During former days I was an active Muslim, an organizer of the Muhammadiyah movement and a preacher of Islam. In 1947, I was chosen to be the Chairman of the Kalimantan Muslim Congress in Amuntai, together with K.H. Idham Chalid. In 1950-51 I ©My articles were published in Islamic magazines such as Mingguan Adil in Solo; Mingguan Risalah Jihad in Jakarta and Mingguan Anti Komunis in Bandung. I cooperated with aggressive anti-Christians from 1936 in Muara Teweh (Barito) and until 1962 sympathized with groups who intended to establish Islamic rule over Indonesia, which would have automatically stood against Christians.
Actually, I had owned a Bible since 1936. However, I did not read in it to find its truth, but to search for paragraphs which could support my standpoint as a Muslim with an anti-Christian attitude, and thus be able to attack the Christian faith more effectively.
I was a slanderer of Jesus Christ until the age of 40, completely rejecting his divinity. I purposely ridiculed and rejected the truth. But the love of God was so great, that he sought, found and saved me.
In 1962, while writing a copy of my sermon for the mosque I meditated over a verse of the Sura al-Ma'ida 5:68, which says:
"Say, O people of the Book! You will be nothing unless you uphold the Torah and the Gospel, and all that is revealed to you from your Lord."
I had read this verse a hundred times, but at last God whispered to my soul that the "Torah and the Gospel" which are mentioned in the Qur'an are the same Torah and Gospel found in the Bible now. I had always thought that the Torah and Gospel mentioned in the Qur'an no longer existed physically, and that their contents had been summarized in the Qur'an. I was convinced that the Torah and the Gospel, which form the Bible now were false, and that the original contents had been misarranged, forged or added to by people.
However, my soul told me that the Torah/Gospel now presented in the Bible is true. My mind constantly opposed this inner voice: "No! The Torah and the Gospel in the Bible have been falsified." My thoughts contradicted my soul and conscience, and I became uncertain and doubtful as to what was right.
To make peace with my conscience, I took the problem to midnight worship (tahjud-prayer), which is a prayer to God requesting definite signs for the truth. I wanted God to help me recognize which of the two beliefs was right. This was my prayer:
"Oh God, Creator of heaven and earth, God of the Muslims, Christians and Buddhists; God of the moon and the stars, valleys and mountains; God of the universe; please show me the truth about what is mentioned in the Qur'an concerning the Torah and the Gospel. Does it mean that the original Torah and Gospel which no longer exist have been summarized in the Qur'an? If that is true, I beg you God to strengthen my heart that I may never study the Bible. But if the `truth in the Torah and the Gospel' mentioned in the Qur'an, means the truth found in the Bible now, I beg You to open my heart so that I will be more eager to study the Bible honestly."
I did not ask anyone to help me make my decision. I did not ask a preacher, a pious Muslim, nor my wise and intelligent friends. I asked the omniscient God directly to choose for me, so that I would make the right decision according to his divine will. I prayed fervently and earnestly hoping for God's guidance that he would choose the truth for me and help me know and confess the right religion.
Every religious person hopes that there is real life after death. And being one of these people, I put my hope in God. I believed that after death, there would be only two places we could go to: hell, with its endless punishment of eternal fire; or heaven, to be with God in everlasting glory. I could not think about my eternal future lightly.
For example, let us suppose we have bought 10 grams of pure gold. We would have to examine it carefully, to make sure that nobody had cheated us so that we would have no regret in the future. How much more have we to think very carefully about the future of our soul. We must study and test the truth of our worship in accordance with the will of God, the owner of that heavenly life. Otherwise, we will forever regret our carelessness. I was always sure that the maker of heaven and hell is God himself. For this reason I did not ask the advice of a man - neither Christian nor Muslim preachers. They are human beings, and cannot know the exact truth that is in accordance with the will of God. I approached God, the possessor of all truth, directly, begging him with hope and trusting that he would give me true guidance.
Praise God all my prayers were answered! This proves that he gives his truth to everyone who wants to know it, asking for it earnestly.
It must be noted, that besides verse 68 in Sura al-Ma'ida, there were many other verses in the Qur'an, which impressed me at that time. For instance:
Sura al-Sajda 32:23:
"And surely we have given Moses the Book (the Torah), so do not (you Muhammad) hesitate to accept it."
Sura al-Ma'ida 5:46:
"And we let their (those of the previous prophets) footsteps follow Jesus, the son of Mary, fulfilling what he had in his hands from the Torah. And We have given him the Gospel containing guidance and light, and affirming all that he had in his hands from the Torah, as guidance and warning for people devoted to God."
Sura al-Ma'ida 5:47:
"And the people of the Gospel must decide (judge) their matters in accordance with what God has revealed in it. And whoever does not decide (judge) according to what has been revealed by God, those are the rotten ones."
Sura al-Baqara 2:62:
"Truly the believers from the Jews, Christians and Sabians, whoever believe in God and the last day, doing the good deeds, they will have their rewards with their Lord, and fear will not press them nor despair."
There are still more verses in the Qur'an indicating that the Torah and the Gospel are a real way of truth in accordance with the will of God. These Qur'anic verses had awakened my mind to delve deeper into the Bible, because God had whispered to my soul about its truth.
The next day, after I had asked for the guidance of God at midnight prayer, I felt a distinct change in myself. From that time on I regarded the Bible as a friend, no longer as an enemy. In the morning I took the Bible with great expectation and paid attention to every word as I read in it because I wanted to know its truth precisely.
With the words:
"In the name of Allah,
the Merciful, the Compassionate"
I opened the Bible. At that time I intended to read Deuteronomy 18:15. This passage attracted my attention because I had previously used it as a hammer, to strike at the faith of Christians, whether they were preachers, or evangelists, with the intention that they would acknowledge and believe in Muhammad as the prophet who had been prophesied by the Bible in this chapter. I had known this passage before, but now its meaning had totally changed for me. Truly the Bible remains closed and difficult to understand by everyone who does not believe in it, but on the other hand, it can be clearly understood by those who believe in it, and whose hearts are filled with the Holy Ghost.
The words in Deuteronomy 18:15 read as follows:
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethern. Him you shall hear."
Formerly I had considered this passage a prophecy about the prophet Muhammad. The words "a Prophet like me (Moses)" indicated to me the identity of Muhammad as the promised prophet because:
- Moses was born of parents; Muhammad was also born like Moses, of a father and a mother. He was not like Jesus Christ, who was born only of a mother, without a father.
- When Moses became an adult, he was married. Muhammed was also married, contrary to Jesus Christ who never married.
- Moses had sons and Muhammad had children, too. But Jesus did not have any descendants, as he was never married.
- Moses died in old age and was buried, and the same happened with Muhammad. But Jesus Christ never died. He ascended to heaven alive and was not buried.
Previously, it had been obvious to me that the verse in Deuteronomy 18:15 indicated Muhammad as the prophet promised by Moses, but did not prophesy Jesus Christ as a prophet, and not at all as the Son of God, according to the Christian faith.
But on that day, I read these words slowly and earnestly to understand the real meaning. When I came to the expression, "... a Prophet like me (Moses)," the Holy Ghost whispered in my soul saying: "If you meant the similarity between Muhammad and Moses was that both were born of parents, then they were only similar to the rest of mankind who are born with parents." This characteristic cannot be used as a point to indicate the truth of the prophecy.
Furthermore, if Muhammad was like Moses because he was married, then both were like most others in this world! So this, too, could not be used to prove that Muhammad was a prophet.
If Muhammad was regarded the same as Moses because he had descendants, then this fact could also not be used to determine the prophecy, because most people in this world have children.
Muhammad, just like Moses, died in his old age and was buried. If this example was used to prove the meaning of the prophecy, then this point too could not be used to prove the similarities, as every person in this world has to die and be buried. To die and be buried is common to all and does not make a man unique.
It became more and more clear to me that the prophecy of Moses only indicated Jesus Christ as the promised one. For that reason I had to find unique and extraordinary similarities between Moses and Jesus Christ. Indeed, I found several outstanding similarities between these two men, not shared with others.
- During the childhood of Moses, Pharaoh threatened to kill him, just as Jesus in his childhood was threatened to be killed by Herod. Not all people are born and threatened to be killed during their infancy.
- During the birth of Moses, the Pharaoh was furious and ordered that all little boys under two years old should be killed. When Jesus was born, Herod was very angry and ordered the little boys under two years to be killed. In the whole world, only these two personalities have experienced such intense hatred and persecution.
- During his childhood, Moses was protected by the daughter of Pharaoh. As a child, Jesus was protected by Joseph his foster father. Not all people were protected by people chosen of God during their childhood when their lives were threatened.
- During his childhood, Moses lived far from his home country in Egypt. It was the same with Jesus, who during his childhood lived in exile in Egypt. Not all children have had to escape to a distant country, like Egypt, during their childhood.
- When Moses served as the divine messenger of God, he received the power of the Lord to perform miracles, just as Jesus, who in his authority as the Living Word, received power from God to perform miracles by healing the sick and raising the dead from the grave.
- Moses freed the people of Israel from the bondage of the Egyptian slavery, but Jesus freed his people from the chains of sin and death.
These special proofs allowed me to conclude that the unique prophecy mentioned in Deuteronomy 18 was not intended to prove Muhammad as the prophet foretold, but to indicate that Jesus Christ was the Word of God incarnate.
Although the love of God was so great that he had enlightened me to see clearly the Bible as the true Word of God, I was still not ready to become a Christian. Why? Because there were some matters in the Christian faith I could not accept, especially the belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Since childhood I had been taught, and so I subsequently taught others, that:
"God does not give birth to children, nor was he himself born."
I also could not articulate that Jesus was Lord (Tuhan) because I had been taught, and I myself taught that:
"THERE IS NO GOD EXCEPT ALLAH."
I also could not grasp the meaning of the Trinity. I was taught that:
"Those who say Allah is the third of the three are heathen."
I also could not accept the Christian belief that Jesus really died on the cross. If Jesus, or "Isa al-Masih" was a prophet, the loving, faithful messenger of God, or the "Son of God" as the Christians called him, how could the Jews easily torture and hang him on the cross until he died? Why did God not defend him, but let him die on the cross? Suppose I saw my own son tortured, or even hanging on a cross, I would surely fight those people who tortured him in order to save him, whatever the consequences. How could Allah lose his authority over the Jews? At that time I really could not accept this matter.
In order to get helpful explanations to understand this, I visited some preachers or evangelists and asked them why Jesus was called the Son of God or Lord (Tuhan) and what was the meaning of the Trinity of God. I investigated why Jesus the Son of God died on the cross and was crucified by the Jews. I also asked them about the dogma of the "inherited sins of the Fathers in the children" which I regarded an unjust punishment of God.
All the preachers I asked answered and explained my questions carefully, but at that time I could not accept their comments although these had been well-expressed. It was due to our different backgrounds, which were like a great gulf between us. The differences in the religions had not been studied well enough to find some meeting points. Surely we have to study the differences between the religions in order to find logical contacts to bridge over the misunderstandings. At that time I was like a radio receiver and the preacher like a sender. Both were in good condition, but because of our different wave lengths, his transmission and my reception were completely different. The receiver could not catch the voice of the announcer.
The explanations of the preachers and evangelists went into my left ear and came out the right ear. They did not touch my heart, because I could not comprehend their vocabulary. The preacher himself could not understand precisely my background, so his explanations were not in accordance with what I hoped. This did not happen because the description of the preacher was wrong, but there were essentially different ways of thinking and explaining, so that each could not understand the other. In spite of this I was hopeful. I was still convinced that once God had helped me to choose the truth, he would surely open the door and give me guidance to understand fully the problems which had become my obstacle.
My constant prayer was: "God, I beg you that you reveal the truth to me concerning the word "Son of God" and the name "Lord" (Tuhan) for Jesus Christ. I also beg you to reveal to me the meaning of the Holy Trinity and the Secret of the Cross. God, you have given me an insight that the Bible is truly the Divine Book, so surely you will explain and clear all my obstacles through the Bible, which is the true Word of God which never changes from the beginning up to the present, for ever and ever, until the end of time."
Indeed! Many times, God helped me through his Spirit, the Holy Ghost, who worked in my heart. I will explain how God helped me to surmount the obstacles.
JESUS IS CALLED THE SON OF GOD part2
In John 1:1 and 14 is written: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
In this verse the spiritual meaning of the expression "Son of God" was revealed. The "Word of God" had become a man in the birth of Jesus Christ. Therefore Jesus is called "the Living Word" as stated in 1 John 1:1.
It is obvious that Jesus is not called "the Son of God," because God has physically and biologically given birth, as many people mistakenly think, but because "the Word of God" was manifested in the Son of Mary by the Holy Spirit.
Muhammad himself testified several times to the truth of this verse by saying:
"Jesus is truly the Spirit of God and His Word." (Hadith Anas Ibn Malik - Mutiara Hadith, page 353).
In Sura al-Nisa 4:171 we read:
"Truly Jesus Christ the son of Mary, is the Ambassador of God and his Word, which he threw into Mary and (he is) a spirit of him."
Concerning the expression "his Word" or the "Word of God" which became the body of Jesus, Dr. Hasbullah Bakry in his book "Nabi Isa dalam Al-Quran enz" (Jesus the Prophet in the Qur'an) page 109 says: "The Prophet Jesus is called "Kalimatu Allah" (the Word of God) because he is the incarnation of the Word of God which was designated to Mary to bear the Prophet Jesus."
Hence, from that time on I no longer hesitated to say that Jesus is "The Son of God" because he is "the Living Word of the Almighty" incarnated. Formerly I had refused to confess that Jesus was the Son of God because I understood "Son" biologically and humanly.
Sura al-Ikhlas 112 says:
"Allah is One. He does not bear children, nor was he born and no one is equal to him."
This "Sura of faithfulness" is often expressed by Muslim preachers, among them I myself in previous days, denying that God has a Son. This contradicts the Christian faith which states that Jesus is the Son of God. Anyway, a Christian can accept this Qur'anic verse, because Christianity never claims that God has a son in a biological sense, as mentioned in the Qur'an by the term "walad" which means a biologically born son. Jesus is called "the Son of God" by the Arabic Christians in a legal sense using the word "ibn". By this term, he is not called a biologically begotten son, as described by the term "walad" in the Qur'an.
Therefore, I would like to state that there is no single verse in the Qur'an which rejects the teaching of the Bible concerning the name "Son of God" in the legal meaning of "ibn" for Jesus Christ. The Qur'an only rejects the assertion that Jesus is the Son of God with the meaning of "walad" as a son born by a sexual act between God and Mary. We all reject such an idea too.
JESUS IS CALLED LORD (TUHAN) part3
Why is Jesus called "Lord"? As previously explained, I was not able to pronounce that "Jesus is Lord" for a long time. I also could not say "The Lord Jesus Christ!" Since my childhood I have been taught and afterwards I taught others that
"THERE IS NO GOD EXCEPT ALLAH."
Maybe Jesus was called "Lord" because he was born without a father? No! Adam was also born without a father and even without a mother, and yet Adam was never called "Lord". Or, was it because Jesus had performed many miracles? No, this could also not be the answer. Moses had done many miracles, too, yet he was never called God. Was it because Jesus could heal the lepers and raise people from the dead? No, because Elisha could heal lepers and raise people from the dead also, and yet he was not called God. Was it because Jesus ascended directly to heaven? No, Elija had had the same experience and he was not called Lord. Then why is Jesus called Lord?
Jesus is called Lord, as we read in John 1:1 and 14, because the "Word of God" became man in the birth of Jesus Christ. For that reason in 1 John 1:1 Jesus is called "the Living Word" or in other verses "God incarnate in man".
The word "incarnate" and similar terms in connection with "God" should never be translated or explained with its meaning in the dictionary or according to its secular meaning. For example: "God exists - Man also exists." The word "exist" in connection with God, has a different meaning from the word "exist" in connection with man. God exists by himself (zat wajib al-wujud). He existed from the very beginning, but men exist because they were made to exist - they are created.
For that reason the word "incarnate" for God, should not be translated or used according to its secular meaning. According to the dictionary, if a cat incarnated into an elephant, the cat would disappear and an elephant would appear. If a stone was transmitted (incarnated) into gold, then the stone would no longer exist, but the gold would. The word "incarnate" in connection with God has a different meaning. The incarnation that is connected with God does not mean any change in the existence of God because God never changes (Malachi 3:6).
God incarnated as a human being. This does not mean that God no longer exists, and only the man would exist. This idea is wrong. God does not change. God incarnated into a man means that God continues to exist, and that the man exists too. So the word "incarnate" is used analogically, as a likeness for an act and fact exceeding logic, yet its meaning is not the same as in the language of man.
God incarnated into a man means that God has manifested himself, his full being into a man, and that he has revealed his will, power and love in the personality of that unique man, Jesus Christ. Now we can understand the statements of Jesus:
"The Father is in me and I in him" (John 10:38b).
"I and my father are one" (John 10:30).
"He who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9b)
The Apostle Paul said:
"For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9).
The second verse stating that Jesus is really God can be read in Matthew 28:18, where Jesus says:
"All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." Jesus is the Almighty, the controller of everything.
The Apostle Paul confessed:
"He (Jesus) is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10).
God himself is Lord as we read in the Qur'an:
"God is the Lord of the Universe."
In the gospel we read that God the Almighty has made Jesus "Lord" (Acts 2:36). Here we can distinguish the difference between God and Lord: God means "Theos" in Greek and "Allah" in Arabic, but Lord means "Kyrios" in Greek and "Rabb" in Arabic. The meaning of the latter words is always "authority" with the legislative and executive aspect2 of it. The authority of God reveals itself in Jesus Christ in many ways:
2. Lawgiving and Commanding
3. Guiding (with help and providence)
4. Forgiving and Saving
5. Renewing by his spirit
The authority of God to command, to guide and to save is found in the personality of Jesus. For that reason Jesus is called "the Living Word of God" and "our only Saviour." As the Living Word, Jesus performs the divinity of God by preaching and forgiving. For that reason Jesus is made "Lord" by God (Acts 2:36; Colossians 2:10).
Jesus is Lord, in a sense that he has the authority to save completely. Jesus is the Saviour of us all, the Living Word. Jesus reminds us: "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
It should be remembered that the obstacle which had made me unable to say that Jesus is Lord was the Islamic testimony. I was taught and had been teaching others:
"THERE IS NO GOD, EXCEPT ALLAH."
By that time I understood that this Islamic confession does not have to contradict the Bible. In Exodus 20:3 it is written: "Worship no god but me." For that reason I see that the divinity of Jesus is even suggested in the words of Muhammad which confess that Jesus Christ is the spirit of God and his word, the acting authority of God:
"Jesus truly is the spirit of God and his Word."
THE MONOTHEISM (TAUHID) OF CHRISTIANITY part4
The term "Tauhid" sounds strange to Christian believers, because it is seldom used in Christian theology. The Tauhid in Christianity explains the oneness of the Trinity of God. This oneness of the Trinity, the core of the Christian faith, was often discussed, but is in general not well-understood by most of our brothers who have a Muslim education and background.
The Only One True God
Every Muslim believes in the existence of only one true God. It is a well-known fact in the Islamic doctrine, that this issue can never be changed, or eliminated.
The same conviction exists in the Christian religion too. Christians also confess the only one and true God. Are Muslim and Christian ideas regarding the term "the only one true God" actually the same?
In the teaching of Islam, the oneness of God is explained in Sura al-Ikhlas 112:1, Sura al-Baqara 2:163, Sura al-Ma'ida 5:73b and others.
In the Bible the oneness of God is explained in:
Isaiah 45:5 - "I am the Lord, and there is no other."
John 17:3 - "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."
1 Corinthians 8:4b - "We know that there is no other God but one."
2 Corinthians 8:6 - "For us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live."
After reading these Bible paragraphs, I was no longer in doubt. I was convinced that my belief concerning the oneness of God previously as a Muslim and now as a Christian did not have to be changed at all. In other words, although I profess to be a Christian, I have not left nor rejected the truth concerning the oneness of God. I feel that after becoming a Christian I understand it more purely. I reject only the claim about Muhammad being a prophet.
The Muslims always assume that Christians violate the doctrine of the oneness of God. They are wrong. I confirm that the Christian teaching actually purifies the doctrine of the oneness of God.
The Christian monotheism (Tauhid) is the purest and best teaching about God. We can test this point by explaning the meaning of polytheism (Shirk) below.
The Problem of Polytheism
In Islam polytheism is an essential matter. We should pay careful attention to it, so that the oneness of God in Christianity will not be mixed up with polytheism.
Polytheism in Islam is one of the three unpardonable sins. For that reason this question became crucial in my attempt to compare the two religions. I always looked carefully to see whether the Christian doctrine contained an element of polytheism or not.
First of all I found an outstanding verse in the Bible saying:
"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me."(Exodus 20:3-5)
John reminds us: "My children, keep yourselves safe from false gods" (1 John 5:21). Concerning these idols, there must be a clear definition when something is called an "idol". Not every statue can be called an idol. Not every column is called an idol. Not every gravestone can be called an idol either, just as not every historical building can be called an idol. All those buildings could become idols or be idolized, if people perform religious duties to them, or worship and pray to them.
Occultists, fortune-tellers, and witches with all sorts of incantations and instruments such as incense to call or to exorcise the spirits of dead people, are indications of participation in polytheism. The Bible emphatically reminds us never to get involved in such practices and to avoid persons performing such divination, as asserted in Deuteronomy 18:10-13: "Don't sacrifice your children in the fires on your altars; and don't let your people practise divination or look for omens or use spells or charms, and don't let them consult the spirit of the dead. The Lord your God hates people who do these disgusting things, and that is why he is driving those nations out of the land as you advance. Be completely faithful to the Lord."
Concerning polytheism, I summarize:
1. The Christian religion professes that God is only one. Everbody is obliged to worship and to be devoted to this one God. Any deviation to other gods is a great sin (read Luke 4:8; Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 6:13; Joshua 24:14-15).
2. In realizing the oneness of God, the Christian doctrine does not justify the existence of other gods besides God in any form, such as idols, buildings or statues of nature made by men, not even the Kaaba (Baitullah) on pictures or carpets printed in white, red or black colours. There is no justification for kneeling down in front of it, nor at its bottom, in a form of worship (read Exodus 20:3-5).
3. According to the Bible, a real Christian avoids going to or trusting in fortune-tellers, the incantations of witches, mascots, (even if they are made from a Bible), and the burning of incense in order to call or to drive away spirits of the dead. He must be free from the fear of superstitions and the influences of dark spirits (read Deuteronomy 18:10-13).
4. A devoted Christian shall and will not fear the influence of evil spirits or something which could be interpreted as magic or dark powers. In many cases the Bible has stated that the power of Christ has defeated and conquered all the power of evil spirits. Finally, all those evil spirits must submit to Christ the Lord and his followers (read John 14:12; Mark 16:17).
5. Christians will not regard certain objects, like precious stones in a ring, creese, amulet or other things as if they have special supernatural power. The only power in Christianity is the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost. (Read Romans 14:17-18).
6. Fear, uneasiness, worry, as well as other problems in the life of a Christian are matters which must be brought only into the presence of God in prayers. He alone can understand our requirements and answer our prayers. (Read Psalm 5:3; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 7:7-8). Do not go to the holy graves, even not to the graves of the prophets, whatever their names are.
Finally, with a good conscience, I can profess and believe that the Christian Tauhid is the most excellent and purest Tauhid. There is no room for spirits, idols or man-made gods. There is only one God the Father and his active, living, Word, Jesus Christ the Lord.
THE TRINITY OF GOD/ALLAH TRITUNGGAL part5
Before I accepted conversion to Jesus Christ, the trinity of God was another obstacle for me. It had also become an obstacle to many. This obstacle is due to the misunderstanding of the Christian faith.
I found that the truth in the meaning of "The Trinity of God" does not at all violate the doctrine of the oneness of God (Tauhid).
Sura al-Ma'ida 5:73 says:
"Truly these are the unbelievers who say that God is the third of the three."
Sura al-Nisa 4:171c also says:
"Do not say that God is three."
These Qur'anic verses are often expressed by our Muslim brothers, including myself before my conversion, as a fixed formula to reject the Christian understanding of the Trinity of God. Actually, these Qur'anic verses reject only the belief in three different Gods and not the oneness of the Holy Trinity in Christian belief.
We Christians can appreciate these Qur'anic verses because Christianity rejects every form of polytheism, including tritheism, which is an unbiblical belief in three separate Gods. Moreover, Christianity also rejects atheism and pantheism.
The Bible has sealed the basic belief in God as follows: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one!" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Jesus confessed this creed publicly! (Mark 12:29-30).
In Isaiah 45:5 it is written: " I am the Lord and there is no other."
In John 17:3 it is written: "This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
There is not even the slightest proof that the Christian belief in the trinity of God, contradicts the oneness of the only true God. It does not even mean that there are three united gods, as some people interpret it.
The Trinity of God can be explained as follows:
1. GOD the Creator, called "the Father" is the Creator of the universe, similar to the word al-Qadir with the meaning of "the Mighty" in Islam.
2. His WORD, also called his "Son" became flesh in the birth of Jesus. He is the LIVING Word, to reveal God's laws and will, to state God's promises to men, and to talk in the language of human beings. (His being the WORD is similar to the adjective "Murid - Willing" in Muslim doctrine).
3. THE SPIRIT OF GOD, or "the Holy Ghost," who gives help and guidance - the true Spirit - to believers who devote themselves to him. (This SPIRIT of God is equivalent to the adjective "Muhyi - lifegiver" in Islam).
The three appearances of God (the Father, the Son/Word and the Holy Ghost) are portrayed and described as three Persons (equal to the word "Sifat" in Islam) but they are in one essence of God's existence. Each one is inseparable from the others, each has the same might, immortality, and neither one existed before or after the other. Father, Son/Word and Holy Ghost, all can be expressed by one word: God.
It is obvious that the oneness of the Trinity of God in Christianity does not violate the doctrine of Tauhid, and it does not mean a unity of several Allahs or gods.
The Qur'an does not object to or reject this meaning of the Christian Trinity of God. What is rejected by the Qur'an appears in Sura al-Ma'ida 5:73 or Sura al-Nisa 4:171, which is a belief in three different gods or Tritheism. The Christian religion itself rejects Tritheism or the belief in three gods completely.
For that reason I think that there is not a single verse in the Qur'an which really conflicts with the Christian Trinity of God.
THE DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST part6
They said, "Indeed we have killed Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, the Ambassador of God; actually they did not kill nor crucify him, he appeared only so to them. Truly the people who quarreled about Jesus, the murderers of Christ were doubtful about whom they had killed."
This Qur'anic verse is very often used by Muslim preachers, and I had often used it myself formerly, to reject the fact that Jesus Christ really died on the cross.
Previously, I had thought that it is impossible for the favorite of God, who became his prophet, to die on the cross without any protection. Moreover, as the Christians call him the Son of God, it is impossible that God the Father had not given him his protection at all.
After being convinced that the truth of the Bible was supported by the Qur'an as I had been inspired by Sura al-Ma'ida 5:68 and others, I considered the subject of the Death of Jesus on the Cross, studied again and researched fairly, in accordance with what was written in the Qur'an, as well as in the Bible:
1. According to the Qur'an, we read about an event where someone had been crucified and died, but the identity of the person who died was not confirmed. The Qur'an teachers deny that it was Jesus Christ who died. They say that the person who died on the cross was Judas.
2. The Qur'an says the Jews were indeed convinced that they had actually "killed Jesus".
Now I had to look for better and more convincing information about who had actually been crucified and died; Jesus or another. In order to get this information, we had to find a proof of objective historical documents. This can be found in the Bible, which is an open documentation that can be used as a source for true historical information.
The story of the death of Jesus on the cross can be studied in the four books of the New Testament, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The testimonies of these writers are based on the actual events which three of them had witnessed themselves.
If we accept the condition of the law that two or three eyewitnesses for a certain event are enough to confirm that this event is true according to the law (Deuteronomy 17:6-7), then the testimonies of three of these four writers who had witnessed the crucifixion and the death of Jesus are true, legal and believable compared with the testimony of Muhammad or the Qur'an, which was written six centuries after the event, as an unconvincing supposition, because the writer did not witness it himself.
Another testimony can be added: when Jesus was pronounced dead by the commander of the guard, Joseph of Arimathea entered into the presence of Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. The request was granted (Mark 15:42-46). Suppose the body which was taken down from the cross was not the body of Jesus, surely Joseph of Arimathea would reject and deny its genuineness.
Another proof is that the Jews had asked Pontius Pilate to guard the grave of Jesus. Pilate would not have guarded it if anyone other than Jesus was buried in it, because he had heard Jesus saying that on the third day he would rise from among the dead.
Suppose the person who was crucified was not Jesus. It was impossible that he would utter such loving words which revealed his true character: "Father, Forgive them! They do not know what they are doing," and, "It is completed." All this proves that the man who was crucified was none other than Jesus Christ himself.
Thus I come to the convincing conclusion that the man who "was crucified and died," as related in Sura al-Nisa 4:157, was undoubtedly Jesus himself, not any other person such as Judas. The true testimony of the four writers of the gospel is quite convincing, legal and true.
The Resurrection of Jesus
from among the Dead
The Qur'an nowhere denies the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. According to the Qur'an, Muhammad received a revelation about Jesus as follows:
"Blessed I am, the day I was born, the day I die and the day I will be sent alive (from dead)" Sura Maryam 19:33.
This verse convinced me that Jesus had indeed experienced the real death, although his death at the cross is denied by some. I became sure that Jesus had risen again (ub'athu hayyan). The words "ub'athu hayyan" mean to be sent alive after experiencing the real death - amutu.
On the third day Jesus really rose from among the dead - resurrected with his body, observable and touchable (Philippians 3:21). The death of Jesus would not mean anything if it were not crowned with his resurrection from among the dead.
Suppose Jesus had been crucified, died and yet remained dead. This would have been a terrible blow for Christians, for their God would have died and vanished. The Christian religion would have not stood firmly until now, since Christians would have had no hope for their salvation in heaven.
Also, if Jesus had died and remained dead, and if his bones were still in the grave today, why should Christians worship a dead God? For what purpose would a Christian be baptized in the name of a dead person? For what purpose should Christians meditate on a dead person? Meditation would be nonsense if the Christians regarded Jesus as their Saviour, while he himself had not been delivered from death and was still lying in the grave.
To prove God's love, Jesus had to be crucified, not in order to remain dead forever but to be resurrected victorious and to live eternally even after the end of time.
Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and lived again, not as a figment of someone's imagination, but in reality, as seen and witnessed by many people.
The death and the resurrection of Jesus is the essence of the faithful testimony of the churches in the whole world. Our faith is full of hope. We have a Saviour who lives forever. We have a faith based on love, and we inherit the promises of God through Jesus. We suffer together and will be glorified together with him (Romans 8:17).
For that reason we must be convinced as the followers of Christ that we will be raised from all different kinds of death:
- We rise from the death of family discord,
disagreement and hate.
- We rise from the death of earning our living with pain.
- We will be raised from the death of an anxious heart.
- We will be raised from the death of a weak faith.
- We rise from the death of egoism.
- We rise from the death of fear, illnesses, and suffering.
The Meaning of the Cross of Jesus to Us
The Apostle Peter writes by inspiration what follows: "For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
"Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in his mouth,' who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness_-_by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (1 Peter 2:19-25).
The cross of Jesus was the culminating point of his suffering. To die on the cross was not something that he sought, but it was in accordance with the destiny designed by God. The deep meaning of the suffering of Jesus had been prophesized by the Prophet Isaiah (53:4-12) 700 years before it actually happened:
He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon him,
And by his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and he was afflicted,
Yet he opened not his mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So he opened not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare his generation?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of my people
he was stricken.
And they made his grave with the wicked-
But with the rich at his death,
Because he had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
He has put him to grief.
When you make his soul an offering for sin,
He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
And the pleasure of the Lord
shall prosper in his hand.
He shall see the travail of his soul,
and be satisfied.
By his knowledge my righteous Servant
shall justify many,
For he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion
with the great,
And he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because he poured out his soul unto death,
And he numbered with the transgressors,
And he bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus himself realized that the prophecy would be fulfilled in his person, as he was the servant of God mentioned in the prophecy.
For that reason while facing this degree of suffering, Jesus commanded the disciple accompanying him who had threatened to kill the soldiers going to imprison him: "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" (Matthew 26:52-54).
Jesus was delivered to the Roman governor by the religious authority of the Jewish priest to be crucified officially not because he had sinned by transgressing the Torah. He was judged guilty of blasphemy by the religious authorities, the Jewish
priests, because he confessed before them that he was the Son of God, the Saviour.
The image of the cross should remind us and every follower of Christ, that Jesus suffered and died on the cross as a sacrifice to save us all from the power of sin, so that we may receive the right and the spirit to live eternally in heaven.
The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven (Mi`raj)
The ascension of Jesus to heaven (Mi`raj) was witnessed by his eleven disciples outside the city near Bethany (Luke 24:50). As regards the ascension of Jesus to Heaven (Mi`raj), the Qur'an has no objections. It is even supported by the Qur'an because Al Imran 55 says:
"O, Jesus I am letting you die, and am raising you to Me."
There are two things which should be noted in the ascension of Jesus to heaven:
1. The final message of Jesus to his disciples, the focus of his coming, was the command to all his followers:
a. Go to the whole world and preach the gospel of salvation, making all people followers of Jesus.
b. Baptize them in the name of the triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
c. Teach them all that I have taught you about the gospel especially, and the Bible in general.
2. It was the promise of Jesus to give the power of the Holy Ghost to all his disciples, which means also to us, who become his disciples and followers at present, to witness the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, the Living Word. His Spirit will remain with us forever and ever, until the end of time.
The Second Coming of Jesus
Jesus will come for a second time to be the divine Judge, to judge the living as well as the dead (Acts 1:11 and Revelation 20:11-15).
The coming of Jesus at the end of time to be the righteous Judge, is also the conviction of the Muslims in general, as this event is foretold in the tradition among others in:
1. Hadith Bukhari from Abu Huraira, book 11, page 256:
"What will be your situation, if the Son of Mary descends and becomes your religious leader and priest?"
2. Hadith from Musnad Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, book 2:240, 411:
"Soon will come down to you the Son of Mary as the leading Priest and righteous Judge."
3. The Prophet Muhammad once swore to convince others that Jesus Christ the Son of Mary would come again to become the Righteous Judge. Muhammad said:
"By God, truly the Son of Mary will descend as the righteous Judge" (Hadith Muslim, book 1, page 76).
The explanation of this Hadith is the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time. The word "hakaman" (being a judge), suggests that Jesus Christ will not come a second time as a Prophet bringing the law of God in the Bible or the Qur'an, which are used at the present, but he will come as a Judge of all people with a new book, "The Book of Life" (Revelation 20:11-15).
The verse from Hadith al-Sahih Bukhari-Muslim above can be compared with the verse of the Bible, Romans 2:16:
"In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."
For that reason there was no other obstacle which hindered me from accepting Jesus as my God and personal Saviour, and waiting for his second coming as the Righteous Judge.
For the salvation of the followers of Jesus, the Qur'an has given the following testimony:
God said to Jesus:
"I have let you die, and ascended you to me, I have purged you from the unbelievers and raised those who follow you above those who do not believe until the end of time."
Obviously, the Qur'an testifies that the salvation of the followers of Christ is guaranteed which means eternal life in heaven, as Jesus himself has said:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my words and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death into life."
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLE ptr 7 end
As I described in the beginning of this testimony, the first thing that stimulated me to look for the truth of the Bible was one verse in Sura al-Ma'ida 5:68, that confirms that the Bible (the Torah and the Gospel) is the right book for all people who worship God in truth, according to the will of God.
There are more verses in the Qur'an which are often used by the Muslim preachers, as I had used them formerly, which are misinterpreted as a proof, that the Bible (the Torah and the Gospel) has been falsified and changed by the soiled hands of ignorant people.
After all I wanted to learn the real meaning of those Qur'anic verses in the original, just as I wanted to understand the contents of the Bible by itself.
I tried truthfully to check how much truth was contained in these Qur'anic verses which led me to the conclusion:
1. Sura al-Baqara 2:75
"Do you still expect them to believe you, while some group of them hear the word of God, then change them after they learn them, just as if they are clever."
In general the Muslims interpret the term "a group of them" (fariqun minhum) as Bible experts (Jews or Christians) who have changed those words of God, the texts of the Torah and the Gospel.
According to my investigation, the meaning of Sura al-Bakara 75 is not so. What was meant as "a group of them" are Muslims who originated from among the Jews or Christians, then rejected Islam after they had learned the real teaching of Muhammad. The Qur'an accused them of changing the meaning or interpretation of the Qur'anic texts not the Bible.
This can be understood by the verse saying, "... Do you (Muhammad) still expect them to believe you?" "You" in the sentence clearly means Muhammad. But after they (the Jews or Christians) had accepted Muhammad as their prophet, they rejected Islam and were accused of changing the meaning of the words of God, "the Qur'an," and were also accused of foolishness, lying and ignorance.
This Qur'anic verse had not been written against the experts of the Jews or the Christians and does not claim that they have changed the Bible, but speaks about the text of the Qur'an itself.
2. Sura al-Baqara 2:106
"Whichever verses that We have wiped out or We have made people to forget them, We will change them with better or equal ones..."
With the "wiped out verses" referred to in Sura al-Baqara 2:106, Muslims in general mean the verses of the Bible in the Torah and Gospel.
But from some Islamic interpretation of the Qur'an, you can find that the "wiped out verse" means several Qur'anic verses, because their laws and commands have been abolished. The book "Al-Tadjdid Fil-Islam" says that there are five to 50 verses in the Qur'an that have been abrogated.
Other people say that the meaning of the "wiped out verses," are those which concern the miracles of Muhammad, because Muhammad as a prophet with the revelation from God, was unable to perform miracles like Moses and Jesus, prophets who had come before him. Therefore the verse of Sura al-Baqara 2:106 cannot be used as a proof to reject the truth of the Bible as a Divine Book which is the real foundation of truth for every one who will worship God truly.
3. Sura al-Ma'ida 5:13
"... Because they violated their promise, We curse them, and made their hearts stiff as stones. They enjoy to change the words of God from their places and they (intentionally) forgot some of that they had been reminded of, and you (Muhammad) will always see betrayal from them, with the exception of a few of them who will not betray."
To the word "they" in Sura al-Ma'ida 5:13 they generally add "Jews/Christians" in parentheses intentionally, and from the contents of the sentence, "They enjoy to change the words of God from their places...," they interpret that the truth of the Bible in the Torah/Gospel has been changed and wiped out.
Actually this verse, just as the words in Sura al-Baqara 2:75, is applied to some Muslims during the life of Muhammad, who were originally believers in the Jewish or Christian religion, turned to Islam and later on converted again to their own religion and rejected Islam. The Qur'an accused them of betraying the Qur'anic verses by changing their words. They rejected the message of Islam, after they learned the real teaching of Muhammad. The subject can be read in the context of Sura al-Ma'ida 5:7-14.
Obviously, the verses of the Sura al-Ma'ida 5:13 too cannot be used as a basis for rejecting the truth of the Bible.
There are more verses in the Qur'an with the same tone as the ones above which seem to reject the truth in the Bible. After studying them fairly, I confess that there is not a single verse in the Qur'an which unequivocally states that the Bible (the Torah and the Gospel) has been falsified or changed from its original truth.
Finally, I conclude that what the Qur'an says in Sura al-Ma'ida 5:68, al-Baqara 2:62, al-Sajda 32:23, and others, which I expressed previously, is convincing that the Bible (the Torah and the Gospel) is the real truth for everyone who wants to worship God in accordance to his will.