Could Not Answer

Priests’ Attacks On Islamic Worships And Refutations Against Them

Protestants refer to forms of worship in Islam and in Christianity in the second chapter of the book Ghadâ-ul-mulâhazât. Therein they try to prove that Christianity is superior to and more meritorious than Islam. According to them, “Forms of worship in the Islamic religion consist in a certain number of certain actions and modes at certain places at certain times. Christianity, on the other hand, is based on essentials instructing how to do worships soulfully and heartily, to have belief in salvation, which will take the place of superficial and formal worships, to improve yourself, to purify your heart of vices, and to beautify your moral habits. Qur’ân al-kerîm does not contain any clear and true information concerning the forgiveness of the sinful by their having belief and repenting. Whereas the Gospel of Matthew declares, in the twentieth and later verses of the first chapter, that the Angel of God showed himself to Joseph the Carpenter in his dream, gave him the glad tidings that Mary would have a son, and enjoined him, ‘You shall name him Jesus, which means, he who redeems his people of sins’, Qur’ân al-kerîm, while shelving the notion that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the redeemer from sins by hushing up the matter, downgrades him to prophethood and equates him with other Prophets. If a person’s sin were no more than ignorance and erring, a Prophet’s guidance would suffice for him. Yet, alongside the human deficiencies such as ignorance and being prone to error, man is by his nature vulnerable to wrongdoing and is under the slavery of the devil, which is augmented by his innate depravity, [a consequence of the original sin committed by Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’], a teacher or Prophet’s coming afterwards would not suffice [for the salvation of human beings]. Freeing the everlasting human soul from slavery and from the burden of sinfulness would certainly require the advent of a savior. Whereas the Bible has announced that mankind could be saved from the dirt of sinning and from the temptations of the devil only at the sacrifice of the blessed blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior, Qur’ân al-kerîm has disignored this redemptive capacity of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, and has made getting rid of sins dependent upon some principles such as uttering the kalima-i-tawhîd and kalima-i-shahâdat, suffering some chastisements, and obeying the religious commandments. The Bible, while encouraging people to do true penance, to have perfect, superior belief, and to thank and laud Allâhu ta’âlâ, who is able to change what is in any heart, has presented reasonable and admissible forms of worship and religious duties by eradicating all forms of worship and custom that were being observed among the Jews in the time of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. None the less for this fact, Qur’ân al-kerîm has re-established the physical and outward worships and customs of such a religion as Judaism, which is far from perfect and deprived of spirituality. Such physical worships as namâz, abdest (ablution), facing the qibla (during namâz), hajj, and fasting have no effect on the heart, and since it is onerous and arduous to observe these worships, the religion of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is not suitable for every community on the earth. In short,Qur’ân al-kerîm’s not confirming the fact that Allâhu ta’âlâ had no other way than shedding the blood of His only Son for the forgiveness of His sinful born slaves and for their salvation from the pestering of the devil, proves the fact that Qur’ân al-kerîm has not been revealed by Allah. The rules stated in Qur’ân al-kerîm refer to physical worships only, and there is no injunction pertaining to the purification of the heart of vices or betterment of moral qualities. The commandments in Qur’ân al-kerîm, that is, those injunctions that are termed farz and wâjib, are unnecessary.”

ANSWER: This impugnment [and these slanders] of the priestly author of the book Ghadâ-ul-mulâhazât clearly evince the fact that, either he has never read Qur’ân al-kerîm or the books of the Islamic savants and therefore is vulgarly incognizant of Islam, or he is bluntly lying though he may know better. This priest likens Qur’ân al-kerîm, which was revealed to our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ through the wahy of Jebrâîl (Gabriel) ‘alaihis-salâm’, to those books that are ascribed to Matthew or John and which were compiled and fabricated by a number of anonymous priests. Writing sophisms quite contrary to facts, he insolently attacks Islam. This priest, [and all other priests and also the entire world] have to know that Qur’ân al-kerîm is the Word of Allah. It contains no lie, no human interpolation. If Qur’ân al-kerîm contained falsifications like various Christian beliefs, such as that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the Son of God [may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so], that Allâhu ta’âlâ, having no other way to forgive the sins of people whom He created, sent him through hadrat Maryam, left him helpless in the hands of a few Jews, who treated him with insults, slapped him on the face, and then crucified him, and that finally He made him accursed by burning him in Hell, it would not be the Word of Allah. Like today’s existing Gospels, it would lose its quality of being the Word of Allah. Furthermore, if this priest had read only a few books of Tafsîr and Hadîth-i-sherîf and thus acquired only a smattering of the styles and technicalities in those books, he would think shame to propose an ambiguous statement derived from a book which was written by Matthew and which is full of insertions as a proof against Muslims in his argument that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ were the Savior for all nations. If he were reasonable and did not mean harm as he professes in the preface of his book, he would not be annoyed to see that Qur’ân al-kerîm does not contain any preposterous statements like today’s copies of the Bible. He would not have the daring to say, “Qur’ân al-kerîm hushes up the fact that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the Savior for all mankind”, as if it were a fact and Qur’ân al-kerîm concealed it. As for the expression in the Gospel of Matthew which we have mentioned earlier; the word ‘Savior’ used here is not used in its full sense. [The absolute Savior is Allâhu ta’âlâ, when the word is used in its full sense. The word ‘Savior’, which is used about Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ in the Gospels, is a hyperbole which denotes through overstatement that he, being a Prophet, shall intercede for his sinful ummat and cause them to be saved in the hereafter. As a matter of fact, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ told his companions time and again that he was not a ‘savior’ but a humble born slave, and that power and authority belong solely to Allâhu ta’âlâ, who has no partner or likeness and whose existence is absolutely necessary, that is, who is wâjib-ul-wujûd. For instance, it is written in the twenty-third verse of the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ said about the sons of Zebedee, “... but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” (Matt: 20-23) On the other hand, in the thirtieth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is quoted as having said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John: 5-30) And again, it is written in the twenty-eighth verse of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ said, “... for my Father is greater than I.” (John: 14-28) What on earth could be so ignorant, so blasphemous and so devious as saying, “He is the only Son of God, and is the same as God Himself. He redeemed the sins by shedding his own blood”, about Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, whose statements we have quoted above? Supposing the purpose of Allâhu ta’âlâ were, as Christians allege, to forgive His sinful born slaves; what, then, was the point in first creating His only Son through a mother and displaying many miracles through him throughout his prophethood, and then making all the Israelites except five to ten humble devotees enemies, and him fleeing here and there of their fear and then at last succumbing to the Jews’ chase and, after being subjected to various insults, being killed yelling with pain on the cross, and after all, scorching him for three days in Hell and tormenting him in other ways? Who was there for Him to fear? If all human beings were by their nature kneaded with wrongdoing and sedition and therefore definitely needed such a (Savior), why did Allâhu ta’âlâ postpone sending him for six thousand years? Would it not have been much better if, for instance, He had sent him as a brother to Cain, the (eldest) son of Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’, in which case Cain, who had been predestined to commit homicide, would have killed God’s only Son, thus saving millions of people from Hell? Is it compatible with the justice and compassion of Allâhu ta’âlâ, who is the most merciful of the merciful, to put into Hell and torment so many pious people, among whom were Prophets who were visited by the Rûh-ul-quds, for thousands of years till the advent of His “only Son” Jesus Christ, on account of a sin that had been innate in them [since Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’], though they had no share in the sin? If what is meant by the ‘original sin’ is Âdam’s ‘alaihis-salâm’ peccadillo of eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, did he not have his deserts by being sent out of Paradise? Was that not enough? What is the contribution of all his descendants to this sin? What other penal code or system of justice imposes retribution on the son for a guilt committed by the father? So many cruel and barbarous rulers lived on the earth. Is there any record in history telling that any of them punished a newer generation for an offence committed by an older generation? Is Allâhu ta’âlâ, who is the most compassionate of all the compassionate, more cruel than all those tyrants and barbars (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so)? According to this logic (of Christians), the Jews who (are said to have) killed Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ should have attained the fortune of causing forgiveness for all people. For when these Jews are bid to enter Hell on the Day of Judgement they may say, “O Lord! Since Thou would not have forgiven the sins of Thine human creatures unless someone had shed the blood of Thine only Son, whom Thou had sent unto the earth to this end only, we killed him to fulfill this decree of Thine. If we had not killed him all these people created would not have been saved. We killed him only in order to execute Thine will and to save people from Hell. Doing this atrocious deed of manslaughter, we evoked general hatred. Is it worthy of Thine justice to castigate, let alone rewarding, us for this self-sacrifice of ours?” If they say so, will they not elicit the compassion or at least the sympathy of even those people gathered for the Judgement? Moreover, being the first man, Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’ was not aware of Satan’s adversity and turpitude, and it never occurred to him that Satan, who had been dismissed from the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ, would enter Paradise to mislead him. As is written in the Taurah, Satan first deceived hadrat Hawwa (Eva) by using various stratagems [and hadrat Hawwa, in her turn, inadvertently caused Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’ to commit an error. Now, (the Christian paralogism takes up the matter at this point), this error, being aggrandized in the view of Allâhu ta’âlâ, spread beyond Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’ and infested all his descendants up to God’s only Son. Thus it became inevitable that all should go to Hell and would not be pardoned unless God’s only son came to the world and his blood was shed. [For pardoning that sin, Allâhu ta’âlâ had no other way than shedding His only Son’s blood (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so). According to the reasoning of some priests we have talked to, “In past religions Allâhu ta’âlâ commanded to make a sacrifice for each sin committed and declared that requital for sinning was shedding blood, dictating the number of animals to be sacrificed for each sin. Expiation for each sin was shedding blood. This fact is written in the Old Testament. Yet animal blood would not suffice for the original sin; human blood would be necessary.” On the other hand, as has been mentioned above, according to the Bible, “Allâhu ta’âlâ, having no other way than (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so) sacrificing His only Son, sacrificed His only Son, thus shedding human blood and forgiving the original sin, which had been inherited from the first father.”]

Following (today’s existing copies of) the Taurah and the Bible, Christians believe that a Christian who has committed one of the forbidden acts, such as murder and fornication, will attain forgiveness by giving a certain amount of money to a priest, who in his turn will say that he has forgiven him, or by uniting with the Lord by consuming his flesh and blood, or by standing bare headed and gazing at the sky. [Since it is so easy to attain forgiveness, would it not have been better if God’s only Son, instead of being sacrificed, had begged God, so that God would have forgiven that sin for the sake of His divinized Son?]

Furthermore, sacrificing one’s life for something is optional and is therefore dependent on one’s full assent. Had the consent of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ been obtained for killing him? There is sufficient evidence to prove to the contrary; as is written in the Bible, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ prayed to the Father, “O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: ...” (Matt: 26-39); fearing a possible danger, he said (to others), “Do not tell anyone where I am”; and he supplicated on the cross, “E’li, E’li, la’ma sa-bach’tha-ni (My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me)?” (ibid: 27-46); all such events show that his blood was shed, that is, he was sacrificed regardless of his option. For instance, if a person willingly spends some money for the sake of his religion or nation, his case will be an example of self-sacrifice. But a person who has had to give something or has been forced to do so cannot be said to have done self-sacrifice. [Then, how can Christians, who believe that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so) killed and that he made the above-quoted statements, hold the belief at the same time that he sacrificed himself for the sake of sinful people? This latter belief of theirs and the statements quoted from Îsâ ‘alahis-salâm’ in the Gospels are contradictory. “Two opposite facts cannot coexist.”]

It is written in the existing copies of the Bible that if a person blasphemes the Holy Spirit he shall never be forgiven. There are no prescribed punishments for other sins in the Gospels. On the other hand, Catholic priests deliver from sins in return for a certain amount of money, depending on the gravity of each sin.

According to the âyat-i kerîmas in Qur’ân al-kerîm, there are three kinds of sins:

1 — Şirk:[63] means to worship something other than, or besides, Allâhu ta’âlâ. It means disbelief, unbelief, atheism. Disbelief is forgiven only if the concerned person repents and believes by heart. The hundred and sixteenth âyat of Nisâ sûra purports: “Allâhu ta’âlâ will not forgive those who attribute a partner (or partners) to Him, that is, disbelief.” [Of all the sins and vices, disbelief is the worst. A person who slights one of the commandments and prohibitions of Allâhu ta’âlâ becomes a disbeliever. None of the goodnesses, pious and charitable deeds of a disbeliever will do him any good in the hereafter. If a person does not have îmân, none of his goodnesses will be rewarded. There are kinds of disbelief. The worst, the gravest kind is (Şirk). It has been a generally accepted rule that when several subjects are to be referred to under one common nomenclature, the gravest one is mentioned. For this reason, the word (şirk) used in âyat-i-kerîmas and hadîth-i-sherîfs comprehends all sorts of disbelief. So it is understood from the âyat-i-kerîma cited above that disbelievers will be scorched everlastingly in Hell. A Muslim who abandons the Islamic faith and becomes a disbeliever is called murtad (apostate). All the former worships and thawâbs (all pious deeds that deserve to be rewarded in the world to come) of an apostate will come to naught. Unless an apostate repents and ceases from his behavior that has made him a disbeliever, he shall not become a Muslim by saying the Kalima-i-shahâdat or by performing namâz. Therefore, one should be very much afraid of disbelief. It is declared in a hadîth-i-sherîf, “Always say what is good and useful. Otherwise keep quiet.” One should shy away from words and behaviors that are not compatible with Islam. It is declared in a hadîth-i-sherîf, “Beware from şirk. Şirk is more stealthy than the sound of an ant’s footsteps.” Because disbelievers would remain disbelievers if they lived forever, the punishment for their disbelief is to be tormented in Hell forever. Therefore, it cannot be asserted that it would be cruelty to torment disbelievers forever.]

2 — Grave sins: are the acts of violating the prohibitions of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Homicide, theft, lying, arrogance, i.e. conceit, are only a few examples. He who has done these, that is, who has committed a grave sin, if he has not made tawba[64] (before dying) and if he does not attain shafâ’at (intercession) in the next world, shall be scourged with Hell fire as long as he deserves on account of his sins, and shall attain forgiveness by Allâhu ta’âlâ owing to the îmân he has had.

3 — Not to do the worships that are termed (farz) and (wâjib) and which have been enjoined by Allâhu ta’âlâ.

There are two kinds of tawba:

Firstly: Tawba for the sins that involve violating the rights of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Examples of sins of this sort are neglecting the worships termed (farz) and (wâjib) and committing the acts forbidden by Allâhu ta’âlâ. Not performing namâz (which is farz) and not giving the prescribed alms termed zakât (which is farz under the conditions dictated by Islam) are sins of this category. Those Muslims who have committed sins of this sort shall be pardoned by Allâhu ta’âlâ when they make tawba-i-nasûh. The eighth âyat of Tahrîm sûra purports: “O Believers! Repent for your sins and make tawba-i-nasûh to Allâhu ta’âlâ.” Tawba-i-nasûh means to repent for one’s sins, supplicate Allâhu ta’âlâ for forgiveness, and to be determined not to sin again till one dies. The two hundred and twenty-second âyat of Baqara sûra purports: “Allâhu ta’âlâ loves those who make tawba.” As it can be inferred from these and other glad tidings in Qur’ân al-kerîm and from the hadîth-i-sherîf which announces the good news, “A person who makes tawba for his sin is identical with one who has never sinned at all,” sinners who make tawba shall attain forgiveness by Allâhu ta’âlâ.

Secondly: Tawba for the sins in which rights of the born slaves, e.g. people, are involved, too. Examples of these sins are usurpation, oppression, backbiting, etc. People who have committed one of these sins, [if they have not repaid the wronged person his right or settled the matter with him somehow or obtained the wronged person’s consent or renunciation], shall never attain Allah’s forgiveness and shall be punished in the hereafter, unless the plaintiff withdraws his action on the Day of Judgement. However, being Believers, they shall be tormented as long as they deserve, and then they shall enter Pradise. Or, Allâhu ta’âlâ, the most merciful of the merciful, shall offer such gifts to the wronged party as will wheedle him into agreeing to the waiver. Thus, the wronged party attaining these gifts and renouncing their right willingly, the wrongdoer shall be pardoned.

As it will be understood from the information given above, contrary to the suppositions and calumniations of the demurrant priests, pardoning of Muslims’ sins is not possible only by their saying the Kelima-i-tawhîd or the Kelima-i-shahâdat. Islam has clearly declared that there cannot be a likeness, a partner or a deputy of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Therefore, in the hereafter, sinners will be interceded for only with the permission and decree of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Muslims, putting their trust in the âyats of good news expressed in Qur’ân al-kerîm, look forward to the infinite blessings of Allâhu ta’âlâ in a state of (beyn-al-khawfi wer-rajâ), which means ‘midway between fear and hope.’ Christians, on the other hand, expect that their sin, regardless of its kind, will be pardoned only by the priest’s saying, “I have forgiven thee,” and thus they will attain God’s kingdom, that is, Paradise. Now, it only takes honest reasoning to decide which of the two creeds is worthy of the Honour of Divinity and compatible with the humility that born slaves must endue themselves with.

The book (Ghadâ-ul-mulâhazât) traduces Qur’ân al-kerîm, especially in its hundred and forty-fifth page, as follows:

Qur’ân al-kerîm demotes Christ to Prophet by not referring to his grade of Savior. It denies the fact that he is the Savior, the man who fulfilled the desire of his heavenly Father by sacrificing his life for the sake of other people and thus saving men from the slavery of the great sin. Instead, it states that the true and the latest Savior is Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’, who, as is written by the scholars of Siyer,[65] approved of others’ being sacrificed for protecting his life and carrying out his commandments.”

ANSWER: The dogma that people have been born sinful since Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’ and are therefore under the slavery of depravity, is a Christian fabrication. The Gospels do not contain such a statement. It would be futile to cudgel the brain trying to solve this enigma.

Islam not only guides people in their outward behaviour, [such as deeds and worships], but also teaches them how to cleanse their hearts and souls. The eighty-eighth and the eighty-ninth âyats of Shu’arâ sûra purport: “On the Judgement Day, neither property nor progeny shall do good. Yet one who comes to Allâhu ta’âlâ with qalb-i-selîm, [with a heart purified of vices], is an exception, [that is, he alone shall be saved].” This âyat-i-kerîma and hundreds of hadîth-i-sherîfs commending and advising purification of the heart, doing good and having beautiful moral habits, in addition to manners and actions of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ and the kindnesses he did even to his enemies, are in the open. When these facts are known, it will spontaneously be seen how mendacious and how illiterate the priestly author of this book is. We have already explained by giving quotations from the Bible that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ did not sacrifice his life in order to fulfill the desire of his heavenly father. That is, it is written in the Gospels that before he was crucified he prostrated himself with anxiety and said, “O Father, let this cup pass from me.” [This event is told in detail in the fourteenth chapter of Mark and in the twenty-second chapter of Luke. It is written in the forty-fourth verse of the twenty-second chapter of Luke: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke: 22-44) All these things are derived from the Christian creed. According to the Islamic creed, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was neither crucified, nor killed at all. It was his hypocritical betrayer Judas Iscariot that was crucified. The Jews mistook him for Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and crucified him. Allâhu ta’âlâ elevated Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ to the third heaven. He prayed very earnestly so that he could be one of the Ummat of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’, the only comforter, whose good news is given even in today’s copies of the Bible and whom Christians call Paraclete, which is translated into English as encourager (or admonisher). Towards the end of the world Allâhu ta’âlâ shall send him (Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’) down to earth again. Then Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ shall follow the Sharî’at of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ and shall say halâl (permitted) for whatever he said halâl, and harâm (forbidden) for whatever he said harâm. Paraclete means Ahmad. And Ahmad, in its turn, is one of the names of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’. Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is one of the Prophets called Ulul’azm (the highest Prophets). He is not the son of Allah (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so). He was not a God from God, or a light from light. Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was a human being. He cannot be worshipped.]

This slanderous priest, by his statement, “who approved of others’ being sacrificed for protecting his life”, implies our Prophet’s ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ ordering hadrat Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ to lie in his (the Prophet’s) bed during the Hijra (Hegira). Explaining in the next page that this event is what he means, he essays to demonstrate, as it were, that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the last Prophet and therefore superior to and more virtuous than Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’. However, his argument seems to prove to the contrary. For he says in the twenty-ninth page of the same book, “Jesus Christ appeared among the Israelites and found them ready to accept him.” And further ahead, from the hundred and twelfth page to the hundred and thirteenth page, he endeavours to prove that the Arabs, being heathens, were not ready to accept a new religion.

According to a narrative, people who believed in Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ were no more than twenty men, and a few women who had been cured of epilepsy. Supposing these believers had at the same time confirmed, as Christians presume, that he was divine; then why is it that none of these believers complied with his admonitions, such as, “If you had a streak of belief, you should lift up a mountain,” which he asseverated in order to instill a mature belief and trust in Allah into them, and “If one of you sacrifices his life for my sake, he shall attain eternal life,” the good news he had given them a few days before his (supposed) crucifixion? On the contrary, one of the Hawârîs who are looked on as Messengers, [Apostles, that is], by Christians, namely Judas, let alone sacrificing his life, showed the Jews the place where Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was in return for a bribe of thirty pieces of silver. The other disciples, who occupied the position of Apostleship, “forsook him, and fled” when Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was caught [Matt: 26-56]. Peter, who was the highest of all, had sworn an oath to Christ and said, “Though I should die with thee, yet I will not deny thee, ...” [Matt: 26-35]. Amongst those tumults, as Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was being taken away, he followed him afar off [Matt: 26-58]. Then, when the rooster crowed, he denied three times with imprecations that he knew Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ [Matt: 26-74].

[On the other hand, all the As-hâb-i-kirâm, who belonged to the Arabic nation that this priest asserts were not ready to welcome a new religion, confirmed the Prophethood of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives and property willingly for the sake of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’. Here are a few examples:

The Ghazâ (Holy War) of Uhud[66] is one of the greatest and most important holy wars in the history of Islam. This holy war was about to end in a victory of the As-hâb-i-kirâm, when the heathens, making a detour of the valley, circumvented the As-hâb-i-kirâm ‘alaihimur-ridwân’ and attacked them from behind. The Islamic army disintegrated. Many of the As-hâb-i-kirâm attained the rank of martyrdom. The valour and bravery of the As-hâb-i-kirâm who took part and were martyred in this war made up the most honourable legend of heroism in the history of Islam. We shall relate the states in which some of the Sahabîs were:

That day Talha bin Ubaidullah ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’, seeing that Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ was surrounded by the heathens, was at a loss as to where to run, which way to turn. He was now fighting back those who attacked from the right, then grappling with the assailants from the left. Meanwhile he was shielding Rasûlullah with his own body and shuddering with the fear that Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ might be injured. Keeping close to Rasûlullah, he was fighting, turning about, and fighting on. Among the heathens there was a skilled archer who hit whatever mark he aimed at. This villain, Mâlik bin Zubair by name, aimed at our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ and threw his arrow. It was just about too late to stop the arrow whizzing towards Rasûlullah’s blessed head, when Talha ‘radiyallâhu anh’, seeing there was no other way to stop it, swiftly opened his hand and held it against the arrow. The arrow pierced his palm.

Umm-i-Umâra ‘radiy-Allâhu anhâ’, one of the female Sahabîs, together with her husband and her son, was fighting beside Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’. Her son, her husband, and she herself were shielding Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ with their bodies. Meanwhile she was bandaging the wounds of her son and the other Sahabîs, and fetching water to the thirsty Sahabîs. Then, snatching a sword, she began to fight. An unbeliever named Ibni Kâmia had sworn an oath to kill Rasûlullah. When he saw Rasûlullah he assailed. Umm-i-Umâra stood before his horse, stopped his horse, and charged against him. The heathen being armour-clad, her blows did not have much effect. Had not he had his armour on, he would have joined the other killed heathens. The heathen made vehement counter-attacks and finally delivered her a fatal wound on the throat. Here is Rasûlullah’s blessed remark about her: “On the day of Uhud, wherever I looked I always saw Umm-i-Umâra, and Umm-i-Umâra again.”

Mus’ab bin Umeyr ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ was carrying the banner of Muhâjirs in the Holy War of Uhud. He had two sets of armours on him. The wicked unbeliever Ibni Kâmia set upon Mus’ab ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’. For Mus’ab ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ was shielding Rasûlullah with his body. With one stroke of his sword, Ibni Kâmia cut off Mus’ab’s ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ right arm. So he held the banner with his left hand. In the meantime he was soliloquizing and saying the fourteenth âyat-i-kerîma of Âl-i-’Imrân sûra, which purported: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah alone.” A second stroke, and this time his left arm was cut off. Upon this he pressed the banner on his chest, using what remained of his mutilated arms and at the same time reiterating the same âyat-i-kerîma. He did not let go the Banner of Islam. At last he succumbed to a spear that was thrust into his chest, and attained martyrdom. Yet he was still in possession of the Islamic Banner.

Hubeyb bin Adiy and Zayd bin Desinna ‘radiy-Allâhu anhumâ’ had been entrapped, enslaved, and then sold to the polytheists of Qoureish by the sons of Lihyan, who were polytheists, too. Before martyring Hubeyb, they told him that they would set him free if he abandoned his religious faith. He replied, “I swear by the name of Allah that I shall not abandon my religious faith! I would not abandon Islam even if the entire world were given to me in return.” Upon this the polytheists asked, “Would you rather put Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ in your place and have him killed, so that you may go home and live comfortably?” Hubeyb ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ answered, “I would sacrifice my life even to prevent a thorn from stinging the blessed foot of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ in Medina. The unbelievers marvelled at this excessive love of Hubeyb’s. Then they martyred him.

These events and hundreds of other examples that could be written here bear witness to the fact that all the As-hâb-i-kirâm and all the other Muslims that have come to the earth for fourteen hundred years were and have been willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Rasûlullah and for attaining love of Allâhu ta’âlâ. The Apostles, on the other hand, who are accepted as Messengers by Christians, not only deserted Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and ran away at his most grievous time, but also swore afterwards that they did not know him. These cases are written in today’s Gospels.]

Every truth is fully known only by Allâhu ta’âlâ; our Prophet’s ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ enjoining this sacrificial act on Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ in the night of Hegira was intended to answer any possible future question as to why the latest Prophet did not arise from a nation who were ready to welcome a new religion, thus silencing those Christians who might ask such a question once and for all. [For though he had arisen among a nation not ready for a new religion, an injunction given to a person who believed in him was carried out willingly despite the danger of losing his life. This fact is one of the greatest proofs demonstrating the superiority and virtue of our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’. This priest contradicts himself.] Another very subtle point of hikmat here is this: it may be considered that Rasûlullah’s ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ assigning this duty to one of his Companions must have been one of his admonitory miracles (mu’jizas), for this event makes up a good criterion by which to compare the Apostles and the Ashâb-i-kirâm, and gives a mortifying answer in advance to the objectors and adversaries who assert that “Islamic religion spread through outward advantages and by compulsion.” [For Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ lay in Rasûlullah’s bed without hesitation, as opposed to Peter and the Apostles’ forsaking Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and running away.]

Oppugning Islam, Protestant priests say: “The Bible exempted its believers from the worships performed by the Jews contemporary with Jesus Christ, and showed and taught its believers the most reasonable and acceptable forms of worship. However, Qur’ân al-kerîm relapsed into imperfection by commanding the soulless, physical and outward customs and worships of Judaism.”

ANSWER: We ask them: What is the meaning of Îsâ’s ‘alaihis-salâm’ statement, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” in the seventeenth and eighteenth verses of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew? Why was he circumcised as prescribed by the religion of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’? What was the reason for his celebrating fully all the certain feast days peculiar to the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ all through his lifetime? Why were his disputes with the Israelites about the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, and why did he rebuke them for nor following that Sharî’at? All these facts show that the assertions of this Protestant priest are quite incongruous with the teachings of the Bible and with the practices of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. Qur’ân al-kerîm is never dispossessed of perfection and spirituality. A person who does not perform the physical worships of a religion cannot benefit from the spirituality of that religion. This subject will be dealt with in detail later.

The Christian priests’ primary objection is Islam’s tahârat (cleanliness). Their first target, therefore, is the matter of tahârat, where they make their major offensive.

This priest says, “If Islam’s ablution were intended for the cleanliness of the people and for the cleaning of the body of its dirt, nothing could be said against it. Yet the soundness of worships, which are performed for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ, has been made dependent on making ablution and thus ablution has been made one of the essentials of worship. The predication that ‘Allâhu ta’âlâ will not accept a namâz without ablution’ is something to be dwelt on. Since it is declared in the Taurah, ‘The Rabb will not look as man looks. For man looks at the appearance, and the Rabb looks at the heart,’ making ablution before namâz will have no effect on the purification of the heart or on the inner essence of namâz. Nor will it be of any use for the soundness and acceptability of namâz. Accordingly, Qur’ân al-kerîm has made the sincerity and the presence of heart, which is the inner essence of worship, dependent on useless norms and customs. Moreover, the washing of hands and feet is useful and suitable for people living in hot climates and going about bare footed. As for those delicate and civilized people who live in cold zones and therefore have to protect their feet by wearing socks and shoes; ablution is an unhealthy obligation for them, especially for people who live in the Arctic regions: how onerous and how enervating it would be for them to break the ice and make ablution five times daily, and how unfair it would be to enjoin this obligation on them. Furthermore, turning towards the qibla is imitating the Israelites.”

ANSWER: It should be known that the Islamic religion is the most perfect and the most consummate form of all the religions and sharî’ats. In other words, it is a religion of unity that has brought together the outward and spiritual perfections. It contains no principle that might give the slightest harm to men. Each of its principles comprises many substantial and spiritual benefits for mankind. An apparent proof testifying to the fact that Islam has been sent by Allâhu ta’âlâ is that all its seemingly outward and formal principles embody many inner ultimate causes and innumerable benefits to mankind. These benefits are coming to the open as scientific and technical progress is made. People with eyes covered with the curtain of ignorance cannot perceive these ultimate truths and judge by appearanace only. The seventy-second âyat of Isrâ sûra purports: “A person [whose heart is so] blind [that he cannot admit the truth] in this world, will be blind in the hereafter, too, [and will not be able to see the way to salvation].” The people mentioned in this âyat-i-kerîma are the priests who make such statements as the ones quoted above. People who adapt themselves to Islam shall attain the rewards proportional to their sincerity and intention in the hereafter. High grades pertaining to the world to come have been promised to those whose eyes have been opened with the light of spiritual knowledge and who have gotten their shares from the heavenly blessings suffising the entire universe as far as their discernments and comprehensions would allow them. These promises, these blessings have been announced through âyat-i-kerîmas. What remains to be done on the part of the people of wisdom and sagacity, then, is to hold fast to the worships enjoined by Islam and at the same time, as is explained in detail in books of Tafsîr and Hadîth-i-sherîf, to purify their hearts of vices. How these will be done has been explicated in books written by thousands of ’Ulamâ of Ahl as-sunna. In addition, those who wish to be guided spiritually should resort to the Awliyâ-i-kirâm, who are the sources and the helmsmen of the voyage leading to Allâhu ta’âlâ.

Ulamâ of Tafsîr state that abdest (ablution) and tahârat, that is, cleanliness, being on the one hand very useful for physical health, as this averse priest also admits and acknowledges, are on the other hand a sign of the heart’s purity and peace. Namâz is to stand in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ. It is obvious that when you stand in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ your heart will be purified of vices. You cannot enter the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ with a heart that has not been purified of vices. As a matter of fact, this case applies to wordly affairs, too.

Making ablution means physical cleanliness, which deterges the body of germs five times daily; this is an obvious fact, and everyone with reason and knowledge is aware of this fact. On the other hand, even priests know that ablution invigorates the heart and purges the soul of vices. For instance, while explaining the virtues of ablution, the book (Riyâd-un-nâsihîn) relates the following event: Imâm-i-Ja’fer Sâdiq[67] visited a monk in order to give him a piece of advice. The door was opened rather late. When he asked why the monk said, “When I saw you through the chink, I was very much frightened by your awe-inspiring appearance. So I made ablution right away. It is written in the Taurah that when a person fears someone or something he should make ablution, for ablution protects against harms.” When Imâm gave him some advice, he became a Muslim then and there. His heart was purified with the barakat of ablution.

A person wearing dirty clothes will not be admitted to enter the presence of a sultan. This indicates that, contrary to the antagonistic priest’s supposition, ablution and tahârat are not inutile for (spiritual) peace and sincerity. People who live in northern countries, when they need ablution, make ablution with hot water only in the morning and then put on their socks and mests (soleless boots made of light leather). For the other four daily prayers of namâz, they may either keep their ablution or, if they cannot keep it, renew their ablution by making masah[68] on their mests. [Thus their feet will not be cold because they will not have to wash them, and at the same time they will be able to perform namâz. Those who cannot use cold water make tayammum by using soil in their snug rooms. The Protestant priest’s allegation is out of place because there is no need to break ice five times daily. Do those people lose their health because they have to break ice three times daily for washing their hands before meals?] If a person is too ill to make ablution, that is, if washing with water may impair his health, he can make tayammum. For the real purpose is not only to wash the hands, the face and the feet, but to purify the heart, [that is, to get ready to stand in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ, to remember Allâhu ta’âlâ]. In case of strong necessity, Islam never enjoins quandary. As a matter of fact, it is declared in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “There is no difficulty in the religion.” Qur’ân al-kerîmpur ports in the two hundred and eighty-sixth âyat of Baqara sûra: “Allâhu ta’âlâ would not enjoin on man something he would be unable to do.” In other words, Allâhu ta’âlâ commands an individual what he will be able to do, not what is beyond his capacity. [The twenty-eighth âyat of Nisâ sûra purports: “Allâhu ta’âlâ wishes your worships to be easy. Man is weak, frail by creation.” In Islam, there are two ways of worshipping. One of them is called (Ruhsat), and the other is called (Azîmet). Ruhsat embodies the facilities recognized and permitted by Islam. Choosing the easier way of doing something is acting upon the ruhsat. Preferring the difficult way is called azîmet. Acting upon the azîmet is more estimable than acting upon the ruhsat. If a person’s nafs does not wish to utilize the facilities, it will be better for him to give up following the azîmet and to act upon the ruhsat. However, acting upon the ruhsat should not make way to searching for facilities.] The hadîth-i-sherîf, “The most virtuous deed is the one which the nafs feels most averse to doing,” makes it quite clear what way would be the most correct to follow in doing the Islamic worships. For this reason, those Believers who have îmân-i-kâmil (perfect belief) prefer doing things that sound difficult to their nafs in order to attain the approval and love of Allâhu ta’âlâ. By doing so, they wish to attain high grades in the hereafter.

Christians, who worship only by uncovering their heads and gazing at the sky, do not even touch on bodily cleanliness and go to church with stinking bodies and dirty clothes and shoes and then expect, in that dismal, noisome atmosphere, that their hearts will be cleaned and they will (may Allâhu ta’âlâ protect us from saying so) unite with Allâhu ta’âlâ only by consuming a piece of bread and a draught of wine. It must certainly be very difficult for people with such a stupid presumption to comprehend the inner essence of Islam’s injunctions. Learning cleanliness from Muslims, they have saved themselves from being dirty, yet they are still maintaining those wrong beliefs and spurious worships of theirs.

Another objection raised by priests concerns namâz. They say, for instance, “Tekbîr, qiyâm, rukû’, and sajda are not appropriate outwardly; nor are they spiritual.”

ANSWER: They cannot seem to deliberate upon what the purpose of worshipping Allâhu ta’âlâ could be, from both physical and spiritual points of view. In whatever form, worship means to pay homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ, to thank, praise and laud Him for the countless blessings He has bestowed upon us out of His infinite treasury, to acknowledge your impotence, and to invoke the compassion of Allâhu ta’âlâ. If we are to investigate the elements of paying homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ (in namâz), all the rukns (rules, obligatory actions) in namâz, such as the qiyâm, during which one clasps one’s hands, stands in khushû (deep, humble, submissive reverence) in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ, thanks, praises and lauds Allâhu ta’âlâ by saying the Besmele-i-sherîfa and reciting the Fâtiha sûra, the rukû’ (bowing in namâz) and sajda (prostration), in which one makes tesbîh of Allâhu ta’âlâ, (that is, recites prayers praising Allâhu ta’âlâ), who is wâjib-ul-wujûd (being whose existence is indispensable), and affirming the greatness of Allâhu ta’âlâ by uttering the expression (Allâhu ekber) at each change of posture (during namâz); all these actions express homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ.

As it was informed by the Prophets of Benî Isrâîl (the Children of Israel), the qibla used to be in the direction of (Beyt-i-muqaddes) in Jerusalem. Later it was changed to (Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama). Because Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama had been built by Ibrâhîm ‘alaihis-salâm’, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ wished to worship in the direction of Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama. Allâhu ta’âlâ, whose compassion is boundless, granted His beloved what he wished by changing the qibla from the direction of Mesjîd-i-aqsâ (Beyt-i-muqaddes) to Mesjîd-i-harâm (Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama). The hundred and forty-fourth âyat of Baqara sûra purports: “Now turn your face towards Mesjîd-i-harâm.”

The Islamic religion includes a number of the rules that existed in the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, such as sacrificing an animal (at a certain time of the year), circumcision, prohibiton of (the consumption of) pork and carcass (animal not killed as prescribed by the religion), prohibition of earning interest, prohibitions of fornication and homicide, lex talionis (retaliation), and many others. Many of the rules that were existent in the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ have been falsified in today’s Christianity despite the admonitions of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’; yet some of the principles of the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, e.g. the prohibitions of fornication and homicide and the obligation of turning in the direction of qibla, have held on so far. Christians do not follow the Taurah though they say, “All the principles of the Taurah are valid and confirmed.” [When they are asked why they do not act upon the rules of the Old Testament (Taurah) though they believe its being a part of the Holy Bible, in which they believe as a whole, and say that the Old Testament also is a heavenly book revealed by Allâhu ta’âlâ, they answer that its rules have been abrogated. On the one hand they believe in the Taurah as a book of Allâhu ta’âlâ and quote verses from the Taurah whenever they need evidences to testify to the trueness of the Christian cult, and on the other hand, when they are asked why they do not follow its principles, they answer that its principles have been cancelled.] However, although some Christians, following a priest named Luther, who appeared in 923 [A.D. 1517], ceased from turning in the direction of Beyt-i-muqaddes as their qibla, millions of Catholic Christians are still facing Beyt-i-muqaddes (in their worships). They take no heed of Protestants’ ceasing from turning towards their qibla. For the purpose in worshipping is to pay homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ, to thank, praise, laud, pray and invoke Him. What could be in turning with a peaceful heart in a certain direction associated with a certain spiritual value that could be detrimental to the serenity and honour of worship? On the contrary, the heart will feel more placid when the direction to be faced is known.

Because their worships lack postures symbolizing servitude to Allâhu ta’âlâ, such as qiyâm (standing posture), rukû’ (bowing down), and sajda (prostration), Christians only look at one another’s faces in church services. Young boys and girls, notwithstanding the prohibition of visual fornication, cannot take their eyes off each other. Then, consuming the bread and wine which they believe have, by the breathing of the priest, become the flesh and blood of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, their supposed divinity, they celebrate the Eucharist and expect to unite with the Holy Spirit just by doing so. [Protestants celebrate the Eucharist as a memorial.]

The purpose of worship is to submit and pay homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ, the Creator of all. It is evident which one of the two religions contains this submission.

In the Islamic religion, first the azân (or adhân) and then the iqâmet is recited before the farz (compulsory) part of the five daily prayers of namâz. The muazzin announces the azân loudly, as follows:

ALLÂHU EKBER: Allâhu ta’âlâ is great. He needs nothing. He does not need the worships of His born slaves. Worships give Him no use. [This expression is repeated four times in order to establish it (its meaning) firmly in minds.]

ESH-HEDU EN LÂ ILÂHA IL-L-ALLAH: I certainly testify and believe that, though He is too great to need anyone’s worship, no one other than He is worthy of being worshipped. Nothing is like Him.

ESH-HEDU AN-NA MUHAMMADAN RASÛLULLAH: I testify and believe that Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the Prophet sent by Him and the instructor of the way of doing the worships enjoined by Him.

HAY YA ’ALES-SALÂH, HAY YA ’ALAL FELÂH: O Believers, run to salvation and happiness, run to goodness, i.e., to namâz.

ALLÂHU EKBER: No one can do the worship worthy of Him. He is far too great for any person’s worship to be worthy of Him.

LÂ ILÂHA IL-L-ALLAH: He, alone, deserves to be worshipped, to mortify yourself before. No one can do the worship due to Him, nor is anyone except Him worthy of being worshipped. [Saying these words, he (the muazzin) invites Believers to namâz.]

[Allâhu ta’âlâ says about His beloved one, as is purported in the fourth âyat of Inshirâh sûra: “I shall raise thine name [in the east, in the west, all over the earth].” As you go westward the times of namâz become four minutes later at each longitudinal distance [111.1 kilometres]. At every twenty-eighth kilometre the azân of the same namâz is called again one minute after the one called at a place twenty-eight kilometres eastward. Thus azân is called every moment all over the earth, and the name of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is heard everywhere every moment. There is not a moment when his name is not mentioned within twenty-four hours.]

On the other hand, Christians’ invitation to church is done with bells. It is clear which one of the two methods of invitation to worship is more reverential to Allâhu ta’âlâ and more spiritual; the Islamic method or the Christian method?

Muslims perform namâz after azân. Before beginning to perform namâz, there are conditions to be fulfilled so that namâz be acceptable. They are six. If one of them is not fulfilled namâz will not be acceptable:

1 — Tahârat from hades: Means for a person without ablution to wash his limbs (of ablution) well. [Or for a person who is junub, (in a state that necessitates ritual washing), to make ghus] (ritual washing).]

2 — Tahârat from nejasat: Means to clean one’s body and clothes (or dress) and the place where one is to perform namâz of the dirt that can be seen. (What these dirts are, the amounts that will cancel namâz, ways of cleaning them have been dictated by Islam.)

3 — Istikbâl-i-qibla: To turn in the direction of Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama.

4 — Setr-i-awrat: Means for both men and women to cover the awrat parts of their bodies which Islam commands must be covered when performing namâz. These parts of awrat must always be covered when in company of others; it is farz.

5 — Waqt: Since there are certain times of worship in the religious cult of every community, by the same token, Allâhu ta’âlâ has allotted certain times for Muslims’ prayers of namâz. It is a grave sin to call azân before the prayer time comes, and the namâz performed prematurely will not be acceptable.

6 — Niyyet: Means to intend, to know the name and the time of the namâz one is to perform, not for a worldly reason or purpose, but for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and because it is a command of Allâhu ta’âlâ.

Christians go to church without washing. They annoy one another with their dirty smells. Because they do not have a form of worship that can be performed with a serene heart by turning in a certain direction, they keep looking at one another.

A comparison of the conditions that are to be observed by Muslims and those which Christians observe will reveal which one is more spiritual and more compatible with servitude to Allâhu ta’âlâ.

Now, let us explain what the rukns of namâz are:

1 — Tekbîr iftitâh: For beginning to perform namâz, a Muslim first raises his both hands to his ears (and women to their breast), dispels all kinds of thought except that of Allâhu ta’âlâ out of his heart, imagines himself in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and says, (Allâhu ekber). Its meaning is, “Allâhu ta’âlâ is far from resembling any figure, any fancy, any creature, and greater than everything qualified with perfection.”

2 — Qiyâm: Means to clasp the wrist at the navel (and for women on the breast) and to stand in the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ in a perfectly deep, humble reverence, that is, with khushû’ and adab.

3 — Qirâ’at: Means to say the Besmele and recite the sûra Fâtiha-i-sherîfa, which consists of, as we have stated earlier, thanking, praising, lauding Allâhu ta’âlâ, paying homage to Him, and invoking Him for hidâyet and selâmet (guidance to the right way and salvation and happiness). [In qiyâm, an additional sûra or some âyats are recited immediately after Fâtiha sûra.]

4 — Rukû’: Means to bow down once, gripping the knees with the hands and holding the back and the head level. The prayer to be recited during the rukû’ is: (Subhâna Rabbiyel azîm), which means, “I know my Rabb (Allah) is greater than everything, far from all attributes of deficiency and sacred.” [This prayer can be recited three, five, seven, nine, or eleven times.]

5 — Sajda: Means to put your face on the ground with a realization of your incapability and in humility, supplication, submission and invocation, twice, and to recite, (Subhâna Rabbiyel a’lâ). Its meaning is, “I know my Rab is higher than everything, exclusively far from all attributes of deficiency.”

In the Islamic religion, rukû’ and sajda are made only for Allâhu ta’âlâ, whose existence is absolutely necessary. When performing namâz, a Muslim stands in the direction of Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama and makes sajda to Allâhu ta’âlâ. Sajda is made towards Ka’ba, not for Ka’ba. He who makes sajda for Ka’ba will become a polytheist. It is not permissible to make sajda towards a human being or any other creature. For man is the noblest of all the creatures of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and in being human no man is nobler than another. Worldly positions or ranks cannot change man’s nature. [Even those people who professed themselves to be deities, i.e. Pharaohs and Nimrod, could not exempt themselves from eating, drinking or the other needs of human beings, or from death finally. Also Prophets ‘alaihimus-salâm’, the born slaves whom Allâhu ta’âlâ has chosen from among other people, are identical with other people in being human. That is, they, too, will eat, drink, and feel cold in cold weather. However, Allâhu ta’âlâ has endowed special blessings and various miracles on them. No pious born slave can attain the grade of a Prophet. Prophets are innocent; that is, they never sin. Some Prophets have committed venial faults called zalla. Zalla does not mean sin. It means not to do something in the most appropriate manner. It is a beautiful act, but not the most beautiful one.]

Putting the face on the ground, that is, paying homage by prostration, means to admit one’s humility and inferiority and to acknowledge the greatness, the superiority of the person one pays homage to. Reverence of this kind is not justifiable to anyone except Allâhu ta’âlâ, who is the real Sustainer, the Creator of the universe. In fact, our master the Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ had, let alone reverence, prohibited the As-hâb-i-kirâm ‘alaihimur-ridwân’ to stand up when he entered. Nor was there a special seat, a throne or a sofa allotted for him among the As-hâb-i-kirâm. Whenever our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ joined the As-hâb-i-kirâm, he would sit at a vacant and proper place. People who joined them afterwards, if they had not seen him before, would not know who he was, and sometimes they would ask where Rasûlullah was. This behavior of Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ could be taken as a good parameter to determine how we incapable people should act.

6 — Qa’da (sitting) as long as (to recite the prayer of) tashahhud: Means, after raising the head from the second prostration, to sit on both knees and recite the prayer of tahiyyât. The meaning of tahiyyât is: “All sorts of reverence and homage paid and all worships made belong to Allâhu ta’âlâ, and, O thou, Nebîy-yi zîshân (Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’), may salâmat (salvation, happiness, peace) and the Compassion and barakat of Allâhu ta’âlâ be on thee. May salâmat be on us and on all pious born slaves. I testify that there is no god but Allâhu ta’âlâ to be worshipped, and Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the born slave and Messenger of Allâhu ta’âlâ.” So these are the six rukns, essential principles of the prayers of farz (obligatory) namâz which Muslims have to perform five times daily. Since Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’, namâz was enjoined on the ummats of all Prophets. And the most perfect form of namâz has been enjoined and bestowed upon the Prophet of the latest time.

Now, is there anything that would detract from the divinity of Allâhu ta’âlâ or from the reverence due to Him in these actions which are the rukns of namâz? It is so strange that Protestants, who assert that the Islamic worships are not spiritual with all their clearly stated principles and conditions, have no established types of worships save Baptism, the Eucharist, and gospelling. According to them, these Christian worships are spiritual, and Muslims’ namâz is not (!).

The book (Menâqib-i-chihâr-i-yâr-i-ghuzîn) relates the following event in the ninety-third narrative about Imâm-i-Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’: Whenever Imâm-i-Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ began to perform namâz, he would be quite unaware of what was going on around himself. During a holy war an arrow pierced his blessed foot and stuck into his bone. The surgeon said that it would be impossible for him to endure the pain it would cause while being taken out, and suggested anaesthesia. Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’ answered, “There is no need for anaesthesia. You can take it out as I perform namaz.’ So, as he was performing namâz, the surgeon incised his blessed foot, pulled the iron out of the bone, and bandaged the wound. The namâz being over, he (hadrat Alî) asked the surgeon if he had extracted the arrow. When the answer was positive, he remarked, “For the sake of Allah, I felt no pain.” There are many hadîth-i-sherîfs declaring that the namâz of pious Muslims is identical with this.

Now let us make a brief survey of Christians’ worships:

1 — Baptism: [It is the primary Christian worship, or sacrament. Christians believe that baptism was imposed by Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ did not baptize anyone throughout his life. Nor did he ever enjoin baptism. [Christians believe that baptism is compulsory when a person becomes a Christian or changes his church, and carry out baptism in the name of Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. According to Christians, baptism is the unification of Jesus’ spiritual body, that is, his divinity, with his physical body, and it means rebirth with the Holy Ghost. They believe that the original sin, which they believe to have come from Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’, will be forgiven with baptism. Baptism is administered in church. Different churches hold different manners of baptism. Some of them administer baptism by immersion into water believed to be sacred, and others give it by sprinkling or pouring water upon the person. Also, the age of the person to be baptized differs in accordance with the church that will give baptism. Christians believe that a person who dies without baptism will remain sinful.] There is no spirituality in this.

2 — The Eucharist: We have already explained this sacrament in detail. [According to the Bible, in his last supper with the Apostles, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ broke the bread into pieces and gave a piece to each Apostle, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matt: 26-26) Then, holding out a cup of wine and saying that it was his blood, he made them drink it. Paul interpreted this and thus the Christian church established it as a sacrament. Formerly it used to be celebrated once a year. Later it began to be performed every week. We would like to ask priests: Could a worship be performed by drinking wine and eating bread dunked in wine? From what point of view would such a worship be apt to spirituality?]

3 — Reading the Bible (Gospelling): The pope reads a passage from the Bible and others listen to him without understanding the meanings. This could not be spiritual, either. For today’s Gospels are not the real Holy Book that was revealed to Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’; they consist of human statements.

Christians are also opposed to Muslims’ binding duty of hajj; they say, “Their (worship) is a reminiscence of the Jewish custom of visiting Beyt-i-muqaddes (al-Aqsâ), which is in Qudus-i-sherîf (Jerusalem), three times a year. For Allâhu ta’âlâ had promised to manifest Himself at that sacred place. But later Jews were smitten by the scourge of Allâhu ta’âlâ on account of the massacres they had committed. Their government was annihilated, their enemies invaded their territory and demolished Beyt-i-Muqaddes. As a substitute for Beyt-i-muqaddes, Allâhu ta’âlâ appointed the body of Jesus Christ His Beytullah (The Home of Allah). To this end He sent Jesus Christ to His born slaves. And, reinforcing those who believed him with the Holy Spirit, He blessed each of them with the grade of living Beytullah. Thus there was no more need for a special manmade home for Allâhu ta’âlâ to manifest Himself at. Allotment of another such home would run counter to the hikmat (ultimate divine wisdom) of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Jesus Christ’s statement, as is quoted in the Bible, ‘There shall come such a time when you shall neither offer this worship to Father nor make sajda in Jerusalem. Yet those who make true sajda; let them make sajda with their souls and in devotion everywhere. For Father wishes them to make sajda for Him in this manner,’ shall remain valid till the end of the world. This being the case, it would mean to reduce the high spiritual position of Christianity to a very low grade to fabricate a new home for all people to visit, to make the attainment of the infinite blessings of Allâhu ta’âlâ dependent upon that place alone, and to urge people to visit that place. And this, in its turn, would mean to relapse into the obsolete formal, outward Jewish customs.”

ANSWER: These objections of theirs are, like others, groundless, as follows:

1 — For one thing, Christians have to specify the verse and the Gospel from which they have derived this argument that the body of Jesus Christ replaced Beyt-i-muqaddes. It is a plain fact that the statements of an ecclesiastic who is employed in the church service for a salary of five to ten gold pieces could not be bases for Christian tenets.

2 — As it is written in the Gospels, throughout his life Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ visited Beyt-i-muqaddes and even tried to clean the place by ousting the pedlars in it. As it is seen, if Beyt-i-muqaddes had been annulled and he had superseded it, he would not have visited it continually, nor would he have purged the place of people who had been there to earn their worldly needs. And he would have said to his disciples, “Do not give regard to this Beyt-i-muqaddes any longer. I possess its significance. And each of you is a home of Allah.”

3 — Why should it be contrary to the ultimate divine wisdom of Allâhu ta’âlâ to choose another beyt (home) after the demolition of Beyt-i-muqaddes? According to the Islamic belief, Allâhu ta’âlâ does not have a partner or a likeness. He exercises His free will on His property. He appoints Beyt-i-muqaddes as the qibla for a certain length of time, then makes Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama the qibla. No one can meddle with Him.

In the days when the Gospels were being scribed, all the Nazarenes were acting upon the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and the Apostles and their disciples were visiting Beyt-i-muqaddes. There is no mention in the Gospels, therefore, as to the place to be visited.

4 — Also, the statement, “Allâhu ta’âlâ has not made the attainment of infinite heavenly blessings dependent upon visiting Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama,” is wrong. It is a prevarication fabricated by the priest in order to support his argument. If Qur’ân al-kerîmor hadîth-i-sherîfs contain any narrative purporting that “Attaining plenty of heavenly blessings depends only on visiting Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama,” he must state it clearly.

5 — Visiting Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama is not an injunction upon Muslims in general. A person who is to make hajj has to fulfill the conditions for making hajj. For instance, he must be rich and healthy, the expedition must be safe, etc. The priest’s prejudice and antagonism are palpable in this respect, too.

6 — A religion will not necessarily depreciate itself from a high grade and spirituality to the lowest grade simply by appointing a certain place for visit and for qibla. Nor is there any verse stating that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ is the ‘Beytullah (the Home of Allah)’ in the Gospels. This detraction from merit and spirituality is the priest’s personal vagary.

7 — The injunction of visiting Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama on Muslims is not a relapse into a void formal custom. For the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ had not abrogated visiting Beyt-i-muqaddes. Both the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ and the Islamic religion maintain many rules peculiar to the Sharî’ats of past Prophets. Maintaining them does not mean returning to the Sharî’at of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. Moreover, the priest exhibits his ignorance by qualifying hajj as ‘a formal worship’ without knowing its essential.

Let us give some brief information on hajj, one of Islam’s commandments:

First of all, a Believer who intends to make hajj has to make tawba truly and sincerely, (that is, with ikhlâs). If he owes anything to other people, he must pay them their dues. He must prepare the subsistence that will maintain his family during his expedition of hajj. He must take with him money enough to meet his needs during his journey to and from Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama, provided the money will be his halâl property, find meritorious fellow-travellers for himself, and he and his fellow-travellers must appoint the best-mannered, [the most knowledgeable and experienced] one among them as their emîr (leader), obey his suggestions and carry out his measures. [In addition, the journey must be safe, so that his life and property will not be at risk of destruction. If the journey is not safe, it will not be farz to make hajj.]

There are three farz (obligatory) acts in hajj:

1 — To wear (the garment called) ihrâm: Upon arriving at one of the places called mîkât which are at a certain short distance from Mekka-i-mukarrama, the hadjis (Muslim pilgrims) take off their clothes and assume the (garb called) ihrâm. They do not wear anything else. That is, like going to the place of Last Judgement, they disenthral themselves from worldly ornaments and garments and go, all in uniform dress, masters and slaves alike, with bare heads and feet (without wearing socks).

[It is farz to make hajj in ihrâm; a hajj done otherwise will not be sahîh (acceptable). (Ihrâm) consists of two white pieces of cloth like bath towels. One piece is wrapped around the part of the body below the waist, and the other piece is wrapped around the shoulders. It is not tied with threads or knotted. Certain things are forbidden for the person wearing ihrâm. Its details are written in books of fiqh and ilmihâl.][69]

2 — Tawâf: Means to go round Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama seven times to perform the sunnat-i-sherîfa of Ibrâhîm and Ismâîl ‘alaihimus-salâm’. [Tawâf is done within the Mesjîd-i-harâm. It is farz to make a special niyyat (to intend) for tawâf. The tawâf which is farz is called (tawâf-i-ziyârat). It is sunnat to begin tawâf by the (Hajar-ul-aswad).] During tawâf it is necessary to recite the prayers taught by Allâhu ta’âlâ and His Messenger. The blessed meanings of these prayers are to pay homage to Allâhu ta’âlâ in the most beautiful way and to invoke Him for His Compassion.

3 — Waqfa on Arafa: (To perform the pause on Arafat): All Muslims, young and old, rich and poor alike, with only their ihrâm on, like people gathering for the Last Judgement, gather on the hill of Arafat and invoke Allâhu ta’âlâ for forgiveness and compassion from immediately after the time of early afternoon prayer begins on the day of Arafa, which is the ninth day of Zilhijja month, till dawn of the following day. [If a person makes this waqfa (pause) on the hill of Arafat one day before or after this date, his hajj will not be sahîh.] Here, hundreds of thousands of Muslims recite the formula of Telbiya in Arabic with one accord. The meaning of Telbiya is: “I am Thine obediently, o my Allah, whose existence is absolutely necessary. I am ready for Thine command and I shall obey Thine Divine Will. Thou hast no partner or likeness.”

As for the spiritual aspect of hajj; connoisseurs of this matter have cited innumerable meanings pertaining to the proprieties and essential principles of hajj. In past religions, for being close to Allâhu ta’âlâ, one would leave society and live alone in mountains. Instead of enjoining this monastic life on the Ummat-i-Muhammad, Allâhu ta’âlâ has commanded them to make hajj. When a person makes hajj, his mind retreats from worldly interests such as trade, and he thinks only of Allâhu ta’âlâ. When Muslims, far from ostentation or hypocrisy, leave their families and homes and fall into this valley and desert, they get out of this world and contemplate the place of Judgement and the hereafter. When they take off their clothes and assume the white-coloured ihrâm, they envisage themselves to be entering the presence of Allâhu ta’âlâ in their shrouds. While reciting, “Leb-beyk”, that is, “I am Thine obediently, o my Allah, I am ready for Thine command,” between the hope that their prayer will be accepted and the fear that it may be refused, they beseech Allâhu ta’âlâ for mercy and forgiveness. When they attain to Hârem-i-sherîf [Mesjîd-i-harâm], they know by now that the efforts of those who have come to visit Beytullah shall not come to naught. Because they visit Beytullah (the Home of Allah) for His sake, they are secure from His torment. When they visit the Hajer ul-aswad, rub their faces and hands against it and kiss it, they promise themselves that they shall always abide by the oath of allegiance they have made to Allâhu ta’âlâ. When they hang on to the cover of Ka’ba-i-mu’azzama, they imagine themselves as a culprit trusting himself to his benefactor, or a lover surrendering himself to his beloved one. All these are the proprieties of hajj.

On the other hand, Christians protest, “Some pilgrims’ hometowns are close (To Mekka), while others live in places far away. Therefore, the injunction of hajj upon all the Ummat-i-Muhammad runs counter to the justice of Allâhu ta’âlâ.” This statement can never be justified. For it is written in the Gospel of Matthew that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ stated, “The gate to the eternal life is extremely narrow, and the road leading to Hell is wide.”[70] Its meaning is this: “The deed that will guide to Paradise comes extremely difficult to the nafs. And the deed that will lead to Hell feels very sweet to the nafs.” Our Prophet “sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ stated, “The most virtuous deed is the one that comes most difficult to the nafs.” The worse the difficulty, the better the reward; therefore, those hadjis who come (to Mekka) from remote places shall attain many rewards. And this, in its turn, is not injustice, but it is the very justice itself. The Islamic religion does not contain any injunction impossible for man to do. People for whom hajj is not farz will not be sinful for not making hajj. As it is stated in the hadîth-i-sherîfs,“Deeds are dependent upon intentions” and “The Believer’s intention is more virtuous than his deed,” those who have not had the opportunity to make hajj though they have wished to do so shall attain the rewards their intentions deserve.

The priests, who are opposed to fasting in (the month of) Ramadân, too, assert that it has been adopted from the Israelite traditions and add, “The Bible, which has no injunction pertaining to fasting, has conferred freedom upon people in this respect.”

Protestant priests allege, “There is a kind of dietary fast among some Catholic, Byzantine, Armenian and other Christian communities; yet this is an imitation of Jewry. The Bible has no such commandment. Protestants avoid imposing such a heavy burden on mankind. They only advise people to refrain from evil intentions and superstitions. Thus, a religion that leaves people to their options with respect to outward and trivial worships such as these is certainly more virtuous than a religion which compels people to formal and outward worships. For worshipping of one’s own accord is the habit of a child that obeys its father willingly. Compulsory obedience to canonical injunctions, on the other hand, is the attribute of a slave who has to obey his master. It is extremely unhealthy, especially in summertime, to shift the habit of eating and drinking during the day to eating and drinking at night and to continue this one month. It is averred by medical doctors that it may cause many illnesses. Moreover, because the durations of days and nights differ from one country to another, performance of this binding duty takes a longer time in some countries of the world than it does in others. This, in its turn, is incompatible with the justice of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Daytime takes one month in countries with sixty-seven degrees of latitude, two months in those with sixty-nine degrees of latitude and three months on latitude 73°. For this reason, fasting is impossible for Muslims living in countries with these latitudinal degrees. It would obviously be incongruous with the ultimate divine wisdom and the absolute divine justice of Allâhu ta’âlâ to enjoin a religion which is not suitable in all cases and for people all over the world upon all mankind. On the other hand, thousands of people in such countries are following Christianity and performing its tenets without any difficulty. And this, in its turn, is a palpable evidence to prove the fact that Islam could not be more virtuous than Christianity.”

ANSWER: All these objections [and vilifications] have been rebutted with innumerable evidences; as follows:

1 — Fasting existed in the religion of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. It maintained its original form in the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, too. We shall explain this later. Existence of fasting in the Islamic religion cannot be censured.

2 — The statement, “The Bible does not contain any commandment pertaining to fasting; it leaves everyone to his (or her) option,” would be a bare lie. For there is no Biblical verse giving people the option between fasting and not fasting by clearly stating, “Everyone is free to fast or not to fast.” If there is one, let the priests quote it.

3 — The diet existent in the tenets of Christians belonging to Catholic, Byzantine and Armenian churches was originally fasting. Yet later, along with the interpolations and abrogations pertaining to worships, which Paul executed [in order to sever the Nazarene religion from Judaism for good and to turn it into idolatry], it was brought into its status quo. To say that the Bible does not contain any commandment pertaining to fasting is to slander the Bible outright. It is written in the Gospels that “And when he (Jesus) had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.” (Matt: 4-2); that he ordered, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance:” (ibid: 6-16); and that he said, “Likewise, fasting will take the devil out,” to the astonished on-lookers when he exorcised the devil out of a paralytic person. Hence it is understood clearly that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ both fasted himself and commanded to fast with ikhlâs and only for Allah’s sake. As Paul tormented, persecuted, and executed true Believers of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, fabricated a chimerical lie, which we have detailed above, established the so-called Christianity, either distorted or abrogated the rules of the Sharî’at of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, such as fasting and circumcision, now with the pretext that they would mean to follow Judaism, then likening them to inexplicable abstractions, Peter tried to prevent him. Yet Paul’s men, being too aggressive for Peter, thwarted him. It is stated clearly in the Gospels and other books written by Christian dignitaries that Peter, though highly meritorious and virtuous, was weak-hearted enough to fear Jews and deny knowing Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’.

4 — Protestants have no right to say, “Instead of imposing such a heavy burden as fasting on mankind, we advise all people only to keep away from depraved, evil intentions and superstitions.” For the principles of a true religion sent down by Allâhu ta’âlâ cannot be changed by people. It is for this reason that many priests objected to all the decisions taken in ecclesiastical assemblies. Also, Protestants refuse and rebut most of the decisions of these councils. Therefore, such pieces of advice given by the priestly founders of Protestantism such as the priestly author of the book (Ghadâ-ul-mulâhazât), who are hired by Protestant organizations, cannot be of any value. Fasting is not only abstinence from eating and drinking. There are many spiritual virtues and uses in fasting. No one, a priest or otherwise, has the authority to change or interpolate a farz based on divine principles.

5 — Fasting is not an outward or trivial worship. As is known by people of sagacity, the body is the abode of the soul and the place where sensuous desires circulate freely. The more victorious the physical desires of the nafs, the fewer the spiritual manifestations. [In fact, no spiritual manifestations take place in such cases.] This rule applies to all religions and sects. In all of them, abridging sensuous desires, i.e. austere self-discipline, will bring one closer to Allâhu ta’âlâ. Ascetic discipline will mortify the carnality innate in the nafs. It is for this reason that all religions and sects have prized ascetic discipline.

Islam prescribes three standards for fasting:

1) Fasting of Awâm (the common people): It is the fasting of those who abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse within the time dictated by Islam [in the month of Ramadân].

2) Fasting of Hawâs: It is the fasting of those people who, along with observing the obligatory requirements of fasting, perform all the commandments of Allâhu ta’âlâ involving the eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet, and all the other limbs, and refrain from what He has declared to be harâm or mekrûh.

3) Fasting of Hâss-ul-hawâs, (that is, of the Awliyâ): It is the fasting of those who, in addition to observing all the conditions existent in the fastings of awâm and hawâs, which we have mentioned above, desist and protect their hearts from all sorts of mundane thoughts, even from any thought other than that of Allâhu ta’âlâ. In a hadîth-i-sherîf narrated by Imâm-i-Bukhârî ‘rahmatullâhi aleyh’,[71] our Prophet ‘sall-allâhu alaihi wasallam’ states, “If the fasting person does not abstain from lying, Allâhu ta’âlâ does not need his ceasing from eating and drinking.” People of haqîqat (inner, real essence of worships) have already realized that defective fasting performed without observing these conditions would be an outward and trivial deed, and declared this fact. [Those who commit sins while fasting should not give up fasting with the qualm that their fasting is worthless. Instead, they should go on fasting, invoke Allâhu ta’âlâ for forgiveness, and turn away from sinning. In fact, going on with fasting will protect one against sinning.]

6 — Also, the comparison, “Worshipping of one’s own accord is the habit of a child that obeys its father willingly. Compulsory obedience to canonical injunctions, on the other hand, is the attribute of a slave who has to obey his master,” is wrong for various reasons, such as:

a) Man has two great enemies: (his own) nafs, and the devil. Therefore, had it not been declared that those who ignored the religious commandments and prohibitions would be tormented, that is, if they had been made optional, it is doubtless that many people would not obey the injunctions.

b) While leaving all people to their options as regards fasting, why do not these Protestant priests give all people the same freedom in such tenets as Baptism and Eucharist? Why do they compel people to follow their instructions?

The Islamic religion classifies worships in accordance with their grades:

First grade: The most valuable and the most virtuous worship is to avoid harâms (Islam’s prohibitions). When a person turns his face away upon seeing something forbidden for him to look at, Allâhu ta’âlâ fills his heart with îmân. If a person intends to commit a harâm and yet does not commit it, he will not be recorded (by angels) as having committed a sin. Because committing a harâm means revolting against Allâhu ta’âlâ, avoiding it has been made the most virtuous worship. According to the Islamic religion, no one is born as a sinner or disbeliever. In addition, such a theory would be quite unreasonable.