Member of Saul’s tribe: trained by Gamaliel, excellent student
Zealous for religious tradition; persecutor of the early Christians
Changed at his vision of Jesus: major paradigm shift
Does this describe your walk?
Paul was a Jew, but called to Macedonians, Greek philosophers and Stoics
Wasn’t he better equipped to reach his own people?
For you, for me, reaching out to Muslims may be counterintuitive
Born in Palma, Spain 1200 years after Paul
Intellectual and scholar
Appointed as an officer of the king’s court of King James II of Aragon, most popular poet in Spain
Lived a debauched life until he had a vision of Jesus 3 times, each time saying, “Raymond, follow me”.
Lull became the first recorded missionary to Muslims
A commitment he made to God
“To You, Lord God, do I now offer myself and my wife and my children and all that I possess; and I approach You humbly with this gift and sacrifice, may it please You to accept all that I give and offer up now for You, that I and my wife and my children may be Your humble slaves”.
Reaching Muslims did not come easy for Lull
9 years learning Arabic
Travelled in North Africa amongst very aggressive Muslims
Growing political power, fighting those who were against the influence of Muhammad
His last nine years
Participated in 27 battle campaigns and planned approximately 64-84 additional battles
Ordered mass executions (800 Jews throats slit), 25 assassinations, rapes, and forced conversions took place during of these campaigns
Died suddenly of illness in AD 632 leaving 11 wives and 4 daughters
The way the revelations were collected is problematic
Muhammad was supposedly illiterate and his followers memorized the revelations
They would write them down on stones, leaves, animal skins and bones
They were never written down in a book in his lifetime
After his death, his successor, Abu Bakr, had the Qur’anic revelations compiled
According to Muslims sources, the first Qur’an was compiled in AD 634
There were several different codices, up to 15 with 15,000 variances between them
Caliph Uthman (AD 644-656) had an official copy made and burned all the rest of the manuscripts
Not all of the Qur’an was preserved: “Many of the passages of the Qur’an that were sent down were know by those who died on the day of Yamama…but they were not know by those who survived, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar, or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one person after them. (ibn Dawud)
Muslims claim: Qur’an is unchanged, but al Suyuti writes, “It is reported by Ismail ibn Ibrahim…Let none of you say, “I have acquired the whole of the Qur’an. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Qur’an has disappeared? Rather let him say, I have acquired what has survived.”
The Six Articles of Faith (Iman)
Belief in Allah as the one true God
Problems with the Allah of Arabia
Allah had a father named Hubal, who in turn had three daughters: allat, almalat, and aluza (Q53)
Satanic verses: revelation that permitted people to worship Allah and the idols
But Gabriel corrected Muhammad telling him that he had been seduced
The verses remained, those idolatrous worship was disallowed
Allah’s character is quite different than the God of the Bible
He is very distant, totally other (Platonic concept of God)
Allah never enters time and space, stays in heaven
Does Allah speak with Abraham on the plains of Mamre? Wrestle with Jacob? Lead Israel through the wilderness?
Ask your Muslims friends: In Q20:14-15, Allah is speaking to Moses from the burning bush, so how can he be totally other? Doesn’t this imply that he was in the bush, as we believe?
Transcendent; no personal relationship
He is just, but capricious
Muslims are unsure of reward or punishment
God is love?
Belief in angels (as instruments of God’s will)
Gabriel, interacts with humans
Michael, angel of light
Israfil, angel of resurrection
Asrail, angel of death
Iblis, who is Satan, the corrupter, the seducer
There is a good angel and a bad angel on each shoulder recording one’s good and bad deeds to be reconciled on the Day of Judgment
What God has initiated; every act you do; every thought you have is predestined
You have no volition; so why are your good and bad deeds recorded?
It is not like Christianity: our salvation is predestined, by we also have free choice and responsibility for our actions; in Islam, Allah dictates all your choices. This is why Muslims always say, “Inshallah”, if God wills it
Day of Judgment (Q4:74; 47:4-6)
Deeds recorded are weighed
Lack of assurance; suicide bombers
Across the razor sharp bridge (Q55 and 56)
Paradise is carnal (beautiful trees, wine, and women (houris)
The Five Pillars of Islam
The Shahadda, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”