Notes from dialogues with Muslims
The following research notes are some of the ones I gathered while interviewing different Muslims. They serve as a confirmation of many of the things I've read in Islamic literature. I'll continue to add to this list.
My questions are in bold, and the responses from Muslims follow. Each paragraph is a response from a different Muslim. I cut the list down to a few representative answers.
Of course, I do not believe that the answers from Muslims here are authoritative and official doctrine of Islam. Rather, I consider them to be reflective only of what a few Muslims believe concerning the issues raised.
I would like to add that I told each Muslim I was doing research on Islam in preparation for writing about it on my website and let them know that I was typing up their responses. Each person knew I was a Christian apologist. Each Muslim was very polite and courteous.
- Is it true that Abraham sacrificed Ishmael--not Isaac?
- Yes, because Ishmael was the firstborn of God. Ishmael is the firstborn; Isaac was not born when this even happened. The location of this was in the Mecca. Mecca is a city . . . Ka'aba is the first house built to God . . . contains a meteorite in it.
- What is the Hadith?
- The sayings of Muhammad--not the direct word of God. It is the revelation of God to Muhammad--almost as good as the Koran but not quite. We are to follow it. They are inspired sayings by God. Everything Muhammad did and said was infallible and inspired . . . but the Koran is on a higher level . . . because the koran is the direct revelation from God.
- How can you have a lesser inspired word of God in the Hadith?
- I don't know how to explain it to you.
- How is sin removed in Islam?
- God accepts sincere repentance; and on the day of Judgment if our good deeds are more than our bad deeds, we may go to Paradise .
- If on the day of judgment our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds and if Allah so wills it, we can go to Paradise.
- If a person is forgiven through sincere repentance, then what does it matter if a person has good or bad deeds since he has no sin held to him?
- I'll have to think about that one.
- Have you done enough good deeds?
- A Muslim never knows . . . but they get to heaven because of the mercy of Allah.
- I don't know because it is dependent on the will of God. I do what I can according to the Quran.
- We don't know if we are going to go to heaven or hell. That is God's decision. Islam says in the Quran that he is very merciful . . . ask for forgiveness, and you will be forgiven.
- Everyone will be judged on the day of judgment. It is up to Allah whether the person receives mercy or not. God will hand you a book about every deed, good or bad . . . unbeliever's sin will be public . . . believer's sins are private.
- Is God's mercy based upon the balance of good works or bad?
- It is up to God . . . he knows all things, etc. We can't know what he will do or how merciful he is. We will be judged for our deeds.
- It can lead either way. Those who believe in the true god will receive more mercy.
- People are born in a state of fitra, a state of not having sin. We deny original sin.
- What are some other conditions necessary for forgiveness of sins?
- Believe in the true God (Allah). Be willing to submit to the true God (Allah). Sincerely repent of your sins. If anyone worships anyone other than Allah (Like Jesus being God), then that is an unforgivable sin.
- What is Heaven and hell in Islam?
- Heaven is the same as Paradise. People have eternal happiness there. You have whatever you want . . . before you think about it, you can have it.
- Heaven is a place of pleasure. There are women there. There is sexual activity between the men and women. You can have sex with more than one woman--not a system of marriage; but they will be husband and wife. A husband and wife here are still husband and wife there and will live in a house(s) in heaven. In each room is a woman with whom you can have sex but no pregnancy.
- Muslim men can marry Muslim women, Jewish women, and Christian women in this life . . .
- Angels question you about your belief in Muhammad when you die.
- Heaven was created for mankind 50,000 years before man was created. Mankind and jinn were created to worship--to speak according to what the creator said. Paradise . . . for those who worship God properly according to the revelation of God. It is a place of happiness.
- Hell is fire, torture, eternal . . . for those who worship any other god than the true God.
- There are trees in the hell fire . . . people eat from the tree and the contents will cut up their insides . . . people are forced to eat from it. Or, I think, because people will eventually become hungry and need to eat. You will hurt, feel pain . . . It is said they will be forced to drink molten copper and drink boiling water. People cannot get out of hell. Their skin is burned to the bone and then they grow another skin . . . horrible place . . . beyond our comprehension . . . Muhammad also saw hell. A tree in hell with very bitter fruit . . . it could make the whole ocean bitter with one leaf . . . eat boiling puss, boiling oil . . . rotten and disgusting . . .
- It is fire, hot. It is a physical aspect, and it is kind of both temporary and permanent. There are two opinions:
- Hell is permanent for disbelievers and temporary for sinful disbelievers
- Hell is temporary for all who enter it--meaning that eventually it will be empty (no one in it).
- Muhammad saw heaven and reported it. I don't know if Jesus saw heaven. It isn't recorded in the Qu'ran. Don't think the Bible is the word of God.
- Who is Jesus to you?
- Jesus is a prophet, a creation. God has no partner. Jesus raised people from the dead. He healed people, a very great prophet. Jesus had supernatural powers.
- Jesus did not die on the cross . . . God made Judas look like Jesus and then he was crucified in the one who died on the cross.
- If God made Judas look like Jesus, then didn't God deceive people and bear false witness by purposely allowing others to believe a lie?
- God didn't deceive people; he protected his prophet Jesus. He allowed the person who was betrayed to take the place . . . It is how you look at it. It isn't a deception . . . it is protecting Jesus. God took Jesus into heaven.
- Then what we have in the Bible about Jesus' resurrection is nothing more than a corrupted account?
- Correct. No one has ever risen from the dead.
- Did Jesus every marry?
- I don't think so . . . not sure.
- Can you tell me about Angels and Jinn?
- There are such things as angels, created by Allah, created from light. Angels are obedient slaves incapable of refusing to do Allahï's will.
- Jinn are not humans or angels. They are created from fire but are not angels. They nurse, have kids, but are unseen. They can be embodied in people. They have male and female, families, they have sex, produce offspring, they live in this world but you can't see them, have more powers than humans, different levels of jinn, the more powerful ones can influence humans, similar to humans in that they have communities and have a free will. They will be judged, also. They are unseen, have communities. There are good and bad Jinn. They can sin. A jinny or shatan (jinn who are followers of the devil, iblis)--not all jinn are shatans; there are some good jinn. Some Jinn can go into a pure black dog or pure black cat or a pure black snake and take its form. Muslims are warned to beware of pure black dogs and pure black cats and pure black snakes. I've heard that they can put a spell on you . . . Muslims believe that anyplace where there is any dog inside the house, the angels will leave the house . . . because it is an unclean animal. Angels will leave if there are any unclean animals . . . they will not go with you into a restroom because it is unclean . . . it is their nature . . . a matter of cleanness.
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