Sunday, December 24, 2006

Differences of opinion on Islam

Robert Spencer tells The Truth About Muhammad, and it reveals a lot that Islam Apologist Karen Armstrong skips over. For example if we look at what Karen Armstrong wrote in Guardian Unlimited

In 632, after five years of fearful warfare, the city of Mecca in the Arabian Hijaz voluntarily opened its gates to the Muslim army. No blood was shed and nobody was forced to convert to Islam
Well he certainly killed a lot more just prior to taking over the Ka'bah when he killed a bunch of Jews at the Khaybar Oasis, and afterward when he attacked a force led by Malik ibn 'Awf at the Hunayn wadi, or in the Tabuk raid when he killed a bunch of Christians, but when he took over Mecca he did have a list of Abostates to be killed, even if they sought sanctuary in the Ka'bah itself. Abdullah bin Sa'd was one of these, and he rejected Islam twice, and only accepted Islam the third time, just before he was about to be killed.

Karen said
For centuries Muslims cherished the figure of Jesus, who is honoured in the Qur'an as one of the greatest of the prophets and, in the formative years of Islam, became a constituent part of the emergent Muslim identity.
It is true that Muhammad included a number of Jewish Prophets in his new religion, and called them Muslims (which is interesting because they lived long before Muhammad was born, and he also included Jesus, but says he demotes Christ to being just a Prophet (since why would God send another Prophet after He sent His Son to die for the world's sins), and then he expected Christians to embrace his twisted version of their faith. And the fact that Islam includes Jewish and Christian "Prophets" did not keep him from killing tribes of Jews or Christians when they did not agree that his reinterpretation of their faith was valid, and they refused to renounce their faith and become Muslims. As CrunchyCapsicum commented on the Guardian Site (December 23, 2006 04:59 AM)
The Baha'i Faith stands to Islam much as Islam stands to Christianity (i.e. they claim Muhammad as a prophet, reinterpret him a bit, add a couple of extra prophets). How do you suppose Muslims react to this? They react in just the way that Christians react to Muslims' claim that Jesus was a prophet (and not the son of God). So it's not the case (as you suggest it is) that Christians have been less tolerant than Muslims in relation to one religion's claim to have incorporated the insights of another. Christians have no reason to be tolerant of Islam, nor Muslims of Baha'i - it's not complimentary, but condescending, to tell someone that central features of their religious beliefs are a confused version of your own. If you tell someone that, you should not be surprised when they don't "return the compliment".
Karen said
When the New Testament writers - Paul, Matthew, Mark and Luke - call Jesus the "Son of God", they do not mean that he was God.
He is not God. He is the Son of God. Christianity is a Monotheistic faith. There is only one God, whether you call him God or Allah, but Christ is his Son.
They use the term in its Jewish sense: in the Hebrew Bible, this title was bestowed upon an ordinary mortal - a king, a priest or a prophet - who had been given a special task by God and enjoyed unusual intimacy with him.
The Qu'ran says Surah 5:51 says The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! Note the difference. The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, which is the honorific Karen refers to, while even the Qu'ran admits the Christians call Christ the son of Allah.

Karen also said
Jesus would also play a prominent role beside Muhammad in the eschatological drama of the last days.
I can't find the exact quote from the Qu'ran, but as I recall it has Jesus coming back as Muhammad's assistant. The Son of God, coming back as an assistant to a self styled Prophet that twisted references to both Jewish and Christian theology. And if we listen to Bukhari
Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425: says Allah's Apostle said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the Cross and kill the pig and abolish the Jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts.
So what he is saying is that when Christ returns, he will "break the Cross" (kill all Christians) and kill the pig (kill all the Jews). Well if all the Christians and Jews are gone, there will be no need for the Jizya, which is a tax Christians and Jews have to pay to live under Muslims and yet retain their own faith. I prefer to believe the Biblical version.

Karen said
In other stories, Jesus articulated specifically Muslim concerns. He was a great model for Muslim ascetics, preaching poverty, humility and patience.
Yet never did he say
Surah 19:4294 Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war .... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. or as Surah 5:51 says O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.
Sorry Karen, I am staying with my faith in God, and I believe I will enter Heaven because I have accepted his Son Jesus Christ as my personal saviour, so I don't need to strap on an explosive vest and kill innocents to get into Heaven.

3 comments:

Bill said...

In the Baha'i Faith, Jesus is not demoted to something lesser. He and the other Manifestations of God each have a unique station. Jesus is in the station of "Son of God." See http://www.bahai.us/node/169

The Baha'i writings clearly state: 'As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended. The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá'u'lláh as the "Spirit of God," is proclaimed as the One Who "appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost," and is even extolled as the "Essence of the Spirit." His mother is described as "that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous, countenance," and the station of her Son eulogized as a "station which hath been exalted above the imaginings  110  of all that dwell on earth," whilst Peter is recognized as one whom God has caused "the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth." "Know thou," Bahá'u'lláh has moreover testified, "that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened and the soul of the sinner sanctified.... He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him."

'...Such are the central, the solid, the incontrovertible principles that constitute the bedrock of Bahá'í belief, which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is proud to acknowledge, which its teachers proclaim, which its apologists defend, which its literature disseminates, which its summer schools expound, and which the rank and file of its followers attest by both word and deed.'

It appears you may not understand the history of Islam. During Muhammad's time, some Jews and Christians fought against Islam as allies with the Meccan idolaters; some claimed allegiance to Muhammad's rule at Medina, then engaged in treason. Muhammad had the very difficult assignment to set the pattern for constitutional nationhoo; sometimes that meant using force against treason and those who attacked the state.

By the way, when the Qur'an refers to earlier moouthpieces of God as "muslims", it does not mean follwers of the religion Islam, but rather the generic Arabic meaning of the word - "one who submits to God." In the generic sense of that word, any believing individual - even you -are a "muslim."

Karen Armstrong understands Islam quite well.

Don Singleton said...

In the Baha'i Faith, Jesus is not demoted to something lesser. He and the other Manifestations of God each have a unique station. Jesus is in the station of "Son of God."

I am happy to hear that. If as I have been told the Baha'i faith is based on Islam, then I see the Baha'i have re-elivated Christ to his true status, since the Muslims definitely reject the fact that he is the Son of God.

During Muhammad's time, some Jews and Christians fought against Islam as allies with the Meccan idolaters;

That is true. They were Jews and Christians that did not choose to adopt Islam as a replacement for their faith. They did not agree with the Quraysh (the idolaters you refer to, and Muhammad's original tribe that was in control of Mecca).

some claimed allegiance to Muhammad's rule at Medina, then engaged in treason.

They were ones that were forced to embrace Islam to avoid being killed, who reverted to their original faith.

Treason is something that is associated with a state government, not a religious faith.


Muhammad had the very difficult assignment to set the pattern for constitutional nationhoo; sometimes that meant using force against treason and those who attacked the state.

That is the problem with a theoacry, where relgion and state become too closely related. You view failure to accept one's religion as treason against the state, and you impose your own religion on everyone in the state, regardless of their own beliefs.

Karen Armstrong understands Islam quite well.

She glosses over the violent aspects which are what the Wahhabi clerics are using to turn peaceful Muslims into Islamofascists. She may be a toold of the Wahhabists, or she may just not understand them.

nunu said...

hello am a 17 yrs old muslim girl and i read holy guran couple of times and am sure that the sura isnt explaind like that-->
So what he is saying is that when Christ returns, he will "break the Cross" (kill all Christians) and kill the pig (kill all the Jews)
and we dont belive in a such thing