The Antichrist in Muhammad: Original Sin, Part 2
for he is oft-returning, most merciful." (Qur'an 7:23, 2:37; see also 20:122)
There is no mention of the "protoevangelium" of Genesis 3:15 in the Qur'an narrative dealing with Adam and Eve. There is no promise of Mary or of Jesus or of any Redeemer. There is no "It (or he, or she) will crush your head and you will strike its heel." In the Qur'an, Allah does not promise a Redeemer. He forgives Adam and Eve by fiat, painlessly, without ever sullying his divine transcendence, by mere decree.
While the Qur'anic narrative is similar to the narrative in Genesis, there is this significant theological difference. Islam understands that the sin of Adam and his wife were personal to them alone. Islam maintains that mankind is unaffected by the sin of Adam and his wife. Accordingly, humans are born innocent, pure, and sufficiently free so that sin can be easily avoided by their own efforts.
In Islam, theologically, Adam's fall means nothing.
Since man is not affected by Adam's sin, all men and women are born in a state of fitra. As the authoritative ahadith put it: "Every new-born child is born in a state of fitra." Sahih Muslim 33.6426 and Sahih al-Bukhari 6.60.298.
Fitra is a central concept in Islam, as essential as the concepts of original justice and original sin in Christianity. It is sometimes touted by Muslims as the doctrine of "original goodness" or "original righteousness."
One must remember, however, that this "original goodness" or "original righteousness" is the goodness of the man of the basement, and nothing more. In this sense, it is not substantially different from the Catholic notion that man, though fallen, is not totally depraved. In fact, the Qur'an recognizes that there is weakness (da'if) in human nature.
But the entire Catholic structure is that grace builds upon nature, and that nature alone cannot save mankind. There is no similar concept in Islam.
Fitra may be defined as the innate natural disposition which exists at birth in all human beings, the natural constitution of man. In Islam, fitra is entirely unaffected by the sin of Adam. In the view of Islam, therefore, human nature therefore stands in no need of redemption or cure--it requires no restoration to a state of health (salus in Latin) or salvation. It has no need for a supernatural component, such as sanctifying grace, to complete it or to perfect it.
Fitra includes the notion that all men are naturally born Muslim, an intellectually indigestible and highly implausible doctrine. It seems that we are all Muslims now, and that it is only the misguidance of parents or one's social setting that spoil the nature of the child and make him a Jew, a Christian, or Zoroastrian, or polytheist, or whatever. In other words, according to the Muslim concept of fitra, man is not predisposed to sin (as a result of original sin), but rather man is disposed to Islam (as a result of original righteousness).
Man's obligations to Allah are therefore more a result of forgetfulness or heedlessness (al-ghafla), than the result of a fundamental absence of supernatural life and a natural life that requires repair. Man needs only to be reminded of this negligence, and that is why the Qur'an as the divine revelation is called the reminder (zikr).
It is for this reason that Islam is often touted by Muslims as the din al-fitrah, the religion of human nature. Muslim commentators frequently say "fitra is Islam." The Muslim is taught to believe that Islam, including some of its more bizarre manifestations, is in perfect accord with human nature. "'Set your face to the religion of Islam (din) in sincerity which is Allah's fitra upon which He created mankind. There is no changing the creation of Allah. That is the right religion (din) but most people know not." Qur'an 30:30
The notion of fitra involves the worship of one God (tawhid), but it is also strangely mundane.
Included in the notion of fitra are the "five acts" or "ten acts" of fitra (the ahadith are inconsistent) which include: circumcision, shaving the pubes (istihdad), cutting the nails, plucking the hair under the armpits, letting the beard grow, clipping the mustache, using the tooth-stick (siwak), cutting the nails, washing the finger joints, cleansing one's private parts with water (after defecating or urinating), and possibly rinsing the mouth. See, e.g., Sahih Muslim 2.11.495 and Sahih Muslim 2.11.502.
It is difficult, nay, impossible, to believe the Muslim theological proposition that, if left to ourselves, we would naturally gravitate to worshiping a God with dubious credentials named Allah by hitting our heads on the ground multiple times a day to the point of getting calluses or prayer bumps (zabiba), engaging in constant ritual washing (wudu), and developing the burning penchant to shave our heads, wear white clothing, and go to Mecca to circumambulate the Ka'ba at least once in our lives.
No, pace Muhammad, I am quite certain that that sort of stuff does not come from fitra, but rather you have to put that into a man by indoctrination.
Apparently also, somewhere deep down within us (I must have forgotten about it or been neglectful of it and I need someone to remind me of it), there is the primordial yearning to shave our pubic hair, pluck our armpit hair, and wash our finger joints, and possibly rinse our mouths (though presumably with water, and never with beer or wine or a nice Kentucky bourbon).
Maybe it is just my shirk is showing, but I simply cannot get myself to believe that God sent Muhammad to remind me to shave my pubic hair and pluck my armpits, and not to tell me anything about sanctifying grace.
The upshot of Muhammad's erroneous concept of human nature, of original sin, and of his ignorance of supernatural sanctifying grace is that all the Muslim ablutions, his ritual washings (wudu) tied to his bismillahs and shahadas--as impressive as they are from a natural perspective--are, from a supernatural perspective, worth nothing.
They are worth nothing compared to three drops of water tied to the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen." That is the foundation of the spiritual and supernatural life.
The difference between wudu and baptism is the difference between life in a basement, and life in a three-storied mansion. It is, quite possibly (caveat! only God judges the soul of the individual Muslim who may be in a state of invincible ignorance) the difference between hell and heaven. It is the difference between nature and supernatural grace. It is the difference between Muhammad and Jesus. It is the difference between antichrist and Christ.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Muhammad, antichrist, redemption, salvation, Jesus, original sin, original justice, sanctifying grace, Andrew M. Greenwell
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