أشهد أ لا إله إلاَّ الله وَ أشهد أن محمد رسول الله
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My Personal Background
I am originally from Ireland where I was born into a practicing Catholic family, but I have spent nearly all my adult life abroad. In the mid to late 2000's I was in love with a Muslim man whom I had met whilst in an Islamic country. I knew that if I were interested in marrying him, I would have to convert to Islam, as Muslim women are prohibited from marrying outside their faith. I did not at all welcome the prospect of having to become a Muslim. In fact, although I knew very little about Islam the religion, a particularly negative experience I had just had of working in a different Muslim country had, if anything, rather soured my opinion of things to do with Islam and reinforced whatever general western disinclinations I may already have felt. Nevertheless back in Europe during the spring and summer of 2008 I read all the text books I could find in college and public libraries about Islam (factual accounts, textbooks, mainly by non-Muslims) and discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that I could agree with 90% of the religion without any difficulty. I actually became rather enthusiastic. I realized that I had been making the mistake of judging Islam by the behavior of some of its more unsavory nominal adherents rather than by the theological and moral teachings of the religion itself.
Jesus - Son of God?
Where I did have a real problem, though, was with the role of Jesus. I had been brought up a Catholic Christian, believing in the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son plus the Holy Spirit - three persons in one god. Islam rejects this and teaches the absolute oneness of God (Tawheed) and specifically that Jesus, though a great prophet, was only human and not divine.
O People of the Book [Christians and Jews]! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of God aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His messengers. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. Quran 4:171
Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. Quran 5:75
[Jesus] said: Surely I am a servant of God; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. Quran 19:30
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. Quran 5:17
They do blaspheme who say: "God is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord." Quran 5:72
And behold! God will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Quran 5:116
Islam preaches pure monotheism. The absolute fundamental of Islam is that God alone (what Christians refer to as God the Father) is the sole deity. Surah 112 of the Quran is quite explicit about this:
He is God, the only One,
God the Everlasting.
He did not beget and is not begotten,
And none is His equal.