Categories
Muhammad Polemical Rebuttals

Will the Real “Demon-Possessed” Prophet Please Stand Up?

The following is our partial response to the tirade authored by the belligerent Christian missionary Sam Shamoun, to be found here. This article will clearly establish Prophet Muhammad(P) as the true Prophet, insha’Allah. In the forthcoming papers, we will provide a detailed critique of the shoddy polemics of the missionary, together with a detailed examination of his false prophet Paul.

Magic Effect On The Prophet

Although we will address this polemic in detail in the subsequent papers, let us make one thing clear: Having magic worked upon a person does not make that person “demon-possessed”. There is no doubt that Christian missionaries like Sam Shamoun can only insult and malign Islam because they do not have a valid argument against it. But it is important for all Muslims reading this article to refrain from “returning fire” and insult the religion of Christianity, or making insulting caricatures of any of the characters in the Bible, despite the fact, that there are several stories in the Bible, which people can make hilarious parodies about. This is very important. And this is exactly what Answering Islam wants Muslims to do, so they can say, “There, look! See I told you, that’s how Muslims are!”.

Of course, there are several atheist websites which completely mocks Jesus(P) and create gross caricatures about him, but we will not link to them. Instead, we will respond with sound irrefutable arguments and dismantle the missionary’s deception, God willing.

The type of attacks the missionary has levelled against the Prophet(P) is not new. Rather, we read in history, that smutty Christians the likes of Shamoun have a long and horrific track record of accusing innocent people of being demon-possessed. One of the most blatant examples was the infamous Salem Witch Trials, in which dozens of innocent people were accused of being witches and demon-possessed and then executed by pious Christians. The Puritans who conducted these inquisitions concocted their own personal criteria on who was a “witch” or “demon-possessed”, and then made it the law.

This neo-puritan Sam Shamoun, does exactly the same thing with Prophet Muhammad(P). Nevertheless, Sam Shamoun is not fooling anyone, as many of his fellow Christians who have left his faith, have made a parody in which they expose this type of ignorant behaviour, in which Shamoun is engaged in.

There is not a single shred of evidence which would indicate that if a person has magic worked on him, he is “demon-possessed”, as Shamoun fantasizes. For the Muslim, the story of magic only increases his faith in Islam, because this shows how the forces of evil tried so desperately to attack the Prophet(P), yet, Prophet Muhammad(P) had unwavering faith, and by the help of God, they were defeated and sent into retreat, humiliated. Shamoun simply took this story and made his own disgusting caricature, based on meaningless unproven criteria such as the Bible. We will at a later time, address each and every one of his arguments point by point.

As you will soon see if we take the missionary?s phoney criteria, and apply it to the Jesus of the Bible, you will see that Jesus Christ was 1000 times more demon-possessed and evil than anyone, and the missionary will be forced to admit that his lord and saviour, was actually a “demon”. So do Jesus a favour, and refrain from such insults, which can easily be turned around against him.

Jesus Was Demon-Possessed

Let us ask a question: if you were walking home one day, and out of nowhere, Satan appeared to you, and said, “Come here and follow me, I want to take you somewhere”, would you go? Any true believer in God will immediately rebuke Satan right then and there, and shout NEVER! GO TO HELL SATAN! STAY AWAY FROM ME! Perhaps, they may even pick up a baseball bat and start swinging till the evil spirit runs away. Or run for their lives in the opposite direction.

But not the Jesus of the Bible. Shockingly, the Bible teaches in Mathew 4:5-8 that the devil appeared to Jesus, and asked him to go (mountain-climbing) with him, and instead of striking out against Satan right then and there, Jesus actually accepted Satan’s invitation, and together, Satan and Jesus went mountain climbing. Here are the verses in question, or better put, Christianity’s Satanic verses, Matthew ch. 4 vs. 8:

4:5

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple,

4:6

and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands, they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”

4:7

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'”

4:8

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them;

The Bible does not say that there was any kind of fight or resistance on the part of Jesus when Satan appeared to him and invited him to follow him, therefore, we will have to assume that Jesus went willingly. Therefore, we see from this outrageous story in the Bible, that Jesus was clearly “demon-possessed”, so much to the point, that he took Satan as a comrade (wali) and a travelling partner. In addition to that, it is clear, that Jesus was NOT sinless. Answering the call of Satan, is a sin. This is simply an irreconcilable contradiction. This story is much worse according to Shamoun’s standards than simply having magic worked on a person, and then later God defeating those agents. Please keep in mind, that Muslims firmly believe in Jesus(P), but we do not believe in the man-made stories about Jesus(P) that we read in the New Testament.

It gets worse as Jesus was allegedly also suicidal. Jesus openly admits that he committed suicide on the cross in John 10:17-18:

10:17

For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.

10:18

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

A psychological analysis reveals that Jesus harboured suicidal tendencies. He saw the moral injustice and strife of the world he lived in, and felt that if he killed himself, he would benefit the world. Perhaps, he suffered from depression. Rather than jumping off a cliff, or slashing his wrists, or leaping in front a heard of roman chariots, he devised an elaborate plan of crucifixion, one which would be an appeal to gain the sympathy of others. and finally, in the end, Jesus committed suicide.

Will the Real “Demon-Possessed Prophet” Please Stand Up?

Let us move away from these “Salem Witch trial”-type inquisitions, in which Shamoun creates artificial criteria solely based upon his personal whims and blind Biblical indoctrination. Despite his 50+ pages of irrelevant and incoherent ranting, the missionary has not proved a thing. Instead, his article is a laughably desperate attempt to export his own personal prejudices to his readers. Although, you will find that the matter is quite simple.

We would like to raise the question, why would we indulge in such personal opinions, and baseless, subjective evidence when, OBJECTIVE VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE EXISTS? If such evidence did exist for Christianity, we are sure we would have seen it by now. But, let us assure you, that no such evidence exists for the Christian faith, and Shamoun’s 50+ page sham monster paper is proof of that. And that is a direct challenge.

Yes, we said objectively verifiable evidence. Therefore, the question begs, does such evidence exist for Islam? The answer is YES. And it will be clear, and undeniable.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, lets move on to the objective clear and concise evidence. But first, let’s remove these meaningless and dubious labels like “demon-possessed” and replace it with something more meaningful and less insidious, like “false prophet”. As it has been demonstrated in the following article, Christianity rests upon the truth claim of an alleged “prophet” who came after Jesus, Paul.

Let us now examine the religion of Paul and the religion of Prophet Muhammad(P) and we will see if these religions have the foresight of addressing the problems of today’s society, or do they lead to destruction. Before we begin, we would encourage everyone to read and understand the following article.

Our society is literally being eaten alive by these terrible vices of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin etc. There is no need to go into detail at all of the destructive nature of these drugs, and the terrible toll it has taken on our youth and society. That is a given. We believe both Muslims and Christians, agree that these drugs, are the vices of Satan, and lead to destruction. Therefore, we need to ask: What do these two religions say about using drugs like cocaine, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy. etc?

As we have seen from the article and Ahmed-Slick debate, Paul’s religion (Christianity) allows for drug abuse such as cocaine, marijuana and heroin. There is no condemnation of these drugs at all.

Yet Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam, unlike Paul’s Christianity, has completely forbidden all illicit forms of drug abuse. How can a false religion, or as the missionary puts it, a “demon-possessed” religion, condemn one of the evilest and luring poisons of Satan, his pride and joy, all the while God’s supposedly-true religion, Christianity, allows it?

That is the most asinine, lame-brained and monstrous statement anyone can make!

Therefore, the matter is crystal clear according to the evidence, as to who is the false prophet. That false prophet is none other than Paul. And the true Prophet is Muhammad.

There is no need to go further, but let us bring up a few more points. As we have seen from the debate and the article, Paul’s Christianity allows women and men to wear whatever they want, it is completely based upon the individual’s subjective taste. Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam, of course, has a clear dress code which aids in preventing lewdness.

Paul’s Christianity allows men and woman to engage in all kinds of sexual behaviours except intercourse, Prophet Muhammad(P)‘s Islam forbids all sexual or non-sexual contact till marriage.

Here is thus the lifestyle which is promoted by Paul’s Christianity:

Men and woman walking around in tight fitted, skimpy outfits exposing much of their parts like that of Britney Spears, her style of dancing is also completely allowed, each one engaged in flirting and indiscreetly seducing each other (there is no condemnation in the Bible for any of this), and not only that, but engaging in several if not all sexual acts except for sexual intercourse, engaging in “mashing”, and all the free cocaine, heroin and marijuana that they desire. Please keep in mind, all of this behaviour as mentioned above, completely falls within the guidelines of Biblical moral conduct. No wonder we have a screwed up society.

Islam clearly forbids this destructive lifestyle. The reason why we used the word promotes instead of allows, is because, it is the nature for the average human being seeks the path of least resistance, although not all. If two ways are presented before the average human, he is going to pick the apparently easier path. Therefore, the average Christian would like to live within the guidelines of Biblical morality, and not create any “extra work” for themselves.

Christianity as compared to Islam appears to some much more attractive, due to the moral “freedom” which it offers. In many Muslim-Christian marriages, oftentimes the children chose to become part of Paul’s Christianity because they desperately desire to be on the cheerleading team at school, engage in dating, experiment with different types of sexual contact, drinking, drugs, wearing “Britney Spears”-type of dressing, nude or erotic dancing, all of which is well within the guidelines of Paul’s Christianity. Prophet Muhammad’s(P) Islam, on the other hand, crashes the party and sends everyone home.

It is said that many of these children at that age are not mature enough to see that they are being lured by the false apostle Paul, may Allah save us from this wickedness. This is because the “freedom”, which Paul’s Christianity offers, is a major marketing tool for his religion. You know the saying, “there is always free cheese in the mousetrap”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have spared Sam Shamoun’s prophet from derogatory terms such as “demon-possessed”. The truth has no need for such antics.

In addition to that, we want to extend this invitation to leave Paul’s religion and come to the truth of Islam.

Accept the truth of Islam, before it is too late. Come to Islam!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Will the Real “Demon-Possessed” Prophet Please Stand Up?," in Bismika Allahuma, September 20, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/demon-possessed-prophet/
Categories
Bible Contradictions Internal Contradictions Of The Bible The Bible

Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth?

In Matthew 2:14, we are told that Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Egypt:


    “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.”

Yet in Luke 2:39, they went to Nazareth after Jesus’ birth:


    “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”

It does not need a rocket scientist to inform us that these verses are contradictory and hence irreconcilable.

In their alleged reply to this irreconcilable error, the missionaries made the claim that:

    Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem to present the new born infant in the temple. From there, they went back to their home in Nazareth. A short time later, the holy family decided to return to Joseph’s ancestral hometown and Jesus’ birthplace, namely Bethlehem in Judea. This is where Matthew picks up. When the Magi found the child Jesus, he was already up to two years old. Being told in a dream about Herod’s desire to kill the child, Joseph left his home and took his family to Egypt until the death of Herod. Fearing that Herod’s son Archelaus would search them out if they returned to Bethlehem, the holy family once again returned to Nazareth and settled there.

We do not accept this explanation, simply because the two narratives in Matthew and Luke are vastly different in a number of details. As Brown himself notes:

…the two narratives are not only different – they are contrary to each other in a number of details. According to Luke 1:26 and 2:39 Mary lives in Nazareth , and so the census of Augustus is invoked to explain how the child was born in Bethlehelm, away from home. In Matthew there is no hint of a coming to Bethlehem, for Joseph and Mary are in a house at Bethlehem were seemingly Jesus was born (2:11). The only journey that Matthew has to explain is why the family went to Nazareth when they came from Egypt instead of returning to their native Bethlehem (2:22-39); this is irreconcilable with Matthew’s implication (2:16) that the child was almost two years old when the family fled from Bethlehem to Egypt and even older when the family came back from Egypt and moved to Nazareth…one must be ruled out, i.e., that both accounts are completely historical.1

In other words, only one of these narratives can be accepted as factual, and not both at the same time. Do note that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (2:6), the family’s flight to Egypt (2:14), Herod’s slaughter of the innocent children of Bethlehem (2:18), and the family’s decision to relocate in Nazareth (2:23) occur only in Matthew. Therefore, the more important question is if the missionary is bothered to know the fact that Luke, Mark and John do not mention these significant events. How could they miss mentioning these if they really did happen? Since the gospels circulated independently for quite some time, that means that many of the earliest Christians never got the oppurtunity to know of these stories. Those reading Luke, Mark and John, while they were independently circulating, certainly would not know of them.

Also, commenting upon the story in Matthew, Brown noted the following:

[t]here is no remembrance in the accounts of the ministry of Jesus of such an extraordinary event in this background [the flight to Egypt and massacre at Bethlehem – ed.], and a journey to Egypt is quite irreconcilable with Luke’s account of an orderly and uneventful return from Bethehem to Nazareth shortly after the birth of the child. An attempt has been made to detect independent support for an Egyptian sojourn in the Jewish stories of the second century which have Jesus going to Egypt…However, these stories introduce Egypt as a place where Jesus or his mother sought refuge because of the scandalous (adulterous) character of his birth and as a place where he became adept in black magic which he then used to decieve people. Most likely this is a Jewish polemic against the Gospel picture of Jesus (including the Matthean infancy narrative) and can scarcely be invoked as independent support for the historicity of that picture.2

It also needs to be noted that concerning Raymond Brown, his work on the infancy is the single most authoritative book on the subject, and he himself is a believing Christian scholar of immense repute. Now, if believing Christians cannot agree among themselves if certain passages are contradictory or not, then the missionary should first attempt to convince his own Christian scholars before worrying too much about the Muslims. The fact that Christians scholars themself hotly disagree on this matter indicates the problematic nature of the two accounts.

McDonald and Porter, two believing Christian scholars, also noted the differences in the narratives:

When we compare the birth stories in Matthew and Luke, we see that Matthew focuses on royalty (birth in a house, not a stable: the special gifts of the Magi from the east), while Luke focuses on the lowliness of the birth (the poor shepherds coming to the manger scene to witness the new birth: no room for Jesus in the inn). According to Matthew, evidently Joseph and Mary lived in Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth, and only after the threat to the life of the newborn child did they consider leaving Bethlehem, going first of all to Egypt and then to Nazareth. Luke tells nothing of the threat to Jesus’ life and indicates that Joseph and Mary originally came from Nazareth and returned there only after all that was necessary regarding purification and dedication of the child in the temple had taken place. Why does Matthew have Jesus taken down to Egypt while Luke simply says that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth with their child? In Matt 2:22. Joseph was warned in a dream to go to Nazareth to avoid dealing with Herod Archelaus. Nothing of this kind of threat is found in Luke, Luke says nothing of the massacre of children in Matt 2. Why are these birth and infancy narratives so different? These questions are not easily answered, but it is probable that the construction of each of these accounts was based on a different theological agenda. Meier says that the point of these widely differing stories is that the church, not Mary or Jesus, wished to make the major theological point that “what Jesus Christ was fully revealed to be at the resurrection (Son of David, Son of God by the Power of the Holy Spirit) he really was from his conception onward.” Because of the considerable differences in these narratives and because they appear to serve early church apologetics. Many, if not most, critical scholars do not see much historical evidence for the life of Jesus in the birth stories of Matthew and Luke. But if the criterion of multiple attestation is taken seriously in light of the fact that the birth stories of Matthew and Luke appear to represent independent traditions, much more credibility should be given to various dimensions of the account. There are basic facts, such as the agreement that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus’ birth took place during the reign of Herod the Great (Matt 2:1; Luke 1:50), who died ca. 5/4 B.C. There are also more significant factors-angelic visitations, the special circumstances of conception and visitors attesting to the special qualities of this child that should not be neglected. These point to the significance of Jesus for both Matthew and Luke.3

Again we note that Christians scholars have admitted the fact that there are significant and considerable differences in the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. McDonald and Porter argue that the points where Matthew and Luke agree are historical, yet they do not deny that their stories nonetheless have many differences. If Matthew and Luke were using independent traditions, and if the reports and stories were true and historical, then how do we explain the presence of significant differences in their story of the birth of Jesus? As Raymond Brown mentions, Matthew and Luke had their theological agenda and views to sell, and so they coloured/tainted the reports and traditions to “prove” their theology. Obviously both reports cannot be true, one of them is fiction, or both are fictitious containing an element of historical truth in them.

In light of these evidence, we thus conclude that the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are undoubtedly contradictory to one another, and this is hence a irreconcilable error. And only God knows best.

Addendum: Responding To A Missionary Obfuscation

Naturally, the missionaries, as per their tradition of welling hatred towards the noble Qur’an, attempt to erect this straw-man in order to avoid the embarrassment of the irreconcilable error in the birth narratives of Jesus. Our answer to the provocative Christian missionary questioning follows.

    How do you explain that in the Quran the person of Mary’s husband Joseph as well as the towns of Nazareth, Bethlehem and the journey to Egypt all disappeared?

According to the various scholars of the Bible, the above are fiction invented by the anonymous author of the Gospel according to Matthew. Therefore there is no point blaming the Qur’an for rightfully excluding these fiction. Therefore, what the Qur’an is “lacking” is fictitious stories concocted by the authors of the Gospels.

So the question that should be asked now is that did the journey ever take place or was it an invention of the anonymous gospel author to “prove” and make his theological point? It is important to note how the author of Matthew made use of the Jewish Bible and molded some of its contents to “prove” his theology. A male child is born to Jewish parents, a tyrant ruler (Herod) learns of this and sets out to destroy him. The child is supernaturally protected from harm and is taken to Egypt. He then leaves Egypt to pass through the waters (of baptism) and goes into wilderness to be tested for a long time. Later he goes up on a mountain and delivers God’s law to those who have been following him. We see that Matthew shaped the stories pertaining to Jesus(P) to “show” that Jesus'(P) life was a fulfillment of the stories of Moses(P) (cf. Exodus 1-20). Matthew’s target market were the Jewish readers. No one can ignore these parellels. Herod is made into a Pharoah-like ruler, Jesus’ baptism is like Moses crossing the Red Sea, the forty days of temptation are like the forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and the sermon on the mount is like the law of Moses delievered on Mount Sinai. Jesus(P) is therefore portrayed by Matthew as the “new” Moses, come to set his people free from their bondage and give them new law and teachings. In order to present this picture of Jesus(P), the author of Matthew had to colour the traditions he used. Therefore not everything within his gospel is historical.

    but has it ever bothered him that the Quran is lacking so much information?

No, it has never bothered us to know that the Qur’an lacks the fictitious information of the gospels. We hope that this answer satisfies the missionary.

A more important question is if it has ever bothered the missionary that Herod’s slaughter of the children of Bethlehem is not mentioned in Luke? How could something so significant escaped the notice of Luke, who is supposed to be a “reliable” historian, and even Mark? What about the visit of the Magi, why is that only mentioned in Matthew and not in the other gospels? Why did the other gospels fail to mention such an important story in their writings if it did take place? Matthew even states that the King and all Jerusalem was upset over the birth of the Messiah in Jerusalem! If this is historical, then why has it not left any traces in Jewish records and elsewhere in the New Testament?

    This is all the more striking in this case, since the vast majority of all verses in the Quran speaking about Jesus deal with his miraculous birth.

The verses of the Qur’an dealing with the birth of the Messiah, Jesus(P) are collected here. The Qur’an mentions the miraculous birth of Jesus(P), that he was born to a virgin, and mentions that he was not the divine son of God or God, that he asked people to worship God whom he worshipped and accept him as His messenger. The Qur’an stays to the point, does not mention the fictions within the gospels, states who Jesus(P) was and rejects the lies attributed to him by the Christians, unlike the gospels whose anonymous authors had to distort traditions to “prove” and “support” their theology.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Did Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Egypt or to Nazareth?," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/bible/egypt-or-nazareth/
  1. Raymond E. Brown, The Birth Of The Messiah (Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1997), p. 36 []
  2. ibid., pp. 225-226 []
  3. Lee Martin Mc Donald & Stanley E. Porter, Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature (Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 2000), p. 122 []
Categories
Op-Ed Polemical Rebuttals

Missionary VS Terrorist: An Examination of a Missionary’s Mental Imbalance and Behaviourial Problem

The recent barrage of missionary dementia gives us a marvelous opportunity to expose the character of the missionary Sam Shamoun, his mental disorder and the extremes he is willing to undertake in order to unleash his abuses and prejudice towards Muslims. Indeed, he convincingly demonstrates that he is a confirmed Islamophobe. Muslims should bear in mind that many missionaries, who claim to “love Muslims” and “care about Muslims”, in reality hold such prejudiced views concerning them as does this missionary. So we should not be fooled by his crocodile tears.

The discussion is concerning the use of the term “missionary”. The missionary claims that we should not refer to him as a missionary because even though he is a missionary, many Muslims nevertheless have alleged “negative” views concerning the title “missionary” according to his opinion. Hence he argues that we are making an ad hominem attack against him every time we rightfully call him a missionary. He claims that his arguments will be allegedly dismissed beforehand by Muslims when they find out that he is a missionary.

The missionary writes:

    Before responding, something needs to be said about […] use of the term “missionary.” As was noted in my response to MENJ, in Muslim vocabulary there can hardly be a worse insult than calling somebody a missionary. A person labeled a missionary will automatically be dismissed and not be taken seriously by Muslim readers. It is used to create anger towards that person. This is exactly what Bravo wants to achieve and why he uses this word. Understanding the Muslim use of language, it is the classical ad hominem.

The first point to note is that it is completely false and misleading to claim that in “Muslim vocabulary” to call somebody a “missionary” is an insult. We wonder who duped him to accept such a laughable claim. Christian missionary organizations have a rich and active participation in a variety of arenas all over the Muslim world, from Pakistan to the Middle East. A number of Christian missionary schools exist in Pakistan for instance with the majority of the pupils being Muslims. These schools and organizations openly proclaim themselves to be missionaries. Now, it is true that most Muslims look upon the activity of the propagation of Christianity by way of outright deception and distortions in a negative light. However, to claim that the word “missionary” itself is an “insult” in the “Muslim vocabulary” is quite a stretch of the imagination. Most Muslims treat anyone who claims to be a “missionary” with respect. They are not “automatically dismissed” as the missionary has deluded himself to imagine, nor does this term create “anger” towards a person who claims to be one. As proof, none of us at Bismika Allahuma, who are all Muslims, are “upset” or “angry” towards anyone for being a “missionary”. Amazingly he has the audacity to talk about “anger” when he has a very rich history of abusing and insulting Muslims in the most vulgar and vicious fashion!

It should be noted that the use of the term “missionary” is simply because the missionary, Sam Shamoun, is indeed a Christian missionary. However, he uses terms such as “clowns”, “pagans”, “cartoon character” and claims that we worship a “demon-god” not because we are “clowns”, “pagans”, “cartoon characters” or do worship a “demon god”, but because he wishes to insult and abuse his Muslim opponents and their religion in a low, cheap and vulgar manner when he is angry. Hence, his claim of ad hominem is simply his psychological projection upon us and reflective of his own mental disorder.

“Missionary” is a term used in reference to those Christians whose aim is to convert others to their religion by way of active preaching and propagation. If Shamoun is willing to admit that his purpose is most certainly not the propagation, preaching and defense of Christianity, and that his mission has never been to convert others to his religion, that he only wastes time authoring pro-Christian articles for no apparent reason perhaps because he is jobless and therefore has nothing else to do, then we will gladly stop referring to him as a missionary.

His next “argument” is even more foolish than the prior one. He argues that since we rightfully call him a “missionary” since he is a missionary, he will therefore start labelling us as “terrorists” even though we are not “terrorists”! Here his prejudice is quite transparent for all to witness. In recent years a number of prejudiced, racist and Islamophobic individuals have started to label all Muslims as “terrorists” and “potential terrorists” merely because they happen to be Muslims no matter how peaceful. The missionary?s choice of the label “terrorist” is only indicative of his own extreme prejudiced and hate-filled mind set towards the Muslims.

What if we start referring to him as a homosexual merely because we believe that he is “insulting” us by rightfully calling us “Muslims”? That a person labeled a Muslim will automatically be dismissed and not be taken seriously by Christian and Western readers and that it is used to create anger towards that person? Thus being called a “Muslim” is an insult even though we are indeed Muslims? We will, as such, refer to Shamoun as a homosexual every time he calls me a “Muslim” as an “educational device”! This is precisely the type of silly, childish attitude of this Christian missionary, a unique insight into his downright twisted way of thinking.

He writes:

    Therefore, throughout my response I will at times use the term terrorist in reference to Bravo. This will be done in order to demonstrate to our readers the disrespect intended in the title “missionary.” If Bravo objects to my labeling him a terrorist, then he needs to show more respect to the Christians he seeks to refute. This is strictly an educational device on my part, and should Bravo revise his articles accordingly, I will glady remove this term as well.

There is no “disrespect” intended by calling a missionary a missionary just as no “disrespect” is intended by referring to a policeman as a policeman.

In short, we call the missionary Sam Shamoun a missionary simply because he is a missionary whereas he calls me a “terrorist” not because I am a terrorist, but merely because we happen to be Muslims. In other words he is only abusing us. He believes that Muslims are terrorists by default for being Muslims, or at least potential terrorists, because they are “evil” and the religion they follow is “evil” and because they worship a “demon god”.

Naturally, those who worship a “demon god” cannot be any better than terrorists. Hence the only word that entered his mind was “terrorist” to label me because we happen to be Muslims. We have already read his statement that the Muslims worship a “demon god” and that they are “pagans”, so to call Muslim “terrorists” just for being Muslims, no matter how peaceful, does not come as a surprise. It only goes on to show the abusive, disrespectful and highly insulting behaviour and attitude of this missionary towards Muslims. These are simply his true feelings which get unleashed when he enters a fit of uncontrollable anger.

This outright prejudice, stereotypical abuse and vehement insult is then conveniently dressed up as an “educational device” as if that would somehow alter its appearance or minimise its intended purpose! How desperate can one get? Hence if anything, he is the only one who is required to revise his papers and offer an unconditional apology for heaping vicious stereotypical abuses and lies towards others merely due to their religious beliefs that he despises.

Our challenge to the missionary is to prove his claim that we are “terrorists”, the meaning of which is:

Definition 1. one who uses violence, torture, or physical intimidation to achieve one’s ends, esp. one’s political ends.”

If, however, he fails to demonstrate and prove the above, and of a surety he will, then not only does he prove himself to be a narrow minded, hate-filled, prejudiced, Islamophobic and bigoted individual, he also convincingly proves himself to be a bold-faced liar.

A few paragraphs later he makes a few more interesting statements that further shed light upon his stereotypical prejudiced mindset and hate towards the Muslim community:

    [Note: Just as “terrorist” is obviously a very negative word in the non-Muslim world, while for many Muslims those who “strike terror in the hearts of the unbelievers” are heroes and should they even loose their life in the process are venerated as martyrs, so the word “missionary” is despicable word in the Muslim world, while it is a title of honor in the Christian church for those who take upon themselves much hardship to bring God’s Gospel of salvation to the people who do not yet know it.]

This argumentation is still senseless and illogical because even if we assume that the term “terrorist” is “very negative” in the non-Muslim world whereas it is supposedly very “wonderful” in the Islamic world, the simple fact remains that we are still not terrorists. However, if we were a terrorist, then we would have argued using “Shamounian logic” as follows:

    “Don’t call me a terrorist because even though I am a terrorist this term is very negative in the non-Muslim world. No one will listen to what I have to say if you call me a terrorist. But since you still call me a terrorist even though I am one, I will call you a homosexual as an “educational device”.

Our stand on terrorism, however, is very clear, thus to label any writer at bismikaallahuma.org a “terrorist” is still simply a blatant lie, stereotypical prejudiced insult and vicious abuse. The fact is that no similarity exists between my referring to the missionary as a missionary because he is a missionary and me being labelled a “terrorist” by him when I am not a terrorist. My statement that he is a missionary is the solid truth whereas his claim that I am a “terrorist” is a cheap lie, stereotypical abuse, prejudice, and insult. He says I am a “terrorist” simply because I happen to be a Muslim. This is the basic flaw in the missionary’s “logic”.

The bizarre argument now is that the word “terrorist” is “negative” in the non-Muslim world whereas it is supposedly highly prized, respected and a much adored term in the Islamic world. Is there anything one can say regarding such a sick mentality? These words speak for itself and are a very good window and indicator to view the amount of hate, prejudice and bigotry of the missionary towards the Muslims and his character. Such is the typical mentality of all racist Islamophobes who live in the delusion that “terrorist” is a “respectable” title in the Muslim world.

The simple fact of the matter is that the term “terrorist” is as much negative in the Muslim world as it is in the non-Muslim world. If you travel to the Muslim word and call any person walking on the street a “terrorist”, they will feel extremely offended and highly-insulted as any human being. Muslims are also human beings, something missionary Shamoun does not realize. No Muslim will walk up to you shake your hands and proclaim “oh thank you, you called me a terrorist, I can’t tell you how proud and happy that makes me feel.” Instead, you will receive an extremely hostile reaction just as you would if you were to label any non-Muslim a “terrorist” just for the fun of it.

Unlike the Western world, most Muslims are horrified with the “collateral damage” terrorism actively practised by the Western world that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in the past 2-3 years. Racist Islamophobes fail to realize that there are non-Muslim Judeo-Christian terrorists in the Western world, professing Christian and Jewish faiths, and that terrorism is not a unique property of Muslims. For instance in Gujarat in secular India, hardly a few months ago, no less than 2000 Muslims, mostly women and children, were murdered in the most cruel, gruesome and barbaric manner imaginable, with the wombs of pregnant Muslim women cut open and the fetuses thrown on fire.

But the missionary of course does not deem this as “terrorism”. He will probably find an excuse to justify this carnage. They fail to understand that Muslims take the word “terrorist” as much negativity as any other non-Muslim woul. The mentality of such prejudiced, hate-filled, bigoted and racist individuals — such as the missionary — leads them to believe that Muslims are sub-human creatures, “barbarians”, etc., who “like” terrorism because of their genetic make-up and because they are “evil” and their religion is “evil”. In this, their mentality is not much different from that of the Nazis who held similar beliefs concerning the Jews and their religion.

As for “striking terror in the hearts of unbelievers”, meaning those who wage war on Muslims, then yes, the martyrs who defend the innocent and die while fighting the aggressors will, insha’allah, go to heaven, unlike the aggressors.

Lastly, even if we assume that the title “missionary” is supposedly “despicable” in the Muslim world (which is a rather huge exaggeration), the demand that Muslims stop referring to missionaries as “missionaries” makes little sense. If it is admitted that the title “missionary” is one of highest honours in the “Christian Church”, should he then not be willing to suffer even more hardships and troubles for the sake of a title held in immense “honour” in the Church? For example, we will continue to refer to ourselves as Muslims because we are Muslims and will ask others to address us as such no matter how “despicable” the word “Muslim” may be be to them. But to suddenly refer to the opponent as a “terrorist” when he/she is only calling you by your true title, and to disguise this blatant, abusive behaviour as an “educational device” is simply nonsense, childish and an example of the mental instability of one’s own mind.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Missionary VS Terrorist: An Examination of a Missionary’s Mental Imbalance and Behaviourial Problem," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/missionary-vs-terrorist/
Categories
Polemical Rebuttals

Schism — A Muslim Answer To Fitna

This short movie was made in less than twenty four hours in response to Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam polemical movie, entitled “Fitna”. The six-minute video called “Schism” by 33-year-old Saudi blogger Raid Al-Saeed takes violent Biblical texts and intersperses them with fiery rants by a Christian fundamentalist youth leader in Texas. Kudos goes to the Muslim brother who directed the video. This is the kind of “response” that is needed from Muslims, an intellectual response and not one which is based on emotion.

Video is hosted courtesy of Youtube.

Categories
Bible Contradictions The Bible

On The Methodology For Determining The Various Bible Difficulties

The Christian missionaries in their initial response to our list of Internal Contradictions of The Bible have made the claim that we are:

    …more bothered with seeking excuses not to take the Bible seriously, than finding reasons for their [our] own faith.

In light of this “excuse” by the missionaries to avoid the gory details of the mass of contradictions within the Bible, we find it neccessary to hence outline our methodology for determining the various difficulties inherent in the Bible text, insha’allah.

We also aim to educate the Muslims about the criteria that the Bible sets for itself in order for it to be considered an “inspired” text from God, and hence the seriousness of the various Bible difficulties found are not to be taken lightly.

Judging The Authenticity of the Bible Literature

In judging the authenticity of the Bible, the criteria should be on scientific grounds — grounds which are helpful in defining the authenticity of any other old document. A document is first examined internally and then externally.

Internal evidence is the study of the text itself while the external evidence is the study of the historical process through which the text was transmitted to us. Internal evidence deals with the content of the text, and if there are any errors, it should be determined whether they are internal contradictions or external errors. If the text suffers from errors and inconsistencies of either the former or the latter, then it is clear that such text is contrary to what it is claiming. For an example of an internal contradiction, if a fragment in a passage talks about “a red chicken” in a context but then a few paragraphs later talks about “a blue chicken” in the same context, that is certainly a contradiction.

An example of an external error would be if supposing that same fragment purporting to be Shakespearean in origin talks about King James travelling in the Space Shuttle Columbia and using Pentium Computers, we would be obliged to reject it right there as a Shakespearean writing and would not waste time in examining it any further, since it is in contradiction with historical evidences, i.e. that there were certainly no such thing as space shuttles or computers in existence during Shakespeare’s era.

Based on the above methodology that we have outlined, we will look at a list of the many difficulties within the text of the Bible, whereby the reader is encouraged to read in order to verify it for themselves.

Bible Criteria For Determining “Divine Inspiration”

The Christian missionaries, as is their nature of making excuses, seek to trivialise the importance of these Biblical difficulties. They appear to have completely given up on refuting the proof of distortion and have now resorted to “spiritualizing” the Bible and adamantly refuse to believe that anyone has changed the “word of God” or that the Bible contain any conflicts whatsoever, no matter how much the evidence is presented. They are willing to either:

  • Explain it away using abstraction to explain the “true” meanings of the verses presented, or
  • Explain it based upon assumptions of their own not contained within the Bible, or
  • Explain it away by attributing it to “scribal error” (the most common explanation), but a few lines later they say that as long as the contradictions does not affect doctrine, it is OK for the Bible to have mistakes, or
  • Claim that these matters are all insignificant and that the words remain the inspiration of God even if we do not know who the “inspired” authors were and their narrations contradict one another.

The problem in many cases is that it is human nature when given a choice between two matters, to take the simpler of the two, sometimes even against one’s better judgement.

For example, let us look at an answer given for the numerical discrepancies in the Bible by a Christian:

    Linguistically, none of these verses contradict. One can have 40,000 stalls for horses and still have 4,000. If the verse said ONLY 4,000, then it would be a contradiction. Likewise, if you have three cars and you say “I have a car,” it does not mean you don?t have three, but you do have one.

So, using his standard of “explaining”, can I say that when I have three daughters and instead I say “I have a daughter”, does it mean that, linguistically, that it does not mean “I don’t have three daughters, but I do have one daughter”?

We are amazed at such an “abstract” explanation being used to brush away the difficulties in the Bible. For such people who have been very well-indoctrinated, the answer is very simple – all of the changes to the text are all “trivial” and “inconsequential”. For them, errors evident in the “inspired word of God” is very acceptable, and is just a matter of the “spirit” of the book. For them, some of the words of God are not really that important and can be disregarded. But to understand the criteria for “divinely inspired” writings, we would have to look at the nature of God as outlined in the Bible itself.

Firstly, we are told in the Bible that God does not lie or change His mind after He has made a promise:

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said He will do something and will not do it? Has he promised something and not fulfilled it?” (Numbers 23:19)

We are also told that God is not the author of confusion:

“…because God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

We note that Jesus himself is reported to have said that

“But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

In other words, if the Bible contains various irreconcilable difficults, it would be contrary to the nature of God as highlighted above, and hence the Bible is certainly not the “divinely inspired” Word of God as believed by Christians.

Hence, to charge us with that the difficulties in the Bible are merely “…excuses not to take the Bible seriously” is no doubt an attempt to trivialise and make a mockery of the nature of God, as outlined in the Bible itself.

Dr G.C Van Niftrik and Ds B.Y Boland themselves admit that:

Kita tidak usah malu bahwa terdapat berbagai kesalahan dalam Alkitab, kesalahan dalam angka-angka, perhitungan, tahun dan fakta-fakta. Dan tak perlu kita pertanggungjawabkan kesalahan-kesalahan itu berdasarkan caranya isi Alkitab telah disampaikan kepada kita, sehingga dapat kita berkata dalam naskah asli tentulah tidak terdapat kesalahan-kesalahan, tetapi kesalahan-kesalahan itu barulah kemudian terjadi didalam salinan-salainan naskah itu.

Translation: We should not be ashamed of the various errors in the Bible, the contradictions in numbers, calculations, years and facts. And we should not hold the transmission of the Bible text as responsible for the cause of these errors, for we say that in the original texts, there would not be any errors, but the errors only occur in the copies of that original text.1

The point here is that there are certainly grounds for the Muslim position that the text of the Bible has been tampered with by human hands, and thus the errors of the text of the Bible in our hands today are the result of this human tamperation. Muslims indeed hold that the Taurat, Zabur and Injeel are from God but do not accept that the various books added to these books and form the bulk of the Bible in our hands today as wholly “inspired” from God.

This is no doubt consistent with modern scholarship findings that say that the Bible is a “living text”2 and were “not even free from factual error(s)”3.

Conclusions

At the end of the day, belief in something does not make it so. For many centuries, scholars believed that the earth was flat. On later examination, it was discovered to be round – not flat. Those scholars did not change their minds simply because facts and truth proved them wrong, they continued to believe what they had always believed, because they were unable to face the fact that their belief had been disproved.

Thus, we do not expect to have the slightest effect on any bigoted Christian missionary who really think that the Bible is inerrant and infallible. Instead, our exposition on the matter is to educate Muslims who are the target of judgements, criticisms and accusations by the Christian missionaries and also for those who are honest enough to seek the truth.

And only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "On The Methodology For Determining The Various Bible Difficulties," in Bismika Allahuma, October 15, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/bible/bible-difficulties/
  1. Dr G.C Van Niftrik & Ds B.Y Boland, Dogmatika Masa Kini. The translation into English was done by the author. []
  2. Aland & Aland, The Text Of The New Testament, p. 69 []
  3. See M. F. Wiles, Chapter 14 : Origen As Biblical Scholar in P. R. Ackroyd & C. F. Evans (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginnings to Jerome, Volume 1 (Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 463 []
Categories
Op-Ed

Islam and Co-Existence

Author’s note: The Interfaith Coalition of Nashville organized this year’s interfaith conference in the Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA. Judaism was represented by Dr. Donna Whitney, Christianity by Dr. Tom Davis, Hinduism by Dr. Howard J. Resnick (HD Goswami), and Buddhism by Professor Win Myint. I represented Islam. The conference was opened by Dr. Jawaid Ahsan. Dr. Charles Hembrick, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Vanderbilt University, moderated the conference.

Introduction

It is not easy to discuss about a religion that is not only the least understood of all major religions but is now considered to be on a collision course with the rest of the world. The offensive cartoon controversy has only heightened the mistrust and seemed to embolden those who have been selling the poisonous pill of “clash of civilizations”. There is no denying that 9/11 has provided bigots, racists, and self-proclaiming “experts” and “think tanks” to define Islam in ways that only unmask their level of hatred and bigotry. The “Islam” they define is simply unknown to my people.

Yet the hard fact is there are Muslims who come in different shades and colors, orientations or mindsets. Not all are saints nor are all mujahids in being able to control their lower instincts of anger, passion and ego. So we have the Zarqawis today as much as we had the Hashishyyin that had terrorized the Muslim world in the 12th and 13th centuries. And then there are those who believe that their suicidal attacks would set others free.

As the specter of violence has become a fact of life today, the temptation is too great to condemn an entire religious tradition for the senseless or desperate actions of a few. But that would be wrong. If we cannot condemn all faiths for the crimes of their adherents, we simply cannot have a different set of standards for Muslims. For example, if we cannot condemn Christianity for colonization and massacre of unarmed civilians across the globe during the last two millennia, including the massacre in Jonestown (Guyana) and Waco (USA), killings in Ireland, Uganda, Haiti and Liberia, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Daghestan, Nagorno Karabach and Mindanao Islands (in the Philippines), and genocides in Congo, Rwanda, and in today?s Afghanistan and Iraq; if we cannot condemn Judaism for the crimes of Baruch Goldstein or Rabbi Meir Kahane?s group, or the war crimes of Israeli leaders ? Sharon, Olmert, Netanyahu and others – in Occupied Palestine and Lebanon; if we cannot condemn Hinduism for the murder of MK Gandhi, and massacre of thousands of Muslims in Kashmir, Mumbai, Assam and Gujarat, and the killings of Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka; if we cannot condemn Buddhism for the killing fields in Cambodia, or the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Arakan (Myanmar), or the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka and Muslim minorities in Thailand ? we simply have no right to condemn Islam for 9/11.

If a Muslim youth today appears to be frustrated and angry it is not because of the theology of Islam but due to his apparent inability as a human being to comprehend and/or tolerate monumental hypocrisy and double standards that he sees, plus the mistreatment of his fellow brethren as third-class citizens of this planet. From one continent to another, he sees how his fellow human beings are massacred, maimed and mutilated; how colossal abuses of human rights are routinely carried out against them. And yet there are none, not even their own leaders in the post-colonial nation-states, who speak and take action for them. It is a sad and humiliating experience for them.

Background information on Islam

The entire history of mankind has been a class struggle between the forces of light and darkness, good and bad, truth and falsehood. The forces of goodness have struggled to bring about an ideal society that is just and balanced both inwardly and outwardly. Unfortunately, more often than not humanity has failed to find that equilibrium, balance and harmony between the outward and the inward, the external and the internal. The ideal that Islam has been seeking for the past fourteen centuries is also a universal one – the establishment of a just society. Truly, in this pursuit, the mission of Muhammad (S), the Prophet of Islam, was very similar to those of all the prophets and sages that came before him.

Islam came as a guiding light into a dark world ? a world that needed a lightning bolt to wake up from its deep slumber. It came in an age of truth-defying Ignorance when the worship of one True God from China and Japan in the East to Morocco and Iceland in the West was replaced by worship of myriads of demigods. There were false notions of superiority and egotism on the basis of race, color, tribe and ethnicity. Islam came to a nation that boasted of its depth of corruption and debauchery in social and moral issues. Historically, Islam came after the fall of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the ?dark ages.? In the nearby Persian Empire, there was a lot of political bickering for power and in far-away Roman Empire, there were signs of decadence everywhere, and in Arabia, the land that was supposed to reshape the destiny of mankind, its people were devoid of compassion and moral values.

But it was in Arabia, at the confluence of the three great continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, that Muhammad (S) – the Prophet of Islam, a Meccan from the illustrious family of the Quraysh, a descendant of the Babylonian Abraham, and the Egyptian Hagar – was born in 570 CE (or 53 BH of the Muslim calendar). And here it was that the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (S) in Arabic when he was 40 years old (in 13 BH). Coming into a world that was stained by corruption and disintegration, Islam provided a unique pattern that was unknown in the entire history of man?kind. Islam provided three basic elements — faith in one God (Allah), reform of self and reform of the society at large. Islam remained as a religious commitment, a socio-economic-political program, but above all a vehicle for the “continuous reform” of the society.

The subject I want to discuss here is: what does Islam say about peaceful co-existence with peoples of other faiths? Does Islam believe in diversity, multi-culture and pluralism? The answer to all these questions is an emphatic yes.

In what follows, I shall quote from the Qur’an to support my claim.

Islam rejects racism and preaches alternative criteria for God’s people:

Islam rejects the notion that God is biased or partial to a particular race or tribe, and that His Mercy is locked up to a certain group. Allah says, “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.”1

With such profound statements in the Qur?an, Islam was able to wipe out age-old ethnocentric notions of superficial superiority and exclusive nobleness of mankind. Challenging the claims of the egocentric people who claimed that none shall enter paradise unless he belongs to their race and ethnicity, the Qur?an says, “Bring your proof if you are truthful.”2 As to the true criteria for such a qualification, the Qur?an proclaims, “Nay, but whosoever submits himself to Allah and he is a doer of good, for him there shall be his reward with his Lord, on such shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.”3

Islam preaches unity of mankind:

The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the unity of mankind, i.e., they come from the same parents: “Mankind were but one community; then they differed?”4

Prophet Muhammad (S) in his farewell Hajj sermon delivered on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, 10 A.H. in the ‘Uranah valley of Mount Arafat in Makkah, said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

No monopoly in God’s message:

The Qur’an says, “And there is not a nation but a warner has passed among them.”5) That is, Allah, in His infinite wisdom, has sent prophets and messengers to all the nations for their guidance.6

The call of the Qur’an is a call to unity of belief: “He has laid down for you the religion which He enjoined upon Noah, and which We revealed to you, and which We enjoined upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein.”7

Further: “Lo! This, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me. And they have broken their religion among them, (yet) all are returning unto Us.”8

Islam presents itself as a way to reconcile the differences between Jews and Christians. The compromise offered by Islam affirms common elements between Judaism and Christianity, and accepts Moses and Jesus Christ (AS) as two of the greatest prophets of all time, sent for guidance of humanity. Islam accepts the virgin birth of Jesus and considers both Mary and Jesus (AS) as chaste and pious, but rejects Trinity. To accept only some of the prophets to the exclusion of others is to fail to heed the divine call: “Verily those who deny God and His apostles and desire that they differentiate between God and His apostles and say ‘We believe in some and we deny, some,’ and intend to take a course between this (and that), these are the infidels, truly, and We have prepared for the infidels a disgraceful torment.”9

To have faith and to be a faithful is to believe and put one’s beliefs into action. The Qur?an says: “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, righteousness is rather one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book, the apostles, and gives his wealth out of love for Him to the kindred and the orphans and the poor and tire wayfarer and the needy and for those in bondage, and established prayer and pays zakat and those who fulfill their promise when they make a promise and the patient ones in distress and affliction and in the time of war. These are they who are the Truthful and these are they who are the pious.”10

The Qur’an epitomizes the concept of plurality when it proclaims: “Verily We sent down the Torah in which there is guidance and light…”11

“And We caused Jesus son of Mary to follow in their footsteps confirming the Torah which was before him and We gave him the Evangel in which was guidance and light…”12

“Verily, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabeans, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there shall be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.”13

Islam abhors coercion and intolerance

Islam does not believe in coercion and intolerance, as is clear from the Qur’anic verse 2:256 ?la ikraha fid-din? (meaning: there is no compulsion in religion). Belief or faith is a thing that people must choose for themselves. That is why Allah has not forced anyone to be a true believer and has given him the free will to choose between various options. The Qur?an says: “Say: ‘The truth is from your Lord’: Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it).?14 Religious aggressors are threatened with a “humiliation” in this world and a “mighty chastisement”15 in the Hereafter. Churches, monasteries, synagogues and mosques, according to the Qur’an, are all places of worship.16 The Qur’an categorically says, “To you be your religion, to me my religion.”17

The Prophet Muhammad(P) was repeatedly told not to feel bad when he was rejected by some people: “And if they deny you, those before them also denied. Their messengers came unto them with clear proofs, and with Psalms and the Scripture giving light.”18 Muhammad?s (S) duty was only to convey the message: “If then they turn away, We have not sent you (Muhammad) as a guard over them. Your duty is only to convey (the message)?”19 In another place, likewise, the Qur?an says, “And say, ‘The truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wants let him believe and whosoever wants let him deny.'”20

All these verses make it clear that there is no room for coercion or compulsion in matters of faith.

Islam welcomes diversity in matters of faith

Islam teaches that human diversity is a sign of God’s mercy and a portent for men of knowledge: “And of His (God’s) signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors.”21

The Qur’an accepts the reality of difference and diversity within humanity. It gives the impression that diversity is part of the divine plan: “If the Lord had willed, He would have made mankind into a single nation?”22

The Qur’an recognizes the legitimate multiplicity of religious convictions and laws, as can be seen from the verse: “To each of you God has prescribed a Law and a Way. If God would have willed, He would have made you a single people. But God?s purpose is to test you in what He has given each of you, so strive in the pursuit of virtue, and know that you will all return to God, and He will resolve all the matters in which you disagree.”23

Muslims are therefore told to proclaim: “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 (as Muslims).”24

It is because of such lofty notions of diversity and tolerance that the Islamic civilization was pluralistic and unusually tolerant of various social and religious denominations, something that was simply unthinkable elsewhere in the middle ages. Jewish historians testify to the fact that, had it not been for the protection and tutelage provided by Muslim rulers, Jews could not have survived in the Middle Ages. It was all too natural for European Jewry to find refuge among Muslims in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire when Christian Europe was resorting to inquisition, pogroms and holocaust to exterminate them. Muslim rulers never interfered with the religion of their subjects either. There was never anything like the inquisition or the fires of Smithfield. Thus a number of small Christian sects, regarded as heretical by the larger sects, which would inevitably have been exterminated if left to the mercies of the larger sects whose power prevailed in Christendom, were protected and preserved by the power of Islam. Even to this very day, there are groups like the Mountain Jews, Yazidis and Sabaeans (Sabians) that are surviving with their culture and religion intact.

Today we stand on the carcass of religion. Many religious leaders have become the vultures who devour our corpse. They breed hatred and intolerance. And then there are the secular fundamentalists who would only have it their way.

Naturally, there is a debate today what is worse: a secular fundamentalist or a religious fanatic? In my opinion, both are bad. As much as the former needs to respect religious sensibility of others, the latter needs to inculcate God-consciousness that helps him to tolerate other human beings for “if your Lord willed, all on the earth would have believed, in total; will you then compel them to believe?”25 It was that easy for Him.

Concluding remarks

While ignorance is bliss, little knowledge is dangerous. Nearly 70 years ago, Marmaduke Pickthall, the English poet and translator of the Qur’an said:

“If Europe had known as much of Islam, as Muslims knew of Christendom in those days [of the Crusades] those mad, adventurous, occasionally chivalrous and heroic, but utterly fanatical outbreak known as the Crusades could not have taken place, for they were based on a complete misapprehension.”26

I wish I could say that situation has improved in this age of information super-highways. Alas, it has not! My hope is that inter-faith programs like this would help peace-loving people of this planet to come together to fight and oppose bigotry and intolerance in whatever shade they come.

Dr. Habib Siddiqui delivered this speech at the Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN on March 11, 2006. Apparently it had attracted the attention of a rabid Christian missionary who offered a response to it. The rebuttal to that Christian response is here.
Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Islam and Co-Existence," in Bismika Allahuma, March 17, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/op-ed/islam-and-co-existence/
  1. Qur’an 49:13 []
  2. Qur?an, 2:111 []
  3. Qur?an, 2:112 []
  4. Qur’an 10:19 []
  5. Qur?an 35:24 []
  6. See also Qur’an 2:213 and 10:37 []
  7. Qur’an, 42:13 []
  8. Qur’an 21:92-93 []
  9. Qur’an, 4:150-151 []
  10. Qur?an, 2:177 []
  11. Qur’an, 5:44 []
  12. Qur’an 5:46 []
  13. Qur’an, 2: 62 []
  14. Qur’an 18:29 []
  15. Qur’an 2:114 []
  16. Qur’an 22: 40 []
  17. 109:6 []
  18. Qur?an 35:25 []
  19. Qur’an 42:48 []
  20. Qur’an 18:29 []
  21. Qur’an 30:22 []
  22. Qur’an 11:118 []
  23. Qur’an 5:49 []
  24. Qur’an 2:136 []
  25. Qur’an 10:99 []
  26. Marmaduke Pickthall, Madras Lectures on Islam (1927) []