It was early in the seventh century that a religious movement that became of world importance was begun in the interior of Arabia. Crossing over the boundaries of Arabia, this movement rapidly began to exert tremendous influence over the whole world, both religiously and politically. This phenomenon now claims to have over a billion members and is considered to be the fastest growing religion in the world. Historians are carefully monitoring the movement because many believe it could potentially be a physical threat to all that are not practitioners of its tenets. I am referring to Islam.
Islam was born in one of the most desolate regions of the earth, the Arabian Peninsula. Its founder, Mohammed, named the movement Islam. Islam is an Arabic word that means, "surrender," "acceptance," or "commitment." The members of Islam are named Muslims, literally, those who perform Islam. The devotees of Islam are among the most dedicated, some even to the point of taking up arms to defend their religion. As a result of the terrorist attacks that occurred on American soil on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world is taking a closer look at Islam.
Mohammed was born in about 570 A. D., the posthumous son of Abdullah (this date will be a focus point later). Mohammed was a member of a tribe called the Quraysh. Mohammed lived in the city but spent part of his childhood with a nomad group, roaming the Arabian desserts. Not long after the birth of Mohammed, his mother also died and he was brought up as an orphan by his uncle Abu Talib. Mohammed claimed to have a special religious experience when he was about forty. It was this experience that called him to prophethood, according to Mohammed. Not terribly dissimilar to other religious founders such as Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Mohammed claimed to have been visited by an angel. This alleged encounter produced what Mohammed said was a series of revelatory enlightenment that became the chief mark of his prophethood and also would constitute the primary authoritative work of Islam, the Koran. Islam admits the appearance of many prophets. However, Islam makes a special claim regarding Mohammed. Consider the following:
"There was a difference between Mohammed and previous prophets, however, which set him apart. He was chosen as the Seal of the Prophets, that is, as the end, confirmation and climax of the centuries-old chain of divine messengers. Always before, God had found it necessary to renew guidance for wondering men, but this time the integrity of the revelation would be preserved. There would be no more prophets after Mohammed" (World Religions, pg. 470).
The Koran or Qur'an is the written collection which were reportedly delivered to Mohammed by the angel over about a twenty year period. The Koran is viewed as the basic source of authority by Muslims in all matters doctrine, law, and practice. The Koran is revered over all sources of influence, the Bible, civil law, and over all moral codes. The term Koran means recitation or something to be recited. The Islamic Koran is about the same length as the New Testament. It is divided into 114 chapters that are called surahs. These surahs or chapters are loosely arranged in the order of their length, longest first. Each surah has a name, a catchword derived from a main teaching or event found in the chapter. The Koran was originally written in Arabic. The Koran is considered to be the ipsissima verba or the very words of the god of Islam, Allah.
Rather than present to you a lengthy exposť regarding a number of Islamic particularities, I want to now focus on two points: The claim of inspiration and latter day revelation of Islam (the Koran), and the teaching of the Koran pertaining to "holy wars" or Jihad.
The claim of Islam regarding latter day revelation. It has been aptly said that any teaching in addition to the teaching of the Bible is too much, the same teaching would be redundant, and teaching that comes short of the recognized scriptures is deficient. This statement is made based on the claim of the Bible to be sufficient in "doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17). Of course, to introduce a totally different god (Allah) and religion, one must of necessity make a claim to special revelation and to a different Bible (the Koran). I say this because Islam is not taught in the Bible and it was begun centuries after the last inspired writer of the Bible died. The irony of it all is Islam ostensibly claims to recognize the Bible (a similar claim as the Mormons make). There is no clearer biblical truth than that of the finality of the scriptures that would be experienced with the compilation of the New Testament. Jude wrote, " it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3, hapax, the Greek word translated "once delivered" means that the particular act was so complete that it needed not ever to be repeated and, therefore, will not recur). Consider W. E. Vine's comments on "once" as found in such verses as Jude 3:
"Hapax: denotes (a) 'once, one time,' 2 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 9:7,26,27; 12:26,27; 'once for all,' of what is of perpetual validity, not requiring repetition, Heb. 6:4; 9:28; 10:2; 1 Pet. 3:18; Jude 1:3, RV, 'once for all' (AV, "once"); Jude 1:5 (ditto); in some mss. 1 Pet. 3:20 (so the AV)" (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
It would appear that the Holy Spirit (the author of the Bible, I Cor. 2: 13, 2 Tim. 3: 15, 16) knew there would be men arise who would claim special revelation subsequent to the gospel and that they would say "an angel revealed it to them." Consider the teaching of the Bible and the prohibition against so called latter day revelations:
"6: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1).
In view of the proof of the Bible (canonicity), its finality, and expressed prohibition against claimed latter day revelation, the claim and alleged experience of Mohammed is most objectionable and spurious. Remember that Mohammed was not born until almost five hundred years after the last book of inspiration was divinely written, the Book of Revelation. Moreover, it is amazing that Mohammed claimed that all "revelation" after him was to be rejected as false. How convenient!
Islam and their official position on "holy wars." The resounding cry is being made, "Most Muslims are peaceful people." In this matter, allow me to be very clear: I am not denying that many Muslims, especially those not directly identified with the practitioners of Islam in Arabia, could be and are, in fact, "peace loving." However, the Koran (the book all faithful Muslims must follow) does call for physical warfare in certain situations. Antecedent to documenting the holy war advocacy of Islam, allow me to briefly point out clear teaching from the Bible, God's only revelation to man.
"But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you , " Jesus, the author of Christianity said (Matt. 5: 44). It will be appreciated that non-violence is taught in the climate of religious persecution (cp. I Pet. 4: 14-16). The warfare of the Christian is clearly not physical but only spiritual. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal," wrote Paul, "but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (2 Cor. 10: 4). Jesus said in the setting of religious abuse, "For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matt. 26: 52). All so called "holy wars" of history, be they Protestant, Catholic, or Islamic are reprehensible in the sight of God!
Regarding the teaching of the Koran, some scholars contend that the Islamic Jihad is simply and only a spiritual conflict fought by the individual Muslim. However, even the founder of Islam himself toward the end turned bitter and advocated bloody warfare. Allow me to present for your candid consideration some statements directly from the Koran (translation may vary, depending on the particular translation used). You judge for yourself if these wars are only spiritual and have no possible reference to physical warfare. Notice also those against whom the war(s) is to be directed, why, the promises to the faithful Muslims, and the outcome of non-Muslims in the described circumstances:
"Verily God will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, God loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or shows ingratitude. 39 To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged-and verily, God is Most powerful for their aid- 40 (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right-(for no cause) except that they say, "Our Lord is God." Did not God check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure. God will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily God is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will)." (Surah 22: 38-40).
In closing, the Hebrew scriptures prophesied of a "better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (Heb. 8: 6, see vs. 8-12 and Jere. 31: 31-34). This new covenant is the last will and testament of Jesus, the Son of God (Heb. 7-10). It was Jesus who was prophesied as the prophet would arise "like unto Moses" and who would have final and consummate authority, not Mohammed (see Deut. 18: 18, 19, see Acts 3: 20-23, Islam claims that Deuteronomy 18 is referring to Mohammed, but Peter made it plain that Jesus is meant). Beloved, one can not believe the Bible that has been proved time and again to be of God and also believe the Koran. Furthermore, one can not believe in Mohammed and also believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I conclude that not only is Islam a false religion (a cult, to be exact) but it is also a potential threat to the physical safety of all non-Muslims. I would urge all Muslims reading this material to seriously examine the teachings of the Koran and compare them with the teachings of the Bible. Remember that if we accept the Bible as being God's final revelation to man (as it claims to be), then we must reject the claims of Mohammed, the Koran, and Islam in general.
Addendum: This material has not sought to address the political issues involved in Islam. I refer to issues such as the political involvement of America in the policy making process of the Middle East, beginning especially in 1948. Many of the Muslims believe they have every right to wage holy war because they feel they have been displaced from their land and that America has played a major role in the displacement. Regardless of any possible unwise American involvement in the politics of the Middle East and the role Premillennial doctrine may have played in these instances, Islam is a force to be studied and considered.