1. A Thought-Provoking Question
A servant of the Lord was allowed to visit a prison frequently in an Arab country. There he declared the way of life to imprisoned criminals. He had a legal permit to visit all who wanted to hear the peaceful message of Truth, which can purify the heart and change the mind. That man of God would enter the prison rooms without a watchman, refusing to be guarded. He believed that the prisoners would open themselves freely in an honest discussion only if they were not watched. He entered into their prison rooms boldly and sat with them privately.
Once, he entered into a room packed with hardened criminals, who were sentenced for longer terms. They knew him from his previous visits and were accustomed to hearing his messages. After his visits, they discussed his messages for days with great enthusiasm.
When he visited them this time, they closed the door behind him suddenly, saying, “We will not let you go until you honestly answer our question.” He replied: “I came to you voluntarily, without the company of an armed guard. I am ready to answer your questions from the Word of God according to my knowledge. I cannot answer what I do not know.” They said to him: “We do not ask you about the mysteries of the universe. We only ask you, as an upright man, to give us a clear answer to the comparison that has stirred us up: Who is greater, Muhammad or Christ?”
When the minister heard this question, he paused a moment to take a breath, and said to himself: “If I say, ‘Muhammad is greater’, the Christian prisoners may oppose or attack me. And if I say, ‘Christ is greater’, the Muslim prisoners could attempt to kill me.” He knew that an insult or a harsh word against Muhammad was considered an offence worthy of death. The man of God prayed in his heart, asking the Lord to grant him a wise and convincing answer to those prisoners. And the Holy Spirit guided this minister who stood alone among the prisoners, behind the closed doors, to humbly present a straight and clear answer.
Since the servant of the Lord did not answer immediately, for he was praying silently in his heart, the prisoners urged him: “Do not evade your responsibility. Do not be a coward. Tell us the truth. We promise that no harm will come to you, no matter what you say. Do not lie to us, nor conceal your inner thoughts on this subject. Tell us the whole truth.”
The servant of God replied: “I am ready to tell you the real facts. The question you are confronting me with, is not the message, which I have prepared for you. However, if you have decided to listen to a comparison between Muhammad and Christ, I will not conceal the truth from you. However, you must understand that I am not responsible for any negative outcome that could result from our study today. You are the ones responsible, for you have demanded that I should answer a question, which I neither raised nor intended to treat in my talk.”
The minister continued: “I myself will not say, who the greatest is. I will leave this decision to the Qur'an and the Islamic Traditions (Hadith). They have already given a decisive and convincing answer. You may ponder what the Qur'an has to say about the hidden truth, and the truth shall set you free.”