A phone conversation with a muslim missionary

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by rodgertutt, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Gullytale

    Gullytale New Member

    May 23, 2010
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    I find it difficult believing in a God who would create the possibility of eternal damnation/suffering for any created being/soul. I do believe that we reap what we sow though, and that we will live out the consequences of our choices/actions/ommissions, for and against our selves and others, for however long that will take; and it may well be a hellish experience, seemingly 'eternal' experience.

    Even in this life we can experience real degrees of pain, hellish type pain, from choices we make. Reincarnation and karma would make far greater 'sense', as much as any of these things can seem sensible to us, and would seem at least a tad more 'just,' than a place of eternal torment and suffering. Or even annihilation. It just seems that if eternal hell is possible, then 'evil', the pull of evil is greater, at least in some instances, than the call/pull/power of God's goodness and love, mercy and compassion.

    I find that the majority of people who believe in eternal hell, tend to believe everyone else is hellbound, except them. I think that perhaps a faith based in fear is not real faith at all.

    Maybe it is possible to 'reject' God, and choose eternal separation from that God. But I don't see how it can be possible for mere mortals, in this life, to choose to reject something they cannot remotely begin to really 'know' - certainly not in this one short lifetime anyway. You cannot wholly reject something you don't, can not, have not wholly know/n, it seems.

    This was an answer from a Muslim on Yahoo which seems to give more perspectives on Qur'anic possibilities for universal salvation.

    "Why do some Muslims believe Hell is eternal when.....?

    ...Islam clearly teaches that it is not forever ?

    For example...

    Allah says (7:156) 'I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things.'

    If Allah's MERCY encompasses all things, despite His punishment, then shouldn't that mean that His Mercy will encompass those who are being punished in Hell? IF Hell is forever, then it would mean that Allah's Mercy does NOT encompass all things.

    Hazrat Omar (ra) states: "Even if the dwellers in hell may be numberless as the sand of the desert, surely a day would come when they will be taken out of it" (Tafsir Fath-ul-Byan, the Fathuo Bari, Durr-e- Mansur and Hadil Arwah of Ibn-i-Qayyum).


    "Verily a day would come over hell when there shall not be a single human being in it" (Kanzul Ummal Vol. VII, page 245; Fatah-ul-Bayan fi Maqasid-ul-Quran by Siddiq ibn Hasan).

    Also, Allah only uses the word "forever" (abada) in reference to Heaven but never ONCE in reference to Hell.

    • 2 years ago
    Additional Details

    Ranoush - Good verses. But what of the verse where Allah says HIs Mercy encompasses his punishment?

    And what of Hazrat Umar (rz) saying that Hell isn't eternal?
    2 years ago
    Ranoush - Also, check your translations

    5:37 - the word is "lasting" not forever

    2:167 - the word "forever" is not used again

    4:168-160 - the arabic word is "long time" - not "forever"

    72:23 - again, the arabic word is "long period" not forever

    My point exactly, a person may go to Hell for a very long time, but a long time and eternity are two different things. Allah never says "abada" about hell as He does many places for Heaven.
    2 years ago
    Brother Isa -

    Study the arabic please. The words that are being translated as "forever" are "Khaledeena Feehe" - This is used in reference to hell and means "a very long time"

    However, in reference to Heaven Allah says "Khaledeena Feehe Abada" - which means "they will remain forever"

    As I said before, Allah uses "Abada" in reference to Heaven, but never in reference to Hell. Abada = Forever.

    Also, even if we were to accept that Hell is forever, then it would mean that Allah's Mercy does NOT outlast His Punishment, which is un true. His Mercy does outlast His punishment per His own admission.

    Go check your translation Brother, it is incorrect. The word Abada does not appear and hence translating the verse as "forever" is a gross mistranslation.
    2 years ago
    Aside from the fact that your answer does not answer my question, you only further make clear that the point of you view that you hold that Allah cannot or will not forgive is against the teachings of Islam.

    Second of all, the Hadeeth and more importantly the Holy Qur'an make clear that Prophets can still come, as long as they are slaves of Muhammad (sa), and do not change the teachings of the Holy Qur'an.

    Third of all, do you have an answer to this question or no?
    2 years ago
    Ranoush - good research. But that still doesn't provide an explanation for the quote of Hazrat Umar (rz). Of course he knew Islam better than I or you or anyone alive today. Why would he say that hell would be empty one day? He doesn't make any specific reference to believers. He just says people in general.

    Also Allah still says (7:156) 'I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things.'

    Here Allah is specifically talking about how His punishment will come on who He wills, but even then, His mercy will still encompass it. How can His mercy encompass "all things" if He will send someone to hell for eternity? If that were the case, then it would mean His punishment encompasses His Mercy because His Mercy would not have been enough to eventually save the person from punishment.

    I will add one verse also which suggest hell could NOT be eternal :

    - Abiding therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, EXCEPT as your Lord please; surely your Lord is the mighty doer of what He intends. 11:107"


    Sometimes in life I have wished, and sincerely so, in my pain and anger, that a certain individual would 'burn in hell' for the things done. I could have sent him on a one way ticket there myself at times. But as the years passed, in time, I understood why he did what he did, why the child he had been, became the man who did what he did, and I was able to get past that and forgive. Mercy really is greater, because it's in mercy that we know real and lasting healing, and wholeness again. I realised in that in my anger, but 'for the grace of God' as it were, that I could have done things as 'bad,' and become no better than he had seemed to be. To have wished hell on this person was to wish hell for my self. Why we are told, 'judge not that you be not judged' - cause in judging others, we really do judge ourselves. I think the Qur'an says that when you kill one human being, you kill humanity. This speaks of a similar idea I think. If we can learn this lesson as human beings - how much greater is not God's mercy, compassion and understanding - having 'created' us, known/knowing us - being 'closer to you than your jugular vein'. i like to give an all merciful, compassionate and loving God the benefit of the doubt.

    I do believe mercy is greater than 'justice' because it is through mercy that we are truly healed, that all things are restored to wholeness, to what God intended.

    One thing for sure. We'll all find out one day. Or maybe there is a big nothing after this. If God exists, I'd think God would rather we wish the good for the sake of it, that it is its own reward; than for some reward later on. If life is a 'test' - that's the real 'test' - learning to be able to wish the good for the sake of it, even this life is all there is. To leave the world no worse for having been here for the short time we are here.

    As me granny always said, "What doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger." :)

    I read some of that Tentmaker site and find it very interesting.
  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2007
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    It is a formidable task to stand up against fundamentalism, and call fundamentalists on things they say that do not make sense. I commend you for taking on this thankless job.
  3. Gullytale

    Gullytale New Member

    May 23, 2010
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    I dunno what the answers to any of it are Nick. A little faith, a little hope and maybe one one day enough love to realise the truth of it all :)

    I do believe to wish hell on anyone is to wish it for yourself. We are so spiriturally connected at some level, as a race - brothers and sisters, family, I believe. I hinted at Christian and Islamic sources above, not that I am in any way scholarly at all. Just some reading over the years here and there. I am not very familiar with Jewish sources, yet. But I did read this prayer once, and it's one of the most beautiful I have ever read. What self less ness, Christ like ness (not to offend any Jewish person here). Just to suggest that these people are more 'Christian' in the real sense of the word than many professing Christians. They took up the cross, followed, and prayed the 'enemy' be forgiven at the end - just as Christ was said to have done. It's probably up somewhere else on the site, this prayer. These people understood it seems to me.

    Prayer for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

    Lord, remember not only the men of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us. Remember rather the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness.

    Source: Found on a scrap of paper at the liberation of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany.

    And some would have us believe such great souls are 'hellbound' cause they never said, or needed to say, "Praise Jesus, halleluiah !" Well in a far greater way, in a far realer way, they did. They did not 'preach' any message. They lived it. And all these years later their once silenced voices are still being heard.

    It's very true - by their fruits you shall know them. Whatever 'religion' anyone may profess to follow.

    I worked hospitals in the past, and worked quite a bit with the dying. It was a real challenge to 'faith'. Sent me through a phase of agnoticism, even atheism for a while. All that suffering and death. Ending up big slabs of meat fit only for the worms. So it seemed. But ironically working with the dying is what got me back to a faith that was even stronger than what I'd imagined faith to have been previously in my life. I'd been raised pretty orthodox, and did have a strong belief in God when I went to those hospitals to work. It was very hard to watch people in their last hours on this earth, and think/wonder that because they had not professed some religious faith/dogma - whatever, like my own, they were all somehow hellbound. It was insane - would have driven you insane. One 30 year old was dying once and he just asked me one night, "K..... do you believe in God ?" I was kinda thrown for a moment. He was dying and he knew it. But I did believe in God at that time and said so. By that stage I had had to soul search, deeply so, and gotten past the fear that all who did not believe as I had been raised to believe were somehow going to hell. I did believe what John said of God in one of the gospels, that God is Love. Such a profound thing - and we are said to be made in the image of that - to image love itself. I can see these days, that also being said in Islam, just in a different way, what I have read of it so far of the faith of Muslims, and from the little I know of Judaism too, and many other religions. I think religion is a thing of the heart, not the head. You can't understand it by 'logic'. God seems a great paradox for the most part. You have to 'feel' it, to live it - very often just one day at a time. I think. The young man was very fearful approaching his time to leave this world. We'd sit night after night, when I had time, which seemed to be often for some reason, and talk about many things. I was sent somewhere else then for a while. Six weeks later he died while I was at another place. I had not met his close family as it was always late at night and early morning, but received a letter from them thanking me. "Thank you. We don't know what you two talked about at night, but he died in great peace." If I helped him at the end, he certainly helped me getting out of the fundamentalist mentality that imprisons so many.

    Maybe in that instance, Rick, it wasn't so thankless afterall :)

    If I believe in God, then I believe that I should try to honour, defend God's good name, and not the 'god' so very often, especially by so many religious people - made in man's image. Maybe I am all wrong in my thinking and God is a tyrant. I am prepared to risk that however :)

    Such a 'god' would not be worthy of worship, praise or love.

    "If you can do/wish good, on earth, how much more so your 'Father' in Heaven." Something like that I think was said.

    People of true faith in so many religions share so much it seems to me. It's very sad that they are divided by the 'god' made in man's image.

    Anyway - take care there too :) God bless.

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