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"The Muslim Biblicist" - Dr. Ali Ataie

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  • #16
    I'd like to make a few comments as a follower of Jesus the Messiah. I do not want to engage in polemics, but will share briefly my understanding.
    The 4 canonical Gospels were all written in the first century and by the end of the first century and early second century were being quoted and referred to widely by the leaders of the Christian community. There is no account of the documents being chosen and others thrown away or rejected. It was a natural process of acceptance, first by contemporaries of Jesus (eye witnesses) and then by their followers and disciples.
    The number of original parchments and documents is vast, and although we do not have the originals, the science of form, literary and historical criticism is so advanced that we can be almost certain that what we have is extremely close to the originals. Any possible question is always clearly marked and in no way affects fundamental Christian belief or practice.
    The Qur'an seems to hold the Injil in high regard and, as far as I understand, the book that was called the Injil in the Qur'an is the book we now have as the New Testament (it could just be the 4 gospels) By the time of the 7th Century the content and authenticity of the New Testament and the Gospels had been accepted for at least 4 centuries. It is what we have in translations today.
    I would also comment that the life and teaching of Jesus the Messiah which the Qur'an refers to as revelation from God cannot be changed or corrupted. God protects his word, as the Qur'an and the Bible are careful to declare. So, any suggestion that God's word has been corrupted or changed is not so much a criticism of Christians or Jews but of God himself, suggesting he is unable or unwilling to protect the truth of his word.
    I want to suggest that as an account of Jesus the Messiah, who is seen as an important person in the Qur'an, the 4 gospels are worthy of being read with a prayer that God will guide us to the truth.
    I think a Christian will find the Muslim perspective confusing, as our scripure we believe that the Qur'an is quite literally the word of Allah. As in it is divine speech. It is not the words of Muhammad Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam, although in it our Master Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam is instructed to say things and the conversation of the Prophets Alayhim Salam throughout history are recorded.

    As in, for you as a Christian, what God says in the Old Testament to Musa Alayhis Salam, which is recorded as God's speech and law giving, is similar to the Qur'an is for us - but the entirety of it. As are many of the statements of God in the Psalms. So the Qur'an is not at all like the four gospels in that regards.

    In fact one of the better parallels to the Qur'an in what it is, are the ancient Vedas of Hinduism, in that they are claimed to be divine inspiration/revelation in the manner of the Qur'an - the Rishis reportedly received them in a trance. So as you can see, the very documents we are discussing are different in their purport in the first place. The 'Gospels' do not claim to be the literal divine word in their entirety, they claim to be a story telling by the authors of the life of Isa Alayhis Salam with some theological notes thrown in. You can see in-depth what I suggest the Muslim view on them should be, and there is a difference of opinion and there are also a minority Muslim scholars who advocate taking them to the Injil referred to in the Qur'an - read this.

    The Majority view and the view of the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet Muhammad Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam) such as Ibn Abbas Radiyallahu Anhu however is that the Injil and Taurat are both corrupted. Moreover the gospels in our possession as I explained above, are not a transmission of divine revelation as it were, they are essentially Seerah works, which go some way to preserve the original Injil, but not to the degree of the Torah of the Jews nor the Psalms.

    Allah can preserve or corrupt his speech as he so wished, and no promise was made by him in previous scripture to preserve them. He has however made that promise in the Qur'an which is preserved, so that instead of being given a continuous stream of Prophets he gives mankind one final Prophet and preserves his message. It is reasonable to understand that because Muhammad Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam is the final prophet, and there is no prophet after him, if Allah did not preserve Islam in both scripture and teaching then mankind

    Comparing Islamic/Christian Standards of "Authenticity"

    Even the Hadith literature that the average Muslim is aware of (especially Kutub al-Sittah) are not anything like the Bible, due to the strictness in transmission, authentication, and that the reports are individual and discenably seperate from each other (and there can exist difference of opinion of whether X report is authentic as their is an objective and documented method of authentication, narrator criticism etc. Each of the narrators narrated to the next generation and the different chains are recorded, and we have biographies on the narrators, criticism on them, praise etc.

    If we use Christian standards of what counts for when the "Gospels were written" we would say the following:

    "The Qur'an was revealed and written down at the time of the Sahabah. This is a verifiable fact with many witnesses. The Hadith (prophetic tradition) were memorised and written also by the Sahabah e.g. The Sahifah of Imam Ali that is now included in Bukhari, and there are other Sahifah which are interred in larger collections. These Hadith were collected and put together in larger collections, and those continue to be transmitted today. "

    (An analogy for the Christian is the diatessaron, but even this is not such a good example as there are completely different standards in what counts as authentic).

    So by Christian and western scholarship standards, which are - no offence - very shallow according to the strict standard adopted by Muslims, our Qur'an and Hadith are said to come from the exact time of the Prophet Alayhis Salam and the Sahabah.

    Issues with Christian standards

    This is because in Christian standards, all that is required are "witness accounts" to documents to say that they were written and known to later authors.

    Well that is good and all, however it doesn't prove that Mathew/Mark/Luke etc. actually heard these from Isa Alayhis Salam - and we know they couldn't and Christian authors admit they haven't - the bible is not witness testimony given by known witnesses where you can give me a short biography of each person, who they heard from and where they lived etc.

    They were based off of unknown witnesses e.g. the unknown disciple of the gospel of John - who is John's source (direct/indirect I am not sure). In fact we do not een know who the authors of the gospels are... We know there names and not much else about them, and there are disputes regarding them. Even if you brought to me Pauline Epistles, well with some of those at least I know who Paul is etc.

    In fact modern scholarship on the gospels suggest they are copied from one another, and another source named "Q". This is not scholarship from enemies of Christianity - this is scholarship of Christian scholars themselves. Frequently even e.g. the Catholic Church will declare a line popularly understood from the Gospels to be a fabrication e.g. John 5:7-8 reference to Father, Son and Holy ghost.

    You have to understand that from the stricter Islamic standard, this is completely unacceptable. We cannot verify to an Islamic standard that the Gospels are authentically the words of Isa Alayhis Salam.

    Finally, the fact of History is that the Qur'an and transmission of Hadith had both common/non-state and state support - the four Khulafah ensured the presevation of the Qur'an, particular the first - Amir Abu Bakr Radiyallahu An, and the third - Amir Uthman Radiyallahu An. So they had access to resources the early Christians didn't - they were being persecuted by the Roman state.

    In fact we Muslims have a hard time convincing other Muslims to even give any attention to the gospels precisely because of this reason (level of authenticity and verifiability). I think you'll find if we were to ask Abu 'Abdullaah even my nuainced position I wrote here, he will say something like "You are asking me to give some weight to complete hearsay".

    That is what the Gospels are according to the Muslim standard of verification, it is hearsay. Comparisons with the Qur'an do not even start, that is a Mutawatir text (Mass transmitted), where every word goes back to the Prophet Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam and the archangel Jibril Alayhis Salam (not like the Hadith where there is transmission by memory). Comparisons with any Hadith collection are also a strech. The only comparison to be made is with the Seerah works of the Muslim historians (in content, literary form and closer in authenticity), and even those are to a higher standard.

    Example of Standard in Hadith Literature

    I can tell you for example a full chain for a Hadith of Bukhari - i.e. the person who has it today will tell you who he is transmitting from, who he is transmitting from etc. all the way back to Bukhari. Then Bukhari will tell you this all the way back to our Master Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLvlgk7-FIs

    All those names he is reciting are quite literally the people, generation to generation, century to century, who heard and narrate the tradition going back to the Prophet Muhammad himself. All are known well, some are even famous scholars known to the laymuslims e.g. in his chain is Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, a famous Shafi'i-Ash'ari Muhaddith and historian. There are hundreds upon thousands of these people in each generation transmitting from Bukhari, and then there are dependent on the Hadith, huundreds/many/few/some/or just one in the chain to the Prophet, depending on the exact Hadith.

    And there are always generations of Muhaddithin scrutinising the Chains e.g. Sahih al-Bukhari, compiled by Imam Muhammad bin Isma'il al-Bukhari was heavily scrutinised, and its chains checked, compared to other sources, sourced from other works and debated over (Imam ad-Daraqutni argued for weakening some Hadith, Imam an-Nawawi and others settled the dispute) until it was arrived at that the Hadith in the work are agreed up-on authentic. The Muslim scholars did not just take a-Bukhari on his word, as al-Bukhari did not take upon their words the hundreds he narrated from (his collection is a scrutinised collection in the first place, where he verified everything he put in).

    Muslim scholars do not just reject Hadith they don't like, nor authenticate the ones they like - they will frequently authenticate things they do not agree with. If a Hadith is ruled weak, even if you like the content of it and want it to be true, then it is still weak. That is what it means to be objective.

    So I hope you understand what we Muslims mean when we say "the gospels are not verifiably the words of Isa Alayhis Salatu Was-Salam".
    Last edited by Muhammad Hasan; 07-01-21, 02:20 AM.
    Amir ul-Muminin Sayyiduna Ali KarramAllahu Wajhah said,
    "Mahma tasawwarta bi-balik, fallahu bi-khilaf dhalik,"
    Whatever comes into your mind, Allah is other than that,

    Al-Aqeedah Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Riwayah Abu Bakr al-Khallal),
    1/116

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Muhammad Hasan View Post
      Dr Ali Ataei's lecture series on the Gospels:

      (In 12 parts, each part between 40 - 60 minutes)
      Thanks for this link - I have copied it to my computer. I "skipped listened" to some of the lectures and found it quite interesting how a Muslim perspective on cirtain facts and a Christian perspective on the same facts can be quite different. I'm afraid I don't have 12 hours to listen intently to them all!

      If I asked you to listen to lectures by Christian theologians on their understanding of the Qur'an, its history and setting would you accept what they said?
      Can I give an example?

      Suppose there was a lady who met a man and they started to spend time together. Slowly began to get to know each other and appreciate each other's company. As time went by they fell in love. Now at that time because of work and family commitments they had to move to different parts of the world and could no longer meet. (assume this was a while back before emails and internet, whatsapp and zoom) They began to write letters to each other sharing their daily life and talking about their love for each other. Each letter added to the lady's joy and love for her friend. One day, in a letter, the man asked the lady to marry him. The lady wanted to be sure she was making the right decision so she showed the letters to her father. She asked him what she thought of her young man friend.
      The father who had never met the man started to read the letters. He was shocked. "You can't marry this man" he exclaimed. "he can't spell, he has aweful grammar and his hand writing looks like a spider has crawled across the page. He isn't worthy of you. I can't even read some of what he has written and what he has written I can't make any sense of it." These letters are rubbish, they are not even worrth keeping and as for the man well he must be dishonist and he is trying to take advantage of you."

      I want to ask you is the father's assesment of the man fair? Will the lady accept her fathers assment of her friend? Why is the lady's understanding of the man different from the her father's?

      Comment


      • #18
        Thank you for your explination of the difference between the Qur'an and the previous books. I understand that difference and it presents a challenge both to Muslims and to Christians. We both need to interpret what is written and make it applicable to today and our present situation.
        Because the Muslim understands the Qur'an as the very words of God they have to be 100% true and without fault. So if an error or inconsitancy is found it doesn't reflect on the prophet but on God himself.
        The Christian and Jewish scriptures are accounts of people engaging with God and with each other they were writen by eyewitnesses or recorders of oral tradition. God afirms these writings as valuable for teaching and guidence (2 Timothy 3:16)
        16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
        Because they contain actions and words of imperfect people they give us examples for ourselves as imperfect people of how to have a relationship with God and live in community with oethers. They contain both bad examples and the negative consiquenses of those actions and good examples and the positive out comes if we follow them.

        I find your comment "Allah can preserve or corrupt his speech as he so wished," very scary. If God is like this, how can we trust what he says? Even if he says I will protect my word he could be saying corrupt speach and so not really mean it.

        You said thet the previous books do not contain adfermation from God that htey will be preserved. I thought of these verses
        Recorded in Matthew. Luke and Mark. Jesus says: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
        The prophet Isaiah says about God's words "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures for ever."

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Friend of God View Post

          Suppose there was a lady who met a man and they started to spend time together. Slowly began to get to know each other and appreciate each other's company. As time went by they fell in love. Now at that time because of work and family commitments they had to move to different parts of the world and could no longer meet. (assume this was a while back before emails and internet, whatsapp and zoom) They began to write letters to each other sharing their daily life and talking about their love for each other. Each letter added to the lady's joy and love for her friend. One day, in a letter, the man asked the lady to marry him. The lady wanted to be sure she was making the right decision so she showed the letters to her father. She asked him what she thought of her young man friend.
          The father who had never met the man started to read the letters. He was shocked. "You can't marry this man" he exclaimed. "he can't spell, he has aweful grammar and his hand writing looks like a spider has crawled across the page. He isn't worthy of you. I can't even read some of what he has written and what he has written I can't make any sense of it." These letters are rubbish, they are not even worrth keeping and as for the man well he must be dishonist and he is trying to take advantage of you."

          I want to ask you is the father's assesment of the man fair? Will the lady accept her fathers assment of her friend? Why is the lady's understanding of the man different from the her father's?
          Will give a fuller reply to what you said before this, but I think I'll give a brief answer to this and something else you've said. Before I say that I should tell you, I did not intend for you to watch the series of lectures by Shaykh Ali Ataie. When I linked them, I intended my brother AmantuBillahi to watch it, as he is very interested in this topic and I wanted to provide him with some lectures to benefit from.

          Answer to your scenario of the Lady and Man

          First of all, I would say the lady should not have spent time alone with the man, he is a non-Mahram1, all interactions should have been with the father, and if he met and saw him there would be no misunderstanding if the man was indeed suitable for her. Moreover suitability is not just whether the hearts connect, rather the father will have many practical issues in mind with his experience and age, and will insha'Allah be able to see potential problems in the suitor that his daughter might be oblivious to. His wisdom and council should not be ignored...

          Serious answer to your scenario of the Lady and Man

          Ok ok, being serious though, the woman's understanding of the man (however inappropriate), is due to her personal interaction with him, and she was going up to him and understanding him first hand. The father did not understand this as he judged him based off of his letters.

          However.

          The lady is not objectively correct in her judgement either. She met him, and has decided based off of that, and the father read the letters but did not meet him and decided based off of that. But my question to you my dear friend is what if - after meeting the man and speaking to him - the father in his wisdom denies that she should marry that man?

          But the daughter, being emotionally enamoured by that man, not wanting to see any potential faults, does not want to listen to the wisdom and reasoning and experience of the father? She cannot see and reason whilst her father can. But she would not listen to her fathers advice even if he met him.

          My question to you is does it even matter what her father would say? Or had she already made her mind up and was seeking her fathers approval? Would she listen to her fathers honest judgement after meeting the man? And my final question to you is: Did you assume the father had never met that man before?

          Rather you will find that the father is intimately familiar with the man.
          Notes
          1. He is unrelated to her. In Islam it is not permitted that the unrelated man and woman speak privately. This should always be done in the company of a close family member (Mahram).
          Last edited by Muhammad Hasan; 27-01-21, 11:55 AM.
          Amir ul-Muminin Sayyiduna Ali KarramAllahu Wajhah said,
          "Mahma tasawwarta bi-balik, fallahu bi-khilaf dhalik,"
          Whatever comes into your mind, Allah is other than that,

          Al-Aqeedah Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Riwayah Abu Bakr al-Khallal),
          1/116

          Comment


          • #20
            Thanks Muhammad Hasan Yes I understand that there are some 'moral' issues with the story but I'm glad you understood the thrust of what I was trying to get across.
            You go on to say "The lady is not objectively correct in her judgement either."
            Here I think is the issue.
            How do we know God? Do we know him objectively or subjectively?
            An objective knowledge is based on what we read or hear about someone. It could be through what they have writen themselves or through what others have written about them. It may come through gossip or through listening to the person talking themselves.
            A subjective knowledge comes through an intimate relationship of loving trust; built up through spending time with the person, watching them interact with others and situations, and experiencing the warmth of their presence.
            I know God through a subjective experience of him daily in my life. So when I come to read the Bible, I see there things that reflect that relationship and feed into it. The challenges of the text - and I don't deny there are many - do not phase me because I know the one who authorised the text. I recognise that through the text he is showing me, by examples of people in the past and by stories and poetry, how he wants me to live and how he relates to people.
            If a person looks at the Bible with only an objective perspective, it is easy to dwell on some of the challenges and to misunderstand the intention and the genre of the text.
            The Qur'an similarly has many textual and historic challenges. But I do not want to stand as an objective aynaliser of the text. When I read the Qur'an I come to it and ask does what I read fit with my subjective daily experience of the living, loving, active God? If it doesn't, I have to ask why, and the answer is not found in critisizing the text or looking for apparent mistakes.

            Let's try another story!
            Imagine I'm living in a country far from my family. (again in the time of 'proper' letters) We write and correspond. I decide I want to return home and start to write about plans with my father. He replies saying how happy he is that I want to come home and offers to pay the air ticket. He continues to write explaining his plans and how he will provide me with the ticket. Eventually after following his instructions I have the ticket in my hands an am preparing for the flight home. Then unexpectedley I get another letter. It tells me to buy my own ticket with my own money and that the ticket I have in my hand is not valid. I look carefully at this letter and realize that the hand writing is different from my father's and the kind of words used in the letter are not the way he would talk to me or has been talking to me in the previous letters.

            What do I do and how do I respond to this new letter?

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Friend of God View Post
              Let's try another story!
              Imagine I'm living in a country far from my family. (again in the time of 'proper' letters) We write and correspond. I decide I want to return home and start to write about plans with my father. He replies saying how happy he is that I want to come home and offers to pay the air ticket. He continues to write explaining his plans and how he will provide me with the ticket. Eventually after following his instructions I have the ticket in my hands an am preparing for the flight home. Then unexpectedley I get another letter. It tells me to buy my own ticket with my own money and that the ticket I have in my hand is not valid. I look carefully at this letter and realize that the hand writing is different from my father's and the kind of words used in the letter are not the way he would talk to me or has been talking to me in the previous letters.

              What do I do and how do I respond to this new letter?
              It seems possible that the first one was a deceiver or someone wishing to harm you. Then your father responded. The determining factor would be how does he writes before the letters where he uses very kind/loving words?

              Have you read the old testament thoroughly?

              There was early heretical sect of Christianity, who taught the falsity of two 'gods'. The one of the old testament as vengeful and malevolent, and the one of the new testament as forgiving and benelovant.

              As for Allah Azza Wa Jal, He is the most High, there is no god but Him.

              He punishes and rewards. He creates both evil and good, and transcends them. He does as He wills, and He has decreed the creation and is a merciful God, showing mercy to the believer and even the disbeliever. But he is also the Just (al-Adl) and will eternally punish the disbelievers for denying Him, and reward the believers for believing in Him and performing good deeds. He is forgiving if you sincerely turn to Him in forgiveness. He forgave even the man who killed 1000 others - there is no limit to his forgiveness. Your life is a test and a loan from Him. Pass the test, and return the loan with profit of good deeds and you will prosper.

              And yet what has he prepared as punishment for Pharoah, the idolators and the likes of Hitler?

              What punishment has he prepared for the Jews who wished to kill his his slave and word Alayhim As-Salam that he communicated to Maryam Alayha as-Salam? What rewards has he prepared for those that followed the teachings of this slave, Isa Alayhis Salam? For he has revealed in the scripture that it is His righteous slaves who will inherit the kingdom, the entirely unrighteous shall not inherit anything. Is then his punishment of the unrighteous going against his Mercy? No. He does what He wills and his mercy to the disbelievers was giving them this world before their punishment and the chance to believe.

              I submit myself to Him the most High. We must love him alone, we worship and adore Him alone.

              He doesn't require blood sacrifices - he controls life and death, good and evil itself. He can forgive you if he wishes and we hold a good opinion of God. Evil and arrogant is he who holds a bad view of his Creator. The devil/Shaytan has no power, but Allah has all power. Unless He wills, the forces of evil cannot do a thing. Nor can the forces of good - he is the controller of all things - all things are in Yadullah and He spends as He wills.

              The tribes of Canaan disbelieved, so was it decreed that they meet their end by the hands of his obedient slaves. The tribes of the Arabs disbelieved, so was it decreed the same. Except for Him who surrendered and submitted Himself to hear the message. I feel as if the Jews with their hard hearts distorted the Torah so as to only leave what is mentioned of punishment in it, and even their I see exaggeration, as in the Qur'an punishment of the disbelievers is generally followed up (or preceded by) reward for the believers.

              We read the following in the old testament regarding the punishment of God upon Jerusalam:

              6 Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.

              7 “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city.

              8 While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign LORD ! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?”

              9 Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The LORD doesn’t see it! The LORD has abandoned the land!’

              10 So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.”

              11 Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”


              - Ezekiel 9:6-11
              (By the way, according to the Shariah taught to Muhammad Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam i.e. the final recension of the divine law - for us to perform the above is illegal/Haram. It is prohibited to kill the elderly, little children, women etc. in warfare. I am not entirely sure that the above was according to the Islamic view the law in the time of Musa Alayhis Salam as I do not allege the Torah is unchanged.)

              If someone judged the Qur'an by the verses commanding the blessed disciples of Muhammad Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam (known as the Sahabah/companions) to fight against the idolators, with much less colourful language than this, and judged that it is not from their lord due to these verses given in war, then that person should conclude that the god of the New Testament is not the god of the Old Testament.

              My question to you is - what if that father you know has a history of being very frank with you and has raised you, assisting you but also making sure you are independent. He has shown love to you and parental care throughout your life - and getting you to pay for your own things is part of that. Now you receive those letters - how strange is it that he would pay for your fare. Then the letters come where he is warning you that the fare you hold is fake, and that you will need to buy them yourself. You notice this is more normal in tone - it is not like the strange lovey, dovey, overly-kind 'father' who for some reason pays for your fare even though he has never done that before and has raised you to stand on your own two feet.

              I think you are in grave danger. Someone other than your father sent those letters to you and has deceived you. They groomed you. Perhaps they wished you harm. Your father has given you advice to dispose of that and buy your own fare. In that it shows that he cares about you, he is looking for your wellbeing and safety.

              He looks forward to meeting you as he has done in the past.

              Now I ask you to consider: What is more likely: The father telling you to buy your own fare is the deceiver, or the one who bought your fare for you. The one who talks as he has always talked to you, or the one who suddenly starts acting strangely over-kind. Where is the risk? I see no risk in the father asking me to buy my own fare - I pay the ticket myself as my father taught me, set the time of arrival etc. and this is what has always happened - but the other one who is asking me to use that ticket he bought - talking not in the way he usually talks - I feel uncomfortable with that.

              The Jews are Monotheists. The Old Testament contains verses of Monotheism not asking you to worship other beings, rather there are many warnings against that.


              But suddenly in the new testament (apparently) it asks you to worship a human being. (This isn't true either but I am just talking on your level). Isa Alayhis Salam, that noble human being and the word of God, himself in the new testament tells you that the most important commandment is the first one.

              What is the first commandment? Was it not to worship one God and to love him with all your heart? Read it and then read the Shema.

              שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד


              Lt: Sh'ma Yisrael: YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad

              JR: Sh'ma Yisrael: Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad

              Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

              (Deutronomy 6:4, English from here. This is based off of JR, not the literal Hebrew.)
              Note: The Jews would replace the sancrosanct name YHWH (one suggested pronunciation is "Yahweh"), with Adonai meaning Lord.1

              قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ


              Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad.

              Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One,

              (Al-Qur'an, Surah al-Ikhlas, Ayah 1, with Sahih International's Interpretation and my transliteration)
              If what your father would give you letters before in one tone and suddenly the tone changes (original sin, blood sacrifice/dying for your sins etc,) then -

              - why are you following the sweetly worded letter?

              In summary my answer to you is to go with the second which poses no harm, and to Insha'Allah meet your father. Can the be any harm putting in the effort yourself and buying the ticket yourself? This is what you expected to do anyway.
              Notes
              1) It is interesting that this corresponds with one scholarly view regarding the identity of the greatest name of God in Islam - Huwa (meaning He/He is). In Arabic if someone wants to call on Allah with that name they would say, "Ya Huwa" lit. meaning "O He". An interesting coincidence. According to a Hadith whoever calls upon Allah by his greatest name indicated in two verses, shall have their prayer answered - and the Sufis in particular have gone into depth with this sort of topic.

              2) Interesting fact, according to Judaism, Muslims will enter and be rewarded in the world to come. This is because the general requirements for such are to follow the Noahide law, which Islam conforms to. That is a world that will have rivers of honey and milk (read from the start of deut. 6), the same description is given of Jannah in the Qur'an.
              Last edited by Muhammad Hasan; 04-02-21, 07:19 PM.
              Amir ul-Muminin Sayyiduna Ali KarramAllahu Wajhah said,
              "Mahma tasawwarta bi-balik, fallahu bi-khilaf dhalik,"
              Whatever comes into your mind, Allah is other than that,

              Al-Aqeedah Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Riwayah Abu Bakr al-Khallal),
              1/116

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Friend of God View Post
                Thanks Muhammad Hasan Yes I understand that there are some 'moral' issues with the story but I'm glad you understood the thrust of what I was trying to get across.
                You go on to say "The lady is not objectively correct in her judgement either."
                Here I think is the issue.
                How do we know God? Do we know him objectively or subjectively?
                An objective knowledge is based on what we read or hear about someone. It could be through what they have writen themselves or through what others have written about them. It may come through gossip or through listening to the person talking themselves.
                A subjective knowledge comes through an intimate relationship of loving trust; built up through spending time with the person, watching them interact with others and situations, and experiencing the warmth of their presence.
                I know God through a subjective experience of him daily in my life. So when I come to read the Bible, I see there things that reflect that relationship and feed into it. The challenges of the text - and I don't deny there are many - do not phase me because I know the one who authorised the text. I recognise that through the text he is showing me, by examples of people in the past and by stories and poetry, how he wants me to live and how he relates to people.
                If a person looks at the Bible with only an objective perspective, it is easy to dwell on some of the challenges and to misunderstand the intention and the genre of the text.
                I have told you this before - it is not an either/or. We do not know God just objectively. Nor do we know him solely by the subjective means either.

                We know Him through both.

                Yes my heart says Islam is correct and my heart yearns to worship and love only one God, but my mind is there ensuring my heart is set upon the truth. My mind and objectivity and reason confirms for me the truth of the religion, and I have heard and analysed all the historical arguments and fallacies, and I have certain evidences in abundance. But after confirming the truth, now we connect to God with our hearts. And then it is our hearts and experience of God by which we know Him intimately - not the mind. But the heart can never tell you something that contradicts the sound mind. And if you are upon the truth, it never will.

                Ritual acts were legislated by Allah, but simply doing the ritual acts are not enough. You have to have that spiritual connection/deep love (the Sufis say Ishq) of Him in Salah, in Dhikr, in personal prayer (dua) to Him etc. That is part of Ihsan - worshipping Him as if you see Him and if you feel do not see Him then knowing deeply that He sees you.

                You can say and talk to Him about any and all things and confide and ask Him to help you in all things. You can cry and seek refuge in Him. Isn't that knowing him subjectively? Because I know an elderly gentleman who does exactly that - he prays to Him late at night, praying Tahajjud, connecting with Him, talking to Him etc. and He is the one who responds. His response is always the best response. And in the Qur'an yes there is also a message for you in particular. If you allow yourself to hear and read then you can read what He is telling you in particular. And His signs are also in the world. And conveys to you his signs sometimes in strange ways.

                I have made prayers to Him and He is the one who answers. And sometimes I regret the things I ask for.

                Yet I asked Him to guide me and He guided me and, if He wills, continues to guide this fallible person. I ask you to sincerely ask Him, not Jesus (Isa Alayhis Salam), but God, the Father, who created Isa Alayhis Salam in the womb of his noble virgin mother Alayha as-Salam, communicated to her His word which was him Alayhis Salam and He breathed into him the Ruh (soul), to guide you to whatever is the truth and to give you the ability to accept the truth no matter what it is.

                So ask Him sincerely to guide you to whatever is the truth. I did this and received answers.

                Why does God create Evil and Suffering?

                I can tell that as a Christian you have not dwelt on this question too much and perhaps that is a good thing. If you want, there is an answer given to you in the Qur'an. Read the English interpretation for Surah al-Kahf from verse 60 onwards.

                God speaks to you in the Qur'an, whether you want to listen to Him or not. He answers the prays of the righteous who sincerely seek Him with what they need not what they want.

                Does God eat, defecate, get tired and feel pain?

                Then why do you worship a noble prophet who was a Human being who ate, defecated, got tired and felt pain?

                Does God love you?

                And decree for us in this world [that which is] good and [also] in the Hereafter; indeed, we have turned back to You." [Allah] said, "My punishment - I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things." So I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakāh and those who believe in Our verses-

                (Sahih International's Interpretation of al-Qur'an, Surah al-A'raf, Ayah 156)
                Say, [O Muhammad], "If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."

                Say, "Obey Allah and the Messenger." But if they turn away - then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers.

                (Sahih International's Interpretation of al-Qur'an, Surah al-Imran, Ayat 31-2)
                His mercy encompasses all, and it encompasses you whether you believe in Him or not, and provides for you and protects you all your life, and yet His intimate love is only for those who believe in Him.

                He is forgiving, living, merciful and eternal God.

                Al-Ghaffar (the Forgiving), Al-Hayy (the Living), Ar-Rahman (the One who's mercy encompasses all), and Al-Qayyum (the eternal).

                So worship Him alone.

                Amir ul-Muminin Sayyiduna Ali KarramAllahu Wajhah said,
                "Mahma tasawwarta bi-balik, fallahu bi-khilaf dhalik,"
                Whatever comes into your mind, Allah is other than that,

                Al-Aqeedah Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Riwayah Abu Bakr al-Khallal),
                1/116

                Comment


                • #23
                  Muhammad Hasan

                  https://youtu.be/jyaXKhK4Si4

                  He addresses the issue of textual Tahrif again at 38:50 and also denies this as being the actual views of Imam Razi or al-Ghazzali at 42:50.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Dr. Ali Ataie on Isaiah 53, Paul and Jewish Christianity:

                    https://youtu.be/_98B3t0j1uY

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Muhammad Hasan aMuslimForLife

                      Early Muslim views on the Bible:

                      https://youtu.be/0QVzX4pRAFY

                      "The Bible through a Qur'ānic Filter" by Ryan Schaffner:

                      https://www.academia.edu/34998023/Th...nal_Literature
                      Last edited by AmantuBillahi; 1 week ago.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        "The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of 'The People of the Book' in the Language of Islam" by Sidney H. Griffith:

                        https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Arabic-...bb_marketplace

                        Comment

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