Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Livestreams (2020)

On this special Easter Sunday, please see the following two videos. The first, from SCDawah where the panel featured Ustadh Adnan Rashid, Br. Hashim, Br. Mansur, Br. Zakir Hussain and yours truly (don’t forget to like and subscribe to SCDawah). We had a splendid time answering questions and giving our various perspectives on the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as our unified understanding on Christ Jesus in Islam.

 

CallingChristians also did a livestream on Facebook on Easter as well.

Do not hesitate to reach out and ask us questions, we’re excited to share the truth of Islam with one and all.

Yours in Islam,
Br. Ijaz.

The Easter Paradox

As it is Easter, I thought I’d just do a quick write up on why the Christian onto-theological model of God does not find much mileage in Islam. One of the classic go-to arguments by our Christian brothers and sisters is to argue that only the human nature suffered, not the divine nature. The reason this is argued is to circumvent the law of non-contradiction. What is the law of non-contradiction?

A cannot be A and not-A at the same time.

To circumvent this, we are told Jesus has two natures, so he suffered in one nature (the human nature or A) and didn’t suffer in another nature (the divine nature or B). On the surface this may seem like a reasonable response, until you break it down into notation form:

Jesus the Person {(divine nature), (human nature)}

In other words, Jesus, the 2nd Person of the Trinity and therefore God, can be said to have suffered, to say otherwise is to deny the personhood of Jesus in totality as the Trinitarian schema is presented to us. Calvinists in particular are fond of this argument but as RC Sproul has noted, other Christians accuse them of being Nestorians by dividing Jesus into two persons, a human person and a divine person. Those who argue in the form that Calvinists and most other popular Christian speakers do, fall prey to being declared apostates:as per the Council of Ephesus (431 CE):

If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.

We can abstract this ontological model even further:

One Divine Being {(Father), (Son), (Holy Spirit)}

In this rendition, we can also say the Divine Being also suffered, as we are told each member of the Godhead is fully divine. Meme-ified we see:

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And:

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and God knows best.

Easter Message: Death has Dominion, Mastery and Power over the Christian God

It’s Easter, so today you’d be seeing a lot of celebrations over God’s “victory over death”. Slogans en masse such as, “He is Risen!” Perhaps though, one of the most popular verses of the Bible one would see is as follows:

  • For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. – Romans 6:9 (NIV).
  • We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. – Romans 6:9 (ESV).
  • knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. – Romans 6:9 (NASB).
  • because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. – Romans 6:9 (HCSB).

That last line is of great interest. If death no longer rules over God, does it mean that death at one point have power, dominion, mastery, rule over God? Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, says of this passage:

“death hath no more dominion over him: it once had dominion over him; it held him under its power for a time, according to the divine determination”

If God is all powerful, then how is it possible for death to be greater than God, to have power and mastery over God? Some Christians have tried to explain this by saying that God allowed Himself to “temporarily surrender” His own dominion over death, but this leads us to the inevitable problem of the Christian God losing one of its attributes, thus rendering God, powerless. What’s worse is, if God gave up His power over death, and then death overcame God – it would stand to reason that death would be more powerful than God and thus God could never “defeat” death.

In conclusion, this passage is vital for a Muslim’s da’wah to Christians. They quote it and share it, which makes it easier for us to reach out to them. This passage leads to unsettling beliefs for the Christians, God sets up rivals to Himself, God loses essential attributes, God is no longer all powerful, or at the least it can lead them to denying the hypostatic union (two natures in Christ, one divine, one human), by them arguing that death had power over one of the natures – the human or the divine, which is in itself blasphemy since the natures are unified and it is heresy to split them apart.

In contrast, in Islam, God is the master of life and death:

“How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.” – Qur’an 2:28.

and Allah knows best.

Is Jesus the Passover Lamb? The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Introduction: Explaining the Jewish Significance and Christian Significance (and Teaching) of Passover. 

The most significant theme of the Passover festival as celebrated by Christians is the representation of Jesus the Christ as the Passover Sacrifice (Korban Pesach). In simple terms, his sacrifice (read as: death) is seen as the sacrifice of all sacrifices through which their salvation was earned, mirroring the salvation of the Israelites from Pharaoh by YHWH (Cf. Leviticus 17:11, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Early and contemporary Christian Churches have attempted to equate the Korban Pesach with the alleged death of Jesus the Christ to establish a theological foundation for their doctrine of salvation (Cf. soteriology). Such a doctrine is best explained in the following words:

“The early Jewish believers in Jesus considered him the fulfillment of the Passover lambs that were yearly sacrificed. Thus Paul, a Jewish Christian who had studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, wrote, “Messiah, our pesach, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). John in his gospel noted that Jesus died at the same time that the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple (see John 19:14) and that like the Passover lambs, none of his bones were broken (the others being crucified had their leg bones broken by the Romans—John 19:32, 33, 36). The idea behind all this was that just as the Israelites were redeemed from Egyptian slavery by an unblemished lamb, now men could be freed from slavery to sin by the Messiah, the Lamb of God.”[1]

Read more

[Live] Debate: Is the Crucifixion a Fact?

Today at 2 PM (EST – New York, Trinidad), 7 PM (GMT – London) Br. Aqil Onque will be debating Pastor Angelos Kyriakides on the topic of the Crucifixion. The stream will go live on YouTube at the above mentioned times.

Questions for the debaters can be submitted in the YouTube Live video’s chat and will be read to the debaters during the Question and Answer session. Please indicate whether you are a Christian or a Muslim at the start of your question. Not all questions are guaranteed to be asked and the length of the Question and Answer session is dependent upon the debaters’ discretion.

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Easter Violence

There are many nominal and cultural Christians that have adopted ancient Pagan practises into their faith. Many Christian groups in recent years have begun to expunge these Pagan practises from their faith, one website for Christians states:

The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. – Christian Answers.

Some Christians however, see these adopted Pagan practises as sacrosanct, involiable, an essential part of the Christian tradition. This had unfortunately led to some violence in Tennessee where one outspoken group of Christian protesters were violently attacked.

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Their sign was also torn apart in the incident:

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This was the sign before it was torn, there was also an Easter Bunny on a crucifix:

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We applaud the efforts and risks that some Christians take when attempting to reform their faith and to remove its Pagan practises. We continue to pray that God guides these Christians to the truth, one step at a time, and that He protects them from harm and violence.

and God knows best.

He Is Risen: The Height of Ironies

It’s Easter again, you really can’t miss it as the popular slogan of  “He is Risen!”, it’s plastered on all social media websites by over enthusiastic Christians. There is clearly an important question that needs to be asked about this slogan. George Orwell’s, 1984 gives us a good lesson about simple and meaningless slogans, “war is peace”, “freedom is slavery”, “ignorance is strength”. Simple to shout, easy to believe in and catchy – but a little thought exposes the factitious nature of these mind numbing slogans, their only purpose meant to placate the uninitiated.

A good place to start with understanding “He is Risen!”, is to ask, is this really a surprise or a victory? If we assume that Jesus is God, and someone told us that God died, would we really be surprised that an all powerful deity did in fact, not die? Forgive me if I am oblivious to some super secret that Christians uphold, but what would be so surprising that the all powerful deity didn’t die? It would be a miracle to hear, “He is Not Risen!”, as that would be the last thing anyone would expect from an all powerful deity, the deity in question, not being powerful at all.

So, one has to ask, what’s the big deal about God not dying? Why the enthusiasm, tears and amazement, about a non-miracle? Yes, I get it, through his resurrection you have someone else pay for your sins, but that also shouldn’t be a surprise given that an all powerful deity is all merciful and all forgiving – he could already forgive your sins, with or without killing himself. It must honestly be confusing for lay-Christians to see everyone celebrating a non-miracle at Easter time and wondering what the fuss is about. I suppose tomorrow we should celebrate other attributes of God’s sovereignty while feigning amazement? Or should we simply leave the Christian faith to do that for us?

and God knows best!

2013 Easter-Passover Special!

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Get ready for some major articles to be rolling out over the next few days as we join our Christian brothers and sisters in the season of Easter/ Passover with some hard hitting, doctrine critiquing, doubt inducing questions! Christ’s position as the Passover Sacrifice, is a fundamental belief in Christian Theology (Cf. Soteriology, Christology). His sacrifice is seen as the redeeming act for Christians and their sins. It is essential to research what this sacrifice entails in the Judaic scriptures!

Easter: Contradictions in the Gospel Narratives

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Easter has arrived again, the Christian narrative of Jesus being arrested, crucified, dying and then ascending all occurs from Good Friday to Sunday morning, these few days are the foundation for the Christian religion. The Gospels account for this episode, giving us details which are rather unique and quite puzzling, or so to speak. In this article, I’m not going to try to offend anyone and I do apologize if I do, but as a Muslim, these questions are pertinent to the narrative given to these events by the Christian faith. We need to examine the foundation, for if the foundation is based on falsehood, all that is derived from it, will also have falsehood in contained within. Therefore, in an attempt to seek answers for these dogmatic conundrums, let’s ask some questions that should by now, some 2000 years or so years later, should have answers prepared.

Zombies:
Here we have an account in Matthew 27:51-53, where apparently the dead come back to life, and in their large numbers, roam through the streets of Jerusalem. There’s a slight problem with this claim however.  Dead people have crawled out of graves in Jerusalem, seen by ‘many people’, and yet the only account of it, is some 50 or so years later in a religious scripture from a new faith, fishing for miracles to get converts. So let’s see what the scripture claims:

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split  and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

So dead people came back to life. This is a miracle proving Jesus’ resurrection, this miracle is apparently witnessed by many people and yet we have some serious discrepancies here. No other Gospel of Epistles even references or mentions explicitly, what is arguably the greatest miracle one can observe, dead people returning to life. No Jewish historian or religious figure ever mentions that dead people came back to life and roamed their holiest city’s streets. Not even the Romans, the largest Empire, most powerful nation at that time, records that dead people came back to life and roamed their streets. Yet somehow, a person not from that time, 50 or so years later (33AD, Ascension, Matthew written between 75 AD – 99 AD), mentions this maybe two or three lines and then it turns into a historical fact. Call me skeptical, but I’m needing evidence here. I find it hard to believe, that dead people, came to life and no one at that time, not even heretical early Christian sects, nor Paul who documented the vast prayers, actions and beliefs of the early Church some 14 years later, remotely mentions or references it.

Yet, us Muslims are not to be blamed, a famed Christian Exegete, Adam Clarke in his exegesis on these verses states:

It is difficult to account for the transaction mentioned Matthew 27:52,53. Some have thought that these two verses have been introduced into the text of Matthew from the gospel of the Nazarenes; others think that the simple meaning is this:-by the earthquake several bodies that had been buried were thrown up and exposed to view, and continued above ground till after Christ’s resurrection, and were seen by many persons in the city. Why the graves should be opened on Friday, and the bodies not be raised to life till the following Sunday, is difficult to be conceived. The place is extremely obscure. 

Perhaps there is someone willing to validate, verify this claim or if not, admit it really did not occur and is a fanciful dream of some scribe wanting to give the masses some alleged miracle to convert to Christianity for.

Conflicting Post-Crufiction Narrative:
This question stems from reading the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, evidently, if one picks up a Bible, the New Testament begins with Matthew and then we’re introduced to Mark. The problem here however, stems from an incident that presents a problem. In Matthew 28:5-10, we read:

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

So from this, we deduce that:

  • Some women met an angel.
  • They don’t worship the angel.
  • They were afraid, yet they ran to tell the disciples.
  • They meet Jesus who tells them to go to Galilee.

Yet, we read in Mark, a successive Gospel, a completely different story, Mark 16:5-8:

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

  • Some women met a young man in white clothes and not an angel.
  • They don’t worship the young man.
  • They were afraid and said nothing to anyone.
  • Never met Jesus, instead the angel tells them to go to Galilee.

In fact, if we read the next Gospel in succession, that is, Luke, we have another completely different account. We read from Luke 24:4-8:

 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

  • Some women did not meet an angel, nor a young man, but instead two men in clothes as bright as lightning.
  • Instead of not worshipping the angel or a young man, they worship two men.
  • They were afraid, but instead of telling no one, they told everyone.
  • Never met Jesus, but instead two men tell them to go to Galilee.

Continuing to the final Gospel, that of John, in Chapter 20, Verses 11-19, we read:

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

  • One woman, Mary,  did not meet an angel or a young man or two men but instead two angels.
  • She did not worship the two angels.
  • She told everyone what she saw, in contrast to the other Gospels.
  • Met Jesus who does not tell her to go to Galilee. 
  • Jesus does not meet them at Galilee but at a house in/ near Jerusalem.

Some like to say that we’ve misunderstood their scripture, some say we’ve distorted and manipulated the truth, but all we’ve really done is read the Gospels, as they are laid out. Anyone can pick up a Bible and read these contradicting narratives. In fact, I’ve linked all the relevant chapters to a popular Christian Bible website and I do hope that anyone who comes across this article, tries to investigate it for themselves.

In conclusion, I’d like to give a quote which sums up the Muslim perspective of this incident, Mary and the other female disciples go to tell the men what has happened, this quote being from the Gospel of Luke:

It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 

As is the Muslim view, the men’s response is practically priceless:

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

As we end, one more relevant quote from the same Gospel:

 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Which fulfills the Islamic narrative, from the Qur’an which states:

“And because they denied and spoke dreadful calumnies of Mary; and for saying: “We killed the Christ, Jesus, son of Mary, who was an apostle of God;” but they neither killed nor crucified him, though it so appeared to them. Those who disagree in the matter are only lost in doubt. They have no knowledge about it other than conjecture, for surely they did not kill him, But God raised him up (in position) and closer to Himself; and God is all-mighty and all-wise.”

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]