Islam

Religions, Cults & Worldviews: Valuable Answers for Valid Questions.

Quick Facts about the Islamic Religion

Although Islam is located throughout the world, according to the Pew Forum – Religious Research Centre, there are currently over 10 million Muslims living in the U.S. estimated post-Arab Spring diaspora. the following nations have the highest population of Muslims in the world:

Adherents Of Islam
Approximately 1.6 Billion
Adherents Of Islam
  • Indonesia: 209.1 Million
  • India: 176.2 Million
  • Pakistan: 167.4 Million
  • Bangladesh: 134.4 Million
  • Nigeria: 77.3 Million
  • Egypt: 77 Million
  • Iran: 73.6 Million
  • Turkey: 71.3 Million
  • Algeria: 34.7 Million
  • Morocco: 31.9 Million
  • Islam Founded
    610 A.D.
    Islam Philosophy of Religion
    Islam is monotheistic and is represented by the sickle moon and star which is consistent with the archaeological discoveries of ancient Sumerian tablets which represent the "moon god", one of the 360 different gods of the ancient polytheistic Arab world with the same sickle moon. It was this tribal “moon” deity for Muhammad’s tribe that was declared to be the only god by Muhammad and thus represented by the same sickle moon.
    Origin of Islam
    Islam arose from the polytheism of Arabia, specifically Mecca of Mohammad's time, whereby Mohammad declared Allah as the only god to be worshipped.
    Islam and the Problem of Evil:
    The problem of evil or "why is there evil in a world created by a god" is solved through the diligent and submissive (Islam means 'submission;) of self-effort. Mankind improves his situation through submission to Allah and eventually, a great judgement day is coming where all people will be judged according to their works and the evil doers, unbelievers, sin and sinners will all be done away with. c.f. Catholic Christianity
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    Founder of Islam

    Mohammed: Born in 570 A.D. in Mecca, Arabia. Died 632 A.D.

              1. Married into wealth at the age of 25 and began regular mediation in a cave (every month of Ramadan). c.f. Joseph Smith of Mormonism – private “woods” prayers

              2. Started receiving revelations at the age of 40 from the “angel Gabriel”. c.f. Mormonism Joseph Smith receiving revelations from the angel “Moroni”

              3. Became disgusted with idolatry and desired to rid Arabia of polytheism.

              4. Selected his tribal god al-ilah from the 360 gods of polytheistic Mecca and claimed that this “al-ilah” (which Sumerian tablets define as the “moon god”) is the “one true god” Allah. According to the Encyclopedia of Religion: “‘Allah’ is a pre-Islamic name . . . corresponding to the Babylonian Bel” (ed. James Hastings, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1908, I:326).

              5. Due to his opposition to polytheism of Mecca, Mohammed and his bands of men were persecuted by the polytheists of Mecca. Comparatively in contrast to the persecuted Christians who were peaceful in their response and viciously martyred, Mohammed and his men took up arms and found their persecuters winning decisive battles in Arabia. They would eventually return and conquer Mecca and thereafter make “submission to Allah” (Islam) mandatory for all Meccan citizens under the penalty of death. (A practice still carried out in some Muslim nations today)
              6. Orally communicated “revelation” to scribes over 23 years (610-632 AD) which would eventually be the Qu’ran. (c.f. identical ‘revelation’ method of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
              7. All other gods of Mecca were declared by Mohammed to be idols. This was due primarily to the influence of Jewish and Christian caravans that traveled through Mohammad’s region of Arabia.

              8. Eventually Mohammed declared the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity to be idols as well.

                1. It is worthy of noting that this position directly contradicts the erroneous assumption that “all religions lead to the same God”.

                2. It also contradicts the erroneous statements by many liberal Muslims today that “Allah” just means “God” and that this god Allah is the same one of both Christianity and Judaism. This is NOT what Mohammed believed nor what he taught.

    Authoritatitve Writings for Islam

    There are four books which are considered to be “Allah-inspired”:

    The Sunna
    “The Sunna” in Arabic simply means, “a clear or well trodden path”.  It is all that Muhammad said, did, condoned, or condemned and is the record of Muhammad’s sayings, customs, teachings, or the lifestyle example that he left for his devotees to follow (c.f Joseph Smith and the “Sayings of Joseph Smith”.  Muslims believe Muhammad to be the perfect example for all people  This is found in the Qu’ran here:
     
    If you love Allah, then follow me (Muhammad) -Sura 3:31 (Shakir)
     
    Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of (conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day. -Sura 33:21 (Yusuf Ali)
     
    Everything Muhammad did or said is the foundation for all life and belief.  The Sunna is clearly of equal importance to the Muslim as the Qu’ran. This is because the Sunna interprets the Quran and without it, the Quran could not be properly understood, let alone applied.  most aspects of the Islamic faith are not even mentioned in the Quran but are found only in the Sunna. (c.f. Roman Catholic Christianity) As it is, both the Quran and the Sunna are believed to be inspired and authoritative.

    The Law of Moses

    Although Muslims believe that Ishmael received the blessing of Abraham and not Isaac as the Jewish and Christian faiths believe, the Jewish Torah is considered "Allah inspired".

    Psalms of David

    Another set of writings from the Jewish canon of Scripture which Islam considers inspired.

    Gospel of Jesus Christ

  • Much of the source material for the life of Jesus was based on "apocryphal" gnostic versions of the "gospel" which resulted in a skewed understanding of Jesus from the Biblical-historical representation found in Christianity.
  • Muslims believe that Jesus was a great teacher and some believe he was a lesser prophet than Mohammad. However they do not believe Him to be the incarnation of Almighty God as the Christians believe. Nor do they believe Jesus to be the Son of God as their god Allah can have no son. (again this emphasizes that the god of Islam is NOT the same as the God of the Bible)

  • The Qu'ran

    Wherever the first 3 books mentioned above disagree with the Qu'ran, the Muslim feels that they have been corrupted. The Qu'ran supersedes all other revelations and is Allah’s final word to man. c.f. Mormonism and the 'Book of Mormon'

      1. Smriti (text based on remembrance of tradition)
      2. Inspired but of lesser authority because it is smriti and not shruti
      3. This writing records a conversation between the prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna (the incarnation of the god Vishnu) condoning personal devotion to deity
      4. This was a new development for Hinduism at the time because prior to this, Hinduism was more a mix of Animism and Polytheism whereby a pantheon of gods may have been worshipped by each Hindu practitioner.
      5. The Bhagavad Gita began to teach a doctrine of “pick your favorite” and honor that god above the other gods that you worship, which gave it a sort of Shintoist flavor whereby each house began to have its own “god” above other gods.

    What Is the Difference Between The Bible and The Qur’an?

    BIBLE
    Monotheistic, Trinitarian, as referenced in Isa 43:10; 44:6-8; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14

    Jesus is God incarnateColossians 2:9

    Jesus was crucified on a cross1 Peter 2:24

    Jesus rose from the deadJohn 2:19-20

    Jesus was the only Son of GodMark 1:1

    Holy Spirit, 3rd person in the Godhead. He will bear witness of JesusJohn 14:26; 15:26

    Salvation by grace through faithEphesians 2:8,9

    The Devil is a fallen angel
    Isaiah 14:12-15; Created by Jesus – Col 1:15,16

    Man is basically evil (fallen sinner)
    Romans 3:23

    Disciples were followers of Christ (Christians)Acts 11:26

    Worship on SabbathExodus 20; Then later on SundayRom 14:5-6; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2

    Miracles, numerous are recorded

    Makes numerous prophecies

    Written by 40+ authors over 1500 years – reads as one book

    QUR’AN

    Monotheistic as referenced in 5:73; 112:1-4, Denies the Trinity in 5:73

    Jesus is not God5:17, 75

    Jesus was not crucified at all – 4:157

    Jesus did not rise from the deadvarious Muslim accounts

    Jesus was not the Son of God but rather a “prophet” – 9:30 – only 1 of 25 prophets listed in the Qur’an and 1 of 125,000 in the history of Islam. God Has No Sons

    The Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel 2:97; 16:102

    Salvation by sincerity and works3:135; 7-8-9; 21:47; 49:14; 66:8-9 also by dying for the cause of Allah Hadith, Sura 3:157

    The Devil, Satan, is not a fallen angel, but a fallen Jinn (Genie) – 2:34; 7:12; 15:27; 55:15

    Man is basically good – Typical cleric teaching (contradicts a buried passage in Sura 12:53 which agrees w/ the Bible

    Disciples declare themselves Muslims5:111

    Worship on Friday
    62:9

    No Miracles recorded, except they claim the Qur’an is a miracle

    Makes no prophecies

    Written by 1 man over 23 years

    Five Pillars of Muslim Religious Practice

    Shahada

    Declaration of Faith

              1. Muslims must believe that there is only one God – Allah (c.f. ‘Shema’ of Judaism)

              2. Mohammad is Allah’s messenger (c.f. Mormon cornerstone belief: Joseph Smith is “God’s Prophet”)

    Salat

    Obligatory Prayer

              1. Muslims must pray 5 times a day toward Mecca:

                1. Fajr (dawn)

                2. Dhuhr (noon)

                3. ʿAṣr (afternoon)

                4. Maghrib (evening)

                5. ʿIshāʾ (night).

              2. This is in contrast to the Christian faith which bases its practice of prayer on the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:7-8:

    “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the pagans do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.  So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

    Zakāt

    Compulsory Giving

            1. Charitable giving according to the level of wealth that has been accumulated by the Muslim. There are five principles that should be followed when giving the zakāt:
              1. The giver must declare to God his intention to give the zakāt.
              2. The zakāt must be paid on the day that it is due.
              3. After the offering, the payer must not exaggerate on spending his money more than usual means.
              4. Payment must be in kind. This means if one is wealthy then he or she needs to pay a portion of their income. If a person does not have much money, then they should compensate for it in different ways, such as good deeds and good behavior toward others.
              5. The zakāt must be distributed in the community from which it was taken.

    Sawm

    Fasting during Ramadan

            1. Fasting must be observed by all Muslims that have reached the age of puberty.

            2. There are three types of fasting (Siyam) which are observed by Muslims as written in the Quran:

              1. Ritual fasting – found in sura Al-Baqara – which is done during the month of Ramadan. c.f. Roman Catholicism practice of fasting during “Lent”.

              2. Fasting as compensation for repentance (from sura Al-Baqara)

              3. Ascetic fasting (from Al-Ahzab). c.f. fasting of the monks of Buddhism and Roman Catholicism.

    Hajj

    Pilgrimage to Mecca

    By Fadi El Binni of Al Jazeera English - CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17499656

    Every Muslim who is able, must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life where they will walk around Kaaba seven times, touch a Black Stone (which dates back to the tribal god of Muhammad amidst the 360 gods of polytheist Mecca during his youth).

    The practice of touching the stone is called Istilam, Hajji or Hajjas will also travel seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, and will throw stones at the Devil in Mina, a practice which is called Ramee.

    By Muhammad Mahdi Karim - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75866248

    Main Sects of Islam

    Sect from Latin 'secta' meaning cut or discipline path

    Sunni

    The majority of Islam today, a more moderate sect of Islam formed by 4 Orthodox schools of thought accepting The Quran:

    1. The Sunna (the practice of the prophet as expressed in the Hadith)
    2. The four bases of Islamic Law

    Wahabbis

     

    Founded by Abd al-Wahhab in 1691

    al-Wahhab claimed that Muslims departed from the “true” Muslim faith and Mohammed precepts

    Rejects Ijma (Islamic consensus for ‘correct’ doctrine among scholars) and Qiyas (comparative analogies of Hadith and Islamic writings over time) of traditional Islam

    True Islamic salvation is not found in consensus tradition but rather lying prostrate before Allah and venerating him and him alone

    Condemn astrology and superstition but believe in the virtue of counting the 99 names of Allah on their fingers

    Shi’ite

    Fundamental sect of Islam primarily in Iran, also found spread throughout the middle east.

    Shiites believed that the rightful replacement to Mohammed as prophet was the Caliph Ali the son-in-law of Mohammed who was murdered by Mu’awiya who claimed the role for himself.

    Shi’ites claim that Allah has sent over 124,000 prophets.

    Suffis

    Islamic Adaptation of the Hindu Vedantic Principles

    Not Recognized by Sunnis or Shi’ite Muslims as a “legitimate” sect – referred to as a sort of “fair-haired” step child of Islam by outside observers c.f. Mormonism vs Biblical Christianity and Hare Krishnas vs Fundamental Hinduists;

    Suffis see no difference between good and evil

    Mostly found in the region of Iran (Persia)

    Many “faqirs” or subsects within Suffi Islam – divided by the class which governs Islam for the sect and those that do not c.f. Rabbinic Judaism, Roman Catholic Christianity hierarchy and sacerdotalism

    Although not officially considered a sect of Islam, the Bahaii faith does find its roots directly in Islam:

    • Bahaiism was founded in 1817 by an Iranian Muslim named Mirza Hussayn Ali who claimed to be the “glory of Allah”.
    • He was banished to a prison in Baghdad in 1850 for his teachings
    • Tried to unite Judaism, Christianity, and Islam through his many writings (100 volumes!)
    • First religion to actively promote a federated world government
    • Bahaii headquarters are in Haifa, Israel and there are nearly 1.5 million adherents worldwide

    Islam and the Afterlife

    No Guarantees: Allah Makes the Choice
    If one adheres to Islam, Allah, the god taken by Mohammed makes a final judgement on his followers upon their death and their admittance to 'heaven' is only granted at his discretion, regardless of their lifetime of commitment or good works, he can still override their accomplishments and bar them from entering.
    Heaven Through Violence
    The only supposed direct access to the Muslim heaven is by dying in a Jihad (holy war with unbelievers) which explains why so many extremist Muslims are willing to strap bombs to their chests or take up automatic weapons to kill innocent unarmed women and children in France, England, America, Israel, Iraq, India and Afghanistan.
    Qu'ran Teaches Jihad:
    The Quran teaches the doctrine that not only will the perpetrators of these heinous crimes go to a Muslim heaven, but those they kill will go to heaven as well (if they are Muslim). Their non-Muslim victims are part of an unbelieving race in opposition to Allah and by killing them, the perpetrator is committing a holy war act (jihad) by suicide and that perpetrator goes straight to heaven.
    God of the Bible Says Differently
    However, according to God's word the Bible, those who commit such acts without repenting and crying out for the merciful washing of their sins by the one and only Son of God Jesus Christ, they will go straight to an eternity of torment and suffering where the "worm dies not".
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    What Happens When We Die?

            • Even if the Muslim does great works, it is still not a certain thing that he/she will get into heaven. Ultimately, Allah could have his reasons for denying the faithful Muslim entry and Allah has the prerogative to change his mind at any given moment and for any given reason (or no reason at all!)

            • In other words, faithful obedient Muslims cannot have confidence of heaven until the gates of the Islamic heaven slams closed behind them – according to the Quran. c.f. Catholic Christianity – works, sacerdotalism, purgatory doctrines

            • Judgement Day, one’s good works must outweigh the bad in order to go to paradise. Otherwise he/she will go to hell. Article 5 of 5

            • Jihad (holy war) If a Muslim dies in a jihad he/she has immediate access to paradise. (This is the primary motivation for suicide bombers) c.f Shintoist: Kamikaze fighters of Japan in World War II

            • Paradise is a physical place of sensual pleasures where each man will have a harem of beautiful women who will bear children for him. c.f Mormonism

    A Final Analysis of the Muslim idea of Afterlife

    If I am Muslim: I will never know where I am going when I die despite a lifetime of good works and devotion to Allah, the only way I can supposedly know for sure, is if I die via a Jihad. Unfortunately, the only Jihads out there are the one's waged by Islam extremists and those wars involve my strapping a bomb to my chest or taking up automatic weapons and killing innocent unarmed Muslim, Jewish or European women and children in the name of the god Allah. This "jihad" appears to be the only guarantee of heaven, although according to the Quran it is not really guarantee at all. As a result of this, there is no real confidence that Allah will accept the Muslim when they die.

    References

            1. Johnstone, Patrick Operation World 2001
            2. Mcdowell, Josh & Don Stewart Handbook of Today’s Religions 1983
            3. Geisler, Norman Christian Apologetics 1983
            4. Smith, Huston The Religions of Man 1958 as reprinted in Handbook of Today’s Religions
            5. Offner, Clark B. The World’s Religions 1976 as reprinted in Handbook of Today’s Religions
            6. Noss, John B. Man’s Religions 1969 as reprinted in Handbook of Today’s Religions
            7. Hume, Robert E. The World’s Living Religions 1959 as reprinted in Handbook of Today’s Religions
            8. Wordsworth, Encyclopedia of World Religions 1999
            9. Smith, Huston Great Religions of the World, National Geographic Society 1971
            10. www.adherents.com: created circa January 2000. Last modified 28 August 2005.