People of the book – part 16

“Say, “O People of the Book, come to terms common between us and you: that we worship none but God, and that we associate nothing with Him, and that none of us takes others as lords besides God.” And if they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we have submitted.”
Holy Qur’ân 3:64

“PEOPLE OF THE BOOK” is the respectful title given to the Jews and the Christians in the Holy Qur’ân. The Muslims is here commanded to invite – “O People of the Book!” – O Learned People! O People who claim to be the recipients of Divine Revelation, of a Holy Scripture; let us gather together onto a common platform – “that we worship none but God”, because none but God is worthy of worship, not because “THE LORD THY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN UNTO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION OF THEM THAT HATE ME.” (Exodus 20:25). But because He is our Lord and Cherisher, our Sustainer and Evolver, worthy of all praise, prayer and devotion.

In the abstract the Jews and the Christians would agree to all the three propositions contained in this Qur’ânic verse. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being – Cohen or Pope, or Priest, or Brahman, – could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and God in some special sense. Islam does not recognise priesthood!

The Creed of Islam is given to us here in a nutshell from Holy Qur’ân:
“Say: “We believe in Allah, And the revelation given to us, And to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, And that given to Moses and Jesus And that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: We make no difference Between one and another of them: And we bow to God .” Holy Qur’ân 2:136.
The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. It was the same religion preached by all the earlier prophets. (Holy Qur’ân 42:13). It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of God and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If anyone wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he isfalse to God’s will and plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.

People of the book – part 14

In New Testament times, we find that the Jews were still expecting the fulfilment of the prophecy of ‘ONE LIKE MOSES’, refer John 1:19-25. When Jesus claimed to be the Messiah of the Jews, the Jews began to enquire as to where was Elias? The Jews had a parallel prophecy that before the coming of the Messiah, Elias must come first in his second coming. Jesus confirms this Jewish belief:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:11-13).
According to the New Testament the Jews were not the ones to swallow the words of any would-be Messiah. In their investigations they underwent intense difficulties in order to find their true Messiah. And this the Gospel of John confirms: “and this is the record of John, when the jews sent priests and levites from Jerusalem to ask him, who art thou ? Amd he confessed and denied not, but confessed, I’m not the christ.” (This was only natural because there can’t be two Messiahs at the same time. If Jesus was the Christ then John couldn’t be the Christ!) “and they asked him, what then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I’m not.” (Here John the Baptist contradicts Jesus! Jesus says that John is “Elias” and John denies that he is what Jesus ascribes him to be. One of the TWO (Jesus or John), God forbid!, is definitely not speaking the TRUTH! On the testimony of Jesus himself, John the Baptist was the greatest of the Israelite prophets: ” Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. “(Matthew 11:11).

We Muslims know John the Baptist as Yahya. We revere him as a true prophet of God. The Prophet Jesus is also esteemed as one of the mightiest messenger of the Almighty. How can we Muslims impute lies to either of them? We leave this problem between Jesus and John for the Christians to solve, for their “sacred scriptures” abound in discrepancies which they have been glossing over as the “dark sayings of Jesus”. We Muslims are really interested in the last questions posed to John the Baptist by the Jewish elite- “ART THOU THAT PROPHET? And he answered, NO.” (John 1:21)

People of the book – part 4

We know what has been written, we doubt what has been changed but we ignore what has been forgotten.

The word of God is so important for the human being, it helps the person follow certain rules which will keep him on the right path and live a good life while expecting the reward for his right conduct in the next one. The rules of God are higher than the ones we make. If we follow the guidelines He sent us, we will be happy and rewarded for our obedience. If we desobey being headless of His commandments, we will be punished in the hereafter. So simple, yet ignored.

The Lord sent us messages, warnings, knowledge, prophets, signs to help us see who He is and how we should behave in this temporary existence. Do you think it is thanks to you that the rivers flow? Do you think it is thanks to your knowledge that vegetables came out of the ground in the first place? Everything we have (from the sun light to the cup of tea on your table) is created by God. We have to acknowledge that so that we might be thankful.

God sent us His messngers/prophets, because He saw His creatures fighting, robbing, killing, taking advantage of the weak, hoarding wealth as if they were going to live forever, pushing away the needy…. He saw rebellion and greed in us. Deeds that rejoiced the devil and angered God.
But their contemporaries were ungrateful, they rejected their teachings. Some were beaten, tortuted, or even killed by those opposing them. Even though deep down, they knew that they were messengers of God, but jealousy, greed and pride pushed them to refuse submission to God. Still, the Lord sent others to bring them light and justice.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Élie, Job, Salomon, David, Jonas, Lot, Noe, Moses, Aaron, Jesus, Mohammed, they were all sent to teach us and guide us to the right path leading to Heaven.