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Usury Between Christianity and Islam

Usury Between Christianity and Islam

usury, is prohibited by all heavenly laws in their true and pristine forms. It is , forbidden due to the gross exploitation of the need of others. This article aims to explore the distinction between the Islamic and Christian legislations on usury and its aspects. They may be summarized as follows:

First: comprehensiveness and methodology

In contrary to the Christian legislation, which is devoid of rulings regarding usury, except the statement of the inviolability of usury, the Islamic legislation comprehensively characterizes usury and its rulings in terms of thoroughness and meticulous methodology as regards to its root, types and details of each type

“Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite”. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20)

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According to Islam, it is forbidden lend with interest (usury) whether with a Muslim or non-Muslim. Allah Almighty says,

“O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful..” (3: 130)

He also – Almighty -says:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains [due to you] of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.” (2: 278-279)

It divides usury into two types: riba al-Fadl and riba al-Naseeah.

Riba al-Fadl (unequal compensation) represents a dollar for two dollars, or one kg of wheat for half. This type of usury is authentically prohibited by the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“Do not sell gold for gold except in full scale,” Recorded by al-Bukhari.

The second type: is al-Nasee’ah usury : like one dollar for other to be repaid later on or one Kg of wheat for one Kg of barley (wheat) to be repaid later, or gold for silver, without receipt. In the Sunnah:

“Do not sell gold with gold except in full scale, and do not sell one of them it for the other which is absent .”

The Sunnah gives much details on the items in which usury occurs:

Malik bin Aus said,

“I was in need of change for one-hundred Dinars. Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah called me and we discussed the matter, and he agreed to change (my Dinars). He took the gold pieces in his hands and fidgeted with them, and then said, “Wait till my storekeeper comes from the forest.” `Umar was listening to that and said, “By Allah! You should not separate from Talha till you get the money from him, for Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, ‘The selling of gold for gold is Riba (usury) except if the exchange is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and similarly, the selling of wheat for wheat is Riba (usury) unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and the selling of barley for barley is usury unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount, and dates for dates, is usury unless it is from hand to hand and equal in amount”.

Abd al-Rabman b. Abia Bakra reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) forbade the sale of gold for gold, and silver for silver except equal for equal, and commanded us to buy silver for gold as we desired and buy gold for silver as we desired. A person asked him (about the nature of payment), whereupon he said: It is to be made on the spot. This is what I heard (from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him).” 

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Most of the companions of the Prophet, the followers to them and the four well-known Imams agreed that the following things: gold, silver, wheat, barley, dates and raisins should not be sold except in equal scales”.

Based on analogy on the basis of the prohibition of these things, the scholars of Islam have forbidden and legalized the prohibition of other things which share them the same underlying reason of prohibition and may be considered as an act of usury.

As regard to the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are many texts tackling only the prohibition of usury.

“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate”. (Exodus 22:25-27).

“If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit”.( The Leviticus, 25:35-37)

“Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess”. (Deuteronomy 23:19-20)

Some Christian commentators claimed that these texts came in a gradual manner and were abrogated by the New Testament verse (Matthew 42: 5) “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you”, which abrogates the Jewish legislation of permitting usury with non-Jewish people. He has invalidated Jewish law in permitting riba with non-brothers. commenting on Deuteronomy (23:20):

“You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess”,

Father Antonius says,”It was in a primitive spiritual stage in which they had to lend their brothers without interest which should not be the case with  foreigners i.e. pagans. God taught them benevolence gradually through prohibiting usury among themselves and permitting it with foreigners so that they may love each other. Later on usury may be forbidden even with foreigners as the New Testament law states, “love your enemies, bless your cursers …” which was not to be acceptable by common people at such early time. In addition,  such legislation distinguishing between the Jewish and non-Jewish was to discourage pagans from paganism (Matthew 42: 5, 12: 7 and Luke 35: 6). This is the law of the New Testament, in which people are brought up in a spiritual life i.e. (love for all).

However, this contradicts Jesus’ saying, “I have not come to abolish the Law but to complete it.”  Therefore,  with such two different laws, Christians have no choice except that they reject the saying of Jesus or accept the Jewish legislation that legalizes usury with foreigners only. Replying to this contradiction, some of the commentators resorted to interpreting the texts for usury legalized with “non-brothers” to mean pagans .

Secondly: Tolerance and facilitation

On the other hand,  we see the tolerance of Islam in the prohibition of dealing with usury in all its forms and with all human beings and forbade Islam to usurp other’s properties or rights even if they are non-Muslims. , The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said:

“Safwan reported from a number of Companions of the Messenger of Allah(PBUH) on the authority of their fathers who were relatives of each other. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment..” As a comprehensive religion, Islam even forbids the means to usury It is

Jabir said that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) cursed the receiver of interest and its payer, and one who records it, and the two witnesses, and he said: They are all equal.

Christianity and Usury today

The Christian position on usury today has changed today. Many churches nowadays legalizes usury due to modern circumstances, despite the general provisions that prohibit it in the Bible. Justifying usury a Christian thinker claims that, “Usury was prohibited in the past  on due to the great number of the poor and the needy and the creditors were the rich. Nowadays, the matter has changed. Not only the poor are in need to loans with interest, but also the rich, the wealthy and foundations, banks, major traders, insurance companies and large and small countries in pursuit of production and investment. In this regard, various rules and regulations have been enacted to deal with money and lending, to get certain interests on loans. Many people nowadays are dealing with banks to deposit money for certain benefits. We do not believe that this kind of usury or interest is forbidden according to the Church. It should be noted that there are different opinions of many religious clerics on this subject. To sum up, we reiterate that dealing with the interest or the gross interest  with brothers or friends who have to be indebted to others due  to destitution is undesirable”.

There is no doubt that this trend is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and the human instinct which entail the prohibition of everything that leads to the exploitation of the need of others, as sanctioned by the eternal religion of Islam along with its immortal teachings and laws.

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You ask and Jesus Answers (Part III)

You ask and Jesus Answers (Part III)

When Jesus Christ was asked about the place for worship, he stated that worship will be conducted at a new place other than Jerusalem.

This is an indication of changing the direction of the Prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah and shifting of the religious leadership from Israelites to Arabs.

“The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (John 4:19-24)

 Jesus spoke here about true believers who will worship God in a place other than Jerusalem.

 In The New Testament, Jesus refers to a stone rejected by builders, and then the stone became the cornerstone. It is also mentioned that the kingdom of God will be taken away and given to a people that will produce its fruits.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Jesus Christ said: ‘Therefore I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you (Israelites) and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’”  (Matthew 21:42-43)

According to the Islamic version of the story, Prophet Abraham took Ishmael and Hagar and settled in Makkah (Paran in the Bible). A city where the Valley of Baca exist.

“Our LORD, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House (the valley of Baca in Makkah), our LORD, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.” (Qur’an14:37)

The Valley of Baca was mentioned in the Bible:

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; They will still be praising You. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the VALLEY OF BACA, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness for the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84: 1-11)

In spite of the claim that the verses above speak about the alleged Zion and argue about its existence, the descriptions given are applicable to Makkah.

“And proclaim to the people the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass -That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor. ” (Qur’an 22:27-28)

 – Makkah’s gates are open day and night:

“And when We made the House (Ka’aba at Makkah) a visitation and a sanctuary for the people (saying ‘Make the place where Abraham stood a place of prayer. ‘And We made a covenant with Abraham and Ishmael: ‘Purify My House for those who circumambulate around it, and those who cleave to it, to those who bow and prostrate’” (Qur’an 2:125)

– In Makkah, violence, devastation, destruction and hunting is forbidden:

“Indeed those who have disbelieved and prevent from the way of Allah and from this Sacred Mosque, which We have appointed for all mankind – its resident and the foreigner have the same rights in it; and whoever wrongfully intends injustice in it – We shall make him taste a painful punishment.” (Qur’an 22:25)

– Makkah is where the pilgrims go from mountain to mountain (strength to strength): [1]

In the above biblical verses (Psalms 84: 11) is mentioned that ‘they go from strength to strength’, in the Hebrew text, the original word of strength that was used in this verse means a hill, mountain or a barrier. This is a very clear description of one of the Muslim’s rituals [2] in the Holy city of Makkah during the Pilgrimage, as they go from hill to hill that are called Al Safa and Al Marwa. This shows another possible fabrication that is found in the Old Testament.

The verse starts with ‘Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,’ and this also refers to the final Prophet Muhammad who came with the pure message of the monotheism.[3]

In addition, the Valley of Baca is clearly mentioned as a noun in the biblical verse, therefore, it’s an existing place and not a metaphorical one as believed by others. It is also written in capital letters which confirms this assumption.

The biblical verses as said are speaking about a sacred place accommodating the courts of the Lord. In fact, all of those descriptions apply to the city of Makkah.

 Although Muslims believe that the city of Jerusalem is a Holy Place that was chosen by God forever, but the city of Makkah for them is the expected Zion prophesied in the Bible. The meaning of the word Zion[4] is ‘elevated place,’ which is a metaphorical description to a Holy place and which was applied on many cities, it has been used figuratively for the church and for Israel in the Babylonian captivity, so it seems like it has been used for any group or mass of people worshiping God, or to refer to a specific geographical location which can be applied on Makkah here.

The Anglican Church printed in New Zealand a book of prayers replacing the word Zion and the word Israel with the words of the holy mountain of God and the people of God to ensure that the original religious terms are not confused.

Moreover, the idea that the text tells about the past can be easily rejected, as the expression of incidents happened in the form of the past is used in the language of the Bible. “The ancients writers used the future tense to denote the present, the past without discrimination, and the past used to denote the future,” says Espinosa: “This caused many similarities.”

It is very known that the Temple at Jerusalem was established long time after Prophet Abraham, while the Holy House at Makkah was there even before Abraham, and it was in fact the first House of worship appointed for humanity, which was built by Prophet Adam with the help of the angels of God who placed the foundations of this House and was rebuilt later by Prophet Abraham.

” Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds.” (Qur’an 3:96)

 Ka’aba which exists from the remotest antiquity; was visited annually by people from the most distant corners of Arabia; and its sacredness was respected by the whole of Arabia.

The verses below command praising the Creator at the villages inhabited by Kedar, in reference to glorify and praise Him in Makkah. Kedar is a son of Ishmael and a forefather of Arabs. His offspring lived in Arabia. We read:

“Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants there of. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” (Isaiah 42:10-11)

Prophet Ishmael is the base for the Family Tree of Prophet Muhammad through Kedar. The followers of Ishmael- Prophet Muhammad and all Muslims- are faithful until today to this covenant of circumcision. Muslims lift up their voices by praising God the Almighty and glorifying Him in Makkah. In their five daily prayers, Muslims include the praise of Prophet Abraham and his followers with the praise of Prophet Muhammad and his followers.

“As you know, Kedar is a descendant of Ishmael, these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam. ” (Genesis 25:13)

Makkah which is covered by a multitude of camels and to which flocks of Kedar are gathered.

“The multitude of camels  shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.” (Isaiah 60:6-7)

 Makkah exists between Midian ( North Saudi Arabia ) & Sheba ( Yemen)
Kedar & Nebaioth are sons of Ishmael: According to Genesis 25:13. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad. Nebaioth is the firstborn son of Ishmael.

Abraham decided to settle Ishmael and his mother Hagar there because of a divine instruction given to Abraham as a part of God’s plan. Hagar did not find water; so she ran seven times between two hills looking for water. This is the origin of one of the rituals that is performed during the pilgrimage to the city of Makkah by Muslims and the same ritual that was mentioned earlier about the two strengths.

“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.” (Genesis 21:16-21)

The Bible tells us that a well of water gushed out in the Desert of Paran (The name ‘Paran’ or ‘Faran’ has often been used to refer specifically to the wilderness and mountains near where Makkah is located), [5] from which Hagar drank and gave her son Ishmael to drink.

This consists with the above verses making mention of the Valley of Baca which is made into a place of springs. The well is still available and it is called the well of Zamzam. As mentioned earlier, Abraham and Ishmael later rebuilt the Ka’aba (the house of worship) in Makkah. The place where Abraham used to perform prayers near the Ka’aba is still there (the Station of Abraham).

During the pilgrimage, pilgrims from all over the world commemorate the offering of Abraham and Ishmael by slaughtering a ram.

The fact that another area called Faran does exist in the south of Palestine does not prevent the existence of other Faran that was inhabited by Ishmael, and the historical evidence leads us to Hijaz (Arabia), where Prophet Ishmael and his father rebuilt the Ka’aba, and where the well Zamzam exploded under his feet, as recognized by a number of historians, like Jerome and theologian Eusebius who said that Faran is Makkah.

Here we find a map was painted in the French court at the time of Louis XIV shows the location of the Mountains of Faran (Paran) in the Arabian Peninsula.

Beersheba [6] is one of the names of the well of Zamzam which is located in the city of Makkah, and according to Muslim’s faith, it is not the name of a city in Palestine as the geographical description of the well does not apply to the place located in south Palestine as claimed.  So here we find another attempt to hide the truth.

In fact, there is no place on the earth where a well gushed out for Hagar and her son Ishmael and at which Ishmael lived and begot a great nation other than Makkah.

“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’”(Genesis 22: 13-19)

Here the verse talks about a place that Abraham offered his son, and this place was a place that generations shall worship God in. There is no place on earth where the Jews or Christians celebrate Abraham’s sacrifice and worship God in, but actually in Islam, Muslims have a major feast which the feast of sacrifice, where they believe that the origin of this feast, the sacrifice of Ishmael, happened in Makkah.

We read also:

“These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”(Isaiah 56:7)

 As the Jews are just one nation, unlike the Islamic world, therefore, this prophecy is about the pilgrimage in Makkah.

This verse refers to:

  • The Holy mountain (Mount Arafat): Standing in the mount of Arafat is one of the pillars of pilgrimage in Islam.
  • The sacrifices: During Pilgrimage rams are slaughtered to commemorate the story of Abraham and Ishmael. (Pilgrimage’s Sacrifices)

    References:

[1]Dr. Zaghlul Al Najar.

[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safa_and_Marwa

[3]Dr. Zaghlul Al Najar.

[4]The book of Hidayat Al Hayara.

[5] Sir Sayyad Ahmad Khan (1870). A series of essays on the life of Mohammad: and subjects subsidiary theretoLondon: Trübner & co. pp. 74–76.

[6] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Zamzam

http://neurotherapy-of-christian-brain.blogspot.com/2013/05/well-of-zamzam-or-wilderness-of.html

About the Author:

Faten Sabri (1973-) is a modern Jordanian Muslim thinker. She is well known for her frequent interaction with various cultures, religions and she speaks different languages. She studied comparative religions which made her able to discuss the controversial issues about Islam with the truth seekers and free thinkers.She wrote books about the message of Islam, the original concept of God and Jesus Christ in Islam and she has monthly articles in an international magazines. These books and articles were translated and distributed in more than 9 languages.

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Is Christmas Acceptable According to Jesus’ Teachings?

For many years, Christians used to celebrate Christmas as a main rite of the church. Many related rites were also added to the event. However, modern researches states that Christmas does stand the historical fact of the contradictions surrounding its legislation. There are many conflicting dates for the birth of Jesus.

According to Western Christianity and some Eastern churches it is on December 25; 

January 7, according to Most Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox churches;

January 6, according to Some Anabaptists, such as the Amish and Armenian Apostolic Church;

And January 19  according to Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Herbert W Armstrong starts his book, “The plain truth About Christmas” saying, “Where did the world get Christmas?… from the Bible, or paganism? Here are the astonishing facts which may shock you! Test yourself. How much do you know of the origin of the Christmas tree-of “Santa Claus”-of the mistletoe-of the holly wreath-of the custom of exchanging gifts?”

He states that Christmas means “Mass of Christ or Christ Mass”. It is a roman Catholic Mass taken from the heathen celebration of December 25th  as the birthday of the Sun-God SOL.

He states the plain truth that “Christmas is not Christ’s birthday. It does not celebrate his birth. The celebration is not of Christian, but of Heathen origin”.

So the date in which Jesus was born is equivocal. Therefore the author reaches the conclusion that: “The date is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge”. Jesus, moreover, did not call his followers to celebrate his birth. Christmas is a heinous innovation or heresy by the followers of Jesus. According to Armstrong,”There is not one word in all the bible about celebrating Christmas”. Jesus refused any act of exaggeration regarding his position. From the starting point of his life, he declares that he is the slave worshiper of Allah,

“([Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.)” (19:30

We feel the pagan hands in the event of the celebration of Jesus’ birth. After Jesus’ demise, Jesus’ teachings were distorted and many heretic rites were approved by Nicaea Council 325 A.D.

 Accordingly, many innovated heretic rites were related to such event like Christmas tree and Pope Santa Claus, a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve (24 December) and the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December). Christmas-tree, according to Wikipedia, is “Usually an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas, originating in Northern Europe. The custom was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), and in early modern Germany where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes. It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, respectively, from the Nativity”.

The Qur’an condemns Christians for such distortions and warns them against exaggeration in teachings,

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs” (4:171

It also warns them against following other people’s false beliefs,

“Say, “O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way.” (5:77) “

It, moreover, calls on them to act upon the real teachings of Jesus which order them to follow Prophet Muhammad and does consider Jesus as a god or the son of God,

“Say, “O People of the Scripture, you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people”. (5:68)


References

-Herbert W Armstrong, The Plain Truth About Christmas

-Wikipedia

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New Testament and Revelation

New Testament and Revelation

Long ago, the Synoptic Gospels were adopted by Christians and became part of the Bible, which should be believed in and not opposed. Christianity has built this principle on the following principles:

First: the inspiration of the apostles and the writers of the Gospels which makes the Gospels definitive.

Second: the infallibility or prophecy of their carriers.

Hence, on such grounds the Gospels became the “Word of God”!. However, the historical reality of the Gospels witnesses otherwise! There have been calls from within the Christian field itself to correct the course and have objective examination of what came in the Gospels; such calls were met with suppression from others. Here are some historical evidence to nullify such grounds and deem them invalid:

Different manuscripts and copies of the New Testament:

There are approximately twenty-four thousand ancient manuscripts of the Word of God counted as “the New Testament”, the oldest dating back three hundred and fifty years A.D, while the original first manuscript of the Word of God does not exist! ”

The introduction to the Catholic New Testament in the approved Vatican version of the Gospels, which dates back to the fourth century A.D, tells that the author is “unknown”. Moreover, the copy has been damaged!”

There are other versions that were not written or dictated by their real authors and were not in their eras; they were rather written at least two centuries after their death, such as the Sinai and Alexandrian versions, the Ephraimian version, the version of Pisa, the basal version and the version of Ladianus.

The chain of narrators of these copies was lost and some Christian clerics admit such fact. In his debate with The Indian Muslim scholar Rahmatullah, Frang, a priest, acknowledged this when he said: “The reason for the loss of our chain of narrators is the occurrence of calamities and sedition against Christians for a period of three hundred and thirteen years.”

There are also difference between manuscripts among which include  distortions, whether through addition or deletion and misinterpretation of their meanings or erasing other versions of Gospels. One may wonder why were these particular Gospels among the thousands of evangelical versions of the Word of God approved?!

Dr. Assakar says, “Robert gave Tisanvangli press a scientific memo to be printed with the Bible, which were banned by him from printing. When asked why it was banned, he said,” This memo will make people lose faith in this book! “.   

“No one will ever claim that God is the author of all the parts of this book with all such distortions,” says Dr. Robert.

The human element

One may also touches the human source in the synoptic gospels, which makes us confused whether such gospels are the word of God or not. Luke uses human-made words such as “One may think or “about”. Therefore, the Church has removed such words from English versions of the Gospels.

Christianity seems to have adopted inspirations as a source of divine revelation and legislation rather than the linguistic sense of them. This indicates the fluctuation of the concept of revelation in Christianity and the disciplined Islamic concept for it on the contrary. Religious texts and rulings may not be based on inspirations because they lack disciplined criteria. Apostles were neither prophets nor messengers sent by God .

Ibn al-Atheer, an Arab linguist defines inspiration as  “What God instills in the soul  whether to act upon or not”.

Zakaria al-Ansari, a Muslim theologian, says: “Inspiration is a meaning put in the heart to reassure the chest of those chosen by God. It should not be considered as a proof of the legitimacy of a thing or not”.

Thoughts and inspirations may be from the inspiration that God instills in the heart or from the whispers of the devil , and may be by the soul itself.

Ibn Hajar says, “Inspiration may occur for certain people. It has no certain rule…However, whatever the case, they should not be considered as foundation for religious rulings.”

The infallibility of the Gospel writers or authors is criticized for many of the fatal mistakes they have made in what they said about Christ or even the Lord. They were heedless of many events. To name a few for, example, three gospels do not record the miracle of turning water into wine by Jesus while John mentions it only (2 / 1-11)!


References

Assakkar, Is the New Testament The Word Of God?

Rahmattullah Al-Hindi, Idhhar Al-Haq,

Fat-h al-Bari

 

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Luther’s Religious Revolution against the Church

Luther’s Religious Revolution against the Church

Church and Science

The Church fought against science and reason, and latter’s work in religious texts. It became a stumbling block in the  way of progress and development and the conflict occurred between both those inside and outside the church; the climax of such conflict culminated in the French Revolution, which raised the slogan “Hang the last king with the intestines of last priest”. The spark of objection to the church’s authority was in the thought of Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546 A.D), a German professor of theology, composer, priest, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.

Luther was ordained to priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

Church and Calls for Reform

Ecclesiastical Europe opposed all calls for reform and fought reformers and intellectuals who realized that some ecclesiastical teachings “were against reason and common sense”. Among them was Luther, who saw that the prohibition of monks’ and priests’ marriage was not found in Christianity in its earliest ages. He admitted the right of priests to marry and he already married a nun .

He argued that no one has the right to deprive anyone of admittance to the kingdom of God or possesses divine consent. Luther opposed to an excommunication or deprivation by the Pope to him and burned it in the center of Wintenberg in public and the civil authority had to implement the decision of deprivation of Luther’s legal and civil rights. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1529, the emperor tried to enforce the denial of 1521, but Luther’s supporters protested. They were called the Protestants .Sometimes things went on peacefully and sometimes not. When Luther died, severe torment was inflicted upon his followers, then a reconciliation between the two groups was made.

Luther rejected that the Church reserves the right to understand the Gospel; he maintained that every educated Christian has the right to understand it. He worked to translate it to German to be read by every German. He, moreover, rejected the “teaching authority” of the Catholic Church, which enabled the Pope the final say regarding the interpretation of the Bible, considering that everyone has the right to interpret it.

He denied that Christ unites with body of those who eat the Lord’s Supper. He also denied the possibility that the bread turns to be the broken bones of Christ and wine to his blood, or their solutions to the body of Christ in Eater. According to him, the Lord’s Supper merely served as a reminder of Redemption. He, moreover, denied the Church’s right to atonement, which was the matchstick that ignited his revolution, and which the Church could not extinguish.

Luther considered that obtaining salvation or forgiveness of sins was a free gift or the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior, and, therefore, there should not be conditions by practicing certain acts for forgiveness.

In 1517, he published his famous ninety-five letter, most of which was related to the liberation of theology and authority. His refusal to retract his ninety-five points at the request of Pope Leon X in 1520 and the request of the Holy Roman Empire represented by Emperor Charles V led him to exile; his writings were considered an ecclesiastical heresy.

Islam Is a Previous Religious Reformative Call  Prior to Luther’s

Although Luther’s call got him nearer to secularism, it was the inevitable result that which every Christian practicing reason and putting false beliefs aside, may reach. Perhaps if Luther and his followers took a good look at the values ​​of the religion of Islam, the values ​​of the serpentine teachings that rectified Jesus’s distorted message after his death and added supreme legislation witnessed by some Christians, they could find what they yearned for.

Islam invites its followers to exercise reason and  teaches them that mind does not oppose sound scripture or religious text. A number of Muslim scholars, like  Ibn Taymiyah, authored in this field.

Islam condemned the people of the book (Jews and Christians) for heretical acts and rituals they invented in their religions and asked them to commit themselves to the real teachings of their respective prophets. The Qur’an says:

“Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah. But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.” (57:27). 

The Islamic religion is characterized by being in harmony to common sense and sound nature. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) discourages his followers from monasticism and even prohibits castration (i.e. cutting one’s sexual limbs) due to dedication or seclusion to worship. He showed that real asceticism does not mean torturing body or prohibiting what Allah made lawful. He says,

“There is no monasticism in Islam”.

Sad said: the Prophet- peace be upon him- discouraged Othman ibn (son of) Mazun  from Al-Tabattul (seclusion from people especially sexual lust or celibacy for worship). Had he legalized it to him, we would have done castration (i.e.  to cut our sexual limbs due to dedication to worship)”.

Al-Tabari said: “celibacy, which Othman bin Mazoon wanted meant prohibition of women and perfume. Allah (Glory be to him) says, ‘O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors”. (5:87

There is no “clergy or Religious men in Islam in the priestly or ecclesiastical Christian sense”. Therefore, we reject the Lutherian concept of giving everyone the right to interpret the divine text even if not having the slightest logical reasoning.

In Islam, sacred text or scripture has its rules and origins that proceed from the proper understanding of linguistic rules and deep and comprehensive knowledge of texts. Islam rejects rigidity, dependency and imitation by those knowledgeable and can derive judgments from the texts and practice analogy which is called in Arabic “Ijtihad”. Muslim Scholars condemned those who claimed the closure of its door.

Islam does not require scripture-exegetes or scholars to practice certain rites or have a certain uniform, or to  lead a life that is completely different from other people’s lives or to have full seclusion from people. during times of worship. Prophet Muhammad was the most devoted worshiper of Allah. He lead a normal life tackling his society’s problems with the Qur’an (Islamic Scripture) and was involving with all people. 

As to the relationship between the Creature and the Creator, no one has the right to admit one into the Kingdom of God or deprive him to be admitted to it or grant indulgences! by virtue of an order. Muslim scholars are only required to show sound divine teachings to people and have no authority over them. They laid strict measurements for Takfir (declaring others disbelievers and renegades), who should be declared disbeliever and who should punish them.

This Lutherian cry was a wake-up call for Europe which remained for long periods it in slumber and obliviousness while the sun of knowledge was rising there in the east in Mecca and people in the west were impeded to see such light by priests and monks through the distortion of divine messages and the denial of the message of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

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References

Fat-h Al-bari Sharh  Sahih Al-Bukhari,

Al-Nawawi Sharh Sahih Muslim

Wikipedia Encyclopedia

A.Shalabi, Christianity.

Muhadarat fi Al-Nasraniiyyah (Lectures on Christianity).

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Important Notes on Celebrating Christmas

Important Notes on Celebrating Christmas

Many Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas (on Dec. 25th of the Gregorian calendar according to Western Churches, and Eastern Christians observed Christmas on Dec. 25th of the Julian calendar, which corresponds to Jan. 7th of the Gregorian calendar) as a holy festival. However, going through the Bible, we found out that Christmas is not “holy”!

Jesus’ Date Of Birth Is “Equivocal”

Christians should not celebrate Christmas because they cannot identify a clear-cut day for the birth of Jesus or nativity! The Bible makes only generalizations about Jesus’ Birth:

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-12)

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,” (Luke 1:14)

Christ could not have born in December because the incident of the birth of Jesus tells that there were shepherds who tended their flocks at the time in winter! (Luke 2:8). Churches even differed as to the identification of the day of the birth of Jesus; according to the western Roman Empire it should be on December 25 and on January 6 in the East. So even think that Jesus was crucified on the same day he was born.

Jerold Aust, a Christian writer, says “Somewhere in the Gospel of Luke, it speaks of the nativity scene. An angel told some shepherds that were keeping their sheep in the fields at night that the baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I think they went to see Jesus at that time. I soon learned that the Bible didn’t teach Christmas. I also found that its origins have nothing to do with the Bible. It was an important lesson about things I’d long assumed to be true.”

Christmas Is “A Grave Sin”

According to some Christian clerics the observation of Christmas is a grave sin: “As [the early Catholic theologian] Origen (late as A.D. 245) views as sinful the very idea of keeping the birthday of Christ”.

Christmas is absent from Jesus’ teachings and writings of early Christians like Irenaeus and Tertullian. There is no explicit text conveying the celebration of the birth of Jesus or even foretelling the occasion. It is a tradition which he did not encourage and was not imitated by the disciples who followed Jesus’ command:

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you”.(1 Corinthians 11:1-2)

Christmas Is “A Heretic Rite”

According to Jesus’ teachings Christmas is a heretic rite which Christians should not observe because Jesus warned his followers against going,

“beyond the things that are written” (1 Corinthians 4:6.) And he says, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Peter also cites the following words,

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”( 1 Peter 1:14-16).

Christmas Is “A Pagan Tradition”

Many modern thinkers of Christianity have been viewing Christmas as a “pagan tradition”. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the early Christians opposed the “pagan custom of celebrating birthdays.” Christians were facing the roman pagan influence which brought many pagan festivals to their rituals!

Ecclesiastical rites related to Christmas were invented by the Church to present an alternative and combat the influence of the public-pressure welcoming the pagan traditions.

There are many Christian authorities throughout history which banned Christmas and deemed it an “act of atheism”. It was banned by Puritans in England, associating it with “drunkenness and other misbehavior”!

In light of these facts, it is quite clear that Christians have deviated from the true message of Prophet Jesus. Thanks to Prophet Muhammad whose message has been a rectification to Prophet Jesus’ message. Prophet Muhammad came with the Qura’n (Muslims’ Scripture) which ordered him to,

“Say, “O People of the Scripture (i.e. Jews and Christians), you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord.”(5:68)

the Christians are encouraged by Prophet Muhammad to follow the pristine teachings of Christ which order them to follow Prophet Muhammad and know Christ’s real message of Islamic monotheism and noble teachings. If they did so, they will be loved by God and admitted to paradise.

The Qur’an asserts this fact saying,

“And if only the People of the Scripture had believed and feared Allah, We would have removed from them their misdeeds and admitted them to Gardens of Pleasure. And if only they upheld [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed [provision] from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them are a moderate community, but many of them – evil is that which they do.”  (5:65)


References

-Bible

-Qur’an

-Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910, Vol. 6.

-Pruitt, Sarah (2012). Why is Christmas celebrated on Dec. 25th? .

-Gryboski, Michael (2012). Why the Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7th.

-www.ucg.org

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