By Brandon Yusuf Toropov
It's what millions of people believe.
It's what the best New Testament scholarship now suggests.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
We hear a great deal today about a "war," "conflict," or "clash" between Islam and Christianity. The topic is so prominent in the media that many people assume that there is something irreconcilable between these two approaches to God. It is not surprising, then, that so many Christians of good will have concluded that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible. Yet, if, by "Christianity," we mean "that which Jesus Christ (pbuh) meant to convey to his hearers," I believe that these people of good will are mistaken when they tell us that Islam is incompatible with Christianity.
What's more, I believe we can now prove that the historically oldest Gospel verses reflecting the reported sayings of Jesus (pbuh) are entirely compatible with Islam.
WRESTING WITH THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
The more I looked at these sayings, the more impossible it became for me to reconcile the notion of the Trinity with that which seemed most authentic to me in the Gospels. I found myself face-to-face with some very difficult questions.
* Where in the Gospels did Jesus use the word "Trinity"?
* If Jesus (pbuh) was God, as the doctrine of the Trinity claims, why did he worship God?
* AND -- if Jesus (pbuh) was God, why in the world would he say something like the following?
"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." (Mark 10:18)
Did he somehow forget that he himself was God when he said this?
(A side note -- I had a discussion with a woman who assured me that this passage was not really in the Gospels, and who refused to believe that it appeared there until I gave her the chapter and verse number and she looked it up for herself!)
THE HOLY QUR'AN
In November of 2002, I began to read a translation of the Qur'an.
I had never read an English translation of the entire text of the Qur'an before. I had only read summaries of the Qur'an written by non-Muslims.(And very misleading summaries at that.)
Words do not adequately describe the extraordinary effect that this book had on me. Suffice to say that the very same magnetism that had drawn me to the Gospels at the age of eleven was present in a new and deeply imperative form. This book was telling me, just as I could tell Jesus (pbuh) had been telling me, about matters of ultimate concern.
The Qur'an was offering authoritative guidance and compelling responses to the questions I had been asking for years about the Gospels.
"It is not (possible) for any human being to whom God has given the Book and Wisdom and Prophethood to say to the people: 'Be my worshippers rather than God's.' On the contrary, (he would say): 'Be devoted worshippers of your Lord, because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.' Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for lords. Would he order you to disbelieve after you have submitted to God's will?" (Qur'an 3:79-80)
The Qur'an drew me to its message because it so powerfully confirmed the sayings of Jesus (pbuh) that I felt in my heart had to be authentic. Something had been changed in the Gospels, and that something, I knew in my heart, had been left intact in the text of the Qur'an.
Below, you will find just a few examples of the parallels that made my heart pliant to the worship of Allah (swt). Each Gospel verse comes from the reconstructed text known as Q -- a text that today's scholars believe represents the earliest surviving strata of the teachings of the Messiah. Note how close this material is to the Qur'anic message.
Q AGREES WITH QUR'AN ON TAWHEED (MONOTHEISM)
In Q, Jesus (pbuh) endorses, in no uncertain terms, a rigorous monotheism.
"Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' (Luke 4:8)
"Children of Adam, did We not command you not to worship Satan? He was your sworn enemy. Did We not command you to worship Me, and tell you that this is the straight path?" (Holy Qur'an 36:60-61)
Q AGREES WITH QUR'AN ON AQABA (THE UPHILL PATH)
Q identifies a Right Path that is often difficult, a path that unbelievers will choose not to follow.
"Enter ye in through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in there. Narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
"The worldly life is made to seem attractive to the disbelievers who scoff at the faithful, but the pious, in the life hereafter, will have a position far above them." (Holy Qur'an 2:212)
"Would that you knew what the uphill path is! It is the setting free of a slave or, in a day of famine, the feeding of an orphaned relative and a downtrodden destitute person, (so that he would join) the believers who cooperate with others in patience and kindness." (Holy Qur'an 90:12-17)
Q AGREES WITH QUR'AN ON TAQWA (FEAR OF GOD)
Q warns us to fear only the judgment of God.
"And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear Him, which after He hath killed, hath the power to cast into Hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5)
"To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God's retribution is severe. Should you then have fear of anyone other than God?" (Holy Qur'an 16:52)
Q AGREES WITH QUR'AN ON THE TRAPS OF DUNYA (EARTHLY LIFE)
In Q, Jesus (pbuh) warns humanity plainly that earthly advantages and pleasures should not be the goal of our lives:
"Woe unto you that are rich! For you have received your consolation. Woe unto you who are full! You shall be hungry. Woe unto you who laugh now! You shall weep and mourn." (Luke 6:24)
"The desire to have increase of worldly gains has preoccupied you so much (that you have neglected the obligation of remembering God) -- until you come to your graves! You shall know. You shall certainly know (about the consequences of your deeds.) You will certainly have the knowledge of your deeds beyond all doubt. You will be shown hell, and you will see it with your own eyes. Then, on that day, you shall be questioned about the bounties (of God). (102:1-8)
Q WARNS MANKIND NOT TO ASSUME ENTRY TO HEAVEN IS ASSURED!
Consider also the following chilling words from the Messiah, which should (!) make every heart humble, choke off all forms of arrogance in spiritual matters, and quiet every attack upon a fellow monotheist:
"And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But those who believe they own the kingdom of heaven shall be cast out into the outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:11-12)
Obviously, this is an important teaching for all people of good will to bear in mind ... and to etch upon the memory.
Q SAYS NOTHING OF CRUCIFIXION OR SACRIFICE!
You have seen how the historically earliest verses -- the Q verses -- parallel the major teachings of the Qur'an. Also worthy of mention is the fact that Q teaches nothing whatsoever of the Crucifixion, of the sacrificial nature of the mission of Jesus (pbuh) ... an intriguing omission indeed!
We are left then with an amazing early Gospel -- a Gospel that (non-Muslim) scholars believe is historically closest to Jesus (pbuh) -- a Gospel that has the following characteristics:
· Agreement with the Qur'an's uncompromising message of God's Oneness.
· Agreement with the Qur'an's message of an afterlife of salvation or hellfire ... based on our earthly deeds.
· Agreement with the Qur'an's warning not to be misled by dunya -- the attractions and pleasures of worldly life.
A complete ABSENCE of any reference to Christ's death on the cross, resurrection, or sacrifice for humanity!
This is the Gospel that today's most advanced non-Muslim scholars have identified for us ... and this Gospel is pointing us, if only we will listen to it, in precisely the same direction as the Qur'an!
MY DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS -- I BEG YOU TO ASK YOURSELVES PRAYERFULLY, TO SEEK ALMIGHTY GOD'S GUIDANCE ON THIS QUESTION: CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE A COINCIDENCE?
SHARE THE WORD!
I became a Muslim on March 20, 2003. It became obvious to me that I had to share this message with as many thoughtful Christians as I could. I wrote a book of Dawah to share with open-minded students of the Gospels. There are many, many more parallels between the oldest words of Jesus (pbuh) and the Holy Qur'an; I discuss them at length in my book BEYOND MERE CHRISTIANITY.
Please share this book's message with the Christians in your life!
Read Brandon Yusuf Toropov's BEYOND MERE CHRISTIANITY at:
aw well www.19.org