A Muslim Student is Saved! Questions About Islam, Part II

“It’s great to be here again, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah. “I’m really excited about our topic today.”

“It’s great to see you too Sarah, as well as all the rest of you. How are you Josh, Matt, and Hassan?” said Ben.

Josh spoke for all four students. “We’re looking forward to gaining an understanding today about why so many Arab nations are hateful toward Israel and the Jews.”

“And for that matter, I’d like to know why they hate Christians too,” said Matt.

“But Dr. Kaplan, it is not just Arab nations that are involved. My family is from Iran and we are not Arabs. We are Muslims however,” said Hassan.

“Absolutely Hassan. Islam started in Arabia, the home of Muhammad, but it spread widely and there are many Islamic nations that are not Arab nations.

“We do indeed have some difficult things to discuss today,” said Ben. “But first, I want us all to remember that the most important thing we can ever do is lead people who do not know the Lord Jesus to saving faith in Him. Anything else we talk about here pales in significance compared to that. Do you understand that Josh, Matt, and Sarah?”

“We certainly do, Dr. Kaplan,” responded all three.

“But what about me, Dr. Kaplan? Don’t I get to believe in Yeshua too?” said Hassan.

“Most definitely Hassan! But are you ready to accept Him?” asked Ben.

“Believe it or not, I think I’m getting close! I’ve been thinking about Yeshua constantly since our last meeting. In fact, I want you to ask me again if I am ready to accept Him after we finish today’s discussion, OK?” said Hassan.

“I promise you that I will not forget to ask you!” said Ben.

“OK. Let’s start our discussion by defining some terms. Islam is the religion practiced by Muslims. The holy book of Islam is the Qu’ran. The Quran is to Islam what the Bible, comprised of Old and New Testaments, is to Christianity, and what the Tanach, the Old Testament, is to Judaism. Like the Bible, the Qu’ran teaches that there is one God. Islam is a monotheistic religion,” said Ben.

“So the three great religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all have one God. How do we know which religion is the right one? Or could they all be right?” asked Hassan.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan, why couldn’t they all be right?” asked Sarah.

“Great questions!” said Ben. “I believe there are clear answers. Let me try to explain. Jews and Christians both believe the Old Testament, so there is no disagreement there, although Christians and Jews do not interpret all of the Old Testament in the same way. But those Jews who do not accept Jesus as their Messiah, the vast majority of Jews, do not believe the New Testament. What about Islam? Islam teaches that the Bible, but not the Bible we have today, is the inspired word of God. Islam teaches that all Bibles today are the product of corrupted translations from the original languages and are wrong. Although we might discuss this issue in the future, I need to tell you emphatically now that this is completely wrong and there is an enormous amount of evidence to back up what I am saying.

“Practicing Muslims certainly do believe the Qu’ran so we need to examine the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran definitely disagrees with the Bible so one of those two books is wrong. That’s why all “three great religions” cannot be right.

“Let’s look at some passages from the Bible and from the Qu’ran today and compare them. We’ll look at passages that talk about salvation, about how God forgives our sins.

“We’ll look at the Bible first,” said Ben.

Leviticus 17:11 (ESV) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

“In this Old Testament verse, God is telling us about the need for a substitutionary sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. This is the reason that animals were slaughtered daily by the Jews in ancient times. The blood of the sacrifice provided atonement for sins. This forgiveness of sins was not permanent however. Each new sin committed required a new blood sacrifice. But an important principle was established by God. A blood sacrifice, the death of a living being, was required for forgiveness of sins.

Romans 5:8-10 (ESV) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

“These New Testament verses also speak of a blood sacrifice, a much better one. The Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah, was sacrificed one time, on the cross. His death and shed blood provide permanent forgiveness of sins for all who accept Him as Lord and Savior because His sacrifice is perfect. But there is something in addition to forgiveness of sins that is provided. Just as the Son died on the cross, He was resurrected to life. We who believe this are included in what happened to Jesus on the cross. We are baptized into His death. Water baptism is a picture of this true spiritual baptism. We see this explained in Romans, chapter 6.

Romans 6:3-5 (ESV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

“We died in Christ when we believed and we were born again to newness of life. We are now slaves to righteousness rather than slaves to sin. The Jewish Messiah, the God-Man, did this for us at great cost, at an incalculable cost.

“Let’s now look at two verses from the Qu’ran, from surah 2,” said Ben.

“159 Those who conceal the evidence of the truth and the guidance We have revealed, after We have made them clear to people in the Scripture, will be rejected by God and so do others.

160 But from those who repent and mend their ways and make known the truth, I will certainly accept their repentance: I am the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.1

“Verse 159 explains that those who go against the teaching of the Qu’ran, who sin, will be rejected by God. But verse 160 explains that Allah will forgive those who sin if they repent and change their ways because Allah is most merciful. No mention is made, here or elsewhere in the Qu’ran, of the need for a substitutionary blood sacrifice for God to forgive sins,” concluded Ben.

“Dr. Kaplan, why does God require a substitutionary sacrifice in order to forgive sins?” said Hassan.

“Let me explain, Hassan. God is perfect and His Law is perfect. So when a person breaks God’s Law, He requires the punishment that His Law demands. That punishment is death. Only by this punishment, capital punishment, can perfect justice be rendered. God can have nothing less than perfect justice because He is God and God is perfect. But God is also love. He loves us so much that He provided a substitute to die in our place. God sent His own Son, Jesus the Messiah, who is equal to God, to bear the penalty for the sins of all of us so that instead of death we can have eternal life,” said Ben.

“And Allah just forgives sins because he is merciful, without requiring a blood sacrifice?” said Sarah. “Isn’t that OK?”

“I’m afraid not Sarah. In order to forgive the transgression, the penalty required by God’s Law must be paid. A blood sacrifice, a death, is required. A life for a life. Do you see the divine symmetry here?” said Ben.

“I think I do,” said Sarah.

“Why doesn’t Allah require what the God of the Bible requires?” asked Matt.

“Matt, do you remember that at our last meeting Hassan showed us that Allah, the god of the Qu’ran, contradicts himself? Well, just as the one true God cannot contradict Himself, the one true God cannot forgive sin without demanding perfect justice and perfect justice means the sinner must die,” said Ben. “The only way around that is to accept Yeshua, Jesus, as your substitute. Either He pays the price for you by His death or you pay the price by your own death.”

Hassan spoke up. “How could Allah be God and be less than perfect?”

“He can’t be, Hassan. Allah is not God and the Qu’ran is not a divinely inspired book. I’m afraid that the religion of Islam, the god Allah, and the holy book called the Qu’ran, are all satanically inspired and they are all false. There is no other way I can say it, Hassan. I can only speak the truth,” said Ben.

“So why do Muslims hate Jews?” asked Sarah.

“Sarah, not all Muslims hate Jews. There are millions who do not hate Jews. But Islam and its holy book, the Qu’ran, teach hatred of Christians and Jews and worse,” said Ben.

“Couldn’t those Muslims that don’t hate Jews and Christians modernize the religion of Islam, rewrite the Qu’ran, and remain Muslims?” asked Sarah.

“I’m afraid not Sarah, not if they want to know the true God. He has ordained only one way of coming to Him and that is through His Son, Yeshua the Messiah,” said Ben.

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

“But why are so many Muslims deceived? It is so sad. I have a number of Muslim friends and I love them. I don’t want them to die separated from the true God,” said Josh.

“Do you remember from previous meetings that there is an adversary of our souls? His name is Satan. He has other names too. One of them is the thief. Look at what Jesus said about him,” said Ben.

John 10:9-11 (ESV) I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Hassan burst out. “There is such a contrast between Jesus and Allah! This cannot possibly be fiction! Dr. Kaplan, I believe! You don’t have to ask me again if I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior! I want to accept Him and I want to accept Him now!”

Hassan prayed.

“Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying the price for my sins. Thank you that I now have eternal life instead of eternal death. Please come into my heart now and be with me forever and also please save baba and maman, and my sisters and my brothers. Thank you Lord!”

“Wow! I am so blessed!” said Sarah. “You are now my brother in Christ! How wonderful! I so look forward to all of us having fellowship together.”

“Absolutely!” said Josh.

Ben spoke. “Having you all here today has been a tremendous encouragent to me! We must get the word of truth and love out to Muslim people anyway we can. I know that it’s not easy. I’m so glad that you brought Hassan to this group!”

“See you all next week,” said Ben.

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Questions About Islam, Part I

“Hi Dr. Kaplan.  I hope you don’t mind that we’ve brought another student with us today,” said Matt.

“Of course I don’t mind.  In fact I know Hassan Taqizadeh. Glad to have you with us Hassan!  How is your father?  Is he still doing cardiac surgery?” said Ben.

“Yes he is sir.  He is well and sends his regards,” said Hassan.

“Dr. Kaplan, Hassan has some real concerns about the Islamic faith.  Could we talk about that today?” said Josh.

“Sure we can.  I’ve just finished reading the Quran for the first time and I’d love to talk about Islam,” said Ben.  “Hassan, is there a particular question that you have?”

“Yes, there is.  My greatest concern is how I can get to heaven after I die.  I’m not sure that I can accept what Allah says in the Quran about that,” said Hassan.

“My understanding is that the Quran teaches that a Muslim can get to heaven if his good deeds outweigh his bad deeds in Allah’s judgment.  Because a believer can’t know this before judgment day he lives with uncertainty all his life as to where he will spend eternity, whether in heaven or in hell.  This was true even for Muhammad.  But there is another way according to the Quran.  And that way allows the believer to know that he is going to heaven.  That way is to die fighting for Islam.  Is that what’s bothering you Hassan?” said Ben.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan.  Can I read you 3 Quranic verses that speak to this?  I’m reading from surah 47:4-6,” said Hassan.

“[47:4]  If you encounter (in war) those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks. If you take them as captives you may set them free or ransom them, until the war ends. Had GOD willed, He could have granted you victory, without war. But He thus tests you by one another. As for those who get killed in the cause of GOD, He will never put their sacrifice to waste.

[47:5]  He will guide them, and bless them with contentment.

[47:6]  He will admit them into Paradise, that He described to them.”

 “Dr. Kaplan, can you understand why this upsets me?  According to the Quran the only sure way to be admitted into Paradise, heaven, is to die in the cause of God in a war against non-Muslims; Allah could have granted victory without war but he chose not to.  He uses war to test Muslims.  So if as I’m striking the neck of my enemy someone kills me my reward is guaranteed.  I will spend eternity in Paradise. It seems to me that these verses encourage war and killing by Muslims.  Would a religion of peace have such a teaching?” said Hassan.

“Hassan, I can understand why this upsets you.  I think there are a couple of issues that we need to address here.  One of them involves how the Quran is interpreted.  The second involves whether most Muslims know what the Quran actually says,” said Ben.

Josh spoke.  “The Quranic verses above seem very clear.  Isn’t there only one way to interpret them Dr. Kaplan?”

“I wouldn’t say that Josh.  Hassan, can you tell us what the doctrine of abrogation is?” asked Ben.

“Sure, Dr. Kaplan.  I’m going to read a verse from surah 2 and a verse from surah 9.  There are 114 surahs or chapters in the Quran.”

“2.256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”

“9.29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

“Do you see how these 2 verses contradict each other?  The first verse says that nobody should be forced to convert to Islam.  The truth of Islam will make itself known.  This verse is compatible with a religion of peace.  The second verse says to fight those who do not believe in Allah, until they pay a tax, the Jizya, and are subdued.  So an imam who wants people to believe that Islam is a religion of peace may quote the first verse and then quote the second verse to promote jihad when speaking to a different group of people.  If someone asks ‘What about the first verse?’ the imam can say that it has been nullified by the second verse.  This doctrine of abrogation, also called nasikh,  can be used to deceive people and promote Jihad,” said Hassan.

“Wouldn’t a Muslim who studies his Quran see the contradiction here and wonder about it?” said Matt.

“Possibly,” said Hassan.  “But many Muslims don’t read the Quran and have no idea what is in it.  And the Quran itself has a few verses that even seem to endorse this doctrine of abrogation.  Let me read one of them.”

“2.106 None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?”

“So surah 2.106 can be used to justify verses that contradict each other, such as one verse proclaiming freedom of religion and another commanding that all unbelievers be subdued or pay a tax or worse,” said Hassan.  “Dr. Kaplan, do you think that a book with contradictions like these and additional text which even justifies these contradictions can be divinely inspired?”

“I don’t think so Hassan.  A God who transcends the universe and who is beyond time and who is all knowing could not contradict Himself.  And that is what Allah is doing in his Quran.  So the question is did the Quran come from God  or did it come from somewhere else?  Our God does not contradict Himself,” said Ben.

“That was what I was afraid you would say Dr. Kaplan.  I’m afraid that Allah is not God.  But the cost to me of denying Allah, of leaving Islam, could be huge.  I could even be killed,” said Hassan.  “But regardless of that I must know the truth.”

“Dr. Kaplan, couldn’t Islam be reformed?  Wouldn’t it be okay then?  I seem to hear increasing calls for  Islam to be reformed, on various news programs,” said Josh.

“The problem with that Josh is that the Quran would need to be rewritten to eliminate contradictions such as the one we’ve been discussing today.  If that were to happen then Islam would no longer be Islam.  Can you imagine an imam or mullah preaching to his people about the Quran being in error?  He’d be better off urging his people to change their religion.  And of course that is exactly what I pray for, that Muslims would become followers of Jesus, the Son of God.

“Jesus is the only way.  Let me quote a verse from the gospel of John.  Jesus is talking to his disciples,” said Ben.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 3:16, ESV)

“But Dr. Kaplan, isn’t that awfully arrogant?” asked Hassan.

“No Hassan.  It’s not arrogant because Jesus is God, and God is not arrogant.  It is exclusionary and it is meant to be.  Yet every person is welcome to come to Jesus.  God desires this,” said Ben.

“But how can a religion be exclusionary and at the same time welcome everyone?” asked Hassan.

“Hassan, God transcends the universe, is beyond time, and is all knowing.  He is also all powerful and He is good.  Such a God has provided a way of salvation for all people and this way is perfect.  That’s why it’s the only way.  That’s why it’s exclusionary.

“Everyone is welcome because God loves everyone and does not want anyone to perish,” said Ben.

“You said Jesus is God.  Jesus is in the Quran as a prophet but not God. Tell us how you know that Jesus is God, Dr. Kaplan,” said Hassan.

“Let me read you a passage from the Gospel of Matthew which is in the New Testament,” said Ben.

“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home.” Matthew 9:1-7 (ESV)

“Hassan, in this passage Jesus is explaining to his audience that what he just did proved that he is God.  I think this proof is pretty convincing,” said Ben.

“Hi, Dr. Kaplan.  I have a question too.  Remember me?” said Sarah with a chuckle.  “I’m your Jewish medical student who believes in Jesus.”

“I’m sorry, Sarah.  I didn’t see you back there in the corner.

“And Sarah, I remember that you raised a question last time that still needs to be answered,” said Ben.

“Yes, Dr. Kaplan.  It’s this: Why do Islamic nations nearly always hate the Jewish people and Israel?” asked Sarah.

“I’m going to give you the short answer today.  Islam is a false religion, inspired by Satan, who hates people and does not want people to love the true God of the Universe.  For that reason, Islam has Jew hatred as one of it’s core principles.  Satan wants to use followers of Islam, Muslims, to annihilate the Jewish people and Israel,” said Ben.

“Wow!” exclaimed Sarah.  “Can you explain that in more detail, Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“Yes.  Let’s plan to cover that at our next session,” said Ben.

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