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Christianity

 


 


Christianity is a Semitic religion, which claims to have nearly 1.2 billion adherents all over the world. Christianity owes its name to Jesus Christ (peace be on him). The Holy Bible is the sacred scripture of the Christians:



a)  The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the Holy Scripture of the Jews and contains records of all the prophets of the Jews that came before Jesus (pbuh).



The New Testament contains records of the life of Jesus (pbuh).


b)   The complete Bible, i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament put together, contains 73 books. However, the Protestant Bible i.e. the King James Version,  contains  only  66  books as  they  consider  7 


books of the Old Testament to be apocrypha, i.e. of doubtful authority.



Therefore the Old Testament of the Catholics, contains 46 books and that of the Protestants, 39 books. However the New Testament of both these sects contains 27 books.


I) Position of Jesus (pbuh) in Islam:

(i)Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh).

    

(ii) We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt).

    

(iii) We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe.

    

(iv) We believe he was the Messiah translated Christ (pbuh).

    

(v) We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission.

    

(iv) We believe that he healed those born blind, and the lepers with God’s permission. 


II) Concept of God in Christianity:

1. Jesus Christ (pbuh) never claimed Divinity



One may ask, if both Muslims and Christians love and respect Jesus (pbuh), where exactly is the parting of ways? The major difference between Islam and Christianity is the Christians’ insistence on the supposed divinity of Christ (pbuh). A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (pbuh) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "worship me". In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in which he preached quite the contrary. The following statements in the Bible are attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh):


(i) "My Father is greater than I."

[The Bible, John 14:28]



(ii) "My Father is greater than all."

[The Bible, John 10:29]



(iii) "…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God…."

[The Bible, Mathew 12:28]



(iv) "…I with the finger of God cast out devils…."

[The Bible, Luke 11:20]



(v) "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."

[The Bible, John 5:30]

    

2. The Mission of Jesus Christ (pbuh) – to Fulfill the Law



Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity for himself. He clearly announced the nature of his mission. Jesus (pbuh) was sent by God to confirm the previous Judaic law. This is clearly evident in the following statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in the Gospel of Mathew:



"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.



"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."



"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

[The Bible, Mathew 5:17-20]   


3. God Sent Jesus' (pbuh)

    

The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Jesus (pbuh) mission in the following verses:

    

(i)"… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me."

[The Bible, John 14:24]

    

(ii)"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent."

[The Bible, John 17:3]

    

4. Jesus Refuted even the Remotest Suggestion of his Divinity

   

Consider the following incident mentioned in the Bible:



"And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’



And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ "

[The Bible, Mathew 19:16-17]



Jesus (pbuh) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Jesus (pbuh) would die for his sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the commandments. It is indeed striking to note the difference between the words of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus (pbuh).


5. Jesus (pbuh) of Nazareth – a Man Approved of God   



The following statement from the Bible supports the Islamic belief that Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of God.



"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."


[The Bible, Acts 2:22]

    

6. The First Commandment is that God is One   



The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all. One of the scribes once asked Jesus (pbuh) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (pbuh) merely repeated what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier:


"Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad."



This is a Hebrew quotation, which means:



"Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord."

[The Bible, Mark 12:29]



It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and vicarious atonement find no mention in the Bible. In fact, various verses of the Bible point to Jesus’ (pbuh) actual mission, which was to fulfill the law revealed to Prophet Moses (pbuh). Indeed Jesus (pbuh) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God.


Jesus (pbuh) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of Almighty God.



NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.


III) Concept of God in Testament:

1. God is One



The following verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (pbuh):



"Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad".

It is a Hebrew quotation which means:

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord"

[The Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4]

    

2.  Unity of God in the Book of Isaiah

    

The following verses are from the Book of Isaiah:

        

(i) "I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."

[The Bible, Isaiah 43:11]

        

(ii) "I am Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me."

[The Bible, Isaiah 45:5]

        

(iii) "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me."

[The Bible, Isaiah 46:9]

    

3. Old Testament condemns idol worship

        

(i) Old Testament condemns idol worship in the following verses:



"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."



"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:"



"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."

[The Bible, Exodus 20:3-5]

        

(ii) A similar message is repeated in the book of Deuteronomy:



"Thou shalt have none other gods before me."



"Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth."



"Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."

[The Bible, Deuteronomy 5:7-9]


SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY

Al-Qur'an 3:64

Al-Qur'an 20:25-28

Greet you in the same manner as Jesus (pbuh) greeted in Hebrew Luke 24:36

‘Sholam alay kum’

or Islamic greeting in Arabic Assalaamu alai kum

both meaning ‘Peace be on you’.



Similarities / Similar Teachings in the Qur’an and the Bible which Muslims follow but Christians don't


I) ISLAM




1. Definition

A. Meaning of Islam

(i)
Islam is derived from the word salaam meaning peace.

(ii) Submission to the Will of Allah (swt) i.e. God Almighty.



 


3.  Revelations of God

A. Several Revelations sent by Allah – Al-Qur'an 13:38.

By name only four are mentioned in the Qur’an.



B.
(i) The Qur’an is the Last and Final Revelation.

(ii) All previous Revelations before Qur'an were only sent for a particular group of people and for a particular time period


(iii) The Qur’an was Revealed for the Whole of Mankind

Al-Qur'an 14:1

Al-Qur'an 14:52

Al-Qur'an 2:185

Al-Qur'an 39:41





II) PILLARS OF ISLAM:

1. Tauheed: Monotheism

A. La ilaha ilallahu, Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah

Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 Hadith No. 7



B.
 Believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers.

Al-Qur'an 2:177



C.
Come to common terms — Worship of one God

Al-Qur'an 3:64



D. Concept of God

Al-Qur'an 112:1-4

Deuteronomy 6:4

Mark 12:29



E. Shirk – Biggest Sin

Al-Qur'an 4:48

Al-Qur'an 4:116

Exodus 20:2-5

Deuteronomy 5:7-9



F. Jesus (pbuh) not God. He never claimed Divinity

Al-Qur'an 5:72

John 14:28

John 10:29

Mathew 12:28

Luke 11:20

John 5:30

Acts 2:21



G. 99 Attributes of Almighty God

Al-Qur'an 17:110


H.  Prefer using name ‘Allah’ rather than the word ‘God’ as the word ‘God’ can be played around with. Allah in the Bible – Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani

Mark 15:34

Mathew 27:46





2. Salaah

A. Not merely Prayers but Programming

Al-Qur'an 5:90

Al-Qur'an 2:188



B. Prayers restrain you from shameful and unjust deeds



Al-Qur'an 29:45


C. Salaah timings – for healthy soul five times a day

Al-Qur'an 17:78

Al-Qur'an 20:130



D. Take off shoes before entering mosque.

(i)
Commandment of Allah to Moses

Al-Qur'an 20:11-12

Exodus 3:5

Acts 7:33



(ii) Can Pray with Shoes.

Sunan Abu Dawood – Vol. 1, Book of Salaah, Chapter 240,

Hadith No. 652-653.


(iii) Hygienic

E. Ablution


(i)
 Al-Qur'an 5:6

Exodus 40:31-32

Acts 21:26



(ii) Hygienic

(iii) Mental Preparation




F. Stand shoulder to shoulder, while praying –

Sahih Bukhari – Vol. 1, Book of Adhan Chapter 75 Hadith no. 692

Abu Dawood – Vol. 1, Book of Salaah Chapter 245 Hadith No. 666.


G. Sujud – Prostration

(i)
To humble your mind, humble your body

(ii) Sujud mentioned 92 times in the Qur’an

Al-Qur'an 3:43

Al-Qur'an 22:77



(iii) Prostration in the Bible

Genesis 17:3; Numbers 20:6

Joshua 5:14; Mathew 26:39


3. Zakaah

A. Meaning: Purification and Growth

B.
Description: 2.5% of saving every lunar year in charity

Al-Qur'an 9:60



C. If every human being gives Zakaah, not a single person will die of hunger.

D.
 "Wealth does not circulate only amongst the wealthy and the rich"

Al-Qur'an 59:7



E. I Peter 4:8



 



4. Saum - Fasting

A. Description – one lunar month i.e. during the month of Ramadaan every lunar year, Muslims fast, i.e. abstain from food and drinks from sunrise till sunset.

B.
Benefits: learn self restraint. If you can control your hunger you can control almost all your desires. It enhances spiritual awareness.

Al-Qur'an 2:183



C. Medical Benefits:

(a) Increases absorption capacity of intestines

(b) Lowers cholestrol.




D. Discourages smoking, alcoholism and other addictions.

E. Bible prescribes Fasting

Mathew 17:21

Mark 9:29





 



5. Hajj

A. Description – Pilgrimage atleast once in life time if you can afford it

B.
Universal Brotherhood – 2.5 million people from all over the world gather, wear two pieces of unsewn cloth, preferably white. Cannot differentiate between rich and poor.

Al-Qur'an 49:13



C. Significance of Kaaba – Muslims don’t worship it

Psalms 84:4-7





III ) ISLAM IS A COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE

These five pillars do not constitute complete Islam. Only if the pillars are strong, will the structure be strong.


1. Humans Created to Worship Allah

A.  Jinn and Man created for worship of Allah

Al-Qur'an 51:56




B.  Meaning of Ibadaah – root word Abd meaning ‘slave’.


2.  Obeying Commandments of Allah is Submitting your will to Allah

A.  Abstaining from alcohol


Al-Qur'an 5:90

Proverbs 20:1

Ephesians 5:18


B.  Abstaining from prohibited food

Al-Qur'an 5:5

Al-Qur'an 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, 16:115


(i) Dead meat

Leviticus 17:15

Deuteronomy 14:21


(ii) Blood

Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:14, Deuteronomy 12:16,

I Samuel 14:33, Acts 15:29


(iii) Pork is prohibited

Leviticus 11:7-8

Deuteronomy 14:8

Isaiah 65:2-5


(vi) Food on which names beside Allah have been invoked

Acts 15:29; Revelation 2:14



C. (i) Being Honest in your Business

(ii) Helping Neighbours

Al-Qur'an 107:1-7


(iii) Abstaining from Backbiting

Al-Qur'an 104:1-3

Al-Qur'an 49:11-12



B. Meaning of ‘Muslim’ – One who submits his will to Allah.

C.  Islam is not a new religion found by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).




 


2.  Messengers in Islam

A. (i) To every nation was sent a Guide or a Messenger

Al-Qur'an 35:24

Al-Qur'an 13:7


(ii) 25 Prophets mentioned by name in the Qur'an

(iii) Islam is the only non-Christian faith that believes in Jesus (pbuh)


(iv)
Stories only of some prophets mentioned in Qur'an

Al-Qur'an 4:164

Al-Qur'an 40:78



(v) More than 1,24,000 Messengers according to Hadith



B. (i) Previous Messengers were only sent for their people and nation and their complete message was meant only for a particular time period.

(ii) Moses (pbuh) was only sent for the Jews.


(iii) Jesus (pbuh) sent only for the Jews i.e. lost sheep of Israel.

Al-Qur'an 3:49

Mathew 10:5-6

Mathew 15:24

(iv)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Last and Final Messenger for the

Whole of Mankind.

Al-Qur'an 33:40

Al-Qur'an 21:107

Al-Qur'an 34:28

Sahih Bukhari Vol.1 Book of Salaah Chapter 56 Hadith No. 429

(v)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prophesised in the Bible.

Al-Qur'an 7:157

Al-Qur'an 61:6

Deuteronomy 18:18

Isaiah 29:12

Song of Solomon 5:16

John 16:7

John 16:12-14










 


(iv) Obeying and Respecting Parents

Al-Qur'an 17:23, 24


(v)  Celibacy or Monasticism is prohibited in Islam

Sahih Bukhari: Vol. 7 Book of Nikah, Chapter No. 3, Hadith No. 4


(vi) Loving, being Kind and Just to your Wife

Al-Qur'an 4:19



(vii) Abstaining from Adultery

Al-Qur'an 17:32


D.  Dressing Modestly

(i)
Al-Qur'an 24:30

Mathew 5:27-28



(ii) Al-Qur'an 24:31

(iii) Six Criteria for Hijab in Islam

Deuteronomy 22:5

I Timothy 2:9 e.g. of Mary

I Corinthians 11:5-6



E. Circumcision

Acts 7:8

John 7:22

Luke 2:21




F.  In short, every Muslim should follow all the Commandments of Allah (swt) and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and abstain from the things they have prohibited.


CONCLUSION


(a) If Christian is a person who follows the teachings of Christ (pbuh) and not one who worships Christ (pbuh). (We are more Christian than the Christians themselves).

(b)
 Muslim is a person who submits his will to Allah.

Jesus (pbuh) said, "not my will but thy will be done." i.e. Muslim.

John 5:30

(c)  Al-Qur'an 5:82


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