by Imran N. Hosein
I have just spent 10 exciting days with my Russian friend, ‘The Saker’, in the enchantingly beautiful Caribbean island of Tobago. I was born in the island of Trinidad where I now live, and Tobago is located just next to Trinidad in the South Caribbean Sea close to Venezuela:
This was the first time that I ever met with ‘Saker’, and I am happy to report that I succeeded in persuading him to come out in the open with his true identity, while putting his trust in the One God. As a consequence, his identity is now public. He is Andrei Raevsky, but he will continue to use his nom de plume of Saker. If you visit his website: http://thesaker.is/sakers-open-letter-to-the-saker-community/ you will even see his photograph. Those who are not familiar with him will get to know him if they visit his website.
I also got him to agree to record a joint video with me in which I interviewed him for half of an hour, so viewers will soon be able to see us together in that interview in Tobago. It will be placed on my website at www.imranhosein.org as well as my You-tube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/SheikhImranHosein
We were joined in Tobago by my Serbian friend, the US-trained Attorney, Stefan Karganovic, and by his friend, a Serbian Neurosurgeon. I got to know Stefan a few years ago through the Saker, and we corresponded with each other by email before I travelled to Belgrade in 2015 to meet with him and so many others in what must be recorded as a blessed visit to that historic city. It was a dream come true for me to welcome my friend Stefan to beautiful Tobago.
Stefan has just completed the Serbian/Bosnian translation of my book on ‘Methodology for Study of the Qur’an’, and Prof Branko Rakic of the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade has written a long Foreword for the book. It will soon be published in a new edition with Prof Branko Rakic’s Foreword Insha Allah.
Both Saker’s wife, Ana, and my wife, Aisha, were also with us in Tobago.
I took them for an all-day tour all around the island of Tobago – driving from one end of the island to the other, while passing through Roxborough and Speyside where we stopped for lunch at a beachside restaurant with an absolutely stunning view of the Speyside Bay, until we reached the town of Charlottesville located at the other end of the island. Here are some pictures of Speyside Bay and Charlotteville:
We then drove through the rain-forest from the eastern side of the island across to the western side, got stuck in soft mud at the side of the road, and eventually found a rest-shed where we could enjoy our desert – which, inevitably, was pineapple.
Perhaps the most beautiful sight of all was when we looked down at the Parlatuvier Bay (otherwise known as Englishman’s Bay) from high up a hill. My guests were all absolutely amazed by the stunning natural beauty of Parlatuvier Bay. Here are some pictures of the Bay: https://www.google.tt/search?q=parlatuvier+bay+pictures+tobago&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwji4_zCgozTAhUESiYKHSBTDQgQ7AkIJA&biw=1163&bih=545&dpr=1.65.
We also made the trip by boat to Tobago’s Nylon Pool as well as to the archipelago known as No Man’s Land.
Captain Phillips, who piloted our boat, assured my guests that whoever took a bath in the Nylon Pool would emerge looking ten years younger. Not only did they all look ten years younger at the end of their visit to Tobago, but Stefan eventually looked quite red. He spent endless hours enjoying himself swimming in the blue/green Caribbean Sea. I do not know why the native people who lived in what is now known as America, were called ‘Red’ Indians, but I am satisfied that Stefan should enter history as the first ever ‘Red’ Serbian who was authentically ‘red’.
Since it was the Christian time of Lent, when Christians have certain dietary restrictions, we bought lots of fresh fish at the Lambeau Fish Market, and took turns in cooking. I had my turn twice, and I was fortunate to escape, despite my somewhat unconventional menus, without any culinary disaster. I took lots of pineapples and two large watermelons to Tobago from Trinidad, and was very relieved when they turned out to be quite sweet. Indeed we ate pineapples so often that some of my guests may even have had dreams of sweet pineapples. I also took a local Indian bread called Dhalpouri Roti. It is soft, round in shape, and large enough for two people to eat one of them. The flour is mixed with yellow lentil called Dhall, which makes it very delicious indeed. My guests loved it.
Despite the time spent in cooking, touring, and bathing in the blue/green Caribbean Sea, we still found time for all four of my Orthodox Christian guests to visit Tobago’s Masjid al-Taubah to attend the congregational prayers known as Salaat al-Jumu’ah. The Imam invited me to deliver the Khutbah (i.e., sermon) and to lead the prayer, and I delivered a Khutbah on Christian-Muslim relations which was based on verses of the Qur’an. Saker responded to the sermon with a declaration that he wanted all of Russia to be able to hear it, and Stefan had the same wish for all of the Balkans.
My sermon was based on verses of the Qur’an which explicitly affirmed faith in some Christians:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“You (Muslims) are an excellent community evolved (by divine wisdom) for the sake of mankind, (provided that you) enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and you have faith in Allah. If only the People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians) had faith (in Muhammad as a Prophet of the One God and in the latest Book, i.e., the Qur’ān, as His revealed Word), it would have been beneficial for them: amongst them there are those who have faith, but most of (the rest of them) are perverted transgressors.”
(Qur’ān, Ale ‘Imran, 3:110)
In consequence of the above unambiguous declaration by Allah Most High in which He affirmed that amongst the Christians and Jews (i.e., the People who have the Book of Allah as we, Muslims, also have the Book of Allah) there are those who have ‘faith’, while most of them are sinful in conduct, it became necessary for Muslims to make an effort to identify and demarcate the two groups, i.e., those Christians and Jews who act in a manner consistent with a people who have ‘faith’, and those whose conduct is manifestly sinful. A people who have ‘faith’ would not harbor feelings of hatred in their hearts for the believers in Allah Most High. Nor would a people who have ‘faith’ become friends and allies of those whose hearts are filled with hatred for Muslims.
I quoted the verse of the Qur’ān which explicitly identified Jews to be a people whose hearts will display great hatred for Islam and Muslims. While some Jews did not act in this way towards Muslims, most Jews did so. This was manifest in the life-time of Nabī Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and has once again manifested itself in the modern age in the conduct of Zionist Jews:
لَتَجِدَنَّ أَشَدَّ النَّاسِ عَدَاوَةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الْيَهُودَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُواْ وَلَتَجِدَنَّ أَقْرَبَهُمْ مَّوَدَّةً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ الَّذِينَ قَالُوَاْ إِنَّا نَصَارَى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ مِنْهُمْ قِسِّيسِينَ وَرُهْبَانًا وَأَنَّهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ
“Strongest among men in enmity to the believers will you find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who (openly and publicly) declare, “We are Christians”: because amongst them are priests (who devote their lives to teaching and administering religious rites) and men who have embraced monasticism (and have hence renounced the world), and they are not arrogant.”
(Qur’ān, al-Māidah, 5:82)
Not only did the Qur’ān identify in the above verse the community of Jews as the People of the Book who are without faith, but it also went on to identify those (amongst the People of the Book) who display love and affection for Muslims – and hence display an important sign of faith. They are a people who declare of themselves that: “We are Christians”.
Christians who displayed love and affection for Islam and for Muslims, did appear in early Islam when the Negus of Abyssinia (i.e., modern-day Ethiopia) rejected the request of Makkah to repatriate the Muslims (who were slaves or semi-slaves) who had fled from persecution and oppression in Makkah, and had sought asylum in Abyssinia. Indeed, when the Negus died, and the news of his death reached Nabī Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in Madīna, he performed the funeral prayer for him, thus recognizing him as a Christian who had faith in Allah Most High despite some of his Christian beliefs with which the Qur’an had taken issue.
There is absolutely no evidence that the Negus had renounced his belief in Jesus as the son of God, or that he had ceased to worship Jesus as God, prior to his death; nor do we have any such evidence from the community of Christians of whom he was the leader. When there is no such evidence from these two primary sources, dubious evidence from self-serving secondary sources is of no scholarly value. Yet the Prophet offered the funeral prayer for the Negus who was a Christian.
I argued in my sermon that such Christians who will be closest in love and affection for Islam and Muslims will once again emerge in the historical process in a time-frame that will match the contemporary emergence of Zionist Jews who have displayed unprecedented hatred for Islam and Muslims. That hatred is most visible in their barbarous oppression of the innocent people of Gaza in the Holy Land.
The verse of the Qur’ān provided important signs by which such Christians who would be closest in love and affection for Muslims, would be identified:
- They would be a Christian people who preserve the institution of priesthood and whose priests, from their Patriarch down to the lowest Priest, will demonstrate genuine love and affection for Islam and Muslims. This most certainly excludes the Vatican and the Roman Catholic faith, the Anglican Church (of England), and all other Christian churches in western Christianity.
- They would be a Christian people who preserve the institution of monasticism, and whose monks would display love and affection for Islam and Muslims. This most certainly excludes western Christianity which has almost totally abandoned monasticism and the monastic way of life. Monasteries in the West have almost all been sold, and have now become McDonalds Hamburgers etc.
- They would be a Christian people in whose conduct there is no arrogance. This again excludes those Christians who brought modern western civilization into being with an unprecedentedly arrogant agenda of imposing its unjust and oppressive rule over all of mankind at the point of a naked blood-stained sword.
- They would be a Christian people who would publicly and proudly identify themselves as ‘Christians’. This would exclude the secularized Christians of modern western civilization whose primary identity is with their nation or State, rather than with their religion.
- They cannot be a handful of scattered Christians who worship Allah as prescribed in the Qur’ān, and hence do not worship Nabī ‘Īsa (Jesus (عليه السلام as a third person in a trinity; and do not declare that Allah Most High had a son etc. Rather, they would have to be a community of Christians complete with their priests and monks, and hence can easily be identified. One would not have to search for them in some nook or cranny with a fine-teeth comb!
My sermon identified those Christians, referred to in the Qur’an, with the world of Orthodox Christianity.
When the prayer was over, the entire congregation of Muslims turned around and reached out to the Orthodox Christians sitting on chairs at the back of the prayer hall and greeted them with love and with affection. This first-ever visit to a Masjid was a very moving experience which Saker and his wife, Stefan and the Neurosurgeon, are unlikely to ever forget. No one turned away from them. No one rejected them. No one displayed any negative behavior towards them. I felt confident that they would have received the same welcome in all the Masajid (plural of Masjid) in the neighboring island of Trinidad. The only ones who would have displayed hostility towards them would have been those who took state-of-the-art weapons and heaps of US dollars from Santa Claus to fight their bogus ISIS Jihad in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Unfortunately the sermon was not recorded, so we do not have a video of it which can be viewed.
In the ten days which we spent together in Tobago we had adequate time to engage in religious dialogue, and the remarkable thing about our dialogue was that it was always conducted with profound respect for each other, and for each other’s religion. At no time did our discussions reach a state in which either side was subjected to any deliberate discomfort. There was no hint of rivalry, and no debate, in which one side sought to defeat the other side, and yet, we never compromised in stating the viewpoint of our respective religions. In fact, what we did was to set an example for those who come after us, in engaging in Muslim – Orthodox Christian dialogue in a form and manner which was free from rancor and bigotry. In doing so, we conformed to Allah’s command in the Qur’ān in which He ordered as follows:
وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
And do not argue or dispute with the Ahl al-Kitab (i.e., People of the Book, or followers of earlier revelation who are like us since we also have a Book) otherwise than in a most kindly manner, (or except with means better than mere disputation), – unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing, (or who inflict wrong or injury) and say: “We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: our God and your God is One, and it is unto Him that We [all] surrender ourselves.”
(Qur’an, al-Ankabūt, 29:46)
The above verse of the Qur’an has therefore prohibited Muslims from engaging in religious discussions with those who received the Torah, Psalms and Gospel, except in the best way possible. This prohibition did not apply, however, with such Christians and Jews who committed acts of Dhulm, i.e., injustice, oppression, wickedness.
The verse also went on to establish the very foundation of any engagement in religious discussions with Christians and Jews in the declaration that: “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us (i.e., the Qur’an) and in that which came down to you (i.e., the Torah, Psalms, Gospel); Our Ilah (i.e., God), and your Ilah (i.e., God), is One; and to Him we bow (in submission)”.
It is not my intention to write a comprehensive report of all subjects of our dialogue since Saker and I have decided to jointly write a book which will present both Islamic and Orthodox Christian Eschatology while examining the subject of Islam and Russia. Rather I choose to focus on only one subject of our dialogue and, in doing so, offer our readers a glimpse of what is to come when the book is written Insha Allah (God Willing).
Saker already knew that the Arabic word ‘Allah’ was a combination of the definite article (‘the’) and the Arabic word for God (‘ILAH’). Hence the word ‘Allah’ meant ‘The God’ i.e., The One God. Even though the Christian worshiped Jesus as God, he was still insistent that he worshiped One God since the Bible was unequivocal in its declaration: Know Oh Israel that the Lord, Your God, is One! Hence when I repeated to Saker on several occasions that his God and my God were One God, it built between us a solid common foundation for positive dialogue.
There might, unfortunately, be some Muslims who will be uneasy with the above verse of the Qur’an in which Allah Most High ordered Muslims to declare to Christians and to Jews that: Our Ilah (i.e., God) and your Ilah (i.e., God) is One. Their uneasiness would be in consequence of their knowledge that Christians worship Jesus as God. Allah Most High has already responded to such uneasiness by asking them whether they wish to teach religion to the Lord-God (Allah):
قُلْ أَتُعَلِّمُونَ اللَّهَ بِدِينِكُمْ . . . .
Say: “Do you want to teach your religion to Allah? . . . .
(Qur’ān, al-Hujurāt, 49:16)
It is remarkable that we conducted our religious discussions in exactly the opposite way from the boxing matches staged by the late Ahmad Deedat of South Africa which sought to expose several things in the Bible, belligerently so, as false and rancid. Many Christians were enraged by those boxing matches, and those who were not enraged were secretly smiling with Deedat’s Saudi sponsors since they shared a covert agenda of driving such a thick wedge between the two faiths as would preclude any possibility of friendship and alliance ever emerging between Muslims and Christians. I believe that Saker and I were more faithful to the Qur’an than Deedat and his acolytes ever were, and we set the right example of mutual respect and proper decorum for those who will now follow us Insha Allah, in Orthodox Christian-Muslim dialogue.
I asked Saker what were his expectations for the future of Muslim – Orthodox Christian dialogue, and he was very clear and precise in his response in directing attention, first of all, to those matters wherein we differed, and which appeared to him to be beyond resolve. Saker was forthright in his declaration that Orthodox Christianity does not recognize Muhammad as a Prophet of the One God, like unto Abraham and Moses (Allah’s blessings be upon them all), and does not recognize the Qur’ān as a divinely-revealed Word of the One God. However he did go on to explain that Orthodox Christianity does not have a book comparable in absolute authority to the Qur’an. Rather, Orthodox Christianity is dependent on both the Bible as well as the Church, and the collective wisdom of its luminaries through the ages, for an authoritative declaration of what constitute Truth and Faith. And so, it appeared to me that Orthodox Christians have a possible future in which the Church and its luminaries can modify Christian views through new interpretations of Christian religious symbolism and through divine visions etc. I therefore did not close the chapter between us pertaining to the status of the Qur’an and of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High ever be with him).
I was familiar, of course with our own Islamic view that while whatever is clearly and explicitly stated in the Qur’an is eternally binding on all Muslims, there are other verses in the Qur’an which have to be interpreted, and hence that new knowledge would constantly keep on flowing from the Qur’an.
I did address the matter of Christian worship of Jesus as God, and as Son of God, and put the matter to rest between us when I quoted a passage of the Qur’an in which Allah Most High addressed Jesus on the subject:
وَإِذْ قَالَ اللّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَـهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ
AND LO! Allah said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say unto men, `Worship me and my mother as deities beside Allah?” [Jesus] answered: “Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! It would not have been possible for me to say what I had no right to [say]! Had I said this, You would indeed have known it! You know all that is within myself, whereas I know not what is in Yourself. Verily, it is You alone who fully knows all the things that are beyond the reach of a created being’s perception.
I argued that this response implied that the matter of the worship of Jesus as God, and as the Son of God, should not become a subject of dispute and debate between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an has advised the Muslim to let the matter rest until Allah Most High deals with it Himself on Judgment Day. This Divine wisdom seems to have escaped the attention of those misguided Muslims who ignore the Qur’an whenever they take up their boxing gloves to do religious battle with Christians and with the Bible.
This brief report does not record all the matters discussed between us, since there is a book coming, Insha Allah, which Saker and I will jointly write. He and I will endeavor to set the example, as well as the stage, for future such dialogue between Muslims and Orthodox Christians so that we can advance the cause of friendship and alliance between our two persecuted peoples.
Saker has already set the example of faithfulness to his Orthodox Christian creed, and I too will endeavor to ensure in my dialogue with Saker that I remain faithful to the Qur’an and faithful Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) who personally received in Madina a delegation of about 60 Byzantine Christians (including many religious scholars) who travelled from their native Najran in Yemen to meet with him. He not only welcomed them warmly and kindly, but offered them the Masjid itself as their place of residence and rest, as well as a place for them to pray, during their stay of approximately 3 days in Madina. The inter-religious dialogue did not yield any break-through regarding the central issues which divided the Christians and the Qur’an, but also did not result in bitter and acrimonious exchanges. Before saying good-bye and returning to Najran in Yemen, the delegation of Christians even requested of the Prophet that a learned and trustworthy Muslim be sent to them in Najran so that, among other things, the lines of communication for continuing dialogue could remain open. Despite all that has since occurred between our two peoples, and which unfriendly critics will now rush to relate, Saker and I are doing precisely that – we are continuing that Orthodox Christian – Muslim dialogue that was initiated in Madina in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and upon all the messengers of Allah Most High).
Small post-scriptum by The Saker: with all due respect and love for the Sheikh, I don’t believe that he is correct when he writes that “it appeared to me that Orthodox Christians have a possible future in which the Church and its luminaries can modify Christian views through new interpretations of Christian religious symbolism and through divine visions etc.“. The problem here is that for a teaching to be considered “Orthodox” it has to meet two criteria:
- It has to be the expression of the consensus patrum, the agreement of all the Church Fathers, and thus is cannot contradict the past position of the Church. Saint Vincent of Lérins (5th century) expressed it in the following words when he said that is true that “which has been believed everywhere, always and by all” . Thus, it cannot be the opinion of only some, contemporary, Church Fathers.
- It has to be “upward compatible” with what has been taught in the past. Saint Athanasios (4th century) expressed this idea in the following words that the Orthodox faith is the faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian“. Thus no new teaching can be accepted if it contradicts what was taught in the past.
The Church having refused to recognize Muhammad as a prophet of God and having refused to accept the Quran as a divine book, She cannot under any circumstances change Her point of view. On issues of faith and dogmatics the Church, being the Theandric Body of God filled with the Holy Spirit, She is infallible.
However, and as long as their is no compulsion in religion and as long as everybody recognizes the absolute right of each human being to follow his/her conscience, I totally agree with the Sheikh when he writes “the matter of the worship of Jesus as God, and as the Son of God, should not become a subject of dispute and debate between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an has advised the Muslim to let the matter rest until Allah Most High deals with it Himself on Judgment Day“.
As long as our differences are not obfuscated or otherwise minimized, I do believe that it makes little sense to engage in disputes about them. What we all have to do is the explain our beliefs and make sure that the other is not mislead/misinformed about them. But once that “informational” phase is over, there is simply no point in engaging in disputes. Finally, we all have to recognize that the other is following his/her conscience with as much honesty, zeal and purity of faith as we do. While we do not have to agree with the other, we do have to respect this quest for the truth in by the other.
These are my humble comments to the wise and kind words of the Sheikh.
Well, this is all very good.
It must be obvious that all who believe in the One, must also believe in the same One – since there is no room for more than one One. All that remains then is to purify the language to reflect this obvious thing, since the belief must by its nature be the same for each and all.
Saker and the Sheikh are engaged in this dialog of purification, each for their own circles, and we can only applaud.
All discord in this world stems from a turning away from this purifying dialog between us all. Discord itself then is the sign of the unholy. All who shun disbelief should also shun discord, and become wary in its presence. Even those who have no belief should shun discord, which is the mark of the unholy, and which can bring forth no good fruit.
This world and its creating force was here first. And we awaken here, are set down here, without knowing how or why. Yet here we are. And here before us is the creation.
The dialog is the way to spend the hours of our lives, in the companionship of mutual celebration of this sacred world, created by a force that we are not, and of whose fruit we are privileged to partake, each for a brief time.
This dialog is a good thing. Perhaps even the very best way to spend one’s days.
well, I can’t agree that it all has to be the same god…
Allah has no son, and Christ is God’s Son, so how can there ever be one God ?
But just because there are more than one God – btw – please define ‘god’ – — doesn’t mean that one is a degenerate –
are Angels Gods ? What about Seraphim ? Cherubim ? Archangels ? Dynamis ?
Kyriotetes ? Exusiai ? Greek words but same beings – Elohim ? what about them ? Jehovah ? Is he Allah ? Is he the Father ? I don’t think so…Jehovah is a jealous God – and Christ is not – and Christ and His Father are One
and Mohammed never claimed to be a god.
Anyway, its a complex world, the Spiritual world and we must all love one another. There’s no argument in Islam and Christianity there.
Thank you dear Sheik for a wonderful narrative about your working vacation with your noble guests. I’m happy that you’all had a good time, for ye deserve it.
@ Saker, the Quran does not tell us to stop preaching that the creator is 1 Unique God who is neither male nor female.
Our faith Islam was diverted into Christianity ( deification of a human being) after the state under Emperor Constantine sanctioned and enforced the ‘divinity’ of Prophet Jesus in the council of Nicea in 325 .
The correct position regarding Jesus Peace be upon Him) was yaken by the likes of Arius a Christian preacher who was determined to be a heretic for holding that Jesus peace be upon him was a prophet of God ( he is honored by Muslims as one of our 5 messengers of strong will):
“According to the “St Nicholas Center” the target was a doctrinal heretic called Arius, who had begun to expound his view that Jesus was not God in the flesh, but merely a messenger or created being…”
Shaykh, this is a reminder and please cease your words regarding shaykh Deedat he has passed on and we pray that Allah azzawajal has mercy on him. BTW, his tone was always paternal and educational not hostile!
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error:” (Quran 2:256)
We want all humans to God willing go to heaven! (Passing the message) as all Prophets have done) is compulsory in Islam.
May we all have true mercy for each other! I agree with a brother Yahya Ahmed who wrote that more than a hurt friendship we should see how Allah azzawajal views this issue:
“Doesn’t it hurt you when they say that God has a son?
The Quran says:
88. They say: “((Allah)) Most Gracious has begotten a son!”
89. Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!
90. At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin,
91. That they should invoke a son for ((Allah)) Most Gracious.
92. For it is not consonant with the majesty of ((Allah)) Most Gracious that He should beget a son. (Quran 19:88-92)
“Doesn’t it hurt you when they give the worst swearing to Allah (SWT)? The Quran says that if the mountains had feelings and emotions like you and I have, they would fall in utter ruin, the earth will split asunder, the skies will burst. But what is happening to you? All you need to do is open your mouth.” Pass the Creator’s message, please.
If I may be so bold to add a post-script to the post-script: that all well-meaning men and women with faith in the One God pray fervently to Him that Christians and Muslims may continue to work towards living together in peace, and rejecting the evil of the Talmudists and Papists who are always so happy to watch us slaughter each other. Like the Sheikh mentioned there were periods of time when Byzantium co-existed with the various Muslim powers quite peaceably. I hope Russia and Iran can help return the world to that condition.
Wow, see how the Sheikh is twisting the Holy Quran. A quote from above from Sheikh:
Now the translation of the same verse from a Wahhabi site:
And some following verses:
See, how the Great Sheikh is playing with the translation of the Holy Quran. Must I say any further. As Saker said in his podcast that Allah mean Deity (God) and in the Christian Arabic Bible, the word Allah is used for God.
The Saker and Imran Hosein talk about issues that unite us, Muslims and Orthodox Christians, facing an enemy hitherto unknown to humanity.
Those, obsessed with catching fleas, can’t see a lion.
Those, obsessed with catching fleas, can’t see a lion
Ditto that, Scott.
Dear Mohamed, I’ve compared the Sheikh’s translation of Ale ‘Imran, 3:110 with my hard copies of Yusuf Ali and Halili & Khan’s translations. I honestly can’t see any fundamental difference them. I don’t know what made you conclude that the Sheikh had twisted the meaning of the verse.
Congratulations on your planned collaboration with Sheikh Imran. Both you and the Sheikh are the commentators I turn to when I try to make sense of what is happening to this planet of ours. I first got to know the Sheikh through his lecture series on the fraudulent and usurious international monetary system which he gave in various places, universities but mainly mosques, when he was staying here in my little neck of the woods (Malaysia).
I was intrigued when he participated in a discussion on Eschatology (Islamic and Orthodox Christian) at a Russian university a couple of years ago and also by an interview which he gave on a Serbian TV station in which he said several things about the Ottoman Empire that went diametrically opposite to the rather uninformed views that I’d held about the period of the Ottoman Empire.
Among other things he said that were he to reconquer Constantinople, he’d return Hagia Sophia to the Orthodox Christians accompanied with his most profound apologies on behalf of Muslims. Now, this statement doesn’t sit well with a segment of Muslims who, from the days of the Crusades have seen Christianity as their ‘nemesis’, forgetting the fact that in the Fourth Crusade the Franks sacked Constantinople and desecrated Hagia Sophia on their way to the Holy Land, and thus failing to see that Christianity, like Islam, is not monolithic. I agree 100% with the Sheikh’s opinion because Islam has an example of how Muslims should behave towards places of worship of people who Muslims know as the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) — when invited by the Patriach, Caliph Umar declined to pray in the main church in Jerusalem for fear that Muslims would take that as a signal that they may also take over the church as their own.
You and the Sheikh have taken the right approach — a dialogue instead of a debate, reconciliatory rather than adversarial, recognising irreconcilable differences while looking for common interests for the benefit of the common good. Good luck with your book.
Thank you for your citation about Omar ibn Khattab (RA).
Regarding the beautiful Basilica Ἁγία Σοφία, for many years, long before I was introduced to the respected Sheikh Imran Hossein, I have been reminding who ever wants to hear me (Muslims and non-Muslims) of the event with Caliph Omar ibn Khattab (RA) and Patriarch Sophronius. The Basilica in Constantinople needs to be returned to her rightful owners. InshAllah she will be, there is ABSOLUTELY no question about that.
Doing great Mohamed in wanting to divide muslims and orthodox christians….you should change your name from Mohamed to something sinister.
are the one that is making the twists .you are arrogant .and stop your ill understanding of what Imran hosein has said.in this topic .there is a chapter in the Qur’an about Ruum.the byzantine orthodox Christians (Russia).and god give the location of this Ruum (Russia).So Ruum /Russia is the key player in the end of the time.god tell in the Qur’an that Russia will be defeated and after few years will be victorious in two periods of time .in the time of revelation of the Qur’an it was war with Persia and the second time is coming then the liberation of Constantinople.
I visit your website each day, often several times a day, and have done so for several years, and I admire your political analyses enormously. NOTHING on the web is more valuable to read than your analyses. Lately I have read some stuff on your site that shows that apart from your political insights you are also a warmly religious person, an Orthodox Christian. It made me somewhat astonished since I have, well, more or less, believed that the only standpoint a really intelligent person (people like me of course :-)) could reach in questions of faith is the old agnostic one which I personally interpret as “I don’t have an opinion in matters where I have no knowledge”.
Well, I am very well aware that tens of thousands of philosophic pages have been written about how we humans acquire knowledge. It is a very muddy field. But what matters here is if I myself do beleive that I have knowledge. In my daily life I certainly beleive so in thousands of daily details. But in questions of… Is there a God?… what about life after death? … Well, sorry, I am agnostic, don’t ask me please.
That’s my standpoint. But obviously not yours. Also if you to me seem to be the most intelligent person I can meet on the internet. Which makes me very curious. How does a person like you come to faith? Don’t bother about Cathoicism or Orhodoxy or Islam. Just ANY belief in a God? I guess that you, like me, haven’t seen or met God (my wife has, she died in hospital and had an NDE). And I guess that you, like me, hasn’t seen any proof here on earth that there is a God.
Ok, there are a few possible answers:
1. I feel it in my heart that there must be a God. OK, I respect that but it doesn’t convince me.
2. There are many examples of divine intervention on Earth. No, I don’t beleive that.
3. The fact that we and the universe exist is proof that there must have been a creator. Well, I know that in fact many scientists subscribe to this idea (as an opposite to the “many worlds solution”) but that’s only to push the problem one step ahead “So who created the creator?”
So, when/if you have time, I should greatly appreciate your ideas on this subject. You reach me at [email protected].
Claes G. Fjalling
What if I give you an exhaustive reply in the form of a podcast?
Does that work for you?
Sure. I would very much appreciate that.
Imagine a soldier aiming his sniper-rifle at a terrorist and only waiting for the order from his superior officer. Now, that superior officer is waiting for his orders, and that officer above him too, and that above him, and that above him, and that above him…….the shot will never be fired!
Who created the Creator? Exactly the same analogy! Going back infinitely would result in – NO creation! Try to figure………we can not have all the answers…..we are not meant to.
“Proofs” against the existence of the Creator are emotional arguments, and not rational arguments. There are so many human beings today who are angry with God Allmighty! He doesn’t do things according to their expectations. He allows killing of small children, hunger, wars…..but these are not proofs against His very existence! Human beings, having free will and free choice – they choose to kill, exploit, rape, bomb….you name it! This life is a temporary abode……this is not paradise…..and here we are all tested….with death of our beloved, hunger, fear, hatred, murder…….when we accept that we should serve our Creator, and not vice-versa – life would be much more beautifull.
Please accept my heartfelt condolences on loss of your beloved wife!
All the praises and thanks be to Allah who is the Lord of the worlds!
so you would rather believe Darwin -one guy who was religious- than thousands of years of antiquity…
It amazes me how Darwin got the whole world believing in him. Because its still only the ‘theory of evolution’
again, hearts know what the heads don’t –
oh, and btw – if the theory of evolution is the truth – why aren’t we still evolving ? somehow the planet just reached the point of not evolving anymore ? After millions of years of evolving from an original piece of mud ?
Oh, and also – why do you think that consciousness can be ‘created out of nothing’ by non-consciousness ? I mean even unconscious machines need to be invented by conscious humans –
The framing of these issues is very inadequate, depending on very limited assumptions based on on ordinary perceptions. It’s like like saying that bacteria can’t exist because we don’t see them, or quantum mechanics and relativity don’t exist because they are not obvious to us, or there are no such things as electricity or radiation because we can’t hear them.
People think they understand what consciousness, existence, causality, space, and time are without following the questions to the root assumptions and considering alternative possibilities.
It is not a question of ‘believing Darwin’, but the overwhelming evidence for evolution, which is indeed still occurring, even if often too slowly to see — or thinking that understanding evolution is going to give an easy answer to the existential enigmas. Darwin was just one early explorer of evolutionary biology and it’s as inappropriate to ‘believe’ in what he said as in believing that Newton understood relativity, quantum mechanics, nano technology, or vacuum tubes and semiconductors.
dear Claes – why don’t you let your wish heart guide you ?
People in ancient times thought that thoughts come from the heart –
I know getting a comment from another reader isn’t what you commented for – but I couldn’t resist –
If all people were guided by their wise hearts, instead of their foolish heads, the world would be a better place.
Matter of semantics? I’d say nope, the problem is exactly that, people using foolish hearts instead of truly wise heads. We should be wishing for more wise people because the lack thereof is the reason that we’re living in such a frigging silly, irrational, unjust and messy world.
While Jesus probably never heard the word “Christ” ever, (being aramaic and the word being greek), its meaning has long been discussed. One of my favourites was a book called “From Jesus to Christ” (Paula Fredricksen) where she discussed her understandings to be something like the decision to look through the religions of our youth to the community. As a pair of glasses always colours the image we see, so our religious beginnings will always colour our understandings of those around.
The point being this: the glasses are not the community. The people around us are not religion.
When we are focused on the colour of another’s glasses, then we don’t really understand the xristos, we are missing the koininia.
The greeks used an obscure kind of voice–now called the middle voice–to describe in who’s interest one was acting. Did Jesus feed 5000 in the interest of the recipients or in the interest of the unbelievers among his disciples? To the greeks it mattered seemingly more than english translators are often able to describe. (limits of language and all that).
When we are looking towards communion, here on earth, in the present, then the colour of another’s glasses (seems to me) pretty minor in significance. If we focus on union with others–in the Creator’s interest–then I think we can begin to approach koininia.
While Jesus probably never heard the word “Christ” ever, (being aramaic and the word being greek)
Christ spoke both languages, along with Latin and Hebrew.
I’ve never seen any evidence that Jesus would have known any language besides Aramaic. Where do you get that sense? Curious.
In what language was Jesus speaking to Pilate? Why some of the Apostles had Greek names? Why Jesus gives to Simon a Greek name? Is Paula Fredericksen a greater authority than the Gospels?
I thought it was generally accepted that Jesus was monolingual, I’m easy to be wrong.
The idea of my post was to support all religions as a means to a place of communion. No matter the path, the goal is to unify believers sending their blessing back to God.
The religion isn’t the goal. The path, the way, the road, these are all means. The end is communion, together. Koininia is selfless harmony. Its zen and pure land and Shinto and all together as one.
What these guys did together was the goal. That one got there through the Quran or the NT is immaterial. That they were able to meet and commune is the joy.
@religion isn’t the goal
Precisely, the goal is Salvation, the entry into the Kingdom of God which is not of this world. But not all ways lead to it. Some lead you nowhere, some lead you into a maze, some lead you to the precipice.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it”.
“LET not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him”.
“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
“He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father”.
These are Jesus Christ’s own words, whatever the Fredericksens of Hebrew Universities believe.
Everything is Kingdom of God, not only “heavens with cherubs and winged this or that”….
Kingdom of God means the realm where God is the only universaly recognised sovereign and where His laws rule. It means that no parliament, no UN, no USA president, no Putin or anything else can be above the sovereignty of God Allmighty. It is both on earth and in heaven!
We are in such a mess because we do not recognise God’s sovereignty any more!
We are talking of the Christian notion of the Kingdom of God, not of the Jewish one. Christ words are normative not everyone’s fanciful wishful thinking:
33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber”.(John 18:33-40).
True that most people have chosen and still choose Barabbas.
Interesting. How do you know it?
congratulations for your very informative site – I enjoy reading the articles you post but I was wondering as an Orthodox who lives in a country near Middle East about your opinion for the following islam-related facts:
1. why so many million of muslim refuggees do not travel for a better life to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere and instead they prefer Europe – has al-Hijrah any relation with that? (population conquer the west as a trojan horse)?
2. in many European cities with muslim population, they request that saria law is enacted, show no intention to socialize with locals, no tolerance for Christian customs and at the end of the day want local communities to adapt with them and not the opposite.
3. there is not even 1 church in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Bahrain – someone may say that there was never local population there – however there are many expats who reside now. On the same time there thousand of mosques around Europe (many constructed with SA money). Since the craddle of islam (SA) is not tolerant with other religions why should Europe be – specially when some mosques are radicalization centers.
4. it is written in many verses of quran that the infidels should die or be treated as second class citizens (to say the least) – Muslims are required to follow quran verses and there is no room for different views (in any case the death of infidels cannot have other explanations). How on earth is it possible to co-exist in the same society with people who consider these verses as God’s words?
Am curious, how good does this comment do to bringing orthodox christians and muslims together? especially in times we live in? maybe this comment belongs somewhere else definitely not here.
If I recall accurately (and please forgive me if I do not), the Q’ran states that the divisions between the Peoples of the Book are divinely instituted, and will continue until judgement day.
Notwithstanding this, the effort expended to learn, share and reconcile where possible by authentic Christians and authentic followers of Mohammed can only be beneficial to both. Such efforts are praiseworthy and of inestimable value (IMO), for even though complete reconciliation/merger is impossible, divisions because of ignorance and misunderstandings can be identified and rejected.
That said, the lives and writings of the great Sufis testify that although the number of points on circle is infinite, they all reference the same center — invisible, yet the foundation of everything. And further : that the closer people come to attaining to it, the more they recognize those approaching it from other directions as fellow worshippers of the One God. In my opinion, this promising Islamic-Orthodox dialogue can be understood as an example of precisely this — however arguable as an idea, it is nevertheless recognizable when it happens as a fact.
In isolation, a drop of water is a self-contained entity with distinct boundaries. When it merges with the ocean, the condition which made these a (temporary — “in time”) reality is no longer the case, and the previous boundaries disappear. This idea is, I believe, not incongruent with the Scriptures of all three beliefs (Jews noting that, for example, theirs explicitly states that Cyrus the Great was God’s Messiah, although he was certainly not of their number, and Christians perhaps re-thinking the Parable of the Good Samaritan).
FWIW, with apologies if such thinking outside the boxes occasions (unintended) discord.
GOD = Generator, Operator, Destroyer
The problem of the world is a problem of harmony – Sri Aurobindo
The christians call it water, the muslims refer to it as ‘pani’, the Hindus call it ‘jal’, but all of them are the same. All religions are like different paths to the same lake – Sri Ramakrishna
What is currently missing in the world is these type of conversations. Not a debate (though I like those), not a fight, not “you are wrong and I’m right” endless monologues but a heart to heart conversation. When people are secure enough about their convictions to be able to listen to those representing another culture, another worldview…and see if there is a point of connection. Once connection is established a healthy friendship will follow.
Growing up in Russia I was always told “if you cannot listen – you cannot talk” and never, ever interrupt. I miss this culture very much.
Really enjoyed reading it. Thank you!
For all those trying to come to grips with the semantics of language check the 99 revealed personality traits of The Lord most high in 3 min. video https://youtu.be/6XQolX8WDzQ ).
Obviously these names can be translated into Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin or whatever language you like as these are personality traits of The Lord Most High.
This 13 minute video bringing to light the universal one of a kind undisputed trademark signature of “The Creator” will hopefully help us to reach “The Source” in Love and in anticipation of endless mercy and compassion for our humble surrender to his (Royal plural) will.
Wishing The Saker and his respected community: the guidance, pleasure and eternal success from The Lord most high.
Further to my previous comment maybe it might have been better if the respected Sheikh had said that when the Messiah, Jesus the son of the Virgin Mary would return all differences would be resolved. Up until that time it would be mutually expedient for those who believe in his return to form an alliance in anticipation.
The diametric opposite of humanity would contemporaneously slander the chastity of the Virgin Mary i.e. misguided Jews and those who will be “bringing it on” in anticipation for the appearance of “The false Messiah” i.e. The Anti-Christ who will be crowned King of Zion.
The stage has been set. We pray for our own guidance and the guidance of The Saker and his community to be of those who form alliances with those who believe in and look forward to the return of Jesus the Son of the virgin Mary.
btw. Isn’t it amazing that Mary is the holiest woman in Islam and has been honoured to be mentioned by name in the Quran. No other woman has been honoured in this way.
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I’ve never made it to the Caribbean Islands, but used to spend summer vacations on the Florida coast splashing around in the waters of the Caribbean. Beautiful place, and fond memories for someone now enjoying mountain cold.
I once spend a week with devout Muslims, and it was a wonderful experience. This occured when the Republicans, Democrats and AIPAC all came together to remove from Congress a lady for whom I had great respect. Cynthia McKinney, then a (D) representing part of the Atlanta area. She put out a call for help, and Green Party people like me responded. But the largest group that came was the group from the Nation of Islam.
This of course is a group that is regularly demonized by the corporate media. A regular hate campaign has been aimed at them for at least the last 20 years and longer.
Me, I call myself an old hippie. As such, I feel that I am spirtual. But I left the Deep South version of Christianity back in my youth. I’d say I’m spritual but not religious. I say that bit, because one reason I consider this a wonderful memory is that I found the people from Nation of Islam to be both kind and spiritual. We were out going door to door in the Congresswoman’s district in a too little and too late effort to try to keep her in Congress. Which meant, every morning I showed up, and got into a van with a random group of people to go out and knock on doors in Georgia 100 deg heat. Since the Nation of Islam was the largest group that turned out, I was every day in a van with members of Nation of Islam. Who knows, maybe at night it was discussed that I was the rare white boy who had no problem with this?
My old hippie version of kindness and sprituality meshed quite well with the kindness and spirituality that I found in the Nation of Islam members. I got along well and had great days with everyone I met.
By this point, it was not a surprise to find that the world was different from what the corporate media said it was. I remember the part of my life where I became a hippie is one time after another where I had to ‘push through the looking glass’ and ignore everything that I’d been taught to discover that much was not what one expected. When you join a counter-culture, you can expect the corporate media to try to scare you away and keep you from finding what’s really there. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find that I enjoyed the company of the members of Nation of Islam, but not really a shock. It was more like ….”Oh look, you’ve just discovered that the corporate media lied to you yet again.”
I’ve long since learned not to think in labels and stereotypes. Growing up with a liberal mom in the old KKK south, that was one thing she taught. I’ve learned that everyone is a unique individual, and you can’t judge them with a label that mainstream society or the corporate press has tried to stick to them. These days that I spend working with the Nation of Islam to try to keep an independent lady who was questioning the lies put out after 911 is one of my favorite stories to tell about how often the world is not what someone else said it was.
The problem with religion, any religion, is that they all claim to have a hold of absolute truth. Since there are obvious discrepancies between these belief systems there is no way to reconcile for a true believer with the other true believers but assert that the others are sinful (since most religions are also intolerant towards others as holding monopoly on truth is absolute necessity to spread the religion).
Because of this, I find it absolutely unnecessary, even harmful to engage in such exercises as trying to find a common ground among religions: it will only result in highlighting differences which in practice means nothing for the daily lives of people.
Indeed, the best is to isolate religion inside a personal sphere such that it does not interfere with the daily lives of others. The common sense course of action is let people live together with basic ground rules, essentially boiling down to a secular system of government which guarantees the citizens the right to believe in whatever they want and ensuring that they don’t get to offend others for not doing so.
Swedenborg tells us how we can see only one God. The Father is in the Son as the spirit is in the body and His Work, the Holy Spirit, flows from His Hands. There is only One God.
What Swedenborg said helped churches in India to reconsile. Today it can help Muslims and Christians to understand each other.
My advice to you would be to read Bernardo Kastrup, who does a very good, intellectual and not particularly religious job of deconstructing the worldview that makes nonbelief seem so obvious and reasonable. In fact, that worldview is full of logical holes. He’s a pro at what he does, which is mostly the study of consciousness. He has a book called Why Materialism Is Baloney and a website called Metaphysical Speculations.
Now, the thing about needing a creator to explain the universe is very true, but it is silly to then turn around and say that something must have created the creator. Obviously, in that case there is no creator and we are back to materialism. Obviously when you ponder it, we live in a world of cause and effect, so far as we can see materially. Therefore, it would have to be turtles all the way down (an absurdity) if there were not some principle that is different, that is a true cause. I don’t see a way logically out of the dilemma that since it can’t be turtles all the way down, there has to be a cause that is different in some fundamental way. That cause is self existent. And self existence is THE mystery at the core of God. You can’t wrap your head around something that exists without cause, that cannot have a beginning or an end. And yet it must be so because the alternative is even more unimaginable.
Excellent comment! Really enjoyed the wisdom in it.
I will not argue that some of the points made above are not important but here’s the thing. Every now and again, by the grace of God I run into someone, somewhere, like two weeks ago at the airport, when I find myself in the presence of someone who really loves God. Always uplifting for me. That last one was someone who’s faith is in serious disagreement with mine. But we had a conversation in which we expressed our deepest feelings about God. And I felt that, despite some of what I consider horrendous beliefs, she understood that God is Good. She loves God and is living her life in His/Her service. We therefore treated one another with the utmost delicacy and courtesy. I’ve run into people like that who are Muslim, too.
We live in an awe-inspiring universe, in a beautiful world, created by a God who gave us our existence, our souls. If we both love that God, it is a joy to meet.
Those who really love God will not fight.
I think of the native Americans who, while having quite a few different tribes and cultures, were more or less one people and pretty much universally believed that there was a creator, a Great Spirit, and who loved to contemplate the mysteries of existence. They fought over land mostly, perhaps women or other offenses and disputes, but when they found the white people fighting about God they were taken aback. They thought, how can you fight about God?
I heard – or read actually – that native Americans also worshipped Jesus Christ, after they were introduced to the idea of Him, in their ceremonies – some of the tribes – but of course their ceremonies were out-lawed by the white man and so it all came to an end.
You guys better learn Alchemy before even talking about any religions.
What’s matter ? How can you purify it so that you can turn it into light ?
Our Ilah (i.e., God), and your Ilah (i.e., God), is One; and to Him we bow (in submission)”.
The above is a quote from Sheikh Imran.
ilah (eloh) is a feminine noun, so how can ilah (eloh) be Him or Father? :)
Here’s a thing: God in the Bible says the Jews are the Chosen People; and in the Q’ran that the Jews are, in the main, without faith and hostile to the People of the Book who do have faith. The Jews take their holy texts to be divinely inspired. The Muslims take their holy texts to be divinely inspired. If not a contradiction,at least an inconsistency?
And is the history not that Christendom has been violently hostile to Islam, and vice versa, and Islam has tolerated Judaism – Jewish communities flourished for centuries so long as the accepted second class status.
No, the Jews are not the chosen people They were until they broke the covenants and don’t forget, the Covenants came with blessings and curses for all of the Jews. Keep the Covenant and collectively gain the Blessings, break the Covenants and reap the Curses.
1 Peter 2:9 teaches Christian Catholics are the chosen people because the Catholic Church is the new Israel.
A difficulty impossible to overcome is there is no single entity responsible for saying what the Quran means whereas the Catholic Church is the sole authority to explain what the New Testament means owing to the plain and simple truth that the New Testament is a collection of letter, each of which was written by a Catholic to other Catholics in an already existing Catholic Church; that is, the Catholic Church preceded the New Testament.
Now, some may claim that Al Azhar University, is, roughly, the equivalent of the Vatican but, those Mahometans who speak with Christians never tell them the truth about that false religion and what it teaches but it is easy to read the Koran yourself and discover its universalist and totalitarian drive.
No, Al Azhar University, as the name implies, is a university. It is not the equivalent of the Vatican. It is not a religious governing body although religious legal opinions or ‘fatwa’ by the head of the university is usually given great weight.
…those Mahometans who speak with Christians never tell them the truth about that false religion and what it teaches….
Phew, looks like the Saker and the Sheikh have their work cut out for them.
Brain Surgeon, adopting your attitude at the outset is one guaranteed to lead to trench warfare between them. Thankfully that’s not going to happen because these two gents are too sophisticated for that. I believe they have had and continue to have genuine, honest discussions without having to compromise the tenets of their religions. Having read both men’s work and having heard them, I don’t expect them to.
These two guys are trying to understand each other’s religion, to understand the ‘other’s mind’, so to speak. They’re going to write a book together, so obviously they already have some understanding of the many commonalities between Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, and avenues which they might explore further in order to improve understanding, not just theirs, but ours as well.
PS. I am a ‘Mahometan’ as you call us. I don’t mind but I’d rather you use the term used by Russians, ‘Musulmanin’ or in English, ‘Muslim’. Thanks.
Worse and worse. The Jewish religious texts, divinely inspired, say that the Jews are the Chosen People. The Christian religious texts, God’s errata, as it were, say that the Jews are no longer so, because they misbehaved, it’s now Christians who are Chosen. The Christians must have misbehaved as well, because the Muslim religious texts. also divinely inspired, say that only Muslims follow the true faith.
By the way, if you read the Saker’s History of the Orthodox People you will see that it is not straightforward to claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church.
The trouble is that you are bashed if you speak the truth that the ‘Muslim religious texts’ are NOT divinely inspired. The Hebrews and Christians ‘religious texts’ have been revealed by the uncreated Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity “who spoke through the Prophets”.
The ‘Muslim religious texts’ were ‘revealed’ by a created inferior spiritual being, an angel (who can’t be under any circumstances the same as the Archangel Gabriel who announced the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, let alone the Holy Spirit). Muhammad himself was terrified that it was a demon.
How can you tell?
Btw, one connecting core feature of these Semitic texts is the underlying myth of inter-generation rebellion of the son against the father. That initial condition, although well recorded in older myths, expressed itself in the Ibrahim/Abraham realization (and a few ‘voices’ in the head) that praying to wooden tribal gods was rather ‘yesterday’ and idiotic. Whatever the intent, he missed the social-glue function and was banished to the wandering life. Same thing happened to Australian Aboriginals who offended the tribal customs and laws — 101 really.
So then we get, aside from the main center of human civilizations in India and China which had their own complex indigenous expressions topped with the Buddhist cherry, a ‘Jewish’ epoch; a reformed ‘Christian’ epoch; and then the Islamic epoch. Each with its claims to be the current operating system for the business of the day. Each has its bloodline myths requisite to agrarian peoples fixated on animal and plant breeding. This rebellion against the idiocy of the Elders was again repeated in a somewhat different pattern with the science of Reformation and Enlightenment. And now with a sustainable future looking vicarious, ‘rational-only’ science may well be on the nose.
Re: “… because the Muslim religious texts. also divinely inspired, say that only Muslims follow the true faith.” — Well, reverse the logic and argue that it does not imply that the degenerated Islamic status quo (oil-$-Wahhabi etc) does not indicate a ‘Divine’ displeasure and new turning of the soil.
Actually, I think your use of “true faith” is less than accurate — it is more the true “Way”. The way of living for the evolved human of this age who seeks a form of transformation. ‘Faith’ is one aspect of it but the general logic is the Way of understanding has evolved past that stage to a more mature level of understanding. The emergence of modern science is largely based on Islamic foundations and preservation of Greek writings — up through Spain while Europeans were burning books and blindly following Latin incantations they did not understand.
My point is not to belittle any of these human evolution’s of religion but rather to place them in historic context and describe a repeating pattern. One has to rebel against the BS to make progress. Believe what you like but don’t confuse it with the known facts. And science has the advantage here, as it seeks to develop by proving itself wrong. Religion seeks to prove itself right. Sometimes these perspectives overlap, sometimes not. There are ways to reconcile the ‘apparent’ opposites, but few have the interest in doing so. So, we have the situation where some believe in religion as if it was science, and others in science as if it was religion.
The key problem I see is where people confuse classifications and language — the really babble-on etc. Those who say a ‘God/s” exist fail to explain what they mean by “exist”. Science found that the Gods of old did not exist in a scientific world view. Things ‘real’ could be explained without recourse to such a notion. Personally, I don’t believe that the origins of modern science made any attempt to bridge that gap and it is only in a degenerate form that such attempts now exist. The fundamental ‘gap’ is whether one can contemplate a transcendental/non-real metaphysical ‘space’ — and if so, then ascribe causal influences to it in respect to the facts on ‘earth’.
Therefore, if you like, discarding all the cultural accretions the Islamic ’embrace’ (Shahada) for a modern scientific trained mind and heart can be read as follows — if it helps to bridge the many gaps we evidence today. From the common Wikipedia:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God
The first statement for such a mind is simple: there is no god function in this observable universe, and if there is one in some other realm then, as far as we humans are concerned, it is (at least) singular in nature (to us) — not because explaining a nature beyond nature (natural universe) makes sense, but because in the end it is a statement about the functionality of the human Observer (embedded in this natural universe) in the form of a relationship.
The second statement is also quite simple: studying the historical figure of the man “Muhammad” — the one who agreed to strike out the words on the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah — that such claims were in the eyes of the beholder and not core to the mission.
(“Originally, the treaty referred to Muhammad as the Messenger of God, but this was unacceptable to the Quraish ambassador Suhayl ibn Amr. Muhammad compromised, and told his cousin Ali to strike out the wording. But Ali said, “I will not be the person to rub it out”, after which Muhammad himself rubbed out the words.” — Wikipedia)
Given even modern authors like Noam Chomsky understand the Hebrew ‘Prophet’ to be a historical rebellion function to keep the tribes on track ( https://youtu.be/F5_j_Z1mkg4 ) then the Arab man mentioned above — whose bones rest in the City of Medina — fits well that definition.
That just leaves a third subtle point of distinction between what is meant by the words “Prophet” and “Messenger”. In the language — at least as translated in an Islamic idiom — the “Messenger” is a Prophet and carries an additional function of bringing a new ‘updated’ message — mostly claimed to be the same as the old message before the inevitable temporal corruptions set in (and established the causes for emerging rebellion).
And in my opinion, any right minded unbiased seeker of the Truth (of things human capacity) can easily get to the first two of these three. The relevance of the 3rd point then becomes more personal and less relevant depending on issues of how ‘deviant’ one’s believing and actions are in respect to the allegedly previously corrupted “new ‘updated’ message” etc. If the new message is the same as the old message (in one’s understanding) then for the purposes of worldly intercourse it simply comes down to form and preference for style. I’ve read nothing that say we all have to look like Arabs! Then it just becomes culture wars — and so let the best side win in the market place, if needs be.
So, a European looking Jew with a red beard coming out of decades of mystery school study in Egypt (sorry, I mean making carpentry items) and confronting the status quo in what is now Occupied Palestine made quite a historical dent. Too bad such an important figure left no earthly bones (and I think they are still looking for Moses as well) — so that narrative just leaves those of a modern scientific bent rather cold in a Cloud of Unknowing. But the story of rebellion lives on — especially in respect to Bankers and (Wall St) Temples!
Nonetheless, the classification issue is basic. If there is any implied contract between believer and ‘Believee’ then it it would seem to be at the individual level and not to a social cohort such as a ‘people’ or ‘tribe’ etc.
Just my 2-cents worth.
(and I don’t claim to be an expert, just reasonably well researched on demystifying human control systems).
@Orthodox Christians have a possible future in which the Church and its luminaries can modify Christian views through new interpretations of Christian religious symbolism and through divine visions
It is what Muslims expect from us. We know that. They expect also that we should not dispute their interpretation of the core tenets of Christian Faith which they consider the only real, until the Judgement Day when the justness of their interpretation would become apparent. Christians should not be ‘arrogant towards Muslims’ telling them what the Christ commanded them to do:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.(Matthew 28:18-20). “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:19-20).
But it appears to me that the gentle Sheikh overstepped some marks, suggesting that somehow there were the Saker’s explanations which gave him that hope. I would like to watch the interview, if only to exclude the impression that the Sheikh subtly suggests that he won some sort of victory in the debate when he ‘put to rest’ the matter of Christ’s divinity, showing him how the Christ, admonished by God, denies his own divinity in the Quran.
My comment was on topic. The reference to Swedenborg has the potential to make Christians and Muslims understand each other better. The Trinity, which is not often mentioned in the Bible, was misunderstood from the start. We got the Arians, for example. They believed in a strange Trinity of the Father, the Mother and the Son. They were successful in Arabia and the Prophet Muhammed rightfully reacted to their teaching, as Muslims know. There were Arians in Europe, too, and they were slowly converted to Orthodoxy. I doubt they still exist and Muslims need to know Christians don’t believe in such a Trinity, they make another mistake as I see it. The Trinity has not been well explained to the believers and some imagine three gods side by side, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is not a concept that opens the door to Heaven. There is only One God and Swedenborg makes it possible for us to visualize Him. The Lord gives us a human form of God. He is not some dim cloud. Look up to the Lord and you see God. One God.
The Lord, as I understand it thanks to Swedenborg, is not an incarnation of God, but His Father is Divine. He was born once, only once, and had to fight the evil human nature He inherited from His Mother. He was successful and is the Victorer from Golgata, His biggest test. I celebrate Sunday as the Day of the Victory of the Lord, as I celebrate Saturday as the Day of Rest, a gift, Friday as the Day of His Suffering and Thursday as the Day of His Feast. The breaking of bread. Something remarkable happened at Golgata, as I am sure Ann can attest to.
Swedenborg says that Muslims who do right come to Heaven and that some Africans have remarkable insights in Heavenly matters. He said that in the 18th century.
I am waiting for the great Day of the Lord. Swedenborg mentions the Sun rising in the West and I know Muslims and Jews have similar expectations. I don’t know what is being planned, but my working theory is we will get a new Revelation, a Revelation that unites us. We have decay everywhere and this is the Third Day of the Lord, the Third Millennium. The first time the Lord came before the destruction. This time I don’t know. My hope is the Day is being prepared. I look at the land of the two rivers in North America, but I am not a prophet. Blessings to everyone.
The “Third Millenium” of the “New Revelation” is the rign of the Antichrist. Beware of what you are wishing for.
The Lord rose the Third Day. For God a thousand years is as a Day, according to the Bible. This is the Third day. The dead Witnesses will come to life the Third Day, according to the Book of Revelations, as I understand it, and that Book is not sealed as the Book of Daniel. However, you are right about one thing. A very evil influence got power in this millennium. Ann can tell us more. The Lord starts from the bottom when He works and we have an absolute bottom in this age. We have decay everywhere and great danger. He will do something in Syria, the big battle place of Muslim tradition. They say he will support Madhi and I agree, but He will act in a mysterious and unexpected way.
The Lord will stop two spiritual forces from destroying each other. The old spiritual influence in the East collides with the Western world. This is the only hope I have of avoiding a world war involving Russia. I hope the emminent Sheikh reads my posts.
I once read in a book about the Sufis of Albania that there was a Sufi sheikh and an Orthodox Christian priest who convened a meeting on an island in the Adriatic to work out their differences. Many local leaders of both faiths joined them, and they were on the verge of solving some longstanding problems and could have saved a lot of hardships that ignorance had caused for their two communities. But then, as I remember it, when things were going so well, Rome (the one in Italy, not the Roum mentioned in the Qur’an) got wind of it (although it might well have been the secular power in Roum, the Eastern Empire, because my memory might have failed me). Whatever secular power it was, and I’m pretty sure it was the secular power, stepped in to put things back as they were, and thereafter animosity and mutual discomfort that didn’t have to be there plagued the region for centuries to come.