The only other Qur'anic mention of the flight of fancy is found in the 17th surah which opens: "Glory to Him who carried His votary by night from the Sacred Mosque (at Mecca), to the farther Temple, the environs which we have blessed, that we might show him some of Our Signs. Verily He hears and sees."
The six-year-old Aisha, who married the fifty-year-old prophet within days of Khadija's death, said: Ishaq:183 "The Prophet's body remained where it was. Allah removed his spirit at night." In that there was no way to see Jerusalem at night in the seventh century, the cover of darkness must have suited Islam's demonic spirit. Aisha further indicted her husband's tale with: Bukhari:V4B53N400 "Once the Prophet was bewitched so that he began to imagine that he had done a thing which in fact he had not done." Finishing the job, she said: Bukhari:V4B54N457 "Whoever claimed that Muhammad saw his Lord is committing a great fault, for he only saw Gabriel."
While Aisha's criticism was incriminating, there was a bigger problem. There was no Temple in Jerusalem. Six centuries years before al-Buraq took flight, the Romans destroyed it. By 70 A.D. not one stone stood upon another. And that would make both the Islamic god and his prophet liars.
Bukhari:V4B55N585 "'O Allah's Apostle! Which mosque was first built on the surface of the earth.' He said, 'The mosque Haram in Mecca.' 'Which was built next.' He replied 'The mosque of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.' 'What was the period of construction between the two.' He said, 'Forty years.'" No matter how one goes about interpreting these facts and fantasies, Muhammad lied. If the Ka'aba was built by Allah, it was several billion years old. If by Adam, then the year was 4000 B.C. If by Abraham, it was 2000 B.C. If historical evidence is our guide, the year was about 500 A.D. The Temple of Solomon was built in 967 B.C. (precisely 1,000 years before Christ's crucifixion and resurrection in 33 A.D.). The Dome of the Rock was raised on the foundations of the Roman Temple of Jupiter in 691 A.D. As for the mosque, Al-Aqsa was constructed over a Roman basilica on the southern end of the Temple Mount many centuries later. Muhammad got the order wrong as well as the gap separating them.
While I'm not a psychiatrist, this story sounds delusional: Bukhari:V4B54N429/ V5B58N227 "The Prophet said, 'While I was at the House or standing place in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, an angel recognized me as the man lying between two men. A golden tray full of wisdom and belief was brought to me and my body was cut open from the throat to the lower part of my pubic area.' The Prophet said, 'My abdomen was washed with Zamzam water taking away doubt or polytheism or pre-Islamic beliefs or error. Then he took out my heart and filled it with belief and wisdom before returning it to its place. Then Al-Buraq, a white animal, smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me and I set out with Gabriel.' The Prophet said, 'The animal's step was so wide it reached the farthest point within reach of the animal's sight."
From the Sira: Ishaq:182 "While I was in the Hijr, Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot. He took me to the door of the mosque and there was a white animal, half mule, half donkey, with wings on its sides yet it was propelled by its feet. He mounted me on it. When I mounted, he shied. Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said , 'You should be ashamed to behave this way. By God, you have never had a more honorable rider than Muhammad.' The animal was so embarrassed, it broke into a cold sweat."
In a Hadith from Muslim's Collection, Muhammad dispenses with the surgery and adds two ritual prayers in the Temple along with a refreshing drink: Muslim:C75B1N309 "The Messenger said: 'I was brought on al-Buraq, an animal white and long. I mounted it and came to the Temple in Jerusalem. I tethered it to the ring used by the prophets and entered the mosque, praying two rak'ahs in it. Then I came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and one of milk. I chose the milk, and he said: "You have chosen the natural thing," and took me to heaven.'"
Ishaq:182 "When we arrived at the Temple in Jerusalem, we found Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, along with a company of prophets. I acted as their imam in prayer." In case you're curious: "Moses was a ruddy faced man, thinly fleshed, curly haired with a hooked nose. Jesus was a reddish man with lank wet hair and many freckles." Ishaq:184 "After the completion of my business in Jerusalem, a ladder was brought to me finer than any I have ever seen. An angel was in charge of it and under his command were 12,000 angels each of them having 12,000 angels under his command." Imagine that, 144,000,000 angels holding a ladder. "And none knows the armies of Allah better than he."
Knowing Muhammad, what do you suppose he asked to see first? If you guessed "Hell," you win. Ishaq:185 "Muhammad said, 'Order Malik to show me Hell.' 'Certainly! O Malik, show Muhammad Hell.' Thereupon he removed its covering and the flames blazed high into the air until I thought that they would consume everything." In Islam, wrong is right, down is up, hell is where Allah lives.
Bukhari:V4B54N429 and Muslim:C75B1N309 converge at this point and we learn that hell is in the nearest heaven: "'When I reached the nearest heaven, Gabriel said to heaven's gatekeeper, "Open the gate." The guard asked, "Who is it?" He said, "Gabriel." The gatekeeper said, "Who is accompanying you?" Gabriel said, "Muhammad." The guard replied, "Has he been called?" Gabriel said, "Yes." Then it was said, "He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!" Then I met Adam and greeted him and he said, "You are welcomed, O son and Prophet." Gabriel said, "These parties on his right and on his left are the souls of his descendants. Those of them on his right are the companions of Paradise and the parties which are on his left are the inmates of Hell. So when Adam looked towards his right side, he laughed, and when he looked left, he wept.'"
Ishaq gets a little graphic at this point: Ishaq:185 "Adam reviewed the spirits of his offspring. The infidels excited his disgust. Then I saw men with lips like camels. In their hands were pieces of fire like stones which they thrust into their mouths. They came out their posteriors." Before I tell you who deserved this fate, think about the folks who irked Muhammad most. Who wouldn't share what he coveted, who neglected him, allowing him to be abused? "I was told they sinfully devoured the wealth of orphans." Others had "bellies like camels." Some were "maddened by thirst." "Then I saw women hanging by their breasts. They had fathered bastards."
But not all was hellish. Speaking of the son whose wife he would steal in an act of incest, the prophet said, Ishaq:186 "He took me into Paradise and there I saw a damsel with dark red lips. I asked her to whom she belonged, for she pleased me much when I saw her. She said, Zayd . The apostle gave Zayd the good news about her." She was his consolation prize, I suppose.
Returning to Muslim and Bukhari: "'Then we ascended to the second heaven. The guard at the gate asked, "Who is it?" Gabriel said, "Gabriel." The gatekeeper asked, "Who is with you?" He said, "Muhammad" "Has he been sent for?" He said, "Yes." The guard said, "He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!" and opened the gate. Then I met Jesus and Yahya (John) who said, "You are welcomed, O brother and Pious Prophet."'"
Rising above Jesus: "'We ascended to the third heaven. The keeper of the gate asked, "Who is it?" "Gabriel." The gatekeeper asked, "Who is with you?" "Muhammad." "Has he been sent for?" "Yes." "He is welcomed. What a wonderful visit his is!" He opened the gate.' The Prophet added: 'There I met Joseph and greeted him. He replied, "You are welcomed, brother and Prophet!" We ascended to the fourth heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged with the gatekeeper. There I met Idris . He said, "Welcome Prophet." We ascended to the fifth heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged at the gate with its guard. There I greeted Aaron.'" The Islamic heaven is filled with Jews, and it has more gates and guards than do most prisons. I wonder if that's a coincidence?
Whatever the reason, they were all flung open for the great Arab prophet: "'Then we ascended to the sixth heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged. There I met and greeted Moses. When I proceeded on, he started weeping and on being asked why, he said, "Followers of this youth who was sent after me will enter Paradise in greater number than my followers.'" This passage provides a glimpse into Muhammad's corroded heart. In an effort to elevate himself he had the audacity to claim Moses was jealous of him.
Leaving Jewish prophets in the dust, our dynamic duo scampered ever higher: "'We ascended to the seventh heaven and again the same questions and answers were exchanged with the gatekeeper. There I greeted Abraham. He ascended with me till I was taken to such a height, I heard the scraping of pens. I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma'mur (Allah's House). I asked Gabriel about it and he said, 'This is where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (a fresh batch arrives daily).' I was shown Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (a tree) and I saw its Nabk fruits which resembled clay jugs. Its leaves were like elephant ears. Four rivers originated at its root; I asked Gabriel about them. "The two hidden rivers are in Paradise, and the apparent ones are the Euphrates and the Nile."'" At least he had that part right. He was in a state of denial.
"Fifty prayers were enjoined on me ." But Moses wasn't pleased: "'I descended till I reached Moses who asked, "What have you done?" I said, "I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day." He said, "Your followers cannot bear fifty prostrations. I tested people before you and tried my level best to bring the tribe of Israel to obedience . Your followers cannot put up with such an obligation. So, return to your Lord and request a reduction in the burden." I returned and requested Allah (for reduction) and He made it forty. I had a similar discussion with Moses. Then I returned to Allah for reduction and He made it thirty, then twenty, then ten. Then I came to Moses who repeated the same advice. Ultimately Allah reduced it to five. When I came to Moses the last time, he said, "What have you done?" I said, "Allah has made it five only." He repeated the same advice but I said that I had requested so many times I felt ashamed and surrendered (to Allah's final order). When I left, I heard a voice saying, "I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden on My Worshipers."'"
You're brought before the creator of the universe and all you talk about is how many times he wants to be mooned with "burdensome and obligatory," mind-numbing ritualistic prostrations? I don't think so. But then again, thinking is why I'm not a Muslim. So, while we are on the subject, think about this: why would Islam's lone prophet leave Allah's Ka'aba in Mecca and fly to Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem to get into heaven? In all of Muhammad's flights of fancy there are few more troubling questions than this one.
Muhammad's Muslims were curious, albeit about minutiae. They wanted to know what the heavenly host looked like. Bukhari:V4B55N607 "Allah's Apostle said, 'On the night of my Ascension to Heaven, I saw Moses who was a thin person, looking like one of the men of the tribe of Shanua; and I saw Jesus with a red face as if he had just come out of a bathroom. And I resemble Abraham more than any of his offspring.'" And it's okay to scour the Bible for stories because: Bukhari:V4B56N667 "The Messenger said, 'Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the Hell Fire.'"
It bears mention that the Night Journey is far more than an obscure theological story to Muslims. I personally met with members of Hamas, al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and al-Aqsa Martyr.' Brigade in Bethlehem in December, 2001. They told me in all seriousness that the Night's Journey was the basis for the Islamic claim to Jerusalem. What's more, they were willing to kill and die to take it back in the name of their Prophet.
Back in Mecca, and ever in character, the bruised messenger did what all similarly insecure people do. He projected his morbid self-delusion upon his critics. As he had with the Satanic Verses, he had his god say that the Night's Journey was a trial. Bukhari:V8B77N610 "'We granted the vision of the ascension to the heavens, Miraj, which We showed you as an actual eye witness but as a trial for people.' [Qur'an 17:60] Allah's Apostle actually saw with his own eyes the vision of all the things which were shown to him on the Night Journey to Jerusalem. It was not a dream."
The 17th surah, named "Children of Israel," reports: Qur'an 17:60 "Your Lord circumscribes mankind and He showed you the vision and the accursed tree of the Qur'an . It was a bone of contention for men, a trial for them. Thus do We instill fear and make them afraid." The surah claims: "Verily, We gave Moses the Torah...and to David, We gave the Book of Psalms." Speaking of Jews, he says: Qur'an 17:7 "We shall rouse Our slaves to shame and ravage you, disfiguring your faces. They will enter the Temple as before and destroy, laying to waste all that they conquer." To his shame, Muhammad did rouse Muslims to attack Jews. However, his militants couldn't have entered or destroyed what the Romans had eradicated 600 years earlier. Allah is mistaken, again. But by lying to us this way, we have come to know him better.
The most laughable passage in the 17th surah follows the usual rant: "Dread His punishment. Indeed the Lord's torment is to be feared. He will inflict severe anguish." Qur'an 17:59 "Nothing stops Us from sending signs and proofs except that earlier people rejected them as lies. We sent to Thamud the she-camel as a clear sign, but they treated her cruelly." It's hard to imagine anyone believes this is scripture. The Islamic god just said: "We don't do miracles any more because the Thamud hurt our camel."
After saying the Qur'an was so well written jinn and men couldn't conspire to compose the likes of it, we discover that Muhammad doesn't measure up and there is no Qur'an: Qur'an 17:90 "They say, 'We shall not believe you (Muhammad), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth . Or until you have a garden, and cause rivers to flow in their midst . Or you cause the sky to fall upon us in chunks, as you say will happen . Or you bring angels before us face to face . Or you have a house adorned with gold , or you ascend up into the skies . No, we shall not have faith in you unless you send down to us a book that we can read .'" This surah was the seventieth chronologically, and yet the Meccans claimed Muhammad didn't have anything to read. There was no Qur'an. There were no miracles.
"Ibn Abbas took a piece of wood and started to hit the ground with it. He did that for some time. Then lifting his head he threw away the wood and said: 'You want me to tell you what I heard the Messenger say about the sun and moon and the beginning of creation and how things went with them.' We said, 'We would.'" Islam's lone prophet, Allah's only messenger, the Qur'an's singular voice is about to prove whether or not he's worthy of our trust. "When the Messenger was asked about that, he replied, 'When Allah was done with His creation and only Adam remained to be created, He created two suns from the light of His Throne. His foreknowledge told Him that He would efface one and change it to a moon; so the moon is smaller in size than the sun.'" Islam's lone prophet, the Qur'an's sole source, was either deceived, lying, or delusional when he said: "The moon was a sun."
"Muhammad continued, 'If Allah had left the two suns as He created them, night would not have been distinguishable from day. A fasting person would not know when he must fast. A woman would not know how to reckon the period of her impurity. Muslims would not know the time of the pilgrimage. Allah was too concerned with His slaves to do such a thing."
Muhammad's Hadith and Allah's Qur'an speak with the same voice: Tabari I:234 "Allah thus sent Gabriel to drag his wing three times over the face of the moon, which at the time was a sun. He effaced its luminosity and left the light in it. This is what Allah means: [in Qur'an 17:12] 'We have blotted out the sign of the night, and We have made the sign of the day something to see by.' The blackness you can see as lines on the moon is a trace of the blotting." Not only was Muhammad's Sunnah wrong, the prophet just destroyed the credibility of Allah's Qur'an.
Tabari I:244 "Kawwa asked Ali : 'O Commander of the Faithful! What is that smudge in the moon.' Ali replied, 'Don't you read the Qur'an? It says, "We have blotted out the sign of the night, effacing it." That smudge is a trace of the blotting.'" Ali was right. The Qur'an says this very thing in surah 17:12.
That was bad. This is worse: "Allah then created for the sun a chariot with 360 handholds from the luminosity of the light of the Throne and entrusted 360 of the angels inhabiting the lower heaven with the sun and its chariot, each of them gripping one of those handholds. Allah also entrusted 360 angels with the moon." I can see you shaking your head. You must think that I'm making this stuff up. There's no way a religion this stupid could have survived a week much less fourteen hundred years, right? But I didn't and it did. In fact, one of the reasons I've given you so much of this is because of the way Muslims defend Islam's foolishness. They always accuse those with the courage to expose their scriptures of taking them out of context. So I have, and will, give you ample reason to rebuke such criticism. The more you know, the worse it gets.
And by presenting Islam's creation account in such detail, I'm exposing the mindset of Muhammad - the originator of these stories. I want you to think about the character deficiency that would prompt someone to speak such lies in the name of god. More than anything, I want you to contemplate his motivations. Why would he tell his followers that Allah had conveyed such things to him? Why did Muhammad feel the need to present himself as an authority, the authority? What did he want? What did he have to gain?
But it wouldn't remain that way. The reconciliation between the Islamic gods Ar-Rahman and Allah occurred at the end of the 17th surah. It was a concession on Muhammad's part. So that we don't take the great event out of context, let's sneak up on it. The surah attempts to explain why the Qur'an was being doled out in increments: Qur'an 17:106 "We have divided the Qur'an into parts that you may recite it to men slowly, with deliberation. That is why We sent it down by degrees." Actually, specific verses were "revealed" in direct response to issues in Muhammad's life. When he wanted to steal, booty was approved. When he wanted to kill, his god approved killing. When he craved incest, his lust was conveniently satisfied. When he wanted more wives than Islam allowed, the Qur'an provided a special dispensation from the Big Guy. And when he wanted to cleanse the world of Jews, his god was accommodating.
Qur'an 17:107 "Say: 'Believe in it or do not believe: Those who were given knowledge before it bow in adoration when it is read out to them.' And say: 'Glory be to our Lord. The promise of our Lord has indeed been fulfilled. And weeping they kneel down and this increases their submission.'" Not that it's out of character, but the beginning of this verse is a lie. Those who were given the knowledge before the Qur'an refers to the Torah and Gospels and thus to Christians and Jews. They never "bowed in adoration" when the Qur'an was "read out to them." It couldn't have been read since it hadn't been written, and they laughed themselves silly when they heard it, as we do today.
Qur'an 17:110 "Say: 'Call Him Allah or call Him Ar-Rahman; whatever the name you call Him, all His names are beautiful." "The name." "His names." Thank you Allah or Ar-Rahman, or whatever your name might be, for confirming the obvious. Neither Allah nor Ar-Rahman are words that mean "god;" they are names of gods. The Arabic word for "God" is "Ilah" and it's used throughout the Qur'an.
We can only assume Muhammad learned about the Hanifs and their god, Ar-Rahman, while he was a caravan merchant frequenting Yemen. Maslamah and Zayd, both contemporaries of Muhammad, proclaimed the Hanif doctrine. Maslamah could have been Muhammad's twin. He taught a strict moral code that prohibited drinking and fornication. He required fasting and formal ritualistic prayers three times a day. Maslamah believed in the Day of Resurrection and encouraged a hajj. He preached in the same rhymed prose of Muhammad's Qur'an and even called himself the "Messenger of God," saying his revelations came from Ar-Rahman. And whatever Maslamah missed, Zayd covered. His poetic lines made their way into the Qur'an verbatim.
While Muslims disparaged Maslamah, calling him the "arch liar" and "false prophet" his style and substance was indistinguishable from Muhammad's. The foremost American Islamic academician, F.E. Peters, said, "It is difficult to imagine that Maslamah 'borrowe.' Ar-Rahman from Muhammad... It is easier to assume that Ar-Rahman had a genuine and long-standing cult in Yemen, a cult to which Muhammad may have been drawn."
A war was ultimately waged over who was the better prophet. During the War of Compulsion, the battle of Aqrabah was fought between Muslims and Maslamah's forces. Ar-Rahman's troops won the first encounter but in the second attack Muslims divided their army to see who could die the most valiantly. Seven hundred of Muhammad's companions died that day, as did much of the Qur'an. The surahs were stored only in the memories of warriors. The most faithful were now dead and dying in a grove of old trees that became known as the "Garden of Death." While the Qur'an suffered a serious blow, Allah's army carried the day, slaughtering 7,000 Arabs. With their deaths, all opposition to Islam was suppressed in Arabia. Ar-Rahman was forgotten. And so it would be, forevermore.