Friday, September 14, 2007

Mohammed versus Jesus

First of all, I noticed that I just spelled Muhammad as Mohammed instead. I've seen both used and I don't know when or why I use one versus the other. I guess I'll just use whichever pops into my head when I'm writing. Such is transliteration.

Although in general, Jesus, Mohammed, and all the prophets teach primarily the same thing, there are a few topics in which their teachings seem to differ greatly. This is especially true of Jesus' teachings as Muhammad's line up fairly well with the Old Testament prophets. This is fine if justified with the "new covenant" argument of Christianity that states that Jesus came bringing a new message of grace and forgiveness, to abolish the old law and establish a new one in which belief in him and living a Christian life are the new requirements for eternal life. However, if one sticks to the Muslim argument that all the prophets' teachings were consistent but were simply modified, Jesus' teachings have to be drastically altered to attain consistency.

Whereas Jesus taught to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you (Luke 6:27-36), Mohammed allowed and even encouraged violence at times. Although Christianity has a long history of violent mission work bringing about forced conversion, that is not a product of Jesus' teachings but, rather, the corruption of power and ethnocentrism resulting from Christianity's dominance in the Western world. The early church spread and grew not through violence but simplly through personal evangelism and the faith and conviction demonstrated through martyrdom.

I suppose the same progression happened with Islam but on a much faster time-scale. Since it happened during the life of Mohammed, it definitely can't be argued that it was a result of corruption of his teachings and Islamic beliefs. It can easily be argued, on the other hand, that Christianity's violent turn was against Christ's teachings.

The warring against unbelievers under the direction of Mohammed does draw definite parallels to Israel's history. The entire book of Joshua in the Old Testament follows Israel's entry into the promised land across the Jordan River after forty years of wandering through the desert. Under Joshua's guidance, they invade city after city, killing almost everyone and claiming the land and its wealth.

I can accept that some corruption of Jesus' message happened but that seems like a major difference. They were in very different situations, Jesus having a small following within Judaism for a short time span as opposed to Mohammed having a large following over a much longer span. However, I can't imagine Jesus would teach only lessons applicable to the immediate situation and ignore the future, growing church.

I'm currently finishing up a collection of ahadith (sayings and teachings of Mohammed that were not part of the divinely given Quran). Most of the teachings are commonsense, habits to help you lead a good life, keep good relations with others, and maintain one's health. Some of them do strike me as somewhat specific to the Arab culture, as I've already mentioned, not having any practical grounding, but most of them would probably be accepted as guidelines for any religion, Eastern or Western, mono- or poly- (or even a-)theistic. There were a few that almost offended me as a Christian; I wish I had marked them of written them down. I feel like most of them have to do with relations with non-Muslims. Whereas Christianity (at least I feel) teaches one to love, honor, and respect everyone regardless of creed, Islam has a very different official position regarding non-believers, especially non-Judeo-Christians.

That strikes me as odd because Islam is not an exclusive religion into which you have to be born. People convert (or revert, in the Islamic lingo) to Islam all the time. Muslims are expected to spread Islam to non-believers. I just don't understand how that's supposed to happen when there is a mandated separation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

I don't experience this in my everday dealings with Muslims. I've always found them to be friendly and accepting of me, even before I had developed even the slightest curiosity about Islam. However, the ahadith teaches that separation from (and even slaughter of) non-believers. I'm sure I'm being a bit harsh. I'll try to pull up a couple examples of the ahadith that bug me.


Azooz said...


English, like Latin, lacks some imporant letters - I use either spelling and no one seems to mind.

The message of Jesus (pbuh), in Islam, was the same message of Mohamed (pbuh) - the acceptance of either is Islam - I mean that a Christian who properly fears God and avoides the major sins can go to heaven, as can a Jew - but for a Muslim it is easier for the fear of God is emphasized. the concept is called TAQWA and I think you will like it if you check it further. It is a mixture of fear/love of God - that is the common form of Islam and why Muslims accept Christians and Jews as Muslims to.

Whereas Jesus taught to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you (Luke 6:27-36), Mohammed allowed and even encouraged violence at times.

Turing the other cheek is Jihad (really) - and it is a greatest form of worship. The Romans, as conquerers removed the rest of it from the Bible. When you read of the early wars of Islam you will notice that not one single civilan was killed in North Africa and the Middle East - we just removed the invaders and stoped the Roman inquestions. Arabs did not invade, the Egyptians just chose to speek in Arabic and became Arabs like the rest - even the Christians.

Turning the other cheek ment that a civlian was more importnat than you soldier - in Iraq the Muslim's Jihad forbade them to harm a civilan's goat - let alone a human.

"unbelievers" - the very worst unbelievers in the Quran and in Islam are known as Beduins - my people, Muslims were so good to us that we converted forever, and we never had any religon before Islam - despite knowing over 400 of the prophets of Israel and Jesus (pbuh) to.

I just don't understand how that's supposed to happen when there is a mandated separation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Arab Jews and Christians prefered to live in Muslim lands, the world's oldest Jewish and Christian comunites on Earth are all in Muslim lands - their safety is garanteed by God on pain of hell to any Muslim who harms them.

We do harm those that harm us, but with much sticter controls than firmer limits, the fear of God is all. The rule is that an enemy must be doing things you would stop your brother from doing - like Justice and mercy combined - else the penelty from God is harsh. Jihad is not like war, it is not to fight when you can turn the other cheek. There are fine points to this that I am not qualified for and lack knowledge but it is easy for you to check on on-line.

I'll be around to answer more questions if you have any - especialy about anything in the Quran, Ramadan gives me lots of free time :)


Jesus (He's us) said...

Must not be blank