In the British newspaper “Daily News” 25/6/1984 under the heading “Shock survey of Anglican Bishops”, that reads “More than half of England’s Anglican Bishops say that Christians are not obliged to believe that Jesus Christ was God, according to a survey published today. The pole of 31 of England’s 39 bishops shows that many of them think that Christ’s miracles, the virgin birth and the resurrection might not have happened exactly as described in the Bible. Only 11 of the bishops insisted that Christians must regard Christ as both God and man, while 19 said it was sufficient to regard Jesus as ‘God’s supreme agent'”
But what is a messenger of God? Is he not “God’s supreme agent”? This is indeed what God Himself has already told us in the noble Qur’an 1400 years ago, and exactly what Jesus Christ himself testified to in the Bible:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Indeed “God’s Supreme Agent” is exactly what a Messenger of God (Rasool ALLAH) like Jesus Christ, Muhammad, or even Gabriel (the Holy Spirit) should be appropriately described.
A mortal man is Messenger of God when he speaks the Words of God in first person, as if he is delivering a written text message from Almighty God, words to words, on God’s behalf, or better he is repeating after God words to words whilst God is speaking to him. But that does not make him God himself.
Very much like it does not make Hillary Clinton President of the United States, when she delivers Obama’s prepared speech on behalf of the President, in his absence.
Quran tells us, apart from Muhammad whom God delivered him the Book of Quran, Jesus Christ was another of God’s Messenger whom God sent down to him the Book of Gospel. Others who received God’s divine messages were Moses whom God delivered him the Book of Torah, and David who received the Book of Psalm from God.
Followers of Muhammad are expected not only to believe in the Book of Quran, but the Book of Torah, the Book of Psalm, and the Book of Gospel as well. However, we are yet to find one similar to the Book of Quran. Perhaps Bible has been talking about Torah, Psalm and Gospel but our expectation they come in the form like the Quran, wholly in God’s own words, words to words.
To appreciate the difference between Bible and Quran is to discern, for instance, the difference between books of various versions written about ‘Marx and Marxism’ by different authors, with one book entitled “Marx in his own words”.
If you take the Bible and read; you will effectively perceive it a sermon by a one mortal man about God, God’s Teachings and God’s commands, besides this man’s narrations of Biblical stories.
You get a different effect when you read the Quran for you are essentially hearing God himself speaking to you to tell you about Himself, His teachings, His Commands, and amongst others His own stories about His prophets, their people, their nations, etc. There are also God’s special address to the Jews and the Christians, besides mentioning of His earlier revelations of the Torah, Psalm and Gospel revealed to Moses, David and Jesus Christ respectively.
For truly Quran are wholly “God in His own words”, words for words, as revealed to His Messenger Muhammad. That effectively makes God Himself the Author of the Quran, to make it absolutely God’s own Book from God’s own works. It stays authentic, well preserved and only in one version worldwide. No edition and no updates, for who are mortals like us to edit or updates God’s works?
Muhammad had always been very careful to ensure his mortal words do not get mixed up with God’s divine words, for both will be coming from his tongue and mouth. His companions will have to discern the difference and Muhammad will always have to check to ensure fidelity of the Quran is maintained.
Muhammad during his lifetime strictly disallowed writing and recording of his own words and his actions. He commanded that they be burnt and destroyed to ensure they will not find their way into the Quran.
God mentions in the Quran that the faith of Abraham, the Patriarch of the Hebrews (Children of Abraham), is ISLAM and God of Abraham is ALLAH. That Abraham had made ALLAH the one absolute God and Lord for the Hebrews, and ISLAM their one Religion.
The last Prophet and Messenger of ALLAH, Muhammad, had in fact merely retained the name ALLAH (as the name of our God and Lord) and ISLAM (as the name our Religion), for ISLAM is indeed not a new Religion and ALLAH is not a different God and Lord of that of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), David, Solomon, Moses, or Jesus Christ.
ALLAH had made it clear too in the Quran that Mohamed is only one of the Prophets and Messengers of God in the lineage of Prophets and Messengers of ALLAH. That all Muslims are to indiscriminately believe in all the Semitic prophets and messengers of ALLAH and to believe in Torah, Psalm and Gospel, besides Quran.
Perhaps, it is not the question of converting individual Jews to become individual Christians, or converting individual Christians to become individual Muslims. But rather the question of reverting Judaism and Christianity back to Islam free from adulteration and blasphemy. I guess that was what the main mission and approach of Jesus and Muhammad when they dealt with ‘People of the Book’.
For the original Religion of the Jews or the Christians is not Judaism or Christianity, but indeed ISLAM.
Perhaps we have learned well from the grave mistakes of our predecessors. Unlike the Jews and the Christians, we Muslims have always avoided or never agreed to calling ourselves Mohammedan, and our religion Mohammedanism right from the start.
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
Al-Maidah (5): 48
And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;
وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَن بَعْضِ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ
Al-Maidah (5): 49
And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, and be cautious of them, lest they seduce you from part of what Allah has revealed to you; but if they turn back, then know that Allah desires to afflict them on account of some of their faults; and most surely many of the people are transgressors.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Al-Baqarah (2): 62
Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans – those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness – will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
Ebionites Theology and Early Christians’ Beliefs
Eboinites are the early Christians led by Jesus’ brother James. According to a very ancient Christian text called “The Teachings”, those early Christians knew nothing of a divine Jesus, they knew nothing of an atoning sacrificial death on the cross, nor did they recognize Jesus as the Son of God.
In fact, almost all of the major teachings of Islam about Jesus and his message are echoed faithfully including the definition of Jesus as a servant of God and teacher/ prophet.
It was said that Waraka ibn Nawfal (a paternal cousin of Khadija), whom Kadija first referred to after Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation of the Quran, was this Oboinite Christian Priest of Mecca.
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