Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lewis on Desire and Reward

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to eagerly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion . . . is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Friday, May 29, 2009

Raising Support: "All things come of thee O Lord..."

"All things come of thee O Lord, and of thine own we have given thee."

I have never, and God willing will never, use this blog to raise support for our mission here in the Middle East. That is not why I started it and TBTG we are well and have food and shelter and all that we need.

BUT, if you want to support a family raising support for going on mission to Dar al Islam then I have a few options for you and your church! Concerned about N Africa? Let me know. Wanting to support some folks who desire to work in Europe in a heavily-Islamized area? Let me know. These two families have been out on the road raising support for a while, they are both ALMOST there, but not quite. Your pledge of $50/month or $100/month would go a long way.

Do I sound bold? I do. But have I not earned the right to be bold? And I do not exercise this authority on my own behalf, but on behalf of my brothers who have heard the call to be a Christian witness in the Muslim world.

Look, it's simple: if you don't send, they can't go. If they don't go, they can't preach. And if they there is no preaching, then how will they hear? Sound familiar? I thought so, but it was valid in Paul's day and it is in ours.

Salamu Aleykum!
سلام عليكم

ابو داود

winterlightning [a+] safe-mail [d0t] net

Bill Musk on Abrogation/Naskh in the Qur'an

So I kind of like this book. However, it has some pretty drastic problems to be honest that make me hesitant to recommend it. Multiple grammatical errors in the Arabic (ie, Muttalib, which is not even a word in Arabic, presumably he means Mutallib, that is 'demander') and in his basic history facts. For example, he says Constantine made Christianity that official religion of the Roman Empire. That is hogwash. He did not such thing. He did make Christianity legal with the edict of Milan (313) and call (and fund) the Council of Nicea (325) because the doctirnal disputes going on throughtout the empire were affecting civil order. But it was not until several decades later during the reign of Theodosius that Christianity became THE religion of the Roman Empire when the pagan rites were forbidden.

Musk, of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt et al, is trying a little too hard to be like Kenneth Cragg. And there is no one alive today as brilliant as Cragg in terms of getting the Muslim world (except for Cragg, who is very old and living in Oxford from what I hear), and except for perhaps Bernard Lewis. That having been said, there are some decent quotes here and there:

The Islamists (the "fundamentalists")make detailed appeal to verses (about killing non-believers for example) that are said to abrogate other verses (about respecting non-Muslims). Why does an eternally existing word need recourse to a doctrine of abrogation? Could it not make up its eternal mind?

Musk, Bill. 2005. Kissing Cousins? Christians and Muslims Face to Face. Monarch. p 104.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crazy Summer, Prayer

Hi All,

This will be the most busy and intense summer I've ever had, including visits to Greece, Scotland, and two states in the US. I am not entirely looking forward to it, but that's just how stuff happens when you're in the field AND you have a family AND you don't have to travel by steamboat, like back in the days. Then you could literally tell people, sorry, we can't go to the US because the trip takes like six months.

Anyway, please do pray for us:
-A fruitful summer, I have a lot of teaching lined up
-Visas to get fixed up--there is hopeful movement on this topic, so your prayers have been working so far.
-PhD work, it's scooting along, but is is scooting the right way?
-Recovery, the leg is still not 100%, pray for continued recovery back to how it was before. The Dr. said this is possible.


Abu Daoud

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Greek Culture and Arab Culture

It is en vogue nowadays to act as if Arab or Islamic cultures had made some kind of huge contribution to science. I think that from an objective point of view we have to say that any such contribution was fairly modest, and tends to be grossly exaggerated by folks who want to give our Muslim friends better self-esteem, or something like that.

A quote from Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, from Saudi Arabia:

Those individuals in whom we sometimes take pride, such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Al-Haytham, Al-Razi, Al-Qindi, Al-Khawarizmi, and Al-Farabi were all pupils of Greek thought. As for our civilization, it is a religious one, concerned with religious law, totally absorbed in the details of what Muslims should do and shouldn't do in his relations with Allah and in his relations with others. This is a huge task worthy of admiration, because religion is the pivot of life. We must however recognize that our achievements are all confined to this great area. Let us not claim then that the West has borrowed from us its secular lights. Our culture has been and continues to be absorbed with questions of the forbidden and the permitted and belief and disbelief, because it is a religious civilization…

Other posts on the topic are here, here, and here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dar al-Masih: A Blog Created to Help Catholics Evangelize Muslims

Wow, what is the world coming to these days? A blog created to help CATHOLICS evangelize Muslims?! And just after I slapped the RC church for not doing anything to evangelize the 20% of the world population that is dar al islam?

The name of the blog is dar al masih, which is arabic for 'the abode of Messiah' (rather obvious that, no?)

It is a new project, and one I wish the best of luck and fortune and fruitfulness. If just 1% of 1% of Catholics around the world were trained and equipped for witness to Muslims that would be 10,000 new mssionaries/evangelists.

Dar al Masih

Ibn Warraq on Islam and Reason

As Ibn Warraq sums up in his modern classic Why I Am Not a Muslim:

...orthodox Islam emerged victorious from the encounter with Greek philosophy. Islam rejected the idea that one could attain truth with unaided human reason and settled for the unreflective comforts of the putatively superior truth of divine revelation. Wherever one decides to place the date of this victory of orthodox Islam (perhaps in the ninth century with the conversion of al-Ashari, or in the eleventh century with the works of al-Ghazali), it has been, I believe, an unmitigated disaster for all Muslims, indeed all mankind.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

History and the Beginning of Protestant Missions

The Protestants were famously willing to sit around on their duffs for centuries while the Jesuits and Franciscans (among others) were busy making converts to the ends of the earth. "That you God that I am elect and not like those filthy Catholics!" Well, that is perhaps a little strong, but perhaps not. That all started to change in the late 18th C. with on William Carey:

Around 1780, an indigent Baptist cobbler named William Carey began reading about James Cook's Polynesian journeys. His interest grew to a furious sort of "backwards homesickness", inspiring him to obtain Baptist orders, and eventually write his famous 1792 pamphlet, "An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of Heathen." Far from a dry book of theology, Carey's work used the best available geographic and ethnographic data to map and count the number of people who had never heard the Gospel. It formed a movement that has grown with increasing speed from his day to ours. (From Wikipedia, where else?)

And now, in a curious reversal, the Catholics and the old churches of the European reformations are pretty much sitting on their hands now while those creative if sometimes-reckless cousins of Protestantism--evangelicalism and Pentecostalism--have placed themselves at the forefront of the church's missio ad gentes.

Yep, that's how church history is. Crazy stuff.

--Abu Daoud

Friday, May 22, 2009

Islam and "a shameless display of hypocrisy"

From Shoaib Nasir, an ex-Muslim:

...under Islamic law one could not preach any other religion in the country [Pakistan]. However when Muhammadans went to other countries, they wanted (and still do with even more fervor) the freedom to practicew, preach, and convert others. I can say with the utmost confidence that I have never seen such a shameless of hypocrisy in any other ideology.

(In Ibn Warraq ed, 2004, p 251.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rotterdam, the Capital of Eurabia

One year ago, the city was buzzing when the newspapers published a letter by Bouchra Ismaili, a Rotterdam city councilman: "Listen up, crazy freaks, we're here to stay. You're the foreigners here, with Allah on my side I'm not afraid of anything. Take my advice: convert to Islam, and you will find peace." Just a walk through the streets of the city, and you know right away that in many neighborhoods you are no longer in Holland. It is right out of the Middle East. In some schools, there is a "room of silence" where Muslim students, who are in the majority, can pray five times a day, with a poster of Mecca, the Qur'an, and a ritual washing before the prayers. Another Muslim city councilman, Brahim Bourzik, wants signs placed in various parts of the city showing the direction to Mecca.

From HERE. HT To Fr Anthony for the suggestion.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Benedict XVI to the Christians of the Holy Land: Stay!

In the State of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Christians form a minority of the population. Perhaps at times you feel that your voice counts for little. Many of your fellow Christians have emigrated, in the hope of finding greater security and better prospects elsewhere. Your situation calls to mind that of the young virgin Mary, who led a hidden life in Nazareth, with little by way of worldly wealth or influence. Yet to quote Mary’s words in her great hymn of praise, the Magnificat, God has looked upon his servant in her lowliness, he has filled the hungry with good things. Draw strength from Mary’s canticle, which very soon we will be singing in union with the whole Church throughout the world! Have the confidence to be faithful to Christ and to remain here in the land that he sanctified with his own presence!

From Vespers at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Pope in Nazareth

I saw it on TV, and as I was watching I thought: how many tens of thousands of Muslims are hearing the Bible being read for the first time ever in their lives?

Please pray for them, and the bishop of Rome, that illustrious city.

Abu Daoud

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Musallam: Qutb's emergence and Egypt losing to Israel in 48

“Qutb’s emergence in 1949 as a champion of the Islamic way and his total alienation from the status quo should be seen within the context of the general public outrage at the Egyptian and Arab performance in the disastrous Palestine War.” p 62

Musallam, Adnan A. ‘Sayyid Qutb and Social Justice, 1945-1948’ in Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol 4:1, 1993, pp 52-70.

1967, the Demise of Arab Nationalism, the Islamic Reforms

“In 1967 Egypt was for the third time defeated in war against Israel, and again lost the Sinai Peninsula. This defeat became a symbol of the bankruptcy of secular Arab nationalism, and signaled a profound ideological shift in favor of an alternative project—Islamism.”

P. 98, Peter R. Demant and Asgharali Engineer.
Islam vs. Islamism: The Dilemma of the Muslim World. Greenwood Publishing Group 2006.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why use the Koran in witnessing to Muslims?

From a Camel Training Guide, no author, no date, no publisher, p 40:

1) We must start where they are.
2) We cannot be blamed for making converts when I use their holy book to confront them with who Jesus is.
3) Using the Koran enables a Muslim Background believer to relate to his family and friends and minimize persecution.
4) We can use the Koran to lift Jesus out of prophet status and closer to Savior status in the mind of a Muslim.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hadith on Muhammad as Savior

Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Number 5655:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I shall be pre-eminent amongst the descendants of Adam on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted (by Allah).

It is Hallal to carry a child during salaat

Muslim Sahih, Book 8, Number 1107:

Abu Qatadi reported: I saw the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) saying the prayer while he was carrying Umama, daughter of Zainab, daughter of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). and Abu'l-'As b. al-Rabi'. When he stood up, he took her up and when he prostrated he put her down,Yahya said: Malik replied in the affirmative.

Hadith on Muhammad on Christians and Jews

Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Number 1082:

'A'isha and Abdullah reported: As the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was about to breathe his last, he drew his sheet upon his face and when he felt uneasy, he uncovered his face and said in that very state: Let there be curse upon the Jews and the Christians that they have taken the graves of their apostles as places of worship. He in fact warned (his men) against what they (the Jews and the Christians) did.

Comments from an ex-Muslim on Circular Reason

Am now reading Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out, ed. by Ibn Warraq. It is quite an interesting read to be honest, as Ibn Warraq and many of the folks in this book did not leave Islam for Christianity (something I have studied a great deal), but for atheism or secularism or perhaps deism. A very different sort of texture to their stories.

Here are some comments from one ex-Muslim on his experience with speaking to Muslims about God and doubt:

When you debate with a Muslim and he does not know what to say, he always says, "God is the author of the Koran because that's what it says in the Koran." It is absurd to prove something by itself. Sometimes when I hear these responses I feel like giving up on exposing the truth about Islam and religion...

p. 118

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Islamic Demographics and Europe

Here are some recent figures on the demographics of the ten most populaous countries in Europe, and the ten most populous Muslim countries in the world (ie, >60% Muslim). Turkey is in both groups of course.

Ten Most Populous Countries in Europe:
Country Name // Birth Rate // Fertility Rate
1. Russia // 10.7 // 1.41
2. Germany // 8.2 // 1.41
3. Turkey // 18.4 // 2.21
4. France // 12.2 //1.98
5. UK // 12.0 // 1.66
6. Spain // 10.8 // 1.31
7. Poland // 9.5 // 1.28
8. Romania // 9.8 // 1.39
9. Netherlands // 11.1 // 1.66
10. Greece // 9.3 // 1.37
(Red indicates a TFR below replacement level--all countries but Turkey are below replacement level.)

Ten Most Populous Muslim Countries (over 60% Muslim)
1. Indonesia // 18.7 // 2.31
2. Pakistan // 27.2 // 3.6
3. Bangladesh // 24.8 // 2.74
4. Egypt // 24.2 // 2.66
5. Turkey // 18.4 // 2.21
6. Iran // 20.3 // 1.71
7. Sudan // 31.5 // 4.48
8. Algeria // 20.8 // 1.79
9. Morocco // 20.5 // 2.51
10. Afghanistan // 48.2 // 6.53

The first column is births per 1000 people, and the second is the avg number of children a woman will give birth to during her life.

Ray Register on the Islamic idea that Jesus was not crucified

Many Muslims hold to the idea that Jesus was not actually crucified, but really someone else was crucified in his place. Who that was is a matter of wide conjecture, some saying that one of his disciples volunteered to die so his master could escape, others that Judas Iscariot or one of the Roman soldiers was crucified, and thus it was a form of punishment. Anyway, here is an interesting quote on the topic:

Or could it have been because Muhammad, in his most severe time of testing in Mecca, chose to flee for his life? In reality, the Hijrah was the very opposite of the cross. A religion based on the escape or Hijrah could not allow the cross to keep its meaning.

Ray G. Register, Jr. Dialogue and Interfaith Witness with Muslims. 1979, 1994. Multi-Language Media. p 44.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Paul-Gordon Chandler on 'radical discontinuity'

Throughout history, Christ followers within the Arab Islamic world have typically been encouarged by Christians, both Arab and Western, toward radical discontinuity with their Muslim culture and society. This has resulted in their experiencing a deep sense of rupture from their environment, which more often than not causes a severe crisis of identity...

Paul-Gordon Chandler, 2007, Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, p 101.

Abu Daoud says: this book is mostly rubbish, but read the final chapter, an interview with Mazhar Mallouhi. Chandler can't figure out what kind of book he's writing and it really shows. Is this biography? missiology? pop-religion? hagiography? He just can't make up his mind. It's certainly not a serious peice of scholarship...

Women visiting KSA (Saudi Arabia)

Women considering relocating to Saudi Arabia should be keenly aware that women and children residing in Saudi Arabia as members of a Saudi household (including adult women married to Saudi men, adult women who are the unmarried daughters of Saudi fathers, and boys under the age of 21 who are the sons of Saudi fathers) are considered household property and require the permission of the Saudi male head of their household to leave the country.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bernard Lewis on the genesis of Zionism

In 1882 some young Jews, most of them students, met in Kharkov and formed an organization called Lovers of Zion. Their aim was emigration--not to the broad lands of the West, but to a remote and largely derelict Ottoman province known in Christendom but not to its inhabitants as Palestine.

Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans, p 230, 2004.

Bernard Lewis: Of Crusades and Jihad

The jihad was a sacred mission enjoined by scripture and incorporated into the holy law, to continue until all the world was open to the light of Islam. The crusade was a human enterprise, not enjoined--some might rather say forbidden--by Christian scripture, and undertaken for a limited purpose, to defend, or, where lost, to recover Christian territories.

Bernard Lewis, 'Europe and Islam' in From Babel to Dragomans, 2004.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The difficulties of being a Muslim convert to Christ

Just had dinner tonight with a friend, a believer from Muslim background. He is getting up there in age and he desires to be married--a wonderful thing.

But especially hard for someone like him. If he marries a normal Muslima then the Christians will despise him. But if he wants to marry a Christian girl then the Christians will probably not allow him to. If he wants to marry a believer from an Islamic background (which is what he would like to do) the he has to find a needle in the haystack.

Pray for this wonderful and faithful brother please.

Abu Daoud

Mazhar Mallouhi on Muhammad

I compare him with Solomon [...] who ended his life doing the opposite of what he initially preached and demonstrated. The problem with Islam is that it stopped where Muhammad began.

--Mazhar Mallouhi

p. 182 of Chandler, Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, 2007.

Mazhar Mallouhi on the "Buddy" Christology

I liked this quote from a "Muslim Christian":

Also, I find that Western Christians often talk about Christ irreverently, as if he is their "buddy."