“Islamic History Says Abraham Spoke Arabic”

Islamic history shows that prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) spoke Arabic. What would you say to that sir? Not or possible? Or not sure?

I would be surprised if Islamic history seriously says such a thing. I would carefully check your sources and make sure the source you are relying on is a reputable, scholarly source.

At any rate, I do not think it possible that Abraham spoke Arabic. Arabic appears to go back only about as far as the 4th century A.D. or so. See, for example:

1) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Arabic?o=100074

2) http://www.arabic-language.org/arabic/history.asp.

Since Abraham lived about 2000 B.C., this would be about 2,400 years before the earliest known examples of written Arabic. I don’t think it likely that a 2,400 year gap can be bridged in this case. And, of course, biblically speaking, there is no evidence at all for such an assertion.

Shalom in Christ,
Michael Gleghorn

“Arabic: a Semitic language that developed out of the language of the Arabians of the time of Muhammad, now spoken in countries of the Middle East and North Africa.”

The above is from one of the links you posted. This is false—Arabic was used before prophet Muhammad.

Yes; I would agree that the language dates to before the time of Muhammad. But as I said, the evidence seems to point to the 4th century A.D. (before Muhammad, but long after Abraham, who lived around 2000 B.C.).

Shalom in Christ,
Michael Gleghorn

© 2010 Probe Ministries




“The Pope’s Inflammatory Remarks about Islam”

How would you access Pope Benedict XVI remarks in his lecture on Faith, Reason and the University: Memories and Reflections? and Islamic reaction? What was the essence of his lecture that infuriated the Islamic World?

Thank you for your question regarding the Pope’s comments on Islam and the resulting violent response from the Muslim world.

Not being a Roman Catholic, I do not usually read the Pope’s speeches. However, given the worldwide outrage by Muslims, I thought it important to understand what has caused such an intense reaction to his lecture at the University of Regensburg.

The speech was rather academic and mostly focused on the relationship between faith and reason in the Christian tradition. In it, the Pope gave quotes from the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II to a Persian Muslim during the siege of Constantinople in the late 14th century. The exact quote of the Emperor is “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The Emperor went on to argue that spreading any religion by the sword is by nature unreasonable.

The irony of the situation we find ourselves in today is amazing. We now have Muslims burning churches, threatening to kill the Pope, and destroy the west, because he implied that Mohammed advocated the use of the sword to spread and protect the Muslim faith. It is equivalent to punching someone in the face because they called you pugilistic.

Muslims certainly cannot deny that Mohammed admonished Muslims to pick up their swords for Allah’s cause (see my essay Islam and the Sword at Probe.org). They also cannot ignore the fact that Islam conquered both the Persian and Byzantine Empires via warfare. Had it not been for the victory at Tours by Charles Martel, all of Europe would have fallen to the Islamic invaders.

When anyone in the west speaks against violence done in the name of Allah, Muslims are quick to equate the written word with “aggression” against Islam which then justifies all sorts of violent acts in defense of Islam and its Prophet. I can only hope that the media and our politicians will wake up to the double standard that occurs when words or ideas are equated with violent acts.

Don Closson

© 2006 Probe Ministries




“Print the Truth About Islam!”

I read your article A Short Look at Six World Religions. Why are you lying to people about Islam? The prophet Muhammad himself is quoted to have said to his followers that even he would not enter paradise without the mercy of Allah, and the prophets were all free of any kind of sin. The word is composed of the Arabic words “Al” meaning “the” and “ilah” meaning “God.” The word “Allah” means “the God,” “the Creator,” the only one worthy of worship. Who can help you except for the one who created the heavens and the earth? Who can hurt you except for the one who created the heavens and the earth? When Jesus, whom we love as one of our prophets known to us and Isa bin Maryam, Jesus the son of Mary was on the earth, drinking God’s water and breathing God’s air, who could have stopped God had He decided to destroy the earth including Jesus? Don’t mix the creation and the Creator. Even the Christians cannot deny the singular power of Allah when they claim that He came in the form of Jesus (May Allah protect us from worshipping any figure of creation) Allah is one in control of everything. That belief may seem logical, but it is not a product of anybody’s mind because the mind cannot create a reality that already exists. The identity of God for the creation is that of the creator. How can Allah be seen as distant when according to Islam, He is closer to you than your own jugular vein? Allah is said to have 70 times the love for His creation that a mother has for her child.

I am a white American and I am pleading to you out of brotherly love for you and the people you reach to get your facts straight and print the truth about Islam. Allah loves the believers who when they do wrong, they turn to Him in repentance, yet we all know that Allah does not like lying. The Word Islam means “submission.” The way of all the prophets was submission to God. Noah (Nuh) preached submission to Allah, Moses (Musa) preached submission to Allah, and Jesus (Isa) preached submission to Allah and all other of the 124,000 or more prophets between Adam and Muhammad came with submission to Allah. To become Muslim, we say “La ilaha il lala Muhammad ur-rasululah mean that “There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is his final messenger.” Please come to Islam.

I think perhaps as a white American, you are infusing your understanding of Islam with concepts about the biblical God. In effect, you are borrowing aspects of the God of the Bible and applying them to Allah. Noah, Moses and Jesus did not preach submission to Allah; they preached about a RELATIONSHIP with Yahweh, who is not the same as Allah.

I am not lying to anyone about Islam. I think perhaps you are mistaken about both what I said and the nature of the one true God, whose name is “I AM,” and Who has also revealed Himself to be the loving Daddy (Abba) who is full of grace and truth. There is no grace in Allah. There is only the legalism of submission without personal intimacy.

You pleaded with me to come to Islam. I plead with you, please come to a PERSON—Jesus. He IS true Christianity.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries




“Why Do You Lie About Islam?”

Why do you say lies about Islam? You have to be fair when descriping other religions to Christians otherwise you are a liar.

You said that in Islam no one can make relation with God and that’s not true. Everyone can make relation with God, moreover the topheads of islamic organizations can’t claim they are better than common people cuz it’s a pure heart issue in the first place.

You said in Islam God is unknown and that’s tricky cuz for sure we know him but we didn’t see him,so we know him morally not physically.

You said the prize is after death, and that’s the greatest lie, cuz the rule that every Muslim know is, bad relationship with Allah(God)=discomfort in life, good relationship=comfort, contentment, and help of Allah. You said that everyone need forgiveness even Mohammed and that’s not true, the truth is that we all need surplus from Allah cuz our good work can’t reward blessing of Allah in life let aside the paradise.

You claim that Allah in Islam doesn’t love anybody, however he loves the devouts. Is that enough, or you want me to say more?

If you are innocent and said that by mistake then correct it and contact me, if you want to misguide your people, it’s up to you and Allah will judge you.

Thank you very much for taking time to read the article on Islam, and especially for writing to us. We appreciate you. And we do honor your request that we be fair in what we say about religions beside Christianity. If there are errors in what we have said, we are certainly open to correction.

As I read your message, I noted the following objections to the article on Islam:

  1. That there is no true relationship with God in Islam.
  2. That God is unknown in Islam.
  3. That salvation consists in the blessings that come after death, rather than during this life.
  4. That everyone is in need of forgiveness, even Muhammed.
  5. That God is not described as a loving God in the Koran.

I can understand why some of these statements would be offensive to you. Let me do my best in trying to respond to each of them.

First, that there is no true relationship with God in Islam. In reading over the article, I couldn’t find this precise statement. But I did find the statement at the end of the article that “the New Testament . . . reveals the only source of acceptance before God in His love and grace, expressed through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ . . . .” This is the clear testimony of the New Testament, and of Jesus Christ himself, and of his apostles. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father (God) but by me” (Gospel of John 14:6). The apostle Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The name he referred to is Jesus Christ. This is a difficult statement to accept, I know. But it is the clear teaching of the New Testament, which also tells us that God is “the rewarder of those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). In other words, if we earnestly seek the truth of God, He will reveal it to us. And we believe that truth includes the teaching of Jesus Christ concerning his being the way to a relationship with God.

Second, that God is unknown in Islam. I did find the statement in the article that in the Koran, God is ultimately unknowable. I can understand your reaction to this statement. But it was intended to reflect the orthodox Muslim doctrine of mukhalafa (difference) and tanzih (removal or making transcendent), which implies that God’s essence is not really knowable to us . . . that the attributes or characteristics ascribed to God in the Koran are descriptions of his actions or deeds, but not of his nature or essence. This may not be widely comprehended by Muslim people, but it is a reflection of Islamic teaching. You can consult for reference the book entitled The Call of the Minaret by Kenneth Cragg (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 42-43.

Third, that the “prize” is after death, and not in this life. I couldn’t really find a statement like this in the article. Actually, the New Testament teaches that there are many blessings that flow from our relationship with God through Jesus–both in this life and in the next. But obviously, knowing God does not shield us from ever experiencing pain and sorrow during this life. But it does assure us of the comforting grace and mercy of God, both now and after we die.

Fourth, that everyone needs forgiveness, even Muhammed. I know that among some Muslims, Muhammed is viewed as a nearly perfect man. And he obviously was a very great man. But the Koran itself testifies to his imperfection, and his need to ask forgiveness from God. See the following Koranic texts: 40.55; 41.19; 48.2. According to the the New Testament, all of us stand in need of God’s forgiving grace. At one point it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and at another, “For the wages (penalty) of sin is death (eternal separation from God)” (Romans 6:23). This last text goes on to say, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In other words, eternal life (which includes forgiveness of our sin, as well as fellowship with God) comes to us as a free gift. At another place the New Testament says, “For by grace are you saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). As it says in the Gospel of John, “Yet to all who received him (Jesus Christ), to those who believed in his name, he (God) gave the right to become children of God” (Gospel of John 1:12).

Fifth, that the Koran does not speak of God as a God of love or as a Father to his people. I know that one of the names of God in the Koran is “Al Wadud” (the Loving, Compassionate one). I believe it is used of God only twice in the Koran (11.90 and 85.14). Yet I think it is clear that this title falls short of the Bible’s description in I John 4:8 that “God is love,” as well as the many examples of God actually extending his love to sinners. For example, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (I John 4:10). Actually, the great Islamic theologian al-Ghazzali taught that this title for God refers only to his objective acts of kindness or expressions of approval. In his work Al-Maqsad Al-Asna he says, “He (God) remains above the feeling of love” (p. 91) and “Love and mercy are desired in respect of their objects only for the sake of their fruit and benefit and not because of empathy or feeling” (p. 91). In light of this, I would have to stand by the statement in the article that in the Koran God is not spoken of as a God of love or as a Father to his people (a title never attributed to God in the Koran), as He is in the Bible.

Mr. ________, I do appreciate very much your writing to us. My purpose is not at all to offend you personally, but to encourage you to evaluate the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, and to compare them to the teachings of Muhammed in the Koran. My wish and prayer is for God’s blessing and grace on your life.

Sincerely,

Richard Rood




“You’re Mistaken About Islam”

Hi there Sue,

I was sent a copy of your article A Short Look at Six World Religions. Having studied most of them in school years ago, and then in seminary, I had a pretty good knowledge of things, but as with many things, I haven’t really thought about the Hindus or the Buddhists for some 30 years! While you read this note, keep in mind that I am a born-again Christian, who lives in Spain, works in Spain and Morocco and is professionally dedicated to translating texts (English/Spanish and a long list of etc.) so I do know a bit about languages.

I found the Moslem part interesting, but I do disagree about a thing or two. One must consider two things before getting into Islam….its founder married a rich widow, so by the time he was 20, he was married, and had no need to work (unlike us and the rest of humanity at that time), so he dedicated his time to meditation and searching….for God I would imagine. He entered into contact with Judaism, and with the early years of Christianity. Therefore, when you start looking at the Koran and the Moslem faith, there are many, many things that are taken out of Judaism….no pork, no shellfish, and a long list of etc, etc. When you see them praying, they use a string of beads just like a rosary! And there are also many, many aspects that are from the early Christian faith. (Remember that the first Christians were much more Jewish in their thinking that most of us could ever be!)

As I said at the beginning, my work is 100% dedication to translation and there is a clear translation problem with Allah/God when it comes to Islam. The word God for us who speak English is fine, but if you speak Spanish, the word is Dios, and if you speak Arabic, it is Allah (when written in English format, and if it is in the Spanish format, it is Al). Saying that the Moslems do not believe in the same God as us Christians do is totally mistaken. The whole problem stems from a translation error. In Spain, most of the “modern” Moslems, when they say their prayers in Spanish, the use the word “Dios”, and not the word “Al.” Today, when it comes to translating, it is considered correct to not translate proper nouns in a text, therefore, when the Koran was translated into English, you translated everything, and the Arabic word Allah was made to sound English and therefore considered to be another god. (To give you another example….I live in Seville in southern Spain, but here in Seville, the name of the city is Sevilla, and most people want the city to be called Sevilla, and not Seville. Does this mean that Seville is one city and Sevilla is another? No, of course not) This is the same problem with God and Allah. How many born again Christian use the word Jehovah to describe the God of Abraham? Does that mean they are two different Gods? Of course not. Is the God of the Old Testament different from the God of the New? One again, of course not!

If you consider for a moment that Allah is not Yav nor God, then you are pulling the rug out from under the feet of the many missionaries who have spend years trying to take Christianity to the Moslems.

After being raised in the US in an active, church-going Christian family, and having lived abroad for 30 years, I have discovered that the western version of Christianity has become altered over the centuries to adapt to cultural implications of various nations. Our beliefs have incorporated heathen beliefs and customs, which are accepted, but are about as far from the truth as can possible be! (sorry about so many examples) We exchange presents at Christmas, and have a tree and the like, including Santa Claus, who was a saint. Where did it all come from?? First of all, Christ was not born on December 25. Based on the Bible description, and knowing weather conditions in the Mediterranean, I am sure that it was more like March or April, and according to my studies, historically, the Wiseman visited Christ about July, so really, the best time of the year to have Christmas would be July, but change the business world on that point! Then, we have a tree….that all comes from the pre-Christian beliefs in northern Europe and England…the druids used to think that the (oak) trees died in winter because the gods left, so they decorated them to get the gods to come back….and they did, in Spring! Over the years, pine trees were decorated, and then people started bringing them into their houses, and the like. If you get down to the bottom line, then if you want to really celebrate Christ’s birthday, then we’ll have to throw out the heathen tree! The celebration in December 25….it is only 4 days later than the celebration of the coming of winter, a heathen practice in Stonage (UK). Personally, I would rather celebrate Christmas and gift giving in July, with no strings attacked, but then business is business!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to send such a thoughtful and educational letter! You have obviously gained a great deal of perspective in your time in Europe, and I appreciate all the things you’ve shared with me.

I would like to address your comment “Saying that the Moslems do not believe in the same God as us Christians do is totally mistaken.” If you re-read my reasons for this statement, they have nothing to do with the word for God in English and Arabic, and everything to do with the character of Allah and of the God of the Bible. Because the article was written as a time-constrained radio transcript (aimed at a Christian audience), I was limited in what I could say. A strong case can certainly be made for the perspective that Muslims and Christians differ in our understanding of how God is revealed in the Bible and the Qur’an. I suppose it’s something like the old story of the three blind men encountering different parts of an elephant: one felt its tail and said the animal was like a rope, the second felt its trunk and said it was like a tree, and the third felt its hide and said it was like a house. I do believe that because the Bible is inspired and the Qur’an is not, we can trust what the Bible says and must see the Qur’an as a man-made book that, as you point out, borrows from both Judaism and Christianity. Thus, one view of God is correct and the other, while containing some truth about God, is incomplete and incorrect.

You mention the work of Christians trying to evangelize Muslims (an amazing task!). I see a parallel between their calling and Paul’s sermon at the Areopagus, where he invoked the unknown god the Greeks worshipped and suggested that he could identify that unknown god for them, taking them from what they already knew to unfamiliar theological territory.

It’s always hard, when we’re trying to fit a large subject into a short amount of time, to strike the right balance between simplicity and accuracy. To be honest, my statement about Allah not being the same as the God of the Bible was directed at the well-meaning people who mistakenly believe “we all worship the same God with different names: God, Allah, Brahman, Buddha. . .” Certainly, Islam and Christianity have many points of similarity, particularly in terms of the fact they are both monotheistic, but there are too many Christians who don’t understand the huge and significant differences.

I really appreciated your comments about the cultural aspects of Christianity. I think it’s a challenge to Christians in every culture, in every time in history: to stick to Biblical Christianity and leave out what is cultural. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 4:6, “Do not go beyond what is written.” A lot of people equate American (or Western) Christianity with Biblical Christianity, and they’re not the same! You gave the excellent example of how we celebrate Christmas, by using imported pagan symbols and dates. I have also seen a difference in the way many American Christians view the use of alcohol compared to European Christians, and when one culture’s taboos are imposed on another, misunderstandings occur and opportunities for bridge-building can be lost.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries