Defending Christmas In An Unbelieving World – Islam (Part 2)
Islam’s hatred for Christianity is not new. It began centuries ago with Christians and Jews rejecting Muhammad’s claim to be their messiah prophet and continued through hundreds of years of countless wars in many countries. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, and are still dying, because of this hate. So, what’s a Christian to do? We look to our Lord for guidance.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:43-45
As difficult as that is to do – “love your enemies” – that’s what Jesus asks us to do. But does that include Muslims? How could we possibly show love to Muslims? Because Jesus loves Muslims. He has cursed the religion of Islam, but He loves the people of Islam. How many people is that? Some estimates are as high as 1.7 billion with the potential of that number doubling in size during the next 20 years. In comparison, about 2.1 billion people in the world today claim to be Christians and we are not expanding at the same rate. Experts believe the day will come when Muslims outnumber Christians around the world. They already do in many nations. Here are the top 7.
Indonesia – 187,000,00+ Muslim … 37,000,000+ Christian
Pakistan – 177,000,000+ Muslim … 4,500,000+ Christian
India – 173,000,000+ Muslim … 71,000,000+ Christian
Bangledesh – 146,000,000+ Muslim … 1,000,000+ Christian
Iran – 74,000,000+ Muslim … 384,000+ Christian
Egypt – 73,000,000+ Muslim … 10,800,000+ Christian
Turkey – 73,000,000+ Muslim … 163,000+ Christian
How do you think Christians live out Christ’s teachings when they are so outnumbered by people who hate them and want them dead? Those of us who live in countries that are predominantly Christian can talk about our faith in Christ and our disapproval of Islam without much fear of retaliation by the government or our neighbors, but what about the persecuted Church in countries where Islam is predominant? It’s one thing to say we believe the teachings of Christ; it’s quite another thing to live out His teachings in the face of great hatred and persecution.
So, does the fact that Christians are outnumbered by Muslims in a country, state or community mean that the teachings of Jesus are different there? I think we all know the answer to that question – of course not. The teachings of Christ are not based on situational ethics. They are always true – no matter what the circumstances.
So, back to the original question: how can Christians show God’s love to Muslims? We do it one Muslim at a time. I’ve worked with Muslims through the years and found them to be like most other people in the workplace. Some are open to talking about God – others are not. What’s helpful with anyone you talk to about God is to know what they believe about Him. I’ve found it helpful when talking to Muslims to have some knowledge and understanding about their beliefs. It gives us a starting point for discussion about something as important as “faith” and “eternal life.” We have some things in common and we can start there.
Muslims, by the definition of their name, are people who are “submitted” to Allah. Christians are also believers who are submitted to the will of God. Muslims and Christians approach their “faith” from a position of submission. That’s something we can understand about each other.
Muslims believe in one God. Christians believe in one God revealed in Three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
Muslims and Christians believe they came from the spiritual lineage of Abraham. Muslims believe their lineage is through Ishmael. Christians believe their lineage came through Isaac.
Muslims believe God sent an angel to speak to the prophet Muhammad over a period of several years and gave him their holy book, the Qur’an. Christians believe God spoke to many prophets over a period of hundreds of years and inspired them to write His Holy Book, the Bible.
Muslims have a certain reverence about the Bible because of what the Qur’an says about it.
[Sura is a chapter from the Qur’an … Tavrat is the Hebrew Law … Injeel is the Gospel given to Jesus … Furqan means Criterion (between truth and falsehood) and is another name for the Qur’an … Musa is Moses … Isa is Jesus … the Book is the Bible]
“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. And when We took a promise from you and lifted the mountain over you: Take hold of the law (Tavrat) We have given you with firmness and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard (against evil).” Sura 2:62-63
“And most certainly We gave Musa the Book and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Isa, the son of Marium, clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, What! whenever then an apostle came to you with that which your souls did not desire, you were insolent so you called some liars and some you slew. And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe. And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah’s curse is on the unbelievers.” Sura 2:87-89
“Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa and Isa, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.” Sura 2:136
“The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles; We make no difference between any of His apostles; and they say: We hear and obey, our Lord! Thy forgiveness (do we crave), and to Thee is the eventual course.” Sura 2:285
“He [Allah] has revealed to you the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it, and He revealed the Tavrat and the Injeel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Furqan. Surely they who disbelieve in the communications of Allah they shall have a severe chastisement; and Allah is Mighty, the Lord of retribution.” Sura 3:3-4
[The next verse of the Qur’an is in the context of the angel speaking to Mary about the birth of Jesus.]
“And He will teach him the Book and the wisdom and the Tavrat and the Injeel.” Sura 3:48
“O you who have been given the Book! believe that which We have revealed, verifying what you have, before We alter faces then turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the violaters of the Sabbath, and the command of Allah shall be executed … Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrahim’s children the Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom.” Sura 4:47, 54
“O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Book which He has revealed to His Apostle and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His apostles and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.” Sura 4:136
“And how do they make you a judge and they have the Taurat wherein is Allah’s judgment? Yet they turn back after that, and these are not the believers. Surely We revealed the Taurat in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) for those who were Jews, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, because they were required to guard (part) of the Book of Allah, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers. And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust. And We sent after them in their footsteps Isa, son of Marium, verifying what was before him of the Taurat and We gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard (against evil). And the followers of the Injeel should have judged by what Allah revealed in it; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors. And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed; And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, and be cautious of them, lest they seduce you from part of what Allah has revealed to you; but if they turn back, then know that Allah desires to afflict them on account of some of their faults; and most surely many of the people are transgressors. Is it then the judgment of (the times of) ignorance that they desire? And who is better than Allah to judge for a people who are sure? O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” Sura 5:43-51
“Say: O followers of the Book! you follow no good till you keep up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord; and surely that which has been revealed to you from your Lord shall make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; grieve not therefore for the unbelieving people.” Sura 5:68
“But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.” Sura 10:94
“And certainly We gave Musa the Book after We had destroyed the former generations, clear arguments for men and a guidance and a mercy, that they may be mindful.” Sura 28:43
“And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit. And thus have We revealed the Book to you. So those whom We have given the Book believe in it, and of these there are those who believe in it, and none deny Our communications except the unbelievers.” Sura 29:46-47
“And certainly We gave the Book to Musa, so be not in doubt concerning the receiving of it, and We made it a guide for the children of Israel.” Sura 32:23
“And certainly We gave Musa the guidance, and We made the children of Israel inherit the Book, A guidance and a reminder to the men of understanding.” Sura 40:53-54
“Those who reject the Book and that with which We have sent Our Apostle; but they shall soon come to know, When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged Into boiling water, then in the fire shall they be burned.” Sura 40:70-72
“And certainly We gave the Book and the wisdom and the prophecy to the children of Israel, and We gave them of the goodly things, and We made them excel the nations.” Sura 45:16
“And before it the Book of Musa was a guide and a mercy: and this is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language that it may warn those who are unjust and as good news for the doers of good.” Sura 46:12
“Then We made Our apostles to follow in their footsteps, and We sent Isa son of Marium afterwards, and We gave him the Injeel, and We put in the hearts of those who followed him kindness and mercy; and (as for) monkery, they innovated it– We did not prescribe it to them– only to seek Allah’s pleasure, but they did not observe it with its due observance; so We gave to those of them who believed their reward, and most of them are transgressors.” Sura 57:27
It’s clear from the Qur’an that God inspired the Law of Moses, the Writings, the Prophets, and the Gospel of Jesus. The Qur’an also states that anyone who rejects “the Book” will burn in hell, so why don’t Muslims study the Bible and do what God commands? We’ll address that important question in the next part of our study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserve