December 2011 Alislam-eGazette: A watershed moment for China: Islam or Christianity?

Shanghai skyline

Shanghai skyline

January, 2012

Alislam-eGazette published its landmark volume about Islam and Christianity today.

This volume has several articles comparing Islam and Christianity and why it may be important for China to make a good informed choice.

There are thirty million Chinese Muslims.  It would board well for Chinese future, if her leadership would engage these citizens in national media positively and use them as a vehicle to usher in a new age of harmony, freedom, rationality and prosperity for every Chinese.   This may be the only means to prevent the quagmire between Christianity and rationality, articulated so eloquently by Soren Kierkegaard, from engulfing 1.5 billion Chinese people.  Leaning towards Islam would not only be good religion and history but, also good politics.  Long live humanity!

A watershed moment for China: Islam or Christianity?

By Zia H Shah MD

Like it or not, but Islam and Christianity have been two missionary religions, which have been struggling to win the hearts and minds of humanity for centuries and they are not going to change their character, just because some agnostics or atheists do not like it. As a Muslim, belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his follower, the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, came to unite all religions and mankind by emphasizing religious freedom for everyone and the fact that the founders of all other religions, Confucius, Buddha, Tao, Krishna, Ram, Moses and Jesus were prophets of God. Islam gives a unifying paradigm and recognizes the spiritual experience of all people over the millennia, whereas, Christianity always demonstrates an obsession with Jesus and in this age of information wants to pull us back two thousand years ago to a society, when heroes were elevated to be gods. We have two other man-gods from Jesus’ time, Emperor Augustus and Apollonius of Tyana. If we are to believe in human gods we may as well believe in millions of Hindu gods. After all why should the Christian stories be more acceptable than the Hindu myths, except that the Western civilization gave us our present day science and technology. On an side note, it would be relevant to add here that the Western civilization did extensively borrow from the Chinese and the Islamic Heritage.

Islam is not new to China. Emperor Hongwu (1328 – 1398) was the founder of the Ming dynasty and ordered construction of several mosques in Nanjing, Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian and had inscriptions praising the Prophet Muhammad placed in mosques. He rebuilt the Jinjue Mosque in Nanjing. He also wrote a 100 word praise on Islam, Allah and the prophet Muhammad. He had around 10 Muslim generals in his military, including Chang Yuchun, Lan Yu, Ding Dexing, Mu Ying, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai. In addition, Hongwu’s spouse, Empress Ma, was a Muslim. Hui scholars like Yusuf Haji Chang have claimed the Emperor was a Muslim himself as well, due to his intimate relations with Muslims. Zheng He (1371–1433) the greatest Chinese Admiral was also a Muslim. His voyages and immigrants of Chinese descendant played a major role in converting Indonesians to Islam. Several sources note that some of the members of the Wali Songo (the nine revered saints of Islam in Indonesia, especially in Java, because of their historic role in the spread of Islam in Indonesia) had Chinese blood in them.

Read further click here

Daoism: Monotheism, Trinity or Polytheism?

By Dr. Naseer Tahir

Daoism, also known as Taoism is an organized religious tradition that has been evolving in China, Korea and Japan for last two thousand years. It is understood that it has gone though a continuous change and self-invention within different environmental contexts. The Daoism as it existed at its origin has been changing consistently and its followers recognize the mysterious creativity within the very fabric of time and space, and human experience of changes in our bodies and world around us. It is difficult to estimate the total number of followers due to a variety of factors including defining Daoism. Various estimates range from twenty million to over fifty millions.

Daoism has no single founder, it has a variety of sacred texts but there is no decisive authority among them. The most influential text, (Daode jing, 4th century BCE) names the mysterious “Dao” which can be translated as “way” or “path.”

Present day Daoism is not monotheistic and it believes in a variety of deities and spirits which may or may not originate from this world and different Dao groups may glorify different gods.

There is some evidence of a concept of “Trinity”; San Qing (Daoist Trinity) refers to three supreme Gods respected by Daoism, including Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning, Celestial Worthy of Numinous Treasure and Celestial Worthy of the Tao and its Power. Worship for the Daoist Trinity dates back to the 4th century. The Daoist Trinity lives in a far and mysterious fairyland, and governs countless other Gods while supervising the social life of human beings. Thus, ultimately emphasizing polytheism. It has no resemblance to Christian Trinity, lacking any concepts of original sin, salvation, or redemption. There is no mention of the Father, Son of God or the Holy Spirit. Read more:

Read further click here

Quantum Theory – Sign of a Personal God

Source / Courtesy: Muslim Sunrise, Fall 2011

By Zia H Shah MD and Sardar Anees Ahmad

A deist believes God created the universe, but rejects the notion of a Personal God – a God who answers prayers or intervenes in human affairs. Many deists are strict determinist, believing that causality governs the entire universe. Albert Einstein, by his own admission, held such a conception of God, “I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws.”

Einstein’s own views resulted from his own remarkable scientific discoveries, as well as that of Newton. Through these discoveries, great technological advancements surfaced and scientists came to believe that determinable laws governed the entire universe.

In turn, Einstein’s strict adherence to determinism lead him to reject the notion of free will: “If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?”

Unlike his earth-shattering discoveries regarding space, time, gravity and light, however, Einstein’s determinism would not be able to command respect. Ironically, science itself would debunk Einstein’s determinism.

Read further click here

Muslim Times featuring a BBC Documentary about Madagascar and making it into an Exhibit for Islam against Christianity

Almost 80% of species in Madagascar are unique to the island and are not found else where. As a result this largest island is a witness for evolution, which for our purposes means, a common lineage of all life forms on our planet earth. The uniqueness of Madagascar species is a proof for the theory of evolution, rather than of the theory of separate creation of individual species. Theory of evolution means that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and this inference blows away the dogma of Original Sin, a hallmark of Christianity. In this sense Madagascar becomes an Exhibit and a key Witness for Islam against Christianity! As you enjoy the scenic beauty of Madagascar in an hour long documentary, through the eyes of legendary Sir David Attenborough, it becomes a 587,041 square kilometers Exhibit for the truth of Islam against the dogma of Original Sin, which is linked to atonement through the vicarious sacrifice of alleged literal son of God, Jesus Christ!

Read further click here

Confucius: His testimony for one God and against Pauline Dogma

By Zia H Shah MD

As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, one and the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom.

Absence of Trinity, Original Sin and Pauline atonement in Confucius’s teachings should serve as an epiphany to every fair and open minded Christian.

This is not just a Muslim paradigm but some Christian missionaries have yielded to this frame of reasoning. Don Richardson is a Canadian Christian missionary, who worked among the tribal people of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. He argues in his writings that, hidden among tribal cultures, there are usually some practices or understandings, which he calls ‘Redemptive Analogies,’ which can be used to illustrate the meaning of the Christian Gospel.

In 1962, he and his wife Carol went to work among the Sawi tribe of what was then Dutch New Guinea. Richardson labored to show the villagers a way that they could comprehend Jesus from the Bible, but the cultural barriers to understanding and accepting this teaching seemed impossible until an unlikely event brought the concept of the substitutionary atonement of Christ into immediate relevance for the Sawi.

Read further click here

Buddha: A Witness against Pauline Dogma

By Zia H Shah MD

As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom. The gulf between Pauline Christianity and all the other world religions is an illuminating testimony to the fact that St. Paul changed Christianity from the religion of Jesus to a religion about his death and imagined resurrection.

There is a concept in Buddhism of countless Buddha. Encyclopedia Britannica states, “According to the various traditions of Buddhism, there have been buddhas in the past and there will be buddhas in the future.” This resonates with the Islamic teaching that there have been 124,000 prophets in different times and different parts of the world.

The testimony of One God is everywhere and Trinity is nowhere to be seen in our universe. The universe and all life forms on our planet earth speak of One God and not three.

Historically also other than the Christians we find no testimony of Trinity in other regions of the earth and other religions. Even looking at the local population of the Middle East, Jews are strict monotheists. Even among the Christians we still have a sect named Unitarians.

The word Trinity is not even mentioned in the New Testament. It is stated in 1890 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Trinitarians and the Unitarians continued to confront each other, the latter at the beginning of the third century still forming the large majority.”

With a little effort One God can be traced in all religions, but the three persons and one substance of Trinity is nowhere to be seen, except in Pauline dogma.

Read further click here

Zoroaster: A Witness against Pauline Dogma

By Dr. Amtul Qadoos Farhat

Trinity, the Original Sin and Atonement are the main elements of Pauline Dogma. Trinity means God is triune in nature with equal partnership of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Triune godhead. The Original Sin according to Pauline philosophy is inherited by every human being from the time of Adam and Eve when they ‘sinned’. Atonement is an automatic privilege available to followers of Jesus Christ thanks to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

The teachings of Zoroaster stood for the unity of God and rejected the notion of the Original Sin and Atonement. He taught that all humans are born on the nature of God and therefore are without any inherited sin. He also believed that human beings are born with free will through which they shape their destiny. By making wise choices through good actions, good thoughts and good words (path of Asha) they can find everlasting happiness or else become victims of Satan (Angra Mainyu or Ahraman) and remain unhappy and miserable. The ultimate life and fate of human beings depend upon how they guide their free will and what sort of choices they make.

This article provides some of the links to support Zoroastrian teachings against the Pauline Doctrines.

Read further click here

Islam in China

By Amtul Mussawir Mansoor

When one hears of China, they think of Confucianism, Buddhism, or other Chinese folk religion, but who would know that Islam was established in China only 18 years after Prophet Muhammad’s death, and had a major influence in the development of China.

Islam was officially introduced to China in the year 650 C.E. during the Tang dynasty (618-907). Hadhrat Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam, sent a delegation led by Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, the maternal uncle of Prophet Muhummad, may peace be on him, who invited the Chinese Emperor to recognize Islam. The emperor was pleased with the teachings of Prophet Muhummad(pbuh), due to the fact that many aspects of Islam were similar to the teachings of Confucius, and he granted the “freedom to propagate their faith and expressed his admiration for Islam.” In addition to the warm welcome, the first Mosque, the Huaisheng Mosque, was built in the city of Guangzhou to show respect to the delegation sent by the Caliph.

During the Tang dynasty, Arab and Persian traders gradually arrived in China traveling by sea routes and through the Silk road. The settlers built mosques, mostly along the Canton River. They were also responsible for bringing various elements of the Muslim culture to the Chinese world, such as various Muslim cuisines and their knowledge of medicine to China.

To read more click here

Recruiting the four Horsemen of Neo-atheism into Cavalry of Islam

By Zia H Shah

First a few words about the big picture. Atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma. However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work. However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Christopher Hitchens, Prof. Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Prof. Richard Dawkins have been called the four horsemen of neo-atheism. That is old news. The latest is that I have just recruited them as volunteers for army of Islam; they form my meager cavalry, which will establish the philosophical superiority of Islam over Christianity. They will work hard for every day of their God given life, for the cause of Islam, without any worldly compensation from me.

Every time they make a good case for evolution, for common lineage of all life forms on planet earth, they establish the truth of Islam as opposed to the dogma of Christianity. In my previous writings I have shown, how evolution, by showing that Adam and Eve were not the first human couple, strikes a death blow to the dogma of Original Sin. I appreciate the clarity of thinking of my cavalry, except in the areas of their blind spots, where they are blinded by their ideology, so I will continue to use their scholarship suitably. With this army of only four, I will fight in all directions, East, West, North and South, by the Grace of Allah. We will fight not with swords or arrows, not even with pen, just one mouse and a key board, which I bought for twenty dollars of my hard earned money! My mouse and key board will just properly direct their words. To make sure that my horsemen do not double cross me and start fighting their own battles, I will need to suitably expose their blind spots of understanding also, so they submit to the will of Allah and continue to serve Islam. Read on, and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon’s advice, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

To read more click here

Jesus and Mary are loved by Muslims too

By Laiq Ahmad Atif

Each year, with the start of December, many discussions, publications, activities are directly focused on the topic of ‘Christmas’; in brief, Christmas becomes the talk of the town. Streets become brighter with different lights and decorations; homes, shops and offices are also very well decorated, in order to welcome Christmas.

The Holy Quran gives great honor and respect to Jesus and Mary (peace be on them), and both are mentioned repeatedly in the Holy Quran. A chapter of the Holy Quran is named after mother Mary and the name of Jesus is actually mentioned more often in the Holy Quran than of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him. Allah Almighty says:

When the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah gives thee glad tidings of a word from Him; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honored in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God. (3:46)

And We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs and strengthened him with the Spirit of holiness. (2:254)

The Holy Quran also extended great honor and respect to Mary, to such a high extent that God has named an entire chapter of the Holy Quran by her name, ‘Sura Maryam’, and Maryam is an Arabic name for Mary.

To read more click here

Unity of God and superiority of Islam

By Laiq Ahmad Atif

Some time ago, during a discussion with friend, we came to know of a woman from Australia, who’s sole mission was to unite all mankind at one point. I asked him that does she believe in a single entity, the central focus of the universe, – the Almighty God. If not, then how can she bring together and unite the entire humanity at one single point. Because unity requires a unit, an absolute single central point, extreme oneness, where mankind can be united, and that central unit is the Almighty God. As whole human body depends on its central unit – the heart, the entire mankind depends on the Unity and Oneness of God.

Can a state run when there is more than one leader? Can a human body function with more than one heart? Can a country have more than one capital city? Absolutely not, and any such system cannot be successful and will be a massive disaster. Similarly, there cannot be more than one central point that can unite people besides God Almighty. That is a philosophy and extreme reality that Islam presents when it speaks about the existence, absolute Unity and Oneness of God. The Holy Quran says:

If there had been in them (the heavens and the earth) other gods besides Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Glorified then be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above what they attribute. (21:23)

Unity means that if God is Unique and One, then in His entire universe such unity will be visible.

To read more click here

Thomas Paine: His Second Coming in Islam in the 21st Century

By Zia H Shah MD

Thomas Paine was one of the Founding Fathers of USA, in 18th century he was one of the greatest intellectuals and a proponent of Deism. He is best known for his book Age of Reason. Mark Twain said, “It took a brave man before the Civil War to confess he had read the Age of Reason … I read it first when I was a cub pilot, read it with fear and hesitation, but marveling at its fearlessness and wonderful power.”

Paine’s metaphysics is closer to Islam than Christian dogma, and I will over time create his Muslim version for our times. In studying him, his Deism, Islam and Christianity, side by side, some of our Christian brethren and sisters are more likely to appreciate reality. In noting what is common and what is different between the three religions, Deism, Islam and Christianity one’s reason, belief and prejudices may be shaken and jolted enough to restore a natural and reasonable order. Allow me to use a rather crude analogy that it would be like electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) restoring the depressed mood in major depression. Anesthesia is not required for the reading of my articles though!

I will present his book the Age of Reason in another article and in both these articles, show where his Deism and Islam completely agree with each other and augment each other and where they would differ, in so doing a Christian may find a more palatable transition to Islam.

To read more click here

Saint Augustine did build a bridge from Christian tradition to Islam!

By Zia H Shah

According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

Saint Augustine was bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430, one of the Latin Fathers of the Church, one of the Doctors of the Church, and perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul. Augustine’s adaptation of classical thought to Christian teaching created a theological system of great power and lasting influence. His numerous written works, the most important of which are Confessions and City of God, shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought.

Saint Augustine in his book Confessions provided a bridge from Paganism to Christianity. I believe the same bridge can help us today in moving from the Christian tradition to a more pure Monotheistic tradition of Islam. I will by the Grace of God demonstrate this in this article. In Confessions he provides reasons for the truth and superiority of Christianity, especially in Book VII of this classic. I learnt about this through the lecture series by the Teaching Company, St. Augustine’s Confessions, taught by William R. Cook and Ronald B. Herzman. They write in introduction to the Book VII of the Confessions:

“Within the 13-book structure of theConfessions, Book VII is the exact center. In some ways, this makes sense. If we look at the Confessions in terms of Augustine’s search for truth, this book marks the time when he becomes convinced of the intellectual superiority of Christianity. In this lecture, we will discuss how Augustine becomes convinced that Christianity is true. He presents the climax of his search in terms of an amazing paradox: He learns of the truth of Christianity by reading pagan philosophers. Because he makes the case for the importance, indeed, the necessity, of pagan learning in his search for truth, this book is an important chapter in the history of Christianity and in the intellectual history of the West. Augustine offers a valuable contribution to the question: ‘What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?’ This lecture deals with what Augustine is and is not saying about the relationship between Christian revelation and classical learning and what the long-term implications of his position have been for subsequent history.”

Why does Augustine become convinced that Christianity is true? What does Augustine propose that Athens have to do with Jerusalem? What does Plato have to do with the Bible and more specifically with the Gospel of John? How can you examine the truth of one tradition of thought and reasoning in light of another parallel tradition? To find answers to all these questions read further:

To read more click here

The Shanghai featured picture, at the top of this post, is courtesy of:

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