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Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Fundamentals of Christianity and Islam

After reading many postings on Christian newsgroups and Muslim
newsgroups I have noticed there are many posts which are aimed at
converting people from one faith to their own faith but very little
effort being made to understand the differences between the
Monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Above all
there is a mass of postings made by Christians attempting to teach
Muslims the message of Jesus and Christianity. I myself am a Muslim
(Islam) and find it very disturbing that so many Christians seem to
have little to no understanding of just what it is that Muslims
believe.

Perhaps as a Christian you have no wish to understand either since you
have found a set of teachings that you believe are the truth and have
therefore dismissed all other religions as being false religions. As a
Muslim my religion is Islam and the scripture that I try to live my
life by is the Qur'an. In the Qur'an it is written that humans
should question all things and that God expects and encourages this as
the way to find truth. Like Christians we also believe that when you
here the truth (be it gods will) you will know it and recognize it if
you use reason. I am sure that as Christians you will believe the same
thing since to encourage blind belief in something is simply to
encourage mental suicide. The aim of writing this post is not to
attempt to convert Christians to Islam but to point out a difference in
beliefs that will hopefully bring about greater understanding and
harmony between the two faiths...As a Christian you can only benefit by
knowing the mindset of someone of a different faith...who knows you may
even end up converting someone with this information.

I know that I have benefited by reading bible text to understand
where Christian beliefs and mentality is coming from. I am about to
attempt to give a crash course on the central Muslim belief without
boring you with pages and pages of detail...I am going to try to
explain why I choose Islam over Christianity as my religion. Before I
put my case I would like to repeat that both Christians and Muslims
believe that when you here truth you know it and cannot find fault in
it nor deny it. As a Muslim I believe that gods people do not live in
one grouping of people on the planet...ie.....come judgment day it is
not going to be all those who called themselves Muslims, or Christians,
or Jews that are going to ascend to heaven but it will be a very mixed
composition of people that does not take into account such superficial
things as religious label be it Jew Christian or Muslim, country of
residence, or color of skin, Everyone's fate will be decided by their
actions and the words that flow from their hands and lips. I believe
this is what the prophets were teaching in scripture...one such example
being Jesus when he implied: not all who come with my message are of
Gods people (or something to that effect). Everyone's fate will be
determined by Gods judgment and not human judgment since God is the
knower of all things both seen and unseen in the heart. To suggest such
a theory as come judgment day all the Muslims/Christians/Jews living in
such and such a country will be "the righteous" and all the rest
will face the punishment of God for their sins is a very simplistic
black and white view and is far away from a rational mind and the
teachings of any religious texts. It is also a very dangerous fanatical
way of thinking. Life would be a lot easier if everyone's labels
matched the way they behaved and what was in their hearts but sadly
this is far from reality. I think the following quote sums up this
belief:

"Religion is not a club you can join. Your religion is something you
will drift in and out of throughout your life dependant on your
behavior. Your fate salvation and guidance in this life and the next
are not decided by the label you go by. be it agnostic Christian, Jew,
or Muslim, but by your actions, the words that flow from your lips, and
what you truly believe in your heart. This is my religion, your
religion, and everybody's religion......the name of this religion and
teaching is XXXXX"

Of course this viewpoint is not unique to Islam, which is why I put
XXXXX instead of Islam, I'm sure many Christians reading this can
relate to this wisdom when they read it, and I'm sure many would tell
me this is Christianity too.

Many Christians would be surprised at reading the Qur'an.......the
scripture is very much the same as the bible and tells the same stories
of the profits and has the same moral messages...sometimes with slight
variation in historic events but mostly the same. Muslims Claim that
Mohamed was the last profit and was given the message of God so that he
can correct the human Corruption of the original message of the
prophets before him, much the same as Christians believe Jesus was
given the message of God to confirm what the Jews had already
received.........The question begs to be asked What was this message
that god wants us to understand? you can only look at the scripture of
the Jews, Christians, and Muslims to decide....what were the prophets
teaching? What is the common theme found in all the prophets'
teachings?

Here is the Muslim Version and the crash course in Qur'an!

Muslims believe that gods message was that humans should not make
partners with god. And that there is only one god and all praise
belongs to Him alone. As Christians I am sure this is not a new concept
to you either and that you have read this many times in your own
scripture. But what exactly is meant by "do not make partners with
God"?. Muslims believe that by making "intercession" between a
human and god is the one thing that defines being a believer or someone
who is astray. In other words by assigning authority/power to anything
other than god is in direct contradiction of gods will and message of
unity. When humans assign symbols, statues, create hierarchies in
society with saints and kings, and create semi gods like the golden
calf the Jews created when Moses went up the mountain or are tempted by
other values such as Abraham was we are at the same time creating
division among people and causing people to see others as different due
to the limitations of our senses. If you take away Christian
crucifixes, saints (holy men), statues of Jesus, (holy buildings and
shrines), semi gods, nationalism, pictures of idol worship and all
forms of "Partners with God" what differences are remaining between
mankind???......... NONE! If these semi dietys were removed the world
would have only one religion and total unification. All religions seem
to be preaching the same fundamental beliefs of right over wrong, good
leads to good and bad leads to bad (karma), love concors hate,
generosity, charity, and abandonment of the things of this world that
corrupt us. There are countless expressions of the same feelings
mankind experiences to be found in a huge variety of separate religious
groups. Does any one religion have the arrogance to claim to have the
monopoly on believing in such things as peace, love, forgiveness,
patience, perseverance, etc?..........How many wars have been fought
and how many lives have been lost because of power being assigned to
the things of this life and people assuming they must be different
because they have different titles but are in fact feeling the same
universal thoughts? .....When you look around you will find that this
is the root cause of all segregation and evil...People kill to protect
(so called) holy buildings and shrines, they will kill to protect their
fellow man and community because they have the same religious label as
him with no regard for the fact someone's true religion is based on
his behavior actions and attitude. Even the instincts of atheists will
say that this is what turns them away from religion. One such example
was when the French government recently gave an order to ban all
religious symbols in schools because they said it was the root cause of
all conflict between the different faiths.... They even went to the
extreme of banning Muslim women from wearing head scalfs because they
said it made them stand out as being different from others.....The very
reason Muslims dress as they do is because Islam teaches them to dress
with plain modest clothing that will guard against being seen as a
sexual object and so that people will more easily judge you for your
character over the pressure of superficial beauty. Dress must also not
draw attention with fancy clothing!...So who is to decide what dress
should be the standard and is the most modest and the norm? If you go
so Saudi Arabia all people ware the same modest Muslim clothing and
there is no one person standing out from the rest!. ...Muslims believe
that in order to find guidance to the truth you must first give up all
forms of "shirk" (partner worship) and connect with Gods guidance
directly without any intercession. Muslims believe Gods central message
was the concept of unity and that this can only be achieved by giving
up the catalyst "shirk" in all its forms. It is the defining line
between devotion to God and those who have gone astray with temptation
to invest in something other than God. To become a Muslim, Muslims must
say in the company of other Muslim witnesses, "There is no God but
God and Mohamed was the last messenger of God" and also carry out
this creed in practice by avoiding all forms of shirk

Here are some other examples of "shirk

1. Listening to the directions of another person including religious
directions before listening to your own instincts.
2. Nationalism...since this involves following orders given by another
person's beliefs before listening to your own conscience given by God
3. Promoting someone or something above the level of ordinary man (the
opposite of modesty)
4. Promoting anything above its natural level....rocks, symbols,
statues and buildings etc which many people have been known to defend
with their lives and kill for.
5. Debating with another suggesting that you both believe in different
Gods....hence the saying: "Your God is my God, and My God is your
God" which is to be said when another person tries to engage you in
religious debate.
6. Giving admiration to another because of the position of authority
over others simply because of wealth, fame, or blood line etc.
7. putting your love and admiration into a sports team to the extent
that you will be hostile to others to protect your love of it.
8. The protection of a group of people based on their title.
Ie...taking the side of a person or nation of people simply because
they call themselves Muslim or Christian. The shirk in this example is
a case of black and white generalistic group mentality thinking that
all the good people live in one place under one title and all the bad
people live someplace else under another title. A kind of tendency to
judge someone/something as good or bad because of the label associated
with them. Idealistic thinking can be a dangerous thing. In this case
the mere word "Muslims" or "Christians" can become the
idealistic object of shirk An imaginary purist army of true believers
that people will support without question. The side you take in a
dispute should be based on the persons actions rather than their
titles, since somebodys religion is their action rather than their
title.

Muslims believe that Jesus was a Prophet of God and that he taught the
above message of unity and love to mankind. Muslims believe that Jesus
was not the "son of god" or God himself, but was a man who had
weaknesses as we all do and was a "messenger for God". The same
goes for the last prophet Mohamed who warned his followers not to
worship him or his grave when he died. Muslims believe Mohamed was born
so that mankind was given Gods message of unity one last time and a
warning for those who had and will go against this message of love and
unity by practicing shirk. Muslims believe that the only true guidance
in this life is found through giving up all forms of "Shirk" in
word and practice. It is the defining line between receiving guidance
and being on the strait path and being missguided. Muslims believe that
when some Christians say: "Jesus the son of God" or "Jesus is
God" this is assigning special power to an object/person of this life
(shirk/ Making Partners with God). It is a strong temptation in life
for a person to want to find the comfort of a symbolic focus point of
some kind to express their natural tendancy to give worship and prayer
and request guidance. The Qur'an teaches that this is Satan trying to
tempt mankind with the easy option away from Gods will instead of the
more difficult path of abandoning all "shirk" by worshipping
directly. One such funny example of this can be found in the Monty
Python movie "the life of brian", everywhere Brian goes he has
crowds of followers trying to worship him as a God. When he trips and
stumbles and his shoe falls off, his unwanted followers are quick to
pick it up and raise it to the sky and call it "the HOLY shoe".
Mankind has been inventing religions this way since recorded history.
It is the law of association and invention and is defined by the human
trait of wishing to find what it is the soul is looking for in this
lifetime by creating a symbolic reference to an idea we all feel inside
(God). In an abstract way this is the direct opposite of the word
"faith" which is what the prophets taught us to have. The Qur'an
teaches that Jesus was a Prophet of God and that Jesus gave a message
of love, peace, unity, and an example to not Split Gods Divinity with
shirk. Muslims believe that man with human invention has corrupted
certain parts of scripture in the bible. Qur'an teaches that mankind
does NOT know what God is , he is unlike anything to which you will
hear, smell, see, or think of...Muslims believe God is above the level
of human comprehension,. When you take the belief of "Not making
partners with God" and "Recognising but not claiming to know what
God is" you have a very simplistic teaching:.....God exists!, there
is only one correct answer/reality and one God which is the seat of all
creation and events, , there is the creator and the created, unity and
peace to all through not worshipping anythiny but God directly.....FULL
STOP!....to simplify this message further you can say: Something
exists, and we can argue forever over which religion is the truth but
at the end of the day there can logically only be one correct answer.to
what creation is all about...An intresting point to the gravity of
shirk is found in the observation of disputes between people. The next
time you witness a debate ask yourself the question: Is their any shirk
being practiced by either side? .....you will find that "Shirk" it
is the number one catalyst of difference and dispute in the world in
one form or anouther. I have included at the bottom of this article
some examples from the bible, which in my opinion confirm the scripture
has been altered to contradict other parts which have remained
authentic to Gods message of unity. Muslims believe that Mohamed was
the last prophet of God sent to conclude the message of unity that
Jesus and the prophets before him taught and to put right those that
had strayed once again into partner worshipping in all its forms but he
was rejected by many without the chance of explaining that he was not
teaching a new religion but simply confirming once again the original
message given to the Jews and Christians and to warn those who had
corrupted scripture and unity with idol worship teachings and human
invention. You can even find the Christian Ten Commandments in the
Qur'an. As a Muslim I see a lot of idol worship being practiced by
Christians (not all Christians) as well as other religions...i.e.
superstition in crosses, the hierarchy of church organisations, and
all worship being channeled in the direction of messengers, shrines,
semi dietys. This to a Muslim is a direct contradiction to Islam since
God expects his followers to set the example of unity in their actions
and teachings and all power and Prayer belongs to God alone.


Was Jesus the "Son of God" or "God Himself" or "a messenger
prophet of God"?

The bible:


WORDS
Joh 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but
His
who sent Me.
Joh 14:24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word

which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.
Joh 12:49 "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father
who
sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
WILL
Joh 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent

me, and to accomplish his work.
Joh 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but
the will of Him who sent Me.
Lu 22:42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from
Me;
nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."
POWER
Joh 5:30 "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My
judgment
is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the
Father who sent Me.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love
me,
for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord,
but he sent me.
KNOWLEDGE
Mr 13:32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in

heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mt 24:36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of

heaven, but My Father only.
Joh 7:16 So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who
sent me;
STATUS
Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the
kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Mr 10:18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is
good
but God alone.
8:50 "And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and
judges.

And So you have understood the fundamental message of Islam and the
Koran.


The Ten Comandments in the Koran

1. Thou shall not take any god except one God.

"There is no other god beside GOD,"(47:19)
He is the one God; there is no other god beside Him. ......(28:70)
2. Thou shall make no image of God

There is nothing that equals (like) Him. (42:11)
No visions can encompass Him, but He
encompasses all visions. He is the Compassionate, the Cognizant.[6:103]

"My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children
from worshiping idols. (14:35)
3. Thou shall not use God's name in vain.

Do not subject GOD's name to your casual swearing, that you may appear
righteous, pious,
or to attain credibility among the people. (2:224)

4. Thou shall honor thy mother and father.

. ....and your parents shall be
honored. As long as one or
both of them live, you shall
never say to them, "Uff"
(the slightest gesture of annoyance),
nor shall you shout at them; you
shall treat them amicably. (17:23)

5. Thou shall not steal.

The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment
for their crime, and
to serve as an example from GOD. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise. (5:38 -
39)

6. ..... incur GOD's condemnation upon him, if he was lying. (24:7)
Do not withhold any testimony by concealing what you had witnessed.
Anyone who withholds
a testimony is sinful at heart. (2:283)
O you who believe, you shall be absolutely
equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against
yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is
rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by
your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment),
then GOD is fully Cognizant of
everything you do.[4:135]
7. Thou shall not kill.

....anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or
horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. (5:32)

"You shall not kill any person - for God has made life sacred - except
in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his
heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits
in avenging the murder, he will be helped."(17:33)
8. Thou shall not commit adultery

You shall not commit adultery;
it is a gross sin, and an evil behavior.
(17:32)

9. You shall regard the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor,
the related neighbor, the unrelated neighbor, the close associate, the
traveling alien, and your servants. (4:36)
And do not covet what we bestowed
upon any other people. Such are temporary
ornaments of this life, whereby we put them to
the test. What your Lord provides for you is far
better, and everlasting.[20:131]
10. Thou shall keep the Sabbath holy.

*the Sabbath was relinquished with the
revelation of the Quran. We are told in
the Quran that the Sabbath was only
decreed for the Jews. (16:124)
God, however ,ordered us to make every
effort and drop all businesses to attend the
equivalent congregational (Friday) prayer. This difference in day is
to distinguish Muslim belief from other beliefs.
O you who believe, when the
Congregational Prayer (Salat
Al-Jumu`ah) is announced on Friday,
you shall hasten to the commemoration
of GOD, and drop all business. . (62:9)
If you wish to find out more about Islam, I would suggest posting your
questions to "mainstream" Islamic websites (sunni) to avoid
dangerous sects which promote shirk and miss information.
Placing questions in Google newsgroups is not always the best idea
since the various faiths in the world go to great lengths to spread
miss information about each other in the replies you will
receive....much of which will be Qur'anic quotes taken completely out
of context and twisted to give different meaning from people of other
faiths. If you come across such quotations that seem to imply imorality
I would urge you to consider the following question: Is it likely that
a prophet teaching love, peace, forgiveness, etc would be at the same
time be teaching people to act in a unethical way?....or is it more
likely that such quotations such as speaking of lawful tactics of
warfare or law system are to be used in only a last resort situation in
the protection of Gods message?....If you study the Koran you will
notice that Koran does talk about law and punishment which to a Muslim
are a necessary way of bringing about a just society and protecting
fundermental beliefs...It must be noted that such laws have a strict
legal framework for deciding when enforcement becomes the last option
available much as people understand the concept of self defense in
Christianity in certain curcumstances. Such chapters in Koran are
easily miss understood if taken out of context and missing the relevant
information that accompanies them. Much of the information, which is
taken as being harsh by other faiths, is in actual fact describing
historical events rather than describing legal rulings which apply to
modern times. Islam is a religion of peace and not a religion of hate
as many will try to promote. If Muslims were to Judge Christianity's
message by the standards of a few people called the Klu Klux Klan WHO
BELIEVE ITS Gods work to burn black people alive at the stake we would
be fools, ignorant, and unjust to do so, much the same as those who
associate Islam with the actions of a hanfull of misguided fanatics are
fools and unjust. I think it is much smarter to judge a religion
through its text rather than through those who show the worst example
as well as judge people on an individual basis rather than as a group.
I would suggest avoiding all teachings that contradict the above
principles of mono worship if you want to learn more about authentic
mainstream Islamic beliefs.

PS. A FINAL NOTE: If this article has offended you in any way I would
like to point out this was not my intention to cause offence. I have
received a number of scathing attacks from those following various
Christian theologies accusing me of posting miss information about
Christianity. If my opinion does not conform to the same ideas you have
yourself about how to interpret bible scripture then this is because
each individual has his own mind and capability to understand concepts
in different ways.... Only God knows which translation of scripture is
true and so I suggest we leave it up to him to put things right when we
all reach the big upstairs instead of attempting to insult and attack.
I have no interest to engage in religious debate with other faiths
since I don't believe this is Gods will and the only reply you are
likely to get is "Your God is my God, And My God is Your God" also
this article is mass posted by multiple people and the poster is
probably not the original author anyway...The intention of this article
was to point out the many things Christianity and Islam have in common
as well as highlight that much of the dispute between the different
faiths is due to the limitations of understanding each other, which can
be found in the communities of all world faiths. I invite you all to do
the same as I have done and publish your own opinions on what scripture
means to you in the newsgroups of your choice.

Kind Regards...and hope my article inspired you with new
ideas.........A.

KUR'AN

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[3:64]
Say, "O followers of the scripture, let us come to a
logical agreement between us and you: that we shall not
worship except GOD; that we never set up any idols
besides Him, nor set up any human beings as lords beside
GOD." If they turn away, say, "Bear witness that we are
submitters."
If you have mass mailing software please put it to good use and mass
mail this article to as many Islamic and Christian websites and
newsgroups as possible to help bring about a greater peace and
understanding between the different faiths of this world.

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