Bakka vs. Mecca – Why Two Names for The Same Location?

The name بِبَكَّةَ (Bakka or Becca) used in 3:96 is the ancient name for Mecca.

[3:96] The most important shrine established for the people is the one in Becca; a blessed beacon for all the people.

 إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

We can confirm that by looking at the following verse which indicates that this is the location of Abraham’s shrine.

[3:97] In it are clear signs: the station of Abraham. Anyone who enters it shall be granted safe passage. The people owe it to God that they shall observe Hajj to this shrine, when they can afford it. As for those who disbelieve, God does not need anyone.

Additionally 48:24-25, further confirms that Bakka is the same location as Mecca, as this is where the prophet set out for in order to reach the Sacred Masjid to perform his Hajj pilgrimage.

[48:24] He is the One who withheld their hands of aggression against you, and withheld your hands of aggression against them in the valley of Mecca, after He had granted you victory over them. GOD is Seer of everything you do. [48:25] It is they who disbelieved and barred you from the Sacred Masjid, and even prevented your offerings from reaching their destination. There were believing men and women (within the enemy camp) whom you did not know, and you were about to hurt them, unknowingly. GOD thus admits into His mercy whomever He wills. If they persist, He will requite those among them who disbelieve with a painful retribution.

If there is still any doubt, the following verse solidifies that both Becca and Mecca we are to perform Hajj to the Sacred Masjid, and if there were actually to locations then it would create a contradictory understanding of the verses of the Quran.

[2:196] You shall observe the complete rites of Hajj and ‘Umrah for GOD. If you are prevented, you shall send an offering, and do not resume cutting your hair until your offering has reached its destination. If you are ill, or suffering a head injury (and you must cut your hair), you shall expiate by fasting, or giving to charity, or some other form of worship. During the normal Hajj, if you break the state of Ihraam (sanctity) between ‘Umrah and Hajj, you shall expiate by offering an animal sacrifice. If you cannot afford it, you shall fast three days during Hajj and seven when you return home—this completes ten—provided you do not live at the Sacred Mosque (Masjid). You shall observe GOD, and know that GOD is strict in enforcing retribution.

The Quran utilizing two names for the same location is not unique to Mecca and Becca. We see the Quran does the same thing for several other locations as well:

  • Medina (9:120) & Yathrib (33:13)
  • Thamud (11:67) & Al-Hijr (15:80)
  • Ad (41:15) & Erum (89:7) or Dunes (46:21)

God also does this for names of people as well:

  • Jacob (2:133) & Israel (2:40)
  • Iblees (7:11) & Satan (2:34)
  • Jonah (10:98) & Zan-Noon (The one with the N in his name) 21:87

One reason the Quran might have utilized two names for Mecca may be because some scholars attempted to irradiate any mention of Mecca, Hajj, or any religious practices they associated with Arab Muslims from the Bible, except they failed to realize that Mecca and Becca were the same location and left its mention intact in Psalm 84 in discussion about Hajj pilgrimage.

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a spring;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

*Note: despite being a desert the valley of Mecca does occasionally flood when the rain season comes.

Image result for mecca floods

**Also, some translations of Pslam 84:6 twist the translation to indicate that the Valley of Baka is a place of springs (plural), but if we look at the Hebrew the word for spring is singular, and this corresponds with the Zamzam spring in Mecca. Below is a word for word breakdown of the Hebrew:

Are Tattoos Prohibited in the Quran?

According to God, the only source of religious law we are to follow is stated in the Quran.

[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt. [6:115] The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

Regarding prohibitions in the Quran, a simple rule is that anything that is not prohibited in the Quran is by default permissible.

[6:150] Say, “Bring your witnesses who would testify that GOD has prohibited this or that.” If they testify, do not testify with them. Nor shall you follow the opinions of those who reject our revelations, and those who disbelieve in the Hereafter, and those who stray away from their Lord.

Some people abuse this principle to insinuate that many of the sins that are not specifically mentioned in the Quran are therefore permissible since they are not mentioned by name in the Quran. This argument is void, because God doesn’t need to mention every kind of sin by name in order to encompass them, but rather by condemning the general category it will constitute all derivatives of that sin.

For instance, according to 5:90, God informs us that intoxicants, gambling, and the altars of idols are abominations of the devil, and that we should avoid these things.

[5:90] O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.

Notice that by making such a statement it prohibits all forms of intoxicants, gambling and altars of idols. This does not mean that only certain kinds of intoxicants, gambling, or altars of idols are prohibited, but rather anything that can fall into one of these categories would be prohibited. By doing this, God didn’t need to specify all the multitude of things that would constitute one of these categories, and thus simplifying the religion for us.

In the following two verses, God informs us that His words are infinite, yet out of His mercy he reduced what is necessary for our salvation to these 114 Suras of the Quran.

[31:27] If all the trees on earth were made into pens, and the ocean supplied the ink, augmented by seven more oceans, the words of GOD would not run out. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

[18:109] Say, “If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we double the ink supply.”

So when it comes to tattoos there is no verse where the act is specifically prohibited, but I can think of two arguments that people can make attempting to prohibit the action.

Argument #1 – Best Design

In the following verse God informs us that He created the human being in the best design.

[95:4] We created man in the best design.

Some can argue that because of this verse, tattoos would be going against the intended design of man when one modifies their skin to something unnatural. If someone was to have such a hard stance based on this verse, then they would also have to prohibit many other things e.g. piercings, makeup, haircuts, or eyebrow grooming. Because of this I do not see this verse apply to tattoos.

Argument #2 – Distortion

The second argument is based on a claim that Satan made when getting kicked out of the High Society when he stated:

[4:119] “I will mislead them, I will entice them, I will command them to (forbid the eating of certain meats by) marking the ears of livestock, and I will command them to distort the creation of GOD.” Anyone who accepts the devil as a lord, instead of GOD, has incurred a profound loss.

Some have argued that tattoos fall under the distorting of the creation of God. I personally have trouble with this as again this can lead to a slippery slope of prohibitions. If one was to prohibit tattoos because they believe is distorts God’s creation, then they would also have to prohibit hair coloring, plastic surgery, botox, piercings, etc. as well.

Personally I do not see tattoos as prohibited and do not find either of these arguments convincing. That said, it is worth differentiating between something being prohibited and someone having a preference.

When we say something is prohibited we are insinuating that God commanded us not to conduct such acts and if one does they will be committing a sin. A preference on the other hand, does not mean one is committing a sin by choosing not to do an act. For instance, someone can choose not to eat fish, not because they think it is prohibited but because they don’t like the taste. That is fine, but if they are saying that if someone eats fish they will be committing a sin then they would be attributing lies to God.

There are many things we can choose not to do because of personal preferences, but once we say that the action is prohibited then we are saying that God commanded us not to partake in that act and if we do we will be earning sins against our souls.

[29:68] Who is more evil than one who fabricates lies and attributes them to GOD, or rejects the truth when it comes to him? Is Hell not a just retribution for the disbelievers?

Sura 19:31 & 19:94; Count of Y: How the Quran’s Mathematical Structure Preserves the Quranic Text

Sura 19, of the Quran begins with the initials كهيعص (K, H, Y, ‘A, S). This is the longest set of initials of the 14 set of Quranic initials. The letter “K / ك” in Sura 19 occurs 137 times, “H / ه” occurs 175 times, “Y / ى” occurs 343 times, “ `A / ع” occurs 117 times, and “S (Saad) / ص” occurs 26 times. Thus, the total occurrence of the five letters is 137+175+343+117+26 = 798 = 19×42.

In a book that I care not to promote, the author claims that this is inaccurate because according to his research he believes Sura 19 contains three additional ى’s in the Arabic text, making the total number of times “ى / Y” occurs in Sura 19: 346 and not 343. The author makes the following claim:

“There are two words that vary in spelling in current manuscripts, the correct spelling of the word “Ahsahum / أَحْصَاهُمْ” in verse 19:94 should have a Y, and the word “Awsani / وَأَوْصَانِي” in 19:31, should contain two Ys.”

Before addressing this claim, it’s worth noting a principle of the Quran, that it is our duty to investigate information before accepting it, especially if the source is coming from someone who is known not to be trustworthy.

[49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.

If we follow information from someone blindly then we will be just as guilty as they are.

[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.

Also, it is worth going over a little bit of background regarding Quranic manuscripts and Arabic text. When looking at the oldest manuscripts, or even in modern Quran scripts, it is not difficult to find variations in spelling with predominately three letters: waw, ya, and most notably alif. The reason is that sometimes these letters are consonants, as part of the word, and other times they are purely vowels that are added for clarity and pronunciation.

The reason for this is that for the first 200 years, the Quran manuscripts did not contain any vowels. This is because for the most part, up until that point the people who predominately accepted the Quran all spoke and understood Quranic Arabic and therefore there was no ambiguity to the meaning and pronunciation of the words in the text. But as the religion spread and time passed vowels were added to the script in order to preserve the original meaning and pronunciation of the text.

We can understand this using a modern day example. If you were to pick up a newspaper today in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, or Urdu the letters will not include vowels in the text. This is becuase the readers today are all familiar with the language and will not need these markings to understand and read the text. But this will not be the case after many years when the language, vocabulary, and meanings of that language change and someone attempting to read the newspaper 200 years in the future may mistake words, meanings, and pronunciations. So therefore the vowels help with this preservation and aid in reducing ambiguity for future readers.

So based on these variations in spelling between manuscripts how do we know which version is correct? This is where the mathematical structure of the Quran comes into play. The manuscript that would be correct is the one where the spelling preserves the mathematical structure of the Quran. If we have two manuscripts of the Quran, and one manuscript has several additional ى’s that causes an error in the mathematical structure of the Quran, and another manuscript that has spellings that maintains the mathematical structure of the Quran, then we know from that information alone which manuscript spelling is correct. 

That said, let’s look at the specific claim regarding وَأَوْصَانِي / awasani in 19:31 and أَحْصَاهُمْ / ahsahum in 19:94. As stated above, the author claimed that these two words should be written with two Y’s and one Y, respectively, based on early manuscripts that he has observed. So if we can show an early manuscript which has these words spelled with the proper counts of Y’s that preserves the mathematical integrity of the Quran then we can be certain that the correct spelling has been preserved.

Below are images of one of the earlier Quran manuscripts dated between 700 – 900AD from the Library of Berlin. In this text we see that وَأَوْصَانِي / awasani in 19:31 is written with a single Y, and that أَحْصَاهُمْ / ahsahum in 19:94 does not contain a Y. This matches what we find written in Quran’s today, and thus further confirms the immense blessing God has bestowed upon us via the mathematical miracle of the Quran.

Does this mean that there couldn’t be a manuscript written as claimed by the author? Sure, but all that proves is that since it does not correspond with the mathematical structure of the Quran then, therefore, that spelling is inaccurate. 

I speak Arabic therefore I understand the Quran

One of the most deceptive arguments native Arab speakers make when debating the Quran is the following: “I speak Arabic therefore I understand the Quran.”

This claim on its surface is erroneous on two levels. Firstly, God tells us in the Quran that the Quran is only accessible to those who are sincere. 

[56:79] None can grasp it except the sincere.

Ironically, most Arab speakers even misunderstand this verse to believe that the word “الْمُطَهَّرُونَ” in this context means to be physically clean. So many believe that they must have ablution before they touch a Quran, and that a menstruating women should not touch a Quran. The word الْمُطَهَّرُونَ comes from the root طهر (Ta-ha-ra) this root can mean to be physically clean but also to be in reference to spiritual cleanliness as in pure, righteous, or free from impurity. Notice that the verse is not a commandment, but rather a statement of fact. 

So therefore, regardless if someone is a scholar of Arabic, if they are not sincere they will not be able to access the Quran. 

[17:45] When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier. [17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone, they run away in aversion.

[41:44] If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, “Why did it come down in that language?” Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, “For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway.”

The second reason that the argument for a modern native Arab speaker to claim they understand the Quran because they know Arabic is deceptive is because the Quran is written in its own form of Arabic that is completely unique from the Arabic that is spoken today. It has its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary that is vastly different than what is spoken by Arabs today. Even when we attempt to apply Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) to Quran we see numerous examples where the Quran follows its own standard let alone vocabulary that is not used in common day speech among native Arab speakers. This is because the MSA grammar was produced hundreds of years after the revelation of the Quran. This is a big reason to why the Quran has been so heavily misunderstood by millions for the last 1400 years despite being written in Arabic. 

The Quran was revealed 1400 years ago in perfect Arabic, but language is fluid but the Quran is not. Over 1400 years languages morph and change. Words are lost or transition to completely new meaning. Just because someone can read the letters and words does not mean that they understand the meaning of what’s being said. For example, Shakespeare wrote Hamlet over 400 years ago and most English speaking people today will not understand Shakespeare despite being able to read the words. Many of the words and phrases meant fundamentally different things at the time of Shakespeare, and if someone attempts to apply a modern filter to this classic work they will leave thinking they understand the material, but be completely mistaken. 

Now the Quran was written not 400 years ago, but 1400 years ago. In order to understand this text, one would have to know how the language was used back then and what the words meant at the time of the revelation. Obviously, this will not be accessible to the average Arab speaker today unless they have devoted to learning such material. To put this in perspective if we look at English from 1400 years ago the language would be almost unrecognizable to any modern-day speaker. The comparison would be like an English speaker attempting to understand Spanish or German. Yes, you will be able to read all the words and might be able to piece together the meaning, but unless you study the language you will have a false sense of understanding of the text. 

So the next time you hear someone make the claim that: they know Arabic and therefore they understand the Quran, know that they are most likely either being deceitful or ignorant.

Abraham’s Circumcision Covenant with God

In 53:36-37, God informs us, that even the one who turned away from the Quran was aware of the scripture of Moses and of what was fulfilled by Abraham.

[53:33] Have you noted the one who turned away? [53:34] Rarely did he give to charity, and then very little. [53:35] Did he possess knowledge of the future? Could he see it? [53:36] Was he not informed of the teachings in the scripture of Moses? [53:37] And Abraham who fulfilled?
53363يُنَبَّأْhe was informed
53364بِمَاin what
53365فِي(was) in
53366صُحُفِ(the) scriptures (of)
53371وَإِبْرَاهِيمَAnd (of) Abraham,
53372الَّذِيthe one who
53373وَفَّىٰhe fulfilled?

What was it that Abraham fulfilled that even the one who turned away would be aware of?

We see in in 2:124 that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord through certain commands and he fulfilled them as part of God’s covenant with Abraham and his believing descendants.

[2:124] Recall that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled them. (God) said, "I am appointing you an imam for the people." He said, "And also my descendants?" He said, "My covenant does not include the transgressors."

2:124 informs us that God put Abraham to the test with certain commands from God and he fulfilled them. And that for this God made Abraham an imam / leader for the people and that his covenant with God was also with Abraham’s believing descendants.

What were these commandments that Abraham fulfilled that is universally known even by disbelievers?

If we ask the average person who has any familiarity of Abraham, especially one who is aware of the teaching in the scripture of Moses per 53:36, “what do they recall that Abraham “fulfilled?” they will almost universally identify one of two things.

(1) the dream where Abraham had where he thought God wanted him to sacrifice his son, or
(2) the Covenant of Circumcision.

Could the fulfillment mentioned in reference to Abraham in 53:37 and 2:124 be in reference to the dream?

2:124 indicates that it was God who tested Abraham with certain commands, and not anyone else. The only time that God tests us directly is by giving us a commandment. When God commands us to do something it is a test to see if we fulfill His commandment or not. We see this in the example of Muhammad being commanded by God to marry the divorced wife of his adopted son.

[33:36] No believing man or believing woman, if GOD and His messenger issue any command, has any choice regarding that command. Anyone who disobeys GOD and His messenger has gone far astray. [33:37] Recall that you said to the one who was blessed by GOD, and blessed by you, "Keep your wife and reverence GOD," and you hid inside yourself what GOD wished to proclaim. Thus, you feared the people, when you were supposed to fear only GOD. When Zeid was completely through with his wife, we had you marry her, in order to establish the precedent that a man can marry the divorced wife of his adopted son. GOD's commands shall be done.

We see that God tested Satan by commanding him and the angels to prostrate before Adam.

[2:34] When we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam," they fell prostrate, except Satan; he refused, was too arrogant, and a disbeliever.

We see that God tested Adam in Paradise by commanding him not to approach the tree.

[7:19] "As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin."

This is in contrast to the dream that Abraham had where he thought he was supposed to sacrifice his son. This dream was not from God, but instead it was from Satan. Additionally, God saved Abraham from fulfilling his dream. Therefore since this commandment did not come from God and Abraham did not fulfill his dream then therefore this could not be the fulfillment of the command referenced per 2:124 and 53:37.

Because of this, the only other option of a commandment from God that Abraham fulfilled that is universally recognized by even the non-believers is that of the Covenant of Circumcision.

Genesis 17 – The Covenant of Circumcision

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.


Circumcision is universally accepted by all people of the book: Jews, Christian, and Muslims as part of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his future believing descendants. This is the “certain commands” that was given to Abraham by God per 2:214, and is universally recognized that Abraham fulfilled these commandments from God by even those who turn away from the message yet are aware of the teachings of the scripture of Moses per 53:36-37.

[53:33] Have you noted the one who turned away? [53:34] Rarely did he give to charity, and then very little. [53:35] Did he possess knowledge of the future? Could he see it? [53:36] Was he not informed of the teachings in the scripture of Moses? [53:37] And Abraham who fulfilled?

[2:124] Recall that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled them. (God) said, "I am appointing you an imam for the people." He said, "And also my descendants?" He said, "My covenant does not include the transgressors."

The history behind the verses how 9:128 – 9:129 were falsely added to Quran

In addition to the massive amount of evidence we have proving that 9:128 and 9:129 of the Quran does not belong as part of the Quran via the mathematical structure of the Quran, and that these two verses have been falsely injected in the Quran, the history also confirms this fact.

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This Sura is considered Medinan except for these two last two verses which are considered Meccan. This is the only Sura which such a phenomenon is claimed. Some claim a similar phenomenon in sura 12, but not accepted by most scholars.

While every other verse had numerous witnesses and parchments validating their authenticity these two verses were the only verses that relied on a single parchment and was validated by only a single companion of the prophet, Khuzeimah Ibn Thaabet Al-Ansaary.

The reason it was still accepted as part of the Quran despite not meeting the criteria set forth for all other verses was because someone claimed a hadith stating that “the testimony of Khuzeimah equals the testimony of two men.”

Also, it is the only verse where two of the attributes of God “رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ / kind, merciful” are used to describe the prophet.

Below are the Hadith that show the historical account of how these verses were decided to be included in the Quran despite the numerous issues regarding witnesses and testimony. It is note worthy, that these are considered the last verses of the chronological revelation of the Quran with the exception of Sura 110 which is only three verses.

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Where in Quran does it mention circumcision?

The claim that circumcision is not mentioned in the Quran is incorrect. Circumcision is represented in the Arabic Quran.

The word Rashad Khalifa translated as Monotheism in the Quran is حَنِيفًا (ḥanīfan). This word is almost exclusively mentioned throughout the Quan in conjunction with Abraham (2:135. 3:67, 3:95. 4:125. 6:161, 16:120, 16:123).

The root of حَنِيفًا (ḥanīfan) is ح ن ف and means to turn away from idol worship but also to be circumcised, in addition to other meanings as well. A comprehensive list of meanings are below for this root.

ح ن ف : To lean to one side, incline or decline, turn away from error to guidance, incline to the right religion, stand firmly on one side, leave a false religion and turn to right, act according to the law of Abraham, to be circumcised, turn away from the worship of idols, to perform Hajj; apply or devote oneself to religious services, incline to or have a right state or tendency.

[16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham (milat-Ibraheem), the monotheist (ḥanīfan); he never was an idol worshiper.

I don’t think is a coincidence, the fact that the word for “monotheism” in Arabic also is understood to mean one who turns away from idol worship, follows the religion of Abraham, performs Hajj, and is circumcised.

It is worth noting that the Hanif religion was in practice prior to Muhammad and the Quran, and these were the basic tenants that they practiced, which the Arabic word Hanif obtained its meaning from.

Additionally, the Arabic word “milat” specifically implies the religious practices of a religion. This is obvious as we do not follow the scripture of Abraham, but Abraham’s religious practices e.g. Salat, Zakat, Ramadan, Hajj, and circumcision. It is interesting that while Salat, Zakat, Ramadan and Hajj have been rejected by Jews and Christians the rite of circumcision has been universally accepted by all Abrahamic religions.

Just because one of the root words for “Haneef” is “one who is circumcised” does not mean we simply insert this meaning in the translation – this would be silly. As mentioned the root words are not mad-libs where we just place in any of the meanings we want for the word. The root words provide a comprehensive look at the word and give us a glimpse to why God selected that word for the Quran, why Rashad translated the way he did, and what is the full meaning of the word.

Take for example the word “khamr” that Rashad translated as “intoxicants”. If we simply understood “intoxicants” as the way it is technically defined, then the argument can be made that marijuana and other illicit drugs are not part of this prohibition as they are not generally considered intoxicants. But we see from Appendix 35, that Rashad wrote the following:

“The word used for intoxicants is “Khamr” from the root word “Khamara” which means “to cover.” Thus, anything that covers or hinders the mind is prohibited. This includes anything that alters the mind, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, hashish, and anything else that affects the mind.”

These Quranic words have meanings that are oftentimes beyond what can be conveyed in just a single word, and knowing the root of khamr provides us guidance to what this word means beyond the single word “intoxicant” it allows us to understand the full scope of this word. This does not mean that we just insert the word “to cover” into the verse to disprove that this is not what the word means:

[5:90] O you who believe, THE COVER, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.

Again, this would be silly.

There are numerous examples of this in the Quran and in Rashad’s translation. I see how Rashad explained for us the meaning of khamr as a perfect lesson for us to how we should understand the Quran and Rashad’s translation for many of the disputed topics that have come up.

When we just look at the English definition of a word we may not necessarily have a full understanding of what God is conveying, just like the example with Khamr and intoxicants. But by looking at the root word, along with how this word is used throughout the Quran, and how Rashad translated this word then can we better grasp what is being conveyed.
Therefore, I am using the same methodology for “haneef” as Rashad used for khamr.

We know from the verses that we are to follow specifically the religious practices of Abraham (milat-Ibraheem). God then selected the next word as “Haneef” which Rashad translated as “monotheism.” Looking at the root we see that the definitions of Haneef is more than just a single word, that these definitions revolve around this idea of monotheism; such as: avoiding idols, following the religion of Abraham, performing Hajj pilgrimage, and being circumcised.

I believe all these practices are encompassed in this word Haneef, and that all these practices are encompassed when Rashad translated this word as “monotheism” as all the Abrahamic religions perform this one single rite and universally accept that this was part of the religion of Abraham. I see this in the same manner that Rashad explained khamr as not just merely intoxicants but anything that covers the mind including: “marijuana, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, hashish, and anything else that affects the mind.”

Uncircumcised Heart

The second example of circumcision mentioned in the Quran comes from 2:88 and 4:155. The expression that Rashad translated “our minds are made up” occurs three times in the Quran 2:88, 4:155, and 41:5.

While 41:5 is addressing the recipients of the Quran and uses the Arabic expression “قُلُوۡبُنَا فِیۡۤ اَکِنَّۃٍ” which literally translates to:

قُلُوۡبُنَا = our hearts / minds
فِیۡۤ = in
اَکِنَّۃٍ = veils / coverings

[41:2] A revelation from the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. [41:3] A scripture whose verses provide the complete details, in an Arabic Quran, for people who know. [41:4] A bearer of good news, as well as a warner. However, most of them turn away; they do not hear. [41:5] They said, “Our minds are made up, our ears are deaf to your message, and a barrier separates us from you. Do what you want, and so will we.”

This expression is different then the Arabic that is used in 2:88 and 4:155 when addressing the Children of Israel who broke their covenant with God. In 2:88 and 4:155 it uses the Arabic expression: قُلُوۡبُنَا غُلۡفٌ which literally translates to:

قُلُوۡبُنَا = our hearts / minds
غُلۡفٌ = covered / uncircumcised

It is worth noting that the Arabic word قُلوبُنا can be translated as both “heart” or “mind” (e.g. 2:74 & 3:8)

[2:74] Despite this, your HEARTS hardened like rocks, or even harder…

[3:8] “Our Lord, let not our HEARTS waver, now that You have guided us. Shower us with Your mercy; You are the Grantor.

Again, I don’t think that this is a coincidence that God chose to use this expression when discussing the Children of Israel and their breaking of their covenant with God for 2:88 and 4:155. yet use another expression when dealing with the recipients of the Quran in 41:5.

[2:83] WE MADE A COVENANT WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: “You shall not worship except GOD. You shall honor your parents and regard the relatives, the orphans, and the poor. You shall treat the people amicably. You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat).” But you turned away, except a few of you, and you became averse. [2:84] WE MADE A COVENANT WITH YOU, that you shall not shed your blood, nor shall you evict each other from your homes. You agreed and bore witness. [2:85] Yet, here you are killing each other, and evicting some of you from their homes, banding against them sinfully and maliciously. Even when they surrendered, you demanded ransom from them. Evicting them was prohibited for you in the first place. DO YOU BELIEVE IN PART OF THE SCRIPTURE AND DISBELIEVE IN PART? What should be the retribution for those among you who do this, except humiliation in this life, and a far worse retribution on the Day of Resurrection? GOD is never unaware of anything you do. [2:86] It is they who bought this lowly life at the expense of the Hereafter. Consequently, the retribution is never commuted for them, nor can they be helped. [2:87] We gave Moses the scripture, and subsequent to him we sent other messengers, and we gave Jesus, son of Mary, profound miracles and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Is it not a fact that every time a messenger went to you with anything you disliked, your ego caused you to be arrogant? Some of them you rejected, and some of them you killed. [2:88] Some would say, “OUR MINDS ARE MADE UP (our hearts are uncircumcised)!” Instead, it is a curse from GOD, as a consequence of their disbelief, that keeps them from believing, except for a few of them.

[4:155] (They incurred condemnation) FOR VIOLATING THEIR COVENANT, REJECTING GOD’S REVELATIONS, killing the prophets unjustly, and for saying, “OUR MINDS ARE MADE UP (our hearts are uncircumcised)!” In fact, GOD is the One who sealed their minds, due to their disbelief, and this is why they fail to believe, except rarely.

The word غُلفٌ has the trilateral root غ ل ف and its only occurrence in the Quran is in these two verses (2:88 and 4:155). The meaning of this word and root is the following

غ ل ف: to furnish with a covering; covered, wrapped, and uncircumcised. 

Not only is the context of both these verses correspond with someone who has an uncircumcised heart, even the word for foreskin غلفة is derived from the same root.

God could of utilized any number of alternative words to articulate someone whose mind is made up like He did in 41:5, but in these two instances, He selected the word that means uncircumcised.

The significance of this to me is that this shows that the Children of Israel who are called out in these two verses, that despite them being physically circumcised as part of their covenant with God, their hearts were not fulfilling their part of the agreement and therefore it is as if they are spiritually uncircumcised when they proclaim that their minds are made up.

This expression of an “uncircumcised heart” also occurs repeatedly in the Bible in a similar context to people who are not upholding God’s covenant despite bearing the physical mark of the covenant of circumcision.

[Deuteronomy 10:16] CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

[Deuteronomy 30:6] The Lord your God will CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS AND THE HEARTS OF YOUR DESCENDANTS, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

[Leviticus 26:41] which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when THEIR UNCIRCUMCISED HEARTS are humbled and they pay for their sin,

[Jeremiah 4:4] Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it.

[Jeremiah 9:25 – 26] “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are CIRCUMCISED ONLY IN THE FLESH—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel ARE UNCIRCUMCISED IN HEART.”

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Naturally when submitters are first presented with this evidence for the first time, they become defensive and attribute this to being akin to what God warns us in 3:7. Therefore, I want to explain why this is not a correct comparison.

[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses—which constitute the essence of the scripture—as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this—all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

The Quran itself is the best source to determine the meaning of the words. It is not a mad-lib where we can randomly apply whatever meaning from the root we want. Additionally, we are blessed with the translation from Rashad where we know the appropriate meaning to apply to each word and verse.

All words in Arabic can be considered multi-meaning, but the examples I provided are not meant to be multi-meaning. Instead, they are the Arabic definitions for the words used, therefore it doesn’t contradict Rashad’s translation. It is like using a dictionary to figure out the meaning of words rather than a thesaurus to find simply a word that is synonymous.

Here are my criteria when analyzing the meanings of words and their use in the Quran:

(1) Does the root apply to the context of what is being said
(2) Does it contradict the use of that root/word in other verses with the same context
(3) Does it contradict how Rashad translated the verse.

If these three criteria are met then I am not going to discard the understanding just because I don’t like its implications.

Let’s apply this logic to the two words and their corresponding roots: Haneef and Galafa.


(1) The context of the verses cited (2:135. 3:67, 3:95. 4:125. 6:161, 16:120, 16:123) are all in the context of the the religion of Abraham (milat-Ibraheem), or more specifically the religious practices of Abraham; as we do not follow the scripture of Abraham, but specifically his religious practices. In the verse the following word immediately after “milat-ibraheem” is “haneef” which not only means to turn away from idols (monotheism) but also the specific religious practices of Abraham which happens to also be Hajj and circumcision which are recognized practices of Abraham as defined by this root. Therefore, this meets the first criteria that the context of the verse matches its definition in Classical Arabic.

(2) The meaning of “one who is circumcised” does not contradict the use of the word in other verses because again it is consistently used in the context of the religion of Abraham (milat-Ibraheem).

(3) It doesn’t contradict Rashad’s translation as circumcision is a universally accepted rite of the religion of Abraham. Also, it is interesting that like Hajj, Salat, Zakat, and Ramadan these religious practices were all already in existence at the time of Muhammad, but unlike those Abrahamic practices, circumcision has been universally accepted and practiced by all Abrahamic religions. That is up until recently when the atheist began the campaign against the practice.


(1) The context of the verses where this root is used (2:88, 4:155) is both towards the Children of Israel and their breaking of the covenant. Also, the phrase of an “uncircumcised heart” is likewise widely used in the previous scriptures of the Children of Israel. Therefore, this meets the first criteria.

(2) It doesn’t contradict the meaning as it is only used in the verses addressing the Children of Isael and their breaking of the covenant. That while their bodies are circumcised their hearts/minds are not circumcised.

(3) It doesn’t contradict the translation of Rashad because an uncircumcised heart implies a heart that is closed and impervious to attempts to being changed (see Acts 7:51).

I think as submitters we should all be happy to embrace the truth and willing to kill our own opinions when presented with contradictory information. Coincidentally, this is the very message of these verses (2:88 and 4:155).

These Arabic words have meanings. The meanings fit the context of their use in the Quran. And the meanings do not contradict other verses or the translation by the Quran, therefore I would be cautious of just disregarding them because it contradicts our preconceived notions.

[39:28] An Arabic Quran, without any ambiguity, that they may be righteous.

[41:3] A scripture whose verses provide the complete details, in an Arabic Quran, for people who know.

The Quran addresses the Children of Israel more than any other group. So it makes sense that God uses similar language in the Quran when addressing them as was done in their scripture.

If the purpose of the Quran is to confirm and supersede what they have then it would make sense that if circumcision was a satanic practice that God would have corrected this. We are talking about a religious practice that has been around for thousands of years and universally accepted by all of the Abrahamic religions. This is not some fringe practice that people are not aware of or wishy-washy about – until recently.


Rashad Khalifa informed us that the vast majority of the Bible is divine truth. He informed us that the contradictions and unacceptable information are easily identifiable.

As an example, in the March 1985 issue of the Muslim Perspective, Rashad proved that someone altered the name of Abraham’s son in Genesis 22:2 from Ishmael to Isaac. It is interesting that in this article Rashad cites Genesis 16, 21, and 22 and even the birth of Isaac and says nothing about Genesis 17 and the circumcision covenant with Abraham let alone any of the numerous occurrences of circumcision in these verses. Yet, Rashad calls this single name change as:

March 1985 Muslim Perspective

If we are to believe that circumcision is a satanic practice that was never authorized by God, then this seems like something widely more serious than a name change. If that was the case, then certainly God would have sent a messenger to correct such a supposed fabrication. Or is it more plausible that the practice did originate form God and was a commandment to Abraham as stated in the Bible?

Universally Accepted Practice

Circumcision has been around for thousands of years since the time of Abraham (~2000BC). Since then we have had many many prophets and messengers and not a single instance that I know of a single one claiming that this was a satanic practice despite the fact that this has been universally accepted and practiced. That being said, to me it would be an innovation to abolish circumcision all of a sudden after many millennia.
This is the same argument Rashad made in regards to women leading Friday Prayer or the Salat. If something as widely accepted and practiced as this was to be changed all of a sudden by us without the guidance of a messenger then I would find that more akin to an innovation rather than a following a tradition.

There are many things that we follow that are not specifically mentioned in the Quran, but we accept them because we do not want to innovate. For instance, taking shoes off during Salat, believing that homosexuality among women is prohibited and not just among men. Believing that passing of gas breaks one abolition. Going around the Kaaba seven times counter-clockwise at the beginning and end of Hajj. The stoning of Satan in Mina during Hajj. Women leading the Salat or Friday Prayer. Just to name a few.

Historically, the only people who have been calling for the abolishment of circumcision have been from the ardent atheist community, but now we have submitters joining the bandwagon calling it a satanic practice. They are basing this new understanding on atheist propaganda. They fail to provide any proof from God’s scripture that this specific practice was never authorized by God.

Yet we do not have a single instance of any of God’s messengers ever correcting or altering this ritual in any sort. On the contrary, circumcision is discussed in the Old Testament in over 50 instances and in 12 separate books (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah; Joshua). The only time that it is recommended in the Bible not to circumcise is by Paul, who we know was inspired by Satan as he was the individual who elevated Jesus from a prophet to the son of God.

[10:94] If you have any doubt regarding what is revealed to you from your Lord, then ask those who read the previous scripture. Indeed, the truth has come to you from your Lord. Do not be with the doubters.

This is in contrast to the mention of Isaac instead of Ishmael and the satanic dream which occurs only ONE single time in the Bible with the exception of a passage from Paul in Hebrews who again mentioned his wrong understanding of this narrative as a comparative example for his beliefs about Jesus. Similar to circumcision.

I just wanted to share my understanding and hope that this may sway some people from calling circumcision a satanic practice.