Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mohammed's Sleep Apnea and Dreams

I caught an article in the Guardian UK website in which the religion reporter is toeing the Muslim party line and criticizing a non-Muslim because he doesn’t understand the Quran etc. Of course translations of the Quran into English cannot be trusted. Only if you read the book in God’s Arabic can you be close to the Muslim God etc.

Sorry Sebastian Faulks, you just don't understand the Qur'an
Author Sebastian Faulks has been bemoaning the literary and creative deficiencies of the Qur'an. He reportedly called the holy book of Islam "one-dimensional" and drew unfavourable comparisons with the "incredible stories" of the Old Testament.

The Qur'an was not written in English, nor is it normally read in English, so of course the scriptures lose something in translation.

One example is the tale of Isra and Mi'raj – a nocturnal journey referred to in the Qur'an. It sees Mohammed travelling on a flying horse from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then tours the heavens, speaking with prophets who preceded him, before the angel Gabriel takes him to Allah. Allah tells Mohammed that Muslims must pray 50 times a day. On the advice of Moses, Mohammed returns to Allah, saying the figure is high and asks for a reduction. Eventually Allah whittles down the number of prayers to five a day.
The usual religious B.S.. I can remember when Jesus (God) only spoke Latin. Whatever.

I am distressed. As I usually do, I research some things further. Also be forewarned, I once tried to read parts of the Quran in English and I agree with author Sebastian Faulks, attacked in the Guardian article, that calling it “one dimentional” is an apt description.

The story that Guardian reporter Riazat Butt tells, in her own interpretation (?) of Mohammed’s “trip” to Heaven, seems rather flat in comparison to another interpretation in English below.

Isra wal Miraj – the Night Journey
Gabriel then did a curious thing. He cut open the Prophet’s chest from throat to navel, removed his heart and cleansed it with Zamzam water, and poured into it a substance that fortified Muhammad’s wisdom and faith. Gabriel next asked Muhammad to mount Burak, and they began what is known in the Islamic faith as “the Night Journey”.

… Only this time they arrived at a much more distant location. The Masjid-al-Aqsa, meaning “the farthest mosque” in all of Islam. The city of Jerusalem. Along the way he saw many sights, including the birthplace of the Prophet Jesus in Bethlehem. Gathered together in one place at the mosque in Jerusalem were the prophets from Adam to Jesus, and Muhammad led them all in prayer.

From there Muhammad and Gabriel began the final leg of their journey, up to the heavens. This is know as the Ascension of the Prophet.
Mohammed then gets to Paradise and does not meet God but rather the word of God – Kalam – which he uses to haggle prayer down from fifty times a day to five???

Forgive my ignorance. I like the above interpretation in English. It seems multi- dimentional. It also seems troubling.

For one thing the interpretation reminds me of the quality of the Book of Revelations, the least Christian and least cohesive book of the New Testament.

This whole dream sequence of Mohammed starts with Gabriel ripping open Mohammed’s chest and cleaning the heart in Zamzam, a legendary tonic water.

To be quite frank, I think Mohammed’s trip to heaven was the result of sleep apnea, possible congestive heart problems and a possible near death experience.

That World War Three over the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount real estate deal in Israel/Palestine and based on Mohammad’s possible sleep apnea does not sound religious but clinical as in medicine, science etc.

The Muslims better get on the stick with the way they look at God, the World and the Human Race. I have no doubt Mohammed had his dream. I just question how much weight should be put on such medieval “visions” not properly translated in the light of today and our modern secular age.