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Angela's question. She is our new sister.

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Dr. Shabbir
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 1333
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Angela's question. She is our new sister. Reply with quote


Dear Dr. Shabbir, Arnold

I wanted you to see my letter before I sent it and maybe you could help me. I try to talk in a very respectful humble way, because I am a mere human and I do not have the right to judge anyone being wrong. In leui of that, I feel like since I have the truth, out of love it compells me to help others and show them that they can believe truth. So this is my motive. Many people may say I have the wrong motive, including my own sister as I found out, but if done in a loving way, this is my risk I'm taking for God. I don't want to push this on people but I want to make them think. I'm having a lot of trouble with my family right now. Last night we had a bible discussion and I tried to help them see my point of view. But all I got out of them was the Qur'an was wrong and that the last holy book that god sent down was the bible. None after that. But I tried reasoning with them, and after noticing how frusturated they got I decided to let it rest for the night. I remembered what you said to me the other day, our ancient language had a very artistic meaning and things that we don't understand back then may mean something different to us now. Language goes through a Revolution and changes. So the Bible has been passed down for many years and was changed to man's liking. Satan was not a serpent that decieved Eve. It was a metaphor or an allegory for our desire to do wrong. Logically when we make a decision we don't have a serpent or a snake telling us to do wrong. It's a battle with your own conscience. And yet the conflict here is that everytime we sin, we blame it on Evil (religions blame on Satan). But the origin of Satan and everything is God. Why would he allow Satan to do that? He's a loving god! Our internal conflict is our will to do right or wrong. Our big test, therefore, is to chose god, or not. I chose God.

So....this is what i wrote to one of my friends who is Christian. Please feel free to add, take away or comment on anything. I really enjoy constructive criticism. You can certainely help me become an effective teacher:

Dear ---,
I hope I you don't feel like i'm threatening your faith or that i'm trying to confuse you. I give all holy books great respect. I believe in the Torah, the Scriptures(Gospels) and the Qur'an. These are all god's books. And although I am Muslim, I believe in the same God that you believe in. So I just wanted to clarify that before you answer anything. But the reason why i'm asking questions is because they are simple questions that have never made sense to me personally.

And I'm asking these questions people to answer these questions using our God given abilities. Our minds. Besides we are the greatest creation, agreed? Our minds have the ability to see logic and truth. So i'm asking you to answer my questions using your brain and your opinions. Not what someone else taught you.

My first question is: Are we born with original sin?
I know the history of creation states that Adam and Eve sinned and Humans were born with original sin. If god then, created us with love in his image, why then were we accountable for adam and eve's sins? I am asking you to answer as if you don't know what the bible says...your own logic.
Again, Thanks for your time.
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Arnold Yasin Mol

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Salaam my sister Angela,

I have come from Christian backgrounds myself, but here in Holland we are much more logical and critical when it comes to the Bible. So my surroundings responded very different then yours.

But to give you some advice. For one, you say you have become 'Muslim', when you say this, for most Western non-Muslims, this name has a negative load, also you approach it then as a title. It is not, it is a description of an act.

Muslim means 'someone who submits to Allah in peace'. So I would say in the letter: I'm a Muslim, one who submits to God in peace.

In this way, you make it a description instead of a title, and will make it less something alien. The term 'Muslim' is mostly approached as something being far off from Christianity. So when you use the term Muslim, always translate it, so people will see it refers to the Creator we all acknowledge. The easiest way to create differences, is by using titles. I'm a European, you're an Americain. You see the borders this creates, the gap? But when I say, I live on the earth on a certain spot, and you live also on the earth on a certain spot. Then we look a lot more alike, don't we? It creates a bond even!

So when you use Arabic terms, translate them, so people will see how close it comes to their own approach of God. It is good you show you believe in all the Scriptures and that we have the same God. Christianity is based on universalism of mankind, so they will recognize this also in Islam.

I don't know your family's belief completely, or your friend's, so my answer is based on what you tell in your mail. Please mail me or Dr.Shabbir with more info if I've got it wrong.

Ok, about the Original Sin-question. First, why do you ask? What is your goal? You want to show why you don't believe in it, or you want to convince the person it is wrong? As these 2 have different ways to be expressed.

I would also start with:
1. On what do you base your belief in the Bible on? Evidences?
2. How literal do you take it?
3. What do you know about the symbolism of the ancient Hebrews?

I would indeed start with small questions. The thing is, you don't want the person to have the feeling you want to convert him. When this person will feel this, he will block his mind. Ask these questions as if you want to know the answers. You want the person's help in understanding these questions. In this way the person will have the feeling he is converting you!
This will keep it's mind open.

When you ask the right questions. The person will look the answers up and will be confronted with many truth's it always avoided before. This is the best tactic I would also advice with your family. Make them believe it is you who is looking. When they have the feeling you are confronting them with their beliefs, they will close up.

Be like Abraham, smash the idols, and let them be confronted with their beliefs. Ask the right questions, for example, is there one version of the Bible? And if not so, which one is right then? What scriptures do we accept as the New Testament and why? There are many differences on this. Questions like this, that inshAllah, hopefully will confront them with things they tried to avoid before.

21:51 And, indeed, long before, We showed Abraham his direction and We were Aware of his potential.
21:52 He said to his father and his folk, "What are these images and statues that you sit around worshiping?"
21:53 They responded, "We found our ancestors worshipers of them."
21:54 He said, "Indeed you are in plain error as your ancestors were."
21:55 They said, "Are you telling us some serious truth or are you one of those jesters?"
21:56 He said, "Nay, your Lord is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth, Who initiated them from nothing. I am of those who bear witness to this Truth (on the basis of reason)."
21:57 "And by Allah, I have planned to deal with your idols when you turn back and leave the temple”. (You will see if they whom you believe to guard you can guard themselves or not).
21:58 Then he reduced them to fragments except the big one, so that they might turn to it. (37:88-98).
21:59 They said, "Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be of the wrongdoers."
21:60 Some said, "We heard a youth talking about them; he is called Abraham."
21:61 The custodians of the temple conferred and said, “Then bring him before the people’s eyes, so that they might bear witness.”
21:62 (And when he came) they asked, "Is it you who has done this to our gods, O Abraham?"
21:63 Abraham grabbed the opportunity of driving home the point, "Whoever did it, did it. This is their chief. Ask them if they speak."
[Important note: As many commentators of the Qur’an, ancient and modern, that I am aware of, have mistranslated this verse simply for missing the punctuation after ‘Fa’aluh’. They render the first part of the verse as, “This was done by the big one of them.” And then they go into defending in futility Prophet Abraham against uttering a lie. But, “This is their chief” is in fact a new sentence.]
21:64 They were taken aback, withdrew themselves, thought and said to one another, “Verily, you yourselves are the wrongdoers.” (You disregarded the security of the powerless idols).
21:65 They were utterly confounded in shame, lowered their heads and said to Abraham, "You know that they speak not."
21:66 Abraham said, "Do you then worship instead of Allah that cannot benefit you or harm you?"
21:67 “Unbecoming it is for you and condemnable are all that you worship instead of Allah! Will you, then, use your sense?"
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Dr. Shabbir
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 1333
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent answer, dear beta AY!

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Mahmood Qasmi

Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 79
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed a beautiful and splendid answer.
Mahmood Qasmi
Toronto, Canada
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