Apologeet.nlI am not a Big Fan of Islam
Before I came to faith, I really did take a critical look at other religions. Later, when I was already a Christian, I studied Islam over and over again. My conclusion? I am not exactly a huge fan of this religion. But that is too short and some might think I would dislike the people who follow this religion, the Muslims. Certainly these days you are not allowed to say anything negative about Islam, because that makes you Islamophobic. So let me say right away that I know quite a few people who identify as Muslim. I am not afraid of them, I have had good conversations with them, and I wish them all the best. But that doesn’t mean that I think Islamic ideology to be a great ideology, on the contrary. So I will have to explain a bit more after all.
So First This
First, let’s make a clear distinction between Muslims and Islam. Islam is an ideology—a collection of ideas. It is not defined by what a Muslim wants it to be, but by what it is. No ideology is above criticism—certainly not if an ideology explicitly seeks political and social domination over every person on this planet. In principle, an ideology cannot feel offended or mistreated. An ideology has no human rights. Human rights are only for … right humans!
Muslims are human beings. I sincerely believe that no Muslim should be harassed, ridiculed or treated differently just because he is a Muslim. But as far as I am concerned, Muslims too have to abide by the universal moral code: Treat other people the same way you would want to be treated yourself. (Luke 31:6). A Muslim who is guilty of injustice should also simply be tried, just like any other human being.
Liberal or Conservative
Like within all other religions, Islam has multiple groups. Books have been written and hours-long studies given on these different groups. So, I am not going to repeat that. If you came here because of the war between Israel and Hamas, I would like to refer you to a video by Brandon McGuire (Daily Dose of Wisdom) in which he talks to David Wood (Apologetics Road Show) about EXPOSING HAMAS: The Religion Beneath The Violence
Let me narrow it down for a moment to liberal and conservative. The first group are Muslims who like to read the Qur’an with a modern view. The less attractive passages are explained as something that was of the past and does not need to be observed now. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that the Qur’an must be obeyed to the letter. All the commands of their prophet must be followed.
Yes, I know! It is a bit simplistic, and I am not doing justice to all Muslims who are in between, or those who are mostly Muslim because of tradition or culture.
Follow Muhammed’s Example!
However, now we actually come straight to a major problem within Islam. Islam largely revolves around the prophet Muhammed. The prophet is, what the Qur’an calls, the shining example for all:
Surah 33:21 (Al-Ahzab [the confederates])i
Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.
Conservative Muslims understand only too well that they should emulate Muhammed’s example, exactly as the Qur’an dictates.
Surah 4:80 (An-Nisaa [the women])ii
Whosoever obeys the Messenger, thereby obeys God and whosoever turns his back—We have not sent thee to be a watcher over them.
The Perfect Man?
Well! So what do you do as a Muslim? Do you want to obey Allah? Then you must obey Muhammed! But then again, this ‘perfect’ man seems to be a little less sympathetic than many would have you believe.
I’m not going to give a full rundown of Muhammad’s walk of life here, but it certainly wasn’t very kind and loving.
I won’t say anything about his marriage with Aisha, who, according to classical sources, was 6 or 7 years old at the time of her marriage to Muhammad, and 9 when he consummated the marriage with her by having sexual intercourse … I mean, this is a clue!
No, I think more of the enormous cruelty with which he punished opponents. His punishment no longer had anything to do with the principle of ‘eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth.’
Sahih Bhukhari hadith 6805iii
A group of people from ‘Ukl (or ‘Uraina) tribe—but I think he said that they were from ‘Ukl—came to Medina and (they became ill, so) the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) she-camels and told them to go out and drink the camels’ urine and milk (as a medicine). So they went and drank it, and when they became healthy, they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels. This news reached the Prophet early in the morning, so he sent (some) men in their pursuit and they were captured and brought to the Prophet before midday. He ordered to cut off their hands and legs and their eyes to be branded with heated iron pieces and they were thrown at Al-Harra, and when they asked for water to drink, they were not given water. (Abu Qilaba said, "Those were the people who committed theft and murder and reverted to disbelief after being believers (Muslims), and fought against Allah and His Apostle").
Or how about the way Muhammed looked at women?
According to Muhammed, women lack sound logic because their minds are deficient.
Sahih Bhukhari hadith 2658iv
The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said: “Yes.” He said: “This is because of the deficiency of her mind.”
Muhammed offers little hope to women. According to him, hell will be mostly full of women.
Sahih Bhukhari hadith 1462v
[Muhammad said], “O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?” He said: “O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious man astray.”
And now, should you suspect that your wife is being disobedient, you reprimand her. If that doesn’t seem to work, send her to her bed and spank her.
Surah 3:44 (Al Imran [the family of Imran]vi
And those you fear may be rebellious admonish, banish them to their couches, and beat them.
I am very happy that there are a lot of ‘liberal’ Muslims. Many of them just want to live a pleasant life and get a good education for their children. They also want to enjoy beautiful music, art, and culture. They also prefer to see their intelligent daughter graduate from university.
But yes, the question is whether they are fully obedient to Allah. If we go by what the Qur’an teaches, then it is safe to say that these liberal Muslims are not doing well.
Violence or Peace
Many people like to refer to the more peaceful and loving passages in the Qur’an. They say liberal Muslims cling to these texts. And fair is fair, there are texts about peace in the Qur’an. What is then conveniently forgotten is that these texts were all written in a period when Islam did not yet prevail. Had Muhammed already set himself up as a true warlord in that initial first period, Islam would probably have been crushed very quickly by the surrounding tribes. In the beginning, he simply did not have that many followers. So he could not yet make a clear mark.
Only later, when his following was large enough, did battle texts come into play. Muhammad’s army was now large enough to overcome other groups.
Now it gets interesting because the Qur’an teaches that if two texts contradict each other, the Muslim should obey the later text. We can read this in Surah 2:106 of the Qur’an:vii
And for whatever verse We abrogate or vast into oblivion, We bring a better or the like of it. Knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?
So this principle says that the later texts are better for the believers than the earlier ones. So, when there is first a command to live in peace that is then later contradicted by a text that says the Muslim should go to war against the infidels in his land, the text of later date is a better one to follow.
The website Islam Question & Answer has said the following about whether the Muslim should obey the later or not:viii
And He [Allah] tells us that whoever rejects abrogation has rejected His sovereignty and might, as He says: “Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth?”.
So, in other words. A Muslim is not free to decide which texts to apply and which not to apply in his life.
Old Testament & Qur’an
Unlike most, if not all, violent texts in the Old Testament, most verses about violence in the Qur’an are written down with open-end. This means they are not necessarily limited by the historical context you might infer from the surrounding text. As mentioned, there are many Muslims who choose to see them that way. But conservative Muslims are correct in seeing these texts as part of the eternal and unchanging word of Allah. They understand that these texts are therefore still as important as everything else in the Qur’an.
Unfortunately, few verses on tolerance and peace counterbalance the violent ones. This is about verses that call for fighting and subjugating infidels until they either accept humiliation and can continue to live as second-class citizens who have to pay a special tax; convert to Islam; or be killed. Muhammad’s own violent legacy, along with the Qur’an’s clear emphasis on violence, has left a trail of blood and tears through world history.
The comparison with the texts on violence in the Old Testament does not hold water. If you wanted to compare it at all, you couldn’t really get beyond confirming that violence was used. As mentioned, violence in the Old Testament is always limited in time and place. The people of Israel are forbidden to continue violence outside those situations, and outside their borders.
Islam’s violent expansionism is simply a foreign concept in the Bible. The people of Israel were, and are, forbidden to forcibly impose their faith on surrounding nations.
Muhammed or Jesus
Every year, thousands of Christian homes and churches are burned or bombed by Islamic groups and hundreds of Christians are murdered by Islamic extremists. The so-called justifications range from accusations of apostasy or evangelism to alleged ‘blasphemy’ or ‘insult’ to Islam.
Yet few, if any, Christians turn to violent retaliation. This while in Muslim-majority countries, Christians constantly face discrimination, kidnapping, rape, torture, mutilation, and murder. Nor do I recall ever having to deal with sincere Christians turning to terrorism in the name of Jesus. Of course, there have been those who believed they could kill at the behest of Jesus. But any right-thinking person knows immediately that these are impostors. You don’t see a true follower of Jesus doing such things.
So you could say that something fundamentally different is being taught. We don’t have to look very far. In fact, we only need to look at the contrast between Muhammed and Jesus.
Just a few differences:
According to his followers:
Others had to give their lives for him.
(Sahih Muslim 4413)
According to his followers:
Gave His own life for others.
(John 18:11 and others)
“If then someone has the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him.”
“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
“He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.”
Stealing from unbelievers is allowed.
(Bukhari 44:668, Ibn Ishaq 764)
“Thou shalt not steal.”
Killed those who insulted him.
(Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)
Jesus preached forgiveness.
(Matthew 18:21-22, 5:38)
“O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near you and let them find harshness in you.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Well, we could go on like this for a long time. Clearly, the famous adage, "who keeps company with the wolf will learn to howl" is evident here.
So the Lord Jesus sets a distinctly different morality than Muhammed does.
The ‘Christian world’ and the Islamic world are diametrically opposed on many levels. How about inequality in human rights and civil liberties such as freedom of speech or religion. But even in terms of the economic situation, countries with a Christian tradition are much better off. It is not for nothing that most refugees come from Muslims-majority countries.ix These refugees are eager to settle in predominantly Christian countries. By Christian countries, I mean those where the Judeo-Christian worldview still prevails.
In Western countries, we believe it to be important to investigate and possibly condemn abuses and scandals. If abuses take place in prisons, we irrevocably set up a commission of enquiry there. In Islamic countries, we don’t hear that so often. Even Muslims living elsewhere are not ready to condemn abuses in the Islamic world. Indeed! The recent Hamas attacks are celebrated and applauded in the capitals of Europe and America (which sadly also includes a lot of left-wing activists). Normal Europeans disapprove and look pityingly at such actions. But! We don’t go there shooting at the demonstrators because somewhere deep down we believe there should be freedom of speech.
In recent years, leaders in the West have been busy apologising for the colonial past. Whatever you may think about it, what is clear is that we in the West think it is important to say sorry when we have done something wrong. The Islamic world has yet to offer any apology for the hundreds of millions who were oppressed, murdered and trafficked through centuries of ruthless Jihad and slavery. Instead of apologies, we see instead that the Islamic world persists in their way of dealing with others. Slavery, murder, torture, looting, rape … And no change in sight.
Finally, then, something about salvation. Not entirely unimportant it seems to me!
The Qur’an is not really clear on salvation. On the one hand, the Qur’an teaches that salvation is based on purification through good deeds (Surah 7:6-9). A Muslim can also become righteous by praying, fasting almsgiving, and living according to the Qur’an. But the Qur’an also says that Allah has already decided the fate of every human being in advance, and a person’s good works may or may not influence Allah’s decision (Surah 57:22). The Qur’an also teaches that every human being, that is, both the righteous and the unrighteous, will first be sent to hell by Allah before the righteous are allowed to enter heaven (Surah 19:67-72). Therefore, Muslims will not be able to say anything meaningful about their eternal destiny. Muhammad himself was not sure whether he would be saved or not (Surah 31:34; 46:9). The only guarantee of salvation is by dying in jihad (holy war).
How wonderful is the assurance we have been given as Christians.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
Despite being called to live Christ’s example, we need not fear that our good deeds fall short. The Bible teaches that we can only be saved through the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:21). As a saved person, we also no longer have to fear hell. The Bible is very clear about this, only Satan, demons and those who do not belong to Jesus will be sent to hell (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:15). The God of the Bible, YHWH, is not fickle like Allah. It is not like Lord is going to send someone to hell because He feels like it. The Christian hope is that when we come to Jesus with a sincerely repentant heart, we will be saved by grace. Our salvation lies in faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave once and for all opened the door to the Father.
I will finish where I started. My criticism is aimed at Islam as an ideology and not at people, perse. Many Muslims simply want to have a pleasant life. Nevertheless, the Qur’an can’t seem to be bothered with peace for all.
There is a big difference between those who identify culturally as Muslims and those who want to emulate Muhammad’s example in perfection.
Wafa Sultan once said:x
The problem with Christians is they aren’t as good as Jesus. But thank God most Muslims are better than Muhammad.
I don’t know in what context she said this, but it rings true. As Christians, we know all too well that we fall short.
for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
Our aspiration is to become more and more like the Lord Jesus. Let us hope and pray that Muslims also start walking that path of peace and salvation through Christ. Fortunately, most are already living a better life than their prophet!
Anyway, this was my somewhat unvarnished opinion regarding Islam. Let me know what you think in the comments. Maybe you disagree with certain things? Just leave a comment. Note! Don’t demean yourself now by getting rude. I know this topic can cause a lot of anger and emotions. But my call is to become more like Jesus!
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God’s blessing, thanks for watching and, Lord willing, we will see each other in the next video!
i https://Quran.nl/soera-33-al-ahzab-de-partijen/ (accessed 11-11-2023).
ii Holy Qur’an, trans. Arthur j. Arberry, Ansariyan Publications – Qum, 2003, Surah 4:80, p.122.
iii Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, trans. Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia, 1997, Vol. 8, pp. 416-417, Number 6805.
iv Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, trans. Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 477, Number 2658.
v Sahih Al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, trans. Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia, 1997, Vol 2, pp. 314-315, Number 1462.
vi Holy Qur’an, trans. Arthur j. Arberry, Ansariyan Publications – Qum, 2003, Surah 3:44, p.113.
vii Holy Qur’an, trans. Arthur j. Arberry, Ansariyan Publications – Qum, 2003, Surah 2:106, p. 28.
viii Abrogation in the Qur’an, and the order of its soorahs and verses, Islam Question & Answer, general supervisor Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al- Munajid, [Internet] <https://islamqa.info/en/answers/105746/abrogation-in-the-Qur’an-and-the-order-of-its-soorahs-and-verses>, accessed 14-11-2023.
ix UNHCR, Teaching About Refugees, Fact and Figures, [internet] <https://www.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/legacy-pdf/6177f76f4.pdf>, accessed 18-11-2023.
x Wafa Sultan, [Internet[ <https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2936654.Wafa_Sultan>, accessed 16-11-2023.