Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anonymous raises questions that need answers

Salam U Alaikum brother,

Thank you for the response to my question, I see what you're trying to say, however I am wondering that the Quran has also made a lot of references to the point that the Jews were subject to the wrath of God (since they didn't believe in Jesus as a prophet of God) and the Christians were the ones who had gone astray (who claimed Jesus to be a God). So since these references have been made through out the Quran, the implication seems reasonable. I ask you, is it incorrect that the Quran has made references to the aforementioned points? Thanks

Thank you for the question because clearly there have been such references but they have to be seen in a historical and theological context. The Qur'an seeks to clarify certain distinctions between the three Abrahamic faiths. The Qur'an also makes it very clear that although there may have been misinterpretations or "corruptions" in previous scriptures the diversity and plurality of various faith expressions are the very manifestations of the Divine Will, as per Sura 5: 51 in the translation by Yusuf Ali (in other translations, this sura is found in 5:48):

"To thee We sent the Scripture
In Truth, confirming
The scripture that came
Before it, and guarding it
In safety: so judge
Between them by what
God hath revealed,
And follow not their vain
Desires, diverging
From the Truth that hath come
To thee. To each among you
Have We prescribed a Law
And an Open Way.
If God had so willed,
He would have made you
A single People, but (His
Plan is) to test you in what
He hath given you: so strive
As in a race in all virtues.
The goal of you all is to God;
It is He that will show you
The truth of the matters
In which ye dispute;"

The renowned South African scholar of Islam, Farid Esack elaborates on this theme in his book
"Qur'an, Liberation and Pluralism - An Islamic Perspective of Interreligious Solidarity against Oppression:"

"The Qur'an regards Muhammad as one of a galaxy of prophets, some of whom are mentioned specifically in the Qur'an while 'others you do not know' (40:78). The same din, the Qur'an declares, 'was enjoined on Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus' (42:13) 'You are but a warner', the Qur'an tells Muhammad, 'and every people has had its guide ' (13:08, see also 16:36 and 35:24). The fact that the Qur'an incorporates accounts of the lives of these predecessors of Muhammad and makes it part of its own history is perhaps the most significant reflection of its emphasis on the unity of din. These prophets came with identical messages which they preached within the context of various and differing situations of their people. Basically, they came to reawaken the commitment of people to tawhid, to remind them about the ultimate accountability to God and to establish justice. 'And for every ummah there is a messenger. So when their messenger comes the matter is decided between them with justice, and they will not be wronged' (10:47)." (2002, p. 116).

~ Excerpted from "Qur'an - Liberation & Pluralism" by Farid Esack.who did his undergraduate studies in Islam at Jami'ah Ulum al-Islamia and graduated from Jami'ah Alimiyyah al-Islamia with a Bachelors Degree in Islamic Law & Theology. He did post-graduate research in Qur'anic Studies at Jami'ah Abu Bakr (all in Karachi) and completed a doctoral degree in Qur'anic Hermeneutics at University of Birmingham (UK). In 1994-95 he was a Research Fellow in Biblical Hermeneutics at Philosophische Theologische Hochschule, Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt am Main.

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