|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 42998
العمر : 71
|موضوع: Chapter 3: Bringing Light to the Heathen الإثنين 21 أغسطس 2017, 8:49 pm|| |
Chapter 3: Bringing Light to the Heathen
I decided that if I really cared about them, I would have to change my Muslim friends into Christians. Since I made no distinction between faith and doctrine, I felt that by correcting their system of belief, I would be saving Muslim souls from the eternal torment of hell! I knew that although they were concerned about variations in the Bible's translation, Muslims still revered the Bible and considered it to have been divinely inspired.
I knew as well that Muslims sought to worship and serve the God of Abraham (PBUH), the same God as Christians and Jews did. I was certain that it would be easy to find in the Bible the specific chapters and verses that would show my friends where they had been taught incorrectly and so lead them to true knowledge and faith in Jesus (PBUH). My task seemed to become even easier to me when I discovered that Jesus was already given the titles of Messiah and Christ in the book of Islam, the Holy Quran. Muslims, in my opinion, were all only one step away from Christianity!
The first thing I did was read an English translation of the meaning of their Book. I still remember the fear that I felt every day when I would sit down, prepared for spiritual combat. I expected with every turn of a page that I would read some horrible blasphemy that would test my faith. Instead, I saw worship and respect for God and the teachings of all of the Prophets.
I had always been taught that “Allah” was the name of a false God, but one of the first things I learned was that to Muslims, “Allah” simply meant “The Lord” and that Muslims gave no more reverence to this name than they did to any of God’s other titles, such as “The Most Gracious” or “The Most Merciful”. In fact, I learned that some Muslim scholars had recommended in the past that “Allah” not be used to refer to God at all in any language but Arabic. This had been done in an attempt to avoid exactly what had happened; non-Muslims believing that Muslims thought that "Allah" was God’s name! I remember thinking that the more I learned, the easier converting Muslims to Christianity seemed to become!
The first Prayer that I read, instead of being some Satanic invocation, said simply:
“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds:
Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we worship, and Thine Aid we seek.
Show us the straight way,
The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace.
Those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.”
(Surah 1:1-7 “The Opening”)
I was surprised. If I substituted “The Lord” for “Allah” as I was supposed to do, this prayer seemed the most “Christian” of supplications. This first surah even talked about Grace, a concept that I was very familiar with from my Christian education. Since I was sure that I knew everything that I needed to know on the subject of God's Grace, I concluded that Muslims simply didn’t understand their own book and just needed to have it explained to them by someone familiar with the Bible, like me.
My experience every day was the same. Instead of finding the blasphemy that I had expected, I found love, prayer, supplication, yearning and respect. I had always been taught that Islam was a cruel, fatalistic and judgmental religion, with little love, hope or forgiveness. Expecting to find proof of this, I instead found verses like Surah 2:2-5: “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah; who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have assurance of the Hereafter.
They are on (true Guidance), from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.” This verse even talked about “assurance of the Hereafter”, which confused me because I knew as a Christian that this came only to those with the correct doctrine.
When I read Surah 39:53: “Say: ‘Oh my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives All sins, for he is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” and Surah 4:110: "If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah's forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful", I thought that rather than confirming a rigid or cruel Judgment, they seemed to promise the same sort of forgiveness that Christians received, the forgiveness that I knew came only from belief in the doctrines of Christianity.
Instead of the fatalism and predestination that I had expected, I found Surah 2:21: “O ye people! Adore your Guardian Lord, who created you and those who came before you that ye may become righteous” and Surah 58:22: “Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred.
For such He has written Faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity.”
When I read them, both of these verses made it seem that in Islam, perfection was not required and that according to the Quran, Muslims “became” righteous just as I believed that Christians did. As well, they were promised strength and help from God’s Spirit just as I believed Christians were!
I remember my feeling of astonishment at how all this faith was being squandered at the feet of a false God. I became even more convinced that Muslims were somehow a people arrested in the process of becoming Christian and that their doctrine only needed to be corrected in a few small points, with my help.
Having resolved to find a way to reform Islam, I embarked upon a careful and organized review of everything that Jesus had taught. I was sure that this was all that would be necessary to convince a Muslim of the correctness of Christianity, since I was convinced that this was the basis of my own faith! Although in my previous studies of the Bible I had experienced some discomfort when encountering verses like Mark 10:18: “‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good — except God alone.’” or Matthew 5:17-19: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” I had always been able to shrug off these apparent contradictions to my beliefs. The first verse, I had come to understand, was an example of Jesus’ teasing that could only be comprehended by someone who already knew that Jesus was God.
It was always a pleasure to laugh with other Christians at this example of a divine sense of humour! When reading the second verse, I had been taught to focus on the word “fulfill”, and to believe that Jesus meant that since he had “fulfilled” the Law, none of the rest of us had to. I just ignored the subsequent verses or assumed that they applied to people with a different doctrine than my own.
Another passage that had given me a lot of anxiety when I read it was Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”, but I accepted the assurances of my leaders that this probably referred to the Mormons and could therefore be ignored safely by the rest of us. I had always believed that taken as a whole, the Bible supported Christian doctrine fully. I believed that following Christian doctrine was the path to pleasing God, so when I needed to prove this to Muslims, I went to the Bible for support.
Because I have written this book, you can probably surmise that my search was not successful in the way that I had expected. I had never studied the Bible in its entirety, seeking to support Christianity as “The Faith", since I had assumed that this work had been done many times by others. When I finally embarked on my own exhaustive study of the Bible and what it taught, I found some verses I had not read before and having found them, I rediscovered others that I felt I had never understood properly.
As I continued my review, I recalled the many times in Bible study that the leader would say things like “What Jesus really meant when he said this was...”, and I remembered my own lack of concern at this sort of commonplace re-interpretation. I learned some of what it was that the Bible actually said to me, and I learned what I believe are some of the ways that the Bible has been made to serve Christian Doctrine instead of itself being served by the Church, as it should have been.