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The Ultimate Revelations

by
Jamshed Akhtar


Khaleej Times
Saturday- May 2, 1998

Holy Quran in scientific light

SEARCHERS for extra-terrestrial intelligence should look no further than the Holy Quran, suggests the author of a new book which provides mathematical and scientific proof of the extra-terrestrial origin of the holy book.

The Ultimate Revelations by Jamshed Akhtar was presented in the UAE at the Sharjah Book Mall under the patronage of Sheikha Azza bin Sultan Al Qasmi on Thursday. The book is also being promoted by the Government of Sharjah's Auqaf department.

"This book has interest for religious persons certainly, scientists definitely and even for those interested in science fiction," said Uthman Barry, a teacher who hosts Discovering Islam on Sharjah TV.

The Ultimate Revelations is a book of fiction based on fact. As pointed out by Syed Khalil, executive director of Galadari Brothers, "It is the first attempt made to present the Quran in a scientific manner to the modern world."

He said its presentation with the aid of mathematical and scientific arguments would give the work credence among even the Western scientific community which was sceptical of all things religious.

"Throughout my education, I was taught that science and religion do not go together," said Dr. Bilal-Abdul Aleem of the Sharjah Auqaf department and co-host of Discovering Islam.

"This book goes a long way in presenting spiritual philosophies to intelligent, scientific people," Dr. Bilal added.

The author, himself a scientific person being a retired engineer, has spent twelve years researching the book. During his research he discovered the key to unlocking the mathematical code in the Quran which, he believes, may be the first of several layers of coded messages beneath its primary text.

Mr. Akhtar also argues that while a particular community of people in the world is convinced of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence and is awaiting a 'message' as confirmation of their beliefs, the possibility of such a message having already being received in the past has never been considered.

Mr. Akhtar invites intellectuals to re-examine the Quran in the light of mathematics and science which he believes will convince them that the holy book is a divine message that is proof of its extra-terrestrial origin.

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Gulf News
May 1st, 1998

Azza Sultan impressed by the new book.

Sheikha Azza Sultan Al Qasmi, daughter of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasmi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, yesterday had a reception at which she introduced to the public a book, The Ultimate Revelations, written by an Indian author, Jamshed Akhtar, at the Book Mall here.

The book, described as "a fascinating blend of the latest scientific research, science fiction and philosophy," was initially published in India and was brought here by its author on a fund raising trip, when Sheikha Azza heard of it.

Impressed by the book and its contents, she offered to publish it in the U.A.E. Dr. Bilal Abdul Aleem, one of the speakers at last night's reception, said "The Ultimate Revelations" was among the first of many books in the English language that Sheikha Azza intends publishing.

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Journal of Islamic Science
June 1998

 

Desperately seeking logic by Gail Boxwell

Authour's Reply to Ms Gail

Jamshed Akhtar 'The Ultimate Revelations' (Delhi: International Books, 1996)

The Ultimate Revelations is a novel that pertains to explain the mystery of the Qur'an in scientific, numerical terms by means of an analysis of the Arabic text.  In an attempt to demonstrate the power, wisdom and beauty of this 'ultimate message' to mankind Akhtar discusses the arrival of the Qur'an, the characteristics of the language of the holy Book, and the answers to all mankind's problems to be found in its revered pages.  His book fails in three respects: firstly because his knowledge of Arabic is virtually non-existent; secondly, he is so intent on proving the existence of a mathematical code that he fixes his results, overlooks exceptions to his 'rules' and totally ignores any linguistic aspects of the text in the hunt for numerical clues; thirdly, and more seriously, his book is also offensive because it is a demonstration of the worst form of Eurocentrism.  The Qur'an - according to Akhtar - is now 'understood' only because clever Western people have invented computers thus enabling Muslims to at last unlock the secrets of the text.  Centuries of Islamic thought count for nothing compared to the marvels of the West.

Picture it: The world is on the brink of total destruction; a new ice age is advancing, mankind is on the verge of annihilation.  International conferences are rapidly drawn up to brainstorm ideas that may prevent the slow but steady onslaught of deadly ice.  Dramatically, the Qur'an is presented as 'a message from the stars' - a message from an extra-terrestrial intelligence, which holds the only hope for the future.  The man who delivers this message is Hamza, a young scientist who gradually comes to understand the meaning of the great Muslim text by means of his dreams.  His dreams tell him about the prophets in the past; they also point him to the future and to the secret code that lies within the heart of the text.

All quite exciting... except it really doesn't work.  Akhtar claims to be writing a book about the mystery of the Qur'an, and yet, as one reads, it becomes patently clear that he is merely re-constructing other writers' ideas, and doing it rather badly.  One of the main flaws in this book is the inaccuracy concerning Arabic.  The whole point of Akhtar's book is that the Qur'an be understood correctly.  The Qur'an was revealed in Arabic, and this is what the 'mystery' and the 'message' is supposed to be about.  The Arabic language is therefore the central theme of Akhtar's book.  Yet Akhtar destroys any confidence the reader may have in him by getting his facts totally wrong.  He even gets languages mixed up; a mistake that may have been regarded as an oversight in any other book becomes incompetence in this one.

Arabic is the language of the Qur'an, yet when describing the letters of the alphabet, Akhtar does not describe Arabic at all, but Urdu.  He appears to be ignorant of basic differences between the two languages, describing the Urdu alphabet and labelling it 'Arabic'.  It is very much like a Spanish being described as English.  The two may well be related, but they are not the same.  They may have some letters in common, but there are intrinsic differences between the languages that cannot be ignored.  For example, he writes that there are three 's' sounds, and four 'z' sounds in the 'language of the message'. (P.159)  This may well be true of Urdu, but it is definitely not true of Arabic which has only two 's' sounds, and only one 'z' sound.  For the reader who knows any Arabic, it immediately becomes clear that the very foundation of the book is flawed.  This in turn leads the reader to be suspicious of the contents of the book as a whole.  Fortunately for Akhtar, this section appears in the middle of the book, following the descriptions of Hamza's dreams.  The reader is encouraged and enticed by a fairly promising story, only to be disappointed by the 'proofs' that follow.

Akhtar tries to prove the 'wonders' of Arabic by demonstrating that the 'Combination of letters in its roots is also peculiar.  When similar letters are combines, they denote generally different shades of meaning of the same idea.'  Some examples will be given below because it is necessary to demonstrate quite how inaccurate Akhtar is when he discusses Arabic.  At this point, it is worth mentioning that (and Akhtar gets this right) Arabic verbs are triliteral; they consist of a 'root' of three letters.  From this basic root, several verb forms and nouns are constructed.  This structure is discussed by Akhtar in some detail.  The problem is, Akhtar tries to impose too much order on a language that does not always act in an orderly way.  He looks for patterns where, in fact, there are none.  Languages do not always 'behave' logically - they exist in the realm of passions too.  Unfortunately, Akhtar is searching for rules which he can impose on a moving, living system - the Arabic language.  He is so keen to discover some scientific order that he misses the meaning of the text altogether; in looking for patterns, he ignores exceptions to 'the rule' and thus misses the stinging irony or humour of the Arabic text.

An example of 'order', according to Akhtar, can be found in these words which have similar roots: Khafar which means to escort or safe conduct, ghafar which means to cover or conceal and kafar which also means to cover or conceal. (p.153)  So far, so good.  It can be seen that by changing the first letter, but by using letters with similar sounds - gh,kh,k- (of course, some linguists would argue that these are not at all similar sounds, but let us bear with Akhtar for a moment), words with similar meanings can be discovered.  Unfortunately for Akhtar this is not as simple as he would have the reader believe.  Arabic verbs can present a huge variety of meanings. ghafar can also mean to forgive, whilst kafar is the origin of the word kafir; or infidel.  An Arabic verb may present up to ten forms, and one form alone can have several meanings.  A good example of this is 'ada which can mean any of the following in its first form alone: to return, to be traceable, to give up, to resign to accrue, to grow, to yield, to do something no more or no longer.  One of my favourites that involves several forms of the verb is malla, which can mean to become weary or bored, to be boring or irritating, to dictate or, finally, to embrace a religion.  Take your pick.

True, verbs usually have a common theme, but this is by no means always the case.  What is the connection between being boring and being religious?  Or to leave, to stink, to intervene, to be pleased, and to have a break (some of the verbs derived from the verb ruh)?

Akhtar then steers into even more uncertain territory when he looks for links between nouns constructed from these verbs.  The example he gives is laban, which means milk.  He gives examples of the other nouns that have a similar root (l,b,n).  Several of the words he lists do not appear in Arabic dictionaries at all e.g  labain, lab'an.  The words that do appear have different meanings to the ones he allocates to them.  For example, malban, which he claims means milk vessel (The Hans Wehr dictionary says it means a sweet made of corn starch - we are not told which dictionary Akhtar uses).  Another example that he places in the same list of words does not even derive from the same triliteral root - malainat does not share the root letters l,b,n.  Yet it is given as an example of how the root system works (p.155).  The use of a word from another root is patently absurd in this case, because the whole point of this section is to prove how Arabic words with the same root are related.  If the reader was uneasy with the mistakes concerning the alphabet, these further errors totally undermine any confidence in Akhtar's authority to be discussing the mystery of the Arabic in the Qur'an.  It is quite clear he knows very little about it at all.

Akhtar's approach, apart from being inaccurate, is actually unnecessary.  The Qur'an can be seen as a book that does not need any 'defence'.  It can stand as it is; full of mystery and beauty.  For Muslims, the Qur'an is valid and true with or without any mathematical proofs.  Defending a religious belief or text in the way Akhtar has done, involves an acceptance of Western secularism, and the worldview that accompanies it.  Secularism in this case is held up as the yardstick by which reality is measured, and no counter-reality exists. (1)  Thus, in this case, it is seen necessary to find logic at any cost, along with numerical patterns within the text, in order for the Qur'an to be taken seriously and therefore 'proven' to be sound. Another worldview would accept the Qur'an as a holy text that is not in need of what appears to be a mad scrabble for demeaning 'proofs'.  The glory of the Qur'an in this worldview lies in the raw power of the words which need no defence.  They can be analysed, discussed, and even questioned (honest disbelief and questioning are not considered crimes in an Islamic system of belief) but the concept of a need to 'prove' anything according to another worldview and its standards would not even be considered.  In an alternative approach to the text, students of Qur'anic studies would marvel at the subtle irony and sense of play that appears in its pages (2).  For example, in Sura 78 the root system of Arabic verbs is used with great effect precisely because the nouns have no correlation with each other, yet have contrasting meanings.  Full-breasted maidens/companions of equal age (atrab) in paradise closely follow images of death and hell, they also contrast with the dust of the grave (turab) in the last verse.  The root t,r,b acts as a thread linking disparate passages together.  The effect is outstanding the reader's mind is packed full of images, which seduce, taunt, deride, and promise.  He is taken to the pinnacles of heaven, then cruelly cast to the torments of hell.  Earth is described as being created as 'a place of rest' or 'a bosom'; night as our covering; mankind made in pairs; the earth full of abundance.  Love and sex,  procreation and abundance are woven within the tapestry of the text through the use of the Arabic language and play on words.  If there were any miracle, any mystery in the text, it would be this: the sheer outstanding beauty of the language of the Qur'an.  The ability it holds to move a man to tears, then to shock him with a sudden jolt of joy.  The message in Sure 78 is clear; it is not withheld needing some computer expert to decipher it as Akhtar argues in the final section of his book.  It is this: we will all taste be fruit of our deeds in the hereafter, and we  have all been warned about this fact. Sura 78 is one of thousands of such examples within the Qur'an.  The text merely has to be approached with an open mind.

The second major flaw in this book is Akhtar's obsession with  the mathematical structure of the Qur'an. Again, he and  several others seem to believe that unless something can be 'proven' scientifically, it is not worth much. The Qur'an is forced into a  numerical slot, regardless of the fact that it does not fit that  slot, and never will.  He believes that once enclosed, it  becomes 'real' and  acceptable  to the West (and, sadly, to some Muslims too); it is at last recognised for the scientific marvel that it is. He ignores a couple  of verses here and there, and a few words  that don't quite fit, and present and reader with a scientific, logical mathematical 'marvel'.  Now, at last, he holds, the world will listen. The Qur'an is so complicated that only a computer can decipher the code. Real logic was under Muslims' noses all the time, they just weren't sophisticated enough to understand it.

The numerical 'proofs'- the culmination of the book - are found  towards the end (pp. 336-362). This section is headed 'The Miracle', and is supposed to prove beyond doubt that the Qur'an is a numerical mystery.  There  is supposed to be a 'superhuman structure hidden in the text' (p. 336). Numbers, letters, words and  chapters are all supposed to be part of a mathematical code based on the number nineteen. This is a miracle that 'anyone, anywhere in the world, could witness with the help of a computer'. (P.336) There are two problems here; first, the code is only accessible to people with computers so, if you don't have one, tough - the miracle is not accessible to you. You can only read or recite the holy book (or listen to it being recited) , and never really witness the true depths of the text. The other problem here is the same as in the linguistic section; if something doesn't fit - and a lot doesn't, even with the help of a computer -  Akhtar ignores it. 'The miracle' lies in the number nineteen and only with the number nineteen. Letters appear in multiples of  nineteen, Sura numbers plus the sum of their verses add up to multiples of nineteen, too. Words that appears nineteen times are boldly put forward as examples of the miracles. Words  that don't quite fit are not mentioned (e.g 'ilm' knowledge), which appears 105 times, or nabi (prophet) which appears 75 times). Suras which have verses, or letters that add up to multiples of nineteen are described with relish, those that don't are ignored. (P.338-9) The 'code' is merely an exercise in mathematical acrobatics. It would be interesting to see a similar thing done to 'Pride and Prejudice'  or a Shakespearean Play. They would then, presumably, be labelled as extra-terrestrial messages too. Akhtar devotes  pages to demonstrating the mathematical code. This section of the book is difficult to read or follow. The columns from tables at the back of the book are added, multiplied and mixed in various intricate ways in order to come up with the number  nineteen. This 'proof' is not well presented, and I found myself battling against fatigue when reading it. In some parts, it was presented as a remarkable fact that numbers multiplied by nineteen result in a number that is a multiple of nineteen. This is hardly the stuff miracle are made of.

In fact, the 'miracle' of the number nineteen is something that has been seen before and has been analysed and rejected by serious scholars (3) and Muslims alike. The original protagonist of the theory, a Dr. Rahad Khalifa eventually became deranged, believing that he alone could interpret the Qur'an correctly, and that the prophet Muhammad had no role to play in islam (4).

Finally, it needs to be stressed that Akhtar's whole conceptual frame work is actually western, orientated, and not Islamic.  This is demonstrated not only in his search for mathematical proofs but also in his view of mankind as a whole.  He is a firm believer in the 'advancement' of humanity.  We have, according to him, developed from 'primitives' and 'tribes' and are still developing.  He writes that people of the nineteen century were not as 'mature' as we are today. (p.p.48,64) 'Animism' is described as 'the first stage in the evolution of religion' , and was the religion of 'the isolated tribal'.  Higher forms of religion are polytheism, and, finally monotheism.  He seems to have swallowed darwinism unquestionably, and applies it to the development of religion.  I find it hard to believe that people who live in tribal structures such as Native Americans, Africans or Bedouin are 'primitive' , in fact, the opposite can be claimed to be the case with Americans beginning to realise how much they could have learned from the original inhabitants of the land so long ago had they held a different worldview.  Interestingly, the Qur'an nowhere describes any people as 'primitive'.  It is held that there is only one God, and that worshipping idols is wrong.  People on the last day be judged according to what they knew when alive, and how they reacted to that knowledge (for example, Sura 17.71).  Akhtar however, leaves the reader in no doubt that he is acting within  the Western worldview, believing firmly in the mechanistic view of society as an advancing developing machine.  Whilst decrying evolution in the book (p.116)  Akhtar is actually working within the system of belief that it created.  He even goes so far as to say that the Black Death was a positive thing because it led to the world domination by Western powers.  He calls this a 'positive aspect' of the tragedy of so many deaths. (p.117)  It is astounding to read that Akhtar holds this view in an age when even the West is feeling remorse about the horrors prepetrated during the brutal colonial period.  F. David Peat, a scientist who is interested in Native American culture, writes in his book Blackfoot Physics that, after contact with the West, 'We see a dying people trying to find meaning in the terrible punishment that had been imposed upon them.  We see them struggling in the face of explorers and settlers who bring with them alien worldviews and values.  Thus, a people who had obligations to renew the land met people who believed in land ownership. A people who believed in balance and the renewal of time met those who believed in progress, control, accumulation, and linear time. Those who had based their lives on consensus met treaties and hierachical government.  Those to whom justice was the return of harmony of the whole group met adversarial trial and punishment.' (5) Western civilisation is not seen as the peak of mankind's development but as a source of the senseless annihilation of countless peoples.  Nowadays this worldview is also considered to be responsible for the steady destruction of the planet as a whole.  It is therefore ludicrous that the Qur'an is seen as only being finally understood from within this Western, totally non-Islamic, and frequently aggressive system.  The West is seen by Akhtar to be the culture that provides Muslims with the means to crack the code.  The only concession to Islam is that a Muslim, Hamza, is delivering the message to the world.

The book fails as an explanation of the Qur'an's mysteries because it is written by someone who finds it necessary to put the Qur'an into a logical 'slot', forcing it to conform to Western proofs and numerical codes.  It is also clear that a man who does not know much Arabic should not be writing a book about the wonders of the language, and the mysteries it holds.  The Qur'an itself needs no defence, least of all from a system of values and beliefs that are totally alien to it, and which may just as easily reject it when some new scientific theory comes along.  Finally, even if Akhtar were correct, and the numbers did in fact add up, making the Qur'an scientifically 'proven' and 'sound', it would make no difference to the lives of millions of ordinary Muslims who thrill to its sounds daily.  The true miracle of the Qur'an lies in the powerful emotional and spiritual effect it has on mankind.  The following passage is a moving example of the effect the Qur'an had upon an illiterate woman.  It is beyond science, beyond numbers and even beyond words:

For a long time she would allow her eyes to rest on the two open pages before her.  The letters in green ink from right to left, row beneath row, each shape mysteriously captivating, each dot above or below a letter an epitome of the entire scripture, each assembly of letters a group of dervishes raising their hands in zikr, each gap between two enigmatic shapes a leap from this world into the next, and each ending the advent of the day of Resurrection.  She would thus see a thousand images in the procession of that script and would move from vision to vision.

After spending much time in just looking at the open book, she would then, with a strange light glowing on her face, lift her right hand and with the right finger start touching the letters of each line, then another line, to the end of the page.  What transpired between the book and that touch, and what knowledge passed, without any meditation of conscious thought, directly into her soul, only the Qur'an and the strange reciter could know.  The entire world stood still at this amazing recital without words, without meaning, without knowledge. With that touch a unity was established between her and the Qur'an.  At that moment she had passed into a state of total identity with the word of God.  Her inability to read the scripture was her ability to hear once again: Read! Read, in the name of thy Lord. (6)

Notes

(1) Ziauddin Sardar and Merryll Wyn Davies Distorted Imagination (London: Grey Seal Books 1990) p.6.
(2) Mustansir Mir, 'Humour in the Qur'an', Muslim World vol. LXXXI July-Oct 1991, no. 3-4 pp. 179-193.
(3) Ziauddin Sardar, Explorations in Islamic Science (London: Mansell Publishing Ltd 1989) pp. 37-42.
(4) Ibid. p. 40
(5) F David Peat, Blackfoot Physics (London: Fourth Estate Ltd 1994) p. 124.
(6) Hasan Askari, Alone to alone, 113, quoted in Discovering the Qur'an by Neal Robinson (London: SCM Press Ltd 1996)

Gail Boxwell is currently writing her PhD thesis on Qur'anic Arabic at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the University of Leeds, U.K.

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Authour's Reply to Ms Gail's 'Desperately seeking logic'

Immaturity and ignorance makes a person unnecessarily aggressive. Although Ms. Gail's review highlights both, I must thank her for at least making an effort of going through the book. She may not have been able to comprehend the contents fully, still she seems to have tried.

As far as her critical comments are concerned, she has accused me mainly on three basic points:
'His book fails in three respects: firstly because his knowledge of Arabic is virtually non-existent; secondly, he is so intent on proving the existence of a mathematical code that he fixes his results, overlooks exceptions to his 'rules' and totally ignores any linguistic aspects of the text in the hunt for numerical clues; thirdly, and more seriously, his book is also offensive because it is a demonstration of worst form of Eurocentrism. The Quran - according to Akhtar - is now 'understood' only because clever western people have invented computers thus enabling Muslims to at last unlock the secrets of the text. Centuries of Islamic thought count for nothing compared to the marvels of the West.'

Eurocentrism or Qurancentrism?

'Clever western people' and 'the marvels of the West' indeed - the only thing I believe one can marvel at is the aggressive absurdity of this sentence. In this book, over twenty thousand words spread over 58 pages have been used exclusively to point out how Quran has helped in the collection, translation, and assimilation of existing knowledge of the world, how it had guided and inspired philanthropists, scientists, workers and other men of knowledge - to produce creative works, establish learning centres, observatories, paper mills, hospitals, libraries and other infra-structure, to make the environment conducive for learning and development, and what was the extent and diversity of creative work that followers of Quran produced getting inspiration from it. Ibn Khaldun is specifically quoted (p. 263) as having claimed that 3000 subjects had already been derived from the Quran by 13th century. Moreover, I have also shown why this development stopped, what were the myriad factors and components of the interpreting machinery of Quran, the inherent safeguards in it that were ignored, and how the outstanding works of Muslim scientists of that era became the basic structure on which the present edifice of science has been built. The aim of this presentation was to show how Quran had guided the humanity from the time of its arrival, and how it is still guiding the world, directly and indirectly, involving an intricate pattern of chaos and order. One may or may not agree with me, but to the best of my ability, I have avoided using abstractions, generalities and element of faith as the basic premise. Wherever possible, concrete examples have been provided to remove innumerable misunderstandings, and the veils of prejudices that hinder a non-believer from turning towards Quran. Now, after a decade long effort on this subject, I would have accepted her criticism gladly if she had accused me of Qurancentrism, but her allegation of Eurocentrism has totally stumped me. It is almost bizarre.

Problems with Arabic language?

Another point, in elaboration of which she is quite rude, aggressive and woefully ignorant, pertains to the Arabic language.

'The Arabic language is the central theme of Akhtar's book. Yet Akhtar destroys any confidence the reader may have in him by getting his facts totally wrong.. For the reader who knows any Arabic, it immediately becomes clear that the very foundation of the book is flawed. This in turn leads the reader to be suspicious of the contents of the book as a whole..'

Ms Gail seems so intent on demolishing the book with the little knowledge of Arabic she possesses, that she does not realise that Arabic is not the central theme of the book. The book lays down almost three hundred and fifty arguments for Quran being the last message as well as the last non-human messenger and the probability of 'further guidance' emerging from the same text in different eras of the future. Out of these three hundred and fifty arguments, less than twenty arguments pertain to Arabic language. These arguments present several new insights regarding this language, explaining why this particular language was chosen as an ideal medium of communication for this Message. But all new insights, by being inherently different from established views, are bound to attract conflicting opinions. A healthy debate on this topic is always welcome. Unfortunately Ms. Gail's criticism is a bit too ridiculous for any serious researcher's taste.

'Arabic is the language of the Quran, yet when describing the letters of the alphabet, Akhtar does not describe Arabic at all, but Urdu. He appears to be ignorant of basic differences between the two languages, describing Urdu alphabets but labelling it 'Arabic'. It is very much like a Spanish being described as English..'
This comment, coming from a person who is working for her PhD in Arabic, is simply outrageous and shows the entire Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies of Leeds University in very poor light. The only thing to be appreciated in this regard is her superb sense of composition as within four compact sentences she was able to show that she neither knows Arabic, nor Urdu, nor Spanish.

The alphabets I have described are Arabic. The three alphabets with 's' sounds - Seen, Se and Saad  and the four alphabets with variations of z sounds zal, ze, zo and zwad are all common to Urdu and Arabic. The difference between Arabic and Urdu alphabets is that Urdu contains seven more alphabets that are not present in Arabic. These Urdu alphabets are pe, Te (It is different from te where 't' is pronounced with a French or Italian accent instead of British accent), che, Daal (This alphabet is also different from daal where 'd' is pronounced with a French or Italian accent), Rhe (In English you cannot pronounce it correctly), zhe (This alphabet is also difficult to pronounce and is rarely used e.g. Izhdeham), and gaaf.

Some foreigners, unable to pronounce the variation of 's' sound in Se correctly, write it as th (as in Othman), but that does not make it a rule. Moreover, out of four alphabets with 'z' sounds, only zwad is pronounced by some as 'dhwad', but that again does not reduce the number of alphabets with 'z' sounds to one. Before firing off this review, she should have checked the number and asked herself a question - what was the crying need to have four alphabets in a language with only one identical 'z' sound, unless these alphabets have subtle variations of pronunciations understandable to natives of the language only.

Ironically her utter ignorance corroborates and explains the Theory of Homonyms by Muhammad Ahmad Mazhar, whose work I have quoted in this book. As per his claim, foreigners to Arabic language, unable to differentiate between subtle differences in pronunciation, unintentionally created homonyms in their own language by importing verbs, starting with similar sounding alphabets but having different meanings. Mr. Mazhar's work is very extensive. He has compiled a dictionary of almost six hundred words, tracing roots of verb from English, French, German, Spanish, Latin, Italian, Greek, Russian, Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi and Chinese to Arabic.

He is so keen to discover some scientific order that he misses the meaning of the text altogether; in looking for patterns, he ignores exceptions to 'the rule' and thus misses the stinging irony or humour of the Arabic text.

Ms Gail forgets one thing. Exceptions to the rule exist everywhere and on the basis of exceptions patterns are neither identified nor rejected. Arabic verbs do present a variety of meanings but one must not forget that for one thousand years these people were ruling over three continents, trading and interacting with diverse populations and situations.  The 'words' in such situations acquire connotations. But if one studies closely, the relation between different meanings of the same word becomes obvious. Take for example the two words ghafar and kafar which means to cover or conceal, and which she has cited as an example to prove that there is no pattern. She has alleged that 'ghafar' can also mean to forgive, whilst kafar is the origin of the word kafir or 'infidel'. Now if one observes closely one can realise that covering or concealing someone's fault is also forgiving and kafir is the one who does something against the directive, covering and concealing the guidance reaching up to him. Thus kafar is the most suitable root word in this regard, showing that God is not unjust. He will make a man accountable only with respect to the guidance reaching him. And since, only God knows how much guidance exactly reaches a person (as innumerable factors like environment, intelligence, life's conditions and nature's predisposition etc., all given by God Himself, affect this exercise), He is the best judge regarding how much a man indulges in kufr or covers and conceals the guidance.

True, verbs usually have a common theme (Here she is contradicting herself), but this is by no means always the case. What is the connection between being boring and being religious?

The connection is obvious to anyone with a little humour and imagination. Evil has a temporary attraction and that is why there is the concept of accountability. Any man of religion who tries to keep someone away from this temporary attraction, citing accountability in a life after this life which he has yet to encounter, will surely be termed boring by non-believers.

Akhtar then steers into even more uncertain territory when he looks for links between nouns constructed from these verbs. The example he gives is laban, which means milk. He gives examples of other nouns that have a similar root (l,b,n). Several of the words he lists do not appear in Arabic dictionaries at all e.g. labain, lab'an. The words that do appear have different meanings to the one he allocates to them. For example, malban, which he claims means milk vessel..

I am at a loss to understand which dictionaries our young researcher has consulted. Leave alone standard dictionaries, even a simple one like 'A Learner's Arabic-English Dictionary' by F. Steingass, contains these words. The reason why I did not mention any dictionaries is because the examples have been taken from the authoritative book 'Arabic, The Source of all languages', mentioned in the Bibliography.

'Another example that he places in the same list of words does not even derive from the same triliteral root - malainat does not share the root letters l,b,n. Yet it is given as an example of how the root system works. The use of a word from another root is patently absurd in this case, because the whole point of this section is to prove how Arabic words with the same root are related. If the reader was uneasy with the mistakes concerning the alphabet, these further errors totally undermine any confidence in Akhtar's authority to be discussing the mystery of the Arabic in the Quran. It is quite clear he knows very little about it.'

Had Ms Gail not been blinded by her urge to criticise the work so vehemently and viciously, she herself would have realised that a typographical error has turned malbinat (sharing the same root letters l,b,n) into malainat, specifically since the word's meaning has also been given along with. Secondly, she should also remember that the discussion involves two different languages, and pronunciation of an Arabic word into English cannot be translated precisely by each and every compiler of dictionaries. Slight variations are likely to be encountered. And thirdly, her contention that verbs of the same root do not have any relation in meanings to each other, is totally absurd. I had mentioned only seven words, while more than twenty words from the same root, exist in the dictionaries related to the same theme of 'milk'.

Problems with the mathematical structure?

There are two problems here; first, the code is only accessible to people with computers so, if you don't have one, tough - the miracle is not accessible to you?

This objection is again absurd. Computer has been used only as a tool to analyse mathematical correlation in words and alphabets of the text. Once a mathematical structure has been identified, it can be seen by anybody, unlike strange phenomena associated with the past messengers, which were witnessed by only those that were present close by. It is only to cross check it that a computer will be required again, as paper and pencil were required to check  those indexes that listed the number of times important words had occurred in Quran and which were compiled by men using only paper and pencil.

The other problem here is the same as in the linguistic section; if something doesn't fit - and a lot doesn't, even with the help of a computer - Akhtar ignores it. Words that appear nineteen times are boldly put forward as examples of the miracle. Words that don't quite fit are not mentioned. The code is merely an exercise in mathematical acrobatics. It would be interesting to see a similar thing done to 'Pride and Prejudice' or a Shakespearean play. They would then, presumably, be labelled as extra-terrestrial messages too.?

Her second objection is as invalid here as it was in the linguistic section. It should be understood clearly that a mathematical structure is identified on the basis of statistical regularity only, which can exclude the element of chance by a large margin. It is not necessary that each and every alphabet of the Arabic language should conform to the pattern, as it would be an impossibility. A hidden structure, emerging from an old text, dictated orally over twenty three years, is not an impossibility, it is only beyond a man's capability, specifically since the number is a big prime number and is not randomly selected. The Quranic text mentions it, fixing it as a trial for unbelievers, in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in faith, and that no doubt may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers.. Regarding a similar thing being done to 'Pride and Prejudice' and labelling it as extra-terrestrial, my answer is, why does not she do it, why presume only? It will be the surest way to discredit this demeaning proof.

Why this structure was rejected by Muslims and why I included it in the book:

Rashad Khalifa's assertion regarding two verses of the Quran; his claim of being the latest messenger; his outright rejection of Sunna as Satanic innovations, his attempts to authorise interpretation of Quran, his backtracking on several issues coupled with problems in the identification of Arabic alphabets like aliph, and the discovery of some manipulation in the structure, all these factors led to the rejection of this otherwise brilliant structure. But it was done without realising the gravity of its non acceptance, and its influence as an objective argument par excellence. My purpose of including it in the book, is the belief that this structure with all its benefits, can be re-established by removing manipulations, explaining anomalies and countering all assertions of Rashad Khalifa plausibly. And my belief is that Ulema of the community are taking extremely heavy responsibility upon their shoulders by detaching it from the very obvious hint, mentioned in the text. Besides, the structure should not be treated naively as a scientific marvel only, meant to convince the west. Among its many potential uses mentioned in my book, it can also solve a long standing problem related to the existence of variant readings, which has always been used by non-believers, to attack the integrity of Quran. The structure used in conjunction with Qirat-e mutwatira and ancient manuscripts, like the one at Tashkent, can solve this problem once for all. But, for all this to happen, a positive approach is needed to analyse the structure. Without involving the antagonism towards Rashad Khalifa, a great researcher who fell later into the satan's trap, the structure needs to be checked extremely thoroughly by statisticians and linguists of repute and intelligence, to see what is the truth.

Some other objections of Ms Gail

He is a firm believer in the advancement of humanity. We have according to him, developed from primitives and tribes and are still developing.

Yes, I am a firm believer in the advancement of humanity and tribes did exist initially instead of the present structure depending upon rural and urban centres. But she misquotes me when she says we developed from 'primitives'. On the contrary, I have specifically mentioned that Adam was given at his birth, the concept of the basic religion, an ability to communicate, and the basic structure of a language.

He writes that people of the nineteenth century were not as mature as we are today. (pp. 48,64)

It is true. Pick-up randomly the literature published in nineteenth century and compare it with the present, you will yourself realise that with increasing information and easy communication, the humanity is now better able to see each other's view point.

Animism is described as the first stage in the evolution of religion, and was the religion of the isolated tribal. Higher forms of religion are polytheism, and finally monotheism. He seems to have swallowed Darwinism unquestionably, and applies it to the development of religion.

As a reply to this accusation, I can only say that her knowledge of English seems to be at par with her knowledge of Urdu, Spanish and Arabic. The statements she mentions are part of a dialogue where an expert on religion explains the evolutionary theory of religion, propagated by those who do not believe in the Creator factor and Divine origin of revealed guidance. How can these thoughts be understood as belonging to me when my whole book is an effort to prove the existence of Creator factor?

'Quran can be seen as a book that does not need any defence'; 'glory of Quran lies in the raw power of words' - such statements sound pleasing to the ears, but, one must never forget that conflicting perspectives are a reality and result in lot of misery around the world. Army of persecutors in Bosnia, Palestine, Burma, and Kashmir, are not students of Quranic studies who can marvel at the subtle irony and sense of play appearing in its contents, but their leaders and other men of intellect, who have influence in the world affairs, can be convinced logically about the truth of Quran and futility of working at cross purpose with God. With the present ease of communication and the level of maturity, such a goal can be realised, however distant it may look. But it is not a simple exercise. There are barriers after barriers, of prejudice, ignorance, and misunderstandings, related with every aspect of Quran. This book was envisaged as an attempt to bring those queries and their answers under one roof, in an interesting format and in the language which would be comprehensible to a majority. It was not written to satisfy one's ego or to convince Arabic speaking Muslims that Quran is Divine. It was primarily written to invite those men towards Quran who are not convinced about its Source being God, and thus miss out on the benefits that could accrue from 'The Light' which is the greatest gift of the Creator to humanity.

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The Sunday Observer
May 18th -24th, 1997

Should the sun hiccup...

"An expanding shell of less energy from the sun's core was moving towards its surface for the last million years. As the shell breaks through the outer envelope, sometime in the 21st century, the sun's output dips slightly. The shell is thin and the peculiar irregularity in the solar machinery is not going to last long. Still, the event has tremendous potential of menace, as even this thin solar hiccup has the capability to push the planet towards a cold grave, from which it had emerged only twelve thousand years ago..."

This scenario, though spine-chilling, is fast becoming a reality. Temperature changes all over the world has brought the spectre of ice age disturbingly close. The Ultimate Revelations, one of the few science fictions written in India, talks about the time when ice age actually dawns on the world, and mankind - for once forgetting all their differences-search for a solution. It's a matter of their survival.

The book begins with a young scientist, Hamza dreaming about a celestial phenomenon. A ring of material tears from an intensely luminous gaseous talk, whirling fast in the inky black space and expands outwards like giant ripple. There follows a series of such dreams. About tryannosaurus and dinosaurs - the early inhabitants of the earth -, Noah's arc and the arrival of Buddha.

Running parallel to this sequence of events is the dawning of ice age. This is how the author describes it, "For the last million years, an expanding shell of less energy produced at the sun's core, was working its way towards the surface. Now it had just reached the outer envelope of the sun. The shell was thin, and it was going to produce only a small irregularity in the working of the solar machinery, just a tiny hiccup on the solar scale, that was going to last for a mere eight months of the planet earth... Owing to the peculiar condition related with the earth's reflective capacity, its entire ecology lay poised on a knife's edge so sharp, that even this small irregularity had the capability to push the planet towards a cold grave.."

And what solution does Akhtar present though his protagonist Hamza for this crisis? A message given by extraterrestrial Intelligence in the actual past, available on the planet, and revered by over six hundred million people. The well-researched arguments presented relate to its time and place of arrival, characteristics of the language, the contents and the composition.

Akhtar claims that this extra terrestrial message did not arrive randomly, but is logically predicted though a cosmic design that links together- in a single strand - all laws of nature, elements of change, accidents, catastrophes and global creative impulses. A mathematical support for the hypothesis is also provided in the book together with the suggestion of a probable key to the ultimate code.

The Ultimate Revelations is a gripping science fiction. The chapters describing Hamza's dreams and the catastrophe caused by the advent of the ice age are written in a lucid style.

Deepali Nandwani

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The Times of India
Feb 23rd, 1997

'In search of new meanings in Quran'

Jamshed Akhtar's book The Ultimate Revelations is a clever amalgam of fact and fiction. It is a search for layers of meaning in the Quran. Since it goes on to imply and say new things, it is in the danger of being misunderstood...

In the book. the author pursues the line of thought that Quran may be a message sent extra-terrestrially to the mind of prophet Mohammed and may have layer upon layer of meaning... scientists like Hoyle and Wickramsinghe had suggested in the past that the large amount of 'dark' matter seen in telescope as occupying outer space may actually be organic formations capable of intelligent behaviour but of sizes equal to billions of stars like the sun; in other words that there were brain-like structures the size of an entire galaxy. They suggested that the enormous 'brain' in outer space could act like a demi-god. Akhtar does not mean by God any such contraption nor does he imply that the Quran was sent by some creatures in outer space. What he does seem to be implying is that if signals can be sent to brains by creatures in outer space how much more likely it is that a coded message was sent by God to Mohammed and if it is allowed that new ages will be seeking the meaning according to their preparedness, then why should it not be that there may be hidden layers of meaning which can be known only at the time which is right and proper to receive it.

Science has its enigmas, and like religion, is based on a certain kind of faith; the faith that the universe is, has been and will always be orderly and that if we think hard enough we can know what that order is. In fact, sooner or later, science and religion must overlap and converge, as we understand science and religion better and better. The Ultimate Revelations is cleverly cast in the form of a science fiction because it is well known that science fiction of one generation often becomes the fact of another generation...

As a literary work, the book has both artistic as well as informative merit based on short chapters, each containing summary accounts of successive episodes in the historical record of the universe as described by science as well as religion...

In short, the book is an unique example of the new and popular style of writing called 'faction' a combination of some fact some fiction..

Habeebul H Ansari

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'The Hindu'
Sunday, July 7, 1996
The Book News

Message from the stars

Using the vehicle of science fiction, Jamshed Akhtar presents his views on the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence being pursued by astronomers all over the planet in "The Ultimate Revelations".

In the book, Akhtar puts on record arguments for one such "message from the stars" that is not a future probability but is part on an actual past, available on the planet. The arguments presented in the book relate to its time of arrival, place of arrival, characteristics of the language, the contents, the composition, presence of knowledge ahead of its time in the text, mysteries involved in its arrival and its subsequent effect on humanity.

A probability of colossal quantum of "knowledge from stars" in the text, in coded format, is presented with mathematical support. The book comes with an invitation from the author to all to verify his arguments and evidence, prove him wrong or help him in decoding the first layer of message.

Anita Joshua

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The Islamic Voice
Feb 23rd, 1997

Science fiction with a difference

It is early 21st century. The shadow of destruction looms large over earth. The danger of the impending ice age is so real that the scientific wing of the UN has arranged a tele-conference to be telecast throughout the world in a desperate search for a clue from anyone to counter the threat. The time is too short for a long term strategy to avoid the seemingly inevitable catastrophe. A help from the possible extra terrestrial intelligence is probably the only solution in such a short-time, a message from the space providing the vital clue for survival. The message comes in the form of series of visions to an Indian scientist. He witnesses the whole process of earth's formation, the gigantic creatures of the Dinasour age, the building of Noah's Arc, Buddha's delivering sermon to the monks, Moses mounting over Toor hills for his Divine Appointment, Prophet Zachariah winning the guardianship of Mary who was destined to give birth to Jesus Christ, an ascribe of Qur'an reading a revelation to the prophets companions, and finally the clue to the message anxiously awaited by the world. The deduction from the visions was that the message had already come to the world centuries ago and the survival of humanity depended upon following the leads of the Message. The scientist, with the help of a lead given by a scientist in the 70's of the 20th century, produces before the world a miracle of the message, an inherent mathematical structure in it which no man could have incorporated.

'The Ultimate Revelations' is a unique religion-science fiction, with a purpose and therefore very different from other science fictions. The climax of the novel is based on a divine mathematical structure in Qur'an unfolded by an America based Egyptian UNIDO scientist Rashad Khalifa in 1969. He produced more than a hundred examples of a 19 based structure and gained an instant popularity in the Muslim world. But the whole Muslim-Community was shocked, when he declared in 1973 that the structure worked only if the last two verses of Surah Tauba (9:120,129) were deleted from Qur'an. Subsequently, he claimed the mantle of prophethood and ultimately was murdered.. in 1990.

The author points out that the Muslims while eulogizing him prior to 1973 for his great service, did not take pain to verify his calculations and they committed the same blunder again in outrightly rejecting his hypothesis, when he disclosed that the miracle of Qur'an worked only if two of its verses were deleted from it. More than 50 calculations of the structure are true anyway, with those two verses included in the Message. Why should we entirely seal a spoiled and misguided genius' contribution? We should have taken a lead from him and removed his anomalies.

The author by producing some examples has shown that the miracle works both ways (with or without two verses). Rejecting Rashad Khalifa's contention about the two verses, he concludes that those two verses have a special status and in fact are the key to other hidden meanings of the message...

There are many other data, which in my opinion Rashad Khalifa has manipulated. There are also many a debatable mode of calculations which he used to discredit the two verses of Qur'an... All his data (for their counts) and calculations (for many of their modes) need verification. I agree with the author and congratulate him in presenting Rashad Khalifa's theory anew for the undistorted facts in the theory are of immense value. Innovative research by Muslim scholars on these lines will beyond doubt prove to the world one of the most amazing miracles of Qur'an to date. The author has presented his theme in the form of a beautifully written novel. Though, in the end of the book, the lengthy part of the descriptive calculations tends to disturb its value as a novel. The absorbing revelations of this portion, more than makes up for the loss in technique.

The book is thoroughly enjoyable for those whose subjects are science or religion. But even if you are not interested in either of the above it may prove to be an asset for your personal library for ready reference on a variety of topics. The book contains encyclopaedic information on the cosmic phenomena, the atmospheric impacts, the formation of planet earth and the creations of Tyrannusaurus age, and many other subjects like theory of evolution of Islamic Science, apart from detailed and authentic information on Bible, and Qur'an.

Tariq Abdullah

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