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Author Topic: Feel free to ask me anything about Islam...  (Read 27039 times) Average Rating: 0
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essene19
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« Reply #495 on: April 07, 2013, 02:43:48 PM »

To think that a lying scoundrel and a terrorist pedophile can establish a religion that ends up having a billion adherents is not only historically unsound, but in my opinion, it just represents a bad opinion of God.  Falsehood cannot be upheld for this long to this capacity, no matter how violent or crazy its followers can be considered to be.

I don't see why not. Looking at Christian history, we find plenty of heresies that have persisted into the modern day despite being even older than Islam, for instance Sabellianism and Arianism (though the people professing them have likely never heard these terms). Never underestimate the power of bad theology delivered to people that can't understand or accept good theology. In fact, I have read more than one sympathetic treatment of the history of Islam that predicated its domination of the Christian East on its relatively simple theology in comparison to the doctrines of Christianity, i.e., that at least some people may have accepted Islam not by force but by reasoning that it was in a sense a "simpler" form of Christianity (and I could see how they could think that, given the stress that Muhammad put early on in his career on this "your Lord and my Lord" business, when he was still trying to gain the acceptance of the mostly non-Muslim populace). Of course, we know that it isn't, but not everyone is as clever as the modern person.

So I'm going to have to disagree with you here. In the case of Islam, falsehood has 'held up' for 1400+ years, and shows no sign of going away any time soon. Lord have mercy. It doesn't present a bad opinion of God, either. When someone is wrong but considers themselves or their religion to be God-inspired or directed, it's not God's fault that they are delusional and wrong. Only if you take the view that God has to personally stamp out every wrong idea does it reflect badly on God that wrong ideas persist, but I would hope that Christians at least have a more nuanced view of things than that. Without it, I'd think we would all fall pray to atheistic arguments about why God doesn't heal everyone, why good things happen to bad people, and all manner of other things that it's not God's responsibility to fix for us just because we don't like them.

I admit that I presented a weak argument with that statement, but I still stand by the idea that a religion established on falsehood cannot have a hold over a billion followers for this long, without a good chunk of its followers noticing that something is very wrong.  The Qur'an itself says that truth lives on, and that falsehood is bound to perish, sooner or later.  

In the same way that Eastern Christianity has a long line of witnesses, martyrs, and saints to attest to the truth of its doctrine, Islam has similar figures in its history as well - Imam Ghazali being the biggest example.  I have yet to see anything of that sort amongst Mormons or the Bahais, for instance.   As for those Christian heresies you mentioned - sure, they're still around, but their presence and influence is very minimal, at best, and they'll probably die out in a few generations.  Protestant Christianity is doing a good enough job as it is destroying itself, and I'll leave it at that.

One of the strongest claims made against Islam is that its of the devil or the religion of anti-Christ - I do not believe that Almighty God, in His Mercy and Justice, would allow an evil, false religion from Satan to come to the position that it has, and have so many sincere, well meaning people deluded.  I do not deny in any way that there are serious problems with Muslims and throughout the Muslim world, but I don't think outright dismissal of Islam is entirely prudent either.

I do give credence, however, to your statement that Islam had great success in dominating the Christian East due to its simple theology - it is the simplicity that drew many lay Christians, who I assume did not take their faith seriously enough, away from the Church.

The most unfortunate thing is that I believe there are many religious/spiritual teachings unique to the Qur'an that I think people can benefit from, that all too often get shadowed out by social/political concerns, thanks in large part to Muslims AND non-Muslims.  Too much attention is given to the legal verses, accusations of plagiarism from Jews, Christians, and the Bible, treatment women, the pedophilia charge, jihad, and a host of other things.  But a cursory look at the Quran would even show that such issues relate to a very small percentage of the text - the topic that the Qur'an talks about the most is Judgment Day and the Hereafter, moreso than any other religious scripture.

However, I also admit that there is not enough of an emphasis on Jesus amongst Muslims, especially given what the Quranic verses say about him, and the fact that it is he, and not any other prophet, who will return before the Day of Judgment to kill the Anti-Christ.  These are all things that are in the Islamic tradition.

I also admit that Muslims have been very arrogant and lazy when it comes to their approach to Jewish and Christian scriptures - I have seen, heard, and experienced that feeling of Muslim triumphalism first hand, and trust me when I say that it is not a spiritually healthy outlook at all. I cringe every time I see it amongst my co-religionists, ESPECIALLY when they don't know jack squat about Christianity or Judaism and they just based their knowledge on what other people told them.

I myself am trying to learn and understand more, and that is why one of the reasons why I joined these boards.  I have a strong appreciation for the Eastern Christian tradition, and I don't think enmity and conflict between Muslims and Christians in today's day age is morally acceptable.  I'm sure many of you have had negative experiences with fellow Christians, and in my case, I have many problems with the state of Muslims today. But if I had based my own faith on the behavior of other people, I would have left Islam a hundred times over.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 02:49:38 PM by essene19 » Logged
essene19
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« Reply #496 on: April 07, 2013, 02:45:52 PM »

- The concept of abrogation is a concept popular amongst both Islamists and detractors of Islam - there is this idea that later verses annul or abolish earlier, more peaceful verses.  I find this to be a completely erroneous idea, and the fact that Muslim scholars throughout the centuries have never been able to agree on which verses are abrogated or not further proves the shaky foundations of the doctrine.
It is interesting to hear the claim that abrogation (i.e. newer revelations override the older ones) is erroneous. Abrogation is affirmed by many prominent scholars of Islam who argue that without abrogation there would be logical contradictions in the Quran,[1] and that furthermore it is explicitly taught by the Quran, multiple times in fact.

"Many verses counsel patience in the face of the mockery of the unbelievers, while other verses incite to warfare against the unbelievers. The former are linked to the [chronologically anterior] Meccan phase of the mission when the Muslims were too few and weak to do other than endure insult; the latter are linked to Medina where the Prophet had acquired the numbers and the strength to hit back at his enemies. The discrepancy between the two sets of verses indicates that different situations call for different regulations."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naskh_(tafsir)

Quote from: Abrogation in Islam / Middle East Quarterly
Four verses in the Qu'ran acknowledge or justify abrogation:

    When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?[10]
    When we replace a message with another, and God knows best what he reveals, they say: You have made it up. Yet, most of them do not know.[11]
    God abrogates or confirms whatsoever he will, for he has with him the Book of the Books.[12]
    If we pleased, we could take away what we have revealed to you. Then you will not find anyone to plead for it with us.[13]
__________
[9] Bell, Introduction to the Qur'an, pp. 86-107; Arthur Jeffery, Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958), p. 66.
[10] Qur. 2:106.
[11] Qur. 16:101.
[12] Qur. 13:39.
[13] Qur. 17:86.


David Bukay “Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam,” Middle East Quarterly, VOL XIV, NO. 4, Fall 2007, pp. 3-11
http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-jihad-abrogation-in-islam#_ftnref14  
 

Question: if as seems to be the case rejection of abrogation is "outside the mainstream and, perhaps even the religion itself" (Bukay, op cit) the rejection of abrogation no less than the fact you mentioned that Muslim scholars have never been able to agree on which verses were abrogated seems to suggest not the nature of Islam (singular) but Islams (plural). If the mainstream of historical Islam and Islamic jurists is wrong and is unable to present a unified view why should we suppose some fellow on the internet represents True Islam? (perhaps your variety might be an instance of a "prettier face," but if it is a fringe viewpoint at the very least it does not abrogate the problems associated with the doctrine of abrogation for the non-Muslim world in mainstream and historical Islam.

Quote from: Abrogation in Islam / Middle East Quarterly
"Most scholars divide the Qur'an into verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca when his community of followers was weak and more inclined to compromise, and those revealed in Medina, where Muhammad's strength grew. Classical scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur'an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation would be "deficient."[15] Those who do not accept abrogation fall outside the mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself. The Ahmadiyah sect, for example, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation because it undercuts the notion that the Qur'an is free from errors.[16] Many Muslims consider Ahmadis, who also see their founder as a prophet, to be apostates.
_____________________
[14] John Burton, The Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 7, s.v. "Naskh," p. 1010.
[15] Abu al-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn Salama, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh (Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, 1966), pp. 4-5, 123. On pp. 142-3, he lists the abrogated verses. See also pp. 7, 11, 26-7, 37, 46.
[16] Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Religion of Islam (Lahore: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam, 2005), p. 32; Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Nahhas, An-Nasikh Wal-Mansukh (Cairo: Maktabat ‘Alam al-Fikr, 1986), pp. 2-3.


David Bukay “Peace or Jihad? Abrogation in Islam,” Middle East Quarterly, VOL XIV, NO. 4, Fall 2007, pp. 3-11
http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-jihad-abrogation-in-islam#_ftnref14  

Thanks for your replies; I will ask more on the topic of friendship in a bit, also with attention to the way the issue plays out historiographically and in contemporary Islamic scholarship and culture in addition to individual examples of dissent which however more conciliatory and attractive they indeed may be, do not seem to represent the mainstream thus defined regardless of presentations by e.g. popular apologists.
__________
[1]


Just off the top of my head, I can think of Muhammad Asad as someone who rejected the theory of abrogation, and his reasoning is quite convincing.  If you look at this scholarly credentials, you'll see that he studied enough to know what he is talking about.

And how would you define the Islamic mainstream?  Do you think that any ordinary believer out on the street in a Muslim country even knows what the theory of abrogation is?  If I asked all the worshipers at my local mosque, all of whom pray 5 times a day, what the theory of abrogation was, they wouldn't even know what I'm talking about.  The books of the jurists was by no means mainstream, and they are, to this day, the domain of Islam's more scholarly class, not lay believers.

According to Hamza Yusuf, there are only 4 verses in the Qur'an supposedly over which there are no differences of opinion regarding abrogration, (I believe it was the verses about alcohol, I'll have to read up on it) - all the others have been up for debate.  The fact that Muslim scholar have been debating this for centuries without much of a consensus shows how problematic the theory is.  Even someone like Ibn Taymiyya presented a more nuanced approach, saying that if the historical circumstances of a certain verse became applicable once again, then it is that verse that applies, not a later verse.

Based on my own study and observation, I don't buy the theory of abrogation, and unless I see some really convincing evidence, I never will.  And I don't consider myself to be an apologist in any way, shape, or form.

Which branch or form of Islam do you practice?   Were you raised Muslim or did you convert?  If you are a convert, did you convert in the United States or a western country?  

I'm sorry if you've already mentioned that somewhere and I missed it.  

I will test your theory about abrogration out on my Shia friend and see what he says.  He comes from a Sunni dominated country. 

I was born and raised Muslim, and I come from a Sunni background.

Thank you for your reply.

Please forgive me I forgot to welcome you to the forum.  I am new to this forum too, so I don't feel like someone who should be welcoming others, so I don't think of it at first.

I talked with my friend, who has a very good heart.  The way he describes abrogation sounds to me a lot like how it is with Christians, or even between Christians and Jews. There are many ways of interpreting things.  Some see only the surface meaning of the text, some see deeper into the text.  He knows what abrogation is, and also that many hadith were created later only for the purpose of personal interest, what the Bible would call 'making excuses in sins'.  Basically, people see what they want to see, not necessarily try to see what God would have us see.   Some, like various Christian groups with the Bible, use the Quran only to prove their personal opinion or their group's opinion, so they are being sort of dishonest.  He did not say the word 'dishonest', but plainly described that many have ulterior motive in their interpretation.  He said some of these people become the terrorists that everyone in the world knows about.  They cannot look at two contradicting verses and understand that God does not contradict God, so they choose the way that suits them and their interest.  This is a plain description of abrogation.   It is also the case with Christians and Jews and many others that people tend to see in terms of 'us vs. them'.  This is clearly a problem in Islamic countries and even among Muslims in diaspora, only rarely do we see some sort of extreme violence between Christian groups these days as we often see among Muslims.   

Though your comment that no one at your mosque even knows what 'abrogation' means seems to not be true with all Muslims, it may be true for your mosque, because, as with Christians, there are those who study and those who don't.  It may also be that only one way of interpreting is taught at your mosque, so even though it is occurring, no one realizes it because they simply and piously accept that interpretation. 

It was a really nice talk with my friend, so thank you for bringing an occasion for that conversation.   I am really more impressed with his way of thinking and understanding the world around him now than before, but I always thought he had a very good heart and he loves God.   Of course he knows I am Orthodox Christian, but it is no obstacle for him.  He doesn't argue or fight with anyone, even other Muslims.   But he doesn't accept fundamentalist thinking either.

With which branch of the Sunni Islam do you practice? 

If I had to pick, I would say I follow the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam (although I have an interest in the Maliki school as well).

And I think your friend was quite right in the things that he told you.
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« Reply #497 on: April 07, 2013, 03:10:11 PM »

To think that a lying scoundrel and a terrorist pedophile can establish a religion that ends up having a billion adherents is not only historically unsound, but in my opinion, it just represents a bad opinion of God.  Falsehood cannot be upheld for this long to this capacity, no matter how violent or crazy its followers can be considered to be.

I'm not bashing your religion or anything, like others here may be. But I don't see how it is "impossible." Adolf Hitler fooled an entire nation and much of the world for quite a while, and his racial supremacist doctrine still exists a small but steady number of rednecks, Joseph Smith started the fastest growing religion in America, OJ got away with murder, Young Earth Creationists have convinced like 60% of America into thinking that the world is only 6-10,000 years old...it's not that hard to fool a large population of people.
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« Reply #498 on: April 07, 2013, 03:16:23 PM »

I do not believe that Almighty God, in His Mercy and Justice, would allow an evil, false religion from Satan to come to the position that it has, and have so many sincere, well meaning people deluded.

Why not? Hinduism has like a billion or so followers as well and I'm sure we'd both agree that it's a false religion. Most of the world was pagan prior to God's Covenant with the Jews--which, both our religions eventually descended from.

On a more positive note, I give kudos to you and your religion because I've had a more positive experience talking about my Orthodoxy with Muslims than I have with Protestants. The Muslims are generally more accepting, maybe due to the cultural similarities, whereas the Protestants are more hostile.
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« Reply #499 on: April 07, 2013, 03:33:35 PM »

To think that a lying scoundrel and a terrorist pedophile can establish a religion that ends up having a billion adherents is not only historically unsound, but in my opinion, it just represents a bad opinion of God.  Falsehood cannot be upheld for this long to this capacity, no matter how violent or crazy its followers can be considered to be.

I'm not bashing your religion or anything, like others here may be. But I don't see how it is "impossible." Adolf Hitler fooled an entire nation and much of the world for quite a while, and his racial supremacist doctrine still exists a small but steady number of rednecks, Joseph Smith started the fastest growing religion in America, OJ got away with murder, Young Earth Creationists have convinced like 60% of America into thinking that the world is only 6-10,000 years old...it's not that hard to fool a large population of people.

I don't get the sense that anyone here is bashing, and I completely understand concerns others may have.

I completely agree with you regarding Hitler and OJ, but I don't think their case can be compared easily to the case of Muhammad - his religion upheld for 1400+ years and has produced its own line of saints and scholars.  I don't think any faith based on satanic principles can accomplish that in the long run.  As for Joseph Smith, I have my own theory on his case, but that's a debate for another time.

And I think 60% of America being fooled by Young Earth Creationism is a bit of an exaggeration, I highly doubt it is that many.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 03:34:00 PM by essene19 » Logged
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« Reply #500 on: April 07, 2013, 03:37:17 PM »

I do not believe that Almighty God, in His Mercy and Justice, would allow an evil, false religion from Satan to come to the position that it has, and have so many sincere, well meaning people deluded.

Why not? Hinduism has like a billion or so followers as well and I'm sure we'd both agree that it's a false religion. Most of the world was pagan prior to God's Covenant with the Jews--which, both our religions eventually descended from.

On a more positive note, I give kudos to you and your religion because I've had a more positive experience talking about my Orthodoxy with Muslims than I have with Protestants. The Muslims are generally more accepting, maybe due to the cultural similarities, whereas the Protestants are more hostile.

Hinduism is confined mostly to one place, and I do think there are small elements of truth within Hinduism - in Islam, the general belief is that God sent about 124,000 prophets to mankind in total.  I think at least one of those prophets might have had a hand in the origins of Hinduism.  However, what Hinduism later became is another story,

As for the pagan world before God's covenant with the Jews, I cannot say with any certainty, but I do think that if a prophetic message did not come to a certain person or group of people, then God will judge them accordingly to their own conditions.
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« Reply #501 on: April 07, 2013, 03:40:15 PM »

Okay one more question--I get the impression that numerology is an important concept in Islam. Why exactly is that? I've noticed that Muslims always give exact numbers to the amount of something and that the number 9 carries some significance in the religion. Plus, your religion made some advancements in mathematics. So what's the deal with Islam and numerology?
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« Reply #502 on: April 07, 2013, 04:02:03 PM »

I've been skimming through this thread, and from what I've seen, both fibronacci (Shiite) and essene19 (Sunni), I am pleased with how civil you both are and willing to answer questions about your religion despite what may seem like a hostile attitude by some here.  I hope that perhaps you continue to roam around the forums here and perhaps benefit to learn something from our faith as well.

God bless you both.
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« Reply #503 on: April 07, 2013, 04:23:53 PM »



If I had to pick, I would say I follow the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam (although I have an interest in the Maliki school as well).

And I think your friend was quite right in the things that he told you.

He is a remarkable young man.  His parents must be very proud of him. 

I notice that on the occasions we have conversations about God (in general without nitpicking on our differences, we don't argue or try to convert each other) his understanding seems to stress the idea of God and justice, whereas Christianity stresses that God is just, but also merciful, and that He loves us all.  We are taught that we are forgiven by God only as we forgive others.  I think in practice he understands mercy as he is a very firm believer in almsgiving and that we should care for the less fortunate around us.  This is also a Christian principle. 

I don't know how much you've studied Christianity, but have you noticed the difference in the two different emphasis?   Do you have a comment about it?

This ties in with the idea of God's justice.  How, in your practice, how do people repent?  What do they repent of?  Is there a formalized process, for example, do imams say prayers to help people with their repentance?   

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« Reply #504 on: April 07, 2013, 04:26:17 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.
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« Reply #505 on: April 07, 2013, 04:45:29 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.

James, what is the purpose of repeating my question?  Is there another point you are trying to make by repeating my question?   
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« Reply #506 on: April 07, 2013, 04:46:46 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.
The two aren't mutually exclusive, and I find it rather disturbing that so many Byzantines make this false dichotomy.
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« Reply #507 on: April 07, 2013, 04:56:21 PM »

I admit that I presented a weak argument with that statement, but I still stand by the idea that a religion established on falsehood cannot have a hold over a billion followers for this long, without a good chunk of its followers noticing that something is very wrong.

Couldn't it be argued that this is exactly what happened in the Ridda wars? As I understand them, after the death of Muhammad, many of the Arabs said that they had believed in him and his prophethood, but had not submitted to Abu Bakr, and so went along their way with their own self-proclaimed prophets in their particular regions (Musaylima in Arabia proper, Laqit Bin Malik in Oman, etc). These were a lot of the Muslim world at the time, no? And also, looked at from this perspective, Muhammad can be seen as one of many prophets, who happened to be particularly successful in having his own prophethood established...and the religion that followed was subsequently asserted by force (hence the "war" part of the Ridda wars).

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The Qur'an itself says that truth lives on, and that falsehood is bound to perish, sooner or later.
 

An idea that I agree with, but even in your writing above, there is no time limit on when this should happen. Islam is a particularly successful false religion, whereas others have proven to be less resilient (you don't hear so much about Manicheans these days, for instance). But they will all eventually be gone.

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In the same way that Eastern Christianity has a long line of witnesses, martyrs, and saints to attest to the truth of its doctrine, Islam has similar figures in its history as well - Imam Ghazali being the biggest example.  I have yet to see anything of that sort amongst Mormons or the Bahais, for instance.
 

Probably the Mormons and the Bahais themselves would have a thing or two to say about that (particularly the Bahais, as they are still subject to discrimination in many places). I know that the Mormons also consider Joseph Smith, their prophet, to be a martyr, on account of his being murdered by a mob. I don't get it, either, but the examples are still there. (Mormonism, by the way, would be an example of one such religion that may seem obviously false to you or I, but is nonetheless growing and has over 14 million people in today).

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As for those Christian heresies you mentioned - sure, they're still around, but their presence and influence is very minimal, at best, and they'll probably die out in a few generations.
 

I don't think so, actually. I would hope so, but there is a certain fascination with heresy in today's Western cultures that takes those evils of the past and reinvents them as brave theological stances that just happened to not have the power of empire behind them. I would say instead that in addition to the established churches or congregations that have embraced the rebirths of particular heresies (e.g., Seventh Day Adventists, Oneness Pentecostals, etc. Pentecostalism, by the way, is by many accounts the fastest growing religion in the world, though not always of the "oneness" variety), the more dangerous and realistic picture of modern Christianity in the world is that many who are not in these organizations nonetheless find themselves influenced by such ideas. See, for instance, Presbyterian pastor Philip J. Lee's 1993 book "Against the Protestant Gnostics".

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Protestant Christianity is doing a good enough job as it is destroying itself, and I'll leave it at that.

Yes, but to be replaced by what? That's kind of my point: The error itself does not actually leave. It just changes congregational or philosophical labels. As an example, at its inception, I sincerely doubt that there would have been many Episcopal bishops who would deny central tenants of Christianity as a modern bishop like John Shelby Sprong has, who has advocated that Christianity move away from "theism" (somehow). Now all of this "spiritual, but not religious" hooey is so popular these days so as to make anyone who actually identifies with a nameable organization seem like a thawed-out caveman (at least in the West). But have the errors themselves actually been stopped? No. Just the numbers who identify with said errors via a particular conventionalized label have gone down in recent years. That has nothing to do with the defeat of falsehood itself.

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One of the strongest claims made against Islam is that its of the devil or the religion of anti-Christ - I do not believe that Almighty God, in His Mercy and Justice, would allow an evil, false religion from Satan to come to the position that it has, and have so many sincere, well meaning people deluded.  I do not deny in any way that there are serious problems with Muslims and throughout the Muslim world, but I don't think outright dismissal of Islam is entirely prudent either.

As I wrote earlier in response to similar thinking in your last post regarding this, why is it that this should reflect poorly on God, and not on those who have willing chosen to follow something else? I would think that for you as a Muslim, this line of thinking would be clear. "Guide us to the Straight Path, the path of those whom Your blessings are upon, not of those who You have cursed nor of those who have gone astray", right? Does the fact that there are so many people who have been cursed or who have gone astray (according to the Islamic view) have any impact on God whatsoever? Or is it those people who have done that?

We have similar prayers in our religion, by the way. "Let God arise, and let all His enemies be scattered, and let all who hate His holy name flee from before His face" -- again, nothing about the fact that such people exist, and even endure or prosper, says anything about either the truth of whatever else they're doing, or even hints at the idea of their existence or prosperity being against the will of God. The Psalms especially are full of heart-wrenching pleas that enemies continue to prosper as the righteous suffer, but in the end we recognize that God extends His mercy upon the wicked and the righteous alike.

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But a cursory look at the Quran would even show that such issues relate to a very small percentage of the text - the topic that the Qur'an talks about the most is Judgment Day and the Hereafter, moreso than any other religious scripture.

An interesting comment. I wonder if you would share with me your opinion on the thoughts of Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa al-Musawi who is of the opinion that the focus on judgment ignores the balance found in the Qur'an. Is this a mischaracterization, in your view?

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I myself am trying to learn and understand more, and that is why one of the reasons why I joined these boards.  I have a strong appreciation for the Eastern Christian tradition, and I don't think enmity and conflict between Muslims and Christians in today's day age is morally acceptable.  I'm sure many of you have had negative experiences with fellow Christians, and in my case, I have many problems with the state of Muslims today. But if I had based my own faith on the behavior of other people, I would have left Islam a hundred times over.

Yes, of course. But from the Christian side it is not about whether or not we can relegate the behavior to that of a few bad apples or not, so that's kind of a misdirect. It is the essential connection between what people do and what they believe that is much more important. So when my kind and loving Muslim friends say that their Islam makes them kind and loving, I believe them (in so far as it is not my job to pick apart anyone else's stated motivation for living, and besides I would naturally rather they be that way than not; who but a psychopath can be friends with another psychopath?). Likewise, when your co-religionsts burn down our churches, destroy our monasteries, kill our people, kidnap our daughters, force our families off their land with threats of extermination, etc. and say that they are doing it all in accordance with or by direction from Islam, I believe them, too. I'm not a Muslim either way, so in that sense it doesn't even matter to me. What does matter is that Islam does not seem to have agape, and so our relations will always be context-dependent and limited in this way (and not because we want them that way). And so long as our mutually exclusive religious claims lead one side or the other to physically, legally, emotionally, etc. oppress, harm, marginalize, and attempt to exterminate the other, it won't really matter to me if the particular actions are committed by 0.00010%  or 1% or 10% of the people claiming a particular religion. It is the actions that are wrong, springing from a wrong mentality, and in the case of Islam, shaped and codified by a wrong religion.
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« Reply #508 on: April 07, 2013, 05:05:08 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.
The two aren't mutually exclusive, and I find it rather disturbing that so many Byzantines make this false dichotomy.

There is a difference in the questions then.  They (the concepts) are linked, not separate as stated in JamesR post.
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« Reply #509 on: April 07, 2013, 05:08:36 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy.

What? This Friday that just passed we were blessed to be visited by HG Bishop Youssef, who came to dedicate the new church here in Albuquerque (St. Pishoy COC -- everyone come visit now, please! Smiley) and celebrate its first liturgy yesterday. But first he gave a wonderful talk there, lasting maybe an hour in total, on the subject of justice and mercy. According to Sayedna, the two are by no means exclusive (as Severian has rightly pointed out), but moreover work together for the correct guidance of the person so that they may live most fully in accordance with the will of God. There are some for whom mercy is the correct approach, on account of their weakness, and others for whom justice is necessary, as without it they would tarry forever in the belief that there are no real consequences for their actions. In either case, to help guide a person to repentance and "Godly sorrow" (the term used in the talk) is the ultimate goal.

So I cannot speak about the Byzantines (obviously), but we Copts certainly believe in both justice and mercy, and frankly I'm glad that we do. That any Orthodox Christian would say otherwise strikes me as incredibly bizarre. I trust that an Eastern Orthodox person will correct JamesR if he is in error according to your tradition.
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« Reply #510 on: April 07, 2013, 06:19:26 PM »

So I cannot speak about the Byzantines (obviously), but we Copts

You had me laughing before and after the conjunction.
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« Reply #511 on: April 07, 2013, 06:23:15 PM »

The most unfortunate thing is that I believe there are many religious/spiritual teachings unique to the Qur'an that I think people can benefit from, that all too often get shadowed out by social/political concerns, thanks in large part to Muslims AND non-Muslims.  Too much attention is given to the legal verses, accusations of plagiarism from Jews, Christians, and the Bible, treatment women, the pedophilia charge, jihad, and a host of other things.  But a cursory look at the Quran would even show that such issues relate to a very small percentage of the text - the topic that the Qur'an talks about the most is Judgment Day and the Hereafter, moreso than any other religious scripture.

What would a few of those be? Frankly, I tire of the slings and arrows of the typical anti-Muslim questions. Jack Chick musta made a tract about them.

So what are a few beneficials things unique to Islam you wish everyone would know?
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« Reply #512 on: April 07, 2013, 06:29:23 PM »

Likewise, when your co-religionsts burn down our churches, destroy our monasteries, kill our people, kidnap our daughters, force our families off their land with threats of extermination, etc. and say that they are doing it all in accordance with or by direction from Islam, I believe them, too.

You give a personal anecdote about your Muslim friends and then write this?

dzheremi, is the above true? What daughter of yours has been kidnapped? Who forced your family of its land, etc?

Sorry, but I take sorta seriously the appropriation of others suffering when it extends to such rhetoric.

 
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« Reply #513 on: April 07, 2013, 06:36:07 PM »

To think that a lying scoundrel and a terrorist pedophile can establish a religion that ends up having a billion adherents is not only historically unsound, but in my opinion, it just represents a bad opinion of God.  Falsehood cannot be upheld for this long to this capacity, no matter how violent or crazy its followers can be considered to be.

I don't see why not.

I agree. This is the weakest answer yet from essene's very thoughtful replies.

When it comes to the pedophile charge, there is simply nothing I've ever seen to suggest he was. No matter the age of Aisha, it is maintained, as far as I know, she was menstruating.

That ain't pedophilia.

And if you look at the background of the claims she was of whatever age, from 9 to 29, there is always an ideological reason behind the claims. Believe it or not, historically some people think Aisha being nine when she consummating the marriage  is important.

Just as some Christians think it is important that Mary was 12 when God entered here after she lived inside the Temple and that she married Joseph when we was 90 some years old.

Thing is, I've never heard a Muslim once bring up the fact that God entering Mary at 12 as being a problem, or at least not in the same manner that I've heard Christians bring up ONE manner of counting Aisha's age to call Mohamed a pedophile.

The one Muslim teacher I lived with was of the opinion that using the relative ages of everyone in the Mohamed's life to try to determine Aisha's age. He just thought there is more information there and a less ideologically charged method. He maintained she was 16 to 17 years of age with this reckoning.

He however never mocked Christians or the Christian God for entering a 12 year old girl, though he was quite certain that is what Christians believed Mary's age to be at conception.

Anyway . . .
The Blessed Virgin WAS NOT twelve when she was Concieved by the Holy Ghost.

Yes Jewish maidens were considered marriageable at 12 and a half but they were first bethroed to the husband where they legally belonged to him but remained living with her family for at least a year with her family until the marriage was celebrated. Tradition teaches that the BVM was closer to 15 when she concieved and ALWAYS remained a virgin.

The problem is you make a poor comparison between Aisha who was said to be only nine, a huge biological difference as opposed to a fifteen yr old and the fact that the BVM was CONCIEVED by the Creator himself, not physically "consumatiing" through intercourse by a mere man in Mohamed himself who was already married to several women at the time. You dare to compare the God of the universe in concieving a virgin to some desert self-proclaimed" holy" man with a different "revelation" everytime it suits him, even when it comes to sexual relations with prebuscent young girls to add to his already mounting stable of young wives at his disposal.

I'm sorry if this offends you and your Moslem buddies but it's at the height of arrogance to actually lump in Mohamed's questionable maritial practices with the Conception of our Lord (Whom we believe is God himself) within a woman who we hold so much love and devotion that we believe was actually Immaculatley Concieved herself.

Anyway........no comparison to the bride of Mohamed (one of many) as opposed to the Mother of God.

Apples and Oranges.
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« Reply #514 on: April 07, 2013, 06:40:53 PM »

No, since all (or almost all) around believed Jesus was Joseph's biological son.
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« Reply #515 on: April 07, 2013, 06:41:41 PM »

Hello everyone. This is my first post on OC.net (or any online forum, for that matter).

I've been interested in the exclusive claims made by Islam and have been following this thread for a bit now.

I've also got a few questions for essene:
Namely,

   1. Within years of Muhammad's death, the Arabian forces erupted onto the Middle Eastern political landscape and effectively defeated the Persians and crippled the Byzantines. I understand that a modern-day argument can be made that the late 20th century Salafism may have arisen as a result of Western imperialism. I also know that many Muslims claim that the rise of the Abbasids and latter Islamic empires brought stability to the Middle East for a long time period. There indeed may be some truth in those claims. But there is no denying that the Sahaba sought to expand their ummah via violent means. I mean, if indeed Islam preaches living peacefully side by side with Jews and Christians, why was there the need to launch a war of conquest in the first place? It wasn't as if God had directly established a mandate to go and subjugate all (in your view) "heretical" monotheists and pagans alike.

  2. Secondly, as I understand it many Muslims today know how to read Arabic, but don't understand it. While preserving any Revelation from God in the original language is a worthy endeavor, why is there a need to force converts to sacrifice their native tongue for the sake of reading a Revelation in the original language? With careful and painstaking effort to translate a Book of God into the native tongue, you are able to bring the Word of God to the natives instead of forcing the natives to give up a huge part of their identity. Language is indeed a major part of a group's identity. For example, if it weren't for the intrusion of Islam into India, Hindi would still be written in the Devangari script instead of Arabic. Hence, Pakistani people would be reading and writing Hindi, not Urdu (both languages are identical in speech, but different in script).

 3. Lastly, (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this since this is an aside) this is a question to my fellow Orthodox Christians on this board. I've heard accusations from my Muslim friends that Orthodoxy is too divided by language, ethnicity, and culture. This is still a visible problem as you'll see it in America from the interactions of different Orthodox immigrant groups. Do you think it really would have been better if the original Scriptures were written in one language for unity? I mean, if it was, it would make things today a whole lot simpler.

Anyways, these are my questions. I apologize for the length. Any insight is appreciated!
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« Reply #516 on: April 07, 2013, 08:02:49 PM »

So I cannot speak about the Byzantines (obviously), but we Copts

You had me laughing before and after the conjunction.

Leave it to Orthonorm to pick nits. Coptic people...people of the Coptic Orthodox Church...whatever you want to call it. I am a Coptic Orthodox Christian, after all, and particularly in this context (talking about doctrine), it makes to emphasize that all the people of the Church believe this. Go to Bolivia, where all the Coptic Orthodox people are ethnic Bolivians, and you'll find that they believe it too (or to Kenya, or to Mexico, or to South Africa, etc).
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« Reply #517 on: April 07, 2013, 08:18:15 PM »

Likewise, when your co-religionsts burn down our churches, destroy our monasteries, kill our people, kidnap our daughters, force our families off their land with threats of extermination, etc. and say that they are doing it all in accordance with or by direction from Islam, I believe them, too.

You give a personal anecdote about your Muslim friends and then write this?

dzheremi, is the above true? What daughter of yours has been kidnapped? Who forced your family of its land, etc?

Sorry, but I take sorta seriously the appropriation of others suffering when it extends to such rhetoric.

 

No, you whine and complain that I haven't properly separated myself from the Church I'm in on account of not being Egyptian (why I don't know; maybe you need more hobbies), as though that's not already accomplished by virtue of my being there. Funnily enough, that's something I've received more than a few lessons on recently from ethnically Coptic people, who are apparently concerned that I am too isolated as the one non-Egyptian who currently regularly attends here, so apparently people who actually know me because we are part of the same Church see things differently than you do, and have been trying to get me to identify more with the Church. And, yes, such people are the ones with all these stories. So, since we are one Church, when I write about things that go on in our Church (meaning, their church and my church), I use the pronoun "our". If all these things had happened to me personally, I would use the pronoun "my". That's how pronouns work.

Every person in my church (and that includes the Ethiopians and others who have occasionally been with us) talks about "our" church or "our" people in one way or another. Generally, the meaning it is with the meaning of "non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian people" (e.g., a question to HG Bishop Youssef yesterday was why we disagree with the Catholics about purgatory, and it was obvious that the speaker did not mean "we who are seated at this table right now" or "only the Coptic Church, to the exclusion of the Syriac, Armenian, British, etc. Orthodox churches"). So, yes...our families meaning "Orthodox Christian people in Egypt (or wherever the problem is happening)", our daughters as in "the daughters of those people", etc. It's not as though these things are happening to people because they're ethnic Copts in the first place; the vast majority of Egyptian Muslims are probably also ethnic Copts, too, and yet their daughters are not the ones being kidnapped, and their mosques aren't burned down, etc.
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« Reply #518 on: April 07, 2013, 08:20:04 PM »

Less LARP-ing ^
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« Reply #519 on: April 07, 2013, 08:33:21 PM »

You're right, I should go back to being Roman Catholic, because then I wouldn't have to "LARP", i.e., commit the terrible sin of writing "Coptic" instead of "Coptic Orthodox person of whatever ethnicity they might be", although the two are virtual synonyms in any discussion (I don't recall seeing much discussion around these parts about Coptic Catholics). Thank you for pointing this out, Michał. Otherwise I would not have noticed how this works.
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« Reply #520 on: April 07, 2013, 09:37:51 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.
The two aren't mutually exclusive, and I find it rather disturbing that so many Byzantines make this false dichotomy.

St. Isaac the Syrian wasn't a "Byzantine"
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« Reply #521 on: April 07, 2013, 09:44:37 PM »

In Orthodoxy we don't believe in justice, but in mercy. How would you as a Muslim comment on that? From my experience, the Muslim view on Allah seems more similar to the legalism of western Christianity.
The two aren't mutually exclusive, and I find it rather disturbing that so many Byzantines make this false dichotomy.
Severian is right on this one.

Depending on the definition of "justice", of course.
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« Reply #522 on: April 07, 2013, 09:50:01 PM »

Yeah, those Muslims are so horrible! They colonized my ancestors' continent, eradicated our culture and history, forced their religion on us and bashed our infants heads against the trees after baptizing them.

Oh wait....

That was Charles Martel's religion...
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« Reply #523 on: April 07, 2013, 10:12:59 PM »

Yeah, those Muslims are so horrible! They colonized my ancestors' continent, eradicated our culture and history, forced their religion on us and bashed our infants heads against the trees after baptizing them.

Oh wait....

That was Charles Martel's religion...
Source?
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« Reply #524 on: April 07, 2013, 10:22:19 PM »

Yeah, those Muslims are so horrible! They colonized my ancestors' continent, eradicated our culture and history, forced their religion on us and bashed our infants heads against the trees after baptizing them.

Oh wait....

That was Charles Martel's religion...

James, if this was in reply to what I typed earlier:

What I am asking is: Were the initial wars of conquest fought by the Sahaba and the first generation of Muslims a result of a conscious, purposeful effort to establish Islam as a dominant religion of the land? It's an honest question that must be answered. In my view, I really think imperialism, or wars of total conquest, unless mandated directly by God (as in the case of Joshua taking Canaan from the sinful pagans) are not good. If Catholic missionaries in the Americas were indeed guilty of the crimes you stated, then obviously they have grievously erred.
I know that you can't accuse all Muslims throughout the ages of being violent or trying to conquer lands for the sake of the spread of Islam. However, I think an analysis of how the Muslims of Mohammed's time understood and applied their revelation from God is really important in trying to assess what Islam's teachings are regarding sinful pagans, righteous pagans, sinful Jews, righteous Jews, sinful Christians, and righteous Christians.
I'm not trying to stereotype. I just want to understand why they did what they did.
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« Reply #525 on: April 09, 2013, 11:17:58 PM »

Yeah, those Muslims are so horrible! They colonized my ancestors' continent, eradicated our culture and history, forced their religion on us and bashed our infants heads against the trees after baptizing them.

Oh wait....

That was Charles Martel's religion...

You realize if they actually bashed their infants heads against the trees after baptizing them, you wouldn't exist?
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« Reply #526 on: April 14, 2013, 02:05:11 PM »

No, since all (or almost all) around believed Jesus was Joseph's biological son.
Um......What?  Huh
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« Reply #527 on: April 14, 2013, 02:07:27 PM »

Yeah, those Muslims are so horrible! They colonized my ancestors' continent, eradicated our culture and history, forced their religion on us and bashed our infants heads against the trees after baptizing them.

Oh wait....

That was Charles Martel's religion...
You really have some imagination James. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #528 on: April 14, 2013, 02:16:58 PM »

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As for Joseph Smith, I have my own theory on his case, but that's a debate for another time.

I have heard in the past of the eery similarities between Joesph Smith and the Desert Prophet producing almost the same styled religion and practices.

Maybe you can comment on this when you have the time.
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« Reply #529 on: April 14, 2013, 02:26:41 PM »

No, since all (or almost all) around believed Jesus was Joseph's biological son.
Um......What?  Huh

Mt 13, 55.

If they hadn't, Theotokos would have been stoned to death.
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« Reply #530 on: April 14, 2013, 05:04:11 PM »

...If they hadn't, Theotokos would have been stoned to death.

Probably beating the dead horse here...but, there was no punishment for fornication in the Torah. It only applied when a person was arranged to be married. But if the Theotokos wasn't arranged to marry anyone, nor wasn't married at all, there would be no penalty for her getting pregnant. At the very worst, she'd be stigmatized and no one would want to purchase her for a wife. And, even if it was a punishable-by-death offense, it still wouldn't have been carried out because the Roman Empire didn't allow executions without their approval.
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« Reply #531 on: April 14, 2013, 05:04:43 PM »


I admit that I presented a weak argument with that statement, but I still stand by the idea that a religion established on falsehood cannot have a hold over a billion followers for this long, without a good chunk of its followers noticing that something is very wrong.  The Qur'an itself says that truth lives on, and that falsehood is bound to perish, sooner or later.  

How can there be unbelievers and distorters of the truth in every age then? Hub-al-lah says in the Qur'an that he allowed Satan to deceive and mislead people.


One of the strongest claims made against Islam is that its of the devil or the religion of anti-Christ - I do not believe that Almighty God, in His Mercy and Justice, would allow an evil, false religion from Satan to come to the position that it has, and have so many sincere, well meaning people deluded.  I do not deny in any way that there are serious problems with Muslims and throughout the Muslim world, but I don't think outright dismissal of Islam is entirely prudent either.

Why not? How can the Almighty God allow Satan to mislead and tempt people into sin for such a long time? More, humans have free will. Elohim revealed His truth and Himself to mankind, but people are free to follow falsehood and go astray if they want. It is true that Elohim maintains His truth in the world forever, but this does not prove that a religion or ideology that lasts for a long time is definitely from above. In that case you would have to believe that Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other faiths are divinely inspired and valid. 

The most unfortunate thing is that I believe there are many religious/spiritual teachings unique to the Qur'an that I think people can benefit from, that all too often get shadowed out by social/political concerns, thanks in large part to Muslims AND non-Muslims.  

Examples?

However, I also admit that there is not enough of an emphasis on Jesus amongst Muslims, especially given what the Quranic verses say about him, and the fact that it is he, and not any other prophet, who will return before the Day of Judgment to kill the Anti-Christ.  These are all things that are in the Islamic tradition.

The assertion that Yeshua (the writer of the Qur'an even distorted Yeshua's name) will come on the Day of Judgment is not of Quranic origin though. Islamic traditions concerning Yeshua were heavily influenced by Christian doctrines.


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« Reply #532 on: April 14, 2013, 05:08:21 PM »

Here is a question; what is the Muslim position of the four Christian Gospels in the New Testament? I've heard some Muslims say that they were "corrupted," yet, at the same time, I've heard others say that the Gospels contain some bits of truth, like, allegedly Jesus foretelling the coming of Muhammed.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #533 on: April 14, 2013, 06:43:12 PM »

The most unfortunate thing is that I believe there are many religious/spiritual teachings unique to the Qur'an that I think people can benefit from, that all too often get shadowed out by social/political concerns, thanks in large part to Muslims AND non-Muslims.  Too much attention is given to the legal verses, accusations of plagiarism from Jews, Christians, and the Bible, treatment women, the pedophilia charge, jihad, and a host of other things.  But a cursory look at the Quran would even show that such issues relate to a very small percentage of the text - the topic that the Qur'an talks about the most is Judgment Day and the Hereafter, moreso than any other religious scripture.

What would a few of those be? Frankly, I tire of the slings and arrows of the typical anti-Muslim questions. Jack Chick musta made a tract about them.
He did! With a very strongly anti-Christian title.
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« Reply #534 on: April 14, 2013, 06:55:55 PM »

...If they hadn't, Theotokos would have been stoned to death.

Probably beating the dead horse here...but, there was no punishment for fornication in the Torah. It only applied when a person was arranged to be married. But if the Theotokos wasn't arranged to marry anyone, nor wasn't married at all, there would be no penalty for her getting pregnant. At the very worst, she'd be stigmatized and no one would want to purchase her for a wife. And, even if it was a punishable-by-death offense, it still wouldn't have been carried out because the Roman Empire didn't allow executions without their approval.

Didn't Jesus stopped stoning of one prostitute? That breaks your arguments a bit.
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« Reply #535 on: April 14, 2013, 07:15:20 PM »

...If they hadn't, Theotokos would have been stoned to death.

Probably beating the dead horse here...but, there was no punishment for fornication in the Torah. It only applied when a person was arranged to be married. But if the Theotokos wasn't arranged to marry anyone, nor wasn't married at all, there would be no penalty for her getting pregnant. At the very worst, she'd be stigmatized and no one would want to purchase her for a wife. And, even if it was a punishable-by-death offense, it still wouldn't have been carried out because the Roman Empire didn't allow executions without their approval.

Didn't Jesus stopped stoning of one prostitute? That breaks your arguments a bit.

She wasn't a prostitute; she was an adulteress. An adulteress is, by definition, married to someone. Likewise, the Torah actually said that both people caught in the act of adultery were supposed to be stoned; not just one. I think that's partially why Jesus let her off.
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« Reply #536 on: April 14, 2013, 07:17:16 PM »

It looks like you are right, then.

But Mary was betrothed to Joseph
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« Reply #537 on: April 29, 2013, 12:20:26 PM »

 How can there be unbelievers and distorters of the truth in every age then? Hub-al-lah says in the Qur'an that he allowed Satan to deceive and mislead people.

Well, this is going to lead to a very long theological debate, but I will keep it simple.  Those who will to be misguided, who have a "disease" in their hearts, those who are not interested in truth but in spreading dissension, it is those insincere people that Satan will deceive and lead astray.  Of course, that can all change if they repent and change their ways - the door of repentance is always open in Islam.  As you yourself would agree, it's about free-will.

And why is the idea that God allows Satan to operate so problematic, especially for a Christian such as yourself?  Because if Satan is his own independent entity that is opposing God, can't God just stop him if He is all-powerful?  And if He can't, then what does that say about God in the first place?  The problem of evil is solved in Islam in this sense - both good and bad come from God, meaning that whatever befalls you can only befall you with His permission.  You will find this idea echoed strongly in The Didache. What is seemingly evil or bad to us can lead to a great good, you may never know..  Human foresight is limited and weak.

God says in the Quran that Satan is an enemy to mankind and we are not to follow him.  Simple as that.  Everything also is God's business, as far as I'm concerned.

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Why not? How can the Almighty God allow Satan to mislead and tempt people into sin for such a long time? More, humans have free will. Elohim revealed His truth and Himself to mankind, but people are free to follow falsehood and go astray if they want. It is true that Elohim maintains His truth in the world forever, but this does not prove that a religion or ideology that lasts for a long time is definitely from above. In that case you would have to believe that Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other faiths are divinely inspired and valid.

I do believe that those other faiths have elements of truth but got corrupted over time.  As I mentioned in another post, Muslims believe that a total of 124,000 prophets were sent to mankind, which would definitely account for all the different religions we see all over the world.  If you look at some Native American tribes and their beliefs, you will find very monotheistic elements, which says something.

The most unfortunate thing is that I believe there are many religious/spiritual teachings unique to the Qur'an that I think people can benefit from, that all too often get shadowed out by social/political concerns, thanks in large part to Muslims AND non-Muslims.  

The Qur'an identifies clearly who and what the Satanic figure is - he is a jinn, not a fallen angel.  It answers why Satan became Satan and how he became an enemy to the human race.  And the Quran talks about what the jinn are and what they do - they are basically the entities you know as demons in the Christian tradition.

Secondly, the overwhelming majority of the verses of the Quran are devoted to Resurrection Day, the Final Judgment, and the Hereafter.  Moreso than any other scripture in the world, Islam talks about the significance and purpose of death, and what the after-life is going to be like.  It  goes into more detail regarding the nature of the Final Judgment than any other scripture.  Judaism hinted at it, Christianity brought it to the forefront, and Islam expanded on it further.  It's like a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  According to the Islamic tradition, Muhammad is the final prophet because he is the prophet of the End Times - his very coming initiated the End Time (we've all been living in it our whole lives - the countdown to Judgment Day has already begun).  A thousands years for man is nothing in the sight of God.  There will no more authentic prophets after him that bring a new Revelation to expand on what God has already taught man.   Everything that has been needed to be said has been said, its up to humans now to do the work of ascertaining Truth.

There is a lot more to say regarding good/evil, the attributes of God and the unity of God, but I'll leave that to another discussion.

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The assertion that Yeshua (the writer of the Qur'an even distorted Yeshua's name) will come on the Day of Judgment is not of Quranic origin though. Islamic traditions concerning Yeshua were heavily influenced by Christian doctrines.

Wrong.  There are very strong allusions in the Quran to Jesus's return, and the hadiths that detail his descend in the End of Time have been considered to be mutawatir (meaning that they came from so many different chains of transmission that the likelihood of them being fabricated is pretty much impossible).  Of course, there are Muslims who have argued the opposite, that the return of Jesus is a fabrication, but I don't find their arguments to be convincing.
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« Reply #538 on: April 29, 2013, 12:30:03 PM »

What I am asking is: Were the initial wars of conquest fought by the Sahaba and the first generation of Muslims a result of a conscious, purposeful effort to establish Islam as a dominant religion of the land? It's an honest question that must be answered. In my view, I really think imperialism, or wars of total conquest, unless mandated directly by God (as in the case of Joshua taking Canaan from the sinful pagans) are not good. If Catholic missionaries in the Americas were indeed guilty of the crimes you stated, then obviously they have grievously erred.
I know that you can't accuse all Muslims throughout the ages of being violent or trying to conquer lands for the sake of the spread of Islam. However, I think an analysis of how the Muslims of Mohammed's time understood and applied their revelation from God is really important in trying to assess what Islam's teachings are regarding sinful pagans, righteous pagans, sinful Jews, righteous Jews, sinful Christians, and righteous Christians.
I'm not trying to stereotype. I just want to understand why they did what they did.

The first generation, the first four caliphs, I don't believe were motivated by notions of imperialism, but I think you pose an interesting historical question that deserves further study. Abu Bakr did not expand out of Arabia, but Umar, the second caliph, did.

The emphasis of the intial conquests were Sassanid Persia and the East Roman Empire - I think some of the companions might have been motivated by end-times scenarios, and therefore wanted to capture certain lands in preparation for the coming of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ).  Or they might have been motivated to attack what was considered to be corrupt and oppressive Roman/Persian rule.  There is an idea in Islam that if there is an injustice and evil taking place somewhere else, even if its being done against non-Muslims, then Muslims have the obligation to put a stop to that injustice by force, if they are able to do so.  Of course, this ideal is missing from much of the Muslim world now, unfortunately.

As for the Umayyads, the Abbassids, and the Ottomans, that is a completely different story.  The Umayyads, for example, engaged in nonstop aggressive warfare for 100 years, and that's probably why they collapsed.  With the except of one Umayyad caliph, there is a general consensus that the political rulership of the Muslims had become corrupt and decadent, having fallen far away from the ideal of the first generation.
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« Reply #539 on: April 29, 2013, 12:54:13 PM »



Or they might have been motivated to attack what was considered to be corrupt and oppressive Roman/Persian rule.  There is an idea in Islam that if there is an injustice and evil taking place somewhere else, even if its being done against non-Muslims, then Muslims have the obligation to put a stop to that injustice by force, if they are able to do so.  

Sorry, but this is one of the worst arguments I have heard. Lets take for example the conquest of Jerusalem. What was the injustice done to the people in Jerusalem so that the Muslims had to intervene against the Eastern Roman Empire? I can not remember any. In fact, the Byzantines protected the Christians there from the attacks of the Persians. And in 1099, the Muslims there destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and many other Christian objects. That does not sound like justice to me at all.
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