A few years ago, a 17 year old Australian teenager ‘Abdullah Elmir’ went missing from his home in Sydney only later too appear in an Islamic State propaganda video that went viral across the globe.
“To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott I say this; these weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting, we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands, until we take the head of every tyrant and until the black flag is flying high in every single land.” Abdullah Elmir
He made clear that the goal of Islam is to establish its flag in all locations across the planet, beheading all those that stand in its way! These radical ideologies aren’t imposing foreign ideas upon the writings they consider Holy, but are direct, explicit instructions taken from the Quran outworked in their lives.
In the 9th Chapter (also called a Surah) of the Quran Muhammad wrote;
“Fight 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 [Sharia Law] and who do not adopt the religion of truth [Islam] from those who were given the Scripture – fight until they give the jizyah [a tax]willingly while they are humbled.” Surah 9:29
These writings are put into practice by the Islamic State, and are being enforced in the Middle East with the goal of expansion into Europe, Asia, USA, and even into Australia.
It’s important that we NEVER judge a religion, worldview, or an ideology by its misrepresentation.
This is why we need to get an understanding about what Islam truly is, and to do that we need to look at Islam’s greatest Prophet – Muhammad.
Who Was Muhammad?
Muhammad was born in 570AD in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His father died 2 months before he was born and his mother died in 577AD when he was just 7 or so years old. His uncle – Abu Talib then took him in to raise and care for him.
Pre-Islamic Arabs classified themselves first by their Confederation, secondly by their tribe, thirdly their clan, and finally their house or family name. Abu was a relatively poor man from the Adnani Confederation (which originated with Arabs of northern, central and western Arabia). He was a member of the Quraysh tribe, and the leader of the Banu Hashim clan. Apparently he also was a gifted poet, and a food and beverage merchant. Abu’s tribe is believed to be descendants of Ishmael, and they taught that he and Abraham had built a ‘Sacred House’ called the Kaaba in Mecca.
Abu’s clan inherited the duty to act as stewards and caretakers of everyone that made pilgrimages there. The Kaaba was filled with hundreds of Idols representing different tribes which made it a center of pilgrimage at the time. Muslims to this day pray not towards Mecca, but towards the Kaaba in Mecca.
Muhammad followed in his uncle’s footsteps and became a merchant, and occasionally would retreat to caves in the mountains for several nights to pray alone. In 610 AD, when he was 40 years old in a cave called Hira on Mount ‘Jabal an-Nour’, he said that he was visited by an Angel who claimed to be Gabriel.
Interestingly the first visitation of this Angel claimed to speak from God and said that God created man not from the dust of the earth – as Genesis says, but from “the clot of congealed blood” (Quran, Sura 96).
After this experience he went home, and with his wife went to visit an Ebionite cousin called Waraqah ibn Nawfal who was apparently familiar with Jewish and Christian scriptures (other sources say that she was a Christian). Instead of testing the spirit as the Apostle John exhorts us to do, she tells Muhammad that this angel is from God. He continued to have more angelic experiences later on in his life as well.
Muhammad began to preach and proclaim of himself that he was Gods prophet alongside Adam, Enoch, Noah, Eber, Shelah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Jethro, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Aaron, Moses, Zechariah, John the Baptist and Jesus (all of whom the Quran teaches are prophets).
When Muhammad began his preaching initially he wasn’t violent (partly because he was relatively powerless). He was Charismatic, and preached on issues like caring for the poor. He did insult the religions of the Meccans but wasn’t violent.
Later on – he received a ‘revelation’, which allowed him to fight the Meccans. Muhammad quoted the Quran as his authority (delivered to him by an angelic being) to move towards violence. First he appealed to people’s desire to take justice into their own hands saying:
Sura 22:39; “Permission [to fight]has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.”
But then he took it a step further and declared that Allah had given him authority to wipe out anyone and everyone that didn’t accept Islam;
Sura 2:193; “Fight them until there is no [more]fitnah and [until]worship is [acknowledged to be]for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.”
In 622AD Muhammad moved to Medina (which at the time was called Yathrib) where he united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. He fought for 8 years with the Meccan tribes and finally gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and took over Mecca. He began to destroy all of the idols from the various tribes, and sent his followers out to do the same across Eastern Arabia.
One of Muhammad’s earliest biographies written details how Muhammad commanded his followers to kill every Jew who came under their power. A study of the Hadiths reveals the violent religion that Islam is. When people say that Islam is a religion of peace – it’s clear that their main prophet was not. Neither the Quran, nor the Hadiths are documents of peace!
Islam isn’t just at war with the rest of the world, its own denominations are, and have been at war with each other for a long time. In 632 AD when Muhammad died – there were disagreements about who his successor was as Caliph – who ruled the Islamic community under Sharia law. This led to a split in the Islamic community – eventually leading to the Sunni/Shiite divisions of Islam. War and violence followed. Today, 87–89% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni (this includes ISIL). 11–12% of the world’s Muslims are Shiite (Shia).
Shiite Muslims believe in twelve divinely ordained Imams (leaders), and they also believe in the Mahdi (who is not mentioned at all in the Quran, but is in the Hadiths) – who is supposedly an infallible male descendant of Muhammad, who was born, but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice. Many of his attributes are synonymous with the Christian anti-Christ.
Interestingly both Sunni and Shiite Muslims believe that both Jesus (called Isa in the Quran and Hadiths) and the Mahdi will return at the same time. The Quran teaches that both Jesus and Enoch ascended into heaven (raptured). They believe that Jesus will judge when he returns. The Al-Dajjal, Antichrist or False Messiah (who is blind in his right eye) isn’t taught in the Quran but is a prominent figure in the Hadith. Sunni’s believe Jesus will destroy the anti-Christ in an epic battle, white the Shiites believe the Mahdi will.
Although Islam has borrowed many of its doctrines from Christianity and Judaism, the greatest difference lies in that fact that Islam emphatically denies the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the dead – the deity of Christ, and that God has a Son.
Surah 4:157; “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another]was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”
This religion from its inception has spread through violence and domination. Christianity both conversely and distinctly established itself through self-sacrifice, love and martyrdom. Christians were persecuted and loved their enemies enough over the centuries to go into locations of hostility in peace to communicate a message they would be killed for. Yet they considered their lives less valuable than the rewarding of saving another – and there we see the difference!
God has a plan to redeem humanity. God became a man – Jesus, who lived a sinless life and died on a cross, exchanging his perfect life, for our sinful life. This was a legal transaction. He was then buried in a tomb, and 3 days later, rose from death. He made a way for our sins to be forgiven and for us to be able to have a relationship with him. Jesus said that if you repent (apologize to God, and turn away from your sins), and put your faith in him – you will be forgiven, and God will send his Holy Spirit to live within you. Turn away from sin, and cry out to God today! If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.