BLOGGING THE QUR’AN: “What’s the message for other faiths?”


What’s the message for other faiths?

Kashif Shahzada vs Madeleine Bunting

Excerpts from The Guardian Debate

Blogging The Qur’an

MADELEINE BUNTING:
These verses contain a statement of religious tolerance which is more far reaching than anything you will find in the Bible. I was lost from the start on these verses (al-Baqara 40-141). I presumed that God is addressing Jews, but his request that they believe in the message and do not disbelieve it – is that an exhortation to become more devout Jews or a request that they become Muslims? I know that might be a daft reading of the verses but it’s not clear to me. Then we run through in a succinct summary a series of Old Testament stories of the Jews – Moses, the escape from Egypt and the parting of the sea. What is the purpose here?

What was very clear – and it was a relief to feel I understood something – was verse 62: Muslims, Jews, Christians – all will have their rewards from God. Even a monotheistic sect, the Sabians, would have rewards from God. What all these believers must do is believe in God, the last day and do good. This is a statement of religious tolerance which is more far reaching than anything you will find in the Bible, and very impressive; I begin to understand why Karen Armstrong maintains that the great strength of Islam is its recognition of plurality and tolerance of other religions. It’s a point which sadly is often obscured today; perhaps you can reflect here about the relationship between Muslims and Jews?

Also, I find some of the detail about parts of the cow striking a body to bring it to life (verse 73) pretty strange. In its time, it would perhaps have made sense but what are we to make of such references now?

_______________________________

 

KASHIF SHAHZADA:

Ms Bunting stated:

“…What was very clear – and it was a relief to feel I understood something – was verse 62: Muslims, Jews, Christians – all will have their rewards from God….. What all these believers must do is believe in God, the last day and do good…”

When the Qur’an stresses reward for belief in God (Allah), then it is belief in the Qur’anic God that is required, and not belief in the concepts or attributes concerning God that prevail in other Scriptures / faiths that will provide salvation.

This is so because reading in later passages one discovers that the Qur’an corrects Judeo/Christian attributions to God, and admonishes those who maintain such beliefs.

E.g. Compare:

Exodus 31:17 vs Qur’an 50:38

Isiah 20:2-3 vs Qur’an 7:28

Judges 1:19 vs Qur’an 3:47

Genesis 21:1-2 vs Qur’an 6:102

In 1 John 5:7 God is one in three in a trinity, and belief in the trinity is widespread in Christiandom, specially the Catholic Church. In contrast the Qur’an in 5:76 as well as many other passages is strict in emphasising the oneness of God and refutes the notion that He is part of a trinity, and even warns those who believe in the trinity of dire consequences of maintaining this belief.
It is wrong to conclude from an isolated reading of 2:62 that acc. to Qur’an any Christian / Jew etc can attain salvation just because he/she believes in God as per his/her own scriptural depiction of God, but what is required of him / her is a correction of belief and acceptance of Qur’anic position regarding God. Acc. to Qur’an, God is not a trinity (see 4:171), He does not beget children (112:3), Jesus is not co-equal to God, but is subservient to Him, and was neither killed not crucified (see 4:157, 5:72).

How can it be said that the Qur’an assures salvation for a Christian who maintains beliefs that the Qur’an refutes and admonishes about? Cross referencing of verses reveals that if a christian abandons such traditional christian beliefs and accepts the Qur’anic viewpoint, it is then that he/she will have reward in the hereafter, and not otherwise. That is why we find in a later verse:

“If then they believe AS YOU (i.e. Qur’anic Believers) BELIEVE in Him, then they are indeed on Guidance…” Qur’an 2:137

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One thought on “BLOGGING THE QUR’AN: “What’s the message for other faiths?”

  1. re whats-the-message-for-other-faiths-kashif-shahzada-vs-madeleine-bunting/

    Assalaam alaikum Dear Kashif,

    Although I agree you were right that Islam is asking everyone to listen to its (the last and clarifying) message, this message is fundamentally the same message as the previous messages.

    It is also true that Allah does explicitly tell the Christians and Jews at the time of Muhammad, peace be upon him, to follow the guidance of their holy books – the Gospel and the Torah in Surah 5 see ayat 47 and the surrounding passages. This is because it is the same guidance.

    In a way, to become a more devout Jew is to become a more devout Muslim (if devotion means surrender to Allah and a wish to please him by following his guidance)

    Also, seeing that Allah has not willed to make the whole world Muslims, united on the truth- see for example 5:48- it cannot be said that Christians and Jews will not attain salvation either…

    I think the blog is great and ask Allah to help you and reward you in your efforts – i am really pleased you got in touch

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