Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mohammed

The next several articles I will post on this blog will be taken directly from the website "Political Islam," and will be the text from their "Thirteen Talks on Political Islam" (see the clickable link at the bottom of this article).

Note that this is about Islam, not Muslims. Muslims are people; Islam is a doctrine and an ideology.

If you know Mohammed, then you know Islam. If you do not know Mohammed, you do not know Islam. Every Muslim's life goal is to imitate Mohammed in every detail. Mohammed led a fascinating life-he was a business man, prophet, politician and warrior. His greatest invention was a political system that can make all others submit.

We're going to study Mohammed before we study the basics of Islam. This is because Mohammed is the origin of Islam and he comes before everything. There was no Islam before Mohammed and he called himself the last of the prophets. In a sense, Islam both begins with Mohammed and ends with Mohammed. The importance of studying Mohammed is found in the Koran itself. Over 30 times the Koran says that every human being is supposed to do everything in their life patterned after Mohammed. Then it turns around and says over 40 times that if you don't do everything like Mohammed did it, you will go to hell. Everything has to be done the way Mohammed did. Mohammed is the perfect pattern of life for all peoples for all time.

We know an enormous amount about the man Mohammed. His biography, the Sira, is over 800 pages long and it is in fine print. Then, as if that were not enough, we have what are called the Traditions of Mohammed, also called the hadith, we have thousands upon thousands of these traditions. We know a lot about this man. As a matter of fact, we probably know more about the personal details of Mohammed's life than we do, for instance, about George Washington.

The importance of Mohammed can be found in the religion of Islam. Most kafirs (kafir is what the Koran calls a non-Muslim) think that you become a Muslim by worshiping the God Allah, but this is not true. You can worship the God Allah and still not be a Muslim. What it takes to be a Muslim is to worship Allah exactly like Mohammed did, and we know exactly how he worshiped his God. A further importance of Mohammed can be found in this: there is not enough in the Koran to enable you to practice the religion of Islam.

There are Five Pillars of Islam which we will study in the next lesson, but there is not enough information in the Koran to practice even one of the Five Pillars. You cannot worship in an Islamic way without imitating Mohammed. Mohammed's way of doing things is so important that it has a very special name: The Sunna. Sunna means The Way.

It is in Mohammed that we find right and wrong, except right and wrong as we think of it in a moral sense is not used within Islam. Instead, the concept is: "What is permitted" and "What is forbidden." What is permitted is what Mohammed did. What is forbidden is what he said not to do, or he himself didn't do, so the Sunna of Mohammed is what dictates Islam. Again, this is the reason we have to study Mohammed.

One of the ways that you can tell how much someone knows about Islam is if they mention Mohammed or not. Sometimes you run into people who want to explain Islam on the basis of the Koran. When this happens, you can be sure you have run into a person who does not really understand Islam. Again, the Koran is not even remotely enough to truly explain Islam. Mohammed defines all the ethics and customs of Islam.

Let's take a very small item. Have you ever been watching a news broadcast and there's some Islamic leader from the Middle East and he's talking and he's angry; perhaps he's shouting. Why do they do this? One simple reason: Mohammed was easily angered. This is recorded in both the Sira and the Hadith, so when you see a Muslim who is quick to anger, he is simply imitating Mohammed.

Mohammed was the perfect father, the perfect husband, religious leader, military leader, and political leader. There is no aspect of life, including business, where a Muslim does not turn to the example of Mohammed. He is the perfect Muslim. There is not a Muslim alive who does not know the life of Mohammed. What is odd is that there are so few kafirs who know anything about the life of Mohammed. When you study Mohammed, it is rather confusing, because he seems to be two very different people.

Let's quickly review his life. He was an orphan as a child and later became a businessman. He went on caravan trading trips to Syria. He was prosperous and well thought of in his community. He was seen as a person who could settle arguments and heal disputes. He was a very religious man, and then, in his 40s, he began to go on religious retreats, leaving the city of Mecca and praying by himself. Then he started to hear a voice, and he saw a vision. Now, this was a voice that no one else ever heard, and a vision that no one else ever saw, but it was very important to Mohammed and it completely changed his life and, indeed, his entire character.

After seeing this vision and hearing the voice, he went back to Mecca and began to tell people--first, his friends and family--that he had been chosen as the messenger of the only God of the Universe. Later this God was named and was called Allah. Mohammed began to introduce two principles that were to change him and to change the entire world forever.

The first of these principles was submission. Mohammed said that the God of the universe told him to tell everyone else that they were to do exactly what he said when he said it---that their lives were to be patterned after him, that he was the perfect man, the perfect pattern. This created dissension within Mecca, because amongst the other things he told the Meccans, was that their ancestors were burning in hell. He then created, at the same time, a second principle called duality. He created a great division between those who believed what he said and those who did not. This was the great division of the Koran---humanity was divided into the believer and nonbeliever, the Muslim and the kafir.

Mohammed was very aggressive in pushing his message. So much so that he irritated the Meccans. He was not very successful as a consequence, and over the next 13 years, in spite of his daily preaching, he failed to gain many followers. He was argumentative and caused trouble, but the Meccans couldn't do anything about him, because he was protected by his uncle who had some power within Mecca. Then, his protector died, and the Meccans told Mohammed, "You'll have to leave. We're sick and tired of living with you. You've created dissension and distress and suffering within our community." So Mohammed went north 100 miles to a town called Medina.

Everything changed, because Mohammed became a politician and a warrior. He did not succeed by numbers when he was a preacher, but now he became overwhelmingly successful because he created a new concept, the concept of jihad. Jihad totally changed Mohammed and totally changed Islam. Now, through jihad, Islam had a way to get money and lots of it. It had a way to bring about political power.

Here we have the second element of duality that Mohammed introduced. There are two Mohammeds. There is the religious preacher Mohammed, and there is the warrior politician Mohammed. Duality is one of the things that is confusing about Islam. It always has two messages to preach, and the reason it has two messages to preach is that there are two Mohammeds. More than that, when you read the Koran it's clear there are two Korans---one Koran which is religious, the other Koran which is political. Mohammed the religious man was not much of a success at all, but Mohammed the political man and the warrior was overwhelmingly successful. In the last nine years of his life he averaged an event of violence every six weeks, for nine straight years. By this process of constant warfare, he became the first ruler of all of Arabia.

Let's look a little more at Mohammed, because he explains everything we see inside of Islam. If there is ever anything that puzzles you about Islam, all you need to do is to look to Mohammed, because if Muslims do it, Mohammed did it.

One of the things we see is that Mohammed did not get along well with his neighbors. Even in his religious phase, he was pushy and aggressive. Remember, the Meccans didn't like him. They said, "You've created more suffering in this community than we've ever had before." Before he became a Muslim, Mohammed was a good neighbor. After he became the messenger of Allah, he became an aggressive neighbor. When he went to Medina, his behavior became even worse.

As an example--when he moved to Medina, half the town was Jewish. Within three years after he arrived, all the Jews had been either driven out of Medina---after their money was taken---or they'd been killed and sold into slavery. But after Mohammed had conquered all of Medina, being a hostile neighbor had a new meaning. If you lived even 100 miles away, Mohammed would show up with his arms and troops and demand that you submit to Allah. Once he ruled all of Arabia, he was still a hostile neighbor. Before Mohammed died, he had struck out to the north to Syria to fight the Christians. His dying words were: "Let there be neither Jew nor Christian left in Arabia."

Mohammed was the most successful military man who ever lived. Let's take a look at this. As political leader he became all-powerful. We have other examples in history of men who became all-powerful and we can measure to some degree how powerful they were by how many people they caused to die. The person who in our known history killed the most people was Mao Tse-Tung. As far as we can tell, figures show that through starvation and persecution and outright executions, Mao Tse-Tung was responsible for the deaths of 77 million people.

Now we come to Mohammed. Mohammed has influenced the deaths through his principle of jihad and aggressive politics of 270 million people---now, this has taken over 1400 years; Mao killed 77 million within his own lifetime. But still, the total of those that Mao killed is fewer than those who were killed in imitation of Mohammed. When you think of a political leader, you may think of Napoleon; you may think of Alexander the Great or Caesar; and they were great generals, but they don't hold a candle to Mohammed, because no one today kills for Napoleon; no one today kills for Caesar; but today, as you're reading this, it is undoubtedly true that somewhere in the world people are being destroyed because of the perfect example of Mohammed.

Mohammed had a very dualistic personality. He had a sense of humor; he loved children. He wept when his favorite warrior was killed. But at the same time, he was a soft-spoken man who laughed heartily when the head of one of his enemies was thrown at his feet. He was the perfect slaveholder and slave trader. Mohammed was deeply involved in slavery. Indeed, one of the ways he financed jihad was through the sale of slaves. He got his slaves in the time-honored way of killing their protectors. He attacked a tribe, killed the male members until the rest surrendered, and then they were given a choice to convert. If they didn't, they were sold into slavery---women, children, and men. This was profitable, and indeed, jihad was profitable. He used jihad to finance more jihad. Mohammed came up with a way to make religion and politics pay and pay well.

Mohammed was a very intolerant man. This is interesting. Before Mohammed, Arabs were noted for their religious tolerance. Indeed, Mecca, the town where Mohammed first rose to power, had over 360 religions. No man was ever injured because of his religion, until Mohammed. Mohammed converted the Arab from being a tolerant person to the most intolerant person; and the reason that the Arab became intolerant was they followed the Sunna of Mohammed.

One of the conventions regarding Mohammed today is that no one can tell a joke about him. You hear jokes about Jesus, Noah, Adam, St. Peter, God...but you never hear a Mohammed joke. You may remember when a Danish cartoonist said, "Let's have a contest and see who can draw the best Mohammed cartoon." People died because of those cartoons, because Mohammed was made fun of. You can't make a joke about Mohammed, not even one. In fact, in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, to tell a joke about Mohammed is literally a death sentence.

There's one more thing about Mohammed which explains Muslims and Islam. He never forgot a slight or an insult...never. When he re-entered Mecca---this time triumphant after the jihad in Medina---the first thing he did---and here we have the essence of the man Mohammed---the first thing he did was to pray; the second thing he did was to have all religious art destroyed. So the religious objects of 360 religions in Mecca were destroyed. Mohammed helped to build the fire and break the objects. The next thing he did was to issue death warrants for five different people who'd criticized him. These were intellectuals, not warriors. For instance, two of the people who were killed were dancing girls. What had they done? They had been in a skit, with a song and a poem that ridiculed Mohammed. Mohammed never forgot an insult.

Mohammed is the most common name in the world even after 1400 years. He continues to be the most influential politician and warrior who ever lived. His life as the Messenger of Allah shapes ethics, morals, politics and culture of over a billion Muslims. His politics have annihilated half of ancient Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. You need to know about the life of Mohammed.

The above is from the website Political Islam: Mohammed

38 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Jeff,

Yes, we do and we need to take it seriously.

Larry E.

thekingpin68 said...

'Note that this is about Islam, not Muslims. Muslims are people; Islam is a doctrine and an ideology.'

Good to state.

thekingpin68 said...

'Over 30 times the Koran says that every human being is supposed to do everything in their life patterned after Mohammed.'

Interesting.

satire and theology said...

'Why do they do this? One simple reason: Mohammed was easily angered. This is recorded in both the Sira and the Hadith, so when you see a Muslim who is quick to anger, he is simply imitating Mohammed.'

Good to know...in contrast to Christ.

satire and theology said...

'Now, this was a voice that no one else ever heard, and a vision that no one else ever saw, but it was very important to Mohammed and it completely changed his life and, indeed, his entire character.'

Similar to Joseph Smith many years later.

Not the community of those with revelation over many years and in different areas as with Old and New Testament writers.

satire and theology said...

'Everything changed, because Mohammed became a politician and a warrior. He did not succeed by numbers when he was a preacher, but now he became overwhelmingly successful because he created a new concept, the concept of jihad. Jihad totally changed Mohammed and totally changed Islam. Now, through jihad, Islam had a way to get money and lots of it. It had a way to bring about political power.'

Yes.

Jeff said...

Nitewrit,

Jeff,

Yes, we do and we need to take it seriously.

Larry E.


Thanks, Larry.

Jeff said...

satire and theology,

Similar to Joseph Smith many years later.

Not the community of those with revelation over many years and in different areas as with Old and New Testament writers.


Yes. Joseph Smith claims to have been visited by the angel Moroni, whom he claimed was the guardian of the golden plates, which Smith said were buried in a hill near his home in western New York, and which he said were the source material for the Book of Mormon. Years ago, I did a good bit of research on Joseph Smith, and he was known for his tall tales which he would fabricate, as well as being a treasure hunter. I remember reading about him getting intensive headaches, which I always wondered was brought on by subconscious guilt.

The following is from "A MUSLIM STORY OF THE WAY IN WHICH THE QUR’AN WAS FIRST REVEALED TO MUHAMMAD":
(http://www.sln.org.uk/storyboard/stories/i5.htm)
"At the darkest time of the night, just before the dawn, he heard a voice. The voice grew louder and louder, it seemed to come from all directions. It filled the cave where he was sitting, but it also came from somewhere outside in the night - and from inside Muhammad himself. Muhammad looked around. Suddenly before him there was an angel, holding a cloth of green brocade. Some writing was embroidered on it. “Read,” said the angel. Muhammad was stunned. “I cannot read!” The angel squeezed Muhammad, and then released him. “Read” he commanded. “I cannot read” Muhammad said, a little louder this time. The angel squeezed him again, tighter than before. “Read. “I cannot read!” Muhammad said, even louder. He was now rather afraid of being squeezed again. “Read” said the angel “in the name of thy Lord who created man from a drop of blood: read in the name of the Almighty God who taught man the use of the pen and taught him what he knew not before...” Muhammad recited the verse after the angel, until he knew it perfectly, word for word. Then Muhammad looked afraid, and he was alone. The angel and the writing had gone. But the words stayed in his memory, and there was a strange sensation of having been squeezed very hard."

The following was told by Muhammad's wet-nurse, related in Guillaume's translation of Ibn Ishaq, page 72: She [Muhammad's mother] asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon had possessed him, I replied that I did."

Jeff said...

Regarding Muhammad's experience in the cave - his call to "prophethood":
Quoting from the Hadith of Bukhari, 9.111:
"Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles twitching with terror till he entered upon Khadija and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, "O Khadija, what is wrong with me?" Then he told her everything that had happened and said, 'I fear that something may happen to me."

...But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home.

There are a number of slight variations to this story, related by different people, describing Muhammad's visitation by a spirit identifying himself as the angel Gabriel. These stories do not always agree with each other in perfect detail, but on the whole a composite picture can be drawn of Muhammad's initial experience with the spirit and his subsequent reactions.

Even in the Quran, there are references that people believed that Muhammad was possessed or influenced by demons.

Sura 81:22-25 says, "No, your compatriot [Muhammad] is not mad. He saw him [Gabriel] on the clear horizon. He does not grudge the secrets of the unseen, nor is this the utterance of an accursed devil."

From his youth, some people thought he was demon possessed. Muhammad's encounter with "Gabriel" deeply disturbs him, and he thinks he is demon possessed. He decides to commit suicide, but is stopped when the spirit appears and says he is an apostle. Later, when these visitations become infrequent, he again goes and tries to commit suicide. Each time the spirit intervenes. As time went on, people continued to think Muhammad was demon inspired.

(from http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/demons.htm)

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14)

"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8)

khany said...

peace be with those who seek god's guidance.

i believe most readers on this blog are christians with sincere intentions trying to learn about islam.

as a practicing muslim i can tell you that jeff's characterization of islam is in fact a caricature. this is certainly now how muslims learn nor understand islam.

just as you would not recommend that i go to a follower of judaism to learn about christianity so too i would like to recommend that you learn about islam either from a muslim or better yet from the primary sources.

the qur'an is considered by all muslims to be the word of god revealed to the prophet muhammad through angel gabriel. english translations of the qur'an are freely available online and i encourage all of you to read it for yourself rather than taking my word for it contains or jeff's!
you can find translations in english at quran explorer, online quran project, tanzil. these websites have translations in multiple languages, by muslims of several different sectarian biases, and by non-muslims.

muslims distinguish between revelation (i.e. the quran) and the actions/tradition of the prophet (i.e. the sunnah). the quran is preserved as it was originally revealed and shared by all muslims irrespective of sectarian affiliation. by contrast the authenticity of the different compilations of the sunnah is debated by muslim scholars. for example, the sunni and the shia, the two major branches amongst muslims hold a different set of compilations as authoritative.

irrespective all muslims agree that any authentic tradition of the prophet cannot be in contradiction with the qur'an. therefore, i recommend that people interested in learning about islam begin with an english translation of the qur'an.

finally, if you are interested in seeing how muslims regard the prophet you should read a biography (i recommend muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources by martin lings). if you cannot be bothered to read a biography then you could gain something from watching this movie: the message of islam

may god guide us to the straight path

Jeff said...

khany,

this is certainly now how muslims learn nor understand islam.

Well, obviously, as a Christian, I'm not going to come at it from ONLY a Muslim perspective; i.e., I'm not going to say, "Well, the Qur'an is absolutely the Word of God, and it is a perfect book." If I said that, I would have to be a Muslim, and not a Christian. However, I am going to try to come at it from an honest perspective, and I am going to try to share those things I have learned.

just as you would not recommend that i go to a follower of judaism to learn about christianity so too i would like to recommend that you learn about islam either from a muslim or better yet from the primary sources.

Actually, some of my research and study is, in fact, from Muslims or those who grew up as Muslims.

english translations of the qur'an are freely available online and i encourage all of you to read it for yourself rather than taking my word for it contains or jeff's!

And I have linked to such a translation of the Qur'an in the comments in one of my other articles, so I have already done that.

you can find translations in english at quran explorer, online quran project, tanzil. these websites have translations in multiple languages, by muslims of several different sectarian biases, and by non-muslims.

Thank you, Khany, I may check those out.

Thank you for your input and contribution, Khany. I may check out those other links, as well.

Jeff said...

Khany,

as a practicing muslim i can tell you that jeff's characterization of islam is in fact a caricature.

In fact, the current article is from a very simplistic perspective, meant to be a simple way to show an overall picture to non-Muslims. Obviously, that is not how Muslims will learn Islam. But it is put in a very easy-to-understand way, because most Americans and Westerners know very little about Islam. So, it is like an "Idiot's Guide" to Islam. That is probably why it seems to you like a caricature.

khany said...

Jeff,

i can in fact recommend the complete idiot's guide to understanding islam to your audience. however, the book has a preachy tone.

i don't know if you realize this but ALMOST EVERYTHING you state on this page contradicts what i believe as a muslim.

i don't have the time to explain every contradiction but just to illustrate my point i will begin at the top.

first your source is a website called 'political islam' (an islamophobic website) which already shows a clear bias. it reduces islam to a political ideology. no muslim thinks of his faith in these terms. it is a relation to god, a willful submission of ones desires to god's will.

every muslim's life goal is not to imitate muhammad (peace be upon him). muslims believe islam is the primordial religion, the religion of all the prophets adam, noah, abraham, jacob, joseph, moses, jesus and muhammad (peace be upon them). in fact, all the prophets are considered exemplars. the quran states:

(002:136)
Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.

(003:144)
Muhammad is no more than a messenger: many Were the messenger that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then Turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.

in fact, muhammad (peace be upon him) is addressed by name in the qur'an 5 times. jesus (peace be upon him) is addressed by his name 25 times, mary, the mother of christ, (may god be pleased with her) is mentioned by name 34 times, while prophet moses (peace be upon him) is mentioned over one hundred times. their stories are mentioned so that we learn from their example, and so we may emulate them.

clearly saying that islam is only about prophet muhammad requires that one learn their islam from some source other than the qur'an (e.g. political islam).

islam does not begin with muhammad. in fact muslims believe that islam is the primordial religion. all the prophets from adam to muhammad (peace be upon them) preached essentially the same message, believe in one god and to do good. all the prophets are considered muslims (submitting their will to god).

this is just from a couple of lines at the top of the page. deconstructing all the falsely propagated ideas on this page will take me many days.

fortunately there is a simple solution. the primary islamic source is the qur'an. it is accessible to anybody who sincerely wishes to know the truth about islam.

may god guide us to the straight path.

Jeff said...

Khany,

it reduces islam to a political ideology. no muslim thinks of his faith in these terms.

Of course not. Yet, 90 percent of their speeches are political, but they will also say: And the Qur'an supports this, and the Prophet supports this, so as to make the argument look religious. Politics is often the driving force. Islam seeks global revolution, and this is certainly political. And Shari'a Law is most certainly political. Yes, there is obviously a religious aspect to Islam, but there is a very prominent cultural aspect and a very prominent political aspect, as well.

every muslim's life goal is not to imitate muhammad (peace be upon him).

There are passages in the Qur'an that command that the prophet be followed, such as 3:32 "Obey Allah and His Messenger."

For Muslims, the spiritual significance of the Sunnah is more than simply doing as Muhammad did; to imitate him helps one to know God and be loved by God. (Source: Nasr, Seyyed H. "Sunnah and Hadith." World Spirituality: An Encyclopedia History of the Religious Quest. 19 vols. New York: Crossroad. 97-109.)

Muslims think that if one imitates and embraces the ways of Muhammad, they will also be loved by God. To love and be loved by God is key in Islamic spirituality; one comes to know God through this love, and by living by the Sunnah one lives in constant remembrance of God. (ibid)

In addition, the verse, "Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much." (33:21), further emphasizes that Muhammad's example is seen as divinely inspired and to be followed by Muslims.

muhammad (peace be upon him).

When Muslims mention Muhammad's name, why do they say "peace be upon him?" Does Muhammad have no peace? Why must Muslims request peace for Muhammad? If Muhammad, of all people, Islam's greatest and last prophet, has no peace, then WHO can have God's peace?

the primary islamic source is the qur'an.

Besides the Qur'an, for Muslims, there is also the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah), the Zabur (Psalms), and the Injil (the Gospel). There is also the Ahadeeth/hadith, which are the oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (collection of the narrations and approvals), and which contributes to the Sunnah, which is the sayings and living habits of Muhammad, who is, in fact, the main prophet of Islam. The Sunnah is significant to the spirituality of Islam because it addresses ways of life dealing with friends, family, and government. And yes, the two words Sunnah and hadith are sometimes taken to be interchangeable, referring to the traditions, but difference lies depending on the context.


may god guide us to the straight path.

God has already guided me to the straight path, and that path is through Christ Jesus, Isa Al Masih. There is no other way to Heaven. I have found peace and joy through Him, and when I die, I know for a fact that I will go to Heaven. I have no doubt about that.

thekingpin68 said...

'may god guide us to the straight path.

God has already guided me to the straight path, and that path is through Christ Jesus, Isa Al Masih. There is no other way to Heaven. I have found peace and joy through Him, and when I die, I know for a fact that I will go to Heaven. I have no doubt about that.'

The New Testament claims Christ is God, for example: John 1, the word, John 8: 58, eternal.

Islam denies this theological point.

New Testament manuscript and partial manuscript evidence supports traditional Christian theology.

There is no evidence of great significant corruption of historical New Testament documents, in regard to content and theology.

Religious movements that claim Christ as a prophet or being sent from God, and yet deny the New Testament in context, lack credibility.

Have a new post...thekingpin68

Jeff said...

thekingpin68,

The New Testament claims Christ is God, for example: John 1, the word, John 8: 58, eternal.

Islam denies this theological point.

New Testament manuscript and partial manuscript evidence supports traditional Christian theology.

There is no evidence of great significant corruption of historical New Testament documents, in regard to content and theology.

Religious movements that claim Christ as a prophet or being sent from God, and yet deny the New Testament in context, lack credibility.


Agreed, well-stated, and good info. Thanks, Russ!

khany said...

Jeff and Kingpin68,

it is futile for me to argue that your conception of muslim beliefs is amiss.

let me put it this way.
it is one thing for me to dispute the divinity of christ (peace be upon him). it is quite another to claim that christians do not believe he is the begotten son of god irrespective of their claims to the contrary. you are insisting on something that approximates to the latter.

i don't understand. if you must disagree with islam then disagree with what islam truly stands for. why erect a strawman?

also i was content to keep the discussion focused on islam, however, you make dubious assertions about the bible that are irrelevant to the discussion. it is not (only) muslims who dispute the preservation of the bible. the corruption has been accepted as fact by scholars of the bible both christian and non-christian for centuries. this talk is was given not too long a go by a leading textual scholar of the bible: misquoting jesus: scribes who altered the scripture and readers who may never know

peace.

thekingpin68 said...

'the corruption has been accepted as fact by scholars of the bible both christian and non-christian for centuries.'

Overstated and false.

NT

Jeff said...

Khany,

it is futile for me to argue that your conception of muslim beliefs is amiss.

Note that I am not talking about what Muslims believe. If 1,000 different Muslims from all over the world were to be closely interviewed, you would find they did not all believe exactly the same thing. I have known many Catholics, and I know they do not all believe exactly the same thing. Therefore, I am talking about what the doctrine and ideology of Islam teaches, not what specific Muslims believe.

if you must disagree with islam then disagree with what islam truly stands for.

In fact, that is exactly what I'm trying to show: not what Muslims think it stands for, but in truth, what it really stands for. This is proved, not by what specific Muslims interpret it as, or what they claim it stands for, but by the actual practice and deeds of Muslims around the world, and what all of the official documents of Islam say. This is how to find out what it truly stands for. If you want to find out what Christianity stands for, the best way is to go to the Bible, not just interview several Christians.

also i was content to keep the discussion focused on islam, however, you make dubious assertions about the bible that are irrelevant to the discussion.

They are not irrelevant, because I am not only studying to learn more about Islam, but at the same time, I am comparing Islam to Christianity.

it is not (only) muslims who dispute the preservation of the bible. the corruption has been accepted as fact by scholars of the bible both christian and non-christian for centuries.

Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents. By the end of the 19th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible.

Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date. Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of "authentic evidence" concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: "Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

"I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history..." (E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics, Auckland University)

"There exists no document from the ancient world, witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies ... Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias." (Clark Pinnock, Mcmaster University)

"If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt." (F. F. Bruce, Manchester University)

Jeff said...

Khany,

this talk is was given not too long a go by a leading textual scholar of the bible: misquoting jesus: scribes who altered the scripture and readers who may never know

The video is based on his book. In Bart Ehrman's book, "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why," his argument moves in an almost ridiculous direction as he seems to believe that anytime a passage was used by the Church Fathers in order to counter the false theology of a heretic, it necessarily indicates that they tampered with that text to first make it say what they felt it needed to say in order to prove their version of orthodoxy. It is an absurd and frustrating conclusion that lacks any convincing proof. Much of the author’s thesis is based upon statements such as “we have reason to think” or “scholars believe” or “studies have shown.” These statements may move his argument along quickly and logically, but they are hardly convicting or satisfying. There are very few citations for a book of this depth and potential magnitude. It becomes difficult to truly believe in Ehrman’s thesis when he seems so unwilling to offer convincing proof. Finally, the book is filled with statements presented as fact that are, in reality, hotly disputed. If the reader does not agree with these presuppositions, much of the book’s argument disolves. If we cannot know with any certitude what parts of the Bible are original, how can we know which parts were changed? If we have no confidence in the original text, how can we have confidence that a particular passage has been tampered with? Ehrman’s thesis seems to hinge on the belief that we can know which passages were changed, even while we have no confidence in the original text. This is, quite simply, untenable. His thesis also casts doubt on all of ancient history, for surely the problems with transmission of documents is not unique to Christianity (even if, as he suggests, it is particularly pronounced among those who used amateur scribes).

The Jesus that sells is the one that is palatable to postmodern man. And with a book entitled "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why," a ready audience was created via the hope that there would be fresh evidence that the biblical Jesus is a figment. Ironically, almost none of the variants that Ehrman discusses involve sayings of Jesus. The book simply doesn’t deliver what the title promises. More importantly, this book sells because it appeals to the skeptic who wants reasons not to believe, who considers the Bible a book of myths.

(cont.)

Jeff said...

(cont.)

Besides the selectivity regarding scholars and their opinions, the chapters involve two curious omissions. First, there is next to no discussion about the various manuscripts. It’s almost as if external evidence is a nonstarter for Ehrman. Further, as much as he enlightens his lay readers about the discipline, the fact that he doesn’t give them the details about which manuscripts are more trustworthy, older, etc., allows him to control the information flow. Even in his third chapter—“Texts of the New Testament: Editions, Manuscripts, and Differences”—there is minimal discussion of the manuscripts, and none of individual codices.

Ehrman overplays the quality of the variants while underscoring their quantity. He says, “There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.” Elsewhere he states that the number of variants is as high as 400,000. That is true enough, but by itself is misleading. Anyone who teaches NT textual criticism knows that this fact is only part of the picture and that, if left dangling in front of the reader without explanation, is a distorted view. Once it is revealed that the great majority of these variants are inconsequential—involving spelling differences that cannot even be translated, articles with proper nouns, word order changes, and the like—and that only a very small minority of the variants alter the meaning of the text, the whole picture begins to come into focus. Indeed, only about 1% of the textual variants are both meaningful and viable.

We need to begin by making a careful distinction between verbal inspiration and inerrancy. Inspiration relates to the wording of the Bible, while inerrancy relates to the truth of a statement. American evangelicals generally believe that only the original text is inspired. This is not to say, however, that copies can’t be inerrant. Indeed, statements that bear no relation to scripture can be inerrant. If I say, “I am married and have four sons, two dogs, and a cat,” that’s an inerrant statement. It’s not inspired, nor at all related to scripture, but it is true.

(Information is from http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/misquoting-jesu.php and from http://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart)

Jeff said...

Khany,

First, before I go any further, let me state that I do appreciate the Qur'an links that you provided in your first comment. Thank you for those. Second, please know that I do plan to continue studying about Islam.

i was content to keep the discussion focused on islam

OK, let's move the discussion back to Islam.

your conception of muslim beliefs is amiss.

You say that I have a misconception of Muslim beliefs. OK, then, please enlighten me and explain to me why are the following things, in the videos linked below, taught in the name of Islam and Muhammad on Arabian/Palestinian/Islamic TV programs for children? Is this not political? And would you also call this a strawman or a caricature? I don't know of any other world religion, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism, or any other, that has national TV shows that teach hatred, and teach little children to kill. Why, then, does Islam teach this to its children? And please don't start telling me about people being killed in wars, because I'm not talking about wars. I'm talking about children's TV programs. These are Muslim countries teaching this. Can you tell me why Muslim countries teach these things to their children?

Arabian TV program

Micky Mouse Teaches Kids To Commit Terrorism

Jeff said...

BTW, one of the reasons that Muslims do things 'the way Muhammad did it' is because Muhammad was the FIRST Muslim. Before Muhammad, Islam did not exist. Muhammad is the FOUNDER of Islam. Abraham was the father of the Jews/Israelites, not the Muslims. Isaac was the promised son, not Ishmael. Ishmael was not a Muslim, because Muslims did not exist then. The prophets in the Old Testament were Jewish, not Muslims. Of course, Muslims do not believe or teach this. Muslims make up their own history, and, regarding this, are not historically honest. But not one single shred of historical documentation, written before Muhammad was born, can be found that mentions anything about Islam or Muslims, because it did not exist before Muhammad. This is the main reason that Islam is mostly about Muhammad.

Jeff said...

Why does Islam teach hatred of Jews?

September 18, 2009 - Washington, D.C. - At an Al-Quds Day rally in Washington D.C. Muslims celebrate with hate speeches about the destruction of Israel and wave Hizballah flags.
Al-Quds Day – Celebrating Hate and Supporting Terror

Greg said...

Jeff and Khany, I for one am now closely following your discussion. Kudos to you both for keeping it civil. :)

Khany, I really appreciate you coming on Jeff's blog, to defend your faith. I've been following his blog for over a year now and firmly believe that although he may be blunt at times, he is a seeker of the truth. Please continue; we will all learn a lot from the debate.

I had a fairly long e-mail exchange with a Muslim friend of mine, a couple years back. I now find it interesting that the discussion ended with him recommending a biography of Mohammed, NOT the Qu'ran. I should dig up those e-mails and post a summary on my own blog.

Blog on!

Jeff said...

Thank you for your wise comment, Greg.

And yes, I can be quite blunt at times, as you said. Since my dad died a few years ago, and since I am not sure that he was a Christian, so I'm not sure where he is spending eternity, I have become more aware of the fact that many people are dying and going to Hell every day. In Heaven, I will no longer have a chance to tell people about Jesus. So, especially since I'm getting older now, I don't really have all that long left to try to get the message out. And Hell is a place I would not want my worst enemy to go to.

I am blunt and dogmatic at times, and I may come across strong and maybe even harsh at times, but this is also because I am tired of apologizing for my beliefs and compromising for the sake of not offending someone. The darker this world gets spiritually, the brighter those of us who are Christians must shine. And the Truth is the Truth. One day, every person will have to stand before God on Judgment Day, and if we failed to tell them the Truth, we and they will both regret it. Why should I patronize someone when their soul is in mortal danger of Hellfire? If I am polite and courteous and gentle with them here on earth, yet they burn in Hell forever, what good have I done them? Now, I need to balance that with love and compassion and kindness, while still being bold and uncompromising with the truth, but I am still learning how to achieve this balance.

Khany has indeed been civil in his comments, even while attacking the accuracy and credibility of the Bible.

But, while learning more about Islam and about Muslims, I must at the same time stand up for the true gospel and the true and only way of salvation, because, as I said, trying not to offend people, and trying to be 'politically correct,' does no good if they spend eternity in Hell. So, if we are to love people and have compassion for people, we must tell them the truth, and not compromise. And we must pray for them.

I am not saying all this to argue with you, Greg. Your comment was on the money. I am merely sharing my feelings and trying to let everyone reading these comments know my intentions and have a better understanding of why I say what I say. I have been doing a lot of research on honor killings, killing for apostasy, terrorist acts, cutting off hands and feet for crimes committed, etc., and I have been reading about many horrible events that have occurred, all committed by Muslims. But I am still learning, and I am still trying to understand the mindset and the ideology that teaches to do these things, and which is so foreign to the Western mindset. I am also aware of Taquiyya, which is the practice of lying for the sake of Islam, so this is frustrating and makes it harder to have an honest discussion with a Muslim, especially when Islam---just like the LDS church and the Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology---teaches not to ask too many challenging questions, but just to blindly accept what they teach you. But I'm assuming that the more I learn about Islam and the way Muslims think, the better I can communicate with them. I'm being extremely honest and open here; for, as I have a tendency to be blunt, I also have a tendency to be extremely open; and I have been accused of being 'overly honest.'

Jeff said...

I have learned that Muslims generally have many misunderstandings about Christianity. I have also learned that what most Muslims have learned about Christianity have been from the standpoint of criticizing it. And, when a non-Muslim says anything critical about Islam (since Islam does not tolerate criticism of its ideology), most Muslims tend to go into defensive mode, and, when asked a question that challenges the truth of Islam, rather than answering the question honestly, most Muslims will instead reply by attacking Christianity (or whatever religion the questioner happens to follow). This has been proven by my conversations with Muslims so far. So, most Westerners don't know much about Islam, and most Muslims have serious misunderstandings about Christianity. Therefore, I am trying to learn to get past this communication barrier, but I still have a lot to learn.

thekingpin68 said...

'I am blunt and dogmatic at times, and I may come across strong and maybe even harsh at times, but this is also because I am tired of apologizing for my beliefs and compromising for the sake of not offending someone.'

Plus you associate with me thekingpin68/satire and theology.

khany said...

peace,

i did not come to the blog seeking to defend my faith. i noticed Jeff was passing off his opinions as islam. rather than substitute Jeff's opinions with my own bias i wanted to direct everybody to the primary source of islam, i.e. the qur'an. is it not a reasonable thing to do?

i am convinced now that this is the best approach given the presumption of lying (at-taqiyyah). if one says something in favor of islam it is easily dismissed as a convenient lie. this is why it is imperative for those who seek the truth about islam to read the qur'an for themselves. incidentally the word taqiyyah never appears in the qur'an. on the contrary the qur'an states:

(004:135)
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (your testimony) or refuse (to give it), verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

(005:008)
O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

(002:283)
And do not conceal testimony, for whoever conceals it - his heart is indeed sinful, and Allah is Knowing of what you do.

describing the qualities of those who will be saved from god's punishment in the hereafter, god says in the qur'an:
(070:033)
And those who are in their testimonies upright

(010:032)
Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away?

if one is bent on misrepresenting islam and the quran, however, one could ignore the overwhelming evidence against lying and twist the following verse to fit one's own wishes:
(016:106)
He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief-- on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.

i.e. one may utter disbelief to save one's life and not as a matter of convenience or to reap benefits for oneself or ones community. those who stand up as witnesses to their faith and are martyred are greatly rewarded. however, there is no blame on those who are compelled against their will.

it does not matter what secondary or tertiary sources you bring to support claims that islam teaches otherwise. if they contradict these qur'anic principles then they are bunk.

unfortunately, i have several responsibilities that prevent me from engaging in an extensive discussion here. my apologies to greg. if you are looking to engage with the muslim community i suggest you join an online forum, e.g. islam factor

contd...

khany said...

Jeff, you have written on the order of 2,500 words in response to my post. you raise more than half a dozen questions related to muslims but not islam . this is why i suggest you begin with the fundamentals and not the details. islamic doctrine is like a tree. at it's core is the belief that there is none worthy of worship except god, who has no partners, and there is nothing comparable to him. the religion grows organically from this belief. if you begin by asking dozens of disparate questions concerning the details (and issues that are unrelated to islam)you run the risk of missing the point, or worse arriving at unfounded and untrue convictions. being honest, open and sincere is commendable on your part. at the same time i think it is equally important that you look at your own perceptions of others' beliefs more critically.

what would you think if i were to begin attacking christianity on the basis of the centuries of persecution of the jews, the holocaust, the crusades, the inquisition, the witch burnings, the genocide in rwanda, catholic priests' misdemeanor, etc. but i know christianity better than that.

if you are sincere in your endeavor to understand islam then don't attempt to read the qur'an to confirm preconceived biases. remember that the qur'an is the primary document. everything else must agree with it and not the other way around. if a hadith disagrees with the qur'an it is to be rejected. if the action of the muslim community is contrary to it, then their actions too are to be rejected.

i would like to thank you for hosting my comments.

(007:199)
Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant.

peace

Jeff said...

thekingpin68,

Plus you associate with me thekingpin68/satire and theology.

LOL, yeah.

Jeff said...

Khany,

what would you think if i were to begin attacking christianity on the basis of the centuries of persecution of the jews, the holocaust, the crusades, the inquisition, the witch burnings, the genocide in rwanda, catholic priests' misdemeanor, etc. but i know christianity better than that.

I could comment to all of those, but, yeah, if we started getting into all those things, we could go on and on and on, because I could write pages and pages about them. So you make a good point that we should just stick with one thing as a focus.

incidentally the word taqiyyah never appears in the qur'an. on the contrary the qur'an states:

When one is under pressure, one may lie to protect his religion. This is taught in the Qur'an:

Verse 16:106 says, "Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief *save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith* but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: On them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom." In other words, Allah will forgive a Muslim who converts to another faith as long as he/she is only pretending. Because it doesn't matter if a Muslim lies by saying he has converted to another religion.

Another translation, same verse, 16:106:

“[Yusuf Ali 16:106] Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith, but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.”

Or, as 3:28 puts it, "Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah *unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security.* Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying."

Another translation of 3:28:

“[Yusuf Ali 3:28] Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah.”

Same verse, 3:28:

[3:28] The believers never ally themselves with the disbelievers, instead of the believers. Whoever does this is exiled from GOD. Exempted are those who are forced to do this to avoid persecution. GOD alerts you that you shall reverence Him alone. To GOD is the ultimate destiny.

Jeff said...

In addition, there are also these that teach Taquiyya:

"By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else that is better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath." - Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 7, Bk 67, Hadith 427

Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 269:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "War is deceit."

Permission to kill critics and to tell lies:
"Then he (Kab bin al-Ashraf) composed amatory verses of an insulting nature about the Muslim women. The Apostle said ’Who will rid me of Ibnul-Ashraf?’ Muhammad bin Maslama, brother of the Bani Addu’l-Ashhal, said, ‘I will deal with him for you, O Apostle of God, I will kill him.’ ‘Do so if you can.’ ‘All that is incumbent on you is that you should try ‘ He (Muhammad bin Maslama) said, ‘O Apostle of God, we shall have to tell lies.’ He (Mohammed, the founder of Islam) answered, ‘Say what you like, for you are free in the matter.’" - Sira 367

"Lying, generally speaking, is not allowed in Islam. But unlike other religions, there are certain situations where a Muslim can lie and that would be acceptable, even encouraged. This concept, called Al-Taquiyya. Al-Taquiyya means 'prevention.' So a Muslim is allowed to lie to prevent harm that may come to him or to Islam." "There are certain provisions for lying, so a Muslim can lie for the cause of Islam, can lie to keep peace in his family, so he can lie to his wife. A Muslim can lie to his fellow Muslim to keep peace in the society. Muhammad himself ordered people to lie. When people that he ordered to go and kill somebody, they told him, "We cannot kill them unless we lie to that person. He said, "OK, fine; lie."
Abdullah Al-Araby, Director, "The Pen vs. The Sword Publications."

Greg said...

I understand, Khany. Not everyone has the desire and spare time to engage in long discussions, but one-on-one discussions is what I personally feel comfortable with.

I would have liked to read your responses to Jeff's questions, far better than trying to read the Qu'ran. While I have in the past told people to just read the Bible, I try to point them to one particular book inside, to not overwhelm them. The Bible is a very long and very deep book; it's always best to have a knowledgeable person point the way.

Jeff said...

The Challenge

Jeff said...

Mohammed’s Inspiration:
From the Hadiths:

Mohammed would hear ringing in his ears; his heart would beat rapidly; his face turn red; his breathing would become labored; he would fall to the ground or lie down; he would shake; his eyes would open wide; his lips tremble; spit drool from the corners of his mouth; he would sweat profusely; he saw and heard things no one else ever saw or heard; he would sometimes make a snoring noise like that of a camel; and he would be covered with a sheet.
Vol I, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4
Vol. II, chapter 16 (pg. 354), 544
Vol. III, Nos. 17, 829
Vol. IV, Nos. 95, 438, 458, 461
Vol. V, Nos. 170, 462, 618, 659
Vol. VI, Nos. 447, 448, 468, 478, 481, 508

Jeff said...

Muhammad: Terrorist or Prophet?

Jeff said...

Mufa' Khathat - cleaning up the mess after thighing Aisha