While on vacation, several things happened regarding my faith journey. I was asked by a waiter if I was a Muslim. I couldn’t but laugh nervously. Apparently he saw my daughter eating enormous amounts of bacon with her pancakes.
No, I am not a Muslim. Why do you ask me that, Abdullah? [Points at the bacon] Oh, the bacon, of course. Nope. I am not a Muslim, but I know about the bacon. I’m reading your Quran. My best friends in Chennai are Muslims, and I always tell them how a terrible Muslim I would make because I like beer. Are you married, Abdullah?
Abdullah is married, but he sees his daughter -who is 18 months old- only a few days every six months. He also told me that a lot of Muslims eat bacon because they don’t even know they are not supposed to eat it. This is in a country where alcohol and pork are banned from consumption (except at the resorts), and importing anti-Islamic materials (including idols for worship and Bibles) is an offence. Abdullah was nothing but nice to me. I did not take any offense in him asking me whether I was a Muslim or not. My husband, of course, thought that was none of his business.
But I actually thought it was really sweet that Abdullah would care for my daughter and for me not sinning in case we were Muslims. My daughter has a free pass on sins until she reaches puberty, but not me. He was not telling me it is wrong to eat pork. He was not holding me accountable to his beliefs. He was holding me accountable to my sin only if I was a Muslim. That is why he asked first. And I think that was a beautiful Muslim parallel example of the accountability I explained in my last post Christians – Part 2.
Another thing that happened is that I was asked by a young woman [Sherry] which religion I followed. She explained she was Catholic, but she did not understand why the priests were so controlling to the people in her native country, and why her Muslims friends at the resort were telling her that Jesus was not God. I seriously felt like hugging her and asking her, “Have they told you yet that the Bible is corrupted?”
She asked me if I could explain the Trinity for her. I gave it a shot, and I explained it to her – as much as I grasp it. The Trinity belongs to another post, tough. I just want to make clear that The Trinity mentioned in the Quran is indeed a blatant blasphemy for me as a Christian.
They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God.
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it.
After reading these two verses together the question begs to be asked… Is it reasonable for me to think that Prophet Muhammad thought that the Trinity of Christianity consisted of Jesus, Mary and Allah? I say maybe. Many Muslims on the web wrongly assert this is what Christians believe. My own Muslim confronted me one morning on why I prayed TO Mary. Who told him that? Other Christians? I don’t think so. I will have to ask him, but he definitely read it in the Quran. Maybe Prophet Muhammad was referring to a smaller group of Christians who seemed to have a heretical emphasis on praying TO Mary.
But it is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that Catholics do not pray TO saints or Mary, but rather that Catholics can ask saints or Mary to pray FOR them. Whether this practice is biblical or not, my Catholic Brothers and Sisters in Christ worship GOD ALONE. We may have differences in understanding, but Catholics will never tell you Mary is part of the Trinity. I was raised Catholic, FYI.
Anyway… Sherry was very sweet. There are people hungry for God. There are people who have questions about God. I knew there were people actively looking for God, and maybe this was God’s way to show me. This morning, on the other hand, my children and I were surrounded by five Muslim women all wearing black from top to bottom – abaya, hijab and all. They were all smiling and shaking my hand as my landlord introduced them as his wife and his four daughters. What is God trying to tell me? My Muslimah thinks Allah is trying to open my eyes to the truth of Islam. Sure. Why not?
BUT IT IS NOT FAIR.
It is not fair that I have to become a Muslim for God to love me. Being a Muslim is not as easy as believing in One and Only One God and submitting to Him. One cannot be a Muslim until one recites the Shahada, the First Pillar of Islam, with sincerity and conviction: I bear witness that there is no God worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Obey Allah and His messenger [Muhammad], but if they turn back, Allah does not love the unbelievers.Whoever disbelieves, he shall be responsible for his disbelief, and whoever does good, they prepare (good) for their own souls, that He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He [Allah] does not love the unbelievers.
God’s love for me is contingent on whether or not I believe in Muhammad. As of right now, I am an unbeliever. I cannot recite the Shahada from the heart. And if I do not believe in God AND Muhammad:
- As I enter hell and my skin is burned, it will be exchanged for other skin so that I taste the punishment (Quran 4:56).
- The angels will smite my face and my back so that I taste the punishment of burning (Quran 8:50).
- I am also the vilest of animals (Quran 8:55).
- I have burning fire awaiting for me (Quran 48:13).
- I will also have an entertainment of boiling water (Quran 56:91-93).
- I will also burn in hell (Quran 56:94), but that I already knew.
There are more verses, but those are enough for me. After doing all this reading, not a single Muslim can sincerely tell me that Christianity is too narrow. No way. Islam is as narrow. I don’t have a problem with the doors being narrow, you see, because I do want to choose a door. My doors are either the Jesus of the Bible OR Muhammad [and the Jesus in the Quran]. I cannot have both. Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive.
But I have experienced that God is loving. I know God is just. And I know God is fair. Our human understanding of His justice is what makes us question His love and His fairness. But God’s ways are not our ways, neither His thoughts are our thoughts. His ways and His thoughts are higher [Isaiah 55:8-9].
As I read my Quran, I constantly ask God with an open heart, IS THIS TRUE?