Hard Questions

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Archive for October 2007

The Gospel of the Birth of Mary and the Quran

with 12 comments

Revisiting my discussion with my wordpress blogging friend, hkevinderr, where he asked for proof that Mary was from the tribe of Levi and not a descendant of David as most people seem to think.

Furthermore, he categorically refused to accept that Mary was raised in the Temple on the grounds that women could not enter the temple proper, only the women quarters. In particular, he stressed that only the male, high priest of the tribe of Levi could enter the Holy of Holies.

Well, I did find support for my theory from a wholly unexpected quarters! My opinion that Mary was from the tribe of Levi, and a descendant of Aaron was shared by one great church father, who not only believed Mary was fro the tribe of Levi, but had a an ancient Gospel which said precisely that. This church father is the renowned Faustus of Britain. He was known for his piety, humility and knowledge.

I have arrived at my conclusions about Mary solely by reflecting on her story as told in the Quran. I was, therefore amazed when I read an ancient Gospel, one which was apparently accepted as truthful by some of the great church fathers, lending support to my ideas.
These gospels give great credence to the accuracy of the story of Mary as told in the Koran.

I quote from of the introduction to :The Gospel of the Birth of Mary {The Lost Books of The Bible, Testament Books}, originally published in 1890, reprinted in 1926, and again in 1979:

In te primitive ages there was a Gospel extant bearing this name, attributed to St. Mathew, and received as genuine and authentic by several of the ancient Christian sects. It is to be found in the works of Jerome, a father of the church who flourished in the fourth century, from whence this translation is made. His contemporaries Epiphanies, bishop of Salamis, and Austin also mention a Gospel under this name.

The ancient copies differed from Jerome’s; for from one of them, the learned Faustus, a native of Britain, who became Bishop of Riez, in Provence, endeavored to prove that Christ was not the Son of God till after his baptism; and that he was not of the House of David and tribe of Judah, because according to the Gospel he cited, the Virgin her self was not of this tribe but of the tribe of Levi; her father being a priest of the name of Joachim.

Furthemore, from the Gospel attributed to James known as “The PROTEVANGELION” I quote:

8.1: And her parents went away filled with wonder, and praising God, because the girl did not return back to them. 2 But Mary continued in the temple as a dove educated there, and received her food from the hand of an angel.

Also from the same Gospel, chapter 10, when Mary was pregnant, Joseph is quoted saying:

For I received her a Virgin from the temple of the Lord my God, and have not preserved her such! Who has thus deceived me? 4 Who has committed this evil in my house and, seducing the Virgin from me, has defiled her? 5 Is not the history of Adam exactly accomplished in me? 6 For in the very instant of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone, and seduced her. 7 Just after the same manner it has happened to me.” 8 Then Joseph, arising from the ground, called her and said, “O you who have been so much favored by God, why have you done this? 9 Why have you thus debased your soul, who were educated in the Holy of Holies, and received your food from the hand of angels?

These writing absolutely confirm the story as told in Koran, and demonstrate that Mary grew up in the Temple, had access to the Holy of Holies and was fed by angles- exactly as told in the Koran:

[Quran 3:37] And her Lord accepted her with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food)? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.

One additional argument, I would lke to put forward here:

Anna, Mary’s mother was a cousin to Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias. Anna was a Levite (Luke), therfore: At least one of Anna’s parents was from the tribe of Levi.

Jesus himself is said to be “from David by the flesh”, and since he had no human father, this could only be a reference to his ancestry through his mother. If we accept ancestry through mothers, then surely we can say that Anna and Mary were also from Levi, because we are certain that at least one of Anna’s parents was from the tribe of Levi.

If we do not accept ancestry through mothers, then it is impossible to say that Jesus was from David by the flesh. This, of course, will cause great difficulties with other doctrinal and faith issues such as the very important question “Was Jesus message intended for the Gentiles?“. I will try to answer this question in a future post.

This whole discussion, is an attempt to fend of the charge that the mention of Mary, sister of Aaron in the Koran is erroneous. I set out to prove that there are a strong grounds for Mary to be addressed as “sister of Aaron”. To summerise, here are my points:

  1. It is quite possible that Mary was a descendant of Aaron and from the Tribe of Levi, There is evidence of some older Gospels attesting to this; and at least one prominent church father believed so.
  2. Mary grew up in the Temple, and was considered to be a holy person; something closely linked to- if not exclusive to the descendants of Arron- as was later discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls
  3. Many parts of her story as mentioned in the Koran, and omitted by the canonical Gospels, can be confirmed by other very important writings of early Christians, including Gospels which were accepted by many Church Fathers.

In light of the above it is exremely unreasonable to say that Muhammad [[pbuh]erred when the Koran reffered to Mary as “sister of Aaron”.

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Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 26, 2007 at 1:06 am

Who was Mary, mother of Jesus, according to the Quran?

with 11 comments

My blogging friend, hkveinderr, raised an important issue with my previous post “Mary: Mother of Jesus or sister Aaron“. The thrust of his argument was that; were it was possible to associate priests with Aaron, there is no evidence that female members of their families were treated similarly; ( you can read his full comment in my previous post).

My response to his valid concern ran into a long piece, so I thought a post on the subject was more appropriate:

According to the Quran, Mary was much more than a priest, she was the woman chosen and purified by God, and elected to be above all women of the creation:

{Allah says in The Quran [translated to English], Chapter 3: The Family of Imran}:

[3:42]: And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation.*
[3:43]: O Mary! Be obedient to thy Lord, prostrate thyself and bow with those who bow (in worship).*

Moreover, Mary, was raised in the temple, fostered by prophet Zachariah, and even prophet Zachariah was amazed at her closeness to God (see verses below).Her father [Imran], and her mother are among the few people in history who were honoured to have their names spoken by God explicitly in the Quran.
Mary is mentioned in 34 verses of the Quran, in 11 Chapters out of 114. One chapter (19) bears her name, another chapter (3) bears the name of her family.

Prophet Muhammad is quoted in {Book of Bukhari} saying :
Many men where complete (in being virtuous) but only two women were ever complete : Mary daughter of Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh.
Now, this type of honour, is only reserved for the most revered prophets in the Quran, the likes of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Noah, may peace be upon all of them.
Only one of prophet Muhammad [pbuh] companions had his name explicitly mentioned in the Quran and it appeared one time only.

In conclusion, Mary was closely associated with piety, the temple and the prophets.Please read below is the account of Mary’s birth from the Quran, to illustrate the points I am trying to make:

====

{God says in The Quran []translated to English], Chapter 3: The Family Imran}:

[3:35] (Remember) when the wife of ‘Imran said: My Lord! I have vowed unto Thee that which is in my belly as a consecrated (offering). Accept it from me. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower!

[3:36] And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female – Allah knew best of what she was delivered – the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast.

[3:37] And her Lord accepted her with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food)? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.

[please see also my post: The Gospel of Birth of Mary].

Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 15, 2007 at 11:08 am

Mary, mother of Jesus or sister of Aaron?

with 20 comments

by Rasheed,

Question: How did the Quran reveal the story of the birth of Jesus so accurately?

The Quran depicts the scene of the virgin Maryam (Mary) bringing her new born baby, Jesus, to meet her people and they reprmanded her saying [Chapter 19: Mariam]:

[19:23] And the pangs of childbirth drove her unto the trunk of the palm-tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died ere this and had become a thing of naught, forgotten!
[19:24] Then (one) cried unto her from below her, saying: Grieve not! Thy Lord hath placed a rivulet beneath thee,
[19:25] And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee.
[19:26] So eat and drink and be consoled. And if thou meetest any mortal, say: Lo! I have vowed a fast unto the Beneficent, and may not speak this day to any mortal.

[19:27] Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with a strange thing,

[19:28] O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a harlot. [19:29] But she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle?[19:30] He [Baby Jesus] said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet;[19:31] And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live;[19:32] And dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed;[19:33] And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life.

(The Quran, 19: 23-33, Maryam)

Some Western writers and orientalist critics of Islam suggested that this was a huge error on the part of Prophet Muhammad, claiming that he confused Maryam dughter of Imran and the sister of Moses, with Maryam daughter of Imran, the mother of Jesus. Peace be upon them all.

However, recent discoveries and translation of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, completely vindicate the Quranic narration of the story and explains why Mary (Maryam) was addressed as “sister of Aaron” …..

The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that the Jewish communities at that time , referred to their religous leaders as the ‘Priests of Aaron’. It is also revealed that they were expecting the arrival of TWO messiahs, known as the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of David (see scroll 1QS IX 9–11).
Another quotation from Dead Sea Scrolls (Community Rules Document) spoke of:

“In the society of the Yahad there shall be twelve laymen and three priests who are blameless in the light of all that has been revealed from the whole Law, so as to work truth, righteousness, justice, living-kindness, and humility, one with another. They are to preserve faith in the land with self-control and a broken spirit, atoning for sin by working justice and suffering affliction. They are to walk with all by the standard of truth and the dictates proper to the age.”
“When such men as these come to be in Israel, then shall the society of the Yahad truly be established, an ‘eternal planing’ (Jubilees 16:26), a temple for Israel, and – mystery! – a Holy of Holies for Aaron; true witnesses to justice, chosen by God’s will to atone for the land and to recompense the wicked their due. They will be ‘the tested wall, the precious cornerstone’ (Isa. 28:16) whose foundations shall neither be shaken nor swayed, a fortress, a Holy of Holies for Aaron, all of them knowing the Covenant of Justice and thereby offering a sweet savor. They shall be a blameless and true house in Israel, ‘upholding the covenant of eternal statutes. They shall be an acceptable sacrifice, atoning for the land and ringing in the verdict against evil, so that perversity ceases to exist.”

– Community Rule 1QS 8.1-10

I will also quote the Damascus Document -from the Dead Scrolls- in another remarkable text:

“The Lord remembered the covenant of the ancients, and raised from Aaron men of understanding, and from Israel men of wisdom. He made His law known to them, and they dug the well. ‘The well that princes dug, that the nobles of the people delved with the staff’ (Numbers 21:18). – The ‘well’ is the Torah, its ‘diggers’ are the repentant ones of Israel who left the Land of Judah and dwelt in the Land of Damascus.”
– Damascus Document – Geniza manuscript A 6.2-5

Mary was descendant of a highly regarded religous family. Is it any wonder that she was addressed as “sister of Aaron”?. It seems to be the natural thing for those who knew her piety and zeal to the Law to address her in that way.

In fact, referring to Mary as sister of Aaron, is an amazing Quranic narration which prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could not have known without revelation, and is one remarkable demonstration of the fact that the Quran is indeed the revealed words of GOD, exalted.

Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 11, 2007 at 9:53 am

Arianism: The Chtistian Doctrine confirmed by Islam

with 49 comments

Today’s Question: Was Arius of Alexandria a heretic or a Mytre ?Arianism is a form of Original Christian faith, which was prevailing in large areas of the Christian world in the first 3 centuries after Christ ministry. Arians rejected the deity of Jesus pbuh, and maintained that he was a creation and a subordinate of God Almighty. They supported their doctrinal position by citing many of the books that later came to constitute the Canon of the New Testament.

The most famous Arian, though, by no means the founder of the faith, was Arius of Alexandria, who died in suspicious circumstances at the palace of the Byzantine emperor. Many considered him a mytre, a view which is also held by some contemporary scholars.

The view of Christ advocated by Arians is compatible with the Muslim faith, which considers Jesus, pbuh, as the Last prophet of Israel, and one of the five Major prophets sent by God to Mankind, The others being: Noah, Abraham, Moses and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them:

Quran: 33:7-8: And when We exacted a covenant from the prophets, and from thee (O Muhammad) and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a solemn covenant; (7) That He may ask the loyal of their loyalty. And He hath prepared a painful doom for the unfaithful (8)

الأحزاب 7-8

*7*وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

لِيَسْأَلَ الصَّادِقِينَ عَن صِدْقِهِمْ وَأَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا *8

Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 11, 2007 at 7:30 am

Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah, and Isaiah 29

with 2 comments

Question: Is this a prophecy? if so, who is the un-learned person who will be given the book?

The Book of the Prophet Isaiah 29:11-12:

10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets, and your heads, the seers, hath He covered.
11 And the vision of all this is become unto you as the words of a writing that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying: ‘Read this, I pray thee’; and he saith: ‘I cannot, for it is sealed’;
12 and the writing is delivered to him that is not learned, saying: ‘Read this, I pray thee’; and he saith: ‘I am not learned.

In the Muslim Tradition, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, The Messenger of God, was born in Mecca in 572 A.C.E. He was 40 years old when he received the first Revelation from God, through the Angle Gabriel, who appeared to the Prophet in the Cave of Hira, located in a mountain in Mecca. It was a habit of the Prophet to worship God in the Cave, away from the Idolatry environment which was prevailing in Mecca and the whole of Arabia at the time.The following narration of the first encounter with the Angle Gabriel is extremely significant, and I will return to it again when discussing the Old Testament’s prophecies concerning the Prophet of the Gentiles:….In the Book of Bukhari, (1:1:3),

Aisha, the Prophet’s wife said:(”The commencement of the Divine Revelation to Allah’s Messenger was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him.He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied: “I do not know how to read.The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said:
“(In The Name of God, The Compasionate, The Merciful ,
Read in the name of your Lord, who has created [all that exists],
has created man from a clot’
)”

3* بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ * اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ *1 خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

The story above has remarkable similarities to the vision of from The Hebrew Bible and the Isaiah Scroll which speak of a sealed book given to the one who can not read, and he said “I can not read.”

Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 10, 2007 at 8:18 am

The Book of 4 Ezra from the Dead Sea Scrolls

with 14 comments

Question: Which nation does this prophecy speak about?There are certain prophecies in Old Jewish religious books which are totally incompatible with the theory that the Final Prophet, The Chosen One is a descendant of David.
These prophecies point to a non-Israelite prophet, someone from a different nation.

Muslims have always maintained that Muhammed [pbuh], the descendant of Ishmail and Abraham was the prophet mentioned in the Torah who God promised, will spread His words in the nations, and show the His light to the Gentiles.

Today, I highlight prophecies in the Book of 4Ezra, also known as 2 Esdras, found in the Dead Sea Scrolls:

24 What shall I do unto thee, O Jacob? thou, Juda, wouldest not obey me: I will turn me to other nations, and unto those will I give my name, that they may keep my statutes.

32 I sent unto you my servants the prophets, whom ye have taken and slain, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands, saith the Lord.

33 Thus saith the Almighty Lord, Your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind doth stubble.

34 And your children shall not be fruitful; for they have despised my commandment, and done the thing that is an evil before me.

#235 Your houses will I give to a people that shall come; which not having heard of me yet shall believe me; to whom I have shewed no signs, yet they shall do that I have commanded them.

36 They have seen no prophets, yet they shall call their sins to remembrance, and acknowledge them.

37 I take to witness the grace of the people to come, whose little ones rejoice in gladness: and though they have not seen me with bodily eyes, yet in spirit they believe the thing that I say.

38 And now, brother, behold what glory; and see the people that come from the east:

39 Unto whom I will give for leaders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Oseas, Amos, and Micheas, Joel, Abdias, and Jonas,

40 Nahum, and Abacuc, Sophonias, Aggeus, Zachary, and Malachy, which is called also an angel of the Lord.

Written by Rasheed Gadir

October 10, 2007 at 7:05 am