Islam. A misunderstood topic in America today. Before anger takes over, let me overtake an assumption that has caused great misunderstandings for quite some time. To say that the Quran teaches Muslims to kill non-muslims is similar to saying that the Bible teaches Christians to hate Jews. Not a very solid comparison, but let me expound a bit. There is a verse in the Quran that in war says to kill the infidel until that point in which they surrender. Muslims have had dramatically different interpretations of this verse and it’s importance. Just as when the Bible declares that the Jews who handed Jesus over to Pilot was said to take responsibility for all the blood of the prophets has been interpreted differently over the ages. For centuries intermittent the Church has used the fact that the Jews killed the Christ as an excuse for anti-semitism. My point is that just as many atrocities have been committed in the name of the Christ as it has in the name of Allah, so let us put that aside. Let us look to understand so we can attempt to stand together; to consolidate our mistakes and our problems so as to solidify a solution.
We do not understand the Muslim. That is our biggest problem. The mere fact that the Quran, though it is like the Bible in that it is their Holy Book, is not comparable to our Bible is a fact in point. If we wish to reach our brothers, or even just get along with them, we MUST be able to understand them. If we do not have a common ground to stand upon, we both shall end up in the mire.
Islam. What is Islam? What do they believe? What do they hold important? Islam means “submission” in Arabic. A Muslim is one who submits to God’s will - under that definition, what Christian would not want to be a Muslim. But the cultural definition is one who follows Muhammad, which is where the split occurs.
Islam has more than one religious book to it’s name. The Quran is seen as inerrant and given to Muhammad by Divine intervention. The Quran literally means - to recite. Muhammad was reported as being illiterate - unable to both read or write. He heard the words of the Quran from an angel, memorized it word for word and recited it to scribes who then transcribed it. The Hadith is another Holy book, but not on the same level as the Quran. The Hadith is the word and deeds of Muhammad. It is like a book on Muslim etiquette and mores. There are different Hadith traditions which is an attribute of the differences between the different sects of Islam. (For just as in Christianity, there are different denominations of Islam, for instance Sunnis, Shiites, Suphis, etc.) The Muslim also believes in the Torah and the Bible, but they believe that these have been corrupted over time.
There are Five Pillars of faith in Islam.
1) Creed. This is a verbal testament to belief. There is one God, and Muhammad is His prophet.
2) Prayer. “The Right Path”. Muslims are to face towards Mecca, in particularly the Ka’haba, in clean dress and absolution, praying five times a day. Usually two chapters of the Quran are used to pray (recitation). Prayer must always be in Arabic. It is said to be the language of heaven.
3) Alms Giving. Alms is not unlike Christian tithing. Muslims see alms as very important. If you do not give alms, God will not accept your prayers.
4) Fasting. Fasting is very important to the faith. The whole month of Ramadan is designated as a time of fasting. Food is given up from sunrise to sunset.
5) Pilgrimage. A Holy pilgrimage to the Holy land, to visit Mecca and Medina and to pray at the Ka’haba. A good Muslims should go at least once in their lifetime.
In descript of the Islamic worldview:
Theology - Theism (God exists)
Philosophy - Submission (Strict Obedience)
Ethics - Absolutes (Morality is absolute)
Biology - Creation (God created everything)
Psychology - Dualism (Mind-Body)
Sociology - Traditional (Home, Mosque and State)
Law - Theocracy (Religious Governance)
Politics - Justice, Honor, and Order (the Right and True)
Economics - Stewardship of Property (Responsibility)
History - Historical Unity (The past is apart of the present)
In answer to the basic questions of life:
Who is God? God is the One. He is sovereign. Muhammad is His prophet.
Who is man? Man is subservient.
How did we get here? God made us.
What is man’s purpose? To please God.