Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Review of Islam by Frank Black



      A few years ago Jesse Kirkham had an excellent series of lessons on Islam. These lessons spurred me to continue my research into the Islamic religion – past and present.  The following gives emphasis on its founder, Muhammad (his name is spelled different ways) and the current status of Islam in our world:


       Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. in what is now Saudi Arabia.  He was orphaned at age six and raised by various relatives. At the age of forty (610 A.D.), he ostensibly received his first ‘vision’ from the angel Gabriel.  From a series of such supposed revelations came what is known as the Qur’an (Koran), which is considered the ‘scripture of Islam.’  Muhammad was considered by his followers as the last prophet of God. By 630 he had virtually unified all of Arabia under the banner of Islam. 


       The following are some details of Muhammad’s life and especially how he differs drastically from Jesus of Nazareth, the author of our religion of Christianity: 

  • There were no prophecies in the Koran regarding the coming of Muhammad
  • Muhammad was married first at age 25.  Subsequently he had perhaps as many as 13 wives – plus concubines. He had many children – the number is not certain.
  • Muhammad had slaves
  • Muhammad made no prophesies himself
  • The Koran tells of no miracles performed by Muhammad. (After his death, tradition and legend then grew and told of some supposed miracles.)
  • Muhammad was a ruthless, military leader.  The religion of Islam that he established took over Arabia by violent force.  His instructions were to attack any city rejecting Islam and to kill all unbelievers.
  • By tradition Muhammad was reputed to have had a short ascension into heaven from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem – the site of Solomon’s temple.
  • Muhammad died in 632 [age of 62].  He was buried in Medina, Saudi Arabia.  His mausoleum is there.
         I don’t know if you’ve read the Koran, but it’s rather convoluted and difficult to read. I’ve only read portions of it.  Much of it is almost like portions of the Old Testament restated.  Muslims do consider Abraham, Moses, etc., to be men of God.  They consider Jesus to be a prophet – but a lesser prophet than Muhammad, because Muhammad came after Jesus by some 575 years. Jesus is mentioned 97 times in the Koran, but Muslims do not consider Jesus to be the Son of God.  They deny his death on a cross and his resurrection. Islam is monotheistic, but it vigorously denies what we call the Trinity or the Godhead (God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit).
         Jerusalem was captured by the Muslims after Muhammad’s death in 638.  It remained in Muslim control until 1099 during the First Crusade.  So, for some 460 years they occupied Jerusalem, and this is why they still consider it theirs to this day!  Muslims consider Jerusalem their third most holy site – behind Mecca and Medina. [Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran.]
         Muhammad didn’t appoint a successor; and after his death, much in-fighting occurred and continues to this day. The two major divisions began at that time (Sunnis and Shias).  Currently, there are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world – including 6-7 million in the USA.  It is the fastest growing religion in Africa.  Part of the reason is the infusion of money into African countries from Arab countries – primarily Saudi Arabia.  Islam is clearly a male dominant religion and African tribes are traditionally male dominant.  In my opinion this is another reason why there are so many converts to Islam in African countries.
         Islam purports to be a religion of peace.  This begs the question, “Why is so much violence fostered by Muslims?” [Remember that Muhammad himself was a warrior – a soldier – a conqueror]. Somewhere between 7-10% of Muslims are classified as “radical”. A chief mission of this group is to kill all non-believers (called infidels). Nothing seems to deter them. Even in the last few days we’ve seen this directly enacted again – in Australia and in Pakistan. Horrible!  The indiscriminate killing of children and civilians.  The radicals function by intimidation and imparting fear in all others - followed by overt violence. The ‘peaceful’ Muslims don’t seem able to curtail or stop the actions of radicals.  This much higher percentage group seems to be the logical source for control of the small minority of radicals. [History is replete with Muslims fighting Muslims]. Once again, fear and intimidation are powerful deterrents.  What will stop this? Where will the answer come from? 
         My prayer is for peace also – the peace depicted in the message of Jesus Christ and that this peace will supersede and dominate our world. 
                                                     F. Black
                                                     Dec. 2014

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