a muslim who had not studied the Quran to any great degree
and was recently converted by missionaries to Christianity.
I asked him why he believed one book rather than another,
the Bible rather than the Quran, and why he converted seeing
that Islam already contained all the teachings contained in
Christianity and much more besides. He said that he did not
know this and since no muslim had told him so, he did not
think this was correct. So, I showed him from the Quran that
this was indeed so. (This is shown in the series of 25 aricles
entitled "Another View of Islam" which have been posted on
this site) He seemed surprised also that Jesus was accepted
in Islam and about what the Quran said about him.
After a little thought he said in triumph :- "The difference
is this:- [f one accepts Christ as the son of God and as one's
saviour then one's sins are forgiven. This is the only way
one can enter heaven. God so loved mankind that He sent his
Son to die for us. There is nothing like this in Islam."
I asked him whether he believed the Quran that God was compassionate,
merciful and forgiving? He did. Did God send His Prophets
and scriptures to guide man? Does this show His love? The
answer was Yes. Does the New Testament say that Jesus was
the Word of God? Yes. Does this refer to his body or to what
it carries? No, not his body. Do other genuine Prophets carry
the Word of God? Yes. Would God be Just to all mankind if
He guided only the Jews for whom Jesus came and
ignored all others? What about all the peoples of the Past
and elsewhere in the world? Do not all Prophets represent
God by conveying His Word? Is not the same thing said about
"Say (O Muhammad) to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me:
Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving,
Merciful." 3:31 "And obey Allah and the Messenger that you
may find mercy." 3:132 "We sent thee not save as a mercy for
the peoples." 21:107
difference between Christianity and Islam is only this that
Christianity puts its attention on Jesus alone, while Islam
is Universal and recognises all Prophets. Whereas Islam builds
faith, it becomes necessary, in order to convert muslims,
to destroy their faith.
To illustrate the point further :- "When Abraham said: My
Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: Do
you not believe? Abraham said: Yes, but I ask in order that
my heart may understand. His Lord said: Take four of the birds
and cause them to incline unto (or love) thee, then place
each of them on a hill, then call them. They will come to
thee in haste. And know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. The like
of those who spend their substance in Allah's way is as the
likeness of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a
hundred grains. Allah gives increase manifold to whom He will.
Allah is All-embracing, All-knowing." 2:260-261
It seems, therefore, that resurrection refers to the return
to God of those in whose heart there is love of God, a love
induced by God himself. It is love which causes people to
obey him and God bestows His bounties on those He loves.
Christianity tries to induce this love by the doctrine (not
taught by Jesus) that God sacrificed His own son, Jesus and
that Jesus was willing to sacrifice his life for the love
of man. This also induces a guilt feeling in that the death
of Jesus was the result of the sins which are to be found
in all men.
two impulses are then expected to transform the life of the
individual. This sometimes works. The problem is that this
doctrine distorts the concept of God, and also damages the
rational faculty. To make the sacrifice effective, Jesus,
the messenger, has to be deified and then, in order to retain
monotheism, a trinitarian doctrine had to be invented. (Jesus
having died and returned to Heaven, the Holy Ghost has to
be a third partner). But the doctrine also requires the resurrection
of Jesus which nullifies the sacrifice. Nor does it seem reasonable
to say that God is unable to forgive without the sacrifice
which He has Himself instituted as a means to forgiveness.
Perhaps this kind of dramatisation was necessary at one time
or for certain people in order to accentuate the message.
clearly in a more rational age this method had to be superceded.
Love of God can be induced much more directly by the knowledge
that we obtain all things from God and that He in His love
sent messengers to guide us, and these were willing to devote
their lives to their mission and undergo the hardships which
this entailed. (Sacrifice does not necessarily mean death.
Note that the sacrifice Abraham made did not entail the death
of his son.) It remains true that one obtains forgiveness
by accepting the messenger (not only Jesus) as a representative
of God and obeying the message he brings.
This person, after some struggle with himself and the missionaries,
returned to Islam. Perhaps "return" is the wrong word as he
did not really know Islam before.