Question: “Does Islam’s emphasis on reality not show our disdain for how different people perceive things?”


It is said that when we emphasize the ‘reality’ in our discussions with non-Muslims, we are showing a total disdain for different minds to perceive things in different ways. What do we say to this?

Answer (by Ustadh Luqman al-Andalusi, Executive Director of al-Andalus Institute of Islamic Studies):

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم

In Islam, one of our spiritual masters is the best friend of the Prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr as-Siddique. He said, “The way I know Allah is to know that I do not know Allah.” Meaning that nobody on earth knows the true Essence of God.

Therefore, it is true that we do not know the realities of God, however, we can get to know Him through the signs of His creation. That is a Muslim’s reality.

As Muslims, it is also not true that we do not believe that others can experience spiritual realities. What we do not agree about are a lot of the methods used to get such realities. For example, so-called spiritualists piercing their skin in order to gain spiritual euphoria, or let’s say someone who wastes food when people around the world are hungry; to then place this food in front of an idol is considered useless to a Muslim, These methods are rejected by those with faith, because they go against what the Creator of the air you breathe wants. We, as humans cannot just come up with our own ways of life without the guidance of God. That is similar to a person trying to fly a plane, with a motorcycle license. But, with that said, we as Muslim cannot say that methods used by other religions do not affect the soul [Ruh]. Especially, if a person does not know any better. Meaning they are living a faith of their ancestors and let’s say they are good people that have fed orphans their whole life. They would have a good spirit and they would be the best people to be susceptible to accepting Islam because they are already good people.

Another thing that has to be noted, is that we also do not reject that others within the so-called Abrahamic faiths have a lot of similarities to Islam in doctrine. What we reject as Muslim, is saying that God could be a man. We do not reject that Jesus was a Prophet and a beloved of Allah. We place no divinity upon him, not because of disrespect. We believe he is the Messiah, will come back and that he will unite the believers at that time.

Therefore, yes people can have their realities, yet one has to be willing to change that reality once they find the true reality. Scientists themselves do this all the time. So, yes, people of others religions can have spiritual realities that affect the Ruh and would transform them.

With that said, in Islam, I will not lie, we do believe that methods other than Islam are not valid, we would not be shy to say this. Our scholars have noted, that just as there is a difference between a clock and a watch, even though they tell the same time; many will have a different concept of God, all with the intention to reach that reality which is being questioned. That Reality is God.

So, to end, in Islam we allow freedom of religion and we allow others to practice in their churches and synagogues. What we do not accept is people using religion as a tool to oppress people, such as idol worshipers and atheists who hate people because they love God, etc. Many proofs of other cultures and religions can be used. We do not accept anything that goes against the natural disposition of life.

The Proofs for the realities of this are all in the Quran, which is the last revelation, which to us as Muslims purified and then confirmed the truths of the Bible. It is in no way a carbon copy of it.

The proofs of the existence of Allah and many scientific realities are also found in the Quran. These would allow a person of sound intellect to break the fallacies of the media, etc., in order to learn Islam with a clear mind. Yet, many are not willing to do this because of pressure to hate Islam through the media and more conservative families, so to speak. I hope this helps and please forgive if I offended anyone. The truth is like medicine, please drink up.


13 thoughts on “Question: “Does Islam’s emphasis on reality not show our disdain for how different people perceive things?”

  1. Salaam brother,

    I have a question regarding the hadith that report the miracle of the splitting of the moon, there are some commentators that claim the verses speaking on the subject are referring to a future cataclysmic event to happen later. The story of the splitting moon seems impossible unless it was just a local illusion as there would be at least a few records of the event outside the hadith that mention it, what are you thoughts on the matter?



    • Salam Alaykum,

      I will try to ask some graduates of Madaris and scholars (personally and perhaps publicly on social media as well), but it would seem from ‘the top of my head’ that the prime basis for considering the splitting of the moon as an event that has already occurred is the Quranic speech itself, in that the address is in the past tense and is speaking about a great thing that the disbelievers are denying by saying it is ‘ongoing magic’

      That is, if it was a local illusion then they would be right in a sense and this is impossible; if it was in the future then why would the perfect tense be used in conjunction with the perfect tense of the approach of the Qiyaamah, giving the very real message that something very great occurred that is heralding the impending reality of something else very great in magnitude.

      Yes, there is a need to look at it from the viewpoint of number of expected witnesses versus the number of reports we actually have with us, but the Quranic expression itself is much more than a few witnesses or the witness of a single Hadith, and it seems the decisiveness of the language used is enough to keep the expression from being taken as a metaphorical or allegorical expression of something that is yet to occur.

      (For some more perspective the below article may be consulted:

      Wa Salam.


      • Would it be allowed to say it was a metaphor and still remain a part of the sunnah?

        Here are two responses I found while i was surfing the internet for answers, the first article talks about the event happening and the other is an argument against that;

        For the splitting moon miracle:
        “Splitting of the Moon

        One of the times when God performed miracles at the hand of the Prophet was when the Meccans demanded to see a miracle from Muhammad to show his truthfulness. God split the moon in two separate halves and then re-joined them. The Quran recorded the event:

        “The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder!” (Quran 54:1)

        Prophet Muhammad would recite these verses of the Quran in large congregations of the weekly Friday prayer and the bi-annual Eed prayers.[1] Had the event never occurred, Muslims themselves would have doubted their religion and many would have left it! The Meccans would have said, ‘Hey, your prophet is a liar, the moon never split, and we never saw it split!’ Instead, the believers grew stronger in their faith and the only explanation the Meccans could come up with was, ‘passing magic!’

        “The Last Hour draws near, and the moon is split asunder! And if they see a sign (miracle), they turn away and say, ‘Passing magic!’- for they are bent on giving it the lie, being always wont to follow their own desires.” (Quran 54:1-3)

        The splitting of the moon is confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through an unbroken chain of reliable scholars so many that it is impossible that it could be false (hadith mutawatir).[2]

        A skeptic might ask, do we have any independent historical evidence to suggest the moon was ever split? After all, people around the world should have seen this marvelous event and recorded it.

        The answer to this question is twofold.

        First, people around the world could not have seen it as it would have been daytime, late night, or early morning in many parts of the world. The following table will give the reader some idea of corresponding world times to 9:00 pm Mecca time:

        Country and Time:

        Mecca 9:00 pm, India 11:30 pm, Perth 2:00 am, Reykjavik 6:00 pm, Washington D.C. 2:00 pm, Rio de Janeiro 3:00 pm,
        Tokyo 3:00 am, Beijing 2:00 am

        Also, it is not likely that a large number of people in lands close by would be observing the moon at the exact same time. They had no reason to. Even if some one did, it does not necessarily mean people believed him and kept a written record of it, especially when many civilizations at that time did not preserve their own history in writing.

        Second, we actually have an independent, and quite amazing, historical corroboration of the event from an Indian king of that time.

        Kerala is a state of India. The state stretches for 360 miles (580 kilometers) along the Malabar Coast on the southwestern side of the Indian peninsula.[3] King Chakrawati Farmas of Malabar was a Chera king, Cheraman perumal of Kodungallure. He is recorded to have seen the moon split. The incident is documented in a manuscript kept at the India Office Library, London, reference number: Arabic, 2807, 152-173.[4] A group of Muslim merchant’s passing by Malabar on their way to China spoke to the king about how God had supported the Arabian prophet with the miracle of splitting of the moon. The shocked king said he had seen it with his own eyes as well, deputized his son, and left for Arabia to meet the Prophet in person. The Malabari king met the Prophet, bore the two testimonies of faith, learned the basics of faith, but passed away on his way back and was buried in the port city of Zafar, Yemen.[5]

        It is said that the contingent was led by a Muslim, Malik ibn Dinar, and continued to Kodungallure, the Chera capital, and built the first, and India’s oldest, mosque in the area in 629 CE which exists today.

        The news of his accepting Islam reached Kerala where people accepted Islam. The people of Lakshadweep and the Moplas (Mapillais) from the Calicut province of Kerala are converts from those days.

        The Indian sighting and the meeting of the Indian king with Prophet Muhammad is also reported by Muslim sources. The famous Muslim historian, Ibn Kathir, mentions the splitting of the moon was reported in parts of India.[6] Also, the books of hadith have documented the arrival of the Indian king and his meeting the Prophet. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, a companion of Prophet Muhammad, states:

        “The Indian king gifted the Prophet with a jar of ginger. The companions ate it piece by piece. I took a bite as well.”[7]

        The king was thus considered a ‘companion’ – a term used for a person who met the Prophet and died as a Muslim – his name registered in the mega-compendiums chronicling the Prophet’s companions.[8]

        Night Journey and Ascent to Heaven

        A few months before the migration from Mecca to Medina, God took Muhammad in one night from the Grand Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a month’s journey of 1230 Km for a caravan. From Jerusalem, he ascended to the heavens, passing the boundaries of the physical universe to be in divine presence, meet God, and witness the Great Signs (al-Ayat ul-Kubra). His truth became apparent in two ways. First, ‘the Prophet described the caravans he had overtaken on the way home and said where they were and about when they might be expected to arrive in Mecca; and each arrived as predicted, and the details were as he had described.’[9] Second, he was never known to have been to Jerusalem, yet he described al-Aqsa Mosque to skeptics like an eye-witness.

        The mystical journey is mentioned in the Quran:

        “Exalted is He who took His Servant [Prophet Muhammad] by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Quran 17:1)

        “So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent at the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary – near it is the Garden of Refuge (Paradise) – when there covered the Lote Tree that which covered (it). The sight (of the Prophet) did not swerve, nor did it transgress (its limit). He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.” (Quran 53:12-18)

        The event is also confirmed through eye-witness testimony transmitted through the ages with an unbroken chain of reliable scholars (hadith mutawatir).[10]”

        responce to the splitting moon article:
        “The moon splitting: the Salafis lie a lot: we don’t have any references from other nations about that at all as far as I know. The only foreigner they can bring to verify it was a Sahabah – so it is from Islamic sources and the story is in hadith, so that’s not an ‘independent source’. Hadith itself is ahad, maybe Mashoor and so cannot be taken into aqeeda according to Hanafis (although any hadith Salafis want to accept automatically becomes ‘Muttawatir‘).

        The article you sent from salafis said that a whole chapter of the Quran is dedicated to this event. But that’s complete nonsense as the chapter is called ‘The Moon’, not ‘The Splitting of the Moon By The Prophet, You Know, the One From Hadith’ etc. So these are the types of dramas Muslims make and make it easy for atheists to destroy our faith. If there was such a global event, there would be a record of it in the far more advanced civilizations and astronomers (China etc).

        It also shows you how dumb the Salafi article is: you can see the moon at day time as well, so they are just talking crap about the astronomical stuff too.

        Most commentators accept this story, but most commentators used by Sunnis interpret the Quran according to hadith, which is not valid according to my preferred scholars (such as Razi), because they assume that the hadith is correct and THEN they read the Quran. All Quran ACTUALLY says is that moon will split – future event most likely, and that is what I believe because otherwise you have three options, none of them very good:

        1) Local Illusion
        2) Eclipse
        3) No one else saw it because they were all looking the other way – not possible.

        So in general, if you start defending hadith by sacrificing Quran, prepare to let go of your faith. Same goes for many things, take Gog and Magog for example, Quran hardly mentions them (*like the splitting of the moon) but Mufassirs and hadith bring a lot of details that do not hold up to scientific scrutiny – whereas the Quran does.

        Mu’tazzila rejected this incident from the earliest times. Shia too I think, up till now. Mu’tazzila are hated today but they are the earliest group – even earlier than Hanafis. Only Murjis and Khawarij are earlier. All the Imams of Ahlus Sunnah are after these. So there were doubts about this story from the earliest times.

        Here is the ayat from Asad and his comments:

        THE LAST HOUR draws near, and the moon is split asunder! (54:2) But if they [who reject
        all thought of the Last Hour] were to see a sign [of its approach], they would turn aside and
        say, “An ever-recurring delusion!” – (54:3) for they are bent on giving it the lie, being always
        wont to follow their own desires. Yet everything reveals its truth in the end.

        Most of the commentators see in this verse a reference to a phenomenon said to have been
        witnessed by several of the Prophet’s contemporaries. As described in a number of reports going back to some
        companions, the moon appeared one night as if split into two distinct parts. While there is no reason to doubt
        the subjective veracity of these reports, it is possible that what actually happened was an unusual
        kind of partial lunar eclipse, which produced anequally unusual optical illusion. But whatever the nature
        of that phenomenon, it is practically certain that the above Qur’an-verse does not refer to it but,
        rather, to a future event: namely, to what will happen when the Last Hour approaches. (The Qur’an
        frequently employs the past tense to denote the future, and particularly so in passages which speak of the coming of
        the Last Hour and of Resurrection Day; this use of the past tense is meant to stress the certainty of
        the happening to which the verb relates.) Thus, Raghib regards it as fully justifiable to interpret the
        phrase inshaqqa ‘l-qamar (“the moon. is split asunder”) as bearing on the cosmic cataclysm – the
        end of the world as we know it – that will occur before the coming of Resurrection Day (see art. shaqq
        in the Mufradat). As mentioned by Zamakhshari, this interpretation has the support of some of the
        earlier commentators; and it is, to my mind, particularly convincing in view of the juxtaposition, in the
        above Qur’an-verse, of the moon’s “splitting asunder” and the approach of the Last Hour. (In this
        connection we must bear in mind the fact that none of the Qur’anic allusions to the “nearness” of the Last
        Hour and the Day of Resurrection is based on the human concept of “time”.)”

        The person who argued against the article was a Hanafi Maturidi so i think it was legitimate.


      • Salam Alaykum,

        Will have to ask, as I mentioned before, but from what I have of sources, Imam Ar-Raazi (RA) explicitly declared the view of it being a reference to the future as being a view without a basis even if some have mentioned it, and even az-Zamakhshari seems to refute this view of ‘some people’ who claim it to be only a future occurrence. You can check their respective interpretations, if such is necessary. The important thing that this issue of ‘multiple-witnessing’ did not just come as an objection right now, and if Sunni scholars like Ar-Raazi (RA) and even others outside of the Sunni school did not consider the objection strong enough to transfer the meaning of the Ayaah to another tense altogether, to render the meaning strictly metaphorical, and/or to reject the Ahadith content-wise, then this is something we cannot simply overlook.

        P.S.: I accept that there has to be more questions asked about whether it is a matter of widespread belief or even greater than that, and I am not making an Aqeedah claim in here nor engaging in Tafsir, and I am also disinclined to argue about the matter, either about the ‘true astronomical reality’ of the event or otherwise. I am simply mentioning what is found in some of the sources and persons brought up, and that they do not seem to buttress the argument of a ‘future-only’ event very well.

        Wa Salam


  2. Salam Alaykum,

    I did ask one of my teachers, and he said that there is one opinion in the Tafseers attributed to Hasan al-Basri (RA) about a future occurrence of the splitting of the moon after the Hour- though as per the Shaykh’s opinion it could be that the event will happen again as well.

    In any case the great majority of the scholars across all the schools of Islam are of the opinion that the event occurred during the Prophet’s (Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) time – the combination of knowing about the challenge posed to the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) and witnessing the event was for all intents and purposes confined to the Hijaz and the reports from this area reach the level of mass-transmission, since the magnitude of the event would be the prime incentive for reporting this incident to future generations, an incentive that would be lacking with other areas of the world, where the event may have been interpreted differently to begin with.

    Very importantly, it was mentioned that the ‘rule’ that we can reject the most obvious meaning of the Quran and Sunnah based on lack of historical data rather than information that seems to contradict the Nusoos is a weak and precarious principle (what I understand from the Shaykh is that if one took this, then this “rule” could be ostensibly applied to every report connected to Islam, and put serious epistemological holes within Islam as a whole).

    (I am posting the above strictly for information, and I know neither myself nor the Shaykh I asked wish to engage in any argument)

    Wa Salam


    • Jazakallah for your time and patience brother, sorry if I had come off as strong in the previous comment, but what should be our response when a materialist or a missionary accuses the hadith of falsehood due to it’s lack of evidence?


      • Salam Alaykum,

        I had mentioned about non-arguing since some people who take minority views or what are seen as unusual views will argue their case very passionately, but then again the majority view has its proponents and a lot of passion can also come from the ‘majority’ as well, but we do not want any of that with respect to this matter.

        Now, about the different people who may ask about this miracle, we have to see the background of each objector. For the materialist, the truth is that ‘Miracles’ are not part of his vocabulary, so whether we say the miracle happened in the past or will occur in the future, both of these are ludicrous propositions for him since he believes in a closed natural system that accepts no ‘outside’ interventions so as to say. So there is a deep cosmological divide that has to be bridged before we can talk about literary miracles or physical miracles.

        Concerning the Christian missionary, there is also an underlying supposition that has to be dealt with, and that is his view that the Crucifixion of Jesus (AS) brought forth the Final Dispensation to all of humanity, so mentally for him, anyone after this who does not follow Christianity is a liar, end of story, no matter what evidence he brings. Again, this supposition must be challenged through rational and textual evidences, though mostly through rational ones at the start (specially with respect to their view of the ‘Trinity’ being the operative principle in Divinity, etc.).

        Also, I believe I had informed about Zaytuna College before or you had asked me about it. Even though some say there are controversies swirling around some of their activities, they have very good instructors such as Shaykh Faraz Khan and Imam Zaid Shakir associated with them, and one can learn a lot of the very important and essential matters of Islamic creed and epistemology from them (though I am not familiar with the structure of Zaytuna College, you would have to ask them yourself how you can avail of their classes, lectures, etc., but from what I have heard they have people who are well-versed in tackling these sorts of abstract queries about Islam).


  3. Salaam again brother, I have a few questions

    1) What are your thoughts on Sheikh Atabek Shurkov, do most scholars see him as legitimate? He seems more than qualified as a scholar.

    2) What are your thoughts on Abdullah Yusuf Alis and Muhammad Asads translations/commentaries of the Quran, I have seen Seekers guidance and Sheikh Nuh ha mim Keller recommend them (with the additional warnings of Asads Mu’tazilite leanings and Ali being a former Shia).

    3) Do you think Avicenna Academy is a legitimate source of Orthodox learning?

    4) How many years does it take to memorize the Quran on average?

    5) What are the levels of knowledge a Muslim can achieve, i am asking on the lines of bachelors, masters, and PHD? Do we have ranks?

    6) Is it permissible to play video games? What is the Orthodox stance on art in general? Can we draw people and animals if we exaggerate their features like they do in cartoons?

    7) Can one study philosophy as long as he has a copy of the Tahawi Creed and a Quran? I have taken a course on philosophy and it has only strengthened my Iman (alhamdulilah), but to be fair the teacher was knowledgeable in Islamic philosophy/creed and praised the Muslim philosophers/theologians, so there may have been an advantage that may not be available in my next courses.

    8) If a Muslim gains a certain amount of knowledge, is he obligated to teach? Does the person have to spread it, will it be counted against him on the day of judgement if he keeps to himself?

    Jazakallah for your time and efforts.


  4. How long was the splitting of the moon, was it a few seconds, a couple of minutes, or an hour?

    If it was for a few seconds then there is a possibility that nobody saw it, a miracle like food multiplying and water coming out of fingers is understandable and believable as god can do with the creation as he will, but a miracle like the splitting moon can be verified through outside sources, it’s not that the prophet can’t do it, it’s just if it happened for more than a few moments, people would notice and record it.

    If the splitting of the moon happened for a few seconds then most people would be asleep and those who are awake would think it was just their mind playing tricks on them, but even still, people will start connecting the dots eventually with enough people to corroborate it people will start to write about it.

    I’m not denying the nature or reality of miracles but someone is bound to see something like this and write about.

    Sorry for bringing this up a lot, but this has been on my mind for quite a bit. Jazakallah for answering my questions.


    • Taqi Usmanis commentary has helped explain the miracle:

      “Criticism against the Miracle of ‘Moon-Splitting’
      The critics have raised two types of criticism against the miracle: one is based on the assumptions of Greek philosophers, and the other is based on layman’s thinking. The deviant Greek philosophers assume that it is not possible for the heaven and other celestial bodies to split or crack, and rejoin. But this is merely an idea unsubstantiated by any solid or concrete proof. Whatever proof or evidence the philosophers have advanced is flimsy, shaky, inadequate and unsubstantial. The Islamic philosophers [mutakallimin] have broken down their arguments and have shown that they are baseless, false and absurd. They could not prove by any rational argument that ‘moon-splitting’ is impossible. Indeed, illiterate people regard every unusual thing as impossible. Obviously, the very meaning of mu’jizah or a prophetic miracle is that it is an unusual event that is abnormal and out of general habit, which cannot be performed by common people. Any ordinary work which can be performed at any time cannot be called mu’jizah or miracle.
      The other criticism based on a layman’s thinking is that if such a wonderful event had taken place, its knowledge would have been commonplace and would have found its mention in the books of history, but they say that they have found no such thing recorded.
      Such a thinking is too simplistic which lacks careful analysis. A careful analysis shows that the event had occurred in Makkah at night. At that particular moment, in many parts of the world it must have been day time where and when the question of witnessing this event does not even arise. In many other countries, it must have been middle of the night, or last part of the night when the people normally sleep. Furthermore, people who are awake also do not stare at the moon all the time. Splitting of the moon would not make any difference on the moonlight spread on the earth, so that it would attract people’s attention. The event took place suddenly and lasted for a short while. It is a daily experience that in particular countries at different times lunar eclipse takes place. Nowadays a forecast is made about its occurrence well in advance, yet there are hundreds of thousands of people who are absolutely unaware of it. Can this be the proof that the lunar eclipse did not take place? Thus if the event is not recorded in world history books, its occurrence cannot be denied or refuted. Besides, the event is recorded in the famous and reliable history book of India called ‘Tarikh-e-Farishtah’. It has been mentioned in this book that the MahZrZjah, a native ruler, of MalabZr had witnessed this phenomenon that night with his own eyes, and had it entered in his diary. This incident was the cause of his embracing Islam. Earlier on the narratives of AbE DZwGd TayElisi and Baihaqi were quoted about the pagans of Makkah themselves who inquired from the people arriving from the neighboring parts of the country and they confirmed and verified that they had seen it. Allah, the Pure and the Exalted, knows best! ; (And when these people see a sign, they Stirah Al-Qamar : 54 : 9 – 17 242 turn away and say, “[This is] a transient magic …. 54:2). The word mustamirr, in the popular sense of the word, as used in Persian and Urdu, means something lasting or enduring. However, in the Arabic language it is sometimes used in the sense of passing away or coming to an end, being derived from marra and istamarra. Leading authorities on TafsL, like Mujahid and QatZdah ;ik dl bJ, have applied this sense of the word in the present context. Thus the verse means that the Quraish alleged that the sign of moon-splitting they saw was an illusion and false; its effect will soon diminish and fade away. Another meaning of the word mustamirr is strong and firm. and Dahhak 2” 8′ bJ interpret the word in this sense, meaning that this is a very potent sorcery. (, (…while every matter has to be settled.. ..54:3). The literal I meaning of the word istiqrzr is to settle. The verse means that everything must ultimately reach its end and the matter must become clear. If a veil is fabricated and cast over the truth or reality, eventually [in its designated time] the false veil will be removed and the truth and falsehood will be clearly distinguished. J! (rushing quickly towards the caller.. . .54:8). The word muhti’in literally denotes walking quickly with one’s head raised above. This, together with the two preceding verses, gives a graphic picture of the Day of Gathering or Reckoning. The people will hasten hurriedly in the direction of the voice of the Caller towards the mahshar (area of Reckoning). The words: “With their eyes humbled,.” in preceding verse (7) are in no conflict with the present verse, because there will be many different occasions in mahshar. On some of these occasions, the eyes of all the people will be cast down.”

      There was another version of the commentary that discussed the supernova in the constellation of Cassiopeia in 1660 A.D. and how it should have been visible to all as a very bright star that could have been seen for months, yet no known record is written about the event despite the advances in astronomical technology in that era.

      Jazakallah for your reply’s.


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