The Original Sin – Part 1


One of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that sin is inherited. It is alleged that human beings are sinful by birth due to the sin committed by Adam (alayhi salaam) who ate from the tree made forbidden to him, which caused him to be expelled from Paradise. Although it’s interesting to note that within the Bible itself there are different versions of the same story and the accounts vary considerably. Nevertheless, this doctrine, known as the “Original Sin”, forms the very basis of the Christian faith as other important doctrines of the religion like incarnation, atonement and redemption are directly linked to it. If one were to reject the original sin it would lead to the rejection of the atonement and in turn Christianity itself. Because if human beings do not bear the sin of Adam in the first place then there would be no need for a sacrifice to atone for it.

Prophet Adam (as) is mentioned at various places in the Quran too. For instance, in Surah Ta-Ha verses 115-122, Allah ‘Azza Wa Jal mentions the creation of Adam, His Command to the angels to prostrate to Adam as a sign of honor and respect. The enmity of Iblis for the Children of Adam (his descendants, the entire human race) is also mentioned.

One important difference in Islam and Christianity is that Islam DOES NOT promote the Original Sin. Regarding the sin of Adam (as), the Quran tells us that he repented for his sin. Allah revealed to him words of repentance, which He then accepted from him and thus he was cleansed of the sin which he committed. 

~فَتَلَقَّى ءَادَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ~

“Then Adam received Words (of forgiveness) from his Lord, and He accepted his repentance.  Verily, He is the One Who repeatedly accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. (Quran 2:37)

This verse tells us about two of the Divine Attributes of Allah, that of Forgiveness and Mercy.

~إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ~

“He is the One Who repeatedly accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” Meaning Allah forgives whoever regrets his error and returns to Him in repentance. This meaning is similar to Allah’s statements,

~أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ~

(Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His servants) (9:104),

~وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ~

(And whoever does evil or wrongs himself) (4:110) and

~وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً~

(And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds) (25:71).

The Ayat mentioned above, testify to the fact that Allah forgives the sins of whoever repents, demonstrating His kindness and mercy towards His creation and servants.

[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

Therefore unlike Christianity that considers sin to be passed down from Adam to the rest of the creation and human nature to be sinful (which, if true, would’ve been quite unfair to be honest), Islam holds Adam (as) was forgiven by Allah and that sin is not inherited. Also that every individual is born in a state of spiritual purity, free from sin known as the fitra. Every person is equally capable of both good and evil. We’ve been created with free will, so it is only natural that we may fall into sin if we let ourselves be tempted by Satan. For this very reason it is important that we strive hard to stay away from temptations and work towards attaining the Pleasure of Allah. We are not expected to be perfect but that doesn’t mean we won’t be held accountable for our deeds.

~وَلاَ تَكْسِبُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ إِلاَّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى~

“..And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another…” (Quran 6:164)

I’ll address this in more detail in another post insha’Allah.

P.S: I was initially going to write on another topic, but it turned out that it was huge and there was a lot to read on it so this is kinda like a last minute thing. I’m travelling this week, but once I’m back I’ll make it up to you guys haha. Insha’Allah.

The Puny Human Mind


Assalamualaikum! Hope you guys are doing good!

So like I promised this post is on Comparative Religion, but before I start I’d like to add a disclaimer that I’m not an expert on this topic and whatever I say is just from the lil research I managed to do (I’ve tried to give references wherever possible). So if you think something I say is wrong feel free to correct me.

This is about a discussion I once had with a Christian friend on the trinity. We already know that the trinity is the central belief of Christianity and every Christian (with the exception of a few denominations) believes in it. I agree I haven’t read much on this topic but I’ve had quite a few discussions on it with people over the past few years but none have been able to explain it so far, every person has their own version of what it is.

As a side note, I think while doing dawah it is extremely important to be careful of what we say and the methods we apply because often times our intentions are good but the way we go about calling people to Islam is incorrect which sometimes results in pushing them further away from Islam. So we should avoid going to extremes. Our duty is to only present the message of Islam to them and not try to prove a point or win an argument. I learned it the hard way but hey, we learn from our mistakes, right?

So anyway I was talking to my friend and something she said at some point in the discussion really stood out to me. She said,

“How can the puny human mind fully comprehend God?”

It made sense tbh. How can we comprehend God Almighty, The Creator of the entire universe, of everything that exists in the world, of which we’re merely a tiny little part?

But regardless, that certainly should not be used as an excuse to not know God Almighty. Because if we don’t know God and what He commands us to do and the ways in which we should worship Him then how are we gonna worship Him correctly?

Allah Ta’aala Says in the Qur’an,
《 وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ》
“And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255)

Scholars have said that “This part of the Ayah indicates that no one ever acquires knowledge of Allah and His Attributes, except what He conveys to them.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

“Neither can imagination conceive of Him nor can understanding fathom Him.” (Aqeedatut Tahawiyyah, p41)

So it’s true, like my friend said, that we cannot fully comprehend God. We can never truly understand the true extent of Allah’s Might and Power and His Divine Nature. Simply because it is way beyond the reach of our minds. Even the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) warned us against dwelling on thoughts that we cannot grasp.

Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) related that Allaah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Satan will come to everyone of you and ask: Who created this and that?—until he questions: Who created your Lord? When he comes to that, one should seek refuge in Allaah [say: I affirm my faith in Allaah and His prophets] and avoid [such thoughts].”

Key phrase: “avoid such thoughts”

The human mind is limited and it is impossible for it to understand the Creator who is eternal and infinite and cannot be understood in terms of material existence. Therefore intentionally delving into matters of the unseen, trying to unveil mysteries of the Divine, and believing we are somehow miraculously capable of it is what the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) warned us against. But this does not in any way mean that there is zero possibility of knowing God because Allah سبحانه و تعالى Himself revealed to man some of His Attributes through the Qur’an so that we may worship Him correctly and not associate any partners with Him.

《 وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُمْ مُشْرِكُونَ》
“And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners unto Him [i.e. they are Mushrikun -polytheists]”
(Surah Ta-Ha 12:106)

Not understanding God could result in confusing His Attributes with those of creation which might thereby lead to deification of creation. An example is Christianity.

The Qur’an states,

《لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْء》
“…there is nothing like unto Him…
( Surah Ash-Shura 42:11)

There are many such verses in the Qur’an that give us an idea of the Divine Attributes of Allah. It is essential for our faith that we affirm and understand these Attributes as they are and not give them additional meanings.

So yeah I guess that’s about it. Hope you liked reading this. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and as always your comments and any feedback will be appreciated. 😊

May Allah سبحانه و تعالى keep us steadfast on His Deen. Ameen.

Remember me in your duas! Fi Amanillah  ❤

Which Is Better: Literal Or Contextual Interpretation of The Qur’an?


So alhumdulillah this post is finally up. But let’s face it, I have put off writing this for a very long time. Actually I got caught up with some work and I may have procrastinated a little. I apologize.

To give you a little background in case you’re wondering what this is about, a fellow blogger who is an agnostic expressed her concern over the interpretation of the Quran and how a misinterpretation can pose a threat to society, specifically certain minorities like atheists, feminists, homosexuals and nonbelievers in general. She says:

“I wish to understand whether a literal or contextual interpretation of the Qu’ran is better from a moral standpoint.”

(If you want to follow the entire conversation to get a better understanding of the topic then please read the comments made here. I decided to make a separate post as the original was getting very cluttered. Don’t know if it’s the theme I’ve selected for the blog or it’s something to do with WordPress?)

Okay so I’ll be attempting to address this issue from an Islamic perspective insha’Allah.

Morality

First off, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what morality is. Contrary to what was believed in the past, in today’s world, morality does not necessarily require that one should adhere to a particular religious point of view; in fact, it does not matter anymore whether you follow a religion or not. You’re morally right as long as you’re “not hurting anybody”. In other words, morality is seen as a relative issue which is defined by the majority. Culture determines what is right and wrong; there are no absolutes. For instance, if the majority sees no problem in prostitution then it should be okay. The same applies to homosexuality, binge drinking, possession of drugs, gambling etc.

But you have to draw the line somewhere, right? This is where I think religion comes in.

Now, I know that many people consider Islamic laws to be characterized by intolerance, harsh punishments, inequality, hatred and in extreme cases misogyny. It’s not their fault. It’s either their lack of understanding or blind following of the media. Whatever it is, it’s misleading and hence must be clarified. But first it’s essential to understand that the Qur’an is not merely a book of do’s and don’ts. Rather, there are various fields of study within the Qur’an itself.

The Qur’an

First, since it is a revelation from God, it contains information related to belief in a Creator, His prophets, matters of the unseen and the afterlife.

Second, moral guidelines to becoming a better human being, deeds of the heart and soul are explained with the aim of helping us develop a noble character.

Third, the law ordained by Allah.

I mentioned this earlier in my response to the sister but I’d like to reiterate that there is a difference between the Qur’an’s “text” (which is absolute, perfect) and it’s “interpretation” (which can have flaws). So we are not debating over whether a particular verse is “morally correct” today or if the Qur’an can be applied in the 21st century. That’s not even up for discussion. (I thought I should clarify this here)

Like I said, not all verses of the Qur’an contain a commandment or a prohibition. So it cannot be conclusively said that it can only be interpreted either literally or contextually. I think the doubt is primarily regarding Islamic laws and their application? The Shari’ah?

Then again, there is a huge difference between the Shari’ah and it’s “interpretation”. The Shariah is what constitutes the laws mentioned in the divine sources namely the Qur’an and Sunnah. There is another field of study called Fiqh (jurisprudence) which interprets these primary laws according to the circumstances under which it is applied. Fiqh which literally means the true understanding (interpretation) of what is intended in the text, is not fixed; it can change depending on the circumstances. This is what distinguishes it from Shari’ah.

For example, Salah or the five daily prayers are made obligatory in the Qur’an (Shari’ah) but the method of praying, times of prayer, criteria for acceptance, conditions that make it void (Fiqh) are not mentioned. But we still have them in Islam. It’s because all of these details were derived from the sayings of the Prophet and other sources. You don’t just pick a verse from the Qur’an and make a ruling on it.

As for your question, “Are equality, slavery and capital punishment moral ideals we can debate and discuss? “, I think you’re overlooking the fact that there are no set moral standards. They keep varying depending on the interpretations of different people belonging to different cultures. American courts may not outlaw adultery but several other countries do. I will not be going into detail about each of these as it might get slightly off-topic. However, I’ll try to address them through future posts insha’Allah.

I understand that certain laws like stoning for adultery may seem inappropriate to nonbelievers. But Muslims believe that God, the one who created us, knows what’s best for us individually and collectively as well. Just like the government of any country establishes a set of rules and regulations to be followed by the people of the country, in Islam the supreme authority lies with God. Isn’t death penalty the punishment for treason in most countries? The difference is that the Islamic system of justice is so well-defined that in order to carry out a punishment certain criteria must be fulfilled, in the absence of which the defendant always gets the benefit of doubt.

Shari’ah & It’s Objectives

Shaykh Abd al-Halim Mahmud, a Shaykh of al-Azhar and one of the highest scholars in Islam in recent times, wrote:

Among the philosophical principles were justice, the existence of good and evil, and the relationship between human beings and the environment and his interactions with it, the most important of these being the freedom of choice.

These objectives are broadly categorized as:

1) Establishment of justice;

2) Educating the individual;

3) Upholding morality, in public and private;

4) Preventing hardship, on individuals and society;

5) Preventing oppression.

Moreover, it is mainly concerned with the welfare of individuals. Scholars explain that the welfare of humans is based on the fulfillment of necessities, needs, and comforts. There are five necessities: preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and wealth. These ensure individual and social welfare in this life irrespective of race, religion, or ethnicity.

Who Can Interpret the Qur’an?

Finally, regarding your argument that anybody can interpret the Qur’an, it’s not true because the Qur’an is the basis of Islam and it’s essence lies in the true understanding of the text. If free rein was given to just anyone then they’d naturally end up misinterpreting it due to lack of knowledge. If fact, there is a hadith addressing this issue,

Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

“Opinion based argument about the Qur’an is kufr (disbelief).” He repeated it three times, then said, “What you know of it, act upon; and what you are ignorant of, refer it to the one who knows.” (Musnad Ahmad.)

The Qur’an is a guidance for all of mankind till the end of times.

P.S: Sister I’m sorry for delaying the response…I’m not even sure if I’ve clarified your doubts. I did try. If there is anything else you’d want to know or you seek more clarification on this subject please feel free to comment. Thanks.

The Muslim Creed


The Shahadah is the Islamic creed which states:

“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is a messenger of Allah”

Many non-Muslims don’t understand why there is a need to mention the name of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the creed. Some even go to the extent of labeling it as an “association”. Which is clearly a big misconception. Being a Muslim I think I should clarify this for them.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the meanings of a bunch of terms before we begin. So here goes

Creed: A formal statement of religious belief; a confession of faith.

Messenger: The one to whom a law is revealed and he is commanded to convey it. (theology)

Association: Worshiping a god besides the One True God.

Shahadah: Derived from the Arabic word which means “to declare” so, literally it means the declaration of faith.

Secondly, it is also important to understand what the Shahadah denotes.

There are two parts to it; first:

There is no God but Allah

This actually denies the existence of any other true God besides Allah. How? We all know that there are many gods (objects, people, places, mythological figures) being worshiped by people worldwide. Every religion has a different god; but all of them can not be true, right? Only One is. Therefore, according to Islamic teachings all the other objects of worship are false gods. The Shahadah confirms this, that the true God is only One God, Allah. It would be more appropriate to translate it as “There is nothing worthy of worship besides Allah.”

Second:

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final messenger of Allah ‘Azza wa Jal sent on earth to guide mankind. His commands must be obeyed because they were based on revelation and were not a product of his own personal whims and fancies. The Qur’an states:

“Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred, Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed

(Surah An Najm 55:3-5)

So, obedience to the Prophet is obedience to Allah, as stated in the Qur’an,

“He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.”

(Surah An-Nisaa 4:80)

But this obedience is qualified as the Prophet (peace be upon him) was quoted as saying in a hadith:

“There is no obedience if it involves disobedience toward Allah. ” (Sahih)

So basically we believe that there is no God but Allah and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger. While declaring our faith as Muslims we need to mention our belief in the last prophet because our faith is entirely based on the revelation sent to him, and not as an association in divinity (God forbid).

In order to properly worship Allah we have to follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) because he was sent as an example to guide us. How can it be an association if the first part of the shahadah forbids and denies it?

“There is no God but Allah”

The term “association” implies worshiping someone or something alongside God. There is not a single Muslim who “worships” the prophet. I think that alone should suffice as evidence.

Got questions? Just ask. 🙂

Was the Bible Preserved?


The basis of any faith lies in its scripture which can be traced back in history so its authenticity can be determined.

We all know that the Bible was written by men and is not the direct word of God. Although it’s alleged to be “divinely inspired”, that certainly is not the same as being the word for word speech of God. While the Islamic creed necessitates belief in the previous Scriptures, it also hold that none of them exist in their original forms today. Despite this fact, Christians persist in their misleading claim that the Qur’an supports belief in the Bible. Obviously that’s just to create doubt in the minds of believers. Such claims don’t even have any basis to begin with. But if we have the resources to prove their allegations false, then why not? It’s true that the Qur’an speaks of earlier Scriptures and the obligation to believe in them. But do these scriptures exist today? Is the Bible one of them? And were they preserved as was supposedly promised? If not, why and how did they get corrupted?

In order to properly understand this, let’s tackle it one step at a time,

First off, every Muslim believes that throughout history Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’aala revealed His word to mankind through Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) in the form of Scriptures, some of which are mentioned by name in the Qur’an (like the Injeel, Torah and Zaboor) while others are not. So basically these would serve as a reminder, guide, rulebook, criterion to believers and their descendants. They were commanded to follow every rule in the book, obviously because it was from their Maker and Sustainer, just like we, the ummah of our Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, are commanded to follow the Qur’an.

Today Christians claim that God promised to preserve the Bible from every error till the end of times. On the contrary, the Qur’an says that the earlier scriptures were corrupted by people. Books like the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah that carry the names of these original Scriptures cannot be considered to be the revealed Books of God. These may contain some portions of the original revelation but it has been proven that much of their content has been tampered with so it cannot be considered to be God’s words. However we are required to have faith in their original unadulterated versions.

“Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah after they had understood it while they were knowing?” (The Noble Qur’an 2:75)

They used to “hear the words of Allah” and then “distort” them. This is clear proof that the people to whom the Torah was sent distorted its words. What about the Bible then? Read the following verses to find out.

“And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, “This is from Allah ,” but it is not from Allah . And they speak untruth about Allah while they know.” (The Noble Qur’an 3:78)

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], “You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.” But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.” (The Noble Qur’an 3:187)

Both these verses speak of “Al-Kitab” which translates to the Book/the Scripture. The question is which book/scripture are these verses referring to? I’m sure you’re aware of the title “people of the Book” which is used many times in the Qur’an to refer to the Jews and the Christians. Now relate the Al-Kitab mentioned here to the title. It does ring a bell, right?

Also, Allah ‘Azza wa Jal says in the Qur’an,

“Inna nahnu nazzalna-dhikra wa-inna lahu lahafithoon”

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (The Noble Qur’an, 15:9)

When Allah is speaking of preserving His Word from corruption, He is referring to the Qur’an and not the earlier scriptures. The word used here is “Adh-Dhikr” meaning the Reminder/Message. This is one of the names of the Qur’an. There’s a reason why Allah has promised to preserve the Qur’an. It’s because it is the Final Scripture and is meant for all the generations to come till the last day, unlike the previous scriptures which were meant only for a certain time for a certain people.

I don’t know if I’ve done justice to the topic. There’s so much to say and I’m sure there’s more solid evidence out there. But I really hope through this post I was able to shed some light on this topic and that it benefited someone even if it’s just one person.

The reason I chose to research (I hardly did any. And that’s why I think I might add some more later on insha’Allah) and write on this topic was because I was part of this weird discussion which honestly wasn’t going anywhere. Supposedly there’s a verse in the Bible which speaks of its preservation from corruption similar to the verse of the Qur’an. So the person was arguing that if both the books are from the same God, then how can it be that one is preserved and the other isn’t? I know it’s silly. But you can’t tell that to them. It needs to be proven. And that’s how I’m here trying to reason it out.

Everybody knows that the Bible has contradictions, it’s as plain as day. I don’t see why someone should believe in a book written by men. Just any men, a variety of them from different backgrounds in different circumstances over different time periods each claiming to have been inspired by God. It’s just too much. I find it completely contrary to reason.

Why We Do Not Need a Saviour


Many questions come to my mind when I think about the Christian concept of atonement of sins. To briefly explain what it’s all about – man is believed to be fallen from the grace of God due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience; it’s called the “original sin”. It is this sin that was passed on to the rest of creation. In order to rescue mankind from their sinful nature Jesus willingly sacrificed himself.

There are several reasons why this isn’t true.

Firstly, why should God require a sacrifice in order to forgive?
God is not only able to forgive sins, in fact He is the Most-Forgiving. No matter how great a person’s sins are if God wills He will forgive him. Placing a mediator between God and His creation is like limiting God’s ability to forgive. Allah says in the Quran,
“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.” (Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:25)

“Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.” (Surah An-Nisaa 4:48)

Secondly, everyone is accountable for their own actions.
A person will be judged purely for his/her actions and not the sins of others, plain and simple. Allah says in the Noble Qur’an,
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another.” (Surah Fatir 35:18)

Interestingly, this view is also supported in the Bible,
“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.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

“God will repay each person according to what they have done.” (Romans 6:2)

Lastly, there is no clear proof in the Bible supporting it.
Prophet Jesus himself did not believe in the original sin, rather encouraged repentance and obedience of the law.

True that as humans we tend to sin, but that doesn’t mean we have “fallen from the grace of God”. This statement makes absolutely no sense. God is infinitely merciful and gracious and He accepts the repentance of whom He wills. We do not need any saviour to liberate us from the burden of sin. We must directly seek forgiveness from our Creator who alone is able to forgive our sins.

Is Jesus God? Muslim-Christian Dialogue


I was amazed at how well Dr. Bilal Philips debated with this Christian. It is really difficult  to keep your cool at times when the other person isn’t making any sense. But indeed wisdom is in acting with patience and an open-mind. There’s so much to learn from such amazing scholars masha’Allah. May Allah bless him. 

Here’s the video link of the dialogue and a brief introduction of Dr. Bilal Philips in case you don’t know and following is the transcript of the same.

***

Christian: I believe that my faith is based on evidence; I believe that it’s based on my own logic, my own understanding; it’s not a blind faith because I don’t think that’s a faith at all, it’s a myth.

Dr. Bilal: No, if you’re saying it’s based on logic and understanding…I mean the core of it, the fundamental, the concept of the trinity is something which Christian theologians haven’t tried to explain and gave up and said “it’s a divine mystery”. So this is the very core of the religion. To talk about logic and rationalism after your very fundamental concept is irrational; it’s irrational in the sense that when you add three things together you don’t get one you get three. So this is the fundamental irrationality that is there. When you’re speaking about Jesus dying…the concept of god dying is in itself something irrational. When we use the term God, as god has always been understood by Jesus and the Prophets who came before is One who has no beginning or end. So to speak of God dying, meaning coming to an end is something irrational. It goes against the very concept of God.

Christian: But I have to go back to the same point. When you die and when I die, is that the end? Of course not. Then why aren’t you applying the same logic to God? Because you’re saying if god dies in the body then he’s ended. Dying doesn’t mean you cease to exist. Dying means your body dies. I mean I believe that about the soul.

Dr. Bilal: Was the body of Jesus god?

Christian: No I believe that he was god.

Dr. Bilal: But was his body god or it is just his spirit that was god? Was Jesus’ body god also or is it only his spirit which was god?

Christian: I believe he came down to earth in the form of a man. That’s just when he came to us.

Dr. Bilal: So is that form – the form which was in a body – was that god? The body?

Christian: Well, I believe he was god. He’s god…

Dr. Bilal: So the body was god.

Christian: Not the body…

Dr. Bilal: See, this is the problem. You’re jammed because of the fact that in the text it says, “in the beginning was the word, the word was with god and the word was god,” then you go back and you say “the word became flesh” this is according to John. So it meant that the body was god. Yes that’s what that meant. But because of the problem which exists intellectually right now for you…you want to make that separation, and this has led in the church history to major problems, major breaks between Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity over the same issue. Of was Jesus god in the body and the spirit?

Muslim girl: If Jesus was god then how couldn’t he save himself from the Romans? How could he die? And he’s not even a god, he’s just a prophet. God sent him to tell people what was right.

Christian: Well, he could’ve saved himself from the Romans but he chose not to because he wanted to save us.

Muslim girl: No, because God is not that. God is up in the sky, He’ll never end. I believe in this because I’m a Muslim. I don’t believe all this rubbish. And God said pork is haram for us and it’s haram for Christians but you’re eating it so what I mean is that…none of them are right, that’s what I believe.

Dr. Bilal: Anyway…

Christian: But I want to get back to your point. I don’t understand, you kinda pin-pointed me when you said was Jesus’ body god…

Dr. Bilal: Meaning whole god, complete god or was god you know, infused within a part of his creation meaning the body was created but then god, the soul filled that body and then moved around? So when the body died, it was the body dying and not god. One can accept that one because this is where it seems that you’re coming from.

Christian: Let me tell you something. I don’t know…there are a lot of things that I don’t understand and those things about Christianity, I mean about life, God, I don’t understand and in some ways I’m glad that it is so because if he’s such a small god then I can understand everything there is to know about him. I have a real problem, that’s not the kind of god; that’s not god to me. It’s not right. I can understand relationships; I can understand the relationship between a father and a son. That is something I can understand. I can understand that god, a loving god needs…I mean a loving god will…um…exist…exist is not the right word…will be, maybe that’s right – will be because he always is – represented or existed in three persons because he is a god of relationship. I don’t believe he’s…

Dr. Bilal: Wait a minute. But do you believe that God is unique?

Christian: Certainly.

Dr. Bilal: Okay. This is one of the basic characteristics of God. It’s that He’s unique. He’s not like the things He creates. The things that he creates they share these common attributes. God is unique. So when you’re speaking about God being a trinity; being three persons, having parts exactly then you’re making God like his creation. Yes aspects of the creation are like that. We have steam and ice and water. We have the tree with its branches and the roots, then its trunks. This is God’s creation. But the Only Unique Being is God…

Christian: Certainly.

Dr. Bilal: …and He is not in the form of His creation. What you’re actually doing when you’re trying to say He has his personality, you can understand it; you can understand it right because yes it exists amongst us. We are divisible; we have parts, we have aspects. You know we have an emotional being, we have an intellectual being, we have a spiritual being; these are human characteristics. These are the characteristics of His creation. This is not God. God is unique. He is God in the full Essence.

Christian: Certainly I believe in His uniqueness.

Dr. Bilal: And part of that uniqueness is not being at multiple personalities. We put people away in the hospital because of their multiple personalities. We say they are sick. This is considered sickness –multiple personalities. Human beings have it. This is not God. God is One God. The same God who Jesus worshipped, who Jesus worshipped and he fell down on his face in worship of that God. The same God Abraham and Moses fell down on their faces and worshipped. One God.

Christian: We should be worshiping Him, I agree. God is Almighty. But I have this question for you, I mean, do you believe you have some sort of relationship with God?

Dr. Bilal: Yes.

Christian: How is this relationship? I mean, is your only relationship to Him that you obey His commands; He’s your Master and you’re his slave obeying His command, that’s the only relationship you have?

Dr. Bilal: I turn to Him in my time of need, I call on Him, I try to remember Him to guide me, to be aware of Him. The fact that He’s looking over me, aware of what I’m doing, to have to guide me aright…I seek His Grace. I know that it’s only by His Grace that I can attain salvation from this life. I have a personal relationship.

Christian: But I have this question, what is your concept of love in terms of a person loving another person, I mean if you love somebody will you spend time to be with him? Will you go to be with him? I mean say for instance you have a daughter, a little girl who just came a few months ago, if you love this daughter you will go down to her, you will spend time with her, you will play with her, you will take initiative as a father maybe to go down. The little girl may come to you, but if she doesn’t, I’ll tell you what you’re gonna go get her, aren’t you? Or you’re just gonna let her go if she wandered off? No because you’re the father you go get her. Well I have this question I believe you have the whole way you believe that God has come to you is through the Qur’an right?

Dr. Bilal: Through the Qur’an.

Christian: Through the Quran and through the beliefs and the teachings, is that correct? Is that the only way God has come to you, just through the books?

Dr. Bilal: What do you mean “come to you”?

Christian: I’m just thinking how did he come to…I mean uh..

Dr. Bilal: I mean how did God reveal Himself to human beings? He revealed Himself to the human beings through the Prophets.

Christian: Okay through the Prophets. But I have this in my mind… is that you know as a man or as a father the way you treat a daughter, the way you love her, the way you chase her if she was running away? You would not wait for her to come to you if she was going to get hurt. You would go down and get her or even if she did something wrong. Maybe this little girl accidentally did something wrong and hurt somebody else you will even go pay that person that she hurt because you want her back to you right? You might do that. That’s our love. That is love. I believe God is the god of love and I think he’s giving more than just Quranic teachings and the last Prophet Muhammad…

Dr. Bilal: But it’s not just that. It’s also stated in the Quran that when God created Adam, at the time of the creation of Adam all of that creation, all of the human beings to exist in this world were created at the same time in the spiritual form and they were made aware that God was their Lord so the revelation is a reaffirmation of that consciousness. So every human being was born as a part of his nature the consciousness of God. Now the society may deviate that individual whatever but that is there. Also God sends signs to every human being throughout his or her life you know. So it’s not that the person is left alone that it’s only oh ok if he opens the Quran or the scripture that he’s going to see the signs, no. The signs of God are all around us. They are within ourselves when we reflect, in our sleep, in our dreams. How many times people have dreams which bring them into some kind of a sense of reflection and search for the truth because it came in a dream. Where did that come from? So the issue of God leaving human beings, we don’t look at God as having left human beings. Try to compare…again when we talk about God being unique. He’s unique in the full essence that you do not compare God in His relationship to His creation to you and your relationship to your daughter. Yes you have to go to your daughter because that’s the only way; you cannot come in her dreams; you cannot reveal yourself to her in her dreams, God can. So I’m saying you cannot put that as a part of her psyche, there are so many limitations that you have so you are forced to come to her, whereas God doesn’t have to become one of us to come to us.

Christian: But you know what I want to come to my daughter, I love my daughter. And I’ll tell you what if I could communicate to my daughter in her dreams, and signs…and maybe…

Dr. Bilal: But you can’t and that’s what makes God unique.

Christian: I cannot but if I have the choice I wanna come to her directly. I love her. I don’t wanna give her dreams and signs.

Dr. Bilal: The problem with that is that in that example that you’re giving were you trying to link it now with Jesus and God becoming manifest here then you have a problem. All the generations that came before so you’re gonna then say, God didn’t love those earlier generations; He only loved the generations who came from Jesus’ time and onward when Jesus became a man and came amongst people. Now he’s loving and being kind to the human race – those who came after, but all those who came before, he was not. So you put God in a position of being unfair.

Christian: But no…I…

Dr. Bilal: You see the point is that where we’re coming from everybody is in common. It’s same for everybody; everybody is born with that same consciousness, God reveals in everybody’s psyche, in their dreams, the signs in their lives. Everybody has that sense of equality. We all can find God but for you, you’ve made a very specific point in time and history which then denies all of the other people who didn’t have a chance. All of the people on earth today who’ve never come across Christianity, who’ve never heard about Jesus. There are many many people on different parts of earth, so what? God is not loving them also?

Christian: See I agree some of what you said before about this implanted thing we have in ourselves. We want to worship God, we wanna love God. We have something in us that seeks God. We’re spiritual beings, meaning somebody who seeks to worship God. And I think maybe you were saying something about this creation, I mean we have creation all around. It’s incredible; I just look at it it’s so beautiful, it tells me about God. And if I’m in some place where I don’t have a Bible…you know what I’m seeking, not everybody is seeking, but if I am I will see it in the creation. God is in the creation. We can all agree it’s just amazing.

Dr. Bilal: Sure, but you see the point is that in the system that you’re following you’ve already said that without accepting Jesus as your personal savior you can never inherit the kingdom of God. So that person who has never had access to the bible and to hear about…yeah he can find about God in the creation etc and then he according to Islamic teachings becomes a Muslim. He becomes one of the worshippers of God, whereas in your case, no he’s lost. And this is the universality; the religion of God is universal and it is not restricted to a particular set of people who have only heard about this particular individual etc. The universality of the religion of God is essential and this is the justice and fairness of God with mankind and also an expression of his love.

Christian: I don’t know if you understand…please crack me if I’m saying something that you don’t. Do you understand what Christians believe about what the church is? Maybe you don’t know because sometimes there is misinformation. Christians…most of the…

Dr.Bilal: I’ll say you, alright. I’ll say that it depends on what Christian you are. Eastern orthodox have one view the Western have another. Protestants have one view the Catholics have another. Seventh day Adventists have one view, the Born-agains have another. So when you’re saying what Christians believe about the church, God knows brother. You have to go and find out which Christian are you talking about. You want to tell me about your Christian; your version, okay tell me your version but I will bring somebody from this audience here who has another version of what the church is.

Christian: Well I mean I just wanna show with you…

Another Christian: I’ve got. I’ve got

Dr. Bilal: Yeah I’m sure you got. You know…give us your version.

Authors of the Bible


Funny how a sacred book is said to have “authors” when it’s actually supposed to be solely the word of God. This is enough proof that the Bible is not God’s Word. But can we stop here just yet? Yes, of course, we can. Any intelligent person would know that it’s futile to seek answers in a religion that has a flimsy foundation to begin with. The problem however is in convincing those deluded by their blind faith in unfounded beliefs. It is for this cause that we must reason with them. The truth is black and white so establishing it shouldn’t be that difficult. 

We already have two points that we agree on even before we begin; that the Bible is not written by God and that it is authored by different people at different times.

So if not God, who exactly were the authors of the Bible?

As most of y’all know, the Bible consists of two sections, the first is called the Old Testament and the second the New Testament. In this post, I’ll mainly be talking about the NT because most of Christianity today is based on  it. 

According to Wikipedia, from the 27 “finalized books” of the New Testament; there are 4 Gospels, 21 Epistles, the Book of Acts and the Apocalypse of John. But unfortunately, none of them are truly written by any of the disciples of Jesus (‘alayhis salaam), but allegedly “ascribed” to them:

  1. The Gospel of Matthew, ascribed to the Apostle Matthew
  2. The Gospel of John, ascribed to the Apostle John.
  3. Epistle of James, written by an author named “James”, often identified with James, the brother of Jesus.
  4. First Epistle of Peter, ascribed to the Apostle Peter.
  5. Second Epistle of Peter, ascribed to the Apostle Peter, though widely considered not to have been written by him.
  6. First, second, third Epistle of John, and the Apocalypse of John ascribed to the Apostle John.

So now we have some idea about how the NT could have possibly reached us – it is ascribed to and not necessarily written by some of Jesus’ disciples and was “finalized” at a point in time.

Don’t rejoice yet. There is still a lot to decipher before we actually come to a conclusion. One, if it was in fact Jesus’ disciples who wrote the NT, then in which language did they do so? Two, who finalized the books and why? Three, what about the rest of the gospels, were they not “gospel” enough that they got rejected?

Bible scholars state that the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament were originally written in Greek. One fact we know for sure is that Jesus did not speak Greek but Aramaic. So naturally, his disciples are expected to speak likewise. Then if they really did author the NT then why not in a language they spoke? From this it becomes explicitly clear that these books can in no way be associated with the disciples of Jesus. Apart from this, whoever wrote them, did so only for personal gains because why would someone write under someone else’s name, let alone the pious disciples of Jesus? There are some claims regarding Peter growing up in a Greek background, John knowing the language a little etc., yet it cannot be explained as to why the manuscripts were found at the end of the 1st century and not any time before it.

What is the whole deal about the canon being “finalized”? Who decided which books to be considered as divinely inspired and which books to be rejected?

I’m lost for words.

Supposedly while compiling the different writings, a church council finalized a list of 27 books to be included in the New Testament; quite apparently, the rest were rejected. On what grounds you ask? Well, I don’t know. But what I do know is that these once-considered-inspired-by-god books were completely thrown out of the Bible and consequently disappeared later. They’re called the “non-canonical gospels” and also the “apocrypha”.

Amazing.

Salvation? Forgiveness?  Truth?  Christianity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

There are major discrepancies in the Gospels; they contradict each other in numerous places (you simply have to google it). This cannot be reconciled, and neither can one regard one over the other and disregard the rest. It would be like saying, “This verse of the scripture is wrong because it contradicts another verse which seems to be correct.”

How can one accept God contradicting himself?

Interestingly we also find plagiarism in the different gospels of the New Testament. How sacred. They call it the “Synoptic Gospels”. This includes Gospels “of” Matthew, Mark and Luke. They’re called as such because certain passages in all three are in verbatim agreement. Could the disciples have copied and attributed it to themselves? What is this mystery? Perhaps, the disciples were not inspired, or they didn’t realize what they were writing, or more appropriately they didn’t write any of it at all.

The gospels were a production of anonymous people, whose sources were oral traditions being passed down for decades, not in one language but various; various translations, various interpretations, personal opinions etc.

How can one give such an unpredictable book the status of a “sacred” scripture, and consider it to be the Sacred Word of God?

P.S: No offence intended!

Why You Shouldn’t Celebrate Christmas


Christmas, which almost the entire world celebrates, is a classic example of innovation leading to misguidance. We need to understand certain things about it so that we can guide our colleagues to the truth. Most Christians don’t really know the truth about Christmas. Muslims are enjoined to seek knowledge unlike other religions where they are told that knowledge will confuse them and Satan will use that knowledge to misguide them. In Islam each individual is responsible to seek knowledge and learn about his Deen (religion) as thoroughly as possible. We should seek authentic knowledge from those who know and from authentic sources, and not from ignorant masses.

First and foremost we should understand that Christmas wasn’t a celebration taught by Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) nor did his disciples practice it. In fact if we look in the gospels we’ll not find any mention of Christmas in spite of the alterations made by Paul. It was not celebrated in the Christian world until almost 300 years after Jesus (peace be upon him). Why? Because fundamentally the celebration of birthdays was considered a pagan custom!

Earlier Christians didn’t celebrate birthdays of anybody because the celebration of birthdays was known to be a pagan practice. If we look at the Old Testament and the New Testament then we’d see that the only place where it is mentioned is in reference to the Pharaohs, the pagan rulers, Herod of Palestine etc. It was based on the belief that the day when one was born is the day when one is the weakest so they used to burn candles to drive away the evil spirits. Light driving away the darkness. Hence, now we see that almost all of the celebrations today have lights. In Christmas, there are the Christmas tree lights, all sorts of decorative bulbs etc which originally used to be candles placed on the Christmas tree which due to modern technology (or a history of house fires) evolved into light bulbs.

Christmas Tree with Candles
If you play with fire, you might get burned ya know.

Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther who, according to the History Channel, “first added lighted candles to a tree.” Because candles were used to light trees until electric bulbs came about, a mat or skirt was often placed on the floor below the tree to protect it by catching the dripping candle wax. (Wikipedia) Hence nowadays some people use lights that are in the form of a small flame which flickers because that was the origin of the belief.

Pagan Origins of Christmas

Three hundred years after the Christ (peace be upon him), a monk suggested that his date of birth was the 25th of December. There is no evidence for how he came to this date. In fact, historians looking at the historical record based on the Gospels said that it couldn’t have been winter because other issues surrounding the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) that they spoke about couldn’t have taken place in winter. Yet, 25th of December was “chosen” in Rome where Christianity was the strongest; it had left the Middle East, left Jerusalem, the birth place of Jesus. Paul in southern Turkey had become the leader of Christianity. He was the first one to call the followers of Jesus (peace be upon him) Christians, Jesus himself had never used the term. It is a Pauline term. From there Christianity was taken to Rome through Greece, and as it traveled through Greece and Rome, it absorbed a variety of pagan practices in order to win over the hearts of its converts. In Greece they adopted the idea of the Son of God. In Rome, it was developed in such a way that the day of worship shifted from the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday which continues to be so till this day, why? Because the most popular god of the Romans at that time was Apollo, who was the Sun-god who would ride his chariot across the sky carrying the Sun behind Him. Furthermore, he was also the son of Zeus, the “main god”. So he was both the “son of god” and the “sun-god”. And that’s why the day of his worship was called “Sunday”!

In this context, when so many new ideas were being formed, the 25th of December was also put along with. Why? Why not some other day? If one goes back into the history of Christianity in regard to Christmas, then you’d find another word associated to it, the “Saturnalia”. The Saturnalia was the day of worship dedicated to the planet Saturn, named after the Roman god of harvest, Saturn. So when fields were harvested, rites of worship were dedicated to Saturn – the god of harvest. The series of rites was called the Saturnalia. It involved giving of gifts, carrying reefs, and the holly (small red berries with green leaves, commonly associated with Christmas now).

Holly. Another borrowed pagan custom. Can it really symbolize anything special? I think not.

As Christianity spread further in Europe, it adopted different customs. In Scandinavia, the Scandinavians believed in tree-gods, that the gods inhabited the trees. So if one wanted to talk to the god, he would go and knock on the tree and then talk. This is where the phrase “knock on wood” comes from! The Scandinavians noticed that all the trees shed their leaves during fall except for one tree, the tree that we now called the Christmas tree. It is an evergreen tree. They believed that it symbolizes eternal life, because God is supposed to be everlasting so they “chose” this tree. They brought small versions of it into their homes to worship, and this is where the Christmas tree originated.

Need I say more?

Against Tawheed

As a Muslim, knowing from where the rites of Christmas originated it is not permissible for us to participate in this celebration in anyway, or associate ourselves with any of its symbols. It’s not acceptable.

Furthermore, from a religious perspective, the fundamental principle in Islam is that of pure monotheism (tawheed), in that God (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) is One and Unique. One of His Attributes is that He has no beginning and no end. “Lam yalid wa lam yulad”, neither does He give birth nor is He Himself born.

“He begets not, nor was He begotten”

(The Qur’an, Surah al-Ikhlas, 112:3)

He can’t have a son. Usually when one is talking of a son, then it’s obvious that he’s referring to a son who’s distinct from his father; the father and the son are not the same. And if the father was a god then logically speaking, the son would be a god too, but then you’d have two gods! So the only valid argument is that God is not born, because for one to be born one has to first not exist, so if god didn’t exist at a point in time, then how did he come into existence?! It leads to a lot of confusion! So one of the most essential characteristics of God (subhanahu wa ta’laa) is that He doesn’t have a beginning nor does He have an end. He was neither born nor does He give birth. If someone asks you, can God do everything and anything? No doubt, you’d answer, yes God is able to do everything. But again, does “everything” include just about anything? The answer to this is that God is able to do everything befitting with Him being God. Meaning, it doesn’t include absurd things; things which go against His characteristics. Couldn’t God make Himself bored? No! We don’t go into things which are absurd. So the idea of God being born on the 25th of December (because the Christians believe Jesus (peace be upon him) to be the son of God and also God himself) is blasphemy! God bore a son and that god was born is blasphemy. When Christians celebrate Christmas they celebrate the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) who they consider to be god, so can we Muslims join them in this celebration where they celebrate god’s birthday?! Absolutely not! It is absolutely forbidden.

However, as Muslims it is our duty to understand what Christmas is and why we, as Muslims, don’t celebrate it. And convey this information to our colleagues, our neighbors, our friends who are unaware, in the best way we can. After that it is up to them if they want to accept it or not.

Wishing “Merry Christmas”

And, part of the celebration of Christmas is to say “Merry Christmas”, that is part of the rituals, customs of Christmas. So one shouldn’t think that participating in Christmas means buying a tree or believing in Santa Claus (The concept of Santa Claus is a national lie, parents lie to their children that this big fat guy with a white beard is gonna come to their homes down the chimney and put gifts in their socks…they have a nation of liars!), but also saying Marry Christmas in itself is a part of the rituals of Christmas. One might find it difficult to cope up with in the work environment when their colleagues wish them. But, one can even reply in a pleasant manner like saying, “Have a happy holiday” or some other way but avoid saying merry Christmas. Some might argue, but they wish us Eid Mubarak, so why can’t we wish them merry Christmas? There is a huge difference! Eid al Adha is celebrating something that the Christians believe in too, that Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was commanded to sacrifice his son and he obeyed but just as he was about to do it, God (subhanahu wa ta’ala) replaced his son with a ram. So their saying Eid ul Adha doesn’t affect their beliefs in any way. Whereas our saying merry Christmas strikes at the very core of our belief system!

The Muslim counterpart of Christmas: Miald un-Nabi

Seeing this fervor with which the Christians celebrate Christmas, certain Muslims felt that since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a greater Prophet than Jesus (peace be upon him), then shouldn’t they celebrate his birth? So four hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslims began to celebrate his birthday. It began in Egypt, under the Fatimid rule, the Shiite rulers of Egypt started it. The day they chose, historically was the day the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) passed away. The day on which he was born is actually not known. Historians are not agreed on that day, we have no concrete evidence for the date of his birth. The only concrete evidence we have in this regard is the practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to fast on Mondays, and one of the reason when he was asked why he does so, he said that it was the day he was born. So the only thing regarding his birth date that we can say is that he was born on a Monday. Which Monday? God alone Knows. As Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) hid the day on which Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was born, he hid the day on which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born. The celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) birthday has no basis for it at all. It started from the Fatimid rulers and increased over the years. Now you have hundreds of thousands of people lavishly celebrating the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) birthday, going down streets, singing songs, the Qasidatul Burdah, qawalli, music etc. All the forbidden things have now been lumped together in the Mawlid (birthday celebrations). All innovation is misguidance. Regardless of people’s intention, they give an excuse saying that they’re just remembering the Prophet (peace be upon him), is it a bad thing? No, it is not bad to remember the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but the way they do it is wrong. God commands us to send blessings on the Prophet (peace be upon him). But, it was never to be done in this way, the Sahabah (companions), the salaf (pious predecessors) never celebrated the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) birthday. It is an innovation, and hence definitely a deviation. As a result, we notice that certain lines of the “qasidatul burdah” which is sung in Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) praise constitutes Shirk (association), it attributes to him the knowledge of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’alaa), God forbid. Many people recite these lines of poetry repeatedly and religiously while celebrating the Mawlid and even at other occasions. As a result of which people have started supplicating to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Often time we find decoration etc hung on people’s walls reading “Ya Muhammad” along with “Ya Allah”, what does that mean? While praying to God (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) to answer our prayers we say, “Ya Allah (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) answer my prayers”, but what does one mean by “Ya Muhammad” (peace be upon him)? Do they ask something from him? Yes, some people do this. This is plain Shirk.

We can call upon only God. He says,

“Call upon Me; I will respond.” (The Qur’an, Surah Ghafir, 60:40)

Only God (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) can answer our prayers. We need to renew our relationship with Him. We need to worship Him, the way He should be worshiped. This is true Islam.

[Adopted from Dr.Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips’ lecture, Innovations in Religion – Bid’ah]

On Christian Missionaries and Being “Born-Again”


Often times we find Christian preachers harping on the world’s “need for a savior”. They’ll tell you stuff like, “Everyone’s sinful and needs a savior,” or “Child, Jesus died for your sins, he loves you, open your heart to him,” “It’ll change your life” blah blah blah...ad nauseum. I mean, there’s nothing wrong in preaching your beliefs, but shouldn’t you yourself know what you’re preaching? Which, our missionary friends have no clue about. They just seem to be so occupied with their faith that they themselves don’t give thought to what they’re calling people to.

It’s weird actually, you’d know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever spoken to a “born-again” Christian. I thought of writing on this topic, because it’s something that really annoys me, besides, from an Islamic perspective, it’s something that should cause concern.

So, I’m trying to reason this out.

To begin with, a jist of what the Christians believe: According to their faith, every person born on this earth carries sin from childhood, what is called the “original sin”. Now, that’s freaky. Further, to make things worse, they believe that since God is Holy, He requires human beings to be hundred percent “holy” like Him in other words “sinless”. Talk about nightmares. Or should I call it a fairytale? Yeah, what’s coming next should explain it. So there’s this life-saving part in the story of Christianity which is their belief in a “savior”. They believe that God sent down His “only-begotten son” to “die” for the “sins of mankind”. Ouch.

Scriptural evidence, you ask? Well, they’ve got none, save a few verses either picked out of context or badly interpreted.

In fact, there are many loopholes in Christianity as a whole. When you ask for an explanation from the Christians, each one has his/her own interpretation of the text. An apt example here would be their definition of the “trinity”. Since there’s not even a single clear verse in the Bible that supports this belief, the Christians simply give it definitions that suits each. Imagine preaching something for which there is no textual evidence! But that’s what they do. They call it “salvation”. The irony. In reality, they’re putting their afterlife at stake. It is justifiable as long as one isn’t aware about the inconsistencies in his/her faith. Because, the religion we’re born into is something that is so dear to us that it defines our personality, who we are, and sure, it’s difficult to part with it. But, does that mean they should turn a deaf ear to the fallacies they see in their beliefs? Of course not. Why not try to make sense out of it? Why not question their beliefs? What holds them back?

The answer to that, is again, their very beliefs. It’s the sort of comfort zone that they’ve gotten themselves into. For them, once, they’ve become “spiritually born-again”, it’s a carefree life, with forgiveness “guaranteed”, Paradise “assured”, no laws to keep, what more could one want? It basically takes care of everything. But, does it really?

Basing your entire life and also the afterlife on a mere interpretation that doesn’t even have any evidence in the Scripture is nothing more than asking for trouble. To add to it, with a thousand and one contradictions in the Bible, failed prophecies, scientific fallacies, and logical discrepancies, how could one consider all of it to be from God? Having no clear idea about who God is, who Jesus (pbuh) was (a prophet like any other), what really God wants from us, how could one possibly say that they’re going to be saved?

It’s called wishful thinking.

________________

Disclaimer: No offence intended.

 

 

 

Identifying the One True Religion


There are different kinds of people around the world, differing not only in their language, culture or looks but also their religion. While it’s interesting to meet people from different backgrounds and learn about them on one hand, on the other the fact that people believe in different “God(s)” beats me. Most people are very casual about the faith they profess. Each one is merely restricted to monotonously engaging in daily/weekly worship without really reflecting on the reason behind it. What results is that they end up blind-following their ancestors. And, at a point when religion doesn’t make sense to some, they entirely deny it, thus becoming Atheists. In the same vein there are millions of people racking their brains to make sense out of their supposedly “gospel truth”, namely, the Christians. With the many contradictions, failed prophecies and scientific fallacies in the Bible, a Christian is compelled (rather taught from young age) to brush aside his reasoning and simply “have faith”. Who is to blame in all of these cases? The people themselves. What is lacking in them is an honest assessment of their beliefs: an entire process of learning, reflecting and understanding. It all partly boils down to how one understands the term “religion”. Over the centuries various scholars have attempted to define religion. One such definition was given by Anthony F. C. Wallace, in his book, Religion: An Anthropological View, he states,

Religion, is a set of rituals, rationalized by myth, which mobilizes supernatural powers for the purpose of achieving or preventing transformations of state in [humankind] or nature.

This definition, like various others, shows the lack of true understanding among the masses of what a religion truly is and its worth. Regardless, there have evolved a myriad of religions over the ages, some with over a billion followers, while others with only a few hundreds or even fewer. Most of these faiths are dogmatic, not necessarily based on reason, requiring its followers to submit without questioning. As an example, Christianity holds that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) died  for the sins of mankind, and at the same time, it also holds that he was the son of God and also God himself. If he really was “God”, then did God die? There is absolutely no logic in this claim, neither is there any basis for it as everybody knows that the Bible was authored by men (who knows if they were really inspired by God? They merely claimed to be; and given the many discrepancies in the Bible, it’s definitely a no-no). In contrast, Islam isn’t dogmatic, rather it presents its principles rationally, with reason. Every of its belief is coherent and in par with human logic, making it easier to understand and relate to. It hasn’t “evolved” or “developed” over time, as does Science and Technology, but in fact it is compatible with every age; applicable at all times, because it is divinely inspired. And, these aren’t empty words. But, it’s just not the matter of believing or not believing, one has to be convinced of a certain belief before actually coming to believing in it.

So how does one determine which religion is true?

Well, firstly you’d have to brush off your presuppositions, taboos, prejudice, bias (also Islamophobia, that is if the study concerns Islam! Just kidding…but seriously if you’re someone having aversion to Islam, it’s worth considering.) Then, question your own faith, what’s the basis of your belief? Is there any kind of irrationality in it? Next, learn about the other major religions. (I’d suggest you start off with Islam, since it’s the world’s fastest growing religion and like I said earlier it conforms to science and logic) And lastly, do a comparative study and decide for yourself.

To add to it, here’s something really helpful. The following is from the book, A Comparative Study of the Religions of Today by Mohammed Ali Muhiyaddin. The author gives us a set of four questions to ask ourselves regarding our beliefs:

1) Are there inconsistencies, contradictions, confused thinking in the scriptures that I follow?

2) Is the religion that I profess today really conductive to the evolution of a model society by the cultured people of the masses?

3)Can the philosophy and the way of life of my religion permit me to fulfill my daily duties to my contemporaries, neighbors, organization, and country, as well as to God without any hindrance?

4)Does the philosophy of my religion give a meaning to my life and to the universe as well as a hope for my soul during my short life in this world and the unknown life of immortality after death?

Another major aspect of differing religions is the belief or disbelief in the Afterlife. Some religions have come to deny the existence of an afterlife, explaining it away in varying degrees. Hinduism believes in “reincarnation”, the transmigration of souls. According to the Hindus after a person dies, he gets reborn into another body based on the deeds of his previous life. The Atheists completely deny life after death, the Resurrection. Although the remaining believe in some sort of an afterlife, it still doesn’t guarantee them reward or set them free from punishment. One would find the Christians proudly claiming to have their sins atoned for through the supposed “sacrifice” of  Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). Given this “assurance”, they go into raptures forgetting the irrationality in its very basis! What’s the point is letting yourself get deluded, when you posses the ability to reason out?

“O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a [tiny] thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued.”

(Surah al-Hajj 22:73)

To be honest, Islam is the only religion that stands up to all challenges.

Why Islam? It's Time to Know the Truth....!

It is the religion which is in accordance to human nature, the religion which has been preached by all prophets since life on earth began. It is free of contradictions, irrationality, errors and any sort of discrepancies. All of the other religions are either remnants of the religions brought by the prophets (pure monotheism, i.e, God is One without any partner) of their time or a product of the human mind. The former have been manipulated over time thereby losing their pristine nature, what is left today of these religions is a mix of truth and falsehood.  The only religion which God has preserved and which in fact was preached by all the prophets throughout history, is Islam. It is a complete guide to leading life in this world, it governs all sphere’s of human life, religious, political, economic, scocial, and individual. One doesn’t have to be a scholar to see the truth in it. You’ve just gotta seek the truth without any bias in order to ascertain it.

To me religion is something that is divinely ordained. It is one that I believe should mold a person’s character, control his way of thinking and define his purpose in life. And, I can say with certainty that Islam qualifies as the only true religion.

“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Quran) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?”

(Surah Fussilat 41:53)

Check out the lecture series titled, “The Proof of Islam,” by Shk. Abdur Raheem Green for further insight.

Ten Reasons Why Jesus isn’t God


I’ve had a number of interfaith discussions with some of my Christian friends which most of the time didn’t quiet work out that well due to the lack of importance we tend to give to our religious beliefs. Though ironic, the truth is that religion has taken a backseat in the lives of many, becoming a custom that has to be simply inherited from our forefathers.

But really, will it suffice to blindly believe in what we believe? What about the Hereafter? Irrespective of the religion a person belongs to, male or female, young or old,  rich or poor, born in the 1st century or the 21st century or probably centuries later from now, he will have to return to the One and only Creator.

God Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an,

Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)? 

Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted?

Then he was a clinging clot, and [ Allah ] created [his form] and proportioned [him]

And made of him two mates, the male and the female.

Is not that [Creator] Able to give life to the dead?

(Surah al Qiyamah, 75:36-40)

So, in pursuit of reaching to the truth, here’s an awesome video of The Deen Show interviewing Joshua Evans, a former Christian Youth Minister, who highlights the top ten reasons why Jesus (pbuh) isn’t God. 

[04:00]Reason #10 – God Can not be Born!
[05:05]Reason #09 – There is unequivocal textual evidence
[09:20]Reason #08 – No one has seen God!
[11:31]Reason #07 – This was the not belief of early Christians
[14:38]Reason #06 – Jesus Ate, Slept, and Prayed
[16:44]Reason #05 – Jesus claimed that God’s Knowledge is greater than his
[20:10]Reason #04 – Jesus Explicitly states that he is not God
[22:50]Reason #03 – Son of God?
[29:29]Reason #02 – God does not change
[43:05]Reason #01 – God is the object of Worship!
[46:42]Conclusion

Here are some points that I jotted down while listening to the video…

Islam is the only religion that requires its believers to have faith in Jesus pbuh as a Messenger of God Almighty. No Muslim is a Muslim who does not believe in Jesus. We’re required to have faith in what he was sent with, to love him and believe him to be one of God’s Messengers. The reason this topic is important is because it concerns the salvation.

Reason No. 10: God does not have  a “beginning”, Jesus (pbuh) had a beginning.

God did not “come into existence”, He was always existent, He did not come into existence from non-existence, He was not born, He was not created.  He has always been before there was even a thing called as “time”. And, as is well-known Jesus (pbuh) was born. Though he was born without a father, and yes that is one of his true miracles, but indeed he was born. He was in the womb of his mother for nine months and therefore was born. So, that by its very nature shows that he does not have the same qualities and  characteristics as God. God cannot be born, Jesus was born. Therefore the two cannot be one and the same.

Reason No. 9: No Scriptural evidence for Jesus’ “divinity”.

There are no explicit verses in any scriptural text, especially the Bible that say that Jesus was God. When God Almighty speaks of things, when He talks of His own characteristics and who He is, He’s very explicit. For instance, in Isaiah 46:9, God says that I am God and there is none else. Also, the verses that Jesus (pbuh) quoted, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is but One God and there is none else.” One will find many such examples in the Old Testament wherein God is very explicit in describing Himself. Although, there are some verses in the new Testament which can be implicitly interpreted as Jesus (pbuh) having claimed some type of divinity, but if it was such a big deal, that if he was truly God, if he was the only way to salvation, if he was “God in flesh come to sacrifice himself for the sins of humanity”, then it’d be something that God would’ve been explicit about. Because, after all it’d be the issue of salvation. God does not beat around the bush about such issues, when it comes who He is. He is very clear regarding this with the children of Israel, “I Am God, there is none like Me. Do not worship anything besides me”. Period. And, Jesus (pbuh) came and quoted the very same verses, so if it would’ve been the issue of salvation that he was God, he would’ve very clearly stated “I am God”. He wouldn’t have told the Jews, when they said you call yourselves God, he said, “You say that I am”. Instead, he could have very clearly said, “yes, I am God and I’m here to save you from your sins,” But, as a matter of fact, he never stated it anywhere and it is never referenced in any scriptural text of any religion whatsoever. So, therefore if God is so explicit about His nature, the why when it comes to Him becoming a man, why did He not explicitly state so? It is not something that needs a scholar to interpret, and if it was really the truth, God Himself would have clearly stated it, that even a five-year old would be able to understand.

There are some theologians and Bible scholars who quote certain verses of the Bible claiming that they’re explicit about Jesus being God. The most famous being John 1:1 (…). The interpretation of these verses depends on from what standpoint you look at those verses as. If you look at them from an aspect that you’ve never heard of the trinity, that you’ve never held the Christian belief that Jesus was God, then these verses would not say that to you! These verses would not say anything other than what they are meant to say. For instance, “In the beginning was the Word, and the word became…,” Muslims also believe that Jesus (pbuh) was God’s Word made manifest. That’s what he was. God said, “Be, and he was,” Jesus pbuh was God’s Spoken word on this earth. So we believe in that verse. Also, “I am the way to the father, no one can come to God except through me” (…), we believe in this too. We just interpret it in the light of everything else that God has said. If one puts the verses in the light of what God has always said, it always makes sense, but if you want to take those verses out and try to prove a point with them then that’s not right. One can say that God doesn’t exist, and go and select certain verses from the Bible, out of context and try prove his point! One can make the Bible say anything he wants it to. One can make any religious Scripture say anything if he knows how to pick and choose correctly and interpret it in the light of preconceived notions. But if one looks at these verses analytically, along with the explicit verses with which God describes His nature and the verses which Jesus pbuh quotes about God, then they become clear-cut. Overall there are NO explicit verses where Jesus pbuh said I am God or worship me. Not one.

Reason No. 8: No one has ever seen God.

The Bible says by God’s own word that no one has ever seen God. This is very clear. In John 1:18, 1 John (…). Even in the words of Jesus  (pbuh),  John 5:37. And, Jesus was standing right there amongst them, had he been God, why would he have said, “you’ve never seen God or heard him”? This is very explicit. He could have said, “You’re looking at God right now,” or “If you want to see God, look at me,” and similar statements. There are some verses in the Bible that some people quote like, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”, “I and the Father are one”. But if you read the verse in context, rather than just taking a sentence out of it, if you read the context of four or five verses together, you’ll see that he was speaking of being “one in purpose”. Even, in the verse where he said, “I and the Father are one,” (…) he was speaking about, just as no one can pluck the children of God from His Hand, no one can pluck them out of my hand, because I and the Father are one, meaning, we’re one in purpose, we have the same exact mission, I am coming as God’s message bearer to humanity; we are one and the same in what we want from you. I’m God’s representative. Anything that He wants is my will. So, if one understands them in that light explicitly, then one would understand that Jesus (pbuh) said no man has ever seen God at any time.

And, this is also there in the Qur’an. Moses (pbuh) asked to see God, and God said, “Look at the mountain…” (…). So, Prophet Moses repented. We cannot stand to see God. He isn’t something  that can come in the form of a human being. A human body cannot contain Go’s essence in it. This is to lessen God beyond extent, to put Him inside of a physical for. He is too great to be put in any form, in any dynamiters, in any parameters, in any dimensions, in any box! One cannot put God inside a box.

Reason No. 7: This was not a belief of the early Christians.

This concept was not taught by Jesus or his disciples, nor was it believed in by the early followers of Christianity. From the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found in Qumran,  we see that the early Christians were still  apart of Judaism. For instance, if one reads the Bool of Acts, when Jesus (pbuh) had departed from this earth, the disciples still daily went to the temple of Jerusalem and worshipped there as Jesus worshipped, because this is what Jesus Christ brought. He brought the renewal of the Laws of Moses. So, if the disciples were running around teaching people that Jesus (pbuh) was God, they would’ve been banished out of the temple the day they walked in, or they would’ve started their own church. But, neither Jesus nor the disciples built their own church. In fact, Jesus (pbuh) himself went to the temple and worshipped God and he did not build his own temple and nor did he ask people to worship him. rather, he worshipped God Almighty the same way Moses worshipped God, the same way Abraham worshipped God, the same way david worshipped God, the same way Zachariah worshipped God. He did the exact same thing and the disciples followed him. And, if one looks at the 1st and the 2nd century Christians, they also did the same. They considered themselves practising Jews and believed Jesus (pbuh) to be God’s Prophet. Nothing had changed. The whole concept of the trinity did not come about until the 3rd century of the church and it was not formulated as a doctrine that must be believed in until about 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea, when the scholars of Christianity after Paul, came together and decided that they had to follow it as a doctrine. As a matter of fact, the first person to expound this doctrine of trinity was Paul, who himself never saw Jesus, never walked with him, never talked to him, never ate with him, never learned from him. It was something that he formulated from the religion, he said that he had, while he was on his road to Damascus to actually persecute the Christians. So, he was the first person to ever come up with the title “Christians,” to ever come up with the trinity, the “god-ship” of Jesus, or the idea that he was the “only-begotten son” of God etc., all of these things started with Paul.

The word “trinity” is not mentioned in the Bible. There is only one verse, that even barely mentions, that is 1 John 5:7, “There are three that bear record in Heaven…” (…), but, if one goes and researches that verse, almost all Biblical scholars have removed it from the Bible, because it was never a part of the Bible in the first place. RSV, NSV, all of these versions have removed this verse, as it is explicitly not from the Bible, it is; in fact, not found in any manuscripts before 1200 A.D.

Reason No. 6: Jesus  ate, slept and prayed.

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) ate, slept and prayed, and we know that God Almighty by His very nature is Self-Sufficient. He does not need anything to continue His existence. God does not need to eat, sleep or pray. God is not in need of anything, because if He was in need of something, then He’d not be God. He would need something else other than Himself to exist, that would take away His God-ship. And, we know that Jesus was born, we know that he ate, and we know that he prayed. Hat he not ate, slept or drank any water, he’d have died. Therefore, he was not self-sufficient., he needed something to continue his existence. Hence, by his very nature of not being self-sufficient, and God being Self-Sufficient, those two qualities cannot exist in one being simultaneously. One cannot be self-sufficient and not self-sufficient at the same time. And, Jesus (pbuh) also prayed. He was in need of prayer. Any time he had an issue, he’d tell his disciples, “I need to go pray”, or “Wait here while I pray” and as such, he’d go to the temple and pray, prostrating on his face on the ground. This shows that Jesus was in need of something greater than himself, because that is the essence of prayer. So, if Jesus was God, why was there a need for his prayer? He could have told his people to worship him, why didn’t he do so? So, therefore by his very nature of necessity, him being in need of something greater than him, he cannot be God.

Reason No. 5: Jesus claimed that God’s Knowledge is greater than his.

We Jesus (pbuh) was asked about the Hour, the Day of Judgement, he said, “of that Day, knoweth no man, nor the angels in the Heaven, nor the sun, but only the Father has knowledge of that Hour.” So, if he would’ve been God, he would have know that. If the trinity was indeed true, and Jesus was God, and God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were one and the same person, then how could one not know the same information that the other knows, if they were the same person? If God Knows the Hour, then Jesus should have know the Hour too, if he was God. In another verse Jesus said, “The father is greater then I” (John 14:28) He admitted that God is greater than him. So, if they were equals, how could one be greater than the other? So, knowing that Jesus (pbuh) did not have the same knowledge as God, how can it be said that he was God?

These are statements that are very explicit, and if one weighs all of these clear-cut statements against the ambiguous one, which one’s going to weigh more; the point-blank, explicit, to-the-point statements, or the unclear, ambiguous statements that can be interpreted by anyone to give it any meaning they want to? But, indeed the clear verses cannot be interpreted to mean anything else than that Jesus (pbuh) was not God, he was definitely lesser than God.

[Note: These are just five of the reasons mentioned in the video, I’ll add the rest later inshaAllah]