Yousef walked vigorously and actively toward his two friends carrying a book and a bag containing his laptop under his arm. Once he approached them, he promptly greeted them. He didn't even wait for their reply to open the conversation.
Yousef: Today I shall begin by responding to your request, Michael, and explain to you the most important features that are unique to Islam. It is indisputable that this is the belief in the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad (the highest degree of mercy and blessings of God be upon him). I've also brought a book to show you, written by a Westernized thinker, in which he mentions Muhammad. Listen to what he says…
Michael: (Abruptly interrupts Yousef) …Wait a second dear Yousef…I thought that the most important characteristic of Islam was its perception of God.
Yousef: That's true, on the whole, but I've overlooked that for some very important reasons, including:
That Islam, as the message conveyed by Prophet Muhammad, does not claim that this perception of divinity is a novelty that was started by him, but rather, it is the religion of all the prophets and messengers, from Adam to Christ, down to Muhammad (may the mercy and blessings of God be upon them all). Islam is the origin of the religion of all human beings, but humanity deviated from this religion and distorted it. Islam came to bring back the correct faith in God and call people to return to monotheism and to worship God alone, and not to ascribe any partners to Him. Belief in God and monotheism in Islam is a renewing episode in a series extending throughout history that began with the creation of man himself, and will not end until the world ceases to exist. It's a religion founded even before the Prophet of Islam was born.
The second thing is that I thought that what we had agreed upon in our previous meetings is enough to overlook this point.
Rajiv: Do you mean that Islam achieves the qualities of the true God that we talked about?
Yousef: Yes, that's right!
Rajiv: So, why don't you explain to us in short Islam's perception of divinity, before we move on to what you would like to present.
Yousef: Well...in Islam, the belief is that one God created man and all these worlds out of nothing, and that there is nothing like Him in these worlds. He is the One who originated and laid the laws of the universe which we call “the laws of nature”, and created everything in this existence with a due measure and according to certain laws. He is the Supreme, the Greatest, and the Most High.
There is nothing like Him, neither in His Self, Attributes nor in His Deeds. He is absolutely perfect and does not lack any thing in any aspect. He neither begets, nor is he begotten, and He has neither an equivalent nor a peer. He Alone gives life and causes death. He does not become incarnate in any of His creatures, nor do any of his creatures become incarnate in him.
He is the only Lord God and therefore He alone should be worshiped. No partner should be ascribed unto Him in His Kingdom and He has neither a peer, nor a vizier, nor a counselor who is worshiped with him. There is no mediator that can either bring us closer to Him or intercede with Him without His permission to do so. Worship is exclusively to Him alone, in all its different manifestations.
Michael: That book that you brought with you, what is it about
Yousef: It’s about timeless personalities in human history. The author is Dr. Michael Hart, a mathematician- astronomer who worked at NASA.
Michael: So what does he have to do with historical studies?
Yousef: He considered the study of history as a hobby. He noted that among the tens of thousands of millions of people, encyclopedias did not mention except twenty thousand persons. He set several bases for the selection of the greatest figures of timeless personalities from among these. The most important of these principles is that the personality had to be a real person, not mythical or unknown, he/she should have also made a deep impact, good or bad, which should be global and extend across the history of mankind. I feel that these form an excellent foundation for our topic.
Rajiv: So who is the greatest timeless personality in the eyes of this author then?!
Yousef: He put Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, at the top of the list of the hundred timeless personalities he had chosen. There were reasons for this choice, which he clarified...
Yousef opens the book and reads:
" My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.
Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's greatest religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive."
Then he says: "... Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Moslems in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus." And it may seem strange to you that Muhammad is number one on this list, while Jesus number three and Moses sixteen, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon them all.
“There are two principal reasons for that decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important and greater role in the development of Islam (and in reinforcing and establishing it) than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity, St. Paul was the main developer of the Christian theology, its principal proselytizer and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.
Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam ( the rules of Islam, the fundamentals of law and social behavior, and the moral foundation and transactions between people in their religious and secular life). Moreover, he is the author of the Moslem holy scriptures, the Koran, a collection of certain of Muhammad's insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah.. Since the Koran is at least as important to Moslems as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammed through the medium of the Koran has been enormous (it is in this book that Muslims find all they need in this world and the Hereafter). " Are you surprised by this?!
Rajiv: These are words that really deserve attention, but please allow me to say that this writer wasn't a specialist in humanities.
Yousef: Even if he wasn't, his words are persuasive and are based on objective grounds, and there is no suspicion that he may be biased to Muhammad, as Hart is a Jew. If you need testimonies from other sources, let me mention some of them to you...
Yousef then took out his laptop and started reading from some of his document files.
Yousef: See, sir:
The French poet Lamartine says: "Who would dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?! As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may ask, is there any greater man than he? Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman: to subvert superstitions which had been interposed between man and his Creator."
The greatest of German poets, Goethe said: "I've searched through history to find a top example of a human being and I concluded that he is the Arab Prophet Muhammad."
According to the world-renowned Russian writer and philosopher, Leo Tolstoy: “I am one of those who are very much impressed by the Prophet Muhammad who was chosen by God to receive His last revelation through his soul, heart and mind. He chose him to be the last prophet; hence, no other prophets would come after him."
The Irish writer and thinker, the most famous rejecter of the Nobel Prize in literature, George Bernard Shaw, said: "The world is in dire need of a man with the mind of Muhammad… after looking into the story of this man I found it to be an amazing and miraculous one, and I came to the conclusion that he was never an enemy of Christianity, and must be called instead the savior of humanity. In my opinion, if he was to be given control over the world today, he would solve our problems and secure the peace and happiness which the world is longing for."
Michael: All of what you've just mentioned is about the greatness of Muhammad, but what proves that Muhammad is really a messenger of God?
Yousef: Listen, my dear friend, to what the Swiss theologian, Dr. Hans Küng said: "Muhammad is a prophet in the true sense of the word. We can no longer deny that Muhammad is the guiding leader to the path of salvation."
There is also ample evidence to prove that Muhammad is definitely a messenger of God.
Michael: If you have them, then please present them to us, or at least some of them.
Yousef continues to browse through some of his files on his computer, and then says:
From the evidence that the Prophet (mercy and blessing of God be upon him) is a true prophet is that the heavenly books gave glad tidings of his coming. In the Torah, in Deuteronomy 18, paragraphs 18-19, the Lord says to Moses, " I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." It is common knowledge that the brothers of the children of Israel are the sons of Ishmael (the Arabs), and the similarities between Moses and Muhammad are more than any other apostle, and the words “and will put my words in his mouth” is a reference to the illiterate Prophet Muhammad.
In John16, paragraph 7-8: Jesus said to the disciples "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter (or the Spirit of Truth, PERIQLYTOS ) will not come to 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 judgment..." And the origin of the word “the Spirit of Truth” is the Greek word “PERIQLYTOS”, which linguistically refers to a high level of praise, that is the word “Ahmed or Al-Hamed” or “praiseworthy”, and this is the meaning of the name of Prophet Muhammad in Arabic.
Further evidence is that he used to tell us news of the unseen. In fact he used to give an accurate description of some matters of the unseen, and he used to inform us about future events. And there are the scientific miracles of his message, and the legislative perfection of that message...
Michael: Where? Where is all that? Show us examples of it.
Yousef: There are many in the Qur'an, the book which was revealed to Muhammad, and the great miracle for mankind.
Rajiv: So then it is important to learn about this Qur’an. Through it we will know the extent of the truth of your messenger, and know the foundations of this religion.
Yousef: That's right, and this is what I suggest that we postpone to the next meeting.
Michael: Before we leave, I would like to know: Where can I acquire this book that you have?
Yousef: This particular book has been with me for a long time now, but I saw a modern edition of it in a bookshop close to the hostel. We can pay it a visit before our next meeting.