Islam teaches that Jesus was not killed but that, with the help of Allah, He escaped (sura 004:157). Tradition holds that Judas was crucified in His place. Unlike Moses and later Mohammed, Jesus is said to have never died, but to have been taken to Paradise by Allah (sura 003:055). I find this interesting given that the account of John the Baptist's death is accepted (sura 019:015), yet the same wording is used for the death of Jesus (sura 019:033) and is rejected.
Not only does Islam
teach that Jesus WAS the awaited Messiah of the Jews, it also holds that Jesus
will be the one to return at the end of days, defeat the Antichrist and gather
the faithful for Allah. This is recorded in the Hadiths.
The denial of the deity of Jesus is very important to Islam. Believing that Jesus is God is considered blasphemy against Allah, as Allah is considered God and there is no other (sura 005:72-74, 019:88-92).
Foretold in the Bible?
According to Islamic teachings, there are two key references to the prophecy of Mohammed in the Bible. One was spoken by the Lord to Moses and the other was spoken by Jesus:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their
brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall
speak unto them all that I shall command him.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send
unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from
the Father, he shall testify of me:
This account of the words of Jesus contradicts another verse in the book of John:
But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring
all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Islam claims that this is one of the issues of corruption in the Scriptures. They hold that the Holy Spirit is, in essence, the angel Gabriel who brings revelation. I have never heard a good explanation for the issue of baptism in the Holy Spirit, however.
The five Pillars of
1. Shahadatan (declarations)
no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet". These two testimonies
are the decrees necessary to make a person a Muslim.
2. Prayer five times daily,
always facing Mecca.
3. Alms to the poor - 2% of
4. Making a hajj
(pilgrimage) to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
5. Fasting during the month of Ramadan, which usually corresponds with the month of December. The fasting takes place from sun up to sun down, and the month culminates in a huge feast.
There is no guarantee of salvation in Islam. Mohammed himself taught that he had no way of knowing his own eternal destiny (sura 046:009). Islam teaches that there will be a Judgment Day when a man’s good works will be weighed against his bad works. If the outcome is deemed positive, he will be allowed to enter Paradise.
Depending on how good a man's
deeds are judged to be, he is to be rewarded in Paradise. These rewards
include riches and a harem of virgins for sexual satisfaction.
Many people question the mentality of the suicide bombers who seem to be in unending supply. The only way to guarantee entry into Paradise is to die in the name of Allah; that is considered the greatest deed one can ever accomplish (Sahih Bukhari 1.35). By dying in this manner, one is not only guaranteed entry into Paradise with no worry about the weighing of deeds, but one is also rewarded with the highest honors that Paradise has to give: namely, the riches and the harem.
The Question of
Many people have heard the phrase
" the third most holy site in Islam," when referring to Jerusalem,
specifically the Temple Mount where the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques
Ironically, the Qur’an doesn’t even mention Jerusalem. The city is, however, mentioned in the Bible 811 times.
Given that, how and where did the
connection come from?
Tradition holds that during his
"night journey," Mohammed was said to have been transported in a dream
to the "far distant place of worship." This unnamed place was
reported to be Jerusalem.
This dream is not recorded as such
in the Qur'an.
Glorified be He
Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the
Far distant place of worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that
We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.
The oddity of this passage is its timing. The Jewish Temple had been destroyed some 550 years before the time of Mohammed. The Al Aqsa mosque had not been built until 60 years later in the year 691. What place of worship is he then describing?
Either this sura had not been written (revealed to) Mohammed by Allah as he claimed, or Jerusalem being the location for this event is a misnomer.
One of the tenets of Islam is that
any land conquered in the name of Allah will remain Allah's forever. Any
land lost must be regained, through whatever means possible as soon as the
faithful to Allah are again strong enough and in a position to do so.
Understanding this mindset sheds new light on the battle for control of
Jerusalem raging yet today.
Women in Islam
Islam is very clear on issues concerning the role of women. Islam teaches that women are inferior to men in all aspects of life and that women are to be submissive to men to the extent that they become property (sura 004:034). The testimony of one Islamic man carries the weight equal to that of two women. Wife beatings are permissible and in some cases required.
By Islamic law, a woman is considered a citizen of the country to which her husband belongs, by virtue of marriage alone. This automatically places women under the laws of that country—even if they are there only for a visit. The Betty Mahmoody story, immortalized in the film Not Without My Daughter, is an expose of one woman's struggles with this culture when she and her daughter were held hostage from 1984-6 in Iran by her Iranian-born husband after what was to be a two-week vacation.
Women automatically lose all rights to their children under Islamic law. The fathers gain custody by default under religious
edict. Interestingly, the Hague
Convention regarding abducted children does not include Islamic states, as it
interferes with religious governing laws.
In many Islamic nations, the practice of female circumcision is alive and well. The purpose of circumcision is to make sexual relations less pleasurable for the woman as a means of promoting faithfulness to her husband. The Hadiths do not make this mandatory for women as they do for men, but the optional practice is designed to preserve honor.
Mercy killing is another common occurrence in many Islamic countries. The Islamic position on this is that killing is a form of mercy, as it is the only way to rectify the person. This includes the legal action of a family murdering one of its own if a woman is found to not be a virgin on her wedding night.
Treatment of female prisoners is
horrific once they are condemned to die. For example, according to an
Iranian religious decree, virgin women prisoners must as a rule be raped before
their execution, "lest they go to Paradise." The night before
execution, a guard rapes the condemned woman so that she does not die a
virgin. After her execution, the religious judge at the prison writes out
a marriage certificate and sends it to the victim's family, along with a box of
sweets. This was documented
by Human Rights groups to have been common practice in Iran as recently as
A woman's salvation in Islamic thought is the same unknown, “good works vs. bad works” formula as a man’s, but the Qur'an is strangely silent on the women’s rewards (if any) in Paradise (033:035). The Hadiths suggest rather strongly that women who are ungrateful to their husbands are hell bound. Additionally, out of 99 women, only one is said not to have that doomed fate (Kanz al-`ummal, 22:10).
Muslims adhere to the dietary laws
similar to those given to Moses. They do not drink alcohol or eat pork.
The dietary laws vary somewhat but hold many similarities to the Mosaic laws
given the Jews.
Muslims are to
pray facing Mecca five times daily. Prior to handling the Qur'an or entering a
mosque, they must do a ritual face, hand, and foot washing. Shoes are not allowed
in the mosques - for Muslims or visitors alike.
Most Arabic countries are governed based on religious law as well. The adage, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” is alive and well in many of these countries in the Middle East. It is not uncommon to hear stories of thieves having their hands cut off or liars losing their tongues. In some Muslim countries, if a person is caught drinking alcohol for the fourth time, they can be sentenced to death.
I commented to a friend that the study of Islam as a religion is interesting, but the study of Islamic culture is a shock. I told him, "I am finding that learning about Islam is a vicious cycle for me - I want to know, but the more I know, the less I wish I knew, which makes me wonder what else I don't know, so I want to know more."
He ever so patiently replied to
this westerner, "But you need to know, more and beyond the social
aspects of Islam. Islam is the next coming 'Nazism' upon Israel and
the world. Assume that you lived in the '40's during the rise of Hitler,
and knowing what you know now, what difference would you have made then to
defend Jewish existence? Curiosity about Islam can be tormenting. But again,
watching footage on the Holocaust is tormenting as well. We feel for the
suffering, but we also need to take a stand and expose."
What can I say - that was well
Sites I recommend on this topic
- their Index to Islam section is extremely robust.
- an excellent site. This is maintained by Walid, a former Muslim, born and raised in
Bethlehem, Israel, who is now a born-again Christian and practicing
Messianic. Here is his testimony
- it is an amazing read.