Islam is the youngest of the major world religions and claims to be the fastest growing (1.2 billion). The religion is called Islam. A person who follows Islam is called a Muslim. It is essentially a system of rules by which people must live in order to satisfy Allah’s standards for living. In Arabic Allah means THE God. Thousands of Muslim people from various countries are now living in the United States.
- Born: Mecca (Saudi Arabia), 571 AD. Died: 632 AD
- Married Khadijah at age 25; later, at least 12 others.
- Night of Power. Ramadan, 610 AD.
- Began Muslim community in Medina, 622 AD (Muslim Year 1)
- Conflict with Mecca and eventual victory.
- Qur’an given in pieces from 610 – 632.
- The rapid spread of Islam in the 7th – 9th centuries AD.
Islamic Teachings: The Five Pillars:
1) Confession: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
2) Set prayers to be said five times daily.
3) One fortieth of annual income to be given as alms to the poor.
4) Fasting during daylight hours of the month of Ramadan.
5) Pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, if possible.
There are also dietary rules called halal (no pork or alcohol) and lifestyle regulations (polygamy is permitted, but limited to four wives). Some groups within Islam add Jihad as a sixth pillar.
Branches of Islam (each with numerous subgroups):
- Sunni (85% of Muslims)
- Shi’a (15% of Muslims)
ISLAM COMPARED TO BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
Different concepts of God.
- Qur’an: Allah is described as unitary, pure and remote.
- The Bible: God as the Trinity, gracious and accessible. Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2.
Different understanding of Jesus.
- Qur’an: Jesus is only one of a long list of prophets sent by Allah. He is in no sense, God.
- The Bible: Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the eternal Trinity, while at the same time being fully human, though without sin. John 1:1-5, 14
- Qur’an: the Bible has been corrupted by Jews and Christians so that Allah’s message was lost. The true message was restored in the Arabic Qur’an.
- The Bible claims to be the Word of God, without errors. It claims to have been faithfully delivered to us by the prophets and apostles (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21). Jesus is the final and complete revelation of God (1 Timothy 2:5, John 1:1-5). There is ABUNDANT evidence that the manuscripts we possess have not been altered or revised since the writing of the originals.
Different solutions to the human problem.
- Qur’an: People are born neutral toward good and evil. They make mistakes and violate Allah’s laws. People can live right if they make sufficient effort to obey the Qur’an. A person is “saved” by their own efforts.
- The Bible. People are natural sinners in active or passive rebellion against God. Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23. We can be saved only by God’s grace, received as a gift when we acknowledge our sin and put our faith in Jesus, who paid for our sins on the Cross. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 10:9-10.
MUSLIMS ARE REACHABLE. Here’s how:
- Pray for them. 1 Timothy 2:1-4.
- Muslims are coming to faith in Christ in unprecedented numbers.
- Be polite.
- Don’t be confrontational.
- Don’t forget the powerful witness of your life.
- Use the New Testament with confidence.
- Focus on key issues, such as:
- The reliability of the Bible.
- The true identity of Jesus
- Salvation by grace through faith alone
Muslim people may have eternal life in exactly the same way anyone else may have it: repentance and faith in Jesus. Remember, that they will almost certainly pay a high price to become followers of Jesus. You will need to help them become part of a fellowship where they can grow and thrive.
Copyright: Michael L. Bogart