03 October 2007

"Test Every Spirit"--Islam part 1

One reason I feel God has led me to do this series is because we live in a world that is falling away very quickly. It’s accelerating every day. It’s like every day that passes we get three days closer to the end. And every day that passes, more people get sucked up into some false religious system, and end up on the path to eternal destruction. Well, today we will be looking at the second largest religion in the world. It is also the second-fastest growing religion in the world, claiming 1.3 billion followers. I am talking of course about Islam.

Let me say a couple of things to start off. You have no doubt heard what many uninformed people on TV or in the papers have said about Islam. They say it’s a “religion of peace”, and that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and that Muslims believe in Jesus. These statements are wrong! It is NOT a “religion of peace”, Muslims do NOT worship the same God as us Christians, and although Muslims do believe that Jesus Christ walked the earth, and was a “good man”, they do NOT believe that He was the Son of God. They consider that to be blasphemy.

And for people that think that Islam is some religion they practice way off in Lebanon, and Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, and that we don’t need to worry about it. Folks, it is spreading, and it is spreading quickly. It is spreading across Europe. It has gained a toehold—if not a foothold—in England, France, and Belgium, and there are many in positions of leadership in this country who would rather have us submit to Islam than to fight it. Oh, and don’t think there aren’t Muslims right here in K-Town. They have a mosque here in Knoxville, on 13th Street, in the Fort Sanders area, just a few blocks from the UT campus.

What is Islam all about? Is it about peace? Not really. The word “Islam” literally means “submission.” Muslims will say that this “submission” has several meanings. First, we bring our bodies into submission. Second, we submit to Allah. Finally, it is the goal of Islam that the whole world submits to Allah. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. You can find this in their Qur’an. Sura 2:193--

“And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah…”

If you’ve ever heard the word “jihad”, this is what it means. It means that Muslims are called to fight against us “infidels” until we submit to the religion of Islam.

Islam started in the year 610 AD, when Muhammed was meditating in a cave, and was visited by the angel Gabriel who recited the words of the Qur’an to him. But since Muhammed could not read or write, he told his friends what the angel said, and they wrote it down for him. How many were here when we talked about Mormonism? Both Mormonism and Islam have these things in common: an illiterate man, considered by his followers to be a “prophet,” all alone, told by an angel that the Word of God had been corrupted, and that he needs to write another book to be used alongside the Bible. The angel reveals this to the man, who dictates to a scribe, who writes down the words for him.

Now, after Muhammed received the Qur’an, how did Islam spread so quickly? Was it devout men preaching salvation through Allah? No. It was spread by three simple words: “convert or die.” It was not spread by loving people seeking the lost, and leading them to salvation. It was spread by the edge of a sword. Again, from the Qur’an, Sura 9:5

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

In other words, kill them until they practice Islam. Muslims are encouraged by their Qur'an to kill unbelievers…because Allah is “most merciful.” They are encouraged to slay those that persecute them. But what does the Bible say? Are we supposed to slay the enemy wherever we find them, as it says in the Qur'an? No. In the Great Commission, as it’s called, in Matthew 28:19-20“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” Muslims are encouraged to kill those who persecute them. But Jesus told us in Matthew 5:43-45“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…”

So, how does someone become a “good Muslim”, and obtain salvation from Allah? There are five things you must do, and they are called the “Five Pillars of Islam.” And if you do enough of these things, enough times to outweigh your “bad deeds”, then you are considered to be a “good Muslim,” and you will wind up in Paradise.
  • Shahadah is kinda like their initiation. When a person says they believe in no other god but Allah.
  • Salah is the ritual praying toward Mecca they do 5 times every day. And if you ever see a Muslim pray, you see them turn to the right, then to the left. And they mutter something in each direction. That’s because—they believe—there is an angel on their right keeping track of all their “good deeds”, and one on the left with all their “bad deeds.” They bless the one on the right and curse the one on the left.
  • Zakah is the third “pillar”, and it is the required giving of alms. Muslims are obliged to give a certain percentage of their money to the poor, the destitute, to new Muslims, and to those waging jihad. This is mandatory, and Allah keeps track of how much you give, and if you don’t give enough, then you're not a true Muslim.
  • Sawm is the fasting they are commanded to do, especially during the month of Ramadan—that is supposed to be the month of the year when the Qur'an was given to Muhammed. During this time of fasting, they are not to eat, drink, smoke, or be a husband to their wife from dawn to sundown.
  • Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, and a “good Muslim” is supposed to make that journey, if they can, at least once during their life.
And as I said, you must do enough “good things” to outweigh the bad stuff. Sura 101:2-11

"What is the (Day) of Noise and Clamour? (It is) a Day where men will be like moths scattered about, and the mountains will be like loosened wool. Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction. But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit. And what will explain to thee what this is? (It is) a Fire Blazing fiercely!"

In other words, it’s up to you to save yourself. I use the word “saved” because it’s something we Christians can relate to. But in Islam, there is no concept of “salvation.” In fact, no Muslim, no matter how “good” they can be, is EVER sure that they have done enough. And just how much is “enough”? How much more “bad stuff” can you do to cancel out the “good stuff”? First, Sura 55:7-9

“…He has set up the Balance (of Justice), in order that ye may not transgress (due) balance. So establish weight with justice and do not fall short in the balance.”

Sura 99:6-8

“On that Day will men …be shown the deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.”

How big is an atom? Well, pluck a hair from your head. An atom is one one-millionth the width of that hair. And if you have done that much more evil than good, you will be cast into hell, according to the Qur'an. So, let’s say you’ve been really despicable all your life. You’ve killed, lied, stolen, and done all sorts of other rotten things, and there is no way that you could ever do enough to even come close to making up for it. How can you ever gain Allah’s mercy, and go into Paradise? Remember that word “jihad?” If you die as a martyr for Allah, then all of your “bad stuff” is wiped out. Wanna know why so many suicide bombers are Muslims? It’s because it is found in Islamic scriptures. In the Qur'an, Sura 46:4-6

“…those who are slain in the Way of Allah- He will never let their deeds be lost. Soon will He guide them and improve their condition, and admit them to the Garden which He has announced for them.”

Now, not only do Muslims believe in the Qur'an, they also have what’s called “Hadith”, which is kinda like the sayings of Muhammed, and it is held in the same regard as the Qur'an. And this is what it says in the Hadith:

[A] martyr’s privileges are guaranteed by Allah; forgiveness with the first gush of his blood, he will be shown his seat in paradise, he will be decorated with the jewels of belief, married off to the beautiful ones, protected from the test in the grave, assured security in the day of judgment, crowned with the crown of dignity…[married] to seventy-two [virgins] and his intercession on the behalf of seventy of his relatives will be accepted.

In other words, you could be the most horrible person on the planet, but if you die while killing a bunch of Jews and Christians—“People of the Book”—you get to go past everyone else into Paradise with your 72 virgins. And if young, brown-eyed maiden aren't your thing, you can have little boys if you want.

This is one of those places where studying false religions shows just how wonderful our God really is! Islam says that you have to die so your sins can be forgiven. But, we know the truth: that Christ died so your sins could be forgiven! In Luke 23:43, as a thief hung on a cross at the right hand of Christ—this thief had NO CHANCE to do ANYTHING to make up for the horrible things he did. He had nothing to give to the poor. He couldn’t come down and be baptized. He couldn’t do ANYTHING….except confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory and Captain of our salvation, as his Savior and Lord. And what did Jesus say? “…today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

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