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Who are the Muslims and What is Islam?

July 3, 2017 Leave a comment

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:17, NKJV)

Most people who read the title of this blog post will think that they already know the answer to this question. They would probably say, “Oh, those are the terrorists who kill innocent people.” They might say, “Oh, those are the people who practice that religion founded by Muhammad. They stone people to death for committing adultery.” They might say, “Oh, those are those people who pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan.” I, however, am going to provide a Koranic definition of Muslim and Islam in this blog post. The Koranic definition might be quite a shock to many non-Muslim readers, that is, to those readers who are not affiliated with any of the various, modern versions of Islam practiced today.

The Arabic word translated Muslim means one who submits. In the Koran, this word has a much broader meaning than the one that is typically used today.

Several of the Old Testament Saints and Prophets were called Muslims in the Koran. Noah was called a Muslim.

And recite to them the news of Noah, when he said to his people, “O my people, if my residence and my reminding of the signs of Allah has become burdensome upon you – then I have relied upon Allah. So resolve upon your plan and [call upon] your associates. Then let not your plan be obscure to you. Then carry it out upon me and do not give me respite. And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:71,72, Sahih International)

In Genesis, we can read about the story of Noah building an ark to save his household from the flood and how God saved him and his household from it. (Genesis 6:8-9:29) In the New Testament, it says that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.” (II Peter 2:5) In Genesis, it says that Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) and “walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)

Abraham and Ishmael were called Muslims.

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Koran 2:127,128, Sahih International)

No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. (Koran 3:67, Arberry)

Many Muslims (in the modern day Islamic sense) have been circumcised. However, Noah was a Muslim before God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was a monotheist. He received the commandment to be circumcised. (Genesis 17:9-14) His son Ishmael was circumcised. (Genesis 17:23,25) Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his offspring and a seal of the righteousness that he had as a result of his faith in God. (Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11) The sign and seal of this covenant has been replaced by two Sacraments in the Church: baptism (Colossians 2:11,12) and chrismation. (II Corinthians 1:21,22; I John 2:20,27; Revelation 7:3; 9:4) Baptism is the sign of the New Covenant instituted by Christ. Chrismation is the seal of the New Covenant.

Abraham was righteous before God before receiving the covenant of circumcision. (Genesis 15:6)

Lot and his household were Muslims.

So We brought out whoever was in the cities of the believers. And We found not within them other than a [single] house of Muslims. (Koran 51:35,36, Sahih International)

Lot and his family left Abraham and dwelt in the plain of Jordan. (Genesis 13:8-13) The covenant of circumcision was not given to Lot. He was most likely uncircumcised. However, he was a Muslim. In the New Testament, it says that “righteous Lot” “was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” (II Peter 2:7)

Jacob and his children were Muslims.

When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.” And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac — one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:131-133, Sahih International)

Jacob’s son Joseph called himself a Muslim.

My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” (Koran 12:101, Sahih International)

The ancient Israelites were Muslims.

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims.” (Koran 10:84, Sahih International)

Pharaoh became a Muslim before he died in the Red Sea.

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when drowning overtook him, he said, “I believe that there is no Deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:90, Sahih International)

King Solomon and the people he governed were Muslims.

So when she arrived, it was said [to her], “Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.” [Solomon said], “And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims [in submission to Allah]. (Koran 27:42, Sahih International)

Jesus’ disciples were Muslims.

When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do Thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Koran 3:52, Yusuf Ali)

“And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, ‘We have faith, and do Thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims.‘” (Koran 5:111, Yusuf Ali)

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

St. James, the brother of Jesus, said:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NKJV)

This concept of doing the will of God and submitting to Him is found in the New  Testament. A Muslim is one who submits to God. That is the basic meaning of the Arabic word.

There are Jews and Christians, called in the Koran “People of the Scripture,” who are Muslims and they have never heard of or read the Koran before.

Those to whom We sent the Book before this, — they do believe in this (revelation): and when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will) from before this. (Koran 28:52,53, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran teaches that some of the Jinn are Muslims. (Koran 72:1,8,13,14) So, a Muslim does not have to be a human being.

The Koran gives some characteristics which distinguish Muslims from non-Muslims. Muslims believe in one God. They are monotheists. In the Koran, it says:

Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” (Koran 3:64, Yusuf Ali)

There were many different Christian sects during the time of Muhammad in the seventh century. There were Tritheists, Maryamites, Nestorians, Arians, Sabellians, Bitheists, and other heretical sects. The Trinitarian monotheists were the Orthodox Christians. The words in this verse from the Koran are directed toward one of the heretical sects who acknowledged the existence of more than one god, like the Tritheists and the Bitheists, for example.

Those who worship others in addition to the one Triune God are idolaters and not Muslims.

Nor could he order you to take the angels and prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelief after you had been Muslims? (Koran 3:80, Sahih International)

Asking angels and deceased prophets to pray for one is not idolatry. There is no more harm in asking for their prayers than to ask for the prayers of a living human. In the 21st Surah, it says:

Say, “It is only revealed to me that your God is but one God; so will you be Muslims [in submission to Him]?” (Koran 21:108, Sahih International)

Muhammad accepted the New Testament and all of the Old Testament books of the Orthodox Christians. (The Protestants adopted a smaller Old Testament canon in the 16th century. The larger canon was used during Muhammad’s time.) This verse from the 29th Surah provides evidence that Muhammad accepted the Bible and that there were monotheistic Christians in the seventh century.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

Muslims, not only believe in the existence of only one God, but also accept the Bible of Orthodox Christians as authoritative. Here is more evidence that Muslims are people who accept the Bible.

Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:136, Sahih International)

Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.” (Koran 3:84, Sahih International)

You cannot guide the straying blind. You can make no one listen except those who believe in Our revelations and are Muslims. (Koran 30:53, Muhammad Sarwar)

[To whom Allah will say], “O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve, [you] who believed in Our verses and were Muslims. (Koran 43:68,69, Sahih International)

Notice in Koran 43:68,69 that it God says, “My servants” and “Our verses.” This is more evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Koran. One God, three Persons. All of the above cited verses also teach that Muslims accept the Koran. “We believe in that which has been revealed to us.” (Koran 29:46) “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us.” (Koran 2:136; 3:84) The revelations and verses mentioned in Koran 30:53 and Koran 43:69 include the Koran. Here is more evidence from the Koran that Muslims are those who accept the Koran.

If they will not respond to you, know that God has sent it with His knowledge and that He is the only God. Will you then become Muslims?” (Koran 11:14, Muhammad Sarwar)

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:89, Yusuf Ali)

Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:102, Yusuf Ali)

And struggle for God as is His due, for He has chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment in your religion, being the creed of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims aforetime and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness against you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind. So perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and hold you fast to God; He is your Protector — an excellent Protector, an excellent Helper. (Koran 22:78, Arberry)

Of course, someone may already be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran. (Koran 28:52,53) Koran 22:78 says that God named people Muslims aforetime. That means that Jews and Orthodox Christians were Muslims before the revelation of the Koran.

Two Persons of the Deity are mentioned in Koran 16:102: the Holy Spirit and one other. The other Person could be either the Father or the Son. Look at these verses from St. John’s Gospel.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV)

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26, NKJV)

The Helper (in some translations, the Comforter) is the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) The Helper is also called the Spirit of truth. (John 15:26) So, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth are all different names for the Third Person of the Deity. Now look at this passage from the same Gospel.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15, NKJV)

There are some imams and Islamic scholars who are teaching that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel and the Spirit of Truth in the Gospel according to St. John is Muhammad. The Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Truth or the Helper, is the Third Person of the Deity. What the imams and Islamic scholars are teaching is not true.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Koran says that “the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth.” (Koran 16:102)

Some other characteristics of a Muslim are that he invites others to come to God.

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 41:33, Sahih International)

That above-mentioned verse also says that he does righteousness. These verses also teach that Muslims live righteously.

Indeed, for the righteous with their Lord are the Gardens of Pleasure. Then will We treat the Muslims like the criminals? (Koran 68:34,35, Sahih International)

A Muslim repents whenever he sins.

We have advised the human being to be kind to his parents; his mother bore him with hardship and delivered him while suffering a great deal of pain. The period in which his mother bore and weaned him lasted for thirty months. When he grew-up to manhood and became forty years old, he then said, “Lord, inspire me to give You thanks for the bounties You have granted to me and my parents, and to act righteously to please You. Lord, make my offspring virtuous. Lord I turn to you in repentance; I am a Muslim.” (Koran 46:15, Muhammad Sarwar)

This verse from the 33rd Surah contains more qualities of a Muslim.

For Muslim men and women, — for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, — for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Koran 33:35, Yusuf Ali)

Now, I will talk about what the Koran says about Islam.

Islam is derived from a tri-literal root s-l-m. Salaam means peace in Arabic, that is, the absence of conflict. Islam means submission. Islam is submission to God that results in peace with God. In the Third Surah, it says:

In the sight of God Islam is the religion. The People of the Book created differences in the matters (of religion) because of their hostility among themselves, only after knowledge had come to them. Let whoever denies the revelations of God know that the reckoning of God is swift. (Koran 3:19, Muhammad Sarwar)

One who has adopted the Koranic version of Islam has surrendered his will to do God’s will. Jesus told us we must do that. (Matthew 7:21) If we do not agree to do God’s will, then we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Koranic version of Islam also demands that we accept and believe all of God’s revelations — the Bible and the Koran. The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety. (Koran 5:48, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations from God.

Nothing has been said to you which was not said to the Messengers who lived before you. Your Lord is certainly All-forgiving, but stern in His retribution. (Koran 41:43, Muhammad Sarwar)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers of God.

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

So, there should be no problem with a Christian accepting the Koran. There are mistranslations of the Koran. I have already demonstrated that in  previous blogs. One example is translating the Arabic word which means “three” as Trinity in Koran 4:171. Many of the non-Christian translators have rendered their interpretation of the Koran thinking that they are refuting Christians. They do not understand any of the basic doctrines of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the two natures of Christ. I accept the Koran, but not the mistranslations of it. I believe that the Koran teaches Trinitarian monotheism.

Elsewhere in the Third Surah, it says:

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good). (Koran 3:85, Yusuf Ali)

Islam is merely submitting to the will of God like Jesus taught. Remember St. James the brother of Jesus said: “Submit to God.” (James 4:7) Jesus also said:

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46, NKJV)

Much of what one sees being practiced by modern Muslims is derived from the Sunnah — that massive collection of hearsay. Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers. He received no new revelations. (Koran 41:43; 46:9) The Sunnah contains a lot of innovations and novel teachings. Much of the Sunnah contradicts the Bible and the Koran. I have already illustrated how it contradicts those Holy Books in previous blogs.

The religion of Islam also demands that we observe the dietary laws. There are some foods that are haraam, that is, forbidden.

Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 5:3, Shakir)

These dietary restrictions are virtually identical to those in the New Testament. (See Acts 15:28,29.) The only difference is the addition of the requirement to abstain from pork. I believe that the reason this requirement was given was so that the Muslims would not offend the Jews living in Mecca. They were obeying St. Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 10:32,33. The first generation Muslims believed all of the Scripture. (Koran 3:119)

God makes it possible for someone to accept Islam, that is, surrender his will to do God’s will.

Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to heaven. So God lays abomination upon those who believe not. (Koran 6:125, Arberry)

St. Paul said:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13, NKJV)

God works in us to do His will. We must cooperate with Him and submit.

So, Muslims are people who have surrendered their wills to do God’s will. They believe the Bible and the Koran. Someone can be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran though. (Koran 28:52,53) They accept the New Testament dietary laws in Acts 15:28,29. They abstain from pork if necessary in order not to offend Jews. They do righteousness and repent. They acknowledge the existence of only one God and worship and serve Him only. They invite others to come to God and submit to Him. The concept of submitting to God in order to do His will is taught in the Bible. Both the Koran and the Bible agree that those who refuse to submit to God and do His will will not inherit the Kingdom of God and enter Paradise. (Matthew 7:21; Koran 3:85) All of the novelties practiced by modern Muslims today come from the Sunnah and not from the Koran. Muhammad received no new revelations from God was not an innovation among the messengers of God. There were Muslims in Old Testament times. Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, and King Solomon are examples of Old Testament Muslims. They surrendered their wills to do God’s will. Jesus’ disciples were also Muslims. They followed Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said that we must do the will of His Father in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. They did that. (Matthew 7:21)

 

 

 

 

 

The Trinity in the Koran

June 27, 2017 1 comment

I am a Trinitarian monotheist. I worship one God who exists in three hypostases. I have been reading the Koran for the past two or three years and studying it. I see the Trinity all throughout the Koran. There is even a “mathematical miracle” in the Koran which suggests that God is Triune. In this blog post, I want to talk more about the Trinity in the Koran. I have already talked about this subject in previous blogs.

The Mathematical Miracle

I went to corpus.quran.com on the internet and I discovered something fascinating about the number of times the Arabic word for three. It occurs 21 times in the Koran. 21 is 3 times 7. Seven is the number which symbolically represents perfection or completion. Three symbolically represents the Trinity. Each Person of the Trinity is totally and completely God, but is distinct from the other Two.  The mystery of the Trinity is that three wholes make one whole. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. So, this number, 21 being three sevens, represents symbolically the Trinity.

Here are all of the places in the Koran where the number “three” occurs. Classical Arabic is inflected more than English. So, there are more forms for nouns and adjectives than in English.

nom. masc. thalāthu 24:58
nom. masc. indef. thalāthun (no occurrence)
nom. fem. thalāthatu 65:4
nom. fem. indef. thalāthatun 4:171; 18:22
acc. masc. thalātha 4:3; 18:25; 19:10; 24:58; 35:1
acc. masc. indef. thalāthan (no occurrence)
acc. fem. thalāthata 2:228; 3:41; 11:65
acc. fem. indef. thalāthatan 56:7
gen. masc. thalāthi 77:30
gen. masc. indef. thalāthin 39:6
gen. fem. thalāthati 2:196; 3:124; 5:89; 9:118
gen. fem. indef. thalāthatin 5:73; 58:7

The nominative masculine indefinite and accusative masculine indefinite forms of the Arabic word for “three” do not appear in the Koran.

Faulty Knowledge of Islamic Scholars

The vast majority of Islamic scholars and imams misunderstand the doctrine of the Trinity. (There are Christian preachers who also do not seem to understand the doctrine very well, too.) This misunderstanding is clearly shown by some of the English interpretations of the Koran. Here are some examples of what I am saying. Koran 4:171 has been interpreted (not translated) in these ways.

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Koran 4:171, Yusuf Ali)

People of the Book, do not exceed the limits of devotion in your religion or say anything about God which is not the Truth. Jesus, son of Mary, is only a Messenger of God, His Word, and a spirit from Him whom He conveyed to Mary. So have faith in God and His Messengers. Do not say that there are three gods. It is better for you to stop believing in the Trinity. There is only One God. He is too glorious to give birth to a son. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God alone is a Sufficient Guardian for all. (Koran 4:171, Muhammad Sarwar)

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All­-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (Koran 4:171, Mohsin Khan)

O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of Allah and the fulfilment of His Word through Mary and a spirit ˹created by a command˺ from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers and do not say, “Trinity.” Stop! — for your own good. Allah is only One God. Glory be to Him! He is far above having a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs. (Koran 4:171, Dr. Mustafa Khattab, the Clear Quran)

People of the Book! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and attribute to Allah nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah, and His command that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him (which led to Mary’s conception). So believe in Allah and in His Messengers, and do not say: (Allah is a) trinity. Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. Allah is indeed just one God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. Allah is sufficient for a guardian. (Koran 4:171, Abul Ala Maududi)

People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary, a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’- stop [this], that is better for you- God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust. (Koran 4:171, Abdul Haleem)

Any Christian who picks up a copy of one of these English versions of  the Koran and reads this verse would be immediately turned off. All of the translators have mistranslated, or rather misinterpreted, this verse. The Arabic word translated Trinity in this verse is thalāthatun. It is the nominative feminine indefinite form of the Arabic word for “three.” This form of the Arabic word for “three” occurs in one other place in the Koran: Koran 18:22.

Here is Yusuf Ali’s translation of Koran 18:22. Notice that he did not translate thalāthatun as Trinity as he did in Koran 4:171.

(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, – doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: “My Lord knoweth best their number; It is but few that know their (real case).” Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers. (Koran 18:22, Yusuf Ali)

Koran 4:171 is talking about the heresy of Tritheism. John Philoponus and couple of deposed Orthodox Christian bishops taught this heresy in the sixth century.

Orthodox Christians do not worship three gods. They worship only one God. The first words of the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed are: “We believe in one God.”

Another mistranslation in Koran 4:171 is the words:

Subḥanahu an yakuna lahu waladun.

Subḥanahu means “Glory be to Him.” An yakuna means “that He should be.” Lahu means “for Him.” Waladun means “begotten Child” or “begotten Son.” Yusuf Ali translated these words: “Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son.” Muhammad Sarwar translated the words: “He is too glorious to give birth to a son.” The other translators rendered these words similarly. Arberry, who was not a Muslim, translated these words: “Glory be to Him — that He should have a Son!”

Of course, we Christians do not believe that God sexually begot a Son. The term “being begotten” should not be interpreted literally. It is an expression used in the Bible for the procession of the Son from the Father.

We believe that the Father has no origin and no beginning. We believe that the Son (also called the Word) has an origin but no beginning. Likewise, we believe that the Holy Spirit has an origin but no beginning.

All three Persons of the Trinity share the same essence. In the Divine Liturgy, we sing: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence and undivided.” By essence, I am talking about the substance of which God consists. There are many different substances in the universe. Plastic, iron, water, oxygen, and wood are examples of substances. The substance of which God consists is unknown and in fact unknowable. Created substances are knowable. The uncreated substance of God is unknowable.

I remember all of the hype about discovering the so-called “God particle” by physicists. Well, any particle of matter that the scientists discover is not the divine essence. It is impossible to design a scientific experiment which will lead to the discovery of the divine essence.

Another example of a mistranslation of the Arabic is in this verse translated by Yusuf Ali.

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is. (Koran 19:35, Yusuf Ali)

The word translated “beget” in this verse is yattakhida. It means “He should take.” This verse is talking about the adoptionist heresy taught by the Paulinianists and the Nestorians. Orthodox Christians do not believe the adoptionist heresy. I have already explained what we mean when we say that the Father begot the Son. It is theological language which should not be interpreted literally.

A Mystery

One thing we cannot do is explain everything. No matter how much we learn there will always be something that we do not know. In the Bible, it says:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, to do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, LXX)

God reveals things to us through His prophets, but He does not tell us everything. There are still those “secret things” which belong only to the Lord our God. The Koran teaches the same thing.

To Allah do belong the unseen (secrets) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him goeth back every affair (for decision): then worship Him, and put thy trust in Him: and thy Lord is not unmindful of aught that ye do. (Koran 11:123, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad did not even claim to know everything.

I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor claim I to be an angel. Nor yet do I say, of those whom your eyes do despise that Allah will not grant them (all) that is good: Allah knoweth best what is in their souls: I should, if I did, indeed be a wrong-doer. (Koran 11:31, Yusuf Ali)

It also says in the Koran that we cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except that which He allows.

Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great. (Koran 2:255, Shakir)

God is incomprehensible. Furthermore, His words are inexhaustible.

If all the trees in the earth were pens and the ocean, with seven more oceans, were ink still these could not suffice to record all the words of God. God is Majestic and All-wise. (Koran 31:27, Muhammad Sarwar)

There will always be something else that we can learn from God. We will never know God completely.

So, whenever we Orthodox Christians speak about the Trinity we are talking about a mystery. How can three wholes be one whole? How can 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 when speaking about the Trinity is a mystery.

The Transcendent Hyperdimensionality of God

God is personal. He is knowable, although His essence is unknowable. God is also transcendent. He transcends time and space. In the Church’s hymns He is said to be pre-eternal as well as eternal

Hyperdimensionality is the quality of have more than three dimensions. We are aware of three dimensions: height, width, and depth. Scientists and mathematicians have hypothesized the existence of more than three dimensions. The tessaract, for example is a four dimensional object.

“God is love.” (I John 4:8) There is a passage in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians which teaches the hyperdimensionality of God’s love.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19, NKJV)

We should not think that God is three dimensional. He may very well be infinitely dimensional.

Back now to the subject of God’s essence. If it were possible to divide the divine essence into infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three Persons of the Deity. Perhaps, each infinitesimal particle possesses infinite dimensionality. This concept further compounds the mystery of the Deity.

We cannot even begin to understand how a four dimensional object would function. An infinite dimensional being would be far beyond our abilities to comprehend.

Divine Permeation

God “fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23) The Divine Essence permeates everything, even our souls and bodies. So, we should have no trouble believing that the Divine Essence permeated Jesus’ soul and body. However, the Divine Essence does not only permeate His soul and body, but also belongs to Him, just as it belongs to the Father and the Spirit. The Divine Essence does not belong to me or you, but it does belong to Him. Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

He also said:

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

We do not believe that Jesus is a hybrid of God and man in the same way that a mule is a hybrid of a horse and a donkey. The divine nature of Jesus is uncreated. The human nature of Jesus is created. The divine nature of Jesus permeates His human nature.

In Koran 4:171 it says:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His Word which He conveyed [literally, cast] unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

In this verse, the divine and human natures of Jesus can be seen. As a human, He is the son of Mary and “only a messenger of Allah.” As God, He is Allah’s Word which He cast to Mary.

Actually, the Word of Allah already permeated Mary’s body and soul and He permeates every created thing in the universe and beyond. So, the casting of His Word to Mary is an activity of the Deity — another mystery.

Jesus told His disciples:

He who receives you receives Me, and He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV)

St. John the Theologian was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. (Matthew 10:2) He was also a Muslim. (Koran 3:52) He wrote:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3, NKJV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NKJV)

The Koran says:

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

and:

If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil. (Koran 5:66, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran requires that we believe the words of St. John the Theologian regarding Jesus. Jesus is the incarnate Word of Allah. The Word of Allah is Allah. All three Persons of the Trinity possess the same essence. They are one God, but three distinct Persons.

Jesus is not a partner with Allah. He is Allah. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are Allah, but only the Word is Jesus. The Father and the Holy Spirit are not Jesus. Two heresies are condemned in this passage of the Koran. The first heresy is the Sabellian heresy. The Sabellians taught that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are Jesus.

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)

Each Person of the Trinity is Allah. Therefore, it is fitting for one Person of the Trinity to call another Person of the Trinity Allah. Each Person is worthy of worship as God. There is only one God. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. That is the Trinity math equation.

The second heresy is the Tritheist heresy. The Tritheists taught that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit are three different gods which do not share the same essence.

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 God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. (Koran 5:72,73, Pickthall)

Jesus, if you remember, said, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Some Koranic Proofs of the Trinitarian Dogma

In the 90th Surah, there is proof that God is a Trinity. It says:

Nay! I swear by this city. And you shall be made free from obligation in this city — and the begetter and whom He begot. Certainly We have created man to be in distress. (Koran 90:1-4, Shakir)

Muhammad followed the Koran. (Koran 6:50; 7:203; 10:15; 46:9) The Koran prohibits the swearing of oaths.

And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if you ordered them, they would go forth [in Allah ‘s cause]. Say, “Do not swear. [Such] obedience is known. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with that which you do.” (Koran 24:53, Sahih International)

He also accepted the Scriptures of the Christians.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

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 42:15, Pickthall)

Jesus told us not to swear oaths.

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’  But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37, NKJV)

Therefore, because Muhammad followed the Koran and the Scriptures of the Christians, he did not swear any oaths. The One swearing by the city in the passage from Koran 90 is the Holy Spirit. He swears by the New Jerusalem, the Father (the begetter), and the Son (the One whom the Father begot). The Holy Spirit says, “We [the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] created man in distress.”

In the Koran, it teaches that Jesus is Allah.

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. (Koran 61:14, Pickthall)

Notice that Jesus’ disciples did not say, “We are Your helpers for Allah.” They said, “We are Allah’s helpers.” Jesus’ question was, “Who are My helpers for Allah?” The disciples called Jesus Allah.

In the 19th Surah, it says:

He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of Him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. (Koran 19:21, Pickthall)

Here, all three Persons of the Trinity are mentioned. In Arabic, there are dual and plural number second person and third person pronouns. There is no dual number first person pronoun. The plural form of the first person pronoun serves also as the dual number form. So, the pronouns we and us can refer to two or more persons. In the above cited text, We and Us refer to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is a “revelation for mankind.” He is the incarnate Word of Allah. He is a mercy from the Father and the Holy Spirit. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit sent Him. (See Isaiah 48:16; John 3:17; 5:37.)

Of course, as God Jesus was already present in this world. The sending of the Son by the Father and the Holy Spirit is an activity of the Deity — another mystery.

Abraham Petitions Allah

The Torah is a light and guidance for mankind. (Koran 6:91,92) In the Torah, there is a theophany — a manifestation of God. God reveals Himself to Abraham as three men or angels.

And God appeared to him by the oak of Mambre, as he sat by the door of his tent at noon. And he lifted up his eyes and beheld, and lo! three men stood before him; and having seen them he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and did obeisance to the ground. And he said, Lord, if indeed I have found grace in Thy sight, pass not by Thy servant. Let water now be brought, and let them wash Your feet, and do Ye refresh Yourselves under the tree. And I will bring bread, and Ye shall eat, and after this Ye shall depart on Your journey, on account of which refreshment Ye have turned aside to Your servant. And he said, So do, as thou hast said. (Genesis 18:1-5, LXX)

Notice that Abraham spoke to all three as if they were one.

Although God manifested Himself as those three men or angels, He is omnipresent. After the men departed, Abraham still stood in the presence of the Lord. He petitioned God not to destroy the whole  city if ten righteous were present in the city.

And the men having departed thence, came to Sodom; and Abraam was still standing before the Lord. And Abraam drew nigh and said, Wouldest Thou destroy the righteous with the wicked, and shall the righteous be as the wicked? Should there be fifty righteous in the city, wilt Thou destroy them? Wilt Thou not spare the whole place for the sake of the fifty righteous, if they be in it? By no means shalt Thou do as this thing is so as to destroy the righteous with the wicked, so the righteous shall be as the wicked: by no means. Thou that judgest the whole earth, shalt Thou not do right? And the Lord said, If there should be in Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole city, and the whole place for their sakes. And Abraam answered and said, Now I have begun to speak to my Lord, and I am earth and ashes. But if the fifty righteous should be diminished to forty-five, wilt Thou destroy the whole city because of the five wanting? And He said, I will not destroy it, if I should find there forty-five. And he continued to speak to Him still, and said, But if there should be found there forty? And He said, I will not destroy it for the forty’s sake. And he said, Will there be anything against me, Lord, if I shall speak? But if there be found there thirty? And He said, I will not destroy it for the thirty’s sake. And he said, Since I am able to speak to the Lord, what if there should be found there twenty? And He said, I will not destroy it, if I should find there twenty. And he said, Will there be anything against me, Lord, if I speak yet once? But if there should be found there ten? And He said, I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake. And the Lord departed, when He left off speaking to Abraam, and Abraam returned to his place. (Genesis 18:22-33, LXX)

God spared Lot and his two daughters. Lot’s wife would have been spared if she had not looked back at the city. (See Genesis 19:15-22.)

In the Koran, it says:

And when the awe departed from Abraham, and the glad news reached him, he pleaded with Us on behalf of the folk of Lot. (Koran 11:74, Pickthall)

Here is evidence of the Trinity. It says that Abraham pleaded with Us (that is, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) on behalf of the folk of Lot. Remember the theophany in the Torah — three angels, one for each Person of the Trinity.

So, the Koran teaches the Trinitarian dogma of Orthodox Christians. It does not teach the heresies of the Sabellians and the Tritheists. It does not teach the adoptionist heresy of the Nestorians and Paulinianists.

Apostasy and a False Hadith

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

It is very unfortunate that there are many Muslims and predominantly Muslim countries who actually think that they have a moral mandate to put to death anyone who leaves Islam. The Koran and the Bible do not teach this. There are hadiths that do teach that, unfortunately. Those hadiths are based on hearsay reports and no intelligent person should think that the Islamic prophet actually commanded anyone to kill an apostate from Islam.

In the Old Testament, there is a passage in Deuteronomy which commands the Israelites to put to death by stoning those who apostatize from the monotheistic religion taught in the Torah and worship other gods.

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress His covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which He commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

The other peoples among whom the ancient Israelites were traveling when they were on their way to the land of Canaan were polytheists. Those who abandoned Abrahamic monotheism ended up accepting one of the polytheistic religions of the indigenous peoples in that part of the world. The first one to cast a stone at an apostate was supposed to be one of the witnesses. So, if the witness was bearing false witness against his neighbor — a violation of one of the Ten Commandments — he would also be guilty of murder as well. If anyone escapes the judgment of man for the commission of murder, he will most definitely not escape the judgment of God. (Genesis 9:5,6; Deuteronomy 32:35,43)

In the New Testament, apostates were not killed. The Christians disfellowshipped them.

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (I Corinthians 5:11, NKJV)

This verse in the New Testament abrogates the commandment in Deuteronomy 17:2-7. In the Koran, it says:

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (Koran 2:106, Yusuf Ali)

The commandment to disfellowship apostates is better than the one to kill them. By disfellowshipping them, the Christian community is able to nonverbally express their disapproval of the apostates’ practice of idolatry and hope that they eventually repent and return to the worship of the one Triune God.

Christians often just allowed the apostates and heretics to leave the Christian community on their own.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (I John 2:19, NKJV)

No one was killed for committing apostasy in the first century. By the way, the author of I John was a rightly guided Muslim (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52) and a messenger of Allah. He also wrote the Gospel according to St. John, two more epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

As for that which We inspire in thee of the Scripture, it is the Truth confirming that which was (revealed) before it. Lo! Allah is indeed Observer, Seer of His slaves. (Koran 35:31, Pickthall)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations. He received confirming ones — revelations which confirmed what the messengers before him had already taught.

Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the messengers before thee: that thy Lord has at His Command (all) forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty. (Koran 41:43, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers.

Say: I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner. (Koran 46:9, Pickthall)

He accepted the Scriptures of the Orthodox Christians.

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 God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

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. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

So, Muhammad accepted I Corinthians 5:11 and I John 2:19 as Holy Scripture. He never commanded anyone to put to death an apostate.

Furthermore, in the Koran it says that Muhammad followed the Koran.

I but follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 6:50, Yusuf Ali)

I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. (Koran 7:203, Shakir)

I only follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 10:15, Sahih International)

I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner. (Koran 46:9, Sahih International)

The Koran says that Muhammad was not supposed to be a compeller or controller over his ummah (community).

We are Best Aware of what they say, and thou (O Muhammad) art in no wise a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an him who feareth My threat. (Koran 50:45, Pickthall)

So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller. (Koran 88:21,22, Sahih International)

There are two passages in the Koran about apostasy. The first one is in the Fourth Surah.

Lo! those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way. (Koran 4:137, Pickthall)

It is very unreasonable to believe based on this verse that the Islamic prophet actually commanded his followers to kill apostates. The apostate described in this verse would have been stoned to death twice. He would have had to have been resurrected after the first stoning so that he could be stoned to death once more. No capital punishment for apostates is mentioned in this verse. The punishment is that God will never pardon him. That is to say, he receives eternal damnation at the Last Judgment. Also, God will never guide him “unto a way.” He is allowed to continue on in his error, much the same way as many atheists and agnostics do today.

The next passage pertaining to apostasy is in the 16th Surah.

Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief – save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith – but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: on them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom. That is because they have chosen the life of the world rather than the Hereafter, and because Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk. Such are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah hath sealed. And such are the heedless. Assuredly in the Hereafter they are the losers. (Koran 16:106-109, Pickthall)

The punishment that apostates receive is in the Hereafter — the afterlife. There is no commandment in these verses to kill an apostate.

Muhammad died in 632 A.D. In the ninth century, a collection of hadiths was compiled. It is called Sunan an-Nasa’i. The compiler of these hadiths was born in 829 and died in 915. Here is a hadith from this collection which falsely states that Muhammad told his followers to kill apostates.

It was narrated from ‘Ikrimah: “Some people apostatized after accepting Islam, and ‘Ali burned them with fire. Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘If it had been me, I would not have burned them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘No one should be punished with the punishment of Allah.’ If it had been me, I would have killed them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 4060)

Based on the teachings of the Koran and the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the Islamic prophet ever told anyone, “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.”

The hearsay  hadiths contain falsehood. The Koran and the Bible which the Koran confirms contain truth. The Koran says:

That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood and because those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. (Koran 47:3, Pickthall)

One can either follow falsehood — those hearsay hadiths — or the truth. Here is another passage of Scripture which Muhammad accepted.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV)

Let us obey the Koran and the Bible and “follow the truth from our Lord.” Ignore those hearsay hadiths. They really cannot be trusted. As-salamu alaykum.

The Sunday of Saint Fatima

May 14, 2017 Leave a comment

I am an Orthodox Christian. Today in our Church we commemorate the Samaritan woman with whom Christ spoke in John 4. The Bible does not tell us much about her. We know from Church history and from reading the lives of the Saints that her sons (Victor and Joses) and she were eventually martyred in about 66 A.D. They all became Christians and died professing their faith in Jesus Christ.

Saint Fatima is also commemorated on March 20.

The Russian Christians call her Svetlana. The Greek Christians call her Photina (or Photini). The Arab Christians call her Fatima.

It has been the practice of Christians since ancient times to name their children after Saints. A Christian’s Patron Saint’s feast day is his or her name day.

Guess what is the name of Muhammad’s oldest daughter. Fatima. Muhammad’s oldest daughter was named after the Samaritan woman in John 4. She had a Christian name.

I just thought that this would be something interesting to share.

CCM and CIM

May 12, 2017 Leave a comment

And unto David We gave the Psalms. (Koran 17:55, Pickthall)


Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy. (Psalm 33:2,3, NKJV)

I first discovered Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) during my college days back in the 1970s. I used to listen to the Pat Terry Group, Amy Grant, and many others. I still like to listen to CCM every now and then although I, as an Orthodox Christian, might disagree with some of the theology in some of the songs. There is also something which I call Contemporary Islamic Music (CIM). I do not know what the Muslims call it. There are some really great songs that many of the Muslim singers sing which we Christians would agree with and also enjoy. In this blog post, I am going to display a few CIM videos and a few CCM videos. I hope that my readers enjoy them.

“The Power” by Maher Zain

“Insha Allah” by Maher Zain

“Time Waits for No One” by Junaid Jamshed and the Native Deen

“Hello” by Omar Esa

“Hijab” by some Muslim women

“Never in Our Name” by Iman Farrar

“The Way of Love” by Maher Zain

I disagree with some things that Maher Zain says about Muhammad in the previous video. I do not believe that Muhammad is the source of truth. (God is the source of all truth.) There are some other things that he says in the video about Muhammad that I do not accept. I will simply let the Koran and the Bible say what needs to be said. Ponder on the Koran. (Koran 4:82; 38:29)

And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him. (Koran 3:144, Shakir)

We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

Jesus is the Light

He does have a great Mother’s Day song though.

“The Number One for Me” by Maher Zain

Here are some CCM videos.

“Awesome God” by Michael W. Smith

“El Shaddai” by Amy Grant

“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban

“The Lost Get Found” by Britt Nicole

I hope everyone has enjoyed the videos. I just wanted to make known to my fellow Christians that there is such a thing as Contemporary Islamic Music. Listen to the CIM songs and the CCM songs. Compare and contrast.

God Forgives: An Exegesis of Koran 3:129-136

Now, I want to do an exegesis on another passage from the Koran — Surah 3:129-136. This passage contains some good moral teaching plus promises of eternal bliss for those who believe in God and obey Him. It also contains some words that have been used by Christian apologists to prove the deity of Jesus Christ.

Some words about Orthodox Christian doctrine for my Muslim readers need to be said first. We Orthodox Christians are not Bitheists, nor are we Tritheists. We worship one God who exists in three distinct hypostases. These  hypostases (subsistences) are often called Persons. All three Persons of the Deity share the same essence (that is, substance). If one were to divide the Divine Essence into infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three Persons. We believe that the Father has neither a beginning, nor an origin. We believe that the Word (also called the Son) has an origin, but no beginning. We believe that the Holy Spirit has an origin, but no beginning. The procession of the Son from the Father is called “being begotten.” This does not mean that the Father had sexual relations with a female goddess or creature. There is only one God. Therefore, no female goddess exists. The Divine Essence does not possess genitals. Therefore, there was no sexual procreation involved in the origination of the Son. The terms “being begotten” and “begotten” are theological terms used in the Bible. No one should interpret them literally. The procession of the Holy Spirit is called “proceeding.” We believe that the Word of God became incarnate in the body of the Virgin Mary. Jesus, who is the incarnate Word of God, possesses both a divine nature and a human nature. The two natures of Jesus are joined together without separation, division, mixture, or change. The divine nature of Jesus was not converted into a human nature. The human nature of Jesus was not converted into a divine nature. The two natures are joined together by diffusion. The divine nature permeates the human nature of Jesus. The divine nature is omnipresent. The human nature is limited in space and time. Whenever we pray to the Son, we are praying to the same God that the Father and the Holy Spirit are. Whenever we pray to the Holy Spirit, we are praying to the same God that the Father and the Son are. All three Persons are one and the same God, but different hypostases of that God. So, whenever we say that Jesus is God, we are not saying that He is a different God from the Father. He is a different hypostasis of that God.

Now for the exegesis of the the text. The first verse in this passage is verse 129.

To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth. He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and punisheth whom He pleaseth; but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Koran 3:129, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran contains so many teachings which are very similar to those found in the Bible. The first sentence in this verse teaches what is taught in the Psalms. “To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and the earth.” Look at these four verses from the Psalms.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell in it. (Psalm 23:1, LXX; Psalm 24:1, Hebrew)

If I should be hungry, I will not tell thee: for the world is Mine, and the fullness of it. (Psalm 49:12, LXX; Psalm 50:12, Hebrew)

The heavens are Thine, and the earth is Thine: Thou hast founded the world, and the fullness of it.  (Psalm 88:11, LXX; Psalm 89:11, Hebrew)

The heaven of heavens belongs to the Lord: but He has given the earth to the sons of men.  (Psalm 113:24, LXX; Psalm 115:16, Hebrew)

The Koran and the Bible both teach that God owns everything. I remember the words of a song by Pat Terry in the 1970s: “Everything thing I own will still belong to Him.” Even though “He has given the earth to the sons of men” (Psalm 113:24, LXX; Psalm 115:6, Hebrew), He still owns it because He owns “all that dwell in it.” (Psalm 23:1, LXX; Psalm 24:1, Hebrew)

Now I want to talk about how Jesus inherits the universe that He created. As God, He already owns it. As Man, born under the covenants, He inherits it. In Galatians, it says:

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16, NKJV)

St. Paul, who wrote this epistle to the Galatians, used the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. He quoted from it frequently in his epistles. Here are some verses from the Septuagint version of Genesis.

And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I will give this land to thy seed. And Abram built an altar there to the Lord who appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7, LXX)

And God said to Abram after Lot was separated from him, Look up with thine eyes, and behold from the place where thou now art northward and southward, and eastward and seaward; for all the land which thou seest, I will give it to thee and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:14,15, LXX)

The Lord the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, who took me out of my father’s house, and out of the land whence I sprang, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, I will give this land to thee and to thy seed, He shall send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife to my son from thence. (Genesis 24:7, LXX)

Notice that the word, “seed,” is singular thus referring to only one Person, the Messiah or the Christ. In Romans, we learn that God promised the entire universe to Abraham and his Seed.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world (Greek, kosmos, universe) was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13, NKJV)

Before His death and resurrection, Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

After His death and resurrection, He said:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18, NKJV)

In Hebrews, it says:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds ( Greek, aionas, ages). (Hebrew 1:1,2, NKJV)

As God, Jesus already owned the universe. (John 16:15) As Man, He inherited the entire universe after He arose from the dead. (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:1,2)

God created not only the universe, but also time itself. (Hebrews 1:2) God the Father owns time, just like He owns the universe. Jesus owns time, too. (John 16:15)

In Romans, it says:

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16,17, NKJV)

Those who do the will of God and keep His commandments are His children. As children of God, they are also heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

In the 19th Surah of the Koran, it says:

It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to Us will they all be returned. (Koran 19:40, Yusuf Ali)

The Divine Essence permeates the human nature of Jesus. Each infinitesimal particle of the Divine Essence belongs to all three hypostases of the Deity. Therefore, God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) says, “It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon.” God already owns everything, but through the Son who became incarnate the other two hypostases inherit what They already own.

The existence of only one God who is a plural number of Persons can be seen in this passage from the 21st Surah.

Lo! this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me. And they have broken their religion (into fragments) among them, (yet) all are returning unto Us. (Koran 21:92,93, Pickthall)

God uses the singular first person pronoun, Me, in reference to Himself in 21:92 and the first person plural pronoun, Us, in reference to Himself in 21:93. The first person singular pronoun indicates that there is only one God. The first person plural pronoun indicates that He exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and punisheth whom He pleaseth.”

These words are also taught in the Bible. Look at these two passages.

But our God has done in heaven and on earth, whatsoever He has pleased. ( Psalm 113:11, LXX; Psalm 115:3, Hebrew)

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (Romans 9:14-18, NKJV)

“But Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Elsewhere in the Koran, it says:

For Thou art the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (Koran 7:151, Yusuf Ali)

and:

Grant Thou forgiveness and mercy for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy. (Koran 23:118, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran often emphasizes that God is merciful toward His creatures.

The Bible, likewise, teaches that God is merciful. According to the Bible, God is “rich in mercy.” (Ephesians 2:4) The Holy Prophet Micah said that God delights in mercy.

Who is a God like Thee, cancelling iniquities, and passing over the sins of the remnant of His inheritance? and He has not kept His anger for a testimony, for He delights in mercy. He will return and have mercy upon us; He will sink our iniquities, and they shall be cast into the depth of the sea, even all our sins. (Micah 7:18,19, LXX)

The Koran teaches that God forgives all sins.

Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Koran 39:53, Yusuf Ali)

The angels intercede before God for believers who have sinned.

Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire. (Koran 40:7, Sahih International)

It is the practice of us Orthodox Christians to ask for the prayers of their guardian angels. So, this notion about angels praying for people is not strange to us.

Faith in God is necessary for one to be forgiven by God. Both the Koran and the Bible teach this.

Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring. (Koran 20:73, Sahih International)

O our people! respond to Allah’s summoner and believe in Him. He will forgive you some of your sins and guard you from a painful doom. (Koran 46:31, Pickthall)

To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, NKJV)

The Koran tells us to believe in Muhammad and not just in him, but in all of the messengers of God.

O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Koran 57:28, Sahih International)

So believe in Allah and His messengers. If ye believe and ward off (evil), yours will be a vast reward. (Koran 3:179, Pickthall)

The Koran, like the Bible, teaches that repentance is also necessary in order for one to be forgiven by God.

O ye who believe! Turn unto Allah in sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your evil deeds and bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, on the day when Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their light will run before them and on their right hands; they will say: Our Lord! Perfect our light for us, and forgive us! Lo! Thou art Able to do all things. (Koran 66:8, Pickthall)

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19, NKJV)

People who refuse to repent and defiantly disobey God do not receive forgiveness from God. Both the Koran and the Bible teach this.

It is all the same for them whether you ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; never will Allah forgive them. Indeed, Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people. (Koran 63:6, Sahih International)

But unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3, NKJV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18, NKJV)

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:5-11, NKJV)

The next verse is verse 130.

O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but fear Allah; that ye may (really) prosper. (Koran 3:130, Yusuf Ali)

“O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied.”

Usury is loaning money at interest. Banks and credit card companies make money doing this. Historically, however, Christians regarded usury as a grave sin. It was not until the advent of Calvinist theology in the 16th century that Christians began loaning money at interest. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church were opposed to the practice of usury in ancient times.

There are prohibitions against usury in the Bible. In the Torah, the ancient Israelites were forbidden to loan money to a fellow Israelite at interest, but they were allowed to loan money to those who were not Israelites at interest.

And if thou shouldest lend money to thy poor brother who is by thee, thou shalt not be hard upon him. Thou shalt not exact usury of him. (Exodus 22:25, LXX)

Thou shalt not lend to thy brother on usury of silver, or usury of meat, or usury of any thing which thou mayest lend out. Thou mayest lend on usury to a stranger, but to thy brother thou shalt not lend on usury; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all thy works upon the land, into which thou art entering to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 23:19,20, LXX)

In the later books of the Bible, people were forbidden to loan money at interest to anyone, whether he be an Israelite or a foreigner.

O Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle? And who shall dwell in Thy holy mountain?… He has not lent his money on usury, and has not received bribes against the innocent. He that does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 14:1,5, LXX; Psalm 15:1,5, Hebrew)

He that increases his wealth by usuries and unjust gains, gathers it for him that pities the poor. (Proverbs 30:8, LXX; Proverbs 28:8, Hebrew)

Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me. (Jeremiah 15:10, NKJV)

But the man who shall be just, who executes judgment and righteousness, who shall not eat upon the mountains, and shall not at all lift up his eyes to the devices of the house of Israel, and shall not defile his neighbor’s wife, and shall not draw nigh to her that is removed, and shall not oppress any man, but shall return the pledge of the debtor, and shall be guilty of no plunder, shall give his bread to the hungry, and clothe the naked; and shall not lend his money upon usury, and shall not receive usurious increase, and shall turn back his hand from injustice, shall execute righteous judgement between a man and his neighbor, and has walked in My commandments and kept Mine ordinances, to do them; he is righteous, he shall surely live, saith the Lord. And if he beget a mischievous son, shedding blood and committing sins, who has not walked in the way of his righteous father, but has even eaten upon the mountains, and has defiled his neighbor’s wife, and has oppressed the poor and needy, and has committed robbery, and not restored a pledge, and has set his eyes upon idols, has wrought iniquities, has lent upon usury, and taken usurious increase; he shall by no means live: he has wrought all these iniquities; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. And if he beget a son, and the son see all his father’s sins which he has wrought, and fear, and not do according to them, and if he has not eaten on the mountains, and has not set his eyes on the devices of the house of Israel, and has not defiled his neighbor’s wife, and has not oppressed a man, and has not retained the pledge, nor committed robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has clothed the naked, and has turned back his hand from unrighteousness, has not received interest or usurious increase, has wrought righteousness, and walked in mine ordinances; he shall not die for the iniquities of his father, he shall surely live. (Ezekiel 18:5-17, LXX)

Behold, the princes of the house of Israel have conspired in thee each one with his kindred, that they might shed blood. In thee they have reviled father and mother; and in thee they have behaved unjustly toward the stranger: they have oppressed the orphan and widow. And they have set at nought My holy things, and in thee they have profaned My sabbaths. There are robbers in thee, to shed blood in thee; and in thee they have eaten upon the mountains: they have wrought ungodliness in the midst of thee. In thee they have uncovered the father’s shame; and in thee they have humbled her that was set apart for uncleanness. They have dealt unlawfully each one with his neighbor’s wife; and each one in ungodliness has defiled his daughter-in-law: and in thee they have humbled each one his sister, the daughter of his father. In thee they have received gifts to shed blood; they have received in thee interest and usurious increase; and by oppression thou hast brought thy wickedness to the full, and hast forgotten Me, saith the Lord. And if I shall smite My hand at thine iniquities which thou hast accomplished, which thou hast wrought, and at thy blood that has been shed in the midst of thee, shall thy heart endure? Shall thine hands be strong in the days which I bring upon thee? I the Lord have spoken, and will do it. (Ezekiel 22:6-14, LXX)

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Luke 6:35, NKJV)

The Church Fathers were opposed to usury. Here are some citations from two of them: St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom.

That the Fathers have been too gentle toward the idolatry of covetous persons, in condemning to penance only robbery, digging of graves, and sacrilege, whereas usury and oppression, though under colour of contract, are forbidden by Scripture. That highwaymen returning to the Church, be treated as murderers. They that pilfer, and then confess their sin to the priest, are only obliged to amendment, and to be liberal to the poor; and if they have nothing, to labour and give their earnings. (Canon VI, St. Gregory the Theologian, vol. 14, p. 611, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

Lend there, where thy return cannot be death, but life instead of death. For this usury is the harbinger of a kingdom, that, of hell; the one coming of covetousness, the other of self-denial; the one of cruelty, the other of humanity.  (Homily V on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, by St. John Chrysostom, vol. 10, p. 35, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

The canons of St. Gregory the Theologian were accepted by the Quinisext Council in its Second Canon in 692 A.D. The Quinisext Council is an extension of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils. Therefore, it is ecumenical and the Canons of St. Gregory, which were accepted by it, are binding on the whole Church.

Usury

“But fear Allah; that ye may really prosper.”

Those who fear God will truly prosper. The Bible teaches the same thing. He who fears God, begins to be wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and all that act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever and ever. (Psalm 110:10, LXX; Psalm 111:10, Hebrew)

The man who gets wisdom obtains long life (that is, immortality), wealth, and glory.

Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, and the mortal who knows prudence. For it is better to traffic for her, than for treasures of gold and silver. And she is more valuable than precious stones: no evil thing shall resist her: she is well known to all that approach her, and no precious thing is equal to her in value. For length of existence and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are wealth and glory: out of her mouth proceeds righteousness, and she carries law and mercy upon her tongue. Her ways are good ways, and all her paths are peaceful. She is a tree of life to all that lay hold upon her; and she is a secure help to all that stay themselves on her, as on the Lord. (Proverbs 3:13-18, LXX)

In the 22nd chapter of Proverbs it says:

The fear of the Lord is the offspring of wisdom, and wealth, and glory, and life. (Proverbs 22:4, LXX)

The offspring of wisdom means the beginning of wisdom as in Psalm 110:10 of the Septuagint. The fear of the Lord is also wealth, and glory, and life (that is, immortality). Departing from evil is a characteristic of a wise man.

Be not wise in thine own conceit; but fear God, and depart from all evil. (Proverbs 3:7, LXX)

A wise man fears, and departs from evil; but the fool trusts in himself, and joins himself with the transgressor. (Proverbs 14:16, LXX)

It is by fearing God that one departs from evil.

The fear of the Lord hates unrighteousness, and insolence, and pride, and the ways of wicked men; and I hate the perverse ways of bad men. (Proverbs 8:13, LXX)

But by the fear of the Lord every one departs from evil. (Proverbs 15:27, LXX; 16:6, Hebrew)

So, one who is willing to flirt with evil does not really fear God. Usury is evil. The way to depart from the practice of usury is to fear God. The thought of losing Paradise and inhabiting Hell should be enough to deter one from lending money at interest.

The next verse in this passage is verse 131.

Fear the Fire, which is repaired for those who reject Faith: (Koran 3:131, Yusuf Ali)

The Arabic word translated “repaired” by Yusuf Ali is usually translated “prepared” by most translators.

And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers. (Koran 3:131, Sahih International)

Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17,26) Those who refuse to do righteous deeds and avoid sin do not have genuine faith. They should not think that their dead faith will save them. The Bible speaks of the Fire which we all should fear.

The sinners in Sion have departed; trembling shall seize the ungodly. Who will tell you that a fire is kindled? Who will tell you of the eternal place? (Isaiah 33:14, LXX)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28, NKJV)

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 22:15, NKJV)

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8, NKJV)

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14,15, NKJV)

We need to remember that the Fire of Hell could also be our final abode if we refuse to demonstrate our faith in the practice of good deeds and the avoidance of evil deeds.

The next verse in this passage is verse 132.

And obey Allah and the Messenger; that ye may obtain mercy. (Koran 3:132, Yusuf Ali)

“And obey Allah and the Messenger.”

We are supposed to obey God and the Messenger. The Messenger is Muhammad. Muhammad did not receive any new revelations from God. In the 41st Surah, it says:

Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (Koran 41:43, Sahih International)

He was not an innovation among the Messengers of God. In the 46th Surah, it says:

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

In the Koran, it says that we should obey the Messengers of God.

And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. (Koran 4:64, Sahih International)

Muhammad and the first generation Muslims obeyed the Messengers of God that preceded Muhammad.

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers –- We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

The Koran says that Muhammad is a good example to follow.

Verily in the Messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much. (Koran 33:21, Pickthall)

If Muhammad believed in the messengers of God which preceded him and obeyed them, then we should do the same.

The first generation Muslims were 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. (Koran 3:110, Pickthall)

If the first generation Muslims believed in the messengers of God which preceded Muhammad and obeyed them, then we should do the same.

Jesus is a Messenger of Allah. He told people to obey Him.

And (I come) confirming that which was before Me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey Me. (Koran 3:50, Pickthall)

When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), He said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey Me. (Koran 43:63, Pickthall)

He claimed that He spoke the words of God.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak. (John 12:49,50, NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 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 14:23,24, NKJV)

“That ye may obtain mercy.”

Jesus said:

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36, NKJV)

He also said:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (Mattthew 5:7, NKJV)

St. James, who was either one of Jesus’ cousins or His stepbrother, was a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said that if we reject the message delivered to us by one of His disciples, then we reject Jesus. If we reject Jesus, then we also reject Allah the Father who sent Jesus. If we hear Jesus’ disciples, we hear Jesus. If we receive their teaching, we receive the teaching of Jesus which is the teaching of Allah.

He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV)

The Koran gives a stern warning to those who disbelieve Jesus and His disciples.

And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, “Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus.” They said, “We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah].” [And remember] when the disciples said, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven? [Jesus] said, “Fear Allah , if you should be believers.” They said, “We wish to eat from it and let our hearts be reassured and know that you have been truthful to us and be among its witnesses.” Said Jesus, the Son of Mary, “O Allah , our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers.” Allah said, “Indeed, I will send it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you — then indeed will I punish him with a punishment by which I have not punished anyone among the worlds. (Koran 5:111-115, Sahih International)

St. James wrote:

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:12,13, NKJV)

Those who are merciful to others will receive mercy from God. Those who are not merciful to others will receive no mercy from God.

I have seen on TV the lack of mercy that is being shown to innocent civilians in the Syrian Civil War. Syrian soldiers have used chemical weapons on unarmed civilians killing babies, children, and women as well as civilian men. Russian planes have bombed hospitals. There is a total lack of mercy being exhibited by these militaries. PISSI (the Pseudo-Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) has beheaded people and used innocent civilians as human shields. There is no mercy being displayed by this Pseudo-Islamic extremist organization. People who behave like this should not expect to receive mercy from God.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Prophets Solomon and Daniel said:

By alms and by faithful dealings sins are purged away. (Proverbs 15:27, LXX)

Therefore, O king, let my counsel please thee, and atone for thy sins by alms, and thine iniquities by compassion on the poor: it may be God will be long-suffering to thy trespasses. (Daniel 5:24, LXX; Daniel 4:27, Hebrew)

Giving alms to the poor is one way to show mercy. These acts of charity toward the poor are in stark contrast to the lender who lends money at interest. The Koran says:

If ye lend unto Allah a goodly loan, He will double it for you and will forgive you, for Allah is Responsive, Clement. (Koran 64:17, Pickthall)

The Bible agrees with the Koran. It says:

He that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and he will recompense to him according to his gift. (Proverbs 19:17, LXX)

Those who give to the poor lend to the Lord. That is what these verses from the Koran and the Bible teach.

The Holy Prophets Hosea and Micah taught us that God desires that we be merciful to others. God wants us to “love mercy.”

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6, NKJV)

Has it not been told thee, O man, what is good? Or what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and love mercy, and be ready to walk with the Lord thy God? (Micah 6:8, LXX)

Another way that we obtain mercy from God is through repentance and prayer.

Let the ungodly leave his ways, and the transgressor his counsels: and let him return to the Lord, and he shall find mercy; for He shall abundantly pardon your sins. (Isaiah 55:7, LXX)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)

So, there are four things that we need to be doing in order to obtain mercy from God: being merciful to others, giving to the poor, repenting of our sins, and praying to God. The Koran says that we should obey Jesus and the other messengers of Allah. Therefore, we need to do those things that the messengers of Allah told us to do in the passages I just cited from the Bible.

The next verse in this passage is verse 133.

Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous,- (Koran 3:133, Yusuf Ali)

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord.”

The Arabic verb translated “be quick in the race” is sāriʿū. It is a form 3 verb. Form three verbs indicate that someone else is present during the action of the verb or the action of the verb is reciprocal. In this verse, someone else is present during the action of the verb. This verb means “to hasten.” So, one is supposed to hasten while someone else is present. Pickthall translated the verb, “vie one with another.” I like Yusuf Ali’s translation. It is reminiscent of some passages in the New Testament which likens the Christian life to that of one running a race.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1,2, NKJV)

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (I Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV)

One obtains forgiveness from God through prayer, repentance, and forgiving others. (Isaiah 55:7; Sirach 28:2; Matthew 6:14,15; 18:35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37; Acts 3:19; I John 1:9; Koran 3:89; 4:16,146; 16:119; 24:5,22) All of the righteous men and women who have died are watching us as we continue on in this race. That is what the words, “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” mean in Hebrews 12:1.

“And a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous.”

This Garden might be a heavenly Paradise — one that is not of this world. Jesus told the repentant thief who was crucified next to Him.

Today you will be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43, NKJV)

In the Book of Ezekiel, it says:

And the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation for the Prince of Tyre, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou art a seal of resemblance, and crown of beauty. Thou wast in the delight of the Paradise of God; thou hast bound upon thee every precious stone, the sardius, and topaz, and emerald, and carbuncle, and sapphire, and jasper, and silver, and gold, and ligure, and agate, and amethyst, and chrysolite, and beryl, and onyx: and thou hast filled thy treasures and thy stores in thee with gold. From the day that thou wast created thou wast with the cherub: I set thee on the holy mount of God; thou wast in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast faultless in thy days, from the day that thou wast created, until iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:11-15, LXX)

The Prince of Tyre is Satan. Satan once inhabited this heavenly Paradise. He sinned against God and lost his right to remain in Paradise. This heavenly Paradise is where the souls of the righteous go after they die.

The next verse in this passage is verse 134.

Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; — for Allah loves those who do good;- (Koran 3:134, Yusuf Ali)

“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity.”

Instead of saying “give,” the Koran frequently says “spend.” Whenever one gives to the poor and those in need, one is purchasing treasure in heaven. That is what Jesus told the rich, young ruler. So, then one is spending as if he were shopping when he gives.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21, NKJV)

Jesus promised us that we would receive back more than we give.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38, NKJV)

The Koran tells us to whom we are supposed to “spend.”

They ask thee, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: that which ye spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good ye do, lo! Allah is Aware of it. (Koran 2:215, Pickthall)

It also tells us how much we are supposed to “spend.”

They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.” Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider. (Koran 2:219, Yusuf Ali)

In the Gospels, there is the example of the poor widow who gave all that she had.

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44, NKJV)

St. Paul told us to give in proportion to how much we have prospered.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: on the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (I Corinthian 16:1,2, NKJV)

Maybe we cannot give our entire livelihood like the poor widow did, but we all should give what is beyond our needs in proportion to how much we have prospered. The Pharisees gave ten percent of what they have earned. (Matthew 23:23; Luke 18:12) We should give more.

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20, NKJV)

St. Paul also said not to give out of compulsion. We should give willingly.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corithians 9:6,7, NKJV)

The Koran also teaches us that we should “spend” or give what we have earned. We should not  give to others something that we ourselves dislike or find disgusting.

O ye who believe! Spend of the good things which ye have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad (with intent) to spend thereof (in charity) when ye would not take it for yourselves save with disdain; and know that Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise. (Koran 2:267, Pickthall)

Jesus told us to do our charitable deeds in secret and not in order to be seen by men.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-4, NKJV)

We should give in prosperity or in adversity.

“Who restrain anger.”

The Bible has some teachings about anger.

“Be angry, and do not sin:” do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26,27, NKJV)

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22, NKJV)

The Bible, like the Koran, says that we should restrain anger. There is legitimate anger. There is also illegitimate anger. Becoming angry because someone killed children and innocent civilians with chemical weapons is legitimate anger. Becoming angry with someone because he did not help commit a crime is illegitimate anger. Hatred, outbursts of wrath, and dissensions are some of the works of the flesh which if practiced, will bar one from inheriting the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

“And pardon all men.”

Once in the Old  Testament, four times in the Gospels, and twice in the Koran, the principal that God forgives those who forgive others is taught. That is a total of seven times.

Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest. (Sirach 28:2, KJV)

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14,15, NKJV)

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet[d] and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35, NKJV)

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25,26, NKJV)

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37, NKJV)

Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Yusuf Ali)

O believers, among your wives and children there is an enemy to you; so beware of them. But if you pardon, and overlook, and if you forgive, surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. (Koran 64:14, Arberry)

Since this teaching is taught seven times in the Scriptures of the Christians and Muslims, it must be a very important doctrine. We also have the examples of Jesus on the Cross and St. Stephen the Protomartyr. (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59,60) Both asked God to forgive their enemies before they died.

The Koran has much to say about forgiving others.

Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing. (Koran 2:263, Sahih International)

Now whatever ye have been given is but a passing comfort for the life of the world, and that which Allah hath is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord, and those who shun the worst of sins and indecencies and, when they are wroth, forgive, and those who answer the call of their Lord and establish worship, and whose affairs are a matter of counsel, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them, and those who, when great wrong is done to them, defend themselves [help themselves]. (Koran 42:36-39, Pickthall)

The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong. (Koran 42:40, Yusuf Ali)

But surely he who bears patiently and is forgiving — surely that is true constancy. (Koran 42:43, Arberry)

Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn. (Koran 45:14, Pickthall)

“For Allah loves those who do good.”

Of course, God loves everyone. However, He does not love everyone in the same way. In Greek, there are four different words for love. Eros is sexual love. Agape is unconditional love. Philos is friendship love. Storge is natural affection for one’s relatives. Arabic, like English, does not have different words for the different kinds of love. It has only one word for love. When the Koran says, “Allah loves those who do good,” it is talking about friendship love (philos). God is a friend to those who do good.

In the Bible, Jesus said:

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21, NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23, NKJV)

People who obey God, love God. Those who love God become aware of God’s love for them. So, those who do good are aware that God loves them.

Jesus also said:

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:14, NKJV)

St. James said:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:21-23, NKJV)

He also said:

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4, NKJV)

When we obey God, we become friends of God. So, God loves those who do good as His friends. We should understand those words from the Koran in this way. Allah loves those who do good as His friends and they become aware of Allah’s love for them while doing good.

Now, let us look at verse 135.

And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, — and who can forgive sins except Allah? — and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. (Koran 3:135, Yusuf Ali)

“And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls.”

Whenever we sin we wrong our own souls. The wages of sin is death, that is, the Second Death spoken of in the Book of Revelation. (Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:8)

“Earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins.”

Those who repent become aware that God sees their sins and ask God to forgive them.

“And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in the wrong they have done.”

Pickthall translated this part of this verse: “And will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did.”

Jesus told this parable in order to illustrate what true repentance consists of.

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32, NKJV)

The one who does the will of God after repenting is the true repenter. The one who says he repents but persists in doing the same deeds over again did not genuinely repent. Repentance brings about a change in behavior.

St. John the Baptist said:

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NKJV)

The fruits worthy of repentance are a change in behavior resulting in one doing good and abstaining from evil.

“And who can forgive sins except Allah?”

Here is proof from the Koran that Jesus is Allah. The Koran says:

Let the people of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

So, I have read in the Koran that only God (Allah) can forgive sins. Now, in the Gospel according to St. Mark, there is this account of Jesus performing a miracle.

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 12:3-12, NKJV)

The Jewish scribes were thinking in their hearts that Jesus was speaking blasphemies when He told the paralytic that His sins were forgiven. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus said that He had power (that is, authority) on earth to forgive sins. He told the man to take up His bed and walk. The man did that. He was healed because his sins were forgiven. If Jesus can forgive sins and only God can do that, then Jesus is God (Allah).

Now, for the last verse in this passage, verse 136.

For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, —  an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)! (Koran 3:136, Yusuf Ali)

“For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord.”

This means that on the Day of Judgment those who have given to the needy and the poor, restrained their anger, and forgiven others will be acquitted.

Remember the words of Jesus in the Gospels.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40, NKJV)

People who help others are the kind of people who will inherit the Kingdom of God. So, the Koran confirms the Gospel. (See Koran 3:3,4.) It teaches the same thing, but in different words. However, one must also restrain his anger and forgive others who have wronged him.

In the Bible, it says:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7, NKJV)

In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14, NKJV)

Jesus is our sacrifice for sins. We have redemption through His blood.

“And Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, —  an eternal dwelling.”

The Bible teaches that there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. We will not have a different Heaven and Earth than we have already. We will have this one which has been renewed. “The Earth abides forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5) So, the inheritance of the righteous is this Earth after it has been renewed.

In Isaiah, there are prophecies about the Earth becoming a Paradise.

Then shall there be rain to the seed of thy land; and the bread of the fruit of thy land shall be plenteous and rich: and thy cattle shall feed in that day in a fertile and spacious place. Your bulls and your oxen that till the ground, shall eat chaff mixed with winnowed barley. And there shall be upon every lofty mountain and upon every high hill, water running in that day, when many shall perish, and when the towers shall fall. And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold in the day when the Lord shall heal the breach of his people, and shall heal the pain of thy wound. (Isaiah 30:23-26, LXX)

Behold the city of Sion, our refuge: thine eyes shall behold Jerusalem, a rich city, tabernacles which shall not be shaken, neither shall the pins of her tabernacle be moved for ever, neither shall her cords be at all broken: for the name of the Lord is great to you: ye shall have a place, even rivers and wide and spacious channels: thou shalt not go this way, neither a vessel with oars go thereby. For my God is great: the Lord our judge shall not pass me by: the Lord is our prince, the Lord is our king; the Lord, He shall save us. (Isaiah 33:20-22, LXX)

Be glad, thou thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and My people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. (Isaiah 35:1,2, LXX)

Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land. And the dry land shall become pools, and a fountain of water shall be poured into the thirsty land; there shall there be a joy of birds, ready habitations and marshes. (Isaiah 35:6,7, LXX)

But I will open rivers on the mountains, and fountains in the midst of plains: I will make the desert pools of water, and a thirsty land watercourses. I will plant in the dry land the cedar and box, the myrtle and cypress, and white poplar: that they may see, and know, and perceive, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has wrought these works, and the Holy One of Israel has displayed them. (Isaiah 41:18-20, LXX)

Remember ye not the former things, and consider not the ancient things. Behold, I will do new things, which shall presently spring forth, and ye shall know them: and I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land. The beasts of the field shall bless Me, the owls and young ostriches; for I have given water in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land, to give drink to My chosen race, My people whom I have preserved to tell forth My praises. (Isaiah 43:18-21, LXX)

And now I will comfort thee, O Sion: and I have comforted all her desert places; and I will make her desert places as a garden, and her western places as the garden of the Lord; they shall find in her gladness and exultation, thanksgiving and the voice of praise. (Isaiah 51:3, LXX)

God will turn the desert places of this world into fertile plains and forests. There will be more rivers running through the arid regions of this planet.

“How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!”

Yes, the afterlife will be a most blessed existence for those who inherit the Kingdom of God. These words from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans conclude my exegesis of this passage from the Koran.

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:5-11, NKJV)

Salvation is a paradox. It is a gift. We cannot earn it, but we must still work for it.

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Leaving the Straight Path

March 3, 2017 Leave a comment

One of the petitions in the Fatihah — a prayer prayed frequently by Muslims — is “Guide us to the straight path.” (Koran 1:5) Unfortunately, many Muslims have disobeyed the teachings of the Koran and have left the straight path — the path to salvation, the path to immortality, the path to Paradise.

I have quoted this verse often in my blogs. I will quote it again here.

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

The Scripture which God has “revealed aforetime” is the Bible. Muslims ignore the Bible and do not take the time to read it. Many of their religious leaders have told them that the Bible has been corrupted. They have convinced them that the Koran replaces a corrupted Bible when the Koran teaches exactly the opposite. How can someone believe in the Scripture which God has “revealed aforetime” if he never reads it and studies it? Would not God protect this Scripture from corruption if He wanted people to believe it? Koran 4:136 says to believe the Koran and believe the Bible. It does not say believe the Koran only and reject the Bible.

Here is another verse from the Koran which says to believe God’s messengers.

Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. (Koran 5:12, Pickthall)

The Children of Israel were required to believe God’s messengers. Whoever disbelieved them went “astray from a plain road.” In the Koran, it says that the Torah — the first five books of the Bible — is “a light and guidance for mankind.”

And they measure not the power of Allah its true measure when they say: Allah hath naught revealed unto a human being. Say (unto the Jews who speak thus): Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance for mankind, which ye have put on parchments which ye show, but ye hide much (thereof), and (by which) ye were taught that which ye knew not yourselves nor (did) your fathers (know it)? Say: Allah. Then leave them to their play of cavilling. (Koran 6:92, Pickthall)

Since every Muslim is a member of mankind, the Torah is, therefore, a light and guidance for him, too. When he rejects the Torah, he rejects God’s revelation. The Koran says:

And they who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of hell. (Koran 5:10, Pickthall)

The Koran says that the Torah and the Gospel are “a guidance to mankind.”

He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel aforetime, for a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Criterion (of right and wrong). Lo! those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. Allah is Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong). (Koran 3:3,4, Pickthall)

It  says that in the Gospel there is “guidance and a light.”

And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before Him in the Torah, and We bestowed on Him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah – a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). (Koran 5:46, Pickthall)

The Koran cautions people about disbelieving Jesus’ disciples.

(They said:) We wish to eat thereof, that we may satisfy our hearts and know that thou hast spoken truth to us, and that thereof we may be witnesses. Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance, for Thou art the Best of Sustainers. Allah said: Lo! I send it down for you. And whoso disbelieveth of you afterward, him surely will I punish with a punishment wherewith I have not punished any of (My) creatures. (Koran 5:113-115, Pickthall)

Jesus had two groups of disciples, the Twelve and the Seventy. (Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 10:1) Much of the New Testament was written by some of these disciples. The writings of St. Paul were accepted by St. Peter as Scripture.

And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (II Peter 3:15,16, NKJV)

St. Peter was one of the Twelve. (Matthew 10:2)

Jesus said to the Twelve:

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV; see also John 13:20.)

When someone receives the writings of the Twelve, he receives Allah. Jesus told the Seventy:

He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

When someone rejects the writings of one of the Seventy, he rejects Allah. St. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the Epistle of James in the New Testament. He was one of the Seventy.

It is important that one believe all of the messengers of Allah. The Koran says:

Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works? Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work. Those are they who disbelieve in the revelations of their Lord and in the meeting with Him. Therefor their works are vain, and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them. That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers. (Koran 18:104-107, Pickthall)

Those other messengers are those who wrote the books of the Bible. The Koran teaches that people who refuse to believe the Bible will be rewarded with hell.

What has happened is people have misinterpreted verses in the Koran and then looked at the Bible and have seen that the Bible does not teach their interpretation of the Koran. So, they say the Bible has been corrupted.

Here is an example of what I am saying. In the Koran, it says:

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger — they slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew Him not for certain. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

The Jews did not slay Jesus. That is true. The Roman soldiers nailed Him to a cross. Jesus said:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

No one killed Jesus. He voluntarily laid down His life.

This verse in the Koran appears to contradict what the Bible says, but that is not true. Muslims are supposed to ask an Orthodox Christian when they have doubts about the meaning of a verse in the Koran. (Koran 10:94) Jesus has both a divine nature (John 1:1-4; Koran 4:171) and a human nature (Luke 2:40, 52; Koran 5:75). The two natures are joined together inseparably without division, change, or mixture. He is one Person, not two Persons in one body. His soul and His body are human. The divine essence that permeates His soul and body are divine. Every infinitesimal particle of His divine essence belongs to the Father and the Holy Spirit as well as to Himself. All Three Persons share the same essence, but are distinct Persons. Each Person is God in His entirety, but there is only one God. When Jesus died, His soul left His body, but because of the inseparable union of His humanity with His divinity, He could not stay dead. His soul and body were still joined together outside of space and time. So, He appeared to be dead, but was in fact not dead because of the union of the divine and human natures. The Arabic words translated “but it appeared so to them” could also be translated “but He appeared to them repeatedly.” Those words of the Koran could be talking about His resurrection. After He arose from the dead (in space and time), He appeared to His disciples on many occasions over a forty day period of time. (Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:3-8)

The Koran confirms the Bible.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

It does not contradict it. Any interpretation of the Koran that contradicts the Bible is a misinterpretation.

It is because of these misinterpretations of the Koran that many Muslim religious leaders have formed the opinion that the Bible has been corrupted. There are variant readings among the manuscripts of the Bible. There are manuscripts of the Bible which predate the birth of Muhammad by two hundred or three hundred years. Those manuscripts say that Jesus died on a cross and arose from the dead on the third day. They do not teach the things those who misinterpret Koran 4:157 say. There are variant readings among the manuscripts of the Koran, too. There are at least 26 different Arabic versions of the Koran. We Christians do not let the textual variants affect our faith. We accept them and try to reach the true meaning of a Biblical text by comparing them and studying them. No major doctrine of Orthodox Christianity has been undermined by the textual variants in the Bible.

Muslims need to obey the Koran and believe the Bible. Those who reject the Bible have “wandered far astray” and will be rewarded by Allah with hell. That is what the Koran teaches. By rejecting the Bible and disbelieving those other messengers of Allah, Muslims reject the straight path for which they pray in the Fatihah.

I have watched videos on Youtube where Muslim sheiks and imams talk about various religious topics. They say, “The prophet (peace be upon him) said…” They never say what the other prophets said. What about Micah, Amos, Isaiah, Samuel, David, Solomon? Why do they never quote them? If you reject those other prophets, you are not on the straight path. The Koran is like the final summary paragraph of an essay. By accepting only the Koran, you have omitted the body of the essay. The Bible provides more detail than the Koran does. The Koran speaks about the creation of man, but the Bible gives more detail which is important to know.

So, stay on the straight path and do not be a Muslim without a Bible. Islam without the Bible is not genuine Islam.