Deedat begins the book by saying:
“MOST INFLUENTIAL MEN”
Recently, an American historical researcher and mathematician, Michael H. Hart, published a book: “THE 100, THE TOP HUNDRED OR THE GREATEST HUNDRED IN HISTORY.” In his book he gives the names of the 100 “Most Influential Men in History” and his reasons for their positions in his list. Amazingly, he (most probably a Christian) puts Muhummed (peace be upon him) FIRST in his hundred, and with good reasons too. And with equally good reasons he places Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), the man accepted as “Lord” and “Saviour” by nearly all his fellow Americans, number THREE.
REAL FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY
Though there are at the moment 200 million more nominal Christians in the world than the 1000 million Muslims, Mr. Hart divides the credit for founding Christianity between Paul and Jesus, and he gives the greater portion to Paul. Hence the 3rd position for Jesus. Every knowledgeable Christian concedes that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul and not Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
Jesus is considered a prophet in Islam but Paul is not. This is why Deedat places a “peace be upon him” after Jesus’ name but not after Paul’s. As a Muslim, Deedat cannot attack Jesus but he can attack Paul. He implies that Hart ranked Paul ahead of Jesus but, in fact, Paul was ranked sixth behind Muhammad, Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Confucius. It is blatantly false that every knowledgeable Christian concedes that Paul was the real founder of Christianity.
Deedat continues by saying:
REASON FOR DIFFERENCE
In any event, if there is any division between a Muslim and a Christian on the grounds of dogma, belief, ethics or morality, then the cause of such conflict could be traced to an utterance of Paul found in his books of Corinthians, Philippians, Galatians, Thessalonians, etc., in the Bible.
As against the teaching of the Master (Jesus) that salvation only comes through keeping of the commandments (Mathew 19:16-17), Paul nails the law and the commandments to the cross (Colossians 2:14) and claims that salvation can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
The divisions between Muslims and Christians cannot be blamed entirely on Paul. Even if we ignore Paul’s letters we are still left with many other Christian writings that cannot be reconciled with Islamic theology. Paul’s view of the Law is too large and complex a topic to cover here, but I will point out that he, like Jesus in Matthew 19:16-30, exhorts his followers not to murder (Romans 1:29; 13:9; 1 Timothy 1:9), not to commit adultery (Romans 2:22; 13:9), not to steal (Romans 2:21; 13:9; Ephesians 4:28; Titus 2:10), not to give false testimony (Colossians 3:9), to honor one’s parents (Ephesians 6:2), to love your neighbor as yourself (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14), and to give to the poor (Romans 15:26; Galatians 2:10). Regarding 1 Corinthians 15:14, if Paul was wrong then obviously his message was in vain. The same could be said about anyone preaching a false message.
Moving on, Deedat says:
THE KING-PIN OF CHRISTIANITY
According to St. Paul, there is nothing that Christianity can offer mankind, other than the blood and gore of Jesus. If Jesus did NOT die, and he was NOT resurrected from the dead, then there can be NO salvation in Christianity! “For all your good deeds”, says the Christian dogmatist, “are like filthy rags” – (Isaiah 64:6).
It is doubtful that Paul would have said there is nothing Christianity can offer mankind except for the “blood and gore” of Jesus. For example, as I cited above, Paul gives ethical teachings that offer something to mankind. It would be more accurate to say that Paul believed Jesus’ death and resurrection to be of paramount importance in salvation history. Deedat’s quotation of Isaiah 64:6 is out of context. Isaiah is speaking of his people’s sins and is not equating all good deeds with filthy rags.
The next section of Deedat’s book reads:
NO CRUCI-FICTION – NO CHRISTIANITY
“THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS IS THE CENTER OF ALL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. . . ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD, ABOUT CREATION, ABOUT SIN AND DEATH HAVE THEIR FOCAL POINT IN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST. ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT HISTORY, ABOUT THE CHURCH, ABOUT FAITH AND SANCTIFICATION, ABOUT THE FUTURE AND ABOUT HOPE STEM FROM THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST”, says Professor Jurgen Moltmann in his – “The Crucified God”.
In a nutshell. No Crucifixion – No Christianity! This is the experience of us Muslims, in this ocean of Christianity, which is South Africa. A thousand sects and denominations of Christianity are vying with one another to redeem the “heathen” (as they say) from hell-fire. However, in this battle no Christian priest, parson or predikant, or hot-gospeller, local or imported, will ever endeavor to teach the Muslim something about hygiene; for we Muslims can claim to be the most hygienic people (I am talking about personal hygiene). Nor do they endeavor to teach us about hospitality; for we are the most hospitable of people. Nor about ethics or morality; for we are the most moral people – (as a whole) i.e. we don’t drink, we don’t gamble, we don’t date, court or dance; we pray 5 times a day, we fast for one whole month during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan; and we take pleasure in being a charitable people. Despite any of our shortcomings, we venture to suggest that there is not another group of people that can “show a candle” to us in brotherhood, in piety or in sobriety.
BLOOD FOR SALVATION
“Yes! Yes!” says the Christian missionary, “but you do not have salvation.” Because salvation comes “only through the blood of the lord Jesus”. “All your good works are like filthy rags”, he says. “If only you Muslims would accept the redeeming blood of Jesus, and take Jesus as your ‘Personal Savior’, you Muslims, then would be like angels walking the earth.”
I grant that if there were no crucifixion then Christianity as we know it would not exist. But this is not the same as saying some religion built around the person of Jesus Christ would not exist. The validity of Ahmed Deedat’s boasts about Muslims are irrelevant to our concerns. We shall move on to the next section, which reads:
AN ANSWER SUPREME
What are we Muslims to say to this Christian claim? Nothing better than Allah’s shattering reply to the Jewish boast!.
And they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it was made to appear to them so, and those who differ therein are full of doubts [in a state of confusion], with no (certain) knowledge [in ignorance], but they follow only conjecture [guess work – fiction!], for of a surety they killed him not
(SURA NISAA) Holy Qur’an 4:157
Could anyone have been more EXPLICIT, more EMPHATIC, more DOGMATIC, more UN-COMPROMISING in rejecting the dogma of a faith than this? “IMPOSSIBLE!” is the answer. The only One Who could, would be the All-Knowing, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent Lord of the Universe – GOD ALMIGHTY Himself!
The Muslim believes this categorical Quranic statement to be from God. Hence he asks no questions and seeks for no proof.
Had the Christians accepted the Holy Quran as the Word of God, the problem of the crucifixion would never have arisen. They vehemently oppose the Quranic teaching and attack everything Islamic. In the words of Thomas Carlyle – “THEY (the Christians) HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO HATE THE MAN MOHAMED AND HIS RELIGION.
First, anyone can make an explicit, emphatic, dogmatic, and uncompromising rejection of a dogma. No matter how strong this rejection is it does not entail that the speaker is a deity. Second, the very fact that Ahmed Deedat wrote a book about the crucifixion suggests that there are Muslims who are asking quesions and seeking proof. Moreover, blind faith in the Quran is not something to boast about. It stands in stark contrast to the historian who seeks and finds evidence for the crucifixion of Jesus. Third, the problem of the crucifixion would not have disappeared had every Christian accepted Islam in the seventh century. It would still exist because all the historical evidence points in the direction of Jesus dying by crucifixion while the Koran has no credible evidence to support its claim. The opposition of non-Muslims (not just Christians) to Islam is due (in part) to the fact that Muhammad could not provide an accurate account of a public execution. It has nothing to do with hatred and everything to do with the evidence.