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Home The Light Articles from 2001 A Study of the Islam Faith Part II

A Study of the Islam Faith Part II

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A Study of the Islam Faith Part II

by Raymond Stiner

As I wrote last issue, I received a book a few weeks ago that I would recommend to any who would be interested in information regarding this religion. It is entitled A Resource for the Study of Islam by Ney Rieber. It is from this book that I present to you in this second part also, some interesting facts that I think we ought to know about this religion, and so I want to give credit where credit is due.

Islam is designed to be a strict national law as well as a religious law. Many Muslims believe that the Qur’an should be used as their basic constitution. The Qur’an was originally written in Arabic. Muslims contend that it cannot ever be translated accurately, so devout converts strive to learn Arabic so that it may be read in the original language. The Qur’an is divided into sections, sometimes called chapters, sometimes called books. Each one of these sections is more accurately called a "Surah." Surah literally means degree or step. Each Surah is divided into sections or verses called "ayah" or the plural "ayat."

Islam sets an extremely rigid moral standard. It endeavors to impose that standard from the outside rather than let it be self-imposed by personal conviction. Modern political Islam tells its constituents what they are going to believe. It tells them what is right and wrong and forces compliance by carrying out physical penalties. It is said that Mohammed who was the founder of Islam and the Prophet that the Qur’an talks about, was very familiar with the Old Testament and this seems to be how he came to establish this concept of Islam.

Islam is a fast growing religion. During Muhammad’s reign he was basically concerned about securing his own safety. Shortly after his death the Arab Caliphate soon dominated the Arabian Peninsula. Muslim domination expanded to the Indian Ocean and overran North Africa and most of Spain. They enlarged their borders to China and India and maintained their empire until the Mongols overthrew them in 1258 A.D.

The Muslims did not stay subjected for long. The Ottoman Empire, a Muslim Turkish state grew to encompass southeastern Europe and the Middle East and North Africa and endured from the 14th century to World War I. It has discovered that the western world will resist it militarily and politically but will allow it to infiltrate and perhaps even conquer through the freedom of religion. The growth of Islam since World War II has been phenomenal. Consider these statistics:

1. France had one Mosque in 1974, now there are 1500.

2. Petroleum dollars are being used to build Muslim centers in every major city in the world and every sizable city in the United States.

3. In 1971 the world population of Muslims was 493,012,000.

4. In 1991 the world population was 924,611,000, nearly doubling in 20 years.

As of 1980, census figures estimated that there were 720 million Muslims in the world. That is about one-sixth of the world’s population. And this figure is growing. From the 1990 census it is believed that they now occupy one-fifth of all the world’s population. There are 50 Muslim majority countries in the world, 21 in Asia, 28 in Africa and 1 in Europe. There are 13 other Muslim majority states/areas under occupation by different powers. Islam is also rapidly growing in the Unites States. From 1980 to 1990 the number of Muslims grew by one million people. At the present time, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions among African-Americans. There is a group started in Detroit, Michigan in 1930 called the Nation of Islam which is composed of those called Muslims but the true Muslims do not fully accept them. Two of its most outstanding participants were Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali (the boxer). It is having an effect on the poor in general, for true Islamism takes care of its poor. This was all before the terrorist action on this country. It would be interesting to know the statistics now. Muslim sources estimate nearly twice as great a Muslim population in the U.S. as the census figures suggest. This gives us an idea of what kind of problem our country faces as we deal with terrorism, which is at the feet of Islamism.

In addition Muslims are extremely confident of the eventual triumph over the Western world. S. Abul A’la Maududi wrote: "Today, Islam and the Western civilization are in conflict with each other in very different conditions and circumstances. Western civilization is of course no match for Islam…no other civilization could possibly have the better of Islam." Indeed Islam is expanding in the United States through evangelistic efforts. (It has been documented, however, that the major factor in rapid Islamic growth in the U.S. is a result of immigration rather than through evangelistic conversions. An exception to this is among African-Americans.–jj) It is a subtle but definite threat to the freedoms that Americans hold dear. This is why we need to know all that we can about this false religion that opposes Christianity.

The Islamic people have an objective. The Muslims believe that Islam as revealed in the Qur’an should and will eventually supplant all other religions! Because of their fundamental conviction of the superiority of Islam, and because of the clear commands of the Qur’an Islam is aggressively evangelistic in nature. The objective then of true Islam is to replace all forms of government that do not have the Qur’an as their primary constitution. This may be accomplished through peaceful means or through conflict. Dr. Kaukab Siddique declares that the growth of Islam in any state should eventually lead to "jihad." Jihad is defined as "an effort or strife, Holy fighting in the cause of Allah or any other kind of effort to make Allah’s word (al-Islam) superior." In other words a true Muslim will be willing to engage in a "Holy War" to establish the Islamic state in all the world.

It might be justly argued that Christ seeks to govern all the affairs of the believer’s life and to be the religion of the world. But the difference is that Jesus wants to control one’s life through individual conviction. Jesus said "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Jesus does not compel a man against his will. Islam would impose that control through national legislation, and pity the man who disregards it.

The Muslims recognize Christianity and Judaism. They refer to us as "people of the book." The Qur’an warns Muslims not to listen to the people of the book, which makes it very difficult to teach a Muslim. In Surah 3:100 we read, "Oh ye who believe! If ye listen to a faction among the people of the book they would indeed render you apostates after ye have believed." Again we read in Surah 3:71: "Ye people of the book! Why do ye clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while ye have knowledge." The people of the Book are Jews and Christians. The Islamic people do not think that the Qur’an can be translated into any other language accurately. Because of the exalted view Muslims hold of the Arabic language, no English translation is really acceptable. And so if you do not know Arabic and cannot read the Qur’an in its originality it is almost impossible to study issues with these people. This brings up a good point about the validity of the Qur’an. If the Arabic of the Qur’an is truly untranslatable can anyone who is not an Arab ever understand the truth? A thought that flows from that is that if the Qur’an cannot be translated into another language in such a way to be accurately understood, perhaps it is not genuinely understood in Arabic. Like any other living language, Arabic has evolved. AD 600 Arabic is not the same as modern Arabic. So which is the nearly divine Arabic?

Muslims also teach that Islam was the original religion God gave to Adam. They contend that it is the same religion practiced by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Quoting from Islam At a Glance, this is how Qur’an 3:83 is explained: "It is not a new religion. It is in essence the same message and guidance which Allah revealed to all prophets: Say we believe in Allah and that which has been revealed to us, and that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to other prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them and to him we submit. The message which was revealed to Prophet Mu-hammad is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form." It is interesting to note that in dealing with Abraham, Ishmael is always mentioned before Isaac and Jacob because the Arab people run their lineage to Ishmael as being the recipients of the blessings of Abram’s promise.

They believe that the Old Testament, the New Testament and other writings were given by God the same way the Qur’an was. They believe that the Qur’an is the final revelation, which restored that which had been lost or changed in previous revelations. The Islam writings that were revealed to Muhammad are the continuation and culmination of all the preceding revealed religions and hence it is for all times and peoples. Muslims present several different perspectives upon the Bible. At times it is the true Word of God, at others, it is not. Modern Muslims accept it when it supports their positions and reject it as corrupted and perverted when it refutes their theology. They often feel that the texts of the Old and New Testaments have been corrupted and lost.

The passages in John 14:16 where Jesus promised another comforter who would bring all things to your remembrance and teach you all things, is one of the favorite passages of the Muslims to teach that Muhammad is that comforter. We find this in Surah 7:157, "Those who follow the apostle (the apostle being Muhammad), the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own scriptures in the Law and the Gospel." But a study of John 14:16 will lead us to the conclusion that these promises were fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

The Qur’an recognizes Jesus as a teacher sent from God and God demonstrated this by the signs performed through Jesus. What is peculiar is that Muhammad performed no signs but recognized and spoke of the signs of Jesus. In fact the Qur’an claims that Jesus and the apostles were Muslims. Surah 3:52, "When Jesus found unbelief on their part, He said who will be my helpers to the work of Allah? Said the Disciples: we are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims."

They do not believe that Jesus was crucified. Muslims believe that God would never allow one of his Prophets to suffer at the hands of the ungodly. This we read in Surah 4:157, "That they said (in boast) we killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, the apostle of Allah; But they killed him not, nor crucified him, But so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety, they killed him not." They also do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, only that he was a prophet. They infer that because the term "son" is used that all of the connotations inherent in the human manner of conception and reproduction are to be applied to Jesus’ conception. They will argue that if he is the Son of God, then God must have had a carnal relationship with Mary. To them, as well as to us, this is abhorrent! Nevertheless that is the charge they make against those of us who believe.



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