Islam

In Today’s world, we hear so much about the Muslim faith, yet we don’t understand much about it.

From the Gotquestions.org website we get the basics: “In the seventh century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic visitations, which continued for about 23 years until Muhammad’s death, the angel purportedly revealed to Muhammad the words of Allah (the Arabic word for “God” used by Muslims). These dictated revelations compose the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Islam means “submission,” deriving from a root word that means “peace.” The word Muslim means “one who submits to Allah.”

Like I wrote yesterday, many Christians think “all faiths are the same and we are worshipping the same god anyhow”. On a basic level, we will discuss Islam today.  It is difficult to say much about a faith in 750 words but here goes.

Paul Little writes of the work that a follower of Islam must do: “heaven is achieved by living a life in which, ironically, one abstains from the things with which he will be rewarded in paradise.  In addition to this abstention, one must follow the Five Pillars of Islam:  repeating the creed, making a pilgrimage to Mecca, giving alms to the poor, praying five times daily and keeping the fast in the month of Ramadan.”

This sounds like a devout faith.

What about their god?

Allah is his name and we know that to try to portray him is a grievous error. Retribution from Muslims against Allah portrayal has been in the news headlines.  Bottom line: don’t do Allah drawings.

Where did Allah come from?

He came from the words recorded by the prophet Muhammad.

Muhammad is the founder and chief prophet of Islam and the source for the Quran. “Muhammad” – whose name means “highly praised” – was born in Mecca in 570 AD. His father died shortly before his birth, and he lost his mother at the age of six. Muhammad was then raised primarily by his uncle, for whom he worked as a shepherd. In his late 30’s, Muhammad took to regularly visiting a cave in Mount Hira, on the outskirts of Mecca, to seek solitude and contemplation. In 610, at the age of 40, Muhammad returned from one such visit telling his wife he had either gone mad or become a prophet, for he had been visited by an angel. The initially startled Khadija became his first convert. Muhammad reported that while in a trance-like state, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and said “Proclaim!” But like Moses, Muhammad was a reluctant prophet. He replied, “I am not a proclaimer.” The angel persisted, and the Prophet repeatedly resisted, until the angel finally overwhelmed Muhammad and commanded him: ‘Proclaim in the name of your Lord who created! Created man from a clot of blood. Proclaim: Your Lord is the Most Generous, Who teaches by the pen; Teaches man what he knew not.’ (Qur’an 96:1-3) After receiving Khadija’s support, and additional angelic visits, Muhammad became confident he had indeed been chosen as the messenger of Allah and began to proclaim as he had been commanded. In the beginning, Muhammad had few followers but in a period of need for leadership, Muhammad took political and military command of people on the Arabian peninsula. By 634, Islam had taken over the entire Arabian Peninsula. Within 100 years of Muhammad’s death, it had reached the Atlantic in one direction and borders of China in the other. This success was due in large part to the military and political abilities of Muhammad’s successors, the caliphs [Religion Facts Website, 2016].

Today the Muslim faith ranks second to Christianity with 1.6 billion believers.

Their faith is based on what Muhammad wrote about Allah in the Koran [their holy book].   Muhammad did not claim deity, teaching that he was merely a prophet of Allah.  In the pages of the Koran, we learn that Allah is set apart from man, responsible for good and evil.  Incarnation of Allah is impossible in the Muslim faith.  Why would god want contact with lowly man?  For the Muslim, the idea that Jesus was crucified on the cross is impossible.  How could God be defeated and punished by his creatures?

Did Muhammad know about Jesus? Is Jesus in the Koran?

Muhammad thought Jesus was a prophet, not God incarnate.

The Quran states that people (i.e., the Jews and Romans) sought to kill Jesus, but they did not crucify nor kill him, although “this was made to appear to them”. Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but instead, he was raised up by God unto the heavens.

They have their own spin on our knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Let me return to the quote “all faiths are the same and we are worshipping the same god anyhow”.

As you hear some basics of the Muslim faith, what conclusions do you draw?

Same God?

I don’t think so…

 

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