By Mike Scruggs- The adherents of Islam proclaim that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet. The Koran is the sacred revelation of Allah, and thus its teachings have the status of divine authority.
Because Christianity and Judaism also proclaim one God and base their theology and moral teachings on the authority of divinely revealed Scripture, many media, educational, and liberal religious commentators present Islam as one of three branches of a single religion hardly more distinctive than Christian church denominations. This misunderstanding of Islam has been furthered by at least three major Western political leaders. This is a colossal theological error with extremely dangerous political and national security ramifications.
The Bible was written over many centuries by men who are considered to have been divinely inspired. The Christian view is that their writings may reflect various literary styles, personalities, and historical contexts, but they impart divine truth as the authors were moved by God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The Jewish view is similar but pertains only to the Old Testament and, of course, does not embrace the Christian view of God as a Trinity— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Muslim view is that the Christian Trinity is blasphemy punishable by death.
Islam’s view of the Koran goes far beyond the Judeo-Christian concept of divine inspiration. Muslins believe that the Koran was written by Allah (Arabic for God) and already existed in heaven before the Angel Gabriel gave it piecemeal to Muhammad, who faithfully revealed its passages to his followers as they were given to him over a period of 22 years. Shortly after his death in 632, Muhammad’s followers compiled these revelations into a perfectly accurate rendering of the heavenly Koran.
The Koran is a little smaller than the New Testament and contains considerable repetition. For example, the story of the Exodus is repeated 27 times. Eliminating the repetitions in the Koran would make it only about 40 percent as big as the New Testament. Because the Koran’s verses often neglect to give the full context of its revelations, other teachings of Muhammad recorded by his followers are critical to its interpretation. These are called the Hadiths. The Hadiths which Muslim scholars consider most reliable are regarded as truth only slightly less sacred and significant than the Koran itself. These collections are especially important because they help fill in the context and meaning of Koranic verses. Still, many objective Western scholars of the Koran consider about 20 percent of its verses to make little sense. Much Muslim scholarship goes into tracing and determining the authority and reliability of the Hadiths, but the Koran itself is not open to different interpretations. In a society dominated by Islamic Law (Sharia) the penalty for doubting standard interpretations of the Koran can be death.
The Koran’s many repetitions are often inaccurate borrowings from the Old Testament and other Jewish writings. Of the 27 repetitions of the Exodus story, the Passover—a very important part to Jews and Christians—is consistently left out. It also contains some confused Christian history and theology. For example, Isa (apparently Jesus) is said to be the son of Mary (confused with Miriam), the sister of Mosses and Aaron. Isa, the Jesus of Islam, is not the Son of God but only a Prophet and did not die on the cross or save anybody from their sins. He comes back at the end of time to destroy Christianity and convert people to Islam. Despite these obvious (and often distorted) borrowings, Muslims do not consider Islam to be a derivative of Judaism or Christianity. They consider Islam to be the original faith of Abraham of which Judaism and Christianity are corruptions.
Although “Allah” is a monotheistic god with many characteristics common to the Lord God of the Bible—all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign over all nature and mankind—their personalities as painted by the Koran and the Bible respectively are quite different. Muslims insist that Allah and the Lord God of Judeo-Christianity are the same, but many Christians strongly disagree. Most Muslims who have converted to Christianity, however, consider that Allah is God, but that Islam has badly distorted his true nature and personality.
Indeed, one of the problems of mankind in general is that they tend to create god in their own image. Most recently in the West, it is frequently a god who will accommodate their desires and fashionable tastes in theology and morality. Thus Authoritative Scripture has become unpopular.
One of the great concerns about Islam to the West is its violent nature. For 1400 years its principal way of spreading the Muslim faith has been the sword. No less than 109 verses of the Koran call for Holy War to make Islam the dominant religion of the world. So much that Jihad must be considered a cardinal pillar of Islam. It seems secondary in importance only to the proclamation that Allah is the only god and Muhammad is his prophet.
The call to Jihad is closely connected to another cardinal principle of Muslim theology—the Supremacy of Islam. Chapter 9, verse 33 of the Koran establishes its supremacy doctrine and condemns the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (“assigning partners to God).
“He it is who hath sent his Apostle with the Guidance and a religion of truth, that He may make it victorious over every other religion, albeit they who assign partners to God be averse from it.”
I often hear people claiming that moderate influence could make Islam into a more peaceful religion, more compatible with the West. This is close to being nonsense. Islam is a revealed religion not subject to change or pacification by majority vote or the influence of the West, women, or “moderates.” The problem is in the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad. You cannot make Islam into a religion of peace without removing the Koran and Muhammad.