Islam: Perception and Truth

Perhaps in no other time in our history have Americans been more taken by surprise, more shocked, more devastated than on Black Tuesday, September 11, 2001. 

Almost immediately after the first shock waves hit us over our television screens the media folks, the politicians, and certain religious leaders began telling us that it was not the religion of Islam that brought about this devastation, but that it was the extremists who were using religion as a cloak for their fanatical terrorist activities. 

We have been fully informed that Islam is a religion of peace, not of war; and that Muslims are peace-loving people. Therefore, we should not blame the religion of Islam for the atrocities. We’ve been told that the horrendous acts of war perpetrated against our country on that day were really the acts of individuals who are evil and fanatical.

Separating Truth from Error

There is some truth in what we’ve been told, as well as some major misinformation. To be sure, it is true that many Muslims are peace-loving and were hurt and shocked by their fellow Muslims involved in the events of September 11th. It is especially true that a number of Muslims have come to America to escape the rigidness of life in their homelands which are controlled by Islamic teachings and traditions. 

As there are fundamentalists, moderates and liberals in the Jewish and Christian faiths, so there are in the religion of Islam. No doubt many who have settled here in our country could be classified as those Muslims who are more moderate or liberal in their views of their religious teachings. Such people love the freedoms they enjoy here and should not be singled out for any kind of retributive actions from fellow Americans who are not Muslims. But we might well ask why one would remain loyal to a religion founded upon and perpetrated by violence. Throughout its history, beginning with Muhammad, Islam has spread almost totally through the use of the sword.

Therefore, the Islamic religion, by definition and as observed throughout its history, is not a peace-loving religion, but a religion of war. In our pluralistic society we are afraid to speak what is clearly true, especially when it involves any religion other than Judaism or Christianity.

What is Taught in the Qur’an?

The Qur’an is the Muslim’s most sacred and authoritative scripture. As Christians go to the Bible to find direction for life, Muslims seek out the teachings of the Qur’an to understand their faith and to gain guidance for life.

The divisions in the Qur’an are called surahs, similar to the books in our Bibles. They are the 114 working units of the Qur’an. In each surah there are what we would call verses. The Qur’an touches upon many aspects of life, and over 100 times it supports the use of violence and murder to advance the spread of Islam. I will share just a few of these verses with you:

Only, the recompense of those who war against God [Allah] and his Apostle [Muhammad], and go about to commit disorders on the earth, shall be that they shall be slain or crucified, or have their alternate hands and feet cut off, or be banished from the land: This their disgrace in the world, and in the next a great torment shall be theirs.

Surah 5:38

O Believers! Take not the Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If any one of you taketh them for his friends, he surely is one of them. God will not guide evil doers.

Surah 5:56

No prophet hath been enabled to take captives until he had made great slaughter in the earth. Ye desire the passing fruitions of this world, but God desireth the next life for you.

Surah 8:58

And when the sacred months are passed, kill those who join other gods with God [Allah] wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush.

Surah 9:5

O Believers! only they who join gods with God [Allah] are unclean!…Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God…and who profess not the profession of the truth…The Jews say, “Ezra (Ozair) is a son of God”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is a son of God.” Such the sayings in their mouths! They resemble the saying of the Infidels of old! God do battle with them! How they are misguided!

Surah 9:28-30

O Prophet! make war on the infidels and hypocrites, and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their abode! and wretched the passage to it!

Surah 66:9

Other Teachings of Islam

In addition to the Qur’an, a faithful Muslim adheres to the Articles of Faith, and practices the Five Pillars of the Faith.

Articles of Faith

• God: There is only one true God and his name is Allah. Allah is all-knowing, all-powerful and the supreme judge. He is not a personal God, for he is so far above man in every way that he is not personally knowable.

• Angels: Gabriel is the leading angel who supposedly appeared to Muhammad and was instrumental in delivering the revelations of the Qur’an to Muhammad. Each person has two recording angels — one who records his good deeds, and the other to record his bad deeds.

• Scripture: The Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Gospels of Jesus Christ, and the Qur’an. The former three have been corrupted by Jews and Christians. The Qur’an is the most recent and final word to man, and as such, supersedes all the other works.

• Prophets: The six greatest: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Muhammad is the last and greatest of all of Allah’s prophets.

• The Last Days: A time of resurrection and judgment. Those who obey Allah and Muhammad will go to Islamic heaven, called Paradise — a place of much sensual pleasure. Those who oppose them will be tormented in hell.

Note: A sixth article of faith, not always stated as such, but a central teaching of Islam is Kismet, the belief in God’s decrees, the doctrine of fate. A very rigid view of determinism or predestination which states that all good and evil proceeds from the divine will. “It is Allah’s will” or “Allah willed it” expresses this basic belief of Islam.

Five Pillars of Faith

• The Creed: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.” This must be stated aloud publicly in order to become a Muslim, and it is repeated constantly by the faithful.

• Prayer: A ritual that is central to the devout Muslim, and is repeated five times a day: upon rising, at noon, at mid afternoon, after sunset, and upon retiring. The worshipper must recite the prescribed prayers in Arabic while facing Mecca, the birth place of Muhammad.

• Almsgiving: Originally voluntary, but now Muslims are legally required to give one fortieth (1/40th) of their income to the destitute. 

• Fasting (Ramadan): Faithful Muslims fast from sunup to sundown each day during the holy month. Supposedly it develops self-control, devotion to God, and identity with the destitute. 

• The Pilgrimage: At least once in their lifetime Muslims must visit Mecca. If the trip is too expensive for the poor or too difficult for the elderly or infirm, they may send someone in their place.

Note: A sixth practice which many Muslims in the West deny or do not admit to, is called Ji’had. The basic tenet of Ji’had is “death to all infidels” (all non-Muslims, especially the Jews and Christians). Traditional teaching: Kill an infidel for Allah’s sake and entrance into Paradise is certain — the more you kill the greater your blessing in Paradise. 

Observance of all of these Pillars (practices) is required for salvation according to Islam: clearly a salvation by works, which the Bible says cannot save anyone — Muslim, Christian, Jew, or anyone else.

Suggestions for Reaching Muslims

• Use the Bible. Let God’s Word speak for itself. It is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:10; Jeremiah 20:9; 23:28, 29). 

• Rely upon prayer. Through prayer and relying upon the Holy Spirit you can gain the victory (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15; Acts 1:8). 

• Be a friend. Treat them as equals. Display genuine interest in what concerns them (Colossians 4:5, 6; Philippians 2:3, 4). 

• Listen attentively. When you ask a question be polite enough to listen to the answer, and don’t be impatient. Allow them to express their beliefs fully and you will learn much that may help in winning them. 

• Ask appropriate questions. “Do you believe you will eventually go to heaven or Paradise? How confident are you? Upon what do you base your confidence? Is there anything in the Qur’an that would convince me that it is the Word of God?” Muslims generally appreciate thought-provoking questions. Note Jesus’ pattern in Matthew 21:23–27; 22:15–22, 41–46. 

• Present the gospel clearly and simply. Be lovingly bold, sharing passages that make the gospel clear (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 5:6–8; 1 John 5:13). 

 • Persuade but do not argue. It is never right to argue the gospel. You may win arguments and lose people (Acts 14:1; 17:1–4, 16, 17; 18:1–4, 9–13; 19:8–10; 2 Timothy 2:24–26). 

• Never belittle Muhammad or the Koran. You will greatly offend them and lose an opportunity for the gospel to do its work (Romans 1:16, 17; Colossians 4:5, 6). 

• Be sensitive. It would be offensive to them for you to put your Bible on the floor, for it is a holy book. Be careful of being too familiar with the opposite sex. Christian men should not approach Muslim women, and Christian women should not approach Muslim men. Do not be flippant about sacred things and do not refuse hospitality. 

 Be patient. You probably won’t win a Muslim to Christ using a five-minute canned approach to sharing the gospel. They have to rethink many things and you must give them time to think through what you share. – written by Richard Seymour @ Clarityministries.org

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