Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Husband's Conversion Story

This was an email from my husband to an old friend of his from Youth Group (church) when they asked why he converted to Islam.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The points I want to share are simple.

I've enjoyed doing things the way I think is right even when the main stream of like-minded, same faith individuals practice otherwise. A shorter way to say that is I like to do things the way I want even if most other people in the same category of belief as me do those things a different way. Hmph. That wasn't a shorter version at all. I know you get the point now, though.

A couple years ago, as a Christian, I decided not to pray or sing to Jesus anymore. I was still a Christian. But whenever a song at church was directed to praising or worshiping Jesus, my mouth was closed. Isn't this ant-Christian? No. It is pro-Christian. Worshiping God, our Father, alone, was Jesus' directive. He led us to worship the Father. Never did he direct praise upon himself nor instruct anyone to pray to him. Thus, how I came to the conclusion to only worship the Father.

Another point I looked into was when Jesus said people's sins were forgiven. I couldn't find any spot where Jesus said that he himself forgave anyone of their sins. Even John the Baptist told people when their sins were forgiven.

All my personal curiosities were satisfied by looking only in the Bible at this point. But as you can imagine, my view of Jesus' role was already drastically different than most Christians by only coming to those two points so far.

Here is the part where people seem to doubt the genuineness of my conversion. I worked with *Durriyyah* before we got married. Once she started wearing hijab (the covering most Muslim women wear), I got curious. I got curious because I knew it had to have been a hardship for her to do that in a leadership role in the IT field where most co-workers are men. I thought she must have been serious. I started asking questions. We talked about Islam and Christianity for a period of time. Eventually, I ordered a Qur'an from to read it. I wanted to know more about this religion. I also thought, "How much faith do I have in my beliefs if I'm afraid to read about someone else's beliefs?"

In reading the Qur'an, I found the same message in the Old Testament and of Jesus. The simplest way to put it is: There is no god but the One God; you need to worship Him. I kept thinking, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One." I began to think, "Why would God stick to this simple principle and then later introduce a theology of a trinity that reduces His glory (since it's now shared), doesn't make sense, and conforms to pagan theories?"

Islam does not count Paul as a prophet of God. This means that though he very likely wrote some inspired things, he did not have the authority to change any doctrines. This was hard for me to do, but if you take Paul's strange concepts out, the New Testament makes more sense with the Old. It makes more sense that God is the same God and is calling the same people. Islam was needed to bring "the people of the Book" back to the original doctrine of God and away from the pagan contaminated ideologies of multiple gods in one or multiple gods period. Think of the christmas tree. Why does it exist as a Christian practice?

After I was 2/3 through the Qur'an, I read a book on the origination of the trinity doctrine. Now, I already knew some of the details as to how it became accepted into the formal church. But reading this book made it silly. It was after reading that that I knew Islam was the same old message that God has always been giving and that Christians of today are not like the Christians of Jesus' time. And I mean so different that Jesus would say to Christians of today, "I know you not."

That is my story. I hope very much that my words are not too upsetting. You know I was a strong Christian. Converting was wrenching. Now, I am a submissive follower (Muslim) of the one and only God, Who has no partners and no equal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why Do I Believe the Qur'an is the Word of God?

I suppose I could also say "How Do I Know the Qur'an is the Word of God?" but, really, I think people who have the idea that it is a belief and can not be founded by knowledge will read it the other way regardless.

Whenever I think of this question, I remember an old friend/coworker of mine. He was quite an abrupt person; one that you would never think had a religious bone in his body. After I got to know him a little bit better, I found out that he used to be a Muslim. He went to prison for a few years, and in prison he said he had time to think and he found Islam. Now, he is a white guy... so this isn't going to fit into the Nation of Islam stereotype. He learned Arabic and was the imam (pastor/preacher/leader) at the prison. I asked him why he didn't follow Islam any longer and his answer was basically that he got distracted with his old ways when he got out. Anyway... when I told him I was thinking of reading the Qur'an, he told me "You're going to be a Muslim. You'll see the science in it and know it is the truth." He knew me pretty well, I guess, to know what things would stick out to me.

At first, I didn't much care for what the Qur'an had to say. I felt jabs at my own lifestyle, and kept thinking to myself "Hey, what did I do to you?" but the fact is, some of it started sinking in. I started asking myself if I was really following the best lifestyle, or the most convenient?

I noticed the logic and reason the Qur'an calls to all people. We are told to think, reflect, ponder, and come to conclusions about the most basic things around us. We are encouraged to ask questions and wonder why this world is crafted in the way it is. Think about how complex this world is, and how it could have become such a way. It is very hard for me to imagine pure evolution coming to this result. I also realized that Muslims weren't required to give up all science when believing the story of creation and that one of God's names is The Evolver. We do not need to throw away science in order to believe in God!

There are numerous scientific proofs in the Qur'an that point to the fact that the Creator of the Universe sent this revelation, to an illiterate person in a time of poetry and linguistics, but yet still marvels people today in our time of science and technology.

There are many places where one can find a listing of this verses that point to science, so I will save myself the effort of compiling them myself.

The Qur'an demands that one use logic and reason to come to the conclusion and not simply following what their ancestors worshiped, or what is "easier" or more convenient. We are told to find proof for what we believe. Feeling good about it isn't good enough! After all, don't you think Satan is going to make you feel great about following the wrong path?

I learned Islam from books, lectures by scholars, etc. I didn't learn from the Muslims I knew, which I'm very glad and fortunate because if I considered Muslim people as the authority on Islam, I have big questions on where I would be today.

Along with the scientific proofs, I found that historically, stories in the Qur'an are generally accurate. I take our historical science we have today with a grain of salt just because we see a few mistakes still from time to time.

Allah tells us in the Qur'an:
Do they not ponder on the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. [4:82]
And thus far, I have not been able to find any contradictions or discrepancies when comparing one area of the text to another!! Now, I'm aware that contradictions in the Bible (10,000 people vs. 1,000, or the like) are chalked up to the authors getting something wrong, but over all the message is the same. I don't have to come to terms with anything like this, because there is only one author.

I am not told to "just believe" or that there is a "mystery" of God that I can't untangle. I know that if God created us with intellect and reason... something other species in this world do not have... then He must have created me in such a way that I can understand Him.

The "rules" just make sense. When we look at the general society, it makes sense to have such things in place. I think we have become a society of making rules on exceptions, which will entangle us more than we think.

Now, this didn't hit me as hard as it has since my faith has been questioned by others and I've been asked to read Christian literature numerous times, but the fact that the doctrine of Islam is explicitly stated in the Qur'an has kept me a Muslim and proven the message. God is not shy in how we are to worship Him and understand Him. We are told over and over and over and over and over (get it?) that we are to worship Him alone. There is no implicit statements about it. You are basically being hit over the head with a brick on this one item. Never should we construct a doctrine that we place the destiny of our souls in, with implicit statements.

I never wanted to be a Muslim. I never thought I would find an absolute truth that I could feel so confident with. The fact is though, after I finished reading the Qur'an, I could not think of how this book could have been written by a human being and thus the only logical thing for me to do was to be a Muslim.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I would like to know what the proofs are that the Bible is the Word of God and not something man created to fulfill his own desires and will.

Also, what proofs are there that Paul was inspired and had the authority to make amendments to Jesus's teachings (removing the law from the people), other than his own word that he heard it in a vision.

These questions have remained unanswered to me to this day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Response to "You're Going to Hell" Pt. 1

We received a pamphlet (tract) in the mail from my husband's family member. I can't stay silent, so here's my start on a response to the publisher, and then I will make a friendly response to his family member. Frankly, the pamphlet didn't make me question my faith one bit. Why? Well, there are so many things in it that I don't believe and broad generalizations, that it just made me laugh. I guess it is in the form of a comic book for a reason.

So, let's get started with page 1. My notes are below, if I'm making a direct comment on that particular page. 

4:101 - When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers may attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.

Does this not mean that they are openly displaying that they are an enemy? This was revealed as a verse pertaining to war. In no way is this taken in a general context as anyone who does not follow Islam is an enemy.

Qur'an 31:15 - But if they strive to make thee join in worhsip with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; Yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to Me (in love): In the End the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did.

Obviously, how the man pictured here is not in accordance with the Qur'an.

Qur'an 41:37 - Among His Signs are the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon. Adore not the sun and the moon, but adore Allah, Who create them, if it is Him ye wish to serve.

The comment about not caring if God cares if we live or die is so far out there, I'm not sure what to quote. One thing to note is that this life is temporary, why are we so concerned with how long we stay here?

Qur'an 2:115 - To Allah belongs the east and the West; whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's countenance. For Allah is All-Embarcing All-Knowing.

Qur'an 4:89-90 - They but wish that ye should reject Faith as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): so take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.― Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace) or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you or fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you, not and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then Allah hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action." [Excerpt from Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) last sermon]

Does it matter what race either is? The Nation of Islam is what considers race, but Orthodox Islam does not, nor does it consider the Nation a sect of Islam.

I'm unaware if this is a true piece of history. Let's say it is. Christians did the same, but we do not blame Christians or Jesus for such things.
This is what I have so far. The next few pages go into things that people come with a load of assumptions, which is hard to combat in a precise way, so I'm brewing on the response to give, inshaAllah.  I'll continue with this very soon, inshaAllah.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Calling People Kufar

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari
by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 10: The Qibla

384. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever prays our prayer and faces our qibla and eats what we slaughter, he is a Muslim and is under the protection of Allah and the protection of His Messenger. Do not act treacherously against Allah with respect to those under His protection." 

Who do we call a Muslim? What does Kufar really mean?

Kufar has almost turned into a curse word in our current community setting. People use this in anger towards one another and call them Kufar. When someone is seen smoking or being too close to the opposite gender, Kufar is an easy word off of many people's tongues.

Kufar literally means "unbeliever" and unbeliever is defined as "someone who refuses to believe (as in a divinity." Notice how the word "belief" is the core component, not "action." Of course as Muslims, we believe that belief is shown through action, but as I'm sure anyone can relate to, our actions sometimes are not as Muslim as our heart may be. By definition, there are only two groups - believer and unbeliever. Or, Muslim and Kufar, respectively.

Since only Allah is able to see what is in our heart, we must judge by actions who is a Muslim and who is a Kufar. We judge by outward appearances, but Allah judges by inward realities. We can not go to extremes and call someone a Kufar based on our witnessing of one sin. On the other side, we can not say that all sins are okay as long as you profess the shahadah (There is no god except Allah). Saying one is a Kufar does not, and should not be, labeling a person to Hellfire just like labeling someone a Muslim does not ensure their entry into Paradise.

When we say someone is Kufar, it is simply a legal statement and a label for who should be treated as a Muslim when they get married, die, have kids, etc.

Two terms are important in this discussion:
Tasdiq: "You are telling the truth"
Takdhib: "You are lying"
(both in reference to the Sunnah and Qur'an)

When someone is denying a pillar of Islam, such as saying that you don't have to pray, they are essentially saying to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), "You are lying" and they are committing tasdiq. To deny a pillar of Islam is the gravest of errors and anything that a person rejects that is necessarily known of the religion will remove them from Islam. For instance, if a person states that drinking is not forbidden, they have committed tasdiq and it is safe to say they are Kufar. Again, does this mean we are saying they are going to Hellfire? No! We do not know what will happen in their life or what is in their heart but this person isn't required to have a nikkah when they get married, they are not expected to pay zakat, etc.

Notice in the examples given that we mentioned people who are denying that an action is a sin or that something is obligatory. There is a big difference between someone committing a sin when they are weak and denying it is a sin altogether. We are all sinners and Muslims may be punished for their deeds, in this life or the next, even if they are eventually destined for Paradise, by Allah's Mercy.

In short, Kufar is a legal term used for anyone who does not appear to be Muslim. Kufar is not a word used for a sinning Muslim, nor is it a derogatory term. We use it to classify someone, especially in legal matters such as paying zakat (required charity tax), creating a marriage contract, etc. It does not mean this person is going to Hellfire as no one in creation can determine this. It is up to Allah.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Don't We Learn From History?

Have you ever thought about the similarities of the Palestinian people and the Native Americans? How can we acknowledge the atrocities that happened to the Native American at the hands of the Europeans settlers but yet justify the Jews "right" to take land, at all costs, because they "were there first" (3,000 years ago!).

How many people that believe that Israel should be given to the Jews would hand over their home to any Native American that said "Hey, I want it back." I doubt it... seriously. And even more than that, who wouldn't put up a fight and take weapons to protect themselves if this was a sweeping movement effecting their friends, family and neighbors?

It would make a large statement to the world if these two groups banded together to speak up about what is happening. I don't think many people who support the expansion of Israel really understand what human rights violations they are agreeing to. I think they are also forgetting about the Golden Rule.

So let's say, for argument's sake, that Israel should be inhabited by only Jews and this land needs to be "purified" of all other races and religions and this is God's wish. Are we doing this in a way that God would approve? Does the end justify the means? The infamous question - What would Jesus (pbuh) do? While Jesus surprised many with his answers to questions he was asked, I have great doubts he (pbuh) would say, "Well, anyone who won't move, bulldoze their home. It doesn't matter if they are sleeping in it at the time."

We are in a time of technology and engineering. We are constantly breaking records of the tallest building in the world... why do people have to move in order for others to inhabit the same city? Can't tall apartment buildings be built?

The answer is, what is happening is nothing short of ethnic cleansing. This is what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of the Europeans and we are living the United States, aware of our own history, and allowing it to happen to others. The bombs dropped on the civilians might as well have the stamp "Made in the USA." Is this what you, as an American, a human being, approve of?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Pens Have Been Lifted and the Pages Have Dried

On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, who said : One day I was behind the prophet and he said to me:

"Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried." Narrated Tirmidhi

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Knowing that we are tested throughout this life and that Allah tests those that He loves. It is through those tests that we can grow stronger and wiser. People simply don't make as much progress through times of ease.

He tests us with money, love, family, friends, abilities, etc. We learn as each one is taken away or reduced to be grateful for what we have. We learn to hold on to what we need, let go of what we don't, and delight in the small joys we are blessed with daily.

There are some of us who turn hard and cold from these trials. They shut down the piece of themselves that was hurt in order to prevent future pain. We fail to learn the lessons we needed to learn, and we fail to realize that a different part of our heart will be tested later. We aren't saving ourselves from future pain, but instead prisoning ourselves inside the past.

We must not trick ourselves into believing we are a victim of circumstance. Even in situations where we don't have control over what happens, we have control over how we REACT. In instances where we feel hurt from another, we must put ourselves in their shoes and understand their motivations and drive.

We can not wish to change another while resisting to look at the world through their eyes.

Take the time. Get to know what someone else understands. Know why they think the way they do. Take the time. Stop talking. Start listening.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge - Stephen Hawking

When there is not another person involved, we must accept what has been handed to us and accept that there is Wisdom in what has happened. Make the best out of it. Look forward. Look back only to evaluate and make adjustments so you can progress. Simply put - take time for yourself, but sulking is a waste of energy. Stand up. Move forward. Get on with life. Everyone else is.

What missed a servant could not have hit him and what hit him could not have missed him. - Imam Tahawi

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interpretations and Intentions

So, let's talk about this. The thing that upset some and completely offended others. The thing that caused backbiting and stress.

Caption: The difference between a covered and uncovered woman.

This picture can be taken in many different interpretations. What I find interesting is that it brings forward the preconceptions people have; it reveals what they assume within.

Hijab: assumed to be limited to the headcovering that Muslim women wear. Yes, the word, hijab, is typically used in this fashion as it makes it easy to describe and determine what you are talking about. The concept behind hijab is much more wide though, and should be understood correctly. Hijab is not only covering your hair, but covering your body shape and being modest in mind and action. Hijab in this sense is for both men and women. Anyone following one of the three Abrahamic religions will agree that modesty is a moral deeply valued.

As Muslims, we believe that modesty is a timeless value and does not change with the social norms. The dress code does not become more strict or lax when those around them change the way they dress. As such, we dress relatively the same as we did 1400 years ago. The cloth and colors and styles are different, yes, but the level of modesty remains the same. This is not true for all Muslims, but many Muslims do follow this, or have intention of reaching this level at some point, inshaAllah.

Does this mean that anyone who does not dress the same is considered immoral or immodest? NO

There are many women in this world that have the intention of dressing modestly. While we believe that the guidelines we follow are valuable for all people, we don't hold people who aren't Muslim to the same standards we hold. Heck, we don't hold others basically to any standard... who are we to make the measuring stick for the world's population to live up to?

So who or what does this picture refer to? It refers to those who place themselves on display intentionally and it refers to the unwanted attention people get when they are out and about. In no way is the intention behind showing this to the general public a secret way for me to degrade those who do not dress like me.

I welcome discussion and comments.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Opening...

1. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds
3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful
4. Master of the, Day of Judgment.
5. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
6. Show us the straight way.
7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray. [Qur'an, Surah (chapter) 1 in its entirety]

Right now, my mind is busy and I can't imagine sleeping. I think about these words, the Words of God, and how much they mean to me. I can't imagine sleeping as I'm distracted by all the things I want to say to so many different people, and these Words of God move me in this moment. I need to share. Then, maybe I can sleep, inshaAllah.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

With His name, I live. Although I'm just a simple human and I forget to begin even meaningful things in His name, it touches me each time I remember to do so consciously. I want it to remain conscious and not a habit I form and forget why I'm doing it. He allowed me another day to live and to repent for anything I wish. He allows me to breathe and talk to those close to me, learn, and he has given me ears to listen. Why don't I start with His name, the most beautiful names, more often?

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds

To Him is only where our praise should be directed. Who else would deserve praise when He gives us the faculties in order to do things that are praiseworthy in the first place? My heart finds rest knowing He is in control, and I praise this.

Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Who knows more mercy than the one who created mercy? He has given us mercy to use in our daily lives. Are we using it? How are we using it? We are in such need of His Mercy that it humbles me to think of how I could have ever thought that I was sufficient, or merciful on my own. I become low and stingy with my mercy towards others based on my current mood or situation. This shows my fleeting ability to give the mercy He has provided me.

Master of the, Day of Judgment.

I will meet my Master, Creator, Judge, Sustainer... I will be held accountable. And in those times that I feel like not giving mercy and grace, I must remember that I will be held accountable for this; and they will be held accountable for the reason I am feeling merciless. In the end, there is both justice and mercy and while I feel wronged, and can not sleep, I can rest knowing that this world is so fleeting and insignificant in terms of time. What can I do to make this life significant? To make the next life significant... in a positive way?

Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.

Who else? Who else can guide me when I feel so wronged and alone? It is only through recognizing our Creator for who He is and acting accordingly that we can live successful lives. When we recognize Him as the Creator of all that there is, it is only to Him that we can turn to in the darkest of times.

Show us the straight way.

We need His guidance. "I was once lost, but now am found", as the Bible says. A Buddhist monk said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." We ask that Allah shows us what it means to be found and shows us the correct way to look at the world, ourselves, and scripture. We ask that He gives us the guidance in the way that HE wants us to live our lives and the strength and courage to do so even in opposition.

The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray.

I ask Allah for specific guidance. To be of those who He has shown His Grace and to lead me to walk in their footsteps. People throughout time are not all that different. There are those who walk in the footsteps of the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them all) and those who tread their own path and lose the guidance and light from Allah. Please keep me from being of those who follow their own conjecture and inshaAllah (God-willing) stay with those that have the proof and guidance given by the one and only God, Allah subhana wa ta'ala (Glorious and Exalted is He)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't Touch Me With Your Religion

We live in a society today where everyone is free to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn't bother or interfere with another's life. This of course, can go under many interpretations. Many people would say that homosexuality isn't a big deal... but yet, they don't want to see them showing affection in public. The same goes for Muslims. Many will say that religion is a personal choice, but when it comes to women wearing the hijab (headscarf), this appears to impose on the American lifestyle or people feel it is necessary to "liberate" such women from this "oppression." The same opposition is shown when Muslims ask for breaks at work in order to pray.

The fact is, that we don't live in a rural society anymore, and we are going to step on each other's toes. We must look towards the middle path which means not accepting anything in order to not hurt anyone's feelings, nor should we distance ourselves from anyone different from ourselves. We are commanded to speak up, but we should choose our words carefully.

"Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success." [Qur'an 3:104]

And as the "different" ones, we can't hide our religion nor push it in anyone's face. Simply, we follow the guidelines of Islam in how to conduct our daily lives, and make accommodations when necessary. We can't please everyone, and it seems we are bound to upset some. How we handle that though can make the world of difference. We must be an active part in our societies and make positive difference and maybe this gap that seems so wide may become more narrow through time, education, care, and understanding.

Remember - you are not God. You don't know everything. Allow for others to speak and to give their voice respect. You may learn something.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Thoughts on the Gospels

I recently finished reading the Gospels in the Revised Standard Version Bible we have (thank you, thrift store for always having Bibles on sale!). I had read parts of the Bible and many parts in order as I had intentions on reading it cover to cover a number of times, but that was over 10 years ago now so I felt I needed to renew my knowledge of what Christians believe Jesus said. Now, I'm no expert and I still haven't gone back through my notes, highlighted passages and everything to bring it all together... so let's call this my rough draft of thoughts.

First, for those who aren't Muslim, I will explain the Muslim's belief in Jesus and the Bible. We believe that Jesus was a mighty messenger of God, one of the best sent to mankind. The books sent down from God, including the Gospel and the Torah, in its original form was the pure Word of God. We know that the original text does not exist today in its pure form and we know this from Bible scholars themselves. We believe that today's Bible that we have available has pieces of truth and wisdom, but since it has been changed by man throughout time, we do not accept the whole of it without question. With that said, we see passages that remain the same throughout time from the books of the Torah (from Moses), the Psalms (from David), and the Gospel (from Jesus, peace be upon them all) and we believe that these all point to the universal message God has sent since the beginning of time, so we point to these to illustrate what we know to be true.

Okay.... now to the meat of this!

Jesus is clear in his directive. He came to guide the lost sheep of Israel back to the worship of the One True God. He commonly shows his slavehood to God, the Father and refers to the fact that he was sent for God's purpose, not of his own. Yes, he does say that "I and the Father are one" [John 10:30], but he also refers to his disciples as one with him [John 17:22] and in fact, gives them the same power that God gave to Jesus. They are able to heal others and preach; not on their own, but through the power that Jesus gave to them through God, the Father. My question is, how come Jesus is considered divine, but the disciples are not? Especially if Jesus is considered God Himself, why would the relationship be different when the words he is using are the same?

Second, Jesus prayed to God. It doesn't make sense that Jesus would pray to himself nor that he would say "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" [Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34] He forsook himself?? Jesus continually preaches that with correct faith, his followers can do anything, including move mountains [Matthew 17:20]. Yet, when he prayed to God (himself?) to "take this cup from me" [Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42] regarding the Jews trying to persecute him, his prayer was not answered?

As a Muslim, we believe that Jesus was saved from the torture on the cross (his prayer was answered). How? We don't know, and that's okay. In my reading of the gospels, I feel this matches closer with the Gospel account than the crucifixion story we know today.

Jesus also instructed all of his followers to keep the commandments [John 14:15 and Matthew 19:17-21] and there is no record to show that he strayed from following the commandments himself. There are points where the Jews accused him of not keeping the Sabbath, but in each instance, Jesus uses this as a time to teach what the Sabbath is really about, and to correct their actions.

Some singular points to mention:
  • In John 3:16, the word "begotten" is not accurately translated. The original meaning of the Greek word "monogenes" is "unique" and is translated as such in different areas of the Bible.
  • This could be my own misunderstanding, but I didn't believe that high priests existed at the time of Jesus (priest is a very Christian terms, and they were Jews at the time), but the high priest prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation [John 11:51-52] and it sounds as if this is a new prophesy, especially considering that previous prophecies were stated specifically throughout the Gospels. However, a Christian once pointed out to me that Isaiah 53:5 points to the atonement of sins by Jesus as a prophecy. It just doesn't make sense that someone new would be making this claim of prophecy if it was known for quite some time.
  • A common response to those who say that Jesus never said to worship him is that people did worship him, and he did not stop them. Again, when we look at the meaning of the Greek word "prosekunesan" that is translated to "worship", it literally means "to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand" and has the general meaning of "bow, crouch, crawl, kneel or prostrate." This type of reverence was common in that time, especially to a leader in the land or community.
  • Lastly, the stark contrasts in varying events in the Gospel are concerning, but this is a large topic on its own.
Overall, the Gospels are overwhelmingly the same message that Islam teaches and solidifies my faith in knowing I am following the path that God has laid down for us since the beginning of time. It is through the works of Paul that the message gets distorted to something that Jesus would say "I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.' [Matthew 7:21-23]

Peace and blessings to all. This is not to throw stones at anyone personally.... it is only to share my findings when searching on my journey of faith.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Before You Judge

Before you think about others actions, think about their situations
Before you assume you know something about another person, think about what could be hidden.

What about the girl who got all the guys?
Did you ever think she was taught she was worth nothing more than that attention?

What about the guy who does steroids to stay in sports?
Did you ever think his dad only said he was proud when he did well in sports?
Did you ever think his only safe haven was at school and he stayed in sports to run away?

Did you ever think that there may be an explanation that could bring grace to your judgment?

What about the young girl who has sex with her boyfriends?
Did you ever think she wasn't ever taught there was a better way?
Did you ever think her parents expected her to do it?
Did you ever think she was only taught that this was the way to get attention?
...Where's the judgment on the guy?

What about the kid who sells drugs at school?
Did you ever think their parents were providing it?
Did you ever think it was helping to pay the mortgage?

What about the kid with bad grades?
Did you ever think they gave up because their parents told them they would fail?
Did you ever think they were working two jobs to help pay the bills?

What about the mom with kids from many different dads?
Did you ever think she loved the fathers each at some point?
Did you ever think she was trying to find her love?
... Did you ever think she was doing the best she knew how?

Even a 12 year old gets the idea of drinking away the pain... it is in the media... it is in the home.
What else did you expect?