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Article 65 - Islam Explained
The Islamic Religion - Explained
Jon Gary Williams
Allah - Islam's name for its god.
Muhammad - Said to be Allah's prophet sent to restore true religion. Is considered to be the last and most important prophet, even superceding Christ.
Islam - The religion which resulted from the influence of Muhammad begun in 622 A.D. Islam means "submission."
Muslim - One who follows the religion of Islam. It means "one who submits to Allah."
Ali - Cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad - followed by the Shiite division.
Abu Bakr - Father-in-law of Muhammad - followed by the Sunni division.
Quran (Koran), Hadith, Sharia - (see "Islamic Holy books")
Mecca - The most holy city of Islam located in western Saudi Arabia. Said to be the "First place created" The city to which Muslims are to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.
Hajj - Word describing a Muslim's pilgrimage to Mecca.
Medina - City of western Saudi Arabia where Muhammad was buried - under the green dome of the "Mosque of the Prophet."
Dome of the Rock - Mosque in Jerusalem where Solomon's temple once stood. Muslims believe Muhammad was supernaturally transported from Mecca to this spot and then taken to heaven to meet Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Ramadan - The Islamic month in which it is claimed that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. (Equivalent to September.) Muslims fast during this month.
Ayatollah - Spiritual leader ("master").
Jihad - Means "struggle" or "strive." A word describing a "holy war" and is the driving force of Islam. Some Muslims believe this is a spiritual struggling, however, radical Muslims believe
this includes waging physical battles.
Imams (Caliphs) - Religious leaders.
Sunni, Shiite - (see "The Two Divisions")
History Of The Islamic Religion
Muhammad, born in Mecca in 570 A.D., claimed that in a cave he had vision of Allah and through and angel named Gabriel he received revelations. Later these revelations became the
Quran. He began to teach his new religion. His wife, Khadija, a wealthy widow, was his first
convert. His cousin and son-in-law, Ali, was also converted and it was Muhammad's desire that
Ali become his successor.
In 622 A.D. Muhammad was driven out of Mecca and took flight to Medina. Before leaving
Mecca he preached a peaceful co-existence with others. Later, however, his preaching became
more aggressive. His writings gradually shifted to Jihad -- "holy war." In Medina he converted
many and organized the Umma, the community of Islam. Here the first Islamic mosque was built. He organized an army and took the role of prophet, ruler, judge and prayer leader.
Muhammad's radical religion resulted in the establishment of a powerful political theocracy with himself as head. His new "religion" was now to increase by forcible conquest. Muhammad set out to control the Arabian peninsula. He subdued tribes killing thousands of resisters. Plundering city after city he was able to consolidate his power. A way of entering Paradise (as seen by radical Muslims: Sura 4:74 "Let those fight in a way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be victorious, we shall grant him a mighty reward." For radical Muslims the guaranteed way of entering Paradise is to die in Jihad -- dying while fighting an enemy of Islam.
Through his conquest Muhammad gathered many wives and concubines. When Muhammad died (632 A.D.) a great dispute arose over who would be his successor. Muhammad wanted his son-in-law, Ali, to take his place. However, while his family was busy with his funeral the leaders in Medina elected Abu Bakr as successor. From that time the Islam religion has been marked by two major divisions.
The Two Divisions
The two major divisions within Islam are the Sunnis and Shiites.
- Most Muslims in all the Mideast are Sunnis - as many as 90%.
- Their source of religious authority is the Quran and written traditions.
- They are more "orthodox" following traditional beliefs and actions.
- They believe in a separation between religious and civil authority.
- They believe their leaders should be elected.
- They believe the Jihad (holy war) is a spiritual battle.
- Shiites dominate the country of Iran - as many as 93%.
- They regard only the Imams (Caliphs) descended directly from Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, as authority.
- They promote the Jihad (holy war) as literal fighting. (See Sura 4:74 above)
- Most Muslim radical terrorists come from the Shiite division, however, some come from other Muslim sects.
- In addition to Mecca, Medina and the Dome of the Rock, the Shiites have two other sacred cities - Karbala in Iraq and Meshed in Iran.
- Both Sunni and Shiite divisions have many splinter groups.
Sects of Islam
Within the Muslim world there are several different ideologies
Ismaili - Those who follow a later line of Caliphs
Sufis - They oppose a rigid interpretation of the Quran, relying as much on personal
Wahhabis - These are strict fundamentalists, rejecting anything added after the third century of
Islamic religion. They have strong control over Muslim mosques. It is from the Wahhabis sect
that suicide bombers (both men and women) are recruited.
Taliban - These are extreme radicals who dominate Muslims in Afghanistan.
Hamas - This is the "Islamic Resistance Movement" - extreme terrorists working among the
Palestinians. They hate Jews and deny the Holocaust.
Al-Qaida - This is a global political movement trying to represent all Islam. They are death-obsessed and want to kill all who are not Muslims.
There are other smaller Muslim sects: Kahrijites, Zaidis, Fatimids, Nizari, Druze and Baha'i.
Islamic Holy Books
Quran (Koran) - The Islamic "Bible." A collection so-called revelations given by Allah to
Muhammad through an angel called Gabriel. It is considered to be Allah's absolute, infallible
and final word. It contains 114 chapters (Suras). The literary style of the Quran is incoherent,
containing numerous deviations. No ongoing theme exist and it lacks the historical nature of
the Bible. It's so-called prophecies are only obscure speculations - nothing to compare with
the prophetic nature of the Bible. About 60% of the Quran speaks about Jihad and allows for
violence, retaliation and revenge.
The Hadith -Writings used as a supplement (interpretation) of the Quran. They contain rules and principles to govern activities of life. The Sunni Muslims accept all the Hadith. The Shiite Muslims accept all but things recorded by Muhammad's second wife.
The Sharia - A body of literature. They contain Islamic law. They deal principally with custom
The Bible - Surprisingly Muslims also appeal to the Bible (on their own terms). The Torah
(Pentateuch) - The prophet Moses The Psalms - The prophet David - The Gospels -- The
prophet Jesus. However, Muslims are taught that all these writings were corrupted. Hence,
Allah appointed Muhammad to receive the Quran to correct the corruptions.
Islamic Religious Beliefs
The oneness of Allah - This is primary to Muslims. (This is in contrast to the Biblical teaching
that God is a triune bring - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)
The 5 pillars of faith
- The Shahada - the confession faith in Allah. "There is no God by Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet." (Saying Shahada with sincerity makes one a Muslim.) To the Muslim there is mystique in this chant. It is considered to be a source of strength and often heard at gatherings and funerals dirges.
- Multiple daily prayers - dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, dusk, 2 hours after sunset.
- Charitable giving - 2.5%. Generally recipients feel no gratitude toward the giver, they believe they are allowing the giver to fulfill an obligation.
- Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime -- called "Hajj."
- Fasting at daylight hours during Ramadan.
- Note: Radical Muslims include a 6th pillar -- the Jihad.
Islam - a religion of works
Entrance to Paradise (heaven) must be earned. Sura 101:6-9 "Then as for him whose measure of good deeds is heavy, he shall have a pleasant life (in Paradise). But as for him whose measure (of good deeds) is light, his abode shall be the abyss (pit, hell)."
Islam - a religion of blind acceptance
Muslims are not to question their religion. Sura 5:101-102 - "O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. Some before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith." In Muslim controlled countries criticism of the Islam religion is a criminal offence and is often punishable by death.
Islam and Christianity
Jesus - To Muslims Jesus cannot be Deity. The greatest sin is to believe that God could take the form of man. Islam religion teaches that Jesus was merely another prophet of Allah, the last in a long lime of Old Testament prophets. They believe only small parts of what the gospels reveal about Jesus. They deny Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead and that people are saved by his atoning death.
The New Testament - They believe the New Testament is the product of people who wanted to
promote Jesus as a savior and is not God's final revelation to man. They believe only those
parts of the New Testament they can use to give support to their claims regarding the Islamic
Christianity - They believe Christianity is a false religion and not God's eternal purpose. They are taught that those who claim Christianity are "infidels."
The Goal of Radical Islam - World Domination
Omar, the 2nd Caliph of Islam, advocated that the theocratic state of Islam must conquer the world. This was considered the true glory of Allah. The Islam religion was advanced by armed conquest. This conquest was thwarted when its armies were defeated at the Battle of Tours in France in 732 A.D. Later attempts at conquest were put down in the Crusade wars between Christians and Muslims (1096 - 1291 A.D.).
The Islam religion is intolerable. Most Muslim nations are closed to other religions and have made evangelism by other religions illegal. (Yet, Muslim leaders expect freedom to promote their religion worldwide.)
Jihad victory - Radical Muslims consider Jihad a success when a nation accepts Islam as both their religion and their form of government. Of the 1.4 Billion Muslims in the world 15% are radical extremists, which means there are at least 200 million radical Muslims who believe the Jihad is real war. Though the Islam religion has always been an aggressive religion, in more recent times Islamic radical fundamentalism has grown due to several factors:
- The resurgence of fundamental Islamic beliefs in newly established Islamic nations. (Many middle eastern nations are less then 60 years old.)
- The establishment of the modern nation of Israel.
- The moral weakness of an increasingly secularized western culture.
- An increase of Arabic emigration to western Europe and America.
Present World Religious Stats
(As of 2010)
Christianity - 33%
Islam - 22%
Hindu - 15%
Non-religious - 14%
Buddhism - 6%
Chinese - 3%
Primal - 3%
Other - 3%
Africa has over 300 million Muslims, Asia has over 775 million Muslims.
In 1945 there were only 4 independent Islamic nations. Now there are 24. Of these, 5 have strict enforcement of Islamic laws: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and the Sudan.
The Sudanese government is the most severe, having forced people to convert to Islam through starvation, enslavement, torture and imprisonment. Since becoming an Islamic state, in Sudan an estimated 3 million non-Muslims have been enslaved or slaughtered.
Muslims in non-Arab countries now outnumber Muslims in Arab countries 3 to 1.
Global birthrate is now almost 50% Muslim. (United Nations figures)
France has over 5 million Muslims, Germany has over 3 million Muslims.
Islam is now the 4th largest religious group in America.
Islamic evangelism In The United States
In America 30% of Muslims are not of Arab descent but are converts, most coming from the African-American community. Many millions of Arab dollars go to promoting the Islam religion in America. Islamic nations financially support the "World Community of Islam in the West" -- better known as the "Black Muslim Movement." Detroit has over 500,000 Muslims and 40 mosques. Each year in our prison systems it is estimated that upwards to 35,000 black prisoners are converted to the Islam religion.
Islam groups are highly visible and active on American University campuses. It is echoed by
Muslin leaders: "It is time to get out of the mosque and into the community."
Islam and politics
"American Muslims have arrived as a political force." (American Muslim Council). Each year more and more Muslims enter local, state and federal political offices. Through their oil wealth (OPEC) Islamic nations maintain strong influence in world economy.
There are approximately 2000 mosques in the United States. Prayer five times daily. (It is taught that prayers in a mosque are more valuable.) There is no music. No books are used. Prayers are from memory. In many mosques there are schools which function to promote Islam. In some places Mosques are used for more than worship -- they have been used for storing weapons, making military plans, recruiting Muslims to fight in the Jihad and classes in which children are taught to hate and kill non-Muslims.
Islam And Women
Muslim women have the same religious obligations as men. Under Muslim law women are said to have certain rights: the right to inherit, to buy and sell, to control their own property and the right to obtain an education.
Note: While this may be true in some places, in most Islamic controlled countries this is not
always the case.
Some examples of negative attitudes toward women.
Thousands of Muslim women have told horrific stories of mistreatment.
- Men may have up to four wives.
- Women can have only one husband.
- Women inherit only half of what men inherit.
- A Muslim wife cannot answer the door if her husband is not home.
- Men can divorce their wives by simply saying the word "Talag" three times.
- Women must have their heads covered when in the public.
- Women cannot shake hands with men.