Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Muslim By Any Other Name Is Still A Muslim? Why Consistency Matters

In dealing with the question of Nabeel Qureshi's Muslim status, David Wood demonstrated that Nabeel met all the requirements according to the Qur'an and the Hadith to be a bona fide Muslim. To see David's video on the subject see here. Yes, the Ahmadiyyas have a peculiar position in regards to their belief in the founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the "Promised Messiah" and "Mahdi". They believe wrong as it is, that Jesus already returned in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. To them, the second coming of Jesus has already occurred. However, as David rightly noted, Sunni Muslims are looking forward to the coming of another prophet, namely the prophet Jesus who will come according to the Hadith as a jihadi to destroy the cross, kill the pigs, abolish the jizya (as there will be no more dhimmis since all will become Muslim). But there is another figure many Muslims believer will come, the Mahdi, "the Guided One" whom Jesus himself will follow, and Jesus will pray behind him. This implies that the Mahdi will be even greater than the prophet Jesus, since Jesus will follow him. Some sources indicate the Mahdi will come from Muhammad's family line, and would also bear Muhammad's name, which would imply at the very least that he would have some prophetic status. Belief in the Mahdi is common to both Sunni and Shia Muslims. Incidentally,  many Sunni and Shia Muslims will denounce each other as non-Muslims.

While what defines Muslims are the articles and pillars of Islam, the belief that Allah is the only god, and Muhammad is his messenger, all of which Ahmadiyyas accept, what about beliefs regarding the death of Jesus? The Qur'an is very clear that Jesus was not crucified or killed on the cross (Q 4:157-158). This has been the classical position in Islam. One of the best recognized Muslims apologists is Dr. Shabir Ally. Dr. Ally believes that Jesus was crucified,but that He did not die on the cross. Rather He swooned (this is an old view that has been refuted as far back as 1835).In this video below, I asked Dr. Ally if he had become an Ahmadiyya Muslim because the Ahmadiyyas share the same view. In his response he denied being an Ahmadiyya, but admitted that he agreed with them on the position that Jesus was crucified but did not die. Can a Muslim be a Muslim and still maintain that Jesus was crucified?

On July 31, 2016 I had the privilege of moderating a debate with Dr. Ally and Rev. Samuel Green. During the Q & A session, both Dr. Ally and Rev. Green was asked what they believed would happen to people who did not become Christian or Muslim but lived pious lives. Dr. Ally's response was very surprising. His response is found in the video below starting at 22:55 and ends at 24:00. 

Dr. Ally responded that if he was asked that question 20 years ago he would have given a different answer, namely, that only Muslims "go to heaven"  and "everyone else goes to hell." Now, Dr. Ally asserts that he has changed his views on this question. Everyone he said has "a range of options" in terms of belief and unbelief. One needs to choose the best option and "do the best you can". Thus, in Dr. Ally's point of view, non-Muslims will make it to heaven without having to convert to Islam as long as they choose the best things to believe from the range of options that they have. Can a Muslim still be a Muslim and argue that conversion or reversion to Islam is not necessary and that all people have the opportunity to make it to heaven without affirming the Shahada? If so, then what is the purpose of Muslims practicing dawah seeking to convert people to Islam?

In the Meccan period, the Qur'an stated that Jews, Christians, and Sabeans (as well as Muslims) will make it to heaven as we see in the following surahs,

 "Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Q 2:62; Yusuf Ali).

"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, - any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, - on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve" (Q 5:69; Yusuf Ali)

However, these passages are believed to have been abrogated by this later Medinan surah, "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good)" (Q 3:85; Yusuf Ali). It would seem then to deny Islam as the only religion of God for salvation would be tantamount to apostasy as the verse indicates.

Would our Muslim friends charge Dr. Ally as not being a true Muslim because of his views on the crucifixion of Jesus and on the question of how one is saved and enters heaven? The Christian's ultimate authority is the Holy Scriptures. There is only one God, and there is only one way to salvation, and that way is through the one Mediator between God and humans, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus did not claim to be "a" way, or a "portion" of the truth, He did not point the way or show people where to find truth, He claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to God unless they come through Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6). The early disciples of Jesus preached the same message, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12; ESV). Let us continue to pray for our Muslim friends that God would be merciful and draw them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ whom to know is life eternal.

1 comment:

kiwimac said...

Yes I also noticed that comment by Shabir Ally in the debate and thought it sounded very new age..Are his doubts beginning to haunt him?