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Islam/invitation to islam - part 3


Dear Sir,
Pls see my answer below.

Sacrifice in Islam:
In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah.
Islam’s attitude towards ritual slaughter is not that of blood atonement, or seeking favour with Allah through another’s death, but rather, the act of thanking Allah for one’s sustenance.

“Eid Al-Adha” : The annual celebration is observed by Muslims all over the world. On that occasion many Rams, Cows, Camels are slaughtered.
What is the concept of sacrifice in Islam?
There are many misconceptions filling the mind of many Non-Muslims, who fail to perceive the significance and wisdom behind acts of worship in Islam. That is why addressing those misconceptions becomes obligatory in order to erase distortions about Islam.
Sacrifice is not a pillar of Islam. We must look at the occurrences in a contextual manner, understanding not only the pre-Islamic institution of sacrifice, the Qur'anic reforms concerning this practice, and the continuance of sacrifice in the Muslim world, but also the context in which the Qur'anic revelations occurred. For it seems that with many people, both non-Muslims and Muslims alike, context is the key that they are missing.
What was the situation in pre-Islamic Arabia with regard to animal sacrifice? Not only did the pagan Arabs sacrifice to a variety of gods with hopes of attaining protection or some favour or material gain, but so, too, did the Jews of that day seek to appease the One True God by blood sacrifice and burnt offerings. Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of appeasing an “angry God.” The notion of “vicarious atonement of sin” (absolving one’s sins through the blood of another) is nowhere to be found in the Qur'an. Neither is the idea of gaining favour by offering the life of another to Allah. In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah.
Great example of Prophet Abraham  - willingness to sacrifice:
One only has to look at how the Qur'an treats this subject, to see a marked difference regarding sacrifice and whether or not Allah is appeased by blood. The Qur'anic account of the sacrifice of Ismail ultimately speaks against blood atonement. Allah says:
“Then when (the son) reached the age of serious work with him, he said: “Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their will to Allah, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice, We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 37, Verses 102-107.
Notice that the Qur'an never says that Allah told Abraham to kill (sacrifice) his son. Here, it teaches us that Abraham had a dream in which he saw himself slaughtering his son. Abraham believed the dream and thought that the dream was from Allah. However, in Abraham and Ismail’s willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice-Abraham of his son, Ismail of his own life-they are able to transcend notions of self and false attachment to the material realm, thus removing a veil between themselves and Allah.
As far as the yearly tradition that has followed this event, that is, the sacrificing of a ram to commemorate Abraham and Ismail’s great self-sacrifice, we must understand it and the Qur'anic verses that pertain to animal sacrifice, in relation to the time and place circumstances under which these revelations were received and how people were trying to make a personal sacrifice by sharing their limited means of survival with the poorer members of their community.
That is to say, the underlying implication of Islam’s attitude towards ritual slaughter is not that of blood atonement, or seeking favour with Allah through another’s death, but rather, the act of thanking Allah for one’s sustenance and the personal sacrifice of sharing one’s possessions and valuable food with one’s fellow humans. The ritual itself is not the sacrifice. It is merely a method of killing where the individuals kill as quickly as possible and acknowledge that only Allah has the right to take a life and that they do so as a humble member of Allah’s creation in need of sustenance just like every other species in Allah’s creation.
Allah also says:
“To every people did We appoint rites (of sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food). But your God is One God: Submit then your will to Him (In Islam): and give thou the good news to those who humble themselves.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 34.
This is the true end of sacrifice, not propitiation of higher powers, for Allah is One, and He does not delight in flesh and blood, but a symbol of thanksgiving to Allah by sharing meat with fellow humans. The solemn pronouncement of Allah’s name over the sacrifice is an essential part of the rite.
Allah says further: “ It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: And proclaim the Good News to all who do right.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 37.
No one should suppose that meat or blood is acceptable to the One True God. It was a pagan fancy that Allah could be appeased by blood sacrifice. But Allah does accept the offering of our hearts, and as a symbol of such offer, some visible institution is necessary. He has given us power over the brute creation, and permitted us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life, for without this solemn invocation, we are apt to forget the sacredness of life. By this invocation we are reminded that wanton cruelty is not in our thoughts, but only the need for food.
It is quite clear from the Qur'anic passages above that the issue of animal sacrifice is in relation to the role animals played in Arabian society at that place and time (as well as other societies with similar climates and culture), in that humans are commanded to give thanks to Allah and praise Allah for the sustenance He has given them and that they should sacrifice something of value to themselves to demonstrate their appreciation for what they have been given (which in their case was the very animals on which their survival was based).
Explanation of verse 94 in Surah Yunus:
We are often quoted the below mentioned verse from Surah Yunus by the people of the book.  We have to see in what context the verse was revealed.
Usually there is background, need it has to be addressed to a particular situation.
Verse(10:94):- Now, if you are in doubt concerning what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book before you. It is the truth that has come to you from your Lord, so do never become one of those who doubt.
Explanation of the above verse:
Though these words were addressed to the Prophet , they were meant for those who expressed doubts about his message. As regards to the reference to the people of the Book, it is because they possessed the knowledge of the scriptures, whereas the common people of Arabia lacked this, and were, therefore, strangers to the voice of the Quran. It was also expected that their just and pious scholars would testify that its message was the same as that of the scriptures of the former Prophets.
Some references are given below:
a)   When the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] was twelve years old, he went with his uncle Abu Talib on a business journey to Syria. When they reached Busra (which was a part of Syria, in the vicinity of Howran under the Roman domain) they met a monk called Bahira (his real name was Georges), who showed great kindness, and entertained them lavishly. He had never been in the habit of receiving or entertaining them before. He readily enough recognized the Prophet [S.A.W.S.] and said while taking his hand: "This is the master of all humans. Allah will send him with a Message which will be a mercy to all beings." Abu Talib asked: "How do you know that?" He replied: "When you appeared from the direction of 'Aqabah, all stones and trees prostrated themselves, which they never do except for a Prophet. I can recognize him also by the seal of Prophethood which is below his shoulder, like an apple. We have got to learn this from our books."
He also asked Abu Talib to send the boy back to Makkah and not to take him to Syria for fear of the Jews. Abu Talib obeyed and sent him back to Makkah with some of his men servants.
[Ibn Hisham 1/180-183; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 1/17]
[Raheeq al Maqtoom/The Sealed Nectar]
B) Meeting of Prophet Muhammad and Waraqa ibn noufal. This incident took place after the after the Prophet received the first revelation from Allah thru
Angel Gabriel
Waraqa is one of the four men who left the pagan faith of Mecca as mentioned in this article in search for the Hanifite roots ( the religion of Abraham(P)) and returned as a Christian. Even he was claimed to be the source of the Qur'ân. Some missionaries depended on hadîths narrated in Sahih al-Bukhârî:
Narrated 'Aisha(R): Volume 4, Book 55, Number 605:
"..The Prophet returned to Khadija while his heart was beating rapidly. She took him to Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian convert and used to read the Gospel in Arabic Waraqa asked (the Prophet), "What do you see?" When he told him, Waraqa said, "That is the same angel whom Allah sent to the Prophet) Moses. Should I live till you receive the Divine Message, I will support you strongly."
The other hadîth is:
Narrated 'Aisha(R): Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3
Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" Waraqa asked, "O my nephew! What have you seen?" Allah's Apostle described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." Allah's Apostle asked, "Will they drive me out?" Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." But after a few days Waraqa died.
Waraqa was an old man and died shortly after Muhammad(P) had received the revelation of the Qur'ân; as clearly can be read from the above hadîth. While the revelation of the Qur'ân continued for more than twenty years after the death of Waraqah bin Nawfal, the Prophet(P) was receiving the revelation in different places and even while he was among his Companions. Also, he was answering direct questions raised later by the Jews in Madinah. In addition, the Jews and the disbelievers of Mecca would be very pleased if they knew for sure that there was a knowledgeable person who was teaching Muhammad(P) the Qur'ân.

And finally Waraqa himself announced in all of the hadîths reported in Sahih al-Bukhârî that he would support Muhammad strongly if he lived long enough:
C) Jewish Rabbi – Abdullah ibn Salam:
His original name was al-Husain ibn Salam. He was a learned rabbi, and one respected by all, for his righteousness and knowledge. He properly divided his time between taking care of his palm trees, worshipping and teaching in the synagogue, and studying the Torah. He used to stop at certain passages in the Torah and ponder a long time upon the news therein of the prophet who was to appear to complete the Message of all the prophets before him. The more he read the more he became convinced that the foretold prophet was Muhammad ibn Abdullah who appeared among his people in Makkah.
The story of his encounter with the Prophet, is a fascinating one. He related it himself, saying, "When I heard about the appearance of the Messenger of Allah,  I inquired about his name, his description, and the time at which he appeared, and compared this to what was written in our book, until I became certain that he was the one we were waiting for, and that the Message he carried was the true one. I, however, kept silent about the whole matter until the day he left Makkah to make hijrah to Madinah. Before reaching it, he stayed in Qubaa for some time, and a man came to Madinah to spread the news of his arrival. I was then working at the top of a palm tree, while my aunt Khalidah bint al-Harith was sitting under the tree. When I heard the news I cried, "Allahu Akbar!" My aunt heard my cry and so she exclaimed, "You disappoint me! By Allah, had you heard that Musa (pbuh) ibn Imran was coming this way you would not be more enthusiastic!" I said, "Indeed my aunt he is the brother of Musa and follows his deen, for he is sent with the same Message." She was silent for a moment then said, "Is he really the prophet whom you have told us will be sent at this very time, to complete the Message of those prophets before him?" I assured her that he was. I went straight to the Messenger of Allah, and there I saw a large crowd in front of his door. I pushed my way until I came near to him. The first words I heard from him as he was addressing people were, "O People spread greetings (i.e., salam), feed the hungry, and offer salah at night while others are sleeping, and you will surely enter Paradise in peace." I looked intently into his face while he was talking, and said to myself, "This could not be the face of a liar." I got closer to him and I pronounced the shahadah thus becoming a Muslim. He asked me, "What is your name?" I said, "al-Husain ibn Salam." "No, your name will be Abdullah ibn Salam." he said. "Yes Abdullah," I concurred, "From now on I do not wish to be called by other than this name."
I returned to my house and called my family to Islam and they all became Muslims including my aunt Khalidah who was by then an old woman. I asked them to conceal the matter from the Jews until I gave them permission to reveal it. Then I went back to the Messenger of Allah, and said, "The Jews are a nation of liars and slanderers, and I wish you would summon their leaders and then take me into one of your houses and hide me from them. Then ask them about me so that they may tell you the position I hold among them, before you call them to Islam. For if they knew my Islam beforehand they will utter slanderous lies against me." The Prophet hid me in one of his rooms, and he invited the Jews and called them to Islam, reminding them of what was written about his coming in their books. But they kept arguing with him and denying the truth, while I was listening to their lies. When he gave up all hopes about their becoming Muslims, he asked them, 'What is the position of al-Husain ibn Salam among you?' He is our chief and the son of our chief; our rabbi and our learned man,' they answered. "If he became Muslim, would you become Muslims?" asked the Prophet, "God forbid!" they said, "He will never be Muslim, may God protect him from that!" At that time, I emerged from the room and said to them, "O Jews, fear Allah and accept what He has sent you. For by Allah you well know that he is the Messenger of Allah, and you will find him described in the Torah, and even his name is mentioned in it. And I bear witness that he is the Messenger of Allah, I believe in him, I testify that his Message is the truth, and I acknowledge him." They said, "You are lying, and by Allah you are truly the most evil of us, son of the most evil, ignorant, son of an ignorant." They did not leave any defect they could think of but they accused me of it. I turned to the Messenger of Allah, and said, "I told you that the Jews are a nation of liars and slanderers!"
Abdullah completely disavowed the Jews and proved more than once their treacherous nature. The Jewish rabbis gathered one day in their synagogue to look into the matter of a married Jewish man who had committed adultery with a married Jewish woman. They said, "Let us send them to Muhammad (pbuh), if he prescribes scourging with a rope and blackening of the face then we would know that he is a king, and if he prescribes stoning to death, then we would know that he is a prophet." When they came to the Prophet, he ordered that they be stoned to death. He also asked for a Torah, and a rabbi sat reading from it concerning the punishment for adultery. While reading, the rabbi put his hand over the verse of stoning. Abdullah struck the rabbi's hand saying, "This, O Messenger of Allah, is the verse of stoning which he refuses to read to you!" The Prophet,  said, "Woe to you Jews! What has induced you to abandon the Judgment of Allah which you hold in your hands?"
Abdullah ibn Salam dedicated himself to Islam with an eagerness that surpassed his zeal when he was a Jew. He adored reciting the Qur'an, letting its meaning and feeling seep into his mind, his heart and the marrow of his bones. He was passionately attached to the Prophet, and sought always to be close to him learning from him his sayings and actions. He eagerly worked to attain Paradise, until the Prophet himself gave him the glad tidings that he would attain it! Behind this good news is a story that was related by Qays ibn Ubadah. He said, "I was sitting in a study circle at the Masjid of the Prophet, in Madinah, where a gentle old man was speaking while people were greatly enjoying his speech. After he finished and went away, people said, "Whoever wishes to look at a man from the people of Paradise let him look at this man." So I asked who the man was, and I was told he was Abdullah ibn Salam. I decided to follow the man to find out why he was promised Paradise. When he arrived at his house and was about to enter it, I asked permission to enter and he allowed me, then he asked, "What is bringing you O my son?" I related to him the story of the people and asked him what was the reason behind it. He said, "Allah knows who are the dwellers of Paradise. But I will tell you the story behind it. A long time ago, during the days of the Messenger of Allah,  I had a dream that a man came to me, held me by my hand and asked me to get up. While I was walking I saw a path on my left, and I was about to take it, when he said, "leave it this is not your way," so I looked and found a clear path on my right, he asked me to take it and I did, until I came to a vast, beautiful, verdant garden, and in the middle of it was a pole of steel, rooted in the ground and reaching to the sky, and at its top was a golden ring. The man said, "climb," "I cannot" I replied. A servant came to me and held me so I was able to climb it until I reached the golden ring. I held the ring with both my hands and remained hung in this way until I woke up. The next day I related my dream to the Prophet, and he interpreted it to me, saying, "As for the left path, it is the path of the Companions of the Left among the dwellers of Hellfire, and as for the right path it is the path of the Companions of the Right, the dwellers of Paradise. The verdant garden is Islam, and the pole in its middle is the deen, the golden ring is the steadfast faith, and you will hold on to it until you die."

Concept of Trinity:
We are often quoted the concept of trinity in a Mathematical way:
The concept of trinity in Christian belief is explained as follows:

They are three but they are one (God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ)

i.e,  1x1x1 = 1
According to Christian belief, Jesus died on the Cross:
That means: 1x1x1 became 1 x 1x 0
(mathematical rule: anything multiplied by zero becomes zero)
1x1x 0 becomes 1 x 0 which finally becomes 0 (zero).

The logical question thus arises: If three separate beings are sharing one spirit only and for any reason One being dies, will it not effect the Life of other two beings? Kindly explain.

Best Regards,

Peace to you!

Thank you for your message. Regarding sacrifice: Is the article you have sent me really saying that the following summery of the detailed teaching, occuring on many occasions in the Torah, Zabur and Ijeel regarding sacrifice is 'pagan fancy'?:

God has commanded the sacrifice of animals for the forgiveness of sins. It was a symbol pointing to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Quran alludes to the first part of this fundamental truth here: Surah 3:183, Surah 2:67 Surah 5:27, Surah 17:7 (sacrifice was at the heart of the Jewish temple).

Since the Quran was sent to confirm previous scriptures, how can it be explained that this major teaching mentioned several hundreds of times before the Quran is denied by your article?

Regarding Verse(10:94):- Now, if you are in doubt concerning what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book before you.

If the Torah and Injeel were supposedly changed and corrupted, how is it possible that Allah here asks people to inquiere of the people of the book who read it? Would that not be very risky since they could tell them things that possibly were changed?  

Regarding the Trinity:

The main stream of Christianity throughout all the world believes in one God, the Holy Trinity. It is indeed a mystery, as God Himself is. The incomprehensibility of God is confirmed in the Quran and the Bible. (Job 11:7, 1 Cor 2:11, Surah Al-Anaam 6:103 ). Many attributes of Him are accepted by both Muslims and Christians, yet are simply not fully comprehensible to the human mind. We all accept that God has no beginning, yet do we understand this? The common question asked by children, 'If God made everything, who made God?' is just as puzzling to adults. Muslims and Christians believe that God is independent of space and time, yet how on earth can we satisfactorily explain how this might be? How is it that God can be nearer to us than our most secret thought, yet be this for the billions of other people on earth just as much simultaneously? These confusing facts apply also to all people in history and the times to come. 'Impossible!' the sceptic cries out, yet true. Then why should it be such a problem if there is some aspect of God's essential nature (his Trinitarian existence) which is difficult for us to grasp? Someone said, 'if you can understand it then be sure it is not God.' Both, the Bible and the Quran speak about God anthropomorphically (human terms are used to describe him). Orthodox Muslims do not explain the 'how'. Similarly, it is a fact that God's word was revealed in a book, but how the infinite can be expressed in the finite is not clarified. With this in mind let us look at your questions:

They are three but they are one (God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ)
i.e, 1x1x1 = 1

No – Christianity holds that there is one God – i.e. one divine essence; within that one divine essence there are Three Persons – who are not separable the way humans are (you should examine the doctrine of Perichoresis or Coinherence). The mathematical formula is unhelpful – we are talking about God, not anything in creation. A better presentation is 1 (Divine Person); 1; 1. Not three Gods. NB Matt. 28.19 – ‘In the name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’.

According to Christian belief, Jesus died on the Cross:
That means: 1x1x1 became 1 x 1x 0
(mathematical rule: anything multiplied by zero becomes zero) 1x1x 0 becomes 1 x 0 which finally becomes 0 (zero).

No – this ignores that Christianity believes that God the Son took human nature alongside His divine nature without confusion or dilution of either nature – i.e. Jesus is True God and True Man. As such, Jesus was (is) simultaneously God and also Man. Man has a body and a spirit. On the cross, it is the human body of Jesus which dies; His human spirit immediately went to Paradise- Luke 23.43; His divine nature was unaffected. Therefore, the mathematical equation presented is based on a false notion – there is no multiplication or even subtraction. The Three Divine Persons never cease to exist. Furthermore, the human body of Jesus was resurrected on the third day, never again to perish – 1 Cor. 15.42.

The logical question thus arises: If three separate beings are sharing one spirit only and for any reason One being dies, will it not effect the Life of other two beings? Kindly explain.

No – remember, there is one God – i.e. one divine essence, and the Three Persons all participate in that essence, and are thus not separate the way human beings are – after all, there are multiple human essences, but only One divine essence. Once again, you should google Perichoresis/Coinherence. The divine nature never dies; only one aspect of the human nature of the Second Person of the Trinity, and that only temporarily.

The question arising from this is why the  Qur’an never accurately presents Christian belief – i.e. that Christians believe in One God, not three; that Jesus is both God and Man, not just God as the Qur’an suggests Christians believe. The problem is not mathematics, but history. Why is the Qur’an’s grasp of historic Christian doctrine flawed?

Finally, you need to consider that the disciples of Jesus often misunderstood him, even after having followed him for about three years. Please do not despair if you find all this hard to understand. After all, it is God we are talking about and you would expect this to be a complex subject.

The danger one faces when confronted with extreme or complicated ideas, is, 'to throw the baby out with the bath-water,' this means to reject everything about a matter, even the true and the good. Here is what C.S. Lewis, professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University has to say about such an attitude: 'If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.' ('Mere Christianity', Macmillan Company, New York, 1943, page 145)

Dear Shakeel, I am concerned, to use an illustration, that you are like someone who goes to the cinema to watch a film, but instead of focusing on the story of it, you get lost in some of its scenes, asking question about them, such as: Is this possible, how does that work, how did they do that, etc.?

I would like to offer you to understand the 'story of the film' - the main message of the Torah, Zabur and Injeel - first, before asking the 'technical' questions. Would you like to do a free and easy six lesson e-mail study to that end? It will enable you to learn about it from Christians who know their own book best. Even if you decide not to believe it, doing that short course would enhance your Dawah because you could say, I have studied this subject from primary sources from Christians themselves. Shall I send you lesson 1?

Kind regards,

A. Abraham  


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A. Abraham




My experience is in the area of Christianity and comparative Religion.

I have got a BA in Theology.

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