The Sunday at Home, Volume 41

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Religious Tract Society, 1894

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Islam and Christianity in IndiaThe origins of Christianity in India are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Christian literature mention the account of the St. Thomas—one of the Twelve Apostle of Jesusas—visiting India in around the middle of the 1st century AD:
‘According to the lot, therefore, India fell unto Judas Thomas, which is also the twin: but he would not go, saying that by reason of weakness of the flesh he could not travel…the Saviour appeared unto him by night and saith to him: Fear not, Thomas, go thou unto India and preach the word there, for my grace is with thee.’ (Acts of Thomas 1).
St Thomas is often considered to be the first to have introduced Christianity to India. In our Easter Special Edition, however (March 2012), various experts and researchers presented compelling evidence to argue that Jesusas himself travelled to India having survived the crucifixion. Intriguingly, the Acts of Thomas also contain an account of Thomas and Jesusas apparently together in Taxilla, which today is part of Pakistan, in around 49AD. What is clear in any case is that Christianity has deep roots in the subcontinent stretching back to the earliest period of Christianity. Islam it appears was seemingly introduced to India through Arab tradesman who converted after the advent of the Holy Prophetsa. The Arab traders then introduced Islam in the subcontinent by propagating it to people wherever they travelled. Indications that Islam was introduced to the subcontinent in the earliest period of Islam can be traced to Kerala, where perhaps the first mosque was built in India in around 629AD. Thus, Islam and Christianity can be traced in India to the earliest possible periods and they have chalked out an extensive history in the subcontinent.
In the 19th century, India was the country with the highest Muslim population and Islam had established a strong foothold in all respects. However, despite the dominance of Islam at the time, Christian missionaries saw a golden opportunity for their preaching efforts. They realised that there was a significant flaw in the prevalent Muslim belief that Jesusas was still alive in the heavens and would return bodily as the Second Coming of the Messiah. Christian missionaries decided to use this doctrine against the Muslims by arguing that if Muhammadsa had met his demise, it proved that Jesusas was superior and immortal as he was still alive and enjoyed a position not shared by any other human in history. They turned their primary focus to the subcontinent, aiming to transform India into the centre of Christianity. Subsequently, during that era tens of thousands of Muslims converted to the Christian faith. The Muslim scholars of the subcontinent were helpless and unable to respond using their misconstrued interpretations of Qur’anic verses, which were easily rebutted by Christian preachers.
Against this backdrop of the Muslims facing a seemingly unstoppable onslaught by the Christians, a very prominent Christian missionary, Dr. Henry Martyn Clark, thoroughly aware of the dire state of the Muslim response, challenged the Muslims to come forth and defend their faith. A man named Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, a learned Muslim scholar who had also claimed to be the Promised Messiah tasked with reviving Islam, accepted the challenge. A fascinating debate ensued in the city of Jandiala, which is the basis of our feature article in this Edition, ‘The Holy War, The Great Debate Between the Christians and Muslims in the Subcontinent.’ The outcome of the debate would have a far-reaching effect on the progress of Islam and Christianity in the region.
Amer Safir
Review of Religons April 2013

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Page 361 - For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth ; The poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, And shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence : And precious shall their blood be in his sight.
Page 204 - Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughterin-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Page 392 - Listen! You hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in.
Page 386 - WE do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy...
Page 197 - My panting side was charged when I withdrew To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.^ There was I found by one who had himself Been hurt by the archers.
Page 197 - He loved them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again. Not long beneath the whelming brine, Expert to swim, he lay ; Nor soon he felt his strength decline, Or courage die away : But waged with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
Page 197 - Adieu!" At length, his transient respite past, His comrades, who before Had heard his voice in every blast, Could catch the sound no more: For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank. No poet wept him: but the page Of narrative sincere...
Page 361 - Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Page 464 - The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, And lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, To set them among princes, And to make them inherit the throne of glory: For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, And he hath set the world upon them.
Page 87 - Though private prayer be a brave design, Yet public hath more promises, more love : And love's a weight to hearts, to eyes a sign. We all are but cold suitors ; let us move Where it is warmest. Leave thy six and seven ; Pray with the most : for where most pray, is heaven.

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