UI – Part 165 – Conquest–Imperialism–Islam
The history of Islam is filled with conquest, area expansion, taking of spoils for the victors, control and adopting the Ideology of the Conquerors. The Ideology evolved from Muhammad wanting his pagan family and their acceptance of a pluralistic society to change, to be monotheistic – the one god the god chosen and clarified by Muhammad as Allah.
In the early years after the Hijrah the followers of Muhammad were enriched from raiding caravans destined for the Quraysh trade centers. These attacks were specifically against the heart of the Quraysh who were credited with persecuting Muhammad and causing him to leave Mecca. Readily realized and adopted was ‘strength defeats weakness.’ Also ‘the prepared overwhelm the unprepared.’ And lastly ‘authority falls naturally to the victors.’ It was as if Muhammad promoted such ideological theories because he resisted the Christian idea of a humble servant dying for mankind.
Muhammad saw Christ as weak, and thus Christ was overtaken and killed. If he had been divine he would have been the victor. The victors are thus blessed by Allah; Allah not the same as God the Father of Christians or Christ as Savior. Control was gained by force, coercion or whatever means necessary to quell possible dissent or resistance.
Compare Muhammad and Christ. Goto: Muhammad vs Christ
In contrast the history of the Bible is well established having support from a variety of sources such as architectural evidence, recorded history and extensive profiles of real-life persons. The prophets that foretold the coming of Jesus as Christ were numerous. Research and study have gone on for years, centuries, including criticism and doubt, affirmation and denial. The evidence is compelling that Jesus lived, died on the cross and was witnessed in the resurrected form. His life and sacrifice was foretold in the Old Testament. This is amazing. The Resurrection happened. There were witnesses and records kept. To say the Resurrection did not occur is only to deny reality. Those that accepted Christ, his saving Grace and the justification for salvation as faith in Christ and not Works do so voluntarily. It is not the sword that eliminates unbelievers; it is the heart. On the other hand Islamists have over history reduced the ranks of those not accepting their belief by extirpation.
In the earliest years of the OT there was much posturing for land, the Promised Land, for the people Chosen by God. Territorial expansion was limited to establishing a specific area for the people of God. Israel today covers the lands sought at that time as a place for settlement of like-minded people. They, however, even with the aid of God, were disobedient and God no longer protected them where they lived. They were invaded and dispersed by the Persians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Ptolemies, the Romans and more. Christ’s arrival altered things. He was an all-inclusive prophet that established the whole world and its inhabitants as God’s People, forgiving their sins, being punished in their place, making each believer right with God, so Salvation could be assured.
Muhammad did not understand servitude. He was to be served. Jesus was the suffering servant. He came to die for those he loved to assure their salvation. Muhammad rose up to vindicate his personal rejection. He never humbled himself for others. He indulged himself in the pleasures and power of gains he made as a warrior; Allah became a tool for man. Muhammad became more the false prophet suggesting others do as he says or preaches, but not as he does.
The Quran denies the reality of Jesus death on the cross and resurrection. It does not deny the virgin birth of Jesus. It does not deny the perfect life, a total resistance to temptation, Jesus exhibited. It even states his arrival was the ‘good news.’
If a Muslim accepts Christ’s divinity it becomes a game changer. The converted Muslim, any who wisely accept God’s saving Grace, becomes an Infidel, an apostate.
I am quite convinced Muhammad knew of the saving Grace of the Lord. He spent years with a cousin of his 1st wife – Khadija. Waraqah was a scholar of the Old and New Testaments. Wanting to share Biblical history with the many with whom he interfaced he took it upon himself and is credited with translating the OT into Arabic. Muhammad was a frequent recipient of his knowledge. The OT, as does the Quran, depicts salvation earned by good WORKS. Waraqah lived his life as a Christian. That influence, awareness and knowledge came from Waraqah being conversant with the Gospels.
In the book, Jesus, by John Piper, he writes, “Before Jesus, faith was focused on the mercy and promise of God to forgive sins and to care for his people.” There are elements of the Quran in synch with the OT. This, I am convinced, was learned by Muhammad. Potential salvation through Works, good acts exceeding evil acts, merits Allah’s approval. That is the decree in the Quran. Muhammad, by way of Waraqah, was more familiar with the OT, I can only assume, than the NT.
Waraqah knew the New Testament and the history of Jesus Christ. He shared with Muhammad. In so doing Muhammad was made aware of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He knew that it was through Christ that sin is atoned for and sinners are reconciled to God. He would have understood the hope of the resurrection awaits all who believe. Khadijah knew too. But Muhammad had doubts, he lacked a personal conviction, and found his own pathway. The one he chose to follow was in direct opposition to justification by faith in Christ. Many false Prophets have done the same.
Was it the Gospel Muhammad initially wanted to bring to his pagan family and to the clans and tribes of the Arabian Peninsula? It may have been. At the time it was the monotheism of Syria, Yemen and Israel. It was the prevailing belief of the Byzantine Empire to the North. Many in the Sassanid Empire to the East (Persia) also were Christ followers. When did Muhammad’s approach change or become adulterated? Even the Kaaba was a place for Christians to worship Christ. It was, though, a place also to worship other gods.
One note to consider. At the time of Muhammad there were many that although they believed in Christ as Savior questioned Christ’s relationship with God. Were they one and the same? Were they human and divine, equally or separately? Was Christ human and once having died on the Cross at the point of resurrection divine? Son of Man. Son of God. Then there is the concept of the Trinity. It is not biblical but the Christian scholar Tertullian’s interpretation of the essence or attributes of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit has dominated the Catholic and Protestant dogma. Muhammad may have chosen the least offensive towards his designs on a belief in Allah, thus discrediting Christ as divine, even his death on the Cross.
Knowing Christ But Overcome with Power
Muhammad knew about Christ. Did he come to discover once he gained a following that being a warrior and politician more rewarding than preacher. Did the temptations of strength turn him into a goliath without a heart? He was a man with a sword against the defenseless neck of an unsuspecting traveler in their own world – not his? At the time he didn’t have Nietzsche to read, but his approach fit that of a ‘will to power’. Muhammad’s ideology and self-love became a driving force of the sinful man as opposed to that of a loving God.
Christ was inconvenient for Muhammad. He was weak. He died because he was weak. The argument – “If Christ was divine he would have saved himself.” This became his theme and not that of the Saving Grace of Christ, Christ as the Ram that saved Ishmael from the knife and pyre of Abraham[i]. Christ’s salvation was not the means Muhammad preferred as it would remove him from the role he assumed as a self-proclaimed prophet and a force to be reckoned with. The idea that one would die for another, taking the punishment the other deserved, saving his friends, the ones he loved, just did not register with Muhammad. Such as act of love was not possible, at least not possible for Muhammad and Allah. Salvation and justification by faith alone, being grateful for the death of this suffering servant, and repenting to be Saved by Grace was only to be denied by Muhammad and his followers. It was an Inconvenient Truth. Muhammad could not accept what is said in 2 Corinthians 5:15 – “Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Muhammad lived for himself.
The successors to Muhammad used the tools of conquest to expand their personal treasuries and territory. They adopted a philosophy and ideology useful to maintaining power. Imperialism trumped faith. They did not do what they did out of a love for Allah.
Grace and Peace
[i] For the Christian and Biblically it was Isaac that was to be sacrificed and saved by the Ram that appeared in the thicket. Genesis 22. God will provide.