Friday 3 October 2008 (03 Shawwal 1429)

      E-mailed photos
      Adil Salahi | Arab News 
      Q. Some people circulate through e-mail some photos which they say 
support the truth of Islam. Recently I received a photo of the moon which shows 
a clear line in the middle. It is said to confirm the Qur'anic statement that 
the moon was split during the lifetime of the Prophet. Do these photos prove 
anything of the truth of Islam? Should we circulate them to all people, 
particularly non-Muslims as a proof of the truth of Islam?

      A. God gave prophets and messengers He sent prior to the message of Islam 
different miracles as signs they showed to their people in support of what they 
preached. He gave Moses nine of these signs, such as the way his stick was 
turned into a quick moving snake which swallowed the objects of sorcery used by 
Pharaoh's sorcerers. He gave Jesus the ability to cure the blind and the albino 
and to bring the dead back to life. He, however, did not associate the message 
of Islam with any such miracle or sign. The proof of Islam as a message from 
God is there within the message. It only needs to be studied and carefully 
examined for its truth to be clearly seen by all. The Qur'an is there for all 
people to read. It is a book of truth that admits no falsehood. Human progress 
and increased knowledge always show the truth of every Qur'anic statement. 
Besides, it lays down a code of living that can be easily adapted to any 
society, community and generation, bringing out the best in all people. 

      There were numerous signs and 'miraculous' events that took place during 
the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and by his actions, such as a 
small amount of food being served to an army of people, each eating his fill 
with the food left at the end being more than it was at the start; a small 
quantity of water turning into a spring at which a large army replenishes its 
full stock; a man whose eye was dislocated by an enemy shows it to the Prophet 
who puts it back in place; and many similar events. However, none of these is 
taken as an ultimate proof of the message of Islam. We say that they serve to 
confirm that the Prophet was certainly God's messenger, but he never suggested 
that these were his proofs. The real proof is in the message itself; in the 
Qur'an. We need no other proof.

      Those people who circulate this photo showing a line in the middle of the 
moon claim that it supports the Qur'anic statement that the moon was split 
during the Prophet's lifetime. To start with, the photo does not prove 
anything. Nowadays, it is very easy to produce any photo one wishes, using some 
computer software like Photoshop. If you have a fine picture of the moon, like 
the ones captured by spacecraft, you can easily introduce a line in it or 
superimpose something else to prove what you wish. So, if you hold such a photo 
to a non-Muslim and tell him that it proves the Qur'anic statement in the first 
verse of Surah 54, he only needs to look at other photos of the moon that do 
not show that line to realize that it was superimposed. He will then think that 
you are resorting to deception. This does not serve Islam. 

      Some years back, a photo was circulated showing two lines of trees, 
claimed to be in the middle of a forest in Germany, with the inscription of the 
first article of the Islamic faith clearly seen on them. People celebrated this 
as if it was all that was needed to convince the world population of the truth 
of Islam. However, they realized that this was not the case. Sometime later, it 
transpired that it was all fake. The question that escaped almost all people 
was that why would such trees in a German forest bear an inscription in Arabic, 
when few Arabs would see it, if it was meant to deliver a message to the German 
people or to the world at large. God says in the Qur'an: "Never have We sent a 
messenger otherwise than speaking the language of his own people, so that he 
might make (the truth) clear to them." (14: 4) Would it not have served a 
better purpose if the inscription on those trees was in German, so that every 
passerby would read and understand it? Similar photos of vegetables, fish and 
animals were circulated bearing a similar message. They are all fake and serve 
no purpose. The way to preach Islam is to abide by its truth and explain it to 
people clearly, in the way they understand. We do not need to resort to 
deception because it will certainly harm our cause.

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