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Dawah and Interfaith

Dialogue with the People of the Book II

Published

The following is an AlMaghrib class project that achieved top honors in the “Heavenly Hues” class given by Shaykh Yaser Birjas. See the other winning paper from a previous class here.

Dialogue with the People of the Book by Reem Abou-samra

The methodology of dialogue with the People of the Book, as described in the Quran is divided into three subcategories: before, during, and after.

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Before:

Before any dialogue can be done between Muslims and the People of the Book, it must be recognized that Muslims are commanded by Allah (swt) to spread the message.

3:104 Let there be people among you, who invite to the best (ie religion) and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil

Know Your Audience:

Before a Muslim can begin their dialogue with the People of the Book they must recognize their audience. They need to be both mentally and spiritually prepared. Therefore, Allah (swt) gives us examples of the past of the People of the Book and the reactions they had to the call of Islam.

4:153 The people of the Book ask you to cause a book to descend to them from heaven: Indeed they asked Moses for an even greater (miracle), for they said: “Show us Allah in public,” but they were dazed for their presumption, with thunder and lightning. Yet they worshiped the calf even after clear signs had come to them; even so we forgave them; and gave Moses manifest proofs of authority.

They will ask something of you that is beyond your control. Therefore, one must be well versed in the miracles of Islam and the prophets so that, at least you can give examples.

2:79 Woe, then, unto those who write down, with their own hands, [something which they claim to be] divine writ, and then say. “This is from God,” in order to acquire a trifling gain thereby; woe, then, unto them for what their hands have written, and woe unto them for all that they may have gained!

4:46 Among those of the Jewish faith there are some who distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of their context and saying, [as it were,] “We have heard, but we disobey,” and, “Hear without hearkening,” and, “Hearken thou unto us, (O Muhammad)” – thus making a play with their tongues, and implying that the [true] Faith is false. And had they but said, “We have heard, and we pay heed,” and “Hear [us], and have patience with us,” it would indeed have been for their own good, and more upright: but God has rejected them because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth – for it is in but few things that they believe.

They may have tried to twist and turn the words of Allah (swt) in the past, but the Quran is here to stay, therefore in order to prevent them from doing so, one must be familiar with the Quran and at least the most basic of meanings.

2:91 For when they are told, “Believe in what God has bestowed from on high,” they reply, “We believe [only] in what has been bestowed on us”-and they deny the truth of everything else, although it be a truth confirming the one already in their possession. Say “Why, then, did you slay God’s prophets aforetime, if you were (truly] believers?”

They are claiming here that their faith is the truth; however as a Muslim we need to understand both why they believe it may be the truth and why we ourselves see it as turning into a corrupted truth. Meaning, we should understand the major theological differences and how the concept of monotheism may have been breached.

5:44 Verily, it is We who bestowed from on high the Torah, wherein there was guidance and light. On `its strength did the prophets, who had surrendered themselves unto God, deliver judgment unto those who followed the Jewish faith; and so did the [early] men of God and the rabbis, inasmuch as some of God’s writ had been entrusted to their care; and they [all] bore witness to its truth. Therefore, [O children of Israel,] hold not men in awe, but stand in awe of Me; and do not barter away My messages for a trifling gain: for they who do not judge in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high are, indeed, deniers of the truth!

They have turned the utility of religion into politics, which is problematic, because religion is for God, rather than worldly gain, and we need to understand that we cannot fall into this same trap.

5:64 And the Jews say, “God’s hand is shackled!” It is their own hands that are shackled; and rejected [by God] are they because of this their assertion. Nay, but wide are His hands stretched out: He dispenses [bounty] as He wills. But all that has been bestowed from on high upon thee [O Prophet] by thy Sustainer is bound to make many of them yet more stubborn in their overweening arrogance and in their denial of the truth. And so We have cast enmity and hatred among the followers of the Bible , [to last] until Resurrection Day; every time they light the fires of war, God extinguishes them ; and they labor hard to spread corruption on earth: and God does not -love the spreaders of corruption.

9:30 AND THE Jews say, “Ezra is God’s son,” while the Christians say, “The Christ is God’s son.” Such are the sayings which they utter with their mouths, following in spirit assertions made in earlier times by people who denied the truth! [They deserve the imprecation:] “May God destroy them!” How perverted are their minds!

Some of the People of the Book insult God directly, attributing to Him (swt) human qualities, and we need to understand these misattributes and show how they are false. In the example above, they are in a way calling Allah (Swt) poor, and in the second example they are stating the God has children, which are human qualities that need to be deconstructed. I the same verses, Allah (swt) provides us with the correct responses via the Quran.

These are just a few examples of the claims the People of the Book have made.

Keep unbiased opinions:

Allah (swt) commands us to maintain justice through keeping unbiased opinions, however that doesn’t mean that we should anticipate things. Therefore, when speaking to the People of the Book, know that one must keep an open mind, not everyone is the same. Therefore, Allah (swt) doesn’t only provide us with examples of the mischief of the People of the Book, but examples of how they came to accept it. For example:

“ And when they (Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.” (5:83)

2:109 Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could Turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become Manifest unto them: But forgive and overlook, Till Allah accomplish His purpose; for Allah Hath power over all things.

These verses are telling us to strip ourselves from our potential biases because speaking with them is a command from Allah (swt). No matter what, we need to be fair in our dealings and dialogue with the People of the Book.

3:113 Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.

4:162 But as for those from among them who are deeply rooted in knowledge, and the believers who believe in that which has been bestowed upon thee from on high as well as that which was bestowed from on high before thee, and those who are [es­pecially] constant in prayer, and spend in charity, and all who believe in God and the Last Day – these it is unto whom We shall grant a mighty reward.

There are some of the People of the Book who actually practice their religion with authenticity, or had done so in the past. You are paving the way for the message you are delivering to them, if you show them that you recognize their good religious and spiritual qualities.

5:42 those who eagerly listen to any falsehood, greedily swallowing all that is evil! Hence, if they come to you [for judgment], you may either judge between them or leave them alone: for, if you leave them alone, they cannot harm you in any way. But if you do judge, judge between them with equity : verily, God knows those who act equitably.

Again, Allah (swt) reminds us to leave them alone rather than judge them. So, if discussing a matter with them, do not make judgmental statements that may cut them off from you and the message you may be trying to deliver.

Hold Firm:

3:69 It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (Not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive!

Allah (swt) is warning us that the People of the Book will attempt to misguide us, using our books against us, we need to be prepared for this, therefore, make sure you are confident with Islam and Allah (swt) and hold onto this belief before, throughout, and after the dialogue.

57:29 That the People of the Book may know that they have no power whatever over the Grace of Allah, that (His) Grace is (entirely) in His Hand, to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. For Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.

You need to be confident in your discussion, because they have no real hold or power over you, only Allah (swt) does. So, try to feel unthreatened and detached from their accusations or verbal attacks on your message

3:100 O you who believe! If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture, they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed!(3:100)

Allah (swt) is telling us not to compromise our faith for them by obeying the will of the People of the Book, rather than the will of Allah (swt).

2:120 For, never will the Jews be pleased with you. nor yet the Christians, unless you follow their own creeds. Say: “Behold, God’s guidance is the only true guidance.” And, indeed, if you should follow their errant views after all the knowledge that has come unto you, then you would have none to protect you from God, and none to bring you succour.

. Their words can misguide both you and their own people, so you need to be prepared to help deliver the message to both your own people and their own.

During:

Allah (swt) describes for us the method in which the process of actually making dawa is made, after the first step of preparation. Allah (swt) says:

3:199 And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in Allah, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to Allah. They will not sell the Signs of Allah for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and Allah is swift in account.

Allah (swt) is first providing us with the opportunity to recognize that there are both good and bad people in each group, after we understand this, we know that being unfair in judgment is wrong. But also, we are learning to respect the People of the Book, because of them were people who believed. Therefore when approaching them, we need to look out for ensuring that we respect them, because they have a status from Allah (swt).

The Method:

Allah (swt) says:

3:64 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).

Allah is telling us to point out our common roots, that in essence we are following the same thing, however the People of the Book were lost in transition. This ayah is giving a call for a return back to those same values that were originally abandoned. The ayah is telling us to point out the common value of Tawheed which is the principal goal of Islam and dawah to Allah (swt). He (swt) tells us to use this label of Islam, to show that difference, if they decide to reject what we believe.

29:46 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 down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”

You have to be nice to them, and even more nice than they may be. Never stoop to their level, if they become insulting or aggressive (verbally). Allah (swt) is commanding us to not argue with them, but to show them how we are in essence an upgrade of their beliefs.

The Message:

3:64 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

3:95 Say: “God has spoken the truth: follow, then, the creed of Abraham, who turned away from all that is false, and was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God.”

The message that is being delivered should be nothing but the message of the Shahadatayn, the idea that Allah (swt) is the only God worthy of worship, and that Muhammad (s) is a messenger recalling people to the Abrahamic faith.

Address from Allah (swt):

Allah (swt) is addressing the People of the Book in the Quran, meaning that the Quran is used to speak with them as well, therefore, anything we speak to them about, must be strung from the Quran. By this address the Quran is recognizing their position, but questioning their reasons of moving away from Islam. Allah (swt) says:

4:171 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) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. 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.

Here Allah (swt) is reaffirming the goal of Islam, and that is worshipping Allah (swt) alone without any partners, and He (swt) brings up the issue of the trinity, and deconstructs that notion. This is similar to the ayah mentioned earlier, where they claim that God has children, and this notion is deconstructed as well:

9:30 AND THE Jews say, “Ezra is God’s son,” while the Christians say, “The Christ is God’s son.” Such are the sayings which they utter with their mouths, following in spirit assertions made in earlier times by people who denied the truth! [They deserve the imprecation:] “May God destroy them!” How perverted are their minds!

5:18 And [both] the Jews and the Christians say, “We are God’s children, [30] and His beloved ones.” Say: “Why, then, does He cause you to suffer for your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creating. He forgives whom He wills, and He causes to suffer whom He wills: for God’s is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and with Him is all journeys’ end.”

Allah (swt) is also eliminating the notion that, again, Allah (swt) has human qualities, giving birth to the world, as though they were His (swt) own children. This deconstructs the assumptions of the ‘humanity’ of God and deifying of the prophets.

Allah (swt) addresses the People of the Book very frequently in the Quran:

5:15 O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book.

Allah (swt) is commanding the People of the Book to accept the knowledge that was given to them and not hide it. They should bring it to light.

5:77 Say: “O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way.

Allah (swt) is telling them, and even ourselves, not to pass what is necessary for belief, causing yourself and future generations to go astray.

5:19 O People of the Book! Now hath come unto you, making (things) clear unto you, Our Messenger, after the break in (the series of) our apostles, lest ye should say: “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner (from evil)”: But now hath come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner (from evil). And Allah hath power over all things.

There is no reason why you should claim that you didn’t receive the message, nor that you should reject it. They understand that they have committed a form of disbelief, but never the less, Allah (swt) controls who will be guided and who will be led astray. Therefore, our job is just to redeliver the message.

5:59 Say: “O people of the Book! Do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?”

One has to be aware that the People of the Book will criticize the message of Islam. Nevertheless, this tactic of addressing the People of the Book is also though questioning them as well.

Questions:

You do not find one case where the People of the Book are being insulted by the Muslims in the Quran. Allah (Swt) constantly uses rhetorical questions for them. And this is a method that could be employed when discussing with the People of the Book. Examples of such questions are:

3:65 Ye People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel Were not revealed Till after him? Have ye no understanding?

3:70 Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (Yourselves) witnesses?

3:71 Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge?

3:98 Say: “O People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, when Allah is Himself witness to all ye do?”

3:99 Say: “O ye People of the Book! Why obstruct ye those who believe, from the path of Allah, Seeking to make it crooked, while ye were yourselves witnesses (to Allah’s Covenant)? but Allah is not unmindful of all that ye do.”

2:111 AND THEY claim, “None shall ever enter paradise unless he be a Jew” – or, “a Christian”. Such are their wishful beliefs! Say: “Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true!”

These verses are not insults or accusations, but questions, therefore one must keep in mind that questioning a person is not insulting them. We need to understand, that if they ask us for proofs of our beliefs, we need them to be able to back up their own claims, therefore, Allah (swt) asks these questions for us as examples.

After:

Allah (swt) describes to us the potential responses that a person can have to the Dawah of Islam.

3:72 A section of the People of the Book say: “Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) Turn back;

Some will accept it and then turn back and reject the faith.

Hope and Choice:

5:68 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 thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow you not over (these) people without Faith.

We need to understand that Allah (swt) guides whomever he wills, therefore we cannot be depressed or grieve over the fact that they didn’t believe in Allah (swt) because ultimately it is Allah (swt) who guides and misguides to Himself (swt).

3:110 Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.

Never the less, on should never abandon hope for them, because the best way to return to Allah (swt) is to adhere to their books, and because Allah (swt) tells us that there are clear signs in his books, ultimately, their books will bring them back to Allah (swt) and the message of Islam.

5:65 If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss.

We also need to understand that their disbelief was a product of their own decisions, and if they choose to believe and be righteous, then it would gain them reward. This paves a two way street, giving one direction into the past, and previous transgressions that the People of the Book may have created, yet nevertheless, gives them hope again, if only they should accept the message.

98:1 Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-

98:6 Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.

Again, if they reject, which some will and have done, they have done it by their own choice, by their own free will, provided that everything was put into light for them, yet they knowingly rejected.

3: 19 Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the ayaat of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account

Some of the People of the Book will flat our reject the message even if they recongnize it, this is something beyond human control.

3:20 So if they dispute with you say: “I have submitted myself to Allah, and (so have) those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and to those who are illiterates: “Do you (also) submit yourselves (to Allah in Islam)?” If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message; and Allah is All-Seer of (His) slaves.

Allah (swt) prepared a response for us that if they reject our message and would like to argue with us, then we should just state our beliefs again, in essence you are closing the discussion with, we agree to disagree, and therefore my disagreement lies in that I submit myself to Allah (swt), and you are at his mercy, and His (swt) alone, because only Allah (swt) can change a people, Muslims can only deliver the message. .

2:101 And when there came to them a Messenger from Allah confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they did not know! (2:101)

2: 46 Those to whom We gave the Scripture recognize him as they recognize their sons. But verily, a party of them conceals the truth while they know it.

Some will ignore the evidences in the books pretending their were no signs of a coming prophet, with so much detail that they may even recognize Islam, Allah (swt), and the porophet in so much detail that they would recognize their own sons, yet they would reject.

“ And when they (Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized. They say: “Our Lord! We believe; so write us down among the witnesses.” (5:83)

Some will believe just by the message being heard.

Conclusion:

One needs to be prepared to know their audience, i.e. The People of the Book, to know their message, to know the arguments that may be provided against them, and to hold firm to their message, because people will try to pull them away.

When speaking, we need to do so with respect, without argumentation, and the sole message should be to Tawheed, and if they reject the message than we should just reaffirm our message to ourselves.

Finally, some people will reject it, some people will attempt to manipulate the message, others will ignore it, and some will accept it. The main thing is we need to deliver the message as prescribed in the Quran.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. SaqibSaab

    March 15, 2008 at 3:17 PM

    MashaAllah. Which Qabeelat is this winner from?

  2. ibn insaan

    March 15, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    Salams

    I just had two questions related to the exellent article above mashallah..

    1) What do we do when a christian seems to genuinely see no problem with Allah (Allah forbid) having a son – Allah forbid?

    They say what’s wrong with it? I said it has to either be due to Him being in some need or the other..either as in our case to continue progeny, or for help and aid or for company..

    But then they said: “He *chose* to have a s…”

    My only response was that there was simply no proof for it though.

    But is there any better way of dealing with it.

    2) my second question: if and when they get slightly abusive and being gentle doesn’t seem to be working at all, then is it really right for me to let them abuse the honour of a muslim (beit even myself)?

    Thanks yeh

  3. B

    March 15, 2008 at 4:28 PM

    There is no conclusive record of Jews living in Arabia during that time believing in Ezra being the son of God at all.

    Jews in general also don’t believe in that.

    That’s a historical error in the Quran.

  4. ibn insaan

    March 15, 2008 at 5:52 PM

    wait a minute!”

    To say there’s a historical error (!) you would first have to prove that there were no such jews at the time. Simply saying that there is no historical proof – is not proof in and of itself(!!) that there were no such individuals there then..!

    Allah knows best

    And now could somone kindly address my question relating to dawah to People of the Book

    Thanks

  5. Charles

    March 15, 2008 at 7:08 PM

    Excellent post! Definitely, dialogue requires us to “point out our common roots,” to go back to Abraham, and to ask questions concerning their claims and for evidence.

    One obstacle to dialogue is that what the People of the Book believed and practiced in Saudi Arabia during the time of the Prophet is not exactly the same as what those today in different countries practice and believe. Just as there are Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, so, too, are there different types of Jews and Christians back then and now. For example, perhaps there are, but I have never heard of any Jews today who believe that God had a son in the sense that the Qur’an states, although some may consider being called the “son of God” to mean a human being (born of a human mother and human father) who has a special relationship with God, such as Abraham being called the “friend of God” in the Qur’an (4.125). Similarly, although Christians have changed that meaning to something else for the Prophet Jesus, when applying to themselves, they mean that they have a special relationship with God.

    Another obstacle to real dialogue is a lack of understanding the frames of reference for the People of the Book. I say “frames” because Jews and Christians have very different frames. Although exceptions exist, in general, Jews are closer to Muslims in their respect for the law, while Christians are closer to Muslims in their voiced emphasis on love for others. I can’t speak much of dialogue with Jews, but when dealing with Christians, they have their “evidence,” but it is a misunderstanding of what Jesus actually taught. It’s sort of like telling someone who is unaware that they have blue contacts on their eyes that the sun is yellow. They will only see green. To remove those contacts requires an understanding of the biblical texts, which requires more time than most people have–not to mention that it would be better to acquire a thorough understanding of Islam first and perhaps by listening carefully, you can see where they are misinterpreting either their own texts or your words. (As Reem AS wrote, “Before a Muslim can begin their dialogue with the People of the Book they must recognize their audience. They need to be both mentally and spiritually prepared.”) And even then, as it is difficult for anyone to overcome a lifetime of belief, what is needed as much as knowledge in dialogue is gentleness, kindness, and patience.

    For those interested in finding “common roots” for dialogue, I wrote a brief article that somehow ended up on the Internet with some misspellings added. It’s called “Common Ground Between Islam and Christianity” and it’s at http://www.interfaithdialog.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=130&Itemid=27

    @B

    On there being no non-Islamic records of Jews believing Ezra to be the son of God, all that means is that no records have been found–not that it isn’t so. Outside of Jewish sources, what Egyptian records exist on the existence of Moses? Much less his beliefs and those of his fellow Hebrews. Although there is always a response to any argument, you might read the article at http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/ezra.html

    @ibn insaan

    On question #1, see my indirect answer on evidence above, and for #2, Reem AS wrote:

    You have to be nice to them, and even more nice than they may be. Never stoop to their level, if they become insulting or aggressive (verbally). Allah (swt) is commanding us to not argue with them, but to show them how we are in essence an upgrade of their beliefs.

  6. aarij

    March 15, 2008 at 8:53 PM

    Is this br. Amad’s daughter?

    Man I’d love to take this class.

  7. Amad

    March 15, 2008 at 9:31 PM

    No Aarij, I am not that old to have a daughter this old! :)

  8. Anonymous

    March 16, 2008 at 12:05 AM

    -It’s from Q. Ittihaad

  9. B

    March 16, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    I shouldn’t have called it historical inaccuracy – that was sloppy of me.

    Let me rephrase it – believing that a group of Jews considered Ezra the son of God is just as valid as believing that unicorns exist. Both have no evidence (other than flimsy theories) to support it.

  10. inexplicabletimelessness

    March 16, 2008 at 2:39 AM

    As salaamu alaikum,

    Great essay/post mashaAllah.

    I was able to understand this ayah in a new light today after pondering a bit:

    3:64 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).

    Basically the ayah says:

    1. Give the message of Tawheed (Oneness of God and how only He is worthy of being worshipped)

    2. If they do not agree/listen, then STILL make it clear that you are Muslim.

    On a more practical note, I see it this way:

    You’re at the grocery store wearing hijaab (substitute any quality outer or inner of a Muslim) and all of a sudden, a lady next to you in the line asks “Don’t you feel oppressed or hot in that?” To which you can use the above method:

    1. I am wearing this because I am a Muslim and I am submitting to God, the Creator of the Universe, who I believe fully is the God of all the prophets. Would you be interested in learning more about Muslims’ belief in One God?

    2. The person might say Yes (alhamdulillah which is good). If they say No thank you you can give them your card or say “The masjid is on ____ street” so you have identified that YOU are a Muslim and they can always contact you for further 411 !

    SubhanAllah, the Qur’an has unlimited wisdom mashaAllah and it’s always applicable!

  11. Pingback: Who’s up for a little challenge? «

  12. ibnabeeomar

    March 18, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    1) What do we do when a christian seems to genuinely see no problem with Allah (Allah forbid) having a son – Allah forbid?

    How do they attribute to Him a son, and He has no wife…. In this life, we would consider this to be something immoral (even christians), so why do they attribute it to their Creator?

    there’s a story of one classical scholar, who met a christian priest. as you know, they stay celibate. so when he met him, he asked him something along the lines of “how’s the family? how are the wife and kids?” and everyone became offended, that how can you ask him such a question when you know they don’t have kids!! he said, they free themselves from it, but then attribute it to Allah?

    2) my second question: if and when they get slightly abusive and being gentle doesn’t seem to be working at all, then is it really right for me to let them abuse the honour of a muslim (beit even myself)?

    like both papers have said, just convey the message. if they get abusive, just stop and leave.. why let it escalate?

    also for some reason the first question reminded me of this article:
    http://muslimmatters.org/2007/08/29/what-to-make-of-mother-teresas-crisis-of-faith/

  13. ibnabeeomar

    March 18, 2008 at 11:20 AM

    B – i’m ok with saying its possible unicorns existed :)

    despite attempt at using this kind of rhetoric to prove your point, it doesn’t actually disprove the quran, especially in light of all the other facts that are found in it. you should read it sometime.

  14. gohar

    March 20, 2008 at 12:13 AM

    I have found that some Christians have heard that muslims believe in Jesus but still do not UNDERSTAND what we mean by that.

    I usually start off by explaining that we believe in Jesus, but not in Paul, since this not only explains our rejection of the trinity, but allows them to very quickly themselves see our historical and logical viewpoint on the matter.

  15. Reem Abou-samra

    March 25, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    Asalamu alaikum,
    Just a point about the ayah concering the Jews claiming that Ezra was the son of God. This may not have necessarily been in reference to the jews of Madina. Some mufasiroon speak about Uzair, a man who lived around 450 BC who was a like mujadid for the jews, that they revered him so much. The texts of the Jews were supposedly lost and he supposedly re-wrote the old testament and re-recorded the laws of the jews. So, he was revered to the extent that later peoples believed him to be the son of God, a’uthu billah. However, not all Jews believe this, similarly in Christianity, not all sects believe that Jesus was either.

    Jazakum Allahu khairan
    Asalamu alaikum

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  19. Nur el Masih Ben Haq

    January 17, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    In response to Reem Abou-Samra

    Yaa Reem, every Christian believes that he is a son of God; how much of Jesus himself. Every Christian believes that Jesus is son of God. Or can you tell us the name of a Christian sect that does not believe that Jesus is son of God? Below are explanations of concept of sonship in the Holy Bible.

    BIBLICAL SON(S) OF GOD

    Son(s)
    In the Holy Bible, the concept of ’son’ is not always ordinarily, biological but spiritual some times; Biblically, sonship could either be in a biological or spiritual sense. The spiritual birth or sonship is attained by only the righteous or consecrated servants of God (John 3:3-8; Gen. 6:1-4; Mathew 5:9; Romans 8:14; 2 Samuel 7:14; Jeremiah 10:20).

    Son(s) of God
    This is, indeed, a spiritual status (Romans 1:3-4, 8:14). That biologically, God never have a son is a fact well known among, and believed by, Christians, whose Jesus and scriptures had explicitly taught so, centuries before Muhammad was born (John 1:12-13, 3:3-8, 1 Peter 1:23-25, Luke 1:35, Luke 1:35, 6:33-36).

    First Son(s) of God
    Biblically, being a first son is not always in a bio-chronological sense but, at times, in status sense which is conceptualized from the fact that biological first son is CONSECRATIONAL (Luke 2:22-24; Exedos 13:2) as, indeed, is every firstling (Jas. 1:18; Exedos 13:12-16).
    ‘First Son of God’ is the status of any one consecrated by God. It follows that there are many First Sons of God (Hebrew 12:25; Luke 2:23, Exedos 4:22-23; Jeremiah 1:5, 31:9).
    Ordinarily, Adam was the first son of God (Luke 3:38, 1Cor. 15:45). But ‘consecrationally’, Jesus is the first of all the first sons of God (Romans 8:29).

    Begotten Son(s) of God
    Similarly, this ‘begottenness’ is in spiritual sense; it is affirmatory to spiritual birth, which is effected simply by divine declaration. Its significance is that it makes the concept more appealing than the simpler ‘Son(s) of God’. Therefore, begotten sons of God are not thus begotten in biological sense. “You are my son. Today I have begotten you” (Pls 2:7; Hebrew 5:5; Luke 3:22).

    The Only (Begotten) Son of God
    Therefore, the ‘onlyness’ here is not in the ordinary numerical sense but hyperbolic; it expresses dearness and dominance of an associated quality; it is a distinctive expression of a dearly value; it means the associate ‘begottenness’ that eclipses the other ‘begottennesses’ (John 1:14, 18. Compare John 3:3-5 with 16-18 and Geneses 21:8-21 with 22:1-2).

    ‘Jesus’ Son of God’ Status
    Therefore, Jesus being God’s Son was not just due to his miraculous birth but, his absolute saintliness and being spiritually consecrated (as there are many other God’s sons, whose first birth were, however, not miraculous).

    Nevertheless, the status ‘The Only Son of God’, distinguishes Jesus from the other sons of God.

    Jesus, therefore, is a unique associate Son of God through whom others can attain adaption as Sons of God (Luke 1:35; Mathew 16:16-17; Galetians 4:4; John 4:15; Col. 1:15-20; Hebrew 1:4-14).

    The Difference Between ‘Son of God’ and ‘Servant of God
    Every son of God is His servant; but it is not every servant of God that is His Son (Hebrew 3:5-6; Jeremiah 25:9; Mathew 5:9; Acts 3:26; 1 Cor. 7:22; Romans 13:3-4, 8:14).

    Significance of the Status of Son (instead of Servant) of God
    ‘Son’ is a status that is more recognized than ‘Servant’. It is, therefore, of a very intelligent significance. Normally, there is a much greater love in the father-son relationship than is in the master-servant type. Psychologically, filio-parental relationship is the strongest, most appealing and, therefore, most effective (Hebrew 3:5-6, 12:5-11; John 8:35, 15;15; Proverb 3:12; Mathew 7:7-11; Luke 20:9-16; Romans 8:14-17; Isaiah 1:2-3; Hosea 1:10; Galatians 4:4-7). On the other hand, the master-servant relationship is merely concptualized from service and wages.

    That is why God, the most intelligent, has chosen to relate to some of His servants as His spiritual children. In fact, only the children of God will go to heaven (John 3:3; 1 Cor. 15:50).

    The Problems of the Muslims
    The pre-Islamic or pagan Arabs use to believe that Allah had (biological) children (Qur’an 6:100, 16;57, 37:149, 153).
    Thus, the Qur’anic or Islamic rejection of any’s being son of God was due to the localized lingual perception of the early Arab Muslims, who thought that such sonship was meant biologically, as they had wrongly believed while pagans.

    You see, Christianity is the most sophisticated religion. That is why Muslims fumble whenever they apply their usually simplistic logic (such as Walamyalid Walamyilad…etc) in attacking the doctrines of Christians.

  20. Reem abou-samra

    February 9, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Nur,
    I wasn’t stating that there are organized sects of christians who claim that jesus wasn’t god perse, but individuals. You find this historically, as in the case of Salman Al-farisi (the persian) and his studies of authentic christianity, as well as contemporarily some individuals who question that claim, yet still identify themselves as christians (there are many blogs online). I am not making an argument towards organized religion. Also, I’ve spoken to many among the universalist congregation who actually disagree with the claim that Jesus being god/son of god, but rather a spiritual being/leader type of thing.
    one example of blog writers is:
    http://www.questioningchristian.com, there’s a post (i think from 2005 though) about the term lord that was replaced by the term god.

    you can also find other arguments going both ways:
    http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5460

    anyway… i wasn’t making a like universal claim of denying what the majority believes, just that there is a possibility, as there was historically, that some people might not necessarily (as individuals, not congregationally) believe in christianity without believing jesus was the son of god.

    God knows best, and may Allah (swt) forgive me for any mistakes or misunderstandings.

    Jazakum Allahu khairan
    salam

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