Jesus was a Muslim.  Yes you read that correctly, Jesus was a Muslim and one of the mightiest messengers of Allaah swt.  Jesus came from the same prophetic traditions as Adam, David, Moses, Solomon, and all of the Prophets whom all came with the same message of Tawhid or Pure Monotheism.  The worship of only the One God which is Allah swt.

Every Muslim believes in the virgin birth of Jesus from Marium (Mary).  You cannot be a Muslim if you do not believe this.  Muslims believe that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was the word of God, and that he will return and kill the anti-Christ.  However, Muslims do not believe that Jesus is God or the son of God.  This is considered blasphemous in Islam and constitutes Shirk which is an unforgivable sin.  Muslims do not believe in the crucifixion either, instead Muslims believe that Allah swt protected Jesus and brought him up to heaven while putting his likeness or resemblance on the cross.  This is interesting in light of the fact that the Gospel of Thomas said that Judas was the one found on the cross and that Judas was the twin or lookalike of Jesus.  In fact Thomas in Ancient Greek means Twin.

When Jesus prayed, he did not pray to himself, he prayed to Allah swt.  He also said that he did nothing on his own but only with the permission of the Lord in the Heavens.

Jesus was a shining example of how to live and in fact there is more information preserved about Jesus in the Islamic texts than in the Christian texts.  Jesus even prayed as the modern day Muslims.


title: You Ask and Jesus Answers (Part II),
content:
By: Faten Sabri

“It befits not the Majesty of God that He begets a son for He is far above this. Glorified and Exalted be He above all that they associate with Him. When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, “Be!” and it is.” (Qur’an 19:35)

Is Jesus the Son of God?

“Jesus said: ‘., I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John: 20:17)

Virgin Mary is not the only person who was told that the Holy spirit will come to her

The mother of Prophet John according to the Bible was filled with the Holy Spirit.

“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.’” (Luke 1:13-15)

We read:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

We also read:

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” (Acts 10:44)

Is Jesus the only person who was called ‘the Son of God’?

The term ‘Son of God’ was not used literally, because in the Bible, God refers to many of His chosen servants as ‘sons’. The Hebrews believed that God is One, and that He has neither wife nor son in any literal sense, so the term ‘Son of God’ meant servant of God. Some of the followers of Jesus who came from a Greek or Roman background misused this term. In their heritage the term ‘Son of God’ signified an incarnation of a god or someone born out of a physical union between a male and a female goddess.

  • Jacob is God’s son and firstborn:

    “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22)

  • Solomon is God’s son:

    “He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (2 Samuel 7:13-14)

  • “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14)

  • “Ye are the children of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1)

  • “Adam is the son of God “Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:38)

“Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.” (Qur’an 3:59)

we read:

“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)

Muslims believe that Jesus is ‘the Word of God’, but this description does not mean that Jesus is the Son of God in a literal sense but a symbolical one, means that he spoke the word of God. Also when prophets were to speak God’s revelation to others, they would say:

“hear the word of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 7:2, Hosea 4:1)

Was Jesus called ‘Immanuel’ which means (God with us)?

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

The prophecy states that his name will be ‘Immanuel’, it does not say that he will be Immanuel. Mary never called her child ‘Immanuel’ as required by the prophecy. According to the Bible, she named him Jesus following instructions by the angel of God.

“but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:25)

Jesus was never called ‘Immanuel’, and if we assume that this name was meant to be for Jesus, this still does not make him God because according to the Bible, several people were in God’s company. Therefore, Immanuel’s interpretation as ‘God with us’ does not mean that God’s company is exclusive to Jesus only. God is with His prophets and righteous servants every time and everywhere. Here we can see other names linked with God (in the Hebrew forms of El or Yah) belonging to other people. For example:

  • Samuel means: the name of God.
  • Elihu means:  he is my God himself.
  • Isaiah means: the salvation of the Lord.
  • Adbeel means: the miracle of God.
  • Uriel means: light of God.
  • Elijah means: God the Lord, the strong Lord.

The angel informed Mary that ‘the Lord is with you’ before conceiving Jesus, that is to say Mary was in God’s company before conceiving and giving birth to Jesus.

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:28)

God was with His Prophet Joseph.

“Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him.” (Acts 7-9)

The birth and naming of the child Immanuel when read in context, was a sign for king Ahaz and his people, who were about to be invaded by two rival kingdoms, that God will be with them and give them victory. The name ‘God is with us’, means that God will support us. The meaning of the name is understandable since the child’s name was supposed to indicate to King Ahaz that God was on his side.

“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.’ Then Isaiah said, ‘Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men?  Will you try the patience of my God also?  Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.  But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” (Isaiah 7:10-16)

The promise was fulfilled by God, and they were given the victory.

“The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it.  He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.” (2 Kings 16:9)

In actual Hebrew (Isaiah 7:14) does not say a virgin would give birth but that a young woman would conceive.  The Hebrew word (almah), used in (Isaiah 7:14) means young woman, not a virgin.  The Hebrew word for virgin is (b’tulah).  The Revised Standard Version Bible is one of the few Christian Bibles that used the translation ‘young woman’ instead of replacing it with the word ‘virgin.’

Symbolic names are frequently used by Hebrews in the Bible.  Many names cannot be taken literally.

  • “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’”

  • Jacob was called a piece of land ‘Face of God.’ (Genesis 32:30)

  • “Moses built an altar and called it ‘the Lord is my Banner’” (Exodus 17:15)

  • Bithiah, a daughter of Pharaoh, her name means ‘daughter of Jehovah.’
  • Eliab, his name means ‘My God (is my) father?’
  • “So Abraham called that place The Lord will provide. And to this day it is said, On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)

Jesus confirmed his Prophethood, his submission to God, his servitude to God, and his status as a Human Messenger:

  • “As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.” (John 8:40)

  • “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. (Matthew 12:18)

  • “Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” (Mark 6:4)

“Verily! I am a servant of God, He has granted me the Scripture and He has made me a Prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and has commanded me to pray and to give alms as long as I live.” (Qur’an 19:30-31)

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

You Ask and Jesus Answers (Part I)


tags: ith-a-question / jesus / jesus-answered-i-am / jesus-answers-a-question / jesus-answers-email / jesus-answers-prayer / jesus-answers-the-pharisees / jesus-answers-who-is-my-neighbor / jesus-answers-your-questions / nswers-question-about-marriage-in-heaven / you-ask-and-jesus-answers-part-ii /



title: Prayer Between Christianity And Islam From A Theoretical And Practical Perspective,
content:

The rite of prayer is one of the most important acts of worship brought by heavenly laws. This is confirmed by the final message of Islam as stated in the Qur’an:

“And for all religion We have appointed a rite…”(22:34

"Prayer

the Islamic concept of prayer is more tenable in comparison to the Christian one.

The Holy Qur’an does not give much details of such act worship as regards to previous nations (Jews and Christians). It, however, alludes to its existence in previous laws. God (Allah) ordered Mary to

“be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer]” (3:43),

and said about Ishmael (son of Prophet Abraham),

“And mention in the Book, Ishmael. Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet. And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakah and was to his Lord pleasing.” (19: 54- 55),

and says about Jesus son of Mary- peace be upon him-,

“[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive” (19 / 30-32)

Going through the Bible, one sees a great difference between the Bible’s texts and modern status quo of Christian liturgy as regards to prayer. This article aims at exploring the worship of prayer in the Bible and discussing it in light of the message of Islam.

Prayer is mentioned a lot by the Bible. It is almost mentioned in the context of the supplication to the Lord or asking Him for support:

2 Corinthians 1:11: “as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many..”.

However, the Islamic concept of prayer is more tenable in comparison to the Christian one. Islam distinguishes between the linguistic concept of prayer in the sense of supplication and prayer as a rite that aims to connect the creature with the Creator. The the Bible mixes between the two. As far the Bible is concerned, we miss the practical rituals of prayer. We only find such general practices that do not give a clear-cut view of such rite.

Biblical texts as regards to prayer show the sharp contrast between them and rituals approved by contemporary churches nowadays. There are some commonalities between the Bible and Islam as regards to the rite of prayer in Islam which are set aside by contemporary churches today:

Jesus prohibits showing-off in the rite of prayer and condemns stressing ritual manifestations of worship at the expense of spiritual aspects: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6: 6)

In the Bible we see prostration:

1 Timothy 2:8 “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

Revelation 7: 11 “All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.”

Revelation 14: 7 “He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Revelation 15: 4 “Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelation 19:4 “The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”!

1 Corinthians 14:25 “as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”.

Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”. “

We also see, in prayers, praises for God and invocation for His forgiveness:

Acts 16:25 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them”.

Worship may, also, be done while standing:

Luke 11:18 “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector..

We see both: individual and collective prayers:

Luke 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector..”

Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

One may also go out to prayer:

Acts 16:16: “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.”

We also read about prayers by day and night:

As for the evening prayer, the Christians performed it before they came to their beds. They thank God for the grace that He bestowed on them during the day:

The Book of Nehemiah: 1-6: “let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you…”

Luke 6:12 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

Psalm 42: 8 “By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life.”

One may raise hands while invoking God in prayer:

Isaiah 1:15 “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!.”

In fact, the New Testament requires Christians to follow the law of the Jews in their prayers. In the Bible Jesus is reported:

“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:21, 22).

Acts 16:13: “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there..”

Accordingly, why are ecclesiastical rituals of prayer nowadays not following the rituals of prayer as told by the Bible? Why should the prayers have been limited to certain days, and many Protestant churches have become free of their guests, while the book itself urges them to keep on prayers?:

According to the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians 4: 2

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful..”

Acts 10: 2 “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly..”

Churches have focused on the distinction between the prayers by common people and clergymen i.e. monks and priest who were ordered to perform many prayers. The first are required to perform two prayers only, one by day and one by night while monks in monasteries or in seclusion are required to establish seven monastic prayers, citing Paul’s letter to the Corinthians Which says:

“I pray with the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:15).

They moreover, claim that Jesus gave them the freedom to recite words of prayer of their own choice, provided they did not renounce the prayer that Jesus Christ taught them.

Did the monks retain the right of legislation in the rite of prayer? It seems that such rite has been influenced by heretic intervention with holy texts, especially at the hand of the ecclesiastical Council of Nicaea, which abolished many of the laws of Christianity for some purposes!

Establishing prayer, Christians neither completely followed the law of the Jews nor strictly followed their scripture. They introduced music in the place of worship while Jesus himself did not do so?. Why did all the prayers have been mixed with songs, which – in some cases – are devoid of meaningful meanings? Why did the Church set one day for this ritual while the Bible is full of texts referring to prayers by day and night?

It is quite strange that the Vatican Council continues to make many changes to the prayer rite throughout the Christian Catholic world. Establishing prayer, most of the Christians perform the following rites:

A priest enters the Church and the audience stands and salute him in a holy manner. He then says “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He then makes a dialogue between him and the congregation which revolves around the sanctification of God and praise for him. He then asks God for repentance to erase sins, forgive them through confession, then asks them to make invocation. He makes a Latin invocation and plead with the Lord Christ and the saints. The group says: “O Jesus Christ, have mercy on us”. The prayer is followed by the Lord’s Supper, and it is concluded with a short invocation.

Both the Protestant churches, the Methodist and the Anglican, participate in the Catholic prayer including confession, repentance and forgiveness, the renewal of faith, the confirmation of basic beliefs, praises and glorification, prayer and recitation of the Gospel. The formulation of all the rites vary according to different churches methodologies. There are features by which some churches abide by:

-Not using Latin language in prayer.

-Not using songs in prayer.

-Silence in invocation..

-Deletion of words the declaring  Christ as a god.

Although many churches suggest seven prayers by day and night for Prayers for the Christians not all of the Christian societies abide by them. These include: individual and secret prayers, family prayer in the house, public prayer in the church, the most important of which is the Sunday prayer, where the priest recites some of the psalms-related texts or the Bible. At the end of  each section invocation .

The Islamic religion as the eternal message to humanity came to rectify those matters and put them in their right place. In Islam, prayer is considered one of the most important pillars in which the Qur’an, which contains the stories of early prophets, including Jesus peace be upon him-is recited. Such a rite is not changed anyway as reported from the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) Unlike Christian rituals which have been subject to change and distortion.


tags: 4-types-of-christian-prayer / 4-week / 5-christian-prayers / christian-prayer-406 / christian-prayer-5-times-a-day / christian-prayer-for-4th-of-july / christian-prayer-for-50th-birthday / featured-image / prayer-between-christianity-and-islam-from-a-theoretical-and-practical-perspective / salter-christian-prayer /



title: You ask and Jesus Answers (Part I),
content:

By Faten Sabri

Is Jesus the Light of the World?

The disciples were described as the light of the world

Jesus said:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

The disciples were described as the children of the light

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

Jesus is the light of the world

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)

Therefore, when Jesus described himself as the light of the word, it was not a literal description but a symbolical one, and this description can be applied on others.

God the almighty alone is the only literal light of the world. God is the true source of light to His creatures including Jesus himself.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6)

“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

  Are Jesus and God One?

“Jesus says: ‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.’” (John 17:11)

Jesus explains the meaning of his oneness with God

“ ‘My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken– what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son?’ Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.’ Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. (John 10:29-39)

We can understand here that the meaning of his oneness with God, that Jesus did miracles with the permission of God, such as some acts which supposed to be done only by God. Many Messengers performed miracles, including Noah, Moses and other Biblical prophets such as Ezekiel, Elijah and many others, and these miracles only took place by the permission of God, so as to demonstrate the authenticity of the Prophet. Jesus also indicated that just as Jews were called (gods) as the word of God came to them, he was also called ‘the son of God’ because the word of God came to him.

God, Jesus and the disciples were described as one

“Jesus said: ‘That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.’” (John 17:21-23)

It is very clear that it was not a literal description but a symbolical one.

“Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.” (1Corinthians 10:17)

Here we read:

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)

A married couple were described as one

“And said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’” (Matthew 19:5)

This is an indication for showing how close a man and a woman become after marriage. Therefore, the oneness of Jesus and God does not mean that Jesus is God or even the son of God but it is an allegory used for showing how Jesus is close and attached to God as a prophet and messenger of God.

We can notice that meaning as well in the words of Jesus in his description to the relation between God the almighty and his believers, (God, Jesus and the disciples are one), this is a symbolic usage to show how the disciples are close to God and Jesus. It is an analogy referring to God’s company, assistance and protection.  God is One and symbolically referred to Him as ‘the Father’ and that Jesus is Just a teacher. It’s a way of saying God is the Creator, Sustainer and Supreme master of all:

“One God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:6) 

“But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:8-10)

The oneness of God was the core of the message of Jesus

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

 Jesus disapproved anyone worshipping him

“And in vain they worship me.” (Matthew 15:9)

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

You Ask and Jesus Answers (Part II)


tags: featured-image / jesus-answered-i-am-the-way / jesus-answers / jesus-answers-a-question-with-a-question / jesus-answers-email / jesus-answers-the-greatest / jesus-answers-the-pharisees / jesus-answers-who-is-my-neighbour / ommandment / you-ask-and-jesus-answers /



title: The Family of `Isa `Abdo in Egypt,
content:

By Faisal Al-Zamel

Here is an astonishing and interesting story of the Christian Egyptian man ‘Abdo Ibrahim, who decided, in 1918, to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim girl. Calling his first son “Isa “, his wife’s family got very angry and thought him to be still a Christian.

Reprimanding him they said, “You have fooled us, you are still a Christian!”. He replied, “Wait! I am still a Muslim man, and my name is ‘Abdo”.

""

“I used, mistakenly, to believe Jesus to be the son of Allah. Now I realized that he is a worshipper and a slave to Allah and not his son.”, Isa ‘Abdo.

“I used, mistakenly, to believe Jesus to be the son of Allah. Now I realized that he is a worshiper and a slave to Allah and not his son. I wanted Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) to be remembered through my son’s name. In Arabic, ‘ ‘Abdo’ means “a worshiper and slave to Allah, Almighty – that is why I called my son ‘Isa ‘Abdo”,  he added.

Upon hearing this, the family became calm. Eventually ” ‘Isa ‘Abdo” became the godfather of economical Islamic-banking. He was the first to write a book in mid-sixties under the title “Banks without interest” and kept lecturing and holding many meetings in this regard.

In 1975 a brave man in Dubai named Saeed Lota reacted positively to his call and applied for a license to establish an Islamic bank which was later on authorized by Dubai Governor, Shaikh Rashed bin Maktoom, and came to be known “Dubai Islamic-Bank”. It was the beginning for a multi-billion-industry in less than thirty years.

In 1966, another son for ” ‘Abdo” called “Ibrahim”, an environmental specialist, called for tackling the issue of the scarcity of water-resources worldwide. Under the slogan “God have Created every alive thing from water”, an Aya from Qur’an, he made a conference in Switzerland to raise awareness of such challenge to humanity.


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title: The Concept of Family Between Christianity And Islam,
content:

Importance of Family

Family is the foundation for society, which, subsequently, constitutes nations. No wonder there is the World Family-Day.

Heavenly religions gave much importance to family. Therefore, this article explores the family between Islam and Christianity.

Marriage is the starting point for family. Heavenly religions applaud marriage and urge people to marry. The Bible says,

“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”(Genesis: 2/18).

""

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”(Genesis: 2/18)

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” “( Genesis: 1/27-28 ).

Definition of Marriage

In his book Family System Between Christianity and Islam, Comparative Study, M. Abd Al-Sami Shalan, records many Christian definitions for marriage. Blaniwi defines marriage in Christianity as, “A contract between a man and a woman laying the foundation for a coalition admitted by law which they cannot dissolute themselves”.

In his book Al-Majma Al-Safawi, Ibn Al-‘Assal defines it as, “An apparent agreement between man and a woman accompanied by prayers, and testified by priests. The two (fleshes i.e. bodies) are combined in a certain rite to help both of them fulfill their necessities i.e. desires and have offspring”.

There are Eastern-Christian definitions which view marriage as a sacramental and great divine secret mentioned in the Bible (Ephesians 5/31-32).

Both of the religions, Christianity and Islam agree on the need for a familiar and kind bond between the spouses and that the spouses should respect the marriage-contract. In Christianity, a woman must obey her husband and man should love her because as Christ is “the head of the church”, man is “the head of woman as well” (Ephesians 5:23).

The same case applies to Islam which, however, along with its comprehensive and tolerant legislation, gives much importance to the spousal kind-relationship in comparison to Christianity.

Shalan criticizes the definition by Ibn al-‘Assal as “containing ecclesiastical proclamations that were added to the marriage contract to justify priesthood-domination through the requirement the church’s testimony to the marriage-contract”. Therefore, he says: “The Bible does not mention, in any of its texts that the marriage-contract should be held by the priests with specific prayers and rites. It seems that the Church introduced such liturgies later to get more financial resources.”

Shalan, moreover, points out that the definition neglects the marital psychological aspects and gives much importance to off-spring. The definition, according to him, also contradicts the practice of the Church in the rituals of marriage.

Marriage and Divorce in Christianity and Islam

Islam, on the other hand, rejects such stipulations. In Islam, marital-contract is built on facilitation. It only requires two witnesses and the attendance of the woman’s guardian to undertake the marital-contract. The contract should not adhere to the place of worship or to the clerics.

In fact, the Islamic view of marriage is comprehensive. Marriage is regarded as a “contract between the spouses which legalizes sexual-relationship and guarantees mutual rights and duties between the two parties”.

Islam’s plan for family starts from the moment of birth through ensuring the moral guidance and proper and righteous sexual relationship between men and women.

Marriage is a contract that is seen by Islam as a strong, documented contract, Allah (God) says,

“…and they (women) have taken from you a solemn covenant?” (4/21).

Islam forbids the violation of woman’s rights and rejects the biblical view of woman as the “cause of sedition in the first disobedience in history”. It prohibits taking the wife’s rights and dowry unlawfully:

“But if you want to replace one wife with another and you have given one of them a great amount [in gifts], do not take [back] from it anything. Would you take it in injustice and manifest sin?”. (4 / 20)

“and give them their due compensation according to what is acceptable. ” (4/25)

Here are biblical texts on marriage and divorce in the Bible to illustrate this concept according to Christian view:

According to ( Deuteronomy 24:1):

“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house”. 

It is clear from the previous text that the marital relationship in Christianity is eternal. However, the Christian societal demands forced churches to succumb to the demands of the masses in the form of the annulment, or disintegration of the marriage-contract.

Some countries, such as Egypt, resorted to introducing new laws under certain new conditions for the annulment of the marriage-contract. The divorce- term is replaced by the “dissolution of marriage-contract due to death, atheism, change of the Christian religion or doctrines that are not recognized by the Christian churches or and 6 cases of so-called “forms of adultery”.

The Christian view of marriage is also condemned by Islam for enacting laws excluding the monks and men of the church of such natural instinctive through monasticism. Islam declares the act to be a violation for proper legislation and the rights of human disposition. Churches, moreover, claimed that the one able to be away from fornication, may not marry unlike Islam, on the contrary, which recommends marriage.

They moreover claimed that it is not permissible for man to marry more than one woman. Orthodox, moreover, legalized divorce only in the case of adultery-commitment and prohibited remarriage after divorce:

“…then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.”(Deuteronomy24/4).

The Bible, furthermore, sets forth an incomprehensive view of marriage due to the human interference with legislation related to it. Islam, on the other hand, controls the marriage-relationship systematically. It ensures psychological rehabilitation for the couple before marriage and educational rehabilitation of the Muslim by spreading good morals in dealing with the opposite sex.

Islam is the religion that came to fit and harmonizes human nature instinct, and disposition; its legislation is based on easiness and tolerance:

“…and He has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty”, (22/78)

The Prophet of Islam considers marriage as his Sunnah (Proper Way which should be followed),

“Marriage is of my Sunnah. Whoever, does not follow my Sunnah is not of my followers”.

According to Islam if life becomes impossible between the two couples and they hated each other, they should not be coerced to live with each other each in the marriage bond. Allah says,

“But if they separate [by divorce], Allah will enrich each [of them] from His abundance. And ever is Allah Encompassing and Wise”. (4/130)

Islam enjoins the couple to live with virtue:

“And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good..”. (4/19)

Islam, furthermore, urges reconciliation between the two couples:

“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]. ” (4/35)

 It also urged the parties to sacrifice some rights in order to preserve this relation. Allah (glory be to him) says,

“And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah – then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. “(4/128)

The Islamic concept of marriage pays attention to the psychological aspects and the purpose of the marriage is to achieve reassurance:

“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. ” (30/21).

Islam takes care of the needs of human beings and the nature of every individual. It does not prohibit polygamy categorically and does not legalize it categorically.  It stipulates conditions for it including the observance of justice and fairness in dealing with multiple wives. Allah (glory be to him) says,

“And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging. And if you amend [your affairs] and fear Allah – then indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful”. (4/129)

Christianity prohibits polygamy and deems it unacceptable. In the New Testament, Jesus called for monogamy. Today, most Christian denominations reject polygamous marriage, which is unreasonable.

It seems the Islamic view of marriage is more comprehensive and acceptable than the Christian one in terms of legislation. Islamic legislation regarding marital matters tackles all the peculiarities and issues related to marriage and divorce unlike modern Christianity, which resorted to deviated human legislation due to societal pressures. This poses the questions: Where is the Biblical legislation tackling marital matters to follow?!

 

References
- Family System Between Christianity and Islam, Comparative Study by M. Abd Al-Sami Shalan
- Al-Durar Al-Saniyya, Arabic Site.

tags: define-family-in-christianity / elations-in-christianity / family / family-between-christianity-and-islam / family-importance-in-christianity / family-life-in-christianity / family-planning-in-christianity / family-values-in-christianity / featured-image / tructure-in-christianity /



title: Spot On The Life Of Jesus (2),
content:

By Faten Sabri 

Proofs of the Negation of Jesus’ Crucifixion (follow-up)

The Lord was able to save Jesus from death

“[And thus] when [Jesus] had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save him from death – [he] was heard in that which he feared.” ( Hebrews 5:7)

“They say: Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.”  And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them.  And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it.  They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption.  And they did not kill him, for certain.” (Qur’an 4:157)

 He helped Jesus, and delivered him from the hand of his enemies

“[So] let us see if his words are true; and let us prove what will happen in the end of him. For if the just man is the son of God, He will help him, and deliver him from the hand of his enemies.”(Wisdom of Solomon 2:17-18)

"" And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. (Qur’an 4:157)

“Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape, incline Your ear to me, and save me.  Be my strong habitation, whereto I may continually resort, You have given commandment to save me; for You [are] my Rock and my Fortress.  Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.”(Psalms 71:2 – 4)

“[Mention] when Allah said, “O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ. “(Qur’an 3:55)

“[So] this poor man cried, and the Lord heard [him], and saved him out of all his troubles.  [For] the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.  O taste and see that the Lord [is] good, blessed [is] the man [who] trusts in Him.” (Psalms 34:6-8)

“[For] when [Jesus] had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save him from death – [he] was heard in that which he feared.”(Hebrews5:7)

“This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”(Psalms 34:6)

“He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”(Psalms 34:20)

The Lord kept him alive

“[It reads,] blessed [is] he who considers the poor, the Lord will deliver him in a time of trouble.  The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; [and] he will be blessed upon the earth, and You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.”(Psalms 41:1-2)

“[For] God raised [Jesus] to Himself.  And ever is God Almighty and Most Wise.” (4:158, Qur’an)

Jesus thanked His lord

“Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.”(John 11:40:41)

The betrayer regretted and suffered the consequences of his sin

Although, many Christians believe that these words below said by Jesus, but Muslims insist that this biblical verse cannot refer to Jesus Christ, who was honored by His Lord. Who deserves this bad situation, should be no one other than the betrayer.

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? My God, I cry out during the day, but you do not answer, and during the night my prayers do not let up. You are holy; you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted in you and you rescued them. To you they cried out, and they were saved; in you they trusted and they were not disappointed. But I am a worm, not a man; people insult me and despise me. All who see me taunt me; they mock me and shake their heads. They say, “Commit yourself to the Lord! Let the Lord rescue him! Let the Lord deliver him, for he delights in him.” Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts. I have been dependent on you since birth; from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not remain far away from me, for trouble is near and I have no one to help me. “(Psalms 22:1-11)

Beside God there is no savior

[For God said,]

“I, [even] I, [am] the Lord; and beside Me [there is] no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)

“[Thus,] unquestionably, for God is the pure religion.  And those who take saviors besides Him [say], “We only serve them that they may bring us nearer to God in position.”  Indeed, God will judge between them concerning that over which they differ.  Indeed, God does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.” (Qur’an 39:3)

 Beside God there is no other god

“[For God said,] “I [am] the Lord, and [there are] none else, [there is] no god beside Me, I girded you, though you have not known Me.”” (Isaiah 45:5)

“[For] they serve other than God that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with God.”  Say, “Do you inform God of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?”  Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.” (Qur’an10:18)

Jesus confirmed his servitude to God

“O Lord, truly I [am] Your servant; I [am] Your servant, [and] the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds.” (Psalms 116:16)

Jesus said,

“Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”(John 20:17)

“[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet.” (Qur’an 19:29-30)

The believer can understand that if God can create Adam from dust, without male and female parents, he can easily create Jesus without a male parent.

“Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.”(Qur’an 3:59)

The Law of Moses should be fulfilled

“And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous.” (Qur’an 5:46)

“[So Jesus] said to them, “These [are] the words which I spoke to you, while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and [in] the Prophets, and [in] the Psalms, concerning me.”(Luke 24:44)

“Say, [O believers], “We have believed in God (The Creator) and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Qur’an 2:136)

Jesus will condemn his people

“[For Jesus said,] “Many will say to me in that Day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name?  And in your name we have cast out devils?  And in your name [O Lord Jesus] done many wonderful works?’  And then I will profess to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you who work iniquity.'” (Matthew 7:22 – 23)

[So beware the Day] when God will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as gods besides God?'” He will say, “Exalted are You!  It was not for me to say that to which I have no right.  If I had said it, You would have known it.  You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself.  Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to serve God, my Lord and your Lord.  And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.” (Qur’an 5:116-117)

On the day which no god can help other than God 

“And He will say, “Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which ate the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings?  Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.  See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me, I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal, neither are there any that can deliver out of My hand.”” (Deuteronomy 32:37 39)

“[So warn of] the Day when He will say, “Call ‘My partners’ whom you claimed,” and they will invoke them, but they will not respond to them.  And We will put between them [a valley of] destruction.  And the criminals will see the Fire and will be certain that they are to fall therein.  And they will not find from it a way elsewhere.” (Qur’an18:52-53)

Worshiping one God was the core message of Jesus

 

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Mark 12:29)

“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”(Mathew 4:10)

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

[Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (Qur’an 19:36)

 Prophet Muhammad reminded the world of the message of Jesus.

 

“(Jesus Said): Truly! God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him Alone. This is the straight path.” (Qur’an 3:51)

“Say, I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.”(Qur’an 18:110)

In the history of some religions that preceded Christianity, it was found that some heroes were considered to be gods. What was believed about Krishna by the Hindus, Buddha by the ancient Egyptians, Bacchus by the Greeks, Baal by the Babylonians, and Adonis by the Syrians was surprisingly believed about Jesus by the Christians.

The religion of Islam has freed its followers from such superstitions. It rejected the doctrine of the incarnation and of God’s embodiment in the union with any other creatures.

Islam emphatically states that neither Jesus nor any other human being could be God. Islam states that humans cannot be blamed for sins they did not commit, nor can they get salvation for not attempting to be good. One’s life is a test and each soul is responsible for its own actions, and People are born free of sins; it is only after they reach the age of puberty or maturity that they are held accountable for their sins. The Creator sent the same message to Prophets of all nations (since the time of Adam). A simple straightforward message and one condition of salvation: Belief in One God and to unify Him in worship. Every Prophet was the way for his followers in his time to get the salvation, and that was by following his teachings; worshiping like the Prophet does, not worshipping the Prophet himself, or anything else. This is the message of Islam, which started with Prophet Adam and was completed with Prophet Muhammad.

Spot On The Life Of Jesus (Part 1, Click Here)

 

———–

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.


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title: Spot On The Life Of Jesus (1),
content:

By Faten Sabri 

Attributes of the Creator

“Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.””(Qur’an 112)

The Creator is Self-Sufficient. He is apart from His creation, it does not befit His Majesty to take a son or wife, or to beget or to be begotten, and there is no similitude to Him. God, who created space and time, is necessarily transcendent in relation to both. Causation is a law for us who live in space and time, and it is an error on our part to think that He is bound by either. It is God who created the law of causation and we cannot consider Him as a subject to the law He created, therefore God does not change. He created the time, so He is not subjected to time. He does not go through the same stages of time that we go through, does not get tired, and does not need to put Himself in a physical form or descend to Earth. Therefore we cannot see Him in this life because we are trapped in time and space, while He transcends both.

"Myth There are pieces of evidence and indications in the Bible which impel us to disbelieve in the alleged crucifixion

God is Perfect; He has no need to die for us. He gives life and death, so He did not die nor was He resurrected. He saved His Prophet Jesus and protected him as He helps and protects His believers. God is Most Merciful to His creatures, more than a mother is to her children, so He forgives them whenever they repent to Him.

Was Jesus Crucified

For Muslims, neither Jesus nor God died for humanity on the cross. Many of the ancient Christians as well denied the crucifixion of the Christ; Christian historians have mentioned the names of many Christian sects who denied the crucifixion -The followers of Basilides as an example- Basilides was an early Christian Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt, from 117 to 138 CE, this is a period of time close to the time of the disciples, and it is believed that he got his teachings from Peter and other disciples of Jesus. He believed and taught his followers that Jesus Christ was not crucified, So, we can see that it’s not only the Holy Qur’an that spoke about the salvation of Jesus Christ from the crucifixion; the story goes back to the earliest time of the Church history. We have at least 15 sects of earlier christens who believed that Jesus was not crucified, Corinthians and Marquis for example. Some of these sects -who were in a period of time closer to the time of Jesus- also said that Christ Himself was not crucified and he was not killed, but one of his disciples was crucified instead of him.

The denial of the crucifixion of Jesus, continued with the monk, Theodorus (560 CE), and the Bishop John, the son the governor of Cyprus (610 CE).

It was also denied by the author of the book ‘Holy Blood, Holy Cup of Christ’. He stated in his book that the Christ was not crucified, and it was the traitor (Judas Iscariot), who was crucified instead of him.

Although the Holy book Qur’an did not mention the name of the one who replaced Jesus on the cross, but logic and evidence confirm this supposition.

The logic and evidence are represented in the following:

Every Man will Bear his Own Burden

“Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:37)

“[But] Abraham fulfilled [his obligations] -that no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another and that there is not for man except that for which he strives and that his effort is going to be seen -then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense”. (Qur’an 53:37-41)

“[Whereby] the soul that sins, it will die.  The son will not bear the iniquity of the father, neither will the father bear the iniquity of the son, the righteousness of the righteous will be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

“Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents, each will die for his own sin.”(Deuteronomy 24:16)

The lesson which God gives to all humanity when He accepted Adam’s repentance for eating the forbidden fruit is the first instance of forgiveness of God to humanity. There is no issue of the original sin. Every soul bears the burden of its own sin. This shows the merciful nature of God. Forgiveness does not negate justice, nor does justice preclude forgiveness.

Sacrifice is not desired, but Mercy

“For [God said,] “I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  But they, like men, have transgressed the covenant; they have dealt treacherously against Me there.”(Hosea 6:6 – 7)

“[For] You have had no pleasure in burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin.”(Hebrews 10:6)

“[And thus Jesus said,] “If you had known what [this] means, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.”(Matthew 12:7)

“Thus the Lord of hosts says, the God of Israel; “Put your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh.  For I did not speak to your fathers, nor command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.  But I commanded them this thing, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people, and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you.’  But they did not listen, nor incline their ear, but they walked in the counsels [and] in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:21 – 24)

“O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver.” (Qur’an 31:33)

“God wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation.”(Qur’an 4:27)

God saved his Prophet Abraham from killing his son, as promised.

“So never think that God will fail in His promise to His messengers.  Indeed, God is Almighty and Owner of Retribution.” (Qur’an 14:47)

“…, And We ransomed him (Abraham) with a great sacrifice.”(Qur’an 37:107)

“Abraham looked around. He saw a ram in the bushes. God had given the ram for the sacrifice. Abraham sacrificed the ram on the altar.”(Genesis 22:9–12)

 

God informed Jesus that one of his disciples will betray him

“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me. They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi? Jesus answered, “You have said so.”(Mathew 26:20-25)

Jesus Was Sad, He Did not Want To Die, And Confirmed that He Will Not Die

“[So] do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”(Psalms 38:21 – 22)

“[It reads,] I will not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord [God].  The Lord [God] has chastened me sore, but He has not given me over to death.  Open the gates of righteousness to me, I will go into them, [and] I will praise the Lord [God].  This gate of the Lord [God], into which the righteous will enter.  I will praise You [O God], for You have heard me, and have become my salvation.  The stone [which] the builders refused has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord [God’s] doing; it [is] marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalms 118:17-23)

 

Jesus As A Human Being Prayed To God, And Did Not Lose Hope

 

“[When he] went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.”(Mark 14:35)

“[Thus,] in You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion.” (Psalms 71:1)

“But I will hope continually, and will still praise You more and more.  My mouth will show forth Your righteousness [and] Your salvation all the day; for I do not know the numbers [thereof].”(Psalms 71:14 – 15)

The enemies’ plan and God’s plan

“Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain. I will proclaim the Lord’s decree.”(Pslams2)

“[For] the transgressors will be destroyed together, the end of the wicked will be cut off.” (Psalms 37:38)

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.” (Psalms 40:1 – 2)

“[And thus these] disbelievers planned, but God planned.  And God is the best of planners.”(Qur’an 3:54)

“So never think that God will fail in His promise to His messengers.  Indeed, God is Almighty and Owner of Retribution.” (Qur’an 14:47)

God is the Protector of Believers

“[For] He spoke by the mouth of His holy Prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us.”(Luke 1:70 – 71)

“[And thus] We will save Our messengers and those who have believed.  Thus, it is an obligation upon Us that We save the believers.”(Qur’an 10:103)

“That is because God is the protector of those who have believed and because the disbelievers have no protector.” (Qur’an 10:103)

Spot On The Life Of Jesus (Part 2, Click Here)

———–

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

 

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title: Christian Questions About Islam (1),
content:

Was the Qur’an invented by Muhammad? Did he collect it from other religions?

"The

Holy Quran

Was the Qur’an invented by Muhammad? Did he collect it from other religions? All are questions asked by many Christians nowadays. Some allege that Muhammad received the Qur’an from Christian sources i.e. Waraqa ibn (son of) Nawafal, Bahira, a monk, and another man who was a Roman Christian worker in Mecca.

A Muslim may not be shocked to hear such allegations, for the Qur’an itself mentions them and refutes all of them. in Qur’an Allah (God) says,

“And they say, ‘Legends of the former peoples which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon’. Say, [O Muhammad], ‘It has been revealed by He who knows [every] secret within the heavens and the earth. Indeed, He is ever Forgiving and Merciful’.” (25-6-7).

The Environment Where Prophet Mohammed Was Brought Up

Prophet Mohammed –(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)– was born in an environment dominated by idolatry, polytheism and atheism. The number of Christians and Jews in Mecca was very few compared to idols-worshipers.

The ancestors of the Prophet–(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)– were following the religions of the people of Mecca i.e. idolatry. This is further supported by the Prophet’s wish of the guidance of his uncle, Abu Talib who was encouraged by the leaders of Mecca to die as a polytheist. The Prophet was ordered by his God to,

“Warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.”(26-214). 

Had the Prophet received the Qur’an from a human, he would have been influenced by idolatry-environment and not the Christian trends; he would have been also reprimanded by the Meccans to follow Christianity and renounce their religion.

On the other hand, the people of the Book at that time did not criticize the Meccans for their involvement in paganism for Christianity was mixed up with pagan rituals.

The Prophet’ Contact to Waraqa ibn Nawfal, Bahira, the and the Roman-Christian Worker

The scholars differed as to the religion adopted by Waraqa ibn  Nawafal. Some said that he followed Abrahamic-monotheistic teachings. He realized the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad but died before message, so he died as being believer in his message. Waraqa ibn  Nawafal were among the four persons who refused to follow idolatry and denied their people’s pagan creeds.  

When Qurayshis (i.e. tribe of Quraysh) gathered for an annual ceremony of idolatry, the four men met and decided to renounce the Qurishi deviating creeds of idolatry and to look to the right religion of Abraham (Hanifiyyah or monotheistic religion).

 The Messenger of Allah –(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)–went out to the house (i.e. Ka’ba) and met Waraqa who said,

“O dear tell me what you have seen and heard. The Prophet told him. Waraqa said, ”By the One in whose hand is my soul i.e. God: You are the Prophet of this generation (i.e. time). The Great angel has come to you which came to Prophet Moses. You will be denied, harmed and expelled out of your home and fought (due to such message)! If I realize (i.e. if I am alive until) that day, I will support Allah with such a support that he knows”. Waraqa then kissed the head of the Prophet and died before Islam-message.

Other Muslim scholars uphold that Waraqa was one of the Muslim companions of the Prophet. Aishah, the Prophet’s wife, quoted him as saying,

“Do not slander Waraqa for I saw one or two paradises for him”. (Declared authentic report by Al-Hakim).

Others said that he was following the teachings of Prophet Jesus and they differed whether he realized the abrogation of Jesus’ message by Prophet Muhammad’s message or not.  However, as Al-Kiramani notes, whatever the case he believed in Prophet Muhammad. (Umdat Al-Qari).

Had Warqa followed Prophet Jesus’s message, he would have followed his real pristine teachings which order the belief in the message of Prophet Muhammad –(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)–.

Fair look at Prophet Muhammad’s Message requires fair judgment of its authenticity. Prophet Muhammad’s message contained clear criticism of Christianity, with praise to Prophet Jesus( peace be upon him).

It, moreover, revealed defects in the previous books (Bible and Torah) as being altered and distorted throughout history. The Qur’an presents itself as dominant over previous scriptures.

Had the prophet formed his religion out of previous scriptures, he would not have criticized them! Here are some Qur’anic texts criticizing Christians and Jews for not following their religions properly:

“Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture, purchasing error [in exchange for it] and wishing you would lose the way?” (4:44)

“Do you not consider, [O Muhammad], those who were given a portion of the Scripture? They are invited to the Scripture of Allah that it should arbitrate between them; then a party of them turns away, and they are refusing”.(3:23)

The Qur’an shows its position of the two deviant groups (pagans and Christians) who refused the message of Islam:

“Have you not seen those who were given a portion of the Scripture, who believe in superstition and false objects of worship and say about the disbelievers, “These are better guided than the believers as to the way”? ” (51: 4

“Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].”(3:64

The Qur’an foretells about future matters that differ from the scientific background of Bahira and others. They were neither mentioned in their books, nor delivered by them to the followers of their religions.

In his book Tanzih al-Qur’an Min Dawi al-Mubtilin ]Saving Qur’an from the claims of deviating People[, M. Al-Saqqar, a Muslim thinker refutes such claims saying:

“If the Qur’an is authored by Waraqa and Bahira  and, why did not they attribute it to themselves? Why should they leave it to Muhammad – peace be upon him -? Did they know about all of the prophecies of the Qur’an that told about previous and future nations and the dazzling news of the unseen revealed by the modern science today? Suppose that Prophet Muhammad learned the Qur’an from both of them, what about incidents happening after their demise. Had they tackled them? There are hundreds of verses set forth by the Qur’an that were revealed regarding events that took place after the death of both of them for long time? Examples of them are the verses regarding to the Christians of Najran and the battle of Uhud in Surat Al-Imran. It should be noted that the Prophet’s meeting with Bahira, the monk is not agreed upon by all Muslim historians. Only some Muslim scholars authenticated the report of such meeting. Such report is declared weak (i.e. invalid),however, and unauthenticated by many others. Suppose they are valid, what would a child aged 9 or 12 learn from such a monk?! However, reports recording such meeting does not convey that the Prophet received knowledge from Bahira. The latter only asked the Prophet about his biography”.  

It is well-known that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was illiterate, who does not know how to read or write, so how could he read the previous scriptures to the Qur’an?

Al-Saqqar proceeds, “The Prophet was illiterate—a fact supported by the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an says, “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong”(7:157). The environment where the Prophet was brought up was illiterate as well. The Qur’an says, ‘It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error’. “.(62:2)

Refuting the claim that the Prophet looked at previous scriptures, he says, ” It may be useful to note that the first Arabic  translation of the Bible appeared one century after the demise of Prophet Muhammad at the hand of John ,Bishop of Seville 724 A.D.,. Therefore, the Bible was not well-known among people. It was circulated only among monks. Christian laymen were not permitted to have it except in the era of printing in the sixteenth century A.D. despite the attempts of the Church to prevent its spread by the decrees of deprivation issued by the complex of Trident Notre Dame in 1542-1563″.

Shaykh Al-Zurqani responds to this claim saying:

  1. Such claim is devoid of evidence, and accuracy, and, therefore, unacceptable. They have to tell that us what, when and where did Muhammad hear from Bahira?
  2. History testifies that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) only travelled twice to Al-Sham (Great Syria or the Levant) in two commercial journeys: one in his childhood and one while young. He did not exceed the market of Busra (a place in al-Sham) in both of them. He did not hear religious teachings from Bahira as well. Muhammad was not alone in these two journeys. He was accompanied by his uncle Abu Talib in the first journey and by a salve called Maisarah in the second.
  3. Logic proves the impossibility of the monk being a teacher to Muhammad while Muhammad renounces him and get in communication to God instead of him and be the teacher of all world.
  4. Had the monk was the source of such a miraculous Islamic flood, he would have been the Prophet of Islam.
  5. It is impossible that the miraculous nature of Prophet Muhammad ,who was an illiterate merchant busy with his trade, comes out of a short meeting of such a monk.
  6. Had Prophet Muhammad built his religion on Christian foundations, the Meccan pagans would have criticized him. Although, they knew Muhammad very well and were keen to object him for doing, they did not accuse him of being influenced by Christianity . They did not face him with such a claim.

________________________________________

References:

-Zine El Abidi, Studies in the Biography of the Prophet

-Al-Zuaqani, Manaili al-Irfan.

-M. al-Sqqar, Tanzih al-Qur’an Min Dawi al-Mubtilin (Saving the Qur’an from the claims of deviating People).


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title: Christian Questions about Islam (2),
content:

What Is the Qur’an?

""

What is َQur’an?

The Qur’an is the miraculous word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), whose recitation is considered as an act of worship and found in Mushaf copies.

Qur’an  was transmitted with infinite precision and all the texts contained in it were subject to strict criteria set by the collection-committees formed by Sahabah (companions )of  the Messenger of Allah, may Allah be pleased with them, in terms of acceptance or rejection.

Zaid ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, one of those who undertook this task was not to accept one verse in the Qur’an except that two witnesses testified that it was read before the Messenger of Allah-peace be upon him.

Such strict standards remained until the reign of Caliph Osman ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, who saved the standard copy of the Qur’an. Blachere, a French thinker notes, “The credit after God gets back to the Caliph Othman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) for his contribution before the year 655 A.H in the removal of risks arising from the existence of many copies of the Qur’an, and to him alone, Muslims accredit the task of the authentication of their text along generations”.

Names of the Qur’an:

The Qur’an has many names. It is called: “The book”, as in the words of God Almighty:

“By the clear Book”. (2:43)

It is also called “the Criterion”, as in the words of God Almighty:

“Blessed who descended the Criterion to his servant (1:25

And also, “al-Dhikr” as in the words of Allah Almighty:

“And this [Qur’an] is a blessed message which We have sent down. Then are you with it unacquainted?” http://tanzil.net/#21:50. (21:50)

It is also called Al-Nur (light) and Al-Tanzil (Revelation descending).

Miracles of the Holy Qur’an

When revelation came to Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him)-, he called for faith in God, His unity and individuality in worship.

The Makkah-community tried hard to criticize the Qur’an to find fault within it and overthrow the call of Islam. The Qur’an came down in their language. They were shocked by the highest language and coolest style in which the Qur’an came ;they felt that their words cannot rival its words for it is not like their words!

The Qur’an challenged them to come up with something similar to it, and they were unable to do so. Allah says:

“Say, (If mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like of it, even if they were to each other assistants).”(17:88

The books of biography and Sunnah of the Prophet quotes a part of the conflict and struggle at the front of disbelief as regards to the nature of the Qur’an and its splendor: 

“Al-Walid Ibn Mughira was told by Abu Jahl to combat the Qur’an and linguistically find fault in it . The latter replied that he had never heard such beautiful words in his whole life! He told him that the Qur’an had the most perfect words, perfect rhyme and tune, perfect grammar and style. It was perfect in everything!” 

Jubayir ibn Mut’im (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“When I was pagan, I heard the Messenger of Allah- peace be upon him- reading the Qur’an in Maghrib Prayer until he reached the verse: (Are they created from nothing or are they the creators?, Did they create the heavens and the earth but they are not sure, or do they have the treasures of your Lord, or are they the rulers?[Al-Tur: 35-37]) , I felt that My heart was near to fly”.

Blacher notes: “The Qur’an is not a miracle with its content and teachings only. It can also be, before anything else a wonderful, a literary masterpiece that surpasses all that humanity has adopted. The second caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) who was at first among the strongest opponents of the new religion of Islam, has become one of the most enthusiastic supporters of it after hearing a piece of the Qur’an”.

The Qur’an Tells about Former Nations

The Qur’an presents the news of the previous nations and foretells about the future of later times. When the Jews and the Christians wanted to guide history on their behalf and claimed that Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, was following their religions, the Qur’an responds to them and rectifies the matter. It points out that Prophet Abraham was neither a Christian nor a Jew and he was rather a Muslim (Monotheist). The Qur’an says:

“O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason? Here you are – those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows, while you know not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists. Indeed, the most worthy of Abraham among the people are those who followed him [in submission to Allah] and this prophet, and those who believe [in his message]. And Allah is the ally of the believers”. (3-65-68). 

The credibility of this scripture is revealed in the disclosure and clarification of the facts and the abolition of falsehood without favoritism of one sect at the expense of others.

It is a book of justice and honesty. Allah Almighty says:

“And from those who say, “We are Christians” We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them animosity and hatred until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do.”(5:14

Therefore, the Qur’an denied the allegation of the deity of Christ and brought Jesus’ true words in this regard:

“And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. “(5/116-119). 

The Qur’an, moreover, pointed out that  the descent of Jesus-peace be upon him-at the end of time will be a rectification to his message which suffered distortion and falsification:

“And when the son of Mary was presented as an example, immediately your people laughed aloud. And they said, “Are your gods better, or is he?” They did not present the comparison except for [mere] argument. But, [in fact], they are a people prone to dispute. Jesus was not but a servant upon whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel. And if We willed, We could have made [instead] of you angels succeeding [one another] on the earth. And indeed, Jesus will be [a sign for] knowledge of the Hour, so be not in doubt of it, and follow Me. This is a straight path.” (43:57-61). 

Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him- tells that:

“Jesus, son of Mary ,peace be upon him- will descend at the end of life. The Amir of Muslims will summon him to lead prayer but he will reply “No some you are the princes of yourselves as an honor to this nation”. Narrated by Muslim, No. 225.

The Qur’an also indicates that the closeness to the Lord and the remoteness from him are bound by following the true religion and belief. When Jews and Christians claimed that they were closer to Allah (God) than other nations, despite their deviation from the right path, the Qur’an responded to them by saying:

“But the Jews and the Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His beloved.” Say, “Then why does He punish you for your sins?” Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, and to Him is the [final] destination. ‘” (5:18)

The Qur’an stated that it has not come to destroy all that was mentioned in the previous scriptures of good values, but came to complete them and become the best and everlasting scripture for humanity till the end of life on earth:

“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. “(5:48

The Holy Qur’an’s wonders and miracles are not limited. It tells about the stages of man’s creation and destiny from creation to death:

“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing”.(22:5). 

The Qur’an employs reasonable evidence in strengthening its credibility in minds, drawing attention to the universe, the visible book (i.e. logical progression in knowing the Creator), and matching it to what is in the written book, that is the Qur’an itself. Allah says:

“And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims. “(16:89). 

The Qur’an includes rulings regarding the acts of worship so that humans can be in contact to their Lord; it gives mention to rulings regulating people’s relationship to each other like just punishment:

“And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous. “(2:179

It orders maintaining justice even with enemies:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. ” (5:8

The Qur’an also includes a code for ethics and transactions, including the prohibition of usury, cheating, theft, deception, hatred, and murder of innocent souls without right.

It enacts good ethics such as honesty, charity and righteousness, even with peaceful enemies. In his book Muhammad in Mecca Montgomery Watt, says: “In my opinion, whatever our religious position, we should consider the message of the Qur’an to be a creative breakthrough in Mecca. There is no doubt that there were problems that required solutions, and attempts to alleviate them arose, but it was impossible to move from these problems and crises to the message of the Qur’an by logical thinking. There is no doubt that the message of the Qur’an solved social problems, moral and intellectual, but not at once. An historian may suppose that Muhammad have brought such ideas solving serious problems by chance which is not possible. Neither empirical attempts nor active thought can explain to us as it should be the message of the Qur’an”.

the Qur’an refers to ethics in common with former nations (the Jews and the Christians). Allah says:

“And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.”(2:83)

When it forbids riba (Usury), he condemns the Jews for legalizing it and declares the deed to be unjust. In the Holy Quran Allah Almighty says:

“And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people’s wealth unjustly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.”(4:161)

And says,

“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing. “(5:48) 

Dr. Wurrant, a US philosopher, historian and thinker says”…For fourteen centuries, the Qur’an has been preserved in the memory of Muslims, evoking their imagination, their morality, and advancing their knowledge. The Qur’an instills the easiest and least mystical beliefs into minds, avoiding the formalities rigid rites, and the doctrines most free of paganism and priesthood. It is accredited with raising the moral and cultural levels for Muslims. It enabled them to have established codes of social order and unity. It, also, encouraged them to have health-care rules and free their minds from myths and illusions, injustice and cruelty. It helped the slaves and weak among Muslims and maintained a degree of moderation and chastity not matched in any part of the world inhabited by the white man.. “.

The Qur’an Attracts the Minds  of Thinkers with its Miraculous Nature

Irving , an American Orientalist says, “The Torah was one day the only regulating guide to man’s behavior. When Christ appeared, Christians followed the teachings of the Gospel, and now the Qur’an replaced it. The Qur’an was more comprehensive and detailed than the previous two scriptures. It rectified changes and distortions in those two books. It contains everything and all laws. It is the seal of heavenly scriptures. It calls for mercy, serenity and high moral doctrines”.


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title: Christian Concept of Fast (2),
content:

Relation Between Fast and Ethics

""

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting”. (Jesus), (Matthew, 6:16)

It is important to refer to the relation of the Islamic concept of fast to ethics. Agreeing with Qur’anic teachings as regards to reference to such relation, the Bible makes little hints to it also, where it shows the nearness of a worshiper to his/her Lord when s/he fasts, “In The Book of Judith Greek ( 4:12), we read,

“Know that the Lord is responding to your prayers, if you persevere in fasting and prayer before the Lord.”

Jesus, also, abandons his companions to show-off by their fast like the Pharisees saying,

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew, 6-16).

Comprehensiveness of the Concept of Fast

However, the Christian concept of fast lacks in comprehensiveness in comparison to Islam which sets forth many texts talking about fast as a rite that strengthens ethics among worshipers.

The Qur’an clearly refers to the relation between them in many texts. When it legislates fast as an act of worship, it points out that fast has been prescribed on all nations and mentions as an underlying cause for it that it enables worshipers to achieve ‘Taqwah’ (Fear of God)”.The  Qur’an says,

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183).

In hadith (Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad) it is reported that, the Messenger of Allah Muhammad quotes Allah, the Majestic and the Exalted, as saying,

“Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for My sake, and I will give a reward for it”. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

The Prophet also says to young people,

“O young men, you should get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s chastity. Whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a restraint Wija (i.e. preservation from getting into sin), for him”. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Imam al-Ghazali’s (d. 1111 CE / 505 AH), a Muslim scholar, mentions three degrees for “Fast”, saying, “It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special. Ordinary fasting means abstinence from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. Extraordinary Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin. Perfect Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He.

The Bible makes hints to such relations as follows:

“People screamed and made great invocation to their Lord and humiliated their selves with fast and prayer, men and women” (Judith Book, 4:8).

“I humiliated myself with fast” (Psalms, 35:13)

“But now the Lord says, ‘Get back to me with full hearts and with fast, weep and screaming”. (Books of Joel, 2:12).

Church Biblical interpretations to such texts have affected them badly. Father Dr. L. Hazboun defines the fast as “a form of repentance that reflects a regression in the relationship between man and God and others”.

In comparison to the Islamic definition of fasting, this definition remains limited. As it looks to fast as a formality, while the Qur’an indicates that fasting is an act worship, which was legislated by heavenly pre-Islamic laws. The definition, moreover, gives precedence to the spiritual side of worship on the account of the practical ritual one.

In Islam, however, we observe that the practical aspect of worship is inseparable from the spiritual one. In Islam, worship-aspect stands side by side to the practical-aspect. According to Islam, “Fast is abstinence from food, drink and sexual lust from true dawn to sunset with intention”.

The commentators of the Bible and the popes exaggerated the spiritual aspect on the account of the worship-aspect citing Jesus’ words reproaching the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in fast. In Islam, however, fast is a ritual worship, which involves within itself the moral aspects of self-discipline. Father L. Hazbun says,

‘”Fast has two aspects: Spiritual and bodily i.e. material. The bodily aspect of fast directs worshipers to disrupt deviant emotions, restrain vices, control instincts and pride of the heart and the temptations of the world to renew spirit and soul and relation to God. Therefore, fast is not only based on mouth, but on the eyes, ear, feet, hands, and other organs of the body. It is not, only, based on the change made to our bodies by food but on our hearts. One who controls lawful matters would control unlawful ones. Fast requires an effort  to defeat ourselves and get closer to God and people, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26: 41)’.”.

Acts of Worship and Moderation

The modern Christian concept of fast goes against the requirements of human soul as created by God in many respects. It goes against moderation legislated by real and just God to humanity represented in moderate prophetic-messages.

True religion requires keeping true legislation as revealed by the Lord of Heaven without dilution, distortion, extremism or construing their real meanings.

In view of the reality of contemporary Christianity, we see otherwise. The church distributes the licenses of breakfast according to its own wish; certain rites are prescribed where sacred texts are absent from the scene and the public has no choice but to accept otherwise they would be expelled and excommunicated from the kingdom of God.

On the contrary, the Islamic moderate view of fast is based on the preservation of the Qur’anic sacred text with the application of its provisions as stated by directives of the Messenger of God (Allah) i.e. Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him.

Islam maintains strict rules as regards to the interpretation of sacred texts; they should be interpreted in the light of the classical Arabic language and contexts in which the Qur’an was revealed without interference with the text or directing its meanings according to one’s own desires.

It should be noted that the tolerance and moderation of the Islamic sacred text emanate from itself; it is not extracted from another text .Muslim Jurists extract it from the text itself. God says about the blessed and moderate nation of Islam which acquired its moderation from its moderate legislation,

“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. (2: 143).

Islamic Moderation-theme remains comprehensive. It stands between two opposite poles. It stands between extremism and excessiveness. It takes beneficial elements from both of them and renounces bad ones. Islamic moderation formulates itself from the elements of justice and right. It renounces excessiveness or extremism which stems from the two poles i.e. excessiveness and abandonment.

The moderation of Islam that rejects the materialistic and spiritual excessiveness, does not change material and materialism nor soul and spirituality altogether. It is, rather, the universal medium encompassing the elements of right and justice from both materialism and spirituality, striking balance between them.

It is makes a perfect and moderate man keeping balance between worship and material life with all its leisure, and collectiveness and individuality. This is further supported by the incident of people who came to the houses of the Prophet to ask about his worship. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

“Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) to inquire about his worship. When informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said, ‘Where are we in comparison to the Prophet (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins’. One of them said, ‘As for me, I shall offer Salat (prayer) all night long’. Another said, ‘I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it’. Another said, ‘I shall abstain from women and shall never marry”. The Prophet (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) came to them and said, ‘Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; perform Salat and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah (way) does not belong to me”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

One may perceive the absence of the facilitation-aspect in the contemporary Christian view of fast as regards to the prohibition of what God has permitted without a clear and explicit text in this regard. Enacting rites of fast, the Church, in the absence of Christian sacred texts, prohibits certain types of food, such as meat, cheese and eggs. Asking the Christians about sacred texts for such legislation, they would answer: “It is up to the appreciation of the Church!”.

Such legislation for fast is made without divine legislation from God. How should Divine religious legislation be made according to the whims of people who are fallible? Would such legislation be considered divine?

Father L. Hazbun says, “Jesus drew us the main lines of fast, but he did not specify certain days of fast or hours for its beginning. He did not specify any obligations, prohibitions, or lawful rulings for fast. He, rather, prohibited sticking only to the apparent rites or formalities while abandoning spiritual aspects. He left the details of fast for the Church to decide them according to environment, various contexts and framework of faith. The Church laid the laws of fast. Doing so, it aims to ensure the minimum necessary ritual–and-ethical aspect and to unite all Christians in combating themselves to be near to God and people”.

To one’s astonishment, there are kinds of fasts about which Jesus does not anything! They are invented only by the Church after the demise of Jesus. Father L. Hazbun says, “Fast on Friday is to commemorate the day when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. The Catholic Church is flexible in this respect, respecting our freedom. It gives us the space to accept or not. To avoid confusion, it determines the rules for such fast as regards to age, fasting period, types of food, purposes of fast and its ways, and asks believers to apply voluntarily without coercion”.

The ecclesiastical intervention extended to all the aspects related to fast, such as the sexual relationship between man and his wife. Sexual intercourse during fast was legalized according to the permission of the father of confession! bishops said that the practice of sexual relationship between the husband and his wife during the hours of fasting does not lead to the final nullification and exit from fasting, but it is considered a “minor sin” like drinking a cup of water interrupting one’s fast!.

True religion is based on the abolition of all mediators between man and his Lord in the practice of acts of worship. The function of the messengers, and those, following him is to deliver the message of God. Bishops should not be allowed to interfere with people’s acts of worship because they do not know the internal wishes of humans.

 In Islam, the Qur’an abolishes all mediators (whether human or inhuman) between God and worshipers in the communication process through the acts of worship, that is, Du’a (invocation). He (May He be glorified and exalted) says,

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible”. (40:60)


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