Friday, 6 February 2009
The Bible as Kalamullah
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
About a decade ago, I had a good friend who was looking for direction in the spiritual sense. At that time, I was with the Legion of Mary so naturally we talked about a religion I knew about. In his case, it was not a new faith. It was a coming home of sorts. He converted to Catholicism. We lost contact for a while and when we got in touch again, I had become a Muslim.
Coming from a Catholic background, I have always had an aversion of sorts with the militant Protestant Right. A study of the Reformation will see that the teachings of John Calvin with regard the nascent Christian faith mirror the Wahhabi movement in Islam. It is an emphasis of the perceived purity of form over spirituality in context. The Descendant Churches believe that the Bible is The Word of God, their Kalamullah. In contrast, much of Orthodox Christianity including the Coptics, Nestorians, Monophysites and the Catholics hold that the Bible is Divinely-Inspired.
This was precisely why Shaykh Ahmed Deedat's arguments against Jimmy Swaggart were so successful from the Muslim point of view. By saying that the Bible is Kalamullah, there was no room for error. However, it is debatable whether this approach was effective in convincing people that Islam is true. Shaykh Deedat was effective in the context of his time and situation but that is not the ideal for da’wah. My Prophet (s.a.w.) did not go around debating. You felt Allah (s.w.t.) in his presence. That is enough. In any case, Christians watching the Deedat debates are equally convinced that they 'won.' This is not even about winning.
The argument that their Jesus (a.s.) is God fails in the theological sense when Jesus (a.s.) died but Existence persisted for three days. If Jesus (a.s.) died, did God die? If God died, he is not God. If Jesus (a.s.) died, but the world still exists, therefore God did not die and Jesus (a.s.) is not God. The argument is not so clear cut.
Even until the Second Council of Nicaea, the matter was unresolved. Hence the Arian heresy. The Heresy persisted even after the death of Arius. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria was still unable to successfully address this issue within the Nicaean Creed and the Athanasian Creed. Ironically, the Heresy only died out as a viable movement after the conquest of Iberia, Dar al-Andalus, Land of the Vandals. The Arians converted to Islam. Islam held almost the same beliefs as the Arians, that ‘Isa (a.s.) was exalted but not God per se. They only had to accept that Muhammad (s.a.w.) was the promised Paraclete; from the progeny of Abraham (a.s.) in Paran (Arabia), the Valley of Bakkah (Mecca). And that is why I am a Muslim. But I am a thousand and a half years too late to go to Paran.
The same arguments of Shaykh Deedat would be useless against the Orthodoxies and the Catholics. As a Catholic, I knew the discrepancies, the history and I could point out the reasons. As a Muslim, I have the Qur'an and the hadits to back my reasoning.
I accompanied this friend of mine to Bible class in the early days of his pre-conversion. I will not mention the Church and the cell group but I can say that this woman had no business teaching the Bible. She was bigoted, ignorant and obviously knew nothing of the text in context. She taught by being 'moved by the Spirit'. That is a fancy way of saying she was talking rubbish. To her, Catholics are the spawn of Satan and the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Muslims spend all day in the mosque plotting to bomb everyone. Basically everybody was heading for eternal damnation and she and her kind would be saved by the Rapture. People like her are the sort that become terrorists.
The problem is there are a lot of Muslims like that. They are so sure that they are going to Heaven and everybody else is damned. They quote the Qur'an and the hadits out of context and can read only the translation. Some of them can recite beautifully. Like parrots, they have no idea what they are reciting. It is the qualities of ignorance and arrogance that leads to extremism.