Ask Shaykh YQ #83 – Responding to the Accusation that the Quran is Incorrect About Christian Theology

Yasir Qadhi


Channel: Yasir Qadhi


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Begin with our first question from brother in normal help, who says that he has a colleague at work who is a believing Christian? They're having a lot of discussions about Islam and the Quran. And he has questions that He has for me, one of them is that his Christian colleague is saying that the Koran does not understand Trinity, and that according to him, I will add the prophecies and made a mistake in that the Koran says that Christians believe in three gods and the Quran says that Jesus and Mary are a part of the Trinity. And his Christian colleague is saying that this is completely false. No Christian has ever said that there are three gods and that Jesus and Mary have never been

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considered to be a part of the Trinity. So our brother anomaly is asking how do we understand these verses in the Koran

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out of seven sell me Kobe league in

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new he him first blue, Lake Erie.

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Now, the primary verses that deal with Christian theology there are three so pay heed to these and and inshallah we'll dissect them and explain to them explain the Michelle in a holistic manner. First is sort of the nice that verse 171, that Allah subhana wa tada says, For Ave Bella he will do su li wala ta colusa believe in a line is messengers and do not say three, what are 202 thelotter. Notice three here is three not the word used is terasa, which is 3123. And it's not the Arabic word for Trinity, which is the athlete or other words that are used. So the point being that this word three is being understood to mean three actual entities. And then Allah says, into hurdler, calm,

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stop saying three, it is better for you. So the nice avarice 171 the second sort of endeavor 73 Allah says, laco the car for a lead in a call in a lotta lethal selasa. Those who say that a lot is the third of a three have committed, Cofer, excuse me, those who say that a lot is the third of a 332 thalassa. So there are three entities, and Allah is one of them, the third of them. The third here doesn't necessarily mean in chronological order, it simply means one of the three is a lot. Once again, what is being affirmed are three entities and that a lot is one of those three. So Allah is saying anybody who says that a lot is three or a part of a three, or one third of a three, that

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anybody who says this has committed for one Amen, Elijah and Elijah whom why there's only one God and lastly certain verse 116, where Allah subhana wa tada says, that

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URI seminar Maria Maria map and holter in NASA to his own your own Mia Illa Haney mundo de la, he said will be asked on the Day of Judgment By Allah, that did you tell the people Oh, Jesus, did you tell people to take you and your mother as Gods instead of Allah? So here, Allah subhana wa tada is asking, reserved, Imodium? Did you tell people to take you and your mother as Gods Illa Haney to God's besides Allah subhanho wa Taala. And Elisa will say, Glory BTR could never say anything other than what you commanded me to say. And the verses go on. Now, these are not the only three but these are the primary three verses in the Koran that deal with Christian theology. Now, of course,

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mainstream Christian doctrine, which has been fairly consistent since the Nicene Creed of the third or fourth century is that there is one God, but that one God is exists in three co eternal con substantial, substantial persons, sorry, code, concepts, dangerous or innocuous, substantial constant potential. And the technical technical term is hypotheses, that these three are distinct, and yet they are one in substance and one in nature. So the three hypotheses are one. And so the doctrine of Christianity is that there are no three Gods rather that there are three distinct yet one in substance and one in nature. Now, obviously, there's a lot of internal discussion what this

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means. But the point that this Christian colleague is telling his Muslim colleague is that no Christian sect has ever said that there are three gods and no Christian sects ever made marry a part of the Trinity. So he is saying, according to this prayer, and this is of course, a very common theory by

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polemics by those that are criticizing Islam by

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Christians who who try to find fault with Islam, that what they end up doing is that they always say, Oh, the author of the Quran, and by this they mean obviously the Prophet says Adam, the author of the Quran didn't know Christian theology, they say, and so the Quranic language is incorrect, because nobody actually says this. Now, number of points to be said here and obviously this is a very convoluted topic, we can spend many, many hours talking about Christian theology talking about these verses of the Quran and how they've been understood by over 5060 you know, more soon throughout the eras. Obviously, this is a short answer to a much longer topic. However, the claim

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that the Quran is unaware that Christians believe in monotheism is simply false. The Quran is very clear Allah subhana wa tada says to the Lanka booth, verse 46, whether to judge you to Angelica Tabby illegibility here isin do not argue with the People of the Book except in the manner that is best and then it the verses go on. And then Allah says and say to them what allow who now what he that who can warhead wanna Hello Muslim on your ILA, and our ILA is one and the same. You believe in one God, we believe in one God, and it is the same God and we have submitted unto him so the Quran is very clear that Christians believe in one God this is explicit in the Quran. So then how do we

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understand these other verses that seem to imply that Christians believe in three gods and this is the term for this is try theism? Try theism is the belief in three gods. Now it is true to say that some of our more fussy rune did seem to understand this from the Quran. If you look at, for example, McCarthy, bin Sulaiman and others, they do understand from these verses, the understanding that they get is that Christians believe in three separate and distinct gods. And of course, as we said, this is not and has never been the belief of mainstream Christianity. If you look at the majority of Assyrian, the scholars of the year, they really kind of gloss over this point, they don't really

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dive into deep Christology or the beliefs of you know, Christianity is they don't have Christians. And of course, we excuse them for this because obviously, I mean, even most Christians are unaware of the development of Christian doctrine and the wordings of the Nicene Creed, the Nicene Creed uses the term, Homo

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homoeostasis, I'm sure I'm mispronouncing the Greek term here, I have not studied Greek, professionally. But Homer osis is the the term in the Nicene Creed. And what it means is that God has the same essence, God the Father, and God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit, they have the same essence homos the same Moses is the essence here. So the unique in essence, despite the fact that they are three, now, as I said, the majority of us Iran don't really dissect these verses, they just give a generic of seed and then you know, they move on. However, some of them clearly the ones that are more well read in Christianity than others. Some of them do point out that some more unpacking

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needs to be done of them as for example, Dino Razi, definitely one of the more well read of our scholars, he read many other traditions and many other books as well, many other philosophies for her Dr. Raj, he actually notes he makes a point when he talks about these verses, that no Christian group ever claimed that Jesus and Mary were gods besides Allah, he actually writes this in his stuff. And he says, How do we answer The answer this? And he proposes his answer. Other scholars attempted other explanations of them again. So the scholars that actually dive deep into this are those that are more well read in Christianity. And again, I've said this a million times, all of our

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scholars are humans, all of our scholars, they, they have their their marshmallow strengths, but they also, you know, they're not all knowledgeable, and especially in Christian theology, one would expect the majority of our mufa soon have never really, you know, studied in depth. What Christians say, those that did study were those that interacted with other civilizations, and especially those that lived in under us, and that is why, for example, even hasm has a position for example, even hasm said that this must be one of the non existent Christian groups. And he actually mentioned one, he calls it the barber Rania, the barber Rania group, and he said that this was a group that

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believed that Jesus and his mother were to Gods besides Allah subhanho wa Taala. They actually believe According to him, and he says this sect is now extinct. So the Quran he is saying is referencing sex and she isms that no longer exist anymore. And this notion was taken up by a number of authors including CLT and his teacher in their tuxedo gela Lane. They also mentioned this point as well. The problem with this is that Firstly, we are not sure if there was there was any such sexual

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There's really no confirmed evidence that such a sect existed. And secondly, even if it did, for sure it was a very fringe, very small sect, it wasn't mainstream, even at the time of the Prophet system. Why would the Quran reference something that was never,

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you know, common amongst Christians. So and also the main point, we're not even certain whether there ever was such a sector as well,

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in mammals ought to be as well. And again, Toby from Cordova to be interacting with Christians, again, we expect him to be more knowledgeable of Christianity than many of the other scholars have seen. And in number two, we also problematizes You know, this notion of Christian theology viscerally these verses How does one reconcile Christian theology with these verses and emammal to be a claims that, that even though he says, This is not what Christians believe, so he says, Look, what the verse is saying outwardly is not the technical, you know, a belief of the Christians, but then he says, but it is the law ximo Madhavi him it is the, the corollary, or the what the what the

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beliefs that the Christians hold what they necessitate. Okay, so imamo portobay points out that even if the terms that the Koran is using is not the technical terminology, it is what Christian theology necessitates, okay, so that's what is called the Lazio or madhhab. Or the the corollary is that like basically, when you say something, what do you necessarily imply by it? So, the Quranic terminology is not what the Christians say, it is, what is the logical follow up it is the inevitable conclusions of what they say. Now, obviously, as I explained from the polemical Christian side from the orientalist and then those that are trying to criticize Islam, they claim that essentially the

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Quran is misinformed or the author of the Quran is misinformed or uninformed about Trinity. And this was a common motif. Even Montgomery was the famous orientalist of one of the probably the most famous orientalist of the last generation. He also claimed this that it is very clear that, quote, unquote, the author of the Quran, was unaware of Christian theology. Now, how then do we explain all of this, I have two explanations, and both of them are valid, there's no either or here. Both of them are valid. The first thing that we need to do is that we need to actually look up what did Arab Christians believe when the Quran came down, because you see, most western historians when they talk

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about Christianity, they're talking about the Christianity of Rome, or the Christianity of Constantinople. And they're not really looking at the Christianity of the Arabs and the Arabs at the time of Islam. When Islam when when the Quran came down, there were two primary Arab Christians, you had the Christians of Niger on. And then you had the ascendance. These were the two primary Christians. As for the Hassan IDs, there were a number of altercations between them and the prophets are some of the Sahaba the even the Battle of Tobruk was basically, supposed to be against them. As for the Christians of Iran, they're the ones that that came to visit the prophets of the law while

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he was setting them, and they stayed in Medina, and they interacted with him.

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And Allah revealed Koran regarding them. So these are the two primary Christians that Islam or the or the early Muslims interacted with. And the Quran is being revealed in that in that context. So what we need to do is actually understand the theology of Arab Christians, the Christian Arabs of the fifth and early sixth century. And the problem comes is that we hardly have any remnants of their teachings of their beliefs, because the era of civilization by and large, did not leave us records, they didn't have books written at that time, it was a very different time and world in place. And it is difficult to reconstruct the theology of the detailed theology of the Arab

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Christians. Nonetheless, in my research that I've done, I looked up a number of things in this regard. First and foremost, there is a massive, very, very erudite encyclopedia or encyclopedic reference by Professor Alphonse Shahid, who's actually an Arab Christian himself, or he's, he's passed away, whatever the last generation, and he taught to Georgetown for many, many, I think, more than two, three decades. And he wrote like, I think, a seven eight volume encyclopedia about Arab Christianity and of course, he himself was Christian Arabs, obviously has a personal interest as well. And if you look up this book, in volume six, he mentioned some research that he's done again,

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it's sketchy he did this three decades ago, I think, in the 60s 70s. I'm not sure exactly one but he mentioned in this book, that these are sonnets were influenced by the famous Christian theologian, john floppiness who died 570 ie, at the time the process was born. Basically there was a very, very famous Christian deal.

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Religion, john Philip Philip Hennessy is well known to Christian scholars. And he is also well known to Arab, to scholars of Arabic intellectual history, because his works were translated into Arabic. And he's called the here. And now how we Yeah, and how we joined the grammarian, john Filipinas. And john Filipinas. Very interestingly, very interestingly, he had an impact on the Ascended Arabs, and he was considered to be a heretic by the mainstream Christianity of Constantinople. And part of his heresy was that he was accused by his contemporaries of try theism. This is very interesting. He was accused, even though he didn't say those wordings, but his beliefs were almost bordering on three

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distinct gods. And so in his own lifetime, and after his death, he was accused of being basically propagating try theism. And we know according to research done, that the Hassan and Arabs had, had been influenced by john Filipinas, and that they had absorbed this theology. If that is the case, which does appear to be the case, then in reality, the Quranic language is very, very precise. And it is amazing that the Quran is using terminology that would not be mainstream in Constantinople, per se, but it would be mainstream amongst the audience that is being that is listening to the Koran. Now, this this idea has been further researched a few years ago, by another academic

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Professor block, in an article that he wrote for the Journal of Islamic Studies, entitled, Philip aenean, mono for scientism, in South Arabia, at the advent of Islam with implications for the English translation of the latha. In the Koran, this is an entire academic article. And by the way, Subhanallah, there's so much research being done by people outside of our faith. Now, a lot of that research is obviously, you know, sometimes very problematic, and sometimes it's not. And the point is that there must be some people who are willing to go beyond because this is knowledge that really, frankly, our own rula did not and cannot have, because it deals with civilizations and

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languages that are not found. And we cannot expect somebody to know, you know, philosophy and manifest scientism that's going on in in Christian communities and other places in the world. So you have people that are outside of our faith tradition, doing some really interesting research. And you know, those that read that research and then take the good from it, because again, wisdom and knowledge is transcends any one civilization history research, you don't have to be a Muslim, to do research in science and engineering and history, it's to knowledge is there and those that are willing and there are capable to they should venture out and get the best of all worlds. And when

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they do that, obviously, they will be slightly different than anyway, that's besides the point here, but my point is that some research has been done. And if you read this journal article, he actually argues that the Christian Arabs of Iran, so we talked about the Hassan IDs. Now he is saying the Christian outers of Nigeria another another professor, Professor block, he has done research about Southern Christianity, Southern Arabian Christianity, and he has concluded that it is very likely that the Christian Arabs of Iran will were de facto try theistic, ie they actually their beliefs and their their understanding was that there are three distinct Gods again, being influenced by

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filipiniana, ie john Philip and his philippian, mono for scientism. So this was again, the technical term for his beliefs here. Now, this is particularly interesting because this basically means because realize sort of the Nyssa and sleutel ma either they will reveal because of the Christians of Iran, they will revealed after the Christians of Iran visit in Medina, and the Quran is then addressing them. And it is really impossible for us to imagine that an average person in Arabia would know the differences between Southern Arabian Christianity versus the Christianity of Rome versus the Christianity of Constantinople. And only Allah subhanho wa Taala could have been so

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precise, that he is speaking to them in a language that they will understand and he's refuting them directly. And then he's refuting other Christians indirectly and therefore, we will flip it around this. colleague of our brothers brother in law's colleague is saying that the author is misinformed. We say rather you are misinformed, and the Quran is being infinitely more precise than it would have been possible. And the Quran is challenging the beliefs that were in vogue amongst out of Christians and using the terminology and a language that is rebuking them for what they believe. And the fact that Allah subhana wa tada distinguished between their versions of Christianity versus others, it

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could not come from an average person living in

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Arabia. Now that is my first response, we can add to this response and it is a very good answer as well. And I also like and agree with this one and there's no contradiction we can give both of these responses and this, this is a response that has been proposed by a number of researchers and I myself am very much inclined towards it and of and of the researchers as well that proposes This is a friend of mine from El Joseph Cummings, we were together in the department and and he has a PhD about certain issues of this of this nature. And we had a lot of discussion about this while I was there, and he also has this type of notion and in summary, what it agrees with what sorry, what it

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argues is that the Koran is using the language of popular belief and not the language of abstract Creed's. So in other words, the Quran is dealing with the lived experience of Christians. And the Quran is calling them out Allah subhana wa tada is rebuking them for essentially deifying, Mary and Jesus, even if they don't use the word God for Mary, right, because again, the Quran says that you have taken Mary and Jesus as God's. And the Christian says, We never say Mary is a God. And the response is, we don't care what you say. Now remember, we're talking about the Christianity pre reformation. My audience here in America is more aware of Protestant Christianity, Protestant

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Christianity, what are the main things that they did? Was that Martin Luther, it is very clear that he was influenced by many factors, including the Koran, for Luther read the Koran, Martin Luther, his version of Christianity clearly is closer to our version of tawheed, than Catholic Christianity. And you have to realize, before Martin Luther, obviously the world, the default was the Catholic version of Christianity. And in Catholic Christianity, Mary is invoked for one's needs people invoke the Virgin Mary. And if you go to a Catholic Church, you will find icons of Mary and Jesus and the bay and you go to a Protestant church, you're not going to find that, right? Because, again, the

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whole notion of the iconic cosmic battle between the two groups, which again, not our answer here, but my point is that Protestant Christianity, which is what most of my viewers are familiar with, is very different than the Christianity before Christianity before Protestantism, the mainstream Catholic and Orthodox and whatnot, their version of Christianity really did take Jesus as and marry as object will even Protestants to Jesus but not marry as objects of worship. And a lot is speaking to Christians with regards to their lived reality and not with regards to the Creed's that the advanced councils propagate. In other words, they might say that God is one. But in reality, in

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their minds, God is three, they might say that Mary is not God. But when they invoke her, and they praise her, and they asked her for her needs, they have made her into a god in that they believe she will respond to them directly. And so in their worship, and in their psychological framework, Mary is a God, even if they don't use the term God. And so Allah subhanho wa Taala is using terminology that is very precise, not according to the sophisticated developed statements by the councils in Rome, or the council's in nicea are the councils in Constantinople, or the councils and in other places,

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they had a number of, you know, like 12 different councils one by one, and each one is named after the place in the locality. And each of these councils propagated Christian theology so parallel Allah azza wa jal is basically saying, I don't care about your councils, your councils mean nothing. What is the lived religion? How do Christians actually live? What do they view the Trinity as how do they deal with Jesus and with Mary, and so the Quranic terminology is, in fact very precise because Allah subhanho wa Taala is dealing with the reality as it exists, and not how it is propagated in fancy councils. And therefore, we say that the Koran is referencing the belief of the common

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Christians, and especially the belief of the out of Christians and asking them to correct their misunderstandings in accordance with their actual shubha to their actual arguments. And as for your friend who's criticizing Islam, your friend is lost in abstract Creed's. So we say to him, that rather than trying to find fault with the Koran, he should realize that the Oran is doing a much better and a much more precise job of challenging Christian belief and refuting and refuting it, and we say to this friend of yours, and please show him This video clip.

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If he is a true Christian, he should ponder over what the Quran is saying. And in fact, even what the Bible has said, and what Jesus himself has said that neither is there a trinity, nor did Jesus ever preach at Trinity, nor did Jesus ever preach his own divinity. Nor did Jesus ever say to worship him or to worship Mary, and this is exactly what the Quran says. And this is exactly what the New Testament and Jesus Himself said. So that is the response to our first question and Allah subhana wa tada knows best