Mohammad: 570 – 632 A.D. Born in Mecca, famous for Ka’aba shrine (place of pagan worship). Orphaned, raised by uncle. Worked in trading caravans; married an older rich widow. Started having “revelations” while meditating in a cave in 610. Family members were first converts.
Early Teaching in Mecca: 610 – 622. Preached against polytheism (356 gods). Though illiterate, he heard many Bible stories that he included in the Qur’an (also spelled Koran; it means “recitation”). Persuaded people peacefully to become Muslims; stressed continuity with Judaism and Christianity. Most Meccans against him, plotted to kill him. Fled to the city of Medina in 622. This became Year 1 in the Islamic calendar. AH = after hijra = after the flight.
Later teaching in Medina: 622 – 632. Majority in Medina made him their leader and became Muslims, but the Jews did not. He drove out several tribes of them, ordered the men of the remaining tribe killed; made slaves of the women and children. Tone of new revelations became more warlike (see Surah 9). Direction for prayer changed from Jerusalem to Mecca. Friday established as the day of worship. Men must grow short beards; Muslims must look distinct. Mohammad took 12 wives after first one died; allowed Muslims up to 4. No non-Muslims to live in Arabia. Pagans must become Muslims or die; Christians & Jews outside Arabia can keep their religion, but must be second-class citizens and pay extra taxes. No separation of state and religion.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS (The “5 Pillars” of Islam)
Shahada (Creed): “There is no God but God, and Mohammed is the apostle of God.” If you say this publicly and sincerely in Arabic, you have become a Muslim.
Salat (ritual prayer): 5 times a day, at certain times. Must wash yourself before saying them, and they must be said in Arabic. Friday noon prayer is done together at the mosque.
Zakat (offerings): Must donate 2% of your wealth each year to the poor, or to an Islamic foundation which supports mosques, Islamic missions and other Islamic works.
Ramadan (month of fasting): Must fast from all food and water during daylight hours. Big meal every night after sundown; big breakfast before dawn. Big festival on the last night.
Hajj (pilgrimage): Must visit Mecca once in one’s lifetime during annual pilgrimage time.
Jihad is also considered to be a basic requirement by all the schools of Islamic law but women, children and the sick are exempt, so it is not part of the “5 Pillars”.
Unity of God – He was not born and has no son. Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. The Arabic Bible uses the word Allah for God. Allah means one thing in the context of the Qur’an, and something else in the context of the Bible.
Angels, such as Gabriel, who is mentioned in the Qur’an.
Holy Books: the Taurat (Torah), Zabur (Psalms), Injil (Gospel) and Qur’an. Muslims believe Jews and Christians changed the first 3 so they no longer agree with the Qur’an.
Prophets, especially Noah, Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, John the Baptist, Jesus and Mohammad, the last prophet. Mohammad’s life is the perfect example (Sunna) to follow. Hadith (authoritative traditions) record many details of Mohammad’s life and ministry.
Day of Judgment: preceded by Dajjal (Antichrist), the second coming of Jesus, who will judge everyone, and the Mahdi, a messianic figure. Dajjal may be the real Jesus, the Muslim Jesus may be the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11-17, 19:20), and the Mahdi may be the real Antichrist.
Predestination: God’s will for each person has been decided, and will come to pass. Muslims believe in double predestination, in contrast to Calvinism.
7. “Islam” means “submission.” “Salam” means peace. Same root, but different meaning.
DIFFERENCES FROM CHRISTIANITY: They believe that:
Man sins, but is not sinful by nature. We are weak, but we can save ourselves.
Jesus was only a prophet, not the Son of God. He did not die on the cross. No one can pay for the sins of another, and it is not necessary.
Salvation is by works: Believers with 51% good deeds go directly to heaven. If fewer, go to hell first, pay for bad deeds, then go to heaven. Deeds are weighed on a balance – good deeds cancel out bad ones, and you do not know your fate. Unbelievers go to hell to stay.
Allah is unknowable, and created evil. We have no relation with Him except to obey.
If you are persecuted, kill them (Qur’an 8:39).
Islam is both a religion and a political ideology that cannot be separated.
WAYS TO WITNESS TO MUSLIMS
Do not condone sin, but love the sinner. Disagree with Islam, but love Muslims.
Educate yourself: Facing Islam, Engaging Muslims, Alexander Pierce; Unveiling Islam, by Ergun & Emir Caner (2 Turkish brothers); Islam and Terrorism, Mark Gabriel (pseudonym of a converted Egyptian Muslim).
Hospitality is very important. Invite them to your house for a meal.
Do not offer Muslims pork or alcohol, even if you have seen them eat and drink them.
Muslims love to talk about religion, unlike many Americans, even if they hardly know you. Do not be afraid to talk with them about what you believe – they expect you to do that.
Share your testimony and stress that you know for certain that you will be with God in heaven when you die, because the Messiah paid the penalty for your sins. They have no assurance of salvation and will be very surprised that you do. Show them 1 John 5:13.
Many Muslims think that all Americans are Christians, and therefore all the sex, drugs and violence that happens in America and in our films is part of Christianity. Tell them that these things are against Christianity, and that only a small minority here are real believers.
Read the Qur’an yourself, then challenge them to read the Bible. If they say the Bible has been changed, ask if God is all-powerful and controls everything. When they say yes, ask if God would allow His Word to be changed. Let them read Genesis first, then Matthew.
In Genesis, point out chapter 22. This story is also in the Qur’an (37:102-107), and they celebrate this event annually by killing a sheep and having a feast (Id al-Adha, Feast of Sacrifice). This shows the idea of substitutionary sacrifice.
The Qur’an has many good & correct things to say about Jesus: born of a virgin, called the Messiah and the Word of God, led a sinless life, did miracles, raised the dead, ascended to heaven. Talk about the life of Jesus with them. (In contrast, Mohammed did no miracles, but do not criticize him to Muslims – it will not help your witness to them.)
Many Muslims believe that when we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean that God had sexual relations with Mary and Jesus was the result. Tell them that you do not believe that, and show them Luke 1:26 – 38 as an explanation of Jesus’ conception.
Use “The Holy Injil” in your witness, especially for Arabs and very religious Muslims. This is the Gospel of Matthew in English specially designed for Muslims. Order from the International Bible Society ($2). Or, find a Bible in their own language.
Use parables and illustrations like Jesus did rather than bare logical argument. Use Haggai 2:10-14, Luke 17:7-10, Evangelism Explosion illustrations. Don’t argue.
Pray that God would reveal Himself to them. Many Muslims have become believers in “Isa al Masikh” (Jesus the Messiah) after dreams or visions.
Claim Isaiah 60:7 & Genesis 25:13 as a promise that many Muslims will be saved. Arabs claim descent from Ishmael; Kedar and Nebaioth are the first two sons of Ishmael.
Be encouraged - more Muslims have come to Christ in the last 20 years than in all of history before that, especially Iranians, Indonesians, Berbers and Central Asians. Praise God!
For more information, contact Allen at email@example.com .