72 Virgins? – June 6, 2011

 

Solving the Mid East Crisis

72 VIRGINS?

 

  

 

It bears repeating that the Islamic religion and specifically their Holy Book, the Qu’ran, came into existence not because of Muhammad’s interest in forming a new religion, but because of his interest in becoming a Christian. In fact, his first wife’s cousin, Waraqa ibn Naufal was apparently a professing Christian.

 

 BRIEF APPENDIX

 

 I say “apparently a Christian” because Islamic tradition says that Waraga was an Ebionite Christian, which would imply that he accepted only the Aramaic version of Matthew’s Gospel, laid great stress on the Mosaic Law, and thus, rejected the epistles of Paul. Likely, this is the same “Judaizer” sect that so greatly influenced the Church Paul founded in Galatia, and which he later rebuked because of their acceptance of “another gospel,” which Paul says is “no Gospel (or, not Good News) at all (Galatians 1).

 

 Anyway, Muhammad had returned from being on a trip with his uncle, having been greatly impressed by the teachings of itinerate Christian evangelists he had encountered. It is not exactly known of what persuasion these evangelists were. They certainly were not from the Catholic Church in Rome, as the Edict of Milan in 325 had resulted in the church losing interest in world evangelism. Nor were they from the Ebionite branch, as this group would have discouraged Muhammad’s propensity for visions and prophecies.

I rather suspect that these evangelists were from a “Pentecostal-like” Montanist background. Montanus, the founder of this group, had been labeled heretical by the Roman Papacy because of his refusal to accept papal authority. Nonetheless, he had succeeded in amassing a number of followers, the most famous adherent being the early Church Father Tertullian. Montanus was quite strict in his lifestyle, declaring that his followers should not marry but remain celibate. In time, this would lead to the end of his movement as the Church at Rome permitted marriage, encouraged childrearing, and ultimately relied on children to grow up and form the foundation for the Church’s future.

 

Yet, Catholicism would eventually relish the wealth and comfort that came from being accepted as the official religion of the Roman Empire, their former emphasis on evangelism and prayer for the sick would be replaced by the desire to build bigger cathedrals. By contrast, the Montanists laid great emphasis on miracles, speaking in tongues, visions prophetic revelations, and in the insistence on aestheticism and monotheism (the belief in only one God).

 

This new teaching, declaring only one God, would greatly irk the Quraish tribe to which Muhammad belonged (in fact, angering them to the point that they would place a price on the heads of him and his followers). But, Muhammad was thoroughly convinced that the Christian evangelists had presented the truth. Furthermore, he was convinced that the One True God was now speaking to him through the angel Gabriel in much the same way that he had to Montanus and his followers and calling him to proclaim the oneness of God to his people. Not knowing just how to react, Muhammad’s wife suggested the he visit her cousin, Waraqa who, again, had become a Christian, though from a decidedly different perspective.

 

There is much debate as to just how Waraqa responded to Muhammad’s revelations. Muslim tradition says he was ecstatic upon learning of them and, although aged, he promised that if he lived long enough, he would help in promoting them. The following depicts what Waraqa said, but the underlined phrases are said to be later additions to the quote.

 

Then she (Muhammad’s wife Khadijah) set forth to her cousin, Waraqa ibn Naufal, who had become a Christian and read the Scriptures and learned from those that followed the Torah and the Gospel. And when she related to him what God’s apostle had reported to her that he had seen and heard, then Waraqa ibn Naufal said: “‘Holy, holy, and by Him in whose hand Waraqa’s soul is – if you have spoken the truth – truly the noble law, which came to Moses already has come to him. And look, he is a prophet of this nation. Therefore say to him that he shall remain constant!” Then she returned to the apostle of God and told him what Waraqa ibn Naufal had said.

 

When God’s apostle had dismissed his clients and gone away, he did as he used to do and began with the Kaaba and made the circumambulation around it. Then Waraqa ibn Naufal encountered him, just when he made his turn around the Kaaba, and said: ‘O my nephew, say to me what you have seen and heard!’ Then God’s apostle told him. Then Waraqa said to him: “‘By Him in whose hand my soul is. You are a prophet to this nation. Truly the most noble law, which came to Moses, already has come to you, but you are disavowing it, damaging it, expelling it and attacking it. However, even if you may attain (what you are aiming for) – on that day (of the judgment) God will grant (us) a victory, which He announces.” Then he put his head near to him, and then the vein of his head was beating (with anger). Then the apostle of God went away into his house.

 

Since the Ebionites, unlike the Montanists, were not open to visions, prophecies, etc., I rather suspect that Waraqa rejected Muhammad’s prophecies. This would explain why he was accusing him of damaging the Law of Moses and doing so in an angry mood. But nonetheless, since Waraqa was one of the few Christians of any sort around, he likely encouraged him in his intention to spread the Gospel and the claim of monotheism to the pagan Quraish. Whatever the case, Waraqa died shortly afterwards, no longer able to further influence Muhammad.

The problem with spreading the Gospel to the Quraish, though, was that Muhammad had not been able to determine just what, in fact, the Gospels said. By this time in history, the Church at Rome had decreed that the Canonical text was not to be read by anyone except by their own clergy. This had risen from the fear that, if allowed access to the Scriptures, the laity would misinterpret them and introduce cultic tendencies such as those of the Gnostics, Judaizers, Arians, Alogoi, Patri-Passionists, Sabellians, and a hundred or so other heretical groups that had previously infested the Church.

 

Muhammad was not the only one who was confounded by the Papal ban on laity reading the Scriptures. At one point, the Chinese Emperor Kubla Khan sent out Marco Polo with a written request for information on becoming a Christian. “Send me 100 of your greatest Missionaries together with copies of your Bible,” Kubla Khan wrote. “Once I have learned from them, I will become a Christian and be baptized. One I have been baptized, my people will become Christians and be baptized.” It staggers the imagination to think just how different the world would be today if the Pope had responded accordingly. Nevertheless, the Papal ban on distribution of the Scriptures remained the rule and, thus, Kubla Khan’s request was ignored. An itinerant evangelist did, in fact, find his way into the Emperor’s palace some 17 years later. Unfortunately, having felt snubbed, Kubla Khan no longer had interest in becoming a Christian.

 

Unlike Kubla Khan, though, Muhammad was determined to either obtain copies of the Bible or, if he could not, to reproduce an exact duplicate. He instructed his wife, Aisha, to begin compiling hearsay stories from the words of evangelists and priests in an effort to do so. Aisha appears to have done so; howbeit, often incorporating words found not in the Canonical Scriptures, but rather from rejected texts such as the infancy narrative of Thomas (which records Jesus speaking from the manger and bringing clay pigeons to life), and the Gospel of James (which records Mary being a perpetual virgin and Joseph as a widower with previous children). The end result was what is now referred to as the Qu’ran.

 

For all the trust and devotion that Jews place in the Old Testament; Christians place in the Old and New Testaments; and Muslims place in the Old and New Testaments and the Qu’ran, it must be noted that after each was compiled, there were individuals from later generations who could not resist the temptation to add to them.

 

During the period in which the Southern Kingdom of Judah had gained independence under Judas Maccabees, forged copies of alleged Old Testament books arose which, today, make up the Apocrypha – books such as Tobit, Bel and the Dragon (II Daniel), Letter of Jeremiah, Judith, I & II Esdras, Assumption of Isaiah, Baruch, Enoch, Susannah, II Esther, Letter of Ben Sirah, and I, II, III, & IV Maccabees.

 

Likewise, after the New Testament was completed, various other books emerged proclaiming more detail on the life of Christ. These include the aforementioned Gospel of James, the Infancy narrative of Thomas, a Gospel of Thomas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Apocryphon of John, the “Secret Gospel” of Mark, the Gospel of Mary, the Letter of Peter, and the Gospel of Nicodemus.

 

Now, it cannot be inferred that the rejected texts aforementioned do not contain what may, in fact, be historically accurate information. For example, the Gospel of Thomas contains 114 verses about half of which are quoted from the New Testament. Also, the Gospel of James contained, what at least seems to be, a credible account of the Hebrew women confirming Mary’s virginity.

 

It is, however, the remaining passages which cause so much confusion. For example, II Daniel confirms the existence of the fabled dragon of Babylon, Barnabas gives unsubstantiated details in regards to Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child’s time in Egypt, and Thomas records Jesus saying the he will pray that Mary will become a man and having a twin brother.

 

The Qu’ran has not been free from future generations proclaiming further revelations beyond that of Muhammad. These make up what are commonly called Hadiths. Muslims refer to these dubious sayings as Gharib, meaning they are sayings of the Prophet Muhammad that were reported without any sort of eyewitness. The origination of the dubious declaration of martyrs being promised 72 virgins as their reward was birthed through these. Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2562 records the following alleged quote from Muhammad:

 

The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah (a Damascus suburb) to Sana’a (Yemen).

 

(NOTE: The original text of this Hadith appears to use the term “white raisins” as opposed to “virgins.” Both terms are almost identical in the Arabic.)

 

It is from this passage that the 18th century radical Muhammad Ibn Wahabb, the organizer of the terrorist movement known as the Wahabbi, justified his proclamation that the reward for killing a Jew or a Christian would be the gift of 72 virgin women in paradise. This same promise given by modern day terrorist movements, such as Al Queda, have no doubt inspired terrorists to become suicide bombers, crash airplanes into buildings, and gun down innocents all over the world. I remember one television commentator on 9/11 commenting on how surprising it was that a terrorist would be so willing not just to kill others, but also to go on a mission that would guarantee the terrorist’s death as well. Convinced of the promise of living in heaven with 72 lovely ladies as one’s servants must have seemed well worth the price to 19 brainwashed and sex-starved young men accustomed to living under Sharia Law on September 11, 2001.

BRIEF APPENDIX

 

It is important to note that Muslims are not required to believe in these Hadith, considering there is a strong chance that it may have been fabricated or corrupted along the way. The vast majority of Muslims do not believe that such Hadith is authentic. In fact, since that dreadful day of 9/11, Turkish scholars have begun the process of revising the Hadith, removing all passages, which even imply some sort of virtue in terrorist attacks, suicide, or the abuse of women. The vast majority of these teachings appear to have originated from both the plagiarisms of Abu Hurayra (whom Omar Ibn Al-Kittab, the 2nd guilded Khalifa accused of falsely reporting what Muhammad had spoken) and from within the Wahabbi movement more than a millennium after the Qu’ran.

 

One of the driving forces behind this massive revision was our “Open Letter to the Leadership of Islam” in 2006. See its content and history at http://www.openlettertoday.com .

 

After the Muslim Leadership realized that the “Open Letter” was making them look like ungodly proponents of terrorism, they began to be concerned about poor public relations. In response, they sent out their own online letter entitled “A Common Word.” The Leadership initially requested that I drop the “Open Letter” project and instead endorse theirs. I would have gladly done so, however, whereas the “Open Letter” asks for a fatwa to be declared against terrorism and for the removal of school literature (particularly that used in Saudi Arabia), which encourages terrorism and labels Christians and Jews as pigs and apes, the “Common Word” offers no condemnation of any of this. Instead, it encourages Christian leaders to simply be open to the views of others. Again, I declined to endorse the “Common Word.” Circumnavigating this obstacle, its originators decided that the endorsement of better-known Christian leaders would be more beneficial. So, they contacted numerous others. In response, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Pope Benedict sent them similar letters of decline, each asking for more commitment on the part of the Muslim Leadership. However, I was sad to see that the Archbishop of Canterbury, mega-church pastors Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, and “National Association of Evangelicals” President, Leath Anderson, did, in fact, endorse it.

 

_________________________________ 

 

The important thing to note, though, is that these proponents of terrorism use these passages without really believing them themselves. One might find it astounding to realize that Osama Bin Laden himself, on video, laughed at the gullibility of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists.

 

On November 9, 2001, U.S. military forces in Jalalabad discovered a videotape of Bin Laden in Afghanistan speaking with Sheikh Khaled al-Harbi shortly after the 9/11 attacks, but prior to the U.S. invasion. The translation of such is astounding.

 

Osama Bin Laden:  . . . we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of the all (…inaudible…) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.

Sheikh Khalid al-Harbi: Allah be praised.

 Bin Laden:  We were at (. . . inaudible . . .) when the event took place. We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day. We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 P.M. our time. I was sitting with Dr. Ahmad Abu-al-Khair. Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center.

Al-Harbi:  Allah be praised.

Bin Laden:  After a little while, they announced that another plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers who heard the news were overjoyed by it . . . .

 Later –

 

 Bin Laden:  (speaking about the terrorists themselves) HE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE OPERATION. NOT EVERYBODY KNEW (. . . inaudible . . .) Muhammad Atta from the Egyptian family (meaning the Al Qaida Egyptian group) was in charge of the group . . . THE BROTHERS WHO CONDUCTED THE OPERATION. ALL THEY KNEW WAS THAT THEY HAVE A MARTYRDOM OPERATION, AND WE ASKED EACH OF THEM TO GO TO AMERICA (where they spent most of the time in bars, strip joints, and in the company of prostitutes) BUT THEY DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE OPERATION, NOT EVEN ONE LETTER. BUT, THEY WERE TRAINED AND WE DID NOT REVEAL THE OPERATION TO THEM UNTIL THEY WERE THERE, BUT JUST BEFORE THEY BOARDED THE PLANES. (Note: The next part is inaudible, but Bin Laden seems to be mocking the foolishness of these idiots) Then he said: Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others. One group of people did not know the other group. (. . . inaudible . . .)

 

Now, did you catch that? The 9/11 terrorists were completely unaware that they were going to their deaths! Bin Laden had simply played them for fools!!! Now, even that may have been excusable if Bin Laden himself had fully believed in the cause and that the “brothers’ would indeed get their 72 virgins and the other rewards awaiting them in heaven. The truth is exposed when further investigation reveals that Bin Laden did not believe that himself. He was a coward when it came to giving his own life for the supposed work of God.

 

Given the opportunity to die as a martyr at Tora Bora (and supposedly get his own virgins in paradise), bin Laden took every possible precaution to protect himself, even to the point of hiding behind women and children and surrounding himself with individuals of the same blood type in the event that a transfusion was necessary. As proof of this man’s cowardice, consider the following excerpts from a Delta Force commander who encountered Bin Laden firsthand at Tora Bora in 2001.

 

Dalton Fury, who can’t use his real name because of security concerns, is now a private citizen. He spoke with TIME world editor Bobby Ghosh on the phone from an undisclosed location.

 

Dalton Fury is the nom de plume of a Delta Force commander who led U.S. troops into Afghanistan’s Tora Bora Mountains at the end of 2001, when Osama Bin Laden was in full flight (in other words, running like a coward). Consider the quotes from Fury’s new book, Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man.

 

My book talks about him SURROUNDING HIMSELF WITH INDIVIDUALS OF HIS BLOOD TYPE, which I thought was very interesting. IF HE’S WOUNDED, THEN HE HAS A GUY WITH THE SAME BLOOD TYPE WHO CAN GIVE HIM A TRANSFUSION. BUT, THAT’S COMPLETELY COUNTER TO THE LEGEND THAT BIN LADEN’S BODYGUARDS HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO KILL HIM IF HE IS WOUNDED IN A BATTLE. IF THAT WAS TRUE [HE] WOULD HAVE STAYED IN TORA BORA AND NOT RAN. That surprised me very much. I REALLY THOUGHT HE WOULD STAY AND FIGHT AS HE HAD ADVERTISED . . . The other thing that surprised me was that [during the fighting in Tora Bora] HE ACTUALLY TOLD HIS WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO ARM THEMSELVES AND COME OUT OF THE CAVES AND FIGHT THE AMERICANS. For a man of bin Laden’s stature (he stood around 6’6”), who put so much credence in the Koran and the afterlife and paradise, it seemed like he reduced himself to an actual human being (and a cowardly and ungodly one at that), with actual FEARS AND CONCERNS FOR HIS OWN HEALTH, HIS OWN SURVIVAL. In his sermons and tapes, he appears above those concerns, yet here he was, ASKING THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO DO THE FIGHTING FOR HIM.

 

Add to this the fact that another reporter, who was present when Bin Laden made his escape at Tora Bora, noted that his only concern was for his own survival and not that of his comrades or for the supposed mission to glorify Allah. He, rather, fled like a coward.

 

So, let’s see what we have here: a supposed champion in the army of God who hid behind women and children, had his own stooges along in case their blood is needed (one must wonder if he would have been wiling to use his own clone for body parts if indeed medical science had advanced to such a point), deceived his own followers to the point of death, mocked them after they have died, and then fled like a coward unwilling to face the enemy. I ask you. Was this a prophet of God? Obviously not! He was merely a hypocrite and a coward! A child in a man’s body. His followers had been duped! Bin Laden is an Islamic (this is one who has surrendered his will to God) in name only.

 

So, a word of caution thus needs to be given to every would-be terrorist who reads this article. No matter how just you feel that your cause is, please, remember that the Qu’ran itself condemns both terrorism and suicide (See Surahs 4:29 & 56 and 17:33), whereas, Bin Laden encouraged it. And, please, remember that he and other like-apostates have lied to you and to others. THE 72 VIRGINS DO NOT EXIST — THEY ARE NOT OUT THERE!!! YOU HAVE BEEN DUPED!!! Rather, there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun by leading a godly life, forgiving those who sin against you, and by enduring life’s struggles and unfair outcomes. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)

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About openlettertoday

Howie Gardner has been pastor of Bel Air Assembly of God in Bel Air, Maryland since 1987. He is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and has done graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, United Theological Seminary and ORU's Graduate school of Theology. He is the author of two books; "Oral Exam" (originally titled "Oral Roberts in the Eyes of One of His Students") and "The Church and Terri Schiavo." Gardner is a three time cancer survivor and, as recorded in "Church & Terri" has had a "clinical death" experience and a personal glimpse of the other side" He is quite an active distance runner with a number of awards; most recently a bronze medal in the Senior Olympics. Howie and his wife Angie have three children: daughter Lindsey (whose bone marrow donation spared his life) and twin boys Bernie and David. They live in Bel Air.
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