It won't be long after striking up a conversation with Muslims when you will be faced with their specific beliefs about many things. When you disagree with them, they will often simply repeat the same lie they just told you. Facts do not seem to matter because their beliefs to them are facts. The reason you don't see their facts as facts is due to blindness on your part. It does not matter how illogical their purported facts are either. That is what they belief (e.g. know to be true) and no amount of dissuasion on your part will keep them from believing it.
For instance, many Muslims believe that Mecca is actually mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), in spite of the fact that Mecca did not come into existence until roughly the fourth century AD. They believe this because of the name of a location called Baca. This, they believe is simply what the OT writer meant when referring to Mecca, but called it Baca. Muslims also believe Mecca is Paran.
This actually stems from the Qur'an itself and please remember, the Qur'an was written at least 600 years after Jesus.
"In Surah 3:96, Mecca is given the name Bakkah:Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-`Alamin (the mankind and jinns).
"The Bible, in Psalm 84:5,6, mentions the valley of Baca: Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs: the autumn rains also cover it with pools. (NIV)
"These two quotes, taken together, have been seen to imply that Psalm 84 is talking about making the pilgrimage to Mecca."
The question is, does this reasoning have any merit whatsoever? Sam Shamoun notes that this is actually a chronological fallacy. In other words, a few thousand years before Mecca came into existence, we are to believe that the Bible named the place that did not exist yet, but didn't name it Mecca. It named it Bakkah (Becca).
The reasoning for disproving the claim that Bakkah is Mecca is easily laid out as a foundation.
"The whole psalm [Psalm 84] focuses on God's sanctuary and how the writer loves to spend time there. The author is one of ‘the Sons of Korah’ and internal evidence points to it being written after the building of the temple in Jerusalem by Solomon. Because of the psalm's focus on the sanctuary, there are several phrases which describe features of it, enabling us to evaluate the claim that it is Mecca:
- v.1 - ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!’
- v.3 - ‘... a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty ...’
- v.4 - ‘Blessed are they who dwell in your house’
- v.7 - ‘They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.’
- v.10 - ‘I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God ...’
These five points count heavily against the claim outlined above. Firstly...I do not suppose that Muslims would accept the idea of Allah dwelling in the Ka'aba. I certainly am not aware of this way of thinking in Islam. On the other hand, the Bible repeatedly mentions the temple in Jerusalem as God's dwelling place, even though he is not limited to a building."
There are other reasons why Bakkah cannot be the Mecca of the Qur'an. I would encourage the reader to view those additional reasons at this website. At best, the only connection between Bakkah (Becca) and Mecca is a superficial one.
Such is also the case with the claim that Jesus spoke of Muslims in the gospels. Muslims believe that they are part of the true religion, the only way to Allah. They believe that the Bible has been corrupted mainly by Jews and therefore, it is not fully trustworthy...unless it agrees with their line of thinking. This is actually what all cults proclaim. This is why there is a Book of Mormon, the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witnesses), books on Scientology, etc. All cults, while they may claim to respect or revere the Bible, normally hold their own writings higher than the Bible.
The example of Luke 6:40 is often given where it is said that Jesus referred to His followers as Muslims. “According to the Muslim polemicists, the Greek word katertismenos which is translated as ‘fully trained’ was rendered into Hebrew as Mushlam which is equivalent to the Arabic word Muslim.”
Apologist Mike Licona responded to this false claim. “Islam is not the only religion to preach submission to God, and Muslims are not the only adherents of a religion to seek to make peace. Another example of such a religion is, quite obviously, Christianity! And even if Jesus had used the word, ‘Mushlam’ in His day, He used it 6 hundred years before the followers of the Qur'an even called themselves ‘Muslims.’
“But in Luke 6:40 Jesus did not use a proper noun meaning ‘those who submit.’ He used the [Greek] participle katertismenos, which means ‘being made ready, prepared, or trained.’ If Ali has to use a translation of a translation to ‘discover’ that Jesus spoke of Muslims 600 years before the word described followers of Islam, the self-identity of Jesus as a Muslim is probably not there to discover.
“Moreover, it waters down the meaning of the term ‘Muslim.’ Otherwise, since Christians are submitting to God, Muslims should not have any problem with them for rejecting their prophet Muhammad.”
As Sam Shamoun points out, Muslims wind up using something called chronological fallacy. They look back into the text of Scripture, see the word “Mushlam” and its similarity to the word “Muslim” and make the connection, whether it is a true connection or not.
Here is a tweet I received from a Muslim who assures me I am wrong.
— معهد ورش (@bnrushd) June 28, 2013
Of course, it is important to understand that the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, not Arabic, Aramaic, or Hebrew.
Because of this, the previously noted Greek participle – katertismenos – becomes extremely important.
"katardidzo (Strong’s # G2675)
1) to render, i.e. to fit, sound, complete; to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair; to complete
2) to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust; to fit or frame for one's self, prepare; ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be"
Please note that there is not even a hint of any reference to “submit” or “submission,” which “it would have to if the word is the Greek equivalent of or synonymous with the Arabic term Muslim.”
If Muslims are going to insist that the word “Mushlam” that refers to the word used in the original text of the New Testament actually means “Muslim,” then they certainly have an obligation to prove it. Simply stating it – based on the way it looks - is not proof at all.
This is what is to be expected when discussing Islam with Muslims. Like any of us, we have strong beliefs in certain things, but we should be able to provide some rational basis for those beliefs even in the area of our faith.
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