Islam and You Study No. 195
oming to your neighborhood soon, if it hasn’t already, is a Muslim mosque. Islam, the faith of seventh century Muhammad, is the world’s fastest- growing religion. Like it or not, Islam affects you. It is estimated that one and one half billion persons worship Allah. Is the Muslim god, Allah, the same as the Yahweh of the Bible? Is it wrong to attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity? Are Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists like Osama bin Laden following mainstream Islamic belief, or do they pervert Islamic belief?
Preaching the Gospel a Hate Crime?
In today’s postmodern society, any attempt to present the Gospel is viewed as “hatred, intolerance, and bigotry.” Recently, the Southern Baptists issued booklets urging their members to pray for and reach out to non-Christians, such as Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. This literature called for Christians to bring others to the light of Christ. Strong reaction against this normal evangelistic practice came from the Washington Post, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, and even several members of Congress. U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott wrote the President of the Southern Baptists, stating, “We cannot understand how men and women, raised and educated in the world’s bastion of religious freedom and tolerance, can characterize another religion as spiritually dark and false.” This is typically a postmodern idea: there is no absolute Truth; your “truth” is as good as my “truth.” Therefore, you are considered a bigot if you claim that your Truth is the only Truth. As America becomes increasingly “post-Christian,” preaching the Gospel is being labeled a “hate crime.” Acts 5:29 instructs us to nevertheless press on with lovingly presenting the true Gospel.
Pope John Paul II said in May, 1999, “. . . together with us they [Muslims] adore the one, merciful, God.” Many religious leaders today are being wooed into the ecumenical movement, accepting the idea that the Allah of the Koran, the god of Rome, and the God of the Bible are one and the same.
To the “people of the Scriptures” or “book,” Muslims are told to say, “We have faith in that which has been revealed to us and in that which has been revealed unto you. Our God and your God are one, and unto him we are resigned,” Koran 29:46.
Do Muslims believe in both the Koran (Quran) and the Bible? We shall see.
What is the nature of the god — Allah — of the Muslims? Is he the same as the Yahweh of Scripture?
As reported in the January/February 2000 issue of Battle Cry, a comparison of Allah and Yahweh, based on their portrayal in the Koran and the Bible respectively, is a study of opposites.
Unknowable: Allah is so transcendent, so exalted, that no man can ever personally know Allah. Yahweh, on the other hand, sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world so we could know God personally, John 17:3.
Nonpersonal: Allah is not considered a person; this would lower him to the level of man. However, the God of the Bible is spoken of as a person with intellect, emotion, and a will.
Nonspirit: The idea that Allah is a person or a spirit is considered blasphemous and demeans the mysterious exalted one. God is a Spirit, who expects us to worship Him in spirit and in Truth, John 4:24.
No God Family: The Koran specifically denies that Allah is a father, that Jesus is the Son of God, or that God is a divine family. Allah had no son, Muslims admit. The Bible reveals the family of God, Ephesians 3:15, of which we now are sons, Romans 8:14-17.
Unlimited and Capricious: The Koran describes Allah as able to do anything, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. He is not even limited by his own nature and thus is untrustworthy, since he is not bound by his nature or word. The Biblical God is limited by His own holy nature. He cannot lie or contradict Himself (God cannot lie, Scripture cannot be broken). By being limited, Yahweh is greater than the capricious Allah.
No love: The concept of Allah having feelings toward man is foreign to Islamic teaching. That would reduce Allah to a mere man, a blasphemous idea to a Muslim. The Biblical God’s chief characteristic, the sum of all Bible teaching, is that God is love, and has feelings for His creatures, especially man, John 3:16; I John 4:8.
Passive in history: Allah does not personally enter into human history; he deals with the world through his word, prophets, and angels. God, especially in His Son, Himself enters history and acts to bring about man’s salvation, Isaiah 40:18-31.
Negative attributes: The 99 attributes of Allah are all negative, what he is not like. No positive attributes are listed. The Bible tells us what God is and what He is not.
No grace: There is no savior or intercessor or concept of grace in the Koran. This leads to a religion of salvation by works. The God of the Bible provides free salvation for man through a Savior who acts as an intercessor between God and man, I Timothy 2:5. How vastly different are Allah and Yahweh!
Muslims claim that before Muhammad, Allah was the Biblical God of the Old Testament Israelites and New Testament Apostles, so there is no need to attempt to proselytize each other. They believe that Christians should immediately become Muslims to fit into God’s plan. In Muslim countries, Islamics who convert to Christianity are often tortured and killed. However, in the Western world, Christians who attempt to convert Moslems to the love of Christ are being scorned as “hate mongers.”
In rebelling against the worship of the Creator, mankind anciently turned to worship some aspect of His creation. Since the sun and moon were very prominent parts of creation, they became almost universal objects of idolatry. Archeologists have traced the origins of the worship of Allah not to Yahweh, but to al-ilah, the moon god worshiped by Arabs long before Muhammad. This word had been shortened to Allah before the time of Muhammad. Stone images of the crescent moon have been unearthed, demonstrating that worship of the moon god was the dominant religion of all Arabia. Indeed, when Israel turned to idol worship, it was often to the moon god. Today, the crescent moon is the symbol of Islam, a holdover from their pagan past. Many interesting details on the Muslim faith and how it contrasts to Biblical Truth, is given in Robert Morey’s book, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest-Growing Religion.
Roman Catholics look to the Vatican in Rome as the Holy City. Jews look to the wailing wall in Jerusalem as their holy place. Muslims look to the Kaaba (“House of God”), to which they pray five times a day. Islam claims that Abraham and Ishmael built the “House of God” beside the well, Zamzam, which saved the life of Ishmael and his mother, Hagar. A newer, fifty-foot structure replaced it, covered with a black cloth. In Mecca, faithful Muslims circle the Kaaba shedding tears, seeking blessings and mercy, yearning for Allah’s company in Paradise.
Before Muhammad, worshippers placed idols inside the Kaaba. The Zamzam well eventually became covered up and lost. The grandfather of Muhammad, Adb Al-Muttalib, was given visions, found and restored the well and its treasures, and became the hero of Mecca.
Adb Al-Muttalib prayed to his god Allah, that if Allah would bless him with ten sons, he would sacrifice one of them to him at the Kaaba. Over the years, his prayers were answered, and the time came to sacrifice his youngest son Abd Allah, chosen by lot before the Moabite god Hubal. A witch was consulted, who cast lots to see if god would accept a sacrifice of 100 camels instead of his son. Abd Allah was spared, and he became the father of Muhammad.
Muhammad (or Mohammad) was born about A.D. 570 in Mecca, the commercial and religious capital of Arabia. His father died before he was born and his mother when he was six. Muhammad was reared first by his grandfather, and then by an uncle. As a youth, he tended his uncle’s herds, and later became a trader.
At the age of 25, Muhammad accepted a marriage proposal from a widow, a wealthy 40-year-old trader named Khadija. During her lifetime, Muhammad took no other wives, but he married at least eight women after her death. Muslims believe that Allah called Muhammad, at 40 years of age, to be his messenger, ordering him in a series of revelations to spread his message. He was illiterate, but other men took down his words.
At first, his new religion failed to attract many adherents. He fled from hostile Mecca in 622 to Medina, where he found more support. After a series of battles that lasted for ten years, he led an army of 10,000 into Mecca, smashed the pagan idols and took control of the holy city in a bloodless victory.
Islam became the dominant religion in Arabia. Muhammad intended to extend Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula, but he fell ill and died in 632. In his farewell sermon, he reminded the faithful: “Know that all Muslems are brothers.” (Source: Wall Street Journal, August 7, 1987, page 4.)
According to Alberto Rivera, an ex-Jesuit priest (The Prophet, by Chick Publications), Cardinal Bea reported to him “the rest of the story” of the life of Muhammad. Roman Catholic monks instilled in Muhammad, distrust and hatred for the Jews. Muhammad’s views on the virgin Mary being untouched by Satan were similar to Roman Catholicism. He claimed that likewise he was untouched by Satan.
Faithful Catholic Khadijah became a widow after her first husband died, then gave her fortune to the “Mother Church,” and retired to a convent. She was sent back into the world to find a brilliant young man who could be used by the Vatican to create a new religion and become the messiah for the children of Ishmael.
Khadijah found and married Muhammad. Her cousin Waraquah, also a faithful Roman Catholic, become Muhammad’s advisor and interpreter of his visions. Although greatly influenced by Catholicism, Muhammad’s teachings diverged somewhat. Catholics were pleased by the elimination of Jews and Bible-believing Christians by Islamics, the protection afforded Augustinian monks and Catholics by Muslims, and the capture of Jerusalem. However, there was a falling out of the two camps, as Islamics double-crossed the Catholics and failed to turn over Jerusalem to the Pope. This resulted in centuries of Catholic Crusades to conquer the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Muhammad’s two sons
died young, but his famous daughter Fatima married Muhammad’s successor, his
cousin Ali. After her death, Mohammed
wrote that Fatima
is “the most holy of all women in Paradise, next to Mary.” A city in Portugal was named after Fatima. There, in 1917, the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared. Mysterious visions of Fatima have had a continuing effect on Catholic-Muslim relations. A long, close, association exists between Muslims and Catholics. Thus ends the historical analysis of the Vatican/Mecca connection, according to Alberto Rivera’s report.
The book, The Facts on Islam, by John Ankerberg and John Weldon, is an excellent summary of Islamic faith. A study of Muslim belief clearly shows the nature of mainstream Islamic belief.
Early Islamic teaching continues to guide Muslims in their attitude toward Jews. The Sahih Moslem commands the annihilation of Jews: “Allah’s messenger [Muhammad] — may peace be upon him — has commanded: Fight against the Jews and kill them.”
The goal or mission of Muslims is to subjugate the world and then rule it according to Islamic law. Conversion to Islam may be achieved through persuasion or subjugation, but if these fail, the “infidels” or unbelievers must be eliminated. Arab leaders in America have said that “infidels” are only atheists, that Muslims coexist with Jews and Christians. However, this is a lie. In every country ruled by Islamic law, non-Muslims are persecuted and oppressed, tortured, and killed.
In the Hadith, Muhammad’s sayings as recorded by Al Bukhari, Mohammed said that the topmost pillar of Islam is jihad (holy war). In this sense, Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists are mainstream Muslims. Indeed, jihad and martyrdom are at the heart of Islam, and are considered “holy” means of achieving Islamic objectives.
Go to the www.islam.com website, and you will be told that Islam means peace. However, the Koran says if non-Muslims will not repent of their evils and turn to Islam, “slay them wherever you find them (Surah 4:93),” and “When ye encounter the infidels, strike off their heads till ye have made a great slaughter against them.” The Koran also teaches, “O, true believers, take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends. They cannot be trusted. They are defiled — filth (Surah 5:55).”
Every Muslim must practice at least five fundamental religious duties. Those who do so are “fundamentalist Muslims.”
First, they must recite the creed of Islam: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
Second, they must recite prescribed prayers five times a day. There is a mechanical procedure: standing, kneeling, hands and face to the ground, etc. This is similar to Catholic repetitive prayers. Jesus, on the other hand, said prayer should be private, spontaneous, and not repetitious, Matthew 6:5-15.
Third, it is a religious duty for Muslims to observe the month of fasting, Ramadan. This commemorates the first revelation Muhammad received. Muslims fast during the daylight hours of each day for a month.
Fourth, Muslims must give alms to the poor, 2.5% of their currency, plus other forms of wealth, as determined by a complicated system. This has created a beggar class, and poor administration has created many problems.
Fifth, the last duty is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Muhammad’s place of birth, required at least once during the lifetime of every believer who is physically and financially able to make the trip.
There is, as we have seen, another religious duty, considered optional by some, but crucial by others. It is Muslim holy war, or jihad. Anyone who dies in a holy war against infidels or in spreading the teachings of Islam is supposedly guaranteed eternal life in heaven and is considered a martyr. This is what Muhammad referred to as the pinnacle of Islam. This is not a fringe extremist belief.
Muslims believe that Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah) was a great prophet, though lesser than Muhammad. Repeatedly, the Koran emphasizes that Jesus is not literally the son of God. “They are unbelievers [infidels] who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s Son’.” However, Jesus Himself emphatically affirmed He was God’s Son, John 3:16-18, 10:36-38, and the Bible labels those who deny Jesus as God in the flesh as having the spirit of “antichrist,” I John 4:1-3.
Surah 43:59 asserts, “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom [Allah] favored and made an example to the Israelites.”
Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, nor do they believe in His resurrection. Since they consider Christ a prophet of God, they reason that it would be unthinkable that God would permit one of His prophets to be crucified.
Since Muslims believe in a capricious God who has predetermined the fate of every man, they see no need for the atoning sacrifice for their sins. Allah does not love mankind. Therefore, they seek salvation through works (religious observances and charity). For the Muslim, if Christians do not repent and accept Islam, not only may they be killed in this life, but they will go to hell in the next life.
Muslims assert that the Koran confirms the Bible, and is in harmony with the Bible. However, these claims are false.
Muslims say that the Bible has been corrupted, and that its present teachings are therefore untrustworthy; only the Koran, they believe, is pure and uncorrupted.
The Koran teaches that men are superior to women, and that Muslim husbands are free to beat their disobedient wives. Nevertheless, American “women’s rights” advocates are silent on these anti-women Islamic teachings. A man may have up to four wives, and as many concubines as he chooses. The Islamic Paradise includes a Heaven where Muslim men have unlimited sex with young women concubines.
The Bible does not mention Muhammad, but the Koran says that Muhammad himself is “described in the Torah and the Gospel.” Muslims claim that Abraham attempted to offer Ishmael, not Isaac, as the sacrifice.
John Ankerberg’s book, The Facts on Islam, documents other distortions and contradictions in the Koran.
Muslims claim to believe in the Torah and the Gospel. If they accept the Koran, they must therefore accept the Bible — which rejects the Koran. What a dilemma!
When asked by her contemporaries, Muhammad’s foster mother Halima stated, “I thought that he was possessed by a devil.” Muhammad himself was at first doubtful of his revelations, fearing he was possessed by one of the Jinn, or spirits. The prophet was subject to seizures.
Early Muslim tradition records that when Muhammad was about to receive a “revelation,” from Allah, he would often fall down on the ground, his body would begin to jerk, his eyes would roll backward, and he would perspire profusely. They would often cover him with a blanket during such episodes (see Islam Unveiled, by Dr. Robert A. Morey, p. 67). Were these epileptic seizures, demonic possessions, an overactive imagination, or what? It is no doubt that the Koran was the product of supernatural revelation, but what kind? What kind of spirit would tell Muhammad that he was the messenger of the pagan god Allah? What kind of spirit would distort the Bible, deny Christ, oppose God’s plan of salvation, and teach lies?
If the seven million peace-loving Muslims in the United States of America grew in numbers to become the majority, and established an Islamic state in America, ruled by Islamic law, sharia, what would this country be like?
The odds are it would pattern the mainstream Islamic states of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
What would happen to our religious freedom in an Islamic state? Would our citizens be granted the right to choose the religion they want, or would they be forced into Islam according to the Quranic verse: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost,” Surah 3:85.
How about the right of a Muslim to change his religion? Would he be given this right or would he be punished according to the apostasy rule which states that such a person should be punished by death? Muhammad said, “Whoever changes his religion, kill him,” Al Bukhari Vol. 9:57.
Do Muslims in America want us to have the same rights granted to the citizens of an Islamic country such as Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive an automobile, and no one can worship openly according to any religion other than Islam? Do they want us to be governed by a ruler such as Khomeini, who issued an order to murder a writer, Salman Rushdie, just because he dared to criticize Islam? Even in a moderate Islamic state such as Egypt, Christians have to obtain a presidential decree to be able to build a church, or even repair a toilet in a church. They face discrimination in all aspects of their lives, including education, employment, and promotions.
Islam is built on the union of mosque and state, for Islam is a religion and a state. According to Islam, the Quran is the principal source of legislation: “We have sent down to thee the book in truth, that you might judge men as guided by God,” Surah 4:105. If the Quran is the law, what are some of the rules and regulations that will be imposed? Here are just a few examples: stealing, punished by hand amputation, Surah 5:41; adultery, punished by public flogging, Surah 24:2; drinking, punished by 40 or 80 lashes, and the third offense, the drinker should be executed, Al Bukhari Vol. 8:770; resisting Islam, punished by death, crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet, Surah 5:36. Prisons in Muslim countries are known to be centers of torture rather than rehabilitation. We are not talking of Muslim extremists, but mainstream Islamic countries.
Under our current governmental system in the United States, there should be no discrimination among citizens based on sex, color, religion, or race. Would Islam treat men and women equally, when it teaches that men are superior to women? (Surah 2:228). It gives men double the share of women in inheritance (Surah 4:11). It gives the man double the value of a woman’s witness in court (Surah 2:282). Would Islam treat non-Muslims fairly when the Quran calls on Muslims not to befriend Jews or Christians? (Surah 9:30). The Quran imposes “Jizya” (tribute tax) on Christians and Jews that will be collected only from them and not from Muslims (Surah 9:29). Muhammad says that a Muslim may not be killed if he kills a non-Muslim: “No Muslim should be killed for killing a kafir (infidel or non-Muslim),” Al Bukhari Vol. 9:50.
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in America and the world. Islam could easily become the religion of the majority.
Poor Nigerian Sabbath-keepers know what it is like to live in a country dominated by Muslims. Their faith is made strong by having to resist almost unbearable pressures to give up their faith. The Western world is permeated by postmodernism, which says there is no difference between Bible-believing Christians, Catholics, Muslims, or what have you. We who are rich and increased with goods have nothing to resist but apathy.
How does Islam (the world’s #2 religion) affect you? How does the #1 religion, Roman Catholicism and her many daughters and allies, affect you? According to many sermons and most of the literature of Church of God groups, Islam and Catholicism do not affect us. These subjects are rarely covered, so many brethren do not know the vast difference between the religion of the Bible and the myriad of false religions.
Here are a couple of examples. A leading Sabbatarian minister engages a Catholic on an Internet discussion group. Does he use a lead-in topic to present the Truth about the sacrifice of the Messiah, and how the Catholic Mass perverts and blasphemes the New Testament Passover service? No. He says, “I was struck once while watching the Christmas Mass from St. Peter’s in Vatican City that the service was entirely religious and entirely focused on Jesus. The music was entirely Biblical. There was none of what an American would consider traditional Xmas trappings. Most of that comes from our Germanic ancestors, not our Latin ones.”
This Sabbatarian leader certainly revealed his Catholic leanings. As the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome, except the one road to Christ.” Jesus said, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” This man cannot see that Catholics are doing this. Being focused on Jesus, worshipping Jesus, yet violating what He taught, is actually the worship of Satan.
When I cited the above Internet discussion to one of this minister’s followers, he replied that the minister was following the example of Paul in being all things to all men, to engage them on their own terms, I Corinthians 9:22. I asked, “When did this minister preach the Truth about false religion, as Paul did?” There was no answer. This Sabbatarian minister does not clearly teach the errors of Catholicism, Islam, and other false religions. This is postmodernism in full display. Further, in a sermon, “building the new church,” he would put Christ on the top, and doctrine on the bottom of his priorities. He doesn’t seem to know that Christ IS the Word of God, the teaching of the Bible personified. One cannot separate the Messiah and doctrine; they are two complimentary aspects of the character of God.
Another example was given in The Journal, when a Church of God leader was interviewed. He is open about his plan to radically change his group’s focus to be only on Christ, and de-emphasize doctrine. These statements are code words of postmodernism. There are many ministers and brethren who think that if we just use the name “Jesus,” or, “Yahshua,” we are therefore in the Almighty’s favor. Basic scriptures such as Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven,” are ignored.
How does Islam affect you? If you are part of a Church that has no doctrine, where doctrine is at the bottom of the priority list, that sees Allah and Yahweh the same Being, where the Pope is focused on Jesus, then you have nothing to fear. Your Muslim brethren, who have a goal and purpose of taking over the world to their faith, may well allow you to continue ignoring them, at least for the time being. You are harboring Islamic terrorists.
But, if you have the Holy Spirit, that Spirit will motivate you to confront a false and damaging belief such as Islam, and Catholicism. At best, you will be called a hatemonger. At worst, you will be persecuted and tortured, maybe even imprisoned and executed, as are countless professing Christians this very moment. If the love of the God of the Bible is burning in your heart, Islam will affect you, and you will affect Islam. There are many similarities between Islam and Catholicism. Jack Chick says many of Muhammad’s ideas came directly from Catholic teaching. This is no surprise, for in reality, there are only two religions.
That Islam is sweeping the world is evidence that modern Churchianity is totally bankrupt. Neither one produces lasting, soul-satisfying results. We have good news to share with Muslims. God is LOVE. His way of life, as defined in the Law and magnified by the Messiah, is one of joy and happiness, now, and for all eternity. NOT sharing this message with Muslims is a hate crime.
Are you brave and loving enough to fulfil the Biblical Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20? Or, would you rather follow the postmodern great commission: “Change your paradigm, focus only on Jesus, de-emphasize doctrinal teaching because Truth is unknowable, learn from all religions, who, after all, worship the same God you do, and lo, I am with you no matter what you do, even until the end of the world.”
— written by Richard C. Nickels W