THE DEMISE OF “SIMILARITY”


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

Part 4: So Who is Allah

Part 5: HISTORICAL FLASHBACK

PUTTING “SAMENESS” TO REST

We have established from the primary sources of Islam that through the appropriation and recasting of our Biblical narrative in all of its elements, vocabulary and terminology, into the Qur’an itself, there has been a usurpation of the authentic Biblical narrative which is historically accurate, and proven by the fulfilment of its prophecies as well as substantiated by archaeology and related disciplines.

The Islamic counter narrative (with its various threads) has been cleverly woven together, by keeping some apparent similarities in the names and stories of the Biblical characters, thus giving the illusion that they are the same as the Biblical ones. Having done that, the Qur’an takes the bold step of declaring that “your God and our Allah are the same”. Built into that in the Qur’anic narrative is the unsubstantiated assertion that all previous “books” were earlier limited editions of the Qur’an, that their recipients were all Muslims, and that they already knew about Muhammad and paid allegiance to him by Allah’s command. The result is a narrative that replaces the Biblical narrative that points to Christ, to another pointing to Muhammad.

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HISTORICAL FLASHBACK


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

Part 4: So Who is Allah?

On going series on the difference between Allah and Lord GOD of the Bible.

THE INITIAL CALL (DA’WA)

So, how did this all happen in real-time? And what are the implications for today?

Unfortunately, the only source that the Muslim scholars rely on to provide a presumed historical account of Muhammad’s career is given in various versions of what is termed the “Sirah” (purported biography). This was written well after his death at different times by different authors who relied heavily on oral traditions.

The Sirah is both authoritative, and considered to be somewhat speculative. In examining these belated chronicles of Muhammad’s career, it all started with his initial proclamations of absolute oneness of Allah, as in:

Surah 112, “Say: ‘He is Allah, One. Allah, the self-sufficient, besought of all. He neither begot, nor was begotten. Nor is there anyone equal to him.’”

Thus, Muhammad declares all others as forms of idolatry, and in particular, the divine Sonship of Christ, to be the highest form of idolatry and therefore an unforgivable sin (called Shirk in Islam).

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So Who is Allah?


Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3 A: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A

Part 3 B: THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-B (Noah)

Part 3 C:  THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-(Ibraheem, Moosa & Issa)

THE DILEMMA WITHIN ISLAM

Having answered the question from the perspective of whether or not Allah is one and the same, or even tangentially similar to the Lord God of the Bible with a resounding “no”, the question remains: then who is he?

So let us explore the central dilemma that has faced Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history—the dilemma of defining the nature of Allah, or more precisely in developing the so-called Doctrine of Allah, while proclaiming that he never reveals his nature, so his nature cannot be known and that any attempt to discover it is considered the highest level of Shirk (i.e. association of any deity or person with Allah).

They would develop the terms, (a) “Tawheed”, meaning absolute oneness or unity to describe Allah and (b) “Tanzeeh”, meaning that Allah is free of all anthropomorphisms and absolutely incomparable to anything or anyone – in other words, being pure and distinct from all associations (see Figure below). They would then state that Tawheed is the “true monotheism” from the foundation of the universe.

They would use Qur’anic verses and Hadith quotations to denounce the Triune God of the Bible as violating both the Tawheed and the Tanzeeh, and would produce as evidence a distorted definition of the “Trinity” calling it “Shirk”. Islam teaches that the “Trinity” is composed of three gods. There is a school of thought that posits that this trinity is composed of Allah, Maryam and Issa, inferring a physical union between Allah and Maryam. Even when explained that this is not the case, but that the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is rather Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Muslim scholars would still regard it as polytheism and associating partners with Allah (Shirk). Despite being unable to tell us anything of substance about Allah, they still object and continue to vehemently refute the Biblical doctrine of the self-revealing Triune God

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THE ISLAMIC COUNTER NARRATIVE-A


Allah Vs Jehovah

Allah Vs Jehovah

Part 1: THE SAMENESS ILLUSION

Part 2: THE “SAMENESS” CLAIM SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES

Part 3: THE “PROCESS” OF QU’RANIC “REVELATIO

CENTRAL CLAIMS OF ISLAM

The Islamic counter-narrative as expressed in the pages of the Qur’an is based on a set of connected claims, which fully counter the Biblical “Crimson Thread”—the thread that all scripture points to Christ. Here is a brief summary of those connected Islamic claims:

  1. The claim that the “true religion”, i.e. Islam, requires the belief in the one Allah with Muhammad as his prophet and messenger, as expressed in the Islamic creed, the Shahadah.
  2. The claim that this belief represents the true original monotheism that was expressed in the original books that came down to the Biblical prophets and messengers.
  3. The claim that all the prophets and messengers were sent by Allah to preach Islam and to acknowledge the coming of Muhammad.
  4. The claim that Jews and Christians have corrupted their scriptures primarily by removing reference to Muhammad, and then by changing the text of the Bible to fit such removal.

Based on these claims, the Qur’an proceeds to reconstruct the lives and messages of the Biblical characters to develop key Islamic doctrines, while opposing the original Biblical ones. The readers of the Qur’anic versions of these stories may be taken aback, first by the apparent similarities in names, and then by the stark contrast of the details.

Before we delve into the details of these stories, we start with a recap of the original message of Islamic monotheism as expressed in the Islamic creed, the Shahadah.

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EVIL AND SUFFERING?


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In practical terms, everybody has a problem with evil and suffering. All human beings experience the realities of life in this world, with its pain, cruelty, illness, violence, accidents, bereavement, torture, emotional and physical suffering, and death. These things are problems of just living in the world. They bombard us at every turn in daily life. We suffer the pain of experiencing some of them ourselves, and we suffer the pain of witnessing others suffer them, often far worse than our own. So, yes, suffering and evil are practical problems for everybody.

But in theoretical terms, evil and suffering constitute a uniquely Christian problem. Christians struggle mentally with the problem of evil in a way that others do not. I don’t mean that non-Christians do not suffer mentally or wrestle mentally with the terrible enigmas of suffering and evil. Of course they do. Some of the greatest human art, literature, and music have emerged out of that mental and emotional wrestling with the reality of suffering and evil. What I mean is that the existence of evil in itself is not quite the fearsomely contradictory challenge to other worldviews that it certainly is for the Christian worldview. When you think of what we Christians believe about God and the world, the existence of evil really is a problem.

How can we possibly explain it?

Why does it exist?

Where did it come from?

Evil is not a problem (theoretically) for polytheistic worldviews and religions (those that believe in the existence of many gods). The many gods are themselves a mixture of good and evil – in motives, relationships, and actions. So, since life in the human and physical world is closely bound up with what is going on in the world of the gods, evil and suffering are “normal”. That is, they are just what you would expect if you believe that the divine world itself has dimensions of evil. If the gods, or some of them, are like men behaving badly, why should the world of human behaviour be any different, if it is governed by such malevolent influences? Polytheism, indeed, can be understood as a plausible way of solving the problem of evil. You simply locate the origin of the problem in the world of the gods. Why does evil exist in the world? Because some of the gods are evil all the time and most of the gods are evil some of the time. What else can you expect to be the case also in the world they influence?

Evil is not a problem for monistic  (Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek:μόνος) to a concept (e.g., existence). Substance monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance.)  worldviews and religions. Monism is the view that ultimately all reality is one and indivisible. Spiritual or transcendental monism, as found, for example, in some forms of Eastern religion, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, affirms that everything is part of the one utterly transcendent Being (Brahman), and that all the distinctions we see in the world – including the way we appear to be distinct individuals – are illusory. There is ultimately no difference between you and me, between me and “it”, between the seen and the unseen world, between physical or spiritual – all is one. There is no distinction (as there definitely is in the biblical worldview) between the creator and the created.

That too is purely an illusion or a myth to explain how things seem to be (for Hinduism does have such myths to satisfy lesser minds). The ultimate goal of enlightenment is to realize the utter oneness of everything, without differentiation. Eventually, this transcendent blending includes all moral distinctions too. In the great “beyond” there is no difference between good and evil. The idea that there is a difference between good and evil is in itself a persistent illusion that we have to overcome on the path to enlightenment. All is one. So again, there is no real ‘problem’ with evil. Evil is ultimately illusory, like everything else in the material world of our unenlightened state.

Materialistic monism also takes the view that there is only one reality – the physical, material reality of the universe. “Stuff is all there is”, as it has been summarized. The more common form of this is usually simply called atheism. There is no transcendent realm at all. Reality is nothing more than the sum total of the mass and energy of the universe, and for us as human beings, reality is nothing more than the end product of our long evolutionary history of gene mutation.

Evil is not a theoretical problem for the atheist. It is simply a dimension of the way the world is at its current state of evolution within the universe. It could not have been different, so why complain? Indeed, the reality of goodness is far more of a theoretical problem for atheism (i.e., much harder to explain). It is not at all easy or obvious to provide an explanation for altruism, goodness, love, and other unselfish human attitudes and actions in purely evolutionary terms.

But for Christians, evil really is a problem at every level.

This is because of our commitment to biblical theism. On the basis of what the Bible teaches – unequivocally and repeatedly – we Christians believe that there is one living God, the creator of the whole universe, who is personal, good, loving, omnipotent, and sovereign over all that happens.

Now once you are convinced of those great biblical truths about the living God, you cannot help but have a massive problem with the existence of evil. To put it the other way around, as many people do when they want to condemn and reject Christian belief, how can you believe in the existence of a God who is both loving and omnipotent in a world filled with evil and suffering? Are the two things not mutually incompatible and exclusive? The accusation against Christian belief at this point often takes the form of a well-worn dilemma: either God is omnipotent so he could prevent all evil and suffering, but since he obviously doesn’t, he cannot be loving; or, God is loving and longs to prevent all evil and suffering if only he could, but he can’t, in which case he cannot be omnipotent.

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Are we really impaled on one of the horns of this dilemma? Do we have to say: either God is all-powerful but doesn’t love us enough to deal with evil; or, God loves us but doesn’t have the power to deal with evil?

So we turn to our Bible.

Unquestionably, the Bible affirms that God is all-loving and all-powerful, and yet the Bible also describes the terrible reality of evil. What help does the Bible give us in holding these jarring contradictions together in our minds in such a way that, even if it does not give us an answer we can fully understand, it does give us a hope that we can fully trust?

Or to put it another way: Whereas we often ask “Why?” people in the Bible more often asked “How long?” Their tendency was not to demand that God give an explanation for the origin of evil but rather to plead with God to do something to bring about an end to evil. And that, we shall see, is exactly what God has promised to do.

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to be continued …. The Mystery of Evil