Reading 6: Original Reading Discussion Questions

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1 Reading 6: Original Reading Discussion Questions Quran Reading (Sura 5:54-120) Teacher Introduction: This section concludes the reading of Sura 5. This section begins with the commandments of Allah and gives warnings to those who do not adhere to Islam or do not take it seriously specifically those who ridicule the call to prayer. Following this section is an examination of Christians and Jews in comparison to Muslims. Christians and Jews are said to resent Muslims because they believed in Allah and what was revealed to [them] (Sura 5:59). Types of punishment are discussed for those dismissing Islam, including hell and being turned into unclean animals (the worst punishment). Ending the section are verses concerning Jesus. Jesus is acknowledged to have performed the same miracles as he did in the New Testament (and even one miracle that is not listed in the Bible). However, it is also said that Jesus will stand before Allah one day and profess that he is innocent of the blasphemy of calling himself God and that Christians distorted his teaching after his departure. Student Introduction: This concludes the second reading excerpt from the Quran and the final installment of Sura 5. This section discusses the seriousness of taking Allah at his word and the punishments that will result from not subscribing to the beliefs of Islam. This section also discusses more in depth who Jesus is according the Islamic faith. While reading through the rest of Sura, consider the Muslim attitudes toward themselves as opposed to Christians and Jews, the people of Scripture. Also, notice the description of Jesus s life and compare and contrast it with gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Original Reading Discussion Questions 1. Read Sura 5:61. Prior to this verse, the Messenger speaks of those who reject the truth of Islam. In verse 61, it is made clear that punishment awaits those who reject Islamic doctrines. The Messenger states that the worst punishment even worse than hell is Allah changing someone into an ape, a pig, or a servant of idols. Why do you think the Muslim would consider this type of punishment to be worse than even hell? Though hell is a terrible punishment, it would seem that being changed into an ape, swine, or slave of idols would be worse because of the Islamic worldview. For example, earlier in Sura 5, swine are mentioned as animals that are unclean and unfit to eat. Page 1 of 5 Chapter 3: Original Reading Discussion Questions 2015 Summit Ministries

2 Thus, for a Muslim, becoming a pig would reduce him or her to a being that is considered unclean not only to Allah but to all Muslims as well. Further, Islamic cultures are much more concerned about honor and shame than most western cultures. Thus, becoming a pig means being reduced to the greatest rank of dishonor and shame possible. A pig lives in and on dirt, feces, muck, and slop. The life of a pig is largely considered disgusting. Thus the shame that would accompany being changed into an unclean animal would be unbearable. 2. Read verse 68 of Sura five. The verse declares that Jews and Christians stand on nothing until they stand on the Torah, the gospel, and the new revelation given to Muhammad. Following this, the Messenger states that this new revelation will surely increase many of [the Jews and Christians] in transgression and disbelief. In this sense, it seems that the Messenger is certain that this new revelation will turn the Christians and Jews farther away from God. If the Torah and the gospel are part of the solid foundation of the Muslim faith, then why do you think the new revelation will move Jews and Christians farther from the truth found in the Torah? How do you think a Muslim would answer the same question? The new revelation would only move Christians and Jews away from the truth in the Torah and the gospel if it contradicts what the Torah and gospel record. To prevent this exodus from the truth, the new revelation given to Muhammad must match the doctrine found in the Torah and the gospel. But since it causes an exodus rather than preventing one, the new revelation clearly does not agree with the Torah and the gospel. A Muslim s answer would probably be that the new revelation does not match exactly what is found in the Torah and the gospel. However, the Muslim would be quick to point out that the Jews distorted the Scripture of the Torah and that the Christians distorted the scripture of the gospel. Therefore, they do not match because the Torah and gospel no longer contains original truth; only the new revelation given to Muhammad provides the accurate truth from Allah himself. 3. In Sura 5:72, the Messenger states that Christ himself said, O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Then the Messenger declares that anyone who associates any person as Allah is worthy of hell. Considering all that this verse assumes to be true, do you think Christ could have actually said, O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. If you do, how can you use this in sharing Christ with a Muslim? I think it is entirely possible that Jesus could have said that. Allah is only the Arabic word for god. Unlike the true God of the Bible who has a proper name, Yahweh, Allah does not have such a name, or if he does, he has not revealed it to humans. Therefore, if Jesus actually said, O Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord, it is Page 2 of 5 Chapter 3: Original Reading Discussion Questions 2015 Summit Ministries

3 entirely consistent with his teachings. Jesus taught that glory belongs to God, and he worshipped him. Therefore, for Jesus to encourage others to worship God is not inconsistent with the truth of the Bible. When discussing this with a Muslim, it may be important to note that Jesus said to worship God alone and then to deal with Jesus s descriptions of God and how Jesus revealed God during his time on earth. During this dialogue, highlight the differences between the true God and the Islamic Allah without actually contrasting them verbally. You may want to end by declaring that Yahweh is the God whom Jesus worshipped. 4. In Sura 5:72, the Quran records, They have certainly disbelieved who say, Allah is the third of three, And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. This verse is a clear attack on the trinity. One of the strongest oppositions to Christianity that Muslims have, as noted in chapter three of Understanding the Times, is the trinity. Many Muslims believe the trinity to be the belief in three separate gods. Let us suppose that you are discussing your faith with a Muslim and he or she says something similar to the following, I like what you are saying about your faith, and I like what you say Jesus teaches, but I cannot accept your religion as truth because of the trinity. I believe there is one god, not three. How you would explain the trinity to your friend in a way which he can understand and accept? I would first share that Jesus believed in one God. He, being the second member of the trinity, never endorsed polytheism. In fact, when Jesus prayed for his current and future disciples in John 17, he said, And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3). Further, Jesus quoted the Shema when asked what the greatest commandment was. The Shema, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, reads, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Thus, my first response would be to explain that Jesus believed in the one true God. Secondly, I would attempt to explain the trinity in another way, based on what the Muslim believes from the Quran. I would explain Jesus as the second member of the trinity, not only as the son, but as the Word made flesh. Sura 4:171 states that Jesus is the word of Allah directed toward Mary. Thus, since the Quran states that Jesus is the Word. I would also note that John said the same thing in the John 1:14. I would follow this by asking the Muslim how Allah can exist apart from his word. If Jesus is a manifestation of Allah s word, then he is part of Allah. To explain the spirit, I would note that God is said to have a spirit several times throughout the Bible. The Quran even says that Allah breathed his spirit into Mary to impregnate her with Jesus (Sura 19:16- Page 3 of 5 Chapter 3: Original Reading Discussion Questions 2015 Summit Ministries

4 21). I would follow this by asking the Muslim if Allah can exist without his spirit or is it an inseparable fiber of his being, suggesting that the spirit is part of Allah. In conclusion, I would note that even these examples fail to explain the trinity, as it is something far above comprehension, as God is something far above comprehension for our minds. 5. Sura 5:82 reads, You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews ; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, We are Christians. Here, the Quran states that Jews are the most opposed to the religion of Islam in action and that Christians, though opposed, will be the nearest to Muslims in affection. Why do you think Jews are sometimes violently opposed to the Islamic faith? Additionally, do you think that the Messenger s words of the Christian affection are a good testimony? Can this be a good testimony to help in reaching Muslims? Perhaps the Jews are so opposed to Muslims because of their claim to the heritage of Ishmael. Ishmael, not the child of promise according to the Torah, was rejected, and Isaac, who was considered the child of promise, received the blessing of God, as Isaac s grandsons were the 12 sons of Israel. The descendants of Ishmael were often enemies of Israel, as well. Thus, there is a history of bad blood between two heritages that fuels conflicts even today in the Middle East. In addition, the Jews believe Israel to be their land, as they were promised that land through the Abrahamic covenant. However, many Muslim nations of the Middle East threaten this occupation, fueling hatred the hatred that exists between the Jewish and Muslim people. In contrast to the Jews, the Messenger says that Christians will show affection to the Muslims despite their differences. This testimony does seem to be a good one. The opposition from the Jews only creates a greater rift between the two religions. However, if Christians are considered loving, the Muslim may be more apt to discuss matters of faith with a Christian than with a Jew. 6. Sura 5:104 discusses how Christians and Jews will most likely respond to a Muslim inviting them to hear the truths revealed by Allah through his Messenger to Muhammad. The Quran states that Christians and Jews will most likely reject the offer and state, Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers. Even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever, and no guidance? Does this verse seem consistent with the teaching on the Torah and the gospel? Why or why not? This verse does not seem consistent with the Quran s teaching on the Torah and the gospel. The Quran repeatedly refers to the Torah and the gospel as previous revelations from God. The only difference is that Muslims believe the Torah and gospel have been Page 4 of 5 Chapter 3: Original Reading Discussion Questions 2015 Summit Ministries

5 distorted by the Jewish people and the Christians respectively. In this sense, it would appear to be a mistake for a Jew or Christian to say that their Father s teachings would be sufficient to a Muslim, since their Father is the are the ones who distorted the Scripture in the first place. However, the next statement seems inconsistent with the rest of the Quran s teaching on the Torah and gospel, as it states that their father s had no knowledge or guidance. However, if the original Torah and gospel are true, then how could the Father lack knowledge or guidance? It appears as though their Father would have more knowledge and guidance than later generations as they possessed the true scripture from Allah. 7. Read Sura 5:110. Read Allah s recollection with Jesus and all the miracles listed here. Jesus brought a clay bird to life by breathing into it, healed the blind, healed the lepers, and even raised the dead. Compare these miracles with those found in the New Testament. How might these lists of miracles create a bridge that would allow an opportunity to share the truth of Jesus Christ and his purpose? Use Scripture to support your answer. Just like in the Quran, the Bible records Jesus doing all of these miracles except turning the clay bird into a real bird. However, this account can provide an illustration of the life that Jesus offers those who believe in him. Apart from that, all of these miracles can be found in the Bible. The Quran states that all of these were done with the permission of Allah, the Bible also records that Jesus did these miracles through the power of God. By discussing this, one can create a bridge between the Islamic view of Jesus and the Christian view of Jesus. After building this bridge, one may begin to show the purpose of the miracles of Jesus, as noted in the Bible. The Bible records that Jesus s miracles were to prove that he is the Messiah who was sent from God and to bring God the glory. When John the Baptist asks if Jesus is truly the Messiah, Jesus responds, The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them (Matthew 11:5). This Scripture reveals that Jesus knows his miracles are evidence of his title of Messiah. Later, in John 11, before Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, he says, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it (John 4:4). Here, the miracles are not only for the glory of God but for the glory of the Messiah, also implying that he is much more than a prophet. You can use these examples to reveal the purpose of Christ s miracles in a way that reveals him as the Savior of the world, who is worthy of the allegiance of all. Page 5 of 5 Chapter 3: Original Reading Discussion Questions 2015 Summit Ministries

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