The Sacred and the Secular: Promoting Muslim Democracy

June 2nd, 2011, by Asef Bayat   Asef Bayat Urbana-Champaign, Illinois The presence of religion in public space challenges our ideas about the roles of faith in our lives and politics. Over the last centuries, proponents of secularization have claimed that as societies modernize, the role of religion in public and private life diminishes. For […]

War or Reconciliation (Part 3)

Skye Jethani Response to Hirsi Ali: Why Evangelicals Must Defend Muslims  Published @ Huff Post – Column on Religion/ Islam on 12th March 2012 Some Christians get excited when they discover that I’m half Indian or that I studied Islam in college. They’ll sometimes ask me to talk about how Christianity compares to other faiths. […]

My Story – World Christianity and Thanksgiving Day

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Shaded relief Map of the Mediterranean Sea – and its Basin and Landforms Professor Lamin Sanneh and World Christianity Four days before the North American Thanksgiving Day, I finished reading The Christian Movement in Islamic Perspective, chapter two of Professor Lamin Sanneh’s book, Disciples of All Nations – Pillars of World Christianity. I could not […]

Apostasy in Malaysia: The hidden view

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By Joshua Woo Published in National University of Australia – New Mandala website on November 10th, 2011 The two banners displayed at the Shah Alam Stadium during the Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Gathering of a million faithful) assembly on 22 October 2011 read “Say no to apostasy, don’t challenge the position of Islam” and “Together let’s […]

Freedom of faith for Malaysian Malays

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By: Norani Abu Bakar Published in: New Mandala – National University of Australia; re-posted Malaysia Today; Center for Policy Initiatives, etc. Date: 17th November 2011 Although Joshua Woo Sze Zeng’s “Apostasy in Malaysia: The Hidden View,” has showcased the scholarship of some renowned Muslim scholars and leaders, their perspective continues to be “hidden” to the […]

Reflection – Whose God is Allah?

Allah Around the Globe – Egypt, USA, Indonesia, China and  Malaysia

In the 21st century, the word “Allah” means differently to different people across the globe. Some zealously fight for the exclusivity of the word while others trumpet that Allah draws human beings to a common denominator: God. As I lived in different countries and met people of diverse background, I found that the definition of Allah to individuals interjects the richness of their background to the landscape of the discourse and faith traditions. Unfortunately, it also sparks hostility and violence. Who is Allah to the regional Muslims and non-Muslims across the globe?

 Allah in Cairo, Egypt

 A few weeks before leaving for Egypt, one of my professors at Yale Divinity School (YDS), a visiting Professor of the Middle East & Islamic Studies from Egypt, gave us a crash course on the culture of the Egyptians. “Please say ‘inshallah’ to humbly acknowledge God’s will and intervention in all things you do in your conversation with every Egyptian. The Egyptians, the Muslims and Christians use the word Allah for God,” she said. I thought to myself, “this is going to be another great adventure.”

The day came when we finally left the JFK Airport, New York.  It was on the 25th of January, 2011, the first day of the protest at the Tahrir Square that later escalated to the unprecedented Arab Spring. While chatting with the Al-Azhar officers and Professor Joseph Cumming who met us at the Cairo airport the following day, I heard the ‘azan’ from the minaret calling out ‘Allahuakbar.’ I discovered myself feeling at home. My heart echoed the azan into a meditation, ‘God is great.’ When I started to feel connected with the local community through the azan, my North American classmates were also enjoying saying ‘alhamdulillah’ and ‘mashallah,’ two important vernacular words they began to learn to use.

Unfortunately, the instability due to the protest shortened the program. When we boarded onto the chartered plane that MEDEX and Yale University arranged for our evacuation, I had mixed feeling in saying goodbye to Cairo. I could not imagine saying ‘alhamdulillah’ when I knew my newly acquainted Egyptian community was experiencing turbulent period. Nevertheless, like everyone else who clapped their hands as the plane took off, I was glad to leave Egypt as our departure will reduce the burden that was faced by the al-Azhar University. A deep regret seeped through my heart for not completing my last semester there.

In June 13th 2011 about six months later, Dr. David Shenk, one of the two authors of the book ‘A Muslim and A Christian in Dialogue’ and his wife Grace, gave me a copy of the first publication of this book in Arabic language. The gift was a pleasant surprise. Why? Because, in the midst of the protest in Cairo, Shenk had this book launched by the al-Azhar University and a few of the prominent Muslim and Christian leaders in Cairo. The foreword was written by the mufti of Egypt indicating the endorsement of the Sunni theology school on what he wrote about Allah, i.e. “God has revealed himself to the prophet Abraham as Elohim or Allah, which is translated God Almighty” and with a footnote “Elohim and Allah derive from the same Semitic root El.” 

I smiled. The YDS group did not even had the opportunity to enter the university compound due to the curfew, but Shenk at his age was successful to build peace in the midst of the chaos. And through his book, one can be affirmed that the Sunni scholars from this oldest university in the world agree that Allah is a Semitic word and hence, I interpreted their agreement that Allah is not exclusive for the Muslims.

Allah at Yale University

My evangelical classmate was uneased when I replied ‘Inshallah’ to what he said. I meant ‘God Willing!’ and my respond was followed by an interesting and a short polemical discussion. “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name will smell as sweet?” Shakespear – that was what I felt about the word like Allah, Tuhan, Gott, Shen () or zhŭ  ().These are generic words that denote God.

The non-Muslims Arab had used Allah long before the founding of Islam in the 7th century. Surah an-Najm 53:19, which mentioned the ‘sons of Allah’ (as pantheon gods) Uzza, Allat and the third goddess Manat evidenced that ‘Allah’ was connoted for God: monotheist and non-monotheist and the word was used widely by the Meccans prior to the birth of Prophet Muhammad. In the Bible, the presence of the Arabs were recorded as early as in Joshua’s period (Joshua 15:52) and some scholars estimated this to happen around 1250 BCE. If the Arabic language had been formed back then, Allah would have probably been used about 1880 years before Islam was founded.    

Professor Miroslav Volf of Yale Center for Faith and Culture, in his latest book ‘Allah – A Christian Response,’ refuted Pat Robertson’s statement that Allah is ‘the moon God of Mecca’ in what Miroslav called, ‘an attempt to promote clashes’ among the worlds’ biggest religious adherents. Instead, Volf purported towards the overlapping of the worship of One God or ‘Allah,’ whom Muslims and Christians understand in partly different ways. The surah which I quoted earlier however did mention that Allah was also used to denote pantheon gods. This also means that the Quran itself affirms that Allah is not exclusive to denoting monotheist God, in this context, the God of the Jewish, Christians and Muslims.

Allah among the Indonesians

All Indonesians use the word ‘Allah’ to denote God.

When I did my undergraduate degree in Canada, my housemate, Kristina who is a Catholic must have used the word Allah all the time. Somehow, I cannot recapture this at all. With regard to her faith tradition and practices, I can only recall her cooking Indonesian food in one ‘Hari Natal’ or ‘Christmas Day.’ She cooked our delicacy: rendang, lontong, satay and kuah kacang. The dishes she cooked reminded me of Idil Fitri. How can someone that had a similar culture like mine, who ate the same traditional food, and spoke almost the same language be a Christian? I had never encountered this in my home country.

I somehow also thought that Kristina worshiped three gods: the Father, the Son and Mary. So I was never interested to ask her much on her faith. Worshiping three gods was definitely a ‘no no’ for me. The common denominator for conversation was our assignments. We were the only two female students specializing in nuclear power plant in the chemical engineering department at our university and Kristina was in the dean’s list. She was my unofficial tutor and I confessed that I abused the extra time I gained as a result of her kind help on my studies by squeezing more time for a fun social life. My retrospect on my undergraduate life evidenced my school work and social life as my ‘Allah.’ They were the idols in my life.

A decade later in Shanghai, I looked at my Indonesian house mate’s worship DVD cover and found the song lyrics used the word Allah significantly. It was the first time I ever heard Christian worship songs in Indonesian, a language similar to my mother tongue. I felt awkward to hear how ‘Allah’ and ‘Yesus’ were interchanged in the lyrics. This rooming experience opened door to engaging and mutually respecting conversation on faith. For the first time, I understood that even though my Catholic housemate revered Mary, she worshiped the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: a One Trinity God and not three gods. I found that rather intriguing. What a mystery!

My understanding on the use of Allah among the Indonesians was expanded when my Indonesian language professor at Yale, Professor Sukmono, invited me to practice my Indonesian language by sharing at an Indonesian community gathering. My discovery made me smile, ‘what is the difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim from Indonesia?’ The answer is, in the ‘way they pronounce Allah.’ The Muslim Indonesians utter the word ‘Allah’ like the Arab word pronunciation, with the the front part of the tongue at the back part of the teeth. While most of the Christians pronounce the world ‘laam’ or ‘ل’ in the word Allah simply like the pronunciation of the word ‘L’ in English.

Allah in Shanghai, China

My previous local business partner in Shanghai, Madam Tzu, is a Muslim. I asked her once how the Chinese Muslims called God. I was expecting her to say ‘Allah’ and was curious on her pronunciation of the word. But her reply was zhēn zhŭ,’ (真主).Zhēn‘ means genuine while ‘zhŭ‘ means God.

Interestingly in China, only the Muslims use the word ‘Genuine God’ while other faith adherents use ‘zhŭ,’ without the word ‘zhēn.’ The word ‘Genuine God’ is widely accepted and used in the writings and publications to denote the Chinese Muslims’ God. The word ān lā‘ (安拉) or Allah is used exclusively only when referring to the Arabic name for God. The problem with using the term ‘Genuine God’ is that when the Muslims embrace other faith, the word God that is used within their new faith community is simply ‘God’ and no longer the ‘Genuine God.’ The ‘downgrading’ and the ‘upgrading’ of the term that happens when the denotation for ‘God’ is interchanged as one crosses Islamic faith is a unique China spiritual experience. Only the native Chinese speakers can articulately express how such memory of verbal communication impacts their new spiritual lives.  

Allah in Malaysia

Malaysia has the most interesting scene with regard to the use of the word Allah. On 8th January, 2010, online Times news headline reported “Can Christians say ‘Allah’? In Malaysia, Muslims say no.” As a Malaysian, I cannot help from sighing every time I read news on this conflict.  

In 2007, the word Allah was prohibited by the Malaysian Home Ministry from being used in the Christians worship and the non-Muslim publication, such as the Catholic weekly Herald. The Muslims use Allah to denote God and having the word used by other faith adherents created confusion and tension among some of them. In October 2009, Malaysian authorities seized 20,000 bibles that contained the word Allah.

When Judge Lau Bee Lan of Malaysia’s high Court announced that Allah is not exclusive to the Muslims at the beginning of 2010, some of the mass public responded aggressively by bombing churches. The bombing was followed by the disposal of wild boar heads at the compound of a few mosques. There were 17 attacks of worship places in total in January 2010; 10 churches, 1 convent school, three mosques and two suraus (small Muslim prayer place) and a Sikh gurdwara.

During this period, 130 Muslims NGOs help to guard the churches as there weren’t enough police officers to patrol. No one died or injured in any of these events. This to me reflected that these acts were outlets for frustration. Every Malaysian is affected with these incidents and unfortunately, hurt does not heal fast. The truth is, Malaysian public still care about each other. But the pressing question is how can the conflict be mitigated and resolved?

It is true that Muslims in Malaysia have been using the word Allah to indicate the God of the Muslim while the word ‘Tuhan’ is used to indicate God in a generic term. The use of this word in Malaysia’s landscape is slightly different than in Indonesia even though their national languages are very similar. Writing on the evolution of the usage of the word Allah and its etymology within the Malay-Archipelago can be a great thesis, however it is rather sad that such polemic and tension erupted from the dispute of using the word Allah when Allah or God commands us to live in peace. 

My invitation as a Malaysian, especially to the Muslims and Christians in Malaysia – let’s not forget that shalom means peace and salam or the word ‘Assalamualaikum,’ which we always say, means ‘may peace be upon you.’ Let’s love peace and love doing good.

(Click here for Al-jazeera Inside Story on the issue of Allah in Malaysia)
  

 

 

 

The Commonalities – Worshipping a Monotheist God

Shalom and a Warm Welcome

Many verses in the Quran say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. One example is:

“And argue not with the People of the Book, except by what is best, save such of them as act unjustly. But say: We believe in what which has been revealed to us and revealed to you and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit” (Al-Ankabul 29:46 Translation – Maulana Muhammad Ali)

Nevertheless, some Muslims believe that the Christians worship three gods, the Father, Isa or Jesus and Mariam or Mary. Their conclusions are based on some Quran verses such as:  

 And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). (al-Ma’ida 5:116a) (Translation Yusuf Ali)

The Christians do not worship Mary. Like the Muslims, most Christians, especially the Catholics, revere her. Why do some of the Quranic verses say that Muslims and Christians worship One God and then later contradict them by saying that the Christians worship Mary? Some scholars answer this question by pointing to the presence of the heretical sect Christians, such as Barbaraniyya and Collyridians, who worshipped Mary around 7th century. Thus, the Quran is right in refuting such worship as it is inconsistent with Christianity.

Christians believe in monotheist God. They hold to their hearts the commandment that was given to Moses in Torah which says:

Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deutronomy 6:4-7 NIV)    

This same commandment was taught by Jesus thousands of years later and is recorded in the gospel Injil in the book of Luke 10:27a and Mark 12:30.  

He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; (Luke 10:27a NIV)

What is the difference between ‘three gods’ and the Trinity God? The Trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – Three persons in One. How can three be ‘One’? Professor Volf of Yale University explains this theologically in his paper, ‘A Christian Response to Muslims Allah and the Trinity God – A Christian Response on Muslims Allah and the Trinity.’ Another short writing relevant to this discussion is ‘The Trinity – Christian Doctrine in Islamic Context.’

Several surah that are relevant to the Trinity in Islamic context are given below. Note that all surah in Arabic as in (2) and (3) below, rebuke Christians for worshipping Tri-Theism or three gods. Indeed, Christians do not worship three gods but one God. The misunderstanding arises as some of the translation works interpreted or commented the Arabic word ‘Three’ to ‘Trinity.’  

When Muslims talk about worshiping One God as in Al-Ankabul 29:46, they meant to say that God is only One, the Creator who has 99 sifat (e.g. the knowledgeable, the powerful). This affirms the Christians belief in monotheist God. However, the Muslims believe that Isa al-Masih is fully man and that a man cannot be God and cannot be conceived into a human form.

The mainstream Christians believe that Isa al-Masih or Jesus Christ is fully man and fully divine. In Christianity, God is perceived as desiring to have a love relatonship with the creation, expressed by involving in every moment of the lives of the human being. A relationship works both ways and comes voluntarily. As God is perfect and human being is imperfect, the communion between human and God must first be restored in order for human being to have a relationship with God. This can only be done by God. The restoration is the greatest expression of God’s love and it was accomplished at the cross through the death and the suffering of Jesus Christ. A person who believes that God loves him or her eternally to the point of death of human Jesus Christ, receives the grace of salvation and the Spirit of God. This grace of faith bridges one’s relationship with God and the communion between one’s spirit with the Holy Spirit.  

The mystical Trinity: the Creator, Savior and Spirit, as One God is sometimes expressed by the Christians through the analogy of mind, body and spirit – three dimensions of one selfhood.   

Reading 1: https://ifeldp.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/volf_ccallah-trinity_2011-3-81.pdf

Reading 2: https://ifeldp.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/trinity-christian-doctrine-in-islamic-context/

1. Surah that affirm the Christians and Muslims worship the same One God.

 وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ  – And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” (al-Ankabut 29:46)

فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ – Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: “I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) Final Goal. (al-Shura 42:15)

   

2. Various interpretations on al-Nisa 4:171 indicating how some translations use“three” and other use “Trinity.”

 يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَةٌ انتَهُواْ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللّهُ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَات وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَكِيلاً –

O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Mariam and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation Muhammad Habib Shakir: http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=3&mac=)

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not “Trinity“: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation by Yusuf Ali: http://www.mysticletters.com/quran-viewer/arabic-yusuf-ali/)

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation Muhammad Pickthal: http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=4&mac=)

O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Îsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh ) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God),glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (Translation Mohsin Khan: http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=5&mac=)

O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion nor speak anything about Allah, but the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His word which He communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory to have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as having charge of affairs. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary (Ohio:Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Lahore Inc., 2002), page 242)

  

3. Do these verses reject Tri-Theism (Three gods) or Trinity?Please refer to Reading 2 to read on the explanation on these verses (the link isgiven above) 

وَإِذْ قَالَ اللّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ  – And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. (al-Ma’ida 5:116)

لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلاَثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُواْ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ – They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. (al-Ma’ida 5:73)

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ كَانَا يَأْكُلاَنِ الطَّعَامَ انظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انظُرْ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ – Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (al-Ma’ida 5:76) 

(The translations of the surah are from Yusuf Ali online translation of Quran unless indicated otherwise. http://www.mysticletters.com/quran-viewer/arabic-yusuf-ali/)

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

Shalom and Assalamualaikum

Muslims and Christians, the adherents of the world’s two largest religions, have co-existed for more than 1400 years. While both faiths teach peace and love, many lives and properties were lost over the years as a result of Muslims and Christians’ dispute on God and their religious practices.

Both faiths have so much in common but yet their adherents are very uninformed about each other and are not aware that the Quran says that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Some argue the literal interpretation of this passage as the divinity of Allah and Trinity is different, but one thing is true: both agree on worshiping monotheist God, the One and only God.

 “And argue not with the People of the Book, except by what is best, save such of them as act unjustly. But say: We believe in what which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him we submit”                                            (Al-Ankabul 29:46 Translation – Maulana Muhammad Ali)

 How true is this statement? or how can we interpret this verse? Professor Volf of Yale University attempts to unfold this mystical truth through a theological explanation. In the last paragraph of his writing ‘A Christian Response to Muslims Allah and the Trinity,’ he writes that this paper is directed primarily to the Christians and his goal is:

“to remind Christians that Muslims objections to the doctrine of the Trinity and the uncompromising of God’s oneness from which this objection stems are not in themselves good enough reasons for Christians to think that they have radically different understanding of God than Muslims. Unity of God doesn’t separate Muslims from Christians, it binds them together.”


Ref: Volf, Miroslav – A Christian Response to Muslims Allah and the Trinity

More of his writing on this topic can be read from his latest book on Allah. See: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Allah-Miroslav-Volf/

Quranic Texts – The Commonalities in Worshipping Monotheist God

The Christians claim that they worship a monotheist God while many Muslims say that the Christians worship three gods, the Father, the Son and Mary. Two verses in the Quran however say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (e.g. Surah al-Ankabut 29:46 and al-Shura 42:15). In other verses, the Quran refutes the Christians from worshiping three gods (e.g. al-Nisa 4:171). How can we explain these contradictions?

1. Quran verses saying that the Christians and the Muslims worship the same One God?  

 وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ  And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” (al-Ankabut 29:46)       

 فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُNow then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as thou art commanded, nor follow thou their vain desires; but say: “I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) Final Goal. (al-Shura 42:15)

  

2. The Quranic interpretations on “ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَة  is either “Say not three” or “Say not Trinity?” or “say not three (Trinity).” Which one is correct?

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَةٌ انتَهُواْ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللّهُ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَات وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَكِيلاًO People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not “Trinity“: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation by Yusuf Ali: http://www.mysticletters.com/quran-viewer/arabic-yusuf-ali/)

 

 O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation Muhammad Habib Shakir: http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=3&mac=)

 O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (Al-Nisa 4:171) (Translation Muhammad Pickthal:http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=4&mac=)

O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Îsa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Ruh ) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God),glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (Translation Mohsin Khan: http://www.searchtruth.com/chapter_display.php?chapter=4&translator=5&mac=)

O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion nor speak anything about Allah, but the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His word which He communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory to have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as having charge of affairs. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary (Ohio:Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Lahore Inc., 2002), page 242.

Yusuf Ali  and Mohsin Khan translations use ‘Trinity’ while Muhammad Habib Shakir, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Mohsin Khan use ‘Three.’ In Arabic,  ثلثة” is “three” and “ثالوث” is “Trinity.” Maulana Muhammad Ali commentary says that Quran does  not rebuke Christians for ‘The Trinity’ but for ‘three gods’ (). If we accept his comment, both the Quran and the Bible do have one important common ground, and that is, both say no to the worship of three gods.

Questions for discussion:

1. What are the possible reasons for the variations in the interpretation of the word ‘three’ and ‘Trinity.’?

2. How have the historical contacts between the Muslims and Christians influence the translation of the sacred Books and religious literature? How can a faith adherent gauge if a scholarly work truly represents the  essence of a faith and not a product of historical evolution or political agenda?

3. What are the ways to gauge that the core doctrines and values of a faith that are taught or preached are insulated from the continuously changing environment or human errors? Can faith evolves?   

 

A Response on The Trinity – Christian Doctrine in Islamic Context

By: Norani Abu Bakar (04/28/2011)

Muslims and Christians have engaged in centuries of polemic on the divinity of one true God. This paper summarizes and reflects on the course reading materials and the content of the lectures that are relevant to the doctrine of Trinity according to Islamic context.

Some scholars, who claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, justify their stance through Quran texts (e.g. 29:46 and 42:15)[i]. Others, like Cumming, reaffirm the claim on this commonality by agreeing with al-Quran texts that refute heretical, sect Christians such as Barbaraniyya and Collyridians, for worshipping Mary (e.g. 5:116)[ii] and for tri-theism (e.g. 4:171 and 5:73).[iii] Cumming also highlights that these texts do not explicitly speak against the doctrine of Trinity, and he justifies this by pointing to the Arabic word used to forbid the worship of a non-monotheist god in 4:171b and 5:73 as “ثلثة” or “three” and not “ثالوث” or “Trinity.” Other Christian polemicists may disagree with him and instead hold to the theory that Muhammad was misinformed and Quran erred. One potential argument is that, the Quran, for example in Surah 29:46, is ambiguous about the divinity of the God of the People of the Book.

This dialectic evokes two questions; first, can Muslims agree that the three persons (hypostases) – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – that subsist in one divine being is monotheist[iv]. Second, can Muslims who acknowledge Isa al-Masih or Jesus as a messenger (e.g. 5:75)[v] agree that Jesus Christ is two distinct natures in a single hypostasis and that his human nature is the exact representation of his divine nature (Hebrew 1:3)?[vi]  In a glance, the former looks like three beings and the latter looks like two.

In understanding the Trinity in Islamic context, Christians need to first clarify what they mean by “God has begotten a son” and the hypostasis natures of the Son. The Muslims prompt response to this is, “Allah does not beget nor is he begotten” (112:3).  “Beget” to the Christians is a metaphor for the begetting of the Word, i.e. Jesus Christ (John 1:14)[vii] and not a physical act between male and female divine beings to birth a divine offspring. Is there any intersection between the Word or logos, as in John 1:1-4, with “Jesus as the word” in the Quran? Cumming’s explanation that, “the Greek term ho logos which is often translated into Arabic as al-kalima, can equally well be translated to al-kalam[viii] will help us in exploring the answer to this question.

Quran indeed says that God created things through His command by saying “lo” or “be” (e.g. 36:81-82)[ix] and that Jesus is His word or al-kalam (3:39, 3:45, 4:171a)[x]. In kitab al-Luma, al-Ashari writes that “God is eternally speaking and that the Word must be either eternal or temporally created, and if it is temporally created, then God would have had to create it in himself or subsisting in itself or in something else.”[xi] Based on these Quran texts and al-Ashari’s doctrine, some scholars purport that Islam agrees on Jesus being created and Jesus as uncreated, i.e. Christian Chalcedon Doctrine on two natures in one hypostasis, as mentioned earlier.

One thing is still ambiguous. Why does Quran in 5:17 say “They indeed disbelieve who say: Surely Allah – He is the Messiah, son of Mary…”? Volf writes that Christians often say “Christ is God” and not “God is Christ” and interprets the surah 5:17 as saying that Allah cannot be the son of Mary, a human, who ate and died. Cumming’s tries to unveil this ambiguity by approaching the reading of the text diachronically. One suggestion, which somewhat echoes various Quran commentaries, says that Islam identifies the two natures of Jesus (Chalcedon doctrine), and not just one nature (Monophysite) due to Muhammad’s interaction with Christians from Yemen who mainly uphold Chalcedon doctrine. Muhammad and the Yemen Christians referred to those who disbelieve the divine nature of Christ as unbelievers. Unlike Cumming some Christian polemicists, such as Richardson (e.g. in his book “The Islamic Anti-Christ”) literally interpret 5:17, 10:68 and 5:73 as “anti-Christ.” What Richardson fails to mention is that the Muslims revere Isa al-Masih and often wish “peace be upon him” whenever Isa or Jesus’s name is mentioned, while some Christians habitually curse in his name.

With the reasoning given earlier, it is hard not to be convinced that the Quran and the Bible are consistent in their perception of the person of Jesus. In the Quran, the fully human Jesus is described as; created of dust (3:59), ate (5:75) and died (3:55)[xii] and the fully divine Jesus is al-kalam, (4:171) i.e. uncreated. Acts 2:36[xiii] affirms surah 3:59 that God made Jesus, i.e. his human person, but the Bible goes another step toward unveiling the human nature of Jesus who submit to the will of the divine, i.e. “not my will but thy will’ (Luke 22:42, Matt 26:42)[xiv]. The predicates shared between the created human Jesus with the uncreated divine Jesus are listed in the Communicatio Idiomatum. The correlation of Communicatio Idiomatum, kalam nafsi and kalam lafzi and Jesus Christ, one person who is fully human and fully divine is difficult to comprehend and thus require further explanation.

Briefly, one can agree with Cumming that Luke 22:42 and Matt 26:42 are coherent to 3:49 and 5:110[xv], i.e. Jesus only creates by God’s divine permission. However, in both verses Jesus is conversing with the Father. What is unclear in his analogy whether “God” in these two biblical texts is the divine Jesus or the Father? If they are subsistent to one another, does this mean that the divine Jesus is also “without confusion … without separation” with the Father as much as human and divine Jesus being one person “without confusion … without separation”? If we say that the relationship of Jesus to the Father in Luke 22:42 is the same as Isa and Allah in surah 3:49, can we also equate the Father to “Allah” in the Quran? It will be interesting to explore this question as “Allah” was used even before Islam was founded, perhaps since around 1250 B.C. when the Arab was mentioned as a clan of Judah (Joshua 15:52). The other question is if the exposure to Elohim and YHYW affects the Arab tribes’ and later the Muslims’ perception on Allah as having similar essence to YHYW and to the person of the Father in the Trinity?

This paper does not discuss on the Holy Spirit or ruh al-kudus in the Islamic context as the topic is not covered yet in the lecture, but one can find many relevant verses in Quran such as 2:87 “We supported Jesus with ruh al-kudus..,” and 4:171, 5:110, etc. Up to this point, this writing focuses on the commonalities on the three natures of Trinity, the Father as the godhead, the Son begotten from the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. In his writing on sifat al-dhat in Al-Ashari doctrine of God, Cumming attempts to relate seven eternal predicate of sifat al-dhat of Allah; knowledge, power, life, speech, will, sight and hearing, to the hypostases of Trinity God, predicated as the power, will and knowledge. While this analogy seems bridgeable, it is hard to comprehend how the seven sifat of Allah, each is equal and uncreated can be parallel with three mode of Trinity, especially when the human part of Jesus is created.

The last question for this reflection exercise is, if the academic work on Trinity in Islamic context will change the global Muslims misunderstanding? My personal answer to this is, “no.”  Unlike Christians whose problem solving often depended upon reason, most regional Muslim cultures tend to form conclusions based on observation of social action or human behavior. The act of praying to Mary instead of directly to God and bowing to statues will continue to stump most Muslims. This misperception exists ever since the day Prophet Muhammad demolished the statues in Mecca. Ironically, Christian inter-religious discourse on this issue seems silence. One can agree that the framework for organizing knowledge and a search for a common ground through scriptural reading and reasoning will enhance understanding and peace. However, the verbal communication and proactive action from the Christians’ side has to happen in order to affirm the observation that Trinity is not tri-theism.


[i] Al-Ankabut 29:46And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): But say, “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” And Al-Shura 42: 15b “.. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. For us are our deeds and for you your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will gather us together, and to Him is the eventual coming.” Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, (Ohio:Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore Inc., 2002), 793.

[ii] Al-Maidah 5:116And behold! Allah will say: O Jesus, the son of Mary, didst thou say to men, take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! It was not for me to say what I had no right to (say). If I had said it, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. Surely Thou art the great knower of the unseen.” M.Ali, 282.

 [iii] Surah al-Nisa 4:171 “ولاتقولواثلثة…, ” in English, “and say not, Three Desist.” Surah al-Maidah 5:73 “certainly they disbelieve those who say” Allah is the third of the three..” or “..  “لقدكفرالذين قا لوا ان اللة ثالث ثلثة  M.Ali, 241, 270

 [iv] James Carmody, Thomas Clarke, Word and Redeemer – Christology and the Fathers (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1966), 3

 [v] Al-Maidah 5:75The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; messengers before him had indeed passed away. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We make the messages clear to them! Then behold, how they have turned away!” M.Ali, 271

 [vi] Hebrew 1:3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by powerful word. After he has provided for purification of sins, he sat down at the majesty in heaven.” NIV

 [vii] John 1:14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” NIV

 [viii] Refer to footnote “x” below, the Arabic words used are kalima and not kalam. Cumming explains that al-kalima can be equally translated to al-kalam, the same word used to describe the uncreated Quran. Cumming, Kalam Allah in Islam and in Christianity, (Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011), 1

 [ix] In these three surah, the “command” uses “ya kula” and not the word kalima or kalam . Other surah are Al-Rum 30:25, 16:40.

Yasin 36:81-82 “إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ . أَوَلَيْسَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَى أَنْ يَخْلُقَ مِثْلَهُم بَلَى وَهُوَ الْخَلَّاقُ الْعَلِيم” Translation, “Is not He who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! And He is the creator (of all), the Knower. His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it, Be, and it is.” M.Ali, 876

[x] Al-Imran 3:39, “فَنَادَتْهُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُوَ قَائِمٌ يُصَلِّي فِي الْمِحْرَابِ أَنَّ اللّهَ يُبَشِّرُكَ بِيَحْيَى مُصَدِّقًا بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَسَيِّدًا وَحَصُورًا وَنَبِيًّا مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ”Translation, “So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah gives thee the good news of John, verifying a word from Allah, and honorable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones.”  The Arabic word used for “a word” is “كَلِمَةorkalima”.

Al-Imran 3:45, “إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلآئِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ” Translation “When the angels said” O Mary, surely Allah gives thee good news with a word from Him (of one) whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, worthy of regard in this world and the Hereafter, and of those who are drawn nigh (to Allah,”) The Arabic word used for “a word” is “كَلِمَةor kalima”.

Al-Nisa 4:171a, “يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِه” Translation  “O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion nor speak anything about Allah, but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His word which He communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him.” The Arabic word used here is “كَلِمَتُهُ” for “a word” or kalimatuhu.” M.Ali,148, 241.

[xi] Abu Hassan al-Ashari, “Kitab al-Luma fi’-l-Radd ‘ala Ahl al-Zaygh wa-l-Bida”, edited by Abd al-Aziz Azz al-Din al-Sirwan, (Beirut: Dar Lubnan li-l-Tiba’a wa-l-Nashr, 1987), 99.  See Cumming, Kalam Allah in Islam and in Christianity, (Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011), 3

 [xii] Surah about Jesus Christ made of dust Al-Imran 3:59, “The likeness of Jesus with Allah is truly as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was,” Surah about Jesus Christ ate Al-Maidah 5:75The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; messengers before him had indeed passed away. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how we make the messages clear to them! Then behold how they are turned away.” And the surah about Jesus Christ died Al-Imran 3:55, “When Allah said: O Jesus, I will cause thee to die and exalt thee in My presence and clear thee of those who disbelieve and make those who follow thee above those who disbelieve the day of resurrection. Then to Me is your return, so I shall decide between you concerning that wherein you differ.” There are several interpretations on “cause thee to die” in this surah, but one of it is physical death. M.Ali, 154, 271.

 [xiii] Acts 2:36Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” NIV

 [xiv] Luke 22:42Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  And Matt 26:42 “He (Jesus) went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” NIV

 [xv] Al-Imran 3:49And (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah’s permission, and I heal the blind and the leprous…”  and Al-Maidah 5:110, “When Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, remember my favor to thee and to thy mother, when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit; thou spokest to people in the cradle and in old age, and when I taught thee the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, and when thou didst determine out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by my permission, then thou didst breath into it and it became a bir by my permission…heal the leprous by my permission, …raise the dead by my permission..but those of them who disbelieved said: this is nothing but clear enchantment.” M.Ali, 150, 381

 Bibliographyُ

Carmody, Clarke. Word and Redeemer – Christology and the Fathers. New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1966.

Cumming, Joseph. Sifat al-Dhat in Al-Ash‘ari’s Doctrine of God. Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

Cumming, Joseph. Kalam Allah in Islam and in Christianity. Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

Cumming, Joseph. What is the Meaning of the Expression “Son of God”. Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

Cumming, Joseph. Quranic Verses on Christian Doctrine. Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

Cumming, Joseph. Christology Chart (Adapted from Sebastian Brock). Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

Cumming, Joseph. Communicatio Idiomatum. Yale: REL 649 Course Material, 2011.

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Richardson, Joel. The Islamic Anti-Christ. California: WND Books, 2009.

Said, Funk. “The Role of Faith in Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution,” In Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Building, Edited by Smock, David Ed. United States: Peace Institute, 2007.

Volf, Miroslav. A Christian Response to the Muslims – Allah and the Trinity. USA: Christian Century, 8th March 2011.