Faruqi sharpens his critique of the Christian doctrine of God by asserting that Christianity,
eternalizes the revelation of Christ not as a system of ideas that may be God’s will, but as the Christ-event. . . Christianity consistently argues that Christ (i.e. his significance) is not the will of God, nor his command, nor His idea, but God Himself, or rather God co-eternal with God. Christianity is driven to this deifying hypostasis because it eternalizes a real person and a real event. A person may be co-eternal with God, but not derivatively eternal without violating the law of identity. But to violate the law of identity in this instance is to lapse into polytheism (CE 228).
Unfortunately for Faruqi, his objection is only hitting at theological strawmen since Christians are not asserting that Christ is identical with God without remainder in his incarnate state. Indeed, Faruqi’s objection is self-defeating. If he accuses Christianity of eternalizing a historical person, his religious philosophy commits the same logical move by eternalizing the Quran which was revealed to its messenger in 7th century Arabia. Continue reading “A Critique of Ismail Faruqi’s Metareligion and Ethical Analysis of Christianity. Part 3/3”
II. Methodological And Doctrinal Distortions
A. Jesus’ Interiorization of Law
In part 1/3, I highlighted some problems with Faruqi’s methodology as its premises give a distorted reading of Christianity and skew the evidence in favor of Islam. The distortions become evident when Faruqi seeks to rewrite the history of the mission and ministry of Jesus through the lens of his metareligion. Faruqi, like all Muslims, maintains a respectful attitude towards Jesus. At the same time he is persuaded that the “real” Jesus is not that of historic Christianity. For Faruqi, the real Jesus should be based on results of German historical critical method and Quranic sources. One cannot help but notice the irony when Faruqi (and other Muslim apologists) unreservedly appropriates the skeptical results of the historical critical method to critique the bible while at the same time eschewing any application of the same critical method in the study of the Quran.
Faruqi has taken considerable effort to familiarize himself with the works of critics like Joseph Klausner and C. H. Dodd. Unfortunately, his appropriation of historical research is selective and subordinated to an overriding and debatable presupposition that Jesus’ pristine religion was solely aimed at effecting an internal correction of the Jewish legalistic religion. This presupposition allows Faruqi to dismiss any Biblical teaching which he finds personally unpalatable to the corrupting influence of Jewish racialism. Jewish racialism was undeniably a harsh reality in Faruqi’s personal experience. After all, he had to abandon his role as governor of a Palestinian district when the Jews won their War of Independence in 1948. But one wonders if Faruqi has in this matter allowed his unfortunate experience to color his judgment when he analyzes the Bible. Continue reading “A Critique of Ismail Faruqi’s Metareligion and Ethical Analysis of Christianity. Part 2/3”
Ismail Faruqi (1921-1986) is regarded as one of the most trenchant scholarly critics of Christianity in recent times. This estimation is attested by his post-doctoral project on Christian Ethics: A Historical and Systematic Analysis of Its Dominant Ideas (1967). Its 333 pages indicate detailed familiarity with Christian thinkers ranging from Augustine to Barth and Reinhold Neibuhr. His later books on Divine Transcendence and Its Expression (1983), Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (1982), Islam and Other Faiths (1998) and Selected Essays (2018) demonstrate that he is well-versed in matters of Western philosophy and they are replete with sharp criticisms of Christianity. Undoubtedly, his sustained engagement with Christianity is a product of his life experiences, as a Palestinian Arab in Lebanon and subsequently as an American scholar in Harvard University and McGill University. Perhaps he also felt compelled to respond to the vigorous intellectual enterprise among Christian missionary scholars in his time. We shall analyze critically Faruqi’s work as it provides a rare opportunity for Christians to respond to Islamic misunderstanding of Christianity at the level of sophisticated scholarship. Continue reading “A Critique of Ismail Faruqi’s Metareligion and Ethical Analysis of Christianity. Part 1/3”
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ recorded in the four Gospels is supported by impeccable testimonies of multiple eyewitnesses. The historical factuality of the cross is further attested by reports found in authoritative non-Christian historical sources like Josephus and Tacitus. The Christian witness to the crucifixion is plausible since it is inconceivable why Christians should invent the crucifixion which declares that their founder died an accursed death under divine judgment on the Cross. As such, an outright denial of the crucifixion would amount to a willful blindness to historical reality. Some Muslim critics therefore grudgingly acknowledge that historically a crucifixion did occur. However, they suggest that someone other than Jesus was crucified. They argue that Christians have misunderstood the significance of the Cross because they are victims of an illusion. God, they claim, replaced Jesus with someone that bore his likeness.
Muslim scholars bypass the historical record with an appeal to the Quranic revelation: Continue reading “Islamic Rejection of the Crucified Messiah”
On 17 April 2021, Uthaya Sankar criticized Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) for restricting the word “Tuhan” to Islamic usage. He observes that for DBP, “Tuhan” seems to refer exclusively to Allah, whereas “tuhan” refers to “something worshipped by people whose religion or belief is not based on the One God” (“sesuatu yang dipuja oleh golongan manusia yang agama atau kepercayaan mereka tidak berasaskan kepercayaan kepada Tuhan Yang Esa”). [Re: Apart from Allah, why is the word “Tuhan” exclusive for Muslims too?]
However, DBP defends its decision. Continue reading “Are non-Muslims Barred from using “Tuhan” since DBP says it refers to Allah?”
|Author: Ungaran Rashid
Publisher: IIUM Press, 2021.
No. of pages: 128
Price: RM 45.00
[This book is a revised version a thesis in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage (Uṣūl al-Dīn and Comparative Religion) at International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur].
Muslim scholars’ critique of the Christian teaching of the deity of Christ would be more credible if it engages with the origin of divine Christology in its historical context rather than relies on dogmatic assertions of Islamic doctrine. As such, this book is a commendable attempt by a Muslim scholar to engage with Christian scholarship based on historical criticism of primary sources and critical analysis of concepts of Christology.
For Christians, “Son of God” describes the filial relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father. However, Muslims reject the Christian understanding and assert that “He (Allah) begot no one nor was He begotten” (Sura 112 – Abdel Haleem translation). Dr. Ungaran Rashid, assistant professor at International Islamic University, Malaysia, argues that the way to resolve this conflict of interpretation is to examine the term “Son of God” from the main source, which is Jewish Scriptures (Ungaran’s term for the Old Testament). Continue reading “The Meaning of “Son of God”: A Muslim Critique – Christology Part 1″
Apart from Allah, why is the word “Tuhan” exclusive for Muslims too?
By Uthaya Sankar in Focus Malaysia 17 April 2021
While reading Meredah Kabus (2021), an anthology of Bahasa Malaysia short stories published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), Uthaya Sankar notices that “every time a non-Malay (non-Muslim) mentions “Tuhan” (God), it is printed as “tuhan” (god).”
Continue reading “Apart from Allah, why is the word “Tuhan” exclusive for Muslims too?”
Keadaan dunia ini selalu berubah. Pada hal yang sebenarnya, yang tiada berubah barang sedikit, iaitu Firman Allah yang Maha Mulia itu. Dari zaman ke zaman Allah ta’ala telah menyatakan sifat-sifat-Nya dan kehendak-Nya kepada manusia dengan perantaraan nabi-nabi-Nya itu. Tambahan pula, Firman Allah itu bukannya satu khabar yang sayup atau tak tentu bunyinya, melainkan Firman Allah sudah tersurat dengan tepat and nyata di dalam Al-Kitab yang suci. Di dalam sebahagian Al-Kitab yang digelarkan Kitab Injil itu, ada kenyataan yang lebih ajaib lagi, iaitu Firman Allah telah mengambil bentuk kemanusiaan dan masuk ke dalam dunia dalam peribadi Yesus Kristus yang tersebut namanya Firman Allah. Penjelmaan Firman Allah itu ialah suatu hakikat yang menghairankan. Perkara ini suatu rahsia yang diuraikan di dalam beberapa ayat Kitab Injil. Demikianlah maksudnya:
Dia datang kepada milik-Nya sendiri, tetapi milik-Nya tidak menerima-Nya…Firman itu menjadi manusia dan hidup dalam kalangan kita. Kita telah melihat kemuliaan-Nya sebagai Anak Tunggal yang datang daripada Bapa, penuh dengan kasih kurnia dan kebenaran (Yohanes 1:11, 14). Continue reading “Yesus Kristus Adalah Firman Allah (Yohanes 1:1, 14)”
High Court quashes govt’s 1986 ban on ‘Allah’ use by Christians, affirms Sarawakian Bumiputera’s right to religion and non-discrimination
10 March 2021 by Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 ― The High Court today ruled that the Malaysian government’s directive issued in 1986 with a total ban on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications is unconstitutional and invalid, and also declared orders to affirm Sarawakian Bumiputera Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s right to not be discriminated against and practise her faith.
Justice Datuk Nor Bee Ariffin, who has since been elevated to be a Court of Appeal judge, granted three of the specific constitutional reliefs sought by the Sarawakian native of the Melanau tribe.
The three orders granted by the judge include a declaration that it is Jill Ireland’s constitutional right under the Federal Constitution’s Article 3, 8, 11 and 12 to import the publications in exercise of her rights to practise religion and right to education.
The other two declarations granted by the judge today are that a declaration under Article 8 that Jill Ireland is guaranteed equality of all persons before the law and is protected from discrimination against citizens on the grounds of religion in the administration of the law ― specifically the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Customs Act 1967), and a declaration that government directive issued by the Home Ministry’s publication control’s division via a circular dated December 5, 1986 is unlawful and unconstitutional.
The order today means that the government’s long-standing absolute ban in the 1986 circular on the use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications in Malaysia has been declared invalid by the court. Continue reading “High Court Quashes Govt’s 1986 Ban on ‘Allah’ Use by Christians,”
YB Nik Zawawi’s retraction does not amount to an apology. He is merely offering to substitute an emotive word (terpesong) with a more descriptive word (ubah suai). He explains that he was referring to the ‘original kitab injil’ which was revealed to Jesus without any changes” (kitab injil asal yang diturunkan kepada Allah nabi Isa tanpa sebagai perubahan). He is reiterating the Muslim claim that Jesus was given an ‘original kitab injil’ which is different from the four present gospels and that this supposed ‘original kitab injil’ has been lost.
Assuming for the sake of argument that Nik Zawawi’s claim is true, the consequence is that Muslims, including Nik Zawawi are in principle unable to produce a copy of this missing ‘original kitab injil’. Since Nik Zawawi has no access to a copy of this so-called ‘original kitab injil’, one wonders how Nik Zawawi is able to declare that it prohibits the consumption of alcohol. His inability to produce a chapter and verse from the ‘original kitab injil’ to support his declaration shows that it is fabricated without any historical foundation. Continue reading “A Christian Response to YB Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh”