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Islam FAQ (Part 9/15): Islam: Prophethood, Jesus & Trinity

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 )
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Archive-name: islam-faq/part9
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995/3/27
Version: 3.3
Organization: Alumni Association, Caltech, Pasadena, California

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
        Copyright 1993,1994,1995  Asim Mughal (mughal@caltech.edu) 

        Redistribution  for  profit,    or   in  altered  content/format
        prohibited without explicit  written  permission  of the author.
        Any other redistribution must  include this copyright notice and
        attribution. 



                       Frequently Asked Questions: Part 9
                       __________________________________
        

        This message  is  automatically  posted  to 'soc.religion.islam'
        every  month  and  when  updated.  This  lists  answers  to most
        commonly asked questions on  the  forum. Contributions & changes
        are requested and should be directed to: mughal@caltech.edu 



        OVERVIEW:  The   Frequently   Asked   Questions   document   for
        Islam  has  been  divided  in  parts.  Below is the index. 


        Part 1 - Welcome & Index
        Part 2 - Info on Islamic News Groups
        Part 3 - Introduction to Islam
        Part 4 - God & Worship
        Part 5 - Islam, Quran & Muhammad (PBUH)
        Part 6 - Marriage Laws in Islam
        Part 7 - Women In Islam
        Part 8 - Life after Death, Moral System & Human rights in Islam
        Part 9 - Islam: Prophethood, Jesus & Trinity
        Part 10 - Islam: Farrakhism & Malcom X
        Part 11 - Islamic Internet Guide: Islamic Resources on Internet
        Part 12 - Other Islamic Resource Guides on Internet
        Part 13 - Islamic Literature: Books & Video
        Part 14 - Islamic Calendar & Prayer Time Table for 1994
        Part 15 - Misc: List of Halal Foods


            ________________________________________________________

                  PART 9: Islam: Prophethood, Jesus & Trinity



				    Contents				    

				 --Articles--
 1. Prophethood In Islam ........................................... from III&E 
 2. Is Jesus Really God? ........................................... from III&E 
 3. God is All Knowing... Jesus was not ............................ from III&E 
 4. God is All-Powerful... Jesus was not ........................... from III&E 
 5. God does not have a God ........................................ from III&E 
 6. God is Invisible ............................................... from III&E 
 7. No one is Greater than GOD ..................................... from III&E 
 8. Conclusion on Jesus ............................................ from III&E 
 9. Word of God about Jesus ........................................ from III&E 
10. Who Invented Trinity? .......................................... from III&E 
11. Trinity in the Bible ........................................... from III&E 
12. Doctrine Takes Shape ........................................... from III&E 
13. Formal Doctrine is Drawnup ..................................... from III&E 
14. Church Puts its Foot down ...................................... from III&E 
15. Debate Continues ............................................... from III&E 
16. Islam and the Matter of The Trinity ............................ from III&E 
				--Announcements--
17. Archive Info .............................................................. 
18. Credits ................................................................... 



 Articles .....................................................................


 1. Prophethood In Islam ........................................... from III&E 


    Prophethood is not  unknown  to  heavenly  revealed  religions,  such as
    Judaism and Christianity. In Islam, however, it has a special status and
    significance. 

    According to Islam, Allah created  man  for  a noble purpose: to worship
    Him and lead a virtuous life based  on  His  teachings and guidance. How
    would man know his role and purpose  of his existence unless he received
    clear and practical  instructions  of  what  Allah wants him to do? Here
    comes the need for prophethood. Thus  Allah had chosen from every nation
    a prophet or more to covey His Message to people. 

    One might ask: How were  the  prophets  chosen  and who were entitled to
    this great honor? 

    Prophethood is Allah's blessing and  favor that He may bestow on whom He
    wills. However,  from  surveying  the   various   messengers  throughout
    history, three features of a prophet may be recognized: 

    1. He is the best in his community  morally  and intellectually. This is
    necessary because a prophet's life serves  as a model for his followers.
    His personality should attract people  to accept his message rather than
    drive them away by his imperfect character.  After receiving the message
    he is infallible. That is, he  would  not  commit any sin. He might make
    some minor mistakes which are usually corrected by revelation. 

    2. He is supported by miracles  to  prove  that  he  is not an impostor.
    Those miracles are granted by the  power  and  permission of God and are
    usually in the field in which  his  people  excel  and are recognized as
    superiors. We might illustrate this by quoting the major miracles of the
    three prophets of the major world  religions:  Judaism, Christianity and
    Islam. Moses'  contemporaries  were  excellent  in  magic.  So his major
    miracle was to defeat the best  magicians  of  Egypt of his days. Jesus'
    contemporaries were recognized as  skillful  physicians.  Therefore, his
    miracles were to raise the  dead  and  cure  the incurable diseases. The
    Arabs, the contemporaries of the Prophet  Mohammed, were known for their
    eloquence and magnificent poetry.  So  Prophet  Muhammad's major miracle
    was the Quran, the equivalent  of  which  the  whole  legion of the Arab
    poets and orators could not produce  despite the repeated challenge from
    the Quran itself. Again Muhammad's  miracle  has something special about
    it. All previous miracles  were  limited  by  time and place, i.e., they
    were shown to specific people at a specific  time. Not so the miracle of
    Muhammad, the Quran. It is a universal and everlasting miracle. Previous
    generations  witnessed  it  and  future  generations  will  witness  its
    miraculous nature  in  terms  of  its   style,   content  and  spiritual
    uplifting. These still can be  tested  and will thereby prove the divine
    origin of the Quran. 

    3. Every prophet states clearly that  what he receives is not of his own
    but from God for the well-being of  mankind.  He  also confirms what was
    revealed before him and what may  be  revealed after him. A prophet does
    this to show that he is simply conveying  the message which is entrusted
    to him by the One True God of all people  in all ages. So the message is
    one in essence and for  the  same  purpose.  Therefore,  it  should  not
    deviate from what was revealed before him or what might come after him. 


    Prophets are necessary for conveying  God's instructions and guidance to
    mankind. We have no way of knowing why we were created. What will happen
    to us after death? Is there any life after death? Are we accountable for
    our actions? In other words, is  there  any reward or punishment for our
    deeds in this life? These and so many other questions about God, angels,
    paradise, hell, etc. can not  be  answered  without  revelation from the
    Creator and Knower of the unseen.  Those  answers  must be authentic and
    must be brought by individuals  whom  we trust and respect. That is why,
    messengers are the select of their  societies  in terms of moral conduct
    and intellectual ability. 


    Hence, the slanderous Biblical stories  about some of the great prophets
    are not accepted by  Muslims.  For  example,  Lot  is  reported  to have
    committed fornication while drunk, with his daughters; or David sent one
    his leaders to death to marry his wife.  Prophets to Muslims are greater
    than what these stories indicate. These stories can not be true from the
    Islamic point of view. 

    The prophets are also miraculously  supported  by  God and instructed by
    Him to affirm the continuity of the message. 

    The content of the  prophets'  message  to  mankind can be summarized as
    follows: 

    a) Clear concept about God: His  attributes,  His  creation, what should
    and should not be ascribed to Him. 

    b) Clear idea about  the  unseen  world,  the  angels,  jinn  (spirits),
    Paradise and Hell. 

    c) Why has God created us?  What  does  He  want from us and what is the
    reward or punishment for obeying or disobeying Him? 

    d) How to run  our  societies  according  to  His  will?  That is, clear
    instructions and laws that, when  applied  correctly  and honestly, will
    result in a happy and ideal society. 

    It is clear from the above  discussion  that  there is no substitute for
    prophets. Even today with the advancement of science, the only authentic
    source of information  about  the   supernatural  world  is  revelation.
    Guidance  can  be  obtained  neither   from   science  nor  from  mystic
    experience. The first is too  materialistic  and too limited; the second
    is too subjective and frequently too misleading. 


    Now one might ask: 

    How many prophets has God sent  to  humanity?  We  do not know for sure.
    Some Muslim scholars have  suggested  240 thousand prophets. We are only
    sure of what is clearly mentioned in  the Quran, that is, God has sent a
    messenger (or more) to every nation.  That is because it is one of God's
    principles that He will never  call  a  people  to account unless He has
    made clear to them what to do and what not to do. The Quran mentions the
    names of 25 prophets and indicates that  there have been others who were
    not mentioned to the Prophet Mohammed. These 25 include Noah, the man of
    the Ark,  Abraham,  Moses,  Jesus,  and  Muhammad.  These  five  are the
    greatest  among  God's  messengers.   They  are  called  'the  resolute'
    prophets. 

    An outstanding aspect  of  the  Islamic  belief  in  prophethood is that
    Muslims believe in  and  respect  all  the  messengers  of  God  with no
    exceptions. Since all the prophets  came  from the same One God, for the
    same purpose - to lead mankind to God  - belief in them all is essential
    and logical; accepting some  and  rejecting  others  has  to be based on
    misconceptions of the prophets' role or racial bias. The Muslims are the
    only people in the world who consider  the belief in all the prophets of
    God an article of faith. Thus the Jews reject Jesus Christ and Muhammad;
    the Christians reject Muhammad and in  reality reject Moses because they
    do not abide by his laws. The  Muslims  accept them all as messengers of
    God who brought guidance to mankind. However, the revelation which those
    prophets brought from God  has  been  tampered  with  in  one way or the
    other. The belief in  all  the  messengers  of  God  is  enjoined on the
    Muslims by the Quran. 

    "Say (O Muslims): we believe in  Allah  and that which is revealed to us
    and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob,
    and their children, and that which Moses and Jesus received and that the
    prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of
    them and unto Him we have surrendered." (2:136) 

    The Quran continues in the following verses to instruct the Muslims that
    this is the true and impartial  belief.  If other nations believe in the
    same, they are following their own  whims  and  biases and God will take
    care of them. Thus we read: 

    "And if they believe in what you believe,  then they are rightly guided.
    But if they turn away, then they are in disunity, and Allah will suffice
    you against them. He is the  Hearer,  the Knower. This is God's religion
    and Who is better than God in religion?" (2:137-38) 

    There are, at least, two important  points  related  to prophethood that
    need to be clarified.  These  points  concern  the  roles  of  Jesus and
    Muhammad as prophets who are usually misunderstood. 

    The Quranic account of  Jesus  emphatically  rejects  the concept of his
    'Divinity' and 'Divine  Sonship'  and  presents  him as one of the great
    prophets of God. The  Quran  makes  it  clear  that  the  birth of Jesus
    without a father does not  make  him  son  of  God  and mentions in this
    respect Adam who was created by God without a father and mother: 

    "Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God's  sight, is as Adam's likeness; He
    created him of dust, then said He unto him, 'Be', and he was." (3:59) 

    Like other prophets  Jesus  also  performed  miracles.  For  example, he
    raised the dead and cured the blind  and lepers, but while showing these
    miracles he always made it clear that  it was all from God. Actually the
    misconceptions about the  personality  and  mission of Jesus found a way
    among his followers because the Divine  message that he preached was not
    recorded during his presence in the  world, rather it was recorded after
    a lapse of about hundred years.  According  to  the Quran he was sent to
    the children of Israel; he confirmed the validity of the Torah which was
    revealed to Moses and  he  also  brought  the  glad  tidings  of a final
    messenger after him. 

    "And when Jesus son of Mary said,  'Children  of Israel, I am indeed the
    Messenger to you, confirming  the  Torah  that  is before me, and giving
    good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me, whose name shall be
    the PRAISED ONE." (61:6) (The capitalized  portion is the translation of
    Ahmad which is Prophet Muhammed's name.) 

    However, the majority of the Jews  rejected  his  ministry. They plotted
    against his life and  in  their  opinion  crucified  him.  But the Quran
    refutes this opinion and says that they neither killed him nor crucified
    him, rather he was raised up  to  God.  There  is  a verse in the Quran,
    which implies that Jesus will come back  and all the Christians and Jews
    believe in him before  he  dies.  This  is  also  supported by authentic
    sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 

    The last prophet of  God,  Muhammad,  was  born  in  Arabia in the sixth
    century C.E. Up to the age of forty, people of Makkah knew him only as a
    man of excellent character and cultured  manners and called him AL-AMEEN
    (the trustworthy). He also  did  not  know  that  he  was soon to made a
    prophet and receiver of revelation from  God. He called the idolaters of
    Makkah to worship the only one God  and  accept  him as His prophet. The
    revelation that he received was preserved in his life-time in the memory
    of his companions and  was  also  recorded  in  pieces  of  palm leaves,
    leather etc... 

    Thus the Quran that is found today is the same that was revealed to him;
    not a syllable of it has been altered  as God Himself has guaranteed its
    preservation. This Quran claims to be the book of guidance for the whole
    humanity for all times,  and  mentions  Muhammad  as the last Prophet of
    God. 




 2. Is Jesus Really God? ........................................... from III&E 


    Without a doubt, you have often  heard  the claim that Jesus is God, the
    second person in the "Holy  Trinity."  However,  the very Bible which is
    used as a basis for knowledge about  Jesus and as the basis for doctrine
    within Christianity clearly believes  this claim. We urge you to consult
    your own Bible and verify that the  following  conclusions are not drawn
    out of context: 




 3. God is All Knowing... Jesus was not ............................ from III&E 


    When speaking of the Day of  Judgment,  Jesus clearly gave evidence of a
    limitation on his knowledge  when  he  said,  "But  of that day and hour
    knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the son,
    but the father." (Mark 13:32, and  Matt.  24:36)  But God knows all. His
    knowledge is without any limitations.  That Jesus, of his own admission,
    did not know when the day  of  judgment  would  be,  is clear proof that
    Jesus is not all-knowing, and that Jesus is therefore not God. 




 4. God is All-Powerful... Jesus was not ........................... from III&E 


    While Jesus performed many miracles,  he himself admitted that the power
    he had was not his own but was  derived  from God when he said, "Verily,
    verily I say unto you, the Son can  do  nothing  of himself, but what he
    seeth the father do..." (John  5:19)  Again  he said, "I can of mine own
    self do nothing: As I hear I  judge,  and  my judgment is just because I
    seek not mine own will but the  will  of  the Father which has sent me."
    (John 5:30) But God is not only  All-Powerful,  He is also the source of
    all power and authority.  That  Jesus,  of  his  own admission, could do
    nothing on his own is clear proof  that  Jesus  is not all-powerful, and
    that therefore Jesus is not God. 




 5. God does not have a God ........................................ from III&E 


    GOD DOES NOT HAVE A GOD.....BUT JESUS DID HAVE A GOD 

    God is the ultimate judge and refuge  for all, and He does not call upon
    nor pray to any others. But Jesus  acknowledged  that there was One whom
    he worshipped and to Whom  he  prayed  when  he  said, "I ascend unto my
    Father and your Father, and to my God  and your God." (John 20:17) He is
    also reported to have cried out while on the cross, "My God, my God, why
    hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt.  27:46)  If Jesus were God, then couldn't
    this be read, "Myself, myself, why  hast  thou  forsaken me?" Would that
    not be pure nonsense? When Jesus prayed the Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:2-4),
    was he praying to himself? When in  the  garden of Gethsemane he prayed,
    "O my  father,  if  it  be  possible,   let  this  cup  pass  from  me:
    Nevertheless, not as I will but  as  thou  wilt."  (Matt.  26:36-39) Was
    Jesus praying to himself? That  Jesus,  of  his own admission and by his
    own actions, acknowledged,  worshipped,  and  prayed to another being as
    God is clear proof that Jesus himself is not God. 




 6. God is Invisible ............................................... from III&E 


    ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE GOD IS  AN  INVISIBLE  SPIRIT....  BUT  JESUS WAS
    FLESH AND BLOOD 

    While thousands saw Jesus and  heard  his voice, Jesus himself said that
    this could not be done with God  when  he said: "No man hath seen God at
    any time." (John 1:18) "Ye have neither  heard His voice at any time nor
    seen His shape." (John 5:37) He also said in John 4:24: "God is a spirit
    and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." That
    Jesus would say that no one had seen or heard God at any time, while his
    followers both saw and heard him, is clear proof that Jesus was not God. 




 7. No one is Greater than GOD ..................................... from III&E 


    NO ONE IS GREATER THAN GOD  AND  NO  ONE  CAN  DIRECT  HIM.... BUT JESUS
    ACKNOWLEDGED SOMEONE GREATER THAN  HIMSELF  WHOSE WILL WAS DISTINCT FROM
    HIS OWN 

    Perhaps the clearest  indication  we  have  that  Jesus  and God are not
    equal, and therefore not one and the  same, come again from the mouth of
    Jesus himself who said in  John  14:28:  "My  Father is greater than I."
    When someone referred  to  him  as  good  master  in  Luke  18:19, Jesus
    responded: "Why callest thou me  good?  There is none good but one, that
    is God..." furthermore, Jesus drew  clear  distinctions  between himself
    and God when he said, "I proceeded forth and came from God, neither came
    I of myself but He sent me." (John  8:42)  Jesus  gave clear evidence of
    his subordination to God,  rather  than  his  equality with God, when he
    said in Luke 22:42, "not my will but Thine be done" and in John 5:30, "I
    seek not mine own will but the  will  of  the Father which has sent me."
    That Jesus would admit that he did  not  come  into the world on his own
    initiative but was directed to do so,  that he would acknowledge another
    being as greater than himself, and that  he would negate his own will in
    deference to affirming the will of another,  give clear proof that Jesus
    is not the Supreme One and therefore Jesus is not God. 


 8. Conclusion on Jesus ............................................ from III&E 


    The Church recognizes the Bible as the primary source of knowledge about
    God and Jesus. But since the Bible makes  it clear that Jesus is not the
    Supreme Being and the Supreme  Being  is not Jesus, upon what basis have
    you come to believe otherwise? 

    My brother or sister, the belief that  the Supreme Being is a Trinity is
    false and completely inconsistent  with  the words of Jesus as presented
    in the Bible. God is one, not three. He is a perfect unity. 

    If you are interested in the truth  about  God  and your relationship to
    Him, we invite you to investigate the religion of Islam. 




 9. Word of God about Jesus ........................................ from III&E 



    REGARDING THE SONSHIP OF JESUS: 

    "That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are
    doubting. It is not for God  to  take  a  son unto Him. Glory be to Him!
    When He decrees a thing, He  but  says  to  it 'Be', and it is." (Qur'an
    19:34, 35) 

    "And they say, 'the All-Merciful has taken unto Himself a son.' You have
    indeed advanced something hideous. The  heavens are well nigh rent of it
    and the earth split  asunder,  and  the  mountains  well  nigh fall down
    crashing for that they have attributed to the All-Merciful a son; and it
    behooves not the  All-Merciful  to  take  a  son.  None  is there in the
    heavens and earth but he  comes  to  the  All-Merciful  as  a  servant."
    (Qur'an 19:88-93) 

    "Truly the likeness of Jesus, in God's  sight, is as Adam's likeness; He
    created him of dust, then said He  unto  him, 'Be', and he was." (Qur'an
    3:59) 

    "People of the Book, go not beyond the  bounds in your religion, and say
    not as to God but the Truth. The  Messiah,  Jesus, son of Mary, was only
    the Messenger of God, and His  Word  that  He  committed  to Mary, and a
    spirit from Him. So believe in  God  and  His  Messengers,  and say not,
    'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to
    Him - that He should have  a  son!  To  Him  belongs  all that is in the
    heavens and in the earth; God suffices for a guardian." (Qur'an 4:171) 


    B. REGARDING JESUS BEING GOD: 

    "And when God said, 'O Jesus, son  of  Mary, did you say unto men, "Take
    me and my mother as gods, apart  from  God?"' He said, 'To You be glory!
    It is not mine to say what I have no  right to. If I indeed said it, You
    knew it, knowing what is  within  my  soul,  and  I  do not know what is
    within Your soul; You know the  things  unseen. I only said to them what
    You did command me: "Serve God,  my  Lord  and  your  Lord." And I was a
    witness over them, while I remained among them; but when You did take me
    to Yourself the Watcher over them; You  are the witness of everything.'"
    (Qur'an 5:116, 117) 


    C. REGARDING CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS 

    "And for their unbelief,  and  their  uttering  against  Mary  a  mighty
    calumny, and for their saying, 'We slew the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary,
    the Messenger of God'...yet  they  did  not  slay him, neither crucified
    him, only a likeness  of  that  was  shown  to  them.  Those  who are at
    variance concerning him surely are in  doubt regarding him, they have no
    knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they did not slay
    him of certainty...no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is Almighty,
    All-Wise. There is not one of the People  of the Book but will assuredly
    believe in him before his death, and on the Resurrection Day, he will be
    a witness against them." (Qur'an 4:156-159) 




10. Who Invented Trinity? .......................................... from III&E 


    The three monotheistic religions -  Judaism,  Christianity,  and Islam -
    all purport to  share  one  fundamental  concept:  belief  in God as the
    Supreme Being, the  Creator  and  Sustainer  of  the  Universe. Known as
    "tawhid" in Islam, this concept of  the  Oneness  of God was stressed by
    Moses in a Biblical passage known as the "Shema," or the Jewish creed of
    faith: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." (Deuteronomy 6:4) 

    It was repeated word-for-word  approximately  1500  years later by Jesus
    when he said: "...The first of all the  commandments is, Hear, O Israel;
    the Lord our God is one Lord." (Mark 12:29) 

    Muhammad came along  approximately  600  years  later, bringing the same
    message again: "And your God is  One  God:  There is no God but He, ..."
    (The Qur'an 2:163) 

    Christianity has  digressed  from  the  concept  of  the Oneness of God,
    however, into a vague and mysterious doctrine that was formulated during
    the fourth century. This  doctrine,  which  continues  to be a source of
    controversy both within and without  the Christian religion, is known as
    the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Simply  put, the Christian doctrine of the
    Trinity states that God  is  the  union  of  three  divine persons - the
    Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - in one divine being. 

    If that concept, put  in  basic  terms,  sounds  confusing,  the flowery
    language in the actual text of the  doctrine  lends even more mystery to
    the matter: 

    "...we worship one God in Trinity, and  Trinity in Unity... for there is
    one Person of the Father, another of  the Son, another of the Holy Ghost
    is all one... they are not three  gods,  but  one God... the whole three
    persons are co-eternal and  co-equal...  he  therefore that will be save
    must thus think of the Trinity..." (excerpts from the Athanasian Creed) 

    Let's put this together in a different  form: one person, God the Father
    + one person, God the Son + one person, God the Holy Ghost = one person,
    God the What? Is this English or is this gibberish? 

    It is said that Athanasius,  the  bishop  who  formulated this doctrine,
    confessed that the more he wrote on  the matter, the less capable he was
    of clearly expressing his thoughts regarding it. 

    How did such a confusing doctrine get its start? 




11. Trinity in the Bible ........................................... from III&E 


    References in the Bible to  a  Trinity  of  divine  beings are vague, at
    best. 

    In Matthew 28:19, we find  Jesus  telling  his  disciples  to go out and
    preach to all nations. While the "Great Commission" does make mention of
    the three persons who later become components of the Trinity, the phrase
    "...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
    Holy Ghost" is quite clearly an addition to Biblical text - that is, not
    the actual words of Jesus - as can be seen by two factors: 

    1) Baptism in the early Church, as discussed by Paul in his letters, was
    done only in the name of Jesus; and 

    2) The "Great Commission" was found in the first gospel written, that of
    Mark, bears no mention  of  Father,  Son  and/or  Holy  Ghost - see Mark
    16:15. 

    The only other reference in the  Bible  to a Trinity can be found in the
    Epistle of I  John  5:7,  Biblical  scholars  of  today,  however,  have
    admitted that the phrase "...there are three that bear record in heaven,
    the Father, the Word, and the Holy  Ghost:  and  these three are one" is
    definitely a "later addition" to  Biblical  test, and it is not found in
    any of today's versions of the Bible. 

    It can, therefore, be  seen  that  the  concept  of  a Trinity of divine
    beings was not an idea put forth  by  Jesus or any other prophet of God.
    This doctrine, now subscribed to  by  Christians  all over the world, is
    entirely man-made in origin. 




12. Doctrine Takes Shape ........................................... from III&E 


    While Paul of Tarsus, the man  who  could  rightfully  be considered the
    true founder of Christianity, did formulate  many of its doctrines, that
    of the Trinity was not among them.  He  did, however, lay the groundwork
    for such when he put forth the idea of Jesus being a "divine Son." After
    all, a Son does need a  Father,  and  what  about  a  vehicle  for God's
    revelations to man? In essence, Paul named the principal players, but it
    was the later Church people who put the matter together. 

    Tertullian, a lawyer  and  presbyter  of  the  third  century  Church in
    Carthage, was the first to use the word  "Trinity" when he put forth the
    theory that the Son and the Spirit participate  in the being of God, but
    all are of one being of substance with the Father. 




13. Formal Doctrine is Drawnup ..................................... from III&E 


    When controversy over the matter  of  the Trinity blew up in 318 between
    two church men from Alexandria -  Arius,  the deacon, and Alexander, his
    bishop - Emperor Constantine stepped into the fray. 

    Although Christian dogma was a  complete  mystery to him, he did realize
    that  a  unified  church  was  necessary  for  a  strong  kingdom.  When
    negotiation failed to settle  the  dispute,  Constantine  called for the
    first ecumenical council in Church history in order to settle the matter
    once and for all. 

    Six weeks after the 300  bishops  first  gathered  at  Nicea in 325, the
    doctrine of the Trinity was hammered  out. The God of the Christians was
    now seen as having  three  essences,  or  natures,  in  the  form of the
    Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 




14. Church Puts its Foot down ...................................... from III&E 


    The matter was far from settled, however, despite high hopes for such on
    the part of Constantine. Arius and  the  new bishop of Alexandria, a man
    named Athanasius, began arguing over the matter even as the Nicene Creed
    was being signed; "Arianism"  became  a catch-word from that time onward
    for anyone who did not hold to the doctrine of the Trinity. 

    It wasn't until 451, at the Council of Chalcedon that, with the approval
    of the Pope, the  Nicene/Constantinople  Creed was set as authoritative.
    Debate on the matter was no longer  tolerated;  to speak out against the
    Trinity was now considered  blasphemy,  and  such earned stiff sentences
    that  ranged  from  mutilation  to   death.  Christians  now  turned  on
    Christians, maiming and  slaughtering  thousands because of a difference
    of opinion. 




15. Debate Continues ............................................... from III&E 


    Brutal punishments and even death did  not stop the controversy over the
    doctrine of the Trinity,  however,  and  the  said controversy continues
    even today. 

    The majority of  Christians,  when  asked  to  explain  this fundamental
    doctrine of their faith,  can  offer  nothing  more  than  "I believe it
    because I was told to do so." It  is  explained  away as "mystery" - yet
    the Bible says in I Corinthians 14:33 that "... God is not the author of
    confusion..." 

    The Unitarian denomination of Christianity  has kept alive the teachings
    of Arius in saying that God is one;  they do not believe in the Trinity.
    As a result, mainstream Christians abhor  them, and the National Council
    of Churches has refused their  admittance.  In Unitarianism, the hope is
    kept alive that Christians  will  someday  return  to  the preachings of
    Jesus: "...Thou shalt worship the Lord  thy God, and Him only shalt thou
    serve." (Luke 4:8) 




16. Islam and the Matter of The Trinity ............................ from III&E 


    While Christianity may have a problem  defining the essence of God, such
    is not the case in Islam. 

    "They do blaspheme who say:  Allah  is  one  of  three in a Trinity, for
    there is no god except One God."  (Qur'an  5:73) It is worth noting that
    the Arabic language Bible uses the name "Allah" as the name of God. 

    Suzanne Haneef, in her book WHAT  EVERYONE  SHOULD  KNOW ABOUT ISLAM AND
    MUSLIMS (Library of Islam, 1985), puts  the matter quite succinctly when
    she says, "But God is not like a  pie  or  an apple which can be divided
    into three thirds which  form  one  whole;  if  God  is three persons or
    possesses  three  parts,  He  is  assuredly   not  the  Single,  Unique,
    Indivisible Being which God  is  and  which  Christianity  professes  to
    believe in." (pp. 183-184) 

    Looking at it from another angle,  the  Trinity  designates God as being
    three separate entities - the  Father,  the  Son and the Holy Spirit. If
    God is the Father and  also  the  Son,  He  would  then be the Father of
    Himself because He is His own Son. This is not exactly logical. 

    Christianity claims to be a monotheistic  religion. Monotheism, however,
    has as its fundamental belief that God is One; the Christian doctrine of
    the Trinity - God  being  Three-in-One  -  is seen by Islam as a form of
    polytheism. Christians don't revere just One God, they revere three. 

    This is a charge not taken  lightly  by  Christians,  however.  They, in
    turn, accuse the Muslims  of  not  even  knowing  what  the  Trinity is,
    pointing out that the Qur'an sets  it  up as Allah the Father, Jesus the
    Son, and Mary his mother. While veneration of Mary has been a figment of
    the Catholic Church since 431 when  she  was  given the title "Mother of
    God" by the Council of Ephesus, a closer examination of the verse in the
    Qur'an most often cited by  Christians  in  support of their accusation,
    shows that the designation of Mary  by  the  Qur'an as a "member" of the
    Trinity, is simply not true. 

    While the Qur'an does condemn both trinitarianism  (the Qur'an 4:17) and
    the worship of Jesus and  his  mother  Mary  (the Qur'an 5:116), nowhere
    does it identify the actual three  components  of the Christian Trinity.
    The position of the Qur'an is that  WHO  or WHAT comprises this doctrine
    is not important; what is important is that the very notion of a Trinity
    is an affront against the concept of One God. 

    In conclusion, we see that  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity is a concept
    conceived entirely by man; there  is  no sanction whatsoever from God to
    be found regarding the matter simply because the whole idea of a Trinity
    of divine beings has no place in monotheism.  In the Qur'an, God's Final
    Revelations to mankind, we  find  His  stand  quite  clearly stated in a
    number of eloquent passages: 

    "...your God is One God: whoever expects  to meet his Lord, let him work
    righteousness, and,  in  the  worship  of  his  Lord,  admit  no  one as
    partner." (Qur'an 18:110) 

    "...take not, with God, another  object  of  worship, lest you should be
    thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected." (Qur'an 17:39) 

    "...Because, as God tells us over  and  over  again in a Message that is
    echoed throughout All His Revealed Scriptures: 

    "...I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore, serve Me (and no other)..."
    (Qur'an 21:92) 

    -- Aisha Brown 




 Announcements ................................................................


17. Archive Info .............................................................. 


    This FAQ is archived  at  several  sites  and  is  available  for public
    retrieval thru anonymous FTP, E-MAIL, Gopher & World Wide Web. 


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    send usenet/news.answers/islam-faq/part9
    quit



                                  -- GOPHER --


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                              CCO anonymous ftp archive/
                              pub/
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			      islam-faq/


        Site:          latif.com 70
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                           -- World-Wide-Web (WWW) --
    

    One recommended interface is 'mosaic,' below are mosaic 'home pages.' 



URL at USENET Archive site:
http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/islam-faq/faq.html


URL at Caltech MSA site:
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~calmsa/links.html






18. Credits ................................................................... 


    The author wishes to thank all those who contributed in any capacity for
    the original one part FAQ or this multi-part FAQ. 


                                 -- SOURCES --
    

    The basic  introduction  and  literature  presented  in  the FAQ is from
    brochures on Islam distributed  by  Institute  of  Islamic Information &
    Education (III&E). These  brochures  were  typed  in  electronic form by
    Ms.M.Ahmed. 

    The  information  on   soc.religion.islam  forum  (in  Part  2) has been
    compiled  from   USENET   archives   and  administrative  logs  of
    Soc.Religion.Islam moderator panel. 

    What is III&E? 

    III&E is an acronym for the Institute of Islamic Information & Education
    which was  established  in  Chicago,  Illinois  in  1985.  The  III&E is
    registered in the  State  of  Illinois  and  recognized  by the Internal
    Revenue Service (IRS) as a not-for-profit religious organization. 

    More information can be obtained by  contacting Dr. M. Amir, III&E, P.O.
    Box 41129, Chicago, IL  60641-0129,  U.S.A.;  Tel:  (312)  777-7443 Fax:
    (312) 777-7199.



                                  -- FORMAT --
    

    The format of the FAQ series  has  been  done  by utilizing resources of
    Islamic Information & News  Network  (IINN).  A  custom program, Nebula,
    written by editors of IINN for generating newsletters has been used. 


    What is IINN? 

    Islamic Information & News Network  is  a forum dedicated to educate the
    network community on issues relating to Islam and Muslims in an academic
    & non-political environment.  Weekly  digest is available on internet by
    subscribing to  MUSLIMS@ASUACAD.BITnet  (A  Bitnet listserv list) and on
    USENET: bit.listserv.muslims. 



                               -- Permissions --
    

    Permission to  post  this  multi-part  FAQ  has  been  obtained  by  the
    following: 

	o	Institute of Islamic Information & Education (III&E)
	o 	Islamic Information & News Network (Muslims@PSUVM.bitnet) 
	o 	Moderator(s) of News.Answers (Thomas Khoenig & P.Huang)


# End of Islam FAQ Part 9 #

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM