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Comparative Religion » Islam - College Notes

College Notes On Islam

Though Mohammed was the founder of Islam it is not correct to call it Mohammedism.  Islam means surrender or submission. Muslim means one surrendered.


Islam is monotheistic and combines elements of Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism and Arabic religion. The following is the context on which Islam was founded:


     1. Islam was founded on an earlier Arabian religion

     2. Judaism - the Old Testament is authoritative especially the prophets.

     3. Christianity - the account of Jesus (not Jesus Christ)

     4. Persian Influence of Zoroastrianism


Allah comes from "al illah" meaning the God.


History of Islam and its founder

     

1. Muhammed's life

           a, Muhammed's original name was Ubu'l Kassim.  He was born in AD 570

           b. His father died shortly before his birth.  His mother died when he was six.  He was 

               raised by his grandfather and his uncle.  He was given the name Kutam Mohammed by                   his grandfather.  That name means Kutam the praised.

          c. He was a camel driver for his uncle and traveled a lot.

          d. He married a rich widow who was 15 years older than he was.  He spent a lot of time in                  meditation.

          e. He began to have visions in AD 610 and they continued for 22 years until his death in AD                632.These are recorded in the Koran. (Qur' an meaning recitation.

          f. He fled Mecca in AD 622 after many became upset at his preaching of what the visions                   taught him.  He went to Yathrib which was later called Medina and he became king and                   prophet.

          g. He led his followers into war and eventually conquered Mecca and before his death had                  conquered all Arabia by AD 630.

          h. Mohammed died in AD 632.  After his death there was a struggle to see who would                          succeed him.  The struggle was between those who thought the succession should                          proceed according to birth and those who believe succession should go to the inner 

              circle which would include companions - the succession of the inner circle and                                Legitamists - blood relatives.  The only surviving child of Mohammed was his daughter                    Fatima.  Her husband was Ali, who was to become his successor.  He was assassinated.


     

2. The Caliphs or successors

          a. Abu Bakr - He died after only two years.

          b. Omar (AD 634-644) Conquered Syria, Egypt, Jerusalem, Persia and Mesopotamia.

          c. Othman and Ali - Conquered Asia Minor and North Africa into Spain.

    

 3. The Muslim army was defeated at Tours in Spain in AD 732 by Charles Martel.  They also               marched as far as Vienna but were turned back.

     

4. The two main sects of Muslims

          a. Sunis or Traditionalists who live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc.  "Conservatives"

          b. Shi'ite or Radicals - Supporters of the Ali Caliphate and prominent in Iran and Iraq.

     

5. The teachings of Islam

          a. Allah is the only God.  The Christian trinity is seen as polytheistic and heretical.

          b. Allah sent many prophets.  Jesus is a sinless prophet, but Mohammed is the greatest                      prophet.  There are 27 total prophets including Adam, Noah, Moses, David, Jonah, Jesus                etc. but Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet.

          c. The Koran (Qur'an) is the most important book in all Islam. It's about 80% the size of the                  New Testament.

          d. There are many angels and demons and Satan leads the demons.

          e. There will be a day of judgment, a resurrection, a heaven and a hell.

          f.  Some Muslims believe in Kismet which means fate or fatalistic.


6. The Five Pillars of Islam

     1. Recitation of Islam's creed.  "There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet."  

         This is to be repeated several times a day.

     2. Prayer five times a day.  Prayer is made toward Mecca.  Worship is led by an Imam on                   Friday making it a special day.

     3. Almsgiving - Originally a free will offering but later developed into a form of a tax given to 

         the mosque.  Sometimes viewed as a loan to Allah.  It is mandatory in Islamic nations and it           is voluntary in non-Islamic states. 

     4. Fasting during the whole month of Ramadan.  Fast during the day and feast at night.

     5. Pilgrimage to Mecca.  This pilgrimage is made at least one time during the believer's life.                 This can be one by proxy by hiring someone.  A believer could go to Cairo or Jerusalem if                they absolutely cannot make it to Mecca.

     6. SPECIAL NOTE:  Holy War or jihad.  Muslims believe those who die in jihad automatically 

         go to Heaven.


     7. Other practices include mandatory wearing of veils for women, polygyny (the limit of four wives at one time), and abstaining from alcohol, gambling and certain foods.


     8. A Biblical Evaluation

          a. Muslims accept the Old and New Testaments, however, if either of those contradict the Qur'an Muslims say the Bible is not accurate.  

          b. The emphasis is on Allah's power.  There is little talk of his holiness and love.  He is looked on as unknowable and as a god who cannot be understood.

          c. Muslims distort the Trinity claiming that Christians have three gods.  They don't have understanding of the Godhead.  The world Trinity isn't found in scripture but the Godhead is.

          d. Allah has not sacrificed anything for the benefit of man as the Christian God has.  Islam                  rejects the crucifixion of Christ as false or saying someone else died instead of him.                       Therefore, they must of necessity reject the resurrection of Christ as well.  Mohamed did                  not resurrect from the dead.  Jesus is the only person in the history of the world to                          resurrect from the dead according to the Bible.

         e. Mohammed's revelations were accompanied by foaming at the mouth and violent fits. 


     9. Some things to consider

          a. No Muslim has a vital and personal relationship with his god.

          b. Mohammed conquered by the sword but Christ conquered by sacrificing himself in the                    greatest act of love in the history of mankind.  

          c. The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death.  In Christianity God tells his people to work                     toward reconciliation to bring the apostate back into the fold.

          d. Islam is a mix of religion and politics.  The goal of Islam is to bring the entire world into                    submission to Islam and Allah doing whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. This is                      repeatedly stated by their leaders.  On the converse, Christianity is seeking to bring                        everyone into the presence of the God of the universe through the love shown in Christ                  when he died for mankind on Calvary.  The means of spreading this message are always                peaceful sharing with others giving them the freedom to accept or reject the message 

              and still loving them.