· Ideas have consequences. Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive faith systems, both cannot be true.
· The need to understand - Matt. 10:16 -- "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. :. be as shrewd as snakes & as innocent as doves."
· "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. . .'' 1 Peter 3:16
· Born into the powerful Quraysh tribe in Mecca 570 A.D.
· Tradition: he was born clean, circumcised, & with his navel cord cut.
· At 25 -- Married a wealthy widow, Khadija, 15 years his senior.
· 610 AD (age 40) Muhammad received his calling from the angel Gabriel
· Those "revelations" became the Qur'an (Koran) - "recitations"
Notes: reared by his grandfather and an uncle.
· Muhammad was deathly afraid of the source of his revelation.
· At first he thought it came from a jinn. Jinn -- we would think of them as demons. We call them "genie". Khadija convinced him it was from God.
· After a three year period of silence the messages began to come again. His message failed to convince the merchants of Mecca….
· Hijra (622, 'flight'), the siege of Medina, Mecca falls (632)
Hijra - Flight from Mecca to Medina with a few hundred followers (70 men & families). This is the date Muslims see as the founding of Islam.
Conquest of Mecca - (January 630) Muhammad, with 10,000 men take Mecca without a struggle. (He was buried in Medina in 634 AD.)
· Iqbal: "Love of the Prophet runs like blood in the veins of his community." And "you can deny God, but you cannot deny the Prophet."
· Although not considered divine, his example is perfect.
· Abdalati writes: "He stands in history as the best model for man in piety and perfection. He is a living proof of what man can be and of what he can accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue."
Notes: 1. "Muslims will allow attacks on Allah: there are atheists & atheistic publications, & rationalistic societies; but to disparage Muhammad will provoke from even the most 'liberal' sections of the community a fanaticism of blazing vehemence." Wilfred Cantwell Smith.
2. From Ibn Taymiyya (14th century theologian) to the Ayatollah Khomeini (Salmon Rushdie), anyone defaming the Prophet must be executed without possibility of repentance (fatwa).
3. Muhammad didn't claim to do signs & wonders like Jesus. (2:118, 3:183)
What is Islam?
· Islam ("submission'', not 'peace') is the religion of all who believe that Muhammad was God's prophet. (His last!)
Six Articles of Faith -- 1. Monotheism
· Allah is a pre-Muslim term for God. "Al Lah" means "the Divinity" in Arabic; it is a single God; in fact for Muslims it is the God of Moses and Jesus. P. 14. "Arab Christians use the word Allah for God." Pre-Islamic Arabs acknowledged Allah's existence as the supreme God. Muhammad's own father carried the name Abd-Allah, slave of God. Allah was the chief of the pagan gods. Centuries before Muhammad the Arabian Kaaba, or temple at Mecca, was called Beit-Allah, the house of God. P. 16.
· Shirk -- Muhammad's message was the absolute unity and sovereignty of God. Placing other gods as his equal is an unforgivable sin. (shirk)
· Sovereignty: "If We had so willed, we would certainly have brought every soul its true guidance: but the Word from Me will come true, I will fill Hell with Jinns and men all together." (32:13)
Seemingly contradictory actions of God are not problematic. The divine will is an ultimate beyond which neither reason nor revelation can go. "So God is the One Who leads astray, as well as the One Who guides.
"If you love God, follow me, and God will love you and forgive your sins." However, "God does not love the unbelievers." 3:32
God is the Sovereign Monarch, man is the slave.
Only Sufism seems to develop the notion of an intimate relationship with God. The notion of experiencing God or having an experience of God is a foreign notion. This has created a tension between God's sovereignty and the notion of free will. Free will lost out.
#2 -- Angels and Jinn
· Belief in angels is essential to Islam (2:177)
· Four archangels: Gabriel (Holy Spirit), Michael (Guardian of the Jews), Israfil (summoner to resurrection), Izrai'il (angel of death)
· Jinn are a separate race created by fire; some are good, some are evil
Notes: One Imam wrote that anyone who can master the Jinn is flown on their back to distant places. (Magic carpet?) Some believe in marriage between humans and Jinn. Satan falls in this category...
Six Articles of Faith #3-- Revelation
· Every people have had a prophet (124,000) and a book (104 holy books) (such as the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, etc.)
· Prophets are sinless (almost)
· "Mother of the Book" (43:4, 13:39) gave all revelations.
· Qur'an (Koran) is the final (with the Hadith)
The messages all come from the Mother of the Book (43:4, 13:39). Later prophets abrogate previous messages. There have been 124,000 prophets according to Muslim tradition. Muslims are the most evolved people (3:110) (Muslim supremacy!)
The Hadith -- The source of traditional sayings of Muhammad...
Contains most of Muhammad's miracles. . . Bukhari admitted to collecting 300,000 hadith. Considered 100,000 to be true.
· Narrowed them down to 7,275 with many repetitions.
--Much of Muslim practice comes from the Hadith. The place of women, e.g. comes from here. Muhammad froze cultural traditions of the 7th century into place as the practice for all time.
Six Articles of Faith
· 4. Muhammad is the "seal" (last) of the Prophets
· 5. Predestination
· 6. Salvation is Achieved
All world religions except Christianity are "salvation by works" theology.
Sin & Salvation
· Man is fundamentally good: there is no need for redemption, conversion, or regeneration.
· What is needed is a restoration, a returning or remembering that God exists.
· Salvation refers to a future state, in the afterlife.
--All people are born true Muslims, their parents corrupt them. Muslims seek to avoid big sins, not to be perfect or holy as God is Holy.
--Mankind in early Islam was God's slave, more recently seen as God's steward.
--Man is not to know God and be conformed to His character, but to understand His will and become more obedient.
--This life is preparation for the next. We must be constantly reminded of God's laws.
· Consists of both belief (iman)and action (amal).
· Belief consists of:
-Believing in the oneness of God
-... in the prophecy of Muhammad
-... in angels
-Accepting the Qur'an
-Believing in life after death
-... that God decrees everything (& don't worry about contradictions)
Salvation: 6 Pillars of Islam
· Good works consist of the five/six pillars:
-- Reciting the confession (shahada) "There is no God but Allah, and
-- Prayer (3 or 5 times daily) Mohammad is his prophet."
-- Fasting (Ramadan)
-- Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
· The word means "striving" or "struggle"
· Often used in the sense of personal striving in the path of God
· "The more common interpretation, and that of the overwhelming majority of the classical jurists and commentators, presents jihad as armed struggle for Islam against infidels and apostates." (Bernard Lewis, professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University)
Notes: Laws of jihad preclude wanton & indiscriminate destruction. Non-combatants are not to be harmed unless they attack first. Jurists agree that a clear declaration of war occur before hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce.
Classical Islam in all its different forms and versions has never permitted suicide. It is a mortal sin.
Jihad and Non-Muslims
· (9:5) "Fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleager them, and lie in wait for them in every stratgem."
· (9:29) "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which bath been forbidden by Allah and His Prophet, not acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
· (47:4-7) "When you meet unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. . . And those who are slain in the way of God, He will not send their works astray. He will guide them, and dispose their minds aright, and He will admit them to Paradise, that He has made known to them."
Major Divisions of Islam
· Sunni -- 90% majority. Followers of Sunna ("practice of Mohammad") Most of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.
· Shi'ite -- From Shia, "Partisan" of Ali (Mohammad's son-in-law) Taliban, Osama bin Laden, etc.
· Sufis -- Mystics: God must be experienced directly Sadam Hussein, etc.
(Sadam claims to be the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar…)
The Current Crisis
Osama Bin Laden
· Born in 1957, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
· Father became a billionaire during the oil boom of the 1970's (construction)
· Degree in economics and business
· Has four wives and 15 children
Osama Bin Laden
· Leader of al Qaeda (The Base)
· Foundation for Islamic Salvation
· Became influential in Afghanistan's war against the Russians
· Goal today is to establish a "pure" version of Islam in every nation
Osama Bin Laden
In 1996 bin Laden issues a fatwa, a formal religious decision calling on Muslims to kill American troops in Saudi Arabia.
-- "to kill Americans & their allies--civilians & military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible...
-- "...to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque" & to remove their armies from the lands of Islam.
· "Students of Religion" (Shi'ite, Wahhabi views especially)
· Mullah Mohammed Omar
· Seized the capital, Kabul, in 1996 and established an Islamic emirate.
· Bin Laden's organization helps to keep them in power.
Formed in 1994 to stop the chaos in Afghanistan.
· Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, 18th century Arabia
· Purification of Islam
· Encouragement of original thinking
· Focus on the here and now
· Militant methods
They accept the Koran and Sunna only. (with their own interpretations)
Only about 10% believe in militant or terrorist ways of accomplishing their purpose, we are told.
With about 5 million in the U.S., that's 500,000 militants. "Oh, it's really only about 1%!", we are assured. Well, that's about 50,000!
"...One-half of 1%!" And that's still 25,000!
Ideas have consequences!
On the other hand, Jesus had a better idea. Love God, Love your neighbor.
When you sin, seek God's forgiveness. And He offers it to you right now.