FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "Education is not a cure for ignorance. Even the educated can be ignorant."
YOU ARE IN DARKNESS.
THE CULMINATION OF REVELATION
by Mudarras Kadhir Gaznavi
PROGRESS TOWARDS ISLAM AND ITS GOD
I should make clear that the information which follows is about a subject matter which was thought and formulated by the mankind here on earth.
We will not be discussing the actual entity called god.
We will not be discussing whether a supreme being does or does not exist.
We will not be discussing whether this unseen, unheard, and incomprehensible ‘entity’ is the ‘sole’ creator or the omnipotent power.
We will not be discussing what should happen to those people who are non-believers.
We will not be discussing whether the doctrines of this belief system is right of wrong.
We will try to find the sources of the doctrines, concepts, myths and legends of the belief system.
This whole section will be about the most complex invention of the human mind.
Therefore there is nothing divine about it.
There is nothing out-of-this-world in it.
It is all about the human mind trying to find an explanation to mankind’s frailty vis a vis the nature. That’s all!
We will be on the
So this is the short story of the human mind’s progress from the notion of a totem and taboo to the concepts of a supreme overseer and sin, from a governing spirit in everything to an all-powerful spirit governing the whole creation.
Islam claims to be the last, the true belief system in the line of the Abrahamic doctrine.
Who is Abraham? (He is Bahram the Mandai whose name was changed to Av'ram and later to Abraham by the Hebrews-Israelites)
What was his belief system? (The Mandaean faith, Sabian faith).
Has he really lived? (He has lived as Bahram, not as Av'ram or Abraham).
If he has really lived was it around 1900 B.C. as the book tells us? (He lived in the Mandaean tales).
What we are told about the character called Abraham is not definite, because he is an invented Hebraicised character of the Old Testament.
If a belief system purports To be the last belief system in line of a series of predecessors, it must have borrowed a lot from the earlier ones, as documented by Kuran. Also, since the three Abrahamic belief systems shared the same region, the same mixture of cultures, concepts, and ideas there must be a cross-fertilization between them and the Kuran. One can spot it in the stories told in Kuran and of course in the stories and the narrations (although edited and superficial) about the past messengers and their people. So one would not be off the mark if one says that Kuran, like the earlier books, carries all the legends and myths of the region as well.
Let us begin with the concept of god, because the invented supreme being is the central factor in any belief system.
The concept of a higher being/a creator/an overseer who can influence the lives and destinies of mankind on Earth, with an addenda of basic laws, prohibitions, and the concept of sin, has begun with totemism (Check the page on TABOO AND TOTEMISM in this site).
Therefore totemism will be our starting point. The concept of a supreme being ‘out there’ goes back to time immemorial. The following underlined and highlighted sections show the beginning and the progression of the concepts of a supreme being, a divine law, permitted and prohibited things, and sin which all ended with the omnipotent god of Islam.
Here are the attributes of the totem (the supreme entity):
Relationship with the totem is pivotal and comes even before the membership of the tribe and all kinds of blood ties.
Totem law prohibits sexual relations and marriage between the persons belonging to the same totem. This is a taboo, because totem functions as a blood relationship. This principle is called ‘exogamy.’
Totem protects and warns the members of its clan. Loyal members of its clan get advance information on the future, and guidance from the totem.
There is the all important ‘clan totem’ which envelopes the whole clan and is transferred between generations via inheritance.There is also the personal totem which belongs to a single person and is not inherited (can you detect the beginnings of an ‘all-enveloping supreme entity’ and the personal deities?).
Totem’s religious aspect involves the relationship between the totem and a person; its social aspect applies to the relations among the members of the clan and with the members of the other clans(Can you detect the distant beginnings of the concepts of an organized belief system; the choosing of Abraham as the patriarch; and the concept of the chosen people?)
Now let us deal with the subject of taboo, because totem and taboo go hand in hand. Without one there wouldn’t be the other, like the concepts of the supreme being and sin in our day.
Taboo is a prohibition, a ban. Taboo has the meaning of an ‘unapproachable thing.’ Taboo corresponds to the ‘divine-heavenly fear’ of our
time, the breaking of which in many ways will be like
committing a ‘sin’ nowadays. The restrictions are
not tied to a divine command and described as ‘the oldest unwritten laws of humanity.’
When taboo was in full force there was neither the idea of a supreme being in its present
context, nor a belief system. Therefore taboo like totem could be said to be older than
the supreme being.
The most ancient punishment systems of
humanity could be tied to taboo. Avoidance
of the dangers that are created by the violation of a taboo may be possible by penance and
purification. In other words, by paying something, by refraining from certain things and
by cleansing yourself (Can you
detect the beginnings of the concepts of expiation, ablution, abstinence and fasting?).
The primitive communities were subjected to a series of prohibitions. They
didn't know why. They didn’t think of asking questions. Taboo was accepted as if it is an open truth and the violation of
it is believed to be punished automatically Taboos do not co-exist with
individualism and the personal freedoms, which should be eradicated. (Precursors of the belief systems?).
The most ancient punishment systems of humanity could be tied to taboo. Avoidance of the dangers that are created by the violation of a taboo may be possible by penance and purification. In other words, by paying something, by refraining from certain things and by cleansing yourself (Can you detect the beginnings of the concepts of expiation, ablution, abstinence and fasting?).
The primitive communities were subjected to a series of prohibitions. They didn't know why. They didn’t think of asking questions.
Taboo was accepted as if it is an open truth and the violation of it is believed to be punished automatically
Taboos do not co-exist with individualism and the personal freedoms, which should be eradicated. (Precursors of the belief systems?).
Prohibitions are kept alive by an inner necessity; they are connected to the danger of contamination from the banned object; and necessitate ceremonial acts (like the belief systems of our day).
The oldest and most important taboo prohibitions are the two basic laws of totemism: ‘Don’t kill the totem animal’ (it could be extended to the ‘kin’ as well) and ‘avoid sexual relations with the opposite sex of the same clan.’
We are certain that the primitive people who were living long before the imposition of laws by the gods had this command or the moral rule: You should not kill. This is a rule the violation of which shouldn’t go unpunished. The isolation of professional executioners for a set period or temporarily originates from this superstition. The appeasement ceremonies, sacrifices, restrictions, isolation period, atonement and purification ceremonies in the belief systems and also following a battle in primitive communities all originate from one superstition: Thou shalt not kill! This must be familiar. It is the sixth command among the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:2-17. All the commands except the sixth are the rules brought about by the Mosaic law. Only the sixth predates the religion.
GOD OF THE PRIMAL RELIGIONS
Next we have the concept of god in the primal belief systems. Most of these primal religions have a creator god.
This god is compassionate, but unpredictable (Compassion and unpredictability brings to mind certain aspects of the Elohim and afterwards the YHVH of the Old Testament. Compassion is one of the attributes of the god of Islam);
To get in touch with this god the earthlings needed intermediaries, because man could not get close to him (They needed sort of go-betweens/modems/interfaces like archangels, angels and messengers, as do believers of our day need. Any change since then? None!).
The first pantheon with a multitude of gods, which was also a source for the 'belief systems of the book' of our time was in Sumer. Here, the top place of the pantheon belonged the king-god, who was the head of the council of gods (This concept will show itself in the Sabian belief system as ‘rabb-el erbab’ , in the so called monotheistic Old Testament as ‘lord of hosts’ and as the supreme council, al me’le-ul-a’la, in Islam).
In the forefront of this council there were the four ‘creator’ gods - An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursag, and seven most eminent gods who were the ‘determiners of destinies’, and then there were fifty ‘great gods’.
All the supreme entities in Sumer have acted as they pleased. In order to know what a supreme overseer thought about a certain action, one had to go to the temple, make a sacrifice, pray and go to sleep (Many cultures of the Middle East, especially devout Muslims kept this practice of praying and going to sleep, hoping to dream, which will be an indicator as to whether a certain action or an event would be beneficial or harmful).
Sumerian universe was called An-Ki (Sky-Earth). They called the sea surrounding the land Apsu-Abzu. Ki (Earth) was floating freely on this sea. The unseen canopy underneath the sea was considered to be an ‘opposite-sky ’ which covered the nether-world (hell) called kur. Lil, which is air, breath, spirit or wind was the third component. The Sumerian thinkers felt the need to explain the source of these cosmic components and to establish a lineage among them. The following are their conclusions:
The Sumerian cosmogony was as follows:
There was the primeval ocean in the beginning (There is no information on its origin and how it came into being). This mother-sea produced the cosmic-mountain which was formed by the unseparated sky and Earth, An-Ki. Sky (An) was male and Earth (Ki) was female, the union of which has produced Enlil. Enlil has separated the sky and Earth. An took the sky. Enlil took his mother Ki (Earth). Union of Ki and Enlil established the basis for the ordered universe. This union was the starting point and the source of man, animals, plants and the institution of civilization. The universe was created by the first cosmic gods: The creator gods, sky, Earth, air, water. Since the creator gods were the organizers of the Universe which they hold in their hands, the existence, development and survival of vast kingdoms have depended on them. This was the fundamental ‘ truth of itself ’ for the Sumerians. These gods did not reveal themselves to the mortals. Each god was in charge of a different corner of the universe.
Sumerians have invented the ‘kingdoms in the sky’ with assorted supreme beings in charge of various things.
They were thought as immortals because their death may mean the loss of the order of the universe and consequently life may end.
Enki, the god of apsu-abzu (god of unfathomable deep) and also the god ofa wisdom was looking after earthly affairs working harmoniously with Enlil.
Enlil was designing the general plan and Enki was carrying it out. (There is always a chief deity with surrounding lesser deities. Starting with the Zoroastrianism, archangels have appeared around the chief deity, and they were borrowed by the Mosaic belief system and Islam).
Everything was tied to Enki’s creative effect. The judgment was ‘Enki did it’ or ‘Enki did it and organized it so’ (This is exactly the conviction of the Jews and Muslims).
But at the same time Sumerians have believed that gods embedded in mankind equal amounts of evil, lie, cruelty and tyranny.
Gods have invented ‘me’s. A ‘me’ is a principle invented and signed by the gods with the aim of ensuring the trouble-free functioning of the Universe (This must be the origin of the present day concept of destiny).
The Sun-god Utu was an all-seeing supreme entity
In later sources going back to 2500 B.C. we see Enlil playing the role of the chief deity. He has taken An’s place. The oldest comprehensible documents describes him as the ‘father of gods’, ‘king of sky and earth’, ‘king of all countries’. Later myths and hymns tell that Enlil was a benevolent god who was responsible for the design and creation of the universe and also furnishing it with all the best things. He was the source of almost everything. In the Sumerian tablets which were read and published since the 1930s hymns and myths present Enlil as a friendly and fatherly god who has safeguarded the security and well-being of mankind generally and Sumerians especially (The concept of ‘chosen people’?).
The underlined and highlighted sections will provide the inquisitive mind with the vital clues to the origins of the myths, legends, and the fundamental doctrines of the Abrahamic belief systems.
EGYPT AND MONOTHEISM
Egypt needs attention in our quest for the origins of the Semitic-Abrahamic belief systems of our day, because some of the fundamental doctrines were borrowed from there. In that sense the first real attempt at monotheism in Egypt by Akh-en-aten, and the Memphite theology are very important.
The roots of monotheism in Egypt could be found in earlier times. During the reign of Amenhotep III (The father of Akh-en-Aton) worship of the Sun-god seems to have achieved some degree of popularity. A very ancient name of the Sun-god, Aten or Aton has regained importance and the young king Amenhotep IV (later changed his name to Akh-en-aten/Akh-en-aton) became a loyal follower.
Akh-en-Aten worshipped the sun not as an object but as a symbol of a divine being whose energy is manifested as rays of light;
Akh-en-Aten has introduced for the first time the ‘exclusion principle’ which transformed the doctrine of a universal god into monotheism. In one of the hymns he says: “O, sole god, there’s no other god beside you!” (An identical impression could be found in Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Islam).
He has totally rejected the illusion of life after death (When Israel came out of Egypt they did not have the concept of an afterlife. It came later, after the exile).
There was no other representation or a
personal image of the Sun-god Aten/Aton. Akh-en-aton did not allow the making of the idols or
images of the Sun-god
(Jews and Muslims can you detect one of the origins of the prohibitions in your belief
The real god has no form (This has become
the incorporeality of the god of Judaism following the exile. It is also, and naturally,
the attribute of the god of Islam).
The real god has no form (This has become the incorporeality of the god of Judaism following the exile. It is also, and naturally, the attribute of the god of Islam).
Egyptian pharaoh Akh-en-aton is the first registered real monotheist in the history of mankind. Here is a hymn which expresses the basics of the Aton/Aten cult:
“..How manifold it is, what you have made!...
O sole god, like whom there is no other!
You created the world according to your desire,
While you were alone;
All men, cattle and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going on its feet,
And whatever is on high flying with its wings.
The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
You settled every man in his place,
You supplied their necessities,
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;
Their skins are distinguished,
As you distinguished the foreign peoples...
...there is none other that knows you,
Save your son Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re,
For you have made him well versed in your plans and in your strength.”
Believers of the Judaism and Islam might find some of the exact attributes of their god in this hymn. The idea of monotheism which has reached its peak with Akh-en-aten had to stay in darkness for a long time after him. Some scholars find the origin of the sole god, the father-god of the codebooks of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Aton/Aten belief system. Some western historians maintain that Moses had got the idea of the sole god from Akh-en-aten (Check the pages on EGYPTIAN MYTHS in this site).
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