Pope Francis: ‘No Middle East Without Christians’

By Andrew Katz @katzNov. 21, 2013

The Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, Pope Francis said on Thursday after meeting with patriarchs from Iran, Iraq and Syria.

“We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” he said before calling for “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith to be respected.” The pontiff, speaking at a time when Christian communities in the Middle East have grown increasingly vulnerable amid the upheavals of recent years, said “Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land sometimes overflow with tears.”

According to the Oeuvre d’Orient Catholic association, there are an estimated 10 to 13 million Christians in the region. They represent 36 percent of Lebanon’s population, 10 percent of Egypt’s, five percent of Syria’s and two percent of Iraq’s. Throughout Syria’s civil war, Christians have claimed to be targeted persecuted by anti-government rebels due to their perceived allegiance to Syrian President Bashar Assad, who, like them, hails from a religious minority—in his case, the Alawites.

Read more: Pope Francis Defends Christians’ Rights in Middle East | TIME.com http://world.time.com/2013/11/21/pope-francis-no-middle-east-without-christians/#ixzz2lLFSfnIU

Pope Francis calls for full religious freedom in the Middle East

By Cindy Wooden on Thursday, 21 November 2013

In This Article Blessed John Paul II, Catholics, Holy Land, Middle East, persecution of Christians, Pope Francis

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After a two-hour private meeting today with the patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic churches, Pope Francis prayed for peace and full religious freedom throughout the Middle East.

Referring to himself, he said “the Bishop of Rome will not be at peace as long as there are men and women – of any religion – harmed in their dignity, deprived of what is necessary for their survival, robbed of their future or forced to become refugees.

During the meeting with all of the members of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Pope added: “Let us make an appeal so that the right of everyone to a dignified life and to freely profess their faith is respected.”

The large gathering followed the private meeting with 10 heads of Eastern churches and the Latin-rite patriarch of Jerusalem, mainly to talk about the situation of Christians in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.

But Pope Francis said they also spoke about the rebirth of the Armenian, Ukrainian, Romanian and other Byzantine churches oppressed under communism in the 20th century and the missionary dynamism of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches based in India.

He said he listened to the patriarch of Jerusalem and the Coptic, Syrian, Melkite, Maronite, Chaldean and Armenian patriarchs testify to the perseverance of their faithful in the Middle East where they often are small minorities “in environments marked by hostility, conflict and even hidden persecution.”

“At times,” he added, “Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other areas of the Holy Land flow with tears.”

Despite the dangers and the desire of many Christians to move to places where they can raise their families in peace, the Pope said, “we cannot resign ourselves to thinking of a Middle East without Christians, who for 2,000 years have professed the name of Jesus.”

The region’s Christians, he said, deserve to be recognised as citizens of their countries with full rights, including religious freedom.

Despite the challenges Catholics in the Middle East face, “the light of faith has not been extinguished, but rather shines brightly,” he said, and every Catholic owes them gratitude.

The world’s Christians can look to the Christians of the Middle East and learn the patience and hard work that goes into “the daily exercise of a spirit of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue,” Pope Francis continued. “The geographical, historical and cultural context in which they have lived for centuries, in fact, has made them the natural interlocutors for numerous other Christian confessions and other religions.”

Pope Francis asked all Catholics to pray that God would bring reconciliation and peace to the region.

“Prayer disarms the foolish and generates dialogue where there is conflict,” he said, adding that with sincere and persevering prayers the voice of Christians becomes “meek and firm, able to make even national leaders listen.”

Referring to Jerusalem as the place “where all of us were spiritually born,” Pope Francis prayed that Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II, “untiring peacemakers on earth, would be our intercessors in heaven” to bring peace to the Middle East.

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The Dangerous Road from Imam to Catholic Preacher: An Interview with Mario Joseph

His father told him, “If you want to be a Christian, I have to kill you,” and tried to make good on his promise, but a miracle saved his life.

09.11.2013

Mario Joseph was an imam at age 18. Then he became a Christian and his father tried to kill him. Today, he is a Catholic preacher in India. His case is unique in the world: he is the first Muslim cleric to have embraced Christianity, which in the Islamic world is punishable by death. In the cemetery of his Indian town, there is a tombstone with his name, and underneath it, a coffin with a clay sculpture of his size. His father told him, “If you want to be a Christian, I have to kill you.” This man is alive, and Lartaún de Azumendi was able to interview him on “The Night of COPE”:

Mario Joseph, good evening. You were 18 years old and you were a Muslim cleric. What happened to change your perspective?

I was the third of six brothers. When I was eight years old, my father sent me to a Koranic school to become an imam. After ten years of study, I became an imam at age 18. One day, I was preaching in the mosque that Jesus Christ was not God. Then a person from the audience told me not to say that and asked me who Jesus Christ was. Since I had no answer to give, I set about reading the entire Koran, and there I discovered that in Chapter 3, it speaks of Jesus. The Koran often refers to him as Jesus Christ, and in chapter 19, it speaks of Mary. In the Koran, Mary is the only female name that is named, and the Koran also says that Jesus is the Word of God.

Was the area where you lived in India a Muslim area?

Yes. It is predominantly Muslim and Hindu, and there are virtually no Christians.

And starting from that question that arose when you were preaching, how did the conversion process begin?

The Koran says that Mohammed is dead but that Jesus Christ is still alive. So when I read that, I thought, “Who, then, should I accept? The one who is dead or the one who is alive?”

I asked Allah whom I should accept and I began to pray to help me on this issue. And when I started to pray, I opened the Koran and in chapter 24 verse 10, it says that those who have a question like that on the Koran should read the Bible. So I decided to start studying the Bible. Then I realized who the true God is, and from that moment on, I embraced Christianity.

You tell that story so naturally, knowing what you would have to endure to accept it. How did your community react?

When I converted, I went to a retreat center and my family started looking for me. They found me there. My father beat me hard and took me home. When we arrived, he put me in a room, tied my hands and feet, undressed me, put pepper in my eyes, mouth, and nose, and left me there without food for 28 days. After that time, my father came and took me by the neck to see if I was alive.

I opened my eyes and saw that he had a knife in his hand. He asked me if I accepted Jesus and told me he would kill me if I said yes. I knew my father would kill me because he is a very hardline Muslim and he was convinced. I said I accepted Jesus Christ, and at that moment, a very powerful light struck my mind and gave me the strength to scream with all my might: “Jesus!”

At that moment, my father fell and the knife he carried in his hand pierced his chest. It made a big cut and he started bleeding profusely and was foaming at the mouth. At that time, my family was scared for him. They took him to the hospital and forgot to close the door. I was able to go out and catch a taxi to the retreat center where I had been caught, and there I stayed in hiding.

It is incredible that you had the physical ability to get out of the house and go to the Catholic shelter…

Although I was naked and weakened, that light gave me strength and a health that came out of nowhere. However, I am still suffering the consequences of this punishment because I have a stomach ulcer and mouth ulcers.

It seems like a story touched by God. It is not normal for one to come out strengthened with that power. How long ago did this happen?

It was 18 years ago. Suffering still accompanies me, because it is written in the Koran in over eighteen places that he who rejects the Koran must be eliminated.

Since then, have you returned to see your father?

I have not gone back to my village. I never set foot in my land again. Not only that, but I am buried there because my parents made a grave with my name and the day I was born on the headstone.

Listen to the full interview on the website of the COPE Channel.

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Taken from: http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/the-dangerous-road-from-imam-to-catholic-preacher-an-interview-with-mario-joseph-13174001

The Haman Hoax

Jochen Katz

Introduction

The Qur’an contains several instances of “historical compression”, i.e. stories in which two or more separate historical events are combined to create a new story, or a character from one story is transferred or imported into another story. For example, in the Qur’an we find Saul and David in the story of Gideon, or a Samaritan together with Moses in the Exodus narrative. A list of many more such historical compressions is provided on this page.

Whether these stories and characters were confused by the author of the Qur’an out of ignorance or deliberately merged for a certain purpose, these new stories are presented to the readers as reports of historical events and therefore constitute historical errors in the Qur’an.

One of the best known examples of such apparent historical confusions in the Qur’an is the character of Haman in the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Pharaoh and Haman were two of the most dangerous figures in the history of the Jews. Both of these men attempted genocide against the Israelites. Pharaoh gave the command to kill all male newborn babies (Exodus 1) and Haman plotted to have all Jews killed who were living in exile in Persia (Esther 3).1 However, these two events were separated in two ways: (a) the geographical distance of several thousand kilometers between Egypt and Persia, and (b) about a thousand years distance on the historical timeline.

Since the character of Haman is so obviously out of place in the story of Moses and Pharaoh, this matter has a high embarrassment factor, and Muslims apparently felt the pressing need to find a reasonable solution to this charge of a historical error in the Qur’an.

If only Muslims could find the name “Haman” or something similar in Egyptian records … as this would allow them to claim that Haman is indeed an Egyptian name, and thus enable them to disconnect the Haman in the Qur’an from the Haman found in the biblical book of Esther.

In fact, apologists for Islam have managed to devise a hoax that has impressed and misled many people over the last 15 years. This hoax went through three main stages of development (associated with Maurice Bucaille, Islamic Awareness, and Harun Yahya) and all three stages are available on the internet, plus plenty of variants.2 In this article, I will discuss these three stages of the argument in turn and point out various peculiarities.

The below discussion is rather lengthy and involved because (1) many details have to be examined, and because (2) this article actually consists of three rebuttals to three related but nevertheless quite different Muslim versions of this claim.

As a foretaste of the things to come, let me mention in this introduction only two details out of the many false Muslim statements on this topic. Maurice Bucaille claims to have consulted a prominent Egyptologist about the name Haman and a possible transliteration of that name in hieroglyphs. He then writes:

In order to confirm his deduction about the name, he advised me to consult the Dictionary of Personal Names of the New Kingdom by Ranke, where I might find the name written in hieroglyphs, as he had written before me, and the transliteration in German. I discovered all that had been presumed by the expert, and, moreover, I was stupefied to read the profession of Haman: “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries,” exactly what could be deduced from the Qur’an, though the words of Pharaoh suggest a master of construction.

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Quite obviously, Bucaille lied. Ranke’s transliteration does not say “Haman”, nor does Ranke say anything about him being the “Chief of the workers in stone-quarries”. [The meaning and implications of this entry will be discussed in great detail in the next two sections of this paper.]

Harun Yahya wrote about ten years ago:3

The name “Haman” was in fact mentioned in old Egyptian tablets. It was mentioned on a monument which now stands in the Hof Museum in Vienna, …

This is another lie. There is not even one Egyptian tablet, let alone many, on which the name Haman was found, nor is the artefact with the inscription that allegedly contains the name Haman “a monument”; it is a door post and it does not say “Haman”. Most ironically, there has not even been a “Hof Museum” in Vienna for more than eighty years!

The whole story is a hoax from start to finish.

After these “appentizers”, let’s now turn our attention to the full Muslim argument and examine it step by step. The discussion is structured in the following way:

* The Hoax

Stage One: Maurice Bucaille

Stage Two: Islamic Awareness

Stage Three: Harun Yahya

Stage Four: Caner Taslaman (later addition)

* Excursus: The impact of the Muslim Haman argument

* Various Appendices providing further background information 1.Who was Haman according to the Qur’an? 2.The similarities between Haman in the Bible and Haman in the Qur’an 3.The full inscription of “Haman’s” door post 4.The two versions of the argument by Islamic Awareness 5.Hammon & Hemiunu: The psychology of Islamic Awareness 6.What Islamic Awareness really knew 7.Statements by German Egyptologists

The first three parts should be read in the given sequence since they are building upon each other and details that have already been discussed and shown to be wrong in an earlier stage, will not be discussed again in the later parts.

We start our examination of the Muslim claims with Stage One: Maurice Bucaille

[First published: 9 November 2009]

[Last updated: 13 September 2011]

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Footnotes

1 We will probably never know for sure what reasons led to the inclusion of Haman in the Exodus narrative of the Qur’an. Nevertheless, their common trait (of both having tried to exterminate the Israelites) could have created the occasion of Muhammad hearing Jews referring to both of these two evil men “in the same breath”. Further possible factors that may have contributed to the inclusion of Haman into the story of Pharaoh and Moses are presented in Appendix 1.

2 A search on Google for some of the relevant terms reveals that there are currently close to a thousand Muslim web pages propagating this particular argument. This may serve as a measure of importance that is attached to this topic by the Muslim community.

3 Most probably near the end of the year 1998 or early 1999.

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Articles by Jochen Katz

Answering Islam Home Page

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© Answering Islam, 1999 – 2013. All rights reserved.

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Taken from: http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/katz/haman.html

Deedat suppressing plain statements in Bible.

”… Deedat not only has to promote absurdities to support his arguments but also has to suppress plain statements in the Bible which refute them completely”.

by John Gilchrist

THE SIGN OF JONAH 1 Was Jesus Dead or Alive in the Tomb? 2 Three Days and Three Nights 3 Jonah a Sign to the Men of Nineveh 4 No Sign but the Sign of Jonah 5 “Destroy this Temple and in Three Days” 6 The Ultimate Significance of the Sign of Jonah

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS WHO MOVED THE STONE?

THE SIGN OF JONAH According to both the Bible and the Qur’an, Jesus Christ performed many mighty miracles during his brief three-year ministry in the land of Israel. Many of the Jews were led to believe in him when they saw such signs and wonders being performed. The Jewish leaders, however, refused to believe in him and although his miracles were widely known they often pressed him hard to perform signs or, indeed, even give them a sign from heaven (Matthew 16.1). On one occasion Jesus answered them by saying that he would give them only one sign:

“An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.

Matthew 12.39-40. Jonah was one of the great prophets of Israel and he had been called out by God to preach to an Assyrian city named Nineveh and to proclaim its pending doom. Jonah fled on a ship to Tarshish, however, and when a great storm began to rock the boat he was thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. After three days in the fish, however, he was brought up alive and duly went into the city.

Jesus spoke of this three-day internment in the stomach of the fish as “the sign of Jonah” and said that it was the only sign he was prepared to give to the unbelieving Jews. During 1976 Ahmed Deedat of the Islamic Propagation Centre in Durban published a booklet entitled What was the Sign of Jonah?, a title which leads the reader to expect a studied exposition of the subject. Instead one finds that Deedat does not answer his own question at all but ventures into an attack on the statement made by Jesus and endeavours to refute it. His arguments are based entirely on two suppositions, namely that if Jonah had been alive throughout his sojourn in the fish, then Jesus must have been alive in the tomb after being taken down from the cross; and if Jesus was crucified on a Friday and rose on the following Sunday morning, then he could not have been three days and three nights in the tomb. We shall consider these two objections in order and will thereafter proceed to analyse the whole subject to see what the Sign of Jonah really was.

1. WAS JESUS ALIVE OR DEAD IN THE TOMB? It is an accepted fact in Christian commentaries on the book of Jonah in the Bible that Jonah was kept miraculously alive during the time that he was in the stomach of the fish in the sea. At no time throughout his ordeal did he die in the fish and so came ashore as much alive as he was when he was first thrown into the sea.

In his booklet Deedat takes some of the words in the text quoted above out of their context and makes the statement read “As Jonah was … so shall the Son of man be” and concludes:

If Jonah was alive for three days and three nights, then Jesus also ought to have been alive in the tomb as he himself had foretold!

(Deedat, What was the Sign of Jonah?, p.6). Although Jesus had only said that the likeness between him and Jonah would be in the period of time they were each to undergo an internment – Jonah in a fish, Jesus in the heart of the earth – Deedat omits this qualifying reference and claims that Jesus must have been like Jonah in other ways as well, extending the likeness to include the living state of Jonah inside the fish. When Jesus’ statement is read as a whole, however, it is quite clear that the likeness is confined to the time factor. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the fish, so Jesus would be a similar period in the heart of the earth. One cannot stretch this further, as Deedat does, to say that as Jonah was ALIVE in the fish, so Jesus would be alive in the tomb. Jesus did not say this and such an interpretation does not arise from his saying but is read into it. Furthermore, in speaking of his coming crucifixion, Jesus on another occasion used a similar saying which proves the point quite adequately:

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up”.

John 3.14 Here the likeness is clearly in being “lifted up”. As Moses LIFTED UP the serpent, so would the Son of man be LIFTED UP, the one for the healing of the Jews, the other for the healing of the nations. In this case the brass serpent Moses made never was alive and if Deedat’s logic is applied to this verse we must presume that it means that Jesus must have been dead before he was lifted up, dead on the cross, and dead when taken down from it. Not only is this illogical, the contradiction between the states of Jonah and the brass serpent (the one was always alive through his ordeal, the other was always dead when used as a symbol on a pole) shows that Jesus was only drawing a likeness between himself and Jonah and the brass serpent respectively in the matters he expressly mentions – the THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS and the LIFTING UP on a pole. It does not matter whether Jonah was alive or not – this has nothing to do with the comparison Jesus was making. By omitting the qualifying reference to the time period in Jonah’s case, Deedat makes the saying of Jesus read “As Jonah was … so shall the Son of man be” and it is from this unrestricted likeness that he seeks to extend the comparison to the state of the prophet in the fish. But if we follow the same method with the other verse quoted, we come to the exact opposite conclusion. In this case the statement would read: “As the serpent … so shall the Son of man be” and the state of the serpent was always a dead one. This shows quite plainly that in each case Jesus was not intending to extend the likeness between himself and the prophet or object he mentions to the question of life or death but solely to the very comparisons he expressly sets forth. So we see that Deedat’s first objection falls entirely to the ground. A contradictory conclusion automatically results from his line of reasoning and no objection or argument which negates itself can ever be considered with any degree of seriousness.

2. THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS. It is universally agreed among Christians, with a few exceptions, that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and that he rose from the dead on the Sunday immediately following. Deedat accordingly argues that there was only one day on which Jesus was in the tomb, namely Saturday, and that this period covered only two nights, namely Friday night and Saturday night. He thus endeavours to disprove the Sign of Jonah in respect of the time factor that Jesus mentions as well and so concludes: Secondly, we also discover that he failed to fulfil the time factor as well. The greatest mathematician in Christendom will fail to obtain the desired result – three days and three nights. (Deedat, What was the Sign of Jonah?, p.10). Unfortunately Deedat here overlooks the fact that there was a big difference between Hebrew speech in the first century and English speech in the twentieth century. We have found him inclined to this error again and again when he sets out to analyse Biblical subjects. He fails to make allowance for the fact that in those times, nearly two thousand years ago, the Jews counted any part of a day as a whole day when computing any consecutive periods of time. As Jesus was laid in the tomb on the Friday afternoon, was there throughout the Saturday, and only rose sometime before dawn on the Sunday (the Sunday having officially started at sunset on the Saturday according to the Jewish calendar), there can be no doubt that he was in the tomb for a period of three days. Deedat’s ignorance of the Jewish method of computing periods of days and nights and their contemporary colloquialisms leads him to make a serious mistake about Jesus’ statement and he proceeds to make much the same mistake about his prophecy that he would be three nights in the tomb as well. The expression three days and three nights is the sort of expression that we never, speaking English in the twentieth century, use today. We must obviously therefore seek its meaning according to its use as a Hebrew colloquialism in the first century and are very likely to err if we judge or interpret it according to the language structure or figures of speech in a very different language in a much later age.

We never, speaking English in the twentieth century, speak in terms of days and nights. If any one decides to go away for, let us say, about two weeks, he will say he is going for a fortnight, or for two weeks, or for fourteen days. I have never yet met anyone speaking the English language say he will be away fourteen days and fourteen nights. This was a figure of speech in the Hebrew of old. Therefore right from the start one must exercise caution for, if we do not use such figures of speech, we cannot presume that they had, in those times, the meanings that we would naturally assign to them today. We must seek out the meaning of the prophecy Jesus made in the context of the times in which it was given.

Furthermore we must also note that the figure of speech, as used in Hebrew, always had the same number of days and nights. Moses fasted forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24.18). Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights (Jonah 1.17). Job’s friends sat with him seven days and seven nights (Job 2.13). We can see that no Jew would have spoken of “seven days and six nights” or “three days and two nights”, even if this was the period he was describing. The colloquialism always spoke of an equal number of days and nights and, if a Jew wished to speak of a period of three days which covered only two nights, he would have to speak of three days and three nights. A fine example of this is found in the Book of Esther where the queen said that no one was to eat or drink for three days, night or day (Esther 4.16), but on the third day, when only two nights had passed, she went into the king’s chamber and the fast was ended.

So we see quite plainly that “three days and three nights”, in Jewish terminology, did not necessarily imply a full period of three actual days and three actual nights but was simply a colloquialism used to cover any part of the first and third days.

The important thing to note is that an equal number of days and nights were always spoken of, even if the actual nights were one less than the days referred to. As we do not use such figures of speech today we cannot pass hasty judgments on their meaning, nor can we force them to yield the natural interpretations that we would place on them.

There is conclusive proof in the Bible that when Jesus told the Jews he would be three days and three nights in the earth, they took this to mean that the fulfilment of the prophecy could be expected after only two nights. On the day after his crucifixion, that is, after only one night, they went to Pilate and said:

Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again’. Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day.

Matthew 27.63-64. We would understand the expression “after three days” to mean anytime on the fourth day but, according to the colloquialism, the Jews knew this referred to the third day and were not concerned to keep the tomb secured through three full nights but only until the third day after just too nights. Clearly, therefore, the expressions “three days and three nights” and “after three days” did not mean a full period of seventy-two hours as we would understand them, but any period of time covering a period of up to three days. If someone told anyone of us on a Friday afternoon in these days that he would return to us after three days we would probably not expect him back before the following Tuesday at the earliest. The Jews, however, anxious to prevent any fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy (whether actual or contrived), were only concerned to have the tomb secured until the third day, that is, the Sunday, because they knew that the expressions “after three days” and “three days and three nights” were not to be taken literally but according to the figures of speech that they used in their times.

The important question is, not how we read such colloquialisms which have no place in our figures of speech today, but how the Jews read them according to the terminology of their times. It is very significant to note that when the disciples boldly claimed that Jesus had risen from the dead on the third day, that is, on the Sunday after only two nights had passed (e.g. Acts 10.40), no one ever attempted to counter this testimony as Deedat does by claiming that three nights would have to pass before the prophecy could be deemed to be fulfilled. The Jews of those times knew their language well and it is only because Deedat is ignorant of their manners of speech that he presumptuously attacks the prophecy Jesus made, simply because he was not in the tomb for an actual three-day and three-night period of seventy-two hours. (This means that Jonah’s sojourn in the fish also only covered a partial period of three days and was not necessarily three actual days and nights either).

Having therefore adequately disposed of Deedat’s weak arguments against the sign Jesus offered to the Jews we can now proceed to find out exactly what the Sign of Jonah really was.

3. JONAH A SIGN TO THE MEN OF NINEVEH. Two momentous events occurred when God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn the people of that city that God was about to destroy it for its wickedness. The first we have already briefly considered, namely the casting of the prophet into the sea and his sojourn in the stomach of the fish over a period of three days. It will be useful at this stage, however, to record the story as it is found in the Qur’an and to compare it with the story as it appears in the Bible to see to what extent the stories coincide. The narrative in the Qur’an reads:

And lo! Jonah verily was of those sent (to warn). When he fled unto the laden ship, and then drew lots and was of those rejected; and the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy; And had he not been one of those who glorify (Allah), He would have tarried in its belly till the day when they are raised. Then We cast him on a desert shore while he was sick; and We caused a tree of gourd to grow above him; and We sent him to a hundred thousand (folk) or more. And they believed, therefore We gave them comfort for a while. Surah 37.139-148. The story is rather disjointed in this passage as there is no sequence of events showing how each incident leads on to the next one. It is in the Book of Jonah in the Bible, however, that one finds the whole narrative properly knit together. Jonah agreed to join in the throwing of lots with the other soldiers on the boat to discover who was the cause of the storm which threatened to drown them all. The lot fell on him and so he was thrown into the sea where he was duly swallowed up by a large fish. After three days the fish coughed him up on dry land and he duly went to Nineveh, proclaiming that the city would be overthrown in forty days. The other great event was the total repentance of the whole city, from its king to all its slaves, when they heard the ominous warning. Jonah, surprisingly, was angry when he saw the people turn from their sins for he knew that God was merciful and would probably spare the city. As a patriotic Hebrew he had hoped for its overthrow for it was the main city of Assyria and a constant threat to the people of Israel. In the heat of the day he went up a mound hoping to see its demise, and God caused a gourd (a large plant) to grow up and give him shelter. The next day, however, God appointed a worm to consume its stem and thus cause it to wither. Jonah was very upset about this but God said to him:

“You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4.10-11. The second great event in this story, that is, the repentance of the whole city of Nineveh, was all the more remarkable when one considers that the Assyrians neither knew nor feared God and had no obvious reason why they should heed the word and warning which Jonah brought. There was no sign that the city would be destroyed in forty days as Jonah warned as life was just going on normally from day to day without any suggestion from the weather or the elements that any danger was near. No thunderclouds formed over the city as had happened at the time of Noah when the great flood burst on the earth. Nineveh was a mighty city and was in no way under any military threat. All that the city heard was the solitary voice of a Jewish prophet who came proclaiming: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3.4).

We often see cartoons of bearded old men carrying placards “the world ends tonight” and such men are always a source of amusement when they appear on the streets with such messages. Indeed the Ninevites might have considered that Jonah was just one of these religious freaks and while being amused at his apparent earnestness, they might have become somewhat indignant at the content of his warning.

When the Apostle Paul went to the city of Athens he was met with such a reception. In response to his preaching some said “What would this babbler say”? (Acts 17.18). The people of Nineveh listening to the Hebrew prophet Jonah might well have mused as the Athenians did about the Apostle Paul, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities” (Acts 17.18). We discover, however, that:

The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. Jonah 3.5 From the throne of the king down to the least of the common folk the hundreds of thousands of Ninevites took Jonah in all seriousness, repented in great earnest, and desperately sought to remove the imminent judgment from their city. Jonah in no way endeavoured to persuade them of the truth of his short, simple warning – he just proclaimed it as a matter of fact. He also gave them no assurance that God would spare the city if they repented. It was, on the contrary, his wish and expectation that the city would be destroyed in terms of God’s warning whether the Ninevites took him seriously or not. Why then did the whole city repent and do so in the hope that God would not cause them to perish? (Jonah 3.9). Jewish historians were fascinated by this story and concluded that the only possible explanation was that the Ninevites knew that Jonah had been swallowed up by a fish as God’s judgment on his disobedience, and also knew that while he would normally die in such circumstances, God in mercy kept him alive and delivered him from the stomach of the fish on the third day. This alone could explain the seriousness with which they listened to Jonah and their hope of mercy if they repented.

The Jewish historians concluded that the Ninevites reasoned that if God treats his beloved prophets so severely when they disobey him, what could they expect when the city was in the gall of bitterness against him and in the bond of iniquity and sin?

The reasoning of the Jews was correct. Jesus confirmed that Nineveh’s repentance came about as a result of their full knowledge of Jonah’s ordeal of the preceding days. He made this quite plain when he said:

“Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh”. Luke 11.30 In saying this Jesus put the seal of authenticity on the story of Jonah’s ordeal and Nineveh’s repentance and confirmed that it was historically true. At the same time he also gave credence to the theory that the people of Nineveh had heard of Jonah’s ordeal and remarkable deliverance and as a result of this took his message in all seriousness, hoping for a similar deliverance in turning from their wickedness in repentance before God. By saying that Jonah had become a sign to the men of Nineveh he made it plain that the city knew of the recent history of God’s dealing with the rebellious Jewish prophet. This explained the earnestness with which the Ninevites repented before God. It was not Jesus’ intention merely to confirm Jewish speculations, however. He wished to show that what had happened at the time of Jonah and its sequel was applicable to the people of Israel in his own generation and that a similar sign was about to be given which would likewise lead to the redemption of those who received it and the destruction of all those who did not.

4. NO SIGN BUT THE SIGN OF JONAH. According to both the Qur’an and the Bible, Jesus performed many signs and wonders among the people of Israel (Surah 5.110, Acts 2.22). Even though they could not deny these works (John 11.47), they nevertheless refused to believe in him and that right to the very end of his course. As he was completing his ministry we read of their response to all that he had done among them: Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him. John 12.37 Time and again we read that the Jews came to him seeking signs (Matthew 12.38) and on one occasion they expressly asked him to actually show them a sign from heaven itself (Matthew 16.1). On other occasions they taxed him with questions like these: “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” John 2.18 “What sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you?” John 6.30 While the Greeks of that age were primarily philosophers, the Jews wanted every claim proved by the ability to do and perform signs. As the Apostle Paul rightly said in one of his letters: For the Jews demand signs and the Greeks seek wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1.22 The Jews knew full well that Jesus was, in his own way, claiming to be the Messiah. If so, they reasoned, he must do signs to prove his claim. A1though he had already done many great signs, they still were not satisfied. They had seen him feed up to five thousand men with only five barley loaves and two fishes (Luke 9.10-17) but they reasoned that Moses had done similar miracles (John 6.31). In what way could he prove that he really was the chosen Messiah, they reasoned? What sign could he do to show them that he was greater than Moses? In those days people were not readily persuaded by great signs. When Moses turned his rod into a serpent, Pharaoh’s magicians did likewise. They also emulated his feat of turning water into blood and bringing swarms of frogs from the Nile. It was only when Moses brought out thousands of gnats from the dust that the magicians conceded: “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8.19), for they were finally unable to do likewise. So also the Jews were only prepared to consider Jesus’ claims when he could outdo the signs of the prophets of old. They saw him feed five thousand men and heal lepers and men born blind; raise up paralytics, cast out demons; and ultimately raise a man from the dead even though the man had already been dead for four days. They conceded these miracles.

All this did not satisfy them, however, for other prophets had performed similar miracles. What sign did Jesus have for them which outweighed them all? Surely if he was the Messiah he could do greater things than these? Why, Moses gave their forefathers bread from heaven to eat. As it was predicted of the Messiah that he would do similar signs (Deuteronomy 18.18,34.10-11), they therefore came to Jesus eventually and “asked him to show them a sign from heaven” (Matthew 16.1). Jesus absorbed their earnest quests for signs and said to them:

“This generation is an evil generation: it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation”. Luke 11.29-30. They wanted a sign that would prove beyond all shadow of doubt that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. Here Jesus gave them a clear answer and set before them just one sign by which they could be assured of his claims, namely, the Sign of Jonah. Although we have mentioned it already, it will be useful at this point to refer to it once again: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. Matthew 12.40 Here Jesus quite plainly outlined the proof of his claims. Jonah had been three days and three nights in the stomach of the fish. Not only was this a sign to Nineveh, it also prefigured the sign Jesus was to be for his people and not for them alone but for all people in all ages. He would be in the “heart of the earth” for a similar period. What did this mean? Would he be dead? Why would he be there three days? Assuredly the Jews must have been very perplexed about this claim but every time they asked Jesus for a sign, he promised them no other sign but the Sign of Jonah. During one incident with them he plainly told them its meaning.

5. “DESTROY THIS TEMPLE AND IN THREE DAYS …” When Jesus saw that the Jews were transforming the Temple (the great place of worship where God’s glory was in the centre of Jerusalem, known in Islam as the Baitul-Muqaddas) from a house of prayer into a place of trade, he drove out the moneychangers and those who sold sheep, oxen and pigeons. The Jewsthen said to him: “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” John 2.18 In other words, by what authority do you, a man, enter the Temple of the living God and act as if you are the Lord of it? Once again they requested a sign and again the same sign was promised by Jesus: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”. John 2.19 Once again Jesus gave them the Sign of Jonah. Again there came the period of three days but now something more is added. He challenges the Jews to destroy the temple and whereas he earlier spoke of being himself in the heart of the earth for three days, now he speaks of the temple of God being destroyed for three days and thereafter being restored. So the Jews said to him: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple and will you raise it up in three days?” John 2.20 Now that was a silly question. They asked for a sign of supernatural source to validate the action Jesus had taken. If he had said “Destroy this temple and in forty-six years I will build another”, what sort of sign would that be? But he said he would do it in only three days. That would assuredly be a sign for them to see and behold, proving that he was indeed all that he claimed to be. This was one of the most momentous statements Jesus ever made and if ever there was a remark of his that made an indelible impression on the minds of the Jews, it was this one.

When Jesus was brought to trial years later, the two witnesses brought to testify against him both mentioned this remarkable claim. One said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days”‘ (Matthew 26. 61). Another said, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands”‘ (Mark 14.58). Both of these men twisted his statement primarily through a total misunderstanding and inability to perceive the meaning of it. But that it was a claim of great import they realised!

Indeed even when Jesus was nailed to the cross some of the Jewish priests mocked him, saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!” (Matthew 27.40). Even some time after Jesus had ascended to heaven the Jews were still talking about his challenge and imagined that it was Christian belief that Jesus would yet come to destroy their holy place (Acts 6.14).

The tremendous attention paid by the Jews to this statement, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” shows how important it was. Even as these Jews mocked him, however, they were unaware that they themselves were doing just that they were destroying it by putting Jesus on the cross; and on the third day thereafter they would know that he had risen again. When Jesus said “Destroy this temple” he was not referring to the great building in the city but to his own body. In his Gospel John comments on the reply of the Jews about the number of years it took to build the Temple, “But he spoke of the temple of his body” (John 2.21).

Jesus said that it was he, the Son of man, who was to be in the heart of the earth for three days and when he addressed the Jews he spoke obviously not of the Temple in Jerusalem which he had just purified but of himself. But why did he refer to himself as the temple? It requires only a little perspective on his ministry and identity to obtain the answer. The Jews wanted him to prove that he was the Messiah and to do this they expected him to show by signs that he was greater than all the other prophets. In his answer Jesus set out to show them that he was no ordinary prophet. The Temple in Jerusalem contained only the presence of a manifestation of the glory of God, but of Jesus we are told:

In him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell. He is the image of the invisible God. For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily. Colossians 1.19,15; 2.9 What Jesus was saying then was this: Destroy me, in whom the whole fulness of God dwells bodily, put me to death, and by raising myself from the dead three days later I will give you all the proof you will ever require that I am the Lord of this Temple, the house of God.

6. THE ULTIMATE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SIGN OF JONAH. Now it becomes clear why Jesus gave the Jews this one sign, the Sign of the prophet Jonah. His death, burial and resurrection from the dead would surely prove to them that he was the Messiah.

We have seen already that the Jews sought a sign from heaven, a greater feat than that performed by any other prophet in history to prove his claims; and as one looks at the miracles of the former prophets one sees all the more the significance of the Sign of Jonah. As mentioned earlier, prior to the e trial and arrest of Jesus his greatest sign was to raise Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days. But this did not persuade the Jews (John 12. 911). Such things had been done during the time of the prophet Elisha.

But what greater feat can a man perform than to raise a dead man to life again? Only one possibly greater sign can be done. If that man after dying is able to raise himself from the dead and live again, this will surely be a greater sign and this sign was performed by no prophet before Jesus.

Living prophets had raised the dead but the sign Jesus was promising them was that the Messiah would raise himself from the dead. This is the Sign of Jonah. The Jews had stood at the foot of the cross mocking Jesus, “You who would destroy the Temple of God in three days”, but they did not know that, after expiring a few hours later, Jesus would t raise himself from the dead on the third day in overwhelming proof that he was indeed the Messiah and the ultimate temple of God, the one in whom the living God of all creation fully dwelt. As Jonah had come back from the stomach of a fish in the very depths of the sea to yet live on the earth, so Jesus was to die, be buried, only to raise himself to life on the third day. On one occasion Jesus made this quite plain to the Jews, saying:

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father”. John 10.17-18. Not only did Jesus make it plain that he would raise himself from the dead on the third day but he also often showed that he was greater than all the prophets who had gone before him. When the Jews asked him “Are you greater than our father Abraham?” (John 8.53), Jesus made it plain that he was, saying that Abraham had looked forward to his day (John 8.56) and added, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8.58). In the same way a Samaritan woman said to him: “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” (John 4.12) to which Jesus replied that, whereas Jacob had left a well in the land of Samaria from which people could drink, only to thirst again, he could put within people a well of living water from which no one would ever thirst (John 4.14). He showed that he was greater than Moses, for Moses had written of him (John 5.46). He was greater than David, for David, he said, “inspired by the Spirit, calls the Messiah Lord” (Matthew 22.43). He openly stated that he was greater than the prophets Solomon and Jonah (Luke 11.31,32) and that he was even greater than the very Temple of God (Matthew 12.6), for the Temple contained only a manifestation of God’s presence but in him the whole fulness of God dwelt bodily.

No man had ever had greater wisdom than Solomon but Jesus is the very wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1.24). Jonah became a source of reprieve for the people of Nineveh but Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Hebrews 5.9).

Although there had been many prophets, there was to be only one Messiah. And whereas the prophets had performed many signs, the Messiah reserved to himself the greatest sign of all. As Jonah’s ordeal in the stomach of the fish in many ways foreshadowed this sign, namely the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Jesus therefore set forth this sign alone as a proof that he was indeed the Messiah.

This leads us to consider in closing another statement made by Deedat in another booklet he once wrote, to the effect that there is no clearer statement of Jesus throughout the Gospels about his pending crucifixion than the Sign of Jonah (Deedat, Was Christ Crucified?, p.33). He made this remark during an attempt, similar to the one we have already considered in his booklet ‘What was the Sign of Jonah?’, to prove that Jesus came down alive from the cross, recuperated in his tomb, and somehow or other recovered his health.

Now if Jesus was taken down from the cross alive and survived only because he was so close to death that the Roman soldiers presumed he was dead, and managed through clandestine meetings with his disciples and various disguises to gradually recover (as Deedat claims), we may indeed ask, what sort of sign is this? If we are to take Deedat’s contentions seriously, we must conclude that Jesus escaped death entirely by chance and recovered according to a natural process. This would not have been a miracle at all, let alone a sign greater than all the signs done by the prophets before him. Deedat’s analysis of the Sign of Jonah thus leaves us without a sign at all!

On the other hand, if we take the narratives of the crucifixion in the Bible at face value and accept that Jesus died on the cross, only to raise himself from the dead on the third day, then we have indeed a sure sign and manifest proof that all his claims were true. Other living prophets had raised dead men to life but Jesus alone raised himself from the dead, and that to eternal life, for he ascended to heaven and has been there for nearly twenty centuries. It is in this alone that we find the true meaning of the Sign of Jonah and are able to perceive why Jesus singled it out as the only sign he was prepared to give to the Jews.

We see, therefore, that Deedat’s final argument in favour of the theory that Jesus survived the cross is actually the very strongest evidence one can find against it. Although his booklets are thus easy to refute, the matter cannot be left here for the sign Jesus gave has implications for all men in all ages. As Jonah’s sojourn in the stomach of a fish in the depths of the sea for three days authenticated his word to Nineveh, so the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ put the stamp of authenticity on his mission of salvation to all men in all ages. If you miss the import of this sign, Jesus gives you no other. No further proof that he is the Saviour of all men need be given to those who refuse to believe in him as their Lord and Saviour.

Nevertheless we have a wonderful assurance for those who perceive the meaning of this sign and who are prepared to believe in Jesus and follow him all their days as Saviour and Lord: just as no soul in repenting Nineveh perished, so neither will yours if you will commit your whole life to Jesus who died for you and rose from the dead on the third day that you too might live with him forever in the kingdom of heaven to be revealed when he returns to earth.

THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS During 1978 Deedat published another booklet entitled ‘Resurrection or Resuscitation?’ which, like his booklet on the Sign of Jonah, attempts to prove that Jesus came down alive from the cross – a theory with no foundation in either the Bible or the Qur’an, one disowned by Christians and Muslims, and held to only by the Ahmadiyya sect which has been denounced as a non-Muslim cult in Pakistan.

Early on in this booklet, as in others he has written, Deedat promotes arguments which are based on nothing but his own ignorance of the Bible and to some extent of the English language. He speaks of a conversation he once had with a “reverend” and boldly says of Luke 3.23:

I explained that in the “most ancient” manuscripts of Luke, the words ‘(as was supposed)’ are not there. (Deedat, Resurrection or Resuscitation?, p.7). Very significantly he gives no authority for this statement and we are amazed at it for it is absolutely false. This man seems to think he can say what he likes about the Bible, no matter how factually absurd his statements are. Every manuscript of Luke’s Gospel, including all the most ancient manuscripts, begins the genealogy of Jesus by saying that he was the son, as was supposed, of Joseph (meaning that he was not his actual son, having been born of his mother Mary alone). There is just simply no evidence for Deedat’s fatuous claim. So much for his self-acclaimed knowledge of the Bible! We are sure discerning Muslims will have seen by now that this man is no true scholar of the Christian Scriptures. He Appears to believe that the words quoted are missing from the oldest texts because they appear in brackets in some English translations. But any scholar will know that the use of brackets is a common form in the English language by which passing comments and personal notations are characterised. There are no such brackets in the Greek text but as the words in Luke 3.23 are clearly a comment, some translations place them in brackets. In the Revised Standard Version this form appears often where brackets are used for passages where no such brackets are used. in the original Greek simply because, like the Arabic of the Qur’an, such forms are not used in Greek to identify comments or personal remarks. (The same goes for inverted commas to identify a quotation. Inverted commas were used in neither classical Greek nor in classical Arabic). Examples are Acts 1.18-19, Romans 3.5, Galatians 1.20 and 2 Peter 2.8. Deedat’s argument is based entirely on false premises and erroneous suppositions.

His attempts to prove that Luke 24.36-43 shows that Jesus must have come down alive from the cross are equally unfounded. He bases his whole argument on a complete misconception of Biblical teaching about the resurrection. It is widely accepted that every man has a body and a spirit. At death the body dies and the spirit leaves the body. The Bible teaches plainly that the body and spirit will again be united at the resurrection but that the bodies of true believers will be changed and that they will be raised in spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15.51-53). This means that the spirit will be clothed with a body that will reveal the true character of the spirit and will be eternal. Deedat, however, completely misunderstands this and erroneously takes “spiritualized” to mean that the body itself will not be raised from the dead and transformed but that the spirit alone will be “raised”.

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after coming out of the tomb they were “startled and frightened and supposed that they saw a spirit” (Luke 24.37). Deedat argues that this means that they had believed that Jesus was dead and so thought it must be his ghost, but the Bible makes it plain why they were so amazed. The doors had been locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews and yet Jesus suddenly stood among them (John 20.19). Having been raised from the dead in a spiritualised body he could appear and disappear at will and was no longer bound by physical limitations (cf. also Luke 24.31, John 20.26).

Nevertheless, because Jesus called on the disciples to handle him and because he ate a piece of a fish before them (Luke 24.39-43), Deedat suggests that this shows that Jesus had not risen from the dead. He bases this argument on the assumption that a spiritualised body cannot be material in any way but must only be a spirit. He argues that Jesus was trying to show his disciples that he had therefore not risen from the dead and says:

He is telling them in the clearest language humanly possible that he is not what they were thinking. They were thinking that he was a spirit, a resurrected body, one having been brought back from the dead. He is most emphatic that he is not! (Deedat, Resurrection or Resuscitation?, p.11). So, according to Deedat, Jesus is stating in the “clearest language humanly possible” that he had not been raised from the dead. Yet, in the very next thing that Jesus said to his disciples, we find him stating quite plainly that this was in fact precisely what had happened – that he had indeed been raised from the dead. He said to them: “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations”. Luke 24.46-47. In the “clearest language humanly possible”, therefore, we find that Jesus told his disciples immediately after eating before them that he had just fulfilled the prophecies of the former prophets that he should rise from the dead on the third day. So once again we find Deedat’s argument falling to the ground and that purely because he is not a genuine scholar of the Bible and has no reasonable grasp of Biblical theology. The Bible plainly teaches that it is the body itself – a material substance – that will be raised at the resurrection (see Jesus’ own teaching in John 5.28-29), but that it will be transformed. Today two men can be ploughing the same field. If they are identical twins it will be almost impossible to tell them apart. Yet the one may be righteous and the other wicked (Matthew 24.40). The difference is not outwardly apparent but it will be in the resurrection. A spiritualised body means that the condition of the body will be determined by the state of the spirit. If the man is righteous, his body will shine like the sun (Matthew 13.43); if he is wicked he will not be able to hide his rottenness as he can do now, but it will be exposed in all its misery in the state of his body. This is what we mean when we say people will have “spiritualised bodies” in the resurrection. Note clearly that the resurrection thus leads to a spiritualised body and not just to a risen spirit. The Bible puts it like this:

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15.42-44. It is the body itself that is buried in a perishable state and it is the same body that is raised imperishable. This passage shows quite plainly that it is the same physical body, buried as a seed – is sown into the ground, which will be raised as a spiritual body. This is plain Biblical teaching which Deedat so obviously misrepresents. In 2 Corinthians 5.1-4 the Bible again makes it clear that it is not the wish of true believers to become exposed spirits without bodies. Rather they long for their mortal bodies to be replaced by spiritual bodies which are immortal.

Once again we find that Deedat’s efforts to discredit Christianity come purely from suppositions based on his own inadequate knowledge of the Bible, and he appears to be one of those who are guilty of “reviling in matters of which they are ignorant” (2 Peter 2.12). Jesus’ own statement that he had appeared in fulfilment of the prophecies that the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day shows quite plainly that there is no foundation whatsoever for Deedat’s attempts to prove that Jesus had come down alive from the cross.

Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day and in his own body ascended to heaven not long thereafter. He has gone to prepare a place for those who love him and who will follow him all their days as Lord and Saviour of their lives. When he returns he will raise them too from the dead and will clothe them with immortal bodies, granting them access to his eternal kingdom which he waits to reveal at the last time. True Christians can confidently say:

But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.20-21. WHO MOVED THE STONE? During 1977 Deedat also published a small booklet which plagiarised the title of a book written by Frank Morison entitled ‘Who Moved the Stone?’ Much of this booklet attempts once again to prove the theory that Jesus came down alive from the cross, and as we have already seen that this theory has no substance, it does not seem necessary to deal at any length with the points Deedat raises to promote it. We need only show, yet again, that he has had to resort to obvious absurdities to try and make his theory stick.

For example, he endeavours to prove that Mary Magdalene must have been looking for a live Jesus when she came to anoint his body. Although anointing a body was part of the normal burial custom of the Jews, he cannot accept this as it refutes his argument, so he suggests that the body of Jesus would have already been rotting within if he had died on the cross, saying “if we massage a rotting body, it will fall to pieces” (Deedat, Who Moved the Stone?, p.3), even though Mary came to the tomb only some thirty-nine hours after Jesus had died. It is absolute scientific nonsense to say that a body will fall to pieces within forty-eight hours of a man’s decease! If there was any merit in his argument, Deedat would hardly have found it necessary to resort to such a ridiculous statement.

He likewise has to overlook obvious probabilities when he says that, when Mary Magdalene sought to take away the body of Jesus (John 20.15), she could only have been thinking of helping him to walk away and could not have intended to carry away a corpse. He claims that she was a “frail Jewess” who could not carry “a corpse of at least a hundred and sixty pounds, wrapped with another ‘hundred pounds weight of aloes and myrrh’ (John 19.39) making a neat bundle of 260 pounds” (Deedat, Who Moved the Stone?, p.8).

There is a far more probable explanation for Mary’s statement that she would carry away the body of Jesus. There is nothing to say that she intended to carry it away all by herself. When she first found the body removed from the tomb she rushed to Jesus’ disciples Peter and John and told them:

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him”. John 20.2 The other Gospels make it plain that Mary was not alone when she first went to the tomb that Sunday morning and that among the women who accompanied her were Joanna and Mary the mother of James (Luke 24.10). This is why she said “WE do not know where they have laid him”. As it was only after Peter and John had gone to the tomb that she first saw Jesus there is no reason to suppose that she did not intend to enlist the help of these two disciples or of the other women to help her carry the body away. In any event there is concrete evidence in the Bible that Mary Magdalene believed that Jesus had risen from the dead and this brings us to the whole theme of Deedat’s booklet, namely “who moved the stone?”. His conclusion is that it was removed by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, two of Jesus’ disciples who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. He says in his booklet:

It was Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, the two stalwarts who did not leave the Master in the lurch when he was most in need. These two had given to Jesus a Jewish burial (?) bath, and wound the sheets with the ‘aloes and myrrh’, and temporarily moved the stone into place, if at all; they were the same two real friends who removed the stone, and took their shocked Master soon after dark, that same Friday night to a more congenial place in the immediate vicinity for treatment. (Deedat, Who Moved the Stone?, p.12). He begins his booklet with an expression of hope that he would be able to give “a satisfactory answer to this problem” (p.1) and the cover of his booklet carries a comment by Dr. G.M. Karim which describes the moving of the stone as a “problem besetting the minds of all thinking Christians”. The impression is thus given that the Bible is silent on this subject and that Christians are beset with a problem and have to speculate as to who moved the stone. This is sheer nonsense for the Bible plainly says (to use Deedat’s words, in the “clearest language humanly possible”): An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. Matthew 28.2 Can there really be any “problem” about this matter? Is it too hard to believe that an angel from heaven could roll back the stone? According to the Bible it took just two angels to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19.13) and it took only one angel to wipe out Sennacherib’s whole army of a hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers (2 Kings 19.35). On another occasion a single angel stretched forth his hand to destroy the whole city of Jerusalem before the Lord called on him to stay his hand (2 Samuel 24.16). So it should surprise no one to read that it was an angel who moved the stone. The Qur’an plainly states that all faithful Muslims must not only believe in Allah but also in the mala’ikah, the angels (Surah 2.285), and one of the six major tenets of a Muslim’s iman is belief in angels. Not only so, but the Qur’an agrees that the angels who came to Abraham and Lot, told them that they had come to destroy the city where Lot dwelt (Surah 29.31-34), named as Sodom in the Bible.

The Qur’an therefore imposes on Muslims not only belief in angels but also in their awesome power over the affairs of men and the substance of the earth. No Muslim can therefore sincerely object to the statement in the Bible that it was an angel who moved the stone. Why then does Deedat overlook this plain statement in the Bible and falsely suggest that the identity of the person who moved the stone is a “problem”? Why is there no mention in his booklet of the verse which plainly states that it was an angel who moved the stone? The reason is that his theory that Jesus was taken down alive from the cross and that Mary was looking for a live Jesus is flatly contradicted by what this same angel immediately said to Mary:

“Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you”. Matthew 28.5-7. The angel plainly told Mary and the other women to tell the disciples that Jesus, who had been crucified, had also now risen from the dead. They immediately fled from the tomb with “trembling and astonishment” (Mark 16.8). If they had thought that Jesus had survived the cross they would have been anything but surprised to find him gone from the tomb. But they had come to find a dead body and were absolutely amazed to find an angel telling them in the “clearest language humanly possible” that Jesus had risen from the dead. So we find that Deedat not only has to promote absurdities to support his arguments but also has to suppress plain statements in the Bible which refute them completely. We urge all Muslims to read the Bible itself and to discover its wonderful truths instead of reading Deedat’s booklets which so obviously pervert its teaching and promote alternatives that are full of absurdities as this booklet has constantly shown.

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John Gilchrist’s writings Answering Islam Home Page

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Taken from: http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/jonah.html

Re-casting Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims

Nothing is more important to the foundations and development of Islam than the re-casting of Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims.

Did Abraham Build the Kaaba?

Jesse Toler

The body of this paper will deal primarily with places and destinations, not theology or personality. I will examine the Biblical accounts of Abraham in the natural and sequential order in which they are preserved in the Bible, while I examine and compare a small sampling of the similarities and differences in the Quran and other Islamic sources. In doing so, I’ll point out the several fatal contradictions in the Islamic perspective and leave the reader to determine whether the Islamic version is truth to be believed or fable created to connect a pagan Arabian shrine to the Biblical patriarch of the Israelites. I will cover the ancient evidence and promptly dismember Islamic dogma as inauthentic and based on inadequate grounds. In the end, it will be hard to ignore that the Biblical account is far more reliable and historically accurate and that the Islamic version is mere conjecture imagined in the mind of a suicidal poet of the seventh century.

Nothing is more important to the foundations and development of Islam than the re-casting of Biblical personalities into newly assigned roles as devout Muslims. Shaping Israelite patriarchs into ancient Muslims who worshiped Muhammad’s god is step one. Turning the Lord Christ into a minor image of Muhammad was step two, and worldwide conquest which wars against the soul is now a real possibility [Peter 2:11; Revelation 11:7, 12:7]. While the claims against the Bible are similar to those put forward in Mormonism, and falsified just as easily, both Muslims and non-Muslims need to be reminded that the books of the Bible are the measuring stick to evaluate the historicity and integrity of Muhammad’s often fictional portrayals of these ancient and important people.

Why did the Kaaba play a central role in Muhammad’s fantasies? While no historical facts support his claims, Muslims are seldom deterred. Islam is built upon the notion that Abraham was not only a Muslim [Q. 2:31] but that he was selected by Allah to build the Kaaba in Mecca [Q. 2:125-127], and that while doing so he established the rituals and beliefs which are the cornerstones of Islamic worship. The pagan origins and practices of the Kaaba will not be discussed here, only the patriarchal journeys and the Islamic corruption of the Bible’s texts. Muslims claim that Mecca and the Kaaba are the centers of worship for the entire world. Christians and Jews know that it is Jerusalem, where lays the chief cornerstone of Yahweh’s kingdom [Psalm 102:16; I Peter 2:6]. The City of David [Zion] is mentioned nearly 50 times in the Bible as the home of God’s people [Isaiah 10:24] and where the hosts will reign [Isaiah 24:23]. Are Muslims going to tell us that these references are corruptions in the texts and that Mecca was the intended city the whole time? Hardly even remotely plausible.

The Kaaba in Mecca is without equal in veneration in Islamic tradition, and had been revered by Arab pagans long before Muhammad’s birth. The Muslim religion holds that the Kaaba was built by Abraham and Ishmael after hearing a direct revelation from Allah. This seems improbable. After all, once Allah guides a people on the right course and provides a mode of conduct for worship through a chosen Prophet, Allah does not then lead them astray into confusion or an inability to see the right course [Q. 9:115]. How is it then that such a man as Abraham would be sent to Mecca to deliver the people from polytheism and build the Kaaba only to later have them fall into apostasy and disbelief, needing yet another prophet in the 7th century A.D.? Abraham being in Mecca is just not consistent with important Islamic doctrines, and a myth. For example, in Q. 2:125 the Kaaba is being purified [Ar. ‘tahara’], yet in Q. 2:127 the foundation are still being raised [Ar. Rafa’a]. Depending on the traditions being reviewed, the Kaaba was built by Allah or maybe Adam or possibly Abraham. But, is it true?

Reconstructing ancient events in search for truth is never an easy task, but within the literature handed down from the earliest days, confirmed by corroborating testimony where it is available, certainty looms dreadful for Islamic claims. For example, American scholars such as Albright have discussed the groupings of people and popular migration patterns into and around cultivated areas of the Fertile Crescent, and it is nigh impossible to think that the barren wasteland of the Hijaz would be such a destination for Mesopotamian travelers. Crossing over from Ethiopian lands may be plausible, but Abraham was never in Ethiopia. General migration patters are important to consider if we are going to place the journeys of Abraham into historical context. It is very likely that many people, Abraham’s troop included, traveled from Ur to Canaan via the established routes such as the Kings Highway or the International Coastal Road. It is far less likely that these same people then had any reason to travel another 700 miles south into the central Hijaz.

Respected biblical scholars have placed the journeys of the patriarchs in the Middle Bronze Age [2000-1550 B.C.] and this would include the relevant chapters in the Book of Genesis [Chapters 12-50] as well as the narrative accounts in both the Quran and Tradition of the Muslims. In this paper, I will present the narrative from the Book of Genesis, chapters twelve thru twenty-five, as those speak specifically of the travels of Abraham from his calling to his death. Let’s introduce a few of the Islamic fables first, take a close look at the Bible, then we’ll touch upon a few more Islamic myths before closing. That will complete the comparison, and the reader can decide which is believable and which is not.

One Islamic tradition holds that Abraham brought both Hagar and Ishmael to Mecca [Source: Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 584] then returned to Canaan after leaving both Hagar and her infant son in the uninhabited region of Arabia which would later serve as the ground for a building used to quarter the idols of the Kaaba. However,  Sam Shamoun points out in ‘Ishmael is not the Father of Muhammad’ that eminent scholar Alfred Guillaume has written,

‘”… there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca, and if there had been such a tradition it would have to be explained how all memory of the Old Semitic name Ishmael (which was not in its true Arabian form in Arabian inscriptions and written correctly with an initial consonant Y) came to be lost. The form in the Quran is taken either from Greek or Syriac sources.” (Alfred Guillaume, Islam [Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956], pp. 61-62).

Another tradition holds that Muhammad himself is said to have told his favorite wife Aisha that, “Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance I would have dismantled the Kaaba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit”. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 128].

So much for the importance of the Kaaba. Yet, we are to believe that the Meccan prophet held the Kaaba in the highest esteem, and believed it had been built and rebuilt after a revelation from Allah.

Let’s examine the Bible and see what we can gather about Abraham, his journeys as agent of Yahweh among the nations and his role as a channel for God’s blessing to the world.

What does the Bible tell us of Abraham, and is it possible that he had spent time in Mecca? Let’s review the Scriptures now. The answers to all these questions lay within a survey of the Book of Genesis. Most of this is common knowledge to Christians, but by way of review, let’s go over the complete list of places Abraham traveled. A good Bible atlas would be useful to the reader. I suggest the Holman Bible Atlas but any Bible Atlas will help to put the following discussion into geographical perspective. The point of this exercise is to elucidate where Abraham did travel, in order to discover where he did not. Obviously, the Muslims will quickly claim that the Christian Scriptures are corrupted, and that we removed the parts which corroborate the worth and validity of the Islamic claims from the germane chapters of the Book of Genesis. The accusation of corruption is silly and unsupported by fact but it’s the only card Muslims have to play, so I don’t blame them for playing it. As I noted, Abraham went outside of Canaan a couple of times. However, the Bible nowhere mentions that Arabia was part of his journeys. Muslims may claim that this has been “removed” from the text, but for what reason? The text of Genesis was fixed many centuries before Islam. Why would it mention several travels outside of Canaan but remove Arabia/Mecca when neither the author (Moses) nor the Jews for many centuries would have the slightest idea about Islam? We have plenty of manuscripts from centuries before Muhammad, none of which place him in Mecca.

Born in Ur, his father Terah began his migration to Canaan [Genesis 11:21]. After Terah’s death, Abraham was called by Yahweh to continue the journey to Canaan [Genesis 12:1] where God promised to Abraham and his descendants the land inhabited by the Canaanites. Let’s note here that we are given the names of the Tribes which would be displaced to establish Abraham in the land. None of them inhabited the Hijaz. The point is, that the area in which the Ka’aba was allegedly built by Abraham was nowhere near the region where Abraham was to establish his family, so why build a temple or an altar so far from Canaan? [Genesis 12:7-8; cf. First Epistle of Clement 10:3-5 (source for I Clement)]. Soon, Abraham and his family arrived in Canaan, and drove his herds into the region of Bethel, Shechem and Moreh [Genesis 12:4-6]. After an appearance of God in Canaan, Abraham moved his house further south, into the Negev. The Negev is in Canaan, on the West side of the Dead Sea, north of the Wilderness of Zin. It is bordered on the east by Edom, and could not have possibly included the Syro-Arabian desert region further to the east, and certainly excludes the uninhabited lands surrounding Mecca 700 miles to the south.

Next, a famine struck Canaan, and Abraham sought refuge by going ‘down to Egypt’ [Genesis 12:10] and later, his son Ishmael would take an Egyptian for a wife [Genesis 21:21]. To summarize so far, Abraham had yet to travel farther south than the centers of power in Egypt. Still a long way from Mecca.

Abraham later left Egypt a wealthy man and soon separated from his nephew Lot [Genesis 13:14]. Abraham then moved to Hebron, and built an altar to Yahweh. Later, a war breaks out in the region of the Dead Sea [Genesis 14:1-24] and Abraham defeats a tyrannical king in a battle north of Damascus near Mt. Hermon [vv. 13-17] frees Lot and establishes himself as ‘blessed by the God Most High’. God then establishes His covenant with Abraham, and promises to his descendants ‘this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’ [Genesis 15:18-21]. Notice by using your atlas that the boundaries for the covenant lands are not even close to Mecca or central Arabia. The river in Egypt was most likely the Wadi el-Arish. The Euphrates is in northern Syria. It makes no sense that God would tie a people to a land and the land to the people, only to draw his Prophets from someplace else.

Next we find that Abraham had been living in Canaan for ten years, traveling about Canaan as seasonal weather patterns required [Genesis 16], when he became impatient with God’s plan and took Hagar as a second ‘wife’. The same Hebrew word is used in 16:3 to describe both Sarai and Hagar as wife. However, the status of Hagar is debatable. Follow this link for a fuller discussion on ‘Hagar in Abraham’s Household’. The Egyptian maid conceived, in Canaan, and bore Abraham’s son, in Canaan. Abraham’s anxiousness to have a son caused him and his family great grief. Rather than exercising self-control and forbearance, he took a course that was a threat to his faith. While Abraham’s actions nearly lead him astray, he was not the first nor the last to doubt God’s promises. Hagar soon suffers intense humiliation at the hands of Abraham and Sarah, but at Beer-Lahai-Roi is met by the Angel of the Lord, and delivered from her plight. This event took place West of the Wadi el-Arish, in Egypt and nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca. She was most likely trying to return home to Egypt.

After the establishment of the Covenant of Circumcision, we find Abraham talking to God under the ‘holy tree of Mamre’, which is near Hebron, nearly 1,000 miles from Mecca [Book of Genesis 18:1]. Later, Abraham intercedes for Sodom, which is then destroyed for its depravity and Lot escapes to Zoar [Genesis 18:16-19:30; cf. First Epistle of Clement 11:1-2]. Outside of Zoar, Lot was the victim of a scheme concocted by his eldest daughter. Zoar was in the southern tip of the Dead Sea in the Valley of Siddim, and like every other event from the OT, a long way from Mecca. From Lot’s daughters are born the Moabites and the Ammonites, longstanding enemies of Israel and Judah. Moab and Ammon lay on the east side of the Dead Sea and later form the eastern edge of the Covenant Land. The southeastern extreme of the Covenant Land extends no farther than this and no prophets would ever be called from beyond these borders.

Following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we encounter Abraham in Gerar, between Kadesh and Shur. In Gerar Isaac was born, wells were dug and treaties were struck. In short, there is no reason imaginable that God would take Abraham from his wells, family and tents in Canaan and command him to raise the foundations of the Kaaba over 1,000 miles away. All of this is a death blow to the Quran’s claims to Abraham, but let’s discuss a few more Biblical passages, ending with the death and burial of Abraham in order to close the lid on Islam once and for all.

Isaac is later weaned and tension again increases between Sarah and Hagar. Sarah pleaded with Abraham to cast Hagar out, and the following morning she was given bread, a water skin and her son. She then wandered into the wasteland of Beer-Sheba, in southern Canaan [Genesis 21:8-21]. In these passages, God addresses Abraham and calls Hagar the ‘maidservant’ [Hb אמה ‘amah’ not ‘wife’ as in 16:3; compare the Latin Vulgate where in 21:8-12 ‘ancilla‘ is ‘maidservant’ or ‘female slave’ ]. Hagar had lost any status she may have earlier enjoyed, so her status as a wife at all can be questioned.

Before we leave Hagar to history, let me remind you of four important differences between the Bible and Quran surrounding this narrative. In the Biblical narrative,  Hagar’s suffering and plight are of paramount importance to understanding the events surrounding the birth of the Promised Son. These events also give us insight into the treatment of women in the ancient Near East, which are still evident in Islam today. Hagar is the only woman in the Scriptures who is given the honor of giving a name to God, and she receives her own distinct covenant as a reward for her suffering and submission. What does the Quran say about this incredible woman who endured so much suffering? Nothing. So much for Islam honoring its pivotal women.

Eventually, Ishmael settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and took an Egyptian wife. Just where is the Wilderness of Paran, and does it, as Muslims claim, include the lands far to the south in the Hijaz? Let’s again look at our atlas. Paran is an ill-defined term in the Old Testament, suggesting that outside of it being a place on the route of the Exodus [Numbers 12:16], the region had very little geographical or theological importance to the Israelites. There is no prophetic scripture suggesting that a prophet would come from the Wilderness of Paran, nor a promise of prophetic license promised to Hagar or her descendants [Gen 16:7-16]. It is also worth noting that God spoke to Hagar, never to Ishmael. Very curious.

Located in the Sinai, Midian and Edom are natural borders to the east. Canaan is due north and central Sinai to the west. Not only are the borders of Paran well within the Sinai Peninsula, but as mentioned earlier, migration across the barren lands of Arabia was far less likely than remaining close to the routes of the Exodus. While migrations of people from Palestine into the Hijaz appear to be rare from the extant evidence, armies from Babylon did venture south. One example is Nabonidus King of Babylon who in the 6th century B.C. established outposts and colonies in the region. A total of six oasis towns are listed in the extant inscriptions, and while Yathrib is mentioned, Mecca, which is 280 miles south of Yathrib is nowhere to be seen on his lists. Mercantile movements were more common, but not until the 10th century and long after the death of Abraham. A notable case in favor of the Quranic view of Abraham’s travels can be found in the Book of I Kings [10:1-13] where the Queen of Sheba did in fact make the journey from S.W. Arabia to Israel. However, the territory of Sheba and also Tema are mentioned in the Book of Job [6:19] and yet while the region was traveled by merchants and known to the Biblical writers, there is still no mention of Mecca. Sheba is again discussed by the Prophet Isaiah [60:6] and nothing is said of Mecca or any dialectal variant of the name offered by Muslims. The Sabeans of Yemen never even mention the city either. The conclusion is evidently that Mecca was not in existence until long after Abraham’s journeys.

Following God’s expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, life continues for Abraham and his only wife Sarah. A disputed well becomes a source of controversy with King Abimelech. This name may translate ‘Slave of Molech’. If this Biblical name were a derivative of the Canaanite name, that would serve as strong evidence that much of the Book of Genesis pre-dates Israel’s Kingdom Period and gives even greater evidence to the non-existence of Mecca during the period of Abraham’s travels, and an oath is sworn in Beersheba, again in Canaan [Genesis 21:22-34]. Later, Abraham is called to Mt. Moriah and the well known ‘binding of Isaac’ is played out. Mt. Moriah is also in Palestine, north of Beersheba. While the exact location is unknown, it only took Abraham three days to travel, so it could not have taken place in Mecca [Genesis 22]. An important observation here is that Isaac is called ‘your only son’ three times in this chapter. How can that be? Because Ishmael had already been sent away. He was to have no part of the covenant promised to Abraham and given to Isaac.

Soon, we find that Sarah had died, and Abraham arranges for the purchase of the Cave of Machpela. Yet again he has not left Canaan [Genesis 23]. Here Muslims need to explain why God would allow Abraham to build a tomb in Canaan for his family, but then a temple 1,000 miles away in a barren region of the Hijaz. In chapter twenty-four, we find that Abraham had become ‘old in years’ [24:1] It was time to find a wife for Isaac. Note that Abraham had nothing to do with finding a wife for Ishmael. Abraham’s chief servant was selected for the task of conducting the search. An oath was sworn that the wife would not be a Canaanite but from Abraham’s people in Mesopotamia. Let’s be reasonable here. If Abraham had built the Kaaba, then why wouldn’t Isaac’s wife be taken from the local tribes in the Hijaz or even farther south? . He returns home with Rebekkah to south Canaan, she weds Isaac and later Abraham dies and is buried with his wife Sarah in Machpelah. Both Ishmael and Isaac attended the funeral. Both must have been very close to Canaan, and in no way can we conclude that any of these men ever travels to Mecca to build a shrine to Allah and the other pagan gods native to Mecca. The Quran 11:49 clearly states that there had been no prophets to the Arabs before, so it can’t be true that Abraham built the Kaaba. Also note that the Islamic traditions point out that before Muhammad’s claim to the prophetic office, none of his people had made the claim before him [Bukhari, Vol 1, Book 1, #6].

This all leads us to a connection with the nation of Israel, the Davidic Kingdom and the Savior who even now offers mercy to his wandering sons [Psalm 100:5,8; Luke 1:50; cf. Apology of al-Kindy, p.121].

——– Articles by Jesse Toler Answering Islam Home Page

——– © Answering Islam, 1999 – 2013. All rights reserved.

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Taken from: http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/toler/abraham_kaaba.html

The Prophet Job Was Not An Arab

“Job’s story in Islam is very similar to the Hebrew Bible story”

Why?

Because it has been taken from the Bible story and then altered. Simple as that.

Taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_(biblical_figure)

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In the Qur’an, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎) is considered a prophet in Islam.[14] Job’s story in Islam is very similar to the Hebrew Biblestory but, in Islam, the emphasis is paid to Job remaining steadfast to God and there is no mention of lengthy discussions with friends. However, later Muslim literature states that Job had brothers, who argued with the man about the cause of his affliction.[15]Some Muslim commentators also spoke of Job as being the ancestor of the Romans.[15] Muslim literature also comments on Job’s time and place of prophecy, saying that he came after Joseph in the prophetic series and that he preached to his own people rather than being sent to a specified community. Tradition further recounts that Job will be the leader of the group of “those who patiently endured” in Heaven.[16]

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For our true story on Job, see:

Job’s Life and Times

http://bookofjob-amaic.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/jobs-life-and-times.html

Moslems Claim to Find Name of Mohammed in Song of Songs

Muhammad mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon 5:16?

[Professor Lewis was asked to reply to this claim in a popular Muslim propaganda video (available, e.g., here) and gave permission to quote his informal email response on our website.]

Dear Eman,

The Muslim attempt to find “Muhammad” by name in the Song of Solomon 5:16 is a prime example of eisegesis, of reading something entirely out of context into a verse of the Bible.

The Song of Solomon contains beautiful and sensuous poetry expressing romantic love between a young man (a shepherd 1:7) and.a young woman (a shepherdess 1:8). A key theme is that marriage is a gift from God to be founded on commitment and loyalty.

The young lady is describing her husband’s body in 5:10-16. Is it likely that while enamored of her husband, she would suddenly speak of another man in verse 16?

Even if some Jewish pronunciations of one of the Hebrew words sounded something like “Muhammed,” that is irrelevant because it is not the sound, but the meaning of the word that is significant.

In that romantic context, the meaning is certainly not about a totally unknown man at the time the Song of Solomon was written (about 960 BC). Muhammad was born … later …! He was a man of whom the shepherdess could have had no knowledge whatsoever. And if she did, she would not have mentioned it while making love to another.

Muslims who allege that the Song mentions Muhammad would not want us to introduce into their writings something entirely foreign and then base major teaching of the Trinity upon that literary distortion. If they would not want Jews or Christians to do that with Muslim writings, they ought not do that to the Song of Solomon.

If Muslims need this type of fallacious argument, there must be serious concerns about whether Muhammad is a prophet, …

How much better for them to trust Jesus of Nazareth who fulfilled the roles of the final prophet, the one and only priest offering himself as the sacrifice for our sins and the king and Lord of all as he triumphed over sin, death and Satan and ascended to heaven where he was given all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18-20). See the many lines of evidence to support his claims, listed in Matthew 11:2-14; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7; Hebrews 2:1-4. Then read John 20:30-31.

May you be led by the Spirit of truth,

Dr. Gordon Lewis

Senior Professor of Philosophy and Theology

Denver Seminary

[Other articles discussing this oft-repeated Muslim claim can be found here.]

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