Hard Questions

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Posts Tagged ‘Bible

Allah: The God of The Quran and The Bible

with 67 comments

In response to an ever increasing number of Western Christian bloggers who are only too eager to blaspheme the beautiful name of the Creator, I have written a short article on the meaning and history of the word ‘Allah’.

The thrust of the argument is that Allah is most certainly the name of God used by Jesus and his disciples, It is the name of God in the oldest Gospel (written in Aramaic). Allah is most probably the name of God known to Moses and the prophets.

Arabic speaking Christians and Jews have no name for God other than Allah. Bearing in mind that Arab were introduced to Christianity BEFORE Greeks and Romans, it is astonishing that some people still want to blaspheme the name of The Creator, merely to erect a defensive wall against reason.

in summary, whether you like it or not, Allah is a more authentic name of the Creator than than the generic word ‘ God ‘.

TRY This:

  1. Visit The Peshitta New Testament in Aramaic/English Interlinear format website, The URL is http://www.peshitta.org/
  2. Goto Tools> Lexicon>
  3. Enter the word God in the search field, to find the corresponding Aramaic word

Furthermore, the name ‘ Allah ‘ has no gender, no plural form and has never been used for any entity other The Creator. All these attributes can hardly be equaled by the Greek word ‘ God ‘ which none of the prophets uttered.

I have dedicated a page on this blog for the article, which includes a link to an excellent article by Rick Brown, a must read for anyone seeking objectivity.

Allah is the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible, The God of the Quran, and the Only True God.

The Catholic Encyclopedia was absolutely correct when it said:

The notion of Allah in Arabic theology is substantially the same as that of God among the Jews, and also among the Christians, with the exception of the Trinity, which is positively excluded in the Koran, cxii: “Say God, is one God, the eternal God, he begetteth not, neither is he begotten and there is not any one like unto him.”

Allah said in The Quran, chapter 3:

[Quran: 3:2] Allah! There is no god save Him, the Alive, the Eternal.
[ 3:3] He hath revealed unto thee the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.

Related posts:

Written by Rasheed Gadir

June 13, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Allah is The God of The Quran and The Bible…. part 2: The logic behind the statement.

with 7 comments

This post is based entirely on a comment submitted by Mamoun Elkheir, I think It is a fantastic read and is just too valuable to be left in the inner comments sections of this blog. I decided to publish it as a separate post:

Mamoun was replying to Andrew in a heated debate which you can read here.

Mamoun said:

I have followed your objections to Rasheed’s post over the past few days, and your claim that that the argument is not put in a “logical format”.

Despite my conviction, and I believe it would also by the conviction of anyone who has elementary understanding of the science of logic- that the argument in the post is logically sound, and includes all the necessary elements of “logical proof”, nevertheless, I will explain the arguments in details:

Logical Elements of The Post:

1- The post does indeed expresses a “Logical Statement” as its central issue. The accepted definition of a “Logical Statement” is : “Any statement that can either be TRUE or FALSE“.

In this case, the Logical Statement in question, as has been explained by Rasheed in his comment, is the title of the Post, namely: Allah is The God of The Quran and The Bible“, and within the post itself, the “Central Argument” has been further expanded, since:

Rasheed claimed that:

[“The god that Muslims AND ‘Arab Christian and Jews to this day’ AND ‘ Christian and Jews who lived at the time of Jesus Christ and spoke Aramaic,’
believed to be
(“The god of Abraham and Isaac“, ANDThe Only True god“),
That the name of this god
-who is accurately determined by the preceding statement –
is ALLAH.].

This is central argument of the post, was clearly stated in the title of the post, and detailed within it,

Now this statement can be Accepted by one person and Rejected by another, It is, no doubt, a “Logical Statement” according to the scientific definition of a “Logical Statement”,

You, therefore, have no right to demand that a person changes the composition of a “logical statement” put forward by him, You can either: a) Accept it according to the evidence and deduction offered by him, b) Reject it according to evidence that YOU produce, c) Ignore it, as Rasheed has offered you

Yet, most striking, is your request that the Statement be re-written in the “Conditional Format” suggested by yourself (IF A AND B THEN C), since this format, unfortunately, is simply another “LOGICAL COMPOSITION” that needs to be PROVEN or REJECTED, in EXACTLY the same way the “Logical Statement” put forward in the post and its title by Rasheed.

This format you requested which is called a “CONDITIONAL SATAEMET” is just one amongst MANY other “LOGICAL COMOSITIONS” such as (Conjunction Statement: A AND B) , (Disjunction Statement: A OR B), (Implication Statement: A IMPLIES B), (Negation Statement: NOT A).
ALL these “Logical Compositions” do not, by themselves, imply the TRUTH or FALSEHOOD of any statement, they are simply Statements that can either be TRUE or FALSE, in EXACTLY the same way the statement put by Rasheed in the title of his post and then proceeded to PROVE it within the post. This PROOF, will be the subject of the remainder of my comment, and I will explain it in some details here.

Due the the apparent confusion in your understanding of logical concepts and terminology, I do advise that you consult some basic references on the subject:

2: NEXT, and this is the most important part of the discussion, we look at the logical evidence that can be used to Prove or Reject the “Logical Statement” put by Rasheed.

There are a number of methods that can be used to logically Prove or Disprove a statement, and these include “Deduction“, “Induction“, “Proof by Contradiction” amongst others, and Rasheed has conclusively proved his statement using “TOTAL INDUCTION“, where :

a) He has shown, based on “The Accepted sources and references” for each of the Groups that they call the god they believe to be
(the god of Abraham and Isaac) AND (The only true god),
ALLAH
This part of the statement is called Postulate, since it is not challenged !

You can go back to the post and the linked page to see the references used.

b) It follows that

The name of the god that is accurately determined by being:
{[(The god of Abraham and Isaac) AND (The only true god)] ACCORDING to the beliefs OF
(Muslims) AND (Arab Christians and Jews to this day) AND (Early Christian and Jews at the time of Jesus)
is ALLAH, and this is the required proof.

Put in mathematical format:

Statement VALUE EVIDENCE
P= Muslims believe the name of the god of Abraham and Isaac who is the only true god is ALLAH TRUE POSTULATE
Q= Early Christians and Jews at the time of Jesus believed that the name of the god of Abraham and Isaac who is the only true god is ALLAH TRUE POSTULATE
R= Arab Christians and Jews to this day believe that the name of the god of Abraham and Isaac who is the only true god is ALLAH TRUE POSTULATE
W= P AND Q AND R The name of (the god who is accurately determined by being [the god of Abraham and Isaac AND who is the the only true god] ACCORDING to the belief of Muslims AND Early Christians and Jews at the time of Jesus AND Arab Christians and Jews to this day) is ALLAH TRUE CONJUNCTION

You can see that the statement is a Conjunction of Postulates, and therefore, can NOT be expressed in Conditional Format, Postulates are unchallenged Truths, and are not dependent on other statements for their truth i.e they ARE NOT CONDITIONAL on other statements.

To further help you in your task, The only way to disprove Rasheed’s Logical Statement would be to disprove ANY of the constituent postulates.

I hope this clarifies the logical issues for you

Regards

Mamoun

Related posts:

Allah: The God of The Quran and The Bible

Written by Rasheed Gadir

June 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Does the Quran say that The Bible could not have been corrupted ?

with 40 comments

This very good question was sent to me in an email by my friend Andrew. I asked and got his permission to use the question as a basis of a separate post, since I believe it is an important question that needs to be addressed.

Here is what Andrew said: >

Rasheed,
I came across something in the Qu’ran I thought was remarkable. We have had everal discussions about the validity of the biblical testimony. What I did not realize is that the Qu’ran claims Allah’s inspiration of the Torah (2:87), Psalms (4:163), and Gospel (3:3 &
5:46). The Qu’ran also says that the words of Allah can never be altered
(6:34, 6:115, & 10:64). How does this fit into the context of our discussions?

> Andrew

ANSWER

Andrew,

Looking at the original Arabic text of the Quran, which is very precise in its use of words, you will find three different Arabic words and phrases used to describe what English translations refer to as ‘words of God’,

  1. Word of Allah and Words of Allah : Arabic [Kalimatu Allah and Kalimat (pl) Allah]
  2. Speech of Allah conveyed to his messengers: [Kalamu Allah]
  3. Scriptures/Book(s) revealed : [Kitab Allah, Kutub Allah]

1: Although the generic Arabic term ‘word’ can mean any part of speech, the Phrase: {Word(s) of Allah}, as used in the Quran, always refers to the Decrees that God makes, When Allah decrees something, He says ‘Be’ and it is. This is attested to In Islam and also in the Bible.

Phrase 2: {Scriptures}: The words revealed by God in Scriptures are referred to everywhere in the Quran as: ‘Books’ or {Kitab or Kutub}. The Torah, The Injil (Gospel) and The Quran are always described in The Quran as such, and NEVER as ‘The Word(s) of Allah’.

Phrase 3: {Kalamu Allah} usually refers to speech of God to His messengers, including the original Scriptures.


All three verses in your question use the phrases ‘Word of Allah’ or ‘Words of Allah’ which means his Decrees. Nowhere in the Quran does it say ‘None can alter the Scriptures’ or non can alter the ‘Speech of Allah’ or any thing close to this meaning.

Here are the verses you quoted in your Question, translated literally:

[Quran 6:34]:
Messengers indeed have been denied before thee, and they were patient under the denial and the persecution till Our succour reached them. There is none to alter the Words of Allah. Already there hath reached thee of the tidings of the messengers (We sent before).

The above verse is a reference to the Decree that God will always make his messengers victorious over their adversaries

[Quran 6:115]:
And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All¬Hearer, the All¬Knower.(115)

Again, this is the most literal translation, and is a clear indication that the Words of Allah refers to what He decreed.

[Quran 10:62-64]:
Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; (62) Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil― (63) For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the Present and in the Hereafter: no change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme Felicity. (64)

Yet again, this is an obvious reference to the Decree of Allah that His party shall not grieve.

There are other important examples of the usage of ‘Word of Allah’ in the Quran: Jesus is called the word of Allah because God said ‘Be” and he was created:

Allah says about Jesus in Surah 4 [Quran 4:171] :
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (171).

And Allah said of Jesus and Adam:

[Quran 3:58]
Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. {58}

And about Mary, mother of Jesus, Allah says:

[Quran 66:12]:
And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His Books, and was of the obedient. (12)

Notice how the Quran says that Mary had put faith in her Lord’s words and His Books, the words conveyed to her by the Angles. The words of Allah are therefore distinct from the Scriptures in the Quranic narration.

  • Usage of Phrase 2: Scriptures/ Books of Allah:

When The Quran speaks of the Scriptures and Books of Allah (Phrase 2) it clearly states that it can be changed:

[Quran 3:79]
Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby. (79)

And in Surah 5, Allah says:

[]Quran 5: 13-14]:
And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts. They change words from their context and forget a part of that whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them. But bear with them and pardon them. Lo! Allah loveth the kindly. (13) And with those who say: “Lo! we are Christians,” We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefor We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork. (14)

You can see here that when mentioning the Scriptures/ Books, God says that people sometimes do write their own material instead of the Book of Allah and leave out or forget other parts.

What the Quran said 14 centuries ago, about changes to The Bible, is now undisputed common knowledge. There is hardly anyone who denies that changes were made to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. People might argue about the extent and significance of these changes, but the fact that, there were deliberate changes, is virtually unchallenged.

In fact, in the English language, “word” can also mean “promise”, as in: ‘Andrew is a guy who keeps his word‘. People can obviously misquote Andrew, but he still keeps his “word”.

Allah Knoweth Best.

Best Regards
Rasheed

Written by Rasheed Gadir

June 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Atonement: Can You Really Be Certain of Salvation?

with 14 comments

I often hear my Christian friends say that one of the chief attractions of Christianity is the guaranteed salvation and atonement of sins offered to Christians. The Christian Doctrine of Salvation stipulates that the death of Christ on the cross was a sacrifice that atoned the sins of believers in Jesus divinity and crucifixion for their sake. Some have suggested that the absence of assured salvation in Islam is a serious handicap and a clear proof of the superiority of Christianity over Islam and of Jesus over Muhammad. Does Islam offer a solution to the problem of sin? Do we have an answer to the Doctrine of Atonement? How can a Muslim be sure of Salvation? they ask.

I will start by saying the belief that one will be saved is NOT in itself sufficient to guarantee salvation. The doctrine itself must be true before it can be used as a blank cheque and a season ticket to Paradise. It is, therefore important that the doctrine of salvation is scrutinised to determine its legitimacy and authenticity.

There will be nothing worse than a person indulging himself sure in the knowledge that he will be saved, only to discover that he was deluded and that he will have to answer for his deeds.

I have a few problems with this doctrine that I would like to discuss:

  1. Can we trace the doctrine reliably to Jesus himself? In other words, has Jesus himself ever said he was going to be crucified to atone for the sins of his followers?
  2. What is the fate of the righteous followers of previous prophets, like the older generations of Israel who lived and died without knowing Jesus? Why are they denied salvation? What about the Patriarchs themselves? They have never professed the trinity nor the doctrine of atonement.
  3. This doctrine in particular is very alien to natural justice and the universal virtue of individual responsibility. I mean, what would you say of a justice system that punishes the innocent and reward the guilty?
  4. What, according to the Gospels, are we to be saved from? Many New Testament passages speak of the saved entering the kingdom of God, so what is the fate of the non-saved? It appears to me that, there is a distinct lack of clarity with regard to the unsaved.

The real teaching of Jesus on Salvation is in full agreement with the teaching of Islam, both advocate personal responsibility and obedience to God. According to the synoptic Gospels, when a man asked Jesus saying Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus replied … You know the commandments.. Mark 10: 17-25, Mt 19: 16-24, Lk 18: 18-25

Why didn’t Jesus say to the man Just have faith in me as your lord and Savior, and rest assured that I will die for you to be saved?

The renowned biblical scholar and Dead Sea Scrolls expert Geza Vermes wrote in his excellent book “The Resurrection”:

In sum, whilst the idea of the resurrection lay in the periphery of the preaching of Jesus, based on the idea of the kingdom of God, St. Paul turned it into the centrepiece of his mystical and theological vision, which was soon to become the essence of the Christian message.

I believe what Vermes said here to be accurate. This doctrine was invented by Paul who was attempting to make sense of the perceived crucifixion and ascension of Jesus. Because of its human origin, it was liable to have holes in its integrity. Paul convinced his early followers that the risen Christ will return during their lifetime and they will all join him in the kingdom. When some of the faithful died without realising their hope of joining Christ, it became a problem that needed the doctrine to be fine tuned. So Paul made amendments and included the dead early Christians in the proposed salvation. Later, when the question of what will happen the righteous of older generation including the Patriarchs, another fine tuning was necessary, and a passage in 1 Peter suggested that during his stay in the tomb, the dead Jesus went and saved the prisoners of sheol ‘The domain of the Dead’.

Islam has a very simple and logical doctrine: Everyone will be raised from the dead to be judged according to his own deeds. Those who believed in The One God, and believed his messenger and were righteous will be saved. Others will be punished in proportion to their “balance sheet”. Forgiveness of sin is subject to the Will of God alone, and is only possible, though not guaranteed, for those who did not worship other gods besides The One God.

These principles are universal, and they apply to all human past and present, fairly and justly.

There is an incentive for people to act righteously and a deterrent for those who indulge in evil.

Related Posts:
On Jewish Christianity, Islam and the Gentiles
Thoughts on The Crucifixion

Written by Rasheed Gadir

May 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm

On languages and scriptures

with 2 comments

Do you know your scriptures well enough? Are reading the words of your prophet/ Messiah as close as possible to the way he spoke them?

We all love to read our scriptures. They are a vital source of inspiration and spiritual nutrition to us all. I am trying in this post to highlight some of the differences between the Gospels and the Quran when it comes to the language in which we read our scriptures.

The original New Testament documents were written in Greek. Although Greek was used in the region at the time, it was not the language Jesus spoke to his disciples. The Sayings of Jesus that we have today are essentially a translation.

For many Christians, their knowledge of the Gospels come from “a translation of translations of the original” e.g. Aramaic to Greek to to English. I am not aware of any significant manuscript used in the translation of the New Testament that was written in Aramaic or Hebrew.

As my friend Andrew rightly noted, any translation can never be a match to the original. Some meanings are bound to be lost. The translator, in some cases, can only convey what he understood from the original and not the original itself.

The position of language in relation to the Quran is markedly different. The Quran was revealed in the 7th century A.D. in Arabic. To this day, it is still read and recited in the original language it was revealed in.

According to ‘The Cambridge History of the Arabic Language‘, The Quran more or less, froze the “literary Arabic Language” in the form spoken in the seventh century A.D.

The preservation of the language made the original text available to millions which, in turn, helped in keping the text static.

There is a very clear distinction in the Muslim mind between the Quran, and “translations of the meanings of the Quran”. The former applies only to the original Arabic Text.

From the time of the revelation of the Quran, Muslims have maintained a tradition of memorising the whole Arabic text by heart. There exists a dual learning procedure, where the student Must recite the whole text from memory to his teacher. When the teacher is satisfied that the student has pronounced every single word correctly, that student is “approved” to teach others. This listening and reciting mode goes hand in hand with learning how to read the written text.

Every Muslim would learn to recite from memory at least part of the Book and millions have committed the whole Arabic text to memory.

A substantial part of each of the five daily prayers of every Muslim involves reciting parts of the Quran in Arabic.

Many of those who recite the whole Book from memory can not speak Arabic in their daily life, yet the can recite the whole Quran perfectly in Arabic. The latest winner of the Dubai International Prize for reading and reciting the Quran was a boy from Myanmar.

(Thia article is part 2 of the series: Constituents of the Muslim Faith)

Written by Rasheed Gadir

December 11, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Constituents of the Muslim Faith- Part 1

with 11 comments

by Rasheed,

This is not a “My Book is better than yours” conversation. I am hoping, instead, for a mature and informative discussion of convergence and divergence of scriptures.

The decision on which scriptures to follow, is of course, a matter of personal choice and personal responsibility.

Following on from my previous post, I putting here, some of my thoughts and ideas about Islam. If you want to see Islam through a Muslim eye, then please read on.

In order of significance and authority, the primary sources of the Islamic faith are:

  1. The Quran
  2. Sayings of the Prophet, or ‘Hadith’
  3. Biography of the Prophet or ‘Seerah’

The Quran:

I, and All Muslims, believe the Quran to be the literal words of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad through the angle Gabriel. The revelation took place over a period of approximately 23 years. The first revelation was in a cave in Mecca when the prophet was 40 years old, and last in Medina shortly before the prophet died aged 63.

The term word of God has a slightly different meaning from that adopted in Evangelical writings. Here literal means all the words were chosen by God and revealed to the prophet Muhammad who relayed them “exactly as he was taught by the angle Gabriel” .

I am hoping to write about the following aspects of Quran:

  1. Ownership of the Quran
  2. Style of the Text of The Quran
  3. Language
  4. The Teachings of the Quran
  5. Transmission of the Quran
  6. Can you show any Signs that this is a Book from God?
  7. Do you have answers to your critics?

As we progress in this discussion, other topics might also be added.

Ownership:
You may ask: What do you mean by saying “The Quran is composed of the literal words of God”? How is that different from the words of the Gospels?
Well, the word literal is very significant, because it means that no man has ever claimed to be the author of the Quran, not even prophet Muhammad. The book is understood to be God own words, chosen by HIM and delivered to the prophet whose only role was to recite them. He (the Prophet) has not claimed to have any input in the Book.

Style of the Text:
The Quran is narrated in the First person, with the speaker being God.
This is completely different from the Gospels, where it is made clear to the reader that, the writer is a particular person who is telling a story, or a person stating what he believes.

To demonstrate this difference, let us compare two verses concerned with the origin of the Quran and that of the Bible from the respective scriptures:

The Quran Chapter 39:

1- The revelation of the Scripture is from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise.
2- Lo! We have revealed the Scripture unto thee (Muhammad) with truth; so worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only).
3- Surely pure religion is for Allah only. And those who choose protectors beside Him (say): We worship them only that they may bring us near unto Allah. Lo! Allah will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Lo! Allah guideth not him who is a liar, an ingrate.
4- If Allah had willed to choose a son, He could have chosen what He would of that which He hath created. Be He Glorified! He is Allah, the One, the Absolute

It is clear here and, throughout the whole book, that prophet Muhammad [pbuh] is not claiming to be the author of the text,

When you look at the beginning of the Gospel according to Luke, you will find a different definition of the text. You will find a text that belongs to Luke. It was Luke’s choice of words, and events to describe. He wrote:

The Gospel According to Luke [1:1-4]:

1- Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us,
2- just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
3- Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4- so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

In fact, the canonical Gospels are similar in style and content to the third category of Scripture in Islam, i.e. “Biography of the Prophet” or “Seerah”,.

There are two non canonical Gospels (The Gospel of Thomas, and, the hypothetical “Lost Gospel Q”.) that have some similarities in style to the Muslims second category of Scriptures- “Hadith” -in that, they are composed of pure “Sayings of Jesus”.

Another feature of the Quran is that, it has no time-line. It navigates freely through time, and there is no chronological order. In many places, it refers to future events in the past tense, to imply certainty. There is no beginning or end to the book in the way you find in the Gospels or the Torah.

Other features of the Quran that are only demonstrable if you listen to the recitation in Arabic, for example the internal rhythm, the sound of the verse endings, the harmony of the sounds of individual letters and words. All of these features, are outside the scope of this discussion.

There follows a translation of the recitation in this video, from chapter 36:

[36:1] Ya Seen.
[36:2] I swear by the Quran full of wisdom
[36:3] Most surely you are of those sent
[36:4] On a straight path.
[36:5] A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful.
[36:6] That you may warn a people whose fathers were not warned, so they are heedless.
[36:7] Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe.
[36:8] Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft.
[36:9] And We have set a bar before them and a bar behind them, and (thus) have covered them so that they see not.

[36:10] And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe
[36:11] You can only warn him who follows the reminder and fears the Beneficent Allah in secret; so announce to him forgiveness and an rich reward.
[36:12] Lo! We it is Who bring the dead to life. We record that which they send before (them, and their footprints. And all things We have kept in a clear Register.

A final prayer:

“My God, Creator of heavens and earth, Knower of the seen and the unseen, I dedicate my work to you, seeking to earn your pleasure and hoping avoid your anger.

If I do well it is by your Grace alone, and if I erred, it is myself, and Satan that are to blame.”

Written by Rasheed Gadir

November 19, 2007 at 2:47 am

On Jewish Christianity, Islam, and the Gentiles

with 78 comments

by Rasheed,

Was Jesus sent to guide you? Was he sent to all nations? Did you feature in his original plan? These are important and a fundamental questions, that need to be considered carefully.

Let us start by laying down some bare facts:

During his ministry, Jesus himself, always maintained that he was sent to the Israelites and to the Israelites alone. There are numerous verses in the Bible that bear this fact. Examples are given below:

Matthew 15:24: “and he answering said, `I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”

Matthew 10: 5-7: “5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near”

This of course does not mean that non Jews are completely excluded or prohibited from following Jesus, it simply means it was not part of his mission statement to invite all the nations to the path of God.

Jesus’ message required followers to worship the God of Abraham and observe the Law (Torah). We can say that Jesus was the last prophet of Israel.

Jesus disciples and students understood this fact perfectly well, and were therefore opposed to the efforts of Paul (Saul) to re-invent the message of Jesus, a message which they heard directly from Jesus himself. (Remember that Paul NEVER met nor believed Jesus during his ministry).

I believe that the incompatibility between Jesus message and message which Paul successfully advocated, is what drove scribes to add into the Gospels verses requiring the disciples to preach to the gentiles, verses like Mark 16:9-20 that are widely accepted now to be later addition to the Bible.

The Quran, on the other hand, has been very explicit from the beginning in defining the universal nature of of its message and that of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh].

The verse 158 in Chapter 7 {Al- A’raf} is concise, sharp, leaves no room for doubt and is beautiful:

“Say: “O Mankind! I am the Messenger of Allah sent unto you all, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He That giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His words: follow him that ye may be guided.” The Quran, 7:158

The verse, to me, is a glorious and complete statement of faith.

So, what about Jesus mission? Again, the Quran is also very clear on this point. Jesus, in the Quran, was a prophet sent to the Children of Israel:

“And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.” The Quran 61:6

So, why was Jesus’ original message altered? Probably the rules governing authenticity of transmission were not strong enough. Too much reliance on the “inspiration of transmitters” and the confinement of knowledge to the elites at the Churches, suppression of dissenting voices for very long periods in the history of Christianity; all these factors contributed to the alteration of the message.

I am not saying that some of these factors were non-existent in Islamic history, but Muslim scholars, from and early stage adopted and agreed on a much more stringent rules governing transmission.

If, for example, Apostle Paul had been a Muslim, not a single word from him, about the life of the prophet or the doctrine of the faith, would have been accepted, let alone be included in the primary text, unless he explicitly said that he heard it spoken by a named companion of the Prophet who in turn said that the Prophet had said it. A vision claimed by anyone other than the Prophet himself can never be accepted as part of the religion.

Unless someone was a compatriot of the person whom he is quoting, his quotes are automatically excluded from the teachings of the religion. Only God has the authority to define religion and only his prophet has the authority and the mandate to deliver God’s message to the people.

Related Posts:

Written by Rasheed Gadir

November 2, 2007 at 1:33 am