The Holy week that turned into Hell week.

As I read some of the posts regarding this week from Coptic perspective and I wanted to share mine as a Non-Coptic wife. I believe this might be important for some of you. From what I can see, most of you live in Australia, US and other western cultures where you too might be in the same predicament of loving or marrying a non-copt. Something that might happen to anyone when love is blind.
Some of you already have read my first post about my interfaith marriage to a Coptic man, and you might be aware that after knowing my husband for 4 years, and having Civil marriage for almost 2, I am being asked to convert. I don't believe in that, God/ Holy Spirit is universal.
As you can guess, our marriage faced new level of challenges this past week, the Holy week. My husband spent most evenings after work at the Church, then all day Friday and 7 PM till 1 AM on Saturday, and almost all day on Sunday, on Easter. He asked me to come join him at least for the Saturday service. I think it was important for him to show to his priest/community/cult/whatever, that here I am, willing to learn and convert. Partly, I think that he was in danger of not being allowed to receive communion or maybe he just wanted to have his wife with him, I don't know. I seriously considered going until Saturday morning, as a “goodwill gesture” but I declined after reviewing some YouTube videos that the service, re- enactment of resurrection was 7 hours. Plus, he was not allowing his 7 old son to eat because he “must fast” before communion. Ironically, he had criticized Ramadan the night before saying that it is “obligatory” (yes, he is correct but not for children) whereas Lent and other fasting Coptics do is from their heart, out of love, nothing obligatory. Yet, my 7 year old stepson was being yelled at for forgetting to fast (poor thing is simply not ready and hungry). Somehow, “devotion and true desire to fast” was out the window. Hypocrisy at its best. Suddenly, I had NO desire to join him.
I am not going to deny, his resentment towards me was fueling. I felt it as he left for the service on Saturday. At midnight Saturday, I texted him to wish Happy Easter that I really love him and that I want from the bottom of my heart that he does not have grudge against me, and that he has enough compassion and love to reconcile with me (in the end isn’t that what Christ teaches). Asked him to have patience with me (for who I am essentially, although I should not be made feel bad for who I am)..... and that I am waiting for him at home with all my heart and love.
He didn’t sleep all night. I felt his anxiety...sometimes he looks at me and he tears up…I too barely slept. Next morning, Sunday, the unavoidable conversation started with something I don’t even recall, but it ended with “we cannot have a child” because our marriage is NOT a Christian marriage. My world was destroyed, some of you may not understand what it is to tell a woman something like this, but believe it's terrible.
The core problem, he explained was that child may not be baptized. About 1.5 year ago, I agreed to have our child baptized (this was my sacrifice for our love, for the well-being of our marriage) when he said the church in Egypt will be willing to baptize. Suddenly Church might NOT baptize the child because the mother is not Orthodox. He was NOW refusing my right to bear a child although we have been trying to conceive now for well over a year. What in the hell is going on, why now? Or is that my punishment? I went ballistic and demanded answers…. I argued that if I can be baptized on my own at age 40, then our child perhaps could go and get baptized at age 13 should the Church not allow baptism now. I see that happen all day long with multi-faith families. Why something that applies to me cannot apply to a child? So there goes another contradiction to what he said earlier “it’s never late to accept Jesus as the Savior”. His answer to my rebuttal was plain insane. He said : “What if the child dies before 13, as a parent I cannot let that child go to Hell”. And here we are, discussing the unlikely early death of an unborn, and not even a conceived at the time of the conversation. I am speechless….well-played game.
Another answer I wanted was - how come his church (it’s important to note, he said the word of Church is the word of God) is willing to remarry him if his Church NEVER allowed him to DIVORCE to begin with. Things are not adding up, did he actually divorce then…? I read countless of articles about this dilemma in Coptic culture, countless laws going back to 1938, 2008, then 2016 where divorce provisions kept changing (God could not make up his mind???) and supposedly some could simply purchase the “divorce” and subsequently right to “remarry” for enough cash unless there was an adultery. Well, apparently my husband, in distress from the divorce walked into to a strip club and watched/touched a stripper after he left his Ex, while still being in the process of a civil divorce. So that, as he explained, was an adultery by Coptic orthodox definition. Soooooo, to use the loophole of adultery in Coptic marital law, he staged the “adultery” to his Church, aka God (how convenient). So now, supposedly Church will reconsider re-marriage (I think that’s BS, I want a letter from the Pope himself for that matter). So comes now, he is NOT WILLING to deceive his Church to baptize our child (note that he was planning to get our child baptized in Egypt with Coptic Godmother and I, simply would not go to the ceremony) because it’s not the TRUTH. And again, conveniently it’s happening now, now when I refused to follow him.
Again, I am speechless…….., that hypocrisy melding into autocracy, that Pride, that profound superiority like one of you have said, that desire to please the Church and his urge at any cost, all because of heavy, heavy brainwashing….
I have no choice but to conclude that his Coptic church (not all Coptic churches perhaps and other Christian churches) is not a word nor a representation of God. After the realization of such, I canceled the Easter Dinner, something I have never done before. I have been respectfully celebrating Easter for over 29 years either with friends that I grew up with, with my ex family or my current family.
Honestly, I would have been more respectful if he really committed adultery (we are not perfect, right) rather than staging the adultery. You must be so indoctrinated to consciously (or subconsciously do twist things to make it “right” by your church but not right by God (or to a rational mind, I know some of you are atheist).
All of you who are on this forum - Is it too late for him to be rational (he is highly educated and has a good career, and so do I, in case you wonder, I am not in this for his looks or his good career)? Can he neutralize once again? I am not asking him to convert to Islam nor I am willing to de-convert myself from my belief.

Does he or maybe I need to go to a mental institution, lol? If so, please tell me (asking both Coptic and non Coptic ).
He send me a text this morning to tell me how much he LOVES me and that I need to look at things from perspective of “father or mother disciplining the child, and they do that out love not hate, they do it for child's benefit”. You are NOT my father, please come down from your high horse your Highness (I tear up as I say this), you are my partner, an EQUAL partner in life. And I am about to be DONE with you.
As the Coptic Holy week ended, my Hell week appears to have started…sigh...

Comments

  • Hello @NotCoptic
    I really appreciate you sharing your story, that definitely was not a good week, and that is an understatement. 
    If you do not mind me asking, what is your belief or what religion do you believe in, since you mentioned texting your husband during the Saturday service to reconcile with him and mentioned "isn’t that what Christ teaches." I appreciate your effort with your husband. I am not old enough to be married but my parents were divorced first civil and then a couple years after from the Church after when more proof was available for my father's adulteries. My father was not allowed to remarry anymore since he committed adultery but my mother was allowed so I am not sure how your husband was able to stage an adultery but still remarry. 
    You mention the various articles you have read about divorce and wondered "God could not make up his mind???" After all, the people are who set up rules in the Coptic Church or in any of the other churches, Catholic Church, Protestant churches, etc and not God. In the Coptic church specifically, the pope or the Holy Synod make the rules trying to follow God's rules as much as possible, after all, as you have mentioned, we are not perfect. The people who buy their divorces to remarry and such also are not perfect and there is always incidents in all faiths around the world where that happens because humans make mistakes all the time, and sometimes those are fatal mistakes, but no one can deny the fact that they occur. 
    Concerning communion, I understand where you may see that as hypocrisy but allow me to explain something really quick. As you already know, children are taught the rules or the morals, etc from a very young age because I am sure you have taught your child all of this and he is a good boy. Since he is baptized and takes communion, he also needs to learn that taking communion should not be taken lightly from that age and even from a younger age. I understand your frustration as you are a mother but as you may know of how the different genders express their emotions. Fathers tend to be more strict or express the rules while mothers are all the care for the child. I believe he was simply instructing your child because he expected more from him since he is a good boy. I believe that obligatory would be a term for the adults, that the adults themselves are not understanding what the fast is for and are simply doing it out of tradition with the example you provided for Ramadan. I do not think the term obligatory can be applied to children because everything is obligatory to them to teach them the right from the wrong. For example, when you teach your child to wait in line until his turn, it may be obligatory but it is to teach him morals. I believe the same idea applies here, no matter the religion, the parents always try to teach their children how to act or some things they must follow until they are old enough to learn the "why" of the act. It is obligatory, though, if the adults themselves are doing the act out of tradition. 
    It is important to note that I am not trying to defend his actions, they may feel a little exaggerated but I am offering a different perspective to consider. 
    I strongly believe that you are your husband are very understanding and good people. Your relationship together is healthy since you talk about it together. 
    Also, when you mentioned earlier that he wanted you to go with him on Saturday, he did not mean it so that he may appear good in front of people, he simply did it so that he can see that you support him and you are there for him. It is wonderful that you are trying to save your relationship by consenting to certain things and sacrificing is the most crucial piece of a relationship which proves the bond of you both! Easter is a very delightful time and he wished that you would be with him at the moment to celebrate with him this joyful moment because you both of course have been together through the good and bad of life. He wished to make you happy from the environment around you since the emotions are transferred from the environment to the individual. He certainly did not want you to go with him to just prove to the community that you are converting, he just wants you to share with him that last piece of his life which is the Church but is not going to force you because Christianity and certainly the Coptic church would not force anyone to become a Copt. 
    I believe that none of you need to go to a mental institution, you are both healthy and good. And as you have mentioned, you are both equal and partners but at a moment of distress he may have let those words out but they may not be what he really meant. 
    Reading your post, it can be understood how you both love each other and this is just a misunderstanding so just embrace your husband and try to work out a solution but just remember that you both are not perfect but at the end, you love each other dearly. 
  • Dearest @Msmekhael,

    Thank you so much for writing me. You input means a lot to me since I see that not very many can offer any. 

    To answer your first question, I am Muslim, sorry if I was not clear on that, and yes, when God wills and when Love wins, Coptic people do marry Muslims. Does that blow up later at the face of the marriage, yes, I am learning that apparently. it does! 

    Further, let me clarify that, as you have guessed from my above statement, we only have a civil marriage. Church was never an option because 1) they would not remarry him because of his grave sin 2) I am not a Copt. So now, #1 apparently has changed because God (aka Church) is forgiving, but #2 remains as a problem.

    And why am i using God and Church synchronously? Because that's what I was told by a Copt. So thanks you for explaining that the Church, the Pope and the Holy Synod are all fallible, I do get that. However, my Coptic husband still equates Church to word of God. Why is it that after the actual marriage took place, there is a need to backtrack? If one is a true believer (Christ, God, Allah) then they should realize that this marriage only happened because of the blessing by Higher Power. It must be that the Power, that is above bunch of fallible councils and Church members, desired this union enough that it aligned all the planets (the circumstances) to make this marriage happen, against all the odd and all the contradicting values, cultures and etc. And yes, you can come back and tell me God gave us free will to make the right choice and etc...Right choice is LOVE, right choice is a sacrifice

    Few people emailed me privately and said that he truly cares about me and can not imagine the idea of me not joining him in God's Kingdom and wants my Salvation. I now he does truly love me but there more here than pure love, that I am still trying to uncover. 

    Regarding the boy, I agree with everything you say except the Ramadan. If Ramadan is just out of tradition then one can say so is Lent. But who cares, because both are versions of fasting and both lead the believer to focus more on spiritual world rather than physical. One problem on this forum is that everything Muslims do is seen in such a negative light. Even the negative things about Coptic people are viewed as "oh that's the effect of the evil Islam". Orthodoxy predates Islam by far, so who knows for sure which one of those effects the other or vice versa? As an outsider and as a Muslim, I find so many similarities between them that pages and pages of writing would not be enough. Needless to say, that's another topic, a hot one that I would not dare to touch but it's disheartening to see that many who claim to be the most devote Orthodox on this forum, take every opportunity to bash other religions, not just Islam. Ironically, that goes against one of the core commandments "love the neighbor".

  • You are in the midst of a difficult scenario, one that is not easy to explain. As msmekhail mentioned however, there are positives in your relationship, all of which can help build the relationship to the right point.

    I ask you 1 question however, what is the point of marriage? 
    Is it to have a declared commitment? Well, there is no difference between a common-law partner and a marriage at this point. 
    Is it simply to have lawful relations in the eyes of God? God surely made marriage much beyond the point of relations, or even simple procreation. For you would procreate then what, once your are done? There must be more to it.
    Is it for the eyes of God? But there is but 1 God.

    In marriage, the objective is to unite with our spouse in all aspects, spiritual, physical, emotional, all aspects... This is, in my understanding, what true complete marriage is.

    You both are in 2 separate spiritual worlds, it was bound to catch up to you guys. You are respectful of each others views, that is great. But will this stay forever as such? If so, sorry to say, again in my own personal view, the relationship serves no purpose. For marriage leads us to God. If we have no common understanding to God, how is this relationship ever going to build us towards Him?

    Being very close to many muslims, and having my best friend being muslim, I have had many friendly inter-faith discussions. All of which made me get to realize that the way the faith of Islam is presented in a moralistic way to a beginner (as myself) was nearly identical to a Christian based faith. EVERYTHING, going from the importance of the faith of Abraham, to the importance of prayer and charity/self-denial, to the knowledge of faith and doctrine [5 pillars of faith], those are crucial to both faiths. So similar on so many aspects, yet, in one point, so different. The point that matters to us the most. The point that makes the entire difference in why we believe what we believe. The one point that our entire, faith, doctrine, dogma is based on - the death of Christ. Without this, to us, faith has no purpose, no meaning. Faith would be nothing more than a moral guide. In any case, I say this to acknowledge the similarity, yet the proclaim the extreme difference. 

    Now, for your other question, how is the church considering this after his mistake? No one, or likely no one, on this forum will be able to answer you this. It can be based on specific circumstances, or details of his repentance or the church's interpretation of repentance. 

    NotCoptic, I encourage you and your husband to ask yourselves some serious & honest questions. Seek some honest answers. I can further discuss privately if you wish.
  • @ShareTheLord 

    Hi, thanks for the thoughts. I agree on your points regarding the fundamental difference of Islam Vs Christianity. However, if you read closely I am not worried about the difference, I am definitely not worried about who has a true scripture or false one. Maybe, just maybe, I would have even accepted "Jesus as my Savior" but after seeing the hypocrisy, self-righteousness, prejudice to others, the outward piety/holiness, a lot of talk of "Love" but lack of "Love action" , and lack of spiritual life in my husband totally detracts me from following him at all.

    Honest questions were asked, and I only mentioned the example of two in my post, and searching for the answers, I found out a lot of dishonesty that somehow you managed to dodge on your answers. Oh wait, may be all of that was Islam's influence! 

    Marriage leads to God? I see and hear so many Copt marriage stories where couples endure the marriage, rather than live the marriage to it's fullest. They are miserable as hell and can not get. They continue to live the false life with pretentious perfection in the eyes of the Church community but yet divorced emotionally. I don't see that marriage close to God. I say that because I too lived that kind of life with my first Muslim husband. All was suppose to be perfect and we ought to live in harmony because we were both Muslims. 

    You are also wrong about our current marriage being like common law. It is contract in the eyes of State (in the land of USA) and anyone living in it. The religious ceremony in itself does not make a legally binding marriage. A religious ceremony is just a visual and outward display of the marriage of two people within the religious community of believers. It is however, a common law marriage if you just get the church ceremony and not the civil part. So it's just the opposite of what you are saying no matter how much you might be convinced according to the Doctrine. 

    Thanks again. 
  • edited May 2
    @NotCoptic,
    I was not in any way attacking you or your beliefs. I was simply expressing my opinion. Yes, many people live very unfruitful marriages. Society has twisted the understanding of it and many don’t even know what marriage is all about.
    I understand it is difficult to hear me say that the marriage would mean nothing unless you both followed one faith. I wasn’t telling you become Christian, or him become Muslim. You can re-read my comment if you like.

    When I mention common law, I mention how being legally bound together is not marriage. Marriage existed and was defined prior to all government institutions. Marriage definition today is skewed. True marriage is marriage in the eyes of God. This goes to Islam as much as true Christianity. I am not wrong on this one. Common law in its definition says: denoting a partner in a marriage by common law (which recognized unions created by mutual agreement and public behavior), not by a civil or ecclesiastical ceremony.

    In the end, my opinion doesn’t matter. I am simply trying to give you honest advice and tell you guys that yes scripture does matter in a relationship. Seeking to fulfill scripture makes the entire difference in a persons life. It creates a godly standard, not a moral standard. If we don’t care for godly standards we are bound to have diluted standards which will in turn (in time) expose more and more of our weaknesses. Looking at people at church or in a mosque is not the way to figure out what is right. We are all imperfect and non of us lead perfect lives, but some honest people seek to live this perfect and and are very much in the path of it. I will admit there are those who are not even religious and still have decent partnership (better than many of us) - I call it partnerships, because I want to emphasize my opinion of the definition of marriage. But in the end, what has their partnership (or legal marriage) given them? Will they go to heaven? What if they curse God constantly and say they hate the idea of Him all their lives but manage decent ‘married’ lives? If not, then what was the point of all of it? It meant nothing. All our lives, all our decisions, would be beneficial to our salvation if they were spiritual.

    I know you may have a difference of opinion and I respect it. I simply wanted to clarify my words one last time. Should you still disagree, I will respect and will not answer.

    May God bless you and your husbands heart and give you both hearts that lead to each other and to Him.

  • edited May 22
    So your sole reason for not becoming coptic is because of the sinfulness of your husband? He knows that, that's why he goes to church. We wouldn't need the church. "The church is a hospital for the sick" - Saint John Chrysostom

    Fasting is only necessary as a form of focusing on God when a child is at a certain age.

    Regarding the Coptic faith, here are some reasons why it is the true church.
    1. The Bible is historically accurate.
    The field of archaeology demonstrates that the Bible is historically accurate. Now, this does not mean that it is inherently “true.” It does mean that it is reliable in its historical details—which gives some pretty good credibility to what else it has to say. If we can trust that the Bible accurately records for us geographical places (Israel, Egypt, Babylon, etc.) and historical people (Herod or Pontius Pilate, for example), it’s very likely it has many other true things to say. One reason I could never trust the Book of Mormon, in contrast, is that most of the places listed in its geography are make-believe. It’s very difficult for me to trust a book that is claiming to be nonfiction when its geography is clearly fiction.

    2. Compared to other ancient documents, there is no comparison!
    The New Testament has been preserved more than any other ancient work. There are over 5,800 Greek manuscripts. The runner-up for ancient texts is Homer’s Iliad, with less than 2,000 copies. After that, the works of Aristotle, Herodotus, Tacitus, and others are even more poorly represented with only two handfuls (or less!) for each.

    Now having an abundance of manuscripts doesn’t tell us whether or not the original text is true—it only tells us that we accurately have a handle on what that original text was. We have to read the New Testament itself if we want to find out how trustworthy it is. Still, we do have good reason to trust that the English printed edition we have on our bookshelf or next to our nightstand is, in fact, the very Bible that was completed in the first century. That’s another great place to start in being able to trust the Bible, and it’s more than we can say for any other ancient text in the world.

    3. The New Testament manuscripts were written by eyewitnesses.
    These eyewitnesses were real people who saw (and touched, see 1 John 1) firsthand the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke does mention that he did historical research before writing his Gospel (Luke 1:1–4), but he went straight to other eyewitnesses in order to write these things down. The whole New Testament claims that Jesus Christ died on a cross and rose from the dead three days after dying.

    He was seen risen from the dead by all of the original apostles (except Judas who hung himself) and by over five hundred different people (1 Cor. 15:6). There was nothing to gain but death by asserting this claim, but many of these disciples chose to die as martyrs rather than deny the truth of Christ’s resurrection. The fact that so many early disciples died as martyrs based on what they personally witnessed only bolsters the reality that it was true.

    4. The Bible cared about what women thought at a time when no one else did.
    The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1–2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1) make it a point to tell us that the first people to report that the tomb of Jesus was empty were women. Not men. Women. In the first century, a woman’s opinion was not viewed as credible testimony in court. (Just read the Jewish historian, Josephus, or the Jewish Talmud to verify this fact.) A woman’s opinion didn’t matter. But the Bible says it does. The last group of people we would expect to find the empty tomb was the first group to whom God looked and used: women.

    If first-century followers of Christ were going to fabricate a story about Jesus rising from the dead, they wouldn’t want to include this embarrassing detail about women finding the tomb first. They would have omitted it to make the strongest case possible for the resurrection. And yet, the Gospel writers did not omit this detail. They told the truth as it was. We can trust that the Bible is true because they included this small but magnificent detail. They recounted what happened truthfully, without bearing false witness. Other ancients might have pointed to its seeming absurdity: “You say women found the tomb? What a bunch of baloney! Never trust a woman’s testimony!” Yet, the Bible was way ahead of its time in giving honor and respect to women.

    5. If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then the Bible is true.
    Christianity is the only religion founded by a leader who predicted his resurrection before he died, and whose earliest followers also died confessing and believing this fact. If the tomb was empty and the resurrection makes the most sense for why Jesus’ body went missing, then Jesus is still alive today. It means that Jesus is God and is Lord of the entire cosmos. He—God—Jesus—runs the show.

    The Gospel accounts tell us that after his resurrection, Jesus spent some time with his disciples and then appeared to numerous others. Among those blessed ones to whom he appeared were two on the road to Emmaus. To these two, Jesus didn’t appeal to the fact that he was now resurrected. He appealed to the Bible as his source of authority. He didn’t say, “Hey, look at my glorious resurrection body!” but he directed their attention to the very Word of God (Luke 24:13–35). And then he proved he was not a ghost by eating bread and drinking wine with them—communing with them (v. 35).

    If the risen Lord first appealed to the Bible to convince these disciples to believe in him, we also have a good incentive to trust the credibility of these manuscripts and scrolls that are now translated into what we know as the Bible. Jesus was willing to submit himself, even as the resurrected Lord of the universe, to the words that are revealed in this book. In doing so, he taught us something. He taught us that God’s Word is true and dependable. Again, if Jesus is God—if he is risen—that means something! It means that the Bible must be right. It must be trustworthy or else God himself is a liar. And we know that’s not true.

    6. The Bible’s primary author can be trusted.
    The Bible was written by many authors over more than two thousand years, and yet it has a unity to it that is unlike any other religious collection of books. This unity exists because one divine author wrote it—God. The Old Testament anticipates the New Testament, and the New Testament recasts old metaphors and imagery, showing forth the organic unity of it all!

    As the early church father Saint Augustine expressed it, “The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.” What this means is that the Bible reads from promise (Old Testament) to fulfillment (New Testament). It moves forward, and when we read ahead, we are told to remember and look backward at what happened long ago in history.

    Like any good story, the Bible has characters, plots, subplots, and different settings—yet this one, unified story is the greatest story that was ever told. It’s the greatest story ever told because not only are we told about the meaning of life, but in it, we are given the greatest Savior to behold—one who has come to save us from even death itself and has promised a new world without pain or tears! God has proved himself to be trustworthy in the words and works of Jesus.

    7. The Bible is authorized by Jesus.
    Because Jesus is God, if he says that he trusts something, then we have good reason to trust it too. We are clay in the hands of the potter, creatures in the hands of the Creator. When Jesus lived on this earth in the first century, he believed that the Old Testament Scriptures were authoritative (Matt. 19:4-5).

    Jesus also affirmed that every prophecy in the Old Testament was being fulfilled in himself, as he taught two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 4:21), and before he ascended into heaven, Jesus also authorized his apostles to speak in his name (Matt. 18:18; 28:16-20; Romans 3:2).

    This means that they had authority from God to write the rest of the New Testament, so we can trust that the Bible is God’s Word because God himself gave it to us and put his stamp of approval on it.

    8. The Bible is without error.
    If ultimately God wrote the entire Bible through prophets and apostles (Jeremiah 1:9), cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), and is the source of all good, then it follows that the Bible is without error, falsehood, or deceit.

    “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” (Ps. 119:160)

    If this book were full of critical errors, there would, of course, be no point in reading it, but the Bible has more credibility as a historical document.

    9. The Bible is clear in its primary message.
    The reformer John Calvin observed that Moses was not an astronomer, and the Bible is not a science textbook. If we go to the Bible looking for answers to questions that it never asks, we will surely misunderstand the book. As Jesus said to the Pharisees:

    “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)

    The basic plotline, God saving a people for himself, runs throughout the whole Bible. This basic message is simple and clearly explained over and over again.

    10. The Coptic Orthodox Church is The Church Established by Christ and His Disciples (AD 33).
    The Coptic Church is based on the teachings of Saint Mark who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a dozen of years after the Lord's ascension. He was one of the four evangelists and the one who wrote the oldest canonical gospel. Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 A.D., and a fragment of the Gospel of Saint John, written using the Coptic language, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century. The Coptic Church, which is now more than nineteen centuries old, was the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament. Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border."

  • Surah 15:9 of the Qur’an proclaims:

    We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).

    Muslim scholars interpret this ayah (verse) as a divine promise that the text of the Qur’an would be preserved perfectly, down to the smallest detail. The Qur’an therefore offers us a way to test its divine origin, based on whether Allah’s promise in Surah 15:9 was fulfilled. In this pamphlet, we will review the history of the Qur’an according to Muslim sources, allowing us to see if this book has Allah’s stamp of approval.

    I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE QUR’AN

    The first Qur’anic revelation came to Muhammad around the year 610. Muhammad delivered many more verses to his scribes and companions for memorization and recording over the next two decades. These verses were written on stalks of palm leaves, bones of dead animals, flat stones, and other materials. There was no complete manuscript of the Qur’an during this time.

    Qur’anic revelation ceased when Muhammad died. Shortly after Muhammad’s death, Caliph Abu Bakr needed to suppress a rebellion, and he sent many huffaz (people who had memorized portions of the Qur’an) to fight at the Battle of Yamama. Many of these huffaz died, and Muslim sources tell us that portions of the Qur’an were lost:

    Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif—Many (of the passages) of the Qur’an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama . . . but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.

    Abu Bakr decided that it was time to gather what remained of the Qur’an in order to prevent more from being lost, and he appointed Zaid ibn Thabit to this task. After Zaid completed his codex around 634 AD, it remained in Abu Bakr’s possession until his death, when it was passed on to Caliph Umar. When Umar died, it was given to Hafsa, a widow of Muhammad. (For a fuller account see Sahih al-Bukhari 4986.)

    During Caliph Uthman’s reign, approximately 19 years after the death of Muhammad, disputes arose concerning the correct recitation of the Qur’an. Uthman ordered that Hafsa’s copy of the Qur’an, along with all known textual materials, should be gathered together so that an official version might be compiled. Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Sa’id bin Al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith worked diligently to construct a revised text of the Qur’an. When it was finished, “Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt” (Sahih al-Bukhari 4987). The Qur’an we have today is descended from the Uthmanic codex.

    II. DISPUTES AMONG MUHAMMAD’S SCHOLARS

    Not all Muslims approved of the new Qur’an. Indeed, some of Muhammad’s top teachers rejected Zaid’s version.

    Muhammad once told his followers to “Learn the recitation of the Qur’an from four: from Abdullah bin Masud—he started with him—Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Ubai bin Ka’b” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3808). Interestingly, Ibn Masud (first on Muhammad’s list) held that the Qur’an should only have 111 chapters (today’s version has 114 chapters), and that chapters 1, 113, and 114 shouldn’t have been included in the Qur’an.

    Because of this (along with hundreds of other textual differences), Ibn Masud went so far as to call the final edition of the Qur’an a deception! He said, “The people have been guilty of deceit in the reading of the Qur’an. I like it better to read according to the recitation of him [i.e. Muhammad] whom I love more than that of Zayd Ibn Thabit” (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, p. 444).

    Should Muslims submit to this “deceit”? Not surprisingly, Ibn Masud advised Muslims to reject Zaid’s Qur’an and to keep their own versions—even to hide them so that they wouldn’t be confiscated by the government! He said:

    Jami at-Tirmidhi 3104—“O you Muslim people! Avoid copying the Mushaf and recitation of this man. By Allah! When I accepted Islam he was but in the loins of a disbelieving man”—meaning Zaid bin Thabit—and it was regarding this that Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “O people of Al-Iraq! Keep the Musahif that are with you, and conceal them.”

    But Ibn Masud wasn’t the only one of Muhammad’s trusted teachers who disagreed with Zaid’s Qur’an. Ubayy ibn Ka’b was Muhammad’s best reciter and one of the only Muslims to collect the materials of the Qur’an during Muhammad’s lifetime. Yet Ibn Ka’b believed that Zaid’s Qur’an was missing two chapters! Later Muslims were therefore forced to reject some of Ibn Ka’b’s recitation:

    Sahih al-Bukhari 5005—Umar said, “Ubayy was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur’an), yet we leave some of what he recites.” Ubayy says, “I have taken it from the mouth of Allah’s Messenger and will not leave it for anything whatever.”

    Due to these disputes among Muhammad’s hand-picked reciters, Muslims are faced with a dilemma. If Muslims say that the Qur’an we have today has been perfectly preserved, they must say that Muhammad was horrible at choosing scholars, since he selected men who disagreed with today’s text. If, on the other hand, Muslims say that their prophet would know whom to pick regarding Islam’s holiest book, they must conclude that the Qur’an we have today is flawed!

    III. MISSING CHAPTERS

    Simply knowing the facts about such disputes is enough to dismiss the claim that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved. Nevertheless, we may go further by briefly considering certain other problems.

    When Ibn Umar—son of the second Muslim caliph—heard people declaring that they knew the entire Qur’an, he said to them: “Let none of you say, ‘I have learned the whole of the Koran,’ for how does he know what the whole of it is, when much of it has disappeared? Let him rather say, ‘I have learned what is extant thereof’” (Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an).

    One of Muhammad’s companions, Abu Musa, supported this claim when he said that the early Muslims forgot two surahs (chapters) due to laziness:

    Sahih Muslim 2286—Abu Musa al-Ash’ari sent for the reciters of Basra. They came to him and they were three hundred in number. They recited the Qur’an and he said: You are the best among the inhabitants of Basra, for you are the reciters among them. So continue to recite it. (But bear in mind) that your reciting for a long time may not harden your hearts as were hardened the hearts of those before you. We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at. I have, however, forgotten it with the exception of this which I remember out of it: “If there were two valleys full of riches, for the son of Adam, he would long for a third valley, and nothing would fill the stomach of the son of Adam but dust.” And we used to recite a surah which resembled one of the surahs of Musabbihat, and I have forgotten it . . .

    This shows that entire chapters of the Qur’an were forgotten.

    IV. MISSING PASSAGES

    We know further that large sections of certain chapters came up missing. For instance, Muhammad’s wife Aisha said that roughly two-thirds of Surah 33 was lost:

    Abu Ubaid, Kitab Fada’il-al-Qur’an—A’isha . . . said, “Surat al-Ahzab (xxxiii) used to be recited in the time of the Prophet with two hundred verses, but when Uthman wrote out the codices he was unable to procure more of it than there is in it today [i.e. 73 verses].”

    According to Aisha, the collectors simply couldn’t find all of Surah 33. Why not? As we’ve seen, many huffaz were killed at the Battle of Yamama. Apparently, no one who knew the entire chapter survived.

    V. MISSING VERSES

    Aisha also tells us that individual verses of the Qur’an disappeared, sometimes in very interesting ways:

    Sunan ibn Majah 1944—It was narrated that Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”

    The verses on stoning and breastfeeding an adult ten times are not in the Qur’an today. Why? Aisha’s sheep ate them.

    VI. MISSING PHRASES

    Since entire chapters, large portions of chapters, and individual verses of the Qur’an were lost, it should come as no surprise that short phrases were forgotten as well. Let’s consider two examples.

    First, Surah 33:6 declares that “The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” Ubayy ibn Ka’b and other early Muslims held that a phrase (“and he is a father of them”) is missing from this verse. Even the great translator Yusuf Ali admits this in his commentary. Ali writes: “In some Qira’ahs, like that of Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, occur also the words ‘and he is a father of them,’ which imply his spiritual relationship and connection with the words ‘and his wives are their mothers’” (Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Note 3674). It seems that Muslims have been left with an incomplete verse.

    Second, if we open a modern edition of the Qur’an, we find that Surah 2:238 commands Muslims to “Guard strictly your (habit) of prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).” According to Aisha, Muhammad recited this verse as follows: “Guard strictly (the five obligatory) prayers, and the middle Salat, and Salat Al-Asr. And stand before Allah with obedience” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 2982). Hence, the phrase “and Salat Al-Asr” is missing from modern editions.

    VII. ASSESSMENT

    Obviously, the Qur’an has changed significantly over the years. The evidence shows that entire chapters were lost, that large sections of chapters came up missing, that individual verses were forgotten, and that phrases have been left out. Muhammad’s best teachers and reciters couldn’t even agree on which chapters were supposed to be in the Qur’an.

    This raises an obvious question. What’s the difference between a book that’s been perfectly preserved, and one that hasn’t been perfectly preserved? If Muslims are right, there’s no difference at all. The typical characteristics of a book that hasn’t been perfectly preserved are (1) missing phrases, (2) missing passages, (3) missing chapters, (4) disagreements about what goes back to the original, etc. But the Qur’an has all of these characteristics. Thus, Muslims who are aware of the evidence but who also want to maintain the perfect perseveration of the Qur’an must say something like this: “Yes, the Qur’an has all the characteristics of a book that hasn’t been perfectly preserved, but it’s been perfectly preserved anyway.” Can anyone make sense of such a claim?

    We must also take note of the obvious. Anyone who has read the Muslim sources (e.g. Hadith, Tafsir, etc.) knows that the Qur’an has not been perfectly preserved. Muslim scholars are well aware of the fact that the Qur’an has been changed, and yet they tell less-educated Muslims that the Qur’an has always been exactly the same. Why are Muslim scholars and leaders deceptive about the history of their book? Moreover, if they are willing to deceive their fellow Muslims about the history of the Qur’an, what else are they being deceptive about?

    Friends, whenever a book is passed on and copied by human beings, mistakes are going to be made (e.g. spelling errors, inadvertent omissions, intentional changes, and so on). This is true of all books, including the Qur’an and the Bible. The difference between the Qur’an and other books is that the Qur’an promises that no changes in its text will ever occur. As we have seen in this study, the Qur’an has not been perfectly preserved, which means that the promise of Surah 15:9 was not kept. The Qur’an cannot therefore be the Word of God.
  • Abu Dawood (459) and Ahmad (6650) narrated from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father that his grandfather said: The Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: “Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’ (247).
  • Hi,
    DO NOT CONVERT TO COPTIC ORTHODOXY. 

    This is totally wrong. 

    I'm extremely angry and astonished even that you are being asked to convert. If your husband wanted a Coptic Wife, he should have married someone Coptic.

    Are you at least Christian?? 

    EVEN IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN - DO NOT CONVERT!! IF you convert for the sake of marriage, I swear, I will complain about whoever baptises you. That is TOTALLY wrong!!!!!


  • @Zoxsasi, not a very right approach on whatever you’re trying to say...and “Zoxasi” is Coptic, isn’t it @Zoxsasi??
  • @Jojo_Hanna,

    Oh.. and what is the right approach? You think it is ok for people to convert to orthodoxy just to marry someone Orthodox??? We are against that. If you don't like it, take it up with a Bishop, or the Pope. We do not convert or baptise ANYONE for the sake of marriage.

    Get over it.

    And the reason is this: this post!! 

    Secondly, and most importantly, we can't allow someone to take the sacraments if they don't believe. This is folly!! We are against this.

    Again, DO NOT CONVERT TO COPTIC ORTHODOXY.

    Why did your husband choose you for?? He has to accept and love you for why he chose to be with you. He cannot mould you into something you are not. That's stupid. 


  • Hello @Zoxasi

    I understand your frustration but I think the argument relating to her converting is for the actual faith and not for the marriage. Yes if her husband sought a coptic wife he would have married one but he loved her and married her because of who she is. He is exposing her to the Coptic environment and trying to convert her not for the salvation of the relationship between them but for the salvation of their souls. She is not being asked to convert to stabilize the relationship but that it is out of zeal of the husband to his wife for the salvation of her soul as from the coptic view. God bless
  • Again @Zoxsasi, you are not taking the proper reproach. You are getting frustrated and mad at the wrong people.
    If you really knew me you would know that I take Church cannons to heart and can sometimes (usually actually) get in trouble because of this!

    Example, you sneeze one time so your first reaction is to call a priest, because
    SNEEZE > SICK = UNCTION OF THE SICK
    (in front of Abouna you are sick, but inside you know you just got a little chilly at night)
    Is the sick person right, or wrong?
    Is Abouna right, or wrong?

    Also, instead of say He is wrong, don’t listen, don’t this and don’t that...why don’t you explain why his intentions are correct, but his way of fulfilling them we’re incorrect!
    Why don’t you provide information on Pros and Cons?
    Forgive me for saying you are wrong,
    I did not mean to be hurtful.

    Your Brother,
    Jojo
  • Hello @ msmekhael  and @Jojo_hanna,

    Just curious, why is there such an urgent need to save wife's soul when his own salvation is questionable? I sent a PM to you. 
  • Tbh, I didn’t even read the entire discussion.
    Reading “DO NOT BE COPTIC” was just an eye-sore...reading up a few posts above it I understood what I needed to know which was just enough to write.

    @NotCoptic, if any soul is in urgent need, it’s mine! I’m not one to say who’s salvation is questionable or not (because it’s not like I have my eternity in my pocket, unfortunately)
    What PM?
    GB
  • Hello @NotCoptic
    His salvation is questionable as you have explained in the PM but saving your soul is just as important to me. I replied in full depth to your PM :)
    -msmekhael
  • @Jojo_Hanna,
    A PM is a private message. God bless :)
    -msmekhael
  • @msmekhael
    I know what a PM is!
    There was nothing in my inbox, though..
  • @Jojo_Hanna
    Oh okay my bad...
  • Hi everyone , this is a very interesting conversation... I am living in Australia, born catholic became coptic and married in the Coptic Church. I truly believe the Church and his teachings , although I have endure misunderstanding and grief. I have 5 children , all of them baptized coptic.. Unfortunitly after 16 years of mariage .. the father of my children had several adulterous affairs , and I also became vulnerable and started talking with someone online... Now I truly understand this is wrong in the eyes of the teachings of the church. So we decided to divorce and I took the blame , which gave him the opportunity to get married to a coptic again. Now I never remarried, and his marriage with his second wife also ended with one child together in divorce.. Now guess what He is marrying again in the church., third wife ex muslim baptised coptic.. How is this all possible ? Please explain ?
  • Just to let you know , I stopped going to the church because all of this. , also my children practice their faith in our Lord by attending evangelical churches.. I am so sorry to tell you all this.. but some things I may not understand being none egyptian . I can only say : in God we trust .. Amen
This discussion has been closed.