By Absolute truth
In the desert of Arabia was Mohammad born, according to Muslim historians, on April 20, 571. The name means highly praised. He is to me the greatest mind among all the sons of Arabia. He means so much more than all the poets and kings that preceded him in that impenetrable desert of red sand.
When he appeared Arabia was a desert — a nothing. Out of nothing a new world was fashioned by the mighty spirit of Mohammad — a new life, a new culture, a new civilization, a new kingdom which extended from Morocco to Indies and influenced the thought and life of three continents — Asia, Africa and Europe.
When I thought of writing on Mohammad the prophet, I was a bit hesitant because it was to write about a religion I do not profess and it is a delicate matter to do so for there are many persons professing various religions and belonging to diverse school of thought and denominations even in same religion. Though it is sometimes, claimed that religion is entirely personal yet it can not be gain-said that it has a tendency to envelop the whole universe seen as well unseen. It somehow permeates something or other our hearts, our souls, our minds their conscious as well as subconscious and unconscious levels too. The problem assumes overwhelming importance when there is a deep conviction that our past, present and future all hang by the soft delicate, tender silked cord. If we further happen to be highly sensitive, the center of gravity is very likely to be always in a state of extreme tension. Looked at from this point of view, the less said about other religion the better. Let our religions be deeply hidden and embedded in the resistance of our innermost hearts fortified by unbroken seals on our lips.
But there is another aspect of this problem. Man lives in society. Our lives are bound with the lives of others willingly or unwillingly, directly or indirectly. We eat the food grown in the same soil, drink water, from the same the same spring and breathe the same air. Even while staunchly holding our own views, it would be helpful, if we try to adjust ourselves to our surroundings, if we also know to some extent, how the mind our neighbor moves and what the main springs of his actions are. From this angle of vision it is highly desirable that one should try to know all religions of the world, in the proper sprit, to promote mutual understanding and better appreciation of our neighborhood, immediate and remote.
Further, our thoughts are not scattered as appear to be on the surface. They have got themselves crystallized around a few nuclei in the form of great world religions and living faiths that guide and motivate the lives of millions that inhabit this earth of ours. It is our duty, in one sense if we have the ideal of ever becoming a citizen of the world before us, to make a little attempt to know the great religions and system of philosophy that have ruled mankind.
In spite of these preliminary remarks, the ground in these field of religion, where there is often a conflict between intellect and emotion is so slippery that one is constantly reminded of fools that rush in where angels fear to tread. It is also not so complex from another point of view. The subject of my writing is about the tenets of a religion which is historic and its prophet who is also a historic personality. Even a hostile critic like Sir William Muir speaking about the holy Quran says that. “There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries with so pure text.” I may also add Prophet Mohammad is also a historic personality, every event of whose life has been most carefully recorded and even the minutest details preserved intact for the posterity. His life and works are not wrapped in mystery.
My work today is further lightened because those days are fast disappearing when Islam was highly misrepresented by some of its critics for reasons political and otherwise. Prof. Bevan writes in Cambridge Medieval History, “Those account of Mohammad and Islam which were published in Europe before the beginning of 19th century are now to be regarded as literary curiosities.” My problem is to write this monograph is easier because we are now generally not fed on this kind of history and much time need be spent on pointing out our misrepresentation of Islam.
The theory of Islam and Sword for instance is not heard now frequently in any quarter worth the name. The principle of Islam that there is no compulsion in religion is well known. Gibbon, a historian of world repute says, “A pernicious tenet has been imputed to Mohammadans, the duty of extirpating all the religions by sword.” This charge based on ignorance and bigotry, says the eminent historian, is refuted by Quran, by history of Musalman conquerors and by their public and legal toleration of Christian worship. The great success of Mohammad’s life had been effected by sheer moral force, without a stroke of sword.
By: Profrssor K.S. Ramakrishna Rao
Dibsi 'Afnan has been labeled as a historic site by UN. There is no Islamic State there, no Alqaeda, just civilains and yet American airplanes pounded the area with bombs.
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By Absolute truth
The Story of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is mentioned several times in the Qur’an. He and his mother, Mary, are presented as great role models to be loved, honored and imitated. Muslims believe that Jesus is a great Prophet who preached worshipping Allah alone.
presents 7 miracles of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) mentioned in the Qur’an.
By Absolute truth
The Messiahship of Jesus in the Qur’an, New Testament, Old Testament, and Other Sources (by Louay Fatoohi)
By Eric bin Kisam
To my knowledge there is no academic studies of what the messiahship of Jesus means in the Qur’an in comparison with the messiahship in Judaism and Christianity. This book: The Mystery of the Messiah: The Messiahship of Jesus in the Qur’an, New Testament, Old Testament, and Other Sources, by Louay Fatoohi (Luna Plena Publishing, 2009 ), is the only one of its kind.
I consider Dr. Louay Fatoohi a unique muslim scholar of comparative religion. He came from Arab Christian background and has been passionate in studying the Qur’an, Islam and comparative religion since his youth . He is one of a few muslim author I know who is equally conversant with scholarly works on religion on both Christian and Islamic tradition, modern and classical as well as other historical sources, or on combinations of these writings.
This book, I must say, is concise yet dense with information with meticulous crafted analysis on why and how the Messiah was developed in Judaism and Christianity. Fatoohi seeks to show that the Qur’anic Messiah is actually the historical one. Fatoohi drew upon his extensive study on the historical Jesus as he went through the concept of the “Messiah” in the Qur’an, the Bible (canonical and non canonical sources) and Dead Sea Scrolls and scholars from this field.
In one chapter Fatoohi examines the concept of “Messiah” in the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls,. He make a very important observation that this title “Messiah” in the Hebrew Bible is applied only to historical never prophetic / future saviour figures, only later Jewish theology and literature started to invent this title as prophetic King, the salvational eschatological Messiah serving to free an oppressed jews abandoned by God. Fatoohi also explains different messiahs in other Jewish writings, the most prominent is the one described as the “son of David” the Royal military saviour and other is the priestly Messiah of Aaronic decendant, albeit the jews were not unanimous in their depiction of the awaited Messiah.
In another chapter Fatoohi go through the concept of the term Messiah in the greek New Testament, Christos (Χριστός) from which “Christ” is derived. All New testament writers recognise Jesus as the Christ but in the New Testament the concept of “the Messiah”reflect the substantially bigger role as opposed to the Hebrew Bible. However Fatoohi explains Jesus of the Gospels was not properly anointed according to jewish tradition so that Jewish authorities and most jews did not recognise his messiahship. The same chapter Fatoohi highlight that the term “Christ”makes most of its appearance in Paul’s letters. Paul incorrectly use the term “Christ” as a proper name not title. This show his flawed understanding of what the term mean. Paul’s Christ is a spiritual figure who came to redeem people, by being crucified and raised from the dead. This version of Christ, Fatoohi argues, blur the historical Jesus because it is lack of Jesus historical details. Over centuries, most christians took Paul version of historical Jesus and focus only on the alleged crucifixion and the resurrection of him.
Fatoohi dedicated a chapter discussing Al-Masih in the Qur’an. Essentially Fatoohi shows that the title is never presented as the reason for a special prophethood that make Jesus one of the most favoured prophets (yes , Jesus is one of those prophets) however Qur’an 3:45 give indication that the Messiah was a concept that God had previously revealed: a prophecy, although this prophecy is not specifically cited anywhere in the Qur’an as mentioning it centuries after it was fulfilled would not serve any purpose. Also Fatoohi explains that the use of definite article Al Masih does not necessarily mean that the Qur’an implies that there was only one Messiah although Jesus was the one special Messiah.
The rest of the chapters Fatoohi discuss the different identities and attribute that the Gospel writers presented the Christ and examine each one of them from the Qur’an perspective, here are some salient points from this book, which I find it interesting:
King of the Jews — in addition to anointed priests and prophets , the awaited Messiah is seen by the Jews as King, however the general context in NT, Fatoohi argues that Jesus never sought nor was he ever given the Kingship title. Jesus confirmed that he was the Christ in a way that a prophet and rabbi who remind people to go back to the religion of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and all Hebrew prophets. The Christian image of the Messiah as a Spiritual King is the result of blending the Jewish concept of the messiah as an earthly King with the fact that Jesus historical role who was a spiritual leader to the Jews. The Qur’an corrected this distortion and put Jesus as a prophet who teach his people to go back to the teaching of what earlier prophets had brought. Jesus of the Qur’an is not a political leader who was expected to re-establish an earthly kingdom i.e. israel nor a quasi God who posses the throne of Heaven.
Second Coming — Fatoohi persuasively argues that the concept of Jesus second coming was developed by Jesus early followers to explain his failure to deliver what they thought the Christ was going to do. The Qur’an does not support this concept of returning Messiah. The Qur’an messiah fulfilled his mission on earth. Although there are a number of hadiths attributed to Prophet Muhammad that seems to confirm Jesus second coming, it must have been influenced by Christian understanding. I am surprised that Fatoohi arrive at this conclusion there is Qur’anic verses which indirectly seems to suggest Jesus return e.g.[sûrah al-Nisâ’: 159, Sûrah al-Zukhruf: 61] as well as those hadiths predicting the returning of Jesus which are considered authentic, nevertheless I still find Fatoohi position plausible albeit minority position among Islamic scholars. I will look into this matter.
Son of David — Many christians are eager to link Jesus as being descendant to David, the second King of israel (later just Judah) who had descendants also upon the throne. Here Fatoohi shows how contradictory position in the four gospels in relation to Jesus as being the son of David, and how those position were not reconcilable. On the other hand the Qur’anic position is consistent in maintaining that Jesus is “the son of Mary”, this mean the Qur’an reject any idea that Jesus is a warrior Messiah like David who was going to restore israel thus the fulfilment of the prophecy to David in 2 Samuel 7:16. In my opinion Fatoohi also spot on when bringing the point that Jesus link to Aaron because the fact that the Qur’an call Jesus’ Mother as “sister of Aaron. While as Fatoohi pointed out it is common mistakes among Biblical scholar to understand the expression “sister of Aaron” as meaning that Mary had brother called “Aaron” not as title of tribal connection , I have personally fascinated by this Qur’an term. To me there is a good reason why the Quran refer Mary to Aaron kinship. It emphatically gives a particular significance that Mary’s son ie. Jesus has the birth right as “the Messiah” or anointed one as we can read in Exodus 30:30-31 when God ordered prophet Moses to anoint his brother Aaron with a special type of anointment with a particular oil for kings …..from this anointing it give him and his heirs the right to the priesthood title down to prophet Jesus, hence the title Jesus “the Messiah”.
Saviour — Fatoohi explains that the Qur’anic Messiah of Jesus is neither a saviour to bring the jews to restore its own kingdom nor the one who save people from sin by playing role as atoning agent, he is no unique saviour, a messenger and prophet albeit one of special messenger who was conceived miraculously and performed impressive miracles.
Suffering Messiah — Fatoohi rightly mention that Judaism actually never knew of a suffering or resurrected messiah and the Qur’an reject the idea that the Messiah ever suffered the Passion. The concept of suffering messiah was a novelty that Christian writers introduced.
As a final point, Fatoohi concluded from his study that the messiahship of Jesus in the Qur’an represent the original concept of the messiah or one messiah which was revealed by God which predate any shift in the meaning by Jews and Christian. At first the Jews did not expect a redeemer Messiah as this title is just for any past figures who were anointed as a gesture to sanctify themselves. Later the Jews started to invent a eschatological warrior messiah and associate him with King David to restore the Kingdom of israel. Christians inherited this type of Messiah and projected it even more on their Christ: a King from throne of Heaven who already came to atone people sin. Jesus saw his messiahship as a mandate to conform divine messages that had been revealed to previous prophets that is calling people back to the way of God of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and all Hebrew prophets. That is the historical Messiah the Qur’an is telling us about.
I can say Fatoohi’s study is helpful in considering critically how the significance of Messiahship evolved from just anointed past figures to eschatological warrior King of Judaism to Pauline god-men Jesus and later how the Qur’an corrected Jesus messiahship back into rightful role : to led jewish people to salvation by showing them the right way to God.
As no other Muslim writer/scholar I know have ever attempted to author a book focusing on the concept of “Messiah” like this book, I praise the author for his initiative.
Also Dr. Fatoohi has also authored books on similar genre in my collection which I also recommend
The Mystery of the Crucifixion: The Attempt to Kill Jesus in the Qur’an, the New Testament, and Historical Sources. (2008)
The Mystery of the Historical Jesus: The Messiah in the Qur’an, the Bible, and Historical Sources. (2007)
Islamic State has a new speaker and he has message to the world.
Listen to it right here:
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