Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Some Answers to Bassam Zawadi's comments

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

This article is a rebuttal to Zawadi's ‘Rebuttal to Dallas M. Roark's Article "Rebuttal to Bassam Zawadi: On the value of questioning and other things"’

My first article referred to in the following is available here; Zawadi’s reply to my article may be found here.

Dallas M. Roark said (in his first article):

I was trying to avoid lots of questions about the truth of the Qur'an such as whether the sun sets in a puddle of mud, or whether one wing of the fly has an antidote for the other wing, or the fictions quoted in the Qur'an about the youths who slept for 300 years, and other historical errors in the Qur'an, etc. You remember that Deedat slandered the death and resurrection of Jesus calling it the "cruci-fiction." Deedat was trying to make a historical verified event of the crucifixion a fiction. Muslims seek to make verifiable fictions into fact.

Zawadi responds:

DMR replies:

For a refutation to the "sun setting a muddly pool" issue, see this article.

Regarding the flies, you can read a rebuttal on this bogus science here. So many of the Islamic sources supporting this silly idea are drawn from the same source. They begin "Only in modern times was it discovered that the common fly carried parasitic pathogens for many diseases including malaria, typhoid fever, cholera, and others. It was also discovered that the fly carried parasitic bacteriophagic fungi capable of fighting the germs of all these diseases." To begin, malaria is not spread by the fly but the mosquito. The people who are writing these things are living in a bubble reading their own propaganda.

Consider the splitting of the moon,

"Ibn Kathir reports that Muhammad would recite sura 54, as well as sura 50, "during major gatherings and occasions because they contain Allah's promises and warnings, and information about the origin of creation, Resurrection, Tawhid [the oneness of Allah], the affirmation of prophethood, and so forth among the great objectives." Sura 54 takes its name from its first verse, which refers to the splitting of the moon – a miracle that, according to a hadith, took place during Muhammad’s lifetime. As the Muslims looked agog at the moon split into two parts, Muhammad cried, "Witness, witness (this miracle)."

Some modern-day Muslims, however, claim that this verse constituted a prophecy that was fulfilled during Neil Armstrong’s moon landing in 1969, when the astronauts dug up a bit of the lunar soil and brought it back – although, despite their imaginative forays into numerology in connection with this claim, it is more than a stretch to consider that gathering of a small amount of soil as amounting to a splitting of the moon." (Source)

Regarding your final link, most of the articles posted there are drawn from an Infidels site that focuses on the resurrection and only one on the death of Jesus. Even that one does not deal with the death but on whether Jesus existed or not. It is ironic that you post an article questioning whether Jesus existed or not) when the Qur’an has no problems with the existence of Jesus. The article is NEW TESTAMENT ANALYSIS THE HISTORICAL REFERENCES TO JESUS; A Scholarly Analysis (here, check the concluding statements)

Where are the Muslim scholars? You have disdain for the infidels but you use them uncritically.

This article contradicts the Qur’an, or the Qur’an contradicts your article. Which one do you prefer? Where is your consistency? If one were to use the arguments that this man uses to reject the credibility of the early documents against the Quran and the hadiths, this would annihilate Islamic scholarship. What can one really believe about the Qur’an when so much of it has been abrogated by later "revelations? What can you believe when so many hadiths are fictions?

Dallas M. Roark said (in the first rebuttal)

There are all kinds of questions that Muslims have been discouraged from asking.

Forbidding any question to be asked opens the door to forbidding lots of questions. There are reasonable answers that a child can understand in dealing with "who created Allah?" When you don't allow questions to be asked you force doubt into the sub-conscious and it doesn't go away.

The history of Islam has been one of anti-intellectualism. Islam inherited a vast body of information from the Greeks, but eventually did little with it. The answer is found in the educational system of early and later Islam.

Very early in the history of Islam knowledge was divided into two categories: 1) "Islamic science which included the study of the Qur'an, the traditions of the Prophet, legal knowledge (fiqh), theology (kaalam), poetry, and the Arabic language." 2) the natural sciences which were called the foreign sciences. As time went on the natural sciences were viewed as "a tainted enterprise." (Toby Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West, Cambridge U. Press, 1995, p. 68. All quotes following are from Huff as well.)

People who were at risk because of their studies in the natural sciences concealed their interests because they would be considered an impious person. (p. 69) The people who studied the Islamic sciences periodically denounced those who were studying the natural sciences.

The madrasas began to appear in the 11th century and were schools of Islamic sciences and rejected the natural sciences. Religious scholars regarded the natural sciences with suspicion.

Moreover, the educational system favored rote memory rather than critical thinking. When a student had memorized, or copied, or read the manuscripts available from his professor he was given an ijaza, an approval to teach others the same content.

It was presumed that memorized statements were true and could be learned without any process of thinking about the truth or falsehood of the statements.

Within the medieval Islamic intellectual life was the sharp distinction between the elite and the novice. The elite believed that the ordinary citizens, the commoners, were not capable of understanding the higher truths of philosophy or the Scripture. Averroes maintained that "a believer will know that to discuss those (philosophical) questions openly is forbidden by the Holy Law." (p. 82)

The conclusion of the matter is that reason was to be rejected for submission to Islamic law. There could be no criticism of Mohammed, the Qur'an, or the whole complex of Islamic science. In contrast, the West was influenced by the idea that man is created in the image of God and is therefore rational, and thereby can gain truth, a knowledge of good and evil by rational means. Man has a conscience in which he can make judgments and arrive at the truth. Islam did not develop a sense of conscience as the Greeks did, and as the New Testament taught, and therefore submission was the only path one could take.

"The greatest philosophical thinkers in Arabic-Islamic civilization after al-Ghazali never failed to cast doubt on the powers of human reason and to disparage the virtues of demonstrative logic; they insisted instead on the priority of faith (fideism) or on the unsurpassed authority of tradition (the Sharia and the Sunna). Reason for the orthodox was little more than common sense, and there was no acknowledgement of the idea that reason could reach new truths unaided by revelation. Innovation, in matters or religion, was equivalent to heresy:" (p. 117)

A general conclusion about knowledge in the Arabic-Islamic world is summed up as follows: "The madrasas were closed to the teaching of science and philosophy, and official Islamic law, fiqh, denied that all men had reason in the Greek and Platonic sense. Nor did Islamic jurisprudence have any place for the idea of conscience, that inner moral agency that could guide the actor in moral dilemmas. Moreover, there was no room for organized skepticism within Islamic thought." (p. 233)

Zawadi responds:

What nonsense! Visit [sic] and see the Muslim contributions to this world. Also read this article and see how Islam encourages worldly advancement.

DMR replies:

You have said nothing that refutes my comments. Where are the Muslim scientists today? What are the Muslim achievements today? Arab translators brought Aristotle and other Greeks to the culture of their times, but there was little advancement apart from math and astronomy to calculate the times for prayer, and medicine, which built upon the Greeks. In spite of that Islamic culture was influenced by erroneous ideas about reproduction which came from Mohammed. You can check an excellent article by your old friend, Sam Shamoun. He draws on the work of William Campbell, MD.

You have been living in a bubble reading your own propaganda.

Check out any non-Muslim history of science. Take a look at Huff’s book, it is thoroughly documented.

Dallas M. Roark said:

The lack of progress in many ways relates to the model of Mohammed in one of the hadiths. It claimed that "the worst things are those that are novelties, every novelty is an innovation, every innovation is an error and every error leads to Hell-fire: In its extreme form this principle has meant the rejection of every idea and amenity not known in Western Arabic in the time of Mohammed and his companions, and it has been used by successive generations of ultra-conservatives to oppose tables, sieves, coffee and tobacco, printing-presses, and artillery, telephones, wireless, and votes for women." (p. 234)

Zawadi responds:

This is so absurd. Every scholar has understood the Prophet's statement regarding innovation to be referring to innovations in religious practices, not innovations in worldly matters. What a disastrous way of taking the Prophet's statement out of context and abusing its meaning!

DMR replies You have given justification for not doing anything about the terrible abuse of women in Islam. Mohammed declared that women are not as intelligent as men. So do what the Taliban are doing and blowing up or burning down schools for girls. Read the headlines about the honor killing of young girls who are innocent of any sin suspected by their fathers. There are so many different abuses of women from female circumcision, honor killings, forced marriage, child marriages, etc. you claim that Mohammed admits of no innovation in religious practices.

Not only has there been little "innovation" in science nor has there been innovation in women’s position. Islam is still controlled by 7th century Islamic thinking.

Dallas M. Roark said:

The fact that there are million upon millions of Muslim today and only 8 have won Nobel prizes in the sciences as compared to nearly 200 Jewish winners reflects upon the issue of the kinds of knowledge that is not taught, nor asked, nor discussed in the Muslim educational system.

So I doubt the truthfulnesss of your statement that "Muslims are not only encouraged but obligated to seek knowledge and how can this be done besides asking questions....." The history of Islam would not validate that statement.

Zawadi responds:

First of all, just because Muslims don't practice what their religion teaches that doesn't mean that it is Islam's fault. Millions of Muslims today drink alcohol and deal with interest despite Islam's clear and stern warnings against doing so. Do we blame Islam for this or the sinning Muslims? The latter obviously.

Does Dallas really want us to judge religions based upon the people instead of what the scriptures actually teach? Would he really want me to do that with his faith? Should we go ahead and blame the Dark Ages on Christianity? Should we blame Christianity because many early Christians believed in a flat earth? Should we blame Christianity for attempting to kill the ideas of people like Galileo (*)?

Come on Dallas let's not sink to this poor quality of argumentation please.

DMR replies:

Speaking of poor quality of argumentation, as you have just demonstrated, you have diverted from the real point of education. I made the point that the Islamic educational system is at fault which comes from the history of Islam and its leadership. The man who drinks alcohol is on his own, the lack of quality education is due to the centuries of avoiding the sciences because Islam inherently has a negative attitude toward the natural sciences and science in general. If the people of Islam cannot get a good education it is not their fault, but Islam’s negative attitude toward science in general.

The fact is that modern science rose in the Christian west because there was openness to follow the truth wherever it led. Islam did not allow that then and does not now. I would recommend that you read a good non-Muslim book on the rise of modern science. It will be an illuminating experience. You need to think outside the bubble.

Dallas M. Roark said:

You have raised the question about the nearness and farness of God. I don't think you are aware of your problem in your statement. You say, "Orthodox Muslims don't believe that Allah is everywhere in His essence. Rather He is outside the universe." If he is outside the universe how can he be "nearer than his jugular vein." Is he or is he not outside the universe?

Zawadi responds:

Simple, He is near to us with His knowledge. That is the orthodox Muslim position.

DMR replies: You are seeking to evade the question. If God is out the universe, he cannot be near you in his knowledge. You may know all the facts about Napoleon but knowledge does not bring him near. If God is outside the universe as you claim, then he cannot be nearer than the jugular vein. If he is near the jugular vein, he cannot be outside the Universe as you say.

Dallas M. Roark said:

So you asked, "so what is the problem exactly?" The problem is that you have no idea of the kind of relationship that is possible with God. A relationship for you means obeying the law, observing prayers, Ramadan, knowing Allah's commands. etc.

Zawadi responds:

For you to say A relationship for you means obeying the law, observing prayers, Ramadan, knowing Allah's commands to me is like me saying to you A relationship for you means sitting back in the shade drinking lemonade because someone innocent was tortured for your behalf and your still the same lousy sinner before you accepted this religion. You have a good relationship with a God who did you a big favor that you didn't deserve

Now obviously you would argue back that I am viewing your faith in a very shallow and unfair manner. You would argue back that I don't understand the relationship that you have with God, thus I have no right to speak.

Well, I will say the same to you. You are viewing my faith in a very shallow and unfair manner. Yes, obeying Allah's laws is part of my faith but it is not simply a matter of a Master commanding his slave to do some chores. Rather, we are in a love relationship with Allah (2:222) and we are His friend and ally (Surah 5:56). The inner feeling of tranquility that the Muslim receives when he prostrates to his Lord won't be traded for any of the riches of this world. The inner hope and peace in heart that the Muslim has when he knows that he has Allah to call upon (Surah 40:60) is enough to put him at ease. The Muslim lives his life in submission to Allah's command and gains satisfaction through doing so. You have no right to say to me "you have no idea of the kind of relationship that is possible with God" because I already am in a relationship with Allah.

DMR replies: Here are the suras you quoted so the reader will not have to look them up.

"They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness." (2:222)

"And whoso taketh Allah and His messenger and those who believe for guardian (will know that), lo! the party of Allah, they are the victorious." (5:56)

"And your Lord hath said: Pray unto Me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! those who scorn My service, they will enter hell, disgraced." (40:60)

Menstruation is an illness??? You’ve got to be kidding. God created male and females and this monthly period of woman is not an illness, but a cycle for procreation. So God God inflicts on a woman a disease for about a week twelve times a year in the years from about ages 12 to 45 or there about.

You are right, God did something for me that I didn’t deserve. That is called Grace.

Because of his grace and forgiveness I seek to be an obedient disciple.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Are you aware that the Son of God can live in your heart? Are you aware of his continued presence in your life?

Zawadi responds:

No I am not aware of this and no I haven't experienced the presence of the "Son of God" in my life, for the simple reason that God has no sons. Stop committing blasphemy and saying such horrible things.

DMR replies: You have basically committed blasphemy against Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God. If you would like to see the many places in the New Testament, check out Who is The real Jesus?

Dallas M. Roark said:

Have you experienced God in asking him to enter your life, your heart?

Zawadi responds:

If what you mean by "entering my life" is that I am always in a continuous relationship and communication with God and that He is the central reason for my existence, then the answer is yes.

DMR replies: No, that is not what I mean nor what the Bible declares. Paul wrote, "the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Col. 1:26-27)

Jesus told his disciples, "Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." Jn 14:19-21

Dallas M. Roark said:

The problem is that you have not thought rationally about your concept of God.

You have not weighed the whole system of what you think is right and what you are doing.

Zawadi responds:

This is where I have to chuckle. For a Trinitarian who believes that 1+1+1 equals 1 to accuse others (especially Muslims) for not having rationally thought about their concept of God must have a lot of nerve. We challenge Dallas to rationally defend his concept of God and show anything irrational about the Islamic concept of God.

DMR replies: While you are chuckling, let’s change the math concept: 1x1x1=1. The personality of God is not reduced to a math formula. The greatest insult to God is to ignore what He has revealed about himself. Now concerning the irrationality of the Islamic concept of God, let’s look at some of the issues.

The irrationality of the concept of Allah in Islam kept it from developing modern science.

Alfred North Whitehead in his Science and the Modern World describes one of the ingredients of science being "the inexpugnable belief that every details occurrence can be correlated with its antecedents in a perfectly definite manner, exemplifying general principles. What is the source of this belief? "...there seems but one source for its origin. It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher. Every detail was supervised and ordered: the search into nature could only result in the vindication of the faith in rationality."

In contrast, in the Muslim world thinkers did not embrace the well-ordered universe concept. Instead, the Ash’arite view of man and nature was based on Islamic atomism (known as occasionalism). Occasionalism rejected cause and effect in the cosmos and "believed that there were a continuous flux of moments, recreated each instant, but with a habitual pattern of continuity, knowledge of which was planted in the believer’s mind by God."

God holds the world together moment by moment by his personal will. What God has willed is then acquired by the mind of man and this lies back of the idea of predestination in which God wills the actions of people.

The theology of women in the Qur’an in comparison with the theology of women in the New Testament is sub-human. For Mohammed to slander women by saying that they are not as intelligent as men is to demean them, to exploit them. The theology for women in the New Testament is that men, women, slave or free, Jew and Greek, are all one in Christ.

Dallas M. Roark said:

You claim I have distorted Muslim beliefs and you argue that Allah does not break his promise (Surah 3:9) What are some of these promises? Consider the fact that Allah sends people astray-Allah has already decided who is going to paradise and who is not.

In spite of your good works, obedience, trying to live right, it has already been determined whether you are going to paradise or not. You can't change the situation. All your good works may be a mockery to you.

Perhaps it should be said that you are distorting Muslim beliefs. You are emphasizing the role of good works without regard to the more serious issue of predestination. The apparent emphasis of freedom in doing good works is over-ruled by the decision of Allah who has already decided on who will be admitted to paradise. So which promise is true? If this sura is true, then the conclusion of the matter is that you can do nothing about your destiny.

"Already have We urged unto hell many of the jinn and humankind, having hearts wherewith they understand not, and having eyes wherewith they see not, and having ears wherewith they hear not. These are as the cattle - nay, but they are worse! These are the neglectful." 7:179 (Pickthall-in the following also.)

"And whomsoever it is Allah's will to guide, He expandeth his bosom unto the Surrender, and whomsoever it is His Will to send astray, He maketh his bosom close and narrow as if he were engaged in sheer ascent. Thus Allah layeth ignominy upon those who believe not." 6:125

"He whom Allah leadeth, he indeed is led aright, while he whom Allah sendeth astray - they indeed are losers." 7:178

"Those whom Allah sendeth astray, there is no guide for them. He leaveth them to wander blindly on in their contumacy." 7:186

"Had Allah willed He could have made you (all) one nation, but He sendeth whom He will astray and guideth whom He will, and ye will indeed be asked of what ye used to do". 16:93

And he whom Allah guideth, he is led aright; while, as for him whom He sendeth astray, for them thou wilt find no protecting friends beside Him, and We shall assemble them on the Day of Resurrection on their faces, blind, dumb and deaf; their habitation will be hell; whenever it abateth, We increase the flame for them." 17:97

"Is he, the evil of whose deeds is made fairseeming unto him so that he deemeth it good, (other than Satan's dupe)? Allah verily sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will; so let not thy soul expire in sighings for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do!" 35:8

"Thus Allah sendeth astray whom He will, and whom He will He guideth. None knoweth the hosts of thy Lord save Him. This is naught else than a Reminder unto mortals". 74:31

"And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers." 3:54

What are the possibilities that it is you who has been led astray by Allah? What are the possibilities that you have been led astray in believing that saying prayers 5 times a day, observing Ramadan, giving alms, doing jihad, etc are going to bring you to paradise? What are the possibilities that you may have been led astray in accepting this religion?

Mohammed raised the questions concerning himself.

34:50 Say: 'If I go astray, I go astray only to my own loss; if I am guided, it is by what my Lord reveals to me. He is All-hearing, Ever-nigh.' (Arberry)

Say: "If (even) I go astray, I shall stray only to my own loss. But if I remain guided, it is because of the Inspiration of my Lord to me. Truly, He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things)." (Al-Hilali & Khan)

Zawadi responds:

No need to reinvent the wheel on topics that have already been addressed:

DMR replies: You argue for free-will and say that people can believe or not believe in the first set of suras, but you have obviously ignored the Islamic mandate to deny people real freedom when the options are believe, be a dhimmi, or die. When Muslims confront people with force where is your concept of freedom? It is an illusion.

Now concerning your article, it is very interesting that all the verses you quoted were not verses that I quoted. You did not respond to the verses I quoted.

This points up one of the problem in the Qur’an. On the one hand there is the will of Allah in which he has decreed what is the future of men and jinn, and on the other is the issue of free will. Mohammed could not put it all together. If the will of Allah means anything as expressed in the Qur’an, it is unchangeable. It has already been decided in the will of Allah before creation. If not, the will of Allah does not mean anything. Allah is making it up as he goes. Your good works emphasis is based on denial of Allah’s will.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Consider the statement of Mohammed in 34:50. If Mohammed has been led astray it is not really his own loss. This is a contradiction. If Mohammed has been led astray think of all the millions of people who have submitted because of him. Their loss is on his shoulders, is it not?

Zawadi responds:

DMR Replies: Your response to Katz seems to confirm Katz’s view rather than rebut it. You wrote:

"The verse is not saying that if Muhammad (peace be upon him) were to be led astray, then he would be the only one affected by his mis-guidance. The verse is saying that if Muhammad (peace be upon him) were to be led astray, IT WOULD BE BECAUSE OF HIMSELF. He would have erred due to his own loss in being able to follow the straight path."

If Mohammed were lead astray and it was because of himself the issue is still there. How many millions of peoples have been led astray because of him? You have admitted that Mohammed would not be the only one affected by his being lead astray.

Dallas M. Roark said:

For more on the role of Allah as a deceiver of both believers and unbelievers, consult this article.

Zawadi responds:

DMR Replies: In the second article you concluded, "Now Christians would argue back and ask us Muslims to understand the context and reasons why God did such a thing. However, when we tell Christians to do the same thing when it comes to analyzing certain Qur'anic verses they don't want to do it. So why should us Muslims?"

You admit there may be a problem of context and reasons why God did such a thing?

The issue seems to be: did God deceive first and bring people to ruin, and did the people rebel against God choosing evil and then he brought the judgment?

In your first example of Jeremiah the prophet questions God action and accuses Him of deception. The promise of peace was based on obedience, and Israel was not obedient and the prophets before Jeremiah accused them of idolatry and sin. While Jeremiah accuses God of deception, Jeremiah cannot prove it. If you had read the rest of the chapter it is obvious that rebellion was in the hearts of the people long before Jeremiah appeared on the scene.

At the same time as this response is published, I will also post a rather long answer to your article on God as a deceiver: Does God Deceive People?

Dallas M. Roark said:

First a word about your use of I Corinthians 15. The if in this passage does not express any doubt as to their salvation, nor does it teach that they were saved by holding fast. Rather, Paul is simply stating that if there is no such thing as resurrection, then they weren't saved at all. In other words, those who denied bodily resurrection were launching a frontal attack on the whole truth of the gospel. To Paul, the resurrection was fundamental. Without it there was no Christianity. Thus this verse is a challenge to the Corinthians to hold fast the gospel which they had received in the face of the attacks which were currently being made against it.

Zawadi responds:

I am afraid that you are reading into the passage. The verse says:

"By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."

Paul is putting on a condition for one to be saved by the Gospel. That condition is that one holds firmly onto it. Clearly there is no point for saying such a thing if it is not possible for a true believer to let go of it. If the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints were true then it would have been enough for Paul to say (or something similar):

"By this gospel you are saved, once you have firmly embraced the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."

According to the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints (which appears that Dallas holds to) once one has become truly regenerate, he will never apostatize. Once he has embraced the gospel he will never let go of it. There is no "ifs" about the matter. However, Paul's statement fits perfectly well with the doctrine of conditional preservation of the saints, which states that there must be a condition for one to be saved and that is the condition that Paul put:

if you hold firmly to the word.

Furthermore, the author of Hebrews makes it crystal clear that those who were truly regenerate could apostatize:

Hebrews 6:4-8

"For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned."

Calvinists and other proponents of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints have had to go to desperate measures in reconciling the above passage with their doctrine.

Even if Dallas does not agree that the doctrine of conditional preservation of the saints (which many well respected evangelicals such as Dr. William Lane Craig adhere to) is Biblical, he surely can't go to the extreme by condemning it to be irrational. If he does, then we ask him to carefully lay out for us why this belief is objectively (we don't want Dalla's personal feelings, opinions and logic) irrational.

DMR replies: There are two ideas that you need to consider in dealing with these passages. First, is the issue of whether the person has really had an encounter with Christ. All we can ever know is the statement that a person says he has made a commitment to Christ. No one can judge the quality of another’s depth of commitment and faith. There are many who are cultural Christians. (The same could be said of Muslims. You do not know the quality of their commitment. All you can have is, that they say they are Muslims.) The history of the Church has shown that some people lapsed in their commitment in times of persecution. The martyrs of the church were committed in a life or death situation. They did not deny.

Second, the writer of Hebrews is not issuing a dogmatic statement but a pastoral one.

I have known people to harden their hearts for years against repenting and returning to Jesus.

It seemed impossible to have them return, but eventually they did. However, some never do.

Dallas M. Roark said:

You think it to be arrogance to claim that one is going to heaven. It would be arrogance for the Christian to claim that he is going to heaven based on his own good works and religiosity. But that is not the case. The Christian claim of going to heaven is based on what Christ has done for us, not on what we do. This is one of the major differences between Christianity and Islam. The Christian gospel, or good news, is that Jesus, the Son of God, has done something for us that we could not do. His death and resurrection for us is his accomplishment. We have little to accomplish-only to accept it. When you are given a gift you accept it, you don't pay for it. The gift is not wages earned.

Zawadi responds:

This is all assuming that Christianity is true to begin with. Anyone can make up a false religion that sounds attractive to the people by making it easy for them to practice (how difficult is it to just lay back and accept "Jesus's sacrificial gift"?). Dallas has to stop begging the question that his religion is true and start proving it.

DMR replies: Your comment applies equally to Islam. Anyone can make up a false religion.

What proof do you have that Mohammed was a true prophet? Just because he claimed it?

You have a problem in accepting evidence. Your evidence is what the Qur’an says. When it contradicts history and science you accept it unquestioning. Even when the Qur’an affirms the reliability of the New Testament you claim that it has been corrupted. Even when the crucifixion of Jesus is affirmed by history before the Qur’an, you accept the view of Mohammed because he claimed to be speaking for Allah. Maybe Allah did not know the history before Mohammed?

It is difficult for you to deal with history. When there are over 500,000 hadiths that were forged and Muslim scholars regard only about 2400 of them as real, how do separate truth from falsehood? What evidence do you have that Islam is true?

Dallas M. Roark said:

You are focusing on winning paradise by your actions.

Zawadi responds:

Muslims believe that they can win paradise by having both faith and actions by Allah's Mercy. No matter how many actions one has performed, they will be wasted if one does not have faith (Surah 9:17). Faith is what is most essential. After one has obtained faith, he must live his life according to the faith that he has by performing good actions.

This is even the message of the Old Testament, Biblical Jesus and his half brother James

My reply:

I have read your article and written a separate reply to this: Salvation By Faith Alone. Your article shows a gross lack of understanding of the New Testament which I point up in the article.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Your good works will not stand up against the standard of a Holy God.

Zawadi responds:

Dallas says that our finite actions can never measure up to please the infinite God. That logic does not work perfectly you see, because then someone could argue "well if my finite actions don't measure up to please the infinite God then that means that my finite evil actions do not measure up to displease the infinite God either, therefore he should not punish me". Now of course that would be absurd.

Dallas has a point though. Now if God put us here on earth and we are supposed to please him by actions, who sets the standards? Only God can. Allah tells us how we must worship Him (Surah 2:239) Us Muslims believe that if we follow the law prescribed and put forth by the infinite God, we are therefore in a way following a law whose source is from the infinite and therefore in a way meeting the standards of the infinite God in order to please Him. We believe that any other actions performed besides those set by God are useless. Now God does not need our actions. He does not benefit from them either, for we are the ones that benefit from them. However, He loves that we obey Him.

DMR replies: You write a "logical" statement that you regard as absurd. Why do it in the first place?

Yes, God did put us here for a purpose but the Christian and Muslims purposes are quite different. The question is which is correct? You do not offer evidence that Islam is correct, you only make the claim. You say "we believe" as evidence, but your belief system is not "evidence" it is emotion. Sounds familiar?

Dallas M. Roark said:

Believing in Jesus was to accept Him as Savior. They did not do anything to seek his approval as you are doing for your God.

Zawadi responds:

I don't know what Dallas means when he says that I seek God's approval to be a Muslim.

DMR replies: The point I was trying to make is that a person comes to Jesus and accepts Him as Savior because one cannot win God’s approval by good works. There are people who ignore the Gospel and conclude that their good works will get them into heaven. They are their own savior.

By your good works you are claiming that you will be good enough to merit paradise. You are claiming to be your own savior by your good works. In that sense you are claiming Allah’s approval on your life.

Dallas M. Roark said:

They received Him as one accepts a gift.

Zawadi responds:

I also believe that Allah's blessing me with the guidance of Islam is a gift. So what is the difference?

DMR replies: The big difference is that a Christian receives Jesus into one’s life, that is a real person, and not just guidance. The Christian receives both the person and the guidance.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Religion is the human attempt to win the favor of whatever deity is accepted. Christians don't do that. They receive God's gift.

Zawadi responds:

It appears that Dallas is giving a definition to religion that is unbiblical. The Bible clearly recognizes that Christianity is a religion:

1 Timothy 5:4

4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Or does Dallas want to suggest that the New Testament's usage of the word "religion" is out of date and we must accept his definition?

DMR replies: First, "religion" .is used in these passages that is different than the sociological usage.

The word religion comes from the Latin, religio, and is not in the New Testament. There are two Greek words that are used. One is θρησκεί (James 1:17) which relates to godly living. The other word ευσεβεω means to show piety or your commitment to God. While some translator make use of the word "religion" it is not in the New Testament. These words do not refer to an organized "religion" in the modern sense of the term. James is declaring that a believer will look after orphans and widows. This is rather interesting that you raise this question. What kind of treatment happens to widows who lose their husbands in Islam? Prostitution is a common alternative in many Muslim cultures, is it not?

In sociological studies "religion" is used to compare various traditions. In this context religion is what people do to try to find God and please Him. In this sense Christianity is not a "religion" in that God cannot be found by humans, but God has revealed Himself in Jesus, the Son of God.

Or, to put it another way, God has come seeking mankind.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Christians accept the favor of God rather than trying to win it themselves.

Zawadi responds:

Dallas misrepresents the Islamic position regarding salvation. He is trying to give everyone the impression that Muslims believe that they earn paradise through works, which anyone with a speck of dust of knowledge of basic Islamic theology knows is not true. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made it clear that we don't enter paradise based on our works:

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 7, Book 70, Number 577

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise." (i.e., None can enter Paradise through his good deeds.) They (the Prophet's companions) said, "Not even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me." So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability: and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah."

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 474

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will NOT make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."

In another narration we read:

Angel Jibrail (alayhis salam) told RasulAllah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) the following incident about a man in the past who worshipped Allah Ta'ala continuously for 500 years. He was granted a shelter on top of a mountain that was surrounded by salty water. However, Allah caused a stream of sweet water to flow through the mountain for that individual. The man would drink from this water and use it to make ablution. Allah Ta'ala also raised a pomegranate tree from which the man would eat one fruit every day.

One day, this person supplicated to Allah that, "Oh Allah, bring my death while I am in the state of prostration." Allah accepted this dua of his. Whenever Jibrail (alayhis salam) came down to the Earth, he found this man prostrating to Allah. Jibrail (alayhis salam) said that on the day of Judgement, Allah will tell the angels to take this individual to Paradise through His mercy. However, this man will insist that he should enter paradise through the good deeds that he had performed.

Then, Allah will tell the angels to compare his good deeds with the blessings that were given to him in the world. It will be seen that 500 years of his worship does not even equal to the gift of eye sight that was given to him by Allah. The angels will be asked to take him towards the hell fire. Then the man will plead, "Oh Allah! Enter me into Paradise only through Your mercy." At that point, the following discussion will take place between Allah and that man.

Allah: Oh my servant, who created you?

The worshipper: Oh Allah, You have created me.

Allah: Were you created because of the good deeds you have done or because of My mercy?

The worshipper: Because of Your mercy.

Allah: Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?

The worshipper: Oh the Almighty! You have granted me that ability.

Allah: Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who caused a stream of sweet water to flow in between the salty water? Who caused a pomegranate tree to grow for you? Who granted you death while in the state of prostration?

The worshipper: Oh the Sustainer of the Worlds! You have done all of these.

Then Allah will say, "All these have happened due to My mercy and you too will enter Paradise only through My Mercy." (I am not certain about the authenticity of this story, however it communicates the same message as the previous two hadith in Saheeh Bukhari that I cited)

So here we clearly see that Muslims don't believe that we can earn our salvation through works. We can only attain salvation by Allah's Mercy.

However, Allah will only bestow His Mercy on those that have faith (accepted Islam) and have implemented that faith practically in their lives (by righteous works).

Now that we have educated Dallas on this key Islamic doctrine that he should have known before writings articles on Islam, what objective logical objections does he have against this belief? Again, we don't care about his personal opinions and feelings we want objectivity.

DMR replies: Where is your objectivity? You quote hadiths with the same authority as the Qur’an. How do you sort out which ones are true? Why these instead of others in the 500,000 stories?

Hadiths are not revelation. When I appeal to Scripture it is objective, not fiction as the hadiths.

You even admit that the historical value of one of them is suspicious.

Dallas M. Roark said:

You previously said, "Muslims believe that we are going to heaven IF we stick firmly to the teachings of Islam and adhere to the laws set by God. But since we don't know for sure whether we will be successful in doing so, we say inshallah (if Allah wills) that Allah keeps us on the straight path in order to go to heaven." Religion is your attempt to appease Allah. Christian faith stresses that God loves us even while we are yet sinners.

Zawadi responds:

It also teaches that God hates sinners

Also, in Islam we believe that Allah offers His love and Mercy to everyone. The door is always open for you to accept the true and pure monotheistic faith of Islam Dallas. Allah is laying out His love for you. All you have to do is accept it. If you reject Allah's offer of love then that means that Allah won't love you because you didn't allow His love to reach you.

DMR replies: Somehow your comments about Allah’s love does not ring true. Where is Allah’s love for the females who are brutalized because they are females, forced into marriages they do not want, raped because they are not Muslims as in Sweden and Australia, , have no chance for justice because Muslim men will not testify against Muslim men, as in Pakistan, Saudi, and other places, pre-teen girls forced to marry old men, etc. If Allah loves females, surely these practices would not have been given the blessing of the culture or the Qur’an.

It is little wonder that many Muslims where they can do it are opting for atheism or Christianity rather than staying in Islam.

Dallas M. Roark said:

Since you quoted Paul in Corinthians, let me quote him in Romans 5:1-8,

"Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us. For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (ASV)

Please note that God did this for sinners, not the righteous. God did it out of love.

Prayer for the Christian is not rote prayers specified 5 times a day. Prayer is a conversation throughout the day in a spontaneous manner, like talking to a friend. Jesus had some strong words about prayer.

"When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you." Matthew 6:5-6.

This is a warning before he taught the people how to pray, that is, the Lord's Prayer.

You can judge whether calling together hundreds of people saying the same prayers is an example of what Jesus is talking about.

Zawadi responds:

Muslims pray five times a day because it is a means of showing the loyalty, gratitude, modesty and love towards God and it is also to remind Muslims that there is a God who created them throughout the day. If it is done five times a day, one can imagine how close to God one is and that will help him to abstain from all evil. If you were to adopt the attitude "well I will pray when I feel like it", it is very possible that in this case you would end up praying to God less and this will weaken your faith. You might actually end up only praying to God during times of need and this is selfish. With Allah making appointed times, this would force you to remember God and get closer to Him. Again, this is all for your benefit and not His.

Also, congregational prayer has practical benefits. During a congregational prayer, Muslims stand side by side close to one another. This strengthens the bond between the Muslims and is a practical way of eradicating racism.

DMR replies:

Since there are many Muslims who do not know Arabic what gives meaning to them in a prayer they do not understand. There are so many things that nullify prayers in Islam such as the presence of a woman, a dog, or passing gas. I am sure that in a crowd of hundreds of people there are going to be men passing gas simply by bending over in a prostrate position.

Volume 9, Book 86, Number 86: Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah does not accept prayer of anyone of you if he does Hadath (passes wind) till he performs the ablution (anew)."

So many people of various nationalities have memorized the Qur’an in Arabic but they do not understand it. Is the Qur’an magic? Now, Christians memorize Scripture in their own language which they understand and because of its knowledge they are helped. I cannot see reciting anything in a language you do not understand.

Zawadi responded:

You wrote: "The rest of Dalla's (sic) statements are just empty words of preaching. He continues to beg the question that Christianity is true and that we should follow it simply because it appears to be easier than following Islam."

DMR replies:

Your concluding remark is typical of Muslim apologists that I have read.

If you cannot refute them, ridicule what they have to say. Your claim about "empty words of preaching" is to demean the great truth of the Gospel that I mentioned. The words of Jesus that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is not my preaching, but his claim. You can ignore it, but only to your own loss.

Zawadi responds:

What is Dallas talking about? He has not provided one shred of evidence throughout his previous article or this one regarding Christianity being true. To just simply present your faith is not evidence for your faith. I can do the same thing and present Islam, however that is not evidence for Islam.

DMR replies: You have returned again to the issue of evidence. Unfortunately, you have dismissed history because it contradicts the Qur’an, you have dismissed science because it contradicts the Qur’an, you have dismissed the New Testament because it contradicts the Qur’an, you have dismissed the person of Jesus as the Son of God because it contradicts the Qur’an. So, when you have a priori dismissed all evidence that contradicts the Qur’an it is impossible to penetrate a closed mind.

Dallas M. Roark said (in his first rebuttal)

Since you felt free to quote Paul as an authority when you want to use him, this gives me the same right to quote him again.

"... Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:6-11 (ESV)

It is not my preaching about the Christian life, but it is the message of the Gospel that you are refusing. You can admit that Jesus is Lord now, but if not, you will later.

Zawadi responds:

Dallas, I appreciate your good manners unlike Sam Shamoun and I also appreciate you asking good questions about the Islamic faith, unlike the annoying hair splitting questions that Jochen Katz asks. However, I seriously advise you to increase your knowledge about the basics of Islam before continuing to write further on such topics.

DMR replies: You could not resist a put-down in your final comment. As I said above, when you cannot answer the evidence, you attack the person. In spite of your insults, I have been praying for you. I have prayed that you will have an encounter very much like Paul did on the road to Damascus.

I will keep praying for you. Blessings in Jesus. Dallas