Christianity

… and the closest in love and affection for the Muslims you will find those who say: ‘Indeed we are Nazarenes (Christians).’ This is because among them are savants as well as monks and they are not given to arrogance [Al-Qur’an, 5:82].

JESUS IN ISLAM

We, as Muslims, profess to the prophetic mission of Jesus[p] as the final and greatest Messenger of God Almighty sent to the Children of Israel.

We affirm also Jesus’[p] Messianic delegation, that he was the same expected Messiah of the Jews as foretold in the Old-Testament and in who’s second coming, we believe, will be actualized and fulfilled Divine kingdom or God’s Vicegerency upon earth.

As opposed to the Jews, we Muslims attest to his super-natural, miraculous birth and free his noble mother Mary[p] of heinous Jewish allegations.

We claim that the Jews had no genuine reason to negate Jesus’[p] Messengership; predictions of prophets of old were in place and applicable unto Jesus[p]. John, whom the Jews had already accepted as a true prophet, heralded Jesus’[p] prophetic mission, which, subsequently, left no room for their obstinate denial. The Jews knew also of Jesus’[p] noble lineage and were fully aware of his honestly and truthfulness in that he couldn’t possibly lie with regards to himself. Then came Jesus[p] with un-deniable miracles vouchsafed of God that included un-precedented miracles such as raising the dead back to life. Contrastingly, Muslims affirms all these unique and God breathed attributes to Christ Jesus[p].

With regards to his proclaimed Divinity (Godhood) we encourage friendly further dialogue in order to determine bounds (if any) within which we can praise and place Jesus[p], and together try level best to achieve the correct recognition concerning his noble being.

At the end of the day, we ally all those who ally Christ and abhor those who abandon Christ[p], and speak gladly of the unique and pleasant relationship Muslims and Christians can enjoy because of our mutual admiration and love towards Prophet Jesus[p].

Thank you!

Note: The abbreviation [p] stands for ‘peace and blessing of God be upon the person addressed’.

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pahaRi ka waAZ

عیسٰی علیہ السلام کے اِس وعظ کو اخلاقی تعلیمات کا شاندار نمونہ مانا گیا ہے۔ اس میں دین کی اصل یعنی اخلاقیات جس حُسن وفِراست سے بیان ہوئی ہیں شاید تمام الہامی لٹریچر میں اس کی مثال نہیں۔ اس کا مقصد انسانی شعور کی بیداری ، تادیبِ نفس، ہمدردی اور انصاف پسندی جیسی اعلٰی اقدار کو اُجاگر کرنا ہے۔ آج جب مذہب محض چند ظاہری رسوم و تہوار کا مجموعہ بن کے رہ گیا ہے اس وعظ کا پرچار اور ہماری زندگی میں اس کے ساتھ ایک زندہ تعلق نہایت اہمیت رکھتا ہے۔ یہ پوری انجیل کا نِچوڑ، مسیح کے مستند اقوال، اور بلا شبہ وہ نور ہے جس کی طرف قرآن ہمیں بلاتا ہے۔

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THE LORD’S PRAYER – IN ISLAM

What follows is a minor attempt of assimilating the famous ‘Lord’s Prayer’ with Islam. Though the Prayer requires no incorporating and is very much part of Islamic teachings (if not tradition), the need was there to convey that Muslims not only own the ‘Lord’s Prayer’; it’s message very much expresses the essence of Islam. This short article is edited by me (6sman), the original source can be found here written by brother Joan Booso to whom I’m very thankful.

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‘SON OF GOD’ – RE-INTERPRETED

Christians regard the ‘Son of God’ phrase used by Jesus[p], a personal pronoun in the New Testament (four Gospels), as self-consciousness of deity on Jesus’[p] part, whereas, Muslims have contrastingly seen the term carrying no more significance than mere expression of servitude, righteousness, and God-affiliation. At our previous attempt of expounding ‘What Son of God Really Means…’, we presented that very custom Muslim stance, but have since discovered that sonship in Bibliology means more, a lot more, hence this work, which might be read as emendation of our previous views. Herein, we’ve alluded the origin, nature, and history of the phrase in a simple and concise way, yet evoke Scripture familiarity and background knowledge about the contention. All in all, this presents Christians a new but quite inherent way of interpreting the term, placing the Son of God in his ‘proper’ religious and historic context.

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IDENTIFYING THE HOLY SPIRIT

The following is more or less a Muslim presentation regarding the identity of the Holy Spirit deduced from a range of Scriptural literature consisting of both Judaeo-Christian and Islamic sources. Though Muslims over-time have been quite unanimous with regards to his identity, Christians have and to this day debate the true identity, personality, and function of the Holy Spirit. Hence, our observation – as we hope – will incite Christian audience including the Muslim.

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TRINITY BUT TRANSFIGURED

An Islamized exposition of the Transfiguration narrative.

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ON THE TRINITY ERROR IN THE QURAN

‘The Quran got the Trinity wrong’, they say, when it describes the Trinity as consisting of the Father, Mother, and Son.

Or does it?

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WHAT ‘SON OF GOD’ REALLY MEANS…

Herein we have aimed to elucidate with simplicity and clarity the ‘true’ meaning of the long controversial and contentious term ‘Son of God’. Christian brothers and sisters are advised to read thoroughly and express their esteemed opinion.

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DECISIVE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE AGAINST CHRIST’S DIVINITY

This discussion should not be viewed as anti-Christian or pro-Islamic propaganda but purely my personal opinion on this most sensitive and talked about subject. As opposed to the general perception among Christians regarding the Muslim view-point on Christology, such a discussion does not stem from any ill-feeling towards Christ Jesus, after who’s name we say ‘peace and blessing of God be on him’, nor hatred towards the Christian community, but rather it’s the relationship we enjoy with and the enigmatic personality of Jesus[p] that keeps drawing us into seeking the true nature of the great man[p]. And the reason why addressees of such discussions are always Christians is because of our mutual regard for Jesus[p] and the unique relationship both Christians and Muslims enjoy as sited in the Qur’an [5:82] that generates between us and you an in-separable bond of respect and affection till the Last-Day, Amen!

Only two things remain that hinder this relationship from becoming a love-affair, one of which, in my humble opinion, is the un-necessary claim of Christ'[p] Divinity (Godhood) which shall, God-Willing, be erased if one were to ponder what follows and seek the truth with an open heart. And I see no reason to think otherwise, do share one if there is.

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IN RESPONSE TO ‘DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST?’

What follows is a reply to an article hosted at “God Omnipotent” entitled ‘Does the Bible Teach the Divinity of Christ’ written in response to my article wherein I attempted to provide ‘Decisive Biblical Evidence Against Christ’s Divinity’

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ON THE PROPHECY OF DEUTERONOMY 18:18

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him [Deut.18:18 NIV].

A considerate look at the overall context of this ‘prophecy’ reveals the erroneousness of both Muslims and Christians in their respective propositions. Muslims in general point to the prophetic mission of Muhammad[p] as the ideal referent, while, most Christians have always associated it with and viewed Christ[p] as fulfillment of yet another Old Testament prophecy.

In negation of my previous view, which was admittedly borne out of Muslim favoritism, I now suggest this passage concerns not a certain individual with particularity. Its immediate context, starting from v.9, points to the office of prophethood in general. Israel is admonished against turning to diviners and wizards who indulge abominable practices for supernatural commune and future foretelling [vv.9-14], hence receive assurance, out of personal request, of a continuous chain of prophets who, like Moses[p], would communicate unto them divine directives [v.15ff]. If the promise were pertaining a particular individual, the overall context would seem incoherent. The use of singular pronouns are actually collective singulars as in Isaian Servant songs [cf. v.22], and Deut.34:10 need not be seen as any hindrance either, since it magnifies Moses'[p] un-parallel dignity and status among Israelite prophets, whereas our passage merely concerns prophetic function [Ex.19:16-19].

Most crucially, this ‘prophecy’ could not be concerning Christ[p] since the very idea of a savior messiah was not yet formulated, coming to fore during the post-exile period. Jesus[p] himself never cited it in self-designation, remarkable considering Jesus[p] feels at home using, of frequency, his other messianic titles. Jn.1:45, 6:14, Act.3:22, 7:37 are confronted by Jn.1:19-21 and 7:40-41, and may well be described as devout zealousness. Neither does the Quran make any claim thereto, despite stressing the Prophet[p] being mentioned by name in the Bible. Q.73:15-17 merely stresses similar outcome of Meccan disbelievers as that of Pharaoh’s legions afore. Deut.17:15, which arguably shows the passage concerns Israelites alone, is enough in miscarrying the Muslim misconception.

Moreover, this ‘prophecy’ is no prophecy, rather, annunciation of God’s future scheme regarding the station of prophethood within Israel in compliance with her wish [Ex.20:18-21]. It is well-known that before Moses[p], prophets were appointed few and far between. The declaration concerns commencement of an un-broken succession of prophets among Israelites after Moses[p] [Q.2:87]. Hence, no particular individual is alluded here. The best inference one could achieve is an implicit one; that, since prophethood is the subject-matter and Jesus[p] is one of, if not the greatest, prophet in Israelite religious history, he more than anyone is here referenced. Yet any such deduction is naturally secondary and un-told in the text’s primary intent.

Regards.

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ARGUING FROM RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

Many people, in particular those inclined towards faith and religion, claim of going through ‘para-normal’ or ‘spiritual’ experiences that often leads to radical change in lifestyle. Testimonies to such ‘religious’ experiences are so recurrent that indeed some of which leave little reason for doubting their veracity. Many a lives have been altered by these experiences towards betterment and nobility, and are too real for an observer to simply neglect as mere hallucinations of the mind.

But skepticism over the veracity of religious experience is raised when testimonies of different observers ranging from different cultures and religions are brought under examination. It is objected that if spiritual or religious experiences were genuine, testimonies thereto would not be multidirectional, or in other world; they would all lead to one common reality, whereas, on the contrary; different people living on variant faiths experience ‘un-natural’ occurrences in conjunction with their pre-inclined religious yearnings, which doctrinally are incompatible with experience of others. We see a Buddhist monk experiencing things related to Siddhattha Gautama, a Hindu sadhu ‘genuinely’ enjoys and bears testimony to witnessing Kali Devi appearing forth from a designated sculpture. So also a devout Christian who could very well sense the presence of GOD and ‘see’ Christ descending from the heavens straight down his bedroom. While all these observers may or may not accept the genuineness of experiences others may go through: they wouldst mutually disagree over the truthfulness of it’s doctrinal (religious) implication and this lack of spiritual coherence render para-normal experiences seemingly abnormalities.

Notwithstanding, religious experiences are a fact and not always are in-coherent, whereas, many such experiences like witnessing divine entities (angels) at the point of death, or encountering demonic figures are most frequently reported and observed, not just by laymen but also intellectuals and philosophers. The persons known as Prophets, above all, testimony of whom is unanimously agreed upon, stand as vindication for religious experiences, be it on an altogether different level. So the basic critique over religious experience is regarding those in-coherent and un-tenable doctrinal implications drawn therefrom. Observers should be able enough to differentiate between what is a good experience; one which doesn’t lead toward misguidance, and what might cause harm and detract from GOD breathed Revelation which serves as touchstone in judging paranormal encounters.

Religious experiences must be refined by and subordinate to GOD’s Revelation (Holy Scripture). Any internal or external feeling that goes contrary to revealed Scripture must be discarded, since Revelation of GOD does not affirm delusion and superstition, whereas it always confirms sound reason and intellect. Any feeling that detracts from GOD, the Most High, under descriptions laid out in Holy scripture can safely be held reprehensible. The incident or experience of Jesus, the Nazarene, and his struggle against temptation provides good aid in us determining and differentiating between beneficial experiences and appearances that delude man from his LORD, the Most High. Jesus’ struggles against the Devil who enticed him with charming material allures were repetitively counteracted by Jesus with what GOD had revealed afore i.e. Scripture. So also shouldst experiencers examine their feelings. If one be un-certain or un-aware of Scriptural teachings then he may very well rely on his naturally gifted inner conscience; for Scripture comes to affirm what man already, without certainty, knows of natural cognizance.

So if you happen to be a Christian and incidentally, be visited by a luminescent person descending from the clouds of heaven and a glorious throne and accept self-adoration (worship); thereby invite toward alienness with respect to sound reason and Divine Scripture: then such an experience, despite it being ‘genuine’, can very well be regarded un-sacred based on two basic necessities: Revelation; in that belief in God and all our religious yearning connects to GOD’s mysteriousness, and for Him to appear in the material world conflicts information He has revealed regarding His Holy Being: “…My GOD, the Rock in whom I take refuge.” [Psalms], “I am GOD and not man” [Hosea 11:9], whereas, Revelation denounces and warns of safeguarding from inclinations of such nature wherein man most frequently trips himself. Such an experience would also violate what is known through sound reason inasmuch as Jesus, who was perfectly human as attested by the Christian creed, could hardly have prayed himself at Gethsemane or elsewhere for that matter. With aid from these two basic tools of discernment we are enabled to safely cleanse the mind of injurious thoughts; feelings that don’t solve problems but only add complication to distress. Religious experiences are genuine but not always to our good, in fact a large number sprout from evil and are designed to astray man from the path of truth into the wilderness of despair and confusion. Our job is to keep a tab on our inclinations and scrutinize them in light of GOD breathed reason and revealed Scripture.

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ANALOGIES FOR TRINITY?

In God’s Holy Name we begin Who’s Mercy over-shadows all forever, Amen!

Invent not similitudes for God: for God knoweth, and ye know not [Al-Qur’an, 16:74]

O Lord!, there is none like You, neither is there any God beside You, according to all that we have heard with our ears! [I Chronicles 17:20]

Christian Trinitarians often use analogies to demonstrate that the Trinity doctrine isn’t after all as en-explainable as people think. As a matter of fact, these analogies do go some distance in explaining or at least make easier to comprehend the concept of Trinity. By far the best of these analogies is one consisting of ice, water and vapor. But at best, this along with other sister analogies can do nothing more than help explain an idea, these by no means provide sufficient reason to accept the idea as truth. Even if we were to grant every analogy Trinitarians brought forward as perfectly applicable in illustrating the Trinity concept, yet all these analogies would not make the Trinity any more intelligible, and would only add as much tenability to it as analogies wrought by Pantheists and Polytheists in self-fancy. Hereunder, I present a few of those.

A well-known analogy Pantheists utilize is that of a tree. The example goes that see God is like a seed and the creation a tree with it’s stem, roots, branches and leaves. Initially, only the seed was present, and the entire huge tree was hidden in the small seed. When the plant grew into a massive tree, the seed disappeared. The seed is now manifest in this huge tree and does not have an existence outside of it. Another analogy Pantheists use is that of ice which melts into water, so also, God it was that formed into the macrocosm. Similarly, there’s the analogy of a rainbow consisting of seven colors yet being one rainbow. Though these analogies might not prove anything, they still are perfectly applicable similitudes from nature. Polytheists have likewise conjured multiple analogies in ‘justification’ for their creed. In one of these they represent God as the King who is in-approachable except through mediation of ministers and viziers. The point being that if analogies were of any aid in vindicating notions like the Trinity: these groups mentioned  would be more entitled to believe what they believe. And I could come up with analogies of my own to show God isn’t in fact a Triune God, but rather comprises of a single person. Consider that man consists of a single mind, I don’t recall anyone inherited with a dualistic or multiple minds. And we also know that man reflects the nature of God in whose image he is made. It follows analogically that God too must consist of a single mind. Though I would never use this as an argument for God’s uni-personality, simply because we as humans have no right to attempt explaining something which transcends our comprehension: for only if God Himself choose to Reveal His glory can we know of any certainty about His nature and will; No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things [Al-Qur’an, 6:103].

The concept of Trinity, on the other hand, raises more questions concerning God than it solves. What analogies fail to illustrate is the un-solvable contradiction that how could two opposite natures, nature of God and that of man, become wholesomely united without one tripping the other along the line? And if we are so lenient toward hypostatic marriages then why not also celebrate other triadic unities like those consisting of Osiris-Isis-Horus of the Egyptians, or the Hindu Trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Siva? Wouldn’t the same analogies be equally applicable to these Trinities as well? Barring a presupposed reading of the text, God breathed Scripture does not purport the Trinity concept, on the contrary, and I say this with utmost caution; Scripture in fact deems it abhorrible. ‘God is not a man’ it vehemently cries out at the tongues of prophets, whereas the Trinity notion represents a deviation from this prophetic tradition, a tradition Jews and Muslims hold to date and in light of which we ask: how could Jesus[p], being fully man, even claim Divinity? Especially when in accordance to Jewish Scriptures, if man were to make such a claim, he’d be prove an impostor worthy of death [See: John, 10:30:38]. Consider when a Jewish scribe inquired of Jesus[p] the noblest of all commandments, he repeated the Jewish Shema: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one…’ “You are right, Teacher” the scribe conformed:  “You have truly said that ‘He is One, and there is no other but He…” Jesus[p] acknowledged the Jewish scribe as a person of wisdom giving him glad-tidings of a heavenly mansion. I believe the Jewish scribe worshiped a uni-personal God and could not have had a Triune (three in one) Godhead in mind, whence I feel entitled to accept the Trinity doctrine as constituting an un-wise proposition and profess faith in the same Jewish Shema. The disciples of Jesus[p] were also seemingly un-conscious of any higher Christology. Peter denies, Thomas doubts, and Judas betrays him. If in his three year ministry Jesus[p] had actually preached the Trinity, as fellow Christian suggest, then such behavior from immediate disciples of Jesus[p] is quite un-foreseeable.

Now what I’m concerned about is my salvation, I wanna know exactly how am I saved?  Prophet Moses[p], Jesus[p], Muhammad[p], in fact all prophets of God came essentially to answer this very question and they did so in most un-complicate terms, to quote Christ Jesus[p]; Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” [John, 17:3]. Here, Jesus[p] links eternal life (Paradise) to two basic tenets. Knowing implies acknowledging the One God as uniquely deserving glorification and worship, and knowing Christ[p] necessitates living by God’s will manifested in His commandments as propounded by God’s dispatched agents (Messengers). Now as a believer in Christ[p] reading into the text without any pre-inclination towards the Trinity concept, what possible meaning could I deduce from his saying ‘τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν’ or ‘the only true God’ especially in light of what follows ‘καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας ἰησοῦν χριστόν’ ‘and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’? Am I being directed to believe in a deity made up of three distinct components or a solitary entity un-like the whole creation including Jesus[p]? The answer holds the key towards perpetual bliss or eternal damnation. The Prophet Muhammad[p] was once asked by some Christian priests to describe the substance by which God was made of, to which he replied: “My Lord is not made from any substance. He is unique and exalted above everything.” The Glorious Qur’an states: …Nought is there analogous with God… [Al-Qur’an, 42:11] Monotheism is actually separating God from His creation. When we say God is ‘one’ we negate, except perhaps in allegory, likening God’s holy essence and perfect attributes to those deficiencies that accompany the Creation and when speaking of God as ‘one’ we don’t just imply a numeric unity wherein pluralities can exist, as ‘one nation’ or ‘one family’, what is really communicated by God’s oneness is His absolute uniqueness inasmuch as nothing from the creation is comparable with God, He is exceptionally One without equal or similitude, a message the Holy Bible reiterates repetitively: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me [Isaiah, 46:9]. And for God to be un-like the creation He must be imbued with characteristics that run contrary to it, attributes like Eternity, Self-Subsistence, Immortality, Omniscience, Omnipotence; He must be the Creator, Sustainer, Providence to the creation and it’s sole Administrator besought in times of ordeal. However much is known regarding Jesus[p] from Scripture and history denies him share in any of these qualities, I would go to the extent of saying that our four Gospels serve as proof-text to that effect. So God is necessarily in-dependent of all want, whereas the creation, all that exists other than He, is essentially reliant upon God for subsistence: My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty Rock, my refuge [Psalms, 62:7].

As for Jesus[p] being ‘Son of God’ then words like ‘Father’, ‘Son’ can only be related to God in allegory, they have no real meaning especially if you consider Jesus[p] co-eternal with the Almighty. But if we insist on implying an actual relationship then naturally the Son must also be prone to re-production and we’d be up against a whole species of gods, as they say apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Moreover, if Jesus[p] be considered God’s actual (begotten) son it would clearly hamper God’s perfect uniqueness inasmuch now, instead of one, we have two distinct personalities, two with identical qualities; two entities besought and two deities worshiped. A father and son can be one essentially, but never in identity. I’m of the same genes as my father but an altogether different individual in that my qualities, at times, are in-dependant, different, and occasionally contrary to my father. The Qur’an rightly states that: If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both! but glory to Allaah, the Lord of the Throne:  (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! [Al-Qur’an, 21:22]. One may insist on worshiping the One God but when you have three distinct entities comprising of the same Divine attributes inherent in God; it makes for three distinct and diverse deities, the Oneness is clearly blurred.

CONCLUSION

These are but some reasons why I’m not inclined to believe in the Trinity doctrine any time soon over the Judaeo-Islamic uni-personal Godhead and feel that Christianity’s additional persons in Godhead are rather un-necessary and un-warranted. Though Christians do still attest to believing in One God, for which we can appreciate them, still; those extra persons stand as a deviation from centuries long prophetic tradition and subsequently, air confusion in the minds of truth seekers, aiding only toward doubt and disbelief. It is of vital importance that we come to unanimity on this fundamental concept, because if we can’t arrive at common terms on God; there basically remains very little to agree upon. Herein I’ve given my personal opinion and everyone is entitled to believe what they feel is believe-worthy, but take a moment to reflect upon the Trinity doctrine and if you are really a truth seeker, as all ought be; then you, like me, would find little room for a doctrine so remote from reason and strayed from Scripture. After all, its not because water exists in three different states that Christians believe the Trinity, its because you think the idea is firmly rooted in God revealed Scriptures wherein true guidance lays. But the late great New Testament scholar, William Barclay, suggests otherwise: “No where does the New Testament identify Jesus with God” [A Spiritual Autobiography]. And if the NT is empty of any positive admission of Christ’s[p] Divinity then what has one to say regarding the Old Testament? Yes there is mystery to God but when mystery partners in-consistency, it no longer remains thus. I do hope my words haven’t been of any offense, and I apologize if they be, but I, as a guy who believes in Christ Jesus[p] as God’s final Messenger to Israel, one born of a virgin named Mary[p] and a sinless son (servant) who lived perfectly by God’s will; find it disturbing when our Christian brethren step beyond Biblical bounds into conjuring out a mythically marvelous character whom Jesus[p] never played.

I thank you for a patient reading, Shalom!

Verily they conceal truth by saying “God is Christ son of Mary”, whereas Christ (himself) would say: “O Children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” [Al-Qur’an, 5:72]

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Notes;

The abbreviation [p] is a mini prayer: God’s finest mercy be showered on him.

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YESUA KON HAI?

ایک عیسائی موحد کی زبانی شخصیتِ یسوع مسیحؑ کی حقیقت کو جانئے۔

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