Muhammad, animated by the spirit of antichrist, had the audacity to "tamper with the revelation of original sin." In so doing, Muhammad defaced the reverse side of that Gospel coin. To Muhammad's eternal demerit, he rejected any ontological flaw in himself and in mankind arising from the loss of supernatural grace, rejected any need in himself and mankind to be redeemed and saved, and rejected Jesus as "the source of grace," the sanctifying grace which heals mankind and saves it from the tragedy it inherited from Adam.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - As we discussed in our prior article on Muhammad, the Church warns that "[t]he doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the 'reverse side' of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ." (CCC § 389)
Unfortunately, Muhammad, animated by the spirit of antichrist, had the audacity to "tamper with the revelation of original sin." In so doing, Muhammad defaced the reverse side of that Gospel coin. To Muhammad's eternal demerit, he rejected any ontological flaw in himself and in mankind arising from the loss of supernatural grace, rejected any need in himself and mankind to be redeemed and saved, and rejected Jesus as "the source of grace," the sanctifying grace which heals mankind and saves it from the tragedy it inherited from Adam.
As a result of Muhammad's errant guidance, in Islam there is no concept of "sanctifying grace," which is also known as "deifying grace" or "habitual grace." (CCC §§ 1999-2000, 2023-24) Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift, given to us by the merciful God, which makes us sharers in a manner (by participation) in God's own nature. It is one of the most beautiful of gifts.
Sanctifying grace is what heals us of sin and saves us. It is what makes us new creatures in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17) It is what makes us pleasing to God. (CCC 1992) In the beautiful words of the Council of Trent, sanctifying grace makes us to be even friends and domestics of God, as it takes us out of enmity into friendship, ex inimico amicus. (cf. Wis. 7:14; John 15:5) It is what makes us holy. It is the source of the infused cardinal virtues and theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is what obtains for us, through the merits of Jesus' passion and death on the Cross, eternal life. It is what makes us adopted "children of God," filii in filio, sons in the Son. (Rom. 8:15; 1 John 3:1) It is what makes us "sharers in the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4). It is in fact how God makes his abode in us as temples of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:23; 1 Cor. 6:19) It makes us joint heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17) It is what makes any of our acts pleasing to God. (1 Cor. 13:1-3) It confers supernatural brightness and beauty to the human soul, as the Roman Catechism puts it. It is, in short, the pearl of great price. (Matt. 13:46)
It is what Adam lost. It is what Jesus regained.
But Muhammad appears to have been oblivious to the concept of sanctifying grace. Muhammad knew not what Adam lost. He knew not what Jesus regained.
As Fr. Joseph Kenny, O.P. observes, "[i]n Islam there is none of the Christian 'new life,' 'regeneration,' or 'sanctifying grace.'" The reason for this is simple. In Muhammad's alleged revelations, there was no sanctifying grace that Adam lost as a result of his Fall (because he never had it). As a consequence, there is no sanctifying grace that Jesus needed to regain.
For Muhammad, Fr. Kenny states, "[t]here is only fitra, the natural man as God created him, distinguished only by piety (taqwa) or adherence by faith to the covenant (mithaq) with Adam and his descendants."
Oh Muhammad! How is it that you, who claimed to be a prophet, failed to hear the words of Jesus: "If only you knew the gifts of God"? (cf. John 4:10) How could you have been so blind to this foundational gift without which anything else is nothing? Are you not a blind guide, leading the blind, and if the blind lead the blind, do they not fall into the ditch? (Matt. 15:14)
In Muhammad's view, man was never a resident of a three-storied mansion of pure nature, preternature, and supernature, and was never promised a return to it after his eviction from it. For Muhammad, man was created by God in a basement, as is, where is. Man will stay in such a basement, and, other than an aloof fiat of forgiveness conditioned on submission to Allah and his supposed prophet Muhammad, can expect no more from Allah other than the promise of the temporal pleasures of a basement life extended ad infinitum in the Muslim Paradise (Jannah).
It follows from Muhammad's rejection of the doctrine of original sin that Muhammad failed to detect, or in some manner excused or justified, any endemic concupiscence within him (or he would have taught his followers concerning its reality). Indeed, one might recall, as we discussed in our earlier series "The Heart's Witness Against Muhammad," that Muhammad tended to match his impulses (even his lower impulses such as his desire for his daughter-in-law, Zaynab, or his Coptic slavewoman and concubine, Mariyah) with Allah's alleged will and I suppose his fitra.
Muhammad had the further audacity to believe himself--one who disbelieved in sanctifying grace and its central importance in making us holy--as the perfect exemplar of humanity, al-insan al-kamil, the best of all mankind, khair ul-bashar, and the perfect model of conduct, uswa hasana.
In short, he never realized he lived in a basement, so his morals are those of life in a basement, his law is the law of the basement, as is his alleged paradise.
(If you are not convinced about basement morals, explore the Muslim doctrine of taqiyya (deception), or nikah muta'a (temporary marriages), or violence as a legitimate means of spreading the faith (jihad).)
Since Muhammad had no concept of sanctifying grace, something clearly beyond man's capacity to merit or to earn, Muhammad believed that he and by extension all humans could make themselves acceptable to God by works. In particular, this was done by the following of a law he devised which, like Muhammad himself, had no divine warrant: the Shari'a.
Shari'a is nothing but Muhammad writ large, just as Muhammad might be said to be Shari'a writ small. Just as Muhammad is antichrist personalized, so the Shari'a is antichrist institutionalized, socialized, and politicized.
What this means, is that Islam by its own admission institutionalizes or confirms man in his original sin.
More, in one fell swoop, Muhammad took a huge leap backward in man's relationship God: from an aera sub gratia, which the Lord so graciously initiated, back to an aera sub lege. From an era of grace, Muhammad brought his followers back to an era of law.
But the refusal of grace and the return to law was not a return to the law of Moses which came from God, had some pedagogical value (cf. Gal. 3:24), was a gift that is in a manner irrevocable (Rom. 11:29), and leads and testifies to Christ and is fulfilled in Christ (Matt. 5:17).
No. Rather, Muhammad's promulgated a a law foreign to God and one which (as we have seen) leads away from Christ. This is arguably the most antichristian kernel of Islam: the rejection of grace and the re-injection of law. It constitutes a flight from the Gospel, an anti-Gospel.
Muhammad's error is found in his version of the story of Adam and Eve in the Qur'an and in the Sunna.
The Qur'an relates the story of Adam and his wife (curiously, it does not mention Eve by name) in in various places (2:30-39; 7:11-25; 15:26-48; 17:61-65; 18:50-53; 20:115-126; 38:71-88) and appears superficially similar to the narrative in Genesis. However, it is clear that as traditionally interpreted it rejects the concept of original sin.
The Qur'an places the first couple in Paradise. God commands them not to eat of "this tree," but they are tempted and tricked by the Devil (Iblis, evidently, a corruption of the Greek diabolos). "So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: 'Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?'" (Qur'an 7:22). They, and their progeny, are debarred from Paradise. Importantly, Adam and Eve ask Allah for forgiveness, and they receive it, as "his Lord turned towards him, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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