Foreword

In the search for the truth, two main approaches may be adopted to help reach the goal aspired, one is to purely use reason and clear rationale to arrive at what one is reaching for, or, two, sift through the various beliefs, ideologies, and schools of thought, checking one against another – with the aid of reason and rationale – to identify the set of teachings or the school of thought that gives, beyond any reasonable doubt, the best means to access the truth.

Presented in this book, are brief works of the author concerning the two religions, each of which muster some two billion followers – Islam and Christianity.

In the first part, a few examples of encounters between the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, as well as the Imams of his progeny, and other individuals are presented. These reflect the conduct and approaches the prophet had towards others.

In the second part of the book, debates and discussions the author had with Christians are presented. In these debates the author adheres to the same approach and adopts the same attitude as those of the prophet of Islam and the Imams of his progeny, briefly referred to in part one of this book. Various issues of concern, ranging from general and legal, to historic and scientific are addressed, in a calm and a rational environment, taking lead form the Qur’anic verse {Invite (the people) to the Way of your Lord (Islam) with wisdom and good exhortation, and argue with them in a manner that is best.} 16:125 Those who had come with an acquired perception of Islam, which usually was distorted and incorrect, were in a better position to see the truth of Islam at the end of these debates with the author, so much that they were able to embrace Islam as their own way of life.

The Muslim side in these debates was the most eminent authority on Islam in recent times, the late Ayatollah al-Udhma Imam Muhammad Shirazi.

The debates presented here were conducted at the time when he was in Iraq. Needless to say that the late Imam Shirazi continued this approach of rational debate and scientific dialogue with others throughout his life, and throughout his stay in Kuwait (1970-1979) and in Iran (1980-2001) during which thousands entered into debates with him about Islam, many of whom subsequently embraced islam, not to mention those who embraced Islam through listening to his lectures or reading his many books that vi exceed 1000. Reports of those embracing Islam also usually echoed in the press, and this continued until his death on 17th December 2001.

This part was first published in Arabic as a separate small book in the seventies, and it has been translated into English to present those dialogues to the English reader in an effort to present Islam, however limited this may be. Islam is a religion of rationale and reason, which encourages the seeking of knowledge, and is in harmony with the nature of mankind. Its teachings are suitable and applicable to every time, place and generation, and it would therefore be beneficial for us to learn about the teachings of Islam and its laws, help others to learn about it so that the teachings of Islam are adhered to and implemented for the common good, and greater enlightenment of mankind.

In the third part of this book, the author carries out a brief and concise investigation into the contradictions of the Bible, some of which are in the form of false attributes to God, and also the false and immoral attributes to the messengers of God. This work was first published in Arabic as a separate book.

The author rejects the notion that the Prophets of God, who are amongst the most righteous and pious individuals of the community of mankind could possibly commit such acts as deception, adultery and even coldblooded murder. Decent members of a community would not resort to such acts let alone the most noble of all. They have reached such status of self-discipline, selflessness, devotion, and piety that it would even be improbable for them to contemplate to commit such acts.

The conclusion the author draws is that the ‘Bible’ we have today within our disposal has been distorted and tampered with, and thereby unreliable as a reference and a source of guidance for mankind.

In the fourth part of this book, some of the teachings of the holy Qur’an are presented about Jesus Christ and his mother Mary, peace be upon them. These teachings address various aspects of Jesus and his mother; as to who Jesus was, and who he was not, his teachings and his mission, and eventually his ascension to the heavens.

Z. Olyabek (Editor) October 2002 Enco