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Islam/clarifications - part 2

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Question
Dear Sir,
Pls. see my answer for my your queries below:

* about what you wrote regarding writing into the Quran: Could you send me Muslims sources backing up what you said?

currently i dont have any sources, if i get any i will definitely send to you. what you can do for now is you can visit any islamic bookstore,anywhere in any part of the world.
you can ask for Quran with translation & explanation or without any translation & explanation(only Arabic). you will see both. This itself is self-expanatory.    



* Had the author of the Quran wanted to make sure that the reader didn’t think that Muhammad was being addressed here he could have made the address in the plural instead of the singular, i.e. "If any of you are in doubt…" He could have even added the Arabic Qul ("Say") or the words "O mankind", or something of that nature, much like he did several verses later in S. 10:104-106, 108 It would also be interesting to know what Tafsir Tabari say about that verse. Could you find out please?


sir, if that was the case all the muslims were making queues
to see scholars from people of the book.

* Regarding the Trinity: Since God is almighty one would expect that there is some element of mystery when it comes to his nature. Here is the account of Muslim background follower of Christ who is a traveling businessman that will share light on the logic of the doctrine:

'In my work I have opportunities to spend time with Muslim families in their homes, maybe only 3 or 5 minutes after I conclude my business. I was challenged to rearrange my message to give them, in that time, something of significance, as it may be the first and last time this side of eternity that they heard the Gospel from a Christian in a way that confronted them with who Jesus was.

Recently, I met one of the leaders of a mosque 10 miles from here and having concluded business sat with him and his wife drinking tea. I remarked on his vast library of religious, philosophical and political books and he asked me what I thought of Islam. I said I had problems with the God of Islam because I could not see how such a God could love me, but that the God of the Bible was of such a nature and I was of such a nature as to make that a possibility both in reality and to satisfy me intellectually too.

They were stunned.

We agreed that love only existed in a meaningful way in a relationship and that a God in whom no relationship could be defined could not be loving. They sat puzzled for a moment and then the wife said, "You better tell us about Jesus then."

Now I was stunned.

I simply said that He was the Word of God manifest in the world and being the Word of God He was the expression of God's love, the expression of God's mercy and salvation and when we died He would be the expression of God's judgment for those who had rejected His claims. It was therefore imperative that we put our trust in Him and accepted the salvation He offered.

They sat in silence until the husband said that I had given them many things to ponder which they had never ever considered before. It all took less than 5 minutes and I really do believe they understood for the first time in their lives what they were missing.

This businessman said just enough to stir within this Muslim couple the desire to get to know the God of love. Once Muslims begin to search the Scriptures, it is often only a matter of time until they grasp the basic truths about God’s absolute holiness, man’s utter sinfulness, and God’s gift of forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life to all who believe.'

This is why I think you should study the Bible lessons from a Christian perspective. I am sure you would agree that a Christian should learn about Islam from a Muslim. It logically follows then that a Muslim should learn about the Bible from Christians, if only to understand what they believe. Whether he chooses to believe that is a different matter.

This kind of stories we heard before also. anyway i am not interested in learning trinity or any christian belief. This topic is closed.

* On a different note: Is the actual word 'tawhid' declaring the unity of God found in the Quran?

'tawhid' is an islamic concept which means oneness of Allah. the
name of the chapter is Tawhid which itself is in Quran as every chapter has a name in Quran.

kind regards,
Shakeel

Kind regards,

A. Abraham

Answer
Dear Shakeel,

Thank you for your message.

About the writing into the Quran: The point I was making is that it is forbidden to Muslims to write into the Quran by hand. The printing is a different matter. Anyway, please send me sources when you find them.

About the chapter in the Quran called Tawhid: Which Surah number do you refer to? Were the names of the Surahs also inspired by Allah? The reason why I am asking is because sometimes Muslims say the word 'Trinity' is not in the Bible. I thought the same is also applicable to the word 'Tawhid' which is not find as such in the Quran.

Since you seem to know Islam well, may I ask you to have a look at the following short article at the end of this message on the subject of animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, very frequently mentioned in the Torah and Zabur. Since the Quran is supposed to confirm previous Scriptures what happened to this concept?

Kind regards,

A. Abraham
---------------------
Sacrifice – Key to God’s Message!

      وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِن أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ          Surah 5, Al-Maaida, Ayah 27
         
Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Take note! Both presented a sacrifice (to Allah): it was accepted from one but not from the other. The latter said: "Be sure I will kill you."  "Surely" the former said, "Allah does accept the sacrifice of those who are righteous.”

INTRODUCTION          Jews, Christians and Muslims often live side by side in today’s diverse societies. Muslims and Christians are obligated to practice ‘dawah’ , to invite others to follow their religion. In order to graciously reason with each other in wisdom and fairness we must get to know one another’s beliefs. A better understanding of what is dear to the hearts of members of different faith communities will reduce fear, suspicion, discrimination, racism and in some cases even violence. This leaflet aims to provide the key that will enable the reader to understand the message of the Tawrah and the Injeel, also known as the ‘Holy Bible’: Sacrifice. This fascinating theme is found throughout its pages, binding them together with an invisible ‘red thread’ into one unified meaning. Since the Holy Book of the Muslims is, ‘…confirming the scriptures that came before it’ , parallels will be drawn to the concept of sacrifice mentioned in it.  

BACKGROUND TO FIRST SACRIFICE          The word ‘sacrifice’ is defined as, “…a religious rite in which an object is offered to a divinity in order to establish, maintain, or restore a right relationship of a human being to the sacred order. It is a complex phenomenon that has been found in the earliest known forms of worship and in all parts of the world…”  According to the Tawrah, the very fist recorded sacrifice to God in the history of mankind was made by Adam’s two sons, Cain and Abel. Muslims know them to be Qabil, the elder and Habil, the younger, whose sacrifice was accepted by God because he was righteous. What made him right before God? Why did He prefer the sacrifice of the one over the other? Where did this idea of sacrifice come from in the first place? The Quranic account does not tell us so it is in line with proper, academic research to find an answer to that question in the Tawrah and the Injeel where the same story was recorded before with additional details:

“…In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Able brought fat portions from some of the first born of the flock. The LORD looked with favour on Able and his offering. But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour...Then the LORD said to Cain: “…If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:3-7)
“By faith Able offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.” (Hebrews 11:4)

God accepted Abel’s (Habil’s) sacrifice because it was offered by faith. What was the nature of his faith, on what revelation of God was it based? To answer that question we will firstly present circumstantial evidence. Both, the Tawrah and the Holy Quran, contain the story of how God created Adam and Eve.  In paradise they were allowed to eat from all trees except one. Tempted by Satan they disobeyed God and as a result of this monstrous sin they became aware of their nakedness and covered their shame with leaves. God pronounced a terrible punishment upon them. They and their descendents had to leave paradise, being unable to continue enjoying a care free life and most of all, a personal relationship with their Creator. The following significant detail is only mentioned in the Tawrah:
         
“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)
God provided them with clothes made from animal skins to replace their insufficient covering of leaves. Is he thereby illustrating that men by themselves are unable to cover their shame caused by sin without the shedding of blood? Did God teach Adam and Eve the concept of sacrifice on this momentous occasion which they then passed on to their children? Two pieces of direct evidence allow us to answer in the affirmative.

CONCEPT OF SACRIFICE          
Many years after our first parents, God appointed Moses as the leader of the Israelites. He chose them to serve the surrounding nations as an example of who their Creator is, of how to get back into a relationship with Him and by what principles He wanted everyone to live by. At the heart of God’s relationship with His people was an elaborate system of various sacrifices. By way of offering animals they were assured to get their sins forgiven:

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: ‘…Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish…Give it to Eleazar the Priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered…(he) is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times towards the front of the Tent of Meeting. ..While he watches, the heifer is to be burned…A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.’ (Num. 19:1-10)

This central requirement of the law is also alluded to in the Holy Quran, Surah Al Baqarah, Ayahs 67-74. While Muslim commentators, such as Maududi and Yusuf Ali link it to Numbers 19:1-10, Ibn Kathir does not. All somewhat disagree among each other as to the meaning of the passage and therefore it is best to go back to the Tawrah, being the earliest and clearest source, where it was first explained. Moreover, all Muslim commentators do agree that in Surah, 17, Al Israa, Ayahs 1-7 the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem is mentioned. It was built in obedience to God’s commanded and has worship through sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins at the very heart of its existence! Surah 5:44 mentions Jewish priests. Both, Muslims and Christians, agree that the blood of animals can not take away sin. All three of God’s books, the Tawrah, Zabur and the Injeel, indicate that the sacrifices in the past point to a perfect sacrifice that was to come.  

ULTIMATE FULFILMENT OF SACRIFICE          
When God announced the punishment to Sheitan for misleading Adam and Eve, He said in poetic language:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Here we find the first of many prophecies by which God is announcing his plans to bring back men to their original state of a personal relationship with their Maker in paradise. Incredibly, someone who was to be born of a woman would overcome Sheitan and destroy his power! In his struggle the victorious one would have to endure temporary evil inflicted upon him. The following amazing prophecy in the Tawrah was made about 700 years before its fulfilment. It describes how He, like the animals who were sacrificed before Him, would die for the forgiveness of the sins of his people:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all…he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:5-12)

In other prophecies that special person was clearly identified as the Messiah (Greek: Christ), a title given uniquely to Jesus in the Holy Quran and in the Holy Bible.  
Jesus Himself confirmed that he was the fulfilment of these prophecies:

He (Jesus) said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Lu 24:44ff)

What a profound and wonderful truth: Sins are forgiven, God is pleased when we believe in His sacrifice not when we bring our own sacrifice. This truth is foreshadowed in the famous story believed in by Muslims and Christians where Abraham was commanded to kill his son. There we read about God's miraculous intervention and how He spared the troubled father from this terrible ordeal:

“And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice”. (Surah 37, Al Saffat, Ayah 107)
Why is the sacrifice which Muslims, Jews and Christians believe to have been a ram called 'momentous', especially when compared with Abraham's son? Surely he is greater, more important, than a ram! The greatness of the sacrifice can not be found in that it serves as a symbol for an act of men's self purification or devotion, or to commemorate Abraham’s faithfulness. If that was the case, there would be no need for God to provide HIMSELF with such a great sacrifice. The answer to the question lies in the word 'ransom'. It means that a person, in this case Abraham's son, is set free in exchange for someone or something else. When compared with Abraham's son, the ram by itself is not very special; in that sense it is not great. Therefore, the real importance of it has to lie somewhere else. It points to the perfect sacrifice found in Jesus Christ as mentioned in the Injeel:

'Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.' (Hebrews 9:28)
That truth found again and again in the Holy Bible can not have been abrogated; otherwise it would have to be replaced with something similar or better according to Surah 2, Al Baqarah, Ayah 106. What better could be offered to us than God personally dealing with our sins and with the shame we brought upon Him and ourselves, by supplying a great sacrifice for us in Jesus Christ?!

RESPONSE AND RESULTS          
The literal meaning of the Arabic word “Injeel” is “Good News”. Jesus said that the way to properly respond to this best news God has ever given to mankind is to repent (meaning: change of mind resulting in turning around from sin) and to simply believe that Jesus died for our sins. Once a person trusts in what Jesus did and said, God will produce in them assurance of forgiveness instead of uncertainty, joy instead of sadness, selfless love and forgiveness instead of selfish hatred and fear. To live in such a sacrificial way in thankful response to God giving us eternal life with Him comes at a high prize. Followers of Jesus are told in the Holy Bible to be ready to suffer through persecution, through surrendering all of their life to God and His will. But surely it is only right to give to God what we can not keep anyway in order to win what we can not loose!  

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A. Abraham

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I AM A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST AS HE IS DESCRIBED IN THE HOLY BIBLE. With God`s help I will attempt to answer ONLY those questions Muslims have regarding the Christian view of Christianity, such as: Who is Jesus? Has the Bible been changed? What is the way to heaven? Do Christians believe in three gods or One? The Christian perspective of questions Muslims ask. Etc. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME QUESTIONS REGARDING THE MUSLIMS VIEW OF ISLAM. I WILL ONLY ANSWER QUESTIONS MUSLIMS ASK ABOUT ISSUES RELATED TO CHRISTIANITY. I WILL DO SO FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ONLY, GOD WILLING. I AM OFFERING THIS HUMBLE SERVICE TO THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY SO IT CAN GET A BETTER, FIRST HAND UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE TEACHINGS OF THE TAWRAT, ZABUR AND INJEEL FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOMEONE WHO STUDIES AND FOLLOWS THE TEACHINGS OF THOSE BOOKS. THIS ENABLES A PROPER, SCHOLARLY APPROACH FOR THE STUDENTS. THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO RELY ON SECONDARY (MUSLIM) SOURCES TO LEARN ABOUT CHRISTIANITY.

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

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I have got a BA in Theology.

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