…the “country of the datepalms.”
The Negus, the Christian ruler of Abyssinia, accepted Islam without ever having met Muhammad, and while the Muslims were still a small group, widely held in contempt and frequently fighting for their lives.
One wonders, if Christian scholars and Christians of prominent position accepted
Islam during a time when the Muslims were a persecuted minority lacking wealth,
strength, and political position with which to attract, much less protect, new Muslims,
what drew these Christians to Islam, if not sincere belief? History records that even
Heraclius, the Christian emperor of Rome, considered accepting Islam, only to renounce
his resolve when he saw that conversion would cost him the support of his people as well
as his empire.
One of the most striking early conversions was that of Abdallah ibn Salam, the
rabbi whom the Jews of Medina called “our master and the son of our master.”
Encyclopedia Judaica explains that when his coreligionists were invited to accept Islam
as well, “The Jews refused, and only his immediate family, notably his aunt Khalida,
embraced Islam. According to other versions, Abdallah’s conversion occurred because of
the strength of Muhammad’s answers to his questions.”
So the conversions started, and so they have continued to the present day. Converts to Islam typically consider their conversion to be consistent with, if not dictated by, their own scripture. In other words, they discover that Islam is the fulfillment of, rather than in conflict with, teachings of the Bible. This naturally raises the question: Are
Jews and Christians, in the face of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, defying God and His chain of revelation?This issue cuts at the very root of the theological debate.
Muslims believe that, as with those who denied Jesus Christ’s prophethood, those who
deny the same of Muhammad may continue to be accepted by their people and regarded
highly by their peers—but at the cost of disfavor with God. If true, this claim deserves to
be heard. If not, the error of this conviction demands exposure. In either case, there is no
substitute for an examination of the evidence.
Reading continues tomorrow, In shaa Allah. Subscribe to our free email alerts and newsletter or send your email address to [email protected]