Sunday, December 31, 2006

Seven Reasons to Read the Glorious Qur’an



It dares you to disprove it. How? It says that humans cannot write a book like this even if they pooled all their resources together and got help also from the spirits. The Qur’an said this fourteen hundred years ago and yet no one has been able to disprove it. Billions of books have been written-but not another one like the Qur’an.


It is the only religious sacred writing that has been in circulation for such a long time and yet remains as pure as it was in the beginning. The Qur’an was kept intact. Nothing was added to it; nothing was changed in it; and nothing was taken away from it ever since its revelation was completed 1400 hundred years ago.


The Qur’an is God’s final revelation to humankind. God revealed the Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to Jesus, and finally the Qur’an to Muhammad. Peace be upon them all. No other book will come from God to surpass His final revelation.


The Qur’an withstands the test of time and scrutiny. No one can dispute the truth of this book. It speaks about past history and turns out right. It speaks about the future in prophecies and it turns out right. It mentions details of physical phenomena which were not known to people at the time; yet later scientific discoveries prove that the Qur’an was right all along. Every other book needs to be revised to accord with modern knowledge. The Qur’an alone is never contradicted by a newly discovered scientific fact.

Your Roadmap for Life and Afterlife

The Qur’an is the best guidebook on how to structure your life. No other book presents such a comprehensive system involving all aspects of human life and endeavor. The Qur’an also points out the way to secure everlasting happiness in the afterlife. It is your roadmap showing how to get to Paradise.

God’s Gift of Guidance

God has not left you alone. You were made for a reason. God tells you why he made you, what he demands from you and what he has in store for you. If you operate a machine contrary to it’s manufacturer’s specification you will ruin that machine. What about you? Do you have an owner’s manual for yourself? The Qur’an is from the Divine Manual your Maker. It is a gift for you to make sure you function for success, lest you fail to function.

It is a healing from God. It satisfies the soul, and cleans the heart. It removes doubts and brings peace.

Your Calling Card to Communicate with your Lord

Humans are social creatures. We love to communicate with the other intelligent life. The Qur’an tells us how to communicate with the source of all intelligence and the source of all life-the One God. The Qur’an, tells us who God is, by what name we should address Him, and the way in which to communicate with Him.

Are these not seven sufficient points for reading the Qur’an?

The Christian-Muslim Dialogue.

Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro

The Quran Extends its Helpful Hand to All Mankind and to The People of The Holy Book in Particular
San Francisco, USA
August 15-21, 1990

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Daily we feel the pressing urgency for spiritual conferences such as this, dedicated to effect mutual understanding and collaboration among the adherents of the world's religions. These noble aspirations to cooperate and for dialogue are more pressing today than in the past, more insistent and persistent, because of the scientific and technological advances in the media and in communications. Long ago, our ancestors felt the world too vast and immense for them to comprehend beyond their immediate surroundings, which restricted their ability to communicate with others. So, each community confined itself to its own world, limited by its own customs and ideologies. Unjust wars, bloodshed and the slaughter of innocent people resulted, when these isolated communities came in contact with one another, because of misunderstanding and ignorance.

Cultural progress and advances in transportation have greatly changed the world's situation since then. Our seemingly limitless world has grown much smaller and everything is much closer, so that today we can circle the globe in hours instead of years as in the past. Today the news of nations around the world can be broadcasted and transmitted to all corners of the globe instantly. Our planet is now like one big house with one family, the members of which are constantly interacting with one another. Unfortunately, injustice, greed and aggression, have spoiled and disturbed man's home and the world's harmony, so that the pressing need to cooperate with one another has become even more critical than ever before. Today, the peoples of the East are badly in need of Western science and technology. In the West, Europeans and Americans need the resources of the East and its spiritual heritage.

Now, mankind is beginning to cooperate because of pressing and urgent social needs that should not be disregarded by any reformer who seeks to bring prosperity and welfare to his people. Today's experience relates to that enjoined by God in His revelation to Muhammad.

O People, we have created you from a male and a female and divided you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. The noblest of you in God's sight is he who fears Him most. God is wise and all-knowing. T.Q., Sura 49, The Private Apartments, verse 13.

The Quran also says:

Help one another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another to sin and enmity. T.Q., Sura 5, The Table Spread, verse 2.

To bring about mutual agreement and accord among mankind by force of arms has proved futile; the world has suffered grievously from two world wars which have devastated the globe, including the years of Nazism and barbarism. Intense competition for amassing destructive weapons followed. The Big Powers shamelessly competed in an arms race that led men to fear their fellow man as if they were starving wolves or poisonous vipers. Meanwhile, international organizations and institutions have failed to bring about a human fraternity. The League of Nations, which collapsed owing to the avaricious aspirations of the Big Powers, has been replaced by the United Nations and its Security Council, also controlled by the Big Powers. The role of these bodies is so ambiguous and fragile that they have invariably contented themselves with mutual acts of flattery and resorted to affecting only general and conciliatory treaties - in other words, talk for deaf people, illustrating facts for the blind. Their resolutions have been, for the most part, mere ink on paper, particularly when opposed by one or more of the more powerful member states.

Nor has the development or progress of technology enabled man to achieve the good and mutual love that mankind needs and lacks. Unfortunately, too often modern technology is controlled by oppressive and unjust people and agencies, devoid of love, faith or humanity, motivated by greed, obsessed with amassing capital and storing up material gains. These are the same groups who manufactured devices of destruction, instruments of torture, transcontinental missiles, and nuclear bombs.

Notwithstanding all the advances that man has made in recent years, he is still a slave to his own ego and more basic instincts. As a consequence of his feeble rational faith, man remains in a primitive state of barbarism and fierce brutality. The Quran describes this:

They have hearts, yet they cannot understand; eyes, yet they do not see; and ears, yet they do not hear. They are like beasts-indeed, they are even less enlightened. Such are the heedless. T.Q., Sura 7, The Heights, verse 179.

Regrettably, man's modern destructive weaponry is aimed at the living, even at life itself. Thanks to scientific advances, moral backwardness and spiritual deterioration around the globe, the world and all its beauty can be instantly converted into a barren lifeless desert at the press of a button.

Here we can appreciate the role of faith and belief in God as being the most important and inspirational factor governing human behavior. It urges mankind to unite, cooperate, love one another, and do away with all kinds of discrimination, be it, racial, color or tribal, and to congregate under God's command. The Quran says:
Your religion is but one religion, and I am your only Lord. Therefore serve Me. T.Q., Sura 21, The Prophets, verse 92.

However, only belief which goes hand in hand with science and reason can penetrate the depths of human conscience and dictate proper conduct and behavior from within. There it can enforce virtues and bring about sublimation of the spirit. The history of both east and west has proven the validity of this proposition upon which knowledgeable persons worldwide agree. Unfortunately, human greed, desire for power, capricious whims and fancies, has often made religion a means and a cause for separation and fighting in contrast to what it should be: a source of love and peace. Likewise, scientific progress and spiritual and moral degeneration has been used as a means for accumulating fortunes and control over the weak by those in power.

Instead of holding meetings for dialogue and coordination, so that cultures could mingle and come to mutual agreement and cooperation, the West and the East clashed early under the banners of fanaticism and gross misunderstanding during the Crusades. This was the worst way to let the peoples of the east and west to get to know each other; and, combining the Crusades with later colonialism has proved to be the most unfortunate medium for promoting Muslim-Christian understanding.

Isn't it time for all believers in the One God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, to meet together openly and candidly; to listen and discuss the messages of all the Messengers and Apostles who have preached a mission and were sent to fill the earth with love, compassion and peace, and instill reason with conviction and faith?

On behalf of the Muslims, who comprise about one quarter of the inhabitants on this planet, I say the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a Messenger and Prophet into a society of idolaters, Christians and Jews. He exhorted his countrymen to believe in the Quran, which lent credence to the spirit and teachings of the Torah of Moses and to the Gospel of Christ. God says in the Quran:

He has revealed to you the Book with the truth, confirming the Scriptures which preceded; for He has already revealed the Torah and the Gospel for the guidance of men, and the distinction between right and wrong. T.Q., Sura 3, The Family of Imran, verses 3 & 4.

Through his actions and teachings, Prophet Muhammad stressed bonds of intimacy and affection, of the joint purpose and messengership with Christians, and stated that this applied to all preceding prophets.

We have revealed Our will to you as We revealed it to Noah and to the Prophets who came after him; as We revealed it to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and David, to whom We gave the Psalms. Of some apostles We have already told you (how God spoke directly to Moses); but there are others of whom We have not yet spoken: apostles who have brought good news to mankind and admonished them, so that they might have no plea against God after their coming. God is Mighty and Wise. T.Q., Sura 4, The Women, verses 163-165.

The Quran asks Muslims to revere all preceding apostles, twenty five of whom are mentioned in the Holy Book by name. However, God also says: but there are others of whom We have not yet spoken, thus indicating that although revealed religions are multiple they have one single target. Then the Quran commands the Muslims to declare openly and frankly that they believe in all heavenly messengers.
Say we believe in God and that which is revealed to us; we believe in what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes; to Moses and Jesus and the other prophets, We make no distinction between any of them, and to God we have surrendered ourselves. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 136.

Then God urges the followers of the other revealed religions, particularly those of the Torah and the Gospel, to do the same. He says:

If they accept your faith they shall be rightly guided; if they reject it, they shall surely be in schism. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 137.

The Quran further states that Muhammad's mission does not refute those of earlier prophets, rather it complements and perfects them.

Say: 'My Lord has guided me to a straight path, to an upright religion, to the faith of Abraham who was no idolater. T.Q., Sura 6, The Cattle, verse 161.

Men have to know that the apparent differences between religions is due to alteration and corruption that entered through mistranslations and practice, erroneous explanations and misinterpretations.

Yet they were enjoined to serve God and to worship none but Him, to attend to their prayers and to pay the alms-tax. That surely is the true faith. T.Q., Sura 98, The Clear Evidence, verse 5.

Prophet Muhammad summed up the relationship between himself and the other prophets in the following parable: The comparison between me and the preceding prophets is similar to a group of people who took part in building a house and completed it but for an empty space for one block or brick. Onlookers admired it and said in astonishment: 'What a beautiful mansion, if it were not for the place of the missing brick' I have been this brick and I am the last and seal of the prophets. Sahih Bukhari, P.18. He does not claim to be the entire mansion, however, but says: I am one brick of it. The missions of all the Prophets were integrated. Thus, Muhammad came to complete and not to refute, or contradict, the messages of his earlier brother Prophets.

Muhammad explains that the purpose of his mission is to bring peace, and this means a truce between fighting adversaries. God addresses him:

We have sent you forth save as a blessing of mercy to mankind. T.Q., Sura 21, The Prophets, verse 107.

This mercy exists only between loving brethren. In answer to his call, Muhammad then sought free and fraternal dialogue with all religions, in order to serve this purpose and make the people of the earth happy before they reached the eternal heavenly paradise. He preached that all religions are one. For:

There is no nation that has not been warned by an apostle. T.Q., Sura 35, The Angels, verse 24. (That is to say a heavenly instructor).

He also taught that all prophets are brethren and have a single faith in origin, but different laws or canons of religion. When he was told that the Jews devoted the tenth day of the month of Muharram (the first month in Muslim's calendar) to fasting in thankfulness for God's deliverance of Moses from Pharaoh on that day, Muhammad said to the Jews: We are more attached to Moses than you. If I am alive this day next year I will fast on this day and the preceding one i.e. the ninth and the tenth. Sahih Muslim, P.133.

The Quran also states that it was revealed in confirmation of Moses' Torah and Christ's Gospel.

There is guidance and there is light in the Torah which we have revealed. T.Q., Sura 5, The Table Spread, verse 44.

Also we read:

We sent forth Jesus ....... and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light. T.Q., Sura 5, The Table Spread, verse 46.

The Quran attaches much reverence to the revealed religions. It says:

Believers, Jews, Sabaeans and Christians - whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right - shall have nothing to fear or to regret. T.Q., Sura 5, The Table Spread, verse 69.

When the Christians of Nejran visited him, Muhammad respectfully and willingly let them say their prayers in his mosque. When the Empire of Islam stretched from China to France, a Roman temple in Damascus equally belonged to the Muslims and the Christians who went in and out through one entrance to say their prayers in tolerance and freedom. Owing to the embracing of Islam by great numbers of Christians in Syria, the Muslim half eventually did not have enough room for its worshippers, so Caliph Al-Waleed asked the Christians to relinquish their half of the temple in favor of the Muslims in exchange for ten times its price, to which they willingly agreed. The Caliph, who governed half of the ancient world at the time, could have taken the temple by force, but as Islam is the religion of freedom, justice and reverence for all revealed religions, he could only do what he did.

The attitude of Islam towards the Jews and the followers of all revealed religions may be inferred from this prophetic tradition: Whoever molests a non-Muslim citizen shall be my opponent on Doomsday and I will win. Ibn Majah P. 7. The Quran supported the accused innocent Jew against the guilty Muslim.

He that commits an offense or a crime and charges an innocent man with it, shall bear the guilt of calumny and gross injustice. T.Q., Sura 4, The Women, verse 112.

Those that wish to have more detail of Islam's respect for the other revealed religions and their adherents' freedom can refer to the Quran where they can find hundreds of examples.

The Islamic sources which encourage dialogue among religions are:

1- Much of the Quran is a free-flowing dialogue between Muhammad and God that discusses the lives of Muhammad and the preceding prophets. This dialogue is generally rhetorical in format, and shows intellect and patience on the part of the prophets, in stark contrast to the dialogue of the peoples of the other religions with their prophets. When authority and might enhanced Muhammad's prophetship, God revealed the verse:

There shall be no compulsion in religion. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 256.

Furthermore, the Sura of the Table, and many other Suras as well, is a good illustration and example of the freedom of creed and belief under the sovereignty of Islam.

2- The second source is Sunnah, which are collection of meticulously authenticated sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. It is the height of his call for freedom of belief and for free dialogue, in dignity and in the light of rational judgment, and clear evidence for the sake of truth and the delight in it. We have already stated the prophet's applications of dialogue and his putting it into practice as alluded to in the Quran.

3- The history of Islam is the third source. The Caliphs and many Muslim learned men held religious seminars in which free debate and dialogue was conducted throughout the Omayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, besides what is mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah.

Today, we have more than one way for religious togetherness or reconciliation among the revealed creeds.

1. Assemble the subject matter upon which all religions, in their original forms and texts that agree, such as the unity of the Merciful, Omnipotent God, the Creator of everything in its most perfect design, and the brotherhood of man.
2. The clergymen of all religions should consider the moral code which helps make the world happy and unified. The teaching of these ethical recommendations and rules should then be propagated far and wide. Then, not only will human beings have peace, but they will also be members of one loving family, living in the fraternity Prophet Muhammad suggests: True believers through their friendly relations and having merciful love for one another are like one body if a limb or organ of it suffers all the rest of it shall undergo fever heat and experience restlessness. Sahih Bukhari, P. 27.
3. We must bear in mind boldly, sincerely and truthfully, that in the course of time countless translations of holy books and the interests of greedy and capricious men have distorted and corrupted certain origins of the revealed religions and their teaching of love and cooperation. This has opened up an opportunity for sowing the seeds of fanaticism and antipathy among the believers in the One Creator. All that has to be scrutinized and corrected. Brilliant brains and sound scientific research must eliminate and reconsider interpretations that oppose religious conciliation. This can be achieved through dialogue and open debate at conferences dedicated to this purpose.

The essence of Islam is based upon freedom of belief and calling men to the path of God with wisdom and kindly exhortation. God commanded Muhammad to say to his adversaries:

You have your own religion and I have mine. T.Q., Sura 109, The Disbelievers, verse 6.

He also commanded him to say:

There is no compulsion in religion. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 256.

When the Muslims marched to spread their religion in the face of the imperial powers of Persia and Byzantine Rome, a well-known commandment of Muhammad's to them was: Do not pull down any church and do not kill any monk. On approaching a Christian monastery, or a Jewish synagogue, the Muslim conquerors used to repeat and keep saying: We have been commanded to let them free with what they believe.

Many modern reformers and propagandists all too often lack this sensible and respectful Muslim consideration towards other religions that combines reason with common sense, an alliance between rationality and sound knowledge.

Believers, Jews, Christians, and Sabaeans whoever believe in God and the Last Day and does what is right shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or to regret. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 62.
The circumstance of all religions sharing a single origin is expressed in the Quran:

He has ordained for men the faith He has revealed to you and formerly enjoined on Noah and Abraham, on Moses and Jesus, saying: 'Observe this faith and be not disunited in it. T.Q., Sura 42, The Counsel, verse 13.

Exhorting the servants of God, the Only One God, to collaborate and cooperate is one of the obligations enjoined on us by the Prophets. In addition, there is now an international human demand pressing upon us, because materialistic civilization has made such rapid strides heedless of and uncontrolled by any religious conscience.

Through technology, a candle has become an electric lamp, the donkey and the horse have become a comfortable car, and the homing pigeon has evolved into a modern communication system, all of which have become an everyday part of life. Unfortunately, man has achieved no comparable advance in his behavior and conduct. In fact, he has deteriorated and fallen back into a dark state of ignorance and barbarism, a manifestation of which is the race for armaments, including the invention of destructive bombs and weapons and amassing them on a large scale, despite the fact that only a few of these can put an end to the entire existence of man. Unless the clergymen, who are sincere and free from bigotry and whimsical inclinations and are in alliance with reason and science, remedy this monstrous defect in modern civilization, no one can foretell the gloomy fate that will befall humanity and mankind in the coming years.

The advance of learning and education has lately overcome the difficulties and obstacles that stood in the way of international dialogue and collaboration. Nonetheless, there are still certain impediments that obstruct this splendid concurrence.

a. Fanaticism, bigotry and inflexibility, which characterize many clergymen and make them blind to the truth, and taking them far from the straight path of guidance. The Quran refers to this:

When it is said to them: 'Follow what God has revealed,' they reply: 'We will follow that which our fathers practiced,' even though their fathers were senseless men lacking in guidance. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 170. When it is said to them: 'Follow what God has revealed,' they reply: 'We will follow that which our fathers practiced,' even though their fathers were senseless men lacking in guidance. T.Q., Sura 2, The Cow, verse 170.
b. Other obstacles to dialogue and collaboration are the adherents of religions who interpret their Scriptures in such a way as to make distinctions between the Prophets, fill men with aversion to their fellow men and bear malice and discord towards others. I believe the responsibility for this lies upon the shoulders of clear-sighted and enlightened clergymen. They must replace these faulty interpretations with something consistent to the original revelations in order to cherish human fraternity and cooperation.
c. Some religious rites and explanations contradict common sense and are inconsistent with logic. They disagree with accepted scientific information, which has led in certain circumstances to a historical divorce and alienation between the intellect and scientific data, on one hand, and religion on the other. This discord between reason and religion has proved disadvantageous for faith, and has been utilized by the adversaries of religion as a weapon used for waging a war against true belief.

Prophet Muhammad was very insistent on respecting learning and attaching great importance to the mind and reasoning. Therefore, his revelation has been addressed to those who have ripe talents and good judgment.

Do you not see how God sends down water from the sky which penetrates the earth and gathers in springs beneath? He brings forth plants of every kind. They wither, turn yellow and then He crumbles them to dust. Surely in this there is an admonition for men of understanding. T.Q., Sura 39, The Crowds, verse 21. And:

God sends down water from the sky with which He quickens the dead earth. Surely in this there is a sign for prudent men. T.Q., Sura 16, The Bee, verse 67.

The Quran regards learning and reason as the gateway to true faith and not an obstruction in its way.

None fear God but the wise among His servants: but, verily God is mighty and forgiving. T.Q., Sura 35, The Angels, verse 28.

The remedy for all this depends upon the clergymen's sincerity, their submission to truth, discrimination of correct from spurious interpretation of Biblical texts and religious heritage, in order to help people acquire intellectual faith fostered by learning.

I reiterate, in this honorable conference, what I often asserted, particularly in the Kremlin during an interview with Andre Gromyko of the Soviet Union in 1987. I invited all Communist philosophers in the world to a dialogue between religion and science for the purpose of effecting a reconciliatory compromise between these recalcitrant spouses. This way life would be prosperous when it is established on both learning and religion. Mr. Gromyko willingly accepted the proposal and promised to assist in bringing it about. So, I call upon you all to take serious interest in this issue.

Despite the three main obstacles that I have just mentioned, the path of dialogue and cooperation is today better paved than it was before. It has every chance of success provided that there are unbiased, sincere and wise men to do the job.

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, told me during a meeting of dialogue with him that he read the Quran everyday. My response to him was that: I am well versed in the Bible. It is this frank and open-minded spirit that can bring about human fraternity and eliminate all malice and discord, so that the believers in One God might coexist in affection and harmony. The Quran called for this long ago:

Cling one and all to the faith of God and let nothing divide you. Remember the favors He has bestowed upon you: how He united your hearts when you were enemies, so that you are now brothers through His grace. T.Q., Sura 3, The Family of Imran, verse 103.

Peace be upon you all.

How Muslims Should Argue With The People Of The Book.

When we argue with the people of the book (Christians and Jews) and even with anyone about religion we should use this simple plan:
1- We argue in the best way. Our geopolitical anger should not have anything to do with discussing religions.
2- We could be born Muslims or non-Muslims. Changing belief is not easy. We should let them know that very well. Use the word God not Allah since it has the impression of a different God and not the same of Abraham.
3- That is why we should leave some doubt that we may be wrong as Muslims. We even try to let them help us what Muhammad could be. They will say something agree but tell them however the argument against that is that. Make it more about logistics and finding the truth than proving that you are right.
4- I would use the word Quran is the most accurate for scientific reasons. As Muslims we do not say the Bible is corrupt or has corruption but we can say scientifically and historically Quran is the most accurate.
5- We have to accept every bad thing they will say about Islam and the contradictions in Quran as potential facts until we can disprove that to them.
6- We try to get them the best answer and if we do not know refer them to the right people.
7- The most accurate interpretation of the Quran would be from God. By definition our even best interpretation should be understood to them and us to be less than 100% accurate in some verses.
5- We should resist the temptation of criticizing them or putting them down. We should carefully pick the sentences that make our point and meanwhile make them keep their dignity and pride.
6- We should know the difference between what God says in the Quran to the people of the book and what we should say to them. God does not do politics. It is our job as Muslims to do the politics.
7- Our desire to convert people to Islam does not stem from our desire for domination but for the love of Islam and their own good.
8- Guidance is from God. You would never convert anyone to Islam unless God wants to.
9- If they would not accept Islam and are not convinced we are to keep our obligations to them as our brothers in humanity provided they do the same.
10- Religiously and geopolitically we are not in war against anyone unless he proved with his actions that he is on war with us. Even for our worst enemies they can change to be our friends any time.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

John: A Prophet of Islam


Amongst the 25 Prophets mentioned by God in the Quran, one name is Prophet John (peace be upon him). In Arabic, his name is Yahya. He is also a Prophet who figures prominently in Christianity, where he is known as John the Baptist. His story in the Christian tradition is described in Bible Luke 1:5-22.

In Islam, belief in all of Allah's Prophets is a fundamental article of faith. A person who denies belief in any of the Prophets, be it Jesus (peace be upon him) Moses (peace be upon him), or any of the others leaves the fold of Islam.

His miraculous birth

Prophet Jesus was not the only Prophet who was born miraculously. By miraculous, we mean outside of the normal process of human reproduction Allah has ordained which requires a man and a woman to conceive a child. In the case of Jesus, this meant being born of a mother but no father.

But Prophet Adam (peace be upon him)'s birth was even more miraculous in this sense since he was created with no mother or father. Similarly, Hawwa or Eve (may Allah be pleased with her) was created from a man, her husband, and no parents.

The birth of Prophet John is miraculous because he is the offspring of a barren mother and an elderly father. His father, it should be noted, was also a Prophet named Zecheriah.

"'Zecheriah, We bring you the good news of the birth of a son whose name shall be John, one whose namesake We never created before.' He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a boy when my wife is barren and I have reached an extremely old age?' He answered: ‘So shall it be.' Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me', and then added: ‘For beyond doubt, I created you earlier when you were nothing' (Quran 19:7-9).

"Zecheriah exclaimed: ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?' He said: ‘Thus shall it be; Allah does what He wills'"(Quran 3:40).

With the birth of John, Allah granted Zecheriah his desire for an heir.

"And We bestowed favor upon Zecheriah, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary [without any issue]. You are the best Inheritor.' So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us" (Quran 21:89-90).

The beautiful qualities of John

Allah did not just miraculously grant Zecheriah a son. He made this child a blessing for his parents and beautiful in character. Prophet John is described in the Quran as chaste and righteous.

"Then Zecheriah prayed to his Lord: ‘O Lord! Grant me from Yourself out of Your grace the gift of a goodly offspring, for indeed You alone heed all Prayers. As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you good tidings of John, who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous" (Quran 3:38-39).

"'O John! Hold fast the Book with all your strength. We had bestowed wisdom upon him while he was still a child; and We also endowed him with tenderness and purity; and he was exceedingly pious and cherishing to his parents. Never was he insolent or rebellious. Peace be upon him, the day he was born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up alive. (Quran 19: 12-15).

Part of a line of honored Prophets

Finally, as mentioned above, Prophet John is one of the Prophets Muslims must believe in. He is one of the 25 mentioned in the Quran.

"And We bestowed upon Abraham (offspring) Isaac and Jacob and each of them did We guide to the right way as We had earlier guided Noah to the right way; and (of his descendants We guided) David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who do good. (And of his descendants We guided) Zecheriah, John, Jesus and Elias: each one of them was of the righteous." (Quran 6:84-85).

The Islamic and Christian views of Jesus: a comparison


The person of Jesus or Isa in Arabic (peace be upon him) is of great significance in both Islam and Christianity. However, there are differences in terms of beliefs about the nature and life occurrences of this noble Messenger.

Source of information about Jesus in Islam

Most of the Islamic information about Jesus is actually found in the Quran.

The Quran was revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and memorized and written down in his lifetime. Today, anyone who calls him or herself a Muslim believes in the complete authenticity of the Quran as the original revealed guidance from God.

Source of information about Jesus in Christianity

Christians take their information about Jesus from the Bible, which includes the Old and New Testaments.

These contain four biblical narratives covering the life and death of Jesus. They have been written, according to tradition, respectively by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are placed at the beginning of the New Testament and comprise close to half of it.

Encyclopedia Britannica notes that none of the sources of his life and work can be traced to Jesus himself; he did not leave a single known written word. Also, there are no contemporary accounts written of his life and death. What can be established about the historical Jesus depends almost without exception on Christian traditions, especially on the material used in the composition of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, which reflect the outlook of the later church and its faith in Jesus.

Below are the views of Islam and Christianity based on primary source texts and core beliefs.


1. Do Muslims believe he was a Messenger of One God? YES

Belief in all of the Prophets and Messengers of God is a fundamental article of faith in Islam. Thus, believing in Prophets Adam, Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon them) is a requirement for anyone who calls him or herself a Muslim. A person claiming to be a Muslim who, for instance, denies the Messengership of Jesus, is not considered a Muslim.

The Quran says in reference to the status of Jesus as a Messenger:

"The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger before whom many Messengers have passed away; and his mother adhered wholly to truthfulness, and they both ate food (as other mortals do). See how We make Our signs clear to them; and see where they are turning away!" (Quran 5:75).

2. Do Muslims believe he was born of a Virgin Mother? YES

Like Christians, Muslims believe Mary, Maria in Spanish, or Maryam as she is called in Arabic, was a chaste, virgin woman, who miraculously gave birth to Jesus.

"Relate in the Book the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her family, to a place in the East. She screened herself from them; then We sent to her Our spirit (angel Gabriel) and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: I seek refuge from you in God Most Gracious (come not near) if you do fear God. He said: Nay, I am only a Messenger from your Lord, to announce to you the gift of a pure son. She said: How shall I have a son, when no man has ever touched me, and I am not unchaste? He said: So it will be, your Lord says: ‘That is easy for Me; and We wish to appoint him as a sign unto men and a Mercy from Us': It was a matter so decreed" (Quran 19:16-21).

3. Do Muslims believe Jesus had a miraculous birth? YES

The Quran says:

"She (Mary) said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.' He (God) said: ‘So (it will be) for God creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: ‘Be!'- and it is" (3:47).

It should also be noted about his birth that:

"Verily, the likeness of Jesus in God's Sight is the likeness of Adam. He (God) created him from dust, then (He) said to him: ‘Be!'-and he was" (Quran 3:59).

4. Do Muslims believe Jesus spoke in the cradle? YES

"Then she (Mary) pointed to him. They said: ‘How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?' He (Jesus) said: ‘Verily! I am a slave of God, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet; " (19:29-30).

5. Do Muslims believe he performed miracles? YES

Muslims, like Christians believe Jesus performed miracles. But these were performed by the will and permission of God, Who has power and control over all things.

"Then will God say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! recount My favor to you and to your mother. Behold! I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit (the angel Gabriel) so that you did speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel. And behold: you make out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and you breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by My leave, and you heal those born blind, and the lepers by My leave. And behold! you bring forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the children of Israel from (violence to you) when you did show them the Clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic' (5:110).

6. Do Muslims believe in the Trinity? NO

Muslims believe in the Absolute Oneness of God, Who is a Supreme Being free of human limitations, needs and wants. He has no partners in His Divinity. He is the Creator of everything and is completely separate from His creation.

God says in the Quran regarding the Trinity:

"People of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, and attribute to God nothing except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His command that He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and in His Messengers, and do not say: ‘God is a Trinity.' Give up this assertion; it would be better for you. God is indeed just One God. Far be it from His glory that He should have a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth. God is sufficient for a guardian" (Quran 4:171).

7. Do Muslims believe that Jesus was the son of God? NO

"Say: "God is Unique! God, the Source [of everything]. He has not fathered anyone nor was He fathered, and there is nothing comparable to Him!" (Quran 112:1-4).

The Quran also states:

"Such was Jesus, the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is not befitting to the majesty of God, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be' and it is" (Quran 19:34-35).

8. Do Muslims believe Jesus was killed on the cross then resurrected? NO

"“They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did.” (Quran 4:156) “God lifted him up to His presence. God is Almighty, All-Wise” (Quran 4:157) .


1. Do Christians believe Jesus was a human being and Messenger of God? YES & NO

With the exception of Unitarian Christians, who like all the early followers of Jesus, still do not believe in the Trinity, most Christians now believe in the Divinity of Jesus, which is connected to the belief in Trinity. They say he is the second member of the Triune God, the Son of the first part of the Triune God, and at the same time "fully" God in every respect.

2. Do Christians believe he was born of a Virgin Mother? YES

A chaste and pious human woman who gave birth to Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity, the Son of God, and at the same time "fully" God Almighty in every respect.

Christians believe however, that while she was a virgin, she was married to a man named Joseph (Bible: Matthew:1:18). According to Matthew 1:25, Joseph "kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus".

3. Do Christians believe he had a miraculous birth? YES

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit" (Bible: Matthew 1:18)

4. Do Christians believe he performed miracles? YES

"And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretches out thy hand to heal, and sign and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus (Bible: Acts 4:30).

Christians believe that Jesus performed these miracles because he was the Son of God as well as the incarnation of God.

5. Do Christians believe in the Trinity? YES

With the exception of the Unitarian Christians, who do not believe in the Divinity of Christ, the Trinity, according to the Catholic encyclopedia, is the term used for the central doctrine of the Christian religion. The belief is that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three Persons or beings are distinct from each another, while being similar in character: uncreated and omnipotent.

The First Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains "hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness" (Const., "De fide. cath.", iv). The First Vatican Council further defined that the Christian Faith contains mysteries strictly so called (can. 4). All theologians admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is of the number of these. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that of all revealed truths, this is the most impenetrable to reason.

6. Do Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God? YES

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (Bible: John 3:16).

However, it is interesting to note that the term "son of God" is used in other parts of the Bible to refer to Adam (Bible: Luke 3:38), Israel (Bible: Exodus 4:22) and David (Bible: Psalms 2:7) as well. The creatures of God are usually referred to in the Bible as children of God. It is as well clear that the words are for John and not for Jesus.

The role of Paul of Tarsus in shaping this belief and the belief in Trinity

The notion of Jesus as son of God is something that was established under the influence of Paul of Tarsus (originally named Saul), who had been an enemy of Jesus, but later changed course and joined the disciples after the departure of Jesus.

Later, however, he initiated a number of changes into early Christian teachings, in contradiction, for instance, to disciples like Barnabas, who believed in the Oneness of God and who had actually lived and met with Jesus.

Paul is considered by a number of Christian scholars to be the father of Christianity due to his additions of the following ideas:

that Jesus is the son of God,

the concept of Atonement,

the renunciation of the Law of the Torah.

Paul did these things in hopes of winning over the Gentiles (non-Jewish people). His letters are another of the primary sources of information on Jesus according to the Christian tradition.

The original followers of Prophet Jesus opposed these blatant misrepresentations of the message of Jesus. They struggled to reject the notion of the Divinity of Jesus for close to 200 years.

One person who was an original follower of Jesus was Barnabas. He was a Jew born in Cyrus and a successful preacher of the teachings of Jesus. Because of his closeness to Jesus, he was an important member of the small group of disciples in Jerusalem who had had gathered together following the disappearance of Jesus.

The question of Jesus's nature, origin and relationship with God was not raised amongst Barnabas and the small group of disciples. Jesus was considered a man miraculously endowed by God. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view.

The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 CE Iranaeus (130-200) wrote in support of pure monotheism and opposed Paul for injecting into Christianity doctrines of the pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy. He quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas in support of his views. This indicates that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity.

In 325 (CE), a council of Christian leaders met at Nicaea and made Paul's beliefs officially part of Christian doctrine. It also ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script which contradicted Paul's beliefs should be destroyed. An edict was issued that anyone in possession of these Gospels would be put to death.

The Gospel of Barnabas has miraculously survived though.

7. Do Christians believe he was killed on the cross? YES

This is a core Christian belief and it relates to the concept of atonement. According to this belief, Jesus died to save mankind from sin. However, this is not stated explicitly in the four gospels which form the primary source texts of Christianity. It is found, however, in Romans 6:8,9.

Christians believe Jesus was spat on, cut, humiliated, kicked, striped and finally hung up on the cross to endure a slow and painful death.

According, to Christian belief, the original sin of Adam and Eve of eating from the forbidden tree was so great that God could not forgive it by simply willing it, rather it was necessary to erase it with the blood of a sinless, innocent Jesus.


The four Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul are the main sources of Christianity which discuss the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. According to St. Matthew, Jesus appeared to the holy women, and again on a mountain in Galilee. Mark's Gospel tells a different story: Jesus was seen by Mary Magdalene, by the two disciples at Emmaus, and the Eleven before his Ascension into heaven.

Luke's Gospel says Jesus walked with the disciples to Emmaus, appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem. In John's Gospel, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the ten Apostles on Easter Sunday, to the Eleven a week later, and to seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.

Another account of the resurrection by St. Paul is found in Bible: Corinthians 15: 3-8.

According to Christian belief, Resurrection is a manifestation of God's justice, Who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled himself unto death (Phil., 2: 8-9). This event also completes the mystery of Christian salvation and redemption. The death of Jesus frees believers from sin, and with his resurrection, he restores to them the most important privileges lost by sin (Bible: Romans 4:25).

More importantly, the belief in the resurrection of Jesus indicates Christian acknowledgment of Christ as the immortal God, the cause of believers' own resurrection (Bible: I Corinthians 4: 21; Phil., 3:20-21), as well as the model and the support of a new life of grace (Bible: Romans 4: 4-6; 9-11).

Good News: the Kingdom of God has Come to Earth


"I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." (Jesus as quoted by Luke 4:43)

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." (Jesus as quoted by Mark 1:15)

"And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations." (Jesus as quoted by Matthew 24:14)

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven has come near." ... Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom. (Jesus as quoted by Matthew 4:17,23)

"This then is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'" (Jesus as quoted by Matthew 6:9-10)

"The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you." (Jesus as quoted by Luke 17:20b-21)

"But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you." (Jesus as quoted by Luke 11:20)

"Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'" (Jesus as quoted by Luke 10:8-9)

"My kingdom is not from this world." (Jesus as quoted by John 18:36)

Twelve Proofs that Muhammad is a True Prophet


by Abdul Rahman Abdul Khaliq

My brothers and sisters everywhere! With this essay, I am not singling out the adherents of Islam - to which I ascribe - but rather I am writing this essay to every man and woman throughout the whole world.

I ask Allah that He facilitates that this essay reaches every ear, falls under the sight of every eye, and is understood by every heart...

Muhammad the son of `Abdullah is Allah's Prophet and the Final Messenger Sent by Allah to the Inhabitants of Earth.

My brothers and sisters everywhere! You should know that the Messenger, Muhammad the son of `Abdullah (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) is Allah's Messenger in reality and truth. The evidences that show his veracity are abundant. None but an infidel, who out of arrogance alone, could deny these signs.

Among these proofs:

1. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) was raised illiterate, unable to read or write, and remained like that till his death. Among all his people, he was known as being truthful and trustworthy. Before receiving revelation, he had no prior knowledge of Religion or any previously sent Message. He remained like that for his first forty years. Revelation then came to Muhammad with the Koran that we now have between our hands. This Koran mentioned most of the accounts found in the previous scriptures, telling us about these events in the greatest detail as if he witnessed them. These accounts came precisely as they were found in the Torah sent down to Moses and in the Gospel sent down to Jesus. Neither the Jews or Christians were able to belie him regarding anything that he said.

2. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) also foretold of everything that would occur to him and his community after him, pertaining to victory, the removal of the tyrannical kingdoms of Chosroes [the royal title for the Zoroastrian kings of Persia] and Caesar, and the establishment of the religion of Islam throughout the earth. These events occurred exactly as Muhammad foretold, as if he was reading the future from an open book.

3. Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) also brought an Arabic Koran that is the peak of eloquence and clarity. The Koran challenged those eloquent and fluent Arabs of his time, who initially belied him, to bring forth a single chapter like the Koran. The eloquent Arabs of his day were unable to contest this Koran.

Indeed, till our day, none has ever dared to claim that he has been able to compose words that equal-or even approach-the order, grace, beauty, and splendor of this Glorious Koran.

4. The life history of this Noble Prophet was a perfect example of being upright, merciful, compassionate, truthful, brave, generous, distant from all evil character, and ascetic in all worldly matters, while striving solely for the reward of the Hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of Allah.

5. Allah instilled great love for Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) in the hearts of all who believed in and met him. This love reached such a degree that any of his companions would willingly sacrifice his (or her) self, mother or father for him.

Till today, those who believe in Muhammad honor and love him. Anyone of those who believe in him would ransom his own family and wealth to see him, even if but once.

6. All of history has not preserved the biography of any person in the manner it has preserved the life of Muhammad, who is the most influential human in history.

Nor has the entire earth known of anyone whom every morning and evening, and many times thereafter throughout the day, is thought of by those who believe in him. Upon remembering Muhammad, the believers in him will greet him and ask Allah to bless him. They do such with full hearts and true love for him.

7. Nor has there every been a man on earth whom is still followed in all his doings by those who believe in him.

Those who believe in Muhammad, sleep in the manner he slept; purify themselves (through ablution and ritual washing) in the manner he purified himself; and adhere to his practice in the way they eat, drink, and clothe themselves.

Indeed in all aspects of their lives, the believers in Muhammad adhere to the teachings he spread among them and the path that he traveled upon during his life.

During every generation, from his day till our time, the believers in this Noble Prophet have fully adhered to his teachings. With some, this has reached the degree that they desire to follow and adhere to the Prophet's way in his personal matters regarding which Allah has not sought of them to adhere to in worship. For example, some will only eat those specific foods or only wear those specific garments that the Messenger liked.

Let alone all that, all those who believe in Muhammad repeat those praises of Allah, special prayers, and invocations that he would say during each of his actions during day and night, like: what he would say when he greeted people, upon entering and leaving the house, entering and leaving the mosque, entering and leaving the bathroom, going to sleep and awaking from sleep, observing the new crescent, observing the new fruit on trees, eating, drinking, dressing, riding, traveling and returning from travel, etc.

Let alone all that, all those who believe in Muhammad fully perform-even to the minute detail-every act of worship-like prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage-as this Noble Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) taught and as he himself performed.

All of this allows those who believe in him, to live their lives in all aspects with this Noble Messenger as their example, as if he was standing before them, for them to follow in all their doings.

8. There has never been nor will there ever be a man anywhere upon this earth who has received such love, respect, honor, and obedience in all matters-small and large alike-as has this Noble Prophet.

9. Since his day, in every region of the earth and during every period, this Noble Prophet has been followed by individuals from all races, colors and peoples. Many of those who followed him were previously Christians, Jews, pagans, idolaters, or without any religion. Among those who chose to follow him, were those who were known for their sound judgment, wisdom, reflection, and foresight. They chose to follow this Noble Prophet after they witnessed the signs of his truthfulness and the evidences of his miracles. They did not choose to follow Muhammad out of compulsion or coercion or because they had adopted the ways of their fathers and mothers.

Indeed many of the followers of this Prophet (may Allah's blessings peace be upon him), chose to follow him during the time when Islam was weak, when there were few Muslims, and when there was severe persecution of his followers on earth. Most people who have followed this Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) have done so not to acquire some material benefits. Indeed many of his followers have suffered the greatest forms of harm and persecution as a result of following this Prophet. Despite all this harm and persecution, this did not turn them back from his religion.

My brethren! All of this clearly indicates to anyone possessing any sense, that this Prophet was truly and really Allah's messenger and that he was not just a man who claimed prophethood or spoke about Allah without knowledge.

10. With all this, Muhammad came with a great religion in its credal and legal make-up.

Muhammad described Allah with qualities of complete perfection, and at the same time in a manner that is free of ascribing to Him any imperfection. Neither the philosophers or the wise could ever describe Allah like such. Indeed it is impossible to imagine that any human mind could conceive of an existing being that possesses such complete ability, knowledge, and greatness; Who has subdued the creation; Who has encompassed everything in the universe, small or large; and Who possesses such perfect mercy.

Nor is it in the ability of any human being to place a perfect law based upon justice, equality, mercy and objectivity for all human activity on earth like the laws that Muhammad brought for all spheres of human activity - like buying and selling, marriage and divorce, renting, testimony, custody, and all other contracts that are necessary to uphold life and civilization on earth.

11. It is impossible that any person conceive wisdom,, morals, good manners, nobleness of characters as what this honorable Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) brought.

In a full and complete manner, Muhammad spread a teaching regarding character and manners toward one' parents, relatives, fiends, family, humanity, animals, plants and inanimate objects. It is impossible for the human mind alone to grasp all of that teaching or come with a similar teaching.

All of that unequivocally indicates that this Messenger did not bring an) of this religion from his own accord, but that it was rather a teaching and inspiration that he received from the One Who created the earth and the high heavens above and created this universe in its miraculous architecture and perfection.

12. The legal and credal make-up of the religion that the Messenger, Muhammad, (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) brought resembles the engineering of the heavens and the earth. All of that indicates that He who created the heavens and the earth is the One Who sent down this great law and upright religion.

The degree of inimitability of the Divine law that was sent down upon Muhammad is to the same degree of inimitability of the Divine creation of the heavens and earth. For just as humanity cannot create this universe, in the same manner humanity cannot bring forth a law like Allah's law that He sent down upon His servant and messenger Muhammad (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him).

Truth about Jesus Steven Johnson (Farukh Abdallah)

I am going to talk about the truth about Jesus (peace be upon him!).

In the first part of the lecture I would like to consider some of the so-called Christian evidence for the Divinity of Jesus and with the short response to what I consider the best evidence that the Christians would have and then to conclude with what Islam has to say about Jesus, insha Allah.

So first let us consider some of the best Christian so-called evidence for the Divinity of Jesus.

Of course one body of evidence that Christians have historically pointed to was evidence that Jesus (peace be upon him!) is God are the miracles of Jesus.

For example, they like to point to the virgin birth of Jesus. But it is the fact that Jesus had the human mother, but no father.

But of course for centuries the Jews and more recently the Muslims have counted that evidence by reminding the Christians that Adam had neither the mother of the father, and yet of course Christians never claim that Adam is Divine.

The physical state of affairs of a virgin birth as miraculous as it is not proof of Divinity.

For example, we read in the New Testatment that Hebrews (chapter 7, verse 3). It says that "without father, mother or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains the priest for ever".

It´s a very interesting verse, because that verse is not describing Jesus (peace be upon him!), rather if taken literally, as Christians take other verses in the Bible, it says that Melchizedek - an Old Testament figure - was without a father, without a mother, and that he is eternal.

So, using Christian logic, wouldn´t Melchizedek be God? And yet, no Christian says that Melchizedek is God. More often Christians would suggest, that since Jesus (peace be upon him!) had the power to cure the sick or even to raise the dead - that he must be God, because only God has power over life and death.

But the Bible itself demonstrates that claim is not logically founded.

For example, in the New Testament in the book of Acts (chapter 5, verse 15) we discover that families would bring their sick out into the street, so that the shadow of St.Peter could cast upon the sick people, and it says when the shadow of St.Peter was cast upon them - that they were cured.

Supposedly the mere shadow of Peter had the power to cure the sick.

In Acts (chapter 14, verse 10), Paul says to a crippled man: "Stand up upon your feet. And the man was cured".

And Paul did not mention the name of Jesus (peace be upon him!) in order to cure the man.

In Acts (chapter 9, verse 40) St. Peter raises Tabitha from the dead. And he did not mention the name of Jesus in order to raise Tabitha from the dead.

Of course Christians claim and they should claim if they are good Christians, that the apostles receive power for these miracles from Jesus.

But it is not understandable why they stop there, why do they not say that Jesus (peace be upon him!) receives his power from God.

For example, when we read John (chapter 5, verse 30 and chapter 6, verse 38). It says that Jesus was supposed to have said: "I can do nothing on my own initiative.

As I hear, I judge. And my judgement is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent me".

So if Jesus, (peace be upon him!) cures it is because it is the will of the One who sent him. Because Jesus by his own admission can do nothing on his own initiative.

Clearly the will of Jesus (peace be upon him!) is subordinated to the will of God, which is inconsistent with any claim that Jesus is equal to the Father.

St.Paul himself subordinated Christ to God the Father in authority.

In his letter to the Corinthians I (chapter 11, verse 3) Paul says that Christ is the head of every man and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Another typical verse of Paul is Corinthians I (chapter 15, verse 25). It says: "And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to him. That God may be all in all".

We also learn in the letter to Phillipians (chapter 2, verse 9) that God has highly exalted Jesus.

So if Jesus is subject to God and relies upon God to exalt him, then Jesus cannot be God, unless there are levels of being God.

At most Jesus could be aimed lower God and not equal to the Father.

But elsewhere in the Bible Jesus himself blatantly denies any kind of equality with God. For example, in the Gospel of John (chapter 14, verse 28) he says, "I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am".

In what sense can the Father be greater than Jesus ?

Christians view Jesus as perfect. Their line of argumentation is very simple. Since only God is perfect and Jesus is perfect, then Jesus must be God.
In logic we dismiss that kind of an argument, we say it is the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.

Let me give you an example of that, to show you how illogical it is. If I said that Begin is tired and Reigan is tired then I would have to conclude that Begin is Reigan.

So obviously it is an illogical kind of argument. It is the same kind of argument that we find there. You don´t even have to be a Major in logic to see that that is illogical.

If you look to the Bible itself in the famous sermon on the mount in Matthew (chapter 5, verse 48), Jesus supposedly commands us to "be ye therefore perfect, as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect".

Again Jesus of course was paraphrasing the Torah. We find those words in Leviticus (chapter 19, verse 2).

But by commanding us to be perfect, or holy as it is said in Leviticus, to Jesus and God it means to indicate that we all have the potential to be God.

Well of course no orthodox Christian would make such a claim. The fact is that if Jesus lived a perfect life, then he was a perfect man, but a perfect man is not God.

Jesus was simply following the commandment revealed by God to Moses.

But whatever Jesus´s perfection in the New Testament is, he is always characterised or described as lower or subordinate to God the Father. And that subordinate role is seen in the fact that Jesus himself viewed himself as a messenger.

In Matthew (chapter 10, verse 40), and in John (chapter 5, verse 36) Jesus says, "...he who receives you, receives me and he who receives me, receives Him who sent me". That´s a very important verse, when it is considered along with verse such as John (chapter 12, verse 44). That says, "But Jesus cried out and said "he who believes in me, does no believe in me, but in Him who sent me"

. Also in John (chapter 13, verse 16) it says, "A slave is not greater than his master, neither a messenger - greater than the One who sent the messenger".

So Jesus is admitting both that he is a messenger and that the messenger is not as great as the One who send a messenger. It is very very clear.

Consistently the Gospel writers viewed Jesus as a human messenger, one mediator between God and man. That is evident in I Timothy (chapter 2, verse 5). Where Paul writes, "For there is one God, and also one mediator between God and men - a man Christ Jesus".

That whole doctrine was of course taken from file of Alexander. I don´t have time to go into that but if you have questions about it later I can go into it. So, I think we can see that if in some biblical verses Jesus is described as perfect, we can see from other verses that his perfection is only a human perfection. The Bible itself does not attribute perfect knowledge to Jesus.

Jesus freely admitted that there were things that neither he nor the Angels knew, but that only God knew.

For example, talking about the day of judgement, Jesus says in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 13, verse 32). He says that "of that day or hour no one knows, neither the Angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father".

And there is a very curious verse in Luke (chapter 2, verse 52), that makes the following statement about Jesus.

It said and Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and in physical growth and in favour with God and men. If Jesus is God, then we would expect him to share in the omniscience and the all-knowingness of God and the All-knowing God cannot increase in wisdom.

Or returning to the issue of perfection. If Jesus is perfect, and how could he increase in favour with God. A very dangerous thing happened in Christian theology, when the theologians attempted to attribute Divinity to Jesus.

Paradoxically, human qualities were attributed to God.

That is seen very clearly in a passage from Ditrich Barnhafer "Letters and papers from prison". Let me read it: "God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him.

That we should be able to get along without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us, the God who makes us live in this world. Without using him as a working hypothesis is the God before whom we are ever standing, before God and with Him we live without God.

God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world. And that is exactly the way, the only way in which he can be with us and help us".

Barharfer describes God as weak and powerless in the world, that he can be edged out of the world and nailed onto a cross. What a short step it is from describing God as weak and powerless in the world to some other words that are even worse

. Neichure wrote: "Where has God gone - he cried. I shall tell you. We have killed Him. You and I. We are all His murderers. God is dead. God remains dead and we have killed Him."

If Christians call Barnhafer and Neitsche silly then they should remember that for two centuries after the council of Carsidn, their Fathers and faith debated about whether God could suffer

. These debates and paradoxes continue only substantiating the old claim that anything can follow from a contradiction.

Once you say that God can become man, then anything can happen. Then God can be even called weak and powerless or God can even die, if God can become a man.

Many Christians claimed that the greatest single piece of evidence that Jesus is God is the empty tomb. The Resurrection of Jesus. In fact Paul says that if Jesus did not raise from the dead, the Christian faith is worthless.

That it is completely empty. But unfortunately for the Christian the only evidence for the Resurrection is found in the Bible; and those Resurrection stories, those Resurrection narratives are extremely inconsistent on the details of the event.

For example, try to use the biblical narratives to determine which of Jesus´s followers actually came to the tomb and found that the tomb is empty. In Matthew (chapter 28, verse 1) we learn that Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary came to the tomb.

Whereas in Mark (chapter 16, verse 1) it says that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome were present.

Whereas in Luke (24:10) it says that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of Jesus and other women were present.

Finally in John (chapter 20, verse 1) - it suggests that Mary Magdalene was all alone at the tomb.

There is no consensus on who actually saw Jesus in the empty tomb, or who actually saw the empty tomb. And of course although Christians refer to the empty tomb they do not actually mean that the tomb is completely empty when the individuals went there. According to Christians there was an angelic presence at the tomb

However the Gospels of Mark and Luke differ on how many angels were actually present at the tomb.

Mark (16:5) has one young male angel in the tomb. Luke (24:4) has two male angels in the tomb.

Another question that fundamentalist Christians, that evangelical type often pose is who moved the stone (as if this is a terribly important question).

I must confess that even as a Christian I couldn´t envision a more irrelevant question.

First, what difference does it make who moved the stone. Just give him a name - Bernish Warts.

What difference does it make?
What does it prove?

The issue was not who moved the stone, but whether the Bible is free from inconsistencies, such that it is even possible to determine the answer to that question.

In fact, the Bible equivocates on who moved the stone. In Matthew (28:2) one reads that when Mary Magdalene and Mary arrived at the tomb, an angel approached, rolled the stone away and then sat upon the stone.

In Mark (16:4) and in Luke (24:2) one discovers that when the women arrived at the tomb, the stone was already moved. Another very interesting question is where was Jesus before the empty tomb was being visited. Supposedly at some point to be for Easter, Jesus ascended into Heaven, because in Luke (23:43) he promises the thief on the cross that the thief would be with Jesus that day in Paradise. That Day would be - on Good Friday.

However in John chapter (20, verse 17), Jesus tells Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday not to touch him, because He has not yet ascended to the Father.

According to these verses Jesus would either be unfortunately (I would not say this, but according to the verse Jesus was either lying to the thief or to Mary Magdalene! Astagfir Allah!)

Because he promised to see that thief in Heaven on Friday, but on Sunday He had not yet ascended to the Father, he had not yet gone to Heaven.
It is curious that according to the Bible Jesus changed His mind about being touched before his ascension because in Matthew (28:9) it says that both of the Maries grabbed Jesus´s feet before He ascended to the Father.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Is there anti-Semitism in the Qur'an?


Q 1. I am a Jew and I am reading the Qur'an. I find that the Qur'an is very harsh in its criticism of the Jewish people. For example in chapter 5:60-64 I see that Jewish people are called as those whom Allah has cursed, is angry with them and has turned them into apes and swine. This is very offensive and sounds outright anti-Semitic. How do you explain this? I shall appreciate an answer from you.
A 2. Anti-Semitism means condemning and hating a people because of their Semitic race. Anti-Semitism is bigotry and racism. It is wrong and it has no place in Islam or in Islamic scripture. The Qur'an does not allow hate against any race, nationality or color. Throughout the history of Islam, Muslims have never used passages from the Qur'an to justify acts of anti-Semitism. The ill-effects of racism, including ethnic cleaning, genocide and Holocaust, which has been suffered by Jews and non-Jews alike over the past several centuries, has never been done under the banner of any passages from the Qur'an. Jews were among the earliest converts to Islam (in Medina) and, throughout the Middle Ages, Jews found sanctuary to practice their own religion under Islamic rule. It is truly disappointing and naive to ignore 1430 years of history and learned discourse on the Qur'an and argue that the current political situation in the Middle East has its roots in passages from the Qur'an.

As with all scriptures, passages in the Qur'an must be read within the proper context. The Qur'an was not just revealed to Muslims, but to all people, including Jews and Christians. Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allah Ta'ala Alaihi Wa Salam) was in the line of previous Prophets of Allah, including Prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and the Qur'an is in the line of previous scriptures revealed by Allah. The Qur'an does not condemn the Semitic race and, in fact, accords Jews a special status given their shared prophetic traditions with Islam. The Qur'an instead criticizes those Jews who turned away from Allah's authentic message and admonishes those who scorned and ridiculed Prophet Muhammad(Salla Allah Ta'ala Alaihi Wa Salam) and the message of the Qur'an. Such criticism is similar to the criticism against Jews found in other scriptures, including the Bible, and should be taken by all people as a reminder and warning against forsaking and straying from the authentic message of Allah. Such specific criticism has never been interpreted by learned scholars of the Qur'an to incite hatred against all Jewish people and should not be confused with anti-Semitism.

The Qur'an speaks extensively about the Children of Israel (Bani Isra'il) and recognizes that the Jews (al-Yahud) are, according to lineage, descendants of Prophet Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. They were chosen by Allah for a mission

وَلَقَدْ اخْتَرْنَاهُمْ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

And We chose them (the Children of Israel) above the 'Alamin (mankind, and jinns) [during the time of Musa (Moses)] with knowledge(44:32)

and Allah raised among them many Prophets and bestowed upon them what He had not bestowed upon many others

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَعَلَ فِيكُمْ أَنْبِيَاءَ وَجَعَلَكُمْ مُلُوكًا وَآتَاكُمْ مَا لَمْ يُؤْتِ أَحَدًا مِنْ الْعَالَمِينَ

And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! Remember the Favour of Allah to you, when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns, in the past)." (5:20)

He exalted them over other nations of the earth and granted them many favors.

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِي الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you to the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns) (of your time period, in the past). (2:47)

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِي الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَنِّي فَضَّلْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you to the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns) (of your time-period, in the past). (2:122)

Advice For New Muslims by Mona

from discover islam website.

Given that I have been having major problems with my parents regarding my reversion, the following advice is particularly suitable for other new Muslims having problems with their non-Muslim family members:

(1) It is very helpful and comforting to have a few Muslim friends nearby in whom you can confide, ask questions of, and spend time with during the formative and often tumultuous initial period as a new Muslim. Born Muslims are generally honored and pleased to help you improve your faith by showing you the details that help you become a better Muslim.

(2) Before you decide to announce your reversion to loved ones who are non-Muslim, make sure you are ready for their response, whether it is pleasant or horrible. Being ready means many things: understanding the basics of practicing your faith, understanding the reasons behind actions demanded of you by Islam, and being able to reconcile unfortunate world events that are attributed to Muslims with your own understanding of Islam and its inherent goodness, logic, and beauty.

(3) As hypocritical as it may be, many open-minded people cease to be open-minded when difficult issues such as religious conversion "hit home." People who are ordinarily rational, educated, and worldly unfortunately can swing 180 degrees when a person they love converts to a religion they do not appreciate or understand. It may be in your best interest, and in theirs, to not discuss your reversion to Islam until a year or two has passed and you feel comfortable in your faith. At that point, it would be obvious to them that Islam has not made you a worse or lesser person, and has in fact (hopefully!) noticeably improved you!

(4) Most importantly, remember that the best teaching is by example. If you want to help others overcome the stereotypes bound to Islam and lessen discrimination against muslims, be a model muslim! Remember to be tolerant, patient, giving, helpful, and peaceful with those around you, be they muslim or not. Be open to questions regarding your new faith, but do not feel compelled to answer questions to which you do not (yet) know the answers. Get involved in your ummah, mind your prayer, and with time, everything will become easier for you.

Pluralism and Islamic Civilisation

by Chandra Muzaffar

I was perplexed –and perturbed — by the remark attributed to the State Mufti of Perak, Dato Seri Harussani Zakaria that pluralism was an attack upon the faith of the Muslims. (Star 14 June 2006).

What does pluralism mean in the Mufti’s dictionary? Pluralism in the social sciences refers to “the existence of different types of people, who have different types of beliefs and opinions, within the same society”. There are different dimensions to pluralism. Political pluralism for instance is characterized by a diversity of political ideas often expressed through a multitude of political parties. The presence of different cultures and traditions within a society signifies cultural pluralism. When different religions co-exist within the same polity it is religious pluralism.

No civilization in history has demonstrated a more resolute commitment to pluralism than Islam. The principles of pluralism are anchored in the Noble Quran itself. A number of verses attest to this.

And among the Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know. (Surah 30:22).

To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an open way. If God had so willed He would have made you into a single people, but (His Plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. (Surah 5: 48).

To every people have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not dispute with thee on the matter, but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the right Way. (Surah 22: 67)

O mankind ! We have created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).
(Surah 49:13).

If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. (Surah 11: 118).

The Quranic message on pluralism and diversity was reflected in the Charter of Medina which the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) formulated. It brought together different religious and ethnic communities bestowing upon each of them equal rights and responsibilities. The treaty which the Prophet forged with the Christian monks of Najran, protecting their monastery and guaranteeing them freedom of religion was yet another testimony to pluralism.

It was largely because of the inclusive, accommodative approach to religious and cultural diversity embodied in the Quran and the Sunnah that generations of Muslim scholars and philosophers from the 9th to the 14th centuries opened their minds to the vast corpus of knowledge found in all the other religious and cultural civilizations, be it Hindu and Confucian or Greek and Roman. A positive attitude towards ‘the other’ was undoubtedly a major factor in the emergence of Islamic civilization as the fount of learning and the harbinger of the modern scientific method.

This was further evidenced in the enthusiasm that some of the scholars showed for the study of other religions and religious communities. It was a Muslim Abu Rahyan Al- Biruni (died 1051) who undertook the first comprehensive scientific analysis of another religion and community in his magnum opus, Kitab Al-Hind. The empathy that he displayed for the Hindus of India was echoed in the writings of other Muslim savants such as Ibn –a-Nadim ( died 995 ) , Al-Shahristani ( 12th Century ) and Rasheeduddin Fadlullah ( 14th Century ) in their studies of Buddhism and Buddhist communities. It was Shahristani who authored the first encyclopaedia of religions.

None of these illustrious scholars felt that their faith (aqidah) was threatened by their attempts to understand other religions. On the contrary, many of them were revered by the people for their piety. It was because openness was an outstanding characteristic of the early Islamic intellectual tradition that famous Muslim kingdoms from Granada in the West to Melaka in the East were homes to diverse religious and cultural communities. Pluralism in that sense was synonymous with the splendour of Islamic civilization.

If pluralism was such a cherished principle and practice how does one explain the narrow, exclusivist attitude of a section of the ulama today who project themselves as defenders of the purity of the faith? In Islam, as in other faiths, there has always been a segment of the religious elite who regard an inclusive, universal, rational outlook as a challenge to the integrity of their religion. It is not widely known for instance that even in the past, a section of the ulama reviled and derided illustrious scholars such as Ibn Sina (980-1037), Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) and Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) for their rational, cosmopolitan thinking which sought to highlight the quintessence of Islam. It was this type of ulama that insisted upon closing the door to ‘ijtihad’ (creative intellectual effort guided by the Quran and the Sunnah) and perpetuating their own monopoly upon the divine truth. However, they failed to stifle the intellectual dynamism of Islamic civilization in the early centuries largely because of a whole string of enlightened Rulers like Harun Al-Rashid and Al-Mansur who were willing to provide patronage for scholarship inspired by a rational, universal vision of the religion...

But when the centres of Islamic civilization in Central and West Asia were devastated and destroyed by the Mongol invaders in the 12th and 13th centuries and when Muslim kingdoms in Andalusia were defeated and demolished by Christian conquerors in the 15th century, the influential strata within the ummah lost its vigour and vitality, became inward looking and began to develop a siege mentality. It was this mentality that the conservative ulama exploited as they sought to promote an exclusive worldview obsessed with a narrow notion of religious purity. If anything, the long centuries of Western colonial domination that followed from the 16th century onwards reinforced this mindset within the ulama and the ummah.

It is this huge historical baggage that the Muslim world carries on its shoulders in the present post colonial decades. It explains why for a significant segment of the ummah a narrow, exclusive idea of Muslim identity defined in terms of forms and symbols, rites and rituals has such a powerful appeal while the substance of the faith expressed through a Tauhidic (oneness of God) worldview embodied in perennial values and principles has limited attraction. The situation has been worsened by the double standards and gross injustices prevalent in the existing Washington helmed hegemonic global system, vividly mirrored in the sufferings of the Palestinians and Iraqis. It has heightened the siege mentality within the ummah and consequently tightened the grip of the narrow-minded defenders of a pure, exclusive religious identity. It is a notion of identity which has been promoted aggressively for a few decades now at the doctrinal level by the bigoted, dogmatic Wahabi oriented interpretation of Islam.

There is no doubt at all that many Malaysian Muslims under the tutelage of the ulama subscribe to such interpretations of the religion. It is reflected in their blind adherence to certain aspects of the Fiqh (jurisprudential) tradition which have been discarded in other parts of the Muslim world. If a narrow interpretation of text and tradition in order to bolster an exclusive notion of religious identity has tremendous pull among Malaysian Muslims it is partly because of the country’s delicate ethnic balance which reinforces the siege mentality on all sides. Nonetheless, narrow thinking has been kept in check by a variety of factors, including a national leadership which since Independence has opted for a more inclusive, rational and contemporary approach to Islam.

Let us hope and pray that this remains so for all times.

Why are Jews so powerful?

By Farrukh Saleem

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. E-mail:

There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas, five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa. For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why?

Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine's 'Person of the Century', was a Jew. Sigmund Freud -- id, ego, superego -- the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew. So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.

Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity: Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Alert Sabin developed the improved live polio vaccine. Gertrude Elion gave us a leukaemia fighting drug. Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B. Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease). Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.

Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission. Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism). Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias). Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill. George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye. Stanley Cohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development). Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.

Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).

Why are Jews so powerful? Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor. Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable; Charles Adler, traffic lights; Benno Strauss, Stainless steel; Isador Kisee, sound movies; Emile Berliner, telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.

Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi's Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck's), Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskins & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).

Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman, Madeleine Albright (American secretary of state), Casper Weinberger (American secretary of defence), Maxim Litvinov (USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore's first chief minister), Issac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Barry Goldwater, Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal), John Deutsch (CIA director), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria) and Robert Rubin (American secretary of treasury).

In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).

Can you name the most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world? The name is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world. Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.

At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by wining seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker are all Jewish.

Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Cary Grant, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish? As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.

To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.

William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to?

So, why are Jews so powerful? Answer: Education.

The split within Islam must end

By Abdullah Al Rahim

[Abdullah Al Rahim is a Yemeni political writer. He can be contacted at ]

What is it that makes people slaughter one another in the name of religion? Which among all these warriors can claim the integrity to dictate the terms by which God is to be venerated and who is to be slaughtered in God's name? They call these sects Sunni and Shia. So I ask, which one of these post Prophet innovations called sects did the holy Prophet Muhammad belong to? Which of these slaughters will he approve of, should he come back today?

We hear in mosques every time the word Bida'a [innovation] which is used to fight anything new we come up with, even if it is positive. So let me ask both, Sunnis and Shias, what are these sects, are they not innovations [Bida'a]? The most dangerous of all innovations which have never united but always divided the house of Islam.

When will those who point fingers at one another, call each other all sorts of names and deny the Islam of one another understand the meaning of these words from the Quran "O you who believe, Let not some men among you ridicule others, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let some women ridicule others, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame nor call each other by offensive nicknames..." (Quran 49:11). We ask the non-Muslim to respect Islam, and rightfully so. Do we ourselves respect Islam?

Where are the religious leaders of Islam? Why this silence? Where are the Muslims who should protest against the sacrilege that is happening in Muslim countries around the world. Standing before the Holy Ka'aba in Makkah, the Prophet is reported to have told the Ka'abah, 'Oh you sacred Ka'abah, the blood of a human being is more sacred than you'. Do we understand the meaning of these words?

This split must be done away with and it's time that we learn to co-exist despite whatever dogmatic or historical differences of opinion we might have. We agree on the roots of our faith; that there is a God above us, that Muhammad is His last Prophet, that the Quran is His last testament. We have differences of opinion over the branches. These differences of opinion need not be the cause over which we fight but the diversity of knowledge whose wealth we gain from. God in the Quran says, 'This nation of yours is one nation, and I am your God, so worship Me'. (Quran 21:92)

And as if already addressing the split that will happened later because of the historical difference in the succession of leadership, we are told in the Quran, 'That was a people that has passed, they shall reap the fruits of what they did, and you shall reap the fruits of what you do and neither will you be questioned about what they did'. (Quran 2:134)

Here we are, fourteen centuries later, fighting and killing each other over how it all happened and who was who or who should have been the political leader after the Prophet? Indeed, we will not be questioned "about what they did". But we will certainly be questioned about what we do.

And what are we doing? Muslim lands are under occupation. Muslim children lack proper schooling, most Muslim countries, despite Muslim wealth, do not even have proper electric generation to light our homes or hospitals to treat our sick or clean water supply to quench our thirst. When earth quakes hit Pakistan or Iran or any other land, Muslims are the least to reach out to those areas with aid. Count the aid that reached the far-east after the Tsunami from Muslim countries. It's shameful.

The enemy we must fight is within our midst. He is called poverty, mistrust, inequity, illiteracy, injustice, malnutrition, backwardness and so on. This is the real enemy, not Sunni or Shia who are both Muslims.

It's time we summon the courage to take an introspective view of ourselves, to honestly and sincerely revisit ourselves, both, at the contemporary and historical levels, and to discuss matters in the spirit of Islam. Its time we discuss openly whether we should abolish innovated sects and replace them with original Islam. It is not a shame for us to follow the example of the learned scholars of our middle ages who had the courage to debate matters that we today, in our backwardness consider taboo.

To serve Islam we must have the ability to discuss issues openly within the spirit and respect that Islam has taught us. It is not Islam that is backward. It is our understanding of Islam that is backward. Islam is the most revolutionary religion and way of thinking. But Islam requires its adherents to be able understand the spirit of its laws as well as the letter. Unless we are able to do that, our benefit from this great religion will be lacking and our ability to take advantage of its flexibility will be lost.

Islam started among Bedouins in the desert. Islam then integrated other races and ideas and became a great nation and a world power. Islam is still capable of doing that, perhaps more so now with the technology available. The question is, can we measure up to the standard of Islam, or are we still busy reaching for each other's throats in the name of innovated sects.