Saturday, June 03, 2006

Why War Against Iran Remains Unlikely

A giant awakes

The major powers yesterday ruled out military action against Iran, but in truth it has never been an option against the Middle East's most influential force

Essay by Reza Aslan
Saturday June 3, 2006
The Guardian


After months of pressure from both sides of the political divide in Washington DC, the Bush administration on Wednesday announced that it would join Europe in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme. The secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, presented the decision as proof that the United States is serious about pursuing all avenues of diplomacy before resorting to a military option. But if this week's announcement indicates anything, it is that the White House has finally begun to recognise what its own policy advisers and military analysts have been privately saying for some time: there is no military option with regard to Iran.

That's because the invasion of Iraq has completely reshaped the dynamics of the region, making Iran the new political power in the Middle East. With its two nearest enemies - Saddam Hussein and the Taliban - gone, Iran has firmly secured its interests in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Through its ties with Hizbullah, Iran has managed to fill the power vacuum left by Syria's abrupt withdrawal from Lebanon. At the same time, Iran has taken advantage of the cut in international funding to the Hamas-dominated Palestinian authority to make up its economic shortfall, thus gaining an even firmer foothold in the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, record oil prices and booming trade with Russia, China and India have allowed Iran to shrug off any economic pressure to give up its nuclear program.

Not since the takeover of the American embassy in 1979-80 has Iran been in a more favourable bargaining position vis-a-vis the United States. In fact, one could argue that when it comes to the nuclear issue, Iran is holding all the cards. After all, while it is clear that for years Iran has been hiding the size and scope of its nuclear programme so as not to attract unwelcome attention, technically it has yet to violate the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (a testament to the inherent weakness of the treaty).

That partly explains why the International Atomic Energy Association has been loath to issue anything more than a few tepid appeals for Iran to voluntarily suspend its nuclear programme and return to the negotiating table. It is also why there has been so much hesitation from the international community to refer Iran to the UN security council. Russia and China are not the only countries resisting calls to punish Iran. Brazil, South Korea, Japan, and other signatories of the non-proliferation treaty are rightly concerned about what effect sanctioning Iran would have on their own burgeoning nuclear programmes.

Given the relative weakness of the US bargaining position, it is no wonder that there are some in the Bush administration - notably the vice-president, Dick Cheney - who continue to insist that a military solution to America's Iran problem is not just a viable option, but the best option available to the US. (Last month, presumably as the administration was mulling over the decision to hold direct talks with Iran, a number of reports surfaced claiming that the Pentagon, under specific instructions from the vice-president's office, has been using an Iranian terrorist organisation called the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to conduct stealth military and intelligence operations in Iran in anticipation of a possible military attack).

As Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker, there are even those in the US government who are convinced that a sustained bombing campaign would not only halt Iran's nuclear programme; it would, apparently, so weaken the clerical regime that Iranians would be compelled to rise up and overthrow it. Putting aside the fact that the US has neither the military resources nor the domestic support to fight a second pre-emptive war in the region (much less one directly on Iraq's borders), and ignoring, for a moment, the almost unanimous conviction among American security analysts that military strikes would delay Iran's nuclear programme by a few years at most, what Dick Cheney and other proponents of an American invasion generally fail to address in their drumbeat for war is Iran's unprecedented ability to retaliate against US interests by using its proxies in the Middle East.

Iran's military reach in the region has never extended so far. In Lebanon, Hizbullah has vowed to respond to any attack on its benefactor by launching its own missiles into Israel. (Such an attack would undoubtedly prompt a fierce Israeli response, which would destabilise Lebanon's fragile government and lead to another decades-long civil war.) In the Palestinian territories, Iran has long had a ready-made militia in the form of Islamic Jihad. Now, thanks to the tens of millions of dollars Iran is pouring into the new Palestinian Authority, Iran can also rely on Hamas to act as an extension of its military forces.

But Iran can do the most harm in Iraq, where Iran's infiltration of Shia militias, especially the ruthless and well-equipped Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, gives it the ability to attack not just American interests, but American soldiers. Indeed, Iran's influence over its neighbour is such that any hope of salvaging a stable, viable government in Iraq would vanish with the first bomb to fall upon Tehran.

Furthermore, those who imagine that bombing Iran would somehow lead to regime change are merely confirming the almost wilful ignorance displayed by the Bush administration when it comes to the Middle East. Unlike the people of Iraq, who were forced together by artificial borders and fabricated nationalities, Iranians are united by an almost exaggerated sense of nationalism that transcends all boundaries of politics or piety. Perhaps the only way to rally the Iranian people around a regime that the vast majority of them despise is to rain bombs on the country. That is precisely what happened in 1980, when Hussein, spurred by the United States, launched a surprise invasion of Iran.

At the time, Iran was in the midst of profound political and social turmoil as a host of competing factions - from the Marxists to the Social Democrats to the clerical establishment - vied with one another for control over the new government. Hussein believed that this post-revolutionary chaos would allow him a quick victory over his enemy. Instead, Iranians immediately put aside their differences and united behind their charismatic spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, who then used the emergency powers he had been granted to push aside the democratically inclined transitional government and transform what began as a vibrant experiment in indigenous Islamic democracy into a fascist clerical oligarchy.

Despite its new found position as a potent regional power, however, Iran is even more fragmented today than it was three decades ago. The clerical regime likes to proclaim that all Iranians are unanimous in insisting on their inalienable right to pursue nuclear technology, whatever the costs. But underneath the facade of a unified Iran is a raucous debate over how best to proceed with the country's nuclear ambitions. A great many Iranians, including some powerful conservatives, are incensed with the way negotiations with Europe have broken down under the leadership of Iran's bellicose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The merchant class is up in arms at the prospect of suffering even greater international isolation. And Ahmadinejad's main opponent in the last presidential elections, the pragmatic cleric and wily politician Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has even gone so far as to publicly denounce the president (something unheard of in Iranian politics) for essentially destroying any hope Iran may have had to pursue its nuclear research in peace. In the meantime, the chorus of voices in Iran calling for a negotiated settlement is growing louder by the day.

But the moment the bombs start to fall on Iran, this debate would come to a halt. As happens in times of national security, political dissent would be stifled and the regime given unchecked wartime authority to do whatever it thought best to "protect" the country. Already those activists, like the Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who call for an end to the nuclear showdown with the west, have been labelled American stooges and possible threats to Iran's national security.

Fortunately, despite the machinations of the vice president, the Bush administration seems to be slowly coming to terms with the fact that it may have no choice but to fully engage Iran in diplomacy. And while Ahmadinejad continues to scoff at any conditions placed upon Iran by the US for direct dialogue, the truth is he has no say in the matter. It is one of the peculiar hallmarks of the Iranian government that the country's democratically elected president is responsible for virtually no foreign or domestic policy decisions. All such determinations are made solely by the country's supreme leader, Ali Khamene'i, who, on more than one occasion, has indicated his willingness to pursue dialogue with the US.

Direct negotiations between the US and Iran have the potential not only to put an end to the nuclear impasse, but also to open the door for further dialogue on other issues of mutual concern, including the security situation in Iraq. No one can doubt that the last three decades of US policy toward Iran have failed to either bring down the clerical regime or make Iran more democratic. Indeed, it has done the exact opposite, so that the regime is now stronger than ever and the democratic opposition on the verge of collapse.

It's time for a new approach to Iran, one that replaces America's failed sanctions policy with a package of security guarantees and economic incentives in exchange for international cooperation with its civilian nuclear programme. In other words, the same package being offered to North Korea. Of course, unlike North Korea, Iran is a sophisticated and technology-savvy country that boasts adult literacy rates approaching 90%. The vast majority of Iranians - nearly 70% of whom are under 30 years old - are fiercely pro-American and would like nothing more than an end to the clerical regime. But in a country in which nearly a third of the population is unemployed and the average annual rate of inflation is 24%, most Iranians are far too concerned with eking out a living to consider rising en masse against their government.

Neo-conservative fantasies notwithstanding, Iran is no longer a rogue state teetering on the brink of a popular revolt. For better or worse, Iran is now a sturdy and stable political powerhouse in an increasingly volatile region. It is long past time for the Bush administration to begin treating it as such. If the US can put aside its ideological reservations and confront Iran the way it confronted the Soviet Union and China - with an aggressive policy of interdependent trade relations in the hope that economic growth will foster democratic change - it could do so much more than reign in Iran's nuclear ambitions. By forcing the country out of its isolation and giving Iranians access to the global market, the US could achieve the very regime change it has been striving for all these years.

• Reza Aslan is the Iranian-born author of No god but God

7 Comments:

At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Ahmedinajad said...

SALAAM , SHALOM, PEACE

Dear Mr. President Bush & your Excellency the Pope Benedict

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES FROM THE BIBLE AS IT HAS IMPLICATIONS ON THE WAR AGAINST TERROR/ISLAM and the claim of Israel that god gave them the land. If the child is an infant than the Judeo-Christian version becomes null and void and we are wasting our time and resources i.e. we could save trillions of dollars and create a more peaceful world rather than fighting against Islam the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

The COVENANT with Abraham and his DESCENDANTS is central to islam/chritianity/judaism. IF PROPHET ABRAHAM WAS TESTED TO SACRIFICE ISMAEL AND NOT ISSAAC THEN BOTH JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY ARE DESTROYED AND VICE-VERSA FOR ISLAM.

Please note this is not a competition between faiths but an attempt to decipher fact from fiction.

GENESIS 16:16
And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
GENESIS 21:5
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons others came later. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!!

BY DOING SOME KINDERGARTEN ARITHMATIC USING ARABIC NUMBERS (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)
NOT ROMAN NUMERALS (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X) NB no concept of zero in roman numerals.

100 years old – 86 years old = 14 ADD 3 YEARS FOR ISSAC’S WEANING

THAT WOULD MAKE ISHMAEL 17 YEARS OLD IN GENESIS 21:14-21
BUT IT IS A DESCRIPTION OF AN INFANT.

Carefully read several times the above passage and then tell me the mental picture you get between the mother child interactions what is the age of the child. If the mental picture is that of a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void.

I have shown the passage of Genesis 21 to my two elder children of good reading ages now and without influencing them asked them what mental picture they got about the age of Ishmael in that passage and they thought he was about 5 years old. I have also tried the same thing with my work colleagues some of whom are qualified with PhD’s and have the ENGLISH language as their mother tongue and they also said they thought Ishmael was 5 years or younger because some of them stated by themselves that there was no verbal interaction between mother and child. I.e. If Ishmael is not of talking age then he must be less than a year old.


GENESIS: 21:14 - 21
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the child.” And as she sat over against him, the child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

AS THE DESCRIPTION OF ISHMAEL IN GENESIS 21:14-21 IS THAT OF AN INFANT IT CAN BE ASSUMED SOMEONE HAS MOVED THIS PASSAGE FROM AN EARLIER PART OF SCRIPTURE!!! AND HAVE GOT THERE KNICKERS IN A TWIST.

For background info on the future religion of mankind see the following websites:

http://www.al-sunnah.com/muhammad_in_the_bible.htm (MUHAMMAD IN THE BIBLE)
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm (Quran and Science)
http://www.harunyahya.com/
http://www.barnabas.net/
http://www.answering-christianity.com/ac.htm
http://www.islamicity.com/
http://www.islamonline.net/english/index.shtml
http://www.islamalways.com/




HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 - 122

101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.

102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"

103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),

104. We called out to him "O Abraham!

105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

106. For this was obviously a trial-

107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:

108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:

109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

111. For he was one of our believing Servants.

112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.

113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,

115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;

116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);

117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;

118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.

119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:

120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!"

121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

122. For they were two of our believing Servants.

ISHMAEL IS THE FIRST BORN AND GOOD NEWS OF ISSAC DOES NOT APPEAR UNTIL AFTER THE SACRIFICE?????

THEREFORE THE CLAIM THAT GOD GAVE THE LAND TO ISRAEL IS DESTROYED WITHOUT THE NEED OF ANY WMD’s.


Amazing so Hagar in Genesis 21:14 – 21 was carrying a 17 year old on her one shoulder for maybe 10 – 100 miles (Mrs. Swarzniggar) who later grew up to become an archer, married into an Arab tribe and learned Arabic and went onto have several children. One of the descendants of this CHILD passed on his DNA to Muhammad the illiterate whose religion is now violently spreading by the sword and soon to overtake the whole planet.
How could this happen like you I am also confused.

The oil found in recent history belongs to the west, its unfortunate it is under lands inhabited by Muslims and not only Arabs. Having oil and economic success then to die and go to hell is not my idea of a great nation.

A brief lesson on Islam.

It is the oldest faith on the planet it starts of with Adam and Eve, and continuous through revelations given to Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus (many others too numerous to mention) until its completion under the messenger ship of Muhammad (pbuta). Islam is not an exclusively an Arab faith as there is no scriptural evidence that Muhammad (pbuh) said that he is the founder of Islam. One cannot quote the Quran as it is not the work of Muhammad as he could not read or write in any language including Arabic. Just as Jesus has himself not ever said that he is the founder of Christianity or Moses has not stated that he is the founder of Judaism.

ISIAH 29 verse 12 "And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned".


Below are verses from the Quran, where GOD/SATAN himself says that the scriptures were changed by the scribes.





Quran Chapter 2 verse 75

75. Can ye (o ye men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you?- Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah, and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.


Quran Chapter 2 verse 79

79. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:"This is from Allah," to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.

Quran Chapter 4 verse 46

46. Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear what is not Heard"; and "Ra'ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: "What hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us"; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.

Quran Chapter 2 verse 40 - 83

40. O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me.
41. And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone.
42. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).
43. And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship).
44. Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand?
45. Nay, seek ((Allah)'s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit,-
46. Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him.
47. Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other (for My Message).
48. Then guard yourselves against a day when one soul shall not avail another nor shall intercession be accepted for her, nor shall compensation be taken from her, nor shall anyone be helped (from outside).
49. And remember, We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: They set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live; therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord.
50. And remember We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh's people within your very sight.
51. And remember We appointed forty nights for Moses, and in his absence ye took the calf (for worship), and ye did grievous wrong.
52. Even then We did forgive you; there was a chance for you to be grateful.
53. And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright.
54. And remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf: So turn (in repentance) to your Maker, and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker." Then He turned towards you (in forgiveness): For He is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful.
55. And remember ye said: "O Moses! We shall never believe in thee until we see Allah manifestly," but ye were dazed with thunder and lighting even as ye looked on.
56. Then We raised you up after your death: Ye had the chance to be grateful.
57. And We gave you the shade of clouds and sent down to you Manna and quails, saying: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you:" (But they rebelled); to us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls.
58. And remember We said: "Enter this town, and eat of the plenty therein as ye wish; but enter the gate with humility, in posture and in words, and We shall forgive you your faults and increase (the portion of) those who do good."
59. But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly.
60. And remember Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: "Strike the rock with thy staff." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth.
61. And remember ye said: "O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions." He said: "Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!" They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing.
62. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
63. And remember We took your covenant and We raised above you (The towering height) of Mount (Sinai) : (Saying): "Hold firmly to what We have given you and bring (ever) to remembrance what is therein: Perchance ye may fear Allah."
64. But ye turned back thereafter: Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah to you, ye had surely been among the lost.
65. And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected."
66. So We made it an example to their own time and to their posterity, and a lesson to those who fear Allah.
67. And remember Moses said to his people: "(Allah) commands that ye sacrifice a heifer." They said: "Makest thou a laughing-stock of us?" He said: "(Allah) save me from being an ignorant (fool)!"
68. They said: "Beseech on our behalf Thy Lord to make plain to us what (heifer) it is!" He said; "He says: The heifer should be neither too old nor too young, but of middling age. Now do what ye are commanded!"
69. They said: "Beseech on our behalf Thy Lord to make plain to us Her colour." He said: "He says: A fawn-coloured heifer, pure and rich in tone, the admiration of beholders!"
70. They said: "Beseech on our behalf Thy Lord to make plain to us what she is: To us are all heifers alike: We wish indeed for guidance, if Allah wills."
71. He said: "He says: A heifer not trained to till the soil or water the fields; sound and without blemish." They said: "Now hast thou brought the truth." Then they offered her in sacrifice, but not with good-will.
72. Remember ye slew a man and fell into a dispute among yourselves as to the crime: But Allah was to bring forth what ye did hide.
73. So We said: "Strike the (body) with a piece of the (heifer)." Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you His Signs: Perchance ye may understand.
74. Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: They became like a rock and even worse in hardness. For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth water; and others which sink for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.
75. Can ye (o ye men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you?- Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah, and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.
76. Behold! when they meet the men of Faith, they say: "We believe": But when they meet each other in private, they say: "Shall you tell them what Allah hath revealed to you, that they may engage you in argument about it before your Lord?"- Do ye not understand (their aim)?
77. Know they not that Allah knoweth what they conceal and what they reveal?
78. And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture.
79. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:"This is from Allah," to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.
80. And they say: "The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days:" Say: "Have ye taken a promise from Allah, for He never breaks His promise? or is it that ye say of Allah what ye do not know?"
81. Nay, those who seek gain in evil, and are girt round by their sins,- they are companions of the Fire: Therein shall they abide (For ever).
82. But those who have faith and work righteousness, they are companions of the Garden: Therein shall they abide (For ever).
83. And remember We took a covenant from the Children of Israel (to this effect): Worship none but Allah. treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and practise regular charity. Then did ye turn back, except a few among you, and ye backslide (even now).



Jesus in the Glorious Qur'an

The Qur’an tells us a lot of wonderful things about Jesus. As a result, believers in the Qur’an love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus, on whom be peace.
The Qur’an says that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he spoke while he was still only a baby, that he healed the blind and the leper by God’s leave, and that he raised the dead by God’s leave.
What then is the significance of these miracles? First, the virgin birth. God demonstrates his power to create in every way. God created everyone we know from a man and a woman. But how about Adam, on whom be peace? God created him from neither a man nor a woman. And Eve from only a man, but not a woman. And, finally, to complete the picture, God created Jesus from a woman, but not a man.
What about the other miracles? These were to show that Jesus was not acting on his own behalf, but that he was backed by God. The Qur’an specifies that these miracles were performed by God’s leave. This may be compared to the Book of Acts in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 22, where it says that the miracles were done by God to show that he approved of Jesus. Also, note that Jesus himself is recorded in the Gospel of John to have said, “I can do nothing of my own authority” (5:30). The miracles, therefore, were done not by his own authority, but by God’s authority.
What did Jesus teach? The Qur’an tells us that Jesus came to teach the same basic message which was taught by previous prophets from God—that we must shun every false god and worship only the one true God. Jesus taught that he is the servant and messenger of that one true God, the God of Abraham. These Quranic teachings can be compared with the Bible ( Mark 10:18; Matthew 26:39; John 14:28, 17:3, and 20:17) where Jesus teaches that the one he worshipped is the only true God. See also Matthew 12:18; Acts 3:13, and 4:27 where we find that his disciples knew him as Servant of God.
The Qur’an tells us that some of the Israelites rejected Jesus, and conspired to kill him, but Allah (God) rescued Jesus and raised him to Himself. Allah will cause Jesus to descend again, at which time Jesus will confirm his true teachings and everyone will believe in him as he is and as the Qur’an teaches about him.
Jesus is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah, and a spirit from Him. He is honoured in this world and in the hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to Allah.
Jesus was a man who spoke the truth which he heard from God. This can be compared with the Gospel According to John where Jesus says to the Israelites: “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God” (John 8:40).

The Virgin Birth of Jesus
Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. When the angels announced to Mary (peace be upon her) about Allah’s promise that she will have a son, she was surprised, since she was a virgin. “How can this be?” she thought. She was reminded that it is easy for Allah to create whatever he wills.
She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is (Qur’an 3:47).
It is not difficult for Allah to do anything he wants. He can create a child with both human parents or only one. No miracle is beyond His power. After all, He had created Adam (peace be upon him) from neither a man nor a woman. He created the rest of us from both man and woman. What is so hard if Allah decides to create a human being from a woman only? He only commands “Be!” and it occurs.
Some people think that since Jesus, peace be upon him, had no human father then God must be his father. The Qur’an rejects this view. The position of Jesus with Allah is comparable to the position of Adam with Allah. Just because Adam had no human parent does not mean we should call him the Son of God.
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (Qur’an 3:59).
According to the Qur’an, everyone except Allah are His servants.
And they say: the Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a Son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall to ruins, that ye ascribe to the Beneficent a son, when it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should chose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (Qur’an 19:88-93)

The Miracles of Jesus
According to the Qur’an, Jesus, on whom be peace, performed the following miracles by Allah’s leave:
1. Spoke while he was only a baby.
2. Healed those born blind.
3. Healed the lepers.
4. Revived the dead.
5. Breathed life into a bird made of clay.
In the Qur’an Allah quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, as saying:
Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird by Allah’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave. And I announce to you what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you if you are to be believers.
And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path. (Qur’an 3: 49-51).
Again, in the Qur’an Allah tells us about the situation on the Day of Judgement:
In the day when Allah gathers together the messengers and says: What was your response (from mankind)? they say: We have no knowledge. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden.
When Allah says: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto you and unto your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, so that you spoke unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught you the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how you did shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and did blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and you did heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission . . . (Qur’an 5:109-110)
Not all of these miracles are recorded in the canonical gospels, the four gospels contained in the Christian Bible.
The fact that Jesus spoke while he was yet a baby is not written anywhere in the Bible. This should not be surprising, because none of the Gospels can claim to recover every single event in the life of Jesus. Instead, the gospel According to John seeks to emphasize that the events were too many to record.
Similarly, the miracle of breathing life into a bird made of clay is not attested by the Christian Bible. This too should not make us wonder. It is obvious that the writers of the gospels could write down only the tradition that was available to them. Furthermore, they could not write down everything they knew about Jesus for they were writing on papyrus material that were very limited in length.
What is worthy to notice here is that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was honest enough to promulgate this information about Jesus. The religion taught by God through Muhammad would deny the divinity of Jesus. Any human being, therefore, who wished to deny the divinity of Jesus would have tried to belittle Jesus. Since Christians looked upon the miracles of Jesus as a proof of his divinity, we might expect that any human being who tries to deny the divinity of Jesus would not have informed people of miracles not previously known to them. He might have even tried to deny some of the miracles recorded in the canonical gospels. On the other hand, the prophet Muhammad honestly conveyed the message delivered to him from Allah. (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)
Allah tells us the truth without fear. Human beings trying to win followers tell us only what is conducive to winning us over. They usually withhold information that could lead to opposite conclusions. On the other hand, Allah informs us about the miracles of Jesus even if people use this information to support their prior commitment to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus. Allah does not need to win worshippers. Those who worship Allah does so for their own good. And those who worship false gods do so to their own detriment.
What Allah emphasizes, though, is that the miracles of Jesus do not prove he was divine. The miracles he performed were a sign, a proof, that he was God’s messenger. He performed them with God’s help and permission. Those who use his miracles as proof of his divinity would choose to forget the following sayings of Jesus:
I can of my own authority do nothing. (John 5:30)
They also forget the declaration of Peter:
Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know. (Acts 2:22 KJV).
These passages suggest that Jesus did not do miracles on his own. These, rather were accomplished by God’s leave. Allah reminds us of this. Jesus also constantly repeated to his audience that the miracles he performed were by God’s leave.

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Griffon said...

I seriously doubt that Bush or Pope Benedict are remotely interested in what the Bible has to say about all this.

I am equally sure Bush and his masters are not remotely interested in Iran's fledgeling nuclear program, either. What they are interested in is oil. OIL, DAMN IT!

Iran's current and future strategic importance to the US is centered entirely on it's oil and gas reserves and who gets them.

To not mention the word "oil" in an article focused on possible war and world strategy/diplomacy is extraordinary, to say the least.

The author talks as if the Bush side of the negotiations are reasonable, logical human beings. But I put it to you that it is impossible to reason with someone who keeps blathering "Oil, oil. I want that damn oil. Damn it. It's mine. God gave it to me"!

Iraq has proven beyond doubt that Ameerica cannot see past it's own short term greed.

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Griffon:

You're making two mistakes in my view:

1. Mr Bush is merely a puppet or conduit. He does as he's told. In the equation he's the least important factor.

2. The confrontation between Iran and the West is not about oil, at least not primarily. It's about perceived (and created) security problems, mainly fear of a nuclear attack on the Great Satan or its proxy, Israel, by a nuclear enabled Iran.

I feel quite clearly that there is a broader US foreign policy shift in the making, with hard-line neoconservatism having to give some way to a more multilateral approach. We must be vigilant to spot these changes, lest we continue to judge the US from an outdated perspective.

 
At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Griffon said...

I agree with you on point 1, Gert but not point 2. However, I can't claim to have any specialized knowledge so I hope you are right as it would make a resolution more likely in my view.

As for policy shifts, bear in mind that ALL the players involved belong to the Council on Foreign Relations. This group is a past master at playing politics as an "exhibition match" whereby they own both teams. Witness the Democrat/Republican shell game. They only disagree about the peripheral issues. This way, by leading the dissent, they contain and control it. Too easy!

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Wolfie said...

I agree with you in that security policy is important in these manoeuvres by the Iranian government Gert. However I am more inclined to suspect that Ahmadinejad has been engaged in a policy to "talk-up" the price of oil on the international markets with these sweeping threats and even that elements within the US administration are party to this. Its a win-win situation where both parties will eventually back down.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Wolfie:

Possibly. But I think Griffon is more referring to the "Iranian Oil Bourse" scenario, which in my view is a complete canard.

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Wolfie said...

So much so that it quacks!

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home