Know Your Bible
November 2001

The Islamic Religion

The Islamic religion was founded by Muhammad and is sometimes referred to as Muhammedanism. The word "Islam" means to surrender to the will of God and the term "Muslim" refers to a person who surrenders to the will of God and thus a follower of Islam. Islam poses a very serious challenge to New Testament Christianity and any defense to be made against Islam must be based on an understanding of their basic beliefs and practices. In this article, we want to examine the fundamental principles of the Islamic religion and their implications to Christianity.

THE CREED OF ISLAM. The creed of Islam is expressed in the declaration "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet". This statement is composed of two quotations from the Koran (the Islamic "Bible"). The pious Muslim repeats this many times each day in his prayers. It is said over a newborn baby, pronounced by a Muslim on his deathbed, and recited over him at burial.

THE SIX ARTICLES OF FAITH. Acceptance of the creed enjoins upon Muslims six articles of faith taken from the Koran. Briefly stated, they are: belief in God, in angels, in scripture, in prophets, in the day of judgment, and in predestination.

FIVE RELIGIOUS DUTIES. These five religious duties provides a good beginning place for our study. The first duty is to recite the creed "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet." Muslims repeat this many times every day. They believe that saying this in faith and sincerity is what makes one a Muslim. The second duty is daily prayer. Muslims pray five times each day, facing Mecca, the holy city in Saudi Arabia. The third duty is the giving of alms. Muslims are very concerned about caring for the poor. A predetermined amount of their income is given to aid the poor. The fourth duty is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim year and was the month when Muhammad was given the Koran. All faithful Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during this month. The fifth duty is a pilgrimage to Mecca. Every adult Muslim is expected to travel to Mecca once in their lifetime in the month of Dhul-Hijah.

EXAMINATION OF BELIEFS. Muslims do not believe in a Godhead but only in one divine person. God is one unique Being. To associate anything or anyone with Allah is incomprehensible to a Muslim and constitutes blasphemy. God is absolutely alone in the place given to Him by Islam. Koran 59:22 says "He is God; there is no god but he. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-merciful, the All compassionate. He is God. There is no God but He. He is the King, the All-holy, the All-peace, the Guardian of Faith, the All-preserver, the All-mighty, the All-compeller, the All-sublime. Glory be to God ...He is God the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-mighty, the All-wise."

Another important belief to the Muslim is that Muhammed is Allah's prophet. Muslims do not worship Muhammed. However they have such adoration of him, you might have a difficult time distinguishing between adoration and worship. Muslim literature abounds with great stories of Muhammed. He is said to be a religious teacher, social reformer, tremendous administrator, military genius, perfect husband and father, and faithful friend. One Muslim writes "No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life." However, to examine history one will be quick to learn that Muhammed was not nearly the genius and man of perfection as Muslims want to believe. He endorsed polygamy, ruthlessly killed his enemies, changed the "divine law" of the Koran whenever it was to his favor (2:217; 66:2) and took to himself privileges no other Muslim could have (33:50). Yet, his success to bring together various warring tribes to fight against the Jews and Christians is undeniable. His greatness, however, is a subject to be greatly debated.

Muslims believe that the Koran is the absolute word of God. They believe it was given to Muhammed by the angel Gabriel over a period of 23 years. Because Muhammed was illiterate, it is said that he memorized it and dictated it to his companions who then wrote it down on whatever material was at hand (pieces of cloth, leather, pottery, bones, etc.). The truth in the matter is that the Koran was collected from these various writing materials after Muhammed had died. Nevertheless, the Koran is accepted as the last revealed word from God, and it supersedes all other prior revelation of God, including the Bible. Muslims are taught that not one word of its 114 chapters have been changed in any way. This is, of course, not true. Islam does not even possess the original Koran. The oldest existing Koran is dated about 200 years after Muhammed. The Koran itself contains contradictions (compare 7:54 and 32:4 to 41:9-12) and evidence of progressively changing doctrines and practices (see 2:106 and 9:54). Muslims, however, deny any problems of any kind with the Koran.

What problems do Islamic beliefs present to Christians? The first problem is, if Allah is one person then Jesus is not Deity. The Koran contains several passages that are very explicit in stating that Jesus is not God. "People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God...So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain: better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him - He is above having a son" (4:171). Muslims believe Jesus was only a prophet of God but not nearly as great as Muhammed and that God saved Jesus as He saved all His prophets. Muslims also believe that Jesus was not crucified nor did He arise from the dead. It is in this context that Muslim beliefs are very similar to the beliefs of the average Jew. A second problem is, faith in the Koran means the Bible is insufficient, flawed and inaccurate. Bible statements that contradict Islamic teaching or teach that Jesus is divine are said to represent "corruption" in the Bible. Muslims claim to believe the Bible but it doesn't seem to bother Muslims to believe that God allowed His word to be changed and altered. Further, they will not concede that if God allowed that to happen to the Bible logically the same could happen to the Koran. In fact, following this premise consistently would lead us all to be Mormons---after all they have an even latter-day revelation!

So, where are we at? Muhammed would destroy faith in our Savior and the Book that tells us of Him. To answer Islamic teaching, we must be able to defend the inspiration of the Bible and show that it is a reliable and complete revelation of God's will. We must do as Jude 3 teaches: "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." After all, the Koran not only teaches that Jesus was a prophet but that He was to be believed (4:171; 5:78). Here is a good place to begin in our teaching of Muslims. If Christ is to be believed as the Koran states, then Christ claimed to be the Son of God (Matthew 11:27; 16:13-17; 26:63-65; John 5:19-43; 9:35-37; 10:36 and Revelation 2:18. Not only did Christ make the claim, He proved His claim by showing His power over nature (Matthew 8:26,27; Mark 6:46-51), over material things (Luke 9:10-17; John 2:1-10), over disease (Matthew 8:16), over the spirit world (Matthew 8:16), and over death (John 11:14-44). Even God endorsed Jesus' claim (2 Peter 1:16-19; Matthew 17:15; 3:16,17; Romans 1:4). The Jews condemned Jesus to death because He made the claim and they understood the claim He was making. (Matthew 26:63,64).Further, the Koran teaches that the Bible is the "word of Allah" (6:115-116) and "there is no changing the Words of Allah" (10:65). What Muslim can then believe the Bible was corrupted and changed?

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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No Debate Necessary

A denominational preacher registered at a St. Louis hotel. As he signed the register, he noticed Robert Ingersoll's name on the line above. He inquired if this was the Ingersoll of skeptcism. Assured that he was, he asked for his room number and rushed up to see him.

On arriving, he quizzed the old colonel: "I wrote you several months ago and challenged you for a debate. Why did you not answer my letter?"

The colonel replied, "I did not answer your challenge because I knew you did not believe the Bible any more that I did." The preacher was insulted and asked for proof.

Ingersoll picked up the Bible and turned to Mk. 16:16 and read, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned." Then he asked the preacher, "Do you believe that one must be baptized to be saved?" The preacher stammered, stuttered, and trembled, but finally answered. "No." The colonel then said in triumph, "See, I knew you didn't believe the Bible! Why should we debate?"

---via, Lanett Bulletin.

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