Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Debate with a Priest (4) – Few Questions about Islam..

After a break of few months of communications between me and the priest, I received the following message from him:


Hello, Abdallah

I hope all is well with you. You may or may not remember be. We'd talked before on the comments section. I am not sending this email because of the previous conversation we had, but for personal reasons. I know that (forgive me if my understanding is incorrect), technically, Muslims are not supposed to converse much with Non-Muslims, particularly Christians or Jews, however, I understand that it depends on the person, so again, forgive me if I am incorrect in my assumption.

I had hoped to email you for this reason: though we may disagree about great many things, I have been trying to learn what I could about the different world religions and denominations.
Recently I'd covered Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Amish and Mennonites, Sikhism, and the one I have studied the most and read (and own) the most books on is Islam. It is not that I misunderstand Islam, and indeed I have learned more about it since you and I have last talked, so my understanding is a bit clearer, but at the same time, there are things I have been curious about, and just like, if you had a question about Christians it may be best to ask a Christian, the only Muslim I know (who, last I'd checked, was rather passionate about his beliefs, much like I am with Christianity), is you.

I'd looked for your page but could not find it, so after searching through sent emails, I found this email address - I hope and pray it is still valid. I hope it is alright, Abdallah, but I had a few questions about Islam. I have not worded the questions to make you question anything nor do I seek to start a debate at the moment, I merely seek information, I suppose. So without further ado, here are a few of my questions:

What do you know/can you tell me about the Muslim view of the End Times?
What is a (brief) history of the Qu'ran, and has it been accurately preserved?
Can you refer me to any particular passages in the Qu'ran that you believe would be worth intensive study? (I understand that the entire book is worth study, which is why I have a copy and have been reading it, but it is a bit like someone asking me about the Life of Christ in the New Testament - I would refer them to particular passages. I suppose I am curious if there is anything you think I should know for certain).
Also, though this kind of ties in with the first question - what do you know about the Mahdi?

Only an honest seeker asking honest questions, Abdallah. I hope my questions are not too lofty or unspecific. I have other questions of course, but I am seeking to learn about Islam, it will not be going away, and unlike many others who live in America that I know, I intend to learn about it. I appreciate any information you can give me, sir, and if you have any questions for me, no problem. I do enjoy intellectual conversation, but I am not attempting to get into a debate, merely a discussion about Islam in general. Thanks again, take care, and may God bless you!
*Note: The copy of the Qu'ran that I have is from Penguin Classics, translated in English by N.J. Dawood, 11th Edition Revised. So when the name "Allah" appears, "God" is there.
When "Isa" appears, "Jesus" has been translated. Likewise with Mary, Abraham, Iblis, and others. I do have a digital copy of the Qu'ran translated in English - with the Arabic names/titles kept, but I tend to take more notes from the literal English translation. Not entirely a reason for bringing it up, just thought it may be detrimental to certain things. Appreciate it!


Abdallah Reply:

My Friend,

I can’t describe how happy I am by getting your message, I thank ALLAH for this first, then I thank you too.

I will try to answer your questions as much as I can, but please note that Islam is kind a new world, unlimited ocean of marvelous knowledge, every time you read about it you will learn something new.

1- About arguing with non-muslims,

We Muslims are NOT forbidden to argue with non-muslims, but the inverse is true, ALLAH commands us to argue with non-muslims trying to convince them logically, Almighty God Says:
Invite (mankind, O Muhammad SAW) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur'ân) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided. (16:125)

Say (O Muhammad SAW): "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allâh (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allâh. Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims." (3:64)

And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islâmic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilâh (God) and your Ilâh (God) is One (i.e. Allâh), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims)." (29:46)

2- What do you know/can you tell me about the Muslim view of the End Times?

End times will be series of events that will affect the whole world, starting by the following and in the same order:

  • Jews return to Palestine and have their second state there..
  • Mahdi appearance and uniting all Muslims..
  • Anti-Christ trying to control all the world and fighting the muslims
  • Jesus descending for his second return to destroy the Anti-Christ.
  • The appearance of Gog & Magog and their destruction.
  • Filling the world with happiness and peace till Jesus death..
  • Continuing the world in peace and harmony till the Hour becomes very close.
  • Forgetting of religion, people will go astray again and ignore all about Islam.
  • The Hour comes, and the horn is blown and the death of all creatures.
  • The second blow of horn, and the resurrection of all creations for the Day of Judgment. 
  • All what we know that the first sign had appeared now and the next will be following, no one knows exactly when each will appear, and we don’t need to worry about that now, during that days ALLAH will support the believers by strength and faith thus we can handle such great events, it’s enough that Jesus (PBUH) will be with us…

3- What do you know about the Mahdi?

Mahdi, will be one of the Prophet Muhammad descendants, he will be one of good muslim leaders who will gather muslims around him during the start of “end Times” events, especially the anti-Christ appearance, he will stay for 7 years, where on his last year Jesus will return back to lead the muslims against the Anti-Christ.

4- What is a (brief) history of the Qu'ran, and has it been accurately preserved?

Quran is the most authentic book of God on Earth, it was written on the day of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on separated sheets, and after he dictated it to his followers he asked them to repeat what they wrote, to confirm that they wrote it correctly, and he ordered them to sort it in the same current order.

After his death, the first Caliph Abu Baker ordered to collect all these sheets in one and kept them in one of prophet’s wives house, then when Arab used the paper for the first time during the 3rd Caliph Othman, he ordered to copy 5 original copies of these sheets and distribute them on all muslims regions, where all other Quran books were copied from these 5 originals, 3 of these original copies are still kept in Islamic museums in Cairo, Tashqand, Istanbul.
In addition to the above, ALLAH promised in Quran that he will preserve it till the end times, he says:

Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption) (15: 9)

Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur'ân, O Muhammad SAW) to make haste therewith. (16) It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad SAW) the ability to recite it (the Qur'ân), (75: 17)

5- Can you refer me to any particular passages in the Qu'ran that you believe would be worth intensive study?

I can advise you by the following:

Chapter 3: Al-Emran, verses 33-58, birth of John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ.
Chapter 4: An-nisaa, verses 150 – 175, Christian doctrine, Trinity, Jesus
Chapter 5: Al-maeda, verses 12-32, Christian doctrine, Adam’s children, Verses 70- 86, Christian doctrine, verses 109-120, the Last Super, Jesus questioned by God on the day of Judgment.
Chapter 7: Al- Aarraf: Stories of Prophets, starting by Adam story.
Chapter 11: Hud, Stories of prophets, starting by Noah story.
Chapter 12: Joseph, the same story of Joseph in Old Testament but with some more details.
Chapter 14: Ibrahim, especially when he left Ishmael with his mother in the desert and his prayer to God.
Chapter 19: Maryam, story of Mary and his son “Jesus” birth
Chapter 20: Taha, story of Mosses with the Pharaoh

About Quran,
You can refer to the following sites :
http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/ where it has many English translation, choose from top right corner the translation of : Eng – Dr. Mohsin, and from top left corner the chapter that you want to read, it’s in modern English and I think it will be more understandable.

The most important during your research that you know your God, ask him, pray to him, NOT Jesus but the God of Jesus, pray to him similar to when Jesus had prayed and asked his God with passion : “

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Mathew 26:39.

So, pray to him when you are alone, and ask him:

O Mighty God, O my Lord, O my Creator,
O the God of Jesus, Mosses and Ibrahim.
I ask you alone without any partner with you..
Guide me to you, Guide me to the right way to you..
And you are the Lord, the most merciful,

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