Ikhwanus Safa: "A Rational and Liberal Approach to Islam"

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Zale45e's picture
Ikhwanus Safa: "A Rational and Liberal Approach to Islam"

The ancient Islam and today's Islam are very different. I want to atheists on this site to take a look at the old Islamic teachings.

the ideas on evolution found in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (The Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa) as follows:

state that God first created matter and invested it with energy for development. Matter, therefore, adopted the form of vapour which assumed the shape of water in due time. The next stage of development was mineral life. Different kinds of stones developed in course of time. Their highest form being mirjan (coral). It is a stone which has in it branches like those of a tree. After mineral life evolves vegetation. The evolution of vegetation culminates with a tree which bears the qualities of an animal. This is the date-palm. It has male and female genders. It does not wither if all its branches are chopped but it dies when the head is cut off. The date-palm is therefore considered the highest among the trees and resembles the lowest among animals. Then is born the lowest of animals. It evolves into an ape. This is not the statement of Darwin. This is what Ibn Maskawayh states and this is precisely what is written in the Epistles of Ikhwan al-Safa. The Muslim thinkers state that ape then evolved into a lower kind of a barbarian man. He then became a superior human being. Man becomes a saint, a prophet. He evolves into a higher stage and becomes an angel. The one higher to angels is indeed none but God. Everything begins from Him and everything returns to Him.


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Sapporo's picture
The revelations of religion

The revelations of religion have a habit of happening after they have been discovered by humans.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: OP

Re: OP

Aaaaaaand how, exactly, is that suppose to be "rational"???

Plus, am I the only one confused by the statement about "ancient Islamic teachings" are different from "today's Islam"? I mean, it sounds like somewhere along the way, the great and mighty and perfectly wise Allah looked around and went, "Hmmmm.... Ya know what? I'm thinking those old ways of teaching just ain't doin' the job anymore with these newer and better educated humans. Time to step things up a notch with some newer forms of teaching. These smarter folks just ain't buyin' the ancient poo-poo anymore."

Of course, then again, it could have also been the big-wig imams who all got together and decided, "Hey, uh, look guys, as we all have noticed, the newer generations are not really going for the whole Islamic faith thing the way they once did back in ancient days. And, yes, we all agree that Allah and Mohammad are "perfect and all-wise" and yadda-yadda-yadda in their divine words and teachings. However, one has to admit that maybe they would not mind our changing a few teaching methods to help draw in some of the more educated folks. I mean, let's face it, guys. People just ain't as stupid or gullible as they once were. Am I right? Am I right?"

Zale45e's picture
I meant hidden/lost teaching,

I meant hidden/lost teaching, missing from today's Islam.

Tin-Man's picture
@Adam22 Re: "I meant hidden

@Adam22 Re: "I meant hidden/lost teaching, missing from today's Islam."

Oooooh.... Okay. My bad. Still, that begs another couple of questions, does it not?

As in, 1.: "Was the mighty and all-powerful and supremely wise and knowledgeable Allah not competent enough to keep from losing his own teachings?"

And, 2.: "Could he not have led his faithful followers to the place(s) where those teachings were hidden? After all, he IS Allah. He should know where they are and should be able to direct his people to them, right? Unless, of course, Allah himself hid those teachings just to be an ass or something."

And here's a good one. 3: "If those teachings have been hidden or lost, then how exactly does anybody know about those teachings or what those teachings were/are?"

In that same respect. 4: "If somebody DOES know about those hidden/lost teachings, then why are they missing from today's Islam?"

And, last but not least...5: "If you say there are hidden/lost teachings, would that not be some indication that the Koran and the teachings of Allah within it are incomplete and not perfect as advertised?"

Zale45e's picture
Islam has "start" Its a

Islam has no "start" Its a continuation of the other Abrahamic religions. Your questions are surprising.

1. the teachings of God isn't for the fools, but for scholars. There are strange numbers in the Quran and to this day Muslims dont know its meanings.

2. You must seek for answers, Isn't that the whole point of life?

3. The teachings are not completely lost, the knowledge is out there, We just have to look for it.

4.even the Quran isn't deciphered fully.

arakish's picture


Islam has "start" Its a continuation of the other Abrahamic religions. Your questions are surprising.

1. the teachings of God isn't for the fools, but for scholars. There are strange numbers in the Quran and to this day Muslims dont know its meanings.

2. You must seek for answers, Isn't that the whole point of life?

3. The teachings are not completely lost, the knowledge is out there, We just have to look for it.

4. even the Quran isn't deciphered fully.

1) Just for scholars studying foolish texts.

2) You just described science.

3) If you have to look for it, then it must still be lost.

4) That's what they all say so they can say what they want to say how they want to say it.


Tin-Man's picture
@Adam Re: "Islam has no

@Adam Re: "Islam has no "start" Its a continuation of the other Abrahamic religions."

Oh, boy. Fun time. *grinning* Finally, somebody admits Islam is just piggy-backing on religions that were around long before it. Cool.

Sooooo.... Basically, a few hundred or however many years AFTER the establishment of those "other Abrahamic religions", some dude woke up from an afternoon nap, yawned, scratched his balls, and said to himself, "Damn, I'm bored. Hey, I know! I'll write a book based on some of those new-age Christian beliefs that have been popping up lately! Yes! Oh, but I can't call it "Christianity", though, because then it will just get lost in the shuffle. Needs to be something that stands out from the rest. Hmmmm...." He then scratches his head for a bit (with the same hand) while thinking. "Ah-ha! Got it! " he exclaims. "I will use a bunch of the same stuff, but will add a few twists and turns here and there. First thing, obviously, that Jesus dude can NOT keep center stage. Nope. No way. Need a different prophet. Let's seeee.... Uh, Mufasa?... No. Too African. Ummm... Oh, how about Mofo?.... Eh, maybe not.... Oh, Maleficent! Yes! No. Possible copyright infringement there. Dammit."....Strumming his fingers on the bedside table....."Well, hell, I guess I'll just go with Mohammed. Fairly generic, but it will do, I suppose. Oh! But I can give him a flying horse with wings! Yeah, that will be really badass! And we will call ourselves Muslims! Take THAT, you boring Christians!" Grabs a notebook and pen and starts scribbling furiously.

The funny part is that all those "other Abrahamic religions" are indeed themselves a collection of beliefs and stories borrowed (continued) from multiple other religions that were developed hundreds and thousands of years before Christianity. Piggy-back rides must have been all the rage back in the day.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ adam22

@ adam22

The "brethren" seemed to be organised more like the Freemasons than anything else.We don't have all of their stuff translated into english yet so no point in running off all keen and discovering that maybe, just possible it wasn't quite the meaning...or 'context"

chimp3's picture
Every individual believer has

Every individual believer has their own personal god , unique from every other god. The Jesus/ Allah of today is a far different deity than the iron aged one or even of a hundred years ago. The god of your father is a different god than of your own imagination.

algebe's picture
@Adam22: The next stage of

@Adam22: The next stage of development was mineral life.

I've never heard of "mineral life" (except in a Star Trek episode). Coral reefs, like stromatolite formations, are formed by carbon-based microorganisms that secrete or excrete certain minerals.

And although some people are nuts, I find it hard to believe that we evolved from trees.

God first created matter and invested it with energy for development.

Wrong again. First there was energy, then matter. Gods evolved much much later, probably in the late Stone Age, in the fetid swamps of some people's minds.

chimp3's picture
There is no information from

There is no information from the iron age that has any meaning to me personally. I don"t give a shit what they thought about devils, gods, the shape of the earth, women, homosexuals, diseases, etc. We know so much more now.

Sheldon's picture
They were slow to publish

They were slow to publish their conclusions, which I must say you seem to be inferring with a liberal amount of assumption.

Darwin made conclusions from his observations, and evidence, and tested that model. His work has been validated time and again in 160 years of intense scientific scrutiny. All you have is tenuous assumptions about vague religious texts, and no evidence at all for any of its claims for supernatural causation.

You can't claim a scientific discovery of evolution predating Darwin when a) The text offers neither supporting evidence nor scientific explanation, and b) makes claims for supernatural causation that aren't remotely scientific, and are not supported by any evidence either in evolutionary theory or any other scientific facts.

arakish's picture
Another Fuzzy jumped up when

Another Fuzzy jumped up when I saw this thread title...

Ikhwanus Safa: "A Rational and Liberal Approach to Islam"

Where is the "rational" part?

Where is the "liberal" part?

I ain't seen either one yet...


Sheldon's picture
I know what you mean, I

I know what you mean, I laughed out loud, as it read to me as " "A Rational and Liberal Approach to breeding mermaids and unicorns". Talk about an oxymoron, I wonder if some people know what the word rational means? I seriously doubt the strict principles of validation used on logic support flying horses and supernatural magic, or denying the factual age of the universe form almost 14 billion years to just a few thousand.

David Killens's picture
Unfortunately adam22, your

Unfortunately adam22, your Quran can not be the basis for anything rational. Like all religious texts, it has a lot of accuracies. The sky is blue, grass is green, sheep bleed if cut. But on some of the really big issues that determine reality, it has profound errors.

Energy came first, then matter. There is no other way to interpret that fact, or bend it to suit your holy book.

Coral is an animal, not a rock.

The date palm is not special, it is a dioecious plant, one of dozens, including cannibis. Many trees can survive of all their branches are cut off, come up here to my frozen climate and we see it every winter.

And if a book has been minutely scrutinized and studied for almost 1,600 years by many millions of scholars, the one and only rational conclusion I can reach is that this text is gibberish, incomprehensible.

Your book is not a source of knowledge, it is an impediment to learning the truth.

Nyarlathotep's picture
David Killens - Many trees

David Killens - Many trees can survive of all their branches are cut off...

For sure. I have a mesquite tree that I'm having a hard time killing. Cut it off at the ground, injected it with salt and potassium nitrate, covered the stump with a tarp (to deny it sunlight); damn thing still won't die. I was quoted a price of $300 to have it mechanically removed; which I thought was ridiculous at the time, but it is starting to sound better and better. Oh well, sorry about my landscaping rant!

David Killens's picture


Been there, done that. If a tree has a large and healthy root system, it is very hard to kill. I have cut trees down to the ground, nothing left but a stump. And they just keep coming back. To claim anything transcendental is of worth is just foolish, if you know biology.

And that is the problem with the Koran. It was written by very ignorant and barbaric herders, and there are too many people who actually believe that what they said is of any merit.

arakish's picture
Hey... I have a mesquite

Hey... I have a mesquite tree. I use it for wood chips when I do some smoking. In only my opinion, mesquite smoking is the best for making jerky. Mmm...


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