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A Cultural Dialogue Between A Muslim &

Christian
Narrated By:

Prof. Dr. Eng.Salama Abdel-Hady

Translation Revised by : Magdy Abd Al-Shafy

Preface

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I grew up in a village where people’s love to and kindness to each other would never
let you think to which religion any of them belongs. I never asked my friends at
school who is a Christian and who is a Muslim. We shared the same values, the same
features and even very similar names. With this background, I would like to introduce
to my readers this dialog between a Muslim scholar and a Christian one. I have read
the love and respect they show to each other between the words. The scholars
concerned are two colleagues working in one of the high institutes affiliating with an
Egyptian local university. Their institute sends them to deliver some lectures
somewhere to students. On their way from Cairo to Aswan they engaged in this
dialog and recorded it on a cassette tape and then wanted me to listen and enjoy it.
They further asked if I would put it into a book without changing the content and put
them anonymous. By and large, they see such a dialog as mere personal view which
is not binding to scholars of both religions. In fulfillment of my promise to them, I
have tried my best to record every single thing without addition or omission. I tried to
put it in a arrangement conforming with the number of stops between Cairo and
Aswan where they had to stop to eat something or drink something. I pray for your
forgiveness for any inconvenience and wish you enjoy the whole thing.

I hope this dialog will increase the love and rapprochement between the citizens of
this world ; Muslims and Christians.

The narrator

Prof. Salama `Abdel-Hady

First Stop: Cairo

Two friends who are working at a faculty of engineering met on the train traveling
from Aswan to Cairo. Since they had a long journey ahead, they decided to spend the
time in a reasonable and beneficial dialog that went as follows .

X: Based on our long friendship, can we discuss one of the most important things that
may appear to be critical and untouchable between us despite its being the crux of
the whole life?

Z: You mean our religions! You agree that we belong to the same country, share the
same history, and worship the One God. I think there should be no sensitivity in this
since we will tackle the issue with objectivity.

X: The main purpose of religion is the purification of man’s soul and heart and makes
him feel the Greatness of Allah and fulfilling His commands by being an example of
righteousness. Therefore, there is no place for bias or hatred in our discourse and
you know how close we are. The main purpose here is to foster this love and respect.
We are searching for the truth which is an instruction of Jesus Christ as well as a clear
command of the Qur'an: God says in the Holy Quran what means “O mankind! The
messenger hath come unto you with the truth from your Lord. Therefore believe; ( it
is) better for you. But if ye disbelieve, still, lo! unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in
the heavens and the earth. Allah is ever Knower, Wise.”[1]I will always adhere to the
verse that reads: “And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a
way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that
which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is
One, and unto Him we surrender.2]

Z: It is really a good start since we both believe in the One God, and we are the
followers of similar monotheistic religions. In Matthew and Mark and the rest of the
books of the New Testament, it is written: “And one of the scribes came, and having
heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well,
asked him, which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, the first
of all the commandment is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment.” (Mark: 12: 28-30)
Also in John, Jesus used to talk to God saying: “that they might know thee the only
true God.” (John: 17: 3) Also in Matthew, “None is righteous except God.” He also
said: “To the Lord your God, your shall prostrate and Him only your shall worship.”
The enemies of Jesus tried to accuse him of polytheism so as to bring him to the
court but his assertion that he believes in one God did not prevent them from doing
so.

: That is really good since we cannot see any difference between us. God has
reiterated and highlighted this fact, that the belief in one God is the common ground
that brings us together. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran what means : “Say: O
People of the Scripture. Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall
worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partners unto Him, and that
none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say:
Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).[3]

Z: True Christianity commands its adherents to Believe in God , the One

X: I agree and the Qur'an even tells us that you are the nearest to us in affection.
God says in the Holy Quran what means : “Thou wilt find the most vehement of
mankind in hostility to those who, believe (to be) the Jews and the idolaters. And thou
wilt find the nearest of them in affection to those who believe (to be) those who say:
Lo! We are Christians. That is because there are among them priests and monks, and
because they are not proud. When they listen to that which hath been revealed unto
the messenger, thou seest their eyes overflow with tears because of their recognition
of the Truth. They say: Our Lord, we believe. Inscribe us as among the witnesses.”[4]
When we were still student, I admired a Christian writer very much. It was Nazmy
Luqa ,who wrote a paper entitled: ‘Muhammad, the Message and the Prophet;. The
paper showed me how much love those Christians carry for Islam and Muhammad.
Also note that we were all sons of same forefathers. Our forefathers embraced Islam
while yours kept their faith and so we are originally related to each other.

Z: We really love you, we share the same country, the same language, and the same
blood and we two worship God. I really hold your Prophet and his Companions in high
esteem. You do the same when you show a lot of respect to Jesus and his mother. Our
Pope and clergymen memorize many Qur’anic verses and repeat them in so many
places and public events.
X: Muhammad and Jesus tread on the same path. Muhammad is the nature successor
of Jesus since they call for peace, love, salvation and lofty manners. We all believe in
Jesus who said: “What if man gains the world but loses himself” and “Son of man
came not to destroy the souls of people but to save them.” All these texts show how
great manners there are in Christianity. We also respect Virgin Mary and the Qur'an
says: “And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee
pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation.” [5] True Muslims
can never deny that Christianity had a great role in purifying the hearts of early
Christians who supported Islam at its early stages. One of those is Waraqah ibn
Nawfal, the cousin of the Prophet’s wife Khadijah. When Khadijah , the prophet's wife
,took the Prophet to him to inquire about the nature of that thing that was revealed
unto the Prophet. Having listened to him , he told the prophet that he is the long-
awaited Prophet and it is the same revelation, that Moses and other prophets
experienced , coming to him from the Creator. Also, we all remember the King of
Abyssinia, who protected early Muslims who migrated to his country and even
embraced Islam later on. Hercules, the King of the Romans, was convinced with the
truthfulness of the Prophet and even tried to convince the delegation of pagan Arabs
coming from Mecca that Muhammad is a true Prophet. We had so many of them
including Solomon (known as Solomon the Persian ) In search for the truth , He
,being Magus, converted to Christianity and then was informed by Christian priests ,
who used to teach him that the true Prophet is about to appear in Makkah and then,
based upon their instruction, he came to Madinah (the city of the prophet) and
waited for the Prophet. People knew Moses and Jesus as Prophets and Muhammad
was nothing new then. Furthermore, the world at that time was really in bad need to
a Prophet. I myself listen to the sermons delivered in many Masses and find that the
values and morals propagated in these sermons are in no way different from those
propagated on Friday sermons.

Z: ok, then our dialog is then based on this love propagated by our religions and our
main goal here is to find the truth. We should never insult the thinking or the creeds
of each other; rather, we should be objective and fair so as to succeed.

X: The Holy Qur'an gives us an example of a very polite and excellent dialog between
Abraham and his father: “O my father! Lo! there hath come unto me of knowledge
that which came not unto thee. So follow me, and I will lead thee on a right
path.”6]This should be our guide throughout this dialog and I suggest that we should
record this dialog so that other people could benefit it.

Z: With pleasure!

Second Stop: Beni Suef (Egypt)

Z: Do not you agree with me that the apparent difference between our faiths should
never lead to any kind of enmity or hatred between us since the Qur'an itself stresses
this point.

X: I surely agree with you. You also can read in the Qur'an so many verses calling
upon Muslims to believe in all Prophets and Messengers: “Say (O Muslims): We
believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto Us and that which was revealed unto
Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob. and the tribes, and that which Moses
and Jesus received, add that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make
no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered.”[7] The
Qur'an also highlights the fact that if you believe in God ,the One and the True, then
you are not a polytheist or unbeliever. Allah says: “Whosoever surrendereth his
purpose to Allah while doing good, he verily hath grasped the firm hand hold. Unto
Allah belongeth the sequel of all things.”[8]
Z: I myself surrender to God, the One and the True and find tranquility in this. There
is a verse in the Qur'an that I love most. It commands us to remember the name of
Allah frequently so as to feel tranquility and solace.

X: You must be referring to the verse that reads: “Those who believe and do right: Joy
is for them, and bliss (their) journey's end.”[9] Do you know that a Dutch psychiatrist
used to treat people plagued with depression by asking them to repeat the word
Allah so many times and found it a very effective way in removing depression . He
published his research in a scientific magazine this year.

: I also love to listen to the story of Mary and the proof purity and chastity as
mentioned in the Surah of her Maryam in the Qur'an. We Christians learn and
memorize a Quranic verses throughout our years of study. lot of We love it a great
deal.

X: The Qur'an addresses all people not only Muslims and gives joy and benefit to all
as Allah says: “O mankind! There hath come unto you an exhortation from your Lord,
a balm for that which is in the breasts, a guidance and a mercy for believers.”[10] All
people are invited to enjoy the guidance and the light of the Qur'an and live within its
great mercy. Regular recitation of the Qur'an strengthens one’s faith, and it gives him
a feeling of peace and it teaches him how to stick to lofty morals and manners.

Z: This is exactly what Jesus said to us. He told us of the coming of another Prophet
that is Muhammad. In John, you read:“I have yet many things to say unto you, but
you cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the Spirit if truth, is come, he will
guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear,
that he shall speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16: 13) As Arabic is
my mother tongue, I listen to the Qur'an a lot and try my best to do this on regular
basis. The words Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) give me power and
determination.

X: I get the same feeling when I am invited to a Christian friend’s wedding in the
Church. I feel I am in a Sacred place listening to sacred words and feel no difference
between Muslims and Christians. One of my Christian neighbors is so close to me to
the extent that people think we are brothers.

Z: In my village, Muslims and Christians live together and exchange social visits at
happy events and sad events. Even the feats served during the month of Ramadan at
the time of breaking the fast, it is served for all people, Muslims and Christians.

X: I was extremely happy upon reading the paper written by Dr. Bebawi, a Christian
researcher, on Islam where he defended Islam and proved that Islam has never been
propagated by the sword; rather, through peaceful and wise call. Furthermore, he
proved that all battles of Islam were waged for the very purpose of supporting the
weak and defending the oppressed. Muslims who came to Egypt liberated the Copts
from the Roman occupier and gave them freedom of faith and never turned their holy
sites and churches into mosques. Egyptian Copts helped Muslims to get rid of the
Romans who oppressed them. We all know that Muslims permitted Father Benjamin
back to Egypt after Romans exiled him and even Amr ibn Al-`As appointed him as a
personal advisor for himself.

Z: I wholeheartedly believe that the more awareness we have , the more love and
respect for each other we cherish. When I meet any Egyptian abroad, I never ask if
he is a Muslim or Christian, all are the same to me. It is because of this that I greet all
with peace which is the command of Jesus himself.
X: Absolutely true. I don't recall that I have ever dealt with discrimination with
Christians or Muslims. I had lots of friends and colleagues but never had that feeling.
I also had so many Christian professors and I kept good feelings and showed
gratitude to them. I hope Egypt can continue enjoying this brotherly spirit, for it
saddens me a lot if I meet any person not cherishing the same feelings. We Muslims
believe that you are very near to us and we should be peaceful with all those who are
peaceful with us. Almighty Allah commands us: “Allah forbiddeth you not those who
warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your
homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo ! Allah
loveth the just dealers.”(Al-Mumtahanah: 8)

Z: Do you know that all such people who have bigotry inside their hearts are really
immature and lack thinking and real knowledge. Should they read about other
religions, they would know how many things we share. I met a lot of people who
revere Mary and Jesus. I believe that the strong faith of Muslims have led a lot of my
fellow Christians to stick firm to their faith. In Europe, the case is different since
atheism is everywhere.

X: In Poland where I got my degree, I witnessed how could communists destroy
Christianity. They played a dirty game to remove Christian faith from the hearts, they
used the contradiction between the statements of Paul and those of Jesus and said
that he tried to formulate a new religion that has nothing to do with the religion of
Jesus. They made use of the scandals of many Popes like Sergius III, John X, John XI
and John XII and Raspotin.

Z: Yes, but I still believe that a true knowledgeable Christian would never get
engaged into things that keep him away from his faith .

X: Don't you realize that while orientalists could never blemish the truthfulness of
Islam or undermine it, those atheists could fight Christianity and destroy it in that
place. Islam was born a strong religion, a complete one with a complete Shari`ah
(canon) and system. As for Christianity, Jesus started his call by saying: “I came not
to initiate, but to fulfill.” So, he was bringing a reforming movement rather than a
new system. However, early Christians tried to propagate Christianity as a new
religion, thus taking it away from its purpose.

Z: In its core, Christianity is strong since it calls for worshipping God , the One and
the True. Jesus reiterated: “The first of commandment is: Behold Israel, God is our
Lord is One God.” (Mark: 12: 9) Jesus kept saying: “I came to the astray sheep of
Israel.” Then Christianity was altered to fit the Romans and the early Egyptians at
that time. True Christians underwent a lot of hardship in their attempt to stop this
corruption. We really need to purify true Christianity from this corruption and bring it
back to its original monotheistic beliefs.

X: This true belief is exactly the same as mine, for all Divinely revealed religions are
coming for the one purpose and the one call is monotheism. Almighty Allah says: “Is
not He (best), Who produceth creation, then reproduceth it, and Who provideth for
you from the heaven and the earth? Is there any God beside Allah? Say: Bring your
proof, if ye are truthful!” (An-Naml: 64) Since our Lord is one, we will be judged
before Him according to one law and one criteria. All Prophets call for good morals.
Muhammad says: “Avoid prohibitions and you will be the most devout of all people
and be pleased with what Allah has given to you and you will be the richest among
people. Be good to your neighbor to be a true believer and love for people what to
you love for yourself to be a true Muslim.” Jesus gives glad tidings to those that are
meek that they will inherit the earth. He even said: “Love your enemies” and says:
“God is Love” and Prophet Muhammad says: “The thing most weighing in once scale
is good manners.” He also explains: “I have been sent to perfect the good morals.”

Z: I believe in this in the innermost of my heart . The deeper man’s faith is and the
wider his knowledge is, the loftier his morals become and the purer his heart is. He
will cooperate with all people and be good to all.

X: I hope all religious leaders and clergy men understand these principles in full and
gather followers of both religions on love. Muslims believe in the other i.e. they
believe that Christianity is a true religion, they believe in Jesus as a prophet and
great reformer and that the Gospel is light. Almighty Allah says: “And We caused
Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed)
before him, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light,
confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah a guidance and an
admonition unto those who ward off (evil)” (Al-Ma’idah: 46)

Z: We had a very simple man in my village whom my father put to the service of the
church. Later on he was proclaimed a priest . This man kept on describing Muslims
as being enemies to Christianity due to his lack of knowledge. He did not go that
deep in studying religion, though he was supposed to do so. However, people kept on
going to him for confession and getting their sins forgiven. You know that people
interpreted some texts in the Gospel to justify the confession, though the fact that
there is no clear-cut evidence that priests are able to forgive sins. Such an issue
annoyed me a lot and I was almost turning to be an atheist. However, I believed in
my heart that the Kingdom of God is boundless and His Forgiveness is manifold and
He needs no mediation.

X: I believe too that forgiveness of sins and accepting repentance is the authority of
God only and only Him can forgive and accept His sinful servants. The Qur'an testifies
to this fact saying: “The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Stern in
punishment, the Bountiful. There is no God save Him. Unto Him is the journeying.”
(Ghafir: 3) and also: “Ask forgiveness for them (O Muhammad), or ask not forgiveness
for them; though thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times Allah will not forgive
them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His messenger, and Allah guideth
not wrongdoing folk.” (At-Tawbah: 80) Not a single clergy can claim this authority to
himself and I believe it is a total corruption to believe that a human like you can
forgive you, since we are all equal before God and to Him only we should return.
Almighty Allah says: “Say: Verily those who invent a lie concerning Allah will not
succeed. This world's portion (will be theirs), then unto Us is their return. Then We
make them taste a dreadful doom because they used to disbelieve.” (An-Nahl: 69-70)

Z: I believe that priests who claim such an authority in the past had no enough
knowledge and were unable to converse and argue with people regarding certain
points in the Christian faith and that is why they resorted to this fake thing to cover
their faults and deficiencies.

X: Muslim scholars, I believe, should always be the graduates of Al-Azhar since the
study in Al-Azhar gives them deep knowledge and make them well-versed in all fields
of Islamic knowledge. I know that every Muslim should read extensively about Islam
and know the matters of his religion. But the catastrophe happens when people who
have no deep knowledge or understanding stand up to issue of fatwas and give their
views in religious issues.

Z: Yes, the same happens when a priest with very small amount of knowledge or no
knowledge at all takes the position of leading people and giving them religious
guidance. In that case, he will brand all other religions as disbelief and call other
people heretics and will over-occupy himself with the authorities given to him by the
church and go far in very evil ways of thinking and behaving. In all these cases,
people would find no way but to resort to atheism and cast religion aside. You know
that Jesus explained that the true life is to know God; so knowledge is the way to
success. He said in John (16: 3:) “Such is the eternal life that they know You, the one
true God and Jesus Christ whom You sent.”

X: It appears that your thinking is very much in consistence with Islam; that is the
belief in the One true God ,Who is far from any associates and showing reverence
and servitude to Him since He is the Creator of this Universe. Almighty Allah says:
“Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then
mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to
follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His
command. His verily is all creation and commandment Blessed be Allah, the Lord of
the Worlds!” (Al-A`raf: 54) And also: “He is Allah, than whom there is no other God,
the Knower of the invisible and the visible. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is
Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord the Holy One, Peace, the
Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be
Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him). He is Allah, the Creator, the
Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in
the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Al-Hashr:
22-24)

Z: Such verses call upon man to show submission to God Who created this universe.
It is because of this that Muslim scientists used to use the word ‘Creation’ instead of
‘Nature’ because the former shows that it is created by Allah and its laws are
celebrating His bounties and singing the hymns of His Ultimate Glory. Research in this
field of knowledge was meant to please Allah and was thus a form of showing
gratitude to Him. That is why science showed a great deal of advancement at the
hands of those early Muslim scientists while early priests of Medieval Ages oppressed
scholars and persecuted them and thought of knowledge as being an opponent to
religion.

At that moment, the train arrived at Al-Minya Stop and we had to pause for a while.

Third Stop: Minya

X: I have a firm belief that one of the main reasons that Islam is still as strong till the
present time as it was at its early days is that Almighty Allah has preserved the
Qur'an from corruption and alteration. Being the final message to humanity, Islam
brought us back to the pure innate of man and recorded its guidance in the Qur'an as
brought by Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad. Such guidance was kept intact in its
original form throughout centuries and many Muslim scholars started getting
knowledge and explaining the details of this Shari`ah. Now, the Qur'an stands as the
ultimate source of guidance and the standing proof for the truthfulness of
Muhammad. Almighty Allah says: “O mankind! Now hath a proof from your Lord come
unto you, and We have sent down unto you a clear light.” (An-Nisa’: 175) Almighty
Allah also says: “There is not an animal in the earth, nor a flying creature flying on
two wings, but they are peoples like unto you. We have neglected nothing in the Book
(of Our decrees). Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Al-An`am: 38) It tells
us the stories of the early nation so that we take admonition as it says: “In their
history verily there is a lesson for men of understanding. It is no invented story but a
confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything, and
a guidance and a mercy for folk who believe.” (Yusuf: 111)
Z: You are quite right. In its words and style, the Qur'an is miraculous. Arabs of that
time were unable to produce the like of it though they mastered language and
eloquence. The miracle of Qur'an is of an eternal nature meaning that it stays till the
Day of Judgment.

X: Every sensible person would surely believe that Qur'an is coming from the Divine
Source since it contains miracles of all types; philosophical, legislative, moral,
spiritual and scientific. At the time of its revelation, the Qur'an represented a
challenge to Arabs who declared their inability to match it or even produce what is as
small as one verse.

Z: This great book helped Muslims stand firm and stick to their religion, follow their
Prophet and apply their rituals. Sharing the same country, Muslim and Christians in
Egypt worked together to stick each to his own faith. That is why Egyptian Christians
did not experience the same problems that Westerners had at the hands of atheism.
Due to their lacking of an eternal miracle that keeps their hearts at ease, you can find
that Christians believe that Virgin Mary appears sometimes, something which has
been misused by some fabricators who use media means and cinema stuff to
produce some images and give people a fake belief of something like that.

X: Christianity did not have such a strong start as that of Islam. The record of the life
of Prophet Muhammad shows that in a number of years as small as 23 years he was
able to establish a state that fought against the Super Powers of the world; Persians
and Romans. In less than one century after the death of Prophet Muhammad, the
Companions were able to carry this guidance to the whole world. They were
trustworthy protectors and heirs of this religion. Contrary to this, Christianity started
as a religion coming for the main purpose of guiding the astray sheep ofIsrael and
then, after the death of its founder, people subjected it to their whims and inclination
and altered its heritage in a way that led, in the end, to the clergymen appointing
themselves mediators between people and their Lord.

Z: You are quite right. Some clergy still insist that they stand between man and his
Lord, they say they have connection with God and it is only them who can
understand Christianity and its secrets. They even go farther to say that none of their
people can be close to God as they are. This led them to claim that if anyone annoys
them, he will be harmed. Such beliefs still exist at this age of science and technology
where people have been disillusioned from superstitions.

X: I believe that the main role of Muslim scholars and religious leaders is guiding
people and telling them what is religiously correct and what is wrong. You can find
very simple people who have studied religion and apply what they have learnt. So
the basic notion of religion is to inculcate in man the sense of fearing God. In this
way, man will gain God’s protection and love. Almighty Allah says: “Lo! Verily the
friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve. Those
who believe and keep their duty (to Allah)? Theirs are good tidings in the life of the
world and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the Words of Allah that is the
Supreme Triumph.” (Yunus: 62-64) Therefore, we Muslims looks at our scholars and
religious leaders as people who are specialized in Islam but have no authority other
than the spiritual one that is given to them by merit of knowledge. Simple people
can, by means of their faith and God fearing, gain Allah’s pleasure and assistance. As
for those whose hearts are full of arrogance and pride, they have no place in Islam. In
Islam, there is no place for mediators, since man has a direct connection with Allah.

Z: The concept of religious leaders in Islam is different from it in Christianity since our
religious leaders believe that they are close to Jesus and thus have the authority to
be mediators between God and people.X: Yes, this is what the Qur'an blamed them
for when saying: “They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks
and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There
is no god save Him. Be He glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!”
(At-Tawbah: 31) Following this was of thinking is really dangerous since it gives man a
feeling that he works under the authority of someone other than God and he does not
have direct connection with his Creator. This has led many people to revolt against
priests during the Renaissance ages and shunned the idea of religion altogether.

Fourth Stop: Asuit

X: You may give me some satisfying answers regarding the issue of the original sin
and how Islam and Christianity look at it. Of course, this issue is viewed differently in
both religions.

Z: I do not like the word ‘different’ since I basically agree that we share the core of
faith but what appears to be difference needs to be discussed in detail. Basically, you
can find that some creeds are wrong because they are incoherent not because they
differ with something else. You will, driven by your logic and supposedly true
understanding, discover the incoherence in them. Let me explain this point to you as
follows: You say that God is Love, right? How can God be Love while He issues His
judgment to punish all people and destroy them till the coming of Jesus. This was the
first question presented by an old priest to his seniors who replied that Adam
committed a major sin and so his progeny were to be punished, though the fact that
God is Love. The priest replied that God’s justice supercedes(goes forth) His mercy
but there is no justice here since He is punishing someone for a sin he has never
committed. The man added that destroying the generation that came after Adam till
the time of Jesus means destroying a lot of pious Prophets including Moses, Jacob,
Joseph, and Zechariah. In addition, this goes in contradiction with the saying of Jesus
himself in Matthew (16: 27:) “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”

X: The Qur'an gives us clear cut text in this regard: “Whosoever goeth right, it is only
for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only
to its hurt. No laden soul can bear another's load. We never punish until We have
sent a messenger.” (Israa: 15)

Z: So the whole point is that people in the past used to accept certain dogmas and
beliefs that later proved to be in need of reconsidering and reviewing. The basic of
man’s relation to God is love. Yet, people introduced many other notions that forged
this original relation and made it far from its original true essence. What we need is
to bring this belief back to its clear and clean origin.

X: Do you know that Allah preordained for Adam to leave Paradise after experiencing
the whole issue of eating from the forbidden tree. Almighty Allah created man and
knows what type of inclinations there are inside him. He wanted to teach Adam a
lesson that is whoever disobeys Allah will be punished and when he repents, he will
be always welcome to the fold of forgiveness. Almighty Allah says: “But Satan caused
them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they
were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you
on earth a habitation and provision for a tune. Then Adam received from his Lord
words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the Relenting the
Merciful.(Al-Baqarah: 36-37) Therefore, Adam learnt the lesson.

Z: Reading through the Gospel, I can find no connection between Jesus mission on
earth and Adam’s sin. I believe that Jesus came to help man be better and overcome
the materialism that decayed his heart and to advance spirituality. I also believe that
the Gospel flows from the same Divine source of the Qur'an in terms that they both
call for sticking to goodness and morality. Both books guarantee safety from
punishment by having a pure heart and good work.

X: It is strange to believe that Allah, with His overwhelming mercy, cannot forgive
Adam who turns to Him in repentance. The Qur'an tells us that Almighty Allah created
Adam and appointed him a vicegerent on earth: God says in the Holy Quran what
means “And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in
the earth, they said: wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will
shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know
that which ye know not.” (Al-Baqarah: 30) Therefore, Adam’s sin was preordained and
Allah accepted his repentance and decreed to accept repentance from his progeny as
well. Almighty Allah says: “And He is Who accepteth repentance from his bondmen,
and pardoneth the evil deeds, and knoweth what ye do.” (Ash-Shura: 25) In this way,
Allah taught Adam how to show repentance and his sin was really minor.

Z: What people commit at this present age is very grave and greater of course than
that sin of Adam. Does each one of us need a Messiah to get his sin forgiven. This
unreasonable notion of original sin has led so many Western Christians to leave
Christianity. I really wish that we purify Christianity from such fake beliefs.

X: As I mentioned before, Islam has been very fortunate in terms of preserving its
book from alteration or corruption. As for Christianity, the case is totally different
since the sayings of Jesus has been recorded many centuries after his demise.
Though recorded in writing at the time of `Uthman ibn Affan”, the Qur'an has been
recorded in the hearts of the early Muslims since its revelation. Therefore, the Qur'an
has been transmitted through an unbroken chain and we have many copies of the
Qur'an dating back to 23 A.H. i.e. when Arabs started to know paper and how to use
it. As for the Gospels, the oldest copy of it was written four centuries after the
ascension of Jesus. Though written about the same person, each Gospel is written
according the version of its author. One important thing is that they are not written in
the same language that was spoken by Jesus himself.

Z: Yes, Gospels were never the revelation of Allah. They are by no means like the
Qur'an, yet we revere them and respect them as Holy.

X: I find much solace and comfort when I read some parts of the Gospels that tell us
about Jesus mysticism and his piety and struggle against deceit and materialism.
However, some other parts make me confused since they are in no way consistent
with mind. Read in Mark (16: 19:) “he was received up into the heaven, and sat on
the right hand of God.” You can also find many discrepancies in the Gospel like the
lineage of Jesus which contains 42 fathers after David- who is number 35- according
to Luke. In Matthew, David is number 14 and the lineage contain 27 fathers after him
till Jesus who is number 41. The mission of Jesus extended for one year according to
Mark and Luke while John says it has extended for two years. Such discrepancies
raise so many questions regarding the authenticity of the text.

Z: We shall admit that Islam came to complete the mission of Jesus and explain any
obscurity that might have arisen in the minds of people after Jesus. You say that
when you read the Gospel you felt that it has something in common with the Qur'an
but still it has been subjected to alteration and corruption. This leads me to say that
though different and having a lot of discrepancies, the Gospels are still having some
elements of being holy.

X: After reading the Gospel, I felt that the message of Islam is a continuation of
Christianity and Muhammad was not something new. We Muslims were commanded
to believe in the Gospel that was revealed to Jesus and believe in God. Almighty Allah
says: “And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is
better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath
been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto
Him we surrender.”(Al-`Ankabut: 46)

Z: Yes, Islam and Christianity are both the messages of Allah and we should never set
difference between Divine messages. You can read this in Deuteronomy 33: “The
Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount
Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints.” Such a verse takes about the
three Abrahamic faiths. God talked to Moses in Sinai and sent down revelation to
Jesus in Seir and Muhammad received revelation at the mount Paran in Makkah. The
point here is that faith is one unit and cannot be divided into parts. When you believe
in one messenger, you need to believe in the rest. I myself find that the Prophet of
Islam is an excellent example to be followed.

X: Yes, this is exactly what the Qur'an tells us to do as it says: “Verily in the
messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the
last Day, and remembereth Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab: 21) Jesus was also an excellent
example to be followed.

Z: True, but he stayed only for two years and his mission was clear that is to purify
the hearts and the souls from the overwhelming materialism. It is because of this that
I believe his life was almost spiritual not practical one. It has much to do with the life
of monks but Muhammad was different indeed.

X: Both of them were the messengers of Allah and each one of them played a role in
building monotheism and inculcating it in the hearts. They helped humanity get rid of
its weakness. We should never set difference between them, since Allah says: “The
messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so
do) the believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and
His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers and they
say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the
journeying.” (Al-Baqarah: 285)

At that juncture they had to stop as the train stopped and there was much noise that
prevented them from continuing.

Fifth Stop: Suhag

Z: In fact, heavenly religions complement one another. Many of our Egyptian
forefathers who were originally Copts embraced Islam when they felt such a strong
connection between Islam and Christianity and realized that Islam will add much to
them. Islam really provides me with many answers regarding the creed of trinity
which I find inconsistent and unreasonable at all.

X: Islam also teaches us that our minds are limited and we have no way to imagine
how Allah looks like, since nothing is like unto Him. Almighty Allah says: “The Creator
of the heavens and the earth. He hath made for you pairs of yourselves, and of the
cattle also pairs, whereby He multiplieth you. Naught is as His likeness; and He is the
Hearer, the Seer” (Ash-Shura: 11) He also says: “Vision comprehendeth Him not, but
He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware.” (Al-An`am: 103) Then,
other verses tell us in clear words: “Or were they created out of naught? Or are they
the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they are sure of
nothing!” (At-Tur: 35-36)
Z: Actually, sometimes I repeat some Qur’anic verses that give me a feeling of
tranquility and help me at difficult times, like the verse that reads: “Lo! in the
creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of night and day, and the
ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which
Allah sendeth down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and
dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and (in) the ordinance of the winds, and the
clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs (of Allah's sovereignty) for
people who have sense.” (Al-Baqarah: 164)

X: Such verses direct your heart and mind to the signs of Allah that are manifest
everywhere in the universe. There is another verse that Muslims are used to repeat
as it gives them a feeling of serenity: “Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the
Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever
is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him
save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind
them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne
includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is
the Sublime, the Tremendous.” (Al-Baqarah: 255)

Z: It was Paul who called to deify of Jesus. Being Paul’s student, Luke recorded that
Jesus came down from the heavens and was incarnated in Mary's womb. There are
many other inconsistent words and additions that could be found in other Gospels but
they all proved false and unauthentic. Such additions show that those people who
added them to the book of Allah were really vile and wicked. They tried to attract
idolaters to Christianity and so added such things. Some parts of the Bible show that
Jesus is the word of God and then we find some other parts saying that he is God
himself. I cannot accept that the creator of earth and heaven be merely a word.

X: The Qur'an tell us that Jesus was created upon the word of God meaning upon his
command ‘Be and it is’. This is clearly elaborated in the verses: “(And remember)
when the angels said: O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from Him,
whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the
Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah)” (Al-`Imran: 45) So, Jesus Christ
was close to Almighty Allah and he was His word meaning, was created upon His
command. Almighty Allah promised Mary to beget a son without a father as He
promised Zechariah that his wife shall beget a son at such an old age. Almighty Allah
says: “And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth
thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from
Allah, lordly, chaste, a Prophet of the righteous.” (Al-`Imran: 39)

Z: I really feel confused when I read the first paragraph in John since it stirs a great
deal of ambiguity. I do not know who is the author of such words? What makes the
whole thing more complex is the fact that I cannot imagine that this great universe is
a mere word and its Creator is a word too. Such sophisticated philosophical
discourse-place our minds in nowhere and make us fall preys to Satan.

X: The Qur'an describes the process of the creation of the universe in clear words as
it says: “Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were
of one piece, then We parted them, and We made every living thing of water? Will
they not then believe?” (Al-Anbiya’: 30) This shows that Almighty Allah created this
universe out of nothingness and filled it with stars and planets, oceans and
mountains. This has nothing to do with the so called big bang or the so called chance.
The verses of the Qur'an go on to tell us that the One Who created the universe in
this way is able to resurrect it again when it is completely destroyed. Almighty Allah
says: “The Day when We shall roll up the heavens and a recorder rolleth up a written
scroll. As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise (binding)
upon Us. Lo! We are to perform it.” (Al-Anbiya’: 104) In this way, we should look upon
the universe as a living proof to the existence of Allah and His supreme power.

Z: Such words remind man that the Day of Judgment is a truth and the Creator can
cause it to happen again

X: Yes, you can read something like this in the verses that read: “Lo! In the creation of
the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His
sovereignty) for men of understanding. Such as remember Allah, standing, sitting,
and reclining, and consider the creation of the heavens and the earth, (and say): Our
Lord! Thou createdst not this in vain. Glory be to Thee! Preserve us from the doom of
Fire” (Al-`Imran: 190-191) Pure nature would take man directly to believe in Allah, the
Creator of the universe and the Owner of the Day of Judgment.

Z: I was always asking myself, who is stronger; God or Satan? According to my priest,
God disguised Himself in the clothes of Jesus so as to deceive Satan and come safely
to earth. Was God afraid of Satan?

X: I believe that the response to such heresy is found in the Qur'an. The verses of the
Qur'an tell us that Almighty Allah is the Creator of jinn and men. Of course, the devil
is one of the jinn but his worship raised him to the rank of being an associate of the
Angels. When Almighty Allah commanded the Angels to prostrate them-selves before
Adam, they obeyed but the Satan revolted. There, he was driven out of Paradise .
Incited by his hatred for Adam and his offspring, the Satan pledged to try his best to
mislead men. Yet, he has no power or might in front of the power of faith and strong
connection with the Most-Powerful. The Qur'an relates this as follows: “And We
created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam!
And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration. He
said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? (Iblis)
said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of
mud. He said: Then go down hence! It is not for thee to show pride here, so go forth!
Lo! thou art of those degraded. He said: Reprieve me till the day when they are
raised (from the dead).” (Al-A`raaf: 11-14)

Z: Yes, this is the truth. Allah is the only sovereign of this universe and to Him
everything belongs. When Adam sinned, Almighty Allah would forgive him without
any problem. It is really unreasonable to believe that Allah would let His son i.e. Jesus
be humiliated and tortured in that way. Which one of the two sins is bigger; Adam
eating from the forbidden fruit or God’s son being humiliated ; how it passed
unnoticed.

X: I believe that a true Christian should try to save his mind from all these fake
creeds and get to the pure religion of Allah. I find a big confusion when I think about
the Cross for example

X: I believe that a true Christian should try to save his mind from all these fake
creeds and get to the pure religion of Allah. I find a big confusion when I think about
the Cross for example.

Z: I asked the local priest of my village about the significance of the Cross and
whether it has been mentioned anywhere in the Gospel and whether it has ever
been referred to as a source honor and respect. The man cried in my face that I
should repent to God from such thoughts and never ask such questions again. I said
unto myself, what is the benefit of our minds then if we crippled them and stopped
thinking? We all know that the Cross has been used as a Christian symbol as of 325
AC during the Neicheia Synod . However, it has been before by Pharaohs in a little bit
modified form that is the key of life. That is why you can see it engraved on the walls
of their temples and Holy places. These drawings date back to thousands of years
before the birth of Jesus, for such people believed such life keys would be the means
through which their dead people could come back to life. Later on, Christians took
that symbol and actually, this meeting of Neicheia witnessed the killing of so many
pure and true Christians who refused that symbol and refused to believe in Trinity. All
such things place a lot of concerns regarding this symbol.

X: I believe that the best words describing the greatness of Allah and His might and
power are those in Surat Yunus that read: “Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the
heavens and the earth in six days, then He established Himself upon the Throne,
directing all things. There is no intercessor (with Him) save after His permission. That
is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Oh, will ye not remind? Unto Him is the return of
all of you; it is a promise of Allah in truth. Lo! He produceth creation, then
reproduceth it, that He may reward those who believe and do good works with
equity; while, as for those who disbelieve, theirs will be a boiling drink and painful
doom because they disbelieved. He it is who appointed the sun a splendor and the
moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the
years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the
revelations for people who have knowledge. Lo! in the difference of day and night
and all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are portents, verily, for
folk who ward off (evil).” (Yunus: 3-6)

Z: As a cultured Christian, I refuse mysterious and ambiguous things ; I like to have
everything clear before my eyes. That is why I am trying to inquire about the
truthfulness of these creeds, something which has also been done by Dr. Nazmy
Luqa ,who was a Christian defending Islam and the Prophet and then embraced Islam
and died a Muslim.

X: Do you know that Jesus came to call people to worship God? The Qur'an tells us:
“When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), he said: I have come
unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So
keep your duty to Allah, and obey me. Lo! Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord. So
worship Him. This is a right path. But the factions among them differed. Then woe
unto those who do wrong from the doom of a painful day.” (Az-Zukhruf: 63-65) All
Prophets called people to this creed of monotheism. I wish we all go back to this
great an pure creed.

Z: I share the same wish indeed with you, I hope all hearts are united and love
dominate all people. While still being Christian with this mentality, I find a good
chance to talk to my people and help them understand the truth.

X: I believe that one of the main reasons why Islam was able to overwhelm the hearts
and stand strongly in face of materialism is its being a close to man’s pure nature,
since we are all the creation of Allah and Allah chooses Islam for us. That is why Allah
says: “So set thy purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright the
nature (framed) of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws
of) Allah's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not.” (Ar-Rum: 30)
Islam also establishes the fact that there is no compulsion in religion since the truth
has been manifest and clear and anyone shall choose for himself the destiny he goes.

Z: I believe that because of the pure nature inside me I was able to deny all human
additions to the Gospel. When I travel abroad and tell people that though I am a
Christian, I love the Qur'an and believe in it, they become very surprised and ask so
many questions. In this way, I gain new supporters. In fact, I believe that the only
way to turn those cultured atheists into true belief is to purify the Christian creed
from what corrupts it. Many Europeans have read about Islam and they believe that
Jesus was a human being, they reject trinity, deny original sin and confession and all
that stuff. However, driven by their arrogance and pride, they tend to reject Islam. In
addition, they have an incomplete understanding of Islam which also leads them to
reject it.

X: This is simply what the Qur'an describes as it says: “Allah hath (now) revealed the
fairest of statements, a Scripture consistent, (wherein promises of reward are) paired
(with threats of punishment), whereat doth creep the flesh of those who fear their
Lord, so that their flesh and their hearts soften to Allah's reminder. Such is Allah's
guidance, where with He guideth whom He will. And him whom Allah sendeth astray,
for him there is no guide.” (Az-Zumar: 23) I believe that what keeps a Christian from
accepting us is his feeling that we do not accept the Cross.

Z: A Christian who does not have good mentality that enables him to think deeply,
will find himself an easy prey to fake ideas and worn out thoughts that has been
forged by insincere autocratic clergymen. There are many priests who tell their
followers that swearing by the Cross is better than swearing by the name of God.
They want those followers to cancel their minds and accept whatever is said to them.

X: It is really a great thing that in Islam we do not have such a thing. In Islam we
have nothing like a Pope whom we should follow without thinking. In Islam, every
Muslim is responsible for himself and those under his protection like his family and
children. In fact, blind following of priest or religious leaders is really dangerous. It will
be a representation of the case about which we are told on the verse that reads:
“They indeed found their fathers astray. But they make haste (to follow) in their
footsteps.” (As-Saffat: 69-70)

Z: Some churches succeeded in dominating the minds of simple people and started a
system of their own in leading those people in a way that has nothing to do with the
religion itself. People are led astray by them and they know nothing.

X: However, some Christians believe that the Cross is not merely to cross pieces;
rather, it is a symbol of salvation since they relate the saying of Jesus: “Whoever
wants me, let him carry his cross and follow me.”

Z: True, they claim that Jesus death and crucifixion is what Christianity is all about.
However, a deep thorough reading of the Bible will show that most verses mention
nothing about the Cross. Even the saying of Jesus you have just quoted, it refers to
the fact that whoever wants to follow the steps of Jesus should start a struggle and
care nothing about his life. Jesus calls upon us to fight for the Sake of God but never
surrender to our Captors. If we are not to take it this way, then we are destroying
human intellect and calling people to destruction. We cannot let our captors devour
us while we are remaining silent.

X: This is exactly what the Qur'an tells us when saying: “Is it this Statement that ye
scorn. And make denial thereof your livelihood?” (Al-Waqi`ah"(: 81-82) Such priests
believe in their hearts that the idea of Jesus sonship of God and his death on the
Cross are both fake and false. However, they tend to keep them to please people,
something which is extremely dangerous. They think that by keeping this creed valid
in the hearts of people, they will be kept in their places. However, they are fooling
themselves God says in the holy Quran what means : “Lo! the hypocrites seek to
beguile Allah, but it is Allah who beguileth them. When they stand up to worship they
perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little.
Swaying between this (and that) , (belonging) neither to these nor to those. He whom
Allah causeth to go astray, thou (O Muhammad) wilt not find a way for him.” (An-
Nisaa’: 142-143)

I have asked my local priest many times if they have found any change in the life of
human beings after the so-called crucifixion of Jesus and the same answer came from
his mouth all the time that everyone has a limit for his knowledge and I should not
know everything. He even went to warn me that I will get the curses of Jesus if I kept
asking questions like these. As far as I understand, the world is the same sinful world
and people are the same. Jesus, as witnessed by Paul, was crying on the Cross that
God should help him get out of these pains. Then, the salvation was not death;
rather, he wanted to get rid of the pains just like any other human being. Also Mark
tell us that Jesus went to the heaven and sat on the right side of God. How can he be
God and then sitting beside God? All this tells us that Jesus was never God and that
he was not put on the Cross, it was some else. In fact, the oldest Christian sects like
Serathians, Crebocratains and Baslidians confirmed that Jesus himself was never
crucified; rather, it was one of his disciples. This is also reported in the Gospel of
Barnabas, which was banned for a long time by the Roman emperor, Qustantein.

X: Do you not agree that, as a true Christian, it is better for you to accept the
Qur’anic version of the whole story? Do not agree with me that the Qur’anic account
is far way better and more accurate. In fact, all the sayings that have been traced to
Jesus are a point of difference among Gospels. We read in the Qur'an: “And because
of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger They slew
him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree
concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a
conjecture ; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah
was ever Mighty, wise.” (An-Nisa’: 157-158)

Z: Yes, of course. I even believe that God has put the facial features of Jesus on Judas
and thus the Romans took him instead of Jesus. This means that Jesus was taken up
to the heavens and was never killed. This betraying disciple showed remorse for
betraying his master and teacher i.e. Jesus and started crying saying: “Eli Eli, why
have Thou forsaken me!” This way is different from that of Jesus who used to call God
saying: “Our Father who is in the Heavens!”

X: I feel for you that by denying crucifixion you will not be admitted to Heavens as
priests say.

Z: This makes me feel sick! I really hate these words that are repeated by our
religious leaders. They say that if you are a Christian and you have been baptized,
then you are saved from the Fire. What are the merits of good deeds then? Is it
sufficient for me to be baptized and then I can do whatever I want? Am I guaranteed
Paradise when I am baptized? Then why should I be generous and kind with people?
Where is Divine justice then? Such words are really frustrating as they incite people
to be bad to each other. In fact, many vile Christians use this to justify their
committing of evil deeds. Human self tends to be bad all the time as Paul says. Since
you tell people that a priest will be able to forgive their sins in return of a handful of
money and that they will be blessed if they drink some wine claimed to have turned
into the blood of Jesus, then why should people be good?

X: I feel for you that by denying crucifixion you will not be admitted to Heavens as
priests say.

Z: This makes me feel sick! I really hate these words that are repeated by our
religious leaders. They say that if you are a Christian and you have been baptized,
then you are saved from the Fire. What are the merits of good deeds then? Is it
sufficient for me to be baptized and then I can do whatever I want? Am I guaranteed
Paradise when I am baptized? Then why should I be generous and kind with people?
Where is Divine justice then? Such words are really frustrating as they incite people
to be bad to each other. In fact, many vile Christians use this to justify their
committing of evil deeds. Human self tends to be bad all the time as Paul says. Since
you tell people that a priest will be able to forgive their sins in return of a handful of
money and that they will be blessed if they drink some wine claimed to have turned
into the blood of Jesus, then why should people be good?

X: Islam tells us that people’s hearts and their nature is originally pure and that sin is
what corrupts it. The concept of sin in Islam is very unique since it represents a
violation of Allah’s law and deviation from His code. However, on the individual level
and the communal one, the door is always open to return and the process of return
itself constitutes a sign of honor for man, since it is the return to the pure nature.
Almighty Allah defines the main criteria for honor, that piety, as it says: “O mankind!
Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made `you nations and tribes
that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best
in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (Al-Hujurat: 13) Therefore, good conduct and
fearing Almighty Allah are the best ways to get Paradise. Love, kindness, generosity
and nearness to God are the real riches and treasures; whoever lacks such things,
will be lacking everything even if he posses heaps of money. When Islam came to
humanity, the Prophet purified the minds and the hearts of people from superstition
and taught people how to be good to themselves and their fellow brothers and sisters
in humanity, how to be peaceful to the world around and how to fear none but their
Creator and how to spread all over the world carrying this guidance and light to
people. That is why Almighty Allah says: “And We have not sent thee (O Muhammad)
save as a bringer of good tidings and a warner unto all mankind; but most of
mankind know not.” (Sabaa’: 28) This shows that Islam came to the whole world- not
a single nation or a certain tribe.

Z: In fact, such accusations that are forged about Islam will never benefit Christianity;
rather, they will damage Christianity itself.

X: I get very surprised when I ask a Christian university student, “Who is Jesus
Christ?” and he does not have a definite answer. When I ask those students if they
believe that Jesus was crucified, they say that they just know that he is salvation.
Also, when I recite to them the Qur’anic verse that reads: “The Messiah, son of Mary,
was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away
before him”. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat
(earthly) food. See how we make the revelations clear for them, and see how they
are turned away!” (Al-Ma’idah: 75), I stir many questions in his mind. How come that
Jesus, who is claimed to be god himself, be betrayed by one of his students,
humiliated at the hands of some riff-raff and shed tears. How come that god eats,
drinks and urinates. How come that he is breast fed and is walking in front of people?
God shall be far remote from these things and we should glorify Him as He says in
the Qur'an: “And they esteem not Allah as He hath the right to be esteemed, when
the whole earth is His handful on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens are rolled
in His right hand. Glorified is He and High Exalted from all that they ascribe as
partner (unto Him).” (Az-Zumar: 67)

Z: They have no way but to accept what those priests tell them so as not make their
families angry and make themselves subject to curses. What really puzzles my mind
is the fact that many of those priests here in Egypt who insist on their fake creeds
even after reading the Qur'an. They read day and night the words of Jesus that we
should search for the truth. Yet, they think they are protecting Christianity while they
are protecting their own interests. They keep saying that Allah has a son while He,
Glory be to Him, is far from such superstitions.

X: Yes, Allah is above the laws to which human beings are subject. We read in the
Qur'an: “Everyone that is thereon will pass away. There remaineth but the
countenance of thy Lord of Might and Glory.” (Ar-Rahman: 25-27) Almighty Allah also
says: All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Allah and He is the Mighty, the
Wise. His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; He quickeneth and He
giveth death; and He is Able to do things. He is the First and the Last, and the
Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things.” (Al-Hadeed: 1-3)

Z: I always ask many good priests this question: Why do Christian not believe that
God had forgiven Adam since he had leftParadise as He forgives all sinners who turn
to Him in repentance? Why do we not accept the fact that God cannot be the father
of anyone since He is unlike anyone and no one is like him? If they believe in such
things they will save their followers. Why do they not accept that Jesus was a Prophet
like all other Prophets? Why do they not tell their followers that they are accounted
for their deeds in front of God and it is Him Who will reckon and reward or punish
them. When we call God our father, it may mean that He is our Lord and not our real
father. Why do they not say that Jesus was the same to God i.e. not a real son; rather,
a Prophet and chosen messenger?

X: Your words remind me of the verse that reads: “O People of the Scripture! Do not
exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The
Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He
conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers,
and say not "Three". Cease! (it is) better for you! Allah is only One God. Far is it
removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in
the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. The
Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah, nor will the favored angels. Whoso
scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him.” (An-Nisa’:
171) Your logical thinking copes with mine since I also believe that deeds are the
criteria that decides the destiny of man and not his being baptized or admitted into a
religion. the Qur'an explains this concept saying: “It will not be in accordance with
your desires, nor the desires of the People of the Scripture. He who doeth wrong will
have the recompense thereof, and will not find against Allah any protecting friend or
helper. And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a
believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date
stone.” (An-Nisa’: 123-124). Paradise is not gained by mere wishes, it is gained by
hard work and agony.

Z: When I was young, I used to read about Jesus. Based on his description, I used to
think of him as being a kind father, a big priest who comes to this world to teach
people and needs their help in his mission.

X: As a Muslim, I believe that this universe is governed by a system that is known
only to Allah, the Creator and functions in a way known to Him only. This is
mentioned in the verses: “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein
praise Him, and there is not a thing but hymneth his praise; but ye understand not
their praise. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving.” (Al-Isra: 44) That is why the Qur'an
guides us to what makes our hearts shake and feel fear of Allah. We read: “If We had
caused this Quran to descend upon a mountain, thou (O Muhammad) verily hadst
seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitudes coin We for
mankind that haply they may reflect.” (Al-Hashr: 21) You can get such a feeling of
tranquility and serenity when you look at the faces of Muslims praying in their
mosques. You will feel that they have tranquility inside and wish only for the pleasure
of Allah. In the mosque there are no statutes like those found in a church, no pictures
or nothing of the sort. There are no hymns, no hallelujahs; the only thing you will
hear is the Qur'an that fills each heart with might and faith. Prayer can be conducted
by an Imam, any learned Muslim who can also give a Friday sermon to teach his
fellow Muslims.

Z: In a church, women wear full makeup to come and sit beside men according to a
certain order. They even go to the church only to attend marriages, celebrations and
other things. They listen to the sermon while listening to music at the same time. You
go into a church and you will see many semi naked statutes claimed to be the
statutes of Angels. What makes me feel sad is that some Christian priests here in
Egypt insist on their stance and reject the truth; they have either to let people search
for the truth or guide them to it.

X: This goes in consistence with the Qur’anic verse that reads: “O People of the
Scripture! Why disbelieve ye in the revelations of Allah, when ye (yourselves) bear
witness (to theft truth ) ? O People of the Scripture! Why confound ye truth with
falsehood and knowingly conceal the troth?” (Al-`Imran: 70-71) Such religious leaders
should tell the truth and beware of what their followers may say on the Day of
Judgment: “And those who disbelieve will say: Our Lord! Show us these who beguiled
us of the jinn and humankind. We will place them underneath our feet that they may
be among the nethermost.” (Fussilat: 29) They should not be like Pharaoh who led his
people astray. Here I would like to ask you one question, do most of educated
Christians think in the same way of yours?

Z: I am sure that most of them believe in what I believe in, even though they cannot
speak such ideas out. You must have heard about the American writer, Sir Michael
Heart who wrote a book entitled: “100 Eternal Celebrity” and chose Muhammad to
top his list. He confessed that Islam played a vital role in guiding humanity since it
has liberated their minds from doubts and false ideas. Muhammad, being the
greatest religious, political leader and reformist even known in history deserves to be
number one in that list. It was him who taught people practically how to be perfect in
everything. He was the best example to follow in all spheres of life. One of his
students, being `Umar ibn Al-Khattab ruled the Muslim state with justice and equality
and taught people that they are born free and not enslaved by anyone in this world.
Therefore, no obedience is due to a creature if it involves disobeying the Creator.
Many priests here in Egypt accept the Prophet and believe that he was really a great
person.

X: Yes, I know many of them who believe that they need to believe in Islam for their
Christianity to be valid since Islam is the final religion and the Qur'an is the final
version. It is because of the alteration of the Holy Books that people started
disputation. Almighty Allah says: “And they were not divided until after the
knowledge came unto them, through rivalry among themselves; and had it not been
for a Word that had already gone forth from thy Lord for an appointed term, it surely
had been judged between them. And those who were made to inherit the Scripture
after them are verily in hopeless doubt concerning it. Unto this, then, summon (O
Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts,
but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded
to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us are our works and unto
you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and
unto Him is the journeying.” (Ash-Shura: 14-15)

Z: I believe that many religious leaders call people to love God and they feel the
responsibility of guiding people which is placed on their shoulders. Such priests cite
the Qur'an in their sermons and refer to it all the time and their students follow their
example in this regard. Other priests and fathers are blinded by their love for this
worldly life and want to get money and would do anything for this. These may think
that Islam will rip them off of their wealth and might.

X: I think they have fallen a prey to superstition and are enslaved by Jinn as the
Qur'an says: “They will say: Be Thou glorified. Thou art our Protector from them! Nay,
but they worshipped the jinn; most of them were believers in them. That day ye will
possess no Use nor hurt one for another. And We shall say unto those who did wrong:
Taste the doom of the Fire which ye used to deny.”(Saba’: 41-42)

Z: I am quite sure that whoever thinks deeply and with objectivity would reach the
truth. I have attended so many good Christians on their death bed and they would
pronounce the testification of faith (the pronouncement signaling conversion to
Islam) before they die. Some of them even asked to be buried in Muslim graves.

X: Does not this bring you closer to Islam and farer from Christianity?

Z: Who told you that being close to Islam will mean my being far from Christianity?
Muhammad was foretold by Jesus and was named by him in John: 16: 14 as it says:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that shall abide
with you forever.” The "Comforter" refers to is Muhammad in this connection .

X: Such is a clear indication that Muhammad came with the truth and he does not
speak out of his mind; rather, he tells us whatever is revealed unto him. Allah , the
Almighty ,says: “Nor doth he speak of (his own) desire. It is naught save an
inspiration that is inspired. Which one of mighty powers hath taught him?”(An-Najm:
3-5)

Z: Jesus is also reported as saying: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient
for you that I go away for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but
if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness and of judgment.” It is Muhammad who brought a book that
shows what is right and what is wrong and warn people against the punishment of
the Hereafter.

X: The Qur'an also told us that Jesus gave glad tidings of the advent of Muhammad
and gave him the name "the Praised One". We read in the Qur'an: “And when Jesus
son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you,
confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good
tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet
when be hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.” (As-
Saff: 6)

Z: It is because of this that I really believe that when I read the Qur'an and believe in
Muhammad, I am not far from the teachings of Jesus; rather, I am putting them into
effect. In its early days, Christianity called people to a monotheistic belief. Only in
325 AC, Nicheiah synod fabricated the idea that Jesus is God and started putting
Trinity into effect. In 383 AC, Emperor Theodosius threatened anyone who does not
believe in trinity that he will be punished. In 496 AC, a decree damning the Gospel of
Barnabas was issued by Gilasius. Later Emperor Qustentein burned all bibles that
included the pure creed of monotheism and included the prophecy of the advent of
Muhammad.

X: The Torah also contains some statements that the true religion will come from the
Arabian Peninsula. We read this in Gensis (25: 13) and also in Deuteronomy (18: 18)
“I shall raise unto them a Prophet from amongst their brethren like unto thee and
place my words in his mouth.” We can see that there are many common things
between Muhammad and Moses; each of them has a father and a mother, each of
them performed miracles, each brought a new law and each of them led his followers
in a migration. Jesus was unlike them in the sense that he was born without a father,
he did not bring a new law and he did not migrate from his place to another country.

Z: Jesus told the Children of Israel that Prophethood will move to another people after
they have killed John the Baptist (Yahya) and concocted many conspiracies against
Jesus himself. He used to cite the Psalms to support what he says.

X: In Isaiah 42, we read: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my
soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to
Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A
bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall
bring forth judgment unto truth.” All these biblical descriptions are not far from what
we read in the Qur'an when it says: “Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet
who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the
Gospel (which are) with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid
them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit
for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that
they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honor him and help him, and
follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful.” (Al-A`raaf: 157)

At that moment they had to stop to eat something as the train broke down.

Sixth Stop: Nega Hamaddi

X: Would I ask one more question! What do you mean by the word ‘trinity’? And
which form of God do you believe in?

Z: It is really difficult to find an exact answer to this. Nothing in the Gospel or the
epistles of Paul referring to this thing could be found. In fact, this notion of trinity has
caused a lot of difference among Christian theologians. When you come to ask some
priests, they will say you should stop asking about things that are beyond your
understanding. You know there is a big problem and fierce war between evangelists,
protestants, orthodox and Jehovah witnesses in this regard. Some say that there is a
union of three gods forming this Trinity and they are: God the Father, God the Son
and God the Holy Spirit. You may ask, then God is without Spirit and so He needs that
Holy Spirit, and if yes, where is the spirit of God the Son then? If we agree that there
are three forms of the one god, then how come that we say that Jesus (the Son) went
up to the heaven and sat on the right side of God (according to Mathew)? Does not
this mean that they are three different entities? Do the natures of these three have
the same features? Does God the Father need a Son to inherit him? Is he old to need
an heir? If there is God and Son, So, who is his mother? Is she a God also? All these
questions are raised in an answer to this notion of Trinity. And I don't know why to
complicate our belief in this way if we are not certain of any of these claims. Why
should we increase the fuzziness of our belief if we are certain of a rather simple and
robust belief given by Moses, Mohamed and is found in our Bible too?

X: I believe the only way to get out of this problem is to reject this trinity altogether
and to believe in what all previous prophets told . Islam has told us, that God is One
and He has no son, nor father, nor wife. Like Muhammad, Jesus came for the very
purpose of guiding humanity to the way of their Creator. Almighty Allah says: “That is
because Allah hath revealed the Scripture with the truth. Lo! those who find (a cause
of) disagreement in the Scripture are in open schism.” (Al-Baqarah: 176) All
messengers came to call people to submit to the One true God: “Say: He is Allah, the
One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And
there is none comparable unto Him.” (Al-Ikhlas: 1-4) This is the truth told by Prophet
Joseph: “And I have followed the religion of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
It never was for us to attribute aught as partner to Allah. This is of the bounty of Allah
unto us (the seed of Abraham) and unto mankind; but most men give not thanks.”
(Yusuf: 38) and confirmed by Jesus himself: “And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of
Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside
Allah? he saith: Be glorified It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I
used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know
not what is in Thy mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Knower of Things Hidden. I spake
unto them only that which Thou commandedst me, (saying) : Worship Allah, my Lord
and your Lord. I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them, and when Thou
tookest me Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things.” (Al-
Ma’idah: 116-117)

Z: When I was young, I went to my local priest to tell me who is the father of Jesus
Christ. He returned my question with another: “Who is your father?” I replied: “You
know my father, do not you?” He said, “I know him for sure. The same applies for
Jesus, his father is God the Father.” I wondered: “Did God ,the Father, marry Mary the
Virgin and they got Jesus as a result of that marriage?” The priest got furious and
sent me away without giving me a satisfying answer.

X: A satisfying answer could only be found in the Qur'an where we read: “Lo! the
likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then
He said unto him: Be! and he is.” (Al-`Imran: 59) Just like Adam who came without a
father or mother, God was able to create Jesus without a father, since nothing is
impossible for God. It is because of this that whenever Jesus is mentioned in the
Qur'an, we find his name accompanied by the word ‘son of Mary’ to confirm this fact.
Almighty Allah says: “(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Allah giveth
thee glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary,
illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto
Allah).”(Al-`Imran: 45)

Z: I have a friend who always directs his supplication to Mary since she is the mother
of God and she is most likely to answer faster. There are many other supplications
recited in churches directed to Mary like the one that reads: “O Mother of Personified
Word! Reject not our supplications! Listen to our words and answer our needs!
Amen!” You see, it is turning to be polytheism or rather idolatry again. People believe
in Mary as the mother of God and would go directly to her and pray. They think
foolishly that this will help solving the problems of corruption and drinking they have.

X: I believe that the worst thing man can ever commit is to associate someone in
worship with his Creator. Man’s heart has a place for no more than one God. That is
why Allah forgives all sins except this one sin, that is worshipping another god other
than Him. Almighty Allah says: “Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be
ascribed unto Him. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth
partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin.” (An-Nisaa’: 48) In the
Qur'an, we also read that the Holy Spirit is no more than a name of the Arch-Angel
Gabriel who came carrying revelation to the Prophet and other prophets. Almighty
Allah says: “Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may
confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those
who have surrendered (to Allah).” (An-Nahl: 102)

Z: This is what fathers of Christianity have agreed upon in the Synod of Necheiah;
they said: “We believe in one God; Jesus the only son of God, the true God who is
equal to his father in nature.” Then, they added to these two (i.e. God the Father and
God the Son) a third thing which they called the Holy Spirit. They say that the three
are one and the one is a union of a three and want us to believe in this hallucination.

X: Do not agree with me that basic religious facts need deep reflection and
understanding; they cannot be based merely on doubt or superficial thinking.
Almighty Allah says: “Most of them follow naught but conjecture. Assuredly
conjecture can by no means take the place of truth. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they
do.” (Yunus: 36)

Z: I believe that many modern theologians who have deep thinking reject the idea of
the cross, the big sacrifice and the sonship of Jesus to God and other stuff. They
believe that such things go in contrary with the words of Jesus: “Search for the truth.”
That is why such theologians have started a pick and choose process where they go
only for truthful things.

X: True, I can see now that many priests have views that are consistent with the
truth. They try their best to save their followers from doubt and conjecture. It is very
dangerous to think that you are following the right path while in fact you are
absorbed by falsehood. Almighty Allah says: “Say: Shall We inform you who will be
the greatest losers by their works? Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the
world, and yet they reckon that they do good work.” (Al-Kahf: 103-104)

Z: You are right. But still many of them are repeating good words while they bear
corrupt ideas. They remind me of the proverb that goes: “A cross on the breast and a
devil in the heart.” In fact, anyone who studies the Qur'an in depth would realize that
it is the truth. However, those people are driven by arrogance and so insist on
committing disbelief. About them and their peers, the Qur'an says: “Hast thou seen
him who maketh his desire his god, and Allah sendeth him astray purposely, and
sealeth up his hearing and his heart, and setteth on his sight a covering? Then who
will lead him after Allah (hath condemned him)? Will ye not then heed?” (Al-Jathiyah:
23)

X: Another question, what is the real shape of Jesus? How does he look like? Which of
the pictures we see of him here in Egypt or those we see in Italy or the third that can
be seen in the US are more truthful? We have different forms indeed; so which one is
the most truthful?

Z: I believe that those different pictures are no more than mere imaginations that has
no basis in reality. That is why theologians would gather and decide to reject many of
such pictures or omit some parts of the Gospel because of being inconsistent.

X: A Muslim is commanded to believe in everything contained in the Book of Allah
and to believe in all Messengers. Almighty Allah says: “The messenger believeth in
that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each
one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers We
make no distinction between any of His messengers and they say: We hear, and we
obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, Our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying.” (Al-Baqarah:
285) No one can give himself the right to add or move some parts of the Book of
Allah. I also find many paintings depicting Jesus on the cross. Some of them depict
him while being tied to the cross while others depict him fixed to the cross by some
pins.

Z: In fact, painters imagine many things that have no basis in reality. Also the issue of
Jesus bleeding while on the cross, it is not mentioned in any of the gospels since Mark
tell us that ‘all of them have left him and fled away.’ I believe that if the one on the
cross was really Jesus, the disciples would have never left him. This confirms the
saying that it was Judah, not Jesus.

X: I think that all these details about Jesus being crucified were mentioned by Paul.
Does any of the disciples agree with Paul on these details?

Z: No. In fact, the real name of Paul is Shaul of Tarsus. He is not one of the disciples
and never saw Jesus in his life and none of the disciples agreed with him on what he
said. Likewise, none of them agreed to accompany him in his missions to other
nations. That is why he said: “No man stood with me, but all men forsook me.”
(Timothy: 4: 16) Paul was always terrorizing the disciples and was supporting Jews in
their suppression of the disciples and that is why the disciples kept silent and never
dared to declare that he is a liar in what he says.

X: Then, why do you accept the sayings of Paul without investigating about their
truthfulness? Why do not you search for the truth as commanded by Jesus. Almighty
Allah gave us the ability to search for the truth and it is our duty to do so. Almighty
Allah says: “The Beneficent. Hath made known the Quran. He hath created man. He
hath taught him utterance.” (Ar-Rahman: 1-4) He, Glory be to Him, directs our
attention to the fact that it is Him who gave us such faculties and we should use
them in His service: “Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Who provideth for you from the
sky and the earth, or Who owneth hearing and sight; and Who bringeth forth the
living from the dead and bringeth forth the dead from the living; and Who directeth
the course? They will say : Allah. Then say : Will ye not then keep your duty (unto
Him)? Such then is Allah, your rightful Lord. After the Truth what is there saving error?
How then are ye turned away!” (Yunus: 31-32) Why do you follow such whims and
false sayings and reject the truth or stop searching for it.

Z: In fact, the history tells us of some groups and sects that rejected the sayings of
Paul. One of these is the Paulinans who followed Paul the Smesatian of Antioch. They
believe in the oneness of God. We have also the Arusians who followed Aruis and
they also believe in one God. Their belief was about to overwhelm the whole world
but politicians stood in face of it and Emperor Theodosius led a persecution against
them.

X: Are not such sayings and those views sufficient for present day priests to purify
Christianity from the fabrications that have been incorporated in it?

Z: Many of them know that the Qur'an contains the truth. However, some of them are
led by their whims and desires. You do not know how big facilities and generous gifts
are given to those people to stay on this fabricated belief. They know that Jesus came
not to start a new religion; rather, to complete that of Moses but they insist on what
they are told.

X: Yes, the words of Jesus that he came to fulfill are in consistence with the words of
the Qur'an that are ascribed to him: “And will make him a messenger unto the
children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I
fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird,
by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead,
by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your
houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are believers. And (I come)
confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that
which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep
your duty to Allah and obey me”(Al-`Imran: 49-50). As for the Qur'an, it is a new law
and a perfect code for life. What is happening now is that priests make laws
according to their own minds and whims and each church has its code that has
nothing to do with Christianity. In some churches, divorce is permitted while others
say that it is totally banned and prohibited. If they remember their stance in front of
Allah, they will stop this and will accept the truth right away.

Z: In his epistle to Hebrews, Paul says: “For there is verily a disannulling of the
commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.” Such
words go in contrary with the teachings of Jesus himself. Paul saw that people’s
adherence to the commandments will hinder the mission and will restrain their
actions and saw, they should cast them away. All this led to the fact that Christianity
has a spiritual aspect but lacks the practical one. There is no definite code of conduct
for Christians as the religion has become more relating to priesthood.

X: And this led to the separation of religion from the state as Christianity is a religion
without a state. Do not you believe that there is no use of putting the Old Testament
(the Torah) beside the New Testament (the Gospel) after Paul has incited his followers
to reject it totally. What is the benefit of doing so? The Qur'an says: “The likeness of
those who are entrusted with the Law of Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of
the ass carrying books. Wretched is the likeness of folk who deny the revelations of
Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.” (Al-Jumu`ah: 5)

Z: A deep reading of the Torah will show that it has some faults because of the rabbs’
tampering with it. However, it is not a bunch of uselessness as Paul claims. Yes,
reading the Torah will show that it is not a perfect book to follow, but it has many
benefits and contain a moral code.

X: So, do you believe that you need a book like the Qur'an to help you have a code to
follow?

Z: I believe that our need for a book like the Qur'an is becoming greater everyday.
Firstly, the Qur'an is a heavenly book, proven to be truthful in its content and
miraculous in its nature. Everyday we hear about new scientific discoveries which are
mentioned in the Qur'an more than 1500 years ago . Secondly, this book is the only
proof of Mary’s innocence and purity of all the claims and false accusations directed
to her. Almighty Allah sent Muhammad to confirm the truth that Mary is innocent and
chaste. The Qur'an tells us that she replied to the Angel who gave her glad tiding of
being pregnant with Jesus: “She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath
touched me, neither have I been unchaste! He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is
easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a
mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.” (Maryam: 20-21) Also, the Qur'an tells us
of many miracles that were performed by Jesus himself: “When Allah saith: O Jesus,
son of Mary! Remember My favor unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened
thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in
maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the
Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My
permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst
heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst
raise the dead, by My permission and how I restrained the Children of Israel from
(harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them
who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic.” (Al-Ma’idah: 110)
Thirdly, the Qur'an addresses both heart and mind and acknowledges the importance
of knowledge in guiding man to the truth. Thereby, it respects man’s mind. Fourthly,
it inculcates man with a feeling of sincerity or God-fearing which makes him maintain
purity and truthfulness in all his actions. In this way, man is in no need for someone
to have his sins forgiven. He can directly pray to his God , Who will surely forgive
him. Fifthly, I wish that our religion be based on a Divine criteria and is never left to
the whims of people. Sixthly, the Qur'an gives decisive answers in many critical
issues and above all, it helps us overcome our own weaknesses and be united and
strong in face of our wicked enemies.

X: This is exactly what God tells us when saying: “Turn unto Him repentant, and
surrender unto Him, before there come unto you the doom, when ye cannot be
helped. And follow the better (guidance) of that which is revealed unto you from your
Lord, before the doom cometh on you suddenly when ye know not.” (Az-Zumar: 54-
55) However, there are unfortunately many people who fabricate accusations against
Islam and try to damage it. But Almighty Allah turns their conspiracies against them.
Those people say that Islam does not respect woman because it allows polygamy
while Islam has shown a great respect to women and places them in a very high
position. Women are given the right of owning property, well treatment and seeking
knowledge and working under Islam. Almighty Allah says: “Unto the men (of a family)
belongeth a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, and unto the women
a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be little or much a
legal share.” (An-Nisaa’: 7) Islam also says that Paradise lies under the feet of
mothers.

Z: I believe that many Prophets had more than one wife, including Abraham, Jacob ,
David and Solomon , there is not a single verse in the Torah that blames them for
this. Paul, on the contrary, considered woman responsible for the original sin, banned
divorce and considered celibacy to be the best action. Up to this day, many
Christians play wicked tricks and allow adultery instead of permitting polygamy.

X: Here I would like to refer to the book ‘Wives of the Prophet’ by Khaled M. Khaled
which shows that the Prophet did not marry any woman after the death of his first
wife Khadijah until he became fifty three years old. He was faithful to the memory of
her just as he used to be while she was alive. Also, his marriages were for the benefit
of Islam and most of his wives were widows left by some of his Companions who
martyred in the battle field. He married them to honor them.

Z: Orientalists always refer to the life of Jesus who came at time where everything
around was messy and material. Jesus strip himself off of all these worldly fake stuff
but never encouraged celibacy. Why did Paul then recommended it? How will the
society increase and grow if its individuals stop marriage. Also, the banning of
divorce has led to so many social evils that have overwhelmed the Christian society.
Here, I would like you to tell me if you support polygamy and divorce.

X: It is not my opinion or it is not an issue of personal liking or disliking. God has
permitted both polygamy and divorce but did not made them the normal thing , i.e.,
they are resorted to in certain situations only. For instance, a Muslim cannot go for a
second wife without getting the permission of his first wife and cannot do this (i.e. go
for polygamy) unless he is sure that he will be just in treating all his wives. Therefore,
most of Muslims are monogamists unless in special cases where the first wife is sick
or barren. As for divorce, it is the most abhorrent thing in the sight of Allah. However,
it provides a solution for cases where the continuity of marital life is impossible.

Z: Some orientalists also claim that Islam has been propagated by the sword, though
Jesus Christ called us to resort to force sometimes. They also claim that Islam did not
ban slavery which was a widespread phenomena in the Arabian peninsula at that
time.

X: As a human being you should be strong of course. However, force was not the first
resort of Islam; rather, Islam propagated its principles and introduced its guidance by
all peaceful means. However, force was needed sometimes to ward off aggression
being launched against Islam and Muslims. Muslims needed to liberate the agonized
and longly persecuted people from their occupiers and persecutors. In order to
remove those persecutors, force was needed sometimes when other means fail to
help. As for the banishing of slavery, there is not a single verse in the Qur'an
supporting slavery. On the contrary, Islam commanded the liberation of slaves and
encouraged its followers to seize any opportunity to remove them from the chains of
slavery.

Z: They always say that Christianity cherishes the life of soul and purifying the body
from all whims and desires. It is because of this that it abhors having sex or resorting
to force and calls for celibacy and meekness.

X: Allah created man in a certain form and with certain needs. Love is the basis of
marital life. It is a bond between both spouses and shows them how to lead a life of
mutual respect and honor. If they are afraid they will not be able to fulfill the
commands of Allah being together, they can stop this life via divorce. Still, affection
and mercy should dominate them in all cases. Almighty Allah says: “And of His signs
is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them,
and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are portents for folk
who reflect. (Ar-Rum: 21) Having such needs like sex, man needs them to be fulfilled
in a way that suits his being an honorable being created by Allah. So, the human
instinct of inclining to the members of the opposite sex needs to be channeled and
not left for animalistic way. The only way is through marriage which places certain
rights and responsibilities towards the parties involved in that relation and even
towards the product resulting from that relation i.e. children.

Z: Do you know that priests even go farther to ban their followers from thinking of
the hereafter or Paradise. They say we will be admitted to Paradise in another form
and know nothing about the Kingdom of the Heavens. These things are unexplainable
to me and put a lot of confusion in my mind. I told him that Adam was banished from
Paradiswhile being in his physical form which means we will be there again in the
same form so as to be subject to reward and punishment in the Hell fire and he
answered me that this is what I should believe in. When I asked for any religious text
that supports what he says, he rebuked me and produce nothing.

X: Almighty Allah explains such things to us by saying that just like sleeping, death is
a longer separation between the soul and the body. Almighty Allah says: “Allah
receiveth (men's) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dieth not
(yet) in its sleep. He keepeth that (soul) for which He hath ordained death and
dismisseth the rest till an appointed term. Lo herein verily are portents for people
who take thought.” (Az-Zumar: 42) Just as He can grow the plants from this dead soil,
he can bring us back to life. In this way, He says: “He bringeth forth the living from
the dead, and He bringeth forth the dead from the living, and He reviveth the earth
after her death. And even so will ye be brought forth.And of His signs is this: He
created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely!” (Ar-Rum: 19)
After bringing us back to life, Allah will reckon us for our deeds. Almighty Allah says:
“Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them?
Aye, that He is! for He is the All Wise Creator.” (Ya-Sin: 81) When admitted to
Paradise, we will enjoy the eternal bliss and the extreme happiness as Allah says:
“Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs are the Gardens of Paradise, for
welcome. Wherein they will abide, with no desire to be removed from thence.” (Al-
Kahf: 107-108) As a true believer, I can imagine every good thing in Paradise but still
what I imagine is still far away less than what is really there.

Z: Do you know that some Christian sects deny the existence of Paradise and Hell-
Fire and deny the Last Day altogether. Some others say that God the Father has died
and others say Jesus will come down and rule the earth for 1000 years. They
fabricate a lot of things.

X: God commands us not to dispute about the unseen unless we have three things,
verified knowledge based on reason and logic, divine guidance and then divine texts
that explain the nature of that thing. If we dispute without having these three, then
we will reach at nowhere. Almighty Allah says: “And among mankind is he who
disputeth concerning Allah without knowledge or guidance or a Scripture giving light.
Turning away in pride to beguile (men) from the way of Allah. For him in this world is
ignominy, and on the Day of Resurrection We make him taste the doom of burning.”
(Al-Hajj: 8-9)

Z: They even deny some of Allah’s Fairest Names. They deny some Names like ‘Al-
Jabbar’ and ‘Al-Muntaqim’ which are mentioned in the Qur'an.

X: Almighty Allah tells us that He pledged Himself to mercy: “And when those who
believe in Our revelations come unto thee, say: Peace be unto you! Your Lord hath
prescribed for Himself mercy, that whoso of you doeth evil and repenteth afterward
thereof and doeth right, (for him) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-An’am: 54)
Therefore, most of Allah’s Names are flowing with mercy and love like ‘The Answerer,
the Peace Source, the Forgiving, the Provider…’ However, He warns those who
persecute others and commit wrongdoing with His other Names.

Z: Sure! When Allah punishes some sinners and unjust people, we can see that His
punishment is very wise and suits the wrongdoing they have committed. We can read
about many oppressors and unjust rulers who have been punished duly because of
their sins.

X: This is a sign and reminder from Allah Who says: “We shall show them Our
portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them
that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things?”
(Fussilat: 53) and says: “So We took each one in his sin; of them was he on whom We
sent a hurricane, and of them was he who was overtaken by the (Awful) Cry, and of
them was he whom We caused the earth to swallow, and of them was he whom We
drowned. It was not for Allah to wrong them, but they wronged themselves.” (Al-
Anlabut: 40)

Z: I think that the punishment inflicted upon those people is a token of Allah’s
ultimate justice.

X: Our lives are very short and our stay on earth is temporary and those criminals will
come to know that they have been wrong all their life. They will regret when it is too
late to regret. Almighty Allah says: “And on the day when the Hour riseth the guilty
will vow that they did tarry but an hour thus were they ever deceived.” (Ar-Rum: 55)
In fact, there is a big question that shows us how weak and helpless we are; who
creates day and night and what will happen if this earth stops moving around the
Sun? Can we push it to move? Allah says: “Say: Have ye thought, if Allah made night
everlasting for you till the Day of Resurrection, who is a God beside Allah who could
bring you light? Will ye not then hear? Say: Have ye thought, if Allah made day
everlasting for you till the Day of Resurrection, who is a God beside Allah who could,
bring you night wherein ye rest? Will ye not then see? Of His mercy hath He
appointed for you night and day that therein ye may rest, and that ye may seek His
bounty, and that haply ye may be thankful.” (Al-Qasas: 71-73) People should ask
themselves such questions to realize that they are so weak.

Z: But some people claim that there are some discrepancies in the Qur'an.
: This is an unverified statement that has no basis indeed. We have one Qur'an and
even the translation of the Qur'an is not considered to be Qur'an. Allah has pledged
to protect and preserve the Qur'an from any change or alteration: “Lo! We, even We,
reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are it's Guardian.” (Al-Hijr: 9)

At this juncture, the train stopped again and both had to stop talking and eat some
candy.

Seventh Stop: Qena

X: Do you think that many of your relatives and friends believe in what you tell me
now?

Z: Do you know that my mother- may she rest in peace- loved the Prophet and used
to say, ‘since Muslims love Jesus and his mother, why do not we love Muhammad, the
trustworthy and the truthful Prophet.’ She used to memorize some verses from the
Qur'an and use them for supplication at times of need and would repeat all the time,
“You Most Merciful of all the merciful!” Whenever she needed some spiritual help, she
would directly pray to Allah and never go to a priest and never filled our house with
crosses and statues. Likewise, my father used to teach us a lot of verses from the
Qur'an. He used to teach us that we should verify whatever we hear and never
accept it blindly.

X: This is exactly what is meant in the verse that goes: “And when it is said unto
them: Come unto that which Allah hath revealed and unto the messenger, they say:
Enough for us is that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers
had no knowledge whatsoever, and no guidance?” (Al-Ma’idah: 104)

Z: This is also what I have believed in since my early days of childhood, for we are
bound to use our minds. We will never improve if we blindly imitate our forefathers.

X: The Qur'an also blames those blind imitators saying: “And when it is said unto
them: Follow that which Allah hath revealed, they say: We follow that wherein we
found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers were wholly unintelligent and had
no guidance?” (Al-Baqarah: 170

Z: My father taught us all the time to judge everything with objectivity and was very
fond of one of the Hadiths ( traditional sayings of the prophet ) of the Prophet that
reads: “ Each one of you is a guardian and is held responsible for those under his
guardianship; a leader is a guardian and responsible for his followers, a father is a
guardian and responsible for his family, a wife is a guardian and responsible for her
husband’s household, a servant is a guardian and responsible for his master’s
money, a man is a guardian and responsible for his father’s money and each one of
you is thus a guardian and has something to be responsible for.” My father used to
teach us that we are accountable before God.

X: Sure, but it looks that your father was a Christian of a special type of people.

Z: Absolutely not. He was just like all other Christians who did not want their kids to
be atheists or end up thinking that religion is a bunch of puzzles placed beside each
other. My father wanted to inculcate in us the sense of God-fearing. He wanted us to
be true believers by guiding us to what is right and updated. It is really stupid to refer
all the time to Mandalive table which was written in the 18th century and forget
about the updated versions of that table or the latest theories of chemistry or physics
that were written later. My father was an enlightened Christian, he has a scientific
way of thinking. Our teacher who taught us physics used to tell us to think about and
reflect on the universe and see how great signs are in it. Science is our way to God
not myths or superstitions.

X: Have you read the verse that reads: “And the Jews say the Christians follow
nothing (true), and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true); yet both are
readers of the Scripture. Even thus speak those who know not. Allah will judge
between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ.” (Al-
Baqarah: 113) It is good then that some of you say that Muslims are right.

Z: When a Christian believes that his religion bans him from enjoying his life and
commands him to lead a life of celibacy, then he will realize that his religion does not
fit this life. He will have then to believe that his religion and this life are enemies. In
this case, monks shall spend their life in celibacy and set a barrier between them and
the world. As for the rest of people, they can go ahead to get money and fulfill their
desires.

X: Islam says that man consists of body and soul and he cannot gain happiness
except through fulfilling the needs of both his soul and his body. He should a strike a
balance between both, since in Islam there is no place for celibacy or monasticism.
Almighty Allah says: “Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps;
and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed
compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. But monasticism
they invented. We ordained it not for them. Only seeking Allah's pleasure, and they
observed it not with right observance. So We give those of them who believe their
reward, but many of them are evil livers.” (Al-Hadid: 27) A true Muslim is not required
to confine himself to worshipping Allah all the time. Rather, he is required to fulfill his
life needs and is rewarded for that: “A person who works for the service of a widow is
rewarded like the one who is fighting for the sake of Allah or the one who is spending
the whole day in fasting and the whole night in prayer.”

Z: The mission of Jesus was basically a spiritual one since they were absorbed in
materialism to their heels. Jesus called us to purify our selves. However, Paul asked
us to torture this human body, something which runs against the call of Jesus.

X: I think that the Qur'an showed great respect and honor to this human self created
by Allah, for Allah created it in a way that makes it able to be good or bad and man
chooses which way to go. Allah says: “And a soul and Him who perfected it. And
inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. He is
indeed successful who causeth it to grow. And he is indeed a failure who stunteth it.”
(Ash-Shams: 7-10) Allah showed us the two ways and the destiny of those who walk
here and there and left the choice to us.

Z: I really believe that the basics of a religion cannot be known through the works
wrote by and assemblies held by human beings who are led by their whims and
imperfect minds. It should be known through Divine revelation coming from the
Creator who knows what is in the hearts and knows the nature of the soul. A balance
should be stricken in all cases so as to get a reasonable life.

X: There is a hadith which I love most that goes: “Your Lord has a right over you, your
self has a right over you and your family has a right over you. So, give each his due.”

Z: When Paul declared that human soul is evil and set a barrier between her and the
society, he led us in a very strict way to the monasteries and prohibited all life
pleasures to us.
X: You can find what is really prohibited in this verse: “Say: My Lord forbiddeth only
indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and
wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath
been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not.” (Al-A`raaf:
33) As for the way to happiness, you can read: “Successful indeed are the believers.
Who are humble in their prayers, and who shun vain conversation, and who are
payers of the poor due; and who guard their modesty. Save from their wives or the
(slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy, but whoso
craveth beyond that, such are transgressors, and who are shepherds of thee pledge
and their covenant, and who pay heed to their prayers. These are the heirs, who will
inherit Paradise: There they will abide.” (Al-Mu’minun: 1-11) This is the way to
success and I am sure that Jesus Christ came with the same message but Paul have
corrupted this message and altered it.

Z: I believe that the true father of Christianity is Jesus, while the father of the church
is Paul who set such fake teachings and led the church away from the true message
of Jesus. All this led to disruption and set a barrier between the church and the state.

X: Exactly. As I told you before, Islam came for all people and needed to be strong in
order to be protected from any tampering and that is why it reached us intact and
pure from any corruption. As for Christianity, it was not protected by a big power and
that is why it has been subjected to many changes and its true heirs could not
defend it. The whole church system was established in the fourth century.

Z: This is simply what corrupted the true message brought by Jesus. When the church
was put under the political authorities and theocratic one, it turned to be an enemy
of science and Europe fell in ages of darkness. Then, Islam came and liberated minds
and souls.

X: In fact, the very idea of personifying God and placing him in a form of a human
being was abhorrent to minds and it led them to reject religion completely .

Z: What makes faith a very superficial thing in the hearts of many Christians is that
they have abandoned reading the new testament and sufficed themselves with
getting blessing from the priests. Reading the new testament led their minds to
embarrassment and confusion and that is why they preferred to stop reciting it.

X: We, Muslims find solace and guidance in the Qur'an. It is easy to understand and
memorize it. Each Muslim is commanded to read it wholly one time every month at
least and many Muslims do this. A Muslim knows that Allah oversees him and so he
resorts to Him seeking help and forgiveness, for Allah is near to all of us: “And when
My servant question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer
of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them bear My call and let them trust
in Me, in order that they may be led aright.” (Al-Baqarah: 186)

: I also believe that the sayings of the Prophet show you the best conduct and
encourage you to be good to each other, help one another and work together for the
bettering of humanity as a token of showing gratitude to God.

At that moment, they decided to have some rest.

Eighth Stop: Luxor

X: When I read the Torah and the Gospel for the first time, I realized that the Qur'an is
really the last message coming from God to people and that the previous messages
constitute an introduction to Islam and that the completion of this long process
occurred on the day when the Prophet stood in the valley of Wada` and recited to all
people the verse that reads: “This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever
harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your
religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as
religion AL- ISLAM. Whoso is forced by hunger, not by will, to sin: (for him) lo! Allah is
Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-Ma’idah: 3)

Z: We scholars are always led by our minds to judge things with objectivity and
fairness. I agree with you that the Qur'an is the final testament and I am in no way
here to strike a comparison between the Qur'an and the Bible. But, I tend to say that
the Qur'an respects all Prophets and never speaks in a bad way about any of them.
Also, the Qur'an proves the existence of Allah and describes Him in a way full of
greatness and perfection. It says: “The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How
can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort, when He created all things and
is Aware of all things?” (Al-An`am: 101)

X: Yes, the Qur'an is even described as being a ‘soul’ that gives guidance and life to
the dead bodies that are swelled with demons. Almighty Allah says: “And thus have
We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what
the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide
whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path. The
path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is
in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah at last?” (Ash-Shura: 52-53)

Z: I read some verses in the Qur'an that start with showing astonishment with those
who deny the existence of God while witnessing His blessings everywhere. I really
like the way those verses are worded and the logical way they flow.

X: You must be referring to the verses of Surat Al-Waqi`ah that read: “We created
you. Will ye then admit the truth? Have ye seen that which ye emit? Do ye create it
or are We the creator? We mete out death among you, and We are not to be outrun,
That We may transfigure you and make you what ye know not. And verily ye know
the first creation. Why, then, do ye not reflect? Have ye seen that which ye
cultivate?. Is it ye who foster it, or are We the Fosterer? If We willed, We verily could
make it chaff, then would ye cease not to exclaim: Lo! we are laden with debt! Nay,
but we are deprived! Have ye observed the water which ye drink? Is it ye who shed it
from the rain cloud, or are We the shedder? If We willed We verily could make it
bitter. why, then, give ye not thanks? Have ye observed the fire which ye strike out;
Was it ye who made the tree thereof to grow, or were We the grower? We, even We,
appointed it a memorial and a comfort for the dwellers in the wilderness. Therefore
(O Muhammad), praise the name of thy Lord, the Tremendous.” (Al-Waqi`ah: 57-74)

These verses guide us to think about the semen of which we are created. Such words
came hundred years before people discover that man is created out of this semen or
know anything called genome and chromosome. If Darwin was to read these verses,
he would have never dared to write his theory of evolution as the verse tells us that
each human being has a special shape of cell and not a single cell of a human being
can be changed into another form creating another human being of another kind. The
verses also tell us about plants and how they grow and provide our bodies with
proteins and vitamins. All this testify to the fact that the Qur'an is coming from the
Divine source and no human mind can produce its like. Almighty Allah says: “Say:
Verily, though mankind and the Jinn should assemble to produce the like of this
Quran, they could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of
another.” (Al-Isra’: 88)
Z: God supported Jesus with miracles like quickening the dead and supported Moses
with other miracles like the stick turning into a snake.

X: And he supported Muhammad with many miracles like the Night Journey and
Ascension, the flow of water from between his fingers, and many other miracles. The
greatest miracle however is the Qur'an which stands eternally to tell people why do
they live and what is the purpose of their whole existence. I never know what is the
purpose of life until I read in the Qur'an that this life is a test where we work and do
as many deeds as we can and then we will be reckoned in the hereafter and punished
or rewarded accordingly. That is why, faith is always linked with good deeds as there
is no value for faith if it is not supported by good deeds. Allah says: “Lo! those who
believe and do good works, the Beneficent will appoint for them love.” (Maryam: 96)

Z: I become really amazed when I hear some people claiming that religions accept
secularism ,i.e. ,they permit people to be good and righteous only inside the mosque
or the church. Outside of the places of worship man is free from the values
propagated by religion and can do whatever he likes. In other words, they say to
people that they live in a jungle and only the strong can rule. According to these
people, God is only inside the mosque and the church but not in our daily life. I would
like to ask; have those people found tranquility believing in this secularism? I think
that mass suicides which represent phenomena nowadays are the best proof of their
failure!!!

X: Man is weak; he always needs to be linked to Allah to feel safe and strong. The
only way for him to do this is to abide by the teachings of the Almighty. A Muslim
sticks to remembering Allah all the time as he believes that Allah owns everything
and it is Him Who helps him all the way. Muslim’s relation with Allah does not end at
the threshold of the mosque because the whole earth is a big mosque for him, so he
carries this worship everywhere and is to observe its requirements everywhere. The
soul and the body have needs and their needs are fulfilled in a balanced way.
Therefore, a Muslim feels that Allah with him all the time, since Allah tells him in the
Qur'an: “Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that
is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of
five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them
wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform
them of what they did Lo! Allah is Knower of all things.” (Al-Mujadilah: 7)

Z: I believe that modern Europeans have forged this secular way of life as a response
to the monastic way of life shown on part of the church. They did not want to give a
chance to the clergy to rule life and bring it back again to the medieval ages. They
wanted also to free themselves from all restraints of religion and morality.

X: In fact, separating religion from the state is no more than an attempt to go back
to the pagan life which is blamed in the verse that reads: “Is it a judgment of the
time of (pagan) ignorance that they are seeking? Who is better than Allah for
judgment to a people who have certainty (in their belief)?” (Al-Ma’idah: 50) Almighty
Allah set this life in a way that every person would be leading a small state in a way
or another, like a father leading a family and the like. In his leadership, a person is to
abide by the teachings of Allah and apply justice and perfection as Allah says: “Lo!
Allah enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness
and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed.”
(An-Nahl: 90) A good and just leader is rewarded abundantly according to Islam. In
addition, nothing in the secular system would incite the leader to be just and good
while in Islam, a leader commits himself to good conduct because he believes in the
Last Day where everyone will be reckoned for his deeds and paid according to them:
“Woe unto the defrauders: Those who when they take the measure from mankind
demand it full, But if they measure unto them or weigh for them, they cause them
loss. Do such (men) not consider that they will be again. Unto an awful Day.” (Al-
Mutaffifin: 1-5) Those who take their rights in full but never pay others’ rights are
punished severely by Allah.

Z: So, there is no place for secularism in Islam as soul and body are linked and
attached together in Islam and this life is in no way separated from the hereafter.
Man is the vicegerent of Allah and works here to be rewarded there.

X: Do you agree that one of the greatest characteristics of Islam is the respect it
shows to both mind and knowledge? Islam commands us to leave out what is not
acceptable to our minds from the knowledge that within the boundaries of our
perception. Almighty Allah says: “And they have no knowledge thereof. They follow
but a guess, and lo! a guess can never take the place of the truth.” (An-Najm: 28)
And also says: “They who are idolaters will say: Had Allah willed, we had not ascribed
(unto Him) partners neither had our fathers, nor had we forbidden aught. Thus did
those who were before them give the lie (to Allah's messengers) till they tasted of the
fear of Us. Say: Have ye any knowledge that ye can adduce for us? Lo! ye follow
naught but an opinion. Lo! ye do but guess.” (Al-An`am: 148)

Z: I am really sure that anyone who claims to be a true believer while having no
scientific text or Divine book is merely deceiving himself. I love Jesus a lot and surely
believe in him and the Qur'an adds to this faith and fosters it.

X: You see, you use your mind to think and investigate and reach the truth and this is
exactly what the Qur'an asks us to do. It talks about ‘thinking’ and ‘reflecting’ for
more than 150 times and blames those who do not use their minds because they will
be like animals. Almighty Allah says: “Or deemest thou that most of them hear or
understand? They are but as the cattle, nay, but they are farther astray!” (Al-Furqan:
44) In fact, a truly developed and modern person is the one who can help others live
according to the code set by their Creator.

Z: I see your point.

X: So, there is no contradiction between Islam and knowledge; rather, knowledge
offers a lot of service to Islam and strengthens faith in the hearts of true believers.
Islam commands us to seek knowledge. What makes me feel proud is that the
industrial revolution that started in Europe was based on the scientific discoveries
and efforts of Muslim scientists. When we lagged behind here in the east, it is not
because of our religion; rather, because of our ignorance of our religion.

At that point, they had to have some coffee.

Ninth Stop: Edfu

X: Do you know that such great way of thinking and clean heart you have you are
considered a Muslim. I believe that many Christians who think in the same way and
have the same faith are not far from Islam. Islam offers answers to all questions as
Allah says: “And we have revealed the Scripture unto thee only that thou mayst
explain unto them that wherein they differ, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a
people who believe.” (An-Nahl: 64)

Z: You will become amazed when you listen to many priests here in Egypt and find
that they have been affected to a great deal with Islam and the way of the Qur'an in
their sermons. I have seen many of them prostrating themselves to Allah.
X: I think a statement as “Conflict of civilizations’, has no place in our life, since we
share in Egypt similar values and codes of behaving.

Z: I even believe that the difference between Orthodox for example and Protestant is
greater than the difference between true Christianity and Islam. If those people
mean by the word ‘dialog of civilizations’ a dialog between the East which sticks to
its values and principles and the West which has become secularist, then what type
of dialog they are referring to. It should be a dialog between someone who believes
in values and God and another who believes in the law of the jungle and believes that
the ends justify the means. Such secularism has caused two big wars in the world as
you know and has led man to destroy his fellow man using the most advanced
weapons, nuclear weapons and atomic bombs. Such secularism is responsible for the
millions of illegitimate children born out of the wedlock.

X: I believe that the best response to those who deny the merits and the values of
heavenly religion is what the Qur'an said to their forefathers: “Say: O disbelievers! I
worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship.And I shall
not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you
your religion, and unto me my religion.” (Al-Kafirun: 1-6) I wish that we, Arabs restore
our civilization based on the teachings of Islam and live peacefully together. In fact,
all religions have lived together in peace under the protection of Islam and Muslims
have never waged any war against anyone to force him to embrace Islam or to
destroy his infrastructure as happens now. We should tell the whole world that we
share the same land and the same values and we are linked together strongly. We
should teach our youth that thinking of the West as being the best example to follow
is wrong, for the West lacks faith which is the only way to success.

Z: In his speech at the Islamic Center in London, British Secretary of State Robin Cook
stated that the roots of the Western culture is not Greek; rather, Islamic and that
Islamic civilization has established the basics of many intellectual fields. Muslim
Arabs had led the procession of knowledge and scientific discoveries during the 16th
and 17th centuries. We still remember big names like Averroes, Avicenna and
Alhazen.

X: This brings us to a very important message which is that we should never
surrender to secularism adopted by Europe and America. They destroy values and
civilization and turn it to a jungle where there is no place for conscience or mercy.
What led to the fall of the former USSR is the abandoning of religion and alienation of
its values and leading an animalistic life.

Z: Yes, and I believe that Islam came as a completion of the message of Jesus and
Muhammad is not far from him.

X: Sure and even applied the law of God to establish a complete state based on
values and morals. This is the real civilization. After 14 centuries, not a single prophet
has appeared; something which confirms the fact that Muhammad was the Seal of
Messengers and Prophets. Almighty Allah says: “Muhammad is not the father of any
man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and
Allah is Aware of all things.” (Al-Ahzab: 40) In a course of ten years, Muhammad was
able to establish a state that could defeat the world’s super powers of that time and
liberate the oppressed peoples. Are not these sufficient evidence to the truthfulness
of his mission.

Z: Had it not been that Allah supported Muhammad, he would not have achieved all
this and the Muslim state would not have been able to stay strong for long.
X: Muslims were able to stand and spread Islam in the our corners of the globe. Still,
Islam is the power of the future according to many Western thinkers, for our world is
in a bad need for values as it need material aspects. Islam was the first religion
establishing a system similar to democracy that is Shura (Islamic mutual
consultation). Almighty Allah says: “And those who answer the call of their Lord and
establish worship, and whose affairs are a matter of counsel, and who spend of what
We have bestowed on them.” (Ash-Shura: 38)

Z: I think that Islam is the best way to reject this secularism which is sponsored by
many Western countries. Islam is the only rope to salvation for the present day world
as long as we introduce it to people in a good and peaceful manner.

X: But we have a common enemy which is very wicked and evil that is Zionists who
have no mercy for anyone. They try to accuse Islam of all bad accusations; they
claim that Islam supports terrorism and fosters violence. They try to fool Arabs and
devour everything.

Z: Yes and whenever we cite a religious text talking about their wicked nature they
claim we are anti-Semitic. They want us to change the words of Jesus who said that
they are the astray sheep of Israel.

X: And want us to remove the verses of the Qur'an that testify to their evil nature and
their hatred for all people. Why do they claim Semitic origin to themselves only while
all Arabs are the sons of Sam son of Noah. If they say that they are the true followers
of Moses, then the mission of Moses was an extension of Jacob and Jacob was an
extension of Abraham and Muhammad is an extension of Abraham too. Those great
Prophets are brothers. Almighty Allah says: “Say: Lo! As for me, my Lord hath guided
me unto a straight path, a right religion, the community of Abraham, the upright, who
was no idolater.” (Al-An`am: 161)

Now, they had to ask for two cups of tea to stay awake.

Tenth Stop: Kom Ombo

X: Your speech shows that you are very near to Islam, so do you observe Islamic
rituals bearing in mind that Allah created man to worship Him as Allah says: “I
created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat: 56)
This life is just a test where we have to work and offer good deeds as Allah says:
“Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and He is Able to do all things. Who
hath created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct; and
He is the Mighty, Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk: 1-2) In order to pass this test successfully, we
need patience, for Almighty Allah says: “O ye who believe! Seek help in
steadfastness, and prayer. Lo! Allah is with the steadfast.” (Al-Baqarah: 153) In this
daily life, we need to pray to God for five times per day where we declare our
weakness in front of Him, so do you pray.

Z: Surely yes, we have our own prayer. You know, I find that the Islamic way of
performing is more perfect and that is why I perform the five daily prayers and go
even for Friday prayer. At the same time, I attend the sermon at the church and find
no harm in doing this.

X: You start your pray with praising God and showing gratitude to Him for the
blessings He has showered on you. Almighty Allah says: “Hath there come Upon man
(ever) any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered? Lo! We create man
from a drop of thickened fluid to test him; so We make him hearing, knowing. Lo! We
have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or disbelieving.” (Al-Insan: 1-3)

Z: Do you know that Christians here in Egypt perform other rituals of Islam like
fasting since they spend many days in fasting in the month of Ramadan. They also
give charity and help to the poor. When I convert to Islam soon, I will have this
written in my passport and will be able to enter the Holy places in Makkah.
Thereupon, I will go for pilgrimage.

X: Ok great, but why did not you announce your conversion till now.

Z: Have not you read the verse that goes: “Lo! those who believe (in that which is
revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and
Sabaeans whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right surely their
reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they
grieve.” (Al-Baqarah: 62) I believe in God the One and the true, the Last Day and
work as much as I can and this is simply makes me a Muslim even if I do not
announce it to people. I see it will not make a change if I announce it right away.

X: You are right. In fact, you remind me of the verse that reads: “And Lo! of the People
of the Scripture there are some who believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto
you and that which was revealed unto them, humbling themselves before Allah. They
purchase not a trifling gain at the price of the revelations of Allah. Verily their reward
is with their Lord, and Lo! Allah is swift to take account.” (Al-`Imran: 199) We need
such an illuminating understanding to work together for the best of this universe.
Christianity that believes in the One true God is surely light and good for the whole
human race.

Z: I do not accept what they call the rightist Christianity or the Jewish Christianity
since it violates the principles of Jesus Christ himself. It tries to propagate certain
principles under the fake veil of being Christianity, like the idea of the chosen people.
Who would accept the killing of people and the devouring of their rights and the
confiscation of their lands in the name of Jesus, Prophet of peace. How many bloods
that are spelt in the name of Jesus while Jesus is innocent of all such bloods.

X: In fact, many fooled Christians would support this so called rightist Christianity.

Z: But our Coptic church has declared its denouncing of all such things. Our priests
stand firmly against these atrocities. They also reject the plans of Zionists and their
agents like Karl Marx, Lenin and Michel Ingles. I talked to one of my priests about the
so called Armageddon and he told me that the whole story of it is fabricated and has
no basis at all.

X: I really want our Muslim religious leaders try their best to correct and clarify the
distorted image that some Muslims have taken about Christian.

Z: We both, Muslims and Christians, should work together in order to show to the
whole world that there is a racist movement that is trying to demolish our creeds and
ruin our unity. They want to devour all of us, Muslims and Christians.

X: But how do you see this war against everything Islamic which was launched after
the destroying of the twin towers which nobody can tell who has committed it till
now?
Z: In fact, the American hawks have led this war and are trying to deceive Muslim
rulers to accept their version of the story, forgetting that Islam is a heavy religion.

X: In all the analyses I have read, the conclusions are that such an even was not
committed for any purpose other than giving a justification to launch an open war
against Islam and Muslims. Islam, in no way, is responsible for such things. Islamic
greeting which carries all the meanings of peace and love will never command doing
such a thing. Almighty Allah says: “O people of the Scripture! Now hath Our
messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide
in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and a
plain Scripture. Whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths
of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth
them unto a straight path.” (Al-Ma’idah: 15-16) Islam always condemns the killing of
people and the terrorizing of them as Almighty Allah calls upon all of us to enter
peace. Allah says: “O ye who believe! Come, all of you, into submission (unto Him);
and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you. And if ye
slide back after the clear proofs have come unto you, then know that Allah is Mighty,
Wise.” (Al-Baqarah: 208)

Z: In fact, they are launching a war even in our satellite channels and therefore we
need to be united and know that both Muhammad and Jesus stepped on the same
path and were brothers. In order to follow the path of Jesus and Muhammad, we need
to follow their example and work together in unity.

X: True, such satellite channels try to export porn and indecency to our countries and
we should do our best to face such moral decay. We should depend on Allah and have
trust in Him.

Z: They try to dominate us under the name of human rights. However, we will be able
to face this so long as we have illuminated people like yourself and other priests who
can work with Muslim scholar to come up with a plan of strengthening the society.

X: Let’s call upon all academics and scholars, priests and clergymen, educationalists
and everyone to help us in this mission. They all should know and let others know
that a true Muslim is not different from a true Christian. The whole thing is that we
should search for the common grounds and work on them.

Z: I wish our priests would replace the Old Testament with the Qur'an so as to bring
the truth to so many people and make everything clear to them.

X: Faith grows where there is conviction and this can achieved by reading. You can
never force anyone to accept your creed. Almighty Allah says: “And if thy Lord willed,
all who are in the earth would have believed together. Wouldst thou (Muhammad)
compel men until they are believers?” (Yunus: 99) We should really offer something
for tomorrow where we do not know where we will be, dead or alive. Almighty Allah
says: “O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that
which it sendeth on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah! Lo! Allah
is informed of what ye do. And be not ye as those who forgot Allah, therefore He
caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil doers. Not equal are the owners
of the Fire and the owners of the Garden. The owners of the Garden, they are the
victorious.” (18-20)

Z: It was really a very nice, interesting and comprehensive dialog. Do you think
people need to listen to it?
X: Why not? We can publish it in a book and give it the title: “A Friendly Dialog about
Religion”

Z: I wish people will find guidance and illumination in it.

Afterwards, they had to sleep for some time before they leave the train at their
destination; Aswan.

Sources:

1. The Holy Qur'an: Printed in Year 612 and the original copies are found in 12 cities
all-over the world.

.Al-Fath Al-Kabir from the Hadiths of the Messenger of Allah by Nasir Ad-Din Al-
Albany (Al-Maktab Al-Islami, Beirut 1988)

3.The Holy Bible (The Book of the Protestant) printed in 1970

4. Te cassette tape having the dialog

[1]An-Nisa: 170

[2] Al-`Ankabut: 46

[3] Al-`Imran: 64

[4] Al-Ma’idah: 82-83

[5] Al-`Imran: 42

[6] Mary: 43

[7]Al-Baqarah: 136

[8] Luqman: 22

[9]Ar-Ra’d: 28

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