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Concentrating on the commonalities between the Abrahamic Faiths
By Moin Ansari
A woman would throw garbage from the rooftop on the Prophet Muhammad every 
day in Mecca. One day when he did not see any garbage, he went looking for her, 
asked about her and found out that she was sick. He prayed for her and gave 
her solace and comfort. He was so impressed, that she converted to Islam.
An older Christian woman Khatija hired the young Mohamed for trade. He 
conducted her affairs so honestly that she asked him to marry her. He remained 
faithful to her 'till her death. She was one of the first converts to Islam.
Muhammad was known as the honest one, before he became a prophet and even 
afterwards, even by his worst pagan enemies.
These are the stories I grew up with. This is my image of my prophet. This is 
the image all Muslims think of when we think of our prophet.
May God forgive me if I have transgressed and show me the right way.
I have tried to define Islam in Christian and non-religious terms. Michael 
Baigent, Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Bible and the Naag Hamdi texts not 
withstanding, there is historical precedence in understand the message of Muhammad in 
the Christian context. This commonality will help us understand the message and 
therefore Islam and Muslims. UNDERSTANDING the genesis of the religion will 
help us understand each other and this will help us gain understanding of world 
Once we have understood Muhammad in the Christian context, then it is much 
easier to understand Jesus in the Muslim context. American Deists have already 
done that in many ways
The hordes are not coming. They have always been here. There is nothing to 
fear from Muslims who are like Unitarians or like Jefferson or Madison.
Islam is “Hetrodox Christianity”...John Damascus
The status of Muhammad has to be understood in the context of Christian Dogma 
and Christian beliefs of “inerrancy”, "infallibility" “inspiration” and the 
liberal interpretation of the Gospels. The discussion of the status of Jesus 
Christ has always been a topic of discussion between Christians. In many ways 
the discussions of Jesus Christ and the theological differences between Islam 
and Christianity are essentially a discussion about the so called heresies of 
Arias and Eusebius of Caesarea that germinated in the city of Antioch. This 
has been prolifically elucidated by Thomas Jefferson in his “Jeffersen Bible”. 
Many churches have taken a liberal approach to the interpretation of the Bible 
and consider is inspired or infallable.
Historically, Arianism was a majority opinion among Christians, but this 
began to change when Emperor Constantine intervened on behalf of and Trinitarians. 
The Council of Nicea in 325 headed by Emperor Constantine adopted the Nicean 
concept of Trinity, Arias was exiled and his promulgation "anethmized". 
However that was not the end Arianism. Arianism survived until 381AD in the Western 
Roman Empire and then thrived in the Easter Roman empire and other areas 
untill the 7th century. After that Arianism went underground. Evangelists sent to 
the Germanic peoples converted the Goths to Arianism. When the Germanic people 
entered the Roman empire they entered it as Arians and used this form of 
Christianity to differentiate themselves from the Romans. The Germanic peoples were 
Arians. Arianism did not die even then. The flag of Arianism laws carried by “
The Brethren of the Common Life”, who were a medieval lay group dedicated to 
Bible study and education. They were persecuted, fled their native homelands 
and were scattered all over Europe. They are by many account held responsible 
for the renaissance. Martin Luther’s schooling included the Latin school at 
Mansfeld, a year at a school in Magdeburg (run by the Brethren at Eisenach). In 
his 15th year, Luther made valued older friends and was influenced by Arian 
ideas. Luther’s ideas led to the Christian reformation. Here are some of the 
positive things said by Martin Luther about Muhammad and Islam:
 From this book, accordingly, we see that the religion of the Turks or Muham-
mad is far more splendid in ceremonies—and, I might almost say, in customs—
than ours, even including that of the religious or all the clerics. The modesty 
and simplicity of their food, clothing, dwellings, and everything else, as well as the 
fasts, prayers, and common gatherings of the people that this book reveals are nowhere 
seen among us—or rather it is impossible for our people to be persuaded to them. 
Furthermore, which of our monks, …Martin Luther
 In 1532 facing the threat of the Turkish invasion, the Emperor agreed to a 
truce with the Protestants in the Religious Peace of Nürnberg. Facing the 
Turksih invasion Luthers’s ideas changed. Bernard Shaw also had a lot of good things 
to say about Islam.
…the 'Bull' of Pope Innocent III causing the massacre of 20,000 men, women 
and children (Albigenses) in France and the nailing of Martin Luther's 95 
questions on the Church door in Germany, it stretches a long period in between. The 
European society passed through a massive reform during this time. The reform 
movement of Peter Waldo of France, John Wycliffe of England, Jan Hus of 
Bohemia (Czech), Girolamo Savonarola of Italy, Michael Servetus of Spain, Ulrich 
Zwingli of Switzerland, William Tyndale of England and hundred others must have 
influenced Bernard Shaw to lean heavily towards the fairness of early Islam - 
the Islam that Prophet Muhammad once preached.
In addition to Suleriman, Charles was threatened by the pope, the king of 
France, and even some of his own princes! Suleriman, in opposing Charles V, 
helped the Protestants militarily and financially. God thus used the Moslem nation 
to provide opportunity for the Reformation to grow in Germany and in the rest 
of Europe.
Rumis influences: For Mevlana, a human being is made up of REASON ( 
knowledge, thought, conscience, maturity), LOVE ( emotions, poetry, music) and SPIRIT ( 
life, motion, whirling). It is very unlikely to find the three clamped to 
each other in theory and meaning in such a way in any other system. As a result, 
this approach created an ecolé, namely "Mevlana's Whirling Dervishes", and it 
has had great influence on people for centuries. Desiderius Erasmus 
Roterodamus, one of the humanists of Renaissance in 16th century, Martin Luther and 
Sebastian Frank, who translated some of Mevlana's poems, Rambrandt(artist-17th 
century), Beethoven (composer-18th century), Frederick Ruckert, Joseph von 
Hammer, Johann Volfgang von Goethe(writers- 19th century) , Prof R. Nicholson and 
Prof Arbery of Cambridge University(20th century) and Heins Meinke (poet), Prof 
Helmuth Ritter and Anne Marie Schimmel of Bonn University (orientalists- 20th 
century) are some who were influenced by Mevlana's philosophy.
ISLAM AS “HETRODOX CHRISTIANITY”: John of Damascus actually calls Islam 
Hetrodox Christianity. John of Damascus is called the first apologetic of Islam 
and a detractor. In his book the "Heresies of Ishamail" he pretty much defines 
Islam in the light of Arianism and what he defines as Nestorianism. Nestorius 
(c.386-c.451) was a pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia in Antioch and later became 
the Patriarch of Constantinople. He preached against the use of the title 
Mother of God (Theotokos) for the Virgin Mary and would only call her Mother of 
Christ (Christotokos). 
John of Damascus in today's light would not be considered an apologetic of 
Islam. I would consider him a proponent of Islam since he ties Islam to a kind 
of a Gnostic Gospel.
Since the Quran and the teaching of the Quran are considered divine and 
calling them divinely inspired, obviously is heresy in Islam since it reduces the 
prophet and Quran to external influences. However it is fascinating to see the 
link between Islam and Christianity. If we read Arianism and Nestorianism, and 
Unitarianism in conjunction with what the Archbishop of Canterbury says, it 
paints a picture of immense interaction between Islam and a much closer 
relationship than generally accepted.
Fletcher in his book “The Cross and the Crescent” lists a lot of 
commonalities between Islam and Christianity and informs us the Syriac Christian Churches 
felt liberated when the Muslim took over the Holy lands. In all Muslims lands 
taken over by Muslims from Christians, the number of churches built went up 
phenomenally. The Syriac and Coptic Christians were closer to "Unitarians" and 
the heterodox Christian doctrine of Nestorianism. From a Christian perspective 
These were all the "heresies" that eventually got purged by Emperor 
Constantine and got included into Islam
MUHAMMAD THE REFORMER: Muhammad was a reformer in a sea of paganism. His 
message was the purest form of monotheism that exists in the three Abrahamic 
religions. He had married a Christian woman by the name of Khadija. When Muhammad 
got his message from God he was referred to Khadija’s unlce Waqaba who was a 
Monophysite Christian. Waqaba informed Muhammad that the voices he was hearing 
was from God and there is prophecy in the Bible about someone like Muhammad. 
With the Arian Goths in decline, the land was hungry for the purest form of 
monotheism. He was taking Arabia and the world back to monotheism. He pointed 
out the excesses of the synagogue just like Jesus had done 600 years earlier. 
Muhammad also tried to reform the established church just like Martin Luther 
did a thousand years later. Muhammad was extremely successful because the pagans 
and the progeny of Arians accepted the new monotheist message. Islam spread 
like wildfire.
Quran [5:82] ..And you will find that the closest people in friendship to the believers are 
those who say, "We are Christian." This is because they have priests and monks among
them, and they are not arrogant. 
[7:159] Among the followers of Moses there are those who guide in accordance with 
the truth, and the truth renders them righteous. 
[5:46] Subsequent to them, we sent Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the 
previous scripture, the Torah. We gave him the Gospel, containing guidance and 
light, and confirming the previous scriptures, the Torah, and augmenting its 
guidance and light, and to enlighten the righteous. 
[5:47] The people of the Gospel shall rule in accordance with GOD's   
revelations therein. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are 
the wicked. 
[2:62 & 5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the 
Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the 
Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from 
their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
CHRISTIANITY AT THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD: The "Christianity" and "Judaism" 
that existed at the time of Muhamamad was pre-reform Catholicism and Pre-Orthodox 
type of Judaism. It was very different than the Christianity and Judaism that 
exists today. The Christianity was probably based on the he scriptures called 
Diatesseron and the Catholic Epistles or Peshitta. Since the Qur'ân talks about 
a Gospel, it would suggest Diatesseron more than Peshitta. Muslims consider 
the Quran to the 3rd and Final Testament and also think of the Torah and the 
Bible as Holy Books. The Quran is the word of God. The Hadith is the sayings of 
the prophet, so the Hadith is similar to the Bible. Christian Arab Kingdoms of 
the Ghassanids and Muntherits became the powers controlling the Arab Peninsula 
from Syria as far south as Yemen and Oman, and from Iraq as far south as the 
Arab Sea. The other Christians near Muhammad were the Nabatians. The Nabateans 
were settled in northern Arabia and by the 6th century BC, they moved to what 
is now Jordan where they formed their state and kingdom. Petra, their 
capital, was a trading center between Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea. 
ARIANISM IN MODERN TIMES: Today Arianism survives in the works of John Locke, 
Isaac Newton, Milton Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
Archbishop Dmitri of the Orthodox Church in America has identified Islam as 
the largest descendant of Arianism today. There is similarity in Islam's 
teaching that Jesus was a great prophet, but very distinct from God, although Islam 
sees Jesus as a human messenger of God without the divine properties that 
Arianism attributes to the Christ. Islam sees itself as a continuation of the 
Jewish and Christian traditions and reveres many of the same prophets.
Nontrinitarians claim the roots of their position go back further than those 
of their counterpart trinitarians. Some ancient sects, such as the Ebionites, 
said that Jesus was not a "Son of God" but rather an ordinary man who was a 
prophet, a view of Jesus shared by Islam. The doctrine of the Godhead, as 
mentioned by Jefferson according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 
is similar to Arianism
Thomas Jeffersen was in touch with John Locke and heavily influenced by John 
Locke. In fact when Thomas Jeffersen wrote the “Jeffersen Bible” he mentions 
that he has been in touch with all major philosophers of religion in Europe. 
In 1700 Locke resigned from the Board of Trade and devoteri himself to Biblical 
studies and religious meditation. He had carefully studied the Gospels in 
preparing his “Reasonableness of Christianity.” In researching the Epistles of 
St Paul, he  applied the spirit of the Essay and the ordinary rules of critical 
interpretation to a literature which he venerated as infallible. The work was 
published two years after. A tract on Miracles, written in 1702, also 
appeared posthumously. John Locke’s “The Reasonableness of Christianity” is 
described by Samuel Bold.
Subscription controversy—the doctrinal dispute aroused by the spread of 
Arianism. Under the commonwealth, Socinianism (represented by Paul Best and John 
Biddle), Sabellianism (by John Fry), Arianism (by John Knowles, Thomas Collier 
and Paul Hobson) and universalism (by Richard Coppin, John Reeve and Ludowicke 
Muggleton), had been alike banned and persecuted. The intolerant attitude of 
both presbyterians and independents was continued after the restoration; and to 
this was now added the rigour of the re-established English church. To 
Richard Baxter, not less than to John Owen or to Stillingfleet, the Socinians were 
on a par with Mohammedans, Turks, atheists and papists. But, in spite of 
persecution, the discrete strands of varying anti-Trinitarian thought remained 
unbroken. Gilbert Clerke of Northamptonshire, a mathematician and, in a sense, a 
teacher of Whiston, Noval of Tydd St. Giles near Wisbech, Thomas Firmin 
(Sabellian), William Penn, Stephen Nye (Sabellian), William Freke (Arian), John Smith, 
the philomath, of St. Augustine’s, London (Socinian), Henry Hedworth, the 
disciple of Biddle, and William Manning, minister of Peasenhall (1630–1711) 
(independent), form a direct and unbroken, though irregular, chain of 
anti-Trinitarian thought, extending from the commonwealth days to those of toleration
not to mention the more covert but still demonstrable anti-Trinitarianism of Milton 
and Locke.
With the passing of the Toleration act of 1689, the leaven of this long train 
of anti-Trinitarian thought made itself strongly felt. It first appeared in the bosom of the 
church of England itself, in the so-called Socinian controversy. In 1690, Arthur Bury, 
a latitudinarian divine, was deprived of the rector ship of Lincoln college, Oxford, for 
publishing his Naked Gospel. The proceedings gave rise to a stream of pamphlet 
literature on both sides. In the same year, 1690, John Wallis, Savilian professor of 
mathematics at Oxford, was involved in a controversy with a succession of
…anonymous Arian and Socinian writers (among them William Jones) by the 
publication of his Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity briefly Explained. 
Simultaneously, Sherlock’s Vindication of the Holy and ever Blessed Trinity, although 
directed against the same group of writers, called forth another outburst of 
pamphleteering from quite another quarter, South leading the attack with his 
Animadversions upon Dr. Sherlock’s Vindication. The first portion of the 
anti-Trinitarian literature produced in this triangular contest is collected in The Faith 
of one God Who is only the Father (1691). In the ranks of dissent, the same 
controversy manifested itself in the disputes which wrecked the independent and 
presbyterian “happy union” and, contemporaneously, it appeared in the baptist 
body. In 1693, Matthew Caffyn, baptist minister at Horsham, Sussex, was for a 
second time accused before the “Baptist General Assembly” of denying Christ’
s divinity; and, when the assembly refused to vote his expulsion, a secession 
took place, and the rival “Baptist General Association” was formed. In the 
same year, the anti-Trinitarians published a Second collection of tracts proving 
the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God (1693). The 
tenth, and last, tract in this volume was a reply to South’s Animadversions on 
Sherlock’s Vindication. In the following year (1694), the presbyterian John 
Howe entered the field with his Calm and sober Inquiry directed against the 
above tract, and, to make the fight triangular, Sherlock replied to South and Howe 
together in A Defense of Dr. Sherlock’s notion of a Trinity in Unity. The 
anti-Trinitarians’ Third collection of Tracts, which followed immediately, was a 
reply at once to Howe, on the one hand, and to Sherlock, on the other.
This first Trinitarian or so-called Socinian controversy, practically, came 
to an end in 1708. It received its deathblow, in 1698, by the act for the more 
effectual suppression of blasphemy and profaneness, which remained on the 
statute book till 1813. With the exception of John Smith’s Designed End to the 
Socinian Controversy (1695), the whole of the anti-Trinitarian contributions to 
it had been anonymous (both Locke and Sir Isaac Newton are supposed to have 
contributed under the cover of this anonymity); and, with the exception of Howe, 
no representatives of the professed dissenting denominations had joined in the 
fray. It is therefore to be regarded, primarily, as a church of England 
controversy, in which the churchmen had weakened the Trinitarian cause by a 
triangular and virtually conflicting defence: Sherlock versus South versus Tillotson 
and Burnet, and all four versus the enemy. The agitation which the controversy 
produced among the dissenters was mainly reflex, and is apparent more in 
their domestic quarrels, noted above, than in their published literature. But, 
disproportionately small as was the dissenting share of the combatants in mere 
point of literature, the intellectual ferment which ensued in following years 
showed itself more in the bosom of dissent than in the life and thought of the 
church of England. Thomas Emlyn, a presbyterian, who was tried at Dublin, in 
1693, for publishing his Humble Inquiry into the Scripture account of Jesus 
Christ, attributed his own Arianism to Sherlock’s Vindication of the Doctrine of 
the Trinity.
MY MUHAMMAD: We can either demonize the OTHER religion or work on common 
ground. As Westernized Muslims, we can and should discuss the infallibilities of 
Muhammad the man. He was a man and not a God. My research of his entire life 
 is based on his entire life and teachings. I have so many stories that it would take 
volumes of paper to print. This image of Muhammad is also my core belief and my 
PERSONAL relationship with Muhammad the MAN. Muhammad's life spans many 
decades. The religion was not based around his personality, but around the prophets 
of the Bible. He even called it "Deen e Ibrahimi" or the religion of Abraham. 
A cult would have died out in a year or so. It has now been 1400 years and 
the religion is growing. There must be something in the religion and the message.
Muhammad and Islam have faced defamation from the first day the declaration 
of the "shahadah" (submission to the will of God) was made. Muhammad's entire 
life has been defined by many authors. The definitive works on the life of the 
prophet were written centuries ago and new ideas are but summaries of the 
1) Ibn Ishaq wrote SIRAT RESUL ALLAH and 
A new PBS documentary on Muhammad created by Alexander Kronemer who regularly 
writes on the interfaith site  came out a couple of years ago. It 
should be available in the library and on PBS. Is based upon Karen's book. 
Karen Armstrong and Martin Lings are a few of the current authors that talk about 
Muhammad. I read Karen's book ten years ago when it first came out. She 
thinks of it as a gift to Muslims. I need to contact her about Banyu Quaraza and 
the latest research
Dogma creates problems. If we move away from dogma we find the power of 
ecumenical harmony. Based on my research on the Church's adherence to "infallibility" 
and "inerrancy", we can surely find common ground in our beliefs. Our belief is similar to
Christian belief as researched by Pagels and discussed in the Da Vinci Code (Naag 
Hamdi Texts and the Lost Gnostic Bibles). In the broad spectrum of today's 
Christianity, Islam is closest to the Unitarians, the flag bearers of Arianism. 
We are also close to the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and other liberal 
churches who are willing to work with Muslims. The Pope has declared that Islam is 
an Abrahamic faith and that belief in Islam qualifies a soul to enter heaven, a 
thought described by Moses Maimonides in his Epistle to the Yemenites in the 
12th century.
There is a book that is a must read for all Da Vinci Code fans, and those who 
are interested in real history. Michael Baegent of "Holy Blood and Holy 
Grail" fame, in his latest fact based historical book "The Jesus Papers", traces 
the roots of the violent Jewish (Sakari, Pharisee, and Zedoc) insurgency against 
the Romans and links the insurgency to Judas (Mathew 2:22, 2:23), and also to 
Jesus Christ. Schoenfeld's "Passover plot" also discusses this insurgency 
against the Roman occupiers of Judea (later reamed Palestina) and how the Jewish 
Sakari used to use their daggers for assassinations. An overwhelming body of 
evidence ties Jesus to the insurgency in Judea, and this may have been the main 
reason to put him to death. The Roman backlash ended up with the Jews fleeing 
to Masaada and them committing mass suicide.
As a result of the Jewish insurgency, in and around 70 AD, Jewish Jerusalem 
was totally destroyed by the Romans and renamed Aelia de Capitolina. It was the 
Romans that would display the bodies of their enemies along Roman roads. 
Titus used Jews for entertainment.After the destruction of the 2nd temple around 
70 AD, the despised Roman emperor, Herrod killed thousands of Jews and 
displayed their bodies for everyone to see. The reverberations of this type of morbid 
activity live to this day.
The conflict between the Jews and Romans has left its mark on history and 
some of our Middle Eastern problems still ooze of those historical events. Around 
130 AD, the Jewish zealot leader and Jewish insurgent leader Shimon bin 
Cockba was captured by the Romans. His body was displayed as a trophy. The Roman 
emperor Hedrian, after destroying Judea, renamed it Palestina. The creativity of 
the jailers were used to try every human trick in the book to try to get 
useless and insignificant information about the zealot movement out of poor and 
innocent Jews. Titus used his Jewish prisoners for routine torture and perverse 
tactics, like throwing live Jews in front of animals. 
Martin Luther, the Protestant reformation and the Jewish reformation came 
centuries later, and achieved the same type of reformation in destroying the 
unyielding/tyrannical power of the Pope/Rabbi/Vatican. The Luther reformation was 
aimed at those who remained with the Church.
Sir Isaac Newton, Jefferson, Adam, Franklin and others used these Unitarian 
ideas and are today called "Deists". The founding fathers of America were 
Deists whose ideas very similar to those expounded by the Arians, Unitarians and 
Islam. John Locke (influenced by Ibn Tufail), James Madison and Benjamin 
Franklin (friends of the most famous Unitarian Joseph Priestly), Thomas Jefferson 
(who also owned a coy of the Quran), Isaac Newton (who wrote extensively in 
defense of "Arianism" "A Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of 
Scripture"), Milton were all Unitarians in some form or another. These Deists had ideas 
about Jesus which were FAR from the dogma and their ideas were very close to 
those that we have in the Islamic faith. Jefferson actually wrote a Bible free 
of "dogma".
The USA is truly a conglomeration of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and 
those expounding a clash of civilizations are simply hate mongers. John Adams, 
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin were too enlightened to be bogged down in 
dogma. They gave u our glorious constitution, and Jefferson even gave us a 
Bible. Using these documents there is a lot of hope ecumenical harmony in the USA 
which will surely reverberate back to South Asia and the Middle East.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon) said: "On the Day of Resurrection I
will intercede and say, 'O my Lord! Admit into Paradise (even) those who
have faith equal to a mustard seed in their hearts.'" Sahih Al-Bukhari, 
Volume 9, Hadith 600
The Reasonableness of Christianity as delivered in the Scriptures. 1695. 
French trans. 1740; Dutch trans. 1729; German trans. 1733.
A Vindication of The Reasonableness of Christianity, … from Mr. Edwards’s 
Reflections. 1695.
A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity. 1697.
A Letter to the Right Reverend Edward Ld. Bishop of Worcester, concerning 
Some Passages relating to Mr. Locke’s Essay of Humane Understanding: in a late 
Discourse of his Lordship’s in Vindication of the Trinity. 1697.
Mr. Locke’s Reply to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Worcester’s 
Answer to his Letter. 1697.
Mr. Locke’s Reply to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Worcester’s 
Answer to his Second Letter. 1699.
A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians, etc. 1705.
Posthumous Works. 1706.
Best Regards,
Moin Ansari
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