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Islam and Christianity

Islam and Christianity (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) The beneficient teachings of Islam aim to unify mankind within the fold of one spiritual brotherhood. God commands in the Holy Quran: “Show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hand possess.” (4:37). These sublime injunctions call upon Muslims to extend kindness and assistance to everyone irrespective of colour, race or creed. It is within the light of this fraternal spirit that I make the following observations. God All Messengers of God proclaimed the Unity of God and Jesus was no exception. He never claimed to be Divine or God Himself. He is reported to have declared: “Why callest me good? There is none good but One, that is God.” (Mark 10:18). It is unfortunate that the majority of Christians have lost the correct conception of the Unity of God and profess the untenable doctrine of Trinity which propounds the existence of three gods — God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. No amount of mathematical jugglery can make three equal to one or one equal to three. The Bible speaks of the “God of Israel” and not the God of all people: “Blessed be the God of Israel for ever and ever.” (1 Chronicles 16:36). 28 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Jesus also claimed to be a Messenger only for the tribes of Israel: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24). Islam teaches the absolute Oneness of God. We read in the Holy Quran: “Say He is Allah, the One. Allah the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” (112:2-5). This refutes the idea that God has co-partners. Again He proclaims: “They surely disbelieve who say Allah is the third of three, there is no God but the One God.” (5:74). The Quran refers to God as: “The Lord of all the worlds.” (1:2). The original text means that God is not only the Lord of all mankind but also of every kind of creation. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) was not commissioned by God to preach only to the Arabs or any other particular section of humanity but to all mankind: “We have not sent thee but as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner for all mankind.” (34:29). Sin Christianity teaches the doctrine of original sin which states that everyone is born tainted with inherited sin due to the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. It also teaches that through death on the cross Jesus cleansed and atoned not only the stain of original sin of man but also absolved him from all kinds of sin by bearing the punishment on himself instead. This is known as the doctrine of Atonement. Islam teaches that Allah is a just God and that it is not justice for an innocent person to be compelled to suffer the punishment of a guilty person. God is All-forgiving and Merciful possessing the power to forgive sins without the need of a human sacrifice by crucifixion or any other form of execution: ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY 29 “Whosoever does evil or wrongs his soul, and then asks forgiveness of Allah, will find Allah most Forgiv- ing, Merciful.” (4:111). True and sincere repentance draws the Mercy and Forgiveness of God as it always has done throughout the ages. Peace Jesus was, no doubt, a man of peace. He is reported to have said: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). “Thou shalt not resist evil.” . • • • . (Matthew 5:39).. Nevertheless, he seems to have reversed these gentle teachings on a later occasion when he said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34). “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” (Luke 22:36). This message seems to have been well understood by Jesus’s disciples for at the time of his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Since that event the prayers and blessings of Church leaders have accompanied Christian armies which have sallied forth in all directions down the centuries. The word Islam means peace. A Muslim should be one who strives to keep the peace. Aggression is prohibited although fighting in self-defence is permitted: “Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you but do not trans- gress. Surely Allah loves not the trans- gressors.” (2:191). Muslims hail one another with the greeting “Peace be on you” and, if they 30 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS remain steadfast in faith, they will be met by angels at the gates of paradise who will say: „ “Peace be unto you.” (13:24). Islam seeks to promote universal peace and provides the necessary guidance for its achievement. Peace Through Righteousness If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. When there is order in each nation there will be peace in the world. (Chinese proverb) Daily Living Religion is bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions. (James Learmont)