The Prophet Muhammad (3)
A comparative study in the field of religion accomplishes very little. It does little good to make a comparison of Christianity and Islam. A comparative study may be interesting but it will prove very little.
Have you ever walked into a supermarket where there is a grocery cart full of groceries with a price on the cart stating the total cost of all the items in the basket? The sign on the cart also indicates what the groceries would cost if you bought them at a competitors supermarket. The prices are compared to a collection of identical items at the competitor’s supermarket. Initially, you might think the supermarket you are in is the cheapest place to shop.
This type of advertising is very misleading. You could also do the same thing in the competitor’s supermarket down the street. You could go to a supermarket down the street and collect any number of items that are cheaper than the first supermarket. You could put all those items in a shopping cart and honestly say that all these items are cheaper than other stores sell them for. Each supermarket may actually sell the items in each cart cheaper than their competitor. But there would be no true comparison. This doesn’t mean that every item in a specific supermarket is cheaper. It only indicates that they sell certain items cheaper. Either supermarket may or may not be the cheapest place to shop.
Likewise, to compare the Bible with the Quran in order to show the error of either, or the truth of either doesn't prove anything in and of itself. The person who believes the Quran may only see what they would interpret as error in the Bible. The Bible student would only see the conflict between each and conclude that the Quran is in error. To rally the truth of one religion against the error of another, or vise versa, usually accomplishes very little. You may say Islam is a bloodthirsty religion, but you could look at different historical periods and say the same thing about Christianity.
I have heard some compare the devotion in Islam with the devotion in Christianity. When looking for truth, these comparisons do very little to reveal truth and error. Germany was devoted to carrying out Hitler's agenda, but that didn't make Hitler right in killing six million Jews. Devotion in and of it's self isn't good or bad. The question is, what are we devoted to?
The principles one is devoted to may make one appear more devoted, while making others appear to be less devoted. One's devotion to what is conceived as truth may cause one to think it is necessary to die physically for what is believed. While another's devotion to the principle of respect for life may cause one to come across as less devoted because there is a reluctance to sacrifice life needlessly. Both are devoted to what is believed, but the person willing to take his or her life may seem more devoted to what is believed.
What is believed must stand or fall on its own merits or lack of merit. There are several things that must be considered to determine the truth or falsity of what you believe.
Fanaticism about whatever it is we believe will only do one thing. It will blind us to anything that conflicts with what we already believe.
Where Did Your Beliefs Originate?
For me, the difficulty with Islam is its origin. The Muslim religion is founded upon the teaching of one person, Muhammad, who lacked credible evidence to support what he taught. Muhammad supposedly received his call from God through the angel Gabriel in a cave outside of Mecca. The angel told him to recite the following words:
"Recite, in the name of the Lord who has created, created man from the clots of blood. Recite, seeing that the Lord is the most generous, who has taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know" (Quran 96:1-5).
When he awoke, these words, we are told, seemed to be “inscribed upon his heart.” Muhammad shared this with his wife and she assured him that God had appointed him a prophet to his people. After two years Muhammad began receiving other revelations in different forms. At times he saw an angel, sometimes he only heard a voice, at other times his message came in a dream. Muhammad would speak these revelations and those who heard him wrote them down. The messages came to Muhammad over a period of twenty-two years. These were collected by his followers and recorded in the book called the Quran.
Muhammad was illiterate. This is why most Muslims believe the Quran is a miracle. They claim that an illiterate man such as Muhammad could not have written such a book as the Quran. (However, when I read portions of it, I get the distinct impression that the person writing is illiterate. Believe me, his writing is as bad as mine.)
Mohammed, who disclaimed power to perform miracles, firmly believed that he was a messenger of God, sent forth to confirm previous scriptures. Muhammad believed that God had revealed his will to the Jews and the Christians through chosen apostles, but they disobeyed God's commandments and divided themselves into schismatic sects. The Koran accuses the Jews of corrupting the Scriptures and the Christians of worshipping Jesus as the Son of God, although he had expressly commanded them to worship none but him. Having thus gone astray, they must be brought back to the right path, to the true religion preached by Abraham, which is supposedly Islam.
According to the Muslim scholar Ibn-Ishaq, the chronological order for the events mentioned in the Quran is as follows:
Creation; Adam and Eve; Noah and his issue; Hud; Salih; Abraham; Lot; Job; Shu’ayb; Joseph; Moses; Ezekiel; Elijah; Elisha; Samuel; David; Solomon; Sheba; Isaiah; al-Khidr; Daniel; Hananiah; Azariah; Mishael and Ezra; Alexander; Zechariah and John; the family of Imran and Jesus, son of Mary; the Companion of the Cave; Jonah; the three Messengers; Samson; George.
The first thing you notice is that many of the prophets are not mentioned in the Old or New Testaments. Furthermore, there is no historical record of them other than the fact they are merely mentioned in the Quran. This is a major weakness of the Quran.
The Quran asserts that there were Islamic prophets before Muhammad, but there is no record of their existence. There is no historical record to support the assertion that Abraham offered Ishmael on the altar rather than Isaac. Yet, the Quran asserts that Abraham offered Ishmael and gave the laws of Islam to Ishmael’s descendents.
According to Islam the following verses from the Quran indicate the religious duties of Islam that were delivered to Abraham. The writing is vague, but Muslims believed that it refers to Islamic religious laws delivered to Abraham.
Quran 21:73 We made them imams who guided in accordance with our commandments, and we taught them how to work righteousness, and how to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat). To us, they were devoted worshipers.
However, over a period of at least 2,500 years before Muhammad there is no record of any laws that Abraham gave. Of course, Islam uses the same Bible that Christians use to prove Islam. Islam asserts Christianity's perversion of what really happened. Keep in mind that the Bible record as it is written is all there is for that period of 2,500 years. If there were a more accurate record out there, surely it would have shown up before Muhammad. Surely there would have been someone embracing Muhammad’s view of the Bible during those 2,500 years. All we have is Muhammad’s assertions without any credible evidence.
Lacks Credible Evidence
If you read Quran 6:83-86 there are eighteen names listed starting with Abraham and ending with Lot. Quran 6:39 asserts that all these 18 were prophets, “These are the ones to whom we have given the Scripture wisdom and prophethood.” These names are given, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Zechariah, John, Jesus, Elias, Ismail [Ishmael], Elisha, Jonah, and Lot. The Quran insist that God delivered each of these Scriptures.
The Quran says, “These are the ones to whom we have given Scripture . . .” The question is where are the scriptures given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Joseph, Aaron, John [assuming this is John the Baptist], Jesus, Elias, Ishmael, Elisha, and Lot. We have scriptures from David, Moses, Zechariah [i.e., if this is the Zechariah of the Old Testament] and Jonah, but we don’t have any record of Scripture from the others. There are two other writing prophets mentioned in the Quran, Idris (19:56), and Muhammad.
All we have are the assertions of Muhammad and his followers without any credible evidence to support his claims.
Muslims assert that the Quran is a miracle in and of it's self. According to a Muslim, Dr. Khalifa’s the splitting of the moon was to be a sign given by Muhammad.
Quran [74:32-35] Absolutely, (I swear) by the moon. And the night as it passes. And the morning as it shines. This is one of the great miracles.
[54:1]: “The moon has split and the hour has drawn closer”
[54:2] “Then they saw a great miracle; but they turned away and said, “Old magic.”
[54:3] They disbelieved, followed their opinions, and adhered to their old traditions
Dr. Khalifa’s footnote on the verse is very interesting: “This important sign of the approaching end of the world came to pass in 1969 when humans landed on the moon and brought pieces of the moon to earth. At the same time, God’s mathematical Miracle was being gradually unveiled. Traditional Muslims opposed it, since it exposed the fallacy of their practices.”
Landing men on the moon and bringing back moon rock was not a supernatural miracle. To say that it marks the approaching end of the world is yet to be seen. These verses are too vague to say that Muhammad foretold that men would bring back rock from the moon.
Throughout the Quran Muhammad explicitly denies that he performed any miracles. Yet, Muslims credit him with many miraculous feats. Muhammad said he didn’t perform miracles because he didn’t believe they were necessary for the sincere seekers. Read verse below.
Quran [56:75-79] I swear by the positions of the stars. This is an oath, if you only knew,
that is awesome. This is an honorable Quran. In a protected book. None can grasp it except the sincere.
I have discovered that you are in trouble with any religion that says that you must have special insight to understand what is taught. This approach is often used to persuade converts to blindly follow. It is one sure way to blind your converts to anything that conflicts with what they already believe.
Islam Believes In Beating and Killing Wives.
Quran 4:34 As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly);* but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Most Great (above you all).
*The word lightly was inserted by the translators.
Quran 4:15 If adultery is proved for married woman through the testimony of four witnesses, then detain them in their house until death takes them or God appoints for them a way.
Islam Built on Negatives
Any religion built upon what is wrong with other religions is on very shaky ground from its very inception. How many churches have been started because of what someone didn't like about the church they were attending. Neither does the abuse within Judaism and Christianity automatically provide a solid foundation for Islam.
The news media has taught me one thing. It is easier to keep a person's attention with negative information than with positive information. However, you can't build a life on what is wrong with the world or the church. You have to see that relevant kernel of truth. That is what you build upon. It is easier to focus on the negatives than it is to embrace the positive for change.
The negatives in religion have a way of blinding us to the truth. A friend of mine told me a few days ago "The abuse of religion throughout history has persuaded me from having anything to do with religion." I am hearing Muslims say, "The reason I left Christianity . . ." Then they enumerate the negative reasons.
How many times have the mathematic tables been used to defraud. Do you quit using math? How many times has the language you speak been used in belligerence? Do you quit speaking or writing your language?
Islam seeks to build upon what it doesn't like about Judaism and Christianity. It seeks to take what it believes is the kernel of truth in Judaism and Christianity and bring them all together under Islamic teaching. This is done in an effort to purify all three religions. However, there is as much abuse and misinformation in the Islamic world as there has ever been in Judaism and Christianity. Islam suffers from the same problem it claims to solve.
Muslim's believe that the Quran is God's final message to humanity. “All of God's prophets have come to this world, and all the scriptures have been delivered. The time has come to purify and consolidate all the messages delivered by God's prophets into one message, and to proclaim that henceforth, there is only one religion acceptable to God -Submission" (Quran 3:19, 85).
According to Islam, the Quran is not only the final message delivered, it is the only message that has ever been delivered. For it denies the message of all other Scripture. However, the message of Islam is not one, for Islam is as divided as any other religion.
Islam Sends Mixed Signals
If you go to this web site (http://www.al-islam.org/beliefs/index.html) you will discover that in one breath it says war is wrong and in the next breath it says war is right. The same web site runs the following message.
Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace. In our sacred book, the Noble Qur'an, we are taught the value of innocent life in these words:
Quran 5:32 Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or mischief in the land, it shall be as if he has killed all humankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all humankind.
The following quotation was taken from the same Islamic web site. Initially the web site indicates that Islam does not believe in waging war, but then you find this statement on the web site.
"It is wrong to argue, as some do, that since it has advanced by the sword, it is false. If you are not prejudiced, if you do not wish to remain under illusion, and if you do not wish to paint a false caricature of Islam for the already prejudiced masses of Europe, why do you argue as such? Do you mean that since the Muslims have fought, Islam is a false religion? Isn't it more reasonable to say, that because Islam is a true religion, it has not disregarded the necessity of warfare, and on the contrary has given a commandment to that effect?" (http://www.al-islam.org/beliefs/index.html)
What are we to make of the contradictions? The contradictions themselves are what make room for the extremism of Islam.
Do Muslims Worship One God?
Note how the word "We" and "Our" are used in connection with worship in the Quran. If Muhammad's God is the one and only one to be worshipped, who is the "Our" that is being worshipped? Who is the "We" that is doing the revealing?
"And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed (the Quran) to Our worshiper (Muhammad), then produce a chapter like it, and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides God if you are truthful. And if you do not do it, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones. It has been prepared for disbelievers. And give good news (O Muhammad) to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are gardens (Paradise) in which rivers flow...." (Quran, 2:23-25)
If God is one, who is the "Our" that is being worshipped?
The problem with Islam is that it lacks credibility from its very inception. It has flourished in a world where illiteracy runs as high as 75% to 85% of population. Muslims must rely upon what their teachers tell them. Most Muslims have not searched for the truth because they can't read or write.
The Quran is written in Arabic because the Muslims believe that it should be read in the Arabic language. The twenty-two Arab nations of the world have a total of 140 to 200 million Muslims. Arabs make up only 19 to 20% of the Islamic nations. Therefore, some 800 million Muslims cannot read, write or speak Arabic.
Even those who do read Arabic can't understand the Quran. They think that the writing is too beautiful and complex for them to understand. Why would God reveal his will through a message that could not be understood by the average person?