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              Issues: Misrepresentation in the Name of Islam

 by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. 
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA



            The Festival of Faiths covering the diversity of faiths in the Louisville area is one of the major celebrations in the second week of November every year. In one year one of the main events was display of material by organizations belongings to different faiths.  

               There was only one booth to represent Islam.  Here I picked up a paper stated as a Mission Statement of an “entity” on behavioral distinction that was displayed in that Exhibitor Booth.  The founder of this “entity” says that it is registered in his personal name and that he is its Executive Director with no Executive Committee, Board of Trustees and no membership; but he is marketing it in the name of Islamic religion as an "Islamic School."  This is unethical and immoral in Islam. Any type of mischief, dishonesty, exploitation, misrepresentation, deception or cheating is absolutely “HARAAM” (forbidden) in Islam. I do not understand how one can try to achieve behavioral superiority or exert behavioral influences in others when the founder of the “entity” himself sets a sad example in behavior.  Furthermore, what type of person begins a 337-word single page document that has neither originality nor scholarly merit, with the words “Copy righted.”  In my personal opinion it reflects paranoia. 

            The Mission Statement says that after death the soul goes to "the holding station beyond this physical universe." Nobody knows where the soul goes after it departs from the body. One cannot say that it goes to “the holding station beyond this physical universe.”  In Islam the life between the worldly life and the Hereafter is called the life of Barzakh in Qur’an. Barzakh means ‘a veil’, ‘a curtain’. The actual state of that life is unknown; otherwise it won’t be a Barzakh. There always remain confusions without understanding that all descriptions concerning the life of Barzakh are allegorical. It is Barzakh, an unknown life behind curtain.   In Islam the total records of the deeds of an individual are recorded by two angels who remain with each person. One maintains record of the good deeds, and the other angel records his/her evil deeds. These angels are known as Kiraman  Katibin - the honored writers/recorders(Qur’an, 50: 17-18; 82: 11) and Muslims are not aware that the “soul takes with it the total record of the deeds of the wake-conscious mind to the holding station.”  What happens to the deeds of the “other  states” of  conscious mind?  The concept of the holding station “where the time dimension does not exist” in my personal opinion is blasphemy.  The main sources of Islamic theology are the Noble Qur’an and the Hadith (the prophetic traditions).  

 There is Hadith-e-Qudsi or Sacred Prophetic Sayings that are God’s words described by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his own words whereas the Qur’an contains the exact God’s words.   We read what God says in Hadith Qudsi 4 “Sons of Adam inveigh against (the vicissitudes of) TIME, and I am TIME, in my hand is the night and the day.”   Hence denying Time is denying God that is a blasphemy in my personal opinion.  The words “ The body & brain atoms will rematerialize “ is neither found  in the Qur’an nor in the Hadith. This is “Star Trek” science fiction. However, the Qur’an does mention in several places that Allah brings the dead to life, even after they have become decomposed bones and dust.   Also the statement “the souls will occupy permanent youthful bodies without the aging process” is not found in the Qur’an or in the Hadith. They beg the question “What happens to the souls of children and babies who died before reaching the age of youth in this world?”   Scientific studies now reveal that it is possible to maintain youthful bodies and control the aging process in this world that has the time dimension. “Timeless dimension” is not in the Qur’an or Hadith.     

            The words “human morality can be secular (Godless)” are confusing.  First of all the interpretation of the word “secular” as “Godless” is quite wrong.  Secular means not under the church control or not sacred. The Government of  United States  is secular that means separation of  “church” and “state.”  It does not mean that the people living in the US are Godless or do not believe in God.  The US Government coins  have the words “In God We Trust.”  The  House and the Senate in the Congress start their sessions with prayers.   Also the definition of the word  spiritual, “That is, pure belief in one creating force without associating anything or any one of this physical universe which is a total creation of that one God.”  Is actually the first creed of  Islam, called  “Tawhid” or  Oneness of God  or Monotheism.  For example the Buddhists  do not believe in God and the Hindus believe in many Gods, then does it mean that they do not have spirituality?   The words “every physical atom of this universe is managed by the invisible spiritual atoms of God” in my opinion are a blasphemy.  The physical atoms of this universe are also invisible and they are created by the same “ Creator of the Universe”   There is no such thing as “spiritual atoms of God” . This is pure blasphemy in my opinion. 

            The statement “The soul is introduced into the human embryo when the head is fully formed”  proves the utter ignorance of the writer  in human embryology.   The writer does not know the difference between the “embryo” and the “fetus.”   No religious scripture or tradition in the world says that  “the soul is introduced into the human embryo  when the head is fully formed.” No body knows where in the body the soul resides.  The definition of the embryo is the age of the conceptus from the moment of conception to the end of   the 8th week (56 days).  From the first day of the 9th week till 38 weeks(full term) it is called  “fetus”  which means the young one in Latin. In the  beginning of  fetal period, the face has human appearance and the head is formed, but one cannot say “the head is fully formed.”   The brain continues to grow in the fetal period and even after birth.  In fact the brain increases fourfold in size and weight from birth to maturity. The Qur’an does not say when the soul enters the body.  However the Hadith says  “the soul is breathed into the body”  when the fetus is 120 days old in the womb.(Sahih Bukhari Hadith, Vol. 4, Hadith No.549).   The  people who believe in Predestination (Belief in Qadr(fate and predestination ) is the sixth point in the Muslim Creed(Aqida). The freedom to choose is limited in Islam.) will reject the “the freedom to choose” idea.  Human nature dictates one to live peacefully and morally. However behavioral studies indicate that many times man is a victim of circumstances in deviating from the congenial  path. 

            How can secular people who are defined as “Godless” benefit tremendously and acquire behavioral superiority based on spiritual foundation. What is that “spiritual foundation?”  If  the Islamic plan invites  humans  to follow the behavioral path prescribed by God, then why should one use the secular knowledge which is called “the state of the art psychology known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).”  NLP is used  to some extent in business to increase sales.  According to a Neuro-Linguistic Expert  the effect of NLP is no different from  Psycho Shaman Effect(composed of cognitive dissonance, placebo, and therapist charisma). Most important of all is how can an individual with no background in psychology or counseling develop “education  & training material based..... on the state of the art psychology known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming?” Such individuals will be subject to prosecution under Kentucky Laws. 

In Islam  the righteous deeds and actions of  an individual in this world determine his/her  eligibility to be in paradise. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) lived the Qur’an  and followed the behavioral path or the right path(siraatul mustaqeem) prescribed by God..  He is the best role model for every Muslim in the world.  In my opinion one should imbibe his(prophet’s)  behavior and there is no behavior more excellent than his and he is the greatest human being ever lived. This is attested by Michael  Hart in his very popular book “The 100”  wherein he ranked Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)  as Number 1.  Therefore one should study the Seerah(Biography) of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)  and emulate him. For Muslims there is no need to borrow  from the NLP  as it cannot add anything  new to the Muslim behavior. Actually NLP should borrow ideas from Islam. Otherwise it shows that the behavior of  Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was deficient to the extent that Muslims  have to borrow from NLP. This is an insult to the Muslims.  First of all one should exhibit the behavioral distinction to mold or influence the behavior of others.  If a teacher/trainer misbehaves, one cannot expect his/her students to show behavioral superiority.   

            John Grinder, a linguist, and Richard Bandler, a mathematician and computer expert  introduced the “high-tech” sounding NLP in 1975 by borrowing freely and generously from diverse fields such as neuropsychology, psychology, pychotherapy etc. But they have failed to present a clear, accessible description of NLP.  However Richard Bandler is alleged to be accused of a “manslaughter” crime.  NLP lacks scientific research support. Experimental psychologists are largely unfavorable to NLP.  Considering an extensive literature review of NLP techniques, Sharpley concluded that they are far from original, and in fact differ little from quasi-hypnotic imaging techniques, psychodrama, certain gestalt techniques, and basic counseling skills such as mirroring.  Beyerstein says “The areas of science that enjoy the greatest prestige at any moment are the most tempting targets for appropriation by pseudoscientists...... Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is one of many riders on neurology’s coattails” (References are available).

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