|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 27335
العمر : 67
|موضوع: Chapter 14: End Notes الثلاثاء 22 أغسطس - 6:08|| |
Chapter 14: End Notes
To some extent, I have written this book hoping that it will be of some benefit to every student of Faith. Christian interpretation and re-interpretation over the centuries has rendered the Bible quite suspect to many. This is unfortunate, since there is guidance in the words of all of the Prophets, and Muslims are commanded to make no distinctions between them.
I believe that the title "Son of God" in its linkage to the "Messiah" refers to a specific relationship described in the Old Testament between a man and his God. It implies neither a biological function for the Creator, nor a divine origin for Jesus. I had been afraid to read the Quran because I had been taught to expect blasphemy.
I don't think that sincere servants and searchers for truth should feel they must avoid the Bible, particularly in these modern times when there is an honest attempt being made, in the translation and interpretation of newly discovered writings, to return to the originally intended lessons.
When I first began to study Islam, to find flaws that I could use to win its followers to my own beliefs, I was surprised by how many of the Muslims I knew had actually read the Bible. None of them were surprised or shocked by what they had read, and all expressed confusion as to how Christianity had developed.
I haven’t really addressed that question, but I think my own ideas are quite obvious. We must all be diligent in believing and following God’s Word as it is written, not as others interpret it. In the past, and even now in less literate countries, it is easy for those who are able to read God's Word to control the actions of those who cannot, by manipulating their beliefs.
Even among the literate, it is easy to give control of one’s faith and actions to a charismatic leader, but it is not correct to do so. It is especially wrong to ascribe to a creed because everyone else does, when so many of us have the tools to examine what the Prophets actually taught. If one follows the herd, one can practice the cultural and political aspects of a religion in isolation, and forget that there is something very real, over and above everything else.
Primarily, I have written this for Christians who are now as I was, honestly striving to follow Jesus and worship God but who are instead foundering in a morass made up of two thousand years of accumulated scholarly manipulation of God's word. As I said at the beginning of this book, it is very tempting to choose to belong to a religion that promises to predict, moderate or control God's Judgment. I honestly believed that God had given me those gifts.
I had little difficulty finding verses in the Bible to support my belief. It was only when I read the Bible as a whole, focusing on what Jesus, Isaiah, Jeremiah and the other Prophets had actually said that I began to question whether my belief was correct. I found that I had been forcing the Words into the meanings that I wanted, rather than reading them for the lessons that were actually there.
I wanted to believe that Christian doctrine correctly represented the Bible, because I believed it gave me assurances of peace with God. When I became Muslim, I accepted that my Faith and beliefs must follow what God has actually revealed if I truly want to serve "Him". Jesus commanded us to accept him and his lessons as a little child would. Children don't examine the words of their teachers for hidden meanings. They accept what they are told by the people they trust, as the literal truth.
1 John 5:1 teaches: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." I don't think that any Muslim I know would question whether Jesus is the Christ, because this is declared in the Holy Quran! When I am invited to discuss my beliefs with Christian leaders, I generally have to explain that our recognition of Jesus’ "Messiah-hood" and our anticipation of his second coming cannot be construed as an indication that Muslims are just a different sort of Christian.
We do not accept the modern Christian conception of who the Messiah is. Instead, we look for the Messiah of the Holy Quran and the Old Testament, who was proclaimed by Gabriel: a light to enlighten the Gentiles, the glory of the people of Israel, and the King of the children of Jacob.
I am concerned that Christians who demand that Jesus be God Incarnate or who redefine Messiah to fit that interpretation are rejecting who he truly was.
According to 1 John 2:22, this is the mark of the Anti-Christ. “Who is the liar?
It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son.” I also worry that by worshiping Jesus as God, some if not all Christians are offending against the first of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me.” Lastly, I fear that in saying that they are taught these things by God’s Holy Spirit, Christians may be committing the one unforgivable sin recorded in the Bible, that of bearing false witness against the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:30-32 says: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven , either in this age or in the age to come.”
John warns: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God", in 1 John 4:1-3. Before I began my study, I believed that the Bible denounced anyone who denied that Jesus was God, because of verses like this one. In the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament, flesh is an image used to describe something outside the realm of the divine.
This verse doesn't say that one should listen to a spirit that teaches Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit will never teach anything in contradiction to what has been said to the Prophets.
Christians reject the Holy Quran because it refutes accepted doctrine, and because of the command at the end of the book of Revelations not to add anything to what God had already revealed. I have tried to demonstrate why I believe that it is the Church and its doctrines that have actually made additions to God's revealed Word, and to show that it is the Holy Quran, in its call to simple faith and submission to the One God, which has remained true to the lessons and revelations of all of God's Prophets. We cannot coerce God by choosing to believe in promises that He never made.
Those promises would make God subservient to our selfishness. To me, Christian doctrine is dangerous because it says that our own beliefs about our relationship to God are more important than the relationship itself.
This is a record of my own journey. One thing that I don't want to do is somehow convince anyone to simply replace one doctrine with another. I hope that this book is useful and interesting to anyone who takes the time to read it, but I believe that everyone has to make their own path to peace with God.
The first command spoken to Mohammed (PBUH) was "IQRA" which means "READ!" I believe that God has given us these books for that purpose, and I encourage everyone to read them voraciously. Read everything that you can find, especially the Torah, Bible and Holy Quran, but read them for yourselves. Pray regularly. Make up your own mind. Count on the help of God. I had coffee with an evangelical Christian missionary, an old friend and my last Bible study leader, to talk about my book.
I was interested to see if reading it changed the way he felt about me and my reversion to Islam. It took us a while to actually start to talk easily. This earnest, devoted follower of Jesus was convinced that his sole purpose in ministry was to introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ.
He was certain that Jesus’ importance in the world was based on his role as a divine, redeeming sacrifice and that the message that Jesus brought, though important, was secondary. When he read Jesus’ words in John 14:15: "If you love me, you will obey what I command", he said that he saw a command to love Jesus, and a promise that obedience would follow.
He said he felt that worshiping Jesus was an inevitable step for anyone who acknowledged him. He even gave me a book "Building Bridges", written by the Lebanese Christian missionary Fouad Elias Accad (Navpress LCCN#36968), on how to induct Muslims into this process with quotations from the Holy Quran.
Here I was, sitting across the table from him and telling him that I had somehow reversed this sequence, and that I thought that it was the right thing to do. Eventually we began to talk about what the Bible and the Quran actually said, rather than about our interpretations. In the end, he was more comfortable with me and my chosen path, as well as more aware of the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity, and he expressed the hope that we could continue a dialogue about what both books said about Jesus. It is likely that he still hopes to change my mind, but to me, it was good that we had been able to move beyond talking about the way we disagreed on interpretation into an honest conversation about God's word.
I became quite uncomfortable when I read the book by Fouad Accad. Pastor Accad identified himself as one who hoped to build bridges between Christianity and Islam. He wrote about the necessity of mutual respect, cultural sensitivity and honesty. Unfortunately, I soon realized that his book typified exactly what I want to avoid in Muslim-Christian dialogue. Although it used many of the same verses as my own manuscript, some of them were altered in a fashion that changed their meaning.
When I talked about it with my friend, he pointed out that my own quotes were often quite lengthy, and that if I would paraphrase as well I would be better able to make my point and hold the interest of my reader. I think this would be a mistake. For dialogue to be fruitful, it has to be based on the original message, not our summaries. The omission of portions of verses to guide another person’s interpretation of them can be just another way to lie.
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes a scholar can begin a religious argument with a conclusion already in mind and study only to look for supportive verses to prove their point. The temptation to modify something that is "almost perfect" is understandable. I've shown where I found evidence of this in the Holy Bible.
I think that Mr. Accad tried to do the same thing with the Holy Quran. For example, for the meaning of Surah 4:171, he wrote: "The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was... the Messenger of God, and His word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him." In fact, the quote from the Quran actually says: "O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth.
Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not ‘Trinity’; desist: it will be better for you, for Allah is One God: Glory be to Him; (far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on the earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs."
The Quran then goes on: "Christ disdaineth not to serve and worship Allah, nor do the angels, those nearest to Allah; those who disdain His worship and are arrogant – He will gather them all together unto Himself (to answer)." Fouad Accad recommended that his version of the verse be used to convince a Muslim that as God's "Word", Jesus was somehow part of God's essence. In fact, the verse and those following it better transmit the opposite meaning.
Later, he used Surah 5:47 to justify this sort of re-interpretation and reassure Christians about its validity to Muslims. He translated: "Let those who follow the Gospel (Christians) judge according to (follow) what God has revealed therein (in the Bible). Evildoers are those that do not base their judgments on God's revelations." He apparently concluded that this gave Christians permission to alter the Quran to mimic their own interpretation of the Bible.
Actually the verse quoted is better translated as saying: "Let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel." A later verse from the same surah, 5:68, expands on the meaning by commanding: "Say: 'O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.' It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy.
But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith." And later, 5:78 says: "Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary, because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses." The Quran does not encourage its own reinterpretation. Instead, these verses condemn anyone who tries to force their own self-serving meanings onto the Words of God in either the Bible or the Quran.
Having read his book, I still believe that Reverend Accad's intent was to build bridges between Islam and Christianity. Unfortunately, instead of promoting dialogue and communication, I suspect that his bridges were only meant to carry information from Christianity to Islam, and were actually designed with the sole purpose of carrying Muslims in the other direction, to an acceptance of Christian doctrine. His book was a series of one-sided arguments that would be useful only if one's purpose were to trick an unsophisticated Muslim into the misinterpretation of the Holy Quran. This cannot result in honest, meaningful communication.
There is a hadith that recommends that Muslims not listen to Christian theologians. In it, the Prophet (PBUH) explains that some of what they say is true, but that any truth will be mixed with falsehood. Anyone who listens risks either accepting falsehood with truth, or rejecting truth with falsehood. Those who treat the Quran or the Bible in a disrespectful fashion by altering their meaning to win arguments instead of seeking enlightenment only prove the validity of this hadith and damage their own credibility.
We should all remember the words of Gamaliel in Acts 5:35-39: “Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men. For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him: but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
After him, Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”
The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was told in Surah 42:13-15: “The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah -- that which We have sent by inspiration to thee -- and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein; To those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
“And they became divided only after knowledge reached them – through selfish envy as between themselves. Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, (tending) to a Term appointed, the matter would have been settled between them. But truly those who have inherited the Book after them are in suspicious (disquieting) doubt concerning it.
“Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: ‘I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down, and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord; for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) final goal.’”
Islam is not a rejection of Jesus, of his teachings, or of the Bible. It is a rejection of false doctrines that go beyond what Jesus said. Muslims try to follow all of God’s word with fidelity, cognizant that the Message, being from One God, must itself be in its fundamentals One. Unity of God is the central truth of Islam, and Unity of His people on earth is one of our goals. In the end, we are left with nothing but Faith and obedience, but these being from God are sufficient.
“Say: ‘See ye? If (this teaching) be from the Lord, and ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed while ye are arrogant, (how unjust ye are!), truly, the Lord guides not a people unjust.’”(The Holy Quran, Surah 46:10)