A Study of Islam
Introduction: 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.
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.
I. A look at the founder of Islam.
A. Mohammed was born in about 570 A. D., the posthumous son of Abdullah (this date will be a focus point later). 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.
B. 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.
C. 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).
II. The Koran or Qur'an is the written collection which were reportedly delivered to Mohammed by the angel over about a twenty year period.
A. 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.
III. The claim of inspiration and latter day revelation of Islam (the Koran).
A. 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).
B. 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).
C. 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 3, notice the word hapax, "once"). "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).
D. 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 in Galatians 1: 6-9.
IV. Islam and their official position on "holy wars."
A. The resounding cry is being made, "Most Muslims are peaceful people." 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.
B. 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!
C. 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.
D. Allow me to present for your candid consideration some statements directly from the Koran (translation may vary, depending on the particular translation used). 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).
Surah 4: 74: "Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter, to him who fighteth in the cause of God, whether he is slain or gets victory, soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). 75 And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!" 76 Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. 77 Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who were told to hold back their hands (form fight) but establish regular prayers and spend in regular charity? When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! a section of them feared men as, or even more than, they should have feared God: they say: "Our Lord! why hast Thou ordered us to fight? Wouldst Thou not grant us respite to our (natural) term, near (enough)?" Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least!"
Surah 47: 4 "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of God, He will never let their deeds be lost. 5 Soon will He guide them and improve their condition. 6 And admit them to the Garden which He has announced for them. 7 O ye who believe! if ye will aid (the cause of) God, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly. 8 But those who reject (God), for them is destruction, and (God) will render their deeds astray (from their mark)."
Conclusion: 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. 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.