Dear Friend, Asalam alaikum! Selamat Datang!
This book has been prepared to help Christians and Muslims contemplate serious questions they have about: Christianity and Islâm; Jesus Christ; and The Prophet of Islâm, Muhammed.
This book may help answer the questions searching friends ask. The majority of the questions were taken from discussions and encounters with Muslims socially, at lectures, interfaith dialogues, Islâmic libraries, mosques, meetings with Imams, and through the internet. Bpk Pengajar Rohani has visited mosques in Whangarei, Auckland, Manukau City, Tauranga, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bandung, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Dacca, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, and Labasa, Fiji. Bpk Pengajar Rohani gives thanks to God for the warm welcome he received at the mosques he visited. He appreciates the kindness and hospitality afforded him.
Bapak Rohani was often sad and his heart was burdened when talking to Christians and Muslims. It seemed so often that pride and prejudice closed their minds and ears to the truth. He desired to write a book that would help create ‘truth space’ between the believers of both faiths so they could understand each other much better. Both faiths teach that Jesus Christ or Isa is the Saviour, Prince of Peace and the returning Messiah (Isa bin Maryam), and the advocate of justice for all mankind.
Many people on earth have a strong sense that we are approaching the Judgement Day. Everyone needs to be ready for this cataclysmic event. Truth must overcome our religious prejudice. In Hadith 178 it states this beautiful truth: ‘For him who fears Allâh He will appoint a way out and He will give him provision from an unimagined source.’
Why is this book called ‘The Right Path’? Bpk Rohani observed when talking to Muslims that they earnestly desired to find ‘The Right Path’ and they believe that the life of Muhammed, and the words of the Qur’an will guide them to ‘The Right Path’. The words ‘right path’ were used so many times in our conversations that we thought it was wise and appropriate to call the book by this name seeing it reflected the desire of most Muslims, regardless of their backgrounds, culture or theology.
We all earnestly desire to know ‘The Right Path’. Our prayer is that God will reward your faith as you diligently seek Him who is ‘The Right Path’ through the words of this book. The Bible says in Hebrews 11 verse 6; ‘It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that He exists, and He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.’
The Old Testament Prophet, Isaiah, spoke God’s words in Isaiah 26 verses 7-9 when he said: ‘For those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. O Lord we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our hearts’ desire is to glorify your name. All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God, for only when you come to judge the earth will the people learn what is right.’ The same Prophet also said in Isaiah 2 verses 2-3: ‘In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all – the most important place on earth. It will be raised up above all other hills and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths’. We hope this book will teach everyone who reads it the ways of God and lead them to ‘The Right Path’. Finally the Prophet proclaimed this great promise in Isaiah 26 verse 19, ‘But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like the dew on your people in the place of the dead!’ God promises abundant blessings to those who follow ‘The Right Path’.
People seeking help with questions that concern them about their faith will find this book helpful. It will provide explanations about some of the difficulties we face in understanding our beliefs. Many of these questions were asked by friends and students who were seeking the truth. The Qur’an in surah 50 Qaf ayah 37 says that ‘Verily in this is a message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth).’
The Qur’an also states in surah 5 Al ’Imran ayat 101 and 102, ‘O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which if made plain to you may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allâh will forgive those: For Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, most Fore-bearing. Some people before you did ask questions, and on that account lost their faith.’ Both Christians and Muslims have been commended by their Holy Scriptures for asking questions but we must all ask these questions with faith believing that God exists. So it is important that our questions are sincere, seeking to know the truth. Our questions must be derived from an honest search for God’s truth with a pure heart.
To receive the most help possible from this book, study it prayerfully looking up the references in the Bible and the Qur’an. If you do not have a Bible use www.biblegateway.com and select the language or version you want to study. If you do not have a Qur’an go to your local mosque and ask the Imam or Sheik for a copy. We are sure he will give a sincere seeker one for free. Alternatively you can order one from www.amazon.com or go to the world wide web at www.quran.com for the Sahih International version. In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit or the Roh Al Kudus, to give you a clear understanding of God’s word for it is the Holy Spirit that makes the Holy Scriptures alive in our being.
Keep this book with your Bible and Qur’an so that it is available for use when you are sharing your faith with a Christian or a Muslim. If you do not have a Qur’an and you are an English speaker we recommend the Penguin Classics version of ‘The Koran’ (ISBN 978-0-141-39383-4), translated with notes by N J Dawood, as the easiest Qur’an for a beginner to read in English.
The Bible is regarded as the greatest book ever compiled, and read by more people around the world than any other book. The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by 40 different authors over 1,500 years. It contains several different genres including poetry, songs (The Zabur), history and law (The Torah), prophecy, (Isaiah, Daniel, Revelation and the minor prophets), gospels (The Injil), and epistles or letters to churches. The authenticity of the prophecies of the Bible are self-confirmed by their subsequent fulfilment and recorded in the Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls that date back to 300 years before Jesus Christ were discovered in Qumran in 1948 AD by a Bedouin shepherd; they confirmed the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible.
If you would like to know more about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls please go to our website www.bedouinshepherd.com
Muslims believe that the Qur’an was given to The Prophet of Islâm, Muhammed, as a dictation from the angel Gabriel (Islâm teaches that the Al Roh Kudus is the same entity as Gabriel) in 610 AD, when he was living in Mecca, Arabia, at 40 years of age. Uthman gathered all the copies of the Qur’an and compiled the text that is the basis of the Qur’an we have today. He then burned the 25 copies of the Qur’an that were in existence to try to eliminate any incorrect versions. The other versions had been written by other Sahabah, who were Muhammed’s close friends. Most of the hadith in Salafi or Sunnah traditions came from Aisha because she was Muhammed’s youngest wife who succeeded him, and knew Muhammed intimately. The hadith record what Muhammed said, did and agreed with. Some other Sahabah memorised the hadith of Muhammed.
The ‘Seerah’ is the biography of Muhammed’s life on which many of the actions of Muslims are based. It is concluded that the things Muhammed did are permissible for Muslims. The word ‘halal’ means permissible and ‘haram’ means forbidden.
The Torah or Tawrat is contained in the first five books of the Old Testament of the Bible. The Torah is the literary foundation of Judaism from which the revelations of God or Allâh in Christianity and Islâm are rooted. Christians and Muslims should be very grateful to the ‘People of the Book’, the Jews, for their masterfully accurate preservation of the words, stories and promises of God contained in the Torah. We honour their great patriarchs and prophets such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, Solomon, Jonah, Daniel, Amos and Haggai, for their godliness and reverence of the holy words of God.
Muslims generally do not trust their personal understanding of the Qur’an. They believe that the Qur’an cannot be understood without the help of scholars. Most Qur’an are published with a commentary by a scholar like the one we have quoted in this book. The processes Muslims follow to understand the Qur’an and its law are as follows:
- Alnas (the scripture itself and in this case the Qur’an, Hadith or Sunnah)
- Al Ejtehad (the skills of trying to figure out the right answer from the scholar’s explanation of the Qur’an)
- Alqyas (literally ‘the measurement’; this is the way the context of the scripture is to be applied to the context of the situation.)
In the 15th century, Christians such as John Wyclif and William Tyndale dared to translate the Latin version of the Bible into the language of the common people of Europe. They were hunted down and burned at the stake for their efforts. The Roman Church leaders did not want the Christians to find out the many things they had added to the teaching of the Bible to control the people’s lives. Once the truth of the Holy Scripture was freely available to the masses of Christians they were able to find freedom from sin and amazing grace from God without paying money and doing penance.
In this the year 1436 AH in the Islâmic calendar we hope and pray that this book will help many Muslims experience a ‘reformation’ of their faith by searching the Qur’an for themselves and asking the Holy Spirit to guide them as they read it. We also hope that many Christians will discover the Qur’an by reading it themselves so they can understand what the Prophet of Islâm, Muhammad, was saying to the people of Medina and Mecca in 610 AD. His message called the Meccans and Medinans to stop worshipping their 354 idols, one for every day of the year, and to submit to and worship the One God. Our prayer is that this book will be used by God to help many people discover ‘The Right Path’ as they search their Holy Books and experience a reformation and transformation in their spiritual life.
At the back of this book there are two indexes and a bibliography to assist you with quick reference.
May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed Saviour, and Messiah also called Isa, who proclaimed that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14 verse 6), bless you abundantly with a personal, intimate relationship with God/Allâh by the Holy Spirit/Roh Al Kudus through reading this book. ‘For God/Allâh is working in you giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him.’ Philippians 2 verse 13.
Yours through God’s amazing grace, Bpk Pengajar Rohani and Amr Abdullah M Al Qahtani