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Response to Mssr. Lactantius

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?
in response to reader comment: from an apologist to a theologian!

Submitted by Truth Lives (United States), Dec 28, 2006 at 20:33

Where does the Qur'an or Sahi Hadith of Bukhari or Muslim say:- "any man of any religion may attain salvation if his heart is pure?"

First, let me say that whilst I in no way advocate the following of Islam (being a Presbyterian myself), I do, in my profession, run across some gross misconceptions concerning it and its practices. Also, having resided for a good period of time in the Middle East, I've become aware of certain things, and, since you appear to be throwing down a "gauntlet," if you will, I will readily accept it, and readily take it up. Forgive me if I appear to be taking "the side of the Muslims," as some will surely interpret it. In issues of theology, I must play the part of the atheist called upon to debate a pre-determined subject.

As to speaking with "a Christian apologist" (with whose works I am quite familiar) *shrugs*. It is certainly a great deal better than conversing with people such as dhimmi no more, who appears to lack basic cognitive functions and the ability to form rational thought.

Well, moving on, then...

The Qur'an says:-

"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will he be accepted of Allah; and in the next life, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost themselves and will burn in hell." Surah 3:85

The Arabic version of this is, as roughly as I can type it on an English keyboard...

"Wa many-yabtagi gayral Islaami Diinan falany-yuqbala minh; wa huwa fil-'Aakhirati minal-khaasirin."

While your translation is fairly accurate, the words Islaami Diinan suggest "Islam" in the general sense--submission to God. The context, or the surrounding ayats, also suggest that the aim is towards a gerater sense of "belief in God" in general, as opposed to strict adherence to the religion, Islam.

Ayats 3:83 and 3:84 will demonstrate this better. I'll assume a man such as you (an apologist, as you say) would be possessed of the knowledge of basic Arabic, or the ability to translate it, and as there is no ambiguity about those two ayats, as far as I see it, I will not endeavor to explain them. I'll do this for several stated ayats.

With the Qur'an stating unequivocally, the superiority and triumph of Islam over all religions, in Surah's 61:9, 48:28, and 9:33.

61: 9

"Who doth greater wrong than one who forges falsehood against Allah..." (Ayat 61: 7).

Both the textual and historical context would suggest that ayat 61:9 is pointed towards "the unbelievers," or the "idol-worshippers," who were, previous to the arrival of Islam, worshipping a moon god called "Al-ilah." Muslims believe that this is one of the primary reasons for the Qur'an to be sent down. It also, they say, explains a lot of the need for battle, which I will cover later.

Jews and Christians, or "The People of the Book," are not mentioned hereabouts. Additionally, the words "karihal-Mushrikuun" suggest a direction towards polytheism, as well.

48:28

It has both a striking similarity to the previously mentioned ayat and similar context (i.e., "victory" against the idol-worshippers), so I'll dismiss it for now, unless you choose to pursue it.

9:33

See the responses above.

These ayat (‘verses') are found in the historical context of warfare and violence, so how can they fail to inspire violent jihadis

I'm familiar with what ayats are, thank you, Mssr.

The warfare and violence issue, I would like to touch upon.

First, a lot of the violence contained in the Qur'an is time-specific. Persecuters of Muhammad and his tribe, so to speak, amongst those that had previously "wronged" them, are the ones referred to in the Surats. Several items suggest that "The People of the Book," or Jews and Christians, are not to be harmed. So if you are referring to the "jihadists," or, rather, "terrorists," that today kill hundreds of Christians and Jews around the world, few Muslims would view them as truly "Islamic."

I also find it odd that the word jihadist has been used. JIhad means, in originality, "a struggle to better oneself." It took on its interpretation as "Holy War" in the document "Duties of the Caliph." Having resided in the MIddle East, I can attest to the fact that the vast majority of Muslims don't agree with this interpretation.

To condemn Islam, the religion, for its most extreme, fascist believers, would be akin to condemning Christian for its zealots. Abortionism comes to mind, with over 500 anthrax cases and several billion dollars expended due to the violent actions of Christian abortionists through the period 1982-1996.

The Crusades, and the actions of Saladin, may also be put up for questioning, if your aim is to use the representatives of religion rather than the religion itself.

The verses around 9:33—the literary context—demonstrate an outlook, with which Islamic terrorists readily identify.

Ah, well, you had already written out the Surats I contested above. No matter. Anyway...

The "terrorists" aren't viewed as "Islamic" by most Muslims. While that may be their interpretation of those Surats, the Qur'an states several times that there are verses and Surats within the pages that "are not to be taken literally," meaning following the achievement of certain goals with respect to idol-worshippers and the Ka'aba.

This infamous verse uses the verb qatala in its imperative form. The basic meaning of the root q-t-l signifies fighting, killing, warring and slaughtering, so Muhammad endorses violence.

The most literal translation is "to slay."

This verse also outlines four conditions for fighting, but carefully note the fourth one. Muslims are commanded to fight against the Jews and Christians who do not acknowledge "the religion of truth," Islam. The Christians and Jews must submit after battle, or avoid battle by paying a special "protection" tax for the "privilege" of living under Islam,

Yes. A counterbalance to Muslims themselves being forced to enter into the army. The options were: pay tax, or be in the army. This is another time-specific article. Whilst soujourning abroad, I learned that most Muslims interpret certain Surats of the Qur'an as time-specific, but other laws are passed on. As a Muslim friend of mine said (matching popular opinion)...

"We learn from the messages of Allah; Allah asked us to discern his messages with careful (no other translation for the Arabic word) eyes, and peaceful hearts..." precisely what the Jihadists, as you call them, do not do.

In a nutshell, the teaching of the Qur'an is this: if you are a Jew or a Christian you are allowed to remain in your religion, but you must submit to the rule of Islam and you must pay with humiliation an exorbitant tax called Jizya to Muslims.

One, I don't understand where you're getting the word exorbitant, and two, with humiliation?

"any-yadinw wa hum saagi ruun."

Seems a moderate phrase, rather than a humiliating one. Of course, I may be working off a different view of this phrase, but if you will explain yours, I shall be glad to contest it.

This limited allowance to practice a religion besides Islam does not apply to everyone--only Jews and Christians. All others must become Muslims or be killed....You say "The Qu'ran states that any man of any religion may attain salvation, if his heart is pure" which sounds just fine and dandy, but the only assurance or guarantee a Muslim can have of being admitted to al-Jannah (Islamic ‘heaven'), is by killing and being killed in Allah's service, that is by becoming a shahid ("martyr"),

"Nay, --whoever submits his whole self to Allah (here translated in the general sense of the word "God," rather than the name of God) and is a doer of good--he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve," (2: 112).

with Surahs 61:10-12, 4:74, and 9:111 guaranteeing shahids entry to al-janna in an economic bargain. Indeed, these three references explicitly use words that connote buying and selling and signing a contract of sale, and the currency behind the deals is death by "martyrdom." Horrid isn't it?

"You who believe, shall I show you a bargain that will save you from painful punishment? Have faith in Allah and His Messenger and struggle [j-h-d] for His cause with your possessions and your persons—that is better for you, if only you knew—and He will forgive your sins, admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, into pleasant dwellings in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the supreme triumph." Surah 61:10-12

The original interpretation of "j-h-d," or "jihadi" was "struggle to improve oneself." Some have transmuted it into "holy war," according to their interpretations of it.

The majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Only a small handful are. The same applies to Christianity and any other religion. Muslims are asked to view the Qur'an "mindfully" or "carefully." Most Muslims take the "battle/war" Surats as time-specific, or when times of war do arrive (being incited not to attack unless first attacked). Either that means that they're all extremely intelligent (which I doubt), or that the Qur'an lends itself a lot to careful interpretation, and that those who do study it usually find the "correct" interpretation. I am more ensured of the latter.

Recently a Muslim won the Nobel Peace Prize; Saladin, Abu Bakr, and many, many others have proved peaceful Muslims throughout history. In addition, most "orindary Muslims" are also that way.

"Let those of you who are willing to trade the life of this world for the life to come, fight [q-t-l] in Allah's way. To anyone who fights [q-t-l] in Allah's way, whether killed [q-t-l] or victorious, We shall give a great reward." Surah 4:74

"Great rewards" are promised for many, many things throughout the Qur'an. It certainly isn't "the only way" to gain salvation, as you seem to suggest. Again, these articles are time-specific. Why do I say so?

Ayats 5:75, for one, off the top of my head. Several others, as well.

Muhammad lived in a world where he was forced to learn the art of bowmanship before he reached the age of 10. Far removed from the world of Jesus.

Saajid Badat from Gloucester, England, the ‘wannabe' passenger airline bomber, until he got cold-feet and chickened-out, was arrested in 2003 for plotting to bomb a transatlantic airliner, and he showed how well he understood Allah's "bargain," by writing to his parents from a training camp for Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, "I have a sincere desire to sell my soul to Allah in return for paradise."

Like I said, a handful of people.

You say:- "Islam actually claims that Allah viewed His Prophets as equal."

What's your source for this? and whilst I don't accept Muhammad's claim to prophethood in the line of the Biblical prophets of the true God, that's a question you didn't pose, so can be left for another time.

The Qur'an is my only source for it; I have read it several times, though I do not adhere to it (again, being a Presbyterian).

Every time the "Messengers" are referred to in the Qur'an, it is with a sense of equality. And the Muslims I have known have always professed this to be true. When Jesus is named, or Moses, or any other prophet, Muslims I have talked to have always added "peace be upon him" after the naming.

The Qur'an claims that Muhammad is God's seal of prophethood, and therefore the last and final messenger to mankind:-

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things." Surah 33:40

Muslims believe Muhammad is the last prophet, but not necessarily the greatest.

condoning lying and murder when it suited his purposes.

For every piece of evidence that can be produced as to the "violence and ill-nature of Muhammad," there can be produced one of equal credibility about his kindness and aspect. Muslims state that it was his environment that necesitated violence.

It should come as no surprise therefore, that the Qur'anic Allah (whoever he is), is good at lying, and according to the Qu'ran, Allah schemes, "and is the best of schemers" Surah's 3:54 and 8:30 with the term for scheme in Arabic being makara which denotes one who is a deceiver, one who is conniving, a schemer. It is always used in a negative sense. Allah is thus seen as the best of deceivers, the premiere schemer and conniving one.

The context of "Allah lying" always concerns "as a retribution" or "repayment." It is used in an allegorical sense. The interpretation I take of it is summarized like so:

"If you lie to God, God will turn your lies against you."

In saying:- "I don't quite follow what you mean by making this point," you overlook that if the Lord Jesus Christ wasn't truly crucified, He wasn't truly dead, and He wasn't truly raised from the dead, He wasn't a true prophet of the true and living God,

That has no bearing on Islam, since it states that Jesus was a prophet in the way described in the Qur'an, instead of the son of God. It may deny the Bible's view of it, but then, it views the Bible as having been corrupted by mankind. You can't use one source of evidence refuted by the upholders of the other source as an argument against that second source.

This is also why I leave out most of the Biblical references; as well as because I have already covered my arguments thereof above.

You say:-"The lookalike that was cruxified (sic) shall attain the ultimate salvation, according to Islamic theology." Please explain this, and source your explanation.

"Dying in the cause of God" is instant admission to Heaven, as you have stated yourself. (The "Jihadists," it is argued by Muslims, are not truly dying for the cause of God). So by this "lying," Allah has done little.

And what is the devil good at doing but lying? that's right, lying, and assessing the Islamic claim that the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad by a spirit-being over a period of 23 years, in a cave on Mount Hira, during Muhammad's meditations, let's see what the Word of the Living God says about such claims:-

Gabriel, they say.

The spirit-being that spoke to Muhammad, brought a message contrary to the gospel of Christ, meaning that this spirit-being falls under the Biblical God's eternal condemnation, implying that this spirit-being could not have been the Archangel Gabriel, but a satanic counterfeit. This shouldn't be a surprise, the Bible clearly teaching that Satan is able to masquerade as an angel of light, in order to deceive and prevent people from embracing the true message of salvation:-

Now you are arguing on a religious beliefs-sense. I am a Christian, sir. I merely contest your interpretations of Islamic beliefs; yet you keep going into the realm of "this is truth, this is lies." I don't care for that in this debate; I only want to profess my belief that Islam is a peaceful religion at its core, contrary to what most believe. Since Muslims believe the Bible was "corrupted by man," you cannot use the Bible to prove that they are wrong. Not to a theologian, anyway. If you are going to use heavenly logic like that (and, mind, all the rest of what you have stated has been earthly), then it is not my place to contest it with you. Take that up with someone else.

"Does Islam consider the Bible the inspired word of Allah? Why did the one true Creator God rename Himself? There are a number of names for God in the Old Testament. Do any of them match up with ‘Allah'?"

Islam believes the Bible to be inspired by Allah, but corrupted in certain places (these places being considerd indiscernable).

Islam gives massive and eloquent testimony to the whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, as the unaltered, unalterable word of Allah, saying it is his unchanged, unchangeable word, the Qur'an saying the words of Allah are unalterable:-

"there is none that can alter the words and decrees of Allah" Surah 6:34

and:-

"----------none can change his words-----------" Surah 18:27

Referring to the Qur'an. The Qur'an also repeatedly states "Woe to he that alters this word." (I cannot find the exact ayat; I suspect that some examples are in The Cow or Family of Imran, Surats 2 and 3).

The Qur'an repeatedly says that it confirms the previous Scriptures, for example Surah 3:3 says that Allah:-

"-----------sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Torah and the Gospels."

Confirms and remedies, actually, is what Muslims say.

Typical of every mention of the Torah and Gospels Sameer, there is no word about textual corruption.

There are several, and I repeat, several, that talk about "those that have sold the word of God for gold." I should have addressed the final lines of your post before the rest, since I am running out of time, but ah, well.

But Muslims would have me believe that Allah is telling ‘the people of the book' to judge by a corrupted book would they? is that what you are saying?

To judge by their hearts, that is what they would have you believe. Muslims believe he that is pure of heart can still attain salvation despite the "corruption" in the Bible.

What a low view of Scripture you take, even for a liberal theologian!!

Actually, no. I believe that the Word of God is unalterable, no matter when it is written. But historically I would say that it was written well after Jesus' death. I would argue the point, and state my beliefs on the matter as regards certain monks who ferryed items along the Silk Road, but having little time, I cannot do so.

It has been a delightful debate, and I wish I could continue it with you, but I'm here for a seminar, and will not have computer access following the beginning of the New Year. I'm fairly sure you shall answer, and as soon as I have computer access once more, I'll respond (seeing that I remember, which, giving some credit to my memory, I probably will).

Thank you for a good conversation,

Yours

~Truth Lives~

Submitting....

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