February Newsletter

February 26, 2010

NEWSLETTER                           ’10 No. 2



 (A Section 21 Company committed to serving

the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq)


A Devout Muslim reads Paul’s letter to the Galatians.


Dearest Friends…We thought we should explain a little why communication from our side was so poor last year.  The above is a title of a publication I am currently busy with…so here is a specimen of how some of it is unbundled…Galatians Chapter 1:1-5.  The text is N.I.V.  Needless to say, all we do is to serve the Marsh Arab need.

1.1 Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead -


Notes and bridging words: Father, Jesus, apostle.

1.      The Qur’an never refers to Allah as Father as it has physical implications in Muslim theology – see Surah Al-Maidah 5:75, 76; Surah Al-Anam 6:100, 101;   Surah At-Tawbah 9:30; Surah Yunus 10:68.

2.      In the Qur’an Jesus is called Isa.  John Gilchrist explains: “Although the common Arabic name for Jesus has always been Yasu‘, derived from the original Hebrew Yashua, the Qur’an uses the name ‘Isa, obtained most probably from the Nestorian Isho.  There are no other records anywhere in Christian history to possibly suggest the strange name for Jesus in the Qur’an…In fact the full Nestorian Syriac title for Jesus was Isho Mshiha, ‘Jesus Messiah’, and it is interesting to find that the most common Qur’anic title for him is very similar, namely al-MasihuIsa  (Surah 3:45)” (1994:8).

3.      In Surah Al-Ahzab 33:40 Muhammad is called the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets.  This means he is the final prophet.

1.2 and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia:


Notes and bridging words: community, family.

1.      The Arabic word Umma is most commonly used by Muslims to speak of the people of Islam. This word presupposes unity and equality.

2.      Shiites make much of the fact that Ali, the fourth Caliph grew up in the home of Muhammad.  He was treated as a brother and it is believed that he alone accounted for 586 traditions on the life and conduct of Muhammad.

3.      Since man is created weak (Surah An-Nisa 4:28) it would be incumbent upon the Umma to protect their members especially the old, poor, women and children. The Qur’an reflects a sincere concern for orphans (Surah An-Nisa 4:2,6 etc.) - this is not surprising, considering that Muhammad himself was an orphan. This is clearly affirmed in Surah Ad-Duha 93:6.

1.3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the

 Lord Jesus Christ,


Notes and bridging words: Lord, Christ, peace.

1.      The Arabic word for Lord is Rabb. It is claimed that there is no proper English equivalent. Its most well-known appearance in the Qur’an is in Surah 1:2. This Surah is known as Al-Fatihah, meaning The Opening.

2.      Christ (Arabic: al-Masih) occurs frequently in the Qur’an but translated as Messiah.  It is used only with reference to Isa.

3.      One of the ‘99 Most Excellent Names of Allah’ is Al-Salam (The Peace).

1.4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present

evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,


Notes and bridging words: crucifixion, sin, God.

1.      Surah An-Nisa 4:157 teaches that Isa did not die upon the cross. 

2.      The Shiite place no emphasis on the ‘99 Most Excellent Names of Allah’ as it suggests traits apart from the Being and Essence of Allah… and the possibility of lapsing into polytheism (see Momen:176). To restate this, the Shiite state that emphasis on Allah alone is adequate.  In fact secondary emphases will only “diminish” Allah.  He is enough (Ibid.).

3.      Islam makes a division between great sins and little sins (Arabic: Gunahii – ‘kabirah’ and Gunahii – ‘saghirah’).  There is no unity of number regarding the ‘kabirah’ sins (see Nehls and Eric 2005:15).  Also see Surah  An-Najm 53:32.

1.5 to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.


Notes and bridging word: glory.

1.      The well-known Arabic phrase ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is greater) is a statement of Allah’s absolute greatness and superiority.  It is also a statement of worship.

2.      Surah Ash-Shura 42:11 is frequently quoted by Muslims in talking about Allah that ‘There is nothing like unto Him’.

3.      One of the ‘99 Most Excellent Names of Allah’ is Al-Samad (The One Glorified).


Some Clarifications:

1.      The intended publication follows a ‘study Bible’ approach – but the ‘Notes’ are keyed to Muslim thinking.

2.      Where possible, the thinking of Shiites (that is what the Marsh Arabs are) is emphasized.

3.      It is not an “attack” book.  It is written so that Muslims will feel they have been accurately and fairly represented.

4.      Study Bibles are a-plenty in the Church…and they serve Christians.  This is written that Christians may serve others, namely our Muslim friends.


Two prayer requests:

1.      Completion.  The back has been broken – in the next month or two we want to finish (it has already consumed most of last year).

2.      Destination. That it may go where the Lord chooses.


Yours in Marsh Arab love.

John, Glenn, Pat & Brother Samuel.


Missionary Quote:   “The Christian missionary should first of all thoroughly know the religion of the people among whom he/she labours…”  

                                                                                                                Samuel Zwemer


February 2010

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