In my opinion, one of the most effective passages in the Bible to begin with when in evangelism with Muslims, is Mark 7:1-23. (especially Mark 7:14-23)
After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. [ If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” Mark 7:14-23
I would like to see a debate with Muslims that takes Mark 7:1-23 and explores:
1. Can external religious ritual washings (using physical water) cleanse the internal heart/soul from sin?
2. What is the root of human sin?
3. Where do sinful actions come from?
Jeremiah 17:9 – “the heart is deceitful above all else, and desperately wicked/sick, who can understand it?”
and Genesis 6:5
“And the LORD saw that the wickedness of mankind was great upon the earth; that every intention of the thoughts of the imaginations of his heart was only evil continuously.”
and Jeremiah 13:23
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin
Or the leopard his spots?
Then you also can do good
Who are accustomed to doing evil.”
4. Did we get sinful hearts and guilt from Adam?
5. Why do human beings always die?
Genesis 2:17 – “do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.”
Genesis 3:1-8 and following in the rest of the chapter – Eve is tempted by the serpent (Satan, the devil) and eats of the fruit, and gives it to her husband to eat also. They fall away from God. God judges them and sends them out of the garden.
Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—”
Romans 3:23 – “the wages of sin is death”
Sam Shamoun believes that the texts of Islam actually do teach the doctrine of original sin (or something very close to it.)
Muslim scholars would likely disagree with his analysis, using Qur’an, Surah 30:30. Surah number 30 is called “Romans”.
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.”
Yusuf Ali translation:
” So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah´s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.”‘ See Surah 30 in Yusuf Ali translation.
This on-line translation is different than my own book copy of Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Qur’an, so I assume that the translation committee has made an updated translation. My older Qur’an/book says, “nature, being upright” for Fitrah. The word “pattern” appears to be the new way they are translating Fitrah.
There are two different Arabic words that are translated as “religion” – حنیفا (Hanifeh – usually understood as “original monotheism” (of Abraham). In Islamic history, the people before Islam started who were searching for the true religion of Abraham, were known as the “Hanifeh”.
The second one is “deen” (or Al-Deen”, the religion, الدین ).
“fitrah” فطرت is also translated as “upright nature” or “nature”.
But, Sam makes a good case for this, for some kind of teaching similar to the Christian doctrine of original sin, that is in the Islamic texts.
6. How do Muslims deal with the weight of all that evidence from both the Qur’an and Hadith?
7. How do Muslims explain this issue, without avoiding all those texts that Sam has provided, both from Hadith sources and the Qur’an?