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Monthly Archives: April 2012
The Same God
By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Islam, with over 1.3 billion followers world-wide, is one of 3 major world religions that profess belief in One God. The word “Islam” derives its meaning from the Arabic for “peace” and “submission”, describing the peace and harmony that comes with faith. A believer in Islam is called a Muslim, which in Arabic means “one who submits to the will of God”.
Many Muslims prefer to use the Arabic name for God, “Allah”. Although it doesn’t really matter whether you use the Arabic name of Allah, or the English name of God, as they mean nearly the same thing. Allah is derived from the Arabic words “al” (the) and “ilah” (god) which simply means “the God”. However, “Allah” is more precise, as the name “Allah” is only used for Almighty God. Whereas the English word God with a small “g” can be used in many ways, for instance gods, goddess, and demi-god. The Arabic word Allah is never used this way, it always refers only to Almighty God. Allah is the same God worshipped by Jews and Christians, called Elohim or Elah in Hebrew. Indeed Arabic speaking Jews and Christians also use Allah for the Almighty. There is only One God, the Creator of all that exists. Jesus said “the Lord is One”, and this is emphasised in the Holy Qur’an.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
“And your God is One God: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” Holy Qur’an 2:163
“Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom he pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, hath strayed far, far away (From the Truth).” Holy Qur’an 4:116
Also, this is same teaching encapsulated in the biblical Ten Commandments:
This strict belief in the Oneness of God, and the teaching that all Muslims are equal before God, enables Muslims to transcend the divisions of class, race, nationality, and slight differences in religious practice that plague most other communities. All Muslims belong to one community, the Ummah (People), irrespective of their ethnic or national background.
Within just two centuries after its rise in 7th century AD, Islam spread rapidly from its original home of Arabia to North Africa, from Egypt to Morocco and Spain in the West, while spreading to Persia, India, and China in the East. In the following centuries, Islam also spread to Turkey and the Balkans in the north, and sub-Saharan Africa in the south.
Many early Christians believed in the Oneness of God, they denied the Trinity and other false doctrines. One of the most famous groups who held this view were the Arians, named after a famous priest of their order called Arius. They were still quite widespread until 325 AD. That year, the Roman Emperor Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea. Constantine invited representatives from the different churches to decide on important issues of Christian doctrine, such as the Trinity. Arius was invited to this council together with his rival Athanasius. Arius’ belief can be summarised as follows:
- The Son is a creature, who, like all other creatures, derives from the will of God.
- The term “Son” is thus a metaphor, an honorific term intended to underscore the rank of the Son among other creatures. It does not imply that Father and Son share the same being or status.
- The status of the Son is in itself a consequence not of the nature of the Son, but of the will of the Father.
Arius believed that God is The Creator. Therefore everything else that exists, is part of His creation, including Jesus. Therefore as Jesus is part of God’s creation, he cannot be God, and cannot literally be God’s Son. However the term “Son” was used as a way to show Jesus’ special status as the Christ. Athanasius thought differently, he started by pointing out the obvious, only God can save. God alone is able to break the bonds of sin, and all creatures need salvation. The logic of Athanasius’ argument goes something like this:
- No creature can redeem another creature.
- According to Arius, Jesus Christ is a creature.
- Therefore, according to Arius, Jesus Christ cannot redeem humanity.
Or put another way, Athanasius thought:
- Only God can save.
- Jesus Christ saves.
- Therefore Jesus Christ is God.
Athanasius’ views were accepted by the Council, and have since become the beliefs of most Christians. The Council of Nicaea resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. Christians regard this as a momentous event in the history of the Church. However with the founding of the Nicene Creed, the doctrine of the Trinity became central to Christian belief, as did other doctrines. At this crucial point in history, Christianity became more or less the religion it is today, and diverged significantly from its Jewish origins. But, it is written in the Scriptures:
“God is not a man…” Numbers 23:19
Interestingly only 245 years later in the year 570 AD, Prophet Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca. Muhammad taught the same belief in the Oneness of God as Arius. God says in the Holy Qur’an:
“…Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” Holy Qur’an 4:171
Prophets recorded in both the Holy Bible and Holy Qur’an
* Altogether Lovely : Song Of Solomon 5:16
** Comforter : John 16:7
Muslims believe in, love and respect all of these Prophets. Their names in English changed more as they were derived from Hebrew and Aramaic via Latin and Greek. The Jewish prophets were Middle-Eastern men, hence their language would have been Hebrew or Aramaic. So their names would have been the ones listed above in theHebrew Name column, not the more commonly known English names. Hebrew names are often similar to the ones used in the Holy Qur’an. Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic are in the same family of Semitic languages. These prophets, as well as the nations of Israel, and Ishmael (Arabs) are all descended from Abraham. The Jews and Arabs are cousins. Muhammad was prophesied in the Song Of Solomon as Mahamad in Hebrew. Jesus foretold him in the Gospel, the intercessor or counsellor (paraklytos) who “will guide you into all truth”, which was referred back to in the Holy Qur’an 61:6 where Muhammad is called Ahmad.
Quotations from the Holy Qur’an, use Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation. All quotes from the Holy Bible are taken from the NIV. (23.11.2007)
We Muslims should avoid this kind of discussion to rationalize the nature of the Quran. This is something not defined in the Quran and hadith. and we may get into a shirk, division and scandalized idea like whether Isa (AS) had been the incarnate Logos in Christianity.
This is part of al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat discussion,the theological positions of the Ahli sunnah wal jamaah (the tradition based on Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.) which is the massive majority of the Muslims, that the the uncreatedness of Speech of God the Most High i.e. the Quran is that it was the eternal and uncreated speech of God but that the ink, paper and the Arabic words of the sacred text were created.
How ? we just dont ask how because like the creation of Adam (AS) and the conception of Isa (AS) in Maryam (AS) womb , it was كُن فَيَكُونُ “Be!” and it is!
Allah says, “Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!” -Q 36:82
Allah says, “Verily! Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: “Be!” and it is.” – Q 16:40
Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi said in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat with a sound chain:
“Something Ibn Shaddad had written was handed to Abu Bakr al-Marwazi which containing the phrase: “My pronunciation of the Qur’an is uncreated” and the latter was asked to show it to Ahmad ibn Hanbal for corroboration. The latter crossed out the phrase and wrote instead: “The Qur’an, however used (haythu yusraf), is uncreated.” (al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (al-Kawthari ed. p. 265; al-Hashidi ed. 2:18))
“In another sound narration, Abu Bakr al-Marwazi, Abu Muhammad Fawran [or Fawzan], and Salih ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal witnessed Ahmad rebuking one of his students named Abu Talib with the words: “Are you telling people that I said: `My pronunciation of the Qur’an is uncreated’?” Abu Talib replied: “I only said this from my own.” Ahmad said: “Do not say this – neither from me, nor from you! I never heard any person of knowledge say it. The Qur’an is the Speech of Allah uncreated, whichever way it is used.” Salih said to Abu Talib: “If you told people what you said, now go and tell the same people that Abu `Abd Allah [Imam Ahmad] forbade to say it.””al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (al-Kawthari ed. p. 265; al-Hashidi ed. 2:18)
The Proof of Islam and Renewer of the Fifth Hijri Century, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali said in his “Foundations of Islamic Belief” (Qawa`id al-`Aqa’id) published in his Rasa’il and his Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din and partially translated in Shaykh Nuh Keller’s Reliance of the Traveller :
“The Qur’an is read by tongues, written in books, and remembered in the heart, yet it is, nevertheless, uncreated and without beginning, subsisting in the Essence of Allah, not subject to division and or separation through its transmission to the heart and paper. Musa – upon him peace – heard the Speech of Allah without sound and without letter, just as the righteous see the Essence of Allah Most High in the Hereafter, without substance or its quality.”
And Imam al-Tahawi said of the Qur’an in his “Creed of Abu Hanifa and his Companions”: “It is not created like the speech of creatures.”
It must be stressed however it is part of the aqeedah of ahli sunnah wal jamah that they never and do not encourage muslims to discuss and rationalize this concept like any human idea.
Christian Missionary often point to the Islamic non-prohibition to Camel flesh as a “proof” that Islam too is not consistent with the law of Moses. Therefore it is legitimate for Jesus (p) to “abandon” the Mosaic dietary law. Another Pauline teaching
As a muslim it is part of our belief that the Qur’an does not limit itself to replacement of earlier laws and customs; it supplements, affirms, and varies. The Qur’an does not consider itself unique in thus altering (while recognizing) prior legislation.
However on the question of what ought to be halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited), prior to the advent of Islam, the people of the book had were confused, permitting many impure and harmful things and prohibiting many things that were good and pure.
Prohibiting something which is halal is similar to committing shirk, and this is why the Qur’an censures the those who were prohibiting to themselves, without any authority from Allah prior to Quranic revelation, the eating and the use of certain kinds of produce and cattle.
كُلُّ الطَّعَامِ كَانَ حِلًّا لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِلَّا مَا حَرَّمَ إِسْرَائِيلُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن تُنَزَّلَ التَّوْرَاةُ ۗ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِالتَّوْرَاةِ فَاتْلُوهَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel made unlawful for himself before the Taurat (Torah) was revealed. Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Bring here the Taurat (Torah) and recite it, if you are truthful.” 3:93
The verse refer to is to some prerevelatory Mosaic prohibitions on food. That is the prohibition of ‘‘the flesh and milk of camels.’’ (‘Abdallah Ibn ‘Umar al-Baydawi, Tafsir al-baydawi)
The camel was not the subject of pre-Mosaic prohibition. The Bible does of course prohibit the flesh of camels (Lev 11:4; Deut 14:7.) but there is no biblical or rabbinic source support for the opinion that there is some pre-revelatory basis for the ban. This is according to Noah Fiedman professor of religious law Harvard Law School. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Feldman)
According to Prof Fieldman (who is fluent in Hebrew as well as Arabic), Leviticus 11:4 makes the prohibition on consuming camel flesh part of the organizing legal logic of the more general prohibition on eating beasts whose hooves are not split. Possibly the interpretation that connects the ban to camels relates to the pre-Islamic Arabian milieu, rather than the Jewish.
The Qur’an attributes an act of legal prohibition to a human, rather than a divine source: ‘‘save what Israel forbade for himself.’’ When juxtaposed with the revelation of the Torah, this formulation implies that the act of prohibition stemmed from a human source. So if we seek to identify this pre-Mosaic prohibition with anything in Jewish tradition, we ought to try to find it in an apparently non-divine source.
Only one biblical prohibition fits the criteria established: (1) food-related; (2) pre-Mosaic; (3) non-revelatory. This is the statement of Genesis 32:33, establishing the prohibition on consumption of gid ha-nasheh, variously translated as the sciatic nerve, or a vein associated with it:
‘‘Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the gid ha-nasheh that is on the hip socket, because he [the angel of the Jacob story] struck Jacob on the hip socket at the gid ha-nasheh.’’
This verse describes the existence of a food prohibition stemming from a non-Mosaic origin. It also, strikingly, does not report a revelatory source, but merely recites the existence of a practice. The three conditions are thus satisfied. By contrast, the Noahide laws of Genesis 9:3-7 appear before the Mosaic revelation, and several involve food (the ban on consumption of blood, and in rabbinic tradition, the ban on the eating of live flesh). But these prohibitions are squarely attributed to God, whereas the ban on eating the sciatic nerve is described simply as an Israelite practice.
God in the Quran makes it clear that prohibiting without divine sanction constitutes proof of error, or failure to adhere to the divine will. The Quran rectify the error by showing the Jews to have partaken of this error in pre-Mosaic times, prophet Muhammad (p) shows their capability for error, and puts the Jews on a level with the pre-Islamic Arab idolaters.
The Qur’anic text continues (Q 3:94): ‘‘For one who fabricates lies about God after this, those are the wicked.’’
So anyone who asserts that all biblical prohibitions are from God may be said to fabricate lies about God. Those who do so (i.e., Jews who assert the divine origin of every prohibition) are the ‘‘wicked,’’ in opposition to ‘‘truth-tellers,’’ the self-description of the Jews in the previous verse.
Prophet Muhammad (p) challenges the Jews by asserting that their own scripture presents Jacob (Israel) as legislating for himself, on his own authority. The Jews themselves (this occurs offstage, as it were) claim that all biblical prohibition, including Genesis 32:33, is divinely mandated.
Camel meat are among those prohibited animals were those which were called bahirah, saibah, wasilah, and ham during the pre-Islamic period of jahiliyyah. (The state of mind and conditions of life prior to the advent of Islam, characterized by deviation from the guidance of Allah and the adoption of ungodly systems and ways of life. (Trans.)) Bahirah (the slit-eared) denoted a female camel which had given birth to five calves, the last of which was a male. The ear of such a camel was slit and she was loosed to roam freely; she was not to be ridden, milked, or slaughtered, and was free to eat and drink from any place she liked without hindrance. Saibah referred to a male or female camel which was released to roam freely because of a vow, usually made following a safe return from a journey, the cure of an illness, or for some other reason. As for wasilah, if the firstborn of a female goat were a male, the polytheists would sacrifice him to their gods, while if it were a female they would keep her for themselves. In the case of twin offspring, one female and the other male, they would say, “He is her brother,” and instead of sacrificing the male they would release him to roam free; he was known as wasilah. And if a male camel’s second generation offspring was capable of carrying a rider, they would let the older camel go free, saying, “He saved his back,” and calling him al-ham.
While there are other interpretations of these four terms, they are all of a similar nature. The Qur’an rejected these prohibitions and left no excuse for those who practiced them to follow the errors of their forefathers: Allah did not institute bahirah or saibah or wasilah or ham; but those who disbelieve forge a lie against Allah, and most of them do not use their reason.
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَإِلَى الرَّسُولِ قَالُوا حَسْبُنَا مَا وَجَدْنَا عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَنَا ۚ أَوَلَوْ كَانَ آبَاؤُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ
When it is said to them, ‘Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger,’ they say, ‘What we found our fathers doing is enough for us.’ What! And even though their fathers did not know anything and were not rightly guided? (5:104)
‘Dawah refuted’ (DR) is a “regular jhon” new persona which retains its unintelligible thinking and incoherent English.
He is now back preaching that God cannot forgive sins but must always punish the criminal.
DR defends the idea of “justice” which god punishing an innocent person and let off the criminal. He can not deal with the fact that true God of Abraham is God is Just and Merciful.
He speak of the need for the so-called sacrifice of Jesus, a gross mischaracterization of the true God of the Bible. The scripture says that God’s justice is tempered by mercy, the two qualities perfectly balanced.
However this DR are believing in man-made theology by envisioning the punishment of the innocent rather than the offender.
This is not ‘just’ at all.
How can justice is carried out if the offender has still not been punished?? that he has not received his just deserts??.
Also how can possibly an entirely innocent person has taken the offenders punishment??.
This too is not ‘just’ at all. Justice has not been done in the slightest.
By definition justice is: “to treat people fairly, to give them their due reward or punishment.”
Therefore it is the guilty offender who merits the punishment. To punish someone else for that crime is unjust, an act of injustice – whether or not the parties involved agree to it or not.
Justice is justice and should not be twisted out of recognition to suit the man-made theology.
God in the scriptures CLEARLY say: The One Who Sins Will Die
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:
“‘The parents eat sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
3 “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. 4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
5 “Suppose there is a righteous man
who does what is just and right.
6 He does not eat at the mountain shrines
or look to the idols of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor’s wife
or have sexual relations with a woman during her period.
7 He does not oppress anyone,
but returns what he took in pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
but gives his food to the hungry
and provides clothing for the naked.
8 He does not lend to them at interest
or take a profit from them.
He withholds his hand from doing wrong
and judges fairly between two parties.
9 He follows my decrees
and faithfully keeps my laws.
That man is righteous;
he will surely live,
declares the Sovereign LORD.
10 “Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things[a] 11 (though the father has done none of them):
“He eats at the mountain shrines.
He defiles his neighbor’s wife.
12 He oppresses the poor and needy.
He commits robbery.
He does not return what he took in pledge.
He looks to the idols.
He does detestable things.
13 He lends at interest and takes a profit.
Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.
14 “But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things:
15 “He does not eat at the mountain shrines
or look to the idols of Israel.
He does not defile his neighbor’s wife.
16 He does not oppress anyone
or require a pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery
but gives his food to the hungry
and provides clothing for the naked.
17 He withholds his hand from mistreating the poor
and takes no interest or profit from them.
He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.
He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.
19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.
25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
This DF continue to rant that that ‘sin is a metaphysical nature and attribute’ – like a Platonic idea of sin which has an ontological existence in itself.
Islam (and genuine earlier revelations) teach that sin is anything that goes against the commands of God. Islam (and genuine earlier revelations) teaches that sin is an act and not a state of being.
One may sincerely repent to God for wrongs committed and seek forgiveness, as stated in the Quran: “Our Lord! Forgive us our sins, remove from us our iniquities, and take to Yourself our souls in the company of the righteous.” (3.193).
Therefore we do not need a human sacrifice to obtain forgiveness. Repentance will do.
Thats the true justice. that the only the guilty person merits punishment for his crime, the innocent person does not. To punish the innocent person for the wrong acts of the criminal is unjust, wrong, immoral and unworthy of the God of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
The parable of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful illustration of the true Abrahamic teaching.
* The writing above are mostly adapted from br. Paul Bilal Williams blog بارك الله
** The Arabic calligraphy by Elinor Holland is words from Muhammad (peace be upon him) which translates as “God has mercy upon those who are merciful to others.”
Tawhid – Ar – Rububiya in the Gospel
Teachings of Allah’s unity of Lordship in the Gospel of Matthew
In the latter stages of the Umayyad dynasty/caliphate, Islamic scholars felt a need to explain the elements of Islamic Monotheism – Tawhid, under some categories. One such category came to be known as Tawhid – Ar – Rububiya. Literally, it meant: Maintaining unity in Allah’s (SWT) Lordship.
Although much of Christianity digressed from the strict and straight path of absolute Tawhid, yet shades of monotheism can be found through the pages of the so called “Injeel”.
In this paper, we seek to bring to light all such Gospel teachings found in the “Gospel of Matthew” which reflect God’s perfect unity with regards to His Lordship! But before we proceed, let us briefly ponder into what Tawhid – Ar – Rububiya means and what are its…
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