C  H  R  I  S  T  I  A  N  I  T  Y 
through the lens of 
CHRISTIAN & MUSLIM SCHOLARS
Part Two

Mohd Amin Yaacob

al-Firdaus.Com

CONTENTS 

PREFACE 

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Doctrine Of The Original Sin And The Atonement 

 7.1     The Doctrine Of The Original Sin 

7.2     The Entire Human Race Are Sinners.

7.3     The Original Sin: Mother Of All Sins        

7.4     The Doctrine Of The Atonement

7.5     Muslim Answers

7.5.1   St. Paul, The First Christian Who Invented The “Doctrine of the Original Sin”

7.5.2       Christian Scholars Themselves Criticize This Doctrine

7.5.3   The Doctrine Of The Original Sin Is Directly Responsible For The Theological Inferiority
Of Women In The Christian Church

7.5.4   The Biblical Text: Sin Does Not Transmit From One Person To Another

7.5.5   The Bible: Not All Mankind Are Sinners

7.5.6   God Forgive All Sins By Means Of Repentance (at-Taubah

7.5.7       Jesus Parable Of The Prodigal Son Rejected The Christian Doctrine Of The Atonement

7.5.8       The Parable Of The Lost Sheep: A Repentant Person Is Better Than A Sinless Man

7.5.9       The Death Of Jesus Humanity Side
Cannot Erase The Original Sin

7.5.10   Why The Betrayer Of Jesus, The One With
A Grave Sin And The One Who Had A Devil
In Him?

CHAPTER EIGHT   

CHAPTER NINE   

CHAPTER TEN  

CHAPTER ELEVEN

EPILOGUE 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

 

 

 

  

7.5    Muslim Answers

 

The Christian scheme of salvation is not only rationally unacceptable to common sense (remember that: For God is not the author of confusion but of peace ” (1 Corinthians 14:33, GI) ), but also appear to be against the teachings of the Scriptures and of Jesus Christ. The Muslim theologian Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani said in his book “What is Christianity”:

 

“One would think that the Gospels would contain many statements of Jesus explaining the doctrine of the Original sin and the Atonement. And Jesus and his disciples would have clearly expounded it. Such thinking is correct because the cardinal beliefs and doctrines of any religion are dealt with in detail in the basic books and writings of the founder of that religion. And the basic books of the religion wholly attempt to establish such doctrines. For example, the basic doctrines of Islam are the unity of God, the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and belief in the hereafter. Hence, the Qur’an and the Hadith is filled with explanation of these doctrines and their proofs. But the position of Christianity is the opposite. Those theories which are fundamental to Christianity and which distinguish it from other religion are absent from the gospels. There is no explanation for them from Jesus or any of his disciples. You have already noted the position of the doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation. The same applies to the doctrine of the Original Sin and the Atonement which is not proved by any statement of Jesus.” [1]

 

Imam Taqi al-Din Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah (d. 1317 C.E), the grand Sheikh of Islam, when he received a treatise defending Christianity sent to him by Christians in Cyprus written in 1150 C.E by the famous Melkite bishop of the Crusader see of Saida, Paul of Antioch, in his response, the imam stated that:

 

“The generality of what they produce as arguments from the prophetic texts and from what is reasonable is in itself a proof against them and manifests the corrupt nature of their teachings…This is the case with most of what the innovators (ahl al-bida’) call upon as proof in the books of God. In those texts there is that which clearly shows that no argument for them can be found in the books, rather, the texts themselves are a proof against them…Generally they only deal in obscure expressions to which they cling obstinately and in which they suppose there is proof. To these things they add whatever is connected with their whims while they avoid clear-cut, direct, and unambiguous expressions.” [2]

 

Imam Ibn Taimiyyah further stresses:

 

“The false religion of Christians is nothing but an innovated religion which they invented after the time of Christ and by which they changed the religion of Christ. Not only that, they strayed away from the law (Shari’a) of Christ to what they innovated. Then, when God sent Muhammad (peace be upon him), they rejected him. Thus their unbelief and error came to be of two aspects—that of changing the religion of the first messenger and of rejecting the second messenger. It is like the unbelief of the Jews who changed the legal prescriptions of the Torah before God’s sending Christ, and then they rejected Christ.” [3]

 

Muslims, to God be praise and strength, affirm that the Christians belief in original or inherited sin is baseless and false owing to the following evidences:

  

7.5.1 St. Paul, The First Christian Who Invented The “Doctrine Of The Original Sin”

 

 The concept of the Original Sin is not a doctrine taught by Jesus Christ but an innovation (bid‘ah) of St. Paul of Tarsus, according to whom, a man is sinner, only because his father or forefathers have sinned (refer Paul’s letters to the Romans). Any person prior to St. Paul has not espoused this doctrine. Hence, he is the founder of the doctrine. [4]

 

Burton L. Mack, a modern biblical scholar, professor of early Christianity at the School of Theology at Claremont and associate scholar at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity in Claremont when commenting Paul’s letter to the Romans in his “Who Wrote The New Testament: The Making of the Christian Myth” [5] admits this innovation of St. Paul by saying:

 

“This (Doctrine of the Original sin) was a brand new concept that Paul developed in order to include both Jew and gentile or all humankind, within the same horizon and in need of the Christian gospel. Instead of referring to sins in the plural, a notion that would have recalled the Jewish concept of transgressions of sins that were committed specifically in relation to particular commandments, Paul used the singular and thus turned the concept of sin in to a universal feature of human existence. More than that, he personified sin as an objective power or field of force that determine the whole of human existence “before” the coming of Christ…the licentious and unethical behavior that prevailed among humans everywhere demonstrated their sinful condition and left them without excuse…It was Paul’s own invention. To think such a thought had not occurred to other Christians or Jesus people…” [6]

 

Professor John Bowker, the former Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge, and now Fellow of Gresham College, London, stated that:

 

The stories in Genesis belong first to the Jews. In their reading of the book of Genesis there is no original sin, there is a circumstance in which relationship are in harmony and from which Adam and Eve move on to a new opportunity of living. They may do this through fault but the fact remains that what the Christians call the Fall is in Jewish understanding a fall upwards; it is a fall into new opportunities of being human.”

 

He further illustrates:

 

Original sin comes in not in the New Testament but much later in the history of the Christian Church. It comes in because the New Testament, and especially Paul, looked at that brilliant, wonderful, imaginative story of Adam and Eve and saw that after Adam and Eve moved into this new opportunity, relationship began to break up: husbands and wives, parents and children, town dwellers and country dwellers, until you get to the tower of Babel and we are broken up between nations and cities. It is Paul who especially sees Jesus as the figure who begins to put us together again. We are reconciled to each other and to God. The walls of hostility and division are broken down between Jew and Gentile, between man and women, between slave and free, the walls of traditional division are broken down.

 

Therefore Paul is saying that Jesus could be thought of as the second Adam who comes to undo what was wrong about that first move into new opportunity. Only later is the ‘how’ questioned: how does Jesus do this reconciling work? Then there comes about the proposition: maybe there was a kind of fault transmitted from Adam through all generations which is an ab-original fault which has to be dealt with and has been dealt with by Jesus. But that concept is not in the book of Genesis as we read it in the Bible, it is only in the way some people choose to read the book of Genesis.” [7]

7.5.2 Christian Scholars Themselves Criticize This Doctrine. 

 

Keith Ward of Oxford University would argue that this traditional idea of original sin no longer goes unquestioned by modern Christian theologians. After all, as he points out, every baby that is born inherits genetic traits, and is born into social, economic and historical circumstances which are not self-chosen but which dictate future behavioral patterns in character and action that are inevitably disordered. [8] He says:

 

Many of us feel unhappy with that traditional idea of original sin because people so often confuse it with the idea that sex is dirty and unclean, or that little babies will go to hell if they are not baptized. These things I do not believe! A lot of Christian theologians would say that the idea of original sin is the idea that greed and hatred dominate human life. We are born into a scene where these are the values, which are made to seem so attractive, and thus it makes it very difficult for us to live lives of moral virtue and to know God. So theologians would nowadays argue that original sin is more of a condition than a fault.” [9]

 

For Martin Palmer, a Christian environmentalist, the traditional teaching about original sin is like a theological strait-jacket restraining spiritual growth:

 

“For me the rejection of original sin…is the rejection of the way original sin has been used as a sledgehammer to instill into us a sound of profound guilt at just being born. This appalling notion that every child who is born is steeped in original sin which has meant in certain Christian traditions that the very act of sexuality, of procreation, is considered itself to be some awful diseased activity that imputes original sin. I think that has done as much damage.” [10]

 

David Craig, a respected theologian and BBC World Service broadcaster:

 

“But for some Christians, equality between the sexes can never be achieved while believe in the Christian doctrine of original sin remains current. As we have seen, that has its roots in the story of Genesis when Eve the women tempts Adam the man to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the garden of Eden. The fruit eaten, paradise is lost, sin is introduced into the world and our relationship with God and with creation is impaired. [11]

  

7.5.3 The Doctrine Of The Original Sin Is Directly Responsible For The Theological Inferiority Of Women In The Christian Church.

 

According to the creation story in the Book of Genesis, since it was Eve who allegedly tempted Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, the women is condemned by the Church Fathers as the most potent source of sin and temptation. Thus some Greek Orthodox monasteries to this day not only prohibit any women from entering the premises but even female domestic animals. [12]   David Craig said in his “What Christians Believe”:

 

“While the Church found the feminine role to be one of seduction and uncleanness and the very source of humanity’s misery, the Savior of the human condition was, in due season, born as a man, Jesus.” [13]

 

Christians ought to read what St. Paul has to say on the inferiority of woman, which has provided problems for Christian woman not only in the past but also for the whole Church today. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul said:

 

Women should be silent during the Church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions to ask, let them ask their husband at home, for it is improper for women to speak in Church meetings” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, NLT)

 

It appears in chapter eleven of this letter:

 

“…for man is God’s glory, made in God’s own image, but woman is the glory of man. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman’s benefit, but woman was made for man” (1 Corinthians 11: 7-9, NLT)

 

St. Paul further said in his letter to Timothy:

 

“Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve.  And it was the women, not Adam, who was deceived by Satan, and sin was the result.” (2 Timothy 2:11-14, NLT) 

 

Lavia Byrne, a nun and theologian of the Catholic Church thus said:

 

“It gives me a problem because the church in general and my church, the Roman Catholic Church, in particular uses it (the original sin) as a theological underpinning for a theology which says woman is inferior to man. Woman is created for man in the sense that men are the thinking head of the church and the women are the feeling heart of the church.” [14]

 

Elizabeth Stewart, the feminist theologian:

 

“We have seen…the way women have been treated by the church and in countries which have been influenced by Christian theology. They have been regarded as being less than fully human, as being further away from God in some way, and this is why of course there have been the massive battles this century in most of the Christian churches over the ordination of women. It has raised the question of whether women can participate in godly things; whether they can represent Christ the Son of God at the Eucharistic table.” [15]

 

7.5.4 The Biblical Text: Sin Does Not Transmit From One Person To Another

 

The question arises, is there a place for the transposing of sin from one to another in the Just law of God? Muslim scholars conclude that this belief, despite its illogicality and irrationality, contradicts the basic fundament texts contained in the Bible. They are such as follows:

  

1. According to Jesus, a child is born free from sins.

 

Sin is not a hereditary disease or a genetic disorder that can be transmitted from a person to his offspring through lineage. Sin is an individual deed, for which the person doing it is responsible himself, not his children. A child is born free from sins; on growing up, his behavior makes him a sinner or a righteous person. [16] The Book of Matthew contains the following statement of Jesus Christ:   

 

“Some children were brought to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. The disciple told them not to bother him. But Jesus said:  “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” And he put his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left” (19:13-15, NLT)

 

Again, in the same Gospel Jesus said:

 

“Beware that you don’t despise a single one of these little ones. For I told you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” (18:10, NLT) [17]

         

St. Thomas Aquinas, the famous theologian and ‘Doctor of the Church’ believes that children that die before being baptized could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a result of Original Sin. In his “Basic writings” edited by Whitney J. Oates, St. Thomas Aquinas stresses that:

 

“But original sin incurs everlasting punishment; since children who have died in original sin, because they have not been baptized, will never see the kingdom of God.” [18]

 

St. Aurelius Augustine of Hippo, one of the leading Church Fathers and also ‘Doctor of the Church’, in his Confessions, laments the sinfulness of his infancy:

 

“Hear O God! Alas for man’s sin! … For in Your sight none is pure from sin, even the infant whose life is but a day upon this earth” [19]  

 

In answering the statement made by St. Thomas Aquinas, Maulana Muhammad Ali points out that:

 

“The fundamental difference between the Christianity and Islam is that the former teaches that every human child is born sinful, while the latter teaches that every human child is born sinless. According to the former, therefore, it would not avail a man to try to be good and perfect and to walk in the ways of truth and righteousness; for sin is inherent in human nature and man therefore can only be saved by the redemption of the Son of God.

 

This view is so abhorrent in itself that it does not require to be refuted at any great length. That man is born sinful, or that sin is inherent in human nature, is to take the lowest possible view of human nature. No greater insult could be offered to humanity than to say that the newborn child was a sinful being. Yet on this is based the Christian doctrine that the child that dies before it is baptized shall burn in hell for the fault which can be attributed to God Himself that He created him sinful. And if man is born sinful, and sin is therefore inherent in human nature, it is the height of absurdity to preach virtue to him and to tell him to shun every evil, for this in fact amount to telling him that he should go against his nature.

 

Such a doctrine could never have been conceived by Jesus Christ who believes in the innocence of little Children (refer Matthew 19:14, 18:10). Thus Christ himself taught the sanctity of Childhood. But the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught in clear words that:

 

“Every child is born on Al-Fitrah (sinless), but it is his parents that make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian” (Sahih al-Bukhari).

 

And the Last Testament of Allah The Almighty, The Holy Quran says in still plainer words:

 

“Then set your face upright for religion in the right state – the nature made by Allah in which He has made men…that is the right religion.” (Surah al Rum 30:30) [20]

 

Thus in Islam human nature is raised to the highest dignity by a plain declaration of its purity, while in Christianity it is brought down to the depth of degradation by declaring its inherent sinfulness. This low view of human nature which form the foundation stone of the Christian religion must, sooner, or later, be abandoned by the civilized world.” [21]  

 

2. Everyone Dies With His Own Sins.

 

It is logically inconceivable that all of a man’s progeny should suffer for the sin of their father. It would be a great injustice to them. It is clearly stated in the book of Ezekial:

 

“The one who sins is the one who dies. The child will not be punished for the parent's sin, and the parent will not be punished for the child's sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own goodness, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.” (18:20,NLT)

 

The Book of Jeremiah contains:

 

“All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.” (31:30) [22]

 

These verses imply that no one will be punished for the sins of others. And this is the truth. The Holy Qur’an has confirmed it. It says:

 

“No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” (Surah al An’am 6:164)

  

3. Progenitors are not killed in substitution of their descendents.

 

The Book of Deuteronomy has:

 

“Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor the children for the sins of their parents. Those worthy of death must be executed for their own crimes.” (24:16, NLT)

 

As a matter of fact, according to the Second Book of Chronicles, one of those who clearly follows the Law (Shari‘ah) of the Prophets was King Amaziah of Judah who certainly didn’t believe in the “Doctrine of the Original Sin”:

 

“When Amaziah was well established as King, he executed the man who had assassinated his father. However, he did not kill the children of the assassins, for he obeyed the command of the Lord written in the Book of the Law of Moses. Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor the children for the sins of their parents. Those worthy of death must be executed for their own crimes.” (25:3-4, NLT)

  

7.5.5 The Bible: Not All Mankind Are Sinners.

 

“Next to miracles, sinlessness is the most important argument of a Christian relating to the greatness of Jesus Christ. In fact the very basis of the Christian religion is laid on the exclusive sinlessness of Jesus Christ…If any other person was sinless as well as Jesus in both cases the Christian religion falls to the ground.”

     Maulana Muhammad Ali in
Muhammad And Christ [23]

 

Does the Bible allow us to regard all Mankind as sinful? The following references from the Old Testament may first be considered:

 

“Now the earth had become corrupt in God’s sight, and it was fill with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world and he saw violence and depravity everywhere. So God said to Noah, I have decided to destroy all living creatures for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Yes, I will wipe them all from the face of the earth.”(Genesis 6:11-13, NLT)

 

But when it comes to certain other individuals, God says otherwise:

 

The Prophet Noah (peace be upon him):

 

“This is the history of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him.” (Genesis 6:9, NLT)

 

To Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) the Lord said:

 

“I am God Almighty, serve me faithfully, and live a blameless life” (Genesis 17:1, NLT)

 

To Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) He said:

 

“You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 18:13, NLT)

 

Concerning Prophet Job(Peace be upon him) God said:

         

“Then the Lord asked Satan, Have you noticed my servant Job! He is the finest man in all the earth—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.” (Job: 1:8, NLT)

 

St Paul and his Pauline Churches believe that everyone is imperfect because of their sinful nature. St. Paul even dare to say that “No one is good – not even one” (Romans 3:10, NLT). But here we see that Prophet Noah, Abraham, Moses and Job (peace be upon them) were “good and perfect”. For if they were sinners, surely they would not have a close relationship with God as the Bible dictates. Al-Hajj A.D. Ajijiola, the author of “The Myth of The Cross” put it thus:

 

“In view of these verses, one is persuaded to acknowledge that the progeny of Adam embraces vicious as well as virtuous men. Not all of them are given to excess. Once one accepts this truth, it will render the Christian faith outlined above untenable. The superstructure of the doctrine of Atonement will come down with a thud.” [24]   

 

According to Maulana Muhammad Ali, Can it be supposed that all these Prophets were sinful notwithstanding their being perfect (blameless) and their walking with God? Does not Jesus himself ask us to be perfect “even as your Father in heaven is perfect”? (Matthew 5:48)? And what does perfection of the righteous servants of God mean except that they were sincere in heart, un-blamable in life, innocent and harmless, and imitating God in doing good to others.  In fact, perfect (blameless) signifies much more than sinless. A man who is perfect in the sight of God Almighty is not only sinless but also the doer of immense good. Prophet David (peace be upon him) thus speaks of the Holy ones of God:

 

“Happy are people of integrity, who follow the Law of the Lord. Happy are those who obey his decrees and teach for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.” (Psalms 119:1-3, NLT) [25]

 

And again:

 

“The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong. They fill their hearts with God’s law, so they will never slip from his path.” (Psalms 37:30-31, NLT) [26]

 

If the Old Testament thus speaks of the sinlessness of the Prophets and the righteous ones in such clear words, the Gospels also give similar evidence. Testimony is borne to the sinlessness of Prophet Zechariah (Peace be Upon Him) and his wife Elizabeth in the following words:      

 

“It all begin with a Jewish priest, Zechariah…a member of the priestly order of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth was righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.” (Luke 1:5-6, NLT)

 

Concerning the nature of John The Baptist (Prophet Yahya Peace be Upon Him), the son of Prophet Zechariah and Elizabeth, we find written in the Gospel of Luke:

 

“For he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or hard liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.” (Luke 1:15, NLT)

 

Further in verse 59-66 Luke says:

 

“When the baby was eight days old, all the relatives and friends came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, no! His name is John…Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, I wonder what this child will turn out to be? For the hand of the Lord is surely upon him in a special way.” (NLT)

 

John H. Sailhamer, Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregan in his “NIV Compact Bible Commentary”, admits the righteousness of John the Baptist, thus he says:

 

“We thus learn from Luke’s gospel why it was that all Israel came out to hear John’s message. He was a prophet of God, set apart with authentic biblical signs: “The Lord hand was with him.”(chapter one v.66) [27]

 

We also know that John the Baptist is the one who baptized Jesus Christ at the river Jordan:

 

“One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and he was baptized by John in the Jordan river.” (Mark 1:9, NLT)

 

And Jesus himself praise John by saying:

 

“I assure you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist...And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come.” (Matthew 11:11-14, NLT)

 

Can such pious and Holy Prophet of God such as Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth carry the guilt of sin? And can we say that John the Baptist who according to the Bible itself was filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth was with us equally dead and all fall short of God’s glorious standard as stated by St. Paul [28] and his Pauline Churches because of our sinful nature? In answering this Christian dilemma, Imam Abu Abd Rahman Robert Squires writes:

 

“Additionally, suffice it to say that Christian doctrine of original Sin is unbalanced. Like many other man-made doctrines, Christians can come up with some proof text from the Bible (but not the word of Jesus), however they completely disregard, or explain away, text that say otherwise. For example St. Paul says: For all have sinned all fall short of Good’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23, NLT), but Luke 1:6 tells us that both Zechariah and Elisabeth were righteous before God, walking in all the Commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless...Unfortunately, both St. Paul and some later Christians, such as St. Augustine of Hippo, take the idea that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God in a distorted and absolute sense. They don’t balance it with other texts of the Bible. Part of the reason for this is that such texts don’t fit in to their theology.

 

They had a theological need to believe in the Original sin, since in order to need a cure (i.e an Incarnate Saviour) one must first have a disease (i.e Original Sin).” [29]

 

Maulana Muhammad Ali stresses that:

 

“If the doctrine of the sinlessness of Jesus can be based on the solitary words of St. John “ which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?” (John 8:46, NLT), the clear words about Prophet Zechariah (peace be upon him) and Elizabeth that they were blameless certainly afford a firmer foundation for their sinlessness. For Jesus only claim is that no man can accuse him of sin, but a man may be sinful in the eye of God though no human being maybe able to accuse him of a sin.  On the other hand, one whom God himself calls blameless is nothing if sinless. It is for this reason that the child born of these two sinless parents is spoken of in the Gospels as being “filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.” Now Jesus receives the Holy Spirit at thirty when he receives Baptism at the hand of John the Baptist, but the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. Which of these two has the greater title to be called sinless? [30]

  

7.5.6 God Forgive All Sins By Means Of Repentance (at-Taubah)

 

Christians believe that God the Almighty does not forgive original sin simply by means of repentance. It had to be ‘God the Son” who is part of the Godhead himself who made this sacrifice by suffering and dying on the cross as a redemption.  Whereas, the following verse of the Old Testament Book of Ezekial clearly and firmly stated the otherwise:

 

“But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my laws and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done.” (18:20, NLT) [31]

 

Based on the above verse, repentance (at-Taubah) is the sole means to absorb God’s mercy. Jesus Christ in so many occasions also preached repentance—was concerned throughout his life to invite people to repent. Thus, redemptive death is contradictory to God’s plan and a disservice to the office of Jesus. [32]

 

The Gospel of Matthew contain the word of Jesus:

 

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (4:17, GI)

 

The Gospel of Mark:

 

“…Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying…Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (1:14-15, GI)

 

The Gospel of Luke:

 

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”  (5:32,NLT)

  

7.5.7 Jesus Parable of The Prodigal Son Rejected The Christian Doctrine of The Atonement

 

Concerning Jesus parable of the Prodigal Son, Imam Abu Abd Rahman Robert Squires, a former Christian who has become a Muslim scholar explain:

 

“In this parable, Jesus has taught the noble lesson that God the Almighty, in this way, happy and pleased on the repentance and remorse of a sinner. To hear the full story, lets turn to chapter 15:11-31(NLT), the Book of Luke where Jesus says:

 

“A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ’I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die. So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. When finally he came to his senses, he said to himself, ’At home even the hired man have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, ’Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he run to his son, embraced him and kissed him. his son said to him, ’Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son’. But his father said to the servants, Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. we must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.”

 

Certainly Jesus Parable of the Prodigal Son supports forgiveness of sins through repentance, not atonement.  If what Christians believe is true, this parable is basically rendered meaningless.  Needless to say, this is a difficult parable for Christians to hold on to. It is clearly admitted by Jay Smith, a Christian evangelist to Muslims in his article “Who found Christianity - Jesus or St Paul” where he says in his book: “Muslims...Correctly maintain that there is no teaching of atonement here. In spite of this, Jay Smith goes on to present a Christian view of atonement built around St Paul that: “All have sinned and fallen of the glory of God.” [33]

  

7.5.8 The Parable of The Lost Sheep: A Repentant Person Is Better Than A Sinless Man

         

According to Imam Robert Squires, if Christians want Muslims to start thinking that a sinless man is better than a repentant one, then they are going against the direct teachings of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, we read “The story of the Lost Sheep”. In this story, Jesus says:

 

“If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? And if he finds it, he will surely rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” (18:12-14, NLT)

 

In a statement on the same subject, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

 

“And he who repents of a sin is like him who has committed no sin.” (narrated by Ibn Majah in al-Sunan and al-Baihaqi in Syu’abu al- Iman)

 

It seems that Muslims, in their belief, are more true to both the teachings of Prophet Jesus and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon both of them) than their Christian counterpart.

 

7.5.9 The Death of Jesus Humanity Side Cannot Erase ‘The Original Sin’

 

Based upon Dr Muhammad Abu Layla’s thesis: “The Muslim View Of Christianity With Special Reference To The Work Of Ibn Hazm”, One further illustration of the Islamic viewpoint must suffice in the shape of a neat answer on the doctrine of the Atonement mounted by a Muslim apologist Izzuddin al-Muhammadi, who wrote in answer to Hanna, the Christian writer.

 

Hanna explained the Atonement as God’s method of punishing Adam’s offence, but not through the person of the inferior Adam, but by means of a figure equal in rank to God Himself.  Jesus was thus sent as an appropriately equal personage to suffer death and humiliation on behalf of man. Hanna’s explanation is close to that St. Anselm (1033-1109 C.E), the bishop of Canterbury, who argued that men are unable to make the necessary satisfaction because they are sinful. The only solution is that God becomes man. St. Augustine of Hippo too argued that atonement is set in motion by God. 

 

Izzuddin al-Muhammadi pointed out the flaws in Hanna’s argument. He says:

 

“If Adam was too inferior to be a vehicle of vengeance, it is illogical to suggest firstly that God would punish Jesus for someone’s else offence, and secondly, that since the Christians insist that only the humanity of Jesus, not the divinity, was harmed at the Crucifixion, the punishment exacted on Jesus is in fact, no more than punishment exacted on His wholly human ancestor, Adam (which was sinful in nature).

(The Catechism of the Catholic itself stated that: The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man.” By this “unity of the human race” all man are implicated in Adam’s sin). Such an argument completely undercuts the whole notion of the doctrine of Atonement (Jesus humanity side was also sinful in nature).” [34]

 

 7.5.10        Why The Betrayer Of Jesus, The One With A Grave Sin And The One Who Had A Devil In Him?

 

“Judas Iscariot will be eternally known as the man who betrayed Jesus to his enemies. In at least twenty languages, his name is a synonym for “traitor”. To think of Judas, or to mention his name, is to evoke the image of the whole-cloth traitor. The traitor prototype.”

         Father Malachi Martin [35]

 

Christians believe that the chief element in the teaching of Jesus is the emphasis on the suffering and death of the Messiah as a ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin. [36] In other word, the glorious Son of God must suffer at the hand of Judas Iscariot, its betrayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirm this by saying:

 

“This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices…it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father…in reparation for our disobedience” [37]

 

The famous Christian theologian De Quincy justified this act of Judas, by saying that he did not betray the Christ for any personal interest, but for making Christ manifest its power of salvation. In this way he acquired salvation himself and redeemed the whole of Christendom through the death of Christ (Encyclopedia Britannica – Judah Iscariot) [38]

 

Muslims Scholars conclude that, If what the Christians say is true, and if the coming of Christ to the world was for the purpose of atonement or redemption through his death at the hand of the betrayer, why did Jesus regards Judas as the “one with a grave sin?” And “the one who had a devil in him”?

 

Matthew 26:23-24 has said:

 

“…But how terrible it will for my betrayer, far better for him if he had never been born.” (NLT)

 

John 6:70-71 says:

“Then Jesus said, I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil. He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would betray him.” (NLT)

 

Luke 22:23 says:

 

“Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went over to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.” (Luke 22:3-4, NLT)

 

Dr. Muhammad Ali Alkhuli, the author of “The Truth About Jesus Christ” put it thus:

 

“If crucifixion is for salvation and if crucifixion happened with the willingness of Jesus as they claimed, why then is they woe for the betrayer? That betrayer should have been thanked because he facilitated Jesus fulfillment of his mission, i.e, crucifixion for salvation. Jesus warning, in fact, proves that the would-be crucifixion was a conspiracy against Jesus and not one of his planned objectives. Jesus never wanted to be crucified neither for salvation nor for any other purpose or reason. As for the road to salvation, Jesus told his people that they would be saved through obedience to God and there was no other alternative. This is what all prophets conveyed to man: salvation through piety.” [39]

 


[1]           What is Christianity, 48

[2]           Al-Jawab Al-Sahih Fi-Man Baddala Din Al-Masih (Edited and Translated by Thomas F. Michel, Caravan Books, Delmar, New York), 1984, 141-142

[3]           Al-Jawab Al-Sahih, 143

[4]           What is Christianity, 50

[5]           Among his other published works are A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origin and The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins.

[6]           pg 139 (emphasis added)

[7]           What Christians Believe, 27-28 (emphasis added)

[8]           What Christian Believe, 30

[9]           What Christians Believe, 30 (emphasis added)

[10]          What Christians Believe, 29-30

[11]          What Christians Believe, 25

[12]          Islam Versus Ahl Kitab, 299

[13]          What Christian Believe, 23

[14]          What Christian Believe, 23 (emphasis added)

[15]          What Christians Believe, 24

[16]          Dr. Roshan Enam, Follow Jesus or Follow Paul (SABA Islamic Media, Malaysia), 2001, 47

[17]          pg 30-31

[18]          Aquinas, St. Thomas, Basic Writings, edited by Whitney J. Oates, in Maulana Taqi Usmani, What is Christianity, 22

56             Dent & Sons, J.M, Confessions of St. Augustine (London), 1947, 7-8; in  Maryam Jameelah, Islam Versus Ahl-Kitab, 288 

[20]          Muhammad and Christ, 31

[21]          Muhammad and Christ, 30-31

[22]          What is Christianity, 22

[23]          (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha ‘at Lahore Inc, USA), 1993, 30

[24]          The Myth of The Cross, 33

[25]          Muhammad And Christ, 36-37

[26]          Muhammad And Christ, 37

[27]          (Zondervan Publishing House), 1994, 471

[28]          St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:12, 3:23      

[29]          Muslim Answers To Inquiring Christians,  3 

[30]          Muhammad And Christ, 37

[31]          What is Christianity, 22

[32]          A.D. Ajijiola, The Myth of The Cross (Islamic Publications Ltd, Pakistan), 1978, 45

[33]          Muslim Answers To Inquiring Christians (Muslim Answers, P.O. Box 1227, Windermere, FL 34786-1227, USA), 2000, 3 (an article)

[34]          Muhammad Abu Layla, The Muslim View Of Christianity With Special Reference To The Work Of Ibn Hazm, PhD Thesis (Exeter University, England), 1983, 352 (emphasis added)

[35]          The Keys of This Blood (Simon & Schuster), 1994,  661

[36]          Catechism of the Catholic Church, 170

[37]          Catechism of the Catholic Church, 175

[38]          Izharul Haq, Part 4, 33

[39]          (International Islamic Publishing House, Saudi Arabia), 1990, 51