Everyone should understand Islam. It has many denominations, I have learned, as does Christianity. There are basic elements established in the Qur’an that need clarification. But it behoves all, Christian and Muslim, especially, as these two religions represent 1/2 the world’s population, to be clear on the context and the foundational elements of each religion. For me Christianity is based on faith (a faith and not a religion) in the Risen Lord, indeed significantly different in that the laws of Islam (similarly the laws of the Jewish religion recorded in the Torah) are the driver of the followers towards a less than guaranteed salvation. Good works, achieving in one’s lifetime 51% good works (when contrasted to not-so-good works) makes the opportunity to be with Allah possible. Justification for salvation is available to believers in Christ, believing in a loving God (God loves unconditionally, whereas Allah only loves those who first love Allah), knowing Christ’s sacrifice for all mankind and his resurrection as proof of his divinity. Allah and the Triune God (one God in three defined persons) are not the same. This I will explore in future Blogs. I know this can be a sensitive subject, but why if my attempt is only to make clear the differences so intelligent decisions can be made for those seeking answers to a life beyond our life here on earth.
I will provide commentary and may at times be in error (even though I will make every attempt to be fair and accurate) and thus I ask for Comments to clarify or illuminate the dialog.
How this desire to explore came about was not just 9/11 but a recent discussion with friends about the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. A little on that structure:
The Dome of the Rock located in Jerusalem was built over a prime Christian holy place (where the Church of the Holy Wisdom was once situated). Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock in the late 7th Century (600’s) with the intended purpose of getting Christians to forget the “Rock” on which Jesus was judged at the time of Pilate. This was less than 100 years after Muhammad’s march upon Mecca and the establishment of the Ka’aba, the house of the pagan worshipped black rock, as a house only for monotheistic worship of the religion written by Muhammad; the worship of the religion of Muhammad – Islam. Abd al-Malik wanted Christians to abandon the Christian significance to the “Rock” by having them turn their “backs” on it and he wanted Christians to convert to Islam and then to focus on the Ka’aba stone (a black meteorite stone the Arabs worshipped in their pagan days) located in the structure called Ka’aba where Muslims supposed Abraham erected at Mecca in Arabia, with the help of his son Ishmael (the year 2000 BC), for the true worship of God. Note also the Ka’aba is professed by the Muslims to have first been erected by Adam. The book “The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot” (by Ernest L. Martin, 1999) provides more details to this important historical fact. The Ka’aba contained many idols, one for each day – 360 – it has been noted.
An architectural wonder of the world and the first major shrine built by Islam sits atop the “rock” where many claim Abraham prepared Isaac for sacrifice. It is mathematically exact and constructed using principles applied to 6th Century churches. The craftsmanship and splendor was intended to “overawe those who saw it, and impress upon Jews and (especially) Christians that their faiths had been superseded by Islam.” (from The Templars, by Piers Paul Read, 1999, St. Martin’s Press, NY, NY, pg. 55). Paul Read continues in his book, “to bring home the message to anyone who might have missed it, there is an inscription (in the mosque) which states (note: the People of the Book is Muhammad’s label for Jews and Christians):
“Oh you People of the Book, overstep not bounds in your religion, and of God speak only the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and his Word which he conveyed into Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from him. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say not Three. It will be better for you. God is only one God. Far be it from his glory that he should have a son.”
From the very beginning Islam was attacking the Trinity and calling Jesus an apostle, denying his divinity. Paul Read, The Templars (pg. 55), quoting another author, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor (The Holy Land: an Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700, Oxford, 1986, page 78) – ‘An invitation to abandon the belief in the Trinity and in the divine Sonship of Christ could hardly be put more clearly’” than by the presence of the Dome of The Rock on a holy Christian site.
This prompted me to explore and share – which I will do in ensuing Blogs.