Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Straight Path :.....of Judaism, Christianity and Islam..


I find, London based Hussain M Abbara's " The Straight Path " a good, worthwhile read. I think this book that come in two volumes, is easily available here since the publisher is KL based. Try, or

I reproduce here an exceprt from chapter three of the book, in which the author did a short discourse on the similarities and differences of Judaism, Christianity and Islam for your 'sample' reading.

Dr Nik Howk

Muslims admit that there are certain similarities between them, since they believe that all Divine Revelations came from the same Source, the One Universal God. They also believe that there was relationships between authentic original Scriptures, but those Sciptures in the present form have been adapted to changing beliefs and conceptions. The Bible, for instance, is found in several versions.

Some parallels are bound to exist in the various moral systems but there are nevertheless certain basic points of discord. As Dr G. Badawi has pointed out, some of these many essential differences refute the thesis of the Judaeo-Christian origin of Islam.

Such differences cover a wide spectrum of topics, including the concept of " original sin ", the necessity of blood sacrifice, forgiveness of one's sins through someone else, the question of intermediaries between man and God, the necessity for the authority of a religious hierarchy, the concept of the sabbath, the concept of prophethood, essential information about previous prophets, the presence or absence of an inherent conflict between matter and spirit, and between body and soul, the concept of man's role on earth and the meaning of "religion", and whether religion covers just the spiritual aspect of man's life or the totality of it.

A discussion of such differences could extend to almost any lengths.

Islam reaffirms all previous Messengers, including both Moses and Jesus, as proponents of Islam, since they preached the worship of One God. Muslims, therefore, are urged by their faith to respect all prophets and revere all of them in equal measure, giving them as much reverence as they give Prophet Muhammad. " And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of Messengers to follow him and We gave unto Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proof of [ God's ] Sovereignty and We supported him with the Holy Spirit. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a Messenger [ from God ] with that which ye yourselves desire not, you grow arrogant? Some ye disbelieve and some ye slay. " [ 2 : 87 ].

Christians believe that Christianity is the only true religion, with Judaism as its precursor. " Both Jews and Christains say, " We are God's children and His beloved ones.' Say: ' Why then does He cause you to suffer from your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creations." [ 5 : 18 ]

The Jews believe that God chose the Children of Israel of all races and people for the purpose of revealing His religion. It is confirmed by the Quran that God blessed them and favoured them above all other people, and sent Prophets to them, but when they rejected the message of Jesus because it was not according to their desires, they denied the Truth. All who deny the truth are rejected by God. " Shame and misery were stamped upon them and they incurred Wrath of God. This is because they were rejecting the Signs of God." [ 2 : 61 ].

The Jews did not accept Muhammad, the Last prophet of God, any more than the Christians do. The Muslim believes in the Divine Origin of the other two monotheistic religions, viz. Judaism and Christianity, and in their Prophets, and has a profound love and respect for both Moses and Jesus, believing that God is the loving Creator of all the peoples of the world without discrimination.

"Verily, the noblest of you in the Sight of God is the one who is most deeply concious of Him." [ 49 : 13 ]. This verse refers to people of all religions and places, not just Arabs or those who call themselves Muslims but are without true belief and piety.

There are many uncertainties in the New Testament. The Gospels tell the life of Jesus in different ways. " He has left no written law. His Gospel was written on the tablet of his heart and he delivered his Message of 'Good news', not in script, but orally." The Children's Encyclopaedia Britannica teaches us that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, were written for Christians who did not know the full story of the life of Christ.

John, who wrote his Gospel last, took it for granted that the story was well known. The Books of the New Testament began to be collected together in the second century and were finally declared to be Word of God in 397 C. E. [ after the Roman Empire had become Christians ]. They were probably written in Greek, though Jesus himself spoke Aramaic. This may be why, in many places, the Gospels conflict with one another. There is no Gospel extant which is written in the language Jesus spoke.

The Old testament was written in the 10th Century B.C.E. and additions were made to it over the next few centuries.

The Quran, on the other hand, was immediately memorised and written down by Muhammad's companions and remains the same to this day. In any case, the very words of the Quran are, in terms of form and content , beyond the ability of the highest scholar, in so far as its content observes the genuine previous content of the Old and New Testaments.

As God is the Author of the Quran, its words are superior to those of the previous Books. It has been preserved intact, rather than collected by different scholars in different languages, and this is especially important since spiritual literature cannot meaningfully be translated into another language. For example, if any translator could translate the Quran from Arabic to English, his work would fall short by several degrees of the original.

The Old Testament and the Quran condemn the doctrine of Three Persons in God: God the father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The New Testament does not expressly hold or defend it, but, even if it contains hints or traces concerning the Trinity, this is no authority at all, because it was neither seen nor written by Christ himself, nor was it in the language he spoke. For at least the first two centuries after him it did not exist in its present form and content.

The idea of Trinity conflicts with 'Jesus' teaching, for Mark[ 12, 29-30 ] says "Hear O Israel! The Lord thy God is One God." In the Old Testament, God is called the Father because of His being a loving Creator and Protector, but, as Churches have abused the Name, the Quran has justly refrained from using it.

The Quran preaches the plain, simple Unity of God. "Say: He is the One God, the Eternal, the Uncaused, Cause of all being, He begets not neither is He begotten; and there is nothing that can be compared with Him" [112:1-4]. The Quran adresses in different places an appeal not merely to the Christians, who attribute divinity to Jesus and certain aspects of divinity to their saints, but also to the Jews of Arabia, who assign quasi-divine authority to Ezra and even to some of their great Talmudic scholars.

It says, "Say: 'O followers of earlier Revelations! Come unto that tenet which we and you hold in common: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall not ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, and that we shall not take human beings for our Lords beside God.'" [3: 64]

The ascribing of divinity to others besides God is levelled against both Jews and Christians to add to the statement that they "do not follow the religion of Truth which God has enjoined upon them. The Quran elucidates their intention when it says, "And the Jews say, 'Ezra is God's Son,' while the Christians say, 'The Christ is God's Son.'" That is what they say with their mouths, following in spirit assertions made in earlier times by people who denied the Truth. They have taken their Rabbis and their priests- as well as the Christ, son of Mary- for their lords besides God, although they have been commanded to worship none but the One God, save Whom there is no deity: the One Who is utterly remote, in His Limitless Glory, from anything to which they may ascribe a share in His Divinity." [9:30-1]
" God is He save Whom there is no deity; the One Who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being's perception, as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature's senses or mind. He is the Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace. God is He save Whom there is no deity; The Sovereign Supreme. The Holy, the One with Whom all salvation rests, the Giver of Faith, the One Who determines what is true and false, the Almighty, Who subdues wrong and restores right, the One to Whom all Greatness belongs. Utterly removed is God, in His limitless Glory, from anything to which men may ascribe a share in His Divinity. He is God, the Creator, the Maker, Who shapes all forms and appearances. His [alone] are the Attributes of Perfection. All that is in the heavens and on earth extol His Limitless Glory, for he alone is Almighty, Truly Wise." [59: 22-24]


There you are, an exceprt from Hussain M Abbara's " The Straight Path ', certainly not a short read. Two volumes. Highly readable for all: discerning 'lovers', ritual Muslims [ as that Petra guy puts it. By the way where is he now? ], doubters, and dissenters.

For millions of 'ritual Muslims', myself included,extra knowledge is certainly not harmful. 'Lucifers' everywhere , at the work place, at home, during prayers , after prayers, during play and most importantly even during our death throes, for while our relatives and family 'surround' us with the 'proverbial' safety net of the 'much abused' Surah Yasin [..... a Malay phenomenon whereby we commit Yasin to memory without even knowing the meaning and leave the rest of the Quran high and dry on the shelf... ] and we are elsewhere 'fighting' our inner battles with Lucifer. Our 'amalan and 'faith' will no doubt, to some degree insyallah, be able to keep them apart, insyaallah[ how far apart Allahualam ], but only through 'knowledge' and more 'knowledge' our 'amalan' and 'faith' could be further strenghtened. Knowledge is the ultimate 'vitamin' and elixir to 'amalan' and 'faith'.Our 'amalan' and 'faith' waxes and wane like the changing tide, knowledge will energise them further. There is a 'sahih' hadith in fact, correct me if I am wrong, ,quantifying the difference between the prayer of the 'learned' from one who just follow blindly: The difference is between the Sun and the Earth! Mashaallah ! Allahualam.

[ Cross-link in Pearls & Gem : Wednesday, May 14th 2008...Trinity, Surah An Nisa { 4 : 171 } ]
[ 18th May, 2008 under 'personalities' : A day in the life of a Ritual Muslim ]


RahmatHarounHashim said...

It's hard to accept some (western thinkers) claim that Islam evolves from Judaism and Christianity.

Hussain M Abbara's "The Straight Path" refutes the evolution of earlier monotheistic religions into Islam.

I enjoy reading the excerpt. The short reproduction of the book is indeed very interesting. I'm sure reading the entire two volumes would be more enticing.

Pearls & Gem said...

....voluminous because in all chapters followed by an academic, hypothetical discussion between 4 characters, Abbara and Dina representing the 'Islamic' mainstream and Charles and Badr representing dissenting Christian and popular secular positions respectively.

Very educational and illuminating. The writer is a friend of a friend of mine, both 'exiled from their Home countries' for being too clever, long domiciled in London. His English is excellent, which make for an interesting uninterrupted reading pleasure.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Dr Nik, I reserve my comment.A bit beyond my simple mind but certainly makes my faith in Islam stronger.

Pearls & Gem said...

....a wee bit too long I must concede. Correction: Charles and Badr represent the popular secular views ,not Christian.

Shamsul said...

Doc, why did God let the crucifixion of Christ be a such an unclear subject so much so that it had led to the Christians' decendants belief in the cross as the symbol of Christianity?
As a Muslim yes, I belief it was not Isa (AS) that was on the cross and that somehow God fixed it so that someone else replaced him.
Come on, why such a bungle when He knows what the future holds for the Christians and Muslims and even the Jews in this matter did the guy explained it in his voluminous writing?
This is one mystry that I have a hard time coming to grips with as it has caused alot of unecessary conflict in the history of the Judeo/Christian and Muslim Faith.

Pearls & Gem said...

Shamsul, the cricifixion is not space physics.

God give us free will and while this book is a wee bit lenghty what I like about it is its discussion on free will, qadar and qada' give the issues new dimension and approach.

Free will is double edged.If you are a Muslim who strictly follow the 'Spiritual Moral Law', there are free will but limited to doing the just the 'right' thing the right adab so to speak.If you wish not to follow the SML, your free play of Free Will is larger but be prepared to answer and be accountable to Him later.If you as a people did not listen to your Prophet and decided to 'slay' your Prophet ,so be it. If you slay Judas instead who looked like Jesus at that time, and liked to believed that he was indeed Jesus, so be it. If 250 years later, due to political correctness, you as a people thought Trinity would rope in the Roman kaiser behind you and make you politically stronger ,so be it.

Nearer back home if you believe in black magic [ that Ulu Dong affair come to mind ]and befriend people who take Jinn's as their assistant so be it.It is a double edge sword.

For millions of Muslims by name ourselves if we think we are already Islamic enough in spirit and in action when we deal with riba' everyday ,believe in 'false gods, and hold Man's constitution supreme but the same time pray 5 times a day tunggang tunggek, so be it.It is free will.

He can open your heart but He can also 'menyesatkankan'.It is back to ilm ilm ilm and ilm.

When you are honest with yourself, and start learning His Din and practising it in your daily life,God willing,Insyaallah, you could see the world thru His eyes, listen to the vibration thru His ears.

Themain reason now while we have problem with people not accepting islam as the role model is mainly because we Muslims in the majority are only following the SML in the private domain but publicly we behave worse than the kufr.Just look at the Middle east right now all in a shamble.while a great majority of the West has incorporated Islam in the public domain ie democracy ,welfare to the poor and destitute etc etc and etc.They look at us and say ' if that is Islam, we do not need Islam!'

Ilm, Ilm Ilm and ilm. Iqra. Read.Read .Read.

Pearls & Gem said...

...of course occasionally he did not let things go the full course all the time, and throughout human history,does show some 'catharsis' of sort to show His presence and mostly to the unenlightened 'His absence''. The enlightenened called these catharsis bala' , which seem to most as unpolitically correct term nowadays and people have stopped using it except say it very softly in private...
*The great flood during Noah's time.
*The plague.
*The World Wars.
*Palestinian occupation by the Jews, a big slap to 2 billion so called Muslims.
* The Iraq and Afganitan debacle.
*Tsunami: One wonders why Indonesia, the most Muslim dominated country in the world got the worse in present day 'natural catastrophy'? Of cause it is geographically sited along the world's faultline. I was just looking at statistics: 95 % 'Muslim, Panchasila at its apex, inundated by corruption from top to bottom, very rich land mass.
*The current economic meltdown in the West due to over borrowing.

Of course all have got cause and effect. Despite Kun Fayakun, He is a scientific God. Einstein and Stephen Hawkings and the rest just discovered that but were/are too proud to admit!A great form of intellectual dishonesty and false pride.To some degree kufr in the pretension that the feeble human mind is 'supreme'.

"What you cant see and cant perceive is not there!"

Shamsul said...

Doc, today drove all the way to Bukit Kayu Hitam with my son to get his passport stamped for another three months of legal stay in his father's homeland. Dont mind it too much just another long karmic debt but what is sad is the first question the Immigration officer asked in his fierce Malay Muslim manner was what proof have you got that he is your son?
Yessir i have been going around spreading my seed all over the world somehow his question had an ironic twist to it.
I almost had it out with the duschbag but my son is now old enough to tell his dad to take a walk to the car and get the legal papers before he explodes and make matters alot worse than was necessary. As i was walking back to the Immigration booth my son was walking towards me with his passport taken care of.
Allah Almighty is a Tester and i for one am being tested to the max where my faith is concern. All the way drivng there i was doing my ZikhruAllah and when this fellow Muslim sitting behind the counter decided to take a shot at me I failed. I succummed to anger and was ready to tempt fate and jeopardize a simple situation.
And this too passed11

Pearls & Gem said...

NST, June 2, Bukit Kayu Hitam.....

Famous avant garde artist, American Berkeley U trained, caught for showing his 'dick' to perplexed Immigration officer at Bukit Kayu Hitam checkpoint.........

Sabarrrrrrr member.
You are already the chosen one!To have survived intact, the kufr West and its high and low points and now back to the 'Straight Path'.Happy blogging cheeseburgerbuddha!