Sunday, July 19, 2009

Muhammad in the Bible

This is a great interest of mine for various reasons.... I have a personal interest in inter-faith dialogue and being in a Christian country, the Bible takes a lot of my attention.

In Isaiah 29 we read a prophecy:

11And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Jesus says in John 16 that he is not revealing everything to his followers:

12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

This aligns with Isaiah 29:11 for a man who is learned to not reveal certain information. Going forward, Isaiah 29:12 is a prophecy of future events as well, but we won't find the fulfillment of this prophecy in the Bible. Instead we find this in the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

3. 'A'isha, Umm al-Mu'minin, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "The beginning of the revelation to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took the form of the true dream. Whenever he had this kind of dream, it was clear like the break of day [and was true]. Then he was made to love retreat and used to go into retreat in the cave of Hira' where he would devote himself to the worship of Allah alone, continuing in this worship for a number of nights until he felt inclined to return to his family. He would take provision for his stay. Then he would return to Khadija to restock with provision to do the same again. This lasted until the Truth came to him while he was in the cave of Hira'.

The angel came to him and said, 'Read!' He said, 'I cannot read.'"

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "He seized me and squeezed me until all the strength went out of me and then released me and said, 'Read !' I said, 'I cannot read.' Then he seized me and squeezed me a second time until all the strength when out of me and then released me. Then he seized me and squeezed me a third time and then released me, and then he said, 'Recite: In the Name of your Lord who created, created man from a blood clot. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous.'"
-Sahih Bukhari Book 1, Chapter 1

It would be hard to make this more clear. The Angel Jibril (as) told the Prophet Muhammmad (pbuh) to read and responded that he could not. While it is not necessary to know Biblical references in order to confirm our faith, it solidifies the foundation for our conversations with people of other faiths. MashaAllah wa alhamdulilah.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is It Possible to Actually Boycott?

There is a very large population of Americans that support the expansion of Israel regardless of the number of war crimes committed with the dollars we send there. The bombs dropped and killing women and children basically have a stamp of "bought and paid for by the US" on each one. As a concerned citizen, I'd like to choose my money to go elsewhere... but it is really possible to find quality, affordable products from companies that don't send a part of their profits to Israel??

Look at the image here (click on it to see the full size and see the company names more clearly)... try to think of all the daily products you use from these companies. You must make a very conscious, directed effort to stay away from these products. What I find convenient is that the more green I try to get my home, the more I am freed from using products that pay for the Israeli occupation, mashaAllah.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Awaiting the Comforter

My favorite verses of the Bible at this time is John 16:7-14 as it strengthens my faith as a Muslim. I see no way to deny that this prophesy is talking about the coming of Muhammed (pbuh), especially when taking into consideration other verses that describe the "Comforter", or "Paraclete" in Greek. Jesus was not shy in his teachings to his people and instead of looking for the hidden mystical meaning in things... why not look exactly to what he said, the words he used and how HE meant them... not the imposed meaning we give to them.

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: Of sin, because they believe not in me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatso ever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you."

While many Christians believe this prophecy is talking about the Holy Ghost, that conclusion is not logical when looking at scripture as a whole.

First, the Paraclete is typically translated as advocate, comforter, or spirit and in these verses of John, Jesus (pbuh) says that he must leave so the Comforter can come to them. In numerous other verses of the Bible, there are verses that are believed to be referencing the Holy Ghost such as:

Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Isaiah 63:11 - Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

Matthew 1:18 - Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Especially with the last example, it is quite clear that the Holy Ghost is believed to be existent before Jesus (pbuh) left this world. In my judgement, Jesus (pbuh) was talking about someone else. Where else does he talk about this Comforter? Let's see...

John 14:16 - And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

"Another" Comforter is important here. Jesus (pbuh) is talking about someone similar to himself and Jesus (pbuh) also states that "he may abide with you for ever". What is the Muslim perspective on this? The life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lives with us forever through the Sunnah (literally means "trodden path". Muslims use this to describe the way of life the Prophet showed us to follow) and the Qur'an that has been preserved since it was revealed.

Again going back to John 16:14, "He shall glorify me." Anyone who knows anything about Islam knows that Muslims hold Jesus (pbuh) in a very high regard and we give him credit for what he preached about himself. Jesus is mentioned in the Qur'an in the highest ranks of the prophets of God and in order to call yourself a Muslim, you must accept Jesus as a prophet, accept his miraculous birth and his miracles. Is there one other faith or prophet that fulfilled this requirement for this prophecy to be complete?

While there is so much more to say on the subject, I believe this gives enough reference to the given verses originally stated.

Teaching Islam to Children

Teaching any religion... or good moral values for that matter... to children can be challenging as we try to explain the "why" behind things so they can then understand where the line is. But what if that line is so grey that we can't precisely describe it until they cross it?

Some things are easy... how to pray, how to fast, how to say Shahadah. Some things aren't so simple... when is water too dirty to do wudu with, how much filth is too much, how do you calculate zakat? Alhamdulilah, we have so many organizations now that can help spread this knowledge to anyone who is willing to learn. The challenge really becomes us parents taking the time on a consistent basis to teach. One of my biggest downfalls is consistency with things such as this.

I say we are going to study Islam over the summer and we agree and she even picks the first topic, learning about prophet Hud. Then one day passes by the next where the time escapes us and we miss our opportunity that was right in front of our face, but we used it for something less important.

InshaAllah we all can take the time to make teaching our kids Islam as important as it really is. If we don't show them how critical this is, we can't expect them to pick that up once a week in Sunday school. Those grey areas become more clear with continued practice and implementation.


Assalam alaykum,
I have so much I want to share with my "cyber" and real life friends, but many times I tend to skip over topics that not everyone on Facebook wants to hear and I don't like sending mass emails (except maybe to get people to read this blog, if they so choose).

I want to talk about important issues, to me at least... the Israeli/Pakistan issues, Islam, Christianity, the attitudes towards each people and the myths surrounding these attitudes, and possibly family things as well... we'll see where this takes us.

I love to study and share information. InshaAllah there's people who like to do the same.