The effect of Paul on Christianity and differences between Christian sects

13-10-2010 | IslamWeb


What is the definition of Christianity and ‘Nasraaniyyah’? What is the difference between them? It is said that Paul initiated Christianity; how valid is this claim? What are the most distinctive differences between the following three Christian sects: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant? Recently in America, a new edition of the authorized four books of the New Testament was published including the Gospel of Thomas. More than two hundred senior scholars and theologians in America assembled to authenticate this edition. What was the outcome of this conference which was called the "Jesus Seminar"?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

Nasraaniyyah is the religion of Nasaara (plural of Nasraani) who claim that they are the followers of ‘Eesa (Jesus)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. They were named Nasaara after the town of Nasraanah (Nazareth) in Palestine where ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was born. Naasirah and Nasooriyyah are other names that this town is known by. According to another view, the term ’Nasaara’ was derived from the Arabic ‘Ansaar’ meaning supporters. This is what they are called in the Quran in the verse (what means): {O You who have believed, be supporters of Allaah, just as when ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam (Mary), said to the disciples, "Who are my supporters for Allaah?" The disciples said, "We are supporters of Allaah."}[Quran 61: 14]  

Nasaaras call themselves Christians after the name of ‘Christ’ (‘Eesa)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. However, this name is neither mentioned in the Quran nor in the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is a name that does not match their reality because they distorted the religion of Christ and contradicted his teachings. In the Quran, Allaah The Exalted called them ’An-Nasaara’ and the ’People of the Book’.

Nasraaniyyah is originally the religion that Allaah The Almighty revealed to ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention not Paul. ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was one of the prophets of the Children of Israel, and he called them to worship Allaah The Almighty and delivered the message of his Lord. Allaah The Almighty mentions him in the Quran several times; He Says (what means): {[And mention] when the angels said, "O Maryam, indeed Allaah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Maseeh, ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam - distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allaah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous." She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allaah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Tawraah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel). And [make him] a messenger to Banu Israa’eel, [who will say], 'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allaah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead - by permission of Allaah. And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.’”}[Quran 3: 45-49]

This is one of the most comprehensive verses about ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention in the Quran. However, only a slight part of the message of ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention remains intact, whereas the bulk of his message has been altered and distorted; the Christians replaced the sound creed of Tawheed (monotheism) with Shirk (polytheism).  

Paul is considered the first person to have corrupted the religion of the Nasaara. Between 51 and 55 CE, the first council of the disciples - the Jerusalem Council – was held and was headed by Ya‘qoob ibn Yoosuf An-Najjaar, who was stoned to death in 62 CE. During this meeting they decided that in order to obtain a greater benefit they should exempt all non-Jews from being committed to the Sharee'ah of the Tawraah (Torah). They did so as this was the only way to convert them from worshipping idols, as a preliminary step, before compelling them to follow the Sharee'ah of the Tawraah. Furthermore, they approved of the prohibition of adultery, eating animals killed by strangling, blood and that which is sacrificed for idols. However, they permitted the consumption of alcoholic drinks, the flesh of swine and usury although these things are forbidden in the Tawraah.

Later on, Paul returned to Antioch in the company of Barnabas.  They stayed together for a relatively long period of time then parted after they had a disagreement about Paul’s declaration of nullifying the rulings of the Tawraah and his claim that these rulings were a curse that were now discarded forever.

He claimed that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was sent to replace the Old Testament with another one, and that he adopted of incarnation by way of the word or the son of God or the Holy Spirit. Based on this idea, he initiated the creed of the crucifixion, salvation, the resurrection of ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and his ascension to heaven in order to sit on the right of the Lord so as to make Judgment.

Likewise, Paul did the same with Peter who attacked him and departed from him and all this provoked the people against him. Therefore, Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians explaining his creed and principles. Then, he continued his missionary trips in the company of his disciples to Europe and Asia Minor until he finally died in Rome in 65 CE during the reign of Nero.   

Throughout the first three centuries of Christianity, there was strong resistance against Paul's beliefs. During the second century CE Hippolytus of Rome, Vitus and Origen denied that Paul was an apostle. During the third century, Paul of Samosata appeared and was followed by the Paulicians but they only had a limited effect. Thus, began the abandonment of the Sharee'ah of the Tawraah and the spread of paganism and the concept of the Trinity in Christianity.    

The three Christian sects: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant all unanimously agree on the divinity of ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and that he descended to be crucified and to expiate the sins of Aadam (Adam)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. They also unanimously agree that the sacred books include the four Gospels: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the remaining part of the New Testament along with the Old Testament.

However, they differ regarding some other issues:

First, Catholics follow the Roman Pope. Their most distinctive principles are as follows:

      1-      They allow eating the blood and the flesh of strangled animals.

      2-      They believe that the Holy Spirit emerged from both the father and the son.

     3-      The Roman Pope is the supreme head of all Catholic churches throughout the world.

     4-      Divorce is absolutely forbidden - even in case of adultery.

Many Western European and most South American peoples are Catholics. Their church is called the Western Church.

Second, the Orthodox are the Eastern Christians who follow the Eastern Church in Constantinople. The following are their most distinctive principles:

      1-      The Holy Spirit emerged from the Father alone.

      2-      Divorce is prohibited except in the case of adultery.

     3-      They do not follow one leader; rather every church works as an independent unit.

This Orthodoxy is adopted in Eastern Europe, Russia and Western Countries. 

Third, the Protestants, also called Anglicans are the followers of Martin Luther who appeared at the beginning of the 16th century CE in Germany. He called for the reformation of the church and to free it from the corruption that dominated it. The following are their most distinctive principles:

      1-      Confession is nothing but a lie and falsehood, and sins cannot be forgiven except by regret and repentance.

      2-      Every individual is entitled to read and understand the Injeel (Gospel) which is not confined to the clergy.

      3-      Images and statues are prohibited in churches since they are considered a form of paganism.

      4-      The prohibition of monasticism.

      5-      Holy Communion is the sacrament to commemorate the (claimed) crucifixion of the Christ. They also deny the belief that bread and wine will be turned into the flesh and blood of Christ  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention.

      6-      Their churches do not follow a general leader whose command is obeyed.

Those who follow this sect are spread throughout Germany, Britain, North America and many European countries.

We are not acquainted with the outcome of the “Jesus Seminar”. In fact, it makes no difference if one knows or does not know about it because it is essentially baseless. As Muslims, we must believe that their creed is untrue and has been distorted, and that they no longer have the true revelation that Allaah The Almighty revealed to His prophets. Rather, what they have is the production of their priests and monks who wrote out of their own desires in order to misguide people.

Even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that they still have authentic parts from the Tawraah and the Injeel, all this has been abrogated and nullified upon the advent of Islam. In this regard, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

      •  {And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.}[Quran 34: 28] 

      • {And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.}[Quran 5: 48]   

      •  {And whoever desires other than Islam as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.}[Quran 3: 85]  

And Allaah Knows best.