Serving an international
Vol. 9 No. 6 June 2007 Page 2
Herein, we propose to briefly define Islam and contrast it with true Christianity. In the short, contrasting Jesus Matthew 5:43-47 and Mohammad from Koran 9:5 substantially achieves our thesis.
have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies,
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of
Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil
and on the
good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love
love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And
salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the
publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
is perfect.” (Matt 5:43-48)
Whatever Islam is, it is clearly divided into various sects that violently oppose each other (cf. denominationalism of so-called Christianity to a lesser degree). “Presently there are more than 150 different religious professions in Islam. There are two large groups which are better known to us: the Sunnis and the Shiites…” (Cranford 11). Followers of Islam (Muslims) from different sects kill each other. Islamic lack of tolerance and the willingness to express that intolerance violently extends toward anything or anybody not Islamic. For instance, any attempt to convert a Muslim to Christianity in most Islamic countries is a crime punishable by death.
As a political force to be reckoned with, Islam has been attempting for hundreds of years to overrun Europe.
It has been the goal of Islam for more than three hundred years to bring Europe under its domination. It first invaded Europe by crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in the 11th and 12th centuries and invading Spain and Portugal. After years of warfare, just previous to the time that Columbus made his journey to the New World, Islam was defeated in Spain and driven back across the Strait of Gibraltar into north Africa. Previous to this, in the 7th century the great Turkish Empire, called the Ottoman Empire, invaded Greece, then Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. (West 21)
Islam, today, intends to overrun the whole world! With a following of 1.2 billion Muslims and newly awakened from its slumber, Islam is positioned to and willing to do just that. Former Muslims, the Caner brothers write that “jihad (holy war) is completed only when the entire world is placed under the submission of Allah and when his laws reign supreme” (70).
First, Islam is defined by its founder, Muhammad. There was no Islam before Muhammad.
Islam is a much younger religion than Christianity. Christianity dates its beginning to the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ about the year AD 30, while Islam did not begin to come into existence until the first quarter of the seventh century after Christ. In the year 613 AD, Muhammad, who had become disgusted with the idolatry among the Arabian people began to preach a monotheism in and around the city of Mecca. He taught that there is only one true God whom he called Allah. (West 3)
Muhammad was born in Mecca in about A.D. 570. Muhammad was about 40 years old when he claimed that the angel Gabriel took him to Jerusalem where he conversed with Abraham, Moses and Jesus. In A.D. 622, Muhammad moved his unpopular religion and followers to Medina, 250 miles north of Mecca. Muhammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina is the “date from which the Moslem world reckons time, as Christians do from the birth of Christ” (Cranford 9).
Muhammad opted to make Islam a political, physical and earthly kingdom. “In the year 623 AD, Muhammad began his military conquest of Arabia by making a raid on a caravan bound for Mecca, and in so doing chose military, and political power as major components in his quest for spiritual dominion in Arabia” (West 4). “…[T]here is no such thing as ‘separation of church and state’…The Muslim holy writings…[are] the basis, the foundation, of all social, political, and civil law in Islamic countries” (West 4). In A.D. 624, Muhammad’s Muslim army defeated Mecca, but the following year Mecca’s army defeated Muhammad’s army. In A.D. 627, Mecca’s army and Jews with them attempted to defeat Muhammad’s city of Medina, but failed. Warfare between Jews and Muhammad’s followers in A.D. 626 and 627, in which the Jewish men were beheaded and their women and children sold into slavery, precipitated nearly constant warfare between Jews and Muslims that persists today (West 5). In A.D. 629, Muhammad led an army of 10,000 against Mecca, conquering it. Also in A.D. 630, Muhammad led an army of 30,000 by which he conquered northern Arabia (West 7).
Muhammad formulated his own religious doctrine. In A.D. 624, Muhammad directed that all prayers to Allah be made while facing toward the city of Mecca, Muhammad’s hometown. In addition, Muhammad began the observance of a month of fasting called Ramadan.
Islam’s historical militancy continued after the death of Muhammad. Islamic armies attacked the compass points to expand Islam’s reach. Islamic armies “extended the Muslim Empire through conquest of Syria (634), Iraq (636), Egypt (639), and Persia [Iran] (642). Jerusalem also submitted to Muslim control” (Caner and Caner 69).
Expansion swallowed Cyprus (647), Tunisia and Kabul in modern Afghanistan (670), the island of Rhodes (672), the siege of Constantinople (677), North Africa (700), Spain (711), the Chinese Turkestan border (715), and Morocco (722). By the end of its first century, Islam stretched to the western borders of China and the southern borders of France. North Africa was dominated completely. (Caner and Caner 71)
European nations and Islam engaged in carnal warfare with seesaw gains and losses through the end of World War I. “The ultimate demise of the Ottoman [Islamic] Empire came when the Turks sided with Germany in World War I (1914-18)” (Caner and Caner 77).
After one thousand years of unprecedented expansion, Islam was now dormant. …Arabs, Moors, and/or Ottomans had controlled Spain for eight hundred years, Portugal for six hundred years, Greece and Bulgaria for five hundred years, Rumania and Serbia for four hundred years, Sicily for three hundred years, and Hungary for one hundred fifty years. (Caner and Caner 77)
Islam specifically attacked and declared triumph over Judaism and Christianity.
First, the Dome of the Rock was built in Jerusalem on the Jewish Temple Mount in 691 to demonstrate the superiority of Islam over Judaism. Second, in 715 the Great Mosque of Damascus replaced the Cathedral Church of St. John to demonstrate the superiority of Islam over corrupt Christianity. (Caner and Caner 71)
Islam is defined by its doctrine, the Koran or Qur’an. Actually, there are three primary Islamic creedal books: Koran, Hadith and Sunnah. The Hadith is the second highest authority after the Koran, and it is a collection of sayings and examples given by Muhammad. The Sunnah is also a primary Islamic creedal book, containing written tradition following examples of Muhammad. “The Koran is about the size of the Christian New Testament. It is divided into 114 chapters (suras) containing 6200 verses and 80,000 words. It is further divided into 30 sections so the whole book can be recited in the 30 days of Ramadan” (Cranford 10).
Muhammad authored the Koran.
The delivery of the Koran extended over a period of twenty three years. The passages were taken down by writers as Muhammad spoke. After Muhammad’s death, his secretary was commissioned to gather all the sayings of Muhammad into a complete manuscript. It was completed about twenty years after his death. (Cranford 10).
“[T]he Qur’an was compiled in the years 646-50 from materials written by Muhammad before his death in 632” (Caner and Caner 83). There were, though, numerous versions of the Koran, but “some twenty-four variants—were summarily burned” while only one version was preserved and circulated (Caner and Caner 87). Muhammad claimed to receive divine revelations through seizures, dreams, visions, from an angel and from Allah speaking behind a veil (Caner and Caner 84-85). Islam claims that Muhammad is Allah’s final prophet to the world and that the Koran is Allah’s final revelation to mankind. However, the Bible states that the New Testament is God’s final revelation to mankind as well as that anything that differs from the Gospel is false and soul-condemning (Jude 3 ASV, NKJV; Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19; Hebrews 8:6-13). Islam presents Muhammad as a perfect and morally pure role model for Muslims of all time; that’s important when one analyzes Islam and Muslims today and attempts to understand the current world crisis.
The Koran refutes or confuses biblical teaching in both testaments of the Bible. Muslims claim to believe the Torah (first five books of the Bible or Pentateuch), the Psalms of David, the Gospel of Jesus and the Koran. “It should be pointed out that although the Muslims talk about the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospels, they do not mean the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. They believe the originals were lost and what we have are corrupted writings of God’s Word” (Cranford 6). “The Quran teaches that the disciples of Jesus were called Muslims and not Christians” (West 17); see Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16. The Koran teaches that Jesus Christ, though a prophet but not as great as Muhammad, did not die on the cross for the sins of the world, and that Jesus Christ did not resurrect from the grave. “Because Jesus was killed, this is proof to Muslims that he was not God” (Cranford 22). The Koran teaches that Pharaoh’s wife rather than Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses (28:9). The Koran misrepresents Christianity respecting the Triune God as including Mary the mother of Jesus (5:116).
The Koran contains various teachings about Jesus Christ. The Koran admits that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and did perform miracles, but denies that he was Divine. “Belief in one God implies, to the Muslim, that Jesus cannot be thought of as God” (Cranford 22). Erroneously, the Koran has Jesus Christ prophesying of the coming of Muhammad regarding the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16).
The Koran contradicts itself, evidencing that it is not of divine origin. For instance, the Koran in different places states that man was created from a clot of blood, from clay and from water (Surah 96:1-2; 6:2; 25:54) (West 24). The Bible displays no such inconsistency respecting the creation of man, or on any other subject (Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The Koran contains historical errors, evidencing that it is not of divine origin.
The Qur’an says that a man named Haman, a servant of Pharaoh, built a high tower to ascend to God. But the Babel tower occurs in Genesis 11, long before there were pharaohs, and the name Haman is an even later linguistic name. The only “Haman” in Scripture is in the story of Esther in Babylon, long after the height of Egypt’s glory. (Caner and Caner 89)
“Judges 7 identifies Gideon as the leader of the three-hundred man army of soldiers chosen by God. Surah 2 makes Saul the general of this army, although the king was not yet born” (Caner and Caner 90). “The Qur’an says that the calf worshiped by the Israelites at Mount Horeb was molded by a Samaritan. The term Samaritan was not coined until 722 B.C., several hundred years after the Exodus, when the idol was crafted” (Caner and Caner 90). The Bible does not contain historical errors, or errors in other areas (e.g., geography, topography).
The Koran depicts Allah as a god differing from the God of the Bible. “Allah and Yahweh are not just two names for the same God, they are indeed two different deities with two separate identities, consequently one of them is the true God, and the other is just one of the many gods of this world” (West 31). Allah is a cold, distant god unreliable in his dealings with humanity, especially respecting eternity. Jehovah God is a personal, loving God on whom everyone can depend to reward the obedient and punish the disobedient (Hebrews 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Allah hates sinners, whereas Jehovah God hates sin and loves sinners enough to sacrifice Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Islam provides no assurance of eternal life except to die a martyr’s death in jihad (holy war). “No Muslim has eternal security. Every Muslim fears the scales of justice, which weigh his good deeds against his bad deeds” (Caner and Caner 18). There is no grace in Islam, only a wholly works based religion still susceptible to the whim of a impulsive and unpredictable Allah. “Muhammad questioned his own salvation” (Caner and Caner 32) in hadith 5:266.
Muslims believe that each person must be 51 percent good. …Christians believe that any sin stands as an infinite offense against God and must be judged with an infinite penalty. …In Islam sin is not paid for, it is weighed on a balance scale. Islam has no understanding that a truly holy and just God cannot simply measure the sin and throw it aside without any punishment. (Caner and Caner 150)
Every person old enough and aware enough to discern between right and wrong has committed sins, which if not ransomed from through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, will be eternally lost (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Besides admission to heaven for male martyrs, Islam promises them an unending sexual paradise (hadith 9.93.549; 9.93.555).
…seventy couches made of gold and emerald on which lay virgins, untouched by man prepared for their bridegrooms…total preoccupation with sexual expression… “There is no bachelor in paradise.” (Caner and Caner 193)
“The devout Muslim is, therefore, compelled into militaristic service” (Caner and Caner 196).
Islam is a religion predicated upon violence and the extinguishment of everything not Islamic. “Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem” (surah 9:5).
…Islam sees itself as a completely different kind of a world order from any other religion, and it believes in the spread of its religion by forceful means, if necessary. Muhammad himself, spread his faith throughout his native land through warfare. While Muhammad never said that all non-Muslims should be killed if they did not convert to his faith, that has been a practice of Islam down through the thirteen or so centuries it has been on the earth. (West 33)
It is a dangerous lie to ignore the fundamental nature of Islam from its inception through the present as an insatiable war machine.
There are Five Pillars or major doctrines of Islam. The first Pillar is the repetitious quotation of: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger.” Muslims are in a sense Unitarian (i.e., they view the concept of the Trinity as polytheism). Muhammad is viewed as the greatest and last prophet of Allah. Allah and the God of the Bible are not the same person!
The popular notion that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God is blasphemous to all three religions and founded only in modern pluralism. …to say that all worship the same God because we use the same generic word is like saying that all references to the name “Mike” must refer to the same person. (Caner and Caner 206-207 emphasis added)
The second Pillar of Islam pertains to Islamic prayers. Muslims pray five times daily, in Arabic and facing in the direction of Mecca. (See Caner and Caner 145.) Further, Muslims are required to worship in a mosque each Friday. Extensive ritual washings are a part of the communal worship. (See Caner and Caner 128-129.)
Why the emphasis on Mecca? Muslims claim that their ancestor, Abraham (through Ishmael), built a temple in Mecca. Secondly, Mecca is Muhammad’s birthplace. Third, Muslims have modified the biblical account of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, changing the son to Ishmael and changing the place to a mountain in Arabia near Mecca.
There are several serious contrasts between Islam and Christianity. Muhammad established an earthly, political kingdom whereas Jesus Christ established a wholly spiritual kingdom. Jesus refused overtures to rule physical kingdoms (Matthew 4:8-9; John 6:15). Instead, Jesus Christ established a wholly spiritual kingdom (John 18:36-37). Muhammad, on the other hand, established an earthly, political kingdom chiefly dependent on warfare. “Muhammad came to shed blood and slaughter those who disagreed with him. Christ came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10)” (Caner and Caner 64). “The sword became the motivating force that spread Islam throughout the Arabian peninsula and into Africa and Asia” (Cranford 23); the sword early became the evangelistic tool of Islam: Islam or death by the sword. “Muhammad organized his followers into a strongly disciplined military force. …An army stood ready to carry this faith to other parts of the world” (Cranford 9). The jihad or holy war remains a primary tool of Islam (e.g., suicide bombers, etc.). For instance, Bin Ladin, a prominent face of militant Islam, said of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist jetliner attack on the World Trade Center that it “was possibly one of the greatest events in Islamic ‘evangelism’ in recent days” (Caner and Caner 23-24). Islamic evangelism via the sword has been replaced with bullets, bombs and suchlike!
Of key significance, the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of the Koran definitely are not the same person! The Bible identifies Jesus Christ as Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8). The apostle John especially explains the Incarnation of God (John 1:1-3, 14). Though Islam acknowledges the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, it vehemently denies the deity of Jesus Christ. “…[T]o the Muslim…[t]he birth of Jesus parallels that of Adam—creation without need of a father” (Caner and Caner 215). “In any debate between Christianity and another religion, the ultimate issue revolves around the Person of Jesus Christ” (Caner and Caner 210). “In the Bible, no one is found equal with Jesus Christ besides the Creator God Himself, with whom Jesus identified (John 1:1; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:5). In the Qur’an, Jesus is likened to a set of human predecessors…” (Caner and Caner 219).
Islam’s portrayal of heaven differs drastically from how the Bible describes heaven. The Muslim heaven is a fleshly paradise (primarily for men), where especially men dying in fighting for Islam will be rewarded with numerous virgins. On the contrary, the Bible dismisses fleshly activities in heaven (Matthew 22:29-30; 1 Corinthians 15:44, 49-53).
Muhammad performed no miracles, whereas Jesus Christ performed numerous miracles. The purpose of miracles was to confirm new revelation (Mark 16:20; John 20:30-31; Hebrews 2:3-4). In the absence of miracles by Muhammad, Muslims claim Muhammad’s authorship of the Koran is miracle enough!
When asked why Muhammad did no miracles, such as those done by Christ, the Quran answers that the book itself is a miracle and there is no need for Muhammad to perform miracles to authenticate that he was a true prophet. This is a sort of circular reasoning which says that the book is holy because Muhammad was holy and Muhammad was holy because the book is holy. (West 15)
Islam is a male dominated religion that affects every aspect of life’s interactions between men and women. Muhammad had 13 wives and concubines. His favorite wife was only six-years-old when betrothed to him and only nine-years-old when he consummated the marriage (Caner and Caner 59). Islam permits the abuse of women and treats them as property comparable to gold and silver (surah 3:14). [“Surah” equates to “chapter” in the Koran or Quran.] Islam teaches that women are inferior to men morally or spiritually and mentally (surah 2:228; hadith 3.826; 2.541). Islamic men may divorce their wives but Islamic women cannot divorce their husbands. Islam permits marital punishment or wife beating (surah 4:34). The New Testament, of course, presents a wholly different relationship between husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:19). “If a woman is honored and respected in an Islamic home, it is in spite of the teachings of Muhammad, rather than because of them” (Caner and Caner 140).
Muhammad died June 8, 632. He was buried, from which he did not resurrect. Contrast this with Jesus Christ who arose and Ascended back to heaven.
Why does Islam hate America; there are primarily three reasons. First, Islam hates everything non-Islamic. Islam is a religious-political-civil institution that perceives all the world in that vein (e.g., so-called Christian nations are enemies of Islam). Modern western nations generally do not conceive of themselves as religious-political-civil entities. For instance, whereas America distinguishes between its religion and its politics or civil law, Islam personified in people and nations makes no such distinction. Western nations think they are fighting Islamic terrorists but not fighting the religion of Islam. Though not every Muslim is a terrorist, every conservative Muslim and strict practitioner of the Koran is obligated by his religious faith to exterminate everything not Islamic. Since Islam does not distinguish between religion and politics, like it or not, the war on terror is essentially a religious war!
As Islam reverts back toward the model that guided its first millennium, unbelievers of any race, creed, or background are fair game to the Muslim warrior. In the new crusades, the West is engaged in a battle that is political in process but religious in essence (Caner and Caner 68 emphasis added).
Second, the United States speedily recognized the State of Israel in 1948. “Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslims in 638, and is claimed, by the Arabs, as the third holiest city in Islam” (Cranford 28). For hundreds of years Muslims lived in Palestine, prior to the arbitrary creation by allied nations following WWII of what amounted to a Jewish refugee camp in Palestine. Subsequently, Jews from around the world migrated to the new Jewish homeland, and the Jews formed a modern state or nation. The United States was among the first to recognize Israel as a nation. Muslims resented and continue to resent the arbitrary taking of their land, and it being given to the Jews.
Third, the United States has and continues to financially and militarily underwrite the Jewish nation, considered by Muslims everywhere to be the mortal enemy of all Muslims. US politics, then, makes our nation the enemy of Islam. US denominationalism of the premillennial flavor encourages politics in favor of Israel.
What prospect might one entertain for converting Muslims with the Gospel of Christ? Islam is a way of life, and Muslims will not be enticed toward Christianity if they perceive it is not a superior way of life. “Islam is a way of life. It involves the Muslim’s complete being. Religion and politics are bound together in a Muslim country” (Cranford 21). Avowed Christians who do not practice what they preach will not be able to persuade a Muslim to become a Christian. Further, the high ideals of Christianity must not only be embraced by the evangelistic Christian, but Christianity must be shown to require higher ideals from humankind in this life than what Islam teaches. “Condemning Islam and putting down Muhammad will not convert the Muslim” (Cranford 21).
Secondly, the evangelistic Christian needs to show that unlike Islam, Christianity teaches what to expect from God in eternity. Muslims acknowledge that they do not know “how God punishes and how God rewards” (Cranford 22). “Allah is the unknown ruler of creation and the Muslim does not know what awaits him in the judgment” (Cranford 32); see Acts 17:23. Christians can encourage Muslims that God has revealed how he punishes and rewards, and that consequently, souls may prepare to meet God (Amos 4:12). Summarized, God punishes the disobedient and rewards the obedient (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; 1 Peter 4:17; Hebrews 5:9). “Assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sins, freedom to serve, justification and redemption all provide rich and fertile ground to investigate with the modern Muslim” (Cranford 24).
Third, Muslims can be shown that Christianity offers a way for mere mortals to approach God.
The idea that no one can approach God is common to Islam belief. There is a gulf between the Creator and the creature which no one can cross. Christians believe that Jesus is the link between God and man. He came to the world to show us God and to reconcile us with God. The idea of a God who would seek and save the lost is foreign to the Muslim. Perhaps this is the key doctrine through which the Muslim can be reached. No other religion, present or past, includes the idea of redemption. (Cranford 23).
The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, which Muslims acknowledge, was the bridge through which a link exists between Immortal, Eternal God and mortal man (John 1:14). Jesus Christ, God with a body of flesh, is mankind’s Mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5; Matthew 10:32-33). “Jesus shed his blood for the sins of the world and bridged the gap between man and God” (Cranford 25). Former Muslims, the Caner brothers write: “GOD LOVES YOU! THIS IS THE BRASH claim of Christianity. The key, in fact, to winning people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is based upon this claim” (30). Whereas Allah of Islam hates sinners, the Bible reveals God who hates sin but loves sinners enough to seek their reconciliation to him through the Incarnate Son of God. Whereas Allah of Islam is a cold, distant god, the God of the Bible is a personal omnibenevolent God: “The greatest difference between the two faiths is the personal quality of God” (Caner and Caner 31).
“Scattered proof texts taken from a book, believed by Muslims to be corrupt, will never convict or influence their minds” (Cranford 25). Not only so regarding Muslims, but “scattered proof texts” are a poor way to approach any prospective convert with the saving Gospel. The overall context of the Bible and God’s plan for man put into perspective for people living today promotes greater understanding.
In conclusion, Islam is a religious-political-civil entity that is determined to vanquish the world through carnal warfare. “…[W]e need to look no further for the explanation of violent acts within Islam than at the character of its founder” (Caner and Caner 49). “War is not a sidebar of history for Islam; it is the main vehicle for religious expansion. It is the Muslim duty to bring world peace via the sword. …this traditional conquering Islam …has reemerged” (Caner and Caner 78 emphasis added). “…Muslims have accumulated a record in modern times as leaders in committing mayhem against humanity” (Caner and Caner 176). Besides headline attacks on foreign nations, Muslims commit genocide in countries under their own control, kill or imprison Christians, murder converts from Islam to Christianity (Hadith 9:57) and destroy church property.
Islam does in fact have an essential and indispensable tenet of militaristic conquest. The terrorists [of 9/11] were not some fringe group that changed the Qur’an to suit political ends. They understood the Qur’an quite well and followed the teachings of jihad to the letter. (Caner and Caner 184 emphasis added)
From a purely religious perspective, Islam is a false religion that also endangers the immortal souls of multiplied millions of misguided people.
Either Islam is correct in the assumption that “there is only One God, Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet,” or Christianity is correct when Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). They cannot both be correct. (Caner and Caner 16)
Anyone who reads the New Testament and practices what it says respecting redemption can have assurance as to where he will spend eternity. Jesus put it simply in Mark 16:16: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” (NKJV). The New Testament also addresses ongoing sin in a Christian’s life (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
Caner, Ergun Mehmet and Emir Fethi Caner. Unveiling Islam Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2002.
Cranford, L.E. Islam Nashville: Associated Publishing, n.d.