Muslim Exorcism as Medicine

Question from Morrisozio:
Demon possession exists and it occurs. No doubt. There were and there are lots of people (personally known to me) who are ill, and blood used to come from ears and noses. Doctors were never able to cure these so called hidden diseases. They always stated they didn’t find anything. Everything seemed fine. While these poor patients keep suffering. However, when they have been religiously healed, all problems disappeared, since the demons inside were forced to leave. One of these healing was even done in hospital, without the permission of any doctors. Can you imagine that? The medical science has been challenged!!!

Some psychologists say that unknown powers exist which control human minds, which are beyond our comprehension.

In addition, Arab exorcists, since they are already rich, do healing for free. In fact exorcism is also used as something acceptable in these Muslim Sharia countries.

Could you give any reply? Please a proper reply, even short one is okay, but don’t reply with words like “coincidence”, “lucky”. How come that these type of physical and mental problems can be cured by religious healers or TRUE exorcists (not the fake ones) and not by physicians?

Thank you.

Answer by SmartLX:
I have only your word for any of this, so it’s not much to go on and it’s not very powerful as testimony given the extreme claims.

I find it hard to believe, first of all, that doctors were of the opinion that patients bleeding from the nose and ears without physical injury “seemed fine”. If a physical injury was present, on the other hand, everything might well be fine afterwards with or without an exorcism. But discussing the details is not very useful without specifics in the claim.

Generally speaking, a miraculous cure needs three things to be effective as evidence for a miracle:
1. evidence that the illness was present in the first place,
2. evidence that the illness is now gone, and
3. a consensus that no conventional medical treatment that was also given to the patient/victim could have treated the illness effectively.
In my experience, the one most often missing from these claims is #1.

I have no doubt that Islamic exorcism or ruqya is popular and encouraged in countries with self-proclaimed Sharia law, even if it performs no better than a placebo. Muslims are subject to fear campaigns trying to convince them that Western medicine aims to poison or defile them, and choosing Islamic spiritual treatments is touted as a way to demonstrate one’s faith and also support fellow Muslims financially.

Cornering the Market, Continued: The NDE Niche

Question from Kamil:
After emailing back and forth with a near death experience expert, I got a figure that from the NDEs he collects, about 13% of NDEs that people have include seeing Jesus. There are not too many Islamic NDEs, but there is yet to be one where a person encounters Muhammad. There are a few Hindu NDEs which differ from Christian ones, but again, almost no mention of Krishna. Would you say 13% of NDEs seeing Jesus would give Jesus more of a chance of being real than the other deities? I have heard that Islamic people may be quiet on encounters with Muhammad as it may be seen as taboo to mention a Muhammad encounter. however, I have seen testimonies of people dreaming about Muhammad and mentioning it, so I’m not quite sure how “taboo” it would be. My question is, if there was never a single NDE of Muhammad but NDEs with Jesus, does this mean Christianity has a better chance of being true? Also, I have seen forums on this topic, and no one can seem to figure out why Muhammad never shows up in NDEs. I do know that Christians on the web will proudly point this out and say “We see Jesus, others don’t see their deities, so we are correct!”. I would like to know an atheistic standpoint on this.

Answer by SmartLX:
I concur on two points. All the research done so far has failed to come up with a statistically significant amount of NDE claims involving Muhammad, and as shown here some Christians do point out Jesus’ supposed monopoly on NDE appearances as support for the reality of his divinity.

Firstly, at 13% of all NDE claims it’s not much of a monopoly. Jesus is not a part of the vast majority of NDE claims even by Christians. Even if it’s really Jesus, he’s not making good use of his omnipresence. But more importantly, when all appearances by Jesus in all claims made so far aren’t enough to convince non-believers due to the lack of good evidence any given claim provides, it means little to point out that other religions do not have the same claims. “Oh, your rivals don’t have this same support that isn’t any kind of support anyway? Well whoop-de-do.”

A more likely reason for the discrepancy than the occasional genuine presence of Jesus, expanding on what I wrote here and here, is that this form of NDE is an almost exclusively Christian cultural meme at this point in time. People are aware of prior claims, so if they have an experience that gives them even a fuzzy feeling of a divine presence (often attributable to medical effects) they will subconsciously shape the memory to fit the expectation. And of course if they’re making it up entirely they will custom-tool it to the memetic specifications.

Now if a recognisable Jesus appeared to someone who had never heard of Jesus, that would be something. But it would also be nearly impossible to prove after the fact, as I’m sure we’ll explore if anyone has a claim like that to share.

Nasir Siddiki, Jesus, and Shingles

Question from Spivak:
I would love to know your impression of this video, do you believe it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1DL9ANF-m4

Answer by SmartLX:
For those who don’t feel like watching, Nasir Siddiki claims that he called out to Allah and Muhammad for help as he was dying of an extreme case of facial shingles combined with chicken pox. Jesus answered instead, he got better, and after 90 minutes in the shower his blisters were all gone and he doesn’t have a mark on him. (To save you a search, shingles leave scars and bad shingles leave bigger scars.)

That’s a straight-up medical miracle, for which there is no evidence presented but his own testimony. He does name the hospital, Toronto General, so this would be on record there if anyone has the ability to check, but doctor-patient confidentiality probably makes that difficult. I do note that the only appearance by his doctor is via the guy playing him in the re-enactment.

To establish an impossible cure there has to have been evidence that the illness existed, and was as severe as described, in the first place. Here’s a relevant story I don’t get to tell often: a Native American healer named Bobby Runningfox once touched my friend’s abdomen and announced that he had cured a small cancer. It had not been detected before his act, and whether he was genuine or not one would not expect to detect it afterwards. So as far as anyone can say, he touched my friend and did nothing.

The other similar claim that comes to mind is the minor character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who accuses a suspected witch: “She turned me into a newt!…I got better.”

There’s another interesting angle on Siddiki which has nothing to do with the medical aspect, brought up by this video. A Muslim has gone through another video where Siddiki tells the same story, and attempted to debunk the claim that Siddiki was actually a Muslim before the event. This responder does the same with many such “ex-Muslim” videos, and frankly appears to be reaching in some parts, but perhaps someone more familiar with Islam can say if there’s anything to it.

Cornering the Market on Divine Visions

Question from Spivak:
I had a question regarding proof of Jesus. People always say the bible or the quran are not reliable proof of Jesus or his existence. My question is, what about all the personal testimonies people have of seeing Jesus. There are many people who make claims that they met Jesus, or Jesus helped them in a particular time. More specifically, I have read and watched accounts of Muslims, Hindus, etc who say they had a problem for ex: they were about to die, they called out to Allah or Krishna, and wouldn’t get an answer. Yet, when they call out to Jesus, they see light, and he comes and saves them. He also tells them bible versus which they later confirm exist. There are healing testimonies, dreams, near death experiences, somehow, it seems no other deity really comes up in these kinds of potentially supernatural experiences other than Jesus. Does this mean Jesus is the most likely deity to exist?

Video examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PExVfzRsKU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjzdG2tNPgw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSUBn99mTkM

there are many more examples where that came from. There don’t seem to be testimonies of other faiths meeting other deities. Does this seem convincing for Jesus?

Answer by SmartLX:
We’ve often covered the implications of claimed personal experiences of the divine, and how they have little reason to mean anything to anyone who doesn’t already believe. Here I’ll focus on the supposed imbalance between claims of visits by Jesus and claims of other deities. There are a few potential and very likely reasons for this imbalance besides Jesus being the only real godlike entity that makes house calls.

The most obvious reason is the media sources available in the Western world and the English language, both of which have an immense Christian majority. Accounts of Jesus are written out, recorded, published and distributed because there’s guaranteed to be an audience for them. This is helped along by the engines that rely on people’s faith being continually reassured: televangelism and Christian Right political advocacy to name two.

The religion with the next most adherents worldwide, though with nowhere near the amount of English-language media profile, is Islam. It’s not surprising that there are no stories of visits by Allah, because it’s a matter of doctrine (see here for instance) that we’re not capable of comprehending or withstanding Allah’s presence while alive. As for Muhammad, Muslims take it practically for granted that he can appear in dreams (they have to take care that it’s not their Devil “Shaytaan” in disguise) so it’s no big deal when he does and they’re not so driven to proclaim it to the world.
That leaves Hinduism as the only other religion with more than 500 million followers, and it’s got even less profile in the West. From what I can gather it happens plenty for Hindus as well; many yogis, gurus, monks and priests have their own stories about how Ganesha or Hanuman appeared to them, but only their own congregations hear the tales.

That’s probably the big takeaway from this topic: only Christianity has the infrastructure in place to widely proclaim everything that happens to anyone as a miracle and a vindication. By and large people of other religions just rejoice and get on with it.

Islam and Science Again

Question from :
The Quran has verses about the Big Bang, the formation of the embryo, the speed of light and other scientific facts. How do I explain to a Muslim that these Quranic verses are incorrect or that Quran is incorrect? When I discuss such matters with Muslims, the discussion becomes dead as both the sides have their explanations but are not convincing enough. Any help would be really appreciated. I watch your show online from time to time, some callers give very stupid arguments but all in all great work guys. Keep it up πŸ™‚

Answer by SmartLX:
Firstly, we’re not affiliated with any show. Ask The Atheist with Tom Leykis isn’t us. You might instead be talking about The Atheist Experience, which I love but is not us either.

Anyway, the claims of divine scientific foreknowledge always rely on specific interpretations of passages in the Quran, so the question is whether these interpretations are justified, and the problem with discussing it with Muslims is that the answer to this question is extremely subjective. What’s not so subjective is whether it is convincing to non-believers; no matter how obvious the argument seems to Muslims, they can’t claim that it’s persuading people who don’t already believe. The propaganda is all one-way from devout Muslims, not testimonials from new converts. Therefore if they care about more than just feeling smug and reassuring their fellow Muslims (and they may not), they need to address what you find weak about this type of argument.

For excellent analysis of particular claims, check out TheIslamMiracle on YouTube. There’s a video for each one.

If this is the best apologetics Islam has to offer…

Question from Abu (“Muslim until death”, as he wrote in the name field):
I always feel pity for the stubbornness (to believe in Allah/God/Elohim/Ubangiji) of/by Atheists.

Thus I have a lot of questions to harden your brain (and if Allah wills for you goodness; you may take heed).

1) First of all: Why do you deny the existence of Allah [the Almighty God] ?

2) Second of all: Do you go with your life (here I purposely mean) for breathing, able to motionize, able to so likes of ?

3) Third of all: Do you think that everything goes freely by its power of nature ?

4) Fourth of all: If you think that Allah doesn’t exist, how all things came to existence ?

5) Fifth of last: I do argue to prepare for yourselves the last destination, there is a world to come after this, don’t let yourself be loser in Hereafter.

Bye !

Answer by SmartLX:
Interesting idea for you while I’m answering these: if none of the preaching has any effect on me, does that mean Allah wills me to reject him? The Bible talks about God hardening people’s hearts so that they’ll reject him; maybe some people just aren’t meant to be saved.

1) I deny that Allah exists (or at least I say that it seems very unlikely) because I do not believe that Allah exists, and I have decided to be honest about it. Even a genuine lack of belief is difficult for some believers to accept. Sorry folks, but there are people who truly disagree with you.

2) This one was honestly difficult to interpret, so tell me if I’m on the wrong track. I don’t think I need help to breathe, move and so on because there are mechanisms in my body which make these things happen for me. Even if Allah is real he doesn’t necessarily have to run everything manually.

3) I think everything obeys natural laws, only some of which we understand well enough to predict behaviour. An interventionist god like Allah would influence our lives by violating these laws, and I don’t think there’s good evidence that this is happening.

4) I don’t know how everything came to exist. To say that this lack of knowledge supports an assertion that a being with an equally mysterious origin must exist is an argument from ignorance. (It’s no accident that this is the most common hyperlink on this site besides the one for my Twitter.)

5) This is not a question.

Atheists and Assets

Question from Fahim:
How do atheists distribute their assets justifiedly? I was brought up in a Muslim family and have learnt the Islamic Assets distribution method. I want to know if atheists have any such methods.

Answer by SmartLX:
I’m not familiar at all with the distribution method you refer to, though I’ve now read a bit about the rules attempting to apply Islamic teachings to economics and inheritance in particular. It won’t affect my answer, but if you have a good primer you can link to I’d appreciate seeing it in a comment.

Atheists distribute their assets according to any number of different systems and philosophies, because atheism itself teaches nothing about asset distribution. There’s no rule that says anything like, “There are no gods so give 10% to charity.” Some learn economics and manage their assets for the maximum profit and benefit to all. Some study various philosophies and use that to justify either spreading wealth or hoarding it. Many simply work from their own sense of fairness and honesty, which is easily tested because you get some pretty harsh feedback if you’re seen as unfair or dishonest.

I answer a similar question by Christians all the time; they ask where atheists get their morals. If you’ve been told all your life that one book is the only place you need to look for guidance in any aspect of your life, I realise it can be a strange-sounding idea that there are people who have no such book and yet find direction, meaning and clear intellectual justification for their actions, regarding assets or anything else. Nevertheless, it is another perfectly decent way to live your life. You just have to look a bit farther afield to find solid frameworks to build on.

Why Mohammed?

Question from Ali:
I was asking a friend if God wanted to reveal Islam to all humans why was it in Arabic? He answered me because he chose Mohammed as his prophet. Then I asked why of all the people he chose an illiterate man? They answered me because that is the miracle and how he showed his divine powers of making an illiterate man able to read and write instantly. So i got stuck on that thought and couldn’t answer because it made some sense… if you have a supporting argument for me to continue that conversation please advise me…
Thanks.

Answer by SmartLX:
It would have made more sense for God to reveal himself in multiple places, in all major languages, with a consistent message for mankind. Therefore I don’t think much of the supposed decision to send a message to just one person in any single language, let alone Arabic. That said, if that was how it had to happen, Arabic was as good a language as any – less for its popularity than for the fact that it was spoken by many groups with aggressive warriors who were ideal for spreading Islam by the sword.

Not all Muslims believe that God bestowed literacy upon Mohammed (peace be upon him, as they say). This Muslim site doesn’t say anything about him ever learning to read or write. There’s a third opinion too: a separate site (written by a non-Muslim) gives a quote from the “writings” of Mohammed himself which implies that he was always able to read.

It hardly matters, because as the first link says it’s perfectly reasonable to think that Mohammed dictated his works to his companions, at least a few of whom were surely literate. Oral storytelling and other communication has a strong tradition in the Middle East, and even today Muslims are encouraged to memorise chunks of the Quran for recital (and, of course, simply for the sake of indoctrination). It’s the simplest explanation for a large body of written work coming from an illiterate man, and it even satisfies some Muslims. There’s still the supernatural claim that the angel Gabriel (Jibril) provided much of the material to Mohammed beforehand, but his literacy is irrelevant to that issue.

Take all of the above into account, and the idea of Mohammed’s sudden literacy makes very poor Muslim apologetic when there are so many other – and so much more mundane – things that could have happened instead.

Pick A God, Any God

Question from Fawaz:
What is the true religion on earth? Christianity,Islam,Hinduism,At…
Hello
Do you Know Hindus believe that vedas(Hindi scriptures) is from God,Muslims beleves that Quran is from God and Christian Believes that Bible is from God,Which one is correct and if I say all are correct then.All the three have Scientific facts and we know that Atheists believes in science so so which one to choose.

Hindu vedas(1700–1100 BCE)
Scientific facts
1.Shape of Earth is like an Oblate Spheroid. (Rig VedaXXX. IV.V)
2.Earth is flattened at the poles.
3.Blue Sky is Nothing but scattered sunlight (Markandeya Purana 78.8)
Many more facts
http://tinyurl.com/8qlv834

Islam Quran(1400 years ago)
Scientific facts
1.”Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then we
clove them asunder and We got every living thing out of the water? Will they not then
believe?” (21:30)(Big theory says first stage was singularity)
2.”The heaven, we have built it with power. Verily, we are expanding it(Expanding Unvierse)
3.We have placed in the ground (mountains) standing firm, so that it does not shake with
them.”(This says earth has sedimentary mountains which prevents earthquakes it is scientifically proven)
Many more facts
http://tinyurl.com/d8gyhpa

Christianity Bible( 2000 years ago)
Scientific facts
1.He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.
2.The Earth is not motionless(Psalms 104:5 )
3.The earth is round
There are many more facts you can read it from here
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/youth/scientificfacts/default.asp
we all know that this scientific facts to be know at that time would be impossible and it can only be said by someone who is our creator or who has the knowledge of all things that is GOD.
As all the divine books contains scientific facts it means that which one to choose.
Do you what is the common thing in all the religion.It is God.But some has many and some has one.
As hinduism is the oldest religion it has most chance that the vedas and other hindu scriptures are changed.
Christianity is mid age religion but it has been changed according to the time.
Islam is among one of the recent religion ,so chance of changes are less.

Hinduism
In Hindu religion there is avatar named kalki
Things mentioned about kalki in hindu scriptures
1.Kalki will be born on 12 day of a month
2.In Purana (a holy book of Hindus) it is stated that Kalki Avatar would be the last messenger (prophet) of God in this world for the Guidance of the whole world and all human beings.
3. In books of Hindus, the names of the father and the mother of Kalki Avatar are given as VISHNUBHAGAT and SUMAANI respectively.
4.God would teach Kalki Avatar through His messenger (angel) in a cave.
There are many more points you can search it.
now if we compare it with a prophet know as Muhammad in Islam.
1.Prophet muhammad born on the 12 day of a month of lunar calendar.
2.prophet muhammad is ther last messenger according to Islam.
3.Name of prophet muhammads father is Abdullah and his mother name is ameena.
Take VISHNUBHAGAT= VISHNU (meaning God) + BHAGAT( meaning slave) = ALLAH + ABD (in Arabic) = Slave of God = ABDULLAH (in arabic) (name of Mohammed’s Father)
SUMAANI= PEACE or Calmness = Aamenah (in Arabic).
4.God taught Prophet Muhammad (SAW), through His messenger Jibraeel (Gabrael) in a cave known as Gaar-e-Hiraa.
There are many more points that i am not writing you can read it from here.
http://www.islamicbulletin.com/newsletters/issue_19/hindu.aspx

Christianity
So we know that bible has been changed according to time.What if we get the pure bible which was revealed 2000 years ago but that is impossible but what if we go to the oldest bible.
Lets see what the oldest bible says.
worlds oldest bible(Codex Sinaiticus) says that jesus predict the coming of the prophet muhammad and In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God
There is more infomation you can collect it from this site

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2105714/Secret-14million-Bible-Jesus-predicts-coming-Prophet-Muhammad-unearthed-Turkey.html

Islam
prophet muhammad is the last prophet for whole mankind.
accordint to Islam there is only one God and the God in the holy Quran says that he has sent messengers(Prophets) to all the groups in the world and send the message that there is only one god and also send a message that if a messenger comes in the future they should accept him and follow him .
With this we can say that God has send many messengers and many books but after the messengers died,the people changed the religion according to them.
It is hard for a person that if he is follow something from years and someone had showed him evidence that it is wrong he/she won’t be able to believe that.
Please choose the correct religion ,dont be something by chance ,be something by choice.
So which one do you choose

GOD’s Servent

Answer by SmartLX:
We have a set of claims of divine foreknowledge of both science and historical events…from a set of mutually exclusive religions? They can’t all be right, they can’t all speak for the same god or gods, and yet they all seem to have this amazing predictive power.

So what’s going on here? The simplest explanation is that these predictions are coming from a source other than a god. My reference piece on prophecies always comes in handy in situations like this; most of them are likely candidates for #4. Shoehorned, or in other words the passage’s intended meaning has nothing to do with the thing it’s now claimed to predict. If you really see merit in a particular item among the above (anybody, not just Fawaz) single it out and I’ll address it in detail. Chances are that someone already has, though, especially the Biblical stuff. Try a search yourself.

In the absence of any substantial evidence for any one of these religions, I’m not about to pick one. If any of the others is right, I’ll be punished, possibly more for worshipping a rival, false god than for simply withholding my judgement.

The Koran: For or Against Science?

Question from Sabri:
I just need specific Aias from the Koran against science and knowledge? Please, and if possible in Arabic, if not its ok. Thank you.

Answer by SmartLX:
I couldn’t pin down the word “Aias”, but I assume you’re looking for the Koranic equivalent of Biblical “verses” which speak against science.

I think you’re out of luck, because the Koran says very little about science and knowledge – and where Mohammed and friends are quoted on the subject (whether in the Koran or the hadith, I haven’t confirmed) they seem quite in favour of the pursuit of knowledge:
β€œA person who follows a path for acquiring knowledge, Allah will make easy the passage to Paradise for him.”
“A Muslim will not tire of knowledge until he reaches Heaven.”
“The ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr.”

Many Muslims go further than that. They proudly declare Islam’s supposed scientific superiority, and furthermore claim that the truth of Islam is vindicated, by pointing to parts of the Koran which they say accurately describe scientific phenomena only recently discovered by modern science. The YouTube channel TheIslamMiracle does a very good job of debunking this idea by tackling each claim individually.

Anyway, there are two main sources of Muslim opposition or indifference to science, both of which certainly have their equivalents in other religions.
1. Some branches of science regularly contradict the factual claims of the Koran. An obvious example is evolution, because the Koran roughly recounts the six-day creation story of Genesis. This, many Muslims decide, cannot be allowed to stand.
2. A Muslim who is pursuing science is not, at that exact moment, studying Islamic doctrine. Muslim childhood education commonly emphasises religious education and indoctrination above all else (even more than most Christian-centric curricula) such that children in Muslim schools may get the impression that they don’t need to know much else. This kind of environment tends not to produce a high proportion of scientifically literate adults, at least by secular standards.