Islam (by Paul Holland)
Islam is here to stay. I do not know how the Islamic population in America is going to change our laws and our culture. But what I am most interested in is how it might change our religion. To say it a better way, we need to be prepared to share the Gospel with our Muslim neighbors.
The Pew Forum released a survey regarding how religions are perceived in America which reveals some ugly facts about our ignorance. Only four out of ten Americans could correctly answer two basic questions about Islam:
1) What is the Muslim name for God? Allah
2) What is the name of the Islamic holy text? Koran
In other words, 60% of Americans know absolutely nothing about Islam. Not only did our country experience the atrocities of 9/11 but Islam is the second largest and the fastest growing religion in the world; yet the average American chooses not to examine any of the fundamentals of this faith.
The Muslims’ holy book is called the Koran, sometimes spelled Qur’an. It is made up of 114 “surahs” and 6,000 verses. The Qur’an sends mixed signals about Jesus Christ. On one hand, it denies His deity, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. It especially denies that Jesus is the Son of God (Surah 6:102; 19:88-93).
On the other hand, the Qur’an speaks highly of Jesus. Farah writes: “Not many Christians today …are aware of the fact that Muhammad, the messenger of Islam, believed Jesus and Moses to be the most important bearers of God’s one hallowed message to His people as enshrined in the Testaments and the Torah” (Islam,2).
And the words of Ahmed are noteworthy: “The Prophet of Islam would always display a special affection for Jesus. …Indeed, Muslims believe that there have been over 124,000 ‘prophets’ who spread the message of God, whether directly or indirectly” (Islam Today, 23-24).
The Qur’an explicitly states that God has revealed Himself through four books: the Law (of Moses; Surah 5:48); the book of Psalms (4:161); the Evangel (the “Gospel;” 5:50); and the Qur’an (6:19). Akbar S. Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at the American University in Washington, DC, writes in his book Islam Today, “The Quran repeatedly points out that both Jews and Christians are ‘people of the Book’, that their original Books came from God. Indeed, for Islam the prophets of Judaism and Christianity are also prophets of Islam” (page 23).
The Qur’an also says there is no difference between them (2:130) - “Say ye: ‘We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down to us …to Abraham and Ismael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes: and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus, and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord. No difference do we make between any of them: and to God are we resigned (Muslims).”
What Christians need to do then, is show that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecies from the Law and the Psalms and that the Scriptures give overwhelming evidence to their inspiration. Not only is Christianity a much more intellectually consistent religion than is Islam but Jesus Christ is a much more emotionally satisfying Savior than the salvation-by-works approach found within Islam.
Pray for the Muslims. They serve a fearful god. Do not fear them. Most, at least in our country, want to live in peace. Learn about their religion. Read their book. Encourage them to read “your” book. Let the Gospel (“Evangel”) convert them to Jesus.