When Muslims die and enter Paradise do they still have to pray to Allah?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Hmmm . . . interesting question. The only thing I recall that might relate to the question is the matter of the seven heavens. The original Quran has existed since Allah created the universe. He keeps it with him in seventh heaven. When it came time to begin sending revelations to Muhammad, Allah moved the Quran to first heaven — where the archangel Gabriel could access it whenever he needed to parse out revelations to Muhammad.

This mythical arrangement of Quranic revelation, from outermost (first) heaven, via archangel Gabriel, to Muhammad, suggests to me that Allah is not directly accessible, even in paradise; at least, not by archangels. If archangels reside in the outermost heaven, where do humans reside (assuming they don't go to hell)? Is there a pecking order in heaven? Which level is Muhammad in? If, while alive, he was allowed more wives than other men, does he also get more virgins in heaven? Which level of heaven do suicide bombers go to? Do they really go straight to heaven without waiting? Is there a bevy of virgins in all levels of heaven or just one or some? Do archangels also get virgins? Is sex between angels and humans allowed in heaven?

Why stratify heaven unless there's some sort of hierarchy there?  The existence of seven heavens, with Allah in the seventh heaven, suggests to me that he wants to keep worship going, even in heaven.

Maybe, if you ever get to seventh heaven, in the presence of Allah, you won't have to pray any more. But I wouldn't count on it.

When Muslims die and enter Paradise do they still have to pray to Allah?

Why is the Palestinian issue a cause célèbre among Western liberals when Palestinians are hostile to many left-wing ideals?

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Thanks for the A2A, Joseph!

Political correctitude has evolved into an intolerant, totalitarian, supremacist ideology. One that shouts down dissent and resorts to ad hominems like 'racist', 'bigot', 'misogynist', and 'Islamophobe', to derail debate and elicit knee-jerk support. In many ways, left-wing apologists bear a striking resemblance to apologists for Islamism. Just as Islamists have intimidated far too many people, media outlets, and governments into squelching dissent, so has the politically correct left. Just as Islamists believe their ideology to be superior and sacrosanct, so does the politically correct left. Just as everybody must respect Allah, the Quran and Muhammad, so must everybody respect politically correct ideals: if you don’t, you’ll feel the wrath of adherents.

Don't get me wrong . . . I like liberal ideals like minority rights; gay rights; women's liberation; inclusion; affirmative action; and support for the poor, disadvantaged, and downtrodden; etc. These values have made our country strong and free. The problem is not our values: it's how we apply them to domestic and foreign policy.

We need to take all considerations into account when making policy. Our values are fine: it's their application that sucks. Do we stand behind our liberal ideals or not? It appears to me that our track record says we don't. It's geopolitics, not our values, that govern our support for causes and countries around the world. We embrace Saudi Arabia while it spends billions to spread a poisonous version of Islam around the world. Yet we treat the democratic country of Taiwan like a hot potato where China is concerned.

And Israel? Well it's a very special case. Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, says that antisemitism is "deeply ingrained and institutionalized" in "Arab nations in modern times." That's an understatement. Arab antisemitism is an Islamic tradition institutionalized in sharia law, by dhimma. On Muslim soil, Jews are dhimmi, subjugated and, by law, inferior to Muslims. For Jews, dhimma is antisemitism on steroids. Dhimma laws were dropped over a century ago, due to pressure from the West but still rears its ugly head from time to time: like with ISIS. Remnants of dhimma (neo-dhimmitude) still persist in Iran. The legacy of dhimma is very much alive in the form of  'deeply ingrained and institutionalized' Arab antisemitism.

In the first place, it's this hatred of Jews that is the reason Arabs became alarmed and attacked the Jews, early in the 20th century, when they realized the Jews were buying up and settling land in Mandatory Palestine. Does anybody seriously believe settlers would have been attacked if they were Iraqi or Syrian Arabs? No . . . they were attacked because they were Jews. And every British and U.N proposal to grant the Jews territory (no matter how small) in the protectorate territory of Mandatory Palestine were rejected, outright, by the Arabs. Why? Because there was no way in hell that Muslim Arabs would allow Jews to stand free, strong and proud on Muslim soil. Pure, dhimma-inspired, antisemitism. Period.

Those early Arab attacks on Jewish settlers turned out to be the downfall of Palestinian Arabs . . . because they prompted the Jews to form protection leagues that, much later, formed the military of their fledgling nation.

When I think of the history of the Palestinian Problem, I wonder how I would react to being surrounded by much larger enemies who hate my very existence. How well would I handle the myriad and incessant assaults? Of course, no matter how hard I might try, the ever-present danger and my lack of security would lead to an embattled mindset. I would have difficulty staying objective and making the wisest available decisions.

Israel is an island of democracy is a sea of despots and terrorists driven by Jew hatred. I admit that the occupied territories is a woeful mess. But I'm not surprised . . . how could it be otherwise? It seems to me that Israel has done remarkably well so far, despite the mess. The situation is so bad that Israel might have no choice but to expand their borders for their own security — certainly a terrible prospect. But this situation should not exist in the first place. If Israel had been allowed to continue buying and settling land, they would have legally owned their country outright when the U.N. finally granted them the tiny 10% piece of the protectorate territory of Mandatory Palestine. The Palestinian Arabs got 90% of the territory, including Jordan but that wasn't good enough for them. It wasn't so much that they wanted 100% . . . it's really all about the Jews having 0%.

The hostility has always been and continues to be from the Arabs. I don't like all of Israel's decisions but I can't really blame them when they make bad ones. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to exist unmolested. But with the reality on the ground in the region, Israel may never be secure and certainly can never trust their Arab neighbors until they establish a long record of peaceful and tolerant coexistence.

Liberal support for Palestine (and against Israel) is misguided. Remember those liberal ideals? Why do liberals support a terrorist regime against a democracy? Why do they overlook the regime's treatment of their own people? It's really very sad. Liberal ideals have become tainted by the extremism of political correctitude.

Why is the Palestinian issue a cause célèbre among Western liberals when Palestinians are hostile to many left-wing ideals?

My @Quora comment on an answer to Why is the Palestinian issue a cause célèbre among Western liberals when Palestinians are hostile to ma…

My @Quora comment on an answer to Why is the Palestinian issue a cause célèbre among Western liberals when Palestinians are hostile to many left-wing ideals? :

My @Quora comment on an answer to Why is the Palestinian issue a cause célèbre among Western liberals when Palestinians are hostile to ma…

Why does my faith to Islam become stronger day by day when the world is mocking Islam?

Answer by Ernie Jones:

I would recommend that you read a slim volume called "Influence" by Robert Cialdini.

If you believe something that everyone else believes, it doesn't take much (if any) psychological resources to continue believing that thing.

On the other hand, if you hold a belief which is significant to your identity, such as the religion of your country and culture and family and childhood, and that belief is attacked, especially if it is continually attacked and attacked by the dominant culture, then in order to retain your sense of identity, you have to actively devote psychological resources to shoring up that belief against the assault, and as a result you become increasingly entrenched in your belief.

This phenomenon is commonly observed in end-times cults, for example, when the predicted end time passes without a world-shattering cataclysm.  You'd think that members of the cult would abandon their belief, but this is not in fact what happens.  Rather, the group casts about for an explanation until they find one which fits their world view, and then something very interesting happens.  Such groups typically are very closed, very focused on the fact that they know the truth and others don't and outsiders don't have any place.  But once their predictions fail, and they've come up with a justification, they tend to become evangelical, opening up their doors and obsessively attempting to convert others to the cult, because the more people they can convert, the more comfortable they are in continuing to believe something for which they have sacrificed everything — because in most cases they've severed all ties with friends and family and even given away all their possessions in anticipation of the event.

What you're describing is the same process.

The more you're exposed to people "mocking, hating and insulting" your religious beliefs, which like all religious beliefs are based on faith rather than logic and evidence and therefore cannot be rationally defended, the more you're forced to choose between accepting the criticism — which would mean turning your back on your family, your culture, and even your own personal identity forged in childhood — or digging in deeper.

Most people choose to dig in deeper.

Why does my faith to Islam become stronger day by day when the world is mocking Islam?

Which insult is worse and deserves more criticism from the Muslim world: Charlie Hebdo’s insult of Muhammad (and thereby Islam) in its ca…

Answer by Jim Ashby:

Thanks for the A2A, Joseph!

I'll paraphrase your question: 'Which ideology deserves more criticism: democracy or theocracy?' From the perspective of freedom-loving people, the most common answer is likely to be theocracy. From the perspective of theorcrats, the most common answer is likely to be democracy. There are exceptions, of course, but the two ideologies are essentially incompatible.

The self-proclaimed clear, perfect, immutable, and inerrant Quran contradicts itself. The peaceful, tolerant, passages (ayat and suwar) from Muhammad's Meccan period gave way to vengeful, intolerant, passages after Muhammad's Hijra to Medina and his rise to wealth and power gained by raiding caravans. Islamic exegesis (Tafsir) developed the doctrine of Naskh (abrogation) to account for the contradictions in revelations that accompanied Muhammad's transformation from reviled Meccan to exalted Medinan: from persecuted prophet to warlord prophet. If you're not familiar with Hijra, Tafsir, or Naskh, please check out the links for more information.

While in Mecca and before rising to power in Medina, revelation frequently counseled 'no compulsion in religion' and 'fight only in self defense'. But, in Medina, Muhammad and his followers enriched themselves by raiding caravans: stirring up a hornet's nest of repercussions leading directly to war. Now, instead of 'no compulsion in religion' and 'fight only in self defense', revelations counseled 'convert or die' and 'fight for any excuse you please'. Revelations commanded preemptive and retaliatory attacks (not self defense) and ambush as well as assassinations of critics and physical coercion (compulsion) against recalcitrant pagans who were too slow to convert. But violating 'no compulsion in religion' and 'fight only in self defense' is okay because naskh claims that, where apparent contradictions exist, later revelations supersede earlier ones. Convenient, no?

What this means is that the later intolerant and violent revelations supersede the earlier tolerant and peaceful ones. So, in a very real sense, the multiple revelations that counsel 'no compulsion in religion' and 'fight only in self defense' have been effectively removed from the Quran through abrogation of them (naskh). Naskh legitimizes jihadi and terrorist violence in the same way it did for Muhammad. Jihadis and terrorist are merely following Muhammad's example.

The consequence of contradiction is that it forces some adherents to choose between peace and tolerance or violence and intolerance. Other adherents are selective Muslims that cherry-pick ayat in accordance with personal inclinations. In other words, at the individual level, Islam is what you make of it. Collectively, Islam is as Islam does. Although it's probably a minority who adhere to violent and intolerant revelations, the ostensibly 'moderate' majority don't sufficiently exercise the power of their numbers to call out and ostracize extremists and radicals. As far as I can see, until they do, they're irrelevant or superfluous.

The later violent and intolerant revelations of the Quran makes it absolutely clear that Allah is the God of everything and everyone. We are all accountable to Allah regardless of whether or not we know or believe in him and Islam. Disrespect of Islam — Allah, the Quran or Muhammad — gives all the license necessary for violent retaliation . . . as we've seen over and over again.

This REALLY pisses me off. The true insult here is the violence and intolerance that attempts to pass itself off as misunderstood peace and tolerance. It's why I try my damnedest to fight the propaganda, historical revisionism and apologia that flows like a sewer from fundamentalist Islam.

Which insult is worse and deserves more criticism from the Muslim world: Charlie Hebdo's insult of Muhammad (and thereby Islam) in its ca…

Choose to think

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