Quite recently a prominent trinitarian apologist James white made some comments about brother Paul “Bilal” Williams in what appears to be an effort to undermine br. Paul reputation. There are a couple of negative points White made but here I just want to focus on the issue of Same of Sex Attraction (SSA) and what makes muslim a muslim.
‘I mean very obvious that he holds to a life-style view that is inconsistent with historic classical both Muslim and Christian understandings of human sexuality, lets put it that way.’
White comment again show his shallow comprehension on the Islamic tradition. White does not have any appreciation of what SSA means as a cultural construct in Islamic tradition. White seems to equate SSA with homosexual acts such as sodomy which is a sin in Islam. SSA however does not imply any particular sexual intercourse which might express such an orientation. To ask what behaviour ( In Arabic, this concept of ‘same sex attraction’ is translated as al-mithliyya al-jinsiyya المثلية الجنسية ) would be acceptable for a Muslim with SSA is a different question, to which there is a variety of opinions.
Br. Paul Williams has made it clear in numerous occasion that he consider all sexual acts outside of heterosexual marriage are unlawful, therefore albeit his admission that he has attraction to other male in a exclusive way , this attraction is independent of actual sexual acts. Br. Paul may feel such orientation but he do not act upon it. So he accept such orientation as part of his personality and choose to repress it and remain chaste.
and Allah Said:
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their chastity and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Q 33:35]
So, anyone who struggle to live with SSA yet choose to guard chastity with sincere intention may get forgiveness and great reward waiting for them.
I do not understand why White make that an issue?
In relation to this White also launch an attack on br.Paul “Islamness” and questioning muslims who look to him or read his blog, he said:
‘he is now back in some form of Islam and allowing his website to be used to attack Christians in unfair, denigrating and prejudicial ways. I remain confused as to why believing Muslims look to this man or read his materials given the above’
I do not know what White meant by “some form” of Islam br, Paul has. Islam , in case he did not know , Al Imam Al- Bukhari narrated in his sahih collection from Ibn Umar (رضى الله عنهما) that our holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ، وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ، وَالْحَجِّ، وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). and to offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers and to pay charity (i.e. obligatory charity) and (to perform) Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) and to fast during the month of Ramadan.
If anyone has freely chosen to live according to that principle that makes that person follow Islam, br. Paul is no exception.
The aqeedah عقيدة ( the correct belief) in tradition Sunni Islam is defined based on the Shahih hadith as recorded by Muslim (no 8), Abu Dawud (no 4695), at-Tirmidzi (no 2610), an-Nasa-i (VIII/97), Ibnu Majah (no 63) as follow:
أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلاَئِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَتُؤْمِنَ بِالْقَدَرِ خَيْرِهِ وَشَرِّهِ
That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil.
So again if anyone has freely chosen to hold firm conviction in his heart over those matters that makes a person follower of Islam hence a believing muslim.
Now just because someone has became muslim and follow Islam does not mean he is perfect. No muslim is free from mistakes and limitation (In the Quran it is said that man are created weak) only Allah the most Holy who is perfect. Me, br. Paul and every other muslim strive and struggle everyday to correct our mistakes and overcome our limitation in our humble quest to strive in Allahs path. At the end of the day it is Allah who has the authority to judge by His infinite Grace whether will be among the inhabitants of the eternal life in Paradise
In the sharh (explanation) of the aqeedah of sunni muslim (ahlussunah wal jama’ah) , laid down by early scholar of Islam such asmam Tahawi’s Al-Aqeedah At-Tahawiyah, the position of someone who commit sin does not disqualify him being a muslim except if he/she commit the act of worship to other than God almighty, such as worshipping His creation, Jesus the son of Mary . This is called shirk شرك the worst and unforgivable kind of sin and those who commit it will go to hell.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَىٰ إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, Allah does not forgive association [shirk] with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.[Q 4:48]
Not only believing muslims can read materials from fellow believing muslim, like br. Paul Williams, in this blog, but we should be grateful with the constant effort (Istiqaamah) he has put forth over the years giving in da’wah to people the great dangers of committing shirk ie worshiping Jesus instead of the God of Jesus.
Furthermore by looking to this blog believing muslims should also benefit from br. Paul Williams knowledge as a former christian who are well read in the latest biblical/new testament scholarship especially in relation to his experience as once biblical inerrantist himself, a view which most muslims take it for granted as not true (from the Qur’an) but do not understand how is it exactly.
So I guess we have to disappoint you James, Muslims have absolutely no reason to speak out against other fellow muslim br. Paul Williams. On the contrary we find him as a unique stature among muslim convert and those who involve in contemporary Islamic apologetics and we can view him as a source of sound theological and apologetic insight and information.
I pray that God Almighty continue to guide br. Paul Williams and makes it easy for him in his da’wah effort: giving people access into the world of biblical scholarship, the exaltation of Jesus, the trinity and other distorted doctrines about Jesus that can lead people into the hellfire.