Interview with AlHaj
This is the first of what I hope to be a series of interviews on the topic of religious pluralism and the agreement and disagreement between world religious traditions. Today’s interview is with AlHaj ibn Ibrahim Asy-Sarawaki, who runs the Reminder to People of the Book blog. I have made some minor formating changes from our email interview. Using the compose feature of blogger makes consistency in formating almost entirely impossible.
RTJ: Thank you for agreeing to an interview.
AlHaj: PEACE BE UPON THOSE WHO FOLLOW GUIDANCE!
RTJ: What motivated you to start a blog that addresses the People of the Book?
You say Jesus is God, no! If you say Jesus is God then Al-Qur’an is also God because Al-Qur’an is also God’s word. What do you see of the Al-Qur’an – if not papers, ink, writing etc. Are those items God? No! And what do you see of Jesus, not man? Sure! Man is no different with papers, created. Did he not become from the womb of a woman and grew as any of us? Did he not undergo the path of creation? Why blinded yourself, because the light is too bright until you cannot see? Who raised him to the level of God, himself or you and why did you deliberate on his Godship if it is inequivocally stated by Jesus that he is God? You argued and you have to argue on his Godship in the Council of Nicea 325 AD. So you hesitated also? You did doubt it also. It took convention by convention to determine that he is God, not Jesus himself dertermined it. But then you decided to claim him God. And you deliberated ‘painstakingly’ to come to the point that God is Jesus based on Greek script not in his own Aramaic language, having no point of return (original Aramaic manuscripts) when there’s discrepancies aroused between Arius and Athanasian?
Let us be honest. Aramaic is not simply chosen as the language of revelation, you bear that in mind, it was a ‘language of revelation’ chosen by God’s word and that’s why Jesus spoke it and God did not choose Greek as His channel. Did God choose the language of revelation hanky-panky? You are a man of reason. Why God give us the gift of reason? Reason functioned to understand not to be the arbitrator. The arbitrator is the Scripture. Once the Scripture is not in the original, the translation are noly traces! What make man fall is dishonesty.
I read also Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’. I couldn’t help laughing reading his book. I am not enraged. I pity the man. Alas he is propagting Atheism in America, aggresively huh! Its you the front liner there to counter him. There’s also one big name, an old lady Karen Armstrong, also said to be an atheist but not the like of Dawkins, she defended religion. I think she is a theist without any orgainzed religion affiliation although she was ealier a Roman Catholic nun.
The Triune aside, you believe God is one. Why I believe Islam is true? Because God is one. And there’s nothing in Islam that goes against my human nature.
And the idea of ‘incarnation’? Whose culture is that, be honest, Greek (Hellenistic) or Semitic? Had any God’s Apostles from Adam till Muhammad spoke of incarnation? Jesus? Jesus or you? I know you can quote the Biblical verses as proofs but none is objective but all are subjective that can call for multiple/variant, even the dangerous ‘allegorical’ interpretations.
I have read the last revised Bible ( 2006) published by Pengunin Classis, ‘The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible (TNCPB)’ that charged that the earlier translators misrepresented some of the words in the Authorised King James Version. So the TNCPB come with and as the more precise one. Read the preface to the TNCPB. In ten years time maybe another scholar come again with another version who saw another misrepresentation. Who dare to do that if there’s an original Aramaic Bible as the original Arabic Al-Qur’an is? Do not be mistaken with the Arabic Al-Qur’an with its translation. Its translation is not Al-Qur’an at all. In the end you will have voluminous Bibles and those native Christians here have to alter also from time to time the Bibles in their native languages. And they will argue among themselves which native vocabulary is of proper usage or precise. For ages you will have that problems. You have argued about the Bible eversince the Bible was in Latin or Greek and you will never stop for God is not pleased with your tempering with His scriptures.
Quranicly speaking the Holy Qur’an says, chapter 32 (The Byzantines) verse 30, ‘And so, set thy face towards [one ever-true] faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled in man: [for,] not to allow any change to corrupt what God has thus created – this is the [purpose of the one] ever-true faith; but most people know it not.’ This makes me a Moslem. And the religion of all Prophets from Adam till Muhammad (Christ Jesus inclusive) is Islam (only officially known as Islam with the advent of Islam meaning submitting to the will of God as stated in the vesre alluded).
RTJ: What is the biggest misconception that Western Christian have about Islam?
AlHaj: My days in Roman Catholic Missionary School has made me understand the difference between Chritianity and Islam crytal clear. I can’t take man as God. It is scripturally and rationally impossible. Jesus has spoken to be aware of your fellows who speaks on his behalf whom he will deny. Do you think they are we Moslems? We don’t propagate Chrisitianity. Those will be you Christians preaching on his behalf speaking about him of which he never ever categorically approved.
RTJ: Do you believe there is salvation for non-Muslim monotheists?
AlHaj: If Islam is true which is true, Christians have no justification of remaining Christians but to embrace Islam. Prophet Muhammad says if Moses is living in my age of which I am the last Messenger he must also bear witness to me. Since Christians existed to the time of Muhammad so they must bear witness to Islam. If they refused their final everlasting abode is Hell. I don’t joke with you with that teaching of Islam. If Moses was the last Messenger and Muhammad came before him, Muhammad must also bear witness to him and we the community of Muhammad must follow the religion of Moses. If we refuse we are regarded as not accepting the commandment of God as a whole. That’s what happened to Satan when he refused to bow to Adam. Satan obeyed other aspect of God’s commandments but not the commandment to bow to Adam. Satan was egoistic, he thought he was better than Adam because he was made from flame and Adam from dust. He forgot the one who gave him the commandment was God and not Adam. If Adam commanded him he may ignored the commandment on the justification of qualification but when God commanded, God’s commandment is absolute. [Your question] is answered – no salvation, unless you want also to join the community of Satan.
RTJ: Is there anything eles you would like to add?
AlHaj: I quote the Qur’an, chapter 28 (The Story) verse 56: ‘Verily , thou canst not guide aright everyone whom thou lovest: but it is God who guides him that wills [to be guided], and He is fully aware of all who would let themselves to be guided.’
Finally, I quote the Qur’an again, chapter 29 (The Spider) verse 46: ‘And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner – unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing – and say: ‘We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: for our God (not Triune) and your God (not Triune) is one and the same (Unity), and it is unto Him that we [all] surrender ourselves.’
So, speaking from the perspective of Islam my Creator God is also your Creator God.
RTJ: Thank you for your time.
AlHaj: Thank you Ryan Jones.