Category: Scripture/Revelation

  • Faith and Belief (5)

    The relation between faith and belief is dialectical: (1) belief is one of the forms in which faith is expressed, (2) belief is one of the sources from which faith is nourished. Let me elaborate. People’s faith expresses itself in a variety of historical forms; these historical forms, in turn, sustain and nourish their faith. The historical expressions of faith are many — symbols, myths, beliefs, doctrines, theologies, rituals, customs, laws, ethics, institutions, activism, music, […]

  • Faith and Belief (4)

    Having looked at the two meanings of belief, let us now consider the word faith. Unlike belief, whose meaning changed drastically during the seventeenth century, the word faith has retained much of its original meaning in modern English. Yet, the two words are often used inaccurately as synonyms, thereby adding to the confusion and giving rise […]

  • Faith and Belief (3)

    In the previous post, I briefly discussed the contemporary meaning of the word belief. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes, the modern sense of believing essentially involves “the holding of certain ideas” in one’s mind. Furthermore, Smith shows that the modern usage of the word believing assumes and implies that it is some thing very different […]

  • Faith and Belief (2)

    In his book Faith and Belief (1979), the Canadian scholar Wilfred Cantwell Smith analyzes these two terms from a variety of angles, including the history of their usage. Smith notes that many people use the words faith and belief in a more or less interchangeable manner, as if they were synonyms; yet, the two words […]

  • Faith and Belief (1)

    Two of the most fundamental questions with which human beings must grapple are as follows: “How should I live?” and “How do I know?” The first question is obviously more urgent than the second, for we cannot put the business of living on hold while we try to figure out what is the best way […]

  • Is God’s Love Unconditional?

    Most Christians are likely to answer this question with an emphatic “yes.” Most Muslims, on the other hand, are likely to respond with an equally clear  “no.” Despite the starkness of the Christian “yes” and the Muslim “no,” I would like to suggest that the two approaches are neither contradictory nor irreconcilable. In fact, I […]

  • A Muslim View of Trinity (4)

    Why did Christians conceive of a triune God in the first place?  Why did they decide to wrestle with the interminable complexities of Trinity when they could have opted for a simple, unproblematic deity?  For Iqbal, the answer seems to be obvious, as already quoted. The doctrine is another way of stating that the Absolute Unity must […]

  • A Muslim View of Trinity (3)

    Yet another aspect of Christian doctrine that Muslims find scandalous concerns the belief in Jesus Christ as the “Son of God.”  The Qur’an seems to be particularly appalled at the very possibility of such a blasphemous notion.  The Qur’an acknowledges Jesus as a messenger of God, and as Christ, while emphatically denying the claim that […]

  • A Muslim View of Trinity (2)

    Perhaps no aspect of the Christian doctrine of Trinity causes more scandal for Muslims than the part about the divinity of Jesus Christ. In Surah Al-Ma’ida 5:17, the Qur’an seems to denounce this belief in categorical terms: Here is Abdel Haleem’s translation of this verse: Those who say, “God is the Messiah, the son of Mary,” are […]

  • A Muslim View of Trinity (1)

    Several years ago, I was speaking to a small group in an Islamic Center when the topic of Trinity came up, almost out of nowhere. I was speaking on an altogether different subject when I casually mentioned that “monotheist” is a term used for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  One gentleman immediately objected: “But Christians are not monotheists!” […]