I am preaching on Islam at Nowra City Church and these are my notes. They are a little rough but they contain some good information in reference to providing an overview of Islam.
There are three worldviews that lie at the foundation of all religions and philosophies:
1) Theism, Theism teaches there is a personal God who created the universe.
2) Naturalism, Naturalism teaches there is no divine being and that the universe is the result of time and chance
3) Pantheism. Pantheism teaches that the universe is eternal and that the divine is an impersonal force made up of all things.
All three worldviews cannot be true at the same time and if one of them is true, the other two must be false.
Within Theism – there are three models in which Christianity views world religions
1. Replacement Model – Christianity is meant to replace all religions
· The idea that Christian must move in and take the place of other religions – this is at the core of the Missionary Movement
· Hold that “There is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12
· Critics of the Replacement model say that there is tension between the universalism of God’s love v’s the particularity of what they claim is the narrow pipeline of Jesus. They say that Jesus is too exclusive
· Defenders of the Replacement Model say that Jesus is not exclusive but is totally inclusive – that the universalism of God’s is matched by the inclusivity of Jesus dying for all man kind. It is the widest invitation in the history of the world
2. Fulfilment Model
· People who subscribe to this Model believe that other religions have value, that God is found in them, that Christians need to dialogue with them and not just preach to them.
· The key idea is that God can and is at work outside of Christianity. Like for example, God could uses the fact that Jesus is mentioned in the Qu’ran (Koran) to bring people to salvation through Christ.
· Jesus was a great healer of the sick Qur’an(Koran) 3:49; 5:110
Jesus is mentioned in fifteen of the 114 Suras and in 93 of the some 6000 Qur’anic verses.
There are 114 chapters in the Koran that are arranged from longest to shortest
He is called Messiah 11 times (although this is not the same as the way Christian’s refer to Christ as Messiah.)
He was protected from Satan from birth
He was blessed by his special birth
There is a general consensus that his birth was a Virgin Birth
There is a reference to Jesus, his birth, death and being raised up alive.
For example in relation to the death of Jesus, the Qur’an (Koran) says that they did not kill him and did not crucify him but he was counterfeited for them.
For example in the movie the Life of Pi the lad says “Thankyou Vishnu for introducing me to Christ.”
So the fulfilment model basically validates other religions as potential introduction agencies to Christ. This model still holds that Salvation is through Jesus Christ only
3. Mutuality Model
· The Mutuality Model lands heavily on the side of the Universality of God’s love. (as opposed to the apparent particularity of Jesus as being the way to that love)
· The Model basically says that the diversity of God means that God manifests as Vishnu, Braham, Allah or any other God that people follow.
· One of the key objectives in this model is interfaith dialogue. And so therefore the model holds that every religion must come to the table with a level playing field – in other words – no religion must say they are better than any other religion.
· That Jesus as spoken of in the new testament is more symbolic than actual messiah. He is the Messiah for Christians but no one else.
· It is the embodiment of Religious Pluralism that is so popular amongst a post modern generation.
· Islam is the religion founded by Muhammad who lived 570 – 632 AD
· He claimed that he received supernatural revelations from the Angel Gabriel – over a period of 23 years.
“one terrible in power, very strong; he stood poised, being on the higher horizon, then drew near and suspended hung, two bows’-length away, or nearer, then revealed to his servant that he revealed. (Sura 53.5-10)
· These revelations were written down by others and complied into a book called the Koran
· Muhammad lived in Mecca but due to conflict over his revelations he left and went and lived in Medina. All Medina became Muslim and then Meccans went to war against the Medina’s.
Mohammed led them to victory – and so moved back to Mecca – which then became the centre of Islam.
Quote from the book “Islam the Straight Path”
“ From its beginnings, Islam existed and spread as a community – state – it was both a faith and a political order – it’s a framework for state, society and culture – its more than a religion.
· When Muhammad died he failed to nominate a successor and so at his death – his new religion experienced division.
Into Sunni & Shi’ite. Each claiming to have the most accurate representation of the Islamic faith
Sunni’s are the most common
Shi or Shi’ites have a more radical interpretation of the Koran
(Iran is Shi’ites)
The 12th Iman
After Muhammad died – Islam went to a series of Immans as leaders.
The 12th Imam is held by devout Shi’ite Muslims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed who went into “occlusion” in the ninth century at the age of five and hasn’t been seen since.
The Hidden Imam, as he is also known by his followers, will only return after a period of cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed – what Christians call the Apocalypse – and then lead the world into an era of universal peace.
Re Iran and the President of Iran Mr Ahmadinejad.
Rumours abound of Mr Ahmadinejad’s devotion to the 12th Imam, and last year it was reported that he had persuaded his cabinet to sign a “contract” pledging themselves to work for his return.
For many of the hundreds of delegates who attended Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN this week, his discourse on the merits of the 12th Imam finally brought home the reality of the danger his regime poses to world peace. (quote from an article talking about his address to the UN in 2007)
He is committed to creating chaos in the world – so that will trigger the return of the 12th Imman.
The 12th Imam: Why Is This Especially Important Now?
While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam.
However, of the three, Allah’s designated Mahdi is the only one who demands a violent path to conquer the world.
Iran ’s PM is also said to have spoken in apocalyptic terms and seems to relish conflict with the West whom he calls the Great Satan. This is while he proclaims he must prepare the world for the coming Mahdi by way of a world totally under Muslim control. He is working hard to bring about the world-wide horrors that must be in place for their al Mahdi to bring peace.
It is important we know the basic beliefs of Islam:
1) So we can dialogue with them
2) We can defend our faith
3) We can be protected from being led astray
4) We can pray in an informed way.
Every Muslim must hold to six basic beliefs of articles of the Islamic faith
1) Faith in Allah
Muslims believe that there is only one true God and that his name is Allah. His will is supreme.
Muslims believe in angels – such as Gabriel who allegedly transmitted the Koran to Muhammad
3) The Holy Books
4) The Prophets
Muslims believe that Allah has sent 124,000 prophets to mankind, although only 25 are mentioned in the Koran. Six of the principle prophets are:
1) Adam – the chosen of Allah
2) Noah – The preacher of Allah
3) Abraham – the friend of allah
4) Moses – the speaker of allah
5) Jesus – the word of allah
6) Muhammad – the apostle of Allah
Because Muhammad is considered the greatest of these – he is called the seal of the prophets
Muslims believe that everything happens , both good and evil, predestined by Allahs will.
6) The day of judgement:
Muslims believe that on this day, the good and evil deeds of men will be placed on a scale.
Those with sufficient good deeds will go to heaven and those whose evil deeds outweigh their good will go to hell.
Every Muslim must practice 5 fundamental religious duties – these are known as the Pillars of Religion.
1) The first is reciting the creed of Islam – the shahadah
“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”
The Muslim must recite prescribed prayers 5 times a day.
Each time he adopt a physical posture
3) Observing the Holy month of Ramadan
This month commemorates the first revelation of the Koran that Muhammad received in 610 AD. For an entire month Muslims must not eat during the day – although they can eat after the sun goes down and before it rises
Giving starts at 2.5% on all forms of wealth and there is a complicated system of calculation from there
5) Pilgrimage to Mecca – Muhammad’s birth place
This is required at least once during the lifetime of every Muslim who is physically and financially able to make the trip
The Haj – The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which Muslims live while on the pilgrimage.
6) A Jihad
A holy War – may be interpreted as internal – spiritual struggle
Of external – defending Islam.
When the situation warrants it, this duty requires a Muslim to go to war to defend Islam against itself enemies
Anyone who dies in a jihad is guaranteed eternal life in heaven
What does Islam Teach about Allah and is he like the God of the Bible
Islam teaches that the true God is the Muslim deity, Allah. All other views of God are false because the Koran teaches “the true religion with God is Islam”
The Koran emphasises of Allah
“There is no god but he, the living, the everlasting”
1) The Koran teaches that Allah is only one God
“They are unbelievers who say “God is the third of three”. No God is there but one God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. Koran – 5:73
Muslims say we believe in 3 Gods – this is not the case.
We believe in one God – revealed in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2) Allah has a different character to Jehovah God
It is significant that of the 99 beautiful names for allah which muslims must memorize and use for worship – not one of these names is love of loving. The koran stresses that Allah only loves those who do good and that he does not love those who are do Bad. Allah himself emphasizes that he does not love the sinner.
Jehovah God loves sinners
Romans 5: says that he demonstrates is own love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us
John 3:16 For God so loved the world…
Allah is primarily a God of power – not a god of love
Jehovah is a God of love
3) Through the Koranic Doctrine of predestination, Allah is considered the direct author of both good and evil.
This is not like Jehovah God
Ps 77:15 – He is Holy and Righteous
4) Allah is ultimately unknowable and incomprehensible.
A muslim commentator writes in his book Who is Allah in Islam
“Allah is the unique, unexplorable, and inexplicable one – the remote, vast and unknown God. Everything we think about him is incomplete, if not wrong. Allah cannot be comprehended.”
Allah in contrast to Jehovah God
Jn 10:14 – My sheep know me
2 Tim 1:12 I know whom I have believed.
Eph 1:17 That you may know him better.
What does Islam teach about Jesus?
Muslims claim that they believe in the true Jesus Christ
They praise Jesus as a prophet of God
illustrious in this world and the next
as the word of allah
as the spirit of God
Unfortunately – Muslims do not believe in the biblical Jesus
Islam asserts that Jesus was merely one of God’s many prophets of messengers and not God’s only son. Muslims strongly reject the idea that Jesus is the son of God as the Koran repeatedly emphasizes that his is not the literal son of God
Quote from the Koran
It is not for God to take a son unto him
16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son
36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world.
Finally, Islam teaches that Muhammad was a superior prophet to Jesus because he brought God’s final and best revelations to man
Quote from the Koran
The truth that all the previous prophets have proclaimed to humanity was perfected by the prophet Muhammad. The Koran, which is Allah’s final guidance to mankind, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad, the seal of all the prophets, 600 years after the prophet Jesus…. Muhammad is the one prophet who fulfilled Allah’s mission during his lifetime
What does Islam teach about Salvation
Salvation is achieved only through submission to the teachings of Allah.
Whosoever desires another religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him, in the next world he shall be among the losers
4 Points of Salvation according to Islam
1. Islam teaches that forgiveness is conditioned upon good works and Allah’s choice of mercy.
Islam is a religion of salvation by personal righteousness.
Quotes from the Koran
Every soul shall be paid in full what he has earned
God loves those who cleanse themselves
Willam Miller – Christian missionary to Muslims from 1919 to 1962 in Iran Wrote:
Islam has no saviours. Mohammad is rarely called saviour. He is said to have bought God’s law to men, and they, by keeping those laws, must satisfy those requirements and win his approval. Since many Muslims realise they fall short of the koranic standard, they recite extra prayers in addition to those required for each day and they make extra gifts to charity and go on pilgrimages not only to Mecca but to other sacred shrines as well in order to gain merit and if possible balance their account with God. But since God does not make known how the accounts of his stand, a Muslim facing death does not know whether he is to go to paradise or to hell. After all the decision is made by the arbitrary will of God and no one can predict what that decision will be. And so the Muslim lives and dies, not sure of his final salvation
Orthodoxy – Correct doctrine or belief. – Christianity
Orthopraxy – Correct Action – Islam
2. Islam Teaches that Jesus was neither crucified or resurrected
Quote from the Koran
They declared we have put to death the messiah, Jesus the son of Mary the apostle of Allah. They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did
Dr John Elder – missionary to Muslims in Iran 1922 to 1964
One of the reasons why muslims deny the possibility of an atonement is their belief that God does not love man and indeed is unaffected by man’s actions. Any idea that God so loved the world that he gave his only son is completely foreign to the Muslim mind.
3. There is no assurance of salvation
The only assurance seems to be if you die in a jihad
Quote from the Koran
When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefields, strike off their heads, and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly…thus you shall do…As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah…he will admit them to the paradise he has made known to them
Quote from the Koran
O believers, when you encounter the unbelievers marching to battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso turns his back that day to them, unless withdrawing to fight again or removing to join another host, he is laden with the burden of God’s anger and his refuge is Gehenna – an evil homecoming.
Two major sins:
a. shirk = associating anything else with divinity except the one God; idolatry
b. kufr = ungratefulness to God, unbelief, atheism
(as a side note, there is no conception of original sin in Islam)
I trust this Blog has been helpful to you. My heart in speaking on Islam and making my notes available is so that Christians can know a little about Islam and be able to dialogue with Muslims. Let’s focus on the fact that we are all people and we are all on a spiritual journey. Feel free to share this blog on Facebook or Twitter