Muhammad and America, part 3/3
Posted by Parsin on June 4, 2008
Analysis of Some of the Propaganda Attacks Against Islam
3. Victory Over the Grave
In this section the writer states:
Mohammad is dead. Muslims follow a dead man. At the core of Christianity is the resurrection of Christ. The empty tomb validates the claims of Christ and inspires his followers. Over five hundred people witnessed Christ in his resurrected form. The resurrected Mohammad has yet to be seen.
This statement by the writer, like the relationship between one’s salvation and one’s good deeds, from the Islamic point of view is totally correct. Yes, the Qur’an has introduced Mohammad (PBUH) as the only prophet with the responsibility of the safekeeping and delivering the divine word to mankind. In the battle of “Uhod,” a group of Muslims who had lost the will to fight because they thought Mohammad (PBUH) had died and were about to surrender, were admonished by the following verse:
“Muhammad is no more than an Apostle: many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to God;…
The Qur’an strongly insists on the issue of Monotheism, that is worshiping one god and refraining from exaggerating and exceeding the bounds of elevating religious figures. That is why the Qur’an has stated the best quality of Mohammad (PBUH) as servitude in the service of God.
The Qur’an repeatedly stresses to the prophet that you are not the representative, the guardian (of faith,) the imposer (of religion,) and the dictator, that your only role is to profess the divine word and be the bearer of glad tidings for those worthy of receiving such news and the manifester of danger to those who have strayed from the path of the righteousness.
Many times in the Qur’an it is stated that guidance is exclusively in the hands of God and the Prophet, no matter how willing he may be in guiding the servitude, he will not be able to do it.
The Christians celebrate the birth of Christ which is a personal issue and the Muslims celebrate Eid Fetr which is at the end of the month of fasting, and Eid Ghorban which is at the end of the rituals of Hajj.
The origin of the Christian calendar is the birth of Christ and the origin of the Islamic calendar is the historic departure (Hijrah) of the believers from Mecca for Medina, which is an issue that has to do with the Islamic community and not the person of the Prophet. As a matter of fact, Christ as introduced in the Qur’an, is a model of pure servitude and total submission to God and void of the ornaments that have been associated with him by his followers in the later centuries.
Many times this verse from Jesus has been repeated in the Qur’an:
“Worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” (5:72)
The disciples who were the first true followers of Jesus understood and observed the limits of monotheism and polytheism correctly. According to the Qur’an, when Jesus asks for their help and says, “Who will help me in the way of God,” the disciples, instead of saying we will help you, say, “We are the helps of God [!],” and they add, “We have faith in God, be witness to the fact that we are Muslims.”
The point is to consider God to be ever-lasting and the resolver of human problems, the one who hears and sees, the one who is present and is a witness and the care taker, and this is not exclusive to the Muslims. The first followers of Jesus and today’s monotheists and pure Christians have and always have had the same opinion. Now if someone instead of practicing monotheism and purity seeks help from one of God’s creatures and considers him to be present in times of happiness and sorrow, then that is a matter between that person and his/her god. Neither having an empty tomb is a sign of virtue and superiority for a particular sect, nor having a full tomb is a sign of worshiping the dead.
He, who never dies, death and life are in his hands, and night and day, the moon and the sun and the stars are created by him, is worthy of being praised and worshipped and this is the essence of the word of all prophets, especially that of Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon them all.)
At the end of the article the writer concludes with the following from his writing:
“Mohammad and Christ are different. Islam and Christianity are different; they are not two different roads that lead to the same place. …Orthodox Islam and historical Christianity cannot both be true. To say that they are the same is like going out to the interstate and saying I-10 West and I-10 East both go to Houston. They don’t, they can’t. It is impossible for both Christianity and Islam to be correct. They go two different directions.”
Yes, polytheism and monotheism, worshiping prophets and worshiping God, the way of the prophets and the way of the administrators of religion are two different ways, but according to the teachings of the Qur’an, prophets are different teachers of the same school and their message is the same. The followers of the prophets, like the students of the same school, follow the same curriculum and are part of the same family.
God recommends to the Prophet of Islam to invite the people of the book (Jews and Christians) to unite around the three axis which are acceptable to both people:
Not to worship anyone but Allah,
Not to associate anyone as equal to him,
Not to accept anyone as master but God.
As you can see what Islam requires of the people of the book is nothing other than respecting the way of their own laws. In the Qur’an, Muslims have been ordered twice not to discriminate among the prophets and not to slip into the race and tribal discrimination that has plagued the Israeli people, but to insist on submission to God of the worlds in spite of their reluctance towards their discrimination, disunion and disputes.
The Qur’an orders the Muslims to instead of aggravating the differences between the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians, to emphasize the shared values and unity of all the prophets according to the following:
Say: “We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: we make no distinction between one and another among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam).” (3:84)
And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the Revelation which has come to us and in that which came down to you; our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” (29:26)
The Qur’an teaches the Muslims that the ways of all Canon Laws are branches of the same monotheistic religion, that is the religion of submission to God, and that the will of God is not in making all sects the same but in creating variety in order to compete for perfection:
To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what God hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have We prescribed a Law and Open way. If God had so willed, He would have made you a single People, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to God; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute; (5:48)
The praise that the Qur’an places on the good members of the people of the book is more than what it places on Muslims. Compare this generosity, magnanimity and fairness with the narrow mindedness and patriarchal and tribal prejudice of a group who have limited this worldwide compassion to their own people and religion.
There are many points attesting the above and we shall sample some of them:
… We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy… (57:27)
Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, “We are Christians”: because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. (5:82)
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 enjoined 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. (5:66)
O Apostle! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission. And God will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For God guideth not those who reject faith. (5:67)
Say: “O people of the book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” It is the revelation that cometh to thee from the Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith. (5:68
Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, — any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, –on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve. (5:69)
And all of them are alike: of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right); they rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. (3:113)
Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well those that do right. (3:115)
If according to the writer, orthodox Islam and historic Christianity are on two totally separate paths, instead Jesus and Mohammad (peace be upon them), (Torah and Bible) and the Qur’an, honest Muslims and the honest people of the Book are totally on the same path and going toward the same target, the God of the two worlds, even though this may not be to the liking of some people.
1 Even though the writer is a Christian himself and the Christians were being tortured and slaughtered for centuries by rulers under the influence of the Jews, and the most opposition against Jesus was from the Jewish writers and the Pharisees, he always supports their claims against the Muslims and gives them the right to do so.
2 The statement is written in such a way as to give the impression that the members of this tribe were killed for not accepting Islam! There is neither mention of war nor of protracted treachery and cooperation to plot with those attacking Medina (in the Ahzar war) which pushed the Muslims to the brink of total slaughter and irradication during the several months of the siege of the city!, nor of their back-stabbing in spite of the existence of a peace treaty, nor of their condemnation in a court whose judge, a Muslim born as a Jew who was respected by both sides and who had been elected by them.
In our times, when the United Nations, the Security Council, the Red Cross and the guardians of Human Rights have been established, of course, there are easier legal tools at our disposal. But the analogy of our time with a historical phenomenon related to the tribal relations at a time when today’s legal systems were non-existent and the problems were solved in easier ways, is unscientific and anachronistic. Aside from that, didn’t the Jews trace and punish the war criminals and the main factors responsible for the ovens designed for burning humans? In today’s world which national crime would be met with connivance? How then is this expected of a society living in Saudi Arabia fourteen centuries ago? Not to mention that the Statistics and numbers presented, with respect to the light population at the time, are in doubt.