Posts

Why We Shouldn’t Take Christian Miracles at Face Value

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I keep reading about miraculous events happening in the support of Christianity. It seems that every time Christians are down miraculous interventions come into play and they are saved. The first crusade, Joan of Arc are examples of this. My faith is wavering because of this. What can I do?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. There is no need to be afraid for asking such questions. One must clear doubts in order to grow firmer in the religion.

Basis of religion

The basis of religion is Divine revelation and not the temporal events of this world or historical interpretations, no matter how extraordinary the events may seem to one. To doubt one’s faith in Islam because of historical accounts is like equating the eternal facts of the Qur’an with the information found in history books and current news reports.

When one views their faith through world events, their faith is open to misgivings, but when one views world events through faith, faith is reinforced.

Win or lose, miracle or fraud, none of these temporal events have any bearing on the statement ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’.

To prefer Christianity over Islam because of the events described in the question necessarily means one rejects the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad as the final revelation and Messenger. It also entails acceptance of every other point of Christian belief, the most objectionable being the concept of the Trinity.

Historical ‘Facts’

History books are man-written, not divine revelation, and they often function as political spin doctors in literary form.

The American Historian Carl Becker stated, ‘All historical writing, even the most honest, is unconsciously subjective, since every age is bound, in spite of itself, to make the dead perform whatever tricks it finds necessary for its own peace of mind.’ [The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers]

What this means is that history can be written (or re-written), and often embellished, according to the purpose it needs to serve. In other words, used as propaganda, whether for good or bad motives.

Christian historians may well claim that such events were inspired by supernatural phenomena, but they do not constitute as facts.

Time does not allow us to counter argue all the examples mentioned in the question, however, without exception, all of the examples are certainly open for critique. Critical analysis of not only historical events is needed, but also of those who recorded such events.

Even if one accepted such phenomena, we may say that if it was before Islam, such as the ‘vision’ of Constantine on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, then it does not have any bearing on Islamic history, and if after Islam, then we have the words of Allah Most High, ‘He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.’ [30:5].

Alexander the Great ruled a vast empire, yet he was an idol worshipper. The Anti-Christ will be given power over much of the earth and perform supernatural phenomena, yet he is the enemy of all believers.

Allah Most High has not made worldly victories or miraculous visions as the benchmark for validity of religion. Victory in this world does not equal victory in the next world. Nor do apparent or even real miracles prove anything. Who knows what Allah intends for that person through such vision or feats? In truth, scholars place little emphasis on miracles and visions.

Reading History

When reading History, it is important not to focus on singular events alone, but rather, as time unfolded, to observe what transpired in the long term.

You mentioned Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years’ War, and the vision of the Crusaders at Antioch. Even if we limit our understanding to history books, and even if the singular events were true, what does history tell us of the final outcome of these wars? Who were the ultimate victors? What happened to these people in the very end?

We should also remember, that for us, mankind’s history is not yet finished. In regards God, there is no such thing as history, for time and sequence of events do not exist for the One who created Time. Therefore, all that we require is the promise of Allah.

Miracles and Victories at the hands of Muslims

There were countless numbers of miracles performed, and victories won, in Islamic history and after the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

One only needs to read the biographies of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the lives of the great Companions and about many other expeditions, miraculous happenings, as well the unparalleled military strategists and courageous warriors that we find throughout Islamic History. Not all miracles have to be supernatural and obvious. Khalid bin Walid, Nusayba bint ka’ab, and Salahuddin al Ayyubi among others maybe particular of interest to you.

Throughout history, and to this very day, miracles happen to the saints of Allah, whether one knows about them or not, and are far more profound than simply the winning of wars and occupation of lands.

I recommend that you turn your attentions to reading Islamic History. Reading general history is very beneficial, however one must only do so if one is able to read widely, critically, and has the ability to cross-reference, as well as a firm footing in their own faith.

Until then, it would be better to take a break from reading such books. Most importantly, I would urge you to increase your daily reading of the Qur’an and its meaning.

May Allah give you firm faith in Islam and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Lessons from the Life of Prophet Jesus, by Habib Ali Al-Jifri

“Between me and him, there is no other prophet” – saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them both

Habib Ali al-Jifri spoke as part of the Muhammed: Master of Change campaign organised by the Radical Middle Way in the United Kingdom. Habib Ali visiting nine cities in 10 days, including St. Philip’s Centre, a Church in the city of Leicester that is well renowned for its extensive interfaith work and which is located next to a mosque names after Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. The lecture was on the lessons to be learnt from the life of the Prophet Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, on being a good neighbor and fostering co-existence.

Translation by Sidi Wael Zubi.

On the mass murder of Coptic Christians by ISIS

As-Salaam Alaikum,

When murder becomes an end, in and of itself, all principles are cast aside. The fact that the Prophet Muhammad (Blessing and peace of Almighty God upon him) severely condemned Usama bin Zayd, when he killed a captive who had pronounced the Muslim Declaration of Faith (Shahadah), is meaningless to the shot-callers of ISIS when they decided to murder Abdur Rahman Kassig, a captive aid worker who had uttered the Shahadah. Where are we to place their actions in light of the Prophet’s (Blessings and Peace of Almighty God upon him) condemnation of Usama?

The mass murder of randomly kidnapped Coptic Christians by ISIS demands that we ask a similar question. Where do we place their actions in light of the Prophet’s (Blessings and Peace of Almighty God upon him) covenant of protection to the Christian nation. He dictates in the Achtiname, a document cherished by the Christian monks in the Sinai who carefully guard its replica, a reminder to the mass murders of ISIS, or anyone contemplating joining their ill-fated ranks:

“This is a letter which was issued by Mohammed, Ibn Abdullah, the Messenger, the Prophet, the Faithful, who is sent to all the people as a trust on the part of God to all His creatures, that they may have no plea against God hereafter. Verily God is the Mighty, the Wise. This letter is directed to the embracers of Islam, as a covenant given to the followers of Nazarene in the East and West, the far and near, the Arabs and foreigners, the known and the unknown. This letter contains the oath given unto them, and he who disobeys that which is therein will be considered a disobeyer and a transgressor to that whereunto he is commanded. He will be regarded as one who has corrupted the oath of God, disbelieved His Testament, rejected His Authority, despised His Religion, and made himself deserving of His Curse, whether he is a Sultan or any other believer of Islam.” Translated by Anton Haddad.

Contrary to the image of our religion being put forward by warmongering murderers, both those who hate Islam and those claiming to be its adherents, Islam is dedicated to helping and assisting the weak and helpless, not using them in sadistic pornographic propaganda films, which, by the way, it is absolutely forbidden to view. We conclude with what should be chilling words to the henchmen of ISIS. The Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and Peace of Almighty God upon him) declared, “Whosoever murders an innocent person whose life is to be protected will not smell the fragrance of Paradise, and its fragrance can be found at a distance of forty years (Bukhari).”

Imam Zaid Shakir
Originally published here

 

Resources for Seekers:

 

Did Christians Originally Gather for Worship on Saturday or Sunday?

Answered by Ustadh Ali Ataie

Question: assalamu alaykum

As we can see in history the original day of worship for Christians was a Saturday up until the year 538A.D when the roman ruler Constantine changed it to Sunday. In the hadith posted below it says Allah made the day of worship for Christians Sunday when in fact history shows that it was the ruler Constantine who made this rule. Can you explain this?

Sahih Muslim Hadith 1862 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and Hudhayfah
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: ‘It was Friday from which Allah diverted those (nations) who were before us. For the Jews (the day set aside for prayer) was Saturday, and for the Christians it was Sunday. And Allah turned towards us and guided us to Friday (as the day of Remembrance and Prayer) for us. In fact, He (Allah) made Friday, Saturday and Sunday (as days of prayer). In this order would they (Jews and Christians) come after us on the Day of Resurrection. We are the last of (the Ummah) among the people in this world and the first among the created to be judged on the Day of Resurrection.’

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I hope you are well insha’Allah.

The original Christians, referred to as the Notzrim by the rabbinical council at Yavneh (2nd c. CE) in their Birkat HaMinim, were Torah-abiding sons and daughters of Israel who appeared to have revered the Sabbath (Saturday; yawm shabbat) as a day of remembering God – although there is evidence that their practice of the Mosaic laws and commandments may have been slightly ameliorated by the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). The Notzrim (Nazarenes; Nasara) may have even also gathered on Sunday for communal worship – perhaps to commemorate the coming of Jesus Christ in some way. The Didache (1st c CE), an early Jewish-Christian treatise, mentions that the disciples of Jesus met on Sunday to give thanks to God and there is no mention of Jesus’s apparent resurrection or “redeeming blood” anywhere in the text. This was simply to give thanks.

The other strand of “Christianity” at this time, spearheaded by Paul and his congregations, laid almost complete emphasis on the apparent death of Christ on Friday and his subsequent resurrection from the dead – on Sunday. Acts 20:7 as well as 1 Corinthians 16:2 indicate that Pauline Christians met on Sunday, “the first day of the week,” for communal worship. Pauline Christianity (also known as proto-orthodoxy) was eventually adopted by the Roman Empire upon Constantine’s conversion around 318 CE. Thus Christianity today is by and large Pauline.

Therefore, the vast majority of Christians before Constantine gathered together on Sunday to either worship God in praise of resurrecting Jesus from the dead or to praise and thank God for sending Jesus Christ as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. In 321 CE (not 538 as you suggested), Constantine declared, “On the venerable day of the sun, let all the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest.” He wanted to make Sunday a day of rest for the Roman Empire in order to agree with what the Christians were already doing for nearly three centuries.

The Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) spoke the absolute truth in the hadith you quoted; both strands of early Christianity, the Notzrim as well as the Paulists, gathered in congregation to worship and give thanks on Sunday long before Constantine’s imperial edict. And Allah knows best…,,,,,,ll

Does the Qur’an Affirm the Validity of Practicing Judaism and Christianity?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I have been told since childhood that the only religion that is accepted is Islam and I did some research online and I saw the verse “And whoever seeks religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (3:85).”

So I would like to understand the below verse properly and not be confused. Could you please help me understand this matter the right way.

Verily, those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians (Sabi’in), whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Baqarah]

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

The basis when it comes to understanding such verses is to do so in a reconcilable manner and not a contradictory one.

There are numerous verses and prophetic narrations that clearly establish that the only religion acceptable with Allah is Islam. One such verse is the one mentioned in the question, namely, “Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam will never have it accepted from him, and shall be of those who have truly failed in the next life.” (3:85) Another verse states, “Indeed the true religion with Allah is Islam.” (3:19)

This meaning is reaffirmed by the statement of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), “By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, any person of this Community, any Jew, or any Christian who hears of me and dies without believing in what I have been sent with will be an inhabitant of hell.” [Muslim]

Based on the above and similar proof-texts, the consensus of Islamic scholarship is that the concept of the universal validity of religions is a heterodox belief that has little proof in the primary texts of this tradition.

The Verse of Surah Baqarah

The verse cited in the question regarding Jews, Christians, and Sabians who believe in Allah, the last day, and perform righteous deeds being rewarded in the next life does not contradict the above consensus. Nor was this verse ever seen by the scholars of the Islamic religion as entertaining the possibility that these other religions shared the validity and acceptance assigned by Allah to the Islamic faith.

Rather, this verse refers to:

a. Those Jews, Christians, and Sabians who followed their religion in their pure, unadulterated forms before the advent of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

b. Those Jews, Christians, and Sabians who enter into Islam and correct belief as the verse can be +understood as having a conditional clause in the phrase “those who believe (man amana)…” for which the subsequent statement of “shall have their reward” is conditioned upon. In other words, “if and when they believe… they shall have their reward.”

Both these meanings are also supported by the context of the verse, which comes after a lengthy narrating of the misdeeds of certain of the Children of Israel (banu israil). After enumerating some of these misdeeds, Allah reassures the reader through the verse in question that those among the previous faiths who had faith will not go unrewarded, and such people should have hope that they will be saved if they accept the true religion.

[`Alusi, Ruh al-Ma`ani; Ibn Ashur, tahrir al-Tanwir]

Other Religions & Salvation

While we deem Islam to be the only true religion, it needs to be kept in mind that divine amnesty may apply to even those who were not on the Islamic faith. This is not because such faiths are valid, but because of Allah’s mercy encompasses those who were ignorant of the Islamic message.

This is conveyed in the statement of the Qur’an, “We do not punish until We send a Messenger.” (17:15) For more details on this, you should refer to Shaykh Nuh Kellers article on the issues, which can be found here:

On the validity of all religions in the thought of ibn Al-‘Arabi and Emir ‘Abd al-Qadir: a letter to `Abd al-Matin

Lastly, as Muslims, it is our duty to look at non-Muslims with mercy, kindness, and desiring for them the best of both this world and the next in terms of salvation and the attainment of God’s pleasure. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “None of you truly believe until he loves for his brother what he loves himself.” [Bukhari, Muslim] This was interpreted by Imam Nawawi and others as referring to the brotherhood all humans share on account of being the progeny of Adam.

People of other faiths are part and parcel of the societies we live in. They are neighbors, work colleagues, and relatives. We do not look down on them and nor do we make the belief that Islam is the true path an excuse to shun them. Rather, we aspire to implement the prophetic statement that religion is nothing but sincere counsel and seeking to spread the good.

Salman