ISLAM ; JEWS AND CHRISTIANS
[THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK ]
“Abraham was neither a “Jew” nor a “Christian”,but was one who turned away form all that is false, having surrendered himself unto God; and he was not of those who joined gods with Him.”(Qur’an;3:67)
“Surely the people who have the best claim to Abraham are those who follow him as does this Prophet and all who believe (in him) – and God is near unto the believers.”(Qur’an;3:68)
Islam has a special place for the Jews and Christians, who like Muslims are also linked with their common ancestor -Abraham, the true monotheist who had totally submitted to the obedience and worship of One God Alone. Hence Islam has given them honorary title of the “People of the Book”. They are the fellow believers in the same One Supreme God: Moses (peace be upon him) said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”] (Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5,46:9). Jesus (peace be upon him)said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”](Mark;12:29) and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by God to say: “qul huwa 'Allah 'ahad” “Say, He is the One God” (Qura’n;112:1),“wa- 'ilaah -kum 'ilaah waahid laa 'ilaah 'illaa huwa ar- Rahmaan ar- Rahem”; “Your God is one God; there is no one worthy of worship except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful.(Qur’an;2:163). The “People of the Book” are the recipients of scriptures from Him, the Torah and the Gospel to Prophet Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) respectively. They share the belief in the line of prophethood, as the messengers and prophets mentioned in Bible are also the messengers and prophets of Islam. A Muslim can not be called a Muslim unless he believes in all the messengers of God and His scriptures. The three religions share a common moral code. The Qur’an says: "Say we believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and the revelation given to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) the prophets from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another of them, and to Him we are submitters." (Qur’an;2:136). Hence a more appropriate description of common current civilization would have been “Judeo-Christian-Islamic” seeing that the three religions are rooted in the Abrahamic tradition and knowing that the civilization of the Islamic era furnished the foundation for the present civilization. It was the Islamic civilization where Muslims, Jews, and Christians, and others lived in safety and justice under a system based upon tolerance and cooperation.
THE MISCONCEPTIONS :
Many misconceptions exist in the West (representing Christianity) about Islam and Muslims, which were deliberately created by their clergy and medieval rulers to disguise the true message of Islam to justify their hostility towards Islam. “Surely the only (true) religion in the sight of God is (man’s) self surrender unto Him (Islam): Those who (formerly) received the Scripture differed only after knowledge came unto them, through transgression among themselves. They should know that God is swift in calling to account those who deny His revelations.”(Qur’an;3:19). W. Montgomery Watt, a Western scholar observed : ‘Among the world’s major religions it is certainly Islam that the West has the most difficulty in approaching objectively. The reason for this are rooted in past history. Because of the crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries many people in the West wanted the religion of Islam to be better known. But the image they portrayed of Islam can quite accurately be qualified as ‘distorted’. Western opinion about Islam and Muslims was based for centuries on the distorted image’. The major misconceptions created in the minds of westerners against Islam and Muslims may be summed up as: (1) The God of Islam is different to the God of Jews and Christians, (2) He is a ruthless God, urging Muslims to kill any one not believing in their faith; (3) Muslims are pagans who worship a black cubical structure at Makkah, (4) The Prophet of Islam was a warrior and conqueror who did not believe in the human rights and preached violence; (5) Islam was spread with the sword; (6) The scripture of Islam is based on the Old and New Testaments; (7) The women are treated as subhuman by the Muslims; polygamy and veil are to exploit the women, they have no human rights; (8) The Islamic Law (Shari’a) is very harsh, is based on strict punishment without meeting the requirements of justice; it awards flogging, cutting of hand and stoning to death, all primitive laws of ancient times. (9) Muslims hate the Western values, considering them as thereat, hence they have resorted to terrorism as a means to undermine and destroy Western values so that they can enforce their values on the West.
Causes of Growth of Delusions: The events which contributed towards growth of these delusions are numerous, however most prominent are: (1) The fall of territories of Christendom around Arabia, (2) The Crusaders; (3) The fall of remnants of Byzantine Empire at the hand of Muslims; (4) The conquest of Spain and Muslim rule for eight centuries; (5) The westward expansion of Ottoman Empire, (6) The besiege of Vienna twice; (7) Colonization of most of Muslim world by the Western powers and resistance by Muslims to gain independence; (8) The resurgence of Islam, specially the militancy against Western negative attitude, unjust creation and support of Israel, oppression of Muslims at Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims with in their societies and other countries. (9) To control the large natural resources specially oil, gas and strategically important centers of population, zones and trade routes held by Muslims, a bogy has to be created to subdue them. (10) The materialism has eroded Western values, the Islamic values and culture based on the eternal truth is attracting the Westerns in great numbers, hence Islam is perceived as a threat. (11) After demise of communism with the help of Muslims, Western gigantic military industrial complex need an enemy and market for their military hardware, so a new battle ground have been created against Muslims. The old spirit of snobbery and prejudice, the hatred of Islam, displays it self in writings, in electronic and print media attacks, internet chat rooms, private conversations and in public speeches. The spirit of persecution is not dead in Christianity, after lying dormant for some time it is out fully ablaze.
THE REALITY :
Muslims Worship Same One Supreme God and Believe in All Biblical Messengers of God:
It is contemplated that a careful in-depth study may help in removing most of the ideological misunderstandings and misconceptions: It is well known fact that the God of Muslims is the same God, the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus , Jews , Christians, the God of all the people and the universe (Qura’n;112:1, Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5, 46:9, Mark;12:29). Muslims believe in all these messengers, prophets and the scriptures revealed to them: “Do not argue with the People of the Book except in good taste - except with those who are wicked among them - and say: "We believe in that which is sent down to us and that which is sent down to you; Our God and your God is the same One God, and unto Him we surrender.”(Qur’an;29:46). Due to common root of faith, that is the faith of Abraham, there are obvious commonalities in the revealed scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Bible and Qur’an) as their source is the same God. The perversion of their scriptures was condemned by God:” And , behold , there are indeed some among them who distort the Scripture with their tongues, so as to make you think that (what they say) is from Scripture, the while it is not from the Scripture; and who say,” This is form God," the while its not from God: and thus do they tell a lie about God, being ell aware(that it is a lie) (Qur’an;3:78).“O People of the Book! Why do you confound the truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth?”(Qur’an;3:71).
The Christian and Jewish scholars changed the world of God in contravention to the commandment of God, in the same Bible: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I (God) command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." (Deuteronomy; 4:2). “It is not possible for a man whom Allah has given the Book, the Wisdom and the Prophethood, that he would say to the people: "Worship me instead of Allah." On the contrary he would say: "Be devoted worshippers of your God in accordance with the Holy Book you have been teaching and reading." He would never ask you to take angels and prophets as your lords. Would he ask you to become unbelievers after you have become Muslims (believers)?” (Qur’an;3:79-80). While the Old and New Testaments are not in its original form, Qur’an the last scripture is available in its original form even today because Allah has Himself taken responsibility to guard it against corruption: “Surely We have revealed the reminder (Qur'an) and We will most certainly guard it (from corruption).”(Qur’an;15:9).. The Islamic law is based on Qur’an and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), some punishment of Law of Moses have been retained while others were relaxed, they provide the best form of justice where ever put in to practice. Muslims worship only One God, they face towards Qibla (the direction) the Ka’bah for unity. Islam accords much batter position to women than mentioned in Bible. The women are highly respected in Islam while they have been made a show piece in the West on the name of equality and freedom.
Allah-The Merciful, Sustainer and Cherisher of All: Allah is the Most Merciful, kind and Gracious, towards all His creatures. He accepts of repentance of believers due to the ‘Mercy’, which He has decreed upon Himself, He says: “When those who believe in Our revelations come to you, say: "Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself. If anyone among you commits evil because of ignorance and thereafter repents and mends his ways; you will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;6:54); “Yet your Lord is forgiving and merciful towards those who do something wrong through ignorance, but later repent and mend their ways.”(Qur’an;16:119); “He is the Forgiving, the Loving, (Qur’an;85:14). He is Sustainer of humanity whether believers or non believers and other creatures, as can be observed all around the world, He says: “We bestowed on all - these as well those - out of the bounties of your Lord; the bounties of your Sustainer are not confined.”(Qur’an;17:20) “Surely it is Allah Who is the giver of all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Invincible.”( Qur’an;51:58). He helps all with justices and fairness: “The fact is that Allah is your Protector and He is the best of all helpers.”( Qur’an;3:150); “Rest assured that Allah does not wrong anyone even by an atom's weight. If someone does a good deed He increases it many fold and also gives an extra great reward on His own.”( Qur’an;4:40). The Mercy of Allah is the one of the grandest themes of the Qur’an. To contemplate these boundless gifts of God, the formula: "In the name of God Most Gracious, Most Merciful": is placed before every Chapter (Sura) of the Qur’an (except the ninth), and repeated at the beginning of every act (even of routine nature like eating, reading, working) by the Muslim who dedicates his life to God, and whose hope is in His Mercy. The Arabic words "Rahman" and "Rahim" translated as; "Most Gracious" and "Most Merciful" are both intensive forms referring to different aspects of God's attribute of Mercy. The Arabic intensive is more suited to express God's attributes than the superlative degree in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings, or with other times or places, while there is no being like unto God, and He is independent of Time and Place. Mercy may imply pity, long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinner needs and God Most Merciful bestows in abundant measure. But there is a Mercy that goes before even the need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from God Most Gracious to all His creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to clearer light and higher life. For this reason the attribute Rahman (Most Gracious) is not applied to any one but God, but the attribute Rahim (Merciful), is a general term, and may also be applied to Men. It is part of His Mercy that He has permitted the believers to use force in self defence and to remove oppression for the betterment of humanity, which need not be taken as harsh as He knows His creatures the best.
Divine Punishment for Rejecting Direct Invitation by Apostle : The faith of Islam due to its inherent strength of reality infuses the sprit among its followers to extend the influence allover the world. According to the traditional procedure of Allah, the rejection of Message by the direct recipient form the Apostle (Rasool) are entitled to Divine punishment through the messenger and his followers. Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon) is universal messenger, he invited the neighboring rulers including Roman and Persians to Islam, they rejected his invitation hence entitled to divine punishment. “Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.”(Qur’an;98:6). Divine punishment was accomplished in case of Arabs in the life time of Apostle and for the neighboring powers through his companions. If the companions of Apostle are not strong enough, then God punishes the disbelievers in His own way, like the people of Noah, Lut, drowning of Pharaoh and his forces; “This same principle was applied to the people of Pharaoh and those who have gone before them, they rejected the revelations of their Lord so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Pharaoh ; they were all wrongdoers.”(Qur’an;8:54). The Children of Israel who worshiped the calf were punished through their brethren (Qur’an;2:54) also mentioned in Bible: “then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me. "And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, `Put every man his sword on his side, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”(Exodos;32:26-28).
Freedom of Choice - No Coercion in Matters of Faith: The freedom of choice of faith was not available to the people as it is now. The rulers did not allow their people to accept any new or different faith, so they had to be subdued to provide freedom of choice of faith to the people. Qur’an forbids forced conversions: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from the (way of) error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”(Qur’an;2:256). “An so (O Prophet) exhort them, thy task is only to exhort: Thou canst not compel them to (believe). As for those who turn their backs and disbelieve, Allah will punish them with the mighty punishment.”(Qur’an;88:21-24); “.. You (O Muhammad) are not there to compel them to believe. So admonish with this Qur'an every such person who fears My warning.”(Qur’an;45;50); “So (O’ prophet) exhort them, for your task is only to exhort, you can not compel them (to believe).”(Qur’an;88:21-22); “to you be your religion (Din), and to me mine.”(Qur’an;109:6). Notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God’s leave, and (that) it is He who lays the loathsome evil (of disbelief) upon those who will not use their reason? (Qur’an;10:100). Those who used their intellect understood the true faith of Islam and freely reverted to Islam (every human is born by nature as servant of God- Muslim), while others continued to follow their faith and lived peacefully in the Muslim rule.
No Forced Conversions During Muslim Rule in Spain, Greece, Part of Europe & India: The example of Spain, India, part of Europe with majority non Muslim populations despite Muslim rule for centuries is an un deniable fact of history. No war was fought in Far East and East Africa; Indonesia is the larges Muslim country of the World, while East Africa has predominantly Muslim population. Islam is the fastest growing religion in North America and Europe, not by sword but due to preaching of Islam by the Muslims. The truthfulness of Islamic faith has attracted the ignorant common Christian, Jews, atheists and non Muslims who, through the media and internet are learning and embracing Islam after comparative studies of religions.
Islam No Threat to West but Threatened by The West : Islam is not threat to the West, it has always helped West, who owes it renaissance and scientific developments to the Islamic scholarship, gained through Muslim Spain. Rather it is the Muslim world which is threatened by the West, who want to control them by controlling their natural resources through power and hegemony. If West abandons its hegemonic designs, stop oppression of Muslims and exploitation of economic resources of Islamic world the militancy will end. The Muslims are cautioned about seeking protection of People of the Book, (Qur’an; 5:57, 3:28) through moral alliance due to difference in beliefs, however normal friendship and working relationship is not forbidden: “It may well be that Allah will put love between you and those with whom you are now at odds because of the order which is given to you, for Allah is All-Powerful, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Allah does not forbid you to be kind and equitable to those who had neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes. In fact Allah loves the equitable. Allah only forbids you to make friendship with those who fought you on account of your faith and drove you out of your homes and backed up others in your expulsion. Those who will take them for friends are indeed the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an; 60:7-8).
Special Status of People of The Book in Islam : In an Islamic state the legal dictum about the People of the Book is; "They have our rights and owe our duties." They are equally eligible to social security and other benefits the state provides. Muslims were warned against acts of bigotry or prejudice towards the People of the Book, and prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him ) himself said, "Whoever hurts a person from the People of the Book it will be as though he hurt me personally." Muslims are prohibited to eat the food of non believers and to marry their women but there is a special exception for the People of the Book.(Qura’n;5:5).
The Last Messenger : The lastMessenger of God,Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most kind and humane one can think of, his life is recorded in detail in the form of Hadith, volumes of books have been written on this greatest man of the human history. Born as an orphan, he lost mother as an infant and was raised by his uncle. As he grew up, he was known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, earning the title of al-Sadiq (the truthful) and al-Amin (the trustworthy). Muhammad (peace be upon him) was frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes and counsel his fellow Makkan. He has been widely praised by his followers and opponents alike. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most kind and humble, the best human being ever lived on this earth, who used force only as a last resort for the cause of Allah and not for his personal glory or gains. At the fall of Makkah, he pardoned all his arch enemies by granted them amnesty instead of taking revenge for the worst atrocities committed against him and his followers. Arabia was made the abode of Islam, the last reveled faith till eternity which was accomplished in his life time.
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL :
The Torch Bearers of Monotheism :
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was a Muslim in literal sense (being totally surrendered to the Will of God). The faith of Abraham (worship and obedience to On God-Islam) was followed by his decedents i.e. Children of Israel (Jacob) and Children of Ishmael (Arabs). According to the Jewish traditions, initially the children of Israel (Jacob) were called as Hebrews. The word "Hebrew" (in Hebrew, "Ivri") is first used in the Torah to describe Abraham (Genesis;14:13). The word is apparently derived from the name Eber, one of Abraham's ancestors. Another tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "eyver," which means "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually. Subsequently the Children of Israel came to be known as Jews, as their religious peculiarities and traditions were developed. The 19th-century biblical scholars moved the decisive division back into the period of the Babylonian Exile and restoration of the Jews to Judah (6th-5th centuries BCE). They asserted that after the first fall of Jerusalem (586 BC) the ancient "Israelitic" religion gave way to a new form of the "Jewish" faith, or Judaism, as formulated by Ezra the Scribe and his school (5th century BCE). A German historian, Eduard Meyer, in 1896 published Die Entstehung des Judentums ("The Origin of Judaism"), in which he placed the origins of Judaism in the Persian period or the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (5th century BCE) and actually attributed to Persian imperialism an important role in shaping the new emergent Judaism. Cyrus the Great the king of Persia (559-530 BC), is highly respected by Jews. He conquered Asia Minor, Babylonia, Syria, Palestine, and most of the Iranian plateau. He is known to have ruled his empire with wisdom and moderation, maintaining good relations with the Jews, whom he freed from the Babylonian Captivity. Some scholars consider him to be the Two Horned (Zulqarnain) conqueror mentioned in Qur’an.
The word "Jew" (in Hebrew, "Yehudi") is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism literally means "Judah-ism," that is, the religion of the Yehudim. Originally, the term Yehudi referred specifically to members of the tribe of Judah, as distinguished from the other tribes of Israel. However, after the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms: the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel (I Kings 12; II Chronicles 10). After that time, the word Yehudi could properly be used to describe anyone from the kingdom of Judah, which included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, as well as scattered settlements from other tribes. The most obvious biblical example of this usage is in Esther;2:5, where Mordecai is referred to as both a Yehudi and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. The ten tribes were exiled from the land (II Kings;17), in the 6th century B.C, once the kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria leaving only the tribes in the kingdom of Judah remaining to carry on Abraham's heritage. These people of the kingdom of Judah were generally known to themselves and to other nations as Yehudim (Jews), and that name continues to be used today. The words, ‘Hebrews’, ‘Children of Israel’ or ‘Jews’ have racial connotations, where as ‘Islam’ does not. Due consideration should be given to the fact that despite some exceptions, for a long period the Children of Israel, were the only torch bearers of monotheism in a world that was pagan or idolatrous. It is a credit that the Qur’an fully acknowledges, but with the arrival of Christianity and later revival of Islam, the original faith of Abraham, the claim of the Jews to have sole monopoly of monotheism lost its ground, and with it the concept of the chosen race that they cling to until today.
The Chosen Race & The Covenant :
Islam does not subscribe to the existence of the concept of a chosen race for all times, which is well understood form the following verse of Qur’an: “Remember that when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands, he fulfilled them. God said: "Surely, I will make you the leader of mankind." "What about my offspring?" Asked Abraham. "My Covenant," said Allah, "will not apply to the evil doers.”(Qur’an;2:124). Here the claim of the children of Israel as “Chosen People of God” by only virtue of their decent from Abraham, who was made “a leader of mankind” by God, has been negated. It is conditional to the obedience of God. This is also affirmed by the Bible: Jesus said: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”(Matthew;3:9);“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:”(Exodus;19:5), “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”(Deuteronomy;8:19-20). They became unfaithful to covenant engagements (Jeremiah;3:6-8, 31:32; Ezekiel;16:59), became rebellious against God (Deuteronomy;32:15;9:7; Isaiah;1:2,Exodus;32:9); often displeased God by their sins (Numbers;25:3; Deutreronomy;32:16; 1Kings;16:2; Isaiah;1:4; 5:24-25). They were punished by God for; Idolatry (Psalms;78:58-64; Isaiah;65:3-7), Unbelief (Romans;11:20), Breaking covenant (Isaiah;24:5; Jeremiah; 11:10), Transgressing the law (Isaiah;1:4; 24:5-6), Changing the ordinances (Isaiah;24:5), Killing the prophets (Mathew;23:37-38, 27:25). They were scattered among the nations (Deuteronomy; 28:64; Ezekiel; 6:8; 36:19), Despised by the nations (Ezekiel;36:3), their country trodden under foot by the Gentiles (Deuteronomy;28:49-52; Luke;21:24).Their house left desolate (Mathew;24:38) and were deprived of civil and religious privileges (Hosea;3:4). Finally God sent Jesus: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”(Acts;2:22), “But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.(Matthew;15:24), “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew;4:17).“These twelve (disciples) Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew;10:5-7). Jews rejected Jesus and arranged to kill him on false charges (Luke 22:63-71, 23:1-56, John;19-42), though his innocence was also acknowledged by Pilate, the Roman ruler (John;19:4). Thus the Children of Israel as a community, did not adhere to the Covenant, though there were some exception.
The God makes it clear that the exalted status of Abraham was not something that would automatically confer a comparable status on this physical descendants, and definitely not on the sinners among them. God also took solemn pledge form the Children of Israel and those call themselves as Christians, but they broke it, God says: “Remember, We accepted covenant from the children of Israel: "You shall worship none but Allah; be good to your parents, relatives, orphans and destitute, speak fair to the people, be constant in Prayer, and spend on charity. But you broke the covenant, except a few of you, and you paid no heed. Also remember another covenant which We took from you: That you shall not shed blood among yourselves and you shall not expel your own people from your homes; you confirmed it and you are witness to it.” (Qur’an;2:83-84).
Allah says: “Remember Allah's favor to you and the covenant by which He bound you to Himself when you said: "We hear and we obey." Have fear of God; surely God knows the secrets of your hearts.”(Qur’an;5:7). “God accepted a covenant form the Children of Israel and appointed twelve chieftains from among them and said: "I am with you; if you establish Prayers (Salah) pay Alms (Zakah), believe in My Apostles, support them and give a generous loan to Allah (spend in charity), I will certainly forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which the rivers flow. However, if any one of you, after this, violates this covenant, he will indeed go astray from the Right Way. Even after that, they broke their covenant; as a result, We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They tempered with words out of their context and neglected much of what they were enjoined. You will always find most of them deceitful except for a few of them. Yet forgive them and overlook their misdeeds. Allah loves those who are kind to others. Likewise We also made a covenant with those who call themselves Christians, but they too have neglected much of what they were enjoined. As a result, We stirred among them enmity and hatred, which will last till the Day of Resurrection and soon God will inform them all of what they have done. O people of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Now Our Messenger (Muhammad) has come to you to reveal much of what you have concealed from the Holy Books and to pass over much which is no longer necessary. There has come to you from God a new Light and a clear Book (Qur’an), with which God will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.” (Qur’an;5:12-15).
Allah says: “The Jews and the Christians say: "We are the children of God and His beloved ones." Ask them, "Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay! In fact you are human beings like others which He has created. He forgives whom He pleases and He punishes whom He pleases. To Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the final refuge.”(Qur’an;5:18). God says: “The Jews say: "The fire shall not touch us except for a few days." O Muhammad, say: "Have you obtained such a promise from Allah which He would not break ? Or do you assert against Allah what you do not know?”(Qur’an;2:80), “This is because they say: "The fire of Hell shall not touch us; even if it does, it will be for a few days." In their religion they are deceived by their own self-invented beliefs. What will they do when We will gather them together on the Day which is sure to come, when every soul will be given what it has earned and there shall be no injustice? “(Qur’an;3:24-25).
Special Favours and Non Fulfillment of The Covenant : God addresses the children of Israel: “O children of Israel! Remember My favors to you; fulfil your covenant (firm Commitment) with Me and I will fulfil My covenant with you, that you should fear none but Me. Believe in My revelations, which are confirming your scriptures; do not be the first one to deny My revelations, and do not sell them for a petty price, fear Me and Me alone. Do not mix the Truth with falsehood, or knowingly conceal the truth. Establish prayers; give charity; and bow down with those who bow down in worship. Would you ask others to be righteous and forget to practice it yourselves? Even though you read your Holy Book? Have you no sense? Would you ask others to be righteous and forget to practice it yourselves? Even though you read your Holy Book? Have you no sense? Seek Allah's help with patience and Prayer (Salah): it is indeed hard to be patient and to be punctual in offering Prayer (Salah) except for those who fear Allah, who are certain in their mind that they are going to meet their Sustainer and that they are going to return to Him for final judgement. O' Children of Israel! Remember the special favor which I bestowed upon You; that I exalted you above all other nations. Guard yourselves against the day on which one soul shall not avail another, no intercession shall be accepted, no ransom shall be taken and no help shall be given.”(Qur’an;2:40-48). “…Do you believe in a part of your Holy Book and reject the rest? So what other punishment do such people among you, who behave like this, deserve, than disgrace in this world and to be driven to grievous punishment on the Day of Judgment? Allah is not unaware of what you do.” (Qur’an;2:86). “As for those who break their covenant with Allah after confirming it and cut asunder what Allah has commanded to be joined and create mischief in the land, they are the ones on whom there shall be a curse and they are the ones who will have a terrible home.”(Qur’an;13:25). “Tell them: "O people of the Book! Do not transgress the bounds of truth in your religion, and do not yield to the fancies of those people who went astray before you, They misled many others and have themselves strayed away from The Right Way.”(Qur’an;5:77).
Rebellion and Disbelief in Scriptures:
Rebelliousness of Jews has also been mentioned in Bible: “And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff necked people: (Exodus; 32:9)”, “Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people. Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:6-8), “Likewise when the LORD sent you from Kadeshbarnea, saying, Go up and possess the land which I have given you; then ye rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God, and ye believed him not, nor hearkened to his voice. Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.” (Deuteronomy; 9:23-24), “Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin”: (Deuteronomy; 9:27).
Allah says:“(O’ Muhammad) Tell them: O people of the Book! You have no ground to stand on unless you observe the Torah, Gospel and other revelations that have come to you from your God. This revelation (The Qur'an) which has come to you from your God will surely increase the rebellion and disbelief of many of them but you should not grieve for the disbelievers”(Qur’an;5:68) “If they would have observed the Laws of Torah and the Gospel and other Revelations which were sent to them from their God, they would have certainly enjoyed abundance from above and from beneath. Though there are some among them on the moderate course; but most of them do nothing but evil”.(Qur’an;5:66). “Over shadowed by ignominy are they wherever they may be, save (when they bind themselves again) in a bond with God and a bond with men; for they have earned the burden of God’s condemnation, and are over shadowed by humiliation: for all this (has befallen them)” because they persisted in denying the truth of God’s message and in slaying the prophets against all right: transgressing the bounds of what is right”(Qur’an;3:112).
Allah Commands to Believe in The Last Scripture : Allah says to the People of the Book: “O people of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have now revealed (The Qur'an), confirming your own scriptures, before We obliterate your faces and turn them backward, or lay Our curse on you as We laid Our curse on the Sabbath-breakers: and remember that Allah's command is always executed.”(Qur’an;4:47).“They also claim: "Allah has commanded us to believe in no Messenger unless he shows us a sacrifice consumed by a fire from the Heaven." Ask them: "Other prophets before me have come to you with clear arguments and showed this miracle you are asking for. Why did you kill them if what you say is true? O Muhammad if they reject you by calling you an impostor, so did they reject other Messenger before you, although they brought them clear evidence of truth, and with books of divine wisdom, and with the enlightening revelations.”(Qur’an;3:183-184). “So if they argue with you (O Muhammad), tell them: "I have submitted myself entirely to Allah and so have those who follow me." Then ask those who are given the Book and those who are illiterates: "Will you also submit yourselves to Allah?" If they become Muslims they shall be rightly guided but if they turn back, you need not worry, because your sole responsibility is to convey the Message. Allah is watching all His servants very closely.”(Qur’an;3:20).
The Believers and Non Believers: Allah says in Qur’an: “There are some among the people of the Book who truly believe in Allah and what has been revealed to you, O Muhammad, and what has been revealed to them before you. They humble themselves before Allah and do not sell the revelations of Allah for a petty price. For them, there will be a reward from their God. Surely Allah is very swift in settling the accounts.(Qur’an;3:199).“Rest assured that the believers (Muslims), the Jews, the Sabians and the Christians - whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous deeds - will have nothing to fear or to regret”.(Qur’an;5:69).“If they would have believed (accepted Islam) and kept themselves away from evil, there would have been a better reward from Allah, if they could understand it!”(Qur’an;2:103). “Those who disbelieved from among the Children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and committed excesses”.(Qur’an;5:78). “If instead of this rebellious attitude the people of the Book had believed and become God fearing, We would certainly have removed their iniquities and admitted them to the gardens of Bliss (Paradise).”(Qur’an;5:65).
Suppression of Prophesy of Advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): The prophesy of advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was predicted in both the Old Testament and New Testament, but they concealed it: “Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while ye have knowledge?”(Qur’an; 3:71). In Old Testament it is mentioned at: Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Song of Solomon5:16 ; as well as in New Testament at: John; 16:12-14, John; 14:16, John; 15:26, John: 16:7, John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7. The Jews and Christians were called upon to spread this prophecy and not as they actually have done to conceal and suppress it. This has been indicated in Qur’an: “When Allah made the covenant with those who were given the Book (Bible) , they were asked to spread the teachings of the Book to mankind and not to conceal them; but they cast it behind their backs and sold them for a petty price. What a bad bargain they made!”(Qur’an; 3:187).
ISLAM AND JUDAISM -FLUCTUATING HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP :
Historically, the relation between Muslims and Jews had oscillations but not that Islam harbored animosity to Judaism as a faith but in their failure to practice the commandments of God in true spirit under the notion of their racial superiority as a chosen race, the honour God ultimately shifted to the Children of Isma’il by appointing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last messenger for the humanity. Thus they became entitled to divine punishment to be subdued as in the past. Allah says: “(And) Fight against those who – despite having been vouchsafed revelation (aforetime) do not (truly) believe either in God nor the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Apostle have forbidden and do not follow the religion of truth (which God has enjoined upon them), till they (agree) to pay the exemption tax (Jazya) with a willing hand, after having been humbled (in war)”(Qur’an;9:29). The medieval period thus saw the practice of theological controversy to refute errors of doctrine directed against each other. Nonetheless, Islam, too, was understood to contribute to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. From the late medieval period onward, the intellectual engagement between the two religions diminished with the general decline in the Turkish Ottoman Empire that represented the Muslim world to the West. In modern times it has not yet been renewed for many reasons. Once the political problems in the Middle East between the State of Israel and the Arab world have been resolved, the contiguity of the two communities suggests an inevitable renewal of dialogue on the religious as well as other fields.
Political and Social Aspects: The confrontation between Judaism and Islam, as that with Christianity, was colored by political and social considerations both before and after Islam spread from Arabia to build a world wide community of its followers. During the subsequent period, the intellectual development of the Islamic world and the emergence of theologians and philosophers of the highest order challenged Judaism and had considerable influence on the rise of similar thinkers within that community. Given the strong monotheism and the anti-iconic attitude of Islam, many of the questions that arose between Judaism and Trinitarian and iconic Christianity were not an issue between Judaism and Islam. The crucial point of dispute here was the nature of prophecy, given Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) claim concerning his culminating role in the prophetic tradition. The Jewish reluctance to accept the progeny of Ishmael (Isma’il) i.e. the Arabs, as coinheritors of the legacy of Abraham. Conflict was situational whenever it had its justifiable reasons. The Jewish tribes at Medina during initial days of Islam had to face the consequences due to their breach of agreement with the Muslim government. However, one would be far from claiming that the history of Muslims has always been a true representation of the teachings of Islam. Particularly under tyrant rulers, Jews and Christians had their share of maltreatment, but this was not to the exclusion of the Muslim subjects who always were even the most to suffer. In the Muslim world Jews never suffered anything like the atrocities inflicted upon them byChristian Europe over the centuries, including the holocaust in last century. It was in Christendom that the Jews were branded as ‘Killers of God’ and were made to pay for it through one pogrom after another. Even when the enemy was the Muslims, Europe always included the Jews as "collateral damage." The first Crusade was launched by the massacre of thousands of Jews in Europe, with the mischievous rationalization: "We have set out to march a long way to fight the enemies of God in the East, and behold before our very eyes are His worst foes, the Jews; they must be dealt with first".
Settlement of Jews in Islamic World : In 1492, the Jews along with Muslims were expelled from Spain, they were welcomed and settled in the Ottoman empire. In his book My People (also produced as a TV series), Mr. Aba Eban, Israeli scholar, historian and former foreign secretary, stated the Jews in two episodes during their history were treated justly, once in Muslim Spain and the second, currently, in the United States of America. The great Maimonides was the student of the Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroës) of Cordova, and later, when he moved to Egypt, he was the personal physician of Salahuddin (Saladin, of Crusades' ). Revival of this era of mutual peace and cooperation can again be mutually beneficial.
Jewish Power and Oppression of Palestinians:
The Jews, though a very small group among the community of nations (Total: 14 Millions, 0.2 % of world population) enjoy disproportionate high status due to their strong hold at the international economy, financial system and media specially of USA and Europe. They have worked hard to remain abreast with the latest knowledge, scientific development and have positively contributed in the scientific discoveries and development of host countries. Their full control over international media which acts as a tool to mould the national and international public opinion in their favour with impunity. Through superior diplomacy they have been able to create conditions where by the American and Europeans fully support the Israeli cause employing all means including use of force. They are getting lot of support from the Evangelicals. [Evangelicals are basically Protestants who believe that each individual has a need for spiritual rebirth and personal commitment to Jesus Christ as savior, through faith in his atoning death on the cross (commonly, although not necessarily, through a specific conversion experience). They emphasize strict orthodoxy on cardinal doctrines, morals, and especially on the authority of the Bible. They reject the official interpretation of dogma by the Roman Catholic church. Many Evangelicals follow a traditional, pre-critical interpretation of the Bible and insist on its inerrancy (freedom from error in history as well as in faith and morals). They may be considered as Christian Fundamentalists.] The evangelist Christians believe that the second coming of Christ and establishment of Kingdom of God can not materialize till Jews are establish in Holy Land, the Neocons have also been lured in, so this politically powerful lobby in USA has been made to serve the Jewish cause well. The Jews have used their power and influence not only to establish the state of Israel but the continuous suppression of Palestinians, the main threat to the world peace.
ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY :
Islam is the only faith other than Christianity which regards Jesus and Mary in very high esteem. One is astounded to find the notable Christian intellectuals, politicians, scholars and most painfully, the Christian clergy portraying Islam and Muslims as the enemies of Christ, infidels and pagans. Conversely, many uninformed and misinformed Christians are astonished when they are told about the respect and love Muslims have for Jesus and Mary despite the doctrinal differences. The Qur’an mentions "Jesus" by name twenty five times, as the "Messiah" eleven times. He is also addresses as Jesus the son of Mary: “And We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign for mankind,..”(Qur’an;23:50). Chapter number nineteen in Qur’an has been named after ‘Mary’, where as it is not the case in the New Testament. Qur’an grants special status by considering Christians nearest in affection to the Muslims: “You will find the most violent in enmity to the believers are the Jews and the idolaters (pagan Arabs); and nearest in affection to the believers are those who say: "We are Christians." That is because among them there are men that are priests and monks, who do not behave arrogantly.”(Qur’an;5:82).
Doctrinal Differences :
Islam believes in strict Abrahamic monotheism, individual responsibility and accountability, where the concept of Original Sin, Son of God and Trinity does not fit in strict Islamic monotheism (Tawhid), which is even refuted by many Christians thought out its history. The history of attempts to define the mysterious concept of Trinity has beentraced by Encyclopedia Britannica: By the 3rd century it was already apparent that all attempts to systematize the mystery of the divine Trinity with the theories of Neoplatonic hypostases metaphysics were unsatisfying and led to a constant series of new conflicts. The high point, upon which the basic difficulties underwent their most forceful theological and ecclesiastically political actualization, was the so-called Arian controversy. Arius belonged to the Antiochene school of theology, which placed strong emphasis upon the historicity of the man Jesus Christ. In his theological interpretation of the idea of God, Arius was interested in maintaining a formal understanding of the oneness of God. In defense of the oneness of God, he was obliged to dispute the sameness of essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the Father, as stressed by the theologians of the Neoplatonically influenced Alexandrian school. From the outset, the controversy between both parties took place upon the common basis of the Neoplatonic concept of substance, which was foreign to the New Testament itself. It is no wonder that the continuation of the dispute on the basis of the metaphysics of substance likewise led to concepts that have no foundation in the New Testament--such as the question of the sameness of essence (homoousia) or similarity of essence (homoiousia) of the divine persons.
The basic concern of Arius was and remained disputing the oneness of essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the Father, in order to preserve the oneness of God. The Son, thus, became a "second God, under God the Father" i.e., he is God only in a figurative sense, for he belongs on the side of the creatures, even if at their highest summit. Here Arius joined an older tradition of Christology, which had already played a role in Rome in the early 2nd century--namely, the so-called angel-Christology. The descent of the Son to Earth was understood as the descent to Earth of the highest prince of the angels, who became man in Jesus Christ; he is to some extent identified with the angel prince Michael. In the old angel-Christology the concern is already expressed to preserve the oneness of God, the inviolable distinguishing mark of the Jewish and Christian faiths over against all paganism. The Son is not himself God, but as the highest of the created spiritual beings he is moved as close as possible to God. Arius joined this tradition with the same aim--i.e., defending the idea of the oneness of the Christian concept of God against all reproaches that Christianity introduces a new, more sublime form of polytheism.
This attempt to save the oneness of God led, however, to an awkward consequence. For Jesus Christ, as the divine Logos become human, moves thereby to the side of the creatures--i.e., to the side of the created world that needs redemption. How, then, should such a Christ, himself a part of the creation, be able to achieve the redemption of the world? On the whole, the Christian Church rejected, as an unhappy attack upon the reality of redemption, such a formal attempt at saving the oneness of God as was undertaken by Arius. The main speaker for church orthodoxy was Athanasius of Alexandria, for whom the point of departure was not a philosophical-speculative principle but rather the reality of redemption, the certainty of salvation. The redemption of humanity from sin and death is only then guaranteed if Christ is total God and total human being, if the complete essence of God penetrates human nature right into the deepest layer of its carnal corporeality. Only if God in the full meaning of divine essence became human in Jesus Christ is deification of man in terms of overcoming sin and death guaranteed as the resurrection of the flesh.
Augustine, of decisive importance for the Western development of the Trinitarian doctrine in theology and metaphysics, coupled the doctrine of the Trinity with anthropology. Proceeding from the idea that humans are created by God according to the divine image, he attempted to explain the mystery of the Trinity by uncovering traces of the Trinity in the human personality. He went from analysis of the Trinitarian structure of the simple act of cognition to ascertainment of the Trinitarian structure both of human self-consciousness and of the act of religious contemplation in which people recognize themselves as the image of God.
A second model of Trinitarian doctrine - suspected of heresy from the outset - which had effects not only in theology but also in the social metaphysics of the West as well, emanated from Joachim of Fiore. He understood the course of the history of salvation as the successive realization of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in three consecutive periods of salvation. This interpretation of the Trinity became effective as a "theology of revolution," inasmuch as it was regarded as the theological justification of the endeavour to accelerate the arrival of the third state of the Holy Spirit through revolutionary initiative. The final dogmatic formulation of the Trinitarian doctrine in the so-called Athanasian Creed (c. 500), una substantia--trespersonae ("one substance--three persons"), reached back to the formulation of Tertullian. In practical terms it meant a compromise in that it held fast to both basic ideas of Christian revelation--the oneness of God and divine self-revelation in the figures of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--without rationalizing the mystery itself. In the final analysis the point of view thereby remained definitive that the fundamental assumptions of the reality of salvation and redemption are to be retained and not sacrificed to the concern of a rational monotheism.
Characteristically, in all periods of the later history of Christendom in which a rationalistic philosophy was achieved and the history of salvation aspect of the Trinitarian question receded, anti-Trinitarian currents returned. Many, to some extent, consciously rejoined ties with Arius: the humanist Enlightenment of the 16th century and the so-called anti-Trinitarians of the Italian Renaissance. A direct connection exists between anti-Trinitarianismand 18th-century research into the life of Jesus. The oldest life of Jesus researchers in the 18th century, such as Hermann Reimarus and Karl Bahrdt, who portrayed Jesus as the agent of a secret enlightenment order that had set itself the goal of spreading the religion of reason in the world, were at the same time anti-Trinitarians and pioneers of the radical rationalistic criticism of dogma. The Kantian critique of the proofs of God contributed further to a devaluation of Trinitarian doctrine. In the philosophy of German Idealism, Hegel, in the framework of his attempt to raise Christian dogma into the sphere of the conceptual, took the Christian Trinitarian doctrine as the basis for his system of philosophy and, above all, for his interpretation of history as the absolute spirit's becoming self-conscious. In more recent theology, at least in the accusations of some of its critics, the school of dialectical theology in Europe and the United States tended to reduce the doctrine of the Trinity and supplant it with a Mono-Christism.
In a brief but well-publicized episode in the mid-1960s in the United States, a number of celebrated Protestant theologians engaged in cultural criticism observed or announced "The Death Of God." The theology of the death of God downplayed any notion of divine transcendence and invested its whole claim to be Christian in its accent on Jesus of Nazareth. Christian dogma was reinterpreted and reduced to norms of human sociality and freedom. Before long, however, the majority of theologians confronted this small school with the demands of classic Christian dogma, which insisted on confronting divine transcendence in any assertions about Jesus Christ.
The transcendence of God has been rediscovered by science and sociology; theology in the closing decades of the 20th century endeavoured to overcome the purely anthropological interpretation of religion and once more to discover anew its transcendent ground. Theology has consequently been confronted with the problem of Trinity in a new form, which, in view of the Christian experience of God as an experience of the presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, cannot be eliminated.
Hence like many Christians, Muslims also do not subscribe to the concept of Trinity being against Monotheism (Tawhid). Allah says in Qur’an: “O Followers of the Gospel! Do not overstep the bounds (of the truth) in your religious beliefs, and don not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was but God’s Apostle- (the fulfillment of ) His promise which He had conveyed to Mary- and a soul created by Him. Believe, then in God and His apostles, and do not say,” (God) is a trinity”. Desist (from this assertion) for your own good. God is but one God; utterly remote is HE, in His glory, from having a son: unto him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God” (Qur’an;4:171); “Well, they may have a little enjoyment in this world, but eventually they have to return to Us and then We will make them taste the severest punishment for their unbelief.”(Qur’an;10:70). The idea of vicarious sacrifice is therefore alien to Islam, and the claim that Jesus, or anyone else, had to be slain in atonement of human sins is refuted. God's forgiveness, in Islam, is to be sought through sincere repentance and doing righteousness, without need for bloodshed. Salvation is granted by the grace of God. ). To obtain salvation, a person must combine faith and action, belief and practice according to Qur’an: “As to those who believe and work righteousness verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed.(Qur’an;18:30). "Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy they will attain salvation" (Qur’an;23:102).
Muslims Believe in Jesus Christ and his Mission :
Muslims believe in the apostolic mission of Jesus; summed up in Qur’an: “And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah; and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.” (Qur’an; 5:46).“Surely, have sent to every nation a messenger (saying): ‘Worship Allah and avoid false gods.”( Qur’an; 16:36). Jesus (peace be upon him) clearly announced the nature of his mission that he was sent by God to confirm the previous Judaic law. This is clearly evident in the statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Gospel of Mathew: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever thenrelaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20).
The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) task:"… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me." (John;14:24). "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Prophet Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent." (John;17:3). Thus the essence of the message of Jesus was that only God deserves to be worshipped and that the worship of anyone or anything besides God or along with God is false. Jesus said: ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”(Luke; 3:8). Jesus not only called people to this message but he also practically demonstrated it for them by bowing down in prayer and worshipping God himself. In Mark;14:32, it is stated: “And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he (Jesus) said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray.’ ” And in Luke; 5:16, “But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.” However, Paul, who claimed to be a disciple of Jesus, systematically cancelled the laws. In his letter to the Romans, he stated, “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans; 7:6). Gospel and Qur’an are unanimous on the apostolic mission of Jesus (peace be upon him): "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."(Acts;2:22). The Allah says in Qur’an: “The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how we make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away!”(Qur’an;5:75). “He was no more than a servant: We granted Our favor to him (miracles, wonders and signs) and We made him an example to the Children of Israel.” (Qur’an;43:59). Hence Muslims are very close to Jesus (peace be upon him) and revere him as one of the mightiest messenger of God.
Contribution of Islamic Civilization in Development of West :
The Influence of Islamic Learning on the Western Civilization: The phenomenal influence of Islamic learning on the West has been summarized in Encyclopedia Britannica: “The decline of Muslim scholarship coincided with the early phases of the European intellectual awakening that these translations were partly instrumental in bringing about. The translation into Latin of most Islamic works during the 12th and 13th centuries had a great impact upon the European Renaissance. As Islam was declining in scholarship and Europe was absorbing the fruits of Islam's centuries of creative productivity, signs of Latin Christian awakening were evident throughout the European continent. The 12th century was one of intensified traffic of Muslim learning into the Western world through many hundreds of translations of Muslim works, which helped Europe seize the initiative from Islam when political conditions in Islam brought about a decline in Muslim scholarship. By 1300 C.E when all that was worthwhile in Muslim scientific, philosophical, and social learning had been transmitted to European schoolmen through Latin translations, European scholars stood once again on the solid ground of Hellenistic thought, enriched or modified through Muslim and Byzantine efforts.” Quotations of some Western scholars further highlight the contribution of Islam, Will Durant states; “For five centuries , from 700 to 1200 (C.E), Islam led the world in power, order and extent of government, in refinement of manners, scholarship and philosophy”. According to Professor Gibb, “No other society has such a record of success in uniting in equality of status f opportunity and of enduring so many and o various races of humanity.”
Contribution Towards Enlightenment and Renaissance: The Christians out number followers of any single faith, they are around two Billion, predominantly developed Western Civilization controlling the world. It is not due to superiority of their faith, (Church was separated form the state, faith is now considered as a personnel matter) but on account of advancement in science and technology as well as social sciences through ‘Enlightenment’: The philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions. The roots of ‘Enlightenment’ are also linked with the Muslim Spain (Moorish) trough Renaissance. Europe was plunged in the dark at medieval time (476 to 1453 C.E) while Knowledge in science and technology, social sciences, philosophy and medicine was at its zenith in the Islamic world including the Muslim Spain. Thus Europe got the basic modern scientific, philosophical and sociological treasure of knowledge through Muslims scholar and universities of Spain(which also included the lost knowledge of Greek philosophers & scholars), contact with the Muslim world during Crusades (1095-1291 C.E) and thereafter. According to Encyclopedia Britannica; “The entire structure of European society changed during the 12th and 13th centuries, and there was a time when this change was attributed largely to the Crusades. Historians now, however, tend to view the Crusades as only one, albeit a significant, factor in Europe's development. The sectors acquired by burgeoning Italian cities in the crusader states enabled them to extend their trade with the Muslim world and led to the establishment of trade depots beyond the Crusade frontiers, some of which lasted well beyond 1291.” Keeping in view the social and economic benefits, the Crusades brought to the West, the scars of war and antagonism against Muslims also came in.
Protection and Fair Treatment:
Islam, while upholding balanced views in general, enjoins the most solicitous care for the weak and oppressed. The minorities, specially ‘The People of The Book’ are to be treated with justice in every way-in rights of property, in social rights, and in the right to opportunities of development. The non-Muslim living under the protection of a Muslim state is referred as Dhimmi, a free non-Muslim subject. They are exempt from duties of Islam like military service and zakat, instead they are required to pay jizyah (poll-tax). Historically some Islamic governments paid this poll tax for poor non-Muslim subjects or reduced it to mere symbolic tax. If the State cannot protect those who paid jizyah, then the amount they paid is returned to them. Islam guarantees full protection and security of the State including freedom of religion to all. The killing of innocent people is strictly prohibited, according to Qur’an: “..if anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the life of all mankind: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear Signs yet even after that many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”(Qur’an;5:32). Narrated Abdullah bin Amr : The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever killed a Mu'ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling)."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith:9.49).
Islam has a special place for the Juedo-Christian civilisations, due to common ancestor –Abraham. In the Islamic world the Jews, and Christians, and others lived in safety and justice under a system based upon tolerance and cooperation. The misconceptions about Islam have been created to justify their hostility towards Islam. Islam is not a threat to the West, which owes it renaissance and scientific developments to the Islamic scholarship, gained through Muslim Spain. However the Muslim world feel threatened by the West, who want to control their natural resources. Historically, the relation between Muslims and Jews had its fluctuations but not that Islam harbored animosity to Judaism as a faith but in their failure to practice the commandments of God in true spirit under the notion of their racial superiority as a chosen race, the honour God ultimately shifted to the Children of Isma’il by appointing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last messenger for the humanity. The Advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been prophesied in the Bible, but they concealed it. They are commanded to believe in the last scripture Qur’an and the last Prophet. The confrontation between Judaism and Islam, as that with Christianity, was colored by political and social considerations both before and after Islam spread from Arabia to build a world wide community of its followers. In 1492, the Jews along with Muslims were expelled from Spain, they were welcomed and settled in the Ottoman empire. Jewish have gained power and influence through USA and the West, which they are using to oppress the Palestinians, the main cause of conflict and threat to peace. Islam is the only faith other than Christianity which regards Jesus in very high esteem. Muslims believe in Jesus and his Mission as he himself attributed to have declared in Mathew;5:17-20. Islamic civilization has significant contribution in the development of West through the Influence of Islamic learning. Keeping the commonalities in Abrahamic faith worshiping same one God, a dialogue can bring them closer for world peace. In the words of Duncan Greenless, the renowned Western scholar, “The nobility and broad minded tolerance of this creed (Islam) which accepted as God inspire all the real religions of the world will always s be glorious heritage of mankind”.
on what is common between us and you:..” (Qur'an;3:64).
Islam, Judaism and Christianity are having common roots through their ancestor Prophet Abraham. Hence there are many beliefs and traditions, which Islam shares with them. Although generally the Christian believe in Judeo-Christian traditions, but in most of cases, the Western culture conflicts with the Biblical traditions, specially in application of Commandments, Law, the dietary prohibitions, status of women, homosexuality and other moral values which have been heavily influenced by Greco-Roman pagan traditions and social changes. The commonalities of Islam, with Judaism and Christianity are enormous (according to scriptures, leaving apart from what is practiced by them) but the common perceptions in the West are totally different due to lack of knowledge.
The doctrinal differences between Islam, Christendom and Judaism are neither trivial nor ignorable, yet it would be imprudent and counterproductive to fight one another or hate one another over them. The debate over them should be with in the confines of highest standards of ethics, for God says in the Qur’an: "And dispute you not with the People of the Book except in the most kindly manner -unless it be those of them who wronged- but say: “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is one, and it is to Him we submit (in Islam)" (Qur’an;29:46), “Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! thy Lord is best aware of him who strayeth from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright.”( Qur’an;16:125). Abraham, the common ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims provides the common point: “Abraham was neither a “Jew” nor a “Christian”, but was one who turned away form all that is false, having surrendered himself unto God; and he was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him.”(Qur’an;3:67). Those Jews and Christians who embrace Islam are promised for a double reward by Allah in Qur’an: “Those unto whom We gave the Scripture before it (Jews & Christians), they (some) believe in it, And when it is recited unto them, they say: We believe in it. Lo! it is the Truth from our Lord. Lo! even before it we were of those who surrender (unto Him).These will be given their reward twice over, because they are steadfast and repel evil with good, and spend of that wherewith We have provided them”(Qur’an;28:52-54).
The Islamic society was a pluralistic society ever since its inception. As per Charter of Medina, there was religious freedom, equal rights and responsibilities for Jews and others. Islam is not an exclusive religion, Qur’an says about the People of Book:"Not all of them are alike: of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the signs of God all night long and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong; and they (hasten in emulation) in (all) good works; they are in the ranks of the righteous. Whatever good they do, its reward will not be denied to them; Allah knows the righteous.”(Qur’an;3:113-115). “Rest assured that Believers (Muslims), Jews, Christians and Sabians(followers of John the Baptist -Yahya), - whoever believes in Allah and the last day and perform good deeds - will be rewarded by their God; they will have nothing to fear or to regret.” (Qur’an;2:62).They may be persuaded to accept the final message, as per Qur’an: “O people of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you to make things plain after an interval (of cessation) of the messengers, lest ye should say: There came not unto us a messenger of cheer nor any warner. Now hath a messenger of cheer and a warner come unto you. Allah is Able to do all things”.(Qur’an;5:19). “Say: "O People of the Book! do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us) and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?"(Qur’an;5:59).
FOCUS ON COMMONALTIES:
Despite the divergent perceptions among Muslims and the ‘People of the Book’, Qur’an invites them towards the commonalties: “Say: "O people of the Book! Let us get together on what is common between us and you: that we shall worship none but God; that we shall not associate any partners with Him and that we shall not take human beings for our lords besides God;" If they turn away then tell them: "Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves un to Him (in Islam)."(Qur'an;3:64). The focus on common aspects will help in developing batter understanding of each other and can become basis for dialogue than confrontation. Some commonalties between Islam and People of The Book as per their sacred scriptures and other traditions are considered to find common ground for dialogue and peace.
Purpose: Creation of Universe & Humanity: The purpose of creation is clearly mentioned in Qur’an: “Our creation of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them is not a play”(Qur’an;21:16). “We have not created jinns and mankind except to worship Me”(Qur’an; 51:56). “The One Who created death and life, so that He may put you to test, to find out which of you is best in deeds: He is the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.”(Qur’an; 67:2, 18:7, 21:30). There are many narratives in Qur’an about creation (some not in Bible) which have been recently proved to be scientifically correct: Initially there was gaseous mass before creation of galaxies:(Qur’an;41:11). The Sun Rotates (Qur’an;21:33, 36:40).The sun will extinguish; (Qur’an;36:38, 13:2). The expanding nature of universe; (Qur’an;51:47). Atoms can be divided; (Qur’an;10:61). The water cycle;(Qur’an;39:21, 30:24,23:18). Mountains are like tent pegs firmly fixed providing stability; (78:6-7), (21:31), (79:32). Darkness in depths of ocean; (Qur’an;24:40). Creation of man from water; (Qur’an;25:54). Plants & Fruits have male and female; (Qur’an;20:53, 13:3). The bee and its skills; (Qur’an;16:68-69). Lifestyle and communication of ants;(Qur’an;27:17-18). Honey has healing for humankind; (Qur’an;16:69). Sex determination factor for child; (Qur’an;53:45-46,75:37-39). Embryological stages; (Qur’an;23:12-14, 75:37-39, 82:7-8). Embryo partly formed and partly unformed; (Qur’an;22:5). First sense of hearing developed then sense of sight; (Qur’an;32:9,23:78). Importance of fingerprints: (Qur’an;75:3-4). The existence of pain receptors in the skin: (Qur’an;4:56). The process of Creation of universe, Adam& Eve, their fall and development of humanity has been mentioned at Genesis chapter 1,2,3 and later chapters respectively.
Narrative of Adam : The narration of creation of Adam in Bible and Qur’an is almost similar: “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”(Genesis;2:7). Allah says in Qur’an:“We created man from sounding clay, black mud moulded into shape;(Qur’an;15:26), “then He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him of His spirit. He gave you ears, eyes and mind; yet you are seldom thankful.”(Qur’an;32:9). “It is He Who has made you (human) vicegerent on the earth. Whoever disbelieves, bears the burden of his disbelief; ..”(Qur’an;35:39). “Accordingly (obedience to Command of God) all the angels prostrated themselves, (before Adam)”(Qur’an;38:72), “except Iblees (Satan); he acted arrogantly and became one of the disbelievers.)”(Qur’an;38:74). God granted respite to Satan (Iblis) till final day, and he swore to misguide human.(Qur’an;38:76-85). The creation process of human in Qur’an may be summarized by: First, He brings the man into being. Secondly, He endows him with forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of him, and to the environments in which his life will be cast, giving due order and proportion to everything. Thirdly, He has ordained laws and decrees, by which human can develop themselves and fit into His whole scheme of evolution for all His Creation. He has measured exactly the needs of all, and given instincts and physical predispositions which fit into His decrees. Fourthly, He gives guidance, so that human are not the sport of mechanical laws, they use their intellect for reason and exercise their will, such that may reach the higher destiny of man. Fifthly, the reward for those who made right choice and punishment for those who fell pray to Satan (evil). Other related reference in Qur’an are: 38:27, 36:82), 50:38, 41:11, 21:30, 87:2, 2:30, 33:72, 2:34, 7:12, 7:14-18), 20:117-124, 5:91, 87:3), 2:39, 40.
Iblis (Satan):In Judaism and Christianity, the devil is viewed as a fallen angel who in pride has tried to usurp the position of the one and only God, known as Satan. In the Old Testament, Satan is viewed as the prosecutor of Yahweh's court, as in Job, chapters 1 and 2. In postbiblical Judaism and in Christianity, however, Satan became known as the "prince of devils" and assumed various names: Beelzebub ("Lord of Flies") in Matthew 12:24-27, often cited as Beelzebul ("Lord of Dung"), and Lucifer (the fallen angel of Light). In Christian theology the devil's main task is that of tempting man to reject the way of life and redemption and to accept the way of death and destruction. The Satan seduced Adam and Eve to disobey the instructions of God, hence they fell to earth as part of His Great Plan and Wisdom for the test and trial of humanity. The Satanic jinns have been persistently trying to mislead man, but they do not have the power to overwhelm and make do something forcibly. God warns the believers to be aware of Satan: “O ye children of Adam! let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the garden stripping them of their raiment to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith.” (Qur’an;7:27). On the Day of Judgement those who worshiped Satan will be punished (obedience of Satan is like worshiping him), Allah says in Qur’an: “While to the sinners He will say: "Get aside today, O you guilty! Did I not enjoin you, O children of Adam, not to worship Satan, who is your open enemy, and that you should worship Me which is the Right Way? Yet, inspite of this, he (Satan) has led a great number of you astray. Could you not then use your reason? This is the hell, of which you were repeatedly warned. Now! Enter in it this Day because you persistently rejected the truth.”( Qur’an;36:59-64)
Guidance: Beside granting rational thinking and wisdom to human, He display His signs and further sent messenger in every nation for their guidance (Qur’an;6:36). Many messengers of God sent different nations like Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). The narratives of some of the messengers have been mentioned by name in Qur’an and Bible. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last and final Messenger of God as prophesied in Bible at: Deuteronomy;18:18 & 19, John; 16:12-14, 14:16, 16:7, 15:26, 16:7 and Song of Solomon; 5:16.
Muslims Believe in All Previous Scriptures Messengers & Prophets : It is part of articles of faith of a Muslims to believe in all the previous messengers of God and the scriptures; in the form they were revealed upon them. (Qur’an;2:136, 3:3-4, 57:26, 4:163, 2:79). Although Muslims believe in all the previous messengers and scriptures, the Jews and Christians don’t believe in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as messenger of God, although he was prophesied in Bible at; Deuteronomy;18:18 & 19, John; 16:12-14, 14:16, 16:7, 15:26, 16:7 and Song of Solomon; 5:16. All the divine revelations (scriptures) except Qur’an are extinct. The Bible; which besides Torah, Psalm and Gospel also contain other scriptures, books and commentaries by mostly unknown scribes attributing to known messengers and personalities. The Torah, Psalm and Gospel as available in the Bible may contain the original revelations in some form which pass the test of Qur’an; the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: (Qur’an;25:1, 17:81). The authenticity, accuracy and originality of Torah, Psalm and Gospel as revealed scriptures is doubtful, which is also evident from the long history and complex process of compilation and canonization. The current religion of "Christianity" is based more on the doctrines and writings of Paul than anything else. Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mathew; 15:7). "Ye shall not add unto the word which I (God) command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."(Deuteronomy; 4:2).
The Pure Faith of Abraham : Jesus said: “If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did.” (Gospel of Jhon;8:39). Qur’an expressly asks Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to follow the religion of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him): “Follow the religion of Abraham, the true in faith, and he was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God;”(Qur’an;16:123). “Abraham was neither a “Jew” nor a “Christian”, but was one who turned away form all that is false, having surrendered himself unto God; and he was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him.”(Qur’an;3:67, 4:125, 12:38). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him said): …You (Muslims) are an heir to the heritage of Abraham. (Sunan of Abu Dawood:770)
The Monotheism : All messengers of God including Abraham based the faith on the strict adherence to monotheism (The doctrine or belief that there is only one God). Muslims worship Allah (one God), the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and all other messengers. The Muslims prefer calling Allah with His name ‘Allah’, instead of the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word Allah is pure and unique, unlike the English word God which can be played around with. Jesus is reported to have addressed the God with the same name: “Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?” (Mark;15:34, Mathew;27:46). Monotheism has been declared in Bible, the verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (peace be upon him):"Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad". It is a Hebrew quotation which means: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord"(Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5,46:9). Jesus (peace be upon him) also said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”](Mark;12:29), “..There is none good but one, that is, God..”(Mathew;19:17). Qur’an says: “Your God is one God; there is no one worthy of worship except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” (Qur’an;2:163). The monotheism in Islam is called Tawhid in Arabic; Allah, the One and Only God. Allah says:, “Say: He is Allah the One and Only; God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being ; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; And there is nothing that can be compared with Him.”(Qur’an;112:1-4). Attributes of Allah has been mentioned at many places in Qur’an some references are Qur’an; 2:255, 59:22-24, 42:11-12, 11:6, 6:59, 31:34, 4:164, 7:143, 31:27, 6:115, 4:87, 2:133). Similarly according to Bible, God says: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:" "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."(Exodus;20:3-5, Deuteronomy 5:7-9), Exodus;3:15, 1Timothy;2:5).)
Moses: Moses kept alight the Abrahamic monotheism and gave it new impetus as a messenger of God. Qur’an extensively speaks about Moses (peace be upon him) at: 25:35, 2:53, 17:101, 14:164, 5:20-21. The punishment of the rebellion of these stiff-necked people, rebellion that was repeated "these ten times" (Numbers; 14:22). That generation was not to see the Holy Land. All those that were twenty years old and upwards were to die in the wilderness: "your carcasses shall fail in this wilderness." (Numbers; 14:29). (Qura’n;5:24-26).
The Father and Son:The use of the terminology‘Father’ (for God) ‘and Son of God’ need to be understood as per its use among Hebrews and Bible. The Hebrews believed that God is One, and had neither wife nor children in any literal sense, hence it is obvious that the expression “Son of God” merely meant to them “Servant of God”; one who, because of his faithful service, was close and dear to God, as a son is to a father. Christians who came from a Greek and Roman background, later distorted this term. In the Greek and Roman heritage, “Son of God” signified an incarnation of a god or someone born of a physical union between male and female gods. When the Church cast aside its Hebrew foundations, it adopted the pagan concept of “Son of God”, which was entirely different from the Hebrew usage. Consequently, the use of the term “Son of God” should only be understood from the Semitic symbolic sense of a “servant of God”, and not in the pagan sense of a literal offspring of God. In the four Gospels, Jesus is recorded as saying: “Blessed are the peace-makers; they will be called sons of God.”(Mathew;5:9, Romans; 8:14).The terminology ‘Son of God’ has been used extensively in the Old & New Testaments in the symbolic sense as “servant of God”,:Hosea;1:10, Jeremiah;31:9, Job;2:1,38:4-7, Genesis;6:2, Deuteronomy;14:1, Luke;3:38, Exodus;4:22-23,2Samuel;8:13-14, Psalms;2:7, Book of Job;1:6, Luke;9:22 & 4:41. The word ‘begotten son’ is used in verse 16, chapter 3 in the Gospel according to John of King James Version of 1611 C.E : (John;3:16) has been expunged in the Revised Standard Version of Bible, being wrongly added because word ‘begotten’ does not exist in the original Greek script. Likewise use of the term ‘abba’ “dear father” by Jesus’ should be understood similarly:(Romans; 8:15). The word ‘Father’ is used for the ‘God’ or the ‘Lord’ not as biological father but in the spiritual sense as The Creator & Sustainer at many places in the Bible: (Romans;8:14, Psalms;89:26, Mathew; 6:1, 5:48, 6:6,8,9, 32, John;5: 30, 37, 14:16, 20:17, Genesis; 45:8, 17:5, Job;29:16 and 1Timothy, 2:5).
JESUS THE SON OF MARY:
Muslims believe that Jesus (peace be upon him), the son of Mary was the Messenger of God and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him. He came to guide the Israelites, was revealed Gospel, performed miracles and was raised alive up to God. He will return to this world before end of the world and rule as a just ruler and will die natural death.
Miraculous Birth : Muslims and Christians believe that Jesus was miraculously born to pious and chaste virgin Marry without father in 6 B.C in Bethlehem in Judea.(Qur’an;19:16-40), (Matthew;1:18-25 & Luke; 1:28-35). According to the Jewish law he was circumcised and taken for presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke; 2:21-24). He is called Jesus of Nazareth, the place of his abode.
Circumcision: The tradition of circumcision is part of Sunnah of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) as mentioned in Genesus;17:10-13,24-27, Joshua;5:2-9, Judges;14:3, 15:18; 1Samuel;14:6; 17:26; 2Samuel;1:20, Ezekhiel;31:18, Acts;7:8 & John;7:22. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was also circumcised(Luke;2:21). The Christians have abandoned it, Muslims being the true faithful followers of Abraham, strictly adhere to the practice of circumcision like Jesus.( Sahih Bukhari Hadith;7.777).
Miracles Performed by Jesus : Jesus continued preaching and performed numerous miracles, particularly the raising of Lazarus in Bethany (John;11:1-44). The miracles performed by Jesushave been mentioned in Acts; 2:22. Muslims believe in the miracles performed by Jesus granted by God to him (Qura’n;3:49). Also at Mathew;4:23,9:35, Luke; 4:22, 9:11, 3:8 and Acts:4:16.
Mission of Jesus: Jesus has been mentioned in Bilbe as a human and Messenger of God, who came for the people of Israel for their guidance. The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) task:"… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me." (John;14:24 & 17:3). Thus the essence of the message of Jesus was that only God deserves to be worshipped and that the worship of anyone or anything besides God or along with God is false. Jesus said: ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”(Luke;3:8). Jesus not only called people to this message but he also practically demonstrated it for them by bowing down in prayer and worshipping God himself; Mark;14:32, Luke 5:16. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”(Acts; 2:22). Jesus said: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mathew; 10:5-6, 15:24 & Qur'an;3:49), “These twelve (disciples) Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mathew;10:5-6). Jesus is mentioned as saying: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. . . . Whoever thenrelaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;”(Mathew;5:17-20). The same mission of Jesus has been confirmed in Qur’an: “And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah (Law); and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.” (Qur’an;5:46). “And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.(Qur’an;3:50,51). Thus Gospel and Qur’an are unanimous on the apostolic mission of Jesus (peace be upon him): " “He was no more than a servant: We granted Our favor to him (miracles, wonders and signs) and We made him an example to the Children of Israel.” (Qur’an;43:59).
Divinity: A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity.In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "worship me". In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in which he preached quite the contrary:(John;14:28,John;10:29,Mathew;12:28,Luke;1:20, John;5:30, Mathew;19:16-17, Luke;24:39-43. Allah says in Qur’an: “O people of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Apostles. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One Allah: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.(Qur’an;4:171). The concepts evolved after Jesus by different persons against the clearly stated mission and teachings of Jesus are considered as concoction, interpolation and misinterpretations by many Christians and Muslims.
Ministry of Jesus and Rising up to God: Using Capernaum as a base, Jesus, accompanied by his 12 chosen disciples, traveled to neighboring towns and villages, proclaiming the advent of the kingdom of God, as had many of the Hebrew prophets before him. When the sick and infirm asked help from him, he sought to heal them by divine power. He stressed the infinite love of God for the humble and weak, and he promised pardon and eternal life in heaven to the most hardened sinners, provided their repentance was sincere. Jesus continued preaching and performed numerous miracles, particularly the raising of Lazarus in Bethany (John;11:1-44). The most significant moment in Jesus' public ministry, however, was Simon Peter's realization at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew;16:16; Mark;8:29 & Luke;9:20). The last events and conspiracy against him is mentioned at John 11:48, Luke; 22:2, John; 11:47-53). It is mentioned in Qur’an: “And (then Children of Israel) plotted and planned and Allah too planned and the best of planners is Allah. Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith to the Day of Resurrection; then shall ye all return unto Me and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.(Qur’an;3:54-55). “That they said (in boast) "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Apostle of Allah"; but they killed him not nor crucified him but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow for of a surety they killed him not. Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power Wise. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death (As only as a Messenger of Allah and a human being); and on the Day of Judgment He (Jesus) will be a witness against them(Qur’an;4:157,158,159).
Second Coming of Jesus: Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus will return before end of the world. He will prove that he was only a messenger of God and a human being, nothing more. He will then establish the Kingdom of God, all submitting to the will of God (Islam).(Sunan of Abu-Dawud, Hadith. 4310).
Jesus and Islam: Muslim is a person who submits his will to God. Jesus (peace be upon him) said; “I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.”(John;5:30), “Thy will be done”.(Mathew;6:10,26:42). Hence Jesus is a Muslim as per this definition. Muslims worship the same one God, worshiped by Jesus, they are required to offer obligatory prayes (salah), keep fast (saum) and spend on charity (zakah) practice humility which was also practiced and preached by Jesus(Mathew;17:21, 23:23-24, 26:36, 1 Peter;4:8). Muslims are circumcised as was the Jesus (Luke;2:21-24), they greet in the same manner as Jesus (peace be upon him) greeted in Hebrew ‘Sholam alay kum’(Luke;24:36), the Islamic greeting in Arabic: “Assalaamu alai kum” both meaning ‘Peace be on you’. Muslims also do not eat pork nor indulge in intoxicants. Attire and appearance of Jesus with a beard is same as of faithful Muslim. Mary, the mother of Jesus is highly respected by Muslims. Qur’an accords her a high status:“We made her and her son a sign for the whole world.”(Qura’n;21:91). While she is cursorily mention in Bible, Qur’an names Chapter Number 19 after her and mentions her by name at least thirty three times. She is seen modestly dressed with her head covered, the Muslim women are also dressed modestly like Mary. Jesus was the last Hebrew prophet, who was sent by God to preached the implantation of the Law of Moses to the Jews (Mathew;5:17-20) and make lawful some of that which was forbidden to them(Qur’an;3:49,50). Muslims believe in Jesus as messenger of God(Bible;Acts;2:22), his miraculous birth without father(Qur’an;19:16-40, Matthew;1:18-25 & Luke;1:28-35), the miracles performed by the will of God(Qur’an;3:49, Mathew;4:23,9:35, Luke; 4:22, 9:11, 3:8 and Acts:4:16). They further believe in the revelations (scripture) he received form God, who saved him and raised him up to Himself, to be sent back to this world before end of time. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) prophesised the advent of Muhammad, peace be upon him.(John;14:16, 15:26,16:7,12-14, Qur’an;6:20). If Christian is the one who follows the teachings of Jesus, them Muslims are more Christians than those who call themselves Christian.
THE COMMANDMENTS :
The commandments (part of the Law) given by God to Moses have been narrated in Bible in Old Testament, book of Exodus, chapter: 20 & Deuteronomy, chapter: 5. Jesus declared that he came to implement the Commandments, he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-19). Instructions analogous to the Commandments have also been mentioned in Qur’an and made applicable to Muslims except Sabbath, the stringent restriction from which Muslims have been relieved, it was not the traditions of Abraham. The revelation to Moses has been described in Qur’an at many places:17:2, 4:154, 7:145 & 7:154.
Monotheism: “I am the LORD your God,… You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, …. but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments..”(Deuteronomy;5:6-11 & Exodus; Chapter: 20). Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”](Mark;12:29), “..There is none good but one, that is, God..”(Mathew;19:17). Allah says in Qur’an: “Remember, We took a covenant (firm commitment) from the children of Israel: "You shall worship none but Allah; be good to your parents, relatives, orphans and destitute, speak fair to the people, establish 'Prayer’ and pay 'Charity'" But you broke the covenant, except a few of you, and you paid no heed.(Qur’an;2:83), “Say; He is the one God. The Eternal God, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none comparable to Him.”(Qur’an;112:1-4).
Sabbath-Law : Thestrict observance of the Sabbath day, was enjoined to the children of Israel at Deuteronomy;5:12-15, Exodus; Chapter: 20 and Qura’n;4:154, 16:123-124. However the Muslims have been exonerated from this restriction applicable to the followers of Moses it has nothing to do with the traditions of Abraham. Muslims only break for the duration of Friday prayers (Qur’an;62:9-10).
Honor and Respect of Parents : The treatment of parents with respect and honor has been prescribed at Deuteronomy;5:16 & Exodus; Chapter: 20, Mathew;15:4 and Qura’n;31:14
Commandments Forbidding Killing, Adultery, Theft and False Witness: The killing of innocent people, adultery, theft and false witness are serious offenses strictly forbidden by God in Qur’an and Bible. “You shall not kill.”(Deuteronomy;5:17 & Exodus; Chapter: 20, Qura’an;5:32).“Neither shall you commit adultery.”(Deuteronomy;5:18 & Exodus; Chapter: 20 also at Qur’an;17:32. “Neither shall you steal.”(Deuteronomy;5:19 & Exodus; Chapter: 20 and Qur’an;60:12. “Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.”(Deuteronomy;5:20 & Exodus; Chapter: 20 and Qura’n;25:72).Theneighbors are to be respected and treated nicely.(Deuteronomy;5:21 & Exodus; Chapter: 20 and Qura’an;4:36, Sahih Bukhari Hadith:6.4 & 8.45). Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said that while committing adultery, drinking alcoholic, stealing or committing robbery a believer ceases to be a believer. (Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith;3.655)
Individual Responsibility: Qur’an and Bible are synonymous on the individual responsibility of man. Inheritance of sin of ancestor by the descendants is against the explicit pronouncement of God in Bible: “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”(Ezekiel;18:20-21). Qur’an has repeatedly emphasized the personal responsibility and individual accountability: “No bearer of a burden will bear another's burden, and if a heavy laden person cries out for help, none will come forward to share the least of his burden, even though he be a close relative. O Prophet! You can only admonish those who fear their Sustainer - though they cannot see Him - and establish Prayer (Salah). He that purifies himself does so for his own good. To Allah is the destination of all.”(Qur’an;35:18), also at Qur’an;17:15 & 6:164.
APPLICATION OF ISLAMIC FAITH AND PRACTICES AND BIBLE:
To be a Muslims, one has to believe in the six roots of affirmation: (1) Believe in One God- Allah, (2) Believe in all His angels, (3) Believe in His all Messengers, (4) Believe in His all revealed Books, (5) Believe in the Day of Resurrection and Judgement,(6) Believe in Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments i.e. whatever Allah has ordained must come to pass). A Muslim should practice the five principles (pillars) of Islam, which are also the forms of worship; the first two, Confession & Prayers (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two Charity & Fasting (Zakat & Saum) are annual and the last Pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) is once in life. (Narrated by Ibn Umar in the Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 1 HadtihNo.7). There are a similarities in the faith of The People of the Book and are also mentioned in the Bible.
Prophesies about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in Bible :
The advent of the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been prophesized the Old Testament as well as in New Testament which may be connected:(Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Mathew; 1:18, Luke; 1:35, Qur'an; 3:42-47 linked with John;18:36, 1:11 & Mathew;5:17-18). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is mentioned by name in the Old Testament: “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely(Muhammadim). This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."(Song of Solomon; 5:16). :"Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem."" In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarly im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as "altogether lovely", but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is present till now. In 610 C.E when archangel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and asked him to ‘Proclaim’ (recite, read-Iqra) (Qur’an;96:1). The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith,1.3, Narrated by Aisha). This incidence was also mentioned in Old Testament : “And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot read."”(Isaiah: 29:12).
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon his) says: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth (referring to Muhammad) is come, he will guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me"(John;16:12-14 “Those to whom We have given the Scripture (their scholars) recognize this (Muhammad) as they know their own sons. Those who have lost their own souls refuse therefore to believe.” .”(Qur’an;6:20), "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, 'O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.' But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'This is evident sorcery!”(Qur’an;61:6). Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while ye have knowledge?”( Qur’an;3:71).). "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."(John;14:16)."But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."(John; 15:26). “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”(John;16:7). Ahmed" or "Muhammad" meaning "the one who praises" or "the praised one" is almost the translation of the Greek word Periclytos. In the Gospel of John;14:16, 15:26, and 16:7, Jesus (peace be upon him) actually prophesized “Ahmed” by name, word 'Comforter' in Greek Paracletos, Periclytos refers to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says in Qur’an:
It is mentioned in the Bible, Jesus said: “If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did.” (Jhon;8:39). “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”(Mathew;3:9-10). Ultimately God sent His last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) as mercy for the mankind and revealed Qur’an upon him for the guidance for all humanity for all times, He says”: Alif Lam Ra. O Muhammad! This (Qur’an) is a Book which We have revealed to you so that you may bring mankind out of utter darkness (ways of ignorance) to the light; by the leave of their Sustainer, to the Way of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy (God).”(Qur’an;14:1). “…This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM….” (Qur’an;5:3). "Surely, the true religion in Allah's sight is Islam" (Qur’an;3:19) and "Whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from Him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers" (Qur’an;3:85).
Articles of Faith in Islam:
The Islamic faith is based on sound philosophy, doctrines and practices, successfully practiced the world over for centuries. The root of affirmation of in Islam is based on the conviction upon Allah's unity. In order to be a Muslim, one has to affirm his belief in Allah (One God), His angels, His books (Qur’an and all scriptures previously revealed to His Messengers which also include the original Torah, Psalms and Gospel), His messengers (include all Biblical prophets, from Adam to Jesus, 25 mentioned by name in Qur’an), and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger, Resurrection after death on the Day of Judgement, accounting and the scales, hell and paradise and that the good and evil of Destiny are from Allah Most High.
Belief in Angels : Angels are the unseen spiritual creatures mentioned in Biblical and Islamic traditions. In Islam, the angels do not have free will or choice to disobey Allah, they only obey His commands and worship Allah. Belief in angels is an article faith in Islam. The primary function of angels is to praise and serve Allah and do His Will, this is the concept of angels in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism and Christianity some angels are believed to have fallen from a position of proximity to God, because of pride or for attempts to usurp the position of the Supreme Being such as Lucifer (after his fall called Satan by early Church Fathers). According to Qur’an: “The angels are but His honored servants. They do not precede Him in speaking and they act according to His commandment.”(Qur’an:21:26-27). Gabriel, Michael Israfil (Raphael) are well known angels in Bible. The angels are mentioned as ordinary messenger (Job;1:14; 1Samuel;11:3; Luke;7:24; 9:52), messengers of prophets (Isaiah;42:19; Haggai;1:13), of priests (Malachi;2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Revelation;1:20). They are created by God and they worship Him:(Nehemiah;9:6). Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Genesis ;16:7,10-11; Judges;13:1-21; Mathew; 28:2-5; Hebrews;1:4, etc. These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands," etc. (Daniel; 7:10; Mathew; 26:53; Luke: 2:13; Hebrews; 12:22-23). As to their nature, they are spirits (Hebrews; 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job;4:18; Mathew; 24:36; 1Peter; 1:12). Angels never die (Luke;20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power (Mark;13:32; 2Timothy; 1:7; Psalms; 103:20). They are called "holy" (Luke: 9:26), "elect" (1Timothy;5:21). The functions of angels are manifold. They obey the will of God (Psalms; 103:20; Mathew; 6:10), execute the purposes of God (Numbers;22:22; Psalms; 103:21), execute the judgments of God (2Samuel; 24:16; 2Ki 19:35; Psalms; 35:5-6), celebrate the praises of God (Job 38:7; Psalms; 148:2; Isaiah; 6:3). In the widest sense they are agents of God's providence (Ex 12:23; Psalms; 104:4; Hebrews; 11:28; 1 Corinthians;10:10; 2 Samuel; 24:16; 1 Chronicles; 21:16; 2Kings;19:35; Acts;12:23).
The Day of Judgement & Resurrection: The Day of Judgmentis one of the cardinal beliefs in Islamic Faith. Allah says: “The Day whereon they will (all) come forth: Not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose will be the dominion that Day? That of Allah the One the Irresistible!. That Day will every soul be requited for what it earned; no injustice will there be that Day for Allah is Swift in taking account.”(Qur’an;40:16-17). The Bible also mentions aboutResurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgement: The dead will be resurrected: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”(Daniel;12:2). “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”(1Corinthians 15:51-52); “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah;26:19); “The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.”(Psalms;7:8). “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”(Mark; 13:32).
Paradise& Hell: Paradise is the abode of enjoyment which Allah, the Exalted, prepared for the righteous. No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard of, and no human being has ever thought of the blessings that they will enjoy there (Qur’an;32:17). It is mentioned in Bible: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”(Luke;23:43), “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”(Genesis;2:8). The Hell is the abode of punishment that Allah has prepared for the sinners and unbelievers: "Surely, We have prepared for the evildoers a fire, whose pavilion encompasses them. If they call for help, they will be helped with water like molten copper which will scald their faces. How dreadful a drink and how evil a resting place!"(Qur’an;18:29). According to Bible: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”(Psalms;9:17), “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”(Psalms;16:10),“For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”(Psalms;86:13). “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”(Matthew;23:33).
Five Pillars of Faith in Islam: Islam is based on the following five pillars (principles), which are also the forms of worship; the first two (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two (Zakat & Saum) are annual and the last (Hajj) is once in life :-
The First Pillar of Islam: Confession: The Muslims believe in One God- Allah, the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus , Muhammad and all the universe. The Creed of Confession (Shahada) is the verbal commitment and pledge to testify: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad, peace be upon him is the Messenger of Allah). This is the first step towards the spiritual form of worship. Belief in One God is repeatedly mentioned in Bible at : Isaiah; 45:21-22, also at Hosea; 13:4, 1Timothy,2:5 also in Qur’an;7:158. The Jewish creed is embodied in a single prayer recited at every prayer service: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One", also translated as "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is unique, alone."In Hebrew this is pronounced phonetically: “ Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad.” (Deuteronomy; 6:4, & Mark 12:29-30 also Deuteronomy; 5:7-9 and 6:13-15, John; 5:30.
However the Christians today use the ‘Nicene Creed’ most widely, followed by the ‘Apostles Creed’, reflecting the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E, and have their chief purpose, the rejection of Arianism doctrines which deny that Jesus was of the same substance as God and held the view instead that Jesus was only the highest of created beings. The commonalites with Islamic belief only is mentioned in an extract here: “We believe in one God, - - - - the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord,- - - -He will - - - - judge - - -, and his kingdom will have no end - - - He has spoken through the Prophets - - - We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. “The second part of Islamic Confession about the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is mentioned in the Bible. In Old Testament it is mentioned at: Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Song of Solomon5:16 ; as well as in New Testament at: John; 16:12-14, John; 14:16, John; 15:26, John: 16:7, John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7.
The Second Pillar of Islam: Prayer –Salah : Muslims are required to offer five times the daily prayers (salah), to Allah. Prayer is the physical, spiritual and social form of worship in congregation. It is general misconception that the five prayers in a day are only practiced in the present day Islam which is the revived faith of Abraham. Prayers have been part of faith right from the beginning, Qur’an refers them at: 2:43, 14:37, 14:40, 11:87, 3:39, 19:31, 3:113. The Prayer of a Muslim is not complete without recitation of The Opening Chapter (Surah Fateha) of (Qur’an; 1:1-7) in Bible prayer is at Exodus; 34:6-7,.Mathew;6:9-13, also in Psalms; 7:1-17 and 8:1-9. Offering the prayers (Salah) has been repeatedly mentioned in Bible: “And Abram fell on his face:”(Genesis; 17:3-5, prayer also mentioned at Genesis; 18:22, 22:5, 26:25, 12:8, Exodus; 4:31, 5:3, 5:7, 5:8 & 34:8-9, Psalms;86:9, 95:5, 5:7, 55:16, 55:17, 95:6, 138:2, 1 Kings; 8:33, 34, Jeremiah;7:2, Daniel; 6:10, 9:3, Joshua;7:6, Mathew;14:23 & 17:21. “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and said unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder”.(Mathew;26:36, 26:39). “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour”.(Acts; 3:1, 10:9, 12:12, 16:13, 16:25, 20:36, Luke; 22: 44-46, Mark; 1:35 & 9:29.
Ablution:Cleanliness, purity and ablution has always been obligatory for prayer for Muslims. Ablution before prayer is also mentioned in Bible: “And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet there at:”(Exodus;40:31). “Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them”.(Acts;21:26).
The Third Pillar of Islam: Obligatory Alms -Zakat : Obligatory Charity (Zatak) involves annual payment of a certain percentage of a Muslim's assets which is distributed among the poor or other rightful beneficiaries. This is a financial, social and spiritual form of worship. Zakat has always been part of previous divine scriptures and the massagers of God had been emphasizing its payment, which is mentioned in Qur’an at 2:83, 70:24, 5:121, 9:55, 19:31 & 21;73. This has also been emphasized in Bible at:Numbers;18:25-26, Leviticus;27:30-32, Deuteronomy;14:22, 14:28-29, 26:12, 1 Peter;4:8, Mathew;23:23-24.
The Fourth Pillar of Islam: Fasting : Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from early morning till sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations (with wife). Fasting is combination of physical and spiritual form of worship. This is very old form of worship which existed in very old societies.(Qur’an;2:183). Prophet Jonah (Younas, peace be upon him) was sent to one of the nations in the area of the old civilizations of Nineveh and Babylon. His people initially denied him but later followed him. It is mentioned in the Bible: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, (Jonah;3:5-8). Fasting is mentioned at: Exodus; 34:27-28, Leviticus;16:29-30, 2 Samuel; 1:12, 2 Samuel;12:16, Numbers; 9:1-3, Psalms;35:13, Jeremiah; 36:6, Joel; 2:12-13, Zechariah;8:18, Acts;13:2-3, Mark;9:29 & Mathew; 17:21. “And he (Jesus) said unto them (disciples), This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”(Mark; 9:29).
The Fifth Pillar of Islam: The Pilgrimage -Hajj: The Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makka) is performed by once in life time if one can afford financially and physically. Hajj is the special form of worship, in which the physical, financial, social and spiritual aspects. Hajj revive the memory of pronouncement of Islamic monotheism (Tawheed) by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his son Prophet Isma’il (peace be upon him) while building Ka’ba at Makka over three millenniums ago. The birth of Ishmael through, Hager, the second wife of Abraham is narrated in Bible (Genisis;16:3,16:15). Allah says in Qur’an. "Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Baca (Mecca), full of blessing, and guidance for all people."(Qur’an;3:96). The Bible also mentions about Baca: “As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.”(Psalms;84:6). Baca; in the ancient dialect is synonymous with Makkah. The spring is known as the Zamzam. Some of the Hajj rituals (Qur’an;5:27 & Fiqh-us-Sunnah: 5.85) , are identical as given at Genesis; 22:2, 22:4-5, Exodus;29:26, Genesis;4:1-5, Numbers; 8:10-16, Numbers; 6:5, 6:13, & 6:18).
Strenuous Efforts: Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) made sincerely for advancement of the cause of Allah, though not part of five pillars of Islam but is part of the Faith. Jihad does not necessarily mean armed struggle against oppression only, but it also implies that man should preach the Divine message using all means and sacrificing his wealth or self being for the cause of God. The true believers may expect reward for their good deeds in the form of salvation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer, and the top of its hump is striving (Jihad) in the way of Allah."(Fiqh As-Sunnah: 1.75). Jihad is a life-long mission for the Muslim as a community to struggle against all evils, socio-economic, cultural, educational and political dogmas; superstitious and mythological concepts; and directing the Muslims towards obedience to Allah, enlightenment, refinement, scientific progress, dignified character and honest actions. Its top and most noble form is to fight the enemies of Islam in battle in order to foil their attempts to suppress the Muslims and the invitation to Islam. According to Qur’an, Jihad with sword was also permissible in the Bible (Qur’an:9:111, 2:54, 5:21-22, 5:26,2:251). It is mentioned in Bible: “And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”(Leviticus;26:7-8)also at Psalm;149:6-9, Luke;9:27, Hebrews;11:32-34, Numbers;31:17-18, 31:35, Joshua;6:21, 10:28.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ASPECTS:
Democracy and Respect of Legitimate Authority : Islam is a complete way of life, encompassing religious, social, economic, legal, political and all other aspects of life. Islam makes no sharp division between spiritual and secular affairs, it expects governments to be imbued with righteousness. The system of government is based on consultation (shura), the democratic way spelled out by Qur’an fourteen centuries ago: “ who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation;”( Qur’an;42:38 & 3:159). As per Qur’an: “O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. Should you have a dispute in anything, refer it to Allah and His Messenger”(Qur’an;4:59). The people charged with authority (Ulu-l-amr), running the government are to be respected and obeyed by the Muslims otherwise there can be no order or discipline resulting in to anarchy, however not on the matters which are in conflict with the faith and fundamentals of Islam. Similar instructions are also found in Bible at Romans;13:1-4.
Strive Against Ignorance, Oppression and Selfish Desires- Jihad :
The term “Jihad” has much wider significance than a military campaign and open warfare as commonly perceived and misunderstood. Jihad could be with “the heart” (intentions or feelings), or “with tongue” (expression through speech or writing etc). This may require speaking out in public, for extending invitation of Islam to non believers (Dawah, preaching), against ignoring Islamic principles, and writing articles or publishing books to promote Islam. Since Islam is the faith of “Peace”, the early Muslim community was urged to conduct the Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira), through Qur’an, i.e. preaching of Allah’s message. Allah says in Qur’an: “therefore, do not yield to the unbelievers, and make Jihad (strive) against them with this Qur'an, a mighty Jihad (strenuous striving).”(Qur’an;25:52). The aim of making Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) is three fold: The first and foremost is to; ‘Strive Against Selfish Desires’ (Nafs ammarah), to purify the heart, so that the faith (Eman) of Islam is deeply rooted in the heart, to become fully subservient to the commands of God and His Apostle. Secondly, making strenuous efforts (Jihad) to convey the Last message of God (Islam) to the humanity(Dawah).This is a great responsibility so Muslims have to gain knowledge of Islam, practice it and then convey to the humanity. It was only after the first two stages which lasted for over thirteen years of the Prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that after migration to Median the third stage came. Hence Jihad is made permissible to provide protection to Muslims and non Muslims against oppression. Allah says: “ “And what reason do you (Muslims) have not to fight in the cause of God, to rescue the helpless oppressed old men, women, and children who are crying: "Our Lord! Deliver us from this town whose people are oppressors; send us a protector by Your grace and send us a helper from Your presence?”(Qur’an;4:75). All out efforts are to be made to preserve Islam, and to create conducive environments for freely conveying the message of Islam to all the people, without any coercion. So that they may ponder and accept or reject it by their free choice using their reason and intellect in line with the teachings of Qur’an. Hence like any other struggle, Jihad also has defensive as well as offensive implications depending upon social, geopolitical, socioeconomic, military, religious and other considerations. According to the traditional procedure of Allah, the rejection of Message by the direct recipient form the Apostle (Rasool) are entitled to Divine punishment through the messenger and his followers. This Divine punishment was accomplished in case of Arabs in the life time of Apostle and for the neighboring powers through his companions. It is no more applicable now. Creating mischief on earth on the pretext of Jihad is against the sprit of Jihad. Allah says: “Eat and drink of what Allah has provided and do not create mischief in the land.”( Qur’an;2:60), “those who break their bond with God after it has been established (in their nature), and who cut aside what Allah has ordered to be united and cause mischief on earth. It is they who are the losers.( Qur’an;2:27).
Jihad is a life-long mission for the Muslim as a community to struggle against all evils, socio-economic, cultural, educational and political dogmas; superstitious and mythological concepts; and directing the Muslims towards obedience to Allah, enlightenment, refinement, scientific progress, dignified character and honest actions. Its top and most noble form is to fight the enemies of Islam in battle in order to foil their attempts to suppress the Muslims and the invitation to Islam. According to Qur’an, Jihad with sword was also permissible in the Bible (Qur’an:9:111, 2:54, 5:21-22, 5:26,2:251). It is mentioned in Bible: “And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”(Leviticus;26:7-8)also at Psalm;149:6-9, Luke;9:27, Hebrews;11:32-34, Numbers;31:17-18, 31:35, Joshua;6:21, 10:28.
Respect of Women :
Although the women are considered inferior and lower to men in Bible, but presently in the Western culture they are considered equal to men. Islam has granted equal status (not identical) t0 women fourteen centuries ago. The women are required to be dressed modestly according to Bible as well as in Qur’an. The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the West. The Muslim women are dressed up modestly which enhances their status to a respectable position. It may be kept in view that modest dress for women has always been a part of Judeo-Christian scriptures, according to Bible: “but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head -- it is the same as if her head were shaven.”(1 Corinthians;11:5-9). “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”(Deuteronomy;22:5), “also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire.”(1Timothy;2:9).
Right of Inheritance to Women: The Biblical rules of inheritance are outlined in Book of Numbers;27:1-11. A wife is given no share in her husband's estate, while he is her first heir, even before her sons. A daughter can inherit only if no male heirs exist. A mother is not an heir at all while the father is. Widows and daughters, in case male children remained, were at the mercy of the male heirs for provision. The Qur’an gave all the female relatives inheritance shares: In Islam, the Man and woman have been given the right to inherit from the parents and the near relatives. (Qur’an;4:7, 11). However in certain cases the woman gets half of what a man in her position would get. The cause of this variation is the financial responsibilities and liabilities with which man has been burdened, not woman. The widows and divorcees have the freedom to marry whomever they choose. There is no stigma attached with divorce or widowhood in Islam. (Qur’an;2:231,232, 234, 240).
Polygyny : If a man marries more than one woman at a time it is called Polygyny, which has been practiced since ages. In none of the other religious scriptures, there is any restriction on the number of wives a man may possess. According to these scriptures one can marry as many women as one wishes. It was only later, that the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one. The Bible did not condemn polygyny. To the contrary, the Old Testament and Rabbinic writings frequently attest to the legality of polygyny. Prophet & King Solomon (peace be upon him) is said to have 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings;11:3) Also, Prophet & King David(peace be upon him) is said to have had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel;5:13). The Old Testament does have some injunctions on how to distribute the property of a man among his sons from different wives (Deutronomy;22:7). The only restriction on polygyny is a ban on taking a wife's sister as a rival wife (Leviticus;18:18). The Talmud advises a maximum of four wives. The Qur’an is the only religious book, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’ with instructions of justice. Polygyny is permissible to cater for different situations like more number of women in particular society or particular time due to famine, war etc, but it is not a religious obligation. The Western culture does not allow polygyny but living with out marriage and extramarital affairs by spouses have been accepted as a norm.
Evidence by Women: Islam grants the right of witness to women, however in financial transaction since in Islamic society a women is not required to be intimately involved in financial matters, two women are required as witness so that if one forgets the other reminds. Women were not allowed to bear witness in early Jewish society citing Genesis;18:9-16. In the Christian West, both ecclesiastical and civil law debarred women from giving testimony until late last century.
Abolition of Slavery: Islam does not approve of slavery. Superiority of one over an other person is on the basis of righteous and good conduct, (Qur’an;49:13). When the message of Islam was preached, slavery was a very common practice in all-human societies, it was an international system. Slavery is sanctioned in Bible at Leviticus 25:44-46. Islam abolished slavery gradually by various measures(Qur’an;9:60, 24:33, 24:32).
Prohibition of Riba (Usury) : In modern law usury, is the practice of charging an illegal rate of interest for the loan of money. Interest is however prohibited in Bible at Leviticus;25:39-37. Riba (literally ‘usury’ or ‘interest’) is also prohibited by Qura’n;2:278-279, 2:275, 2:276, 30:39.
Dietary Prohibitions:Muslims are allowed to eat everything which is good for the health and permissible (Qur’an;2:168). Muslims are also allowed to consume permissible (Hilal) food from the people of the book (Jews and Christians). The dietary instructions are almost similar in Bible, teachings and practice of Jesus, and Qur’an. The permissible (Hilal) animals are to be slaughtered in Islamic way by reciting the name of Allah. (Qur’an;5:5). “He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. but if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then is He guiltless. for Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.” (Qur’an;:173). Similar prohibitions are also mentioned in Bible: “(Acts;15:29), “(Deuteronomy;14:21),”(Genesis;9:4) Leviticus 17:14-15, Deuteronomy 12:16, 1Samuel 14:33 and Acts 15:29 also at Revelation 2:14. Pork is also prohibited in Bible: “And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you.”(Leviticus;11:7-8) also Deuteronomy 14:8 & Isaiah 65:2-5. Consumption of alcohol and gambling is prohibited in Qur’an;5:90). (Proverbs;20:1),“ (Ephesians;5:18).
Humanitarian Obligations : The responsibilities toward other human beings are indeed given a very strong emphasis in Islam. Obligations towards fellow humans have been emphasized in Bible at ‘Romans; chapter 12: “love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”(Romans;12:10), more at Romans;12:12, 18-21). The Sunnah of Prophet (peace be upon him) is the role model for the Muslims. The virtues like justice, truthfulness, kind and courteous behaviour with fellow humans, fairness in trade, dealings, respect of life and property of others, helping underprivileged, oppressed and weak, Muslim or non Muslims alike are hall mark of Islam, the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is full of practical examples. Even the animals have rights; Narrated Sahl ibn al-Hanzaliyyah: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) came upon an emaciated camel and said: “Fear Allah regarding these dumb animals. Ride them when they are in good condition and feed them when they are in good condition.”(Sunnah Abu Dawood, Hadith.1065).
THE LAW :
In Judaism, the rabbis believed all Jewish law (Talmudic Law and Jurisprudence) to be of ‘divine. Thus, for example, unfairness in labour relations was considered a religious sin and caring for the sick a religious obligation. Jesus declared that : “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. . . . Whoever thenrelaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;”(Mathew;5:17-20). Later the people claiming to be followers of Jesus deviated. Since Islam is a complete code of life covering all aspects including social, economic, political, military and other aspects of human life, hence the Islamic law (Shari'ah) based on Qur’an and traditions of Prophet (peace be upon him) spells out the moral goals of the community, where state and religion are not separate entity. In Islamic society, therefore, the term law has a wider significance than it does in the modern secular West, because Islamic law includes both legal and moral imperatives. For the same reason, not all-Islamic laws can be stated as formal legal rules or enforced by the courts. Much of it depends on conscience alone. The Shari'ah duties are broadly divided into those that an individual owes to Allah (the ritual practices or 'ibadat) and those that he owes to his fellow men (mu'amalat).
Life For a Life, Eye For Eye : Allah mentions in Qur’an: “Indeed We revealed the Torah to Moses, in which there is guidance and light: By its laws, all the Prophets, who had surrendered themselves up to God, judged those who call themselves Jews and so did the rabbis and jurists of law. They were entrusted the protection of Allah's Book and they themselves were witnesses. Have no fear of people; fear Me, and do not sell My revelations for a petty price: those who do not judge by the law which Allah has revealed, are indeed unbelievers. We ordained in Torah for them: "A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and for a wound an equal retaliation." But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity it will be an act of atonement for him; those who do not judge by the law which Allah has revealed, they are the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an;5:44-45). The retaliation has also been allowed by Qur’an at verse 2:178, Allah says: “There is security of life for you in the law of retaliation, so that you may learn self-restraint.( Qur’an;2:179). The retaliation is prescribed in three places in the Exodus; 21:23-25 : Leviticus; 24: 18-21, and Deuteronomy; 19:21. The wording in the three quotations is different, but in none of them is found the additional rider for mercy, as in Qur’an. In Mathew Jesus quotes the Old Law "eye for eye," etc, and modifies it in the direction of forgiveness: “You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;”(Mattew;5:38-39).
Death for Killer : The killing of innocent is major crime in Bible and Qur’an: “He who kills a man shall be put to death.”(Leviticus; 24:17). Allah says in Qur’an: “You shall not kill anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for just cause under the law. If anyone is killed unjustly, We have granted the right of retribution to his heir, but let him not carry his vengeance too far in killing the culprit through taking the law in his own hands, as he is supported by the law.”(Qur’an;17:33).
Sexual Crimes- Death by Stoning :
Punishment of death by stoning was already prevalent: “But if the thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, : then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.”(Deuterinomy;22:20-21). Death by stoning is also prescribed for blasphemy (Lectivis;24:16). Adultery is prohibited, according to Qur’an;17:32 and Mathew;5:28. In Islam death by stoning is prescribed for unmarried adulterer and adulteress only if four eye witness are produced or self confession by the accused takes place.(Al-Muwatta Hadith, 41.2). Death is prescribed for adultery in Bible at Leviticus; 20:10-12, Leviticus; 20:14-16). Homosexuality is strictly forbidden,Qur’an;7:81. Bible prescribe death is as the punishment for homosexuality: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.”(Leviticus; 20:13).
Theft: This is a serious crime, strictly forbidden by Qur’an and Bible at Deuteronomy;5:19 & Exodus;Chapter:20, 11;Leviticus;19, Qur’an;60:12, 29:29, 7:86. Amputation of hand of thief is the punishment prescribed in Qur’an;5:38, Matthew;18:8. Apparently in the age of Jesus thieves were crucified, Matthew;27:38.
Eschatology is the branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind. In Abrahamic faiths it is related with the beliefs or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, paradise and hell etc, which are the matters of the unseen world (alam-al-ghaib) : “To Him you shall all return. Allah's promise is true. He is the One Who originates the process of Creation and repeats it (will bring it back to life) so that He may justly reward (hereafter) those who believed in Him and did righteous deeds. As for those who disbelieved, they shall have boiling fluids to drink and shall undergo a painful punishment because they rejected the truth.”(Qur’an;10:4). Historical eschatology is basic to the Old Testament and Qur’an, it is part of the structure of faith of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, wherein the death, resurrection on the Day of Judgement, paradise and hell exist with some variations.
Period Between Death and Resurrection : After death, souls are in what is called “the life in the Barzakh (Barrier)”, which is a status in between this life and the second life that begins on the Day of Judgement; (Qura’n;23:99-100, 14:27). It is known that the faithfuls who have done well in this life, being devout and doing what God requires them to do will be in a happy state, while determined sinners will suffer what is termed as the “torment in the grave.” According to Bible: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”(Daniel;12:2). The delay of the imminent expectation brought about the question of the fate of the dead person in the period between the death of the individual Christian and the resurrection. One view is that of an individual judgment, which takes place immediately after death and brings the individual to an interim state, from which he enters into the realm of bliss or that of perdition (eternal damnation, Hell). A second view, therefore, also prevailed: the sleep of the soul--i.e., the soul of the dead person enters into a sleeping state that continues until the Last Judgment, which will occur after the general resurrection. At the Last Judgment the resurrected will be assigned either to eternal life or eternal damnation. The presupposition of the doctrine of purgatory is that there is a special judgment for each individual at once after death.
Events Preceding The End of the World: Generally there are many similarities in the predicted events preceding the end of the world. One of these is that of strange creature (Qura’n;27:82) in Old Testament at Daniel;7:8,24, 25, I John; 2:18, 22; II John; 7. Jesus is attributed to have said: “Then if any one says to you, `Lo, here is the Christ!' or `There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:23-24), also at John; 5:43, IJohn;2:18,22, 4:3; IIJohn; 7. In the Book of Revelation the Antichrist is seen as a worker of wonders and a seducer.
Gog and Magog : According to the Bible, Gog is a hostile power that is ruled by Satan and will manifest itself immediately before the end of the world: (Revelation;20:8). (Ezekiel;38; Genesis;10:2). Qur'an has mentions about the release of Yajuj & Majuj (Gog and Magog) after the collapse of the barrier (wall) which separates them from known world:(Qura’n;21:96). The rightly guided one (Mahdi), will fill the Earth with justice and equity, restore true religion of Islam, and usher in a short golden age lasting seven, eight, or nine years before the end of the world. The Qur’an does not mention him, and almost no reliable Hadith concerning the Mahdi can be adduced. He will strive hard to put an end to the Impostor who would have wreaked havoc and spread corruption. He would fight that Imposter with those who believe in the right faith. He appears before the Second Coming of Jesus and when Jesus comes, he hands over the leadership of the believers to him.
Second Coming of Jesus : According to Islamic traditions, at the second coming of the Prophet Jesus Christ, he will break the cross and kill pigs. He would gather around him some believers who would be dedicated to the cause of the divine faith. He will fight the Impostor and kill him to establish a world order. Then there will be abundance of money and nobody will accept charitable gifts.(Narrated by Abu Huraira: Shaih Al Bukhari Hadith.3.425). He will rule the world according to law of Qur’an (Shari’ah)and establish peace and Islamic rule in world. All Jews and Christians will believe him as ‘Messenger of Allah and a human being’, they will follow him. Jesus will die his natural death. The Second Coming of Jesus is also called Second Advent, or Parousia, in Christianity, it is the future return of Jesus Christ in glory, when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead. Believers find evidence for the Second Coming in the Gospels (Matthew;24,25; Mark;13; Luke;21:5-26; John;14:25-29), in the Book of Revelations, and in other biblical and traditional sources.
Resurrection on the Day of Judgement: Resurrection and the Day of Judgement are emphasized in Bile and Qur’an: (Qura’n;36:12, 36:52, 2:281). According to Bible: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”(Daniel;12:2).However the time of The Hour (Day of Judgement) is only known to God: Qura’n;7:187, 43:66, 6:31, 40:16-17 & Mark;13:32. Everyone will be judged on the same basis, by the same criterion, and his or her destiny will be known. God may pardon whomever He wills, and He certainly forgives a countless number of people much of their sins. Whoever is so forgiven will end up in Heaven, while those who are not, will end up in Hell. The basic element that earns forgiveness is belief in God. The concept of paradise for the blessed and hell for the sinners or non believers is part of eschatology in the three Abrahamic faiths. (Qura’n;32:17, 18:29, 65-11).
The Blessed Land:
Palestine which has Jerusalem is called blessed land because here Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other great prophets of God had lived: “Thus We made that nation which was oppressed, the inheritors of the eastern and western lands which We had blessed…”( Qura’n;7:137). According to the Islamic traditions, the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque at Jerusalem is the second place built in the history of mankind for the worship One God, the first being Ka’ba at Makka. It is highly revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians. This is the blessed place of sojourn of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as he ascended into heaven. (Qura’n;17:1). Initially this remained the direction of prayer for Muslims. Hence it is one of three most holiest sites of Islam other being Ka’ba and Mosque of the Prophet at Medina. Jews revere it as it the same place where Temple of Solomon was constructed to house the Ark of Covenant and for the worship of One God, the God of Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael. The temple has long history of destruction and rebuilding and its final destruction by Romans in 70 C.E. All that remained of the Second Temple was a portion of the Western Wall( also called the Wailing Wall), which continues to be the focus of Jewish aspirations and pilgrimage. During 7th century, Jerusalem was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians, but the Christians had the upper hand after conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity (306-337 C.E), as it was included in the Byzantine Empire, which maintained a Patriarch at Jerusalem. Jerusalem fell to Muslims (638 C.E). In 691 C.E Muslims rebuilt a Mosque (also called Dome of the Rock). The Jews were allowed to return by Muslims after their expulsion over 500 years. It changed hands between Christians and Muslims during Crusades till final eviction by Salhud-din-Ayoubi in 1187 C.E, Jerusalem remained under Muslim rule till 1917 , after the retreat of the Turks it was ruled under the British Mandate till 1948, then made part of Jordan. Israel captured it in 1967 . Israel has declared Jerusalem as its indivisible capital against UN Resolutions, which is not internationally recognized. The Palestine have declared it as the capital of their state as and when it is established.
Vatican and Muslims:
One of the significant developments in recent times, however, was some shift of the views of the Holy See on Muslims that should hopefully work as a catalyst for better understanding between Muslims and Christians. Whereas in 1095 C.E Pope Urban II, who was the first to call for the Crusades, characterized Muslims as "Godless people, idolaters, enemies of Christ, dogs, chaff destined for eternal fire" etc., the Nostra Etate of 1965 under Pope Paul VI sees Muslims in an entirely different light. "Upon Muslims, too, the Church looks with esteem", the document says, and proceeds to expound that Muslims adore the One God, the God of Abraham with whom the Islamic faith is happy to associate itself, and how they worship, pray and give alms, and revere Jesus and his virgin mother and consider him the prophet and messenger of God. The efforts made by late Pope John Paul II for interfaith dialogue are commendable. He invited all the parties to a conference at Assisist in Turkey to thrash out the differences and reach a consensus on the major conflicting issues. His purpose was to bring down the barriers and create new avenues of understanding. This dialogue process can only proceed if Pope Benedict XVI also follows the foot steps of his predecessor. His unwarranted comments on spread of Islam by sword instead of ‘reason’ created strong reaction from Islamic world, it would require much more than mere apology to undo the damage done. Beyond that, relations should remain peaceful and friendly. The Muslim expansion in the Christendom and later, the Crusaders and colonization of most of the Muslim world by western Christian powers created the bitterness. Hence it was the geo-political conflict between Muslims and Christendom that left it scars. The contribution of Islamic civilization in the emergence of westerns civilization is a historic fact. Concerted efforts are required to open the gates of reconciliation between two blocks of humanity comprising around 3.5 billion people and perhaps helping to prevent similar evils from camouflaging a pseudo-religious aura, in the world.
Peace and Harmony :
It will not be appropriated to put all the blame the West only, for the present pathetic state of Muslims. Once the Muslims lost interest in practice of tenets of Islam, they also lagged behind in the pursuit of knowledge and modernization, which resulted in their decline and ultimately subjugation by the Western powers. Allah says: “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you then when ye are asked to go forth (Tanfiru) in the cause of Allah ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth He will punish you with a grievous penalty and put others in your place..”(Qur’an;9:39). To go forth (march forward), the believers have to be ready to strive and suffer, because this is the condition of all progress in the spiritual and moral, as well as in the physical world. According to the famous English proverb, ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Inactivity and lethargy are fatal. No one can rest on his oars. If a nation receives favours and fails to deserve them, it will be replaced by another: as has so often happened in history. Muslims need to remember: “Say: He is able to send punishment upon you from above you or from beneath your feet, or to bewilder you with dissension and make you taste the tyranny one of another...”(Qur’an;6:65). “..If Allah had so Willed He would have made you a single people but (His Plan is ) to test you in what He has given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues...”(Qur’an;5:48). “…It gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it earns…”(Qur’an;2:286). “Let not the vicissitude (of the success) of those who disbelieve, in the land, deceive thee. It is but a brief comfort. And afterward their habitation will be hell, an ill abode..”(Qur’an;3:196-197).“If it were His will He could destroy you O mankind and create another race: for He hath power this to do.”(Qur’an;4:133). “Why should Allah punish you if you are grateful and a true believer? Allah knows the grateful.”(Qur’an;4:147). “That is because Allah has never changed the blessings which He has bestowed on a people until they themselves changed the condition of their souls; verily Allah hears all and knows all.”(Qur’an;8:53). “..The fact is that Allah never changes the condition of a people until they intend to change it themselves…”(Qur’an;13:11).The Muslims have to excel in the scientific developments so as to built up their economic, social, political and military strength. This will enable them to speak from the position of strength in a dialogue with the Christians, Jews and the other powers of the world to convey the last Message and amicable coexistence. The commonalties will help to bridge the gap.
Qur’an urges Muslims to invite the ‘People of the Book’ towards the commonalties: “Say: "O people of the Book! Let us get together on what is common between us and you: that we shall worship none but God; that we shall not associate any partners with Him and that we shall not take human beings for our lords besides God;" If they turn away then tell them: "Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves un to Him (in Islam)."(Qur'an;3:64). The Jews, Christians and Muslims claim to be the followers of Abraham, who preached the pure monotheism. Moses and Jesus said: "Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad"; "Hear, O Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deuteronomy;6:4, Isaiah;43:11, 45:5,46:9 & Mathew;19:17). Qur’an says: “Your God is one God; there is no one worthy of worship except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” (Qur’an;2:163). The focus on common aspects will help in developing batter understanding of each other and can become basis for dialogue. The faith in Islam is based upon belief in Allah (One God), His angels, His Scriptures (like Torah, Psalms, Gospel), His messengers, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger, Resurrection after death, Destiny, Trial, Hell and Paradise. A Muslims should practice the five pillars of Islam (worship); the first two; Declaration & Prayers (Shahada & Salah) are daily, next two Charity & Fasting (Zakat & Saum) are annual while Hajj is once in life. These are based on Abrahamic traditions, also mentioned in Bible.
The narratives of creation of universe, Adam and humanity are quite similar. The guidance of humanity through messengers and prophets like Noah, Lut, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon Jesus and scriptures has been mentioned in Bible and Qur’an. Muslims believe in miraculous birth of Jesus without father, miracles performed by him, his accession to heaven and second coming before end of the world. Jesus (peace be upon him), the son of Mary was the Messenger of God: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”(Acts; 2:22). Jesus himself said: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mathew; 10:5-6, 15:24 & Qur'an;3:49), “Think not that I (Jesus) have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. . . . Whoever thenrelaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;”(Mathew;5:17-20). The instructions analogous to the Commandments have also been mentioned in Qur’an and made applicable to Muslims except Sabbath, the stringent restriction from which Muslims have been relieved, it was not the tradition of Abraham. The tradition of circumcision is linked with Abraham (Genisis;17:10-12, Acts;7:8, John;7:22) accordingly Jesus was also circumcised (Luke;2:21), while Christians have abandoned this tradition, Muslims being the faithful true followers of Abraham, strictly adhere to this practice. Moses is revered as a messenger of God with scripture, mentioned in Qur’an at numerous verses; 17:2, 4:154, 7:145 & 7:154. Qur’an and Bible are synonymous on the individual responsibility of man; (Qur’an;35:18, 17:15,6:164 and Bible; Ezekiel;18:20-21). The advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been prophesized the Old Testament as well as in New Testament; (Deuteronomy; 18:18,19, Mathew; 1:18, Luke; 1:35, Qur'an; 3:42-47 linked with John;18:36, 1:11 & Mathew;5:17-18).
Islam places women at respectable and dignified position. Taking ‘Interest’ is prohibited in Bible at Leviticus;25:37. Riba (literally ‘usury’ or ‘interest’) is also prohibited by Qur’an at 2:278-279, 2:275, 2:276 & 30:39. The dietary prohibitions of Old Testament are almost similarly applicable to Muslims with some relaxations. The pig and alcohol are also prohibited for Muslims. Muslims are also allowed to consume permissible (Hilal) food from the People of the Book. The punishments through retaliation; like Life for a Life, Eye for Eye are mentioned in Bible and Qur’an. In Eschatology; Resurrection on the Day of Judgement, reward and punishment after trial, paradise and hell, bear some similarities. Humanitarian obligations have been emphasized in Bible and Qur’an. One of the significant developments in recent times, however, was some shift of the views of the Holy See on Muslims, it should hopefully work as a catalyst for better understanding between Muslims and Christians. The previous Pope, John Paul II was instrumental in developing new approach of Vatican towards Muslims. It is important that for the sake of world peace and freedom of humanity, the Christian West and Zionist Jews should treat the Muslims with fairness, justice, respect and dignity which they deserve and stop oppression and exploitation, the common roots should form the basis of friendship and dialogue not confrontation.
Law is a rule of action. The Law of Nature is the will of God as to human conduct, founded on the moral difference of things, and discoverable by natural light (Romans;1:20; 2:14-15). This law binds all men at all times. It is generally designated by the term conscience, or the capacity of being influenced by the moral relations of things. The Judicial Law, directed the civil policy of the Hebrew nation. The Moral Law is the revealed will of God as to human conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect (Psalms;19:7), perpetual (Mathew;5:17-18), holy (Romans;7:12), good, spiritual (Romans;7:14), and exceeding broad (Psalms;119:96). The Positive Laws; are precepts founded only on the will of God. The Moral positive laws are commanded by God because they are right. The Law of God, is absolute and perpetual: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”(Matthew;5:18). Law was given to Adam (Genesis;2:16-17), Noah (Geneis;9:6), to the Israelites (Exodus;20:2-17; Psalms;78:5) through Moses. (Exodus;31:18; John;7:19) and through the ministration of angels (Acts;7:53; Galatians; 3:19; Hebrews;2:2). It is described as; Pure: “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes”(Psalms;19:8); “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple”(Psalms;19:7 also Romans;12:2); Law is truth (Psalms;119:142) and requires perfect obedience (Detromonmy;27:26; Glatians;3:10; James;2:10). It is man's duty to keep. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”(Ecclesiastes;12:13). Keeping of law result in blessedness (Psalms;119:1; Mathew;5:19; 1Jhon;3:22,24); the love of law, produces peace (Psalms;119:165). Disobedience of law, invite divine rage: “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD”(Isaiah;30:9); “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it”(Jeremiah;6:19 ). Sin is a transgression of law: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”(1 John;3:4). The Israelites were punished for disobeying of law: (Nehemea;9:26-27). Under the Old Testament, the Ceremonial Law, prescribes; the rites and ceremonies of worship. This law was obligatory, practiced by Jesus Christ, Christianity finished this (Hebrews;7:9,11; 10:1; Ephasians;2:16). Although binding on all, the Christians even claim to be exempted as a covenant of works (Glatians;3:17), they claim freedom from the bondage and the curse of law: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”(Romans;6:14 also 7:4,6,Glatians;3:13).
Muslim and Non-Muslim Relations Reflections on Some Qur’anic Texts