Note: A variety of issues are touched on in the discussion between a Muslim and Christian in the short correspondence dialogue recorded below. Names have been removed; original format and content are retained. This is in order that visitors to our site may develop something of a feel for the convictions, presuppositions and perspective of the biblical Christian worldview, as well as an understanding of Muslim thought and belief as seen in friendly, open and honest exchange. The articles and links listed on the main page give detailed and thorough responses to questions raised here.
LETTER FROM A MUSLIM READER:
As-salam wa alaikum christian brothers...........i have seen yourinteresting refutations of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be uponhim).....i was interested in the evidence of Hasrat Isa (Jesus) (peace be upon him) and his cruicifixtion....you took many sources and quotes from the once Bible...........just to let you know.....i am a muslim scholar myself....u can call me muslim brother i guess....i live in *****, *****.....anyways...in 1993 over 100 Christian scholars got together in Tunis, Tunisia to critically analyze the Bible. It was discovered that 80% of the Bible was not the word of God, but written by the "disciples" of Prophet Jesus (pbuh)....20% was true as they were stories about the Israelites etc. You have to agree that the bible has been changed.......the Holy Qu'ran has not been changed and I have seen attempts and sometimes to some almost convincing attempts that the Quran is changed. However....i will explain that some other time as you do not want a long article.
Now, you call Luke, Matthew, John, Mark etc. as disciples of Christ...however these men lived over 100-150 years after Christ...how are they disciples...how can their written work in the bible called valid and the word of God? I would like to know an answer...I have been told at a World religion conferences by Christian scholars and priests that they were rightly guided by God, so they put the wisdom and the word of God given by Jesus (pbuh) himself in the Bible.
Muhammad (pbuh) also had disciples who lived, ate and died next to him.....did they go and write stuff down in the Quran and say it was the word of god? The caliphs of Islam (Hasrat Abu Bakr, Umer, Uthman and Ali) also were disciples of Muhammad (pbuh), they were rightly guided as they rightly guided Islam...were they writing stuff down in the Quran? NO.I find it hard to believe that the Bible is the true word of God.........Now I would really like to address one last point to defend my religion of Islam......Christians insist that Muhammad (pbuh) wrote the Quran down by hand......Muhammad (pbuh) (u should know this) was illiterate, he could not write or read...he was an uneducated man....the Quran has been said to be written in such beautiful poetry and lauguage that no one can compare to it..could Muhammad write this? NO......it is the word of God almighty... as no human could write or even perceive such writing
I suggest you read the biography of Muhammad (pbuh) by a non-muslim man by the name of, MARTIN LINGS, its is called MUHAMMAD, HIS LIFE BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES.......you truly need to understand Muhammad (pbuh) before you attack and refute Islam and the prophet muhammad (pbuh)....sorry...this letter was a bit tooo long..but please read it and write back...thanx a lot...allah bless you..
A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE:
As-salam wa alaikum *****
I have read Martin Lings book -- Muhammad His Life -- and found it an interesting book on Islam. It is not written so much from a critical scholarly perspective as some other works, but as I remember it, it does certainly contain some good information nonetheless. I find it interesting that you would quote Lings work, as there are many Muslims, namely orthodox Sunnis who would have a real problem with Lings as a result of the fact that he is a practicing Sufi. You did state incorrectly that he is not a Muslim, unless of course you do not regard Sufis as Muslims; which would be understandable as many Muslims regard Sufism as something of an abberation in Islam. In his work on Sufism, Martin Lings quotes and agrees with both Persian and Indian Sufi saints who stated that Islam is one with Hinduism. Do you believe that as well? Lings also in his adherence to Sufism is uncritical of methods of Quranic interpretation which many would question; especially from an orthodox Sunni perspective; the Shia would as well of course.
I do understand much about Muhammad, having read the Quran and much of the Sunni hadith; Bukhari, Muslim, etc.., and am fairly well acquainted with Islam having also spent a portion of my times in the Middle East.. it is interesting that you mention the caliphs and the formation of the Quran in contrast to that of the Bible. We believe that God inspired His prophets and apostles, indeed working in them by the power of His Spirit guiding them in all truth as they wrote as He commanded and led them.
There is a preponderous weight of evidence in textual support for the validity of the New Testament record; the dates you ascribe to the disciples and writers are among the far latest ascribed by even the most liberal of scholarship. You have to realize that as you would realize that not all that goes under the name "Islam" is what you would claim truly Islamic; so not everything that goes on under the name of "Christianity" is Christian. There are liberal Muslim scholars who seriously criticize the authenticity of the hadith and believe it is invalid as a source of authority; of course you would reject this as then the majority of the practice of Islam loses its foundation and grounds; (interesting it is to note here that your criticism of the Bible easily can be turned on itself with the hadith; my friend these things were written by people who heard them from others who heard them from others and so on; the validity and security of isnad is by its own right shaky at best.) You of course I imagine would have problems with the liberal Muslim scholars who support criticizing the hadith. In the same way there are scholars who claim themselves under the name of Christianity whereas they operate from presuppositions of belief which are directly opposed to the heart of Christian faith. There are many able Christian scholars who hold to the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God; I am but one of them.
The fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity is not only the difference between the Bible vs the Quran and hadith; but it is a profound difference of worldviews as expressed by them. The Bible teaches that God is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and that man is sinful. The Bible describes the state of sinful man saying that before the holy God of all creation
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable There is none who does good, no not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3
The Bible shows Jesus himself said to be angry with one's brother without cause is indeed a great sin in the sight of God; to call him a fool is to be in danger of hellfire; to look at a woman with lust is to commit adultery with her in one's heart (Matt.5). And indeed Jesus is the one who will return on the clouds of heaven as the Judge of each and every person.
The Bible is clear about the sin of man -- and goes to the heart of the issue; it does not rest in outward spirituality as a way to try to appease and seek the mercy of God; no it realizes that every man at heart is sinful; though they may be as a great saint or imam outwardly, there remain sins of wrong motives, sins of the mind.. In order to stand before the holiness of God atonement is needed; forgiveness and mercy; this God has provided in Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life (even Muhammad was a sinner) and who paid the debt for the wrong of whoever will trust in Him; for He is the Son of God, as He so clearly said so many times. That was why the Jews hated Him and said He was a blasphemer (Matt.26:63-65).
The Bible clearly addresses this reality of sin, and describes it accurately; whereas the Quran does not. That is one of the problems of Islam -- it lacks the deep spirituality and the morality of Christianity as revealed in God's Word the Bible. Time and again I have seen there is no deep spiritual peace in Islam either; I know that my sins have been forgiven, and out of thankfulness for this great blessing I am called by God, in His Word to live a holy life to His glory. This gives me peace and confidence and joy, even in trials or afflictions. It gives me reason for real morality from the heart; to stand up for truth and righteousness, even in the midst of a corrupt society. But in Islam there was/is no peace; there is striving by the pillars and the sayings, but no one can ever be certain that Allah will actually be merciful to them! And indeed there are many who as well simply do the pillars and then live the rest of their lives as they please, greedily amassing wealth, while paying their little zakat; looking down on and despising others; lying, lusting, following after the corrupt culture of America, etc... Yet one can do these things while practicing the pillars of Islam and be an outwardly good Muslim -- even more than that having supposedly fulfilled most of Allahs guidelines for life; and then simply living in the hope that Allah is most merciful! It does not work, it does not match -- either one who realizes his sinfulness strives in continual fear and unknown -- realizing that as they strive to be perfect they still sin; or they minimize their sin and stop worrying about it and just do the five!
From the Bible we know God cannot be satisfied by our deeds -- for there is always yet failing and sins, even among those who are most diligent in holiness; the reality and pervasiveness of sin is simply not addressed by Islam; which is a disasterous problem as how then will they ever stand before God, before Jesus in the judgement! And then especially after they have rejected the very words Jesus spoke Himself, and have sought all their lives to deny the role God gave Him!
God, who is so merciful and compassionate has sent Jesus Christ, His Son, so that we can be reconciled to Him, for in Jesus the holiness and righteousness of God are met together with His mercy and compassion; for in Jesus Christ the penalty for sin has been paid for, for any who would trust in Him. That is why my shahada is now "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, my Lord and Saviour!"
God bless you, *****
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