Tag: Qur’an

Want to Chat About Ancient Scriptures Online?

I was going to start a meetup group, but thought that I’d first see if there was any interest here to have an online meetup group to chat about our favorite passages from ancient religious/philosophical scriptures of all sorts. Then we wouldn’t be limited to a certain location, but could share perspectives from all around the world! If interested, please post a comment and let me know ūüôā

Here is my description of the group:

What do some of the ancient scriptures say, and what does that mean to you or what feelings does it evoke? Bring your favorite passages from the scriptures of the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, or any other pre-Islamic era religion/philosophy (ancient Greek or Mesoamerican philosophy, for instance) to share and discuss.

The format will probably be that we each read a passage that we brought and then talk about how each of us felt about it and share thoughts and ideas. This isn’t the place to debate the validity of one scripture over another, nor to judge or even understand one another’s beliefs… And definitely not to try to convert anyone to your beliefs please ūüôā

The point is to share and discuss ancient religious/philosophical writings from the past that we find inspiring, interesting, frightening, baffling, or maybe just cool!

I’ve always had a keen interest in the texts that shaped people’s lives, civilizations, and consequently the world and thought it would be great to meet other like-minded people to learn and (hopefully humbly) grow in knowledge and wisdom together.

Do you wonder what ancient peoples believed? Love stoic philosophy? Have a favorite Bible verse you’d love to talk about? Curious about what the Qur’an actually says? Struggling to unlock the secrets of the Tao Te Ching? Love to ponder the Dharmas? Or have any other ancient scripture based quandary? Me too! Let’s chat ūüôā

LINK between the QURAN and the GOSPELS – revealed by my DOUBLE MIRACLE!!

I think I just figured it out! Here are the two quotes that have been buzzing around my head for a few days in my contemplation:

‚ÄúLet the People of the Gospel judge by what God has revealed therein‚ÄĚ (Quran 5:47)

“Jesus answered, ‚ÄúI am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” (John 14:6)

So Go revealed through Muhammad (pbuh) that the Christians are to judge Islam by what is written in the Gospels in particular (not necessarily including the Old Testament). This basically mean (and I think it’s implied in the Arabic) that the Gospel is not corrupted (even if it’s been changed or added to, it was not CORRUPTED. Those additions or commissions or changes could very well be the will of God).

So considering this, I turned to the Gospels and of course thought of the very famous John 14:6. So we cannot come to God except through Jesus (pbuh). For ME (what my heart tells me) is that that means through Jesus’s way and teachings.

As I thought about it this is the conclusion I came to. If you follow Islam you will be following God. You will act in a way that is appropriate, but not necessarily EXEMPLARY. For that we should turn to the teachings of Jesus, who above all prophets embodied Godly love most purely. The only issue that Islam has with Christianity is that Jesus is NOT God. I wanted to know what to make of this, since many Christians seem to have inferred from the Gospel otherwise.

I opened to a random section of the Gospel and FOUND MY ANSWER LIKE A MIRACLE! —- :O! OH WOW. I just had a DOUBLE MIRACLE! Just now, I was searching for the quote to copy/paste and I typed something accidentally! John 17, instead of 20:17. The passage I found was equally pertinent!! (praise and glory be to God!) Ok here they are:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‚ÄúFather, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2¬†For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3¬†Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4¬†I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5¬†And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17)

17¬†Jesus said, ‚ÄúDo not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‚ÄėI am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.‚Äô‚ÄĚ (John 20:17)

What John 17 tells me is that Jesus and God are separate. God sent Jesus (as Jesus said) and so must be ABOVE Jesus in power/authority. And in my mind, God is what is above everything and so incredibly indescribable that even though Jesus is an incredible miracle (like an angel or the universe), he is still a creation and subject of the ALMIGHTY GOD.

What John 20:17 tells me is that YES, Jesus IS the son of God, BUT SO AM I! He says “my Father AND your Father, my God and your God.”

Thank you God for clarifying this for me.

And much love to all you people out there. if you have any doubts if the AFTERLIFE IS REAL. Please check out the videos in my last post. If you are sincerely searching for answers to your spiritual questions you might just find them there. I pray you do.

God Bless,

~Jones

JESUS (pbuh) in ISLAM – the TRUTH about it

Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.”(John 14:6-7)

Despite popular belief, as a Muslim I am required to believe in the books of the Gospel and the Old Testament. They are mentioned a few times in the Qur’an as being books of God, and so their truth cannot be contested by true Muslims. But then, don’t these religions contradict each other sometimes. YES, the RELIGIONS do, but the BOOKS do not. In my opinion (and I believe this is the opinion of many Muslims), it is only the BOOKS that are sacred, not the people who comment on and interpret it, regardless of how HOLY they claim to be.

For instance, the above quote is interpreted by mainstream priests, evangelists, etc. to say that the only way to get into heaven is to be Christian. But that is NOT what it says. it says that the only way to God is through Jesus. I interpret that as the only way to God is through Jesus’s teachings. The stories of Jesus are related (very) often in the Qur’an (see below), so I believe it should be considered by Christians to be another Gospel of sorts (at least).

The PROBLEM THAT CHRISTIANS SEEM TO HAVE with the Quranic perspective on Jesus (PBUH) is that it exults God and NOT Jesus. It claims that Jesus was a messenger of God, and a beloved prophet imbued with the Holy Spirit, but he still, like all things, would have no existence without God. GOD is the only thing worthy of our worship, although prophets are most definitely worthy of our love, utmost respect, and veneration.He’re a (seemingly) comprehensive list of quotes about Jesus fromt he Qur’an (with the short intro from the original post on 4truth.net)

note: “Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” regardless of if you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc…

———————–

Among the major world religions, Islam is the only non-Christian faith that recognizes the person of Jesus. Qur’an talks a great amount about Jesus. However, Jesus Christ is the most controversial personality in Islam. In the Qur’an, Jesus is referred to in over ninety verses in fifteen surahs. Islam corroborates that Jesus was born to a virgin, was sinless, performed miracles, and was superior to other prophets. Yet, Islam teaches that Jesus was no more than a prophet. It denies the central message of Christianity by denying Jesus’ divinity, crucifixion, and resurrection.
(Yusufali translation)

SURAH REFERENCE

2:87 We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

2:136¬†We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them . . .

2:253 . . . To Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

3:45 O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

3:46¬†“He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.”

3:48 And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.

3:49¬†And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe.”

3:50 (I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me.

3:52¬†When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?”

3:55¬†Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.”

3:59 The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam . . .

3:84 . . . and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord.

4:157¬†That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;-but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.

4:163¬†We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.

4:171¬†O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth.

4:172 Christ disdaineth nor to serve and worship Allah . . .

5:17 In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary.

5:46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

5:72¬†They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode.

5:75 Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food.

5:78 Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.

5:110¬†O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’

5:112¬†Behold! the disciples, said: “O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?” Said Jesus: “Fear Allah, if ye have faith.”

5:114¬†Said Jesus the son of Mary: “O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us-for the first and the last of us-a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs).”

5:116¬†Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart . . .”

6:85 And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous.

9:30¬†The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah.

9:31 They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

19:19¬†He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.”

19:20¬†She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?”

19:21¬†He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.”

19:22 So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.

19:27¬†At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!”

19:30¬†He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet.”

19:31¬†“And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live.”

19:32¬†“(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable.”

19:33¬†“So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!”

19:34 Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

19:88¬†They say: “(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!”

19:91 That they should invoke a son for (Allah) Most Gracious.

19:92 For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.

21:91 And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.

23:50 And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs.

33:7 And remember We took from the prophets their covenant: As (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant.

42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah-the which We have sent by inspiration to thee-and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

43:57 When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule)!

43:61 And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.

43:63¬†When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: “Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.”

57:27 We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy . . .

61:6¬†And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”

61:14¬†O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, “Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples, “We are Allah’s helpers!” then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.”

———————–

I’m not trying to convert anyone, as I have the utmost respect for ALL WHO BELIEVE IN AND SERVE GOD on this earth, regardless of the path these choose to do so. I do, however, wish to promote understanding and learning, especially in the (often under-studied) field of theology.

~Jones

Be SKEPTICAL of SKEPTICISM – And WHY GOD IS REAL!

I was just thinking how I dislike overly skeptical people. For them reality is so normal, and all that exists is what we understand. There have always been people like this in the world, but there have always been new and incredible discoveries as well. This leads me to believe that the THINGS THAT WE FIND INCONCEIVABLE are in fact possible, and will some day be normal.

So I was thinking to myself, “yea, I’m not skeptical.” But then again, I kind of am. I like to regard things with an open mind, not out-ruling the idea that we could be wrong of misunderstanding many things we consider fundamental truths. But I am rather guarded against allowing ideas to become beliefs. I think that I have become skeptical of skepticism. I feel that most of the people who have challenged the boundaries of human existence in fields of SCIENCE (Einstein, Tesla), HUMAN RIGHTS (Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.), THE ARTS (Da Vinci, whoever built the pyramids) ETC. didn’t have the inclination to think “eh, it’s probably impossible,” so it’s probably not a very empowering attitude.

Also, skeptics don’t tend to be the CLOSEST ONES TO GOD. In the Qur’an it talks about these skeptical people who mock God in their minds, and God doesn’t foretell a good outcome for those people to say the least. I never had a skeptical attitude about God, but as all things I tried to approach it with an open mind. I figured, if God is real, then he should help me discover that if I EARNESTLY PURSUE THE TRUTH. So here’s a couple of reasons that GOD IS REAL:

1) RELIGION IS SO POPULAR. Why has everyone been wondering about God or gods since the beginning of time. We’re clearly hardwired to want to believe in some powerful force that creates everything. Is this just very random, or there for a reason? If it was just fear of death that drove us to wonder these things, why do all major religions emphasis worship or reverence of something greater, something indescribable that is essentially One? This force of belief/religion is global in all people, regardless of culture. Western intellectuals and African shaman worship in different ways, to different names, but they still worship something greater.

2) ALL THOSE PROPHETS COULDN’T HAVE BEEN INSANE! There have a lot of prophets since the dawn of mankind. Starting with Adam and ending with Mohammad. Peace be upon them all. Many of these prophets are known only through legends from prehistory, and none of the story can be verified through objective evidence. The Qu’ran says that God has sent a messenger to every people, though many of them were rejected. It can be assumed that great spiritual leaders such as Siddhartha Buddha, Conscious, Lao Tzu, and many unknown from the African, American, and Australian continents were all authentic prophets of the one God. But again, little can be known about them except that they achieved miraculous amounts of success spreading a message of good. But, there are two extremely important prophets that we can verify to be real: Jesus and Mohammad (Peace be upon them). They manage to achieve ridiculous success in spreading their messages against insane odds. I don’t know how a poor carpenter could have had such an impact on the people around him, to be WILLING TO DIE for his message, if the miracles described in the bible were not true. Even if he did achieve all of this without miracles, I think THAT would be a miracle in itself. And finally, there is much (relatively) undisputed first person accounts of the prophet Mohammad of Islam and his life. One thing that any historian, secular or not, would attest to is the fact that Mohammad was known by all to be exceedingly honest. Then one day he claimed to have had a vision and was commanded to spread the message of monotheism. Either he was TELLING THE TRUTH, or his whole life up till that point (at over 40 years old) was a cunning deception. But even if this were so, why would he suffer through all the hardship he did, and refuse offers of wealth and power to spread a message he knew wasn’t true?! The other possibility is he was completely insane… but completely insane people rarely prosper until the end of their lifetimes. And by all accounts he was in no way insane, but actually an extremely, and often surprisingly, reasonable and cool headed man.

3) GOD OBVIOUSLY WANTS HIS EXISTENCE TO BE AMBIGUOUS. Assuming God is real (considering the points above, it seems very likely) he clearly doesn’t want to make His existence completely obvious for some reason. In one religious story GOD DOES SHOW HIMSELF to a tribe of Jews who want proof that He is real. When they see God they are instantly overcome and die, but are raised again to life. As the story goes, they went back to being non-believers not too long afterwards. There doesn’t seem to be any proof God could show us that would be definitive evidence of his existence. (Except that feeling in our hearts that is FAITH.) So why doesn’t God just make us know He is real, if He can do anything. Well He could…. but that would violate our FREE WILL to choose what to believe. And FREE WILL IS ONE OF THE GIFTS GOD HAS GRANTED MANKIND. Angels, in contrast, do NOT have free will. They must always only obey the will of God. All the religious books seem to say that our main reason for being alive mortally on this earth is to prepare our soul for the afterlife by choosing the paths of GOOD or EVIL. (Hopefully Good!) The ambiguity of God’s existence allows you to choose freely.

4) QUANTUM PHYSICIST ARE OFTEN RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL. If you read books like the Tao of Physics, or the Dancing Wu Li Masters, you begin to see how the paradoxical world of quantum physics seems to draw quantum physicists to spiritual conclusions about our world. And many of them swear that there has to be an intelligence holding the fundamental vibrations of the cosmos in harmony. For instance, they have discovered that it is impossible to measure both the speed and direction of a subatomic particle at the same time. If you try to measure the speed, then the direction becomes mysteriously impossible to determine. They seem to come to the conclusion that the particles are reacting to our intentions. If we intend to find the speed, they display speed. If we intend to find direction, it will show us that. It is mysterious but our minds seem to effect reality on a fundamental (sub-atomic) level. What does this mean for the bigger picture? I’ve gotten side-tracked. My point is that THE ESSENCE OF OUR WORLD IS MYSTERY. Some things can never be fully understood or explained. The answer to that mystery is, of course, God. Without Him there are many questions, with him ALL IS CLEAR.

So in an attempt to wrap up neatly… BE SKEPTICAL OF SKEPTICISM. Always keep an open mind, to the point that you are willing to consider the (very real) possibility that some of the things you consider fundamental truths, may in fact NOT be true at all. I was raised believing in God, but in my teen years I had to earnestly question my fundamental beliefs. In the end I and came out with my belief stronger than ever, because I asked the questions I was afraid to ask and found my answers.

If you can LOOK OBJECTIVELY AT YOUR OWN BELIEFS, beyond your biases, you will, if nothing else, grow wiser from the experience.

~Jones