Re: Researching Islam(Was Re: Are Moslems ...)

From: George Hammond (
Date: Sat Oct 06 2001 - 21:53:34 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Researching Islam(Was Re: Are Moslems ...)"

    george murphy wrote:
    > George Hammond wrote:
    > > [Hammond]
    > > I have never actually read the entire Koran, but I've heard many
    > > experts comment on it.
    > > Apparently it is a near copy and transliteration of the Christian Bible
    > > effected by Mohammed around 700 A.D.
    > > Moslems believe there is a God, identical to the Christian God and the
    > > Moslem name of God is rendered as "Allah".
    > > The Mormons have their own "transliteration" of the Christian Bible
    > > called the "Book of Mormon"
    > > transliterated by their prophet Smith, and they certainly consider
    > > themselves Christians.
    > > After all, Catholics and Protestants are both considered Christian
    > > denominations because they
    > > recognize the NT, but Islam also recognizes Jesus and the NT in it's
    > > interpretation. Why then isn't
    > > Islam essentially another Christian denomination?
    > > Should Christianity consider Islam as "The 3rd Denomination" of
    > > Christianity after Catholicism and Protestantism?

    > I've been away a couple of days - hence the delay in responding to
    > this.
    > As one who has read the Qur'an (as well as other relevant
    > literature) I can say is in no sense a translation or transliteration of
    > the Christian Bible. Muhammed was clearly influenced by both Jewish and
    > Christian traditions & there are versions of the some Bible stories
    > (primarily OT) in the Qur'an, but there is also considerable variation &
    > some misunderstanding. E.g., Muhammed apparently confused Miriam, Moses'
    > sister, with Jesus' mother. Muhammed's knowledge of the NT is clearly
    > pretty sketchy. (Muslims would say that didn't matter because he got his
    > information from Allah.) The primary theological divergence is the
    > Qur'an's teaching that Jesus did not die on the cross.

    > If you can find a copy, Tor Andrae's Mohammed, the Man and his
    > Faith (Harper Torchbook, 1960 - translation of the 1932 German edition) as
    > an excellent treatment, sympathetic but critical, of Muhammed's message &
    > the origins of Islam, including its relations with Judaism and
    > Christianity.
    > I would recommend that anyone wanting to read the Qur'an in
    > English get an edition with good notes. Otherwise many of the references
    > will be unfamiliar & it will be very hard to follow. One version, with
    > both Arabic & English texts & copious notes, is Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The
    > Holy Qur'an,
    > 3d ed (Dar Al-Mushaf, Damascus, 1938). (I don't know if this is still in
    > print but the copy I got ~4 years ago looks pretty new.)

       Like most people I certainly don't have time to go searching
    around for a translation of the Koran. Fortunately a translation
    is available online and even has a Koran search engine, at:

    From that (after finding out that "Isa" is the Arab name for Jesus)
    I found the following key passages concerning the Koranic position
    on Jesus as the Messiah:

                    CITATIONS FROM THE KORAN

    Koran, Chapter 4 (entitled: The Women)

    1.[4.157] And their saying: Surely we have
    killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the
    apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him
    nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to
    them so (like Isa) and most surely those who
    differ therein are only in a doubt about it;
    they have no knowledge respecting it, but only
    follow a conjecture, and they killed him not
    for sure.

       Apparently the Koran simply denies that there
    is any historical proof that he was Crucified
    or any actual proof that he died. Of course,
    legally, since his body disappeared, there is
    no historical proof that he was dead when placed
    in the tomb within hours after the execution.
      However, the Koran in 650 AD, clearly recognizes
    the existence of the Christian belief that he was
      Frankly, I don't find this a major disagreement.
    I accept, and most people today accept the eyewitness
    historical reports that he was publicly crucified.
      I'll tell you, quite frankly, I smell something fishy
    in all this. I've scanned major portions of the Koran,
    and my impression is that the Koranic position that
    Christ was not crucified, and was "just another prophet"
    (even though he ascended bodily to Heaven), strikes
    me as a serious reaction against Christian anti-semitism,
    palpably manifest in the somewhat tongue in cheek historical
    eagerness with which Christians lionized a semitic martyr.
    The Jews, as we know, have always reacted negatively to
    the idea, and now it appears that the Moslems also resent
    the anti-semitic undercurrent present in this backhanded
      In my opinion, one of these days Christianity is
    going to be forced to take the body of Jesus down off the
    Cross. Now, it's true that the Cross will never perish,
    because modern (indeed both Jewish and Christian) scholarship
    has discovered that it has an absolutely axiomatic structural
    significance for Religion. However, having a semitic dead
    body nailed to in the front of every church in Christendom, I
    think, remains a shock and an affront to both Jews and Moslems.
    Frankly, I've always been rather nervous about it myself.

    4.[4.171] 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 an apostle of
    Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium
    and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah
    and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it
    is better for you; Allah is only one God; 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.

      In this passage (written ca 650 ad) Mohammed apparently
    saw the lionization of Jesus and Mary as a threat of
    "polytheism". Of course that threat never materialized.
    However, there may have been some talk of the "Trinity"
    even as early as 650. In that regard, Islam, like
    Judaism is not as technically advanced as Christianity,
    which has long since discovered the Trinity in Theology.
    In fact, the "three Branches of Government" which is
    absolutely globally universal, is testimony to the
    existence of the Trinity. Just as the BI/2P System is
    testimony to the Cross (quadrature). Again, I think
    the Koranic criticism reflects their historical suspicion
    of Christian eagerness to, on the one hand, put Semitic
    martyrs on the alter, while on the other hand continuing
    to look down on them.

    The Dinner Table (Koran, Chapter 5)

    3.[5.110] When Allah will say: O Isa son of
    Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your
    mother, when I strengthened you I with the
    holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle
    and I when of old age, and when I taught you
    the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and
    the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay
    a thing like the form of a bird by My
    permission, then you breathed into it and it became
    a bird by My permission, and you healed
    the blind and the leprous by My permission; and
    when you brought forth the dead by My
    permission; and when I withheld the children of
    Israel from you when you came to them with
    clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among
    them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.

       In this passage clearly the Koran reports the
    historical reputation of Jesus of Nazareth as a savior
    and a Messiah. Even testifying to his ability to
    raise the dead.

    > There are important historical connections between Islam and
    > Christianity, & Islam has often been considered as a heretical version of
    > Christianity. (One of the first Christians to address the claims of
    > Islam, John of Damascus [+760], called it "the heresy of the
    > Ishmaelites".) While this obviously reflects a negative judgment, it also
    > affirms a genuine relationship. (One could not, e.g., call Buddhism a
    > Christian heresy.) These connections should be taken seriously, but we
    > also should recognize some profound differences, one of which I noted
    > above.

       All in all, my (limited) reading of the Koran affirms that
    it is the Gospel word of God just as surely as the Old and
    New Testament are. Testimony to the "all powerful and merciful"
       To me, being a Protestant, reading the Koran differs little
    from reading a Catholic Catechism. Sure, the people who wrote
    it were Semitic, and many believers today are Indonesian or African,
    but I find that of much lesser impact than the fact that the voice
    is one and the same with the Christian voice... the same voice of
    God. (Needless to say, when I get around to reading the Vedas and
    Buddhist canon, I'll probably discover the same- that the voice
    of God is universal).

    > BTW, The Book of Mormon is also not a transliteration or
    > translation of the Christian Bible, though there are a few chapters that
    > are identical with those in (if I remember correcly) Isaiah and John.
    > Non-Mormons may wonder if Joseph Smith's familiarity with the King James
    > Bible accounts for this.

       My mother used to drag me to a Latter Day Saints church when I
    was a kid because she knew the minister. I was always suspicious of
    that guy named Moroni whom I immediately assumed was a prophet to
    morons. However, being somewhat of a moron myself I felt comfortable
    in the church. That may sound like an injudicious piece of levity, and
    maybe 50 years ago it might have been. But I would just like to point
    out how much things have changed in the last 50 years. Notice that
    no one in the U.S. is being tempted to start talking up the religious
    difference between Moslems and Christians, despite the tragic events.
    It is a far more sophisticated world after 50 years of international
    television reporting, and two new generations.
       Fact is, as you well know, I am convinced (not to say I know) that
    modern science has discovered a scientific proof of God. And this
    result is going to absolutely wipe out even the last vestiges of religious
    confrontation by showing that all religions are not only correct, they
    are in fact saying exactly the same thing, and based on the same
    axiomatic scientific law.
      Anyway, I offer that as some excusence for my, only apparent believe
    me, irreverency and usage of the common idiom.

    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Interface"

    Be sure to visit my website below
    George Hammond, M.S. Physics

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