Understanding Islam – Part 10 – (A Story)

A Story

Besides blogging I write stories, have written books, and often use resources from the past, events from the bible, the lives of others, articles from the news, historical happenings, to include that of Jesus and Muhammad, and I may deviate from the facts to tell my story, and suggest not that what I say is true, but a story. At other times, especially where my opinion is expressed or my faith is supported I make every effort to explore the facts, to not distort the facts, and to reflect on the truth; the truth is what one arrives at through careful consideration of all data available, having access to all information available. I also write a diary. In it the truth is what I say about the events of the day and what transpired in my life. But this is not the truth for man to live by, just facts as to what transpired with me. It may at time contain expressions of concern, joy, even anguish, but it is my story – a personal reflection.

There is freedom in truth. “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‘” (John 8:31-32) It is for freedom for everyone that I dialog about issues I question as to the truth. In the Qur’an I see what may be a true story of Muhammad, but is this God’s truth? From my reading I would argue it is not, as it is a reflection of the life of a mortal man, his struggles and his anger. The Sunnah and Hadith used by Muslims is Muhammad’s diary; it is his story and expression of his life, and suggestions for others. He had followers, yes, but they were attracted to this man and his personal cause. Should this then be manifested as a cause for mankind? This is where my doubts reach the highest level and cannot be erased. (see: Erasure Rule in my book, Wake Up! Wake Up! The Testimony of a Layman, Tate Publishers, Mustang, OK, 2009)

Is the Qur’an a story? A story covering a period of the last 22 years of a man’s life, to be accompanied by a diary of the same man’s life, compiled by close associates that enjoyed his life, accomplishments and goals. It is the story of one man’s view of war made against his profession of monotheism, received from the angel Gabriel during a dream, the words of Allah, in a cavern. What he dreamt was to be recited to his people – at the time a pagan population consisting of many tribes. He could not write down his recollection as he was illiterate, depending then on his recall and the repetition of his words by companions. As his followers grew, even though small in numbers, and resistance also grew (in Mecca) forcing him to flee (what he then considered an act of war) to Medina, the battle against all ‘non-believers’ began. Is it a story requiring the Truth of the Christian heritage be altered (yet claiming this alteration as the truth) and denying the divinity of Christ. This was to enable the followers to comfortably join forces (or uncomfortably by force – jihad) to repeat and compel others to accept the Muhammad recitations and belief in Allah? He grew his following, at times raiding trade caravans and adding to his coffers the spoils of victory (all in the name of Allah) until he had enough men to, under the guise of a pilgrimage to Mecca to visit the Ka’aba (then a pagan memorial), take revenge against those that befriended him in Mecca (his claim: response to an act of war). He united the tribes to be monotheistic, by fear and force, cleared the Ka’aba of all gods leaving only a black meteorite rock as a symbol of one religion, the religion of Muhammad as a messenger of Allah. It has certainly had an impact and indeed Islam has over 1 billion followers. Do they all understand the difference between their religion and others? Do they understand they are still fighting Muhammad’s personal war?

Have Muslims been exposed to other religions; or the question may be are they precluded from such exposure? I say yes. If so, then why? Could it be the fear of another religion that claims to be the Truth? Could it be the story of Muhammad becomes a questionable story as to its veracity and doubts arise? After reading and re-reading the stories, I have many doubts about Islam. Might the doubters then depart Islam for another religion? But should that occur, then what – (sura 47.22), “…if you turn away (from Islam), you are sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship.” You family (your Muslim family) will turn against you, as your kin no longer loving you since you may no longer love Allah. Deafness and blindness can follow (sura 47.23); even death (sura 47.27), “…how will it be when the angels cause them to die….”, then (sura 47.28), “That is because they follow that which displeases Allah and are averse to his pleasure….” Apostasy can result in death. That is severe. Believe what you want to believe, if once Muslim and as a result no longer, you can be cut off from your family, possibly blinded, or killed. Is there no “free will” in Islam? Is there no allowance for the ‘lost son”, the “prodigal son”, that returns to his roots? Is there no forgiveness in Islam? The forgiveness of Allah seems to fall on a disregard for sin, and the provision of scales, where the sinner can weigh his sin as evil and offset it with good. It is a balancing act. “Allah forgives sins altogether.” (sura39.53). No repentence is necessary if the sins are out-weighed by good.  Misfortune falls on those for a reason, that reason their own doing, as stated, “And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought.” (sura 42.35), and forget about turning the other cheek, “And those who, when great wrong afflicts them, defend themselves.” (sura 47.39). “And the recompense of evil is punishment like it.” (sura 42.40) Indeed, if a Muslim, revenge is encouraged. Sure, if a Muslim thinks forgiveness might help, they can consider it, but if not, then revenge. “

“At this moment, for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, men and women are being bullwhipped into submission, tortured, imprisoned, beaten, battered, and broken. Homes are being burned, families are executed, and other lives lost through hateful revenge. If you believe that torture and murder because of belief in Jesus Christ is a thing of the past, then you are tragically mistaken. Across our globe, the blood of Christians runs down cobblestone streets, dirt paths, paved alleys, and concrete prison floors.” (This from Unveiling Islam, by Ergun and Emir Caner, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009, pg.15-16).  All this is taking place because of a religion based on a story.  It may be real, but it is personal.  Do we need to continue to fight another man’s battle?

There are multiple examples of the attacks against Christians in predominately Muslim areas. World Magazine reported in their Nov. 7, 2009 issue (pg. 9) of the Burmese army shooting Karen Villagers in Nya Mu Ki, including a pastor named Baw Pae, and then on to other villages, burning houses sending thousands, predominately Christians, into hiding. Food sources (rice paddies) destroyed.

In Baghdad, Iraq, St. George’s Anglican Church has endured repeated bombings and attacks – in 2008, according to World Magazine, 93 members of the church were killed, including 11 of 13 converts baptized by pastor Canon Andrew White.

Coptic Christians in Egypt have been persecuted so often over 70,000 have moved to Australia since 1971. Six Coptic Orthodox Christians were killed in a drive-by shooting in Egypt in December 2009 at the time of Christmas – following a midnight Mass outside their church. The climate of fear is so strong that many Christians refuse to publicly reveal their names and faith for fear of repercussions. (from the website: www.thereligionofpeace.com).

In September 2005 Muslim Palestinian Arabs plundered a town of Christian Palestinian Arabs in southern Samaria, it was a Sunday and houses and automobiles were set ablaze; this occurred in an apparent ‘revenge” attack after a Christian man dared date a Muslim woman. Christian families fled to a nearby village as the violence raged into the night. The woman was allegedly killed by her family for becoming involved in the relationship, forced to drink poison. So called “honor killings” are barbaric.

“Two Christians in Pakistan were recovering of their injuries Thursday January 14, 2010, saying they were shot at a wedding party for refusing to convert to Islam – the latest is a series of attacks on weddings across the country (Pakistan)” They refused orders to recite the ‘Islamic profession of faith’ confirming conversion. (from website: www.worthynews.com)

“Reported on January 7, 2010 (www.worthynews.com) “an Iranian court forced a Christian convert with a Muslim background to sign a confession that she is “mentally unstable’ and placed her under three months of house arrest in the city of Mashhad, 850 kilometers (530 miles) east of the capital Tehran, trial observes said.”

The BBC reported in October 2008 at least 1,300 families have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul after an upsurge of violence against them by Muslim extremists. Dozens of Christians were murdered; Sunni militants were blamed. Over 800,000 Christians have fled from Iraq since the 2003 invasion. The situation for Christians only seems to get worse.

These are but a few examples – more stories of such oppression and attacks will be provided in later Blogs. Maybe there are more moderate Muslims that tolerate other faiths, in fact consider freedom of religion for the sanctity of peace in the world wise, and a denial of such freedoms a practice of the past for Islam. However the percentages of extremists is so large and the general impression of Muslim cultures one of intolerance against ‘non-believers’ and laws others than those born of the Qur’an (Sharia) so pervasive, it is difficult to be comfortable and accepting of Islam as a whole.

There are claims by Muslims worldwide that the invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and actions of American armed forces in many areas where Muslims dominate is an act of aggression (war) against Islam. This aggression has been the cause and justification for ‘revenge’ attacks against America and Christians (Jews also). There is resentment also for bringing to the attention of the world acts of deceit (such as from the political party in Iran), ‘honor-killing’, questioning Sharia law, especially where the punishments inflected by Muslims seem inhumane, noting the autocratic nature of the leaders of Muslim nations, and thus engendering open discussions, debate and recognition of the nature of the Islamic religion and its followers, especially the fundamentalists and their desire that all Muslims be of a similar persuasion. 911 only opened the eyes of the world to what has been occurring for centuries in Muslim areas and the imperialistic nature of the leaders of the Islamic religion to fulfill the Qur’an’s statement “until…religion is only for Allah.” (sura 2.193) That implies also that the law of all nations, the world as a whole is ‘only Sharia.’ They are one in the same – the religion and the law – all Islam.

Everyone needs to understand Islam – as a religion or a story. We need to know the story, its background, the person – Muhammad, and the resultant religion.  We also need to understand other religions born of the intentions of one individual for his own purposes. Mormonism is an example. Judaism and Christianity needs to be equally understood and its long term history (4,000 to billions of years) respected. In this way through knowledge and wisdom, along with freedom of speech, thought and religion, people can believe as they choose. We must pray, petition God, for clarity to all humanity. The Islamic prayer is not one of petition, but of repetition, not thanking or asking for help, only reminding them of their constraint to a belief in only Allah and the shackles he places on all under the rule of thumb of those fighting Muhammad’s war of 622.

May the Grace and Love of God fill the reader with the importance of knowing Christ and the freedom he gave us all. May we continue to be strengthened by the waters of the Word that flow from the Bible and the knowledge that Christ gave his life for us. Who else has ever done so much for mankind and provided for the freedoms we enjoy, men and women, and the progress we make, and the future we have before us? Help us all make this world his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Praise be to God, the Triune God.

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