Home Page Faithful to the Magisterium Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia Write to Marty Why Catholic? Because True.
Evangelizing Jews Catholics Protestants Atheists Freemasons Liberals Muslims New Age Jewish Antimissionaries Using Second Exodus to Evangelize Jews Why Catholics Evangelize Jews Proselytize vs Evangelize
September 11, 2001 raised questions as to whether Islam calls its followers to war or peace. The Qur’an says both. There is, 2:256 “Let there be no compulsion in religions,” but also, 9:5 “Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them.”
When we read the Qur’an, we quickly observe warnings that only the original Qur’an in Arabic is Allah’s perfect book, and that any translation of the Qur’an into another language is unreliable. The obvious conclusion is that only the person who reads it in Arabic can actually understand it, and that anyone who reads it in translation and questions it can be told that he cannot possibly understand what he is reading. Islam resembles Judaism in its variety of interpretations. Sunnis, Sufis, Shi’ites, Wahabis, etc., read the Qur’an in Arabic but explain it very differently, suggesting that there are internal contradictions in the original. The warnings, then, are a confession of embarrassment, meant to deflect authentic questions raised in countries where Muslims are in the minority. We explain to our Muslim friends that our concerns about the Qur’an do not turn on fine points that can be lost in translation, but rather on issues on which translators agree.
Let us look at these internal contradictions more closely. The Qur’an says that the world was made in 7:54, 32:4 six days, but also that it took 41:9 eight days. These contradictions within the Qur’an are so obvious that it actually has a verse on abrogations. 2:106 “None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar.” Muslims say this is progressive revelation, adapting God’s word to different peoples at different times, just like the kosher laws vs. Jesus’ declaration that all foods are clean. We point out that these are not at all comparable. God developed His revelation from Moses to Jesus over twelve centuries, during which time the Israelite people changed from desert nomads to an advanced nation that could follow religious law from the Sanhedrin and civil law from the Roman procurator, king and emperor. The Qur’an’s verse on abrogations refers only to the Qur’an itself. A change or correction to the same book within 20 years cannot be progressive revelation. A reversal within such a short interval reveals either that the author was not all knowing or that the recorder made changes.
We can start by asking our Muslim friend about his own faith, which sect he follows, and in what way he disagrees with the other sects. I would show him some of these texts, no compulsion vs. fight and slay, six days vs. eight days, and ask him to reconcile them. When he gives his opinion, I would ask why other Muslims read it differently, and how he knows his is the right interpretation. I would ask him why, if Allah has decreed all that occurs, why Islam is not unified. I would ask why Allah has never sent Islam a single living authority to interpret the Qur’an and the other holy books so that all Islam could serve His will.
This question of a living authority is important. In Islam, the relationship between God and man is that of master and slave. Muslims do not accept Jesus’ New and Everlasting Covenant: Jn 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” Islam teaches that God causes all our thoughts, word, and deeds, that He leads some to heaven and others to hell. The Qur’an says, 9:51 “Nothing will happen to us except what God has decreed for us.” This absolute determinism falsely proposes that God rather than man is the author of evil and denies any reason for us to struggle toward heaven. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa contra Gentiles to help Christian missionaries in Spain overcome this extreme determinism.
We can ask our Muslim friend about heaven. The Qur’an teaches 4:124 “If any do deeds of righteousness be they male or female and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” So, Muslims believe that righteous men and women will both enter heaven. But what then? The Qur’an teaches 44:51 “Surely those who guard [against evil] are in a secure place, in gardens and springs; they shall wear of fine and thick silk, [sitting] face to face. Thus shall it be, and We will wed them with houris, pure, beautiful ones.” So the men all get beautiful women who serve their every desire. But what do the women get? Do they get only the pleasure of serving some man’s every whim for all eternity?
We can ask our Muslim friend what the Qur’an teaches about Jews and Christians. It says, 2:62 “Those who believe [in the Qur’an], and those who follow the Jewish [Scriptures], and the Christians shall have their reward with their Lord.” Sounds pretty friendly. But it also says, 5:54 “Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends.” That doesn’t sound friendly at all. But in both cases Jews and Christians are considered together. But then the Qur’an says, 5:85 “Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ’We are Christians.’” That sounds pretty friendly to Christians but not to Jews.
If our Muslim friend objects that he cannot find truth in Catholic authority, we remind him that the Qur’an says the original New Testament is a revelation from God, 5:46, 67, 69, 71 that Jesus was a prophet whose words should be believed by Muslims, 4:171, 5:78 and that Christians are obligated to accept the New Testament. 10:94 The usual explanation is that the text was corrupted; conveniently, only the Qur’an text in the original Arabic is perfect. But Muhammad would not have invited Christians to accept a corrupted version of the New Testament, so Muslims must hold that it was intact during the seventh century. Since the Catholic Church uses as its official Bible a restoration of St. Jerome’s fourth century edition, today’s New Testament must be the one recommended by Muhammad.
Finally, the Qur’an depicts Allah recommending the Christian Bible to Muhammad as the authority for truth: 10:94 “If thou wert in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, ask those who have been reading the Book [Bible] from before thee; the truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord.”
If our Muslim friend has come this far with us, we invite him to learn more about Catholic authority. My book, Second Exodus, has a strong defense of Catholic authority starting on p. 22. It includes the Scriptural evidence, the evidence from the origin of the New Testament, and the visible signs such as the Western Wall, the Shroud of Turin, the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, the miracles at Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fátima, and the incorruptible bodies, all wide open to examination by the world’s top scientists.
Once a person understands that each Pope is the Vicar of Christ for his time and teaches authoritatively on faith (Love God) and morals (Love one another), all of Catholic teaching becomes open to him.
Copyright © 1999-2009 Martin K Barrack. All rights reserved.