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The Future Of Islam - Murtaza Khan

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Таҳорат ва аҳкомлари - Ўзбек тили - Солиҳ ибн Ғоним Ас Садлан

Таҳорат ва аҳкомлари - Ўзбек тили - Солиҳ ибн Ғоним Ас Садлан

An enquiry into the Divinity of Jesus Christ! Was he God?


An enquiry into the Divinity of Jesus Christ! Was he God?
 
Jesus remains one of the most controversial figures that ever walked on the face of earth. The records we have about him leave us guessing who he really was, and to this day a consensus can’t be reached on what his real identity was and in what capacity he walked on earth. Was he the Messiah, or just another Prophet or was he God incarnate or just another imposter? Muslims and Christians agree that he was the Messiah, but they both disagree with Jews on this. Muslims and Jews both agree he was not God, while Christians disagree on this. Today we are going to discuss whether we can conclude from the records we have about him whether he was God, because this where Christianity differs with both Islam and Judaism, a faith succeeding it and a faith preceding it.
Jesus lived almost 2000 years ago and we have no means to go back in time and ask him the question of his divinity. What we can do right now is to see what traditions tell us about his nature. These traditions must have had a starting point. They might have started with Jesus himself or later or even very late. That being said, people did try to pen down what had reached to them of Jesus’ life. Many such stories or biographical accounts which developed of these traditions were written within a few centuries of Jesus’ ministry e.g. Gospel of Thomas, Mark, Mathew, Luke, John, Judas etc. The authors built stories out of traditions which had reached them through different people. These people who wrote different accounts were separated by distance and time not just from other writers but also from Jesus’ place of living and time of living and obviously the traditions that reached them were different in their details sometimes (or many times?) and obviously these differences crept in their writings as well. That’s why we find many contradictory reports between all these works, and almost each work possesses some unique material not to be found in any other. This applies to the Canonical Gospels (ones that found way into the Christian Bible) as well. Many a times such difference are not noticed by an average reader because on a usual day we start from the beginning of a story and read till end and then we start another one and read till end, it all seems the same. Try this way, read a story for one such work and then read the same from another and you will notice the differences which eminent Christian scholars themselves agree to. Jesus and his disciples spoke Aramaic (possibly) and thus the earliest saying circulated in this language, however, the Gospels were written in an entirely different language, common Greek. Thus we cannot even be sure about the exact wordings Jesus used. Moreover, these writings are not a sketch of Jesus’ entire life but that of a small portion of it and out of these hardly anything can be ascribed to Jesus with 100% certainty. During the past thirty years theologians and historians have come increasingly to admit that it is no longer possible to write a biography of Jesus, since documents earlier than the gospels and gospels too tell us next to nothing of his life, moreover the gospels present the 'Kerygma' or proclamation of faith, not the Jesus of history. [21] In this study one question remains more important than the divinity of Jesus and that question is the inspiration of scripture.
Are the works we have inspired by God? The works themselves don’t say they are inspired, other contemporaries didn’t say they are inspired, these works contradict each other and on and on and on. The writers themselves did not know one another to be receiving inspiration from God, as is evident from their debates in the council of Jerusalem and from Paul’s blaming Peter. Moreover it is clear that the ancient believers did not consider even the apostles innocent and free form faults, since they sometimes made them subject to their criticism. This is obvious from Acts 11:2-3 and also Acts 21:20-24. Having said this we can still treat these written accounts as something from antiquity which can be used as sources for a historian to study the life of Christ.
The more we read about Jesus, the more we realize that we know less about him. Such great personality didn’t leave his self much open to us that we can reach a serious conclusion on him. In such a chaos we can at least be sure about certain things and this can be done by rebuilding a probable past and then trust those who lived then and then view our findings according to laws of nature together with logic. We can work as a historian and mark a few points which happen every now and then. We can say A MAN JESUS was born (billions of people are born), THE MAN JESUS LIVED (billions of people live), THE MAN JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED (people can be crucified) and THE MAN JESUS DIED (billions of people die). Because of the less and unauthentic material available about Jesus we have diverse opinions about him and the four points I mentioned above are the most probable things that could have happened. Note that these are not facts but probabilities based on what normally happens in nature. And we know that God normally doesn’t take human form. Islam attests to it, Judaism attests to it, Christianity takes exception and presents to us one occasion where God came in human form. Thus if we work out the probability of God taking human form we see that it comes equal to zero. We don’t see God coming down in human form every yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thus to prove Jesus was indeed God we need a very clear and strong evidence because we have to go against what we have been seeing happening around us which, sorry to say, we don’t have. Note this point as I move on to my next point. (This doesn’t rule out divinity of Christ though, but keep it in mind because you will need it in coming paragraphs).
Whatever writings we have today give us very less information about Jesus and we can never reach a conclusion which goes against the established norms of nature (see above paragraph). Now view this argument of mine in light of the first paragraph. You see that the thing which we are supposed to believe needs a strong proof and the candidate needs a detailed examination both of which are lacking here. We have less or no information about Jesus. Note this argument also; I need you to have this in your mind as we move to the authenticity of what we have.
Before talking about the authenticity of the small amount of information which we have, let me tell you a short story. While travelling through a forest, a person noticed a circle marked on a tree with an arrow shot perfectly into the centre. A few yards away he noticed several more targets, each with arrows in the centre. Later, he met the talented archer and he asked him, “How did you become such an expert that you always get your arrows into the centre of the bull’s-eye?” “It’s not difficult,” responded the archer, “First I shoot the arrow and then I draw the circle.” When examining Christian “proof texts” that we have, we should always ask the following question. “Has an arrow been shot into a circle or has a circle been drawn around an arrow?” When we examine we find that a circle has been drawn around an arrow. As G.A. Wells tells us, “the gospels present the 'Kerygma' or proclamation of faith, not the Jesus of history.” [21] John Dominic Crossan, a scholar, tells us Gospels are not history memorized but prophecy historicized, i.e. the NT writers took OT texts and wrote a historical setting whereby they made it seem that Jesus fulfilled the scriptures. Thus they made circles around the arrows as per their faith and liking. Thus we can’t say that they are cent percent authentic.
By now we should have realised that if the Bible says “Jesus is God”, we can simply say the Bible is wrong in saying this. All this because there is a serious question mark that we have put upon all the Gospel sayings which supposedly support Jesus’ case for divinity and thus any quotations from the Bible don’t help our cause.
Moving on let us try to ask the people who lived at the times of Jesus Christ. The disciples should be the best people to tell us about the divinity of Jesus. Peter was one of the disciples who denied Jesus. [1] Though this doesn’t prove that Jesus wasn’t divine but it does show us how much faith Peter had in Jesus. If Jesus had claimed divinity and proved it to the disciples and the disciples really believed him, I find no reason for Peter to deny him. If he really knew Jesus was God he would not have done so. Same is the case with Judas who rebelled against Jesus for some money. If Jesus wasn’t able to convince his closest disciples about his divinity how can we be convinced 2000 years after his (supposed) death? Moving swiftly on, we find in Mathew 28 that some disciples worshipped Jesus but some doubted. Note that this is even after the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ for which he had come all the way to earth, the thing which was prophesized (allegedly) in the Old Testament, and the thing which he (allegedly) taught for his entire life. If disciples doubt their Lord even in his presence, even after all the proofs are presented how can we be sure about his divinity living 2000 years apart? Contrary to this we see the disciple worshipping whom Abraham, Moses and Jesus worshipped. [2]
Even Paul, who is arguably the saviour of Christianity, makes us doubt Jesus’ divinity by the kind of language he uses on at least two different occasions. [4] For Paul, God first created Jesus, and then used Jesus as the agent by which to create the rest of creation. Thus Jesus was a creation of God, not eternal as one would expect God to be. Paul differentiates between God and Jesus on several occasions. [14] Paul maintains that Jesus is the servant of God, [5] and this is what Peter also thought, [7] and this is also echoed by Mathew [8] and if Mathew is right that the Isaiah prophecy refers to Jesus then even Isaiah refers to Jesus as “servant” of God. [10] Throughout the Acts of Apostles we find Jesus given human titles and we also notice the disciples differentiating between God and Jesus.
What about the other contemporaries of Jesus, we see that they too rejected Jesus. Imagine if God himself is unable to prove that he is God how can we accept him to be God after 2000 years when he is no more between us? The Gospels record that Jesus was put on trial on charges for blasphemy and this somehow proves that he had claimed divinity, but at the same time it also proves that the concept of God Incarnate was new to the Jews and they believed in one God not three Gods. If only they believed that God is Trinity they would definitely have given an ear to Jesus but they didn’t and this is a sufficient proof that the idea was new. Masses rejecting Jesus actually prove that he was not God because the only reason that we doubt God’s existence is that we don’t see him. But if we see him roaming down the streets, into the markets and round the city we have no reason to doubt. We can ask him, touch him, hear him, stay with him, smell him, feel him and if these things are not able to prove that he is God what else will prove? Therefore we realize that Jews are a living proof that Jesus is not God.
Jesus’ own words “My father is greater than I”, “I can of my own self do nothing”, “My God your God”, “Oh God, Oh God, why…….” [6] are good reason for me to doubt his divinity. How can Jesus and Father be one if Father is greater than Jesus? All these doubts would have been erased if Jesus would have made clear and unambiguous statements as God actually does. See for example Isaiah 43:11 where God is straight forward, “I, even I, am the God, and apart from me there is no savoir”. This is how God dictates but we see that Jesus doesn’t make such clear cut claims. We even see that God and Jesus have a different psychology, as much as we have the Old Testament full of violent commands we have New Testament full of Love. If Jesus really was the God of Old Testament how come his attitude is totally different when he comes on to the earth? As much as we see people worshipping Jesus in the New Testament we see Jesus worshipping God. This again casts doubts on Jesus’ understanding of himself as God. If worshipping (not going into the details of what actually lies between the verses) proves one is God we have to accept that Jesus himself had a God. How can God have another God?
What if Jesus just appears to you and you ask him “Oh Good Master, Are You God”? What do you think his answer will be? Take a hint from Bible. He will reply “Why do you call me GOOD, no one is GOOD but the God”? Thus he answers you in clear cut terms. And we find a similar statement recorded in three out of four Gospels and that raises its authenticity. [3] Jesus makes distinctions between himself and God on several occasions [16] and one such example is John 17:3, “And eternall life means knowing you, the only true God and knowing Christ, whom you sent”. The Acts of thee Apostles in the Bible details the activity of the disciples over a period of thirty years after Jesus was lifted up to heaven. Throughout this period they never refer to Jesus as God. They continuously and consistently use the title God to refer to someone other than Jesus. Peter stood up with the eleven disciples and addressed the crowd saying: "Men of Israel, 'listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited to you by God with miracles, wonders and signs which God did among you through him, ass you yourselves know" (Acts 2:22)
When we look at the personality of Christ we see all human qualities and we can be sure that he indeed was a human being. We may argue that he was both God and human being at the same time. Far from being true, the statement is self contradicting. If he is God he can’t be man and if he is man he can’t be God. As a human, Jesus had some human characters like eating, drinking, laughing, crying, call of nature or even sex. But God doesn’t need such things. We ask did Jesus need such things, the answer can never be a simple one and moreover the answer will always be extra-Biblical having no basis either in the teachings of Jesus or in the teachings of his disciples. God has infinite knowledge but man has limited knowledge. If Jesus is both human and God how can he have infinite and finite knowledge at the same time. When we read the Bible it actually shows us Jesus was lacking knowledge [15] about some subjects which include knowledge of the hour [10] or growing up in wisdom [11] or learning obedience [12] or learning things from God. [17] The dual nature theory also fails on other grounds. Take the example of Jesus cursing the fig tree. The story goes something like this. “Jesus was hungry. Seeing a fig tree at some distance he went to find out if he had any fruits. He reached it and found nothing but leaves because it was not the season for figs”. Therefore Jesus curses the tree and it withers never to give fruits again. [13] Though the verses prove that Jesus was powerful (explained as Jesus’ God nature) but these verses also prove that he was ignorant of seasons and he also did not know from some distance that the tree had no fruits (explained as Jesus’ Human Nature). If the explanations given in the brackets are accepted, we find that God acted at the behest of the ignorance stemming from human nature. But surely God doesn’t act out of ignorance! Countless examples can be given, take for example God being all-powerful and humans having limited power. How can Jesus have limited powers and be all powerful at the same time. God is creator and man is creation, how can Jesus be creator and creation at the same time. Did he create himself? Doesn’t that make us question his eternal existence? When we investigate we find that Jesus indeed was a creation, take a hint from Book of Revelation 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Colossians 1:15.
Let us look at the issue from a different angle. Let us try to find out what the Gospels say about God. When the Gospels of the New Testament talks about God, does it talk about Father or the Son or the Holy Ghost or all three? Let us read Mathew 10:29 and compare it with Luke 12:6. We see that Mathew and Luke have used “Father” and “God” synonymously. Mathew 10:29 reads, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” while Luke 12:6 reads, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” If it is not clear by this verse the next example makes it clear. Mathew 12:50 reads, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, andd sister, and mother.” And when the same story is repeated in Mark 3:35 it reads something like this, “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Thus we see that the titles “Father” and “God” are used to designate one individual, not three and never Jesus.
Many a times Mathew 28:18 is quoted as a proof for divinity of Christ for in here we are informed that Jesus was given the authority to Judge and that authority only remains with God. This passage creates more problems than it solves, if Jesus was given all authority over heaven and earth this would mean he didn’t have it before. Does that mean Jesus became God somewhat later in his life? Same is the case with John 5:22-23. Moreover forgiving and passing judgment is not something what makes people God, people already knew that God can give such power to men and this is clear from Mathew 9:8.
At times the Trinitarian formula given at the end of Mathew 28 is quoted as a proof that Jesus was indeed God. But the verse is known to be a forgery and later insertion. The insertion of another Trinitarian formula in 1 John is a proof that the later believers knew that Trinity is not being taught explicitly in the Bible, hence the need to add it.
Having done a thorough enquiry into the Divinity of Jesus Christ, let us not look at the philosophical side of it. We commit the fallacy of equivocation where you use an argument where a word refers to something and down below when somebody doesn’t notice the word refers to something else. In debates on Jesus the defenders of his divinity often start with the word Jesus referring to God-man, then later on the word Jesus refers only to a man and later when you ask again it refers to the God-man again. One moment it refers to God, the next moment it refers to the Son of God, next moment it refers to both of them. Hence it is important that we define our terms, what refers to what.
What is it that we are referring to when we say “Jesus”?
Suppose we have Tom in front of us. His hand is cut. Who will we call Tom, the hand or the body? Next his arm is torn apart from his body. Who will we call Tom, the arm of the body? In both the cases the Body will be called Tom, but what it the body is cut into two halves, which part is Tom? Now you understand what I mean, it is actually Tom’s body not Tom. We are left with Tom’s soul. Is Tom’s soul Tom? The very use of word “Tom’s” (that which belongs to Tom) proves that the soul is not. Here I introduce you to something which we call “self” in modern philosophy or which the ancient Indians called “atman” (the ancient Indian treated Atman internal, Buddha rejected such a belief, let us not go into the details). Everything has a “self” and it is that “self” which we refer to when we refer to something. Here we need to check Jesus’ statement with respect his “self” not his body or soul. If we don’t do that we may be played smart with by associating all limits to Jesus’ human nature and all divine qualities to something which can’t even be defined and then reaching a conclusion that Jesus is God. We have to define our terms. If you say that God part of Jesus died on the cross then we should stop saying God died for our sins. If you want to say “only the human body of Jesus died” then say “Jesus the human being died”.
You see that the problem is with the very understanding. Take for example Jesus growing in obedience. “It refers to human nature of Jesus”, would say the evangelist. Wait a minute! What is that man part? If the body is the man part, we know that bodies don’t grow in wisdom. If the soul grew in wisdom then the soul can’t be God. The self grew in wisdom because one of its entities grew in wisdom. Where is God then? What is it that was God? The soul or the body?
These are funny and fallacious arguments. Take for example, the following argument.
Is Jesus God? Yes.
Did Jesus grow in wisdom? Yes.
Does God grow in wisdom? No is the straightforward answer.
Take the example of Jesus’ death:
Is Jesus God? Yes.
Did Jesus Die? Yes.
Did God die? No.
The soul was not God, the body was not God. What was it in Christ that made him God? Moreover, if we say it was God who had come in human form then we should stop saying that he was still a God, for he has already changed into a human. Jesus was God who changed into man. If he changed into man or took human form then we should stop saying that he was God when he already is man.
That is all I had to say on the subject! I am open to any queries!
References:
[1] Mathew 26
[2] Acts 3:13
[3] Mark 10:18; Matthew 19:17 and Luke 18: 19
[4] Colossians 1:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:6
[5] 1 Corinthians 15:28 and 1 Corinthians 11:3
[6] John 8:25-32
[7] Acts 3:13 and Acts 3:26
[8] Mathew 12:18-20
[9] Isaiah 42:1
[10] Mark 13:32 and Mathew 24:36
[11] Luke 2:52
[12] Hebrews 5:8
[13] Mark 11
[14] 1 Timothy 5:21 and 1 Timothy 6:13-15
[15] Mark 5:25-35
[16] John 20:17, 14:28, 6:57, 5:30, 14:10. Luke 22:40-43, 23:46. Mathew 27:46, 12:50. Mark 10:18
[21] G.A. Wells, Did Jesus exist? P
Jesus

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Quran’s Lesson - Surah Yusuf 12, Verse 86, Part 13


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قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not.
یعقوب نے جواب دیا: میں تو اپنی پریشانی اور غم کی فریاد (اللہ کے سوا) کسی سے نہیں کرتا۔ اور اللہ سے میں کچھ ایسی چیزیں جانتا ہوں جنہیں تم نہیں جانتے۔
[Al-Quran 12:86]

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Las virtudes del Dhikr (recuerdo), la fe y el acercarse a Allah por intermedio de actos virtuosos.


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((يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي وَأَنَا مَعَهُ إِذَا ذَكَرَنِي فَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي وَإِنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُمْ وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ بِشِبْرٍ تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ ذِرَاعًا وَإِنْ تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ إِلَيْهِ بَاعًا وَإِنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً ))
Las virtudes del Dhikr (recuerdo), la fe y el acercarse a Allah por intermedio de actos virtuosos.
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