Islam: The Cloak of Antichrist (BOOK EXCERPT, 18)
FURTHER EVIDENCE OF GOD’S CHOICE OF ISAAC
By the time of Islam (seventh century A.D.), God’s rejection of Ishmael can be seen in the religious climate of Arabia. The religious culture was polytheistic in nature, with multiple pagan deities being worshiped in the pre-Islamic society. Hubal was the chief god among many of the pagan deities of Arabia. Hubal is thought to be the “moon god,” one of 360-plus deities of the Arabian tribes in the seventh century A.D., the most common symbol of which was the crescent moon.
The Arabian religious culture did include one group that rejected the polytheism of the many Bedouin tribes. This group is referred to in the Qur’an as the “Hanif.” However, according to historian Ira Lapidus, although the “Hanif” believed in one god, they were not adherents of any one faith, particularly, the faith of the Jews.
It is out of this polytheistic culture that Muhammad had his vision from Allah through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad’s vision is reported to have occurred in a cave on Mount Hira, outside of Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula, in the month of Ramadan. On the seventeenth day of the year 610 A.D., Muhammad, age forty, had made his way to the cave for a spiritual retreat. While sleeping that night, Muhammad had a dream. In the beginning of the dream, Muhammad was commanded “to read” and “to recite” what he had seen. Muhammad, who could not read or write at the time, replied, “I do not know how to read.” The angel forced him to do what he could not do intellectually. To Muhammad (and Muslims), this was a sign from God. The following is Muhammad’s account of the night’s happenings (as reported partly in the Qur’an, Surah 96:3f):
The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, “I do not know how to read.” Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or what shall I read?).” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, “Read! In the Name of the Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read! And Your Lord is Most Generous ... (unto) ... that which he knew not.”Muhammad initially believed the Qur’anic revelations were not of God, but from “jinni,” an Arabian form of evil. But his wife Khadijah convinced him they were from God; after all, Muhammad was a kind and good man—so the revelations had to be from God. It was not until two years later that Muhammad believed that he had been visited by the angel Gabriel, sent from Allah. The revelation he received that night became the first of many over the next twenty-three years that made their way into the Qur’an. Muhammad’s revelations eventually became the content of the Qur’an, and Muhammad’s sayings and actions found their way into the Hadith.