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Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

By Don Walker
Pastor, Christ Covenant Church
Kansas City, Missouri

In recent weeks a lot has been said about the religion of Islam. Undoubtedly, some of what has been said is for the purpose of creating political alliances, and a climate of tolerance. Islam has been described by some as “a religion of peace.” In fact, it has been pointed out the word “Islam” itself means “peace” We are told that the acts of the Islamic terrorists are an aberration of the true Muslim faith. It has been said that,” the terrorists are to Islam, what the Ku Klux Klan is to Christianity.” Is this really the case, or are the terrorists acting within the borders of an Islamic worldview, and an interpretation of the Koran believed by many of their clerics.

Let us begin with the word “Islam.” It is an Arabic word that is etymologically related to the Hebrew word “Shalom,” which is translated as “peace.” In the Western world our understanding of “peace” differs to a great extent from that of the Middle Easterner. To the Middle Easterner “peace” connotes the idea of “having your foot on your enemies neck” i.e.; “surrender” or “submission.” To the Muslim, peace can only come when there is a surrender and submission to Allah. I dare say, this is a far cry from what most Westerners mean by “peace.” The noted historian Paul Johnson, writing in National Review, makes this comment; “ The word Islam does not mean peace but submission.”  He goes on to say that Islam is “an imperialist religion, more so than Christianity has ever been and in contrast to Judaism.”

We, in the Western world, are far too ignorant of the second largest religion in the world. We are naive regarding the intentions of Islam, and ignorant of its history. The very “root” of Islam is in military conquest, and the “fruit” we observe today, springs forth from this root.

Here is a little history lesson. Muhammad, whose name means, “highly praised,” was born approximately 570 A.D. in Mecca. He lived a rather unremarkable life until, according to Islamic tradition, the angel Gabriel visited him at 40 years of age and called him into the service of Allah. Judaism and Christianity probably influenced Muhammad, along with the folk religions of the region.

As he sought to propagate his new religion, he was met with opposition. Town after town rejected Muhammad, as he sought to establish himself as Allah’s messenger. Finally, the little town of Yathrib invited him and his small band of followers, to take up residence. The town later changed its name to Medina (”the prophet’s city”) to honor him.   Muhammad’s move to Medina is called “the Hegira”, meaning the ‘breaking off of one’s own tribe.”  Today this marks the beginning of the Muslim era,  September 622 A.D. 

With the Hegira began a period of Muslim expansion.  The people of Mecca who had rejected him became Muhammad’s enemies, and in the name of Allah he began to prepare a “holy war” (Jihad) against them.  Arming his followers, Muhammad conquered one village after another building strength for an assault on Mecca.  In 630 A.D. he entered the city, Mecca, as a conqueror and ordered the over 350 idols worshipped in the chief shrine, “Kaaba”, destroyed.  He declared that no unbeliever should enter Mecca again.

Two years later, having returned to Medina, Muhammad took sick and died on June 8, 632 A.D., at the age of 61.  By this time he had conquered most of Arabia.

As I trust you can see, Islam from its very beginning was spread by “the edge of a sword.” The history of Islam is replete with violence and warfare, from its birth to the present day. When the Muslims invaded Spain, it took over seven centuries to drive them out. The Muslim Ottoman Turks slaughtered a million Armenians in 1915-16 (a fact still ignored by much of the Western world). Today, in the Sudan over two million Christians have been slaughtered, and many more sold into slavery, all under the direction of the Islamic General Umar Bashir. In Indonesia, Muslims have killed over 300,000 East Timorese Catholics since 1975.

Please understand I am not ignorant of the Crusades, the Spanish conquistadors, or other deeds done in the name of Christ. I am well aware of the abusiveness of “Christianity” over the centuries, and find it repugnant. But I do not find conquering by the sword, the standard M.O. of Christianity. Unlike Muhammad, Jesus and his followers did not initiate the spread of their faith by military force.  

What does Islam teach regarding the concept of “Jihad?” One finds many injunctions with in the Koran exhorting believers to defend and spread the faith. The character of this defense is determined by how one interprets the doctrine of jihad (“struggle for the faith”), which is discussed in numerous verses in the Koran. In one sense it is understood as the individual’s struggle with his own nature to follow the precepts of Allah, but one cannot deny that it also calls for one to literally fight for his faith. Philip K. Hitti, in his book entitled Islam in the West, describes it this way:

“The doctrine of jihad (“holy war”) divided the world into two realms, the abode of peace and the abode of war, and made it incumbent upon the believer to keep on pushing the wall between the two until the whole world is Islamized – reminiscent of the modern communist theory. He who fell on the battlefield was promised immediate entry into Paradise.”

Allow me to quote from the Koran. From reading its injunctions, it is quite easy to see the justification the Islamic terrorists find for their actions.

“O believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find firmness in you.” (Sura:9, Ayat:123)

“Fight those who believe not… even if they be People of the Book until they have willing agreed to pay the tribute in recognition of their submissive state.” (Sura:9, Ayat:29)

“You will be called to fight a mighty nation; fight them until they embrace Islam.” (Sura:48, Ayat:16)

“Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them, in every stratagem (of war).” (Sura:9, Ayat:5)

Is Islam a religion of peace? The actions of Muhammad, its history and the words of the Koran seem to say otherwise. Therefore, the real answer to Islamic terrorism will not be found in physical weapons of war. It is a religious system which will continue to produce followers, who will faithfully wage jihad against the “infidels.” They will not play the game of “leave us alone and we will leave you alone.” It’s against their religion. The real answer is in converting them to Christianity, as the Celts did the barbarous Vikings, and thus transform the Islamic nations into Christian ones. Is that not what the Great Commission tells us to do? To disciple the nations and teach them to obey Christ’s commandments (Matt. 28:19-20).

It maybe that the current situation is part of God’s strategy to open the Islamic world to Christian missionaries in an unprecedented way. I pray that this is so, because I know of no other hope for the world apart from the Prince of Peace and His Gospel. 

What do YOU think ?

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Date:
17 Apr 2004
Time:
13:14:24

Comments

I am a hindu, and a history student. There is no base on what this article stands on. The verses have been taken out of context. According to historic sources, which are very authentic, Mohummad was the kindest of all people and was known as al-amin, the praised one, and was the descendant of Ismail. Providing excuses to prove that Islam spread through sword is just senseless and taking out of context sources is even more foolish. When you want to learn anything remove any prejudism you have for it. Then you can learn anything. Review historic events open heartedly and then see for yourself. reading with prejudism will not lead you to truth. Jesus himself says in the bible that there will be a messenger after him. he predicted the coming prophet in: John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" John 15:26 "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me" John 14:26 "But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 16:7-14 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you." Isaiah 29:12 talks about the first revelation unto the Prophet Muhammad A "Spirit" in the New Testament is a human Prophet. Therefore, Jesus had predicted the comming of a human Prophet (spirit) after him and not the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not have used the word "he" for the Holy Spirit. He would have used "it" instead in John 14:26 above. Read 1 John 4:1-3 below: Trying to write false about something of which you know not is a big sin, especially about a Prophet. May God open your heart.


Date:
12 Aug 2004
Time:
11:09:26

Comments

The Last Sermon Of The Last Prophet O People Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefor listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O People Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest); therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all interest due to Abbas Ibn ‘Abd al Muttalib (the Prophet's uncle) shall henceforth be waived. Beware of Satan for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. O People It is true that you have certain rights in regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives, only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat you women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. O People Listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to. All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white- except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefor, do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well therefore, O people, and understand words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah (Hadith), and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listened to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people."


Date: 04 Apr 2005
Time: 02:40:19

Comments:

i believe that islam is peace itself. Muhammad (sm) used the word in it's literal sense. He simply attempted to set peace in his society. And to do so he took the strategy of Maciavally.


Date: 10 Apr 2005
Time: 01:32:36

Comments:

Well Mr. who ever u r, in the whole paragrahs i just like one think which u said very much good that is, "They will not play the game of “leave us alone and we will leave you alone.” It’s against their religion" those r ur ture word, my dear friend islam is just against the evil deeds which the whole westren countries follow and Islam is totally against evil. please visit the following website u will get ur answers www.Drzakirnaik.com
Thank u
A muslim. 


Date: 13 Mar 2006
Time: 14:07:47

Comments0:

Submission

The foundation of Jesus’ message was submission to the will of God, because that is the foundation of the religion which God prescribed for man since the beginning of time. God says in Chapter Aal ‘Imraan, the third chapter of the Qur‘aan, verse 19:

“Truly, the religion in the sight of Allaah is Islaam [submission].”

In Arabic, submission to God’s will is expressed by the word ‘Islaam’. In the Gospel according to Matthew 7:22, Jesus is quoted as saying: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” In this statement, Jesus places emphasis on “the will of the Father”, submission of the human will to the will of God. In John 5:30, it is narrated that Jesus also said: “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

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