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Author Topic: Why are people converting to Islam?  (Read 5717 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 06, 2009, 10:16:00 PM »

Hello

In Mexico, Islam is the fastest growing religion, according to a magazine, the total number of muslims here tripled in 2 years.

Even though I do not agree with their religious beliefs, I think that Islam is less dangerous for our country than Evangelical Protestantism because Evangelicalism promotes neo-conservatism and pro-western capitalist values. Islam, on the other side, promotes revolution and traditionalism.

I have three friends who have embraced Islam:

The first one was my classmate since we were children, when we were teenagers he was very much into "Satanic" rock bands such as Marilyn Manson, Kiss and Panthera. He later sold all those cd's so that he could buy classical music records (he studied classical guitar), he entered the Physics Faculty in my city and then converted to Islam. I used to remember him as the kind of "heavy metal" kid wearing black shirts with satanic symbols but the last time I saw him he wore a robe similar to those of the Afghan ulemas, his name was now Abdul Hamid. The last thing I heard about him was that he was in Yemen learning Islam.

Another friend was part of our Nationalist youth group, he had a very good ideological preparation, he was one of our leaders. He got involved in the Palestinian cause (just like us but he became very active) and he eventually embraced Islam. I haven't talked to him lately but I think he's no longer active in Nationalism and he is now involved in Islamic causes, he became very religious (he used to be an Atheist).

The third frien was my classmate. When we graduated from university two years ago, he would spend all his money in parties, alchohol and girls. Now he embraced Islam in the USA.

In the southern state of Chiapas, Islam is now the third religion, after catholicism and the heretical Evangelical sects.

Why is Islam so popular now? is this also happening in the USA?

The reason why I would never embrace Islam is that I have examined Muhammad's life and teachings and it's clear that while he was probably a great leader, his revelations did not come from God, he lived an inmoral life, he was a very cruel man and probably insane.





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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 10:45:23 PM »


Why is Islam so popular now? is this also happening in the USA?


 As a former convert to Islam (I was a practicing Muslim for about ten years), I can only answer for myself as to the popularity.  First, Islam is just exotic enough to have a certain attraction and charm for seekers; especially seekers who come from a Christian background.  Many of the prophets and stories will be familiar to Christians (or at least Westerners in general) and so it sort of has a familiarity about it.  It is also a very simple religion.  For me (and I think many converts as well), Islam provided a sense of structure, order, to one's life.  In addition, it appeals to the rationality that Westerners are accustomed to.  In particular, Islam doesn't have the concept of the Trinity, which can seem very strange and even more difficult to try and explain.  As religions go, Islam is very easy to understand; much like Judaism.  I also like the legal aspect about it.  Like Judaism, Islam is very 'law' centered.  That's probably not a very good way to explain it, but there are many many laws that govern a Muslim's life and I think that appeals to a lot of people.  At least it did to me at a certain time in my life.  I don't keep up with the statistics any longer, but ten years ago, just before I left Islam, it was the fastest growing religion in the U.S., maybe the world.  I think part of this may be due to the size of a Muslim family; "Catholic evangelism" we jokingly call it (no disrespect to my RC friends, but y'all are historically known for large families...  Wink ).
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 12:52:51 AM »

I can't speak for all African Americans, but a good number who do convert to Islam, do so because they were told that christianity was the "white man's religion".

That's not true, but a number of muslims use that tactic to convert alot of African Americans.







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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 01:27:06 AM »

I can't speak for all African Americans, but a good number who do convert to Islam, do so because they were told that christianity was the "white man's religion".


 I knew this was the case with the Nation of Islam; Elijah Muhammad's black nationalist version of Islam.  Honestly though, when I was a Muslim, all I ever heard was how orthodox Islam brought people of all color's together (of course, this isn't true; Turks and Arabs tend not to like each other.  Same with Arabs and Pakistani's from my experience.)
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2009, 03:18:18 AM »


Even though I do not agree with their religious beliefs, I think that Islam is less dangerous for our country than Evangelical Protestantism because Evangelicalism promotes neo-conservatism and pro-western capitalist values. Islam, on the other side, promotes revolution and traditionalism.


I don't think one is less dangerous than the other. First of all, I would ask what you mean by "revolution" and "traditionalism." There are many different types of revolution, and various revolutionary agendas are often quite opposed to each other. There are also various types of "traditionalism" that mean different things.

Orthodoxy is rooted and based upon Holy Tradition, and the Orthodox Christian Faith offers the greatest hope for authentic spiritual revolution.

As Gabriel metioned, I also think the appeal of Islam is its simplicity. Although I never fully embraced Islam, I studied it seriously during my wilderness years between Protestantism and Orthodoxy. I was almost able to reconcile Christianity and Islam, but ultimately I couldn't get to that point. (Thanks be to God!) I also think the exotic nature of Islam is very appealing to Westerners who are frustrated with materialism, Catholicism, and Christian evangelicalism. Islam offers a simple faith with moral clarity. People are thirsty to be spiritually led, and Protestant Christianity is very diverse and inconsistent in regards to morality and ethics. Also, the racial and ethnic unity within Islam is very appealing. One God and One People. There's a lot of beauty in that.

I have spent a lot of time in Mexico, and I love the people and the culture. I know how deeply Catholicism permeates the Mexican culture, so I am surprised at the foothold Islam is beginning to establish there. My guess is that it is the result of the Marxist agenda that has been threatening to undermine Mexico for may decades. The Marxists will use anyone and anything that can help to undermine the Church. They will gladly utilize Islam to facilitate their "revolution."

The Mexican people must stand firm in their own cultural and religious tradition. They must reject Islam, Marxism, and Evangelicalism. They must preserve their love for family, for Life, for morality, and for Our Lord Jesus Christ. Although I am Orthodox, I have great respect for the Catholic roots of the Mexican people. 

Selam   
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2009, 03:32:04 AM »


Even though I do not agree with their religious beliefs, I think that Islam is less dangerous for our country than Evangelical Protestantism because Evangelicalism promotes neo-conservatism and pro-western capitalist values. Islam, on the other side, promotes revolution and traditionalism.


Islam offers a simple faith with moral clarity.

You said it better than I was trying to say it.
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2009, 06:50:52 AM »

People are converting because "the God of Mercy", calls us to be with him through mortar and bullet. That is the experience in our place.  Angry
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 09:06:05 AM »

People are converting because "the God of Mercy", calls us to be with him through mortar and bullet. That is the experience in our place.  Angry

I'm not following you here...can you explain a bit more?
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 09:08:14 AM »

I agree with others who said above that one reason might be "moral clarity." I know one Ukrainian guy who is a cradle Eastern Rite Catholic, but expresses sympathy to Islam because, in his vision, it offers a "right" moral position. He even says that these must be a very deep meaning in that St. Paul heard the Holy Spirit forbidding him to preach "in Asia."

It just bewilders me, why do people seek "simple" moral solutions...
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2009, 09:48:10 AM »

I agree with others who said above that one reason might be "moral clarity." I know one Ukrainian guy who is a cradle Eastern Rite Catholic, but expresses sympathy to Islam because, in his vision, it offers a "right" moral position. He even says that these must be a very deep meaning in that St. Paul heard the Holy Spirit forbidding him to preach "in Asia."

It just bewilders me, why do people seek "simple" moral solutions...
I don't think it's simply a matter of seeking "simple" moral solutions, though that can play a role. In that sense, people convert to fundamentalist Protestantism because of "simple" moral solutions.

As long as there are people who believe it "impossible" that the Infinite being can be limited to a human form, then there will be room for Islam, Judaism, and other non-incarnationist traditions.
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2009, 11:33:31 AM »

I think people convert to Islam because:

1) Islam is a cult more than a religion.

2) Islam is seen as a strong shield and weapon against some extremely liberal and immoral norms of the Western world.

3) Islam is presented as the religion of the oppressed and exploited communities, and everything suffered by Muslims and other men is blamed on (capitalist) Christians.

4) Islam allows militarist activities and promises victory and salvation in THIS world.

5) Islam is the youngest one of the three world religions, the others being Judaism and Christianity.

6) Islam has a simple creed.

7) Islam claims to have been sent by the one and same God for the correction of the former religions.

8 ) Islam is based upon the denial of the basic Christian tenets, which attracts many people who have problems with the Christian creed.

9) Islam has her own (fake) history, which is presented as the only truth through conspiracy theories.

10) Some people (even Christians) are sick of religious disagreements and exaggerated problems targetting the authenticity of the Bible. Muslims have the same kinds of disagreements and problems, but they are good at concealing them.

11) Muslims take the task of propagating their faith to the point of telling lies about Islam and other faiths.

12) Few people are aware of the bad peculiarities of the Islamic faith and tradition.

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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2009, 11:52:04 AM »

I can probably understand the appeal of Islam in a nominally Christian culture where the government says one thing and your religious background says another (and society demands loyalty to the former in public while privatizing the latter). Under sharia law, there is no distinction. Ingrained within Islam is also a legal system; Christianity requires you to submit even to wicked rulers.

Which explains the status of ancient Christian minorities in Muslim countries....

Also the Mexico connection is intriguing. America is Mexico's enemy. The Muslim world considers America the "Great Satan." So they figured, must be something worthwhile about their religion.
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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2009, 12:25:54 PM »

People are converting because "the God of Mercy", calls us to be with him through mortar and bullet. That is the experience in our place.  Angry

I'm not following you here...can you explain a bit more?

Females are abducted and raped when they do not choose to convert. And when they do, they are advertised to us the "infidels" how these people willingly converted. When they settle in Christian majority areas i the Philippines, they will impose their tradition on ALL people saying that if we did not make our women wear veils, we are disrespecting them. I find this extremely frustrating, as I've known stories on my countrymen whose hands were cut off for having been caught we a rosary on their hands (even if we are Christian majority country). God is Great because he is intolerant. God is great because his mercy applies only to Muslims.  God is great because he rules by fear. God is great because he kills and extortionate those who do not believe in him. God is GREAT! (sarcasm intended).
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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2009, 12:59:32 PM »

I haven't really been overly impressed with my discussions with Muslims. The last one with whom I spoke sublty mocked various Christians traditions and seemed to have a very crude approach to spirituality. It's hard to put a finger on what it was exactly, but I had a distict sensation that here was a person lacking somehow in divine grace-an inability and lack of desire to understand spiritual delicacy and nuance. I'm very sorry to hear that Mexicans are falling for this empty,shallow form of religion. Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2009, 08:03:36 PM »

Here is my take on why Islam is growing more in the West. First I think a lot of it comes from the hypocricy found in Christianity today from among those who call themselves Christians who are only Christian on Sundays (this happens even in Orthodoxy sadly). There are so many who call themselves Christians but don't act like it but then they see Muslims who are devout and proud about their faith and fill the mosques on holy days where a lot of Christians don't seem to care and this also happens in Orthodoxy on feast days since at my church at least, we only get a few people to show up and our parish is huge. Many Muslims take their faith more seriously than most people who call themselves Christians. Another factor is the "loosy-goosy" (can't think of another word to use) feel of most Protestant groups who don't seem to have any serious grounding in faith and are only changing everything all the time and sprouting into numerous groups and many really make Christianity look like a joke so people are looking for something more serious. Think about the quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians." Remember what he saw of Christians where he was. He saw people who went to church on Sundays and when they got out still showed hate to other human beings and they didn't follow the teachings of Our Lord.
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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2009, 04:58:13 AM »

I haven't really been overly impressed with my discussions with Muslims. The last one with whom I spoke sublty mocked various Christians traditions and seemed to have a very crude approach to spirituality. It's hard to put a finger on what it was exactly, but I had a distict sensation that here was a person lacking somehow in divine grace-an inability and lack of desire to understand spiritual delicacy and nuance. I'm very sorry to hear that Mexicans are falling for this empty,shallow form of religion. Lord have mercy!

Indeed majority of them are very shallow. They say their religion promotes "tolerance". Well, I guess calling every Christian woman who isn't wearing a veil as a whore is tolerance.. Wow.. I feel so much love in their attitude..
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2009, 07:17:05 AM »

I think we should be careful not to make straw man arguments in refuting Islam. I have many devout and sincere Muslim friends who condemn terrorism and militancy in the strongest terms. They are honest and have great integrity, and I never felt pressured by them in the least to convert to their faith. They have never tried to deceive me about their religion, and they never got angry or offended when I discussed and debated religion with them. They weren't misogynistic either.

As Orthodox Christians we know that Islam is a false religion. But that does not mean that all Muslims are fanatics, misogynists, and terrorists. Their religion is based on a pure and simple monotheism, and therefore in their minds it is grave idolatry to embrace the Trinity. We have to recognize the legitimate struggle they face in leaving something rationally simple in order to embrace Holy Mystery.

I would also point out that Islam has its own mystic traditions such as Sufism, which is analogous to the Hesychast movement within Orthodoxy. The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within. This is not unlike the teachings of the Church Fathers, who stress that we mist first focus on fighting and conquering our own sinful passions.

Selam

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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2009, 07:53:12 AM »


The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within.



Ah, this does sound much more peaceful than the external Jihad variety.
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2009, 08:01:23 AM »

We had a protestor outside our cathedral sunday morning.  His sign said "Church or Islam".  When I first glanced at it I thought it read "Church of Islam" which gave me reason for concern.  I approached him after DL and asked him what the nature of his protest was.  He said he was a member at the parish, and he gave me some paperwork. The paperwork has as the title "Islam is Terror!!!" At the end it says, "Demand more from your church leadership - get informed" From what I gathered, he feels the church should be more active in condemning Islam and warning people about its dangers. I thought this was kind of a strange way for him to protest, especially during DL! I was also concerned that people would get the wrong impression of the Church and think that we were somehow associated with Islam when they drive by and glance at the sign  Sad
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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2009, 08:29:44 AM »

I haven't really been overly impressed with my discussions with Muslims. The last one with whom I spoke sublty mocked various Christians traditions and seemed to have a very crude approach to spirituality. It's hard to put a finger on what it was exactly, but I had a distict sensation that here was a person lacking somehow in divine grace-an inability and lack of desire to understand spiritual delicacy and nuance. I'm very sorry to hear that Mexicans are falling for this empty,shallow form of religion. Lord have mercy!

It's unfortunate that your experiences have been this way.  But, as I'm sure you'd chide a Muslim for condemning the beautiful tradition of Christian mysticism after talking to only a characterised, hate-filled and simplistic Southern Baptist, the same holds true in the Islamic world.  I'm not talking about some sort of new age syncretism that masquerades under some vague label of "Sufism".  Most of my experience of Islam is from Soviet Central Asia and the large Afghan and Iranian ex-patriot communities there - and my general impression is that most have been very genuine, kind and loving people.   Interestingly enough, I've never felt Orthodoxy being mocked around them.  Probably the best Westerner to write on this type of Islam is William C. Chittick - I'd highly recommend any of his books.  For that matter, any of the great Persian poets are a delight to read.     
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« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2009, 08:42:50 AM »

I think we should be careful not to make straw man arguments in refuting Islam. I have many devout and sincere Muslim friends who condemn terrorism and militancy in the strongest terms. They are honest and have great integrity, and I never felt pressured by them in the least to convert to their faith. They have never tried to deceive me about their religion, and they never got angry or offended when I discussed and debated religion with them. They weren't misogynistic either.

As Orthodox Christians we know that Islam is a false religion. But that does not mean that all Muslims are fanatics, misogynists, and terrorists. Their religion is based on a pure and simple monotheism, and therefore in their minds it is grave idolatry to embrace the Trinity. We have to recognize the legitimate struggle they face in leaving something rationally simple in order to embrace Holy Mystery.

I would also point out that Islam has its own mystic traditions such as Sufism, which is analogous to the Hesychast movement within Orthodoxy. The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within. This is not unlike the teachings of the Church Fathers, who stress that we mist first focus on fighting and conquering our own sinful passions.

Selam



Well said. I have had much the same experience from Muslim friends.
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« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2009, 09:18:22 AM »

I think we should be careful not to make straw man arguments in refuting Islam. I have many devout and sincere Muslim friends who condemn terrorism and militancy in the strongest terms. They are honest and have great integrity, and I never felt pressured by them in the least to convert to their faith. They have never tried to deceive me about their religion, and they never got angry or offended when I discussed and debated religion with them. They weren't misogynistic either.

As Orthodox Christians we know that Islam is a false religion. But that does not mean that all Muslims are fanatics, misogynists, and terrorists. Their religion is based on a pure and simple monotheism, and therefore in their minds it is grave idolatry to embrace the Trinity. We have to recognize the legitimate struggle they face in leaving something rationally simple in order to embrace Holy Mystery.

I would also point out that Islam has its own mystic traditions such as Sufism, which is analogous to the Hesychast movement within Orthodoxy. The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within. This is not unlike the teachings of the Church Fathers, who stress that we mist first focus on fighting and conquering our own sinful passions.

Selam



Now, dear Gebre, I absolutely agree with all your points! Amazing... perhaps we need to celebrate!  Wink
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« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2009, 10:39:49 AM »

Here is my $.02.  Let me know if you need change.   Cheesy

I think people convert to Islam because it is far more monolithic and uniform than Christianity.  There are over 30,000 confessions of Christianity, mostly Protestant "I think this is what Scripture means" types.  It's embarassing.  There are "Christians" who deny the basic tenets of the faith, claim that events such as the virgin birth, the Resurrection, etc. are merely symbols.  I suppose the fault partly lies with us for not doing a better job of catechizing our young or reaching out to our neighbor.  I'm not saying that Islam however is totally on the same page with its "theology" either, although it's pretty simplistic.  It's in the application to political, social and economic life where the differences lie.

Also, I believe that for some males there is great appeal for Islam simply because it reinforces the dominant male stereotype.  Muslim men are in charge with no opposition.  For some males who have problems controlling others, especially women, this may have great appeal.

My sister was studying in England for nearly two years at an international school.  A Muslim man from Somalia wanted to meet with her to ask her about getting visas to the United States and immigration law. My sister said she would answer his questions as best she could and she arranged to meet him at a coffee shop.  The conversation began but only took about two minutes but for the next thirty minutes, he steered the conversation to her life in the attempt to convert her to Islam which was becoming near frightening with how strong he came off.  THank God she was in a public place.  He was throwing literature her way and my sister was invariably upset by this and started crying since she was genuinely afraid of this person.  He said that her tears were a sign of her desire to come to Islam.
Thank GOd my sister did not apostasize, but this guy was near forceful with her.  And she would never have done this had it not been for the deception he employed.  Now, Christianity is not immune to this either, particularly some Christians down south, but Islam seems to use a lot of deception and covert tactics and outward force to convert others to their point of view.  And this has been part of Islamic tradition since its founding, e.g. the Janissaries. 

I just read today that the Islamic population stands at about 1.57 billion.   Not all of them converts, to be sure, since the Muslims have many more kids than the Western world.  THis should serve as a wake-up call.
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« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2009, 12:05:53 PM »

I'm wondering how they calculated the "fastest-growing religion." In Mexico any religion other than Roman Catholicism is rather small, so even a minor numerical growth can yield a large percentage of growth. If, however, the absolute numbers have increased more than any other religion, the author has a point here. Which magazine is it? What issue, and what article? I'd like to find out how they obtained their numbers.
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« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2009, 01:38:49 PM »

I think people convert to Islam because it is far more monolithic and uniform than Christianity.  There are over 30,000 confessions of Christianity, mostly Protestant "I think this is what Scripture means" types.  It's embarassing.  There are "Christians" who deny the basic tenets of the faith, claim that events such as the virgin birth, the Resurrection, etc. are merely symbols. 

But in Islam, aren't there also very many different interpretations of the Koran? They do not have clergy or hierarchy or Councils, so, essentially, every "imam" (who might be just a person in a community who can read bettter than others) is free to interpret their sacred writings the way he sees fit. So you have a huge spectrum, from "Puritan" Wahhabee in Saudi Arabia to deeply mystical-esoteric Sufi in Pakistan to very liberal and secular minded Muslim somewhere in Turkey or Lebanon. Correct me if I am wrong, but Muslims are uniform in the major rules of life (prayer, fasting, giving alms, reading the Koran, hajj to Mecca), but they are quite diverse in theology as well as in their social position.
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« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2009, 02:05:44 PM »

^Heorhij,

Unlike Christianity and the the Scriptures, there is only ONE version of the Koran.  After Muhammad's death, his successor had all copies which contained variants destroyed.  So, they are not wrestling with the discrepancies as modern Christianity is.  But again, I believe that Islam differs not so much theologically as it differs as to how to practice that theology whether in the political, economic or social world. There are mystical elements of Islam, such as Sufism and there are hardcore fundamentalist elements with what we find in Wahabism and represented politically by Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
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« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2009, 10:48:16 PM »

^Heorhij,

Unlike Christianity and the the Scriptures, there is only ONE version of the Koran. 

Do they have the original Koran to verify this?
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« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2009, 11:03:17 PM »

Heorhij and Scamandrius,

 As far as my experience in studying the Qur'an went, I would say you both are correct.  Every Qur'an has 114 books, so in that sense, there is only one Qur'an.  But, depending on what sect a Muslim belongs to, that same Qur'an can be interpreted a little differently.  In addition, a Muslim will not simply hold to the Qur'an; she/he will also look to the Hadith (discourses, sayings) of Muhammad to help her/him interpret the Qur'an.  But here again, there are different hadith, depending on what sect one belongs to.  Shi'ites accept the hadith of 'Ali, their namesake, while Sunni's would never consider the hadith of 'Ali.  To make things slightly more complicated, the Shi'ite branch of Islam is constantly (albeit slowly) evolving in it's interpretation (what is known as 'ijtihad.)  The Sunni branch long ago interrupted and ended 'ijtihad to where today, it's a bit more static.  Of course, this is an over simplification as well as limited to my experience from when I was Muslim.      
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« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2009, 11:25:19 PM »

Unlike Christianity and the the Scriptures, there is only ONE version of the Koran.

The oneness of the Quran is a religious belief and not a scientific fact.  Arabic is not written with vowels, and vowel markings were not inserted into Quranic texts until well after the fact.  If Isa is reading this, perhaps he could explain this better than I, but there are cases were changing the vowels in the Quran can alter meaning.  A simple example: ktb - if the vowels are kitab it means book; if they are kutub it means books.  This has created slightly different texts over the centuries along sectarian lines.  

Some German scholars found some quite divergent manuscripts in Northern Yemen / Southern Saudi Arabia awhile back.  This is interesting in that it shows that in historical reality, there have been different Qurans and it is also interesting as the area is a Shia stronghold.  Their visas were promptly revoked and their research halted.  But it makes the same point as Hagarism did - that too many in the West accept Islamic dogmas at face value as historical realities.  

Thirdly, and most importantly is that the Quran is no different than any other long, old text: it doesn't interpret itself.  In the same way that Christians are excellent at ignoring parts of the Bible that are inconvenient and twisting other parts to mean precisely what they wish for them to mean, Muslims do the same with the Quran.  Just as important in Islam as the Quran are the Hadith - a body of literature that is incredibly large and diverse.  Without them, it is impossible to understand the Quran.  Within Sunni Islam each of the four main schools have their own hadith; Shafites and Hanafites can be very different on very basic matters.      

But again, I believe that Islam differs not so much theologically as it differs as to how to practice that theology whether in the political, economic or social world. There are mystical elements of Islam, such as Sufism and there are hardcore fundamentalist elements with what we find in Wahabism and represented politically by Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

You are trying to see Islam in terms of Christianity, rather than seeing it as it sees itself.  There generally aren't anathemas or formal excommunications in the sense of Christianity because there really isn't much of a hierarchy.    
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« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2009, 12:10:36 AM »

It's certainly true that there are divisions among the Muslims.

The most important division is that of Shia and Sunni.

The Shia started as a political faction, they claim that the rightful successor of Muhammad was Ali (this is because he came from his family and they believe that Muhammad's family was chosen by God). This means they do not recognize the first four leaders who led the Muslim community after Islam (Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman and Uthman) and who the Sunni regard as the "sahaba" or companions of the prophets (the best generation).

The Shia are very mystic, they believe that their Imams (the successors of Ali) were divinely chosen and guided (they could see the unseen and know the past, the present and the future). Sunnis believe this to be "shirk" (idolatry) as it gives divine atributes to men.

In Mexico there's a shia mosque in Torreon but this mosque is virtually unknown as the shias do not proselitize and very few remain here (the other Muslims refuse to have contact with them).

Thu sunnis started as a single organization (the Islamic cultural center) but now there are three different organizations: the Educative Center (whose members are Egyptian, Pakistani, Syrian inmigrants favourable to a relatively moderate form of Islam as preached in Al Azhar and Abu Nur schools), the Salafi Center (supported by the Saudi embassy and who follow a very strict wahabbist form of Islam) and the Cultural Center (they're in the middle). The salafists refuse contact with those they see as "innovators".

In Chiapas there is a "murabitum" community which follows sufism and was founded by Spanish men, they're not well seen by the Muslims because of their strange practices and their submission to a Scottish sheikh.

The magazine emphasized the fact that conversions to Islam, despite Islam having a very small following in Mexico, tripled in two years. Obviously, they do not grow as much as the Evangelical sects as Muslims are still a very small minority. Unfortunately I have no copies of such magazine, my friend's conversion actually made me remember the article I read about this.

I was aware of how Coptic girls are abducted in Egypt and how evil these Muslim fanatics can be. Here they're very moderate and hopefully they will always be a small minority, they're good citizens and very nationalistic.
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« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2009, 12:46:22 AM »

Islam is actually based on three foundations of authority: The Qur'an, the Hadith (teachings and sayings of Muhammad apart from the Qur'an), and the Sunna (the example of Muhammad). So in interpreting the Qur'an, Muslims will rely upon the Hadith and the Sunna for clarification. But obviously this does not solve all the contradictions and differences of belief within Islam.

I remember listening to an intense discussion between some Muslims that arose when one of them dared to suggest that the Qur'an was all that Muslims needed to guide them in the faith. He was arguing a very unorthodox (in regards to Islam) position of "Sola Qur'ana." The other Muslims severely chastised him for this unheard of position within Islam. The guy was a Western convert to Islam, and I suspect maybe he had come from an evangelical background. Anyway, it was very interesting.


Selam   
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« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2009, 01:23:21 AM »

Just to clarify, when I speak of only ONE Koran, I am saying that there is an authoritative text with NO variants.  If you were to read the NT Greek, you would find all sorts of footnotes as to how reliable certain phrases are (marked by A, B, C, D with A being the most reliable).  In other words, there is no apparatus criticus for the Koran like there is for the NT or for other works to come out of Ancient Greece and Rome.  And that makes a lot of difference when it comes to making new editions of the Scriptures whether in the original language or even in translation which can trigger a lot of thelogical debate such as what happens within the Jesus Seminar.  Islam and the Koran, for better or for worse, does not have this.
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« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2009, 10:36:08 AM »

Quote
A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.

While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, more than half of the 20 countries and territories1 in that region have populations that are approximately 95% Muslim or greater....
....
The Pew Forum report is based on the best available data for 232 countries and territories. Pew Forum researchers, in consultation with nearly 50 demographers and social scientists at universities and research centers around the world, acquired and analyzed about 1,500 sources, including census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys, to arrive at these figures - the largest project of its kind to date. (See Methodology for more detail.)
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« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2009, 02:36:05 PM »

Hello

In Mexico, Islam is the fastest growing religion, according to a magazine, the total number of muslims here tripled in 2 years...

...In the southern state of Chiapas, Islam is now the third religion, after catholicism and the heretical Evangelical sects.

I just googled “Islam in Mexico” and found these pages on the matter:

http://www.islamawareness.net/LatinAmerica/mexico1.html
http://www.racematters.org/islamtakesrootinmexico.htm

Since Saudi funded Dawah has already gained a foothold in Europe and North America, I knew it would only be a matter of time before it started to make inroads into the last major stongholds of Christianity – Latin America and Australasia. Isn't it rather interesting that Muslim evangelists are specifically targetting traditionally Christian countries instead of countries like Japan or Sri Lanka where other religions reign supreme?

is this also happening in the USA?

Yes it is, as well as Canada and Europe, and to a lesser extent Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Argentina has already had a Muslim president, and many still believe that Barak Obama is in fact a “crypto-Muslim”. Convertions to Islam among westerners began to skyrocket, ironically, shortly after 9-11. This trend continues today and shows no sign of stopping, there's also the immigration factor as Mulims continue to flock to the west, mostly as refugees. Plus there's the birth rate among Muslims both in the west and in the Muslim world, it's believed (unless trends change dramatically and fast) that by 2055 half of all global births will be in Muslim families. Some are predicting that Islam will be the world's number 1 religion before this century turns into the next, and that Islam will become the dominant “world order”. Brother Andrew, the famous “God's Smuggler” went so far as to say:

“What Communism was to the twentieth century, Islam will be for the next 100 years. (Light Force by Brother Andrew & Al Jenson, pg. 140)

The fact that as of 2006 Muslims already outnumber the Roman Catholic Church, suggests that we are witnessing the rise of a new global power.

Even though I do not agree with their religious beliefs, I think that Islam is less dangerous for our country than Evangelical Protestantism because Evangelicalism promotes neo-conservatism and pro-western capitalist values. Islam, on the other side, promotes revolution and traditionalism.
I don't think one is less dangerous than the other. First of all, I would ask what you mean by "revolution" and "traditionalism." There are many different types of revolution, and various revolutionary agendas are often quite opposed to each other. There are also various types of "traditionalism" that mean different things.

I disagree with both of you. Islam is much more dangerous than Evangelical Protestantism, the fact that Muhammad's legacy has wiped out much of the Church in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia should demonstrate that Islam is a force to be reckoned with.

As for “revolution” and “traditionalism” do you guys know how those concepts are understood in Islam? Iran had an Islamic Revolution in 1979 which issued in a regime which changed, among other things, the legal age for girls to marry from 18 to 9! Now what could Ayatollah Khomeini's justification for this be? And the yearning for “traditionalism” among Muslims has resulted in reformation groups such as the Wahhabis/Salafis in Saudi Arabia and the Taliban in Afghanistan. In Islam “traditionalism” means resinstating the “traditional” practices of Muhammad and his early followers. Practices which include beheading, stoning, making women veil themselves from head to toe and beating them if they so much as expose their ankles, legalizing child brides and invading non-Muslim lands and homes to plunder, convert by the sword and take female captives as sex slaves. Muhammad and his early followers did all these things, and Muslim terrorists today do all these things.

As bad as Evangelical Protestantism is, even the radical kind, it's a far cry from “revolutionary” and “traditional” Islam. I myself loath fundamentalist Christianity, but what one prominent self confessed fundamentalist Christian once said is very true:

“We fundamentalist Christians may give the world a headache but the Muslim fundamentalist will whack your entire head off your shoulders!” (Walid Shoebat, in an interview with the BBC).

I can't speak for all African Americans, but a good number who do convert to Islam, do so because they were told that christianity was the "white man's religion".

That's not true, but a number of muslims use that tactic to convert alot of African Americans.

ICXC NIKA

This is happening in traditionaly Christian Sub-Saharan Africa as well, especially South Africa where Muslim's are using South Africa's Apartheid history to their advantage to “hook in” converts among the black population there. Whenever I encounter a black Muslim or black Muslim wannabe who spins the “Christianity is a white man's religion” argument, I bring up the topic of Darfur, and Islam's own history of slavery.

Islam offers a simple faith with moral clarity.
You said it better than I was trying to say it.

While I understand how Islam appeals to many westerners who are dissatisfied with the high materialism and low morality of western society, the “moral clarity” in Islam dissappears once you start studying the Hadiths and Sirah. It doesn't matter what the sin is, murder, theft, deceit, adultery, rape and even idolatry, thanks to Muhammad's example, because he is considered the supreme example to follow, there is always a way to justify it. Please note that Muslim evangelists and apologists are not above using deception in order to make Islam as appealing as possible to potential converts. There is even a doctrine which sanctifies lying to non-Muslims for the sake of protecting Islam and Muslims called Taqiya. Don't ever expect a Muslim evangelist or apologist to ever tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the religion of Islam. They will twist their sacred literature, cover up unflattering historical facts or deny them when confronted and even outright lie to your face about what their sacred literature says.

I think we should be careful not to make straw man arguments in refuting Islam. I have many devout and sincere Muslim friends who condemn terrorism and militancy in the strongest terms. They are honest and have great integrity, and I never felt pressured by them in the least to convert to their faith. They have never tried to deceive me about their religion, and they never got angry or offended when I discussed and debated religion with them. They weren't misogynistic either.

As Orthodox Christians we know that Islam is a false religion. But that does not mean that all Muslims are fanatics, misogynists, and terrorists. Their religion is based on a pure and simple monotheism, and therefore in their minds it is grave idolatry to embrace the Trinity. We have to recognize the legitimate struggle they face in leaving something rationally simple in order to embrace Holy Mystery.

The truth is your friends, and the majority of Muslims around the world are actually "bad Muslims". It is the terrorists who reflect true Islam because they are the ones who are really immitating their prophet. Please note that I am distinguishing between Islam and Muslims, I do not judge Islam based on the words and actions of its adherents but on the words and actions of its founder, who himself said:

“I am commanded to fight with men till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, face our qiblah (direction of prayer), eat what we slaughter, and pray like us.” (Bukhari 1:14:2635)

Just like not all Christians reflect Messiah, likewise not all Muslims reflect Muhammad. Just like Yeshua is the supreme example to follow for Christians, likewise Muhammad is the supreme example to follow for Muslims. So the true face of Christianity is Yeshua, not the Crusades or inquistions by the RCC, likewise the true face of Islam is Muhammad, it is he who immitates Muhammad who is a true Muslim: http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/islam_test.htm.

The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within.
Ah, this does sound much more peaceful than the external Jihad variety.

It sounds more peaceful until you study the Sufi doctrine of the “Greater Jihad” and realize what its real purpose is. Here is a Sufi explanation by Al-Junayd:

Those who have striven against their desires and repented for our sake, we shall guide them to the ways of sincerity, and one cannot struggle against his enemy outwardly (i.e. with the sword) except he who struggles against these enemies inwardly. Then whomever is given victory over them will be victorious over his enemy, and whomever is defeated by them, his enemy defeats him. (Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, Al-Fawa’id, ed. Muhammad `Ali Qutb, Alexandria: Dar Al-da`wa, 1412 AH/1992 AD, p. 50.)

Al-Junayd is basically saying that once one successfully conquers his inner demons then he would be able to successfully conquer his outer enemies – the infidels.  The so called “Great Jihad” or “war against ones inner demons” in no way replaces the “Lesser Jihad” or the “war against infidels”. The “Greater Jihad” is akin to a Ninja assissin training his body and mind to “make the kill” it is NOT about self improvement!

Historically the Sufis have been just as intollerant and warmongering as the Sunnis and Shi'ites. Prominent examples include Timur the Lame, a.k.a. Tamerlane, a Sufi who single-handedly destroyed most of the Assyrian Church of the East, and the highly respect scholar Al-Ghazali who said: “One must go on Jihad at least once a year.” http://www.jihadwatch.org/2005/02/bostom-sufism-without-camouflage-beyond-stephen-schwartz.html. The Indian Sufis up to the time of British Colonization were the most fanatic Muslims in India, and the Chechens who are well known for their terrorist activities are mostly Sufis.

We had a protestor outside our cathedral sunday morning.  His sign said "Church or Islam".  When I first glanced at it I thought it read "Church of Islam" which gave me reason for concern.  I approached him after DL and asked him what the nature of his protest was.  He said he was a member at the parish, and he gave me some paperwork. The paperwork has as the title "Islam is Terror!!!" At the end it says, "Demand more from your church leadership - get informed" From what I gathered, he feels the church should be more active in condemning Islam and warning people about its dangers. I thought this was kind of a strange way for him to protest, especially during DL! I was also concerned that people would get the wrong impression of the Church and think that we were somehow associated with Islam when they drive by and glance at the sign  Sad

While I don't think the sign was a good idea or that the topic of Islam is appropriate for DL, I do believe that the Church should be more active in condemning Islam and warning people of it's dangers. Granted this is difficult for the Orthodox Church because many of its members live in Muslim countries, and the leaders obviously don't want to put their lives in danger. But succumbing to Muslim whims will have grave consequences. Winston Churchill once said:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Putting faith in promises made by Muslims is not a good idea because they are known to break their agreements with infidels, again it was Muhammad who set the example.
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« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2009, 08:48:44 PM »

Unlike Christianity and the the Scriptures, there is only ONE version of the Koran.

The oneness of the Quran is a religious belief and not a scientific fact.  Arabic is not written with vowels, and vowel markings were not inserted into Quranic texts until well after the fact.  If Isa is reading this, perhaps he could explain this better than I, but there are cases were changing the vowels in the Quran can alter meaning.  A simple example: ktb - if the vowels are kitab it means book; if they are kutub it means books.  This has created slightly different texts over the centuries along sectarian lines.  

Some German scholars found some quite divergent manuscripts in Northern Yemen / Southern Saudi Arabia awhile back.  This is interesting in that it shows that in historical reality, there have been different Qurans and it is also interesting as the area is a Shia stronghold.  Their visas were promptly revoked and their research halted.  But it makes the same point as Hagarism did - that too many in the West accept Islamic dogmas at face value as historical realities.  

Thirdly, and most importantly is that the Quran is no different than any other long, old text: it doesn't interpret itself.  In the same way that Christians are excellent at ignoring parts of the Bible that are inconvenient and twisting other parts to mean precisely what they wish for them to mean, Muslims do the same with the Quran.  Just as important in Islam as the Quran are the Hadith - a body of literature that is incredibly large and diverse.  Without them, it is impossible to understand the Quran.  Within Sunni Islam each of the four main schools have their own hadith; Shafites and Hanafites can be very different on very basic matters.      

But again, I believe that Islam differs not so much theologically as it differs as to how to practice that theology whether in the political, economic or social world. There are mystical elements of Islam, such as Sufism and there are hardcore fundamentalist elements with what we find in Wahabism and represented politically by Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

You are trying to see Islam in terms of Christianity, rather than seeing it as it sees itself.  There generally aren't anathemas or formal excommunications in the sense of Christianity because there really isn't much of a hierarchy.    

Oh, the takfir (anathema, excommunication) is quite common, because any fool practically can issue one.
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« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2009, 09:04:16 PM »

Islam and the Koran, for better or for worse, does not have this.

Oh, just give it time.  Once historical/textual criticism reaches Saudi Arabia, we'll find just as many variants.  The scholars are just about wrapping up destroying Christianity, and now the parasites need a new host.  The Corpus Christi has been picked clean.
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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2009, 10:36:58 PM »

Islam and the Koran, for better or for worse, does not have this.

Oh, just give it time.  Once historical/textual criticism reaches Saudi Arabia, we'll find just as many variants.  The scholars are just about wrapping up destroying Christianity, and now the parasites need a new host.  The Corpus Christi has been picked clean.

 They've only fooled themselves.  Smiley  Glory to Jesus Christ!
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« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2009, 10:55:32 PM »

They've only fooled themselves.

Well, whatever they've done, they should be just about done doing it by now.
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« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2009, 02:31:40 AM »

Thought this might be appropriate.           

Selam
               St. John of Damascus: Critique of Islam

The following passage is from Saint John's monumental work, the Fount of Knowledge, part two entitled Heresies in Epitome: How They Began and Whence They Drew Their Origin. It is usually just cited as Heresies. The translator's introduction points out that Fount of Knowledge is one of the most "important single works produced in the Greek patristic period,…offering as it does an extensive and lucid synthesis of the Greek theological science of the whole period. It is the first great Summa of theology to appear in either the East or the West." Saint John (+ 749) is considered one of the great Fathers of the Church, and his writings hold a place of high honor in the Church. His critique of Islam, or "the heresy of the Ishmaelites," is especially relevant for our times.

There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: `Sara hath sent me away destitute.' [99] These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. [100] And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, [101] devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.

He says that there is one God, creator of all things, who has neither been begotten nor has begotten. [102] He says that the Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit, but a creature and a servant, and that He was begotten, without seed, of Mary the sister of Moses and Aaron. [103] For, he says, the Word and God and the Spirit entered into Mary and she brought forth Jesus, who was a prophet and servant of God. And he says that the Jews wanted to crucify Him in violation of the law, and that they seized His shadow and crucified this. But the Christ Himself was not crucified, he says, nor did He die, for God out of His love for Him took Him to Himself into heaven. [104] And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: `O Jesus, didst thou say: "I am the Son of God and God"?' And Jesus, he says, answered: `Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.' And God answered and said to Him: `I know that thou didst not say this word." [105] There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God. But when we ask: `And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?'—they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: `How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?'—they answer that God does as He pleases. `This,' we say, `We know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.' Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You're spinning me dreams.) [106]

When we ask again: `How is it that when he enjoined us in this book of yours not to do anything or receive anything without witnesses, you did not ask him: "First do you show us by witnesses that you are a prophet and that you have come from God, and show us just what Scriptures there are that testify about you"'—they are ashamed and remain silent. [Then we continue:] `Although you may not marry a wife without witnesses, or buy, or acquire property; although you neither receive an ass nor possess a beast of burden unwitnessed; and although you do possess both wives and property and asses and so on through witnesses, yet it is only your faith and your scriptures that you hold unsubstantiated by witnesses. For he who handed this down to you has no warranty from any source, nor is there anyone known who testified about him before he came. On the contrary, he received it while he was asleep.'

Moreover, they call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God. We say to them in rejoinder: `The Prophets and the Scriptures have delivered this to us, and you, as you persistently maintain, accept the Prophets. So, if we wrongly declare Christ to be the Son of God, it is they who taught this and handed it on to us.' But some of them say that it is by misinterpretation that we have represented the Prophets as saying such things, while others say that the Hebrews hated us and deceived us by writing in the name of the Prophets so that we might be lost. And again we say to them: `As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.'

They furthermore accuse us of being idolaters, because we venerate the cross, which they abominate. And we answer them: `How is it, then, that you rub yourselves against a stone in your Ka'ba [107] and kiss and embrace it?' Then some of them say that Abraham had relations with Agar upon it, but others say that he tied the camel to it, when he was going to sacrifice Isaac. And we answer them: `Since Scripture says that the mountain was wooded and had trees from which Abraham cut wood for the holocaust and laid it upon Isaac, [108] and then he left the asses behind with the two young men, why talk nonsense? For in that place neither is it thick with trees nor is there passage for asses.' And they are embarrassed, but they still assert that the stone is Abraham's. Then we say: `Let it be Abraham's, as you so foolishly say. Then, just because Abraham had relations with a woman on it or tied a camel to it, you are not ashamed to kiss it, yet you blame us for venerating the cross of Christ by which the power of the demons and the deceit of the Devil was destroyed.' This stone that they talk about is a head of that Aphrodite whom they used to worship and whom they called Khabár. Even to the present day, traces of the carving are visible on it to careful observers.

As has been related, this Mohammed wrote many ridiculous books, to each one of which he set a title. For example, there is the book On Woman, [109] in which he plainly makes legal provision for taking four wives and, if it be possible, a thousand concubines—as many as one can maintain, besides the four wives. He also made it legal to put away whichever wife one might wish, and, should one so wish, to take to oneself another in the same way. Mohammed had a friend named Zeid. This man had a beautiful wife with whom Mohammed fell in love. Once, when they were sitting together, Mohammed said: `Oh, by the way, God has commanded me to take your wife.' The other answered: `You are an apostle. Do as God has told you and take my wife.' Rather—to tell the story over from the beginning—he said to him: `God has given me the command that you put away your wife.' And he put her away. Then several days later: `Now,' he said, `God has commanded me to take her.' Then, after he had taken her and committed adultery with her, he made this law: `Let him who will put away his wife. And if, after having put her away, he should return to her, let another marry her. For it is not lawful to take her unless she have been married by another. Furthermore, if a brother puts away his wife, let his brother marry her, should he so wish.' [110] In the same book he gives such precepts as this: `Work the land which God hath given thee and beautify it. And do this, and do it in such a manner" [111]—not to repeat all the obscene things that he did.

Then there is the book of The Camel of God. [112] About this camel he says that there was a camel from God and that she drank the whole river and could not pass through two mountains, because there was not room enough. There were people in that place, he says, and they used to drink the water on one day, while the camel would drink it on the next. Moreover, by drinking the water she furnished them with nourishment, because she supplied them with milk instead of water. Then, because these men were evil, they rose up, he says, and killed the camel. However, she had an offspring, a little camel, which, he says, when the mother had been done away with, called upon God and God took it to Himself. Then we say to them: `Where did that camel come from?' And they say that it was from God. Then we say: `Was there another camel coupled with this one?' And they say: `No.' `Then how,' we say, `was it begotten? For we see that your camel is without father and without mother and without genealogy, and that the one that begot it suffered evil. Neither is it evident who bred her. And also, this little camel was taken up. So why did not your prophet, with whom, according to what you say, God spoke, find out about the camel—where it grazed, and who got milk by milking it? Or did she possibly, like her mother, meet with evil people and get destroyed? Or did she enter into paradise before you, so that you might have the river of milk that you so foolishly talk about? For you say that you have three rivers flowing in paradise—one of water, one of wine, and one of milk. If your forerunner the camel is outside of paradise, it is obvious that she has dried up from hunger and thirst, or that others have the benefit of her milk—and so your prophet is boasting idly of having conversed with God, because God did not reveal to him the mystery of the camel. But if she is in paradise, she is drinking water still, and you for lack of water will dry up in the midst of the paradise of delight. And if, there being no water, because the camel will have drunk it all up, you thirst for wine from the river of wine that is flowing by, you will become intoxicated from drinking pure wine and collapse under the influence of the strong drink and fall asleep. Then, suffering from a heavy head after sleeping and being sick from the wine, you will miss the pleasures of paradise. How, then, did it not enter into the mind of your prophet that this might happen to you in the paradise of delight? He never had any idea of what the camel is leading to now, yet you did not even ask him, when he held forth to you with his dreams on the subject of the three rivers. We plainly assure you that this wonderful camel of yours has preceded you into the souls of asses, where you, too, like beasts are destined to go. And there is the exterior darkness and everlasting punishment, roaring fire, sleepless worms, and hellish demons.'

Again, in the book of The Table, Mohammed says that the Christ asked God for a table and that it was given Him. For God, he says, said to Him: `I have given to thee and thine an incorruptible table.' [113]

And again, in the book of The Heifer, [114] he says some other stupid and ridiculous things, which, because of their great number, I think must be passed over. He made it a law that they be circumcised and the women, too, and he ordered them not to keep the Sabbath and not to be baptized.

And, while he ordered them to eat some of the things forbidden by the Law, he ordered them to abstain from others. He furthermore absolutely forbade the drinking of wine.

Endnotes
99. Cf. Gen. 16.8. Sozomen also says that they were descended from Agar, but called themselves descendants of Sara to hide their servile origin (Ecclesiastical History 6.38, PG 67.1412AB).

100. The Arabic kabirun means `great,' whether in size or in dignity. Herodotus mentions the Arabian cult of the `Heavenly Aphrodite' but says that the Arabs called her Alilat (Herodotus 1.131)

101. This may be the Nestorian monk Bahira (George or Sergius) who met the boy Mohammed at Bostra in Syria and claimed to recognize in him the sign of a prophet.

102. Koran, Sura 112.

103. Sura 19; 4.169.

104. Sura 4.156.

105. Sura 5.Il6tf.

106. The manuscripts do not have the adage, but Lequien suggests this one from Plato.

107. The Ka'ba, called `The House of God,' is supposed to have been built by Abraham with the help of Ismael. It occupies the most sacred spot in the Mosque of Mecca. Incorporated in its wall is the stone here referred to, the famous Black Stone, which is obviously a relic of the idolatry of the pre-Islam Arabs.

108. Gen. 22.6.

109. Koran, Sura 4.

110. Cf. Sura 2225ff.

111. Sura 2.223.

112. Not in the Koran.

113. Sura 5.114,115.

114. Sura 2.

From Writings, by St John of Damascus, The Fathers of the Church, vol. 37 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1958), pp. 153-160.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 02:33:29 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2009, 09:47:38 AM »

To be fair to the Muslims, here is a commentary of Sura 4:3:

Quote
It is admitted that this chapter was revealed to guide the Muslims under the conditions
which followed the battle of Uƒud, and the last chapter deals with that battle. Now in
that battle 70 men out of 700 Muslims had been slain, and this decimation had largely
decreased the number of males, who, being the breadwinners, were the natural guardians
and supporters of the females. The number was likely to suffer a still greater diminution
in the battles which had yet to be fought. Thus many orphans would be left in the charge
of widows, who would find it difficult to procure the necessary means of support. Hence
in the first verse of this chapter the Muslims are enjoined to respect the ties of relationship.
As they all came from a single ancestor, a breadth is introduced into the idea of
relationship, inasmuch as they are told that they are all in fact related to each other. In
the second verse the care of orphans is particularly enjoined. In the third verse we are
told that if they could not do justice to the orphans, they might marry the widows, whose
children would thus become their own children; and as the number of women was now
much greater than the number of men, they were permitted to marry even two or three or
four women. It would thus be clear that the permission to have more wives than one was
given under the peculiar circumstances of the Muslim society then existing, and the
Prophet’s action in marrying widows, as well as the example of many of his companions,
corroborates this statement.
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« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2009, 09:48:31 PM »

Oh, the takfir (anathema, excommunication) is quite common, because any fool practically can issue one.

Right, but since any fool can issue one it is meaningless.  Even in the days of the caliphate, the decrees of the Caliph only carried weight where his armies exercised political control.  Hence my point is that, de facto, there is no excommunication since there is no hierarchy analogous to Christianity. 
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« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2009, 09:53:50 PM »

I think we should be careful not to make straw man arguments in refuting Islam. I have many devout and sincere Muslim friends who condemn terrorism and militancy in the strongest terms. They are honest and have great integrity, and I never felt pressured by them in the least to convert to their faith. They have never tried to deceive me about their religion, and they never got angry or offended when I discussed and debated religion with them. They weren't misogynistic either.

As Orthodox Christians we know that Islam is a false religion. But that does not mean that all Muslims are fanatics, misogynists, and terrorists. Their religion is based on a pure and simple monotheism, and therefore in their minds it is grave idolatry to embrace the Trinity. We have to recognize the legitimate struggle they face in leaving something rationally simple in order to embrace Holy Mystery.

I would also point out that Islam has its own mystic traditions such as Sufism, which is analogous to the Hesychast movement within Orthodoxy. The Sufis are very peaceful people, and they focus on the individual internal Jihad- that is, the war within. This is not unlike the teachings of the Church Fathers, who stress that we mist first focus on fighting and conquering our own sinful passions.

Selam



Now, dear Gebre, I absolutely agree with all your points! Amazing... perhaps we need to celebrate!  Wink

This is a very interesting thread.  If conversions to Islam are a reaction to the Christian options, then Christians need to start looking at themselves (in a broad sense, not you guys, LOL).  I can really empathize with the attraction people feel to pure monotheism and the act of petitioning to God and no one else.  The sole focus on God was a key reason I was moving toward conservative Judaism during college.  I was cradle Catholic at the time, and came to feel that my religion did not put enough of a focus on God as our sustainer.  How wonderful it was to just focus on and praise God.  Main reason I ended up NOT becoming a Jew was I couldn't grasp the concept of, basically, moving on in a life as if Jesus hadn't existed.  So in Islam, since there is a great reverence for Jesus (albeit as prophet), and Mary, maybe this is why it is acceptable to, for example, Mexicans.
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« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2009, 07:11:36 AM »

Regarding the Quran:

There is only one text – the Uthmani text. This is the “Authorized Version” which was standardized by a committee led by Zeid (Muhammad's secretary) under the authority of Caliph Uthman. Once this text was completed all the other texts Uthman could get his hands on were destroyed. While they will generally deny this today the Shi'ites at the time opposed the Uthmani text and accused Uthman of tahrif (corruption) by leaving out 25% of the original Quranic verses for political reasons. Alfred Guillaume, the reknowned Orientalist who translated Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul, writes in his book Islam that the Shi'ite community of Kufa rejected Uthman's text and that their version was extant at least to 1000CE. So Uthman missed a few, and perhaps some of these pre-Uthman texts still survive today as Nektarios suggests. BTW Nektarios do you have a citation handy for your source? I've never heard of that story about the German scholars and would like to know more.

Anyway while the Uthmani text is the only authoritive (if not the only extant) text for all Muslims there is more than one transmission of this text and this is where variants come in, see this: http://answering-islam.org/Green/seven.htm. For an in depth look at the codification of the Quran, see this e-book: http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/index.html.
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« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2009, 09:04:27 AM »

Islam is actually based on three foundations of authority: The Qur'an, the Hadith (teachings and sayings of Muhammad apart from the Qur'an), and the Sunna (the example of Muhammad). So in interpreting the Qur'an, Muslims will rely upon the Hadith and the Sunna for clarification. But obviously this does not solve all the contradictions and differences of belief within Islam.

Sunnah means “well trodden path” in Arabic so the Hadith are actually part of the Sunnah, as are the Sirah (biographies of the prophet). Muslims also rely on Tafsir (commentaries of the Quran) both classic and modern which are based on the Sunnah. Here's an English translation of the Quran with commentary from the classic Sunni commentators (Tabari, Qurtubi & Ibn Kathir) and Sahih al-Bukhari: http://books.google.co.za/books?id=IP4lqSIvTfEC&pg=PP16&dq=The+Noble+Quran&lr=.

I remember listening to an intense discussion between some Muslims that arose when one of them dared to suggest that the Qur'an was all that Muslims needed to guide them in the faith. He was arguing a very unorthodox (in regards to Islam) position of "Sola Qur'ana." The other Muslims severely chastised him for this unheard of position within Islam. The guy was a Western convert to Islam, and I suspect maybe he had come from an evangelical background. Anyway, it was very interesting.

Selam

There is actually a “Solas Quran” sect called which was founded by the late Dr. Rashid Khalifa and includes some prominent Muslims such as Edip Yuksel. Of course “orthodox” Muslims consider them to be a heretical cult not only because they reject the “holy tradition” (Sunnah) as authentic but also because of their obsession with the so called “mathematical miracle in the Quran” which Khalifa “discovered”. The [url=http://www.alislam.org/]Ahmadiyyas (or Qadiyanis) are another heretical cult which have caused much concern to “orthodox” Muslims as they've been very active in translating the Quran (Muhummad Ali, Sher Ali & Zafrullah Khan).

BTW there is a “Solas Tanakh” movement in Judaism as well called the Karaites which broke away from Rabbinical Judaism around the 8th century CE and includes the famed Nehemia Gordon (author of The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus). Again Orthodox Jews view the Karaites as minim (heretics) because they reject the Talmud (Oral Torah).

But again, I believe that Islam differs not so much theologically as it differs as to how to practice that theology whether in the political, economic or social world. There are mystical elements of Islam, such as Sufism and there are hardcore fundamentalist elements with what we find in Wahabism and represented politically by Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

You are trying to see Islam in terms of Christianity, rather than seeing it as it sees itself.  There generally aren't anathemas or formal excommunications in the sense of Christianity because there really isn't much of a hierarchy.

Excommunication is not big in Islam, Muslims prefer to put their opposition to death rather than merely banish them, and hence the tradition of issuing Fatwas by the Caliphate (back in the day) and by Muslim clerics or terrorist groups today.

Islam and the Koran, for better or for worse, does not have this.

Oh, just give it time.  Once historical/textual criticism reaches Saudi Arabia, we'll find just as many variants.  The scholars are just about wrapping up destroying Christianity, and now the parasites need a new host.  The Corpus Christi has been picked clean.

That's if it ever reaches Saudi, you can bet that the Saudi's will do everything in their power to stop this from happening. The fact the Saudi's won't allow archaeologists into Mecca or Medina suggests they have something to hide. Allah forbid that we ever find out the real age of the Ka'aba and prove that Muhammad lied about it being built by Ibrahim and Ismail. Also note that one of our Biblical sites (Mt. Sinai) is somewhere there.
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« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2009, 11:10:35 AM »

The Ahmadiyyas (or Qadiyanis) are another heretical cult which have caused much concern to “orthodox” Muslims as they've been very active in translating the Quran (Muhummad Ali, Sher Ali & Zafrullah Khan).
Maulana Muhammad Ali is not Qadiani Ahmadiyya. He is Lahori Ahmadiyya; as such, he believes that Muhammad is the last prophet.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2009, 11:12:32 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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