Pilgrims circling the Black Stone in the eastern corner of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque toward which Muslims pray.Islamic tradition states that Mohammed set intact the stone which was under the guardianship of the Quraysh, his Arab tribe. (apimages)
The eloquence of world leaders describing Islam is voluminous:
Said President Barack Obama at the UN: “We have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace.”
“I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace,” avowed former President George W. Bush at an Arabic-language television station. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”
“There is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror…they don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world,” proclaimed British Prime Minister David Cameron.
His Home Secretary, Theresa May, confirmed the declaration, “This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam itself. The Koran says, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion.’”
Pope Francis agreed, “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence.”
The British magazine, The Spectator, sums it all up:
“In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam.’”
“It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and [Australian Prime Minister] Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack… It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris.” (spectator.co.uk; link: http://goo.gl/goy91n)
The Spectator goes on to say:
“We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follows a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.” (Ibid.)
So where does that leave Christians and Messianic Jews? What are we to do? It would seem logical that the first question would be, “Where in this world did these leaders get their Islamic intel?” But that question presents us with the necessity – even the responsibility – to obtain for ourselves at least a rudimentary understanding of the basic elements of Islam.
Yet, let’s go further. We must understand the basics of the Original Islam – that which was produced by Mohammed himself and his close associates. To this end, here is a short summary of what I will call Islam 101. Even though this will be anything but a deep study of Islam, nevertheless you can be sure what you are about to read has not found its way into the hands of the above world leaders – except perhaps Barack Obama who studied Islam for several years in Indonesia, though admittedly at a young age.
The religion of Islam is based on three texts:
1. The Koran – the words of Allah as revealed by an angel who introduced himself as Gabriel. It is divided into 114 surahs or chapters. The textual context of the Koran could be compared to a text of only the words of Yeshua – the Scriptures which are printed in red in some Bibles. In such a Bible there would be no explanation as to why Yeshua said what he said. In the Koran, there is no context, no background information, just a transcript of Allah’s words. And the revelations were over a period of 23 years.
2. Sira – the biography of Mohammed written by his early followers and accepted by virtually all Muslims as divinely inspired.
3. Hadith – a collection of short stories and traditions. Of these hadiths there are various interpretations by different sects of Islam.
The Sira and the Hadith together are called the Sunna. It is this Trilogy, the Koran, Sira and Hadith that is Islam. If something is not supported by the Trilogy, then it is not Islam.
Now here is the difficult part. The revelations given Mohammed by Gabriel are divided into two ways of looking at the world. The early revelations received by Mohammed from around 610 A.D. when he lived in Mecca, were conciliatory and peaceful. Here he was a poor preacher, surrounded by doubting and often angry “unbelievers.” In fact, after 13 years of preaching and persuading, he had only 150 converts! Indeed his claims were mostly mocked. He had little influence, and therefore little choice but to appear charitable and benevolent. Allah’s revelations matched the flexibility Mohammed needed at the time – kindness and tolerance.
However, when he fled to Medina in 623 A.D. he quickly gained converts and his power base began to grow exponentially. The larger the number of followers, the more combative he became in proclaiming Islam as the only true religion, and demanding that all tribes in Arabia submit to Allah.
As his armed forces in Medina grew, he began to receive revelations that Islam must be spread by the sword. In fact, a quarter of all revelations received in Medina and 67% of his biography is occupied with Jihad.
JIHAD AND ORIGINAL ISLAM
Analyzing the amount of verbiage given to the subject of Jihad helps us understand the true meaning Mohammed gave it. In the Islamic Trilogy, 2% of content concerning Jihad speaks of the inner struggle of the soul – the part many Muslims use today to explain the Islam-is-a-peaceful-religion concept. However, 98% speaks of Jihad with the sword. And Jihad is overwhelmingly violent according to the original Islam. (www.cspipublishing.com; link: goo.gl/V2dMbq)
So what is our first challenge to understanding the original Islam as delivered by Mohammed? It is to learn when and where Mohammed received his revelations. Fortunately, there is little disagreement in Islamic studies of the chronological order of the revelations. Verses such as “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion…” (Surat Al-Kafirun 109:6) were given to him in Mecca and came first. Those given in Medina with themes of “accept Islam or we’ll fight (kill) you” came later.
Here is a classic verse that is used by all militant Muslim groups.
And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists [pagans] wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent [become Muslims], establish prayer, and give zakah [alms], let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Surat At-Tawbah 9:5
A NEW CHALLENGE: CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
But now we arrive at our next challenge: The Koran, as it has come down today, is not in the original chronological order! After Mohammed’s death, his close associate Uthman, who also became the third caliph, arranged the chapters starting with the longest and ending with the shortest. After he rearranged the Koran as it is known today, he burned the original text. The timeline and story have been annihilated by the rearrangement. From a statistical point of view, the text was randomized and, hence, very difficult to understand by itself. (Ibid.)
Now that’s a problem – but not as great as it would seem. Actually, for Islamic scholars, it is an easy task to reconstruct the Koran of Mohammed’s day, the historical Koran. The timeline of the chapters has always been known by Muslim students. By taking the pages of the Sira (Mohammed’s biography) and laying them out in a line beneath the Koran in its original order, the Sira and the Koran fit together like a key in a lock. The Koran is the warp and the Sira is the woof that forms a single fabric, the historical Koran. If these two are integrated into one text, the historical Koran is clearly understandable, and the Koran then can be read in context of the current events at the time of the various revelations.
SO FAR SO GOOD!
The historical Koran is straightforward in that just as it was in Mohammed’s day, the average Muslim student today can clearly see that the early Koranic passages written in Mecca are very different from the later passages written in Medina. But now a new challenge arises. What about all the conflicting verses? In Mecca, Allah said one thing; in Medina he said the opposite. And that brings us to the subject of abrogation.
Abrogation is the concept that Allah chose to reveal verses in the Koran that supersede earlier revelation in the same Koran. As Muslims see it, later ayat (meaning a sign or miracle, commonly a verse in the Koran) can nullify or negate a previous verse.
The doctrine of abrogation is widely accepted throughout the Islamic world. It is based on passages in the Koran like this one:
We [Allah] do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? Surat Al-Baqarah 2:106
In other words, it’s not so much that Allah negates his commandments; rather he improves on them. The record of the Summa (the Sira and the Hadith of the Islamic Trilogy) confirms this abrogation.
Here is an example of two conflicting verses in the Koran:
…Allah is our Lord and your Lord: for us (is the responsibility for) our deeds, and for you for your deeds. There is no contention between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and to Him is (our) Final Goal. Surat Ash-Shuraa 42:15
Now here comes the later revelation that abrogates or “improves” the former revelation:
Fight [kill] those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah [tax] willingly while they are humbled. Surat At-Tawbah 9:29
The jizya is the tax Jews or Christians alone can pay to save themselves from death – if they have the money. Often they do not and are killed. All pagans or “infidels” of other religions or no religion who will not convert to Islam are to be killed, without the opportunity to pay the tax. The above verse is another one of the main verses used by modern-day Jihadists.
In summary, there is no other conclusion except to admit that the overwhelming evidence shouts that killing is the big difference between Islam and all other religions.
We must pray for and help in every way possible Middle East Christians. They are under extreme pressure to keep themselves below the radar in order to survive, and many, if not most, are afraid to do any evangelizing among Muslims. But we know there must be a world-shaking revival in the Muslim world since the Spirit of the God of Israel must be poured out upon all flesh!
It is estimated that only about 15% of Muslims believe in the classical Islamic Jihad taught and practiced by Mohammed.
And it is true that traditional Muslims – but not radicals – prefer to see Islam as a peaceful religion, clinging to verses stating that Jihad is an inner struggle. They “believe” the Koran and the Sira, but they prefer to live a nice normal life and do not want to take on the world and give their lives for a world caliphate.
A secular Muslim is even more “liberal.” Like a nominal Christian, he or she is not particularly interested in religion and is focused on other areas of interest: business, family or career. Certainly the majority of Muslims are traditional or secular.
Nevertheless, compared to other religions, even a secular Muslim is in a category of his own! According to a Pew pole, 86% of Egyptians favor the death penalty for leaving Islam. In Jordan, it is 82%; Malaysia, 62%; Pakistan 76%; Afghanistan 79%. (The Washington Post; link: http://goo.gl/PtW5w1)
Therefore, in a Muslim dominated country – or even in a Muslim area of a western country, the most dangerous thing a Muslim can do is to leave Islam – no matter what the reason. They are marked for death – by relatives, friends, Jihadists or an Islamic government. Former Muslim Dr. Mark Gabriel knows this first hand. He states, “I personally feel for people who take the courageous step away from Islam. These people live the rest of their lives with the sword of Islam on their necks.” (Islam and Terrorism, Mark A. Gabriel, Charisma House)
If tolerance means allowing people of other faiths the same religious liberties Muslims enjoy, then Islam is fundamentally the most intolerant religion under the sun.
The Prophet Mohammed Mosque in Medina – where Mohammed began his mission to make Islamic converts by the sword. (apimages)
In the early days of Mohammed and the caliphs following Mohammed’s death, disagreements and misunderstandings often led to terrorist acts among the different tribes of Arabic people.
Because Islam entitled the victors to the defeated enemies’ possessions, the motivation to fight unbelievers [kill infidels] among Arab tribes grew stronger and more brutal. But not only did they attack non-Muslims, the early Muslim tribes also attacked each other in power struggles. An example of this was the reoccuring battles between different members of Mohammed’s own tribe, the Quraysh. Today, ISIS and Jihadists everywhere operate on the same principle. Conquer the enemy and take his property. Jihadists take on non-Muslims and Muslims who believe differently than themselves.
Arab tribal culture readily accepted Mohammed’s expanding philosophy of Jihad. It was (1) fight those locals who persecute you; (2) conquer those who reject Islam in your region (the Arabian Desert); and (3) conquer the world in the name of Islam.
No Koranic revelation contradicted this final command of Jihad, so it is still the goal of classic Islam today. We see Muslims playing out original Islam all over the world. It’s the same basic plan everywhere. To recap, when a Muslim is involved in Jihad, Islam teaches him to offer the non-Muslims three choices:
1. Convert to Islam.
2. Be killed.
3. Christians and Jews have a third choice: pay a tax to save one’s life.
True Muslims practice Islam as Mohammed did – as warriors who militarily bring peoples under the control of Islam. They believe that Mohammed taught that all good and faithful Muslims are under binding obligation to fight to bring the entire world under Islam. They have plenty of verses to back their beliefs.
Fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. Sirat Al-‘Anfal 8:39 (The Nobel Quran translation)
When a Muslim government or leader is found acting not in accordance with the Koran, classic Muslims have the right and obligation to declare them renegades and infidels and kill them. That is why so often Muslim leaders are assassinated.
Recently President Abdel al-Sisi of Egypt who has ruled that the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are terrorist organizations, made very strong statements urging Islam to turn away from its violence.
A man of monumental courage, al-Sisi made an amazing speech when he urged Muslims not to behave according to the ancient, destructive interpretations of the Koran and Islam that make the rest of the world hate them, destroy Islam’s reputation and put Muslim immigrants to Western countries in the position of having to fight their hosts. He claimed that it is illogical for over a billion Muslims to aspire to conquer and subdue six billion non-Muslims.
What few people outside of the Muslim world understand is that General al-Sisi’s life is now a target by masses of original Jihadists who follow the ancient way.
A footnote: Egypt’s Christians of all persuasions are thrilled that al-Sisi is their president as he is doing more to protect Christians than any other preceding Egyptian ruler.
OBSTACLES TO THE SPREAD OF ISLAM
As classical Muslims see it, there are three great obstacles to worldwide Islamic revolution:
1. Judaism and the state of Israel. Instead of enjoying a glorious united Islamic Caliphate, they see Israel as a finger in their throat. Israel is at the frontline of the Islamic war against non-Muslims.
2. Christianity, especially in the U.S. and Europe. Both Israel and Christian democratic nations are in their sights. Muslims have specific plans to overturn the Judeo-Christian civilization.
3. Communism, especially in the Former Soviet Union and China. Muslims see these nations as anti-religious and therefore anti-Islamic, but will continue with their goal to conquer the world.
Islam Yaken came from a wealthy family in Cairo. He was a Law school student who enjoyed studying languages and working out in the gym. His transformation into a raging fighter is dramatic.
What are the main attractions that excite hundreds of thousands of young Muslims around the world to choose Jihad? What is the underlying allurement to cause even a growing number of girls to choose terror, violence and death?
1. Muslims are taught that the Koran is the absolute and unique word of Allah. Islam, meaning “submission” demands that a Muslim totally submit to Allah. There is no other god and there is no other truth except Islam. Many young people looking for a purpose in life are drawn to the mosque where they are taught literally how to give themselves 100% to Allah.
2. Mohammed is the absolute perfect example, the pure role model sent by Allah, and all Muslims are commanded to follow his example. Descriptions of him in the Sira portray him as a very handsome man – beautiful black curly hair and large black eyes, aquiline nose and mouth wide and finely shaped… “His skin was white but tanned by the sun. In addition to his natural beauty there was a light on his face…” No doubt he had great charisma and no doubt he was spiritually anointed by his god Allah.
During the last ten years of his life after he fled to Medina, he brought the known Arab world under the domination of Islam, and he did it by the sword. (Without the sword he only succeeded in converting 150 people in 13 years.) In his last 10 years he sent out his militias to 73 battles and physically led 27.
He also killed thousands of innocent Christian men, took their wives and children and established institutional slavery, making sex slavery a foundational part of his religion. There are discussions in the hadiths too gross to print here as he gave permission for his men to rape wives in front of their infidel husbands before the Jihadists killed the men. He forced multitudes of Christians to convert to Islam by killing the men and enslaving their families. “The caliphs had harems of hundreds, sometimes thousands of young girls and women captured from lands as far away as Europe and consigned to sexual slavery.” (www.thereligionofpeace.com; link: http://goo.gl/MBdDzx)
A theology that the human acts of murder, torture and rape considered evil by civilization are actually commanded by Allah that Jihadists indulge themselves to advance Islam is a magnet so powerful that millions of young men, and even women, are drawn into its trap.
3. Mohammed’s revelation of Allah was not a god of love, but a god demanding total submission, but not – and I repeat not – promising Paradise to any Muslim in the next life. There is one exception. If a Muslim male dies a martyr in the service of advancing Islam he will go straight to Paradise where 72 virgins await his coming. I read a report that some of the suicide bombers have put cologne on their private parts preparing themselves for their meeting of 72 virgins. All other Muslims who are not martyrs will only know if they will go to Paradise or Hell on the Day of Judgment. That’s why Muslim parents are joyful when they hear their child was killed while committing a terrorist attack.
4. The underlying sexual seduction throughout the Trilogy of Islam seems to have gone unnoticed by Western governments, but is being taught with a vengeance in many mosques and classrooms around the world. Adultery and fornication are forbidden, but a Muslim male can have four wives. He can divorce his wives simply by saying “I divorce you” three times and remarry as many times as he wishes. But that does not include an unlimited supply of sex slaves that a male can buy if he is rich, or win in battle as a Jihadist. ISIS and Boko Haram are two of many examples of those who follow classical Islam. Mohammed married a nine-year old girl, and so that is the age accepted by literalist Muslims. In summary, Jihadists are simply replicating the acts and lives of Mohammed and his followers as described in the Sunna.
The split between Sunnis and Shias took place over a power struggle beginning with Abu Bakr, the father of Mohammed’s famous wife Aisha (whom he betrothed at age 6 and married at age 9), who became the first caliph, and Mohammed’s son-in-law, Ali Ibn Abi Talib who became the fourth caliph.
Sunnis follow all of the first four caliphs, while Shias believe that Ali (who was assassinated) was the second most divinely inspired man after Mohammad and that he and his descendants by Fatimah (Mohammed’s daughter), are the sole legitimate Imams and thus the only true Islamic leaders.
Although all Muslim groups consider the Koran to be divine, Sunni and Shia have different interpretations of the Hadith.
In Shia Islam, the Mahdi symbol has developed into a powerful and central religious idea. Shia ‘Twelvers” believe the Mahdi (Messiah-like figure) will be the Twelfth Imam and will appear at the end of the world to bring about a perfect and just Islamic global society.
Some 85–90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni and 15% are Shia, with most Shias belonging to the Twelver tradition and the rest divided between many other groups.
Sunnis are a majority in most Muslim communities: in Southeast Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, and most of the Arab world. Shia are the majority in Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain, as well as being a politically significant minority in Lebanon. Indonesia has the largest number of Sunni Muslims, while Iran has the largest number of Shia Muslims (Twelvers) in the world. Pakistan has the second-largest Sunni as well as the second-largest Shia Muslim population in the world.
If you wish to know more, I recommend the following sources:
Islam and Terrorism, by Mark A. Gabriel, PH.D.; Charisma House. I chose this book as my first source for two reasons: Dr. Gabriel was a former Muslim professor of Islamic history at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. This university is considered the foremost Islamic University in the Sunni world. Secondly, the professor left Islam and became an active Christian, giving the reader a true Biblical insight.
www.quran.com. This is an Internet copy of the complete Koran translated into several English versions, plus many other languages. Thus any reader can check for himself exactly what the Koran says. There is also a word search engine on the site.
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, by Martin Lings; Inner Traditions. Compiled by a British scholar with degrees from Oxford University, he himself converted to Islam. The book is very readable and informative. It has been awarded “best biography of the Prophet in English.”
There are hundreds of Internet sites giving excellent information such as www.thereligionofpeace.com; link: goo.gl/MBdDzx
Ari and Shira invite you to the Israel Prayer Tower in the heart of Jerusalem for a Celebration with Pastor Jack Hayford.
We will be celebrating the dedication of the magnificent Twelve Tribes of Israel stain glass windows made possible by a contribution to Maoz from Pastor Jack and Anna Hayford.
The Windows were created by world-renown Israeli Messianic artists Pamela Suran, who designed the pieces, and Rick Wienecke, the sculptor who brought them to life.
Kobi Ferguson oversees the beautiful Israel Prayer Tower – where people from all over the world can pray from the highest point in the center of the city, with a 360° view of Jerusalem, where the artwork is currently on display.
You won’t want to miss this celebration!
Come join us for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to Celebrate with us on Saturday, May 23, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
City Tower Bldg
34 Ben Yehuda, corner of King George St
And how shall they hear without a preacher?