Is Islam the People of the Book?

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary translates Islam (an Arabic word) as submission (to the will of God). First known use was in 1817. The full definition is, "the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet." Try as I might, I was unable to find an authoritative definition of "radical Islam" that lists what beliefs would be embraced by a radical Islamist. I suspect, that a radical Islamist is nothing more than a fundamentalist Islamist. In other words, they would believe that which is commanded in the Quran is to be done today just as the commands were to be obeyed when Muhammad was alive. The same could be said of Christians who believe that the New Testament is the revealed word of God and the commands of Christ and the apostles are to be obeyed today. Therefore, a radical Islamist would be equal to the people of the Book (Jews and Christians), those who are an Orthodox Jew and those that we would call a fundamentalist Christian. Keeping this in mind, we can understand why those Muslims that carry out attacks are at least described by friends and family as devout Muslims.

Muslims also claim to be people of the Book and are mentioned in the Bible as descendants of Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of Hagar (a servant of Sarai) and Abraham. God told Hagar that Ishmael would be a wild man, every hand would be against him, and his descendants would be without number (Genesis 16:10-12). However, it is through Isaac that God would establish His covenant and through his son Jacob the covenant in which all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 18:18). It is this promise that was fulfilled with the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:2 and Luke 3:34). Muslims further claim that in Deuteronomy 18:15 where it states, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;" that Muhammad is the fulfillment of that prophecy. However, the apostle Peter in Acts 3:1-26 applied the prophecy to Jesus. Mahammad could not have qualified for this prophecy since the prophet was to come from the nation of Israel, not Ishmael. It is through Isaac and not Ishmael that the prophet and Messiah is promised by God.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with two thoughts to consider. First, the Quran is at great odds with the New Testament and we should keep in mind what Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8 when he said, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Islam is a different gospel than what Jesus and the apostles revealed. Muhammad should have kept this scripture in mind when the revelation was being revealed to him. Second, Muslims deal with the discrepancies (and there are many) between the Quran and the Bible by claiming that the Jews and Christians have corrupted God's Word. Since they claim to worship the same God that is in the Bible, how is it their god is unable to keep his word? Therefore, it follows that Christians worship a God powerful and wise enough to keep His word untainted while Islam's god is not able to accomplish this action.

Charles Royal, Decatur, AL