To the First (2004) Edition

 

Originally the present work was intended to be written as an ‘Appendix’ to this writer’s book Pārān Prophecy of the Bible regarding the Prophet of Islām. When, in the form of an article (appendix), it was presented by the writer to Mr. Javed Ahmad Ghāmidī, President, Al-Mawrid, Institute of Islāmic Sciences, he agreed to the idea of further research on the theme, and, if it genuinely becomes of size, it might be put forth in the form of an independent book. Inspired by the idea, a thorough probe into the theme was undertaken. A number of times he was resorted to for his guidance mostly during our way to the Mosque for our ‘Asr prayer. He always solved the problem in a few sentences. He had been a constant source of guidance and consolation throughout this huge undertaking. The writer is earnestly thankful to him.

The presentwork is neither of a polemic nature nor simply a general informative paper. It is an attempt to address a long discussed problem on the principles of objective research. It has been tried not to make any assertion or set forth an explanation to some word or theme without affording a referential authority. It has also been tried to provide sufficient evidence to establish the themes that it may not be blamed to be based on scanty or one-sided evidence. It has further been tried to present the evidence faithfully and without any manipulations. As regards the ‘aggressive referencing’, as has been observed by a worthy friend, the writer may be excused for it. The nature of the article required it and it was unavoidable. The reader may occasionally feel a sort of repetition of some data. Besides being useful towards sound appreciation, it was the requisite of the spot and it would spare the reader from turning over the pages, which may mar the effect and interest of the situation. It is hoped that its objective study would be useful. Suggestions towards the improvement of the theme would be appreciated. It would be tried to answer queries. In fact the incident of ‘offering’ is not a merit for the ‘only son’ to be offered, if he be not given to know it; and Isaac did not know what was going to be done of him unless he was allegedly put to ‘Akedah’[1]. According to the Muslims, the ‘only son’ offered for sacrifice was taken into full confidence and he wholeheartedly accepted it. No doubt it reveals his duteousness and complete surrender to the will of God and the duty to his father, which, of course, is quite commendable. Yet the Muslims do not claim it as a cause of superiority for him. They take it as godliness and dutifulness of Abraham in response to the ‘temptation’ (test and trial) by the Lord and a positively desirable cooperation of a son and his duteous compliance with his father’s desire to carry out the will of God.

Some of the Muslim scholars misapprehend that it was Isaac who was offered for sacrifice. They depended solely on the Biblical sources. The matter has been settled once for ever by the renowned South Asian Muslim scholar Imām Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī[2] in his scholarly Arabic treatise ‘al-Ra’y al-Sahīh fī man huwa al-dhabīh[3].  It is impossible for this humble writer to address the theme at that level, so he has not touched the Muslim authorities and their stance. Farāhī’s esteemed work ‘al-Ra’y al-Sahīh fī man Huwa al-Dhabīh’ is recommended to be consulted for the purpose. The article on ‘Beersheba’ has been appended to this book, which is to be taken as a part of it. The main theme of the book required it to be explored in detail. When a detailed study of the theme was undertaken, it developed as an independent article. It has thus been attached as an ‘Appendix’ to the book.

The problem of the ‘Corruption in the Text of the Bible’ had frequently to be addressed during the development of the theme. It was considered proper to undertake a fairly detailed study of the theme as well. It has also been appended to the book. It should be used only as an instrument to ascertain the status of certain statement of the Bible; but it should not be considered that the whole of the Bible is incredible or unreliable.

During the course of the present assignment a number of themes emerged to be addressed to accomplish the main theme. It has broadened the scope of the book to a great extent, but every point is quite relevant and pertinent at its place. It has made the book even more valuable and exclusive. It has covered the relevant themes of the site of Makkah according to the Bible; Pilgrimage of Makkah in the B; Site of Al-Marwah in the B; Visit and Pilgrimage of Makkah by King David and his later longing for it; Offering of Sacrifices at Makkah in the book of Isaiah of the B; the Well of Zamzam (Beersheba); Hagar’s being a princess and not a slave girl (footnote 298); and a brief sketch of the history of the Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem. It has contributed a lot to the worth of the present work.

In the footnotes the name of the book is generally italicized and the publisher’s address and the year of publication have been placed in parentheses.

 

Abdus Sattar Ghawri

February 1, 2004

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