Thursday, August 31, 2006

Is Islam Evil?

Many Christian teachers are speaking much about Islam. Some say that Islam is a terrible evil that God must destroy. Some declare that Islam is a religion similar to the Bible or Jesus. Both sides are exaggerating the truth, and it is our responsibility as Christians to make a decision about truth in accordance with mercy, not exaggerations that try to make our personal opinion. Below is the truth about Islam in relation to the teachings of the Bible.
Intellectually, Allah is the same as Eloyah
The word "Allah" is not the name of some moon god, but is the Arabic translation of the Hebrew word for God, "Eloyah", which comes from "Elohim," translated in modern translations, "God". There is less evidence that the word, "Allah" is blasphemous than the English word, "God". Also, when the Qur’an—the holy book of Muslims—and when Muslims themselves speak of Allah, they use the same description Christians and Jews do about Elohim—God is one, all-powerful, sovereign, forgiving, and merciful.
However, most Muslims limit God’s ability
Most Muslims do not emphasize what Jesus and the prophets emphasize—that God works through his people’s suffering, and that he gives his Spirit of power to those who ask. Most of the time, when speaking about God, they limit God’s ability to providence, or the moving of events in this world. They are unable to hear God or to ask for miracles from their devotion.
Father, we pray that you would give our Muslim friends the ability to understand you in fullness, and to worship you in Spirit and in Truth.
The Qur’an speaks higher of Jesus than Muhammad
The Qur’an says amazing things about Jesus. The Qur’an uses the name "Isa" for Jesus and says that he is the Messiah, the Word of God, and the receiver of God’s spirit. The Qur’an says that he was born of the virgin Mary, performed miracles, did no sin, that he died and was resurrected and that he would judge on the last day. However, the Qur’an, in speaking of Muhammad, says that he is a sinner, that he had performed no miracle, and that he be able to speak for no one on the last day.
However, most Muslims do not understand Jesus
Even though the Qur’an teaches all this about Jesus, most Muslims do not know this teaching. They just recognize Jesus as one of many prophets. And the Qur’an does not teach that Jesus’ death cleanses us from sin or that to have faith in God through Jesus is the only way of gaining God’s salvation.
Father, show our Muslim friends that salvation is only found in Jesus.
Islam is firm against idolatry
The subject of the majority of the Qur’an is opposition to worshipping false gods and idols. The most terrible sin in Islam is "shirk" which means the sharing of God’s majesty with another. The Qur’an often reads like a text from the Old Testament that denounces idolatry. It is a bold statement for the worship of the Most High God.
However, Islam judges some not participating in idolatry as guilty of shirk
The Qur’an denounces anyone who calls the Son as one with God, for that would be the sin of shirk. Many Muslims also denounce any representation of any prophet or symbolic representation of God as shirk. They would declare that anyone doing these things are heretics or apostates.
Father, teach our Muslim friends how to judge according to your word, not their own ideas.
The Qur’an speaks well of Christians and Jews
The Qur’an calls Jews and Christians "the people of the Book" and declare that they should not be treated as unbelievers. Rather, the Qur’an says that the Muslim should go to Christians and Jews to learn what is written in the Injeel (the words of Jesus) and the Tora (the words of Moses), as well as other prophets.
However, the Qur’an also speaks of enacting violence against unbelievers
Some Muslims have declared many Christians and Jews to be their enemies and unbelievers, and so should be counted among those whom the Qur’an says should be slain. Many Muslims teach that the Injeel and the Tora have been corrupted over the years and so are unworthy of being read. And a few believe that war should be declared against those who have opposed the truths of Muhammad they express. Before we judge Muslims for this, we must remember how many Christians support the killing of enemies, when their Lord commanded that they love their enemies.
Father, help both Muslims and Christians do good to one another and learn of the way of Jesus.
Muslims devote themselves to God many times daily
Most devote Muslims declare their loyalty to God many times a day, declaring him to be forgiving and merciful. They are faithful in their prayers, and they wish to show themselves as God’s servants. The word "islam" means "submission to God" and the word "muslim" means "one who is submitted." The whole purpose of being a Muslim is to devote ones whole life and community to God.
However, most Muslims act without regard to God’s ways
When it comes to everyday life, Muslims are as prone to follow their own desires as any other person. They will hate, gossip, lie and cheat in their everyday life—even as most Christians do.
Father, help us to live out your ways as well as speak your words. May we all have your Spirit to live your life.
Muslims give to the poor
Most devote Muslims separate 2.5% of what they earn specifically to the poor. This income is used to build orphanages and to help beggars in need. Although this sounds meager compared to a ten percent tithe, Muslims worldwide give a larger percentage of their income to the poor than Christians do worldwide.
However, most Muslims lack compassion in their giving
Muslims, however, lack the commands Christians do to give with compassion, love and without any self-interest. Many Muslims do give selflessly, especially through hospitality to strangers, but many more give out of their own self-interest and hopes of recognition. Jesus teaches that giving out of self-recognition would not be rewarded by God.
Father, through Jesus and the Spirit may your compassion rest upon our Muslim friends.
Conclusion: Is Islam evil? Not really—it is more incomplete than anything else. It does a fine job to teach pagans to worship the one true God, but it does not teach the ethical standards of Jesus, or show his example. Most Muslims are not evil, but they are misled. If they knew more about their own holy book, as well as the words of Jesus and Moses that the Qur’an affirms, they might know who the real Prophet and Savior is—Jesus. Let us pray for Muslims in our communities and around the world so that they could know the whole truth and that the truth would free them from oppression.

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