Thank you for your response. Unfortunately, I remain confused about a few points:
You write that the verse does not say that “when a people become undeserving of God’s favors, God would then take away the favor from those people.” It instead says that “God only turns away His favors from a nation, when that nation renders itself undeserving of God’s special favors.” I have compared these two statements in my mind to perceive the difference between them, yet fail to find it. Exactly how are these two statements different? Do they not both imply that God turns away His favors when a nation becomes (or renders itself) undeserving of such favors? For example, let us compare the following two statements:
When my little brother becomes undeserving of my allowing him to use my computer, I would then deny him this privilege/favor.
I only turn away this privilege/favor when my little brother renders himself undeserving of this special privilege/favor.
Am I not, according to BOTH statements, denying my little brother the privilege WHEN he becomes or renders himself undeserving of it? Again, I do not see the difference in the two statements. The cause and effect are sequentially reversed, but this reversal has no effect on the meaning of the statements, for “Because of A, B happens” is no different from “B happens because of A.” Please point out more clearly what the difference between the two statements is.
The reasons for which the Jewish and Muslim nations lost the divine favor, according to this divine law, are clear to me. But for what reason(s) did God turn away His favor from the Christian nations? Does the Qur’an directly comment on the transgressions of the Christians in the way that it comments on the transgression of the Jews?
What do you mean when you say that the United States is a ‘geographical’ nation? Do you mean ethnically and religiously diverse?
My answers to your questions follow:
Had the verse said: “when a people become undeserving of God’s favors, God takes away the favor from those people”, it would have meant that when a people render themselves undeserving of God’s favors, God would then necessarily remove these favors from those people. On the other hand, when the verse says: “God only turns away His favors from a nation, when that nation renders itself undeserving of God’s favors”, it implies that a nation which has rendered itself undeserving of God’s favors may, under certain circumstances, continue to enjoy God’s favors, but no nation, which continues to deserve God’s favors shall ever be deprived of these special favors.
The favors enjoyed by the Christian nation were, in fact, a continuation of the favors bestowed upon the Israelites. The status of the Christian nation, in this respect, does not seem to be independent of that of the Israelites. The specially favored nations of Gods, as referred to in the Qur’an, are, in fact, the descendents – Israel and Ishmael – of Abraham (pbuh). There is, nevertheless, a ‘favor’ bestowed upon the Christians – as separate from the Jews – which relates to their continued dominance over the Jews. However, this dominance of the Christians is more of a punishment of the Jews for rejecting one of God’s messengers, rather than a favor upon the Christians. The Christians would continue to enjoy this ‘favor’ over the Jews till the Day of Judgment, if they continue to believe in Jesus Christ (pbuh).
By ‘geographical nation’ it is meant that the apparent ‘favors’ enjoyed by the United States should not be construed as ‘favors’ upon the Christian nation. The United States is not representative of Christianity, just as Turkey or any other Muslim country taken independently, is not representative of Islam. The rise and fall of these nations should, therefore, not be construed as the rise or fall of Islam or Christianity.
I hope this helps.
June 20, 2002