Islam Today and in the Future
In the previous sessions we looked at the founding of Islam as a religion. We read that Muhammad began by preaching a message ... of the unity or oneness of God, and that he was God's last prophet. We discovered that he changed his approach after gaining enough strength in the form of people who converted to his religion. He began to spread his religion through the use of force.
We looked at a map which showed the spread of Islam within the first hundred years or so.
We looked at the Qur'an long enough to determine it's nature. We found it was a book recited or told only by Muhammad to his followers. We saw that often a new chapter would be added very conveniently to benefit himself. We saw verses which very clearly state the Jesus did not die, but that Allah took him up to heaven after they found a look alike substitute to put on the cross. We discovered that Muslims do not believe that babies inherit a sin nature from Adam at all, and that there is no need of any sacrifice to pay for sin.
We learned that Islam has six articles of faith which Muslims are required to believe..
1. Belief in Allah – He is One and Muhammad is his prophet.
2. Belief in the Angels -
3. Belief in Divine Books – The Torah (the OT) the Injel (gospel or NT), the scrolls of Abraham (????), and the Qur'an (the scriptures recited to Muhammad by Gabriel). They believe the only 'uncorrupted' portions of the bible that remain are those portions repeated in the Qur'an.
4. Belief in the Prophets – Adam was the first one. Moses, Abraham and Jesus are all prophets. Muhammad is the final one.
5. Belief in the Day of Judgment – The grave has a spiritual kind of torment, but it is nothing compared to the final judgment.
6. Belief in Allah's predestination – Everything is predestined by God, and yet we have free will and are responsible for our actions.
We also learned that Muslims have five pillars of action. They are:
1) Shahada: Testifying to God's One-ness: The declaration "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet."
2) Salat: Prayer. Pray faithfully five times a day.
3) Zakat: Giving to charity. Originally a tax but now a free-will donation to the poor
4) Sawm: Fast. They eat no food from daybreak to sunset during the month of Ramadan (September)
5) Hajj: Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
Muslim is a simple religion of action. However Muslim scholars abound who take the writings of the prophet Muhammad to study and analyze them. These writings are called HADDITH.
It is from reading the Qur'an and the haddith, together with commentary by some of their greatest scholars, we come to understand just what kind of a religion Islam actually is in our time.
We have enough infomation to know that followers of Islam are unsaved.
So now we turn to a look at Islam in our present day.
1. We will look at Muslim demographics – What is the estimated total of Muslims in the world and what are the numbers country by country.
2. We will look at the present Muslim 'denominations' and how their beliefs differ.
- We will look at what is called 'fundamental' Islam, Radical Islam, What is their aim and purpose.
- We will discuss the meaning of the question: Do they pose a threat and if so, how serious?
- We will compare Islams doctrine of eschatology.
- We will discuss: What should we do with all of this information?
Brief Arabic glossary
Qur'an: The words of Allah recited to Muhammad by the angel, Gabriel.
- Sura: A chapter or section of the Qur'an.
- Hadith: writings attributed to 'the Messenger' (Muhammad). A collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad that, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Qur'an.
- Injil – the Gospel. Sometimes it refers to the New Testament. In the Qur'an it is referred to as the book that Allah gave to Jesus to carry around with him.1
- Isa: Jesus
- Islam: A 'Monotheistic' religion founded by Muhammad in 610ad, as per instructions from Allah via the angel Gabriel.
- Muslim: A follower of Islam. Salvation, to a Muslim, is a matter of ritualistically obeying Allah's commands.
- Sunni: A denomination of Islam which holds to the belief that Muhammad's father-in-law was his first Caliph. They believe that Caliphs (leaders) are elected. By far this is the largest denomination of Muslims. Sunni Islam is the world's second largest denomination, next to Roman Catholicism.
- Shia: A denomination of Islam which holds to the belief that Muhammad's son-in-law (Ali) was his first Caliph. They believe that he was the first Imam. (They use the term 'imam' in place of 'caliph'.) Shias are about 15 to 20 percent of the Muslim total. Successors are to be relatives of Muhammad's family. They believe that Caliphs are blood descendants of Muhammad. Iran and Iraq are predominantly Shia and most are 'twelvers'.
- Caliph: To the Sunnis, the chief (elected) Muslim civil and religious ruler, regarded as the successor of Muhammad. The caliph ruled in Baghdad until 1258 and then in Egypt until the Ottoman conquest of 1517; the title was then held by the Ottoman sultans until it was abolished in 1924 by Atatürk.
- Imam: Full Webster Definition of imam. 1 : the prayer leader of a mosque. 2 : a Muslim leader of the line of Ali held by Shiites to be the divinely appointed, sinless, infallible successors of Muhammad. An imam is called a Caliph by the Sunnis.
- Twelver: a member of a major Shi'ite sect which acknowledges 12 imams and holds that the 12th will reappear as the Mahdi before the Last Day and of which the tenets and organization have been the state religion of Persia since the 16th century —called also imami
- Seveners: A branch of Ismā'īlī Shīʻa. They became known as "Seveners" because they believe that Ismā'īl ibn Jaʻfar was the seventh and the last Imām (hereditary leader of the Muslim community in the direct line of ʻAlī ibn Abī Tālib). They believed his son, Muħammad ibn Ismā'īl al-Maktum, would return and bring about an age of justice as Mahdi. Their most famous and active branch were the Qarmatians.
- Mahdi: The name given to the final Imam, who will rule for 7, 9 or 19 years (most commentators say 7 but there are differences in thought.), ridding the world of sin and preparing the way for the return of Jesus.
- Sharia: Islamic sharia or Islamic law is the basic Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Qur'an and the Hadith.
- Jihad: is an Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims to maintain the religion. In Arabic, the word jihād is a noun meaning the act of "striving, applying oneself, struggling, persevering".
Full Definition of jihad by Webster
1 : a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
2 : a crusade for a principle or belief
- Qatala: To kill
- Ramadhan: Muslim holy month (September). The month Gabriel first appeared to Muhammad.
- Isis: ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
- El Quaida: translation: "The Base", "The Foundation" is a global militant Sunni Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and several others, at some point between August 1988 and late 1989
- Muslim demographics -
- Muslim 'denominations
- Sunni – about 80%. The main identifying distinctive: They believe the main leader of Islam (successor to Muhammad) must be elected and chosen from the people.
- Shia - about 20%. The main identifying distinctive: They believe the main leader of Islam (successor of Muhammad) must be a descendant of Muhammad. Iraq's Muslims are 70% Shia. Iran's Muslims are 90% Shia. .
- Fundamental' Islam, Radical Islam,
All 'practising' Muslims are considered fundamentalist. But radical fundamentalists are those who are pushing forcefully for the spread of Islam throughout the world. The word El qaida means fundamental, but the actual political group was formed under Bin Laden in 1989. Their aim is bring Islamic rule to the entire world. The group, ISIS, is not officially either Sunni or Shia, and their method of operation has been to get Shias and Sunnis fighting each other. They do lean, however, to favoring the Sunnis. Isis strongholds are Iraq and Syria.* When ISIS military try to determine who is Sunni and who is Shia, they mainly ask four questions.
- What is your name? Typically first and last names are a 'give-a-way' but intermarriage has changed that to some degree.
- Where do you live? Segregation by region has a long history. Of course a person could lie about where they are from, but if they tell the truth they could be identified by where they are from.
- What kind of music do you listen to? Each group has their favorite religious music. The ringtone on a person's phone could be a clue.
- How do you pray? Sunnis and Shias pray in slightly different ways, with Sunnis generally folding their hands or crossing their arms in front of their stomachs and Shias leaving them extended, palms resting on their thighs.
“In a chilling video that appeared to have been made more than a year ago in the Anbar Province of Iraq, ISIS fighters stopped three truck drivers in the desert and asked them whether they were Sunnis or Shias. All three claimed to be Sunni. Then the questions got harder. They were asked how they performed each of the prayers: morning, midday and evening. The truck drivers disagreed on their methods, and all were shot”2.
Sharia law relegates women and non-Muslims to a lesser status, and grants men enormous authority over wives, daughters and sons. It allows for the primitive treatment of women and non-Muslims, and allows fierce punishment — sometimes, “honor killings” by fathers — for refusing to complying with sharia mandates.
Examples of the effect of large scale migration of Muslims on various countries are plentiful but here is just one:
“Sweden’s population grew from 9 million to 9.5 million in the years 2004-2012, mainly due to immigration from ‘countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.’ 16 percent of all newborns have mothers born in non-Western countries. Employment rate among immigrants: 54 percent.”
Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States. Note that 77 percent of these rapes are perpetrated by “foreigners,” most of whom are Muslim, while their victims primarily are native Swedes.”3
- Do they pose a threat?
“Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them”. Qur'an 8:12
“So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah's Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus [you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam (i.e. are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire) or at least come under your protection], but if it had been Allah's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost,” 47:4
I ask this question in a generic way. It really needs to be more specific. An American might ask, "Do they pose a threat to American democracy?". Or ... do they pose a threat to our Canadian way of life? For a 'Christian of the Book' these two questions are not relevant. God never promised us democracy or a specific way of life. But he does have this to say:
2Ti 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Mt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
So, does fundamental Islam present a threat to believers? Well, according to these verses, persecution should not come as a surprise. I think many of us have come to see our way of life as some kind of a fundamental and basic 'right'. America has put it into their constitution. So an American Christian can say, 'I have every right to expect freedom to follow my pursuit of happiness.' How foreign, how strange this concept is to the vast majority of Christians who are serving God under conditions of persecution at this very moment! Christians in the west, living in ease and freedom are in the minority. This freedom and life style are (is?) an exception ... not the rule.
- Islamic Eschatology – What can we expect to see in the near future?
First of all, almost all Muslims have a universal belief in the 'Mahdi'. He is the one who will come and bring peace, preparing the way for Jesus to return. At this point I am going to borrow from pastor John MacArthur from a message he entitled: The Grim Reality of the Last Days.
In Islamic eschatology, there are three great signs of the end of history, and each of them is a man. Let me tell you about those three men.
- The Mahdi ___________________________________
- Jesus ___________________________________
- The Anti-Christ. Dajjal in Aarabic _____________________________
- The Mahdi ___________________________________
The Mahdi, or the Twelfth Imam, that means the guided one, is the long-awaited savior. He is the establisher of the final Caliphate. The world must follow him as he takes over or he will destroy all enemies of Islam. He will come and he will carry on holy war and either you convert or you’re killed by the Mahdi. He will have an army. His army will be a massive army and his army will go from nation to nation to punish the unbelievers. The holy writings of Islam say that this army will carry black flags. And on those black flags there will be one word and that one word will be the word Punishment. By the way, the Iranian army today carries black flags. They want to be ready for the coming of the Mahdi. There is an understanding within the radical Muslim belief that says that the Mahdi (who has been in hiding for over a thousand years) will show up to bring in peace. He will appear at a time when there is no peace. The radicals believe that the more chaos they create ... the sooner the Mahdi will show up.
According to their holy writings, the Mahdi will bring rain and wind and crops and wealth and happiness so that all will love him and no one will speak of anyone but him. Their writings say the Mahdi will come and make, at first, a peace agreement with the Jews and the west for seven years. The reign of Mahdi will last seven years in which he establishes Islam on the earth.
Their holy writings say this, the Mahdi will come riding on a white horse, and it even says in their writings, “As it says in Revelation 6:1 and 2. Saddam Hussein, by the way, painted murals of this Mahdi on a white horse all over Baghdad. And he comes carrying a sword to kill the infidels.
When the Mahdi arrives, he will discover hidden scriptures, he will discover them, interestingly enough, somewhere near the Sea of Galilee and there will be there hidden scriptures, hidden gospels and a hidden Torah and they will be the true scriptures which will be used by the Mahdi to show the Jews and the Christians they were wrong, that their scriptures were the false scriptures.
Let me summarize. The Mahdi will be a messianic figure. He will be a descendant of Mohammad. He will be an unparalleled, unequalled leader. He will come out of a crisis of turmoil. He will take control of the world. He will establish a new world order. He will destroy all who resist him. He will invade many nations. He will make a seven-year peace treaty with the Jews. He will conquer Israel and massacre the Jews. He will establish Islamic world headquarters at Jerusalem. He will rule for seven years, establish Islam as the only religion. He will come on a white horse with supernatural power. He will be loved by all people on earth.
If any of this sounds familiar, its because it is exactly the same as we read in our bibles.
The only difference – Put Anti-Christ in the first slot above
Put False Prophet in the second, and put Jesus in the last one.
- What should we do with all of this information?
If we are living in the last days, or if we are not ... our living for Jesus should be consistent. If we will have to live like Christians in the 'persecuted' world, we would have to 'hang loose' when it comes to our earthly possessions. We need to do that anyway. Abraham CHOSE to live in a tent ... because he was waiting for the eternal dwelling place from God.4
If and when we speak with a Muslim, we must realize that they have embraced an Anti-Biblical and an Anti-christ religion and we should expect a reaction from Satan. We need to use the God's word ... even though they reject it as having been corrupted. It is God's word. It is a living and powerful weapon. Paul said, ¶ I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Ro 1:16
We need to be familiar with the 'weak points' in the armour of Islam. Some very good books have been written5 and the internet has some very good resources as well (you need to weed out the off-the-wall stuff)
Leading a Muslim to Christ could take a long time. Their belief system goes very deep. Before they consider turning to the true Gospel ... they will be counting the cost. The cost is huge. They lose family and friends. Their own lives could be in danger.
1 And in their footsteps, We sent 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) confirming the Taurat (Torah) that had come before him, and We gave him the Injeel (Gospel), in which was guidance and light and confirmation of the Taurat (Torah) that had come before it, a guidance and an admonition for Al-Muttaqun (the pious - see V.2:2). S. 5:46 Al-Hilali & Khan; cf. S. 57:27
He Jesus said, "Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet." S. 19:30 Arberry
It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel). S. 3:3
4Heb 11:9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
5Seeking Allah ... Finding Jesus. By Nabeel Quresh. Zondervan. And The Gentle Answer, by Gorden Nickel, published by Bruten Gate, Calgary ISBN:978-0-9939972-1-1 to name just two.