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What the Koran Says about Christians

April 24, 2016 1 comment

Orthodox Christians
The Tritheists
The Maryamite Heresy
The Bitheist Heresy
The Sabellian Heresy
The Adoptionist Heresy
Surah 98

Christians would probably be surprised about all of the positive things the Koran says about them. However, there are some negative things said about Christians in the Koran, too. Whenever the Koran speaks about Christians, it either refers to one of the heretical sects that existed in ancient times or it refers to the Orthodox Christians.
In two places in the Koran, it is recognized that not all Christians belong to the same sect.

The sects among them differ: but woe unto the disbelievers from the meeting of an awful Day. (Koran 19:37, Pickthall)

And they have broken their religion (into fragments) among them, (yet) all are returning unto Us. (Koran 21:93, Pickthall)

The verse just cited from the 19th Surah says, “Woe unto the disbelievers from the meeting of an awful Day.” Here, Muhammad is calling the heretical Christians disbelievers. The Arabic text of 21:93 is “Wataqaṭṭaʿū amrahum baynahum kullun ilaynā rājiʿūna.” “And they divided their commandment among themselves. All are returning to Us.” Each sect interprets the Gospel message differently, but all are returning to the Holy Trinity for judgment after they die.

It has already been mentioned in previous blogs that Orthodox Christians are called believers in the 30th Surah.

The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious within ten years – Allah’s is the command in the former case and in the latter – and in that day believers will rejoice in Allah’s help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Merciful. (Koran 30:2-5, Pickthall)

One of the nicknames for Constantinople is New Rome. For that reason, they are also called Romans, being part of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantine Orthodox Christians in this surah are called “believers.” They were Trinitarian monotheists.
It is no wonder that so many non-Christians think that Trinitarians are polytheists when one hears some preacher who has a poor concept of the doctrine itself explain the doctrine in a manner in which it seems either tritheistic or Sabellian. I have heard preachers explain the doctrine this way:

“I am a father, I am a son, and I am a husband, but I am one person. This is how three can be one.”

That is Sabellianism: one person who has three different roles. I also heard this explanation using water.

“Water is steam, water, and ice, but one substance. This is how three are one.”

This is another Sabellian explanation: one substance with three different modes of existence.

I also have heard the apple analogy.red20delicious20apple_001_zpstpxyopqb

“An apple has a peeling, the flesh of the fruit, and the core, but it is one fruit.”

This analogy gives the non-Christian the impression that each hypostasis of the Godhead is one-third of God. Actually, this is only another version of Tritheism.

Another analogy that I have heard is the one about the egg.

“An egg has a shell, the white, and the yolk, but it is one egg.”

Like the apple analogy, this is only another version of Tritheism.

The Orthodox doctrine is that the Father is God in His entirety, the Son is God in His entirety, and the Holy Spirit is God in His entirety, but all three are distinct from each other while remaining one and the same God. This mathematical equation is used by many Orthodox Christians to illustrate the doctrine.

1 + 1 + 1 = 1

Three wholes make one whole. This is a mystery. We do not try to explain it. The explanation is far beyond our human ability to understand it.

The Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was never rejected by the Koran. The various heresies, such as Arianism, Nestorianism, Maryamitism, Tritheism, and Sabellianism are rejected by the Koran. Those who believe these heresies are called “disbelievers.”

The Koran accepts the Scriptures which came before it. It says that Christians and Jews are readers of the Scripture.

And the Jews say the Christians follow nothing (true), and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true); yet both are readers of the Scripture. Even thus speak those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ. (Koran 2:113, Pickthall)

Both were readers of the Old Testament. Therefore, the Old Testament is Scripture. It also says:

O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). The commandment of Allah is always executed. (Koran 4:47, Pickthall)

The Koran confirms what they possess. The Orthodox Christians used the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. The Koran says that Muhammad was inspired in the same way as other messengers of Allah. It even names some of them: Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the tribes of Israel, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, Solomon, David. It says that there are other messengers besides these.

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; And messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; Messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:163-165, Pickthall)

The Koran says that we should not make any distinction among the messengers of Allah. People must believe all of them. Otherwise, they will “disbelievers in truth.”

Lo! Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

The Koran was never intended to replace the Bible. It was intended to supplement it.

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. (Koran 2:136, Pickthall)

Say: O People of the Scripture! Do ye blame us for aught else than that we believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed aforetime, and because most of you are evil-livers? (Koran 5:59, Pickthall)

Since the Koran confirms the Bible, the proper understanding of the Koran can come from that which it confirms. If anyone acquires an interpretation of the Koran which conflicts with the Biblical message, then that interpretation is false. People who reject the Biblical message are “disbelievers in truth.” (Koran 4:151)

First generation Muslims believed in all of the Scripture. (Koran 3:119) The Koran calls them “the best community raised up for mankind.”

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah. And if the People of the Scripture had believed it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-livers. (Koran 3:110, Pickthall)

In this verse just quoted it says: “And if the People of the Scripture had believed it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-livers.” The People of the Scripture are the Jews and the Christians. The ones that are believers are the Orthodox Christians who strive to do good and obey Allah.

Concerning bad Christians, it says:

Say: O People of the Scripture! Why drive ye back believers from the way of Allah, seeking to make it crooked, when ye are witnesses (to Allah’s guidance)? Allah is not unaware of what ye do. (Koran 3:99, Pickthall)

Concerning the good Christians, it says:

They are not all alike. Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). (3:113, Pickthall)

The revelations of Allah are the Old and New Testaments. The seventh century converts to Islam from among the People of the Scripture did not abandon the Bible.

And lo! of the People of the Scripture there are some who believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto you and that which was revealed unto them, humbling themselves before Allah. They purchase not a trifling gain at the price of the revelations of Allah. Verily their reward is with their Lord. Lo! Allah is swift to take account. (Koran 3:199, Pickthall)

The Koran says that Christians will believe in Jesus before they die and Jesus will be a Witness over them on the Day of Resurrection.

There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in Him (i.e., Jesus) before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection He will be a Witness against them (ʿalayhim = to them, or over them). (Koran 4:159, Pickthall)

The quality of faith is not indicated here. They might have a dead faith without good works or a living faith with good works. (James 2:26) Jesus said in the Gospels that He would be the Judge of mankind at the end of this present age. (Matthew 25:31-46) The Koran here confirms the Gospel.


Orthodox Christians

Twice in the Koran, it says that Christians who believe in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous deeds have nothing to fear regarding their eternal destiny.

Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans – whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (2:62, Pickthall)

Lo! those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabaeans, and Christians – Whosoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (5:69, Pickthall)

In the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, which Orthodox Christians frequently say during there personal prayers and also in church, it says: “I believe in one God…”, “He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead,” and “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life in the age to come.” Orthodox Christians are, according to their Creed, monotheists who believe in Allah and the Last Day. Orthodox Christians also believe that good works and a righteous way of life are important for a person’s personal salvation. “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26, NKJV)
Another place in the Fifth Surah is also positive regarding Orthodox Christians. It says:

Thou wilt find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe (to be) the Jews and the idolaters. And thou wilt find the nearest of them in affection to those who believe (to be) those who say: Lo! We are Christians. That is because there are among them priests and monks, and because they are not proud. (5:82, Pickthall)

This verse is talking about Jews in the seventh century who were hostile toward the Muslims. It should not be interpreted as referring to all Jews in all centuries. The Christians are also the ones the Muslims had contact with during the seventh century. This verse shows that both Muslims and Christians can live together harmoniously.

The Koran teaches that Orthodox Christians and the seventh century Muslims worshiped the same God.

Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah – For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty – (22:40, Pickthall)

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender. (29:46, Pickthall)

And they were not divided until after the knowledge came unto them, through rivalry among themselves; and had it not been for a Word that had already gone forth from thy Lord for an appointed term, it surely had been judged between them. And those who were made to inherit the Scripture after them are verily in hopeless doubt concerning it. Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (Koran 42:14,15, Pickthall)

Twice in the Koran, Orthodox Christians are told not to “exceed the limits of their religion.”

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. (Koran 4:171, Sahih International)

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.” (Koran 5:77, Sahih International)

The limits of the Orthodox Christian religion are Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the Ecumenical Church Councils. Holy Scripture is the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. Holy Tradition consists of the writings of the Church Fathers, the Church’s hymns and prayers, and the Holy Icons. At the time of Muhammad, the Orthodox Church had already had five Ecumenical Church Councils: Nicaea I (325 A.D.), Constantinople I (381 A.D.), Ephesus (431 A.D.), Chalcedon (451 A.D.), and Constantinople II (553 A.D.).

Just as had occurred in the first century, there were those who taught heresies during the time of Muhammad. These heretics were once part of the Holy Orthodox Church, but were either deposed from their clerical offices or left of their own accord so that they could continue to teach their errors and attract new followers. St. John the Theologian, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus, wrote:

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (I John 2:18,19, NASB)

St. Paul said:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. (I Timothy 4:1, NASB)

Many heresies popped up. Many of them were created by bishops and priests who eventually were deposed by the Church or left the Church on their own accord. According to the Koran, they are disbelievers.

There is a promise in the Koran given to Orthodox Christians. It is in the Third Surah.

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee and causing Thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing Thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

God has promised to place Orthodox Christians over those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before Me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after Me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when He hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic. And who doeth greater wrong than he who inventeth a lie against Allah when he is summoned unto Al-Islam (i.e., the Surrender)? And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. Fain would they put out the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His Light however much the disbelievers are averse. He it is Who hath sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may make it conqueror of all religion however much idolaters may be averse. (Koran 61:6-9, Pickthall)

The Praised One is most likely Elijah. (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12) Jesus said that he would return one day and restore all things. Al-Islam or the Surrender is the message that Muhammad and all of God’s messengers before him proclaimed, namely, that one should surrender his will to God and do God’s will. (Deuteronomy 10:12,13; Micah 6:8; Matthew 7:21; 12:50; 21:28-32; Mark 3:35; Ephesians 6:6) Jesus is called “the true Light” (John 1:9), “the Light of the World” (John 8:12), and He refers to Himself as Light in John 12:35,36. Also in John 12:46, Jesus says:

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:46, NASB)

The Messenger in verse 61:9 is, according to the context of this passage, Jesus. The Religion of Truth is Orthodox Christianity.

St. Paul wrote:

But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (I Corinthians 15:23-26, NASB)

See also Psalm 109:1, LXX (Psalm 110:1, Hebrew) and Matthew 21:43,44.
In the Old Testament Book of Daniel, there is a prophecy about a stone that will come out of mountain. The stone will be quarried without hands. This signifies the virgin birth of Jesus who was born of a woman who never had sex with a man. In the prophecy, the stone crushes an image which represents four empires. It eventually crushes all of the kingdoms on the earth and then grows into a great mountain that fills all of the earth. (Daniel 3:31-45, LXX; Daniel 2:31-45, Hebrew) The stone is Jesus Christ. (Matthew 21:42-44) His kingdom, however, is not a secular, political kingdom. It is a spiritual kingdom. (John 18:36) The spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ will one day dominate the entire earth.


The Tritheists

Tritheism is the heresy of John Philoponus. He taught that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit were three different gods. He “exceeded the limits” of the Orthodox Christian religion. The Koran condemns Tritheism.

Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (Koran 3:64, Pickthall)

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. (Koran 4:171, Sahih International)

Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no Allah save the One Allah. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. (Koran 5:72,73, Pickthall)

The words, “His Word which He directed to Mary,” literally are in Arabic: “His Word which He cast to Mary.” Jesus often spoke of His divine origin.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38, NASB)

I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. (John 6:51, NASB)

I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me. (John 7:29, NASB)

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.” (John 8:42, NASB)

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father. (John 16:28, NASB)

The words, “Exalted is He above having a son”, in Arabic are: “Sub’ḥānahu an yakūna lahu waladun.” A more accurate translation is “Glory be to Him that He should be for Him a begotten Child.” That is to say, “Glory be to Jesus Christ that He should be for God the Father a begotten Child.” Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father, but He was not sexually begotten. The terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the language of Holy Scripture. They are theological terms for the three hypostases of the Deity. The terms beget, begotten, and proceed, are also theological terms and are language used in Scripture to describe the origins of two hypostases from the first one. The Father has no origin and no beginning. The Word, or the Son, has an origin but no beginning. The Holy Spirit, likewise, has an origin, but no beginning. Despite the fact that two hypostases originated from one hypostasis, there is still only one God. All three hypostases are one and the same God. They are not three separate gods.

Orthodox Christians do not ascribe any partners to Allah. They believe that the Father is Allah, the Word is Allah, and the Holy Spirit is Allah. There are not three Allahs. There is only one Allah who exists in three distinct hypostases. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. Three wholes make one whole. There are not three different gods. The Koran acknowledges the existence of more than one hypostasis in the Godhead on virtually every page. Allah often uses the pronouns, We, Our, and Us, when referring to Himself.

In the Torah, it says:

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3, KJV)

The Tritheists, in their heresy, divided the essence of God into three different gods. They have broken the First Commandment in the Decalogue.


The Maryamite Heresy

The next heresy existed in the fourth century and probably also existed in the days of Muhammad. The Maryamites taught that there are three gods: the Father, Jesus, and Mary. They said that the Father had sexual relations with Mary and that is how she became pregnant with Jesus. This verse from the Koran condemns the Maryamite heresy.

And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst Thou say unto mankind: Take Me and My mother for two gods beside Allah? He saith: Be glorified! It was not Mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in My Mind (nafsi = My Soul), and I know not what is in Thy Mind (nafsika = Thy Soul). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? (Koran 5:116, Pickthall)

Although we Orthodox Christians honor Mary as the Theotokos or Mother of God, we do not worship her as a goddess. The Word of Allah was in her womb and she gave birth to Him. St. John says that the Word of Allah is Allah. (John 1:1-3) Therefore, she is in that sense the Mother of Allah. The Word of Allah obtained His human nature from His mother for our salvation. He took a human nature which had the capacity to sin and overcame sin it. He took a human nature that was liable to death and destroyed death by His death. Mary the Theotokos cooperated with God in the salvation of mankind by giving birth to Allah the Word, but she is not a goddess.

Furthermore, no Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or mainstream Protestant Christian believes that God had sexual intercourse with anyone. The whole concept sounds absurd. No one, but an ill-informed non-Christian, interprets the words, “beget” and “begotten,” literally when they are used in the Bible in connection with God. The divine essence does not possess genitals.

In the above-cited verse from the Koran, Jesus says: “Be glorified! It was not Mine to utter that to which I had no right.” In the Gospels, Jesus said:

So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” (John 7:16, NASB)

I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world. (John 8:26, NASB)

I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. (John 8:38, NASB)

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49, NASB)

He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:24, NASB)

The Koran again confirms the Gospel. When Jesus said, “Thou knowest what is in Thy Mind, I know not what is in Thy Mind,” He was not saying that He is not omniscient. In the Bible, there are plenty of texts that indicate that He is omniscient.

But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24,25, NASB)

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” (John 18:4, NASB)

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (John 21:17, NASB)

That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2,3, NASB)

However, there is a place in the New Testament that appears to indicate that He lacks omniscience.

But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Mark 13:32, NASB)

St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. John of Damascus provide a good explanation on how to understand a text like this one and Koran 5:116.

But He, Who knows all things, sometimes by a practice of economy professes ignorance, even though He is not ignorant. Thus, in the case of Abraham, God concealed His knowledge for a time: in that of the foolish virgins and the workers of iniquity, He refused to recognise the unworthy: in the mystery of the Son of Man, His asking, as if ignorant, expressed His humanity. He accommodated Himself to the reality of His birth in the flesh in everything to which the weakness of our nature is subject, not in such wise that He became weak in His divine nature, but that God, born man, assumed the weaknesses of humanity, yet without thereby reducing His unchangeable nature to a weak nature, for the unchangeable nature was that wherein He mysteriously assumed flesh. He, Who was God is man, but, being man, has not ceased to remain God. Conducting Himself then as one born man, and proving Himself such, though remaining God the Word, He often uses the language of man (though God, speaking as God, makes frequent use of human terms), and does not know that which it is not yet time to declare, or which is not deserving of His recognition.
We can now understand why He said that He knew not the day. If we believe Him to have been really ignorant, we contradict the Apostle, who says, In Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. (Col. 2:3) There is knowledge which is hidden in Him, and because it has to be hidden, it must sometimes for this purpose be professed as ignorance, for once declared, it will no longer he secret. In order, therefore, that the knowledge may remain hidden, He declares that He does not know. But if He does not know, in order that the knowledge may remain hidden, this ignorance is not due to His nature, which is omniscient, for He is ignorant solely in order that it may be hidden. (On the Trinity, Book IX, St. Hilary of Poitiers, p. 178, vol. 9, part 1, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473, ISBN 1-56563-125-0)

He assumed, it is to be noted, the ignorant and servile nature. For it is man’s nature to be the servant of God, his Creator, and he does not possess knowledge of the future. If, then, as Gregory the Theologian holds, you are to separate the realm of sight from the realm of thought, the flesh is to be spoken of as both servile and ignorant, but on account of the identity of subsistence and the inseparable union the soul of the Lord was enriched with the knowledge of the future as also with the other-miraculous powers. For just as the flesh of men is not in its own nature life-giving, while the flesh of our Lord which was united in subsistence with God the Word Himself, although it was not exempt from the mortality of its nature, yet became life-giving through its union in subsistence with the Word, and we may not say that it was not and is not for ever life-giving: in like manner His human nature does not in essence possess the knowledge of the future, but the soul of the Lord through its union with God the Word Himself and its identity in subsistence was enriched, as I said, with the knowledge of the future as well as with the other miraculous powers. (An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book III, chapter 21, St. John of Damascus, p. 69, vol. 9, part 2, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473, ISBN 1-56563-125-0)

His human soul was ignorant of the future and of

St. John of Damascus

other things, but it was enriched with knowledge and wisdom from His divine nature. He professed ignorance though not really being ignorant.

The words, “Lo! Thou only art the knower of things hidden,” are in Arabic: “Innaka Anta Allāmu al-Ghuyūbi.” They mean, “Indeed, Thee, Thou art the All-Knower of the Unseen.”


The Bitheist Heresy

The Bitheist heresy is the heresy that says that there are two gods, not one. Some Bitheists think that the second god is a lesser god than the first one. Among Christians, this heresy would be one that states that Jesus Christ is a separate god from Allah. According to this heresy, the divine nature of Jesus Christ is of a different essence from Allah the Father. This contradicts the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence and undivided. (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysosotom)

It also contradicts the saying of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I and My Father are one. (John 10:30, NKJV)

In the Koran, this heresy is also rejected.

Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). (3:64, Pickthall)

Allah hath said: Choose not two gods. There is only One Allah. So of Me, Me only, be in awe. (16:51, Pickthall)

The Koran says “that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah.” (Koran 3:64) We Orthodox Christians really do not do that. Allah is our only Lord. Just as there is only one God, there is also only one Lord. We call Jesus Christ Lord and the Holy Spirit Lord, but there is only one Lord, not two or three. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one Lord.

And vouchsafe, O Lord, that with boldness and without condemnation we may dare to call upon Thee, the heavenly God, as Father, and to say… (The words of the priest before the “Our Father” in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, NASB)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (I Peter 1:3, NASB)

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:17,18, NASB)

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. (Nicaeno-Constantinopoltian Creed)

So, we Orthodox Christians do not worship two or three gods. We worship only one God who exists in three hypostases. We do not have three Lords. We have only one Lord, because there is only one God. The Bitheist heresy, like the Tritheist heresy, is rejected by us Orthodox Christians, whom the Koran calls “believers.” (Koran 30:2-5)


The Sabellian Heresy

The next heresy is that of Sabellius. This heresy which is also condemned by the Koran and by Orthodox Christians as a false teaching states that Allah is Jesus and Jesus manifests Himself in three different modes as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This concept of Allah is one in which He possesses only one hypostasis. According to the Sabellians, Allah is a unipersonal God. The Sabellian Allah never refers to Himself as We, Our, and Us, as appears so frequently in the Koran and in a few places in the Bible. (See Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; John 14:23; 17:21,22.)

There are two places in the Koran where the Sabellian heresy is condemned.

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah Son of Mary, and His mother and everyone on earth? Allah’s is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. (Koran 5:17, Pickthall)

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

Not all parts of these two verses are rebuking the Sabellian heresy. In Koran 5:17, the words, “Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah Son of Mary, and His mother and everyone on earth? Allah’s is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things,” are concerned with an entirely different subject which in no way refutes the Sabellian heresy. If Allah is Jesus, then, of course, He is not going to destroy Himself. Likewise, Allah the Father is not going to destroy Allah the Son, nor will He destroy the Virgin Mary. If He did so, then He would no longer be Allah. He would have failed to keep His promises in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah and would be rewarding the righteous with destruction instead of Paradise. That question in Koran 5:17 is a hypothetical theological question. These words in Koran 5:72, “Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers,” pertain to the Tritheist heresy which is also talked about in the next verse, Koran 5:73. The Sabellians do not ascribe partners to Allah. The Orthodox Christians do not ascribe partners to Allah either. Anyway, the word Allah in Arabic has no plural form. So, the remainder of that verse (5:72) pertains to the Tritheist heresy. So, now, I cite only those portions of those verses which pertain to the Sabellian heresy.

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary. (Koran 5:17, Pickthall)

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary. The Messiah (Himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

The Orthodox Christian doctrine says that Jesus is Allah, but Allah is not Jesus. There is an important semantic distinction here. There is only one Allah. If Allah is Jesus, then no one else is Allah. There is only one hypostasis in the Deity. In the Koran, Allah is called the Loving. (Koran 11:90; 85:14) St. John, an Apostle of Jesus, says that “God is love.” (I John 4:8,16) Love cannot exist in isolation. Love must have someone else to love in order to exist as love. If Allah is a unipersonal Deity, then Allah existed without love before the creation of the universe. Notice in these verses how Allah uses the words, We and Us, when referring to Himself as He speaks about the creation of the universe.

Surely We have created everything according to a measure. (54:49, Shakir)

We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in play. (Koran 21:16; 44:38 Pickthall)

We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them save with truth, and for a term appointed. But those who disbelieve turn away from that whereof they are warned. (Koran 46:3, Pickthall)

And verily We created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six Days, and naught of weariness touched Us. (Koran 50:38, Pickthall)

The word, We, is also used by Allah whenever He talks about the creation of the angels.

Or did We create the angels as females while they were witnesses? (Koran 37:150, Sahih International)

Here is further proof from the Koran that more than one hypostasis is in the Deity.

But it is to Allah that the End and the Beginning (of all things) belong. (Koran 53:25, Yusuf Ali)

And verily unto Us (belong) the End and the Beginning. (Koran 92:13, Yusuf Ali)

Notice the word, Us, is used in Koran 92:13 as referring to Allah. Before there was a Beginning and even after there is an End, there is still Allah, who uses the word, Us in reference to Himself. Therefore, Allah is not a unipersonal Being. Having more than one hypostasis, Allah is Love. Allah is the Loving. Each hypostasis of the Deity loves the other two hypostases of the Deity with an unconditional, sacrificial love which Jesus demonstrated to all mankind by willingly dying on a Cross for them. (John 15:13)

Both the Koran and the Bible contain many proofs that Jesus is Allah. These two passages clearly teach that Jesus is Allah.

But when Jesus became conscious of their disbelief, he cried: Who will be My helpers in the cause of Allah? The disciples said: We will be Allah’s helpers. We believe in Allah, and bear thou witness that we have surrendered (unto Him). (Koran 3:52, Pickthall)

O ye who believe! Be Allah’s helpers, even as Jesus Son of Mary said unto the disciples: Who are My helpers for Allah? They said: We are Allah’s helpers. And a party of the Children of Israel believed, while a party disbelieved. Then We strengthened those who believed against their foe, and they became the uppermost. (Koran 61:14, Pickthall)

In both texts, Jesus asks, “Who will be My helpers?” The answer He receives from His disciples is, “We will be Allah’s helpers” or “We are Allah’s helpers.” The disciples of Jesus recognized that Jesus is Allah.

Now look at this verse in the Koran. It is about Allah.

He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. (Koran 57:3, Pickthall)

Now compare that verse with these verses from the Bible.

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last, and there is no God besides Me.’ (Isaiah 44:6, NASB)

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8, NASB)

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Rev. 1:12-18, NASB)

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev. 22:12,13 NASB)

In Isaiah 44:6 of the Hebrew, Allah calls Himself the First and the Last. In Revelation 1:8, Allah calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega. This is only another way of saying the same thing that one reads in Isaiah. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. In Revelation 1:12-18, Jesus calls Himself the First and the Last. Again in Revelation 22:12,13, Jesus calls Himself the First and the Last. He also calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega, and the Beginning and the End. Jesus is Allah.

Further proof that Jesus is Allah can be found by comparing these verses in the Koran with some verses in the Bible.

Then are they sent back to Allah, their Master, the True One; now surely His is the judgment and He is swiftest in taking account. (Koran 6:62, Shakir)

That is because Allah, He is the Truth and because He quickeneth the dead, and because He is Able to do all things; (Koran 22:6, Pickthall)

So exalted is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth; there is no deity except Him, Lord of the Noble Throne. (Koran 23:116, Sahih International)

On that day Allah will pay them their just due, and they will know that Allah, He is the Manifest Truth. (Koran 24:25, Pickthall)

Allah is the True One. (Koran 6:62) Allah is the Truth. (Koran 22:6; 23:116) Allah is the Manifest Truth. (Koran 24:25)

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6, NASB)

Jesus is the Truth. Therefore, Jesus is Allah.

In Koran 22:6, it says that Allah “quickeneth the dead.” Now, look at these verses from the Gospels.

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (John 5:21, NASB)

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:25-29, NASB)

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44, NASB)

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:54, NASB)

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57, NASB)

Jesus quickens the dead. Therefore, Jesus is Allah.

Another proof from the Koran that Jesus is Allah is in these verses. In the Koran, it says:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. (Koran 24:35, Pickthall)

In the Gospel according to St. John, it says:

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NASB)

The word translated “world” in John 8:12 is the Greek word, kosmos, which can mean universe. The “heavens and the earth” in Koran 24:35 refer to the whole universe. In the Koran, it says that Allah is the Light of the Universe. In the Bible, it says that Jesus is the Light of the Universe. Jesus is Allah.

Another proof from the Koran and the Bible comes from these verses. In the Koran, it says:

Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment). (Koran 2:210, Pickthall)

In the Bible, it says:

30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matt. 24:30,31, NASB)

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (Rev. 1:7, NASB)

Allah is coming to judge the world. He will come to us “in the shadow of the clouds with the angels” according to the Koran. Jesus said that He will come with the clouds of the sky and send forth His angels to gather His elect. Jesus is Allah. There are many more proofs, but I think that I will save those for another blog.
In Koran 5:72, it says that “the Messiah (Himself) said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord.” If Jesus is Allah, then why does He call Someone Else Allah? The answer is that each hypostasis of the Deity Is ALLAH IN HIS ENTIRETY. Therefore, it is appropriate for one hypostasis to call another hypostasis Allah or God. In Psalm 44, it says:

6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness. 7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of gladness beyond Thy fellows. (Psalm 44:6,7, LXX)

Here, one hypostasis is called God in verse 6, but this hypostasis also has a God in verse 7 who is called God. There is only one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; I Corinthians 8:6; James 2:19) Another instance where two hypostases are called God is in Genesis:

And the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. (Genesis 19:24, LXX)

As I have said before, three wholes make one whole and that is a mystery. 1+1+1 = 1.


The Adoptionist Heresy

The last heresy rebuked in the Koran regarding the Deity is the Adoptionist heresy. This heresy was taught by Paul of Samosata, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Nestorius, a deposed Patriarch of Constantinople. The Adoptionist heresy says that Jesus was adopted as God’s son sometime after His birth. Nestorius taught that Jesus received a divine nature from Allah the Father sometime after His birth. Jesus, according to Nestorius, became someone who is two persons in one body: a divine person and a human person. This heresy was rejected at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.

According to Orthodox Christians, Jesus was God the Word. He assumed a human nature from His mother, the Virgin Mary at the moment of His conception. There was no change in either His divine nature or His human nature. The two natures did not become mixed together to form a new nature entirely different from the original two. The divine nature remained divine. The human nature remained human. The divine nature sanctified and enriched the human nature. Jesus is not two persons: one divine and the other human. On the contrary, He remains one Person. His human nature could suffer and die. It could experience pain. His divine nature is always immortal and incapable of suffering. The two natures are joined together without separation or division.

The Father did not become incarnate. The Holy Spirit did not become incarnate. The Word (or the Son) did become incarnate for our salvation.

First, I want to illustrate the meaning of an Arabic word by using two verses from the Koran where the word is used. The word in question is “ittakhadha.”
The word translated “hath chosen” in the following verse is ittakhadha. It is usually translated “hath taken” in the Koran. It can be used to mean “hath taken” in the sense of taking a wife or females as this verse shows.

Hath your Lord then distinguished you (O men of Makka) by giving you sons, and hath chosen for Himself females from among the angels? Lo! verily ye speak an awful word! (17:40, Pickthall)

Here is the Arabic for the question in this verse: Afa-aṣfākum rabbukum bil-banīna wa-ittakhadha mina l-malāikati ināthan?

The word for “and” in Arabic is the prefix, wa. Do you see the word ittakhadha in this verse?

And (we believe) that He – exalted be the glory of our Lord! – hath taken neither wife nor son, (72:3, Pickthall)

The Arabic for the above verse is: “Wa-annahu taʿālā jaddu rabbinā mā ittakhadha ṣāḥibatan walā waladan.” A literal translation is: “And Him the Majesty of our Lord is exalted. He has not taken a wife and not a begotten child (that is, someone else’s begotten child). Notice the word ittakhadha.

In these passages from the Koran, the Adoptionist heresy is rebuked.

And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth is His. All are subservient unto Him. (Koran 2:116, Pickthall)

Here is the Arabic of the above text.

Waqālū ittakhadha Al-lahu waladan. Sub’ḥānahu! Bal Lahu mā fī al-samāwāti wal-arḍi. Kullun Lahu qānitūna.

Here is a more literal translation of the text.

And they say: Allah hath taken a begotten child. Glory be to Him! No, for Him is whatever in the heavens and the earth. All are for Him humbly obeying. (Koran 2:116, corpus.quran.com)

The words, “And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a begotten child,” mean that Allah adopted someone else’s begotten child. Notice the word, ittakhadha, in the Arabic text. This verse refers to the adoptionist heresy. Allah the Father begot Allah the Son in eternity past, but not sexually. The word, begot, is a theological term and should never be interpreted literally. (There is only one Allah! I hope the reader, if he or she is not a Christian understands this by now.) By adopting someone else’s begotten child, the pre-existence of the Incarnate Word of Allah is being denied by this heresy. Jesus told the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58, NKJV)

The Koran, likewise, recognizes that the Word of Allah pre-existed His Incarnation. In the 37th Surah, it says:

Walaqad sabaqat Kalimatunā Liʿibādinā al-mur’salīna. (Koran 37:171)

Here is a translation of this verse.

And verily, Our Word hath preceded for Our slaves, the Messengers. (Koran 37:171, corpus.quran.com)

The Word is called Our Word because He is the Word of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. He preceded or had gone forth for all of the prophets of Allah that walked the earth before His Incarnation. He went forth for Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.

Frequently one sees in the prophetic books of the Bible words like these:

And the Word of the Lord came to me, saying… (Jeremiah 1:11; 13:8; Ezekiel 6:1; 7:1, LXX)

Here is another passage from the Koran describing the Adoptionist heresy.

And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! (9:30, Pickthall)

The Arabic for “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah” is “Waqālati al-yahūdu ʿUzayrun ub’nu Al-lahi waqālati al-naṣārā l-Masīḥu ub’nu Al-lahi.” The heretical Christians call Jesus “ub’nu Al-lahi “and not “waladun Al-lahi.” Ub’nu is a child who is either adopted or begotten. Waladun is a child who is begotten. The Jews have never thought of Ezra as being another god in addition to Allah. The heresy is that Jesus is another god in addition to Allah and He is the son of Allah in the same sense that Ezra is the son of Allah.

The next passage pertaining to this heresy is from the Tenth Surah.

They say: Allah has taken a son (to Himself)! Glory be to Him: He is the Self-sufficient: His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; you have no authority for this; do you say against Allah what you do not know? Say: Those who forge a lie against Allah shall not be successful. (10:68,69, Shakir)

Here is the Arabic of the above text.

Qālū: Ittakhadha Al-lahu waladan. Sub’ḥānahu! Huwa al-Ghaniyu. Lahu mā fī al-samāwāti wamā fī al-arḍi. In ʿindakum min sul’ṭānin bihādhā. Ataqūlūna ʿalā Al-lahi mā lā taʿlamūna? Qul: Inna alladhīna yaftarūna ʿalā Al-lahi al-kadhiba lā yuf’liḥūna. (Koran 10:68,69)

Here is a more literal translation of the text.

They say: Allah hath taken a begotten child. Glory be to Him! He is the Self-Sufficient. For Him is whatever is in the heavens and in the earth. (It is) not with you any authority for this. Were you saying about Allah what you do not know? Say: Indeed those who were inventing about Allah the lie were not succeeding. (Koran 10:68,69, corpus.quran.com)

Notice the word, ittakhadha, in the Arabic text. The adoptionist heresy is what is being called “the lie.”

Now, look at this passage from the 19th Surah.

That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is My Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (Koran 19:34-36, Sahih International)

The Arabic for the above text is:

Dhālika ʿīsā ub’nu maryama qawla al-ḥaqi alladhī fīhi yamtarūna. Mā kāna Lillahi an yattakhidha min waladin. Sub’ḥānahu! Idhā qaḍā amran fa-innamā yaqūlu Lahu kun fayakūnu. Wa-inna Al-laha rabbī warabbukum fa-uʿ’budūhu hādhā ṣirāṭun mus’taqīmun.

Here is a more literal translation of the Arabic.

That is Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Word of the Truth. (He is) the One about whom they dispute. It is not for Allah that He should take any begotten child. Glory be to Him! Then only He was saying to Him, “Be!” So, He was. And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So, worship Him. This is a path which makes straight. (Koran 19:34-36, corpus.quran.com)

From the context, one can see that there is a dispute among people as to who is Jesus. The Adoptionists believe that Allah adopted Jesus as His Son and made Him a god in addition to Him (Allah). I think that Muhammad, not Jesus, is the one saying, “Allah is my Lord and your Lord. So, worship Him. This is a path which makes straight.” Nowhere in the Arabic text does it indicate who spoke these words. Muhammad uses the word Allah which has no plural form to indicate that there is only one God and that Jesus is not another god in addition to Him.

Again in the 21st Surah, we see Koranic Scripture pertaining to the Adoptionist heresy.

And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no Allah save Me (Allah), so worship Me. And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He Glorified! Nay, but (those whom they call sons) are honoured slaves; they speak not until He hath spoken, and they act by His command. (21:25-27, Pickthall)

The words “And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified!” in Arabic are:

Waqālū ittakhadha al-raḥmānu waladan. Sub’ḥānahu!

A more literal translation is: “The Most Gracious hath taken a begotten child. Glory be to Him!”

Notice that the word, ittakhadha, is used in this verse. From the context, one can see that the idea of Allah adopting someone else’s begotten child and making him another god in addition to Him is what is being rejected. The concept of another hypostasis who is one and the same Allah, but different from the other two hypostases who are also one and the same Allah is not being condemned as heresy by the Koran.

Now, look at this passage from the 23rd Surah.

Nay, but We have brought them the Truth, and lo! they are liars. Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any god along with Him; else would each god have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible! and Exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)! (23:90-92, Pickthall)

“Allah hath not chosen any son” is “Mā ittakhadha Al-lahu min waladin” in Arabic. Notice the word ittakhadha. The heretics are liars. Allah never adopted Jesus as His Son. Jesus, who is the Word of Allah, existed in the beginning and was begotten by Allah the Father (in the theological sense, not in the sexual sense.)

Here in the 25th Surah, we see the heresy mentioned again.

Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to the peoples. He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. (25:1,2, Pickthall)

Here is the Arabic for the above two verses from the 25th Surah.

Tabāraka alladhī nazzala l-fur’qāna alā ʿabdihi liyakūna lil’ʿālamīna nadhīran alladhī lahu mul’ku l-samāwāti wal-arḍi walam yattakhidh waladan walam yakun sharīkun fī l-mul’ki wakhalaqa kulla shayin faqaddarahu taqdīran.

Yattakhidh is the imperfect form in the jussive mood of the verb. “Walam yattakhidh waladan walam yakun sharīkun” means “And that He should not take a begotten child and that he should not be for Him a partner.”

Nowhere in these verses is the Arabic word for beget or begotten used. The Koran was not talking about Orthodox Christian doctrine. It was talking about the Adoptionist heresy. It is saying that the Father did not take someone else’s begotten child by adoption and that that child is not for the Father a partner, that is, another god in addition to Him. Orthodox Christians believe that the Father, the Word of the Father, and the Spirit of the Father are one and the same God, but different hypostases.

For us Orthodox Christians there is only one God. We do not ascribe any partners to the Holy Trinity. The Adoptionists, on the other hand, have another god with a different essence from Allah the Father. They, therefore, are ascribing partners unto Allah.


Surah 98

Now let us look at another passage from the Koran. There is a verse in this passage that is often quoted out of context. (verse 6)

Those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters could not have left off (erring) till the clear proof came unto them, a messenger from Allah, reading purified pages containing correct scriptures. Nor were the People of the Scripture divided until after the clear proof came unto them. And they are ordered naught else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright, and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion. Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings. (And) lo! Those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings. Their reward is with their Lord: Gardens of Eden underneath which rivers flow, wherein they dwell for ever. Allah hath pleasure in them and they have pleasure in Him. This is (in store) for him who feareth his Lord. (Koran 98:1-8, Pickthall)

Who are those who disbelieve among the People of the Scripture? The disbelievers are the Christian heretics (Tritheists, Bitheists, Sabellians, Maryamites, Adoptionists) and the Orthodox Christian hypocrites (that is, those who profess faith in Allah, but do not strive to keep His commandments and do His will). Those who disbelieve in Allah and who do not practice righteous deeds, like prayer, giving to the poor, and keeping the commandments of Allah are the “worst of created beings.” (Koran 98:6) “Those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings.” And yes, the Koran says that Trinitarian Monotheists are “believers.” (Koran 30:2-5)

In conclusion, the Koran recognizes that there are different sects of Christians and that not all of them possess the same beliefs respecting Jesus Christ and the Godhead. (Koran 19:37; 21:93) The Orthodox Christians are called “believers” in the Koran. (Koran 30:2-5) Orthodox Christians who live righteous lives should have no fear of eternal condemnation. (Koran 2:62; 5:69) The Koran condemns every form of polytheism. (Koran 3:64) Tritheism (Koran 4:171; 5:72,73), the Maryamite heresy (Koran 5:116), Bitheism (Koran 16:51), the Sabellian heresy (5:17,72), and the Adoptionist heresy (Koran 2:116; 9:30; 10:68,69; 19:34-36; 21:25-27; 23:90-92; 25:1,2) are all rejected by the Koran as well as by Orthodox Christians. The sixth verse of the 98th Surah is often quoted out of context by critics of Islam. It is speaking about heretical Christians and those who live unrighteous lives, not about Orthodox Christians who live righteous lives.

Categories: Islam Tags: , , ,

War and Peace in the Koran

April 9, 2016 Leave a comment

War and Peace – I know that that sounds like the name of a Russian novel, but I want to discuss here some Koranic teachings regarding these matters. All that will be written here are based on my own personal interpretation of the Koran and on some things that I have read on the internet which were posted by moderate Muslims.

First of all, I think that it is necessary to look at one of the verses in the Koran regarding the abrogation of revelations. There are two verses that state this principle, verses 2:106 and 16:101, but the one in the Second Surah gives more explicit detail regarding the principle. I will quote Arberry’s translation.

And for whatever verse We abrogate or cast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything? (2:106, Arberry)

Whenever a verse or passage is abrogated in the Bible or in the Koran, a better one or something similar is put in its place. So, if a verse or a passage comes later than an earlier and better revelation, the earlier revelation was not abrogated and the later one must be interpreted metaphorically or else it uniquely applies to a particular situation. It cannot be an abrogating revelation if it is worse than the previous revelation. The Koran and the Bible state what is better. For example, in the Bible it says:

Better is an entertainment of herbs with friendliness and kindness, than a feast of calves, with enmity. (Proverbs 15:17, LXX)

and in the Koran it says:

Kind speech and forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury; and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing. (Koran 2:263, Shakir)

The quote from the Book of Proverbs says that friendliness and kindness is better than enmity at any kind of dinner party. Of course, many would prefer the feast of calves over the herbs, but the atmosphere of friendliness and kindness would make the herbal feast more desirable to attend than the beef steak one with an atmosphere of enmity.

The verse from the Second Surah in the Koran says that it is better to say kind words to someone and be forgiving than it is to injure someone after giving money to the poor or to some charity.

Well, the Koran also says some things about peace. From one verse in the Koran, one can see the Koranic perspective on peace.

Peace is better. (Koran 4:128, Pickthall)

The context of this sentence pertains to relationships between a husband and his wife, but the basic idea has other applications. It is better for people and for nations to be at peace with each other than at enmity with each other. Friendliness and kindness is better than enmity.

The Koran recognizes religious and ethnic diversity.

For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform. So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance. (Koran 22:67, Sahih International)

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (Koran 49:13, Pickthall)

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge. (Koran 30:22, Sahih International)

It also teaches that people should practice kindness and be forgiving toward one another.

And forget not kindness among yourselves. (Koran 2:237, Pickthall)

Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant. (Koran 7:199, Pickthall)

Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed. (Koran 16:90, Pickthall)

Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah’s is the sequel of events. (Koran 22:41, Pickthall)

Let them forgive and show indulgence. Yearn ye not that Allah may forgive you? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Pickthall)

But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah hath given thee and neglect not thy portion of the world, and be thou kind even as Allah hath been kind to thee, and seek not corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters. (Koran 28:77, Pickthall)

O my dear son! Establish worship and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity, and persevere whatever may befall thee. Lo! that is of the steadfast heart of things. (Koran 31:17, Pickthall)

It teaches that one should love those who do not love them. Regarding first generation Muslims, it says:

Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. (Koran 3:119, Pickthall)

They were practicing the teachings of Christ in the Gospels and following the examples of Christ and first century Christians. (See Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:55-60; I Peter 3:8,9; Revelation 2:8-11.)

In the Fourth Surah, it teaches that everyone should follow these examples.

Allah would explain to you and guide you by the examples of those who were before you, and would turn to you in mercy. Allah is Knower, Wise. (Koran 4:26, Pickthall)

The Koran promotes peace among people.

But he who feareth from a testator some unjust or sinful clause, and maketh peace between the parties, (it shall be) no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 2:182, Pickthall)

And make not Allah, by your oaths, a hindrance to your being righteous and observing your duty unto Him and making peace among mankind. Allah is Hearer, Knower. (Koran 2:224, Pickthall)

There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peace-making among the people. Whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall bestow on him a vast reward. (4:114, Pickthall)

Whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path. (Koran 5:16, Pickthall)

So go ye unto him and say: Lo! we are two messengers of thy Lord. So let the children of Israel go with us, and torment them not. We bring thee a token from thy Lord. And peace will be for him who followeth right guidance. (Koran 20:47, Pickthall)

The word from a Merciful Lord (for them) is: Peace! (Koran 36:58, Pickthall)

The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy. (Koran 49:10, Pickthall)

According to the Koran, Satan is the author of discord.

Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier. Lo! the devil soweth discord among them. Lo! the devil is for man an open foe. (Koran 17:53, Pickthall)

We are not supposed to follow the footsteps of the devil.

O ye who believe! Follow not the footsteps of the devil. (Koran 24:21, Pickthall)

Remember that earlier in the blog I pointed out that “Peace is better.” (Koran 4:128, Pickthall) Well, in the 39th Surah, it says:

And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord before the punishment comes upon you suddenly while you do not perceive. (Koran 39:55, Sahih International)

Peace is better than strife and war. Muslims are supposed to follow the best revelations. So, although there are passages in the Koran which pertain to warfare. Those passages are there out of necessity and NOT BECAUSE MUSLIMS ARE ALWAYS OBLIGED TO WAGE WAR.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. (Koran 2:216, Pickthall)

In the Koran there are only three reasons for waging war. The three reasons are for self-defense, to liberate the oppressed, and to end religious persecution against Muslims. In the Second Surah, it says:

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers. The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil). (Koran 2:190-194, Pickthall)

Whenever an army attacks Muslims, they are supposed to fight back in self-defense. Who are they supposed to fight against? Those who fight against them. (Koran 2:190) “And slay them wherever ye find them.” Who are they supposed to slay wherever they find them? Those who fight against them. They are not supposed to slay just anyone. It says to drive them out of the places whence they drove the Muslims out. The Muslims had been persecuted by the polytheistic Arabs. The polytheists drove the Muslims out of their homes. So, the Koran says to fight them to stop the persecution and regain their homes. It says, “And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.” So, they are supposed to respect the religious shrine in Mecca by not fighting there unless the polytheists attack them there. “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” The Muslims are supposed to fight them until persecution is no more. When it says “and religion is for Allah,” it does not mean that the polytheists are supposed to be forced to accept Islam. There are too many passages in the Koran that teach religious tolerance. I already wrote a blog on this subject. What it means is until Muslims are allowed to worship Allah freely unhindered by persecution. “But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers.” If the polytheists stop fighting, then the Muslims are supposed to stop fighting. Remember, “Peace is better.” Only the wrong-doers, that is, the criminals, need to be handled with force. “The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation.” The forbidden month is Ramadan. Muslims are supposed to fast during Ramadan and not wage war unless the enemy is attacking them during this month. “Forbidden things in retaliation” is war during Ramadan if an army attacks them in that month. This principle of fighting on a holy day or during a holy time period is also found in the Bible. (See I Maccabees 2:29-41.)

So, this passage from the Second Surah gives two reasons for waging war: self-defense and to end persecution. It also tells when fighting is authorized at the Inviolable Place of Worship (the Kaaba Stone) and during Ramadan.

Muslims are not allowed to fight against people who want to live in peace with them.

Except those who seek refuge with a people between whom and you there is a covenant, or (those who) come unto you because their hearts forbid them to make war on you or make war on their own folk. Had Allah willed He could have given them power over you so that assuredly they would have fought you. So, if they hold aloof from you and wage not war against you and offer you peace, Allah alloweth you no way against them. (Koran 4:90, Pickthall)

However, if a people with whom they are at peace, attacks them in war, they are allowed to fight back and “kill them wherever” they “find them.”

Ye will find others who desire that they should have security from you, and security from their own folk. So often as they are returned to hostility they are plunged therein. If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant. (Koran 4:91, Pickthall)

Muslims are not supposed to indiscriminately kill people while they are engaged in war. If someone offers them peace, even if he is not a Muslim, they are still not supposed to kill him.

O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate, and say not unto one who offereth you peace: “Thou art not a believer,” seeking the chance profits of this life (so that ye may despoil him). With Allah are plenteous spoils. Even thus (as he now is) were ye before; but Allah hath since then been gracious unto you. Therefore take care to discriminate. Allah is ever Informed of what ye do. (Koran 4:94, Pickthall)

Muslims are permitted to wage war against a people who are oppressing Muslims in another country.

How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender! (4:75, Pickthall)

In the Twenty-Second Surah, the Koran gives permission to Muslims to fight those who are persecuting them.

Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory; those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah – For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty – those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah’s is the sequel of events. (22:39-41, Pickthall)

Notice in this passage that it mentions “cloisters and churches” as being some of the places “wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned.” Apparently, seventh century Muslims were interested in protecting Orthodox Christians from religious persecution, too.

Muslims are required to stop fighting when their enemy desires peace.

And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower. (Koran 8:61, Pickthall)

Muslims must be aware that Allah can change the hearts of their enemies so that they no longer hate the Muslims.

It may be that Allah will ordain love between you and those of them with whom ye are at enmity. Allah is Mighty, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 60:7, Pickthall)

The Koran says that a treaty with a people can prevent them from helping Muslims in another country.

Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them: these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is Seer of what ye do. (Koran 8:72, Pickthall)

A Muslim army is a volunteer army. Non-muslims are not required to enlist in a Muslim army.

And if We had decreed for them: Lay down your lives or go forth from your dwellings, but few of them would have done it; though if they did what they are exhorted to do it would be better for them, and more strengthening. (Koran 4:66, Pickthall)

Some Muslims are supposed to stay home and continue to gain more knowledge of the Islamic religion.

And the believers should not all go out to fight. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware. (Koran 9:122, Pickthall)

However, in a Muslim society, a tax can be imposed on Non-Muslims. The Muslim army is protecting them and they are not required to fight for the Islamic religion, but they need to pay for the protection they are receiving from the Muslims.  This tax is called the jizyah.

Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled. (9:29, Sahih International)

Actually, I think that this verse would not apply to an Orthodox Christian who is living in a Muslim society  and who abstains from pork and strong alcoholic beverages. Orthodox Christians believe in Allah and the Last Day. In our Creed the first words are: “I believe in one God…” So, we are monotheists. Also, in the Creed, it says: “He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.” The last part of the Creed says, “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life in the age to come.” Therefore, we do believe in the Last Day.

Abstaining from pork and strong drink in a Muslim society should not be viewed as such a bad thing by any Christian. By doing so, he is simply obeying the teachings of St. Paul. (Romans 14:14-18)

The jizyah is a fair concept in a Muslim society as long as it does not become so burdensome to the Non-Muslims that they cannot pay it. I have read that during the Ottoman Empire, the jizyah was so high that the Christians could not afford to pay it. The Muslims took the children away from their Christian parents and raised them to be Muslims and enlisted them in the Ottoman army. These children who were taken from their Christian parents were called Janissaries. This is a form of religious persecution. Raising people’s children to be members of a religious faith of which they do not want them to be a part is a form of religious persecution. By modern standards, it is also a human rights violation – actually, multiple human rights violations.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. (Article 4, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. (Article 16, section 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. (Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. (Article 26, section 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

However, those Ottoman Empire Muslims were not practicing Islam in my opinion, because the Koran says:

O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do. (Koran 5:8, Pickthall)

Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers. (Koran 60:8, Pickthall)

Actually, the Muslims were not even supposed to hate the Christians and do these types of things to them. They were supposed to love them even if they did not love them back. (Koran 3:119)

A good analogy here in regards to the practice of Islam and Islam itself is that of a car and its driver. If the car is a nice, high quality BMW, that runs well and the driver is a lousy driver and cannot drive very well, do not judge the car by the driver. The same holds true regarding Christianity. Just as there are Muslims who do not practice Islam well, there are Christians who do not practice Christianity well.

To sum up, the Koran prefers peace over war. Peace is better. The Koran encourages the practice of showing kindness toward others and being forgiving. An abrogating revelation is either better than the abrogated revelation or similar to it. The passages in the Koran pertaining to war should not be viewed as abrogating the ones that encourage peace-making and kindness. The Koran encourages respect for religious and ethnic differences. War is waged out of necessity, not because it is better than peace. Satan is the author of discord. War can be waged for only three different reasons: self-defense, to liberate the oppressed, and to end religious persecution. A Muslim army is a volunteer army. A tax was imposed on Non-Muslims to help maintain the Muslim army that was protecting them. Some Muslims are required to stay home and continue to gain knowledge of the Islamic religion. Some Muslims, like the Ottoman Empire Muslims, do not practice Islam very well. One should not judge Islam by the way some Muslims fail to practice their faith.

Categories: Islam Tags: ,