Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

What does Zikr mean?

Monday, July 6th, 2015

God has vowed to preserve the Quran Himself. He says, most emphatically, in verse 15:9,
“Verily, it is We who sent down the Zikr and verily, We surely shall be of it Preservers.” (15:9)

The word Zikr (with a fricative Z as in this or that) means mention, remembrance or reminder. The syntax and context are what determines which semantic is meant. The scholars have been unanimous that the Zikr mentioned in 15:9 is the Quran. What they did not agree on is whether it is only the Quran. The reason they thought other items may be included in the Zikr in 15:9 is the apparent implication of other verses. For instance,
“And We sent down to you the Reminder that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might reflect.” (16:44).

In this verse, if the Zikr is only the Quran, then what is “what was sent down to them”? Isn’t that the Quran also? That is why many scholars have opined that the Zikr here refers to the Hadeeth.

But if the Zikr includes the Hadeeth, then it too must have been preserved by God. While the strict Muslims take that position, historical evidence begs otherwise. While the Quran was written down before the death of the Prophet (PBUH), and committed to memory by thousands of people, the Hadeeth was not written down for two hundred years after the Prophet’s death. It was only then that the Hadeeth was meticulously authenticated and less than one in ten narrations have been found to be authentic. This means that the Hadeeths evaluated as authentic can be relied on in matters of the religion, but it also means that the Hadeeth was not preserved, or else it would not have required such massive effort to authenticate.

Therefore, I respectfully disagree that the Zikr refers to the Hadeeth, or includes it. So, how can we explain 16:44?

The key to understand 16:44 is to notice the word “people” in it. People include non-Muslims! Thus, what this verse is saying is that one of the functions of the Quran is to clarify to non-Muslims the scriptures which were sent to them, e.g., the Torah and the Gospel.

This conclusion is backed up by a later verse in the same Chapter,
“By God, We did certainly send [messengers] to communities before you [, O Muhammad], then Satan embellished for them their works, so he is their ally Today and for them is a painful torment.

And We have not sent down upon you the Book [, O Muhammad], but so that you may clarify to them what they differed about and as guidance and mercy for a folk who believe.” (16:63-64)

16:63 makes it clear that the pronoun “them” in 16:64 refers to followers of prior scriptures.

A reader may jump in here and quote,
“And We certainly did write in the Zaboor (Psalms), after the Remembrance (Torah), that the land – shall inherit it My righteous worshipers.” (23:105)
and argue that the Torah has been described as the Zikr. It was. But then, it was humanly altered thus it ceased to be Zikr. Only the original, pure revelation from God qualify as Zikr. The only scripture that God has vowed to preserve Himself is the Quran.

Beliefs Muslims and Christians share about Jesus

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Egyptian Coptic Christian writer Louis Grace wrote recently, “I learned to love Jesus Christ because of the Quran!”

Did that statement surprise you? Though I was delighted to read it, it did not surprise me. Mr. Grace grew up in a Muslim country that has a 1400 year history of cordial relations between Muslims and Christians. Even though many attempts throughout the centuries tried to sew seeds of division between the two, none has succeeded.

The Quran mentions Jesus, son of Mary, peace be upon both, numerous times and always with high praise and affection. In case you didn’t know, here are what Muslims and Christians have in common in regard to Jesus (PBUH):

  • Jesus was born miraculously to the virgin Mary.
  • Jesus was “the word of God”.
  • Jesus was a true prophet and a messenger of God.
  • Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) promised to the Children of Israel.
  • Jesus received from God a holy scripture, the Gospel.
  • Jesus performed many miracles, including raising people from the dead.
  • Jesus will come back.

Did any of that surprise you? It’s all in the Quran for all to read and learn. With all this in common between Muslims and Christians, what can be between them short of a cordial relationship?

Do Muslims have a covenant with God?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Jews believe that they have a covenant with God. Do Muslims believe they have a covenant with God? What does Islam say about God’s covenant?

God’s covenant with people has been the same since He created Adam. It is that we believe in Him alone, do not associate anything or anybody with Him in worship, uphold His laws, follow His Messengers, and honor His scriptures. That is Al-Amaana (the Trust) which God speaks about in this key verse,

“We offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains. They declined to carry it and were apprehensive of it. But man carried it; he is ever unjust and ignorant.” (33:72)

We volunteered for the job, but we haven’t done it too well!

The first obligation of the covenant is made clear in this verse:

“When your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.” (7:172)

The belief in the One God is in our DNA!

Whenever God sent a Messenger to a people, He had them testify that they would uphold the Covenant. That is why many scriptures are called Testaments. There are many verses in the Quran which speak about that, for instance:

“And [recall] when God took the covenant of the prophets, [saying,] “Surely whatever I give you of the Book and wisdom and then comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, that you [will] indeed believe in him and support him.” [God] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” (3:81)

Thus, the Covenant was taken by all prophets and part of it was that all future prophets must be followed.

“And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except God; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give alms.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, with refusal.” (2:83)

The covenant included God’s moral teachings as well as theological fundamentals. The Children of Israel were one of the earliest people who did not uphold the Covenant.

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when God took a covenant from those who were given the Book, [saying], “You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.” But they banished it behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. Then how wretched is what they purchased!” (3:187)

The covenant included spreading the word of God to all, but people have hidden it, or worse, altered it.

What do people get when they stick to their end of the Covenant? God explains clearly in this verse,

“And God had already taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We delegated from among them twelve leaders. And God said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give alms and believe in My messengers and support them and loan God a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you disbelieves after that has certainly strayed from the level road” (5:12)

We get the company of God! We get expiation of our sins. We get the ultimate reward in the Hereafter. May God enable us to uphold His Covenant and not deviate from the level road.

In case you’re wondering whether Christians were exempted from the Covenant, I invite you to read Mathew 5:17-20, in which Jesus (PBUH) is reported to have said that any talk about him abolishing the law is nonsense, that the law stands as long as the heavens and the earth stand, and that those who do not uphold the law will not enter the Kingdom of God. The law of God has been, and always will be the same, and it applies to all people without exceptions. Upholding it is the covenant we made with God.

God reminds Muslims in the holy Quran of their covenant with God. He says,
“And remember the favor of God upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, ‘We hear and we obey’; and watch out for God. Indeed, God is much Knowing of that within the bosoms.” (5:7)

A Christian acting like a Muslim

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

I have a Christian friend who prays five times a day the way we Muslims pray and uses words like Inshallah (God willing) and Mashallah (admiring God’s creation). She is asking me if she is allowed to do that. She has not declared her conversion, so I don’t know how to answer her.

This lady is taking her time. Let her. Islam must enter the heart and the mind before it is real in a person’s life. Islam has entered this lady’s heart. Mind is next insha-Allah.

Search YouTube for videos of people just like her, one is called “I was a Christian AND Muslim for seven years” and another is called “I was Muslim all my life and did not know it!”

Found the first video at
http://www.youtube.com/v/LfyQ_Ar361U and
http://www.youtube.com/v/s3U0PUY7FXM but they are private.

You may be able to contact the author and ask her to give you access to watch the video.
The other one, if I remember correctly, was by a young Palestinian man who was Christian who believed in God, Jesus and the Gospel but not in original sin, crucifixion or the trinity.

Isn’t the Torah sufficient?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The Quran says that the Torah has in it guidance and light and detailing of all matters. So, why do we need anything else?

The Torah is not available anywhere; the Jews changed it. What we have is the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, the Tenach, etc. None of it is the Torah.

If the Torah was not altered, there would not have been a reason to reveal the Gospel or the Quran. The Gospel was revealed in order to correct the changes the Jews made to the Torah, and the Quran was revealed in order to correct the changes the Jews and Christians made to the Torah and the Gospel.

I respectfully disagree with your statement, “If the Torah was not altered, there would not have been a reason to reveal the Gospel or the Quran.” It looks like an explanation of a decision of Allah, for which we have no knowledge. In general I agree, that the religion in its origin has always been the same. However, there have been some changes in the medicine according to the state of the patient.

From the sermon of the mount, which looks like a excerpt from the original gospel, it looks like the Jewish scholars of that time (and seemingly also today) had lost the real understanding of faith and they were more into the textual interpretation of the laws. This is why, it contains less laws and more topics regarding spirituality and theology. Apparently, that was the missing part, at that time.

But we have knowledge; God told us. The Quran quotes Jesus, peace be upon him, saying to the Jews,

“And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me. ” (3:50)

Why were these things made unlawful to the Jews? God tells us it was because of their rebellion against Him,

For wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We made unlawful for them [some] good things which had been lawful to them, and for their averting from the way of God many [people], ” (4:160)

I also respectfully disagree that the Gospel had few laws. We don’t know that because we don’t have the Gospel; it’s been altered. If we accept what Jesus is reported in the New Testament to have said as authentic, then we find the explanation of why there are few laws in the Gospel: “Do not think that I am come to abolish the law. I’m not come to abolish the law, but to complete it.” Other translations say, “to correct it.”

The Quran was revealed for the same purpose, to confirm what remained unchanged in the Torah and the Gospel and correct what was changed. God addresses the people of the Book,

“O you who were given the Book, believe in what We have sent down [to Muhammad], confirming that which is with you, before We obliterate faces and turn them toward their backs or curse them as We cursed the sabbath-breakers. And ever is the decree of God accomplished. ” (4:47)

That is what happened. God sent a complete guidance to humanity, the Torah. But the Jews altered it, added to it and deleted from it, so God sent the correction: the Gospel. People altered that too, so He sent the final correction and restoration of His original Message and vowed to keep it from alteration.

Do Muslims accept the Bible or reject it?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Muslims don’t believe in the Bible as it exists today, but they are also required not to disbelieve in it! That’s because it’s a mix of what God said and what man added or changed.

The original scripture is no longer there in the way God revealed it to Moses, David and Jesus, peace be upon them. Muslims only believe in the original Torah (which in edited format is the first five books of the Bible), the original Psalms of David, also edited and made part of the Old Testament, and the original Gospel, which in edited format is narrated by four different disciples in the first four books of the New Testament.

Are inter-faith debates worthwhile?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I’ve been discussing Islam with my Christian friend and he Christianity with me. Lately, he seemed to agree that he has been wrong in many of his assumptions about his religion, but he would not say that I’m right about mine.

Not totally unexpected. I myself believe that most debates are a waste of time. That’s because they arouse the ego. Once the ego gets into the room, guidance flies out the window. I suggest that you wish your friend well and assure him that you will always be there for him if he needs you to answer questions about Islam. Leaving him to reflect on your conversations may just be the thing to do. Who knows, maybe God will open his eyes once the spirit of challenge which the ego brings forth cools down.

BTW, are there any credible books written by Christians that prove that Christianity has been changed from the original teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him. This is the subject that interested my friend the most and the one where he agreed he was wrong about. Thanks.

One book I know of and can recommend is “From Jesus to Constantine – How Christianity was changed from the religion of Jesus to a religion about Jesus,” written by Dr. Bart Ehrman, M.Div., Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary. He is highly respected Bible scholar and is the head of the religious studies department at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. It is published by The Teaching Company.

Another scholarly work you may consider is, “Misquoting Jesus“, also by Dr. Ehrman.

Questions about the Gospel

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
I am a Christian who is earnestly seeking to learn more about Islam.

I have a couple questions about what the Quran says about the Gospel. They are:

1. Why does the Quran refer to the Gospel or Injil as if it is one book, when at the time of Muhammad there existed the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Christian Bible and many more apocryphal texts and so-called Gospels besides?

If there was one Gospel, what happened to it? Is there any historical record of such a thing (besides the Diatessaron?)

Welcome. Please ask all the questions you have in mind.

The Gospel was revealed to Jesus, peace be upon him, on Mount Olives. There is no evidence that he wrote it down. After the departure of Jesus, several disciples wrote down their recollection of what Jesus said and did. That’s not the same thing as the Gospel. That’s why you hear the gospels called, “The Gospel according to John,” etc.

The Church decided which books to include and which to exclude from the New Testament. They excluded books such as the gospels of Barnabas, James, Peter, the children, and many more. The Church instead included letters written by Paul, whom the disciples distrusted and who never met Jesus or ever hear him talk.

2. I am stumbling over there ever existing one Injil and that it was Christ’s mission to give the people of the world a book of God’s teachings.

Why are you stumbling over that? Jesus said that what he said was not of his own but of “the one who sent him“. So, he was the messenger of God. A messenger has a message to deliver, doesn’t he?

BTW, the mission of Jesus was never for the world. He said it was for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” only. The Quran confirms it in 3:49 among other verses.

3. What does Islam say of the prophecies of the Jewish scriptures and Christ’s fulfillment of them? Do y’all believe that they are fabrications?

Jesus, peace be upon him, did fulfill the prophecies of the Torah. He was the Messiah promised the Jews and the Quran confirms it in 3:45, among other verses.

4. But to get to what you were saying, the Christians, the early ones at least did not believe that Christ came to bring them any book from God, but that he came to show them the way of salvation through his teachings and example. The early Christians relied heavily on the Jewish scriptures, especially in terms of prayer.

That’s not what the Quran says. The disciples clearly believed in and followed the Gospel which Jesus taught. The purpose of the Gospel was to restore the original Torah which the Jewish rabbis and scribes edited to suit their needs. If the Torah had not been altered, there would not have been a need for the Gospel or for Jesus! The disciples and their followers struggled for 300 years to make sure those teachings remain pure. They were fed to lions and thrown into pits of fire but they did not relent. May God reward them handsomely for their sacrifice. Their sacrifice, sadly, was not enough as the Council of Nicaea decided in 325 A.D. to adopt the Pauline version of Christianity. The original teachings of Jesus were lost until God sent Muhammad, peace be upon him, to restore them.

5. It seems to me that every time that Allah of Islam sends a messenger He gives him some book. Am I mistaken? If so, why? Is this the way He chooses to reveal himself?

Allah of Islam is the same God whom Jesus called, in his native Aramaic, Alaha. He is the same God whom Moses, peace be upon him, called in his native Hebrew, Eloah.

The reason God sent down the Gospel is because the Jews tampered with the Torah. The reason God sent down the Quran is because the Christians tampered with the Gospel. God has vowed in the Quran that He will preserve the Quran Himself. He sure did! For the past 1400 years since the Quran was revealed, not one letter, consonant, vowel, diacritic, punctuation or even intonation has changed. How is that for preservation?

Does the Quran confirm or abrogate the Torah?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

If the Qur’an confirms the written Torah, then it means that the corruptions/deletions/fabrications/omissions/lies must have happened after the lifetime of Mohammed. And finally, it was not the Jews who wrote the Torah. Therefore it must be the author/s, who happen to be prophets, that “fabricated the lies”. Right?

The Quran does not confirm the Old Testament. It confirms the original Torah revealed to Moses. What is called the Torah today is the result of editions of the original Torah. These editions were made by many people, but not by the prophets. The prophets conveyed the true message of God. It’s some of their followers who changed what they said and attributed it to the prophets. The Quran came to correct the alterations the Jews made to the Torah and the Christians to the Gospel.

Can you be a Christian Muslim?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

A Catholic man converting to Islam wrote,

I was raised Catholic and I’m converting to Islam. I feel it is vital to say that I am embracing Islam. In doing this, I am making my Christian heritage stronger and so I believe I can call myself a Christian Muslim.

In doing this I will be closer to Allah, I will respect my family and follow my own path in life.

The values of faith, hope and charity, dedicated service to God, love and gratitude for Jesus and Mary, and peace and harmony, the values you probably cherish the most about Catholicism are all very emphasized and stressed in Islam. If these values are what you think of when you think of Christianity then you’ll find yourself at home with Islam.

Where the two religions differ is in key Christian dogma: That sin is inherited; that a savior is needed to forgive sin; that God has a son and is a trinity; that Jesus is divine; and that Jesus was crucified. Islam teaches that sin is not inherited, every newborn is born sinless with the pure original nature. Repentance, good deeds and seeking God’s forgiveness are the way to wipe out sin. God is one, unique, indivisible and uncontainable and there’s none like unto Him. He has no son nor was He begotten. Jesus was human in every way, a very honorable and distinctly noble man. He was miraculously conceived by his chaste, virgin mother Mary. He was a prophet and a messenger of God. He was given the holy scripture of the Gospel and he was the Christ promised to the Jews. Jesus was not crucified and he didn’t even die. God saved his life and dignity and lifted him up to heaven. Jesus will come back to rule the world and establish peace on earth for a while before the world comes to an end.

Just like Jesus said to the Jews that he did not come to abolish the law but to complete it, so did Islam come to confirm God’s message to humanity and correct deviations from it. It has always been the same message “Worship God, you have none worthy of worship but He” (Quran 7:59) which is the first commandment and the first words God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai “I am Eloah, your God. Worship none but Me.” To associate in the worship of God anything or anybody, be it a man, an image, a statue, a crucifix, a bite of bread, a sip of wine, you name it, is the one and only cardinal sin in Islam.