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It’s Okay to Be Judgmental?

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“None of us like judgmental people. But we are all, to a certain extent, judgmental people. After all, one must be judgmental to even judge others as judgmental.”

—from the journal of Umm Zakiyyah

As a youth, I was part of a community comprised of mostly converts to Islam and second generation American Muslims, and it was commonplace to run into Muslims who felt that my hijab was on wrong, that I wasn’t praying correctly, or that I wasn’t a “real” Muslim—without them taking the time to even know my name. For some of these Muslims, the color of my skin was enough proof that my Islam was in question.

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Naturally, my immediate reaction was to declare that these people should stop judging me. They had no right to insist that every inch of my hair was covered when I went out—or while I was praying. They had no right to say I couldn’t tell non-Muslims they’d be in Paradise too. They had no right to say that my head wrap was not “real hijab.” They had no right to say that I shouldn’t be listening to music. They had no right to say that I shouldn’t go to the prom. They had no right to say that African-Americans weren’t real Muslims.

Who do they think they are? I often thought.

The Problem with People

One look at the list of what I felt people had no right to say to me demonstrates the problem with applying the broad brush of “stop being judgmental” when we’re faced with attitudes and statements that are offensive to us. While I was understandably bothered by these encounters, I was actually being exposed to some very valid, necessary information about my faith. Yes, some of what was said to me was not only imbalanced and grossly incorrect, but also un-Islamic and racist. But even in that unfortunate reality, there is a valuable lesson:

People are flawed. Islam is not. But we learn Islam from people. Thus, we must find a way to be patient with the imperfections of people so that we can benefit from the perfection of Islam.

Oftentimes, when we are reminded to be patient with people’s imperfections, we think of youth, new Muslims, or converts to Islam. But we rarely apply this principle to people we perceive as knowledgeable or experienced Muslims. These include people from predominately Muslim countries, people born into Muslim families, public figures, Islamic scholars, and imams. As a result, we put enormous pressure on these Muslims to carry a burden that no human should bear: the expectation of religious perfection—and the responsibility for our souls and personal failings.

We expect them to always know the right words to say when we make a mistake or sin. We expect them to always know when to ignore our wrong behavior—and when to speak up. We expect them to always know what will hurt our feelings. We expect them to never grow impatient or upset with us. We expect them to always provide flawless, helpful information and advice about Islam.

And when they fall short (as all humans do), we genuinely believe that our hurt feelings, religious frustrations, or spiritual crisis is because of their problem, not ours.

“They’re so judgmental! They need to be more understanding!” we say. And maybe we’re right. Maybe they are being overly judgmental. Maybe they are being insensitive to our feelings and spiritual needs.

If so, then they should definitely take a step back and realize that everyone is human. They should realize that we all make mistakes. And they should realize that it’s not okay to blame or shame anyone for being wrong.

Then again, maybe we too should take a step back and realize the same when reacting to them.

Worry About Your Own Soul

At a certain point, you have to take responsibility for your own soul. No one can do that for you, no matter how knowledgeable or experienced you imagine them to be—and no matter how knowledgeable or experienced they actually are.

Yes, the strong should help the weak, the knowledgeable should teach the uninformed, and the experienced should assist the uncertain—and they should do it with patience, kindness, and understanding. For without a doubt, scholars have a weightier responsibility than the worshippers, teachers have a weightier responsibility than their students, and those endowed with Islamic knowledge or experience have a weightier responsibility than the new Muslim or the one practicing Islam for the first time. But no one has a weightier responsibility for your soul than you yourself, and you carry this responsibility alone. Thus, if you sincerely desire to practice Islam properly and ultimately enter Paradise, you must accept that no one can do that work for you.

In his last sermon, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Remember one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone…I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and the Sunnah; and if you follow these you will never go astray.”

You Can’t Avoid Being Judgmental

Though we must focus on our own souls as we strive to remain on the right path, following the Qur’an and Sunnah is not a selfish pursuit. It requires helping others along the way—no matter how unknowledgeable or insignificant you imagine yourself to be.

As you internalize and seek to implement your responsibility to help others on the path to Paradise, you begin to understand the danger of focusing too heavily on the topic of being “judgmental.” If you become overly concerned with how your words of encouragement or correction will be interpreted by others, you will likely withdraw from speaking up when you need to, all the while saying to yourself, “Who am I to judge?”

Not surprisingly, those who focus excessively on the topic of people being judgmental are often the least likely to be actively teaching about Islam or correcting wrong behavior. This is because their image in front of people has become more important than their image in front of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Let not any one of you belittle himself.” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how can any one of us belittle himself?” He said, “He finds a matter concerning Allah about which he should say something, and he does not say [it], so Allah says to him on the Day of Resurrection, ‘What prevented you from saying something about such-and-such and such-and-such?’ He will say, ‘[It was] out of fear of people.’ Then He (Allah) says, ‘Rather it is I whom you should more properly fear’” (Ibn Maajah).

Wisdom and compassion are what is required when we see something wrong, not remaining silent. But it is important to realize that not everyone’s approach to being wise and compassionate is the same. Ultimately, how we handle a situation is a judgment call, a decision based on striving our level best to properly assess the situation and respond accordingly. And there are times that being straightforward and firm is wiser than focusing too heavily on someone’s feelings—and yes, this too is a form of compassion.

But either way, it’s a judgment call. Sometimes we’ll get it right. Sometimes we’ll get it wrong. Sometimes our words will inspire positive change in others, and sometimes they will hurt people’s feelings. Nevertheless, the one who speaks up and unintentionally offends someone is better than the one who never speaks up at all.

In any case, you cannot control how others interpret your words. You cannot even control how they interpret your silence. So trying to avoid appearing “judgmental” is often a useless exercise, especially if you’re involved in religious work. For many people, the mere mention of God or sin is being judgmental. Therefore, what is more productive is focusing on striving to please your Creator through using wisdom and compassion in your speech and behavior, and asking His forgiveness for any inevitable mistakes and sins. You’ll find that He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

But, unfortunately, you’ll find that most people aren’t so forgiving and merciful, especially those foremost in saying others are judgmental.

 

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy. Her latest novel Muslim Girl is now available. To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.

 

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Daughter of American converts to Islam, Umm Zakiyyah, also known by her birth name Ruby Moore and her "Muslim" name Baiyinah Siddeeq, is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including novels, short stories, and self-help. Her books are used in high schools and universities in the United States and worldwide, and her work has been translated into multiple languages. Her work has earned praise from writers, professors, and filmmakers. Her novel His Other Wife is now a short film. Umm Zakiyyah has traveled the world training both first-time authors and published writers in story writing. Her clients include journalists, professional athletes, educators, and entertainers. Dr. Robert D. Crane, advisor to former US President Nixon, said of Umm Zakiyyah, “…no amount of training can bring a person without superb, natural talent to captivate the reader as she does and exert a permanent intellectual and emotional impact.” Professor K. Bryant of Howard University said of If I Should Speak, “The novel belongs to…a genre worthy of scholarly study.” Umm Zakiyyah has a BA degree in Elementary Education, an MA in English Language Learning, and Cambridge’s CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). She has more than fifteen years experience teaching writing in the United States and abroad and has worked as a consultant for Macmillan Education. Umm Zakiyyah studied Arabic, Qur’an, Islamic sciences, ‘aqeedah, and tafseer in America, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for more than fifteen years. She currently teaches tajweed (rules of reciting Qur’an) and tafseer. In 2020, Umm Zakiyyah started the UZ Heart & Soul Care community in which she shares lessons she learned on her emotional and spiritual healing journey at uzhearthub.com Follow her online: Website: uzauthor.com Instagram: @uzauthor Twitter: @uzauthor YouTube: uzreflections

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. S.Wright

    April 23, 2015 at 12:29 AM

    I’ve always felt as thought that mentality didn’t make sense. Judging is automatic- sometimes our judgements are wrong, sometimes they are right. But I often remind myself to make sure I’m focusing on actions rather than people.

  2. Norma Tarazi

    April 23, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Very nicely explained. Clear and brief. I think tact is a very important skill and few people seem to practice it today, particularly in general American society. I noticed numerous instances in studying the Prophet’s life of how tactful he was, waiting for an appropriate time to talk to someone, and using a few carefully chosen words.

  3. Hira Amin

    April 23, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Great article masha Allah. Until recently, I didn’t realise the extent to which converts are told they are not practicing Islam properly. It really is an issue. I spoke to a few people who explained how this constant questioning and judging even after a long period of conversion led to deep psychological affects. Especially when converts marry into non-convert Muslim families – their opinion is never taken seriously.

  4. Michael Scott

    April 23, 2015 at 1:45 PM

    Hi Umm! I’m not a Muslim, I’m a 7th Day Adventist Christian. I don’t agree with all of your comments, but most of what you said I do agree with. We all need to love one another as our self like JESUS said, and that involves having compassion and forgiveness for each other, as well as for ourselves. Like you said, none of us is perfect, we all make judgments every day about ourselves and others. That doesn’t mean that making judgments is bad. If we’re making judgments without having enough information to make a correct judgment, than we might sin because of this. Even when we do have all the information necessary to make a proper judgment, we shouldn’t be condemning of others, for having the right information doesn’t justify us. JESUS said to those who brought Mary Magdalene to Him to be stoned for adultery “Let the first one of you who is without sin cast the first stone,” and they all dropped their stones and walked away. I don’t agree that it’s ok to be judgmental because being judgmental isn’t the same as making judgments. Being judgmental is abusing our power to make judgments by mistreating others because of our judgment that we’re using against them. You’re absolutely right that we should speak up when people are doing wrong things and not be afraid of what they, or what others, might think about us for saying and doing the right thing. What you said about people judging us whether we’re speaking or remain silent is definitely true too. The devil will try to get us so caught up with worrying about everything he can in order to prevent us from standing up and doing the right thing. Being afraid of others persecuting us is no excuse for refusing to do the right thing. Despite our differences (religious, cultural, color, gender, etc.), we must be willing to love one another and to love the LORD our GOD with all our heart, mind, body, soul, and strength. If we’re willing to learn from our mistakes, and from the mistakes of others as well, then GOD will most definitely lead us in His path of righteousness for His Name’s sake while we walk through this valley of the shadow of death. My little brother is a Muslim, but that doesn’t stop us from loving one another as true brothers should. Unlike Cain, I am my brother’s keeper, and I’ll look out for my brothers and sisters when they need my help, for we all need one another’s love and support in this tough life, living in a world full of sin. GOD bless you and your family Umm! I enjoyed your comments.

    • M.Mahmud

      April 23, 2015 at 5:34 PM

      That story of Jesus AS and the adulterer is not found in the oldest copies of John. It is not reliable. But it may be true

      • Anonymous

        April 27, 2015 at 1:36 PM

        Where did you hear the are different copies of John as in your comment “older” copies. There are no different copies. If one copy is different from all others it is a fraud. That’s why there are no originals. And why Islam is bogus, because Islam changes with the times.

      • michael Scott

        April 27, 2015 at 3:57 PM

        Mr. Mahmud, I’ve never heard of the claim you’re making against GOD’S Word in the gospel of John before, saying that the original copies of John’s gospel don’t have the story about Mary Magdalene being brought before JESUS when she was caught committing adultery. You have a right to believe whatever you want to believe, and I respect you, but I certainly don’t respect your belief concerning this matter. GOD would never allow His Holy Word to not be perfectly preserved. His truth, no matter how much satan attacks it, and attacks those who live according to GOD’S truth, will never be lost or destroyed: The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7). Enter into His gates withthanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100: 4, 5). To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8: 20). Mr. Mahmud, I pray that you’ll study the Holy Bible deeply for yourself and see how the Bible is the only religious book in the world whose prophecies have been accurately pronounced by GOD’S true prophets, and then fulfilled throughout earth’s history, right on up to our present day. There aren’t many prophecies left that need to be fulfilled. The Bible has been attacked more than any other religious book in all of earth’s history, and true Christians are the most persecuted and hated religious group of people throughout all of history as well. Christianity isn’t a new religion the way that historians claim, something different from Judaism. Christianity is Judaism. The only reason why it’s considered to be another religion is because most of the Jews rejected JESUS as the Son of GOD, but true Judaist’s accepted Him. This split caused the eventual name Christian to come about, as if JESUS didn’t fulfill the Old Covenant laws and bring in the New Covenant. I pray that you, and everyone else who reads my comments, will see that all that I’ve said is the truth. I can’t make you or anyone else believe what I believe in, but I certainly know that what I believe is true, and that GOD has revealed these truths to me. I’ve learned a lot during my life, things I didn’t know many years ago, and I still have a lot more learning to do. Whenever I discover that something I believe isn’t true, I reject the lie and accept the truth that I’ve just learned. Please prayerfully think about all that I’ve said sincerely. GOD reveals His truth to those who seek Him with their whole heart, mind, body, spirit, and soul. I’ll continue doing further research about this matter that you mentioned in your comment in order to know more about it. GOD bless you Mr. Mahmud.

      • Qasim

        April 28, 2015 at 4:37 PM

        Jesus was reported to have said

        “I have many things to say and to judge of you” (John 8:26) and “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see” (John 9:39).

      • M. Mahmud

        May 6, 2015 at 12:47 AM

        Well looks like you should find a different religion because God clearly didn’t preserve the New Testament.

        For one, there ARE different copies of John and the older manuscripts don’t have the female adulterer story in it. It’s just a fact. You can emotionally deny it and claim the true religion(Islam) changes with the times, but none of that changes the fact that your religion is false and that there are a wide amount of variances in different manuscripts of the Bible.

      • M. Mahmud

        May 6, 2015 at 12:54 AM

        The Bible is filled with a ridiculous amount of obvious and glaring and very non-insignificant contradictions.

        If it was actually from God it wouldn’t have so many contradictions.

        In fact, different Christian groups don’t even agree one what constitutes the Bible. So calling it the “word of God” is absurd in the least.

        The famous four gospels were written decades after Christ AS, Luke and Matthew both copied from Mark and another document which is today unknown and John was the last to be written.

        It contradicts your faith but it’s the simple truth.

        And if you tell me “Bible is truth because it is the only book with fulfilled prophecies”

        well with all due respect that is just patently false. It’s a book riddled with confusion and contradiction and manuscripts at variance with each other. It was a book compiled by Christians over centuries and the Quran and ahadith have a number of prophecies already flawlessly proven which are evidence of the truth of Islam(even if an anonymous disbeliever claims it changes with the times-sorry you are confusing Christianity with the truth[Islam].)

        I pray you realize your contradiction riddled scripture was written by men, inspired by men and certainly not from God allmighty. The only religion that has ever been acceptable is Islam-it is the ONLY way to Paradise.

    • Reema

      April 28, 2015 at 10:51 PM

      Michael Scott, I think you misunderstand, in Islam, judging others directly (to their face and behind their back) is condemned. Also, you need to keep an open mind as an outsider looking in. Islam is a very social religion based on the example of higher peers. The prophet (pbuh) is the ultimate example and we’ve followed this method of religious practice through exemplification for centuries.

      • Michael Scott

        April 29, 2015 at 11:56 AM

        Reema, I believe you’re misunderstanding me. I don’t believe that Islam is the true religion, but I never said that it wasn’t a very social religion. Many countries with Islamic governments aren’t teaching or enforcing true Islamic teachings and laws. They’re oppressing women and forcibly trying to control what they can and cannot do in public and privately. I never have claimed that I know and understand everything there is about Islam or Islamic governed societies, nor do I assume that everything I think or believe about them (or anything) is all absolutely true. I’m a very open-minded person, so please don’t think that I’m not. I’ve learned many things during my lifetime, and I’ve learned great things from Muslim friends of mine that I didn’t learn from Christians. I’ve learned from people of many different beliefs; I’ve even learned some good things from atheists. I don’t agree with any belief that’s contrary to GOD’S Holy Word (the Bible), but I’m willing to learn from others no matter what they believe. We all have something good we can give to one another, and none of us should shut others out because of their differences. When you talk about judging others directly being forbidden in Islam, if that’s what you believe, I don’t knock you for that. I don’t go around judging and condemning people directly or indirectly; but if I need to let somebody know that they’re doing something that’s wrong, and what they’re doing, if it isn’t dealt with directly, could cause serious harm in some way to that person or to others, than yes, I’m going to tell them they’re wrong and try to persuade them to stop doing the wrong they’re doing. That’s not acting like I’m GOD passing judgment and condemnation on that person. I never want to offend anybody in any way whenever possible; but when one speaks GOD’S truths, some people are going to get offended. That doesn’t make me, or anyone else who tells others the truth guilty of making evil judgments on those who aren’t living according to GOD’S truth. I pray Reema that what I’ve gives you a much deeper understanding of me, and of what I believe, even though you’re Muslim and don’t agree with me concerning my 7th Day Adventist Christian beliefs. Every religion has its hypocrites, and JESUS confronted many hypocrites directly, and publicly, at times, in order to let them and others know that hypocritical behavior is totally unacceptable to GOD, and is considered to be sin. GOD bless you and your family Reema!

        • Reema

          April 29, 2015 at 1:21 PM

          Michael Scott, do accept my apology for misunderstanding you. My intent (and Islam mostly judges on intent) was to demonstrate the importance of adopting a level of sensitivity when dialoguing with people of different faiths. Soft approaches, like the approach of both our prophets (peace be upon them), are more effective than strong ones.

          With that said, I very much believe that you did not intend to hurt people with your judgements. Indeed, dialogue is critical for us. There will be misunderstandings and misinterpretations. My hope and prayer is that we continue our dialogue productively.

          • Michael Scott

            April 29, 2015 at 4:33 PM

            I accept your apology Reema. Giving others love and respect when communicating with them is definitely necessary, but sometimes we have to express righteous anger and displeasure to those who are disrespecting GOD with their sinful behavior, just as JESUS did when He rebuked the people in His FATHER’S Temple for making it a den of thieves. Yes, it’s true that I privilege my religious faith over all other faiths. In my opinion, anyone who honestly believes that GOD has given them the truth, and they’ve accepted the religious faith that they’re practicing daily, than they’re going to privilege their religion over every other religion. That’s normal, and its been going on throughout human history. I’m not a perfect Christian, for all have sinned and fall short of GOD’S glory. My favoring the spiritual knowledge that I know GOD has given isn’t me thinking I’m better than everyone else who’s of a different faith than I am. I’m not afraid to tell the truth, but I’m not trying to make a contest between religions. I’m sorry for making it seem that way. I’m still learning from GOD how to express myself better with love and respect, and I don’t always express myself in a way that doesn’t upset others; but I have a lot more self-control when expressing myself than I did when I was younger, and wasn’t totally dedicated to GOD like I am now. I (and all of us) will be learning more and more about GOD and how to live in obedience to His will for the rest of my life. We all have a lot of spiritual growing to do, and hopefully will allow GOD to make us like Himself. I know that Islam teaches about JESUS, that it accepts His virgin birth, and believes that He’s going to come again to take the righteous who are saved to Heaven. Of course, you and I know the differences of what our faiths teach and believe about JESUS beyond what I just mentioned. Regardless of our differences of belief, I do know that GOD is the perfect judge, and He knows everyone’s heart. Only those who love GOD with all their heart, mind, body, and spirit, and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, only they will be saved. GOD’S true followers, whenever they discover that something they believe about Him isn’t true, they embrace His truth and no longer accept or believe the lie they once believed to be truth. Whatever revelations GOD gives to us, we’re responsible and accountable as to whether or not we accept His truth and serve Him in truth.

          • Reema

            April 29, 2015 at 6:56 PM

            “Yes, it’s true that I privilege my religious faith over all other faiths. In my opinion, anyone who honestly believes that GOD has given them the truth, and they’ve accepted the religious faith that they’re practicing daily, than they’re going to privilege their religion over every other religion. That’s normal, and its been going on throughout human history.”

            No – that’s fanaticism and we should all be wary of it so that we do not repeat the cycles of history (i.e. crusades, 9/11, and so forth).

          • Michael Scott

            April 30, 2015 at 5:42 PM

            I’m sorry you feel that I’m being fanatical Reema, when all I’m doing is being honest, and not being afraid to speak the truth. If that’s what you (or anyone else) considers being a fanatic, than so be it. I’m not going to back down and act like I don’t have the right to stand up for the truth. Like Solomon wrote, “The righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). When GOD’S children speak His truth, they’re often considered to be fanatics or fools. No one knows everything or understands everything in GOD’S Word, nor does anyone follow GOD perfectly, but GOD loves us unconditionally and works with us where we’re at. He doesn’t leave us where we’re at; He lifts us up to higher and higher levels of spiritual understanding, and He empowers us to obey Him and fulfill His will in our lives. In Acts 4:12 and 13, Peter, who before denied JESUS 3 times, after JESUS resurrection, was no longer a fearful man unwilling to stand up for His GOD and Savior, but was bold as a lion when He told his enemies the truth about JESUS: His enemies “saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with JESUS.” Whether you understand what I’m saying or not, and whether or not you realize that I’m not a fanatic, that’s up to you Reema. I’m not going to worry about that because I know GOD personally, and I know what He’s done for me, and how He saved me from a life of sin and eternal death. JESUS is the reason why I no longer live a sinful life, and He’s the reason why I have the peace I have, the successes I’m currently experiencing in my personal life, and the great spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that I now have. I will never deny my GOD and Savior, who saved someone as totally undeserving as I am; Matthew 32″Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33″But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

          • Reema

            April 30, 2015 at 6:51 PM

            Michael Scott, I’ve got one hyphenated word for you: alrighty-then.

        • Reema

          April 29, 2015 at 3:55 PM

          Michael Scott, also, your rhetoric (and you may not be intending this) is trying to privilege one religion over the other. You can argue that it does not, but as a member of your audience, I can assure you that it does.

          If I can be clear, I want to let you know that Islam embraces the teaching of Jesus (Isa). In fact, we have an entire chapter devoted to his mother and her exemplary virtue.

      • M. Mahmud

        May 6, 2015 at 12:57 AM

        Islam is the ONLY religion which affirms true faith in Isa AS and has been explicitly salvistically exclusive from it’s outset. Allah is clear about it in the Quran and so is His Messenger and the Sahaba RA were absolutely clearer than night and day that Islam is the only true religion and the only possible way to Paradise.

        And Imams of the Ummah and scholars from various backgrounds(like Qadi Iyaad and Imam an-Nawawi) all AGREED that whoever fails to affirm that Jews Christians and the rest are disbelievers is himself a disbeliever.

        This is not takfir from some random nutjob. It’s takfir the Ummah has agreed on.

    • Anonymous

      April 30, 2015 at 1:46 AM

      @Michael Scott, I thought these verses from the Qur’an might interest you. Ever tried reading Qur’an? You shall definitely find MANY MANY MORE TRUE prophecies in it.
      Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Quran, 3:45-47)
      Jesus was born miraculously by the command of God, the same command that had brought Adam into being with neither a father nor a mother. God has said:

      The case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam. He created him from dust, and then He said to him, “Be!” and he came into being. (Quran, 3:59)

      O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs (4:171)

      Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus. God has said:

      …They said, “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)… (Quran, 4:157)

      Neither Muhammad nor Jesus (Peace Be Upon Them Both) came to change the basic doctrine of the belief in one God, brought by earlier prophets.

  5. Mahmoud Haji

    April 24, 2015 at 3:15 AM

    Since I discovered MuslimMatters, I have just become an ‘addict’. Excellent article for self-reflection Umm Zakiyyah. I would add my five cents contribution to the discussion in that we have no choice being jugdemental in as far as God’s commands are concerned. However, it should be from an informed position and tact as mentioned in one of the comments above.

  6. ahsan arshad

    April 24, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Alot of wisdom in this article. I feel that sometimes we have very high expectations and we need to calm down.
    While reading the article I was able to link it to my actions as well. Patience is the really the key. We need to learn to bear the faults of others as the author mentions that Islam is perfect but people are not.
    And it is well said that it is the people who convey Islam.

    • Michael Scott

      April 30, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      To the anonymous writer, I have a Qur’an that used to be my little brother’s. I’ve read very little of it, but plan on reading more of it to find out more about what the Qur’an teaches. I don’t agree at all with what those verses say about JESUS. I’m going to school to become a professor of history and religion so that I can teach people the truth about our past history. Too many of the world’s schools are teaching lies about our past, and much of what’s taught about religion isn’t true or accurate either. Of course, none of us has all the answers, nor can we ever know everything about what happened in the past, but we should honestly try to learn as much as we can about our past so we can understand our present. Although I don’t agree with the verses you quoted, at least you’re not afraid to share your beliefs with me. True seekers of GOD will strive to learn as much truth as they can so they can share it with others. We all make mistakes along the way, and sometimes, something we think is true isn’t always true. When we realize that something we believe isn’t true, and now know for a fact that it isn’t true, that’s a revelation from GOD, and we should always accept GOD’S revelations. There’s a lot of things I used to believe that I know longer believe, thanks to GOD, for He revealed my errors to me, and now I believe the truth concerning those areas I once was wrong in. GOD knows everyone’s hearts, and truth seekers will always receive revelations from GOD concerning His Truth., no matter what religion we’re of. Many are converted when they receive true knowledge from GOD, and they don’t continue practicing the lies that they once believed in. Once any of us choose to follow GOD, we must go all the way with Him and never give up doing His will: John 8:31 . . . If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thanks for sharing your belief with me. Knowing what others believe is always beneficial, for it helps us to better communicate with each other respectfully. GOD bless you, and may you and I continue seeking GOD to know Him better, and to know more of His Truths!

  7. Ali

    May 3, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    @Michael Scott please can you give me one reference from your Bible as evidence that states Jesus PBUH made any claim to being a Jew or Chrisitian. I would appreciate your help in this matter as I cannot find it in any of your many versions of the Bibles!

    • Michael Scott

      May 4, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      Hi Ali. To answer one part of your question, the term Christian didn’t exist yet before JESUS died on the cross, therefore, He didn’t call Himself a Christian. Also, He being GOD (the Son of GOD) and the Savior of the world, why would He call Himself a Christian, as if He were a follower of Himself. That wouldn’t make any sense for Him (who is GOD[the Son of GOD]) to call Himself a Christian (or a Jew in a religious sense). I’ve never read any verse in the Bible that I can remember that say that JESUS called Himself a Jew, but there’s no need for such a verse to validate that He was a Jewish man when He took on a human body for the purpose of dying in our place to save us from sin and eternal death. The Bible has more than enough evidence stated about His genealogy, which King David is a part of, as well as His human mother Mary, and it’s proof that He was Jewish, for David, Mary, and very many other people whose names are recorded in JESUS lineage were Jewish. Please prayerfully read John 18: 33 – 37, which talks about Pilate questioning JESUS about if He’s the King of the Jews; read also John 14:6 prayerfully, for JESUS says exactly who He is, which is much more than just a mere Jewish human – being. Thanks for you’re very interesting question Ali. I pray that you find the truth in these verses. Definitely do much more research in the Bible concerning your question, for you’ll also discover answers to many other questions you might have as well! GOD bless you and your family Ali!

    • M. Mahmud

      May 6, 2015 at 1:00 AM

      Well…apparently God worshiped himself according to you and the Bible…

    • M. Mahmud

      May 6, 2015 at 1:02 AM

      He was an Israeli Muslim carrying on the sacred legacy of David AS and Ibrahim AS-worshiping one God.

      Christianity is remarkably similar to some of the pagan beliefs of Romans.

      • Amatullah

        May 6, 2015 at 7:48 AM

        Exactly! He, Jesus (Peace be upon Him) was nothing more than a Prophet, A HUMAN, carrying the legacy of Calling people to worship One-God(Allah) and abandon their paganism. He was HUMAN, very much in blood and flesh as we are. Every miracle He performed was with the Help and Permission of Allah. He even added “Bi’idnillah” (With the help of Allah) when he brought the dead people alive and cured the lepers.
        In simple terms, The then-rivals of islam simply took a prophet, distorted all historical facts in the bible, created a new religion so the people who followed Jesus PBUH could come back under their control and thereby help them re-establish their rule on common grounds of newly created religion. Sometimes, I just wish that Jesus PBUH comes down soon and questions the people (esp my head strong christian friends) as to who asked them to pray him and make him a God!? when he was nothing more than a human with a special birth.

        May Allah guide us.

  8. Amatullah

    May 6, 2015 at 12:58 AM

    “the term Christian didn’t exist yet before JESUS died on the cross”
    Gives me goosebumps. Its ridiculous the way you think “your GOD died”.
    That mere humans could kill him.
    That he had to “die”(Allah forgive me for using this word for a Prophet who was and is very much alive since his birth) for the sins he din’t even commit in the first place.
    That Someone else has to die for mistakes/sins he isn’t responsible for. (“the purpose of dying in our place to save us from sin and eternal death.” )
    That “your GOD” needed a spirit, a “son” to save the humanity
    That “your GOD” alone wasn’t enough to wipe out the bad and needed the son to die to do so.
    That you believe bible still stands correct with all its known contradictions, inclusions and confusions.
    I mean, you’re all such an educated bunch, how can you fall for such a fallacy? Don’t you understand that bible has been distorted,changed and what not! That it can’t be used as a basis for understanding.
    O Allah, please guide us to the Truth. Guide everyone to the Truth and open our hearts to the Truth and prevent any fallacy from convincing us, for you are the best Guide.

    • Amatullah

      May 6, 2015 at 1:00 AM

      The comment above is in reply to Michael Scott.

    • Michael Scott

      May 6, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      Amatullah, you have the right to believe whatever you want, nut I know what GOD has taught me, and that His one and only true Holy Word is the Holy Bible. A perfect, Holy, and Just GOD would never allow His Holy Word to not be perfectly preserved. He’s promised that in many verses in the Bible, some of which I’ve quoted in my past comments. Like the prophet Isaiah says in 8:20 “To the law and the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Those who don’t believe cannot understand GOD’s truth: 1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of GOD, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of GOD. 13 Which things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the HOLY SPIRIT teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man recieveth not the things of the SPIRIT of GOD, for they are foolish unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” None of us has all the answers; only GOD knows all things. So, when you say “you’re all such an educated bunch, how can you fall for such a fallacy,” I, and many others, don’t fall for any fallacy, for we are truly spiritual, not of ourselves, but because of GOD’S wonderful grace, and because He’s given us His HOLY SPIRIT to guide us into all Truth. I pray that you’ll see and realize that GOD is Love, and only Love can love us sinful human-beings so much that He was willing to die for us. May GOD bless you as you continue searching for more of His spiritual truths, and by His grace, may your mind be opened to His very many absolutely wonderful Truths!

    • Michael Scott

      May 6, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      That is what you believe, and I would never try to force anyone to believe what I do; only GOD can convert us with His HOLY SPIRIT. Only He knows you’re heart, not I nor anyone else. I pray that you eventually see that JESUS isn’t just a human-being, that He is GOD, and that GOD is 3, yet one GOD. They all are in perfect agreement with one another, which is why they are truly one. When GOD created Adam, He made the following statements in Genesis: “1: 26 And GOD said, let Us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . 27 So GOD created man in His own image, in the image of GOD created He him; male and female created He them . . . 31 And GOD saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. Just as GOD isn’t not alone, but is 3, yet 1, so too did He create man in His own likeness and image: Genesis 2: 18 And the LORD GOD said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . . 21 And the LORD GOD caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and He slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 and the rib, which the LORD GOD had taken from man, He made a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” This is His Holy Word telling us that we were made just like Him; just as He is not alone, and is 3 people, so too are we not alone, and so too does a man and a woman, when they are married before GOD, being 2, become 1 flesh. This is my last response I’m going to make on this website. I simply just made some remarks about this article, which included what some of my religious beliefs are, which I’m not afraid to share with others, nor am I ashamed of them. I wasn’t trying to make my remarks into some kind of contest between Muslim beliefs and Christian beliefs. I don’t judge or condemn anyone for their beliefs, nor do I attack anyone because of their beliefs. When someone says something about my beliefs, I’m not afraid to present truth to them, and the truth is always true evidence against lies. There are many opinions as to what the truth is, but I know my GOD, my Savior, and my very best friend, and He’s the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. I trust my GOD and know His truth, and His many wonderful, glorious promises in His Holy Word, He has personally fulfilled in my life. He is who He says He is, and He’s proven Himself to me over and over and over again, and He’ll keep on keeping His promises tome, and to all my brothers and sisters in CHRIST, for we are His children. I pray that all of us choose to love GOD with all of heart, withal our mind, with all our strength, and with all our soul. Those who truly love GOD will learn His Truths, will accept those Truths, and will be in His kingdom.

      • Amatullah

        May 7, 2015 at 12:43 AM

        I whole-heartedly respect your “way” of response (though I don’t agree with the content). You are such a kind and chivalrous person. If you could consider reading the Qur’an, reflect on the message and compare it to the Bible, it would may be, just may be, lead you on a different path in the long run. Thank you.

      • M.Mahmud

        May 7, 2015 at 9:39 PM

        Christ never commanded you to worship himself and the holy spirit. There is a reason there was so much disagreement among early Christians as to the precise nature of Christ. All these labels for Christ were used by the Romans before (son of God, lord, redeemer etc) and even the Jews had a history of raising certain pious people, calling them sons of God and worshipping angels. Christ AS never commanded you to worship him, this is something the factions after him plagiarized from previous disbelievers (and disagreed greatly about in the first few centuries.)

        Save yourself from the fire Michael. I warn you of the day of regret when the matter is decided and it is too late to believe. You believe Christ had a father do you not? Ask Him and Him alone to guide you. If you are guided there is none who can misguide you. You don’t need someone to die for your sins-you can approach God directly and seek His forgiveness and you will find him extremely forgiving and willing to relent to you. The doors of repentance and His loving mercy are still open and will be there for you until you see the angel who will take you away

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