December 18, 2014

Christmas and “The Least Common Denominator Jesus”

In the wake of the jihadist attack on the Sydney, Australia Lindt Chocolat Café on December 15, my friend, author and sharia expert, Dr. Andrew Bostom writes of “A Not So Merry Christmas From Islam and Isa, The Muslim ‘Jesus’ .

Muslim immigrant Man Haron Monis recently declared, in the Christmas spirit of his adopted Australian refuge, “Islam is the religion of peace and a Muslim should be a peace activist.” December 15, 2014, consistent with legions of his Muslim co-religionists across the globe, Monis demonstrated otherwise, causing the deaths by jihad of two innocent hostages he had taken, plus his own death.

One of Australia’s largest mosques, two years earlier, in December, 2012, also reflective of such “seasonal ecumenism”—albeit non-violently so—sparked outrage with a religious ruling (“fatwa”) posted on its Facebook page warning Muslims it was “sinful” to wish a Merry Christmas to their fellow, vast majority, Australian Christian countrymen. This sectarian Islamic message, subsequently removed from the Lakemba Mosque social networking website, came on the heels of a sermon at the Sydney mosque’s Friday congregational prayer session, during which head imam Sheikh Yahya Safi described Christmas Day as a “falsehood that Muslims should avoid.” He further warned that “disbelievers” were trying to draw Muslims away from the “straight path”—i.e., Islam.  

Lest anyone try to dismiss the mandate banning Muslims from wishing Christians a Merry Christmas as being “not mainstream Islam,” Bostom includes numerous examples from the Koran as provided by the “Fatwa Center” of IslamWeb. Bostom adds that Islam Web claims that it “adopts, “balanced and moderate views, devoid of bias and extremism,” covering all aspects of Islam.”

Here is just one example of a response from IslamWeb:

It is not permissible for the Muslims to congratulate the Christians for their holidays and celebrations because this would be cooperation on that which is sin and transgression. Allah Says (what means): “…And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression…” [Koran 5: 2]. This also leads to repeated visitation with them, and indicates solicitation of their love and the acceptance of who they are and their rites. This is not permissible. It is an obligation on the Muslim to show them dislike for they oppose Allah and ascribe partners and sons to Him. Allah Says (what means): “You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred…” [Koran 58:22] He Almighty also Says: “There has already been for you an excellent pattern in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, ‘Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah Alone’…” [Koran 60:4]

Bostom also addresses another very important issue in this article, which you should read in its entirety. Many Christians — local churches, denominations, entire mission organizations find a basis for inter-faith dialogue in the Muslim prophet referred to in the Koran as Isa, the Islamic “Jesus.”

Some Christians do this with the very laudable goal of “sharing Christ” with their Muslim neighbors. Others do it for other reasons — diluting the exclusive claims of the Gospel, feeling that it is the duty of colonialist/imperialist Americans, etc. But in most cases these inter-faith dialogues are nothing more than exercises in dhimmitude whether Christians admit it or not.

Rather than “sharing Christ,” the Son of God who came into this world as a baby born of a virgin in order to die on the Cross and redeem humanity for God, Christians involved in inter-faith dialogue are always so eager to show common ground that they accept what Bostom reveals that Dr. Habib Malik named “the least common denominator.”

Says Bostom:

Dr. Habib Malik, in an eloquent address delivered February 3, 2003 at the 27th annual Council for Christian Colleges and Universities  Presidents Conference, decried the platitudinous “least common denominators” paradigm which dominates what he aptly termed the contemporary “dialogue industry,” especially the spurious contention, vis-à-vis Muslim-Christian dialogue,  that “the Isa of the Koran is really the same as the Jesus of the New Testament.”  Malik’s inference—demonstrably correct—that Isa, the “Muslim Jesus,” does not bear any substantive resemblance to the Jesus of the New Testament, is particularly apposite to the hateful Muslim attitudes towards Christmas, highlighted above.

Again, Bostom provides ample evidence from the Koran for those who have eyes to see and are not living in a state of denial. He also provides evidence from the commentaries on the Koran written by preeminent Islamic scholars. One such scholar, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) assures that no one needs to believe that Isa is anything more than a Messenger of Allah and a human being.

Bostom reveals, “Ibn Kathir elucidates the Islamic version of the “Resurrection” from the hadith (oral tradition recording Muhammad’s words and actions) in which Isa (Jesus), who is merely a Muslim prophet preaching Islam, returns to “break the cross, kill the pig, and banish the jizya [Koranic poll-tax signifying a non-Muslims subjugation under Islamic rule]  and call all the people to Islam.”

“Break the cross” refers to eliminating Christianity and converting the Christians to Islam. “Kill the pig” refers to killing all of the Jews. In addition, the Islamic apocalypse includes several disturbing narratives of Isa hunting down and killing all of the Jews, and then converting to Islam and “taking his place for prayer at the [Meccan] Kaba.”

But that’s the 14th century! Surely that type of thinking doesn’t prevail today!?

Bostom disabuses you of that delusion by explaining that “all the essential themes” of Ibn Kathir about “Isa, the Muslim Jesus,” are reiterated in “the authoritative modern edition (February 1991 English edition) of a classical manual of Islamic Law.”  If you are not familiar with that manual, Reliance of the Traveller, you should be. Says Bostom:

“Reliance of the Traveller reaffirms the accepted interpretation of Isa’s  return as described in the Koran and hadith, connecting it seamlessly to the real world jihad against Christianity (as well as Judaism, and Zoroastrianism), articulated by the Koranic verse 9:29. Under the heading (pp. 601-602) “THE OBJECTIVES OF JIHAD,” Reliance of the Traveller proclaims,

The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya; My note: from the etymology of the word, per Edward Lane, the great 19th century Arabic-English lexicographer, “the tax paid in lieu of being slain”)—in accordance with the word of Allah Most High, (Koran 9:29) “Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”—the time and place for which is before the final descent of Isa. After his [Isa’s] final coming, nothing but Islam will be accepted from them, for taking the poll tax is only effective until Isa’s descent, which is the divinely revealed law of Muhammad, The coming of Isa does not entail a separate divinely revealed law, for he will rule by the law of Muhammad [i.e., the Sharia]

Bostom quotes his friend, Anglican priest, Islamic scholar and  author, and human rights activist, Dr. Mark Durie, who has declared, “Christians would be appalled if they knew that Isa, the Muslim “Jesus,” is merely a Muslim prophet, whose ultimate “job description” is to destroy Christianity, and help impose Islam, and its totalitarian Sharia, upon all of humanity.

Christians from a Muslim background , who have been rejected and threatened with death by their families, and who risk their lives every day do not use a least common denominator approach to proclaim God’s love. They boldly proclaim the Christ of the Bible, God who became Man, because that is Who captured their own hearts. That is Who gave them boldness and the power of His Spirit — not finding fake similarities in the hopes of appeasing those who oppose the Christ’s Sonship.

It is Christmas, the action of God — astoundingly incarnate in this world as a baby born to a humble Jewish girl — that shows the God of the Bible as the most Uncommon of Deities,  and it is Christmas that flies in the face of a least common denominator Jesus.

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