The controversy surrounding the proposed mosque to be built near Ground Zero has produced a disguised but significant benefit, i.e. it has prompted much interest and dialogue about Islam. Therefore, beginning with today’s column and for the next several weeks we will examine varying aspects of the largest and fastest growing religion in the world known as Islam. The word Islam means submission to God.
We will examine Islam not only as a religion but also its accompanying set of laws called sharia. Therefore, Islam is a comprehensive system of directives encompassing and governing every aspect of a person’s life including cultural issues, laws and their overriding purpose.
We will examine the history and beginnings of Islam using verses from their Koran, hadith, sunnah, and additional relevant statements from recognized Muslim scholars and clerics. While the Koran is considered Allah’s word, hadiths are a collection of Mohammed’s sayings. The records of his actions are in turn known as the sunnah.
Seeing that the Koran is Islam’s religious authority we will compare the Koran with the Bible which is the Christian’s religious authority. The Bible is not silent about the ancestry of the prophet Mohammed and many other aspects of Islam. Research also indicates that Islam once recognized much of the Bible as valid and was given by Allah to His prophets such the Taurat (Pentateuch) which is believed to have been delivered to Moses, the Zabur (Psalms) which is believed to have been delivered to David, and the Ingil (Gospels) which is believed to have been delivered to Jesus. The last book to be given by Allah to the world according to Islam was the Koran which superseded the others named. Islamists believe that the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Gospels have all been corrupted and subsequently lost their credibility.
Also to be considered in future weeks is the reality that this is America and this country was founded on Christian principles while allowing religious freedom. Our founding fathers provided for such freedom in the first amendment to the constitution which…
“…prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion…”
We have offered the freedom of religion to others, but the question is being raised whether we are giving up some basic freedoms in order to preserve the freedoms of those who may not agree with our constitution or wish to be assimilated into our way of life.
The very next words of this same first amendment address my freedom to write this column, i.e.
“…prohibits the making of any law…infringing on the freedom of speech…”
This and future columns in this series have multiple objectives.
• Enlighten Christians and the undecided on what the Islamic system of religion and government is about based on Islam’s own documentation and tradition
• Enlighten Muslims and the undecided on what the Christian religion is about based primarily on Biblical teachings
• Determine if either of these major religions are in harmony with or conflict with America’s sovereignty or way of life as defined by the constitution
• Illustrate that ‘Islamophobia’ is not the same as the desire to be enlightened
• Provide the undecided with sufficient information with which he/she may exercise their freedom of choice of religion and choose one or the other or reject both
The issue of freedom of religion has a different meaning for Christianity than it does for Islam. Christianity offers the individual the choice.
“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” Matthew 10:14-15
These verses state that if Christianity is rejected the bearer of the news should move on and leave the consequences of rejection to be dwelt with in the future day of judgment.
Islam, on the other hand, subscribes very strongly to ‘Islamic Supremacism’ and believes that rejecters or infidels should be confronted immediately with some form of jihad. Jihad is translated from Arabic meaning ‘struggle’ and is “an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded.” Such jihad can take many forms ranging from position statements and proclamations such as a fatwahs to more physical warfare termed mujahidin.
This series is designed to be informational instead of confrontational. Commentary will be limited unless it will shed light on any documentation quoted. I will also provide questions or phrases that you may insert into your search engine to allow personal research and provide supplemental information on major items of interest. For examples, for this week, you might ask your search engine to define hadith, sunnah, jihad, fatwah and mujahidin. You will learn volumes.