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By: Anonymous Muslim
Refuting the Pagan Silas on the Zoroastrian text called the “Book of Arda Viraf”
A while back the pagan Silas from the answering-islam team wrote an article he entitled the “Pagan Sources of Islam”; this silly article was quickly and efficiently refuted by my colleague Sami Zaatari.
The link for Silas silly original article is here:
And the full link for brother Sami Zaatari’s rebuttal to the Pagan Silas is here at this link: https://www.answering-christianity.com/sami_zaatri/rebuttal_to_silas_6.htm
Let us read one of the quotes from the Pagan Silas’ original article:
THE NIGHT JOURNEY
The Night Journey describes Muhammad's ascent into heaven. It is briefly mentioned in sura 17:1, and described in Sahih al-Bukhari, in several of his volumes, notably in vol 1, #345.
Muhammad's story parallels a Zoroastrian story. It is found in an old Pahlavi book known as "The Book of Arta Viraf". The Zoroastrian story describes the journey of a saintly priest (Arta Viraf), who went into a trance and his spirit went up to the heavens under the guidance of an angel named Sarosh. He passed from one utopia (7 heavens?) to another until he reached the presence of Ormazd, the great deity of the whole universe. When Arta saw everything in heaven and that the inhabitants were very happy, Ormazd commanded him to return to earth as his 'messenger' and to tell the people all that he saw and heard.
Also, the Zoroastrians taught, long before Islam, there was a marvelous tree in Paradise called 'humaya', which corresponds very closely to the 'sidrah', the lote tree of Islam.
Finally, there is another Zoroastrian work the 'Zerdashtnama', which has a story of how Zoroaster himself ascended into the heavens and obtained permission to visit hell, where he found Ahriman, the Devil.
Silas was argument was destroyed by brother Sami Zaatari’s rebuttal:
The story Silas mentions comes nowhere close to the Night Journey of Muhammad, there are many differences to be noted:
1- Muhammad went into the heavens not by spirit, rather he went up to the heavens PHYSICALLY.
2- Muhammad was already a messenger of God before he went up into the heavens, the event was to mark another miracle and proof of him being a prophet.
Among other things how did Arta prove his story was true? Because the Islamic sources show that the prophet Muhammad backed his story up in a way which a liar could not have:
Section: Concerning the isra, the night journey, of the Messenger of God (SAAS) from Mecca to Jerusalem, his ascent from there to heaven and the signs he saw there.
We will give here the gist of the words of Ibn Ishaq, God bless him. Having recounted the earlier sections, he went on, “Then the Messenger of God (SAAS) was taken by night from the masjid-al haram to the masjid al-aqsa, the latter being the holy temple of Aelia. By then Islam had spread in Mecca into Quraysh and all the Arab tribes.”
He continued, “Concerning the night journey of the Messenger of God (SAAS), I learned what follows from a hadith that came down from Ibn Musud, Abu Said, Aisha, Muawiya, Umm Hani, daughter of Abu Talib, God bless them all, and al-Hasan b. Abu al-Hasan, Ibn Hisham al-Zuhri, Qatada and other scholars. Individually that combines in this account.
“The night journey of the Messenger of God (SAAS) was filled with trials and tribulations and (instances) of God’s power and authority; it provides a lesson for men of intelligence, a guidance, a mercy and an affirmation for those with faith and belief. It was certainly an act of God.
“He carried him on his journey as and how He wished, to show him those of His signs He desired. He thus surveyed some of the Might of God, His will, power and authority by which he accomplishes His purposes.
“Abd Allah b. Masud would say, as I have been informed, the Messenger of God (SAAS), was brought al-Buraq, that being the name of a mount on which previous prophets were carried; its stride was such that it could place its hooves as far as it could see. He was borne away on it.
“His companion (Gabriel) then took him off to see signs between heaven and earth. Eventually he reached Jerusalem, where he found Abraham, Moses and Jesus, in a company of prophets assembled for him. He led them in prayer. “Then he was brought three vessels, containing milk, wine and water. He said that he drank the vessel of milk and was told by Gabriel, ‘You have been given guidance, and so has your nation.’”
…..Ibn Ishaq related, quoting Umm Hani as his source, that she said, “It was from nowhere but my home that the Messenger of God (SAAS) made his night journey. He slept that night after having made the final evening prayer. When it was just before dawn he woke up and when it was morning we prayed together and he said, ‘O Umm Hani, last evening I prayed with you in this valley, then I went to Jerusalem and prayed there. And now here I am having said the morning prayer with you, as you see.’
“He then arose to leave, but I took hold of the hem of his cloak and said, ‘O Messenger of God, do not make that statement to the people; they will surely disbelieve you and do you harm.’
“But he replied, ‘By God, I will certainly tell it to them!’ And he did tell them and they did disbelieve.”
Ibn Ishaq went on (and the Prophet (SAAS) told the sceptical, tr.) “And the proof of this is that I passed by the caravan of such-and-such a tribe in such-and-such a valley, and the sound of (al-buraq) startled them and so one of their camels ran away. I led them to it, being then on my way to al-Sham. Then I continued on until I reached Dajanan, where I passed a caravan of such-and-such tribe. I found the people asleep. They had a vessel with water in it that they had covered it with something. I took off the cover and drank the water and replaced its cover. And the proof of this is that their caravan is now making its way down from the pass at al-Tanim al-Bayda. Leading it is an ash-coloured camel on which are two sacks, one of which is black, the other black and white.
“On hearing this, people hurried to the pass. The first camel, which was as he described to them, was insufficient proof for them, so they asked about the vessel and the camel, and those in the caravan did tell them just as the Prophet (SAAS) had recounted.”
Yunus b. bukayr related, from Asbat, from Ismail al-Suddi, that the sun had almost set before that caravan arrived and so he prayed to God, Almighty and Glorious is He, who slowed it down until they came, just as he had described it to them.
He stated, “And the sun was never slowed down for anyone except on that day for him, and also for Yusha (Joshua) b. Nun.
Al-Bayhaqi related this account. ( Pg 62-64)
As you can see the prophet showed that he was not lying nor made this event up, and as you can also see the story comes nowhere close to the Zoroastrian one.
The Quran mentions 'houris' several times 44:50, 52:20, 55:60, 56:20, 78:33. Who or what are they? They are 'bashful virgins', 'fair as coral and ruby', 'dark eyed youths', 'high bosomed maidens (big breasted)'. In sum, they are creatures put in Paradise, primarily for men's sexual pleasures. Each man will have at least two of them.
This concept is derived from the Zoroastrian sources. In Zoroastrian writings they are referred to as 'Faries' - spirits in bright array and beautiful to captivate the heart of man. The name 'Houris' comes from a Pehlavi source, as does the Islamic 'Jinn' for Genie.
Just because a Zroastrian text says there are beautiful spirits that captivate the heart of man, and the Quran mentions beautiful houris this means the Quran got it from this source?! This is very funny I must say, secondly the houris are not spiritual women or some spirits unlike the source Silas mentions.
Okay so we can clearly see that brother Sami Zaatari destroys Silas argument. But one more VERY, VERY Important thing is the dating of the oldest manuscript we possess of this book called “The Book of Arda (or Arta, it can be spelled either way) Viraf”. For the Pagan Silas’ argument to work in the first place he has to prove that this Zoroastrian work “The Book of Arda (or Arta) Viraf” existed BEFORE the advent of Islam and BEFORE the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH)’s “Night Journey” to Al-Quds (Jerusalem). If Silas cannot prove this he has NO argument in the first place!
Let us read an excerpt from an article by Eileen Gardiner who writes for a website called http://www.hell-on-line.org/ that discusses and writes about the beliefs and descriptions of Hell in numerous different religions. The link for this whole article is here:
There are four extant hell texts from the Zoroastrian tradition. Dating these texts is problematic: the manuscripts provide the only reliable basis. Although the texts themselves are probably much earlier than the earliest surviving manuscripts, it is impossible to determine the form and contents of the originals and we suspect, or fear, that they may have been revised extensively according to new ideas. Although scholars feel that many of our earliest notions about hell derive from Zoroastrianism, with the evidence provided by these texts we cannot make a reliable determination.
Although this is a religion that dates back to the Prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra) c. 1200 BCE, and the religion flourished from approximately the seventh century BCE until the seventh century CE, the four extant hell texts all date from between the sixth and ninth centuries CE. There are no contemporary English translations for these Avestan (Old Iranian) and Pahlavi (Middle Persian) texts; all our translations date from the late nineteenth century, and new translations could contribute to our understanding of the nature of Zoroastrian hell. Of these texts, the Book of Scriptures, Religious Judgments and the Book of Judgments of the Spirit of Wisdom describe similar versions of hell and appear to be normative for Zoroastrian belief. The Book of Arda Viraf seems anomalous in the context of these works, but it has survived into the present day as a popular religious text.
2. Book of Arda Viraf (Arda Vîraf Namak, sixth century CE; ninth-century manuscript). Arda Viraf authored an early first-person account of a journey to the underworld
Again the link for this whole article can be found here: http://www.hell-on-line.org/TextsZOR.html
So in addition to brother Sami Zaatari’s excellent rebuttal to Silas’ silly article; we can clearly see that the OLDEST manuscript we possess today for this Zoroastrian text called the “Book of Arda (or Arta) Viraf” is dated from the 9th Century CE (or AD)
So clearly since the oldest existing manuscript of the “Book of Arda (or Arta) Viraf” dates from the 9th Century CE it can easily be said that the Zoroastrians copied from the Holy Qur’an and the Authentic Sunnah Islamic Hadiths. The Pagan Silas must admit this because as we have clearly seen the Zoroastrian text has been CORRUPTED and CHANGED and this textual corruption means the OLDEST manuscript of the “Book of Arda (or Arta) Viraf” dates from the 9th Century CE centuries after the advent of Islam.
So let us quickly summarize.
The Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) lived from 570CE to 632CE, the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) went on the “Night Journey” to Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 621CE. The Oldest Manuscript of the “Book of Arda (or Arta) Viraf” dates from the 9th Century CE, thus the 800’s CE. So if any copying happened it was the Zoroastrian text of Arda Viraf copying and plagarizing from Islam.
Also before I finish I think we should also see some important excerpts regarding another Zoroastrian text Pagan Christian missionaries attempt to use against the truth religion of God, Islam. This text is called the “Divina Commedia” by Arda Wiraz Namag.
For the complete article PLEASE read from this link, do NOT miss this great article: http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Sources/ZRisra.html
But let us quickly refute any missionary argument with some excerpts from the above link:
The missionary Vargo went a step ahead to claim that Arda Wiraz Namag existed "long before" the time of advent of Islam. His evidence was a passage from the book by Flattery and Schwartz called Haoma And Harmaline: The Botanical Identity Of The Indo-Iranian Sacred Hallucinogen "Soma" And Its Legacy In Religion, Language, And Middle Eastern Folklore. It was shown that the missionary misquoted the reference. The passage nowhere says that the story Arda Wiraz Namag is older than the 9th-10th century redaction and that it "existed long before the time of Muhammad". Instead, the reference is to the three Pahlavi accounts, viz., Arda Wiraz Namag, Denkird and Zand î Wahman Yasht to show that the drug sauma brought the condition of outwardly resembling sleep that gives rise to the visions. The alleged parallels to these can be found in Kirdir's inscriptions. It is, however, unclear whether the account of taking sauma for religious visions as found in the Pahlavi texts are also consistent with the account found in two stone inscriptions of Kirdir. There is a scholarly disagreement about this issue.
Appendix: The Manuscripts of Arda Wiraz Namag
Following are the extant manuscripts of Arda Wiraz Namag. There is no surviving manuscript of Arda Wiraz Namag that dates before 14th century CE. We are mentioning only the three important manuscripts that were used to make various critical editions.
MS. K20: It is an undated manuscript and has the complete text. However, it has three colophons which have been dated in an irregular order of 1321, 1351 and 1331 CE. It is in the Royal Library, Copenhagen. It is believed that this manuscript dates from latter half of the 14th century CE.
MS. H6: This manuscript is kept in Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The date of this copy is 1397 CE. The scribe is Pesotan son of Râm who used another copy dated to 1249 CE to make his edition.
MS. K26: It is an undated Copenhagen manuscript. This manuscript supplies some phrases missing in both K20 and H6 and consequently it has not been copied from either of them. It is believed that this manuscript is from ~1371 CE or nearly contemporary with H6.
 F. Vahman, Arda Wiraz Namag: The Iranian 'Divina Commendia', op cit., p. 239.
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