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Islamic Ideology ( 24 May 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Fairy Tale of Alam-e-Arwah

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

 25 May 2022

Consider The Verse:

(7:172) When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful":

What came forth from the loins of our father is the sperm which fertilised our mother’s ovum which resulted in our conception. So, what this verse is saying is that belief in God has been genetically transmitted through our father’s genes. Comprehending how such sophisticated knowledge of a belief in God can be genetically transmitted requires knowledge developed in the last hundred years – knowledge that did not exist in the seventh century. The meaning is however communicated very well through 7:172 although it took 1400 years for us to understand precisely what it is saying.

You can imagine the difficulty that the people of the 7th century had understanding this verse and explaining it. The verse is explained as the souls of all having been gathered in Alam-e-Arwah and made to testify, while the verse is an allegorical way of saying, that belief in Rabb-ul-Alimeen is instinctive, and transmitted genetically from Adam to all his children through their fathers.

The Fairy Tale of Alam-e-Arwah

The fairy tale to explain verse 7:172 is reproduced below:

Allah (SWT) created all souls from Adam to the last man to come on this earth till the end of this universe. After creating all souls, Almighty Allah (SWT) gathered them in a wide field to take witness as to whether He is their Sustainer. All souls replied that of course, You (Allah) are our Sustainer. Almighty Allah (SWT) needed this witness from all Souls so that on the day of Resurrection they should not say that they were unaware of the reality that only Almighty Allah (SWT) was their Sustainer.

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Also Read:  Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Nafs’ Soul? (Part - 1)

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Did man have an existence before he was born? Not according to the Quran but yes according to the concocted fairy tale. Concocting an imaginary story to explain the verse inevitably led to several false beliefs that are held to this day to the detriment of Muslim society. The fairy tale leads to false beliefs such as:

1.       All those who will be born are pre-ordained since the souls were already created and addressed by Allah in Alam-e-Arwah. Birth control is therefore both meaningless and going against the will of God and therefore a sin. The souls are waiting to be born and procreation helps this process

2.       Any interference or attempt to limit procreation is not only useless since those who are destined to be born will be born but an act of Kufr against God.

3.       All those who procreate in large numbers are striving to help unfold Allah’s plan of bringing into being all the created souls. They are also rendering service to Allah by making as many as possible, born into their family to be raised as Muslims.

Modern Studies Confirm the Truth of Verse 7:172

 That belief in God is instinctive, is also supported by recent studies.

1.       Belief in God is part of human nature - Oxford study

2.       Is Belief in God Ingrained in Our ‘Human Nature’? A New Study Says So

 Led by two academics at Oxford University, the £1.9 million studies found that faith and religion come to human beings naturally — possibly instinctively. The project entitled the “Cognition, Religion and Theology Project,” took three years to complete and involved 57 academics and more than 40 different studies in 20 countries around the globe, and spanned disciplines including anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. It set out to establish whether belief in divine beings and an afterlife were ideas simply learned from society or integral to human nature.

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Also Read:  Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Ruh’ Soul? (Part 2)

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 Roger Trigg, the project’s co-director said:

“If you’ve got something so deep-rooted in human nature, thwarting it is in some sense not enabling humans to fulfil their basic interests.  There is quite a drive to think that religion is private.  It isn’t just a quirky interest of a few, it’s basic human nature.  This shows that it’s much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. It’s got to be reckoned with. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there.”

Trigg explains that the faithful can look at the data and say, ‘If there is a God, then … he would have given us inclinations to look for him.”  On the flip side, atheists would potentially accept the notion that faith appeals to the human heart and mind, but that humanity must evolve and move beyond simple myths.

Arguably, the former argument seems more compelling, especially considering the fact that religious beliefs remained consistent, despite major cultural differences.  Clearly, a common thread connects the human search for a higher being.

In the end, the study contends that, regardless of culture, belief in the afterlife and in purposeful happenings (or happenings with divine purpose) are completely natural and ingrained in human nature.  Rather than existing as a remote or infrequent societal occurrence, faith and religion are normal (and frequent) human experiences.

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Also Read:   Islam and Mysticism: What Else Is Confused With Soul? (Part 3)

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Why Do Even Scholars Who Are Medical Doctors Subscribe To The Concocted Tale Of Alam-E-Arwah?

The myth of Alam-e-Arwah from Sufi cosmology is followed unquestioningly by even Dr Israr Ahmed who was a medical doctor and a Deobandi. One would expect a medical doctor to understand verse 7:172 correctly. What explains the blindness of even highly educated professionals such as Dr Israr Ahmed? The fact that the Muslims interpret the Quran through the concocted Ahadith. This is why I say that once the Muslims learn to read the Quran sans all their intellectual presuppositions to learn what the Quran actually says, we will have a religious revolution just as we had a scientific revolution when we learned to see the world, not through our intellectual presuppositions but exactly as it is through empiricism and by adopting of the scientific method. This is covered in my article:

 Erroneous Intellectual Presuppositions are Obstacles to Progress

 Many of the verses of the Quran cannot be understood correctly, except with the help of discoveries made by science in the last couple of centuries. Until such discoveries were made, these verses were mistranslated and misunderstood. Science corroborates what the Quran tells us. Science and the Quran are never at loggerheads.

Now if we are to keep the Quran and Science in distinct realms, and understand the Quran through the commentaries of the imams of the tenth century, then one must believe in the myth of Alam-e-Arwah and not understand the verse correctly. This is however precisely what the bigoted Mullah would want us to do – keep science and religion in different realms and believe in their myths! The apostates and the Islamophobes would also like our understanding to remain defective so that they can attack Islam and the Quran.  The ignorant Mullah who blindly follows the scholars of the past, the Islamophobe, and the apostate, have much in common.

No amount of knowledge of Arabic or reading of the Quran and all of the Tafseers is going to help you understand the verse correctly but once explained, anyone can see that the explanation fits the verse perfectly.

The correct answers to the questions cannot come from intuition or implicit knowledge which past scholars claimed while explaining the meaning through their concocted stories, but from explicit knowledge and reason. The knowledge of how sophisticated knowledge is genetically transmitted, did not exist until the 20th century. Such knowledge covers the whole gamut of talents that are inherited from parents. Since the belief in God is common to all humans, this can be understood as instinct.

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A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation.


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