From Abdul Saleeb <>
Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam
Subject: Re: Geisler-Saleeb Anti-Islam Book Part 1 (3/3)
Date: Sun Sep 15 01:38:54 EDT 1996
Message-Id: <51g4pe$>

We continue our discussion about "knowing God"...

>He writes that in Islam God is not essentially just or loving. Odd.
>Two of God's names in the Qur'an are "The Just" (Al-Adl) and "The
>Loving" (Al-Wudud). Geisler's ignorance? Or his dishonesty? 

Or a third possibility of Jeremiah being clueless about what Geisler is
getting at by saying ESSENTIALLY! (More on this under the last parag.)

>He continues to judge God by a human set of standards: "...he does
>not do things because they are right; rather, they are right because
>he does them. In short, God is arbitrary about what is right and
>wrong." (Why doesn't Geisler capitalize personal pronouns for God?
>Real strange for an Evangelical.) Y'see, it is *Geisler* who is
>deciding the definition for "right", not God. How he gets to the idea
>that a Muslim conception of God is that God is arbitrary in morality
>(man! what a blasphemous statement) is beyond me. 

(First the very insignificant point. Pronouns for God are not capitalized
in Arabic, Hebrew, or Greek, so why such a fuss for English, Jeremiah?)

>From your last statement in the above paragraph, it seems to me that 
much of what Geisler has been saying has gone beyond you (I am sorry, 
what did you do your Ph.D. in?).  The issue that you are referring to 
in your paragraph is what is called Voluntarism.  It is getting late 
and I don't want to get into deep philosophical discussions (by the way, 
this is not just an issue between Christian and Muslim views, but in 
the history of Christianity, we encountered this debate at the time of 
Ockham and his nominalism).  Briefly stated, the problem is as Geisler 
says in his first line in the above paragraph. For those readers who 
don't know what on earth we are talking about here, let me put it in 
a simpler form.  If something is right because God says so, then would 
it be right if in a different world God said we could commit adultery 
and murder? (the use of "possible universes" is a common philosophical 
tool for discssuing problems) The way one would answer this (whether 
Christian or Muslim) determines whether one is a voluntarist or not.  
Think about it!

>Geisler.... writes: "...the Islamic view
>of God involves a form of agnosticism... the heart of Islam is not to
>*know* God but to obey him. It is not to *meditate* on his essence,
>but to *submit* to his will." Quoting someone named Phander he
>continues: "...they find themselves absolutely unable to know God...
>Thus Islam leads to Agnosticism." Do we find ourselves "absolutely
>unable to know God"? First I heard of it. But even then, note how he
>has twisted the meaning of agnosticism. Agnosticism is the state of
>not knowing whether or not God exists. At the very least, Muslims
>know that God exists because of the miracle of the Qur'an. See the
>(rather crass) manipulation? And of course, from the Qur'an, our
>agnosticism evaporates in view of God's signs in creation, in history
>and in ourselves which we are directed to meditate upon.

There is no crass manipulation here Jeremiah!!! (You sound like a very
suspicious and paranoid person to me). I thought you had a lot more
sophistication than this!  As you mention it yourself, Geisler is 
talking about the fact that "the Islamic view of God involves a FORM 
of agnosticism..." but you go ahead and talk about agnosticism as the 
"state of not knowing whether or not God exists."  For those readers 
(by the way, does anyone know how many people are reading this debate 
between the two of us?) who have been paying attention, this is a form 
of equivocation on the term agnosticism.  (Don't you yourself insist 
that for example, the term "reason" can be used in different senses.  
The same thing can apply to agnosticism or almost any other term for 
that matter).

Now let us get to the heart of this whole issue.  Jeremiah, constantly
charges us that we make no reference to Muslim sources or authors in 
this discussion.  Now allow me to make my reference to a Muslim authority
(admittedly not in the book, since I did not find the reference in time 
for the publication, but our chapter is still very much a faithful 
reflection and critique of the same attitude).  For those of you who are 
in various MSA's around the country, you should be familiar with the 
late al-Faruqi (I believe the founder of MSA in North America and also 
an Islamic prof. at Columbia University).  PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE 

  He [God] does not reveal Himself to anyone in any way.  God reveals 
  only His will.  Remember one of the prophets asked God to reveal 
  Himself and God told him, "No, it is not possible for Me to reveal 
  Myself to anyone." ... This is God's will and that is all we have, 
  and we have it in perfection in the Qur'an.  But Islam does not 
  equate the Qur'an with the nature or essence of God.  It is the 
  Word of God, the Commandment of God, the Will of God.  But God does 
  not reveal Himself to anyone.  Christians talk about the revelation
  of God Himself -- by God of God -- but that is the great difference 
  between Christianity and Islam.  God is transcendent, and once you 
  talk about self-revelation you have hierophancy and immanence, and 
  then the transcendence of God is compromised.  You may not have 
  complete transcendence and self-revelation at the same time. 
  [Kenneth Cragg, "Christian Mission and Islamic Da'wah: Proceedings 
  of the Chambesy Dialogue Consultation" (Leicester: The Islamic 
  Foundation, 1982), pp. 45-46].

If you really grasp what al-Faruqi is saying that God does not reveal
Himself to anyone in any way, then you know what we are saying when we 
talk about the Islamic view involving a form of agnosticism.  Thus if 
there is no self-revelation, we cannot predicate any thing of God 
Himself, such as the biblical verse that says "God IS Love" and we are 
left only with certain ways that God has decided to act in accordance 
to His "Will".  But this Will does not tell us anything ultimately about 
What God is Like in Himself, since according to al-Faruqi Islam does not 
allow for the self-revelation of God.  It is interesting that Jeremiah 
had earlier used the phrase "the self-revelation of God" and yet this 
orthodox Muslim theologian tells me that Islam does not allow for that 
and that is in fact "the great difference between Christianity and 
Islam"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (Jeremiah, if you are an orthodox Sunni 
Muslim, I want to say as sincerely as I can that I believe that even in 
your faith in Islam, you are living on borrowed Christian capital in 
your ideas and terminology).

>Whew! I'm tired,

So am I !!!

>Allahu akbar!
>Allahu akbar!
>Allahu akbar!

Indeed, indeed, indeed!!!

Sincerely, to all seekers of Truth,

Abdul Saleeb

p.s.  I do not spend any time in the Muslim newsgroup.  Jochen Katz is 
the one who keeps me updated about what is going on.  But if anyone is
interested in the further pursuit of these discussions in a gentle and
objective manner (and if time allows me), I welcome all one on one
discussions through my e-mail account:"

Continue with the next part, Part 2 (1/2), of Abdul's response to Jeremiah's book critique.

Overview on the debate between Jeremiah and Abdul
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