Understanding Islam

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Luke 9:51-56


I.         Defenders of Islam have been quick to announce that terrorist actions have nothing to do with Islam

            A.        The people involved are extremists who misapply the Qur’an to accomplish their own aims.

            B.        Islam is about peace they insist. The militant are confusing literal and symbolic passages.

            C.        People are confused about the nature of Islam, partly because we judge matters by our own standards.

                        1.         Even non-Christians in this country judge matters by Christian standards

                        2.         We forget that Islam is not a Christian religion. It does not hold to the same principles to which Christians hold.

                        3.         All religions are not alike, not uphold the same standard of right and wrong.

II.        Fighting in the Bible

            A.        Whether a phrase is interpreted as literal or symbolic is determined by the context of the phrase.

                        1.         Both the immediate context and the overall aim of the work.

            B.        The New Testament speaks of fighting for the Lord’s cause - I Timothy 6:12

                        1.         The immediate context tells us how to fight - I Timothy 6:11-14

                                    a.         Flee materialism - I Timothy 6:9-10

                                    b.         Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness - I Timothy 6:11

                                    c.         Making the good confession - I Timothy 6:12-13

                        2.         Like Paul’s fight, Timothy’s fight was a spiritual battle - 2 Timothy 4:7

                        3.         It is clearly seen in II Corinthians 10:3-5

                                    a.         Our warfare is not of this world. It is conducted with words and not physical weapons.

                        4.         The battle is conducted on the spiritual plane - Ephesians 6:10-17

            C.        When the disciples wanted to carry out a physical battle they were rebuked - Luke 9:51-56

            D.        Truly, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world - John 18:36

III.       The history of Islam is filled with bloodshed

            A.        A brief history

                        1.         After proclaiming himself to be the last of the prophets, and his message, the Qur’an, the last revelation, Mohammed and his followers were persecuted and driven from the city of Mecca.

                        2.         He eventually moved to Median where Mohammed was given supreme authority.

                        3.         He waged a successful war against Mecca, after which he either expelled or slaughtered his opposition.

                        4.         By 630 AD Mohammed became the most powerful leader in the Arab world.

            B.        Those who exalt Mohammed as their spiritual leader, exalt a man who advanced his religious agenda by violence and bloodshed.

            C.        His religion was founded upon the practice of intimidation, coercion, and terror.

            D.        The goal of Islam is to expand into all the earth

                        1.         Surely the true religion with Allah is Islam - Qur’an 3:18

                        2.         And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers - Qur’an 3:84

            E.        Violence is advocated in its spread when there is resistence to it.

                        1.         And fight them until there is no persecution and religion is only for Allah. But if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors - Qur’an 2:192

            F.        Muslims argue that fighting is only to be done in self-defense

                        1.         And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but be not aggressive. Surely Allah loves not the aggressors. - Qur’an 2:190

            G.        The argument though fails when we see the entire passage

                        1.         And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but be not aggressive. Surely Allah loves not the aggressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it; so if they fight you in it, slay them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is only for Allah. But if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors. The sacred month for the sacred month, and retaliation is allowed in sacred things. Whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you and keep your duty to Allah and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. - Qur’an 2:190-194

                        2.         Compare this to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38-45

                        3.         Essentially it teaches that as long as Islam is not resisted, the Muslim is not to fight, but when aggression is used against them, then they have the moral duty to fight back until the resistence to Islam ends.

                        4.         The phrase to fight until religion is only for Allah is hotly debated among Muslims. Some take it literally, others say only until Islam is allowed to exist.

IV.      One of Islam’s goals is to set up political states whose law are only the Qur’an. Many Muslims do not recognize any non-Islamic government as legitimate.

            A.        O you who have been given the Book, believe in what We have revealed, verifying that which you have, before We destroy the leaders and turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers. And the command of Allah is ever executed. Surely Allah forgives not that a partner should be set up with Him, and forgives all besides that to whom He pleases. And whoever sets up a partner with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin. - Qur’an 47-48

            B.        A major theme of the Qur’an is the condemnation of any who would join Allah with other gods. Here is justification for Muslims to destroy heads of states who would sully their Allah by giving him partners.

            C.        By the way, we are not talking about idolaters with multiple gods, such as the Greeks and Romans.

                        1.         The Bible speaks of God as a trinity

                                    a.         Jesus is God - John 1:1-2

                                    b.         The Holy Spirit is God - Acts 5:3-4

                                    c.         The three seen in Matthew 3:16-17, Romans 15:16

                        2.         To Muslims, this is blasphemy

                                    a.         O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion nor speak anything about Allah, but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His word which He communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory to have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as having charge of affairs. - Qur’an 4:171

                                    b.         Certainly they disbelieve who say: Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Mary. And the Messiah said: O Children of Israel, serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates others with Allah, Allah has forbidden to him the Garden and his abode is the Fire. And for the wrongdoers there will be no helpers. Certainly they disbelieve who say: Allah is the third of the three. And there is no God but One God. And if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement will surely befall such of them as disbelieve ... The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; messengers before him had indeed passed away. - Qur’an 5:72-75

                                    c.         In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten; and none is like Him. - Qur’an 112: 1-4

                        3.         Notice that those who say there are three persons in God and those who say Jesus is God or God’s son await a grievous punishment.

                        4.         Thus a true Muslim believe they must overthrow (put on their backs) leaders who affirm God exists in three persons because they are associating others with Allah.

                                    a.         We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the Fire. And evil is the abode of the wrongdoers. - Qur’an 3:150

                                    b.         Terror will used against those who associate others with Allah, an idea that Allah gave no authority to express. Islam is a religion that permits terrorism against those whom they believe advocate a false religion.

V.        Militancy in Islam

            A.        O you who believe, take your precautions, then go forth in detachments or go forth in a body. ... So let those fight in the way of Allah who sell this world’s life for the Hereafter. And whoever fights in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward. And what reason have you not to fight in the way of Allah, and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, who say: Our Lord, take us out of this town, whose people are oppressors, and grant us from Thee a friend, and grant us from Thee a helper! Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the devil. So fight against the friends of the devil; surely the struggle of the devil is ever weak.


Hast thou not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate. But when fighting is prescribed for them, lo! A party of them fear men as they ought to fear Allah, or with a greater fear, and say: Our Lord, why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? Wouldst Thou not grant us respite to a near term? Say: The enjoyment of this world is short, and the Hereafter is better for him who keeps his duty. And you shall not be wronged a whit. Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in towers, raised high. And if good befalls them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from thee. Say: All is from Allah. But what is the matter with these people that they make no effort to understand anything. - Qur’an 4:71, 74-78

            B.        Fight then in Allah’s way – thou art not responsible except for thyself; and urge on the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fighting fo those who disbelieve. And Allah is stronger in prowess and stronger to give exemplary punishment. - Qur’an 4:84

            C.        O you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you and let them find firmness in you. And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. - Qur’an 9:123

            D.        Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks, as if they were a solid wall. - Qur’an 61:4

            E.        What kind of fighting is being prescribed?

                        1.         If you think about it, it is carnal, physical warfare.

                        2.         Notice he speaks of selling this life for the hereafter.

                        3.         He speaks of eternal rewards for those slain in battle

                        4.         He speaks of rescuing weak men, women, and children

                        5.         He criticizes those who urge others to refrain from fighting and concentrate on spiritual acts, such as prayer and paying the poor-tax.

                        6.         He condemns their fear of men and of death, telling them they are going to die one way or another so they ought to die fighting for Allah.

                        7.         He talks of Allah perhaps will restrain the strength of their enemies.

            F.        Obviously, the warfare is physical, not spiritual.

            G.        Hast thou not thought of the leaders of the Children of Israel after Moses? When they said to a prophet of theirs: Raise up for us a king, that we may fight in the way of Allah. He said: May it not be that you will not fight if fighting is ordained for you? they said: And what reason have we that we should not fight in Allah’s way and we have indeed been deprived of our homes and our children? But when fighting was ordained for them, they turned back, except a few of them. And Allah is Knower of the wrongdoers. - Qur’an 2:246

                        1.         Mohammed concluded that since God prescribed and ordained fighting for the Jews in conquering Palestine and in the punishment of godless nations, then his followers must fight as well.

                        2.         The problem is that these instructions were given to the Israelites to take possession of the land God gave them. The instructions were fulfilled in that time. They were not given to us or to the Muslims.

            H.        Why Muslims fight Jews and Christians

                        1.         In the Qur’an, people of the book refer to Jews and Christians.

                        2.         Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and His messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, our of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. - Qur’an 9:29

                        3.         And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. These are the words of their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieve before. Allah’s curse be on them! How they are turned away! - Qur’an 9:30

                        4.         Islam opposes Christians because they recognize Jesus as being equal to God. (John 5:18). He is eternal (Hebrews 1:10-12)

                                    a.         Yet the Qur’an says “The likeness of Jesus with Allah is truly as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to be, Be and he was.” - Qur’an 3:58

                                    b.         In other words, Muslims believe Jesus was just a created man.

                        5.         Islam also accuses the Jews of lying in claiming to have slain Jesus. They claim that Jesus was not really crucified.

                                    a.         And for their disbelief and for their uttering against Mary a grievous calumny: And for their saying: We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross, but he was mad to appear to them as such. And certainly those who differ therein are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for certain - Qur’an 4:156-157

                        6.         Primarily though, Islam is critical of Jews and Christians because they have rejected Mohammed as the last prophet.

            I.         The promise of reward for those slain in battle

                        1.         And if you are slain in Allah’s way or you die, surely Allah’s protection and His mercy are better than what they amass. and if you die or you are slain, to Allah you are gathered. - Qur’an 3:156-157

                        2.         And think not of those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they are alive being provided sustenance from their Lord, Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace, and they rejoice for the sake of those who being left behind them, have not yet joined them, that they have no fear, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice for Allah’s favor and His grace, and that Allah wastes not the reward of the believers. - Qur’an 3:168-170

                        3.         So their Lord accepted their prayer, saying: I will not suffer the work of any worker among you to be lost whether male or female, the one of you bring from the other. So those who fled and were driven forth from their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain, I shall truly remove their evil and make them enter Gardens wherein flow rivers – a reward from Allah. And with Allah is the best reward. - Qur’an 3:194

                        4.         Forgiveness, mercy, fellowship, gifts, remission of sins, and a heavenly reward are promised to those who fight and are slain in combat for the cause of Allah.

            J.         This includes those who willingly sacrifice themselves in battle.

                        1.         Do you think that you will enter the Garden while Allah has not yet known those from among you who strive hard nor known the steadfast? And certainly you desired death before you met it. So indeed you have seen it now while you look at it. And Muhammad is but a messenger – messengers have already passed away before him. If then he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? And he who turns back upon his heels will do no harm at all to Allah. And Allah will reward the grateful. And no soul can die but with Allah’s permission – the term is fixed. And whoever desires the reward of this world, We give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him of it. And We shall reward the grateful. And how many a prophet has fought, with whom were many worshipers of the Lord. So they did not lose heart on account of that which befell them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves. And Allah loves the steadfast. And their cry was only that they said: Our Lord, grant us protection form our sins and our extravagance in our affair, and make firm our feet and grant us victory over the disbelieving people. So Allah gave them the reward of the world and a good reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the doers of good. - Qur’an 3:141-147

                        2.         Muslims divide over the practice of suicide. Some passages in the Qur’an seem to warn against suicide. However, under proper circumstances, a devoted follower of Mohammed may commit suicide while combating those opposed to Islam and receive an excellent reward in the hereafter.

VI.      The teaching of Christianity to Muslims and the conversion of Muslims to Christ is considered an act of aggression. All the laws concerning self-defense and the defense of their religion come into play.

            A.        They ask thee about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting in it is a grave offence. And hindering men from Allah’s way and denying Him and the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out of it, are still graver with Allah; and persecution is graver than slaughter. And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back form your religion, if they can. And whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever – these it is whose works go for nothing in this world and the Hereafter. And they are the companions of the Fire: therein they will abide. - Qur’an 2:217

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