Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, August 30, 2020
Do You Need to Know More About Islam? Part 4 (Conclusion)
by Dr. and Senator Raymond Finney
I conclude a brief series on Islam. Topics follow in random order (disorder?).
SHARIA: Islamic law is contained in Sharia. “Sharia law” is redundant. Sharia is defined as “revealed law,” revealed to Muslims in their holy writings. “Sharia” is an Arabic word for “the path (or the way) leading to a watering place.” The concept of “a watering place” may seem strange to us in eastern Tennessee because we are surrounded by water at every turn and we are blessed with rain. To an Arab in ancient times living in the Arabian desert, though, water was precious and most desirable. A Muslim was/ is expected to follow Sharia to find the path to Allah.
Sharia is far broader in concept than, say, United States’ law. Sharia regulates traditional law matters between people, as well as the relationship to Allah. Islamic ethics, daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting, and pilgrimage are also part of Sharia.
A MUSLIM’S SACRED DUTY: Shaping Islamic fundamentalism is the belief that “any land that was ever Allah’s is his forever.” Israel was part of Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) for four centuries, when this land was ruled by the Islamic Ottoman Empire. This empire, centered in modern Turkey, collapsed at the end of World War I. A devout Muslim’s sacred duty is to return Israel to Dar al-Islam. Any jihad (struggle) necessary to accomplish this goal is justified. Does any attempt to establish a peace accord between Israel and certain Islamic countries amount to a “fool’s errand?” There are reasons for skepticism in dealing with Islamic leaders:
** First, devout Islamic nations do not want to be reconciled with non-Muslim nations. They have their own Sharia– their own path to the truth, as they see it.
** Second, they understand that Israel was part of Dar al-Islam for four centuries during the Ottoman Empire occupation. True Muslims have the moral obligation to return “Allah’s land” to him, rather than let it remain in “enemy hands.”
** Third, such Islamic concepts of taqiyya and hudna (discussed elsewhere in this RR series) would indicate that they are not morally bound by any agreement or treaty. A Muslim does not sin but brings honor to Allah, if he lies to protect Allah and Islam. In fact, he is obliged to do so, if Islam is advanced by his duplicity.
ENEMIES FROM THE BEGINNING: There is Scriptural background prophesying distrust between Jews and Christians/Believers and Muslims. For example:
** In the Adamic Covenant (see Genesis 3:15), God created enmity between God’s people (Jews and Believers) and Satan (those who oppose God’s people).
** In the Abrahamic Covenant, God promised Abram (Abraham) that a great nation (Jews, later Christians/ Believers) would come from him (see Genesis 12:2).
** When childless Sarai (renamed Sarah) passed through menopause, both she and Abram (renamed Abraham) realized there could be no male heir, as God had promised. Lacking faith in God’s promise, they used Sarai’s non-Israelite servant, Hagar, to bear Abram’s child. This child, Ishmael, was not the intended (covenant) son, but God spared his life and blessed him (see Genesis, chapter 16). The Angel of Adonai prophesied about Ishmael in this manner (Genesis 16:12): “He will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him, and away from his brothers will he dwell.”
Later, the covenant son, Isaac, was supernaturally born to Abram and a postmenopausal Sarai (Abraham and Sarah). Genesis recounts several intertwined generations, which can be summarized as follows:
Forebears of JEWS and CHRISTIANS/ BELIEVERS:
Abraham + Sarah ► Isaac
Isaac + Rebekah ► Jacob (a twin, i.e., Esau’s twin… see below)
Jacob (renamed Israel) + various wives ► Israel’s Twelve Patriarchs
(Generations later) Jesse ► David
David (Israel’s ideal king) ► Spiritual “father” of Yeshua ▼
Yeshua (“Son of David”) ► Christians/ Believers
Forebears of MUSLIMS:
Abraham + Hagar ► Ishmael
Ishmael ► Arabian princes
Isaac + Rebekah ► Esau (a twin, i.e., Jacob’s twin… see above)
Esau ► Edomites
Lot (Abraham’s nephew) + Lot’s daughter ► Moab
Moab ► Moabites
Lot (Abraham’s nephew) + Lot’s daughter ► Ben-Ammi
Ben-Ammi ► Ammonites
Abraham + Keturah (Abraham’s second wife after Sarah’s death) ► Six sons who joined their kinsmen in the Arabian Peninsula
Jews, Christians/ Believers, and Muslims all call Abraham “Father Abraham.” Combatants in the Middle East and throughout the world are “spiritual cousins” (Abraham’s descendants) struggling to receive their share of the covenant (blessing) promised to Abraham thousands of years ago. As Adonai foretold, there is enmity (hostility, opposition, deep-rooted hatred) between God and Satan, and this transfers to people who worship Adonai and people who do not worship Him.
LAST DAYS: Islam has the concept of last days, judgment, and afterlife. I will only briefly mention a few aspects of this complicated subject. Islam teaches there will be resurrection of the dead, followed by final tribulation and division (separation) of the righteous from the wicked. There is an all-important Day of Judgment.
There will appear on earth the Islamic equivalent of the Antichrist (anti-messiah) – the Masih ad-Dajjal. Prophet Isa (translation of Arabic Isa = Yeshua/ Jesus) will set the world straight by teaching that he is not the savior, and he is not the son of Allah (Allah has no children). He will correct the “lie” that he was crucified, demanding crosses (crucifixes) be removed from all buildings. He will join the world, as all properly worship Allah as the one and only god. The entire world will submit to Allah. (Recall: translation of “Islam” = “submission to Allah.” An Islamic convert may submit to Allah either by becoming a Muslim or by death.)
Read public sources (Internet) for more details about Islamic eschatology.
WAITING FOR IMAM MAHDI: Fundamentalist Muslims believe the Koran intently, passionately, and literally. They strictly apply all of its teachings to their lives. These Muslims can find passages in the Koran which support hatred of and war against Jews and Christians/ Believers, whom they consider as infidels, and other Islamic sects, whom they consider as apostates. This Muslim minority wages jihad against Christians/ Believers and Jews the world over. (Jihad is commonly translated “holy war,” but some say “struggle” is a more accurate understanding. A jihadist devotes his entire life to his struggles against Allah’s enemies.)
From this Muslim minority come the “apocalyptic Muslims.” Apocalyptic Islam, especially prominent in Shia Islam (the Islamic ruling sect of Iran, for example), teaches that the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi (Imam Mahdi), will return to earth at the end of days to convert all persons to Islam. He will come only during a period of great strife and war. War between Muslims and non-Muslims, then, is seen as accomplishing Allah’s will, as it hastens the return of the Mahdi. Thus, the struggle between Muslims and non-Muslims is a religious war– a war which cannot be settled by negotiations, money, land exchange, or other appeasements. The Shiites’ goal is for the return of the Mahdi to convert the entire world to Islam. This mythology explains the Shia theocratic Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons. Iran has abundant petroleum reserves, and nuclear power for electricity production is unnecessary. If Iran can start a nuclear war against Israel, a European country, the United States– anybody! – surely, then, Allah will send the Mahdi to convert the world to Islam and bring all persons into Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam).
ISLAMIC VIEW OF AFTERLIFE: The Koran teaches that the soul is eternal. After the Day of Judgment, a person may spend eternity in Paradise or Hell. Judgment, often referred to as the “Last Day,” is most important, and Muslims often confess belief in “Allah and the Last Day.”
** Paradise is a place so beautiful it exceeds anything we can imagine. It is described as beautiful gardens, pleasing scents, streams of milk and honey– a never-ending place of delight, devoid of suffering of any kind.
** Hell is a place worse than anything we can imagine. Persons who denied Allah and his Messengers (Prophets, including Mohammad) will live here eternally with no hope of reprieve. Hell is a place of extreme temperatures and immense suffering.
As long as there is life, the Koran teaches there is the possibility of salvation [Koran 39:54]: “And return [in repentance] to your Lord [Allah] and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.”
It is commonly said that martyrs for Allah will be rewarded in Paradise with 72 perpetual virgins (whatever “perpetual” means in this context). Many Islamic scholars and clerics strongly deny that this concept is part of true Islam.
GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE FOR MUSLIMS: As much as He loves a Jew or Christian/ Believer, God also extends His grace to any Muslim. Yeshua died for every Muslim. To enter Heaven, though, a Muslim must accept (believe in) Yeshua HaMashiach as Savior and follow Him as Lord. Muslims intellectually accept Yeshua because He is represented as the Prophet Isa in Islamic holy writings. As shown in this RR, Yeshua/ Jesus and Isa are not the same.
WORD STUDIES: I have only briefly touched on certain aspects of the origin of Islamic hatred for the “infidels.” However, certain words need to be mentioned:
●-Islamophobe: Present culture: (1) demands we speak only politically correct words and (2) causes many to believe they are victims. Academicians, news media, and political left-wingers have developed an unwritten list of “conversation stoppers.” By hurling certain names at an opponent during a conversation, that opponent supposedly will be so shamed that he/ she will stop speaking. Conversation stoppers include racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, and so forth.
Relative to this RR, consider the conversation stopper “Islamophobe.” The -phobe suffix should denote a person who has an irrational fear of something– that is, a person who has a phobia. If I decide not leave my house because of fear of being eaten by a dinosaur, I could be said to be a “saurophobe” (to coin a word), because dinosaurs are extinct and pose no danger to any rational person. To fear Islamic terrorism is not a phobia (an irrational fear of Muslims), because Islamic terror cells exists in all fifty states and Islamic terrorists boast of the day they will arise and “America will burn.”
I reject being called an Islamophobe (I do not have irrational fear of Islamic terrorists), but I am “Islamaware” (I am aware of the dangers posed by Islamic terrorists). I am aware of what has happened in the Middle East and Africa at the hands of Islamic terrorists, and what is threatened for Europe and America. How many times must we learn the same lesson before it starts to mean something?
●-Truth to a Muslim is not the same as truth to us. Our leaders are intent on negotiating various treaties with Islamic national leaders, but such leaders– all Muslims– have been taught from birth to lie, if it furthers Islam or brings honor in some way to Allah. Consider these concepts:
** Taqiyya: Taqiyya translates to: “concealing, precaution, guarding.” Taqiyya is used to disguise (hide) beliefs, intentions, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, strategies. That is, taqiyya is used for the purpose of dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing, confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling, preemptive blocking– when used as a strategy against infidels. To a Muslim, lying to an enemy (an infidel) is not a sin, but is an honorable strategy. A Muslim is taught to employ any strategy, if Islam is protected or advanced.
** Kithman: Kithman translates to: “deliberate withholding or concealment of important, pertinent information from an infidel.” Used especially by Shia Muslims (think Iran’s leaders), kithman is a special form of taqiyya– lying to an enemy to protect self or conceal intentions.
** Hudna: Hudna translates to: “peace, calm, truce, armistice,” but it is understood to represent a false calm used to deceive an enemy while building up strength ultimately to defeat the enemy. The first hudna was the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in which Mohammad deceived the Quraysh tribe. This tribe would not permit Mohammad to march his army through their land on his way to Mecca. Mohammad was greatly outnumbered. With great charm, he convinced the Quraysh leaders that he only wanted peace. Quietly retreating from the Quraysh, he spent many months building his army. He, then, returned and gained a bloody, decisive victory. Hudna is not a sin or dishonor for a Muslim, but, rather, a “permitted” (encouraged) strategy following the example of Mohammad.
Muslims bristle at the thought they could be untrustworthy. They point to instances in the Bible where Judeo-Christian leaders used deception (example: Jacob deceived Esau). Can a treaty or agreement with an Islamic nation (say, Iran) be trusted, or is it a worthless delay tactic? Can such treaty or agreement be broken by an Islamic nation at any time, because of taqiyya, kithman, or hudna? But, Western diplomats and the news media hype “progress” or “agreements” with Islamic nations and terrorist groups, as though they actually mean something.
We have been down this road before. In 1938, for example, British prime minister Neville Chamberlain negotiated the Munich Agreement and the Anglo-German Declaration. A jubilant Chamberlain told the world his negotiations secured “peace for our time.” Almost immediately thereafter, the Third Reich began invading its neighbors and World War II began. Adolf Hitler engaged in a form of hudna, fooling Chamberlain and others into believing peace had been achieved at the precise time he was finalizing plans for war. Chamberlain died shortly thereafter (1940) before seeing all of the carnage his weakness brought to his country.
●-Isa, the “Islamic Jesus:” Muslims believe in Isa (Arabic for Yeshua/ Jesus). Islam teaches that Christians are “polytheists” (worshipers of multiple gods), concluding that Christians worship a “family,” composed of a father (God, or Yehovah), a mother (Marium, or Mary), and a son (Isa, or Yeshua/ Jesus). To the Muslims, Isa is not a savior, divine, or the son of God. He is an Islamic prophet, although not as important as the Prophet Mohammad.
SIDELIGHT: Before writing these RRs, I asked Rabbi Weiner what term he preferred in referencing what others call “Christians.” He answered “Believer” would be fine, and I follow his lead. In my humble, unlearned view, “Follower” would be a better term. Here we see that Muslims believe in Isa (a “Muslim Yeshua”). Scriptures indicate that Satan believes in Yeshua. The simple formula Yeshua used in converting his disciples was that they deny self (put others first), take up the cross (persecution and even martyrdom may occur), and follow Yeshua. It is not necessarily hard to believe in Yeshua, a famous historical figure, but probably no one ever follows Him perfectly. END sidelight.
At the end of days, Allah will send the Mahdi to convert the entire world to Islam. The Arabic “Islam” translates to “submission [to Allah].” A person may submit to Allah by conversion to Islam or by being killed (beheading is a favorite method of execution). The Mahdi will bring other prophets to earth with him. One prophet will be Isa (Yeshua/ Jesus). Isa will be responsible for correction of the polytheists (Christians). Isa will tell them that he is not the son of Allah, because the Koran clearly states that Allah was not begotten and does not beget. Isa will claim he is a Muslim. He will demand that crosses be removed from churches because it is a Christian lie that he was crucified. He was taken by Allah to Paradise, but was never crucified. He will demand that Christians convert to Islam. He will oversee execution of all persons who refuse to convert to Islam. There are many– even “Christians” – who claim that Isa of the Koran is the same as Yeshua/ Jesus of the B’rit Chadashah. Is the Yeshua you know and follow the same as the Islamic Isa?
There have been expensive advertising campaigns making the argument that Muslims and Christians are all the same– we have the same father (Abraham) and we follow the same prophet (Isa/ Yeshua). BUT, Satan is a liar and father of deceit. He will try to confuse the spiritually weak and uninformed to believe that there are many ways to Heaven, and the Islamic and Christian ways are the same. You know Yeshua’s words, though (John 14:6): Yeshua said to [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
● Chrislam and other heresies (“another Gospel”): Some formerly “Christian” churches blend Christian and Islamic worship, forming a bastardized, heretical worship– Chrislam. In a Chrislamic service, both the Bible and the Koran are read, prayers are offered to Yehovah and to Allah, and worshipers are assured they can enter Heaven/ Paradise through a Judeo-Christian route or an Islamic route. Also, major Bible publishers have published Muslim-friendly Bibles. All references to Yeshua/ Jesus, Son of God, Father, Yehovah, and so forth are replaced with words which cause no offense to a Muslim. These publishers conveniently claim they have difficulty translating certain words from Hebrew and Greek to Arabic. (Sure!) Yeshua and the Apostle Paul warned us of lack of faith and correct teaching in the last days. See 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, for example, in which the Apostle Paul warned against accepting a Messiah, Yeshua, or “Good News” (Gospel) other than those taught in Scriptures. It is blasphemy for us to change Holy Scriptures to fit our social or political views. See a very brief summary of Chrislam at: https://www.allaboutreligion.org/chrislam.htm ; or, use other sources.
CONCLUSION: I wish I could continue this RR series for several more weeks. I have only mentioned a few things about Islam. But, your patience is probably wearing thin by now. Understand that there are untold numbers of fundamentalist Muslims living silently in America and throughout the world, who are waiting to cause the violence necessary to usher in the coming of their Imam Mahdi and force the entire world to submit to Allah. Topics I have not mentioned rush through my mind, even as I conclude this RR. I probably will not be able to resist writing future RRs about Islam. But, enough for now. Shalom and Maranatha.