act of sodomy with a cow, a ewe, or a camel, their urine and their excrement become impure and even their milk may no longer be consumed. The animal must then be killed as quickly as possible and burned.

» Wine and all intoxicating beverages are impure, but opium and hashish are not.

» If a man sodomises the son, brother, or father of his wife after their marriage, the marriage remains valid.

» During sexual intercourse, if the penis enters a woman’s vagina or a man’s anus, fully or only as far as the circumcision ring, both partners become impure, even if they have not reached puberty; they must consequently perform ablutions.

Ayatullah Komeini» A woman who has contracted a continuing marriage does not have the right to go out of the house without her husband’s permission; she must remain at his disposal for the fulfilment of any one of his desires, and may not refuse herself to him except for a religiously valid reason. If she is totally submissive to him, the husband must provide her with her food, clothing, and lodging, whether or not he has the means to do so. A woman who refuses herself to her husband is guilty, and may not demand from him food, clothing, lodging, or any later sexual relations; however, she retains the right to be paid damages if she is repudiated.

» If a father (or paternal grandfather) marries off his daughter (or granddaughter) in her absence without knowing for a certainty that she is alive, the marriage becomes null and void as soon as it is established that she was dead at the time of the marriage.

» It is not illegal for an adult male to ‘thigh’ or enjoy a young girl who is still in the age of weaning; meaning to place his penis between her thighs, and to kiss her. 

» If a man commits adultery with an unmarried woman, and subsequently marries her, the child born of that marriage will be a bastard unless the parents can be sure it was conceived after they were married. A child born of an adulterous father is legitimate.

» Ali [son in law of Mohammed], having cut off the hands of two thieves, treated their wounds and offered them his hospitality, and this affected them so much that they became utterly devoted to him; or again when he heard that the marauding army of Muawiyah had abused a woman of one of the tribes, he was so upset and moved to pity he declared: “If a man died after such an occurrence, no one could blame him.” And yet, despite a nature as sensitive as that, Ali bared his sword and hacked the perpetrators to pieces. This is the meaning of justice.

  • From The Sayings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Political, Philosophical, Social and Religious, Bantam Books, New York/London, 1985, ISBN 0-553-14032-9. Download the English version of The Little Green Book here.

Prophet Muhammad and his 6-year-old wife AishaProphet Muhammad and his child-wife Aisha – Yahoo Answers

Muhammad married Aisha when she was six years old in Mecca and she joined him in Medina three years later when he was 53. He began having sex with Aisha when she was nine years old and still playing with dolls.

This is the original story told by the ONLY valid biographers of Muhammad and Islam, Ibn Ishaq and Tabari, and the hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim. Refer also to the works of the Qur’an commentators Ibn Kathir and Ibn Qayyim. (Ibn Kathir, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), Volume II, translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing Limited, UK. The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 2000. pp. 93-94).

(Ibn Qayyim Al-Juaziyyah, Zad-ul Ma’ad fi Hadyi Khairi-l ‘Ibad (Provisions for the Hereafter, From the Guidance of Allah’s Best Worshipper) translated by Jalal Abualrub, [Madinah Publishers & Distributors, December 2000] Volume I, pp. 157-158)

» Muhammad said that he had dreamed of Aisha before demanding her from her father, and his own brother in Islam, Abu Bakr, claiming special ‘prophets rights’ when Abu Bakr was reluctant to give her to him.

» Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 235: Narrated ‘Aisha: That the Prophet said to her, “You have been shown to me twice in my dreams. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said to me, ‘This is your wife.’ When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, ‘If this is from Allah, it will be done.”

» Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 18: Narrated ‘Ursa: The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for ‘Aisha’s hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said “But I am your brother!”

» The Prophet said, “You are my brother in Allah’s religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.”

» Marriage to a female already offered to another was illegal in Arab law. Abu Bakr had already arranged for Aisha to marry Djubayr Mutim.

» Muhammad married ‘A’isha in Mecca when she was a child of six and lived with her in Medina when she was nine or ten. She was the only virgin that he married. Her father, Abu Bakr, married her to him and the apostle gave her four hundred dirhams. (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah (The Life of Muhammad) translated by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, p. 792)

» Tabari VII:7 “The Prophet married Aisha in Mecca three years before the Hijrah, after the death of Khadija. At the time she was six.”

» Tabari IX:128 “When the Prophet married Aisha, she was very young and not yet ready for consummation.” [The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community] translated by M.V. McDonald annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press, Albany 1987], Volume VII, pp. 6-7) (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany 1990], Volume IX, pp. 129-130)

» Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 236: Narrated Hisham’s father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old. – Yahoo Answers

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