Seven Lesson Sunday Morning Sermon Series on Islam
"The Religions" Sermon Series
The historical vacancy of the religion of Islam.
I thank you all for coming this morning.
I know many Muslims in the city and have found most of them to be peace loving, hard working, honest, moral and good parents.
I. The Picture of Abraham and his son:
The story of where God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, emphasizes the one great points of unity between Islam, Judaism and Christianity: Abraham is our Father.
But the story also emphasizes one big difference: Which of Abraham's sons was it?
Christians and Jews say it is Isaac.
Muslims say it is Ishmael.
Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic religions which trace their roots back to Abraham and the God he worshipped. Like Christianity, Islam shuns idolatry, paganism and polytheism.
II. What troubles me most about Islam:
For me, the single most troubling aspect of Islam, is that it has a total disregard for all recorded world history, archaeology and of course, the Bible. I see Muslims existing in a historical vacuum when they propose a completely different version of history that contradicts archeology, simply because the Koran taught such in the 7th century.
In other words, if the Koran makes a historical claim that contracts 5,000 historical documents that are 3500 years old, and the entire knowledge base of archeology, Muslims disregard all this and blindly accept on faith their own mythical version of history reveled in the Koran.
Now if I published a book which stated that Mother Teresa was actually a Buddhist, or that the Holocaust never happened, I would rightly encounter severe criticism. Yet Islam teaches that Jesus Christ was really a Muslim, and that God caused someone who "looked like Jesus" to die on the cross.
To suggest that Jesus never died on the cross is not only contrary to all known world knowledge, but is also utterly destructive to Christianity, which is founded upon the historical fact of crucifixion.
All this underscores that Islam and Christianity are not compatible religions, as some poor misguided church leaders believe and teach.
Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received [directly from God], that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures".
Although Christians could be utterly insulted by the Islamic teaching that Jesus was a Muslim who did not die on the cross, we follow the example of Jesus Christ and quietly pray for all non-believers to see the light of truth.
III. The Islamic practice of re-writing history!
If we applied the same kind of standards to our modern history, that Islam applies to ancient world history then:
John F. Kennedy was the prime minister of Canada.
Hitler was a dictator of Italy.
Mother Teresa was a Hindu who never set foot in Africa.
The Holocaust never happened.
Princess Diana was a Buddhist in Tibet.
Jesus Christ was a Muslim. Hey wait, Islam already teachES that Jesus was a Muslim.
Islam also teaches Jesus never died on the cross. (4:157)
Islam also makes the claim that Abraham was a Muslim, who attempted to sacrifice Ishmael instead of Isaac.
World History records that Abraham made the famous attempted sacrifice of Isaac on the very site of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, now the dome of the rock known as Mount Moriah. Yet Muslims contradict this and say that it was actually Ishmael at Mount Mina near Mecca some 700 miles away from Jerusalem. This is based entirely on 7th century Islamic myth totally unsupported by any record of history.
Muslims disregard world history and say that the Kaba in Mecca Saudi Arabia, was built by Abraham and Ishmael, even though there is not one shred of evidence outside the Koran, that either men ever set foot in Arabia.
Alfred Guillaume in his book called, "Islam" said, "there is no historical evidence for the assertion that Abraham or Ishmael was ever in Mecca" (Alfred Guillaume, Islam, Penguin Books Inc., Baltimore, 1956, pages 61-62)
Even the history of the Kaba itself is sketchy beyond a few hundred years before the 6th century AD, so the idea that Abraham built it is based solely on faith in what the Koran says, 2600 years after Abraham lived, and in contradiction to all world history. (Gen 21:14,21: Hagar "wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba" then Ishmael settled in "Wilderness of Paran", in the area of Sinai, 600 miles from Mecca.)
IV. "Islam vs. Christianity" or "Islam vs. History"
This friendly discussion could be called, "Islam vs. Christianity." But we might as well name it, "Islam vs. every history book, in every library, in every university in the world."
Its not Islam vs. Christianity, but Islam vs. History.
Muslims attempt to explain away the errors of recorded world history by saying, "History is written by the victors".
This tendency of Muslims to disregard history also manifests itself in a general distrust of Western media as biased, inaccurate and one sided.
The middle east crisis is complicated by this tendency for Muslims to rewrite history and reject western media reports as biased and slanted.
I just wonder why Allah, in his divine foreknowledge and providence, did not leave some trace of Islam in the history books or archaeology to support the claims of the Koran?
If Islam was the actual religion practiced by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaiah, Daniel, Jesus and the 12 apostles, why did Allah not leave some trace of history, some trace of archeology, some vestige of the Islamic rituals as proof?
Christianity, on the other hand, is richly supported by recorded world history, archaeology and social traditions.
In a court of law, Christianity has all the actual evidence on its side to win the truth case.
V. The Reenactment rituals of Islam founded on myth:
Islam is a religion of "reenactment rituals":
The throw: (the Rummy) is where Pilgrims walk to Mina and throw 49 pea sized pebbles at 3 stone pillars which represent the devil. This is based upon a mythical event in the life of Abraham. Muslims today say that Abraham was told by God to sacrifice Ishmael. Interestingly, this modern concept actually contradicts the opinion of many early Muslims who said it was Isaac, agreeing with all world history and the Bible. On the way, to make the sacrifice, the devil tried to convince Abraham not to sacrifice Ishmael. Abraham gathered up some stones and threw them at the devil until he disappeared. 2600 years later, pilgrims started throwing pebbles, at the stone pillars in Mina which represent evil and the devil, reenacting the way Abraham threw stones at the Devil.
The Run (the Sai): The pilgrim is required to make several brisk walks between the hills of Safa and Marwat in a re-enactment ritual based upon a mythical event in the life of Hagar and Ishmael. Muslims believe that these two hills of Safa and Marwat are where Hagar frantically ran back and forth seven times in search of water for her dying son, Ishmael. Hagar found water to save Ishmael at the "well of Zamzam". So Pilgrims run back and forth between two hills of Safa and Marwat seven times and then go to the Zamzam well, beside Kaba, thus reenacting this supposedly historic event.
VI. Are there any reenactment rituals in the Old Testament? (Jewish reenactment rituals)
The Jewish Passover: Ritual reenactment of the tenth plague of Moses in Egypt when the death angel was going to kill the firstborn in every house. The Jews were told to put blood on their door posts and when the death Angel came near, He would see the blood and "Passover" that house and spare the firstborn from death.
As per Moses instructions in Ex 12, every year, on Nisan 14, the Jews would kill the Passover lamb. The Jewish high priest, would also take some blood from the Passover lamb into the Most holy place and sprinkle the blood on the Ark of the Covenant, atoning for the sins of the entire Jewish nation.
The Passover is therefore one of the central themes of Judaism.
Muslims, however, say the original Passover story with the death angel in Egypt, is Jewish myth and not real history.
Vii. Are there any Reenactment rituals in Christianity?
Water baptism by immersion is a reenactment ritual of the Death of Christ: Rom 6:3-4 says that the sinner crucifies himself and comes in contact with the saving blood of Christ that was shed on the cross and when he comes out of the waters of baptism, rises to new life.
The Lord's supper or communion is another reenactment of the Death of Christ: Acts 20:7 indicates that Christians partook of the Lord's supper every first day of the week. The meaning is stated in 1 Cor 11:26, "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
So both water baptism and the Lord's supper are reenactment rituals based upon the death of Christ.
The death of Christ is therefore the central focus of upon which Christianity is founded.
Muslims, however, deny that Jesus died on the cross, calling it myth and not real history.
Instead of being insulted, Christians spend their energies praying.
We have looked at 5 reenactment rituals in three religions:
Islam: the run and the throw are based upon Abraham and Hagar
Judaism: the Passover lamb are based upon the tenth plague in Egypt.
Christianity: Water baptism and the Lord's supper are based upon the death of Christ.
Now here is the amazing thing. Islam rejects the key reenactment rituals of both Judaism and Christianity. Muslims say that the Jewish Passover and the death of Christ are myths that never really happened.
This contradicts a huge cloud of witness of history, that includes the fact, that the rituals have been practiced continually for some 3500 years.
The foundation pillar of Judaism is the Passover and the foundation pillar of Christianity is the death of Christ. Islam removes these two foundation pillars by calling them myths, even though they are strongly supported by history.
On the other hand two foundation pillars of the Islamic pilgrimage, "the Throw" and "the Run" are completely unsupported by history and are based solely upon the testimony of the Koran in 600 AD.
The yearly Passover ritual began the same year they put the blood on the door and continued for 1500 years. The weekly Lord's supper ritual began the same week that Christ was crucified and has continued ever since for 2000 years. The Islamic rituals just come out of nowhere, 2600 years after Abraham lived.
Now I ask you. Which is more likely to be the truth? The Bible which teaches the Passover and the death of Christ, or the Koran which teaches "the throw and the run"?
Because reenactment rituals must be based upon a known historical fact, the Bible wins again in the court of truth, as being more likely and more reasonable.
IX. Christian ritual spiritualized from the pagans:
Pagan practices spiritualized in Christianity:
Christmas: Every Encyclopedia will tell you that that Christmas is a pagan practice spiritualized by the church no earlier than 335 AD.
Encyclopedia Britannica says, "One of be most well known festivals of ancient Rome was the saturnalia, a winter festival celebrated from December 17 - 24. ... December 25, the birthday of Mithra, the Iranian god of light was adopted by the church as Christmas, the nativity of Christ, to counteract the effects of these festivals." (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol VI Pg 945; Vol 7 Pg 202)
Christianity today, is guilty of spiritualizing pagan practice, shame on us.
But before my Muslims friends start rejoicing, let me remind them that Christmas is not part of true Christianity, its not in the Bible. Had God wanted us to celebrate Christmas, he would have told us so.
Further, let me remind the Muslims, that in the adoption of Christmas from the pagans, church leaders merely reassigned the meaning of December 25 from Mithra to Christ, but deleted all the pagan ritual associated with Mythra, whereas in Islam, you reassigned the meaning of many pagan idols to Abraham, but RETAINED all the pagan rituals under the banner of monotheism.
X. Now lets talk about Islamic rituals spiritualized from the Pagans:
Muslims do not worship Muhammad, the Kaba, or the black stone, but Allah alone. Islam has from the time of Muhammad, in fact been an excellent example of a monotheistic religion to the pagan world.
Having said that, Christians and Muslims do agree on one thing. Islam sure has the appearance of spiritualizing pagan practices, repackaged under the banner of monotheism.
Encyclopedia Britannica says of the time just before Muhammad, "A principal public celebration of the Arabians was an annual pilgrimage, in which tribes who shared a common bond of worship of a deity at a specific sanctuary would reunite there. A pattern of ceremonial procession around the baetyl [the sacred stone] was common, and this pattern may be seen in the surviving Islamic custom of the pilgrimage to Mecca." (Britannica, Arabian Religions, p1059, 1979)
Both Christians and Muslims agree with the record of history, that each local polytheistic pagan Arab tribe, at the time Muhammad was born, was already practicing many different pilgrimages to various sanctuaries through out Arabia. These Pilgrimage rites required circling a sacred stone 7 times, including the rituals of the run and the throw etc.
Muslim scholar, Maulana Muhammad Ali confirms this when he wrote, "It is true that in the hajj many pre-Islamic practices were retained, but ... the origin of these practices is traceable to Abraham, and every one of them carries with it a spiritual significance. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Religion of Islam, p. 448, 1936, Muslim).
Non-Muslim, John Gilchrist said this, "Muslim scholars have also been constrained to admit that Muhammad adopted the pagan Arab pilgrimage en bloc into Islam, seeking to justify it on the historical fiction that Abraham was its originator and that later generations perverted its monotheistic origin and emphasis." (Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, John Gilchrist)
Gilchrist continues, "We cannot accept, however, the claim that the ceremonies as practiced today were first performed by Abraham. It is historically illogical to assume that they survived unchanged through centuries of pagan Arab custom, while idol-worship became the order of the day (Muhammad and the Religion of Islam, John Gilchrist)
Another non-Muslim, William St. Clair-Tisdall, said "The Hajj was Muhammad's compromise with Arabian Paganism." (William St. Clair-Tisdall, The Sources of Islam, p. 162).
So Christians believe Muhammad grafted the pagan pilgrimage into Islam in the same way Christians redefined Christmas as the birthday of Christ on Dec 25.
Muslims, on the other hand, say that the pagans originally got the pilgrimage from Abraham.
Again, history is against Islam.
M. Wherry said in 1896, "The kissing of the Black Stone and the Yamani Pillar was so manifestly inconsistent with the doctrine. of Islam, that [except for] naught but the example of the prophet and the implicit obedience of his followers secured its perpetuation. The fiery Omar, kissing the stone, said, "Truly, I know that you are only a stone; you do no good or harm in the world, and if it was not that I saw the prophet kiss you, I would not kiss you!" Matthews' Mishqat ul Masabih, book 11. chap. 4. part 3. (A Comprehensive Commentary on the Koran, E. M. Wherry, 1896, p 360, quoting Matthews)
A group of honest Muslim youths asked their Muslim teacher Sheikh Sha'rawi, "What is the wisdom of kissing the meteorite?" He answered 'The kissing of the meteorite is a firm practice in Islamic law because Muhammad did it. You must not ask about the wisdom behind that because this rite is (an expression) of worship in spite of the obscurity of its wisdom" (Sheikh Sha'rawi, "Legal Opinions", part 3, page 167).
As Muslim writer, Tabbarah, said in his book, The Spirit of Islam "Moslems do not worship the Black Stone, but only show special reverence and veneration for its dignity and they kiss it only after the example of the Prophet and to keep their Covenant with God to obey His Will and avoid His disobedience." (Tabbarah, The Spirit of Islam, p. 173, Muslim).
In other words, the kissing and adoration and veneration of the black stone, is as non-Islamic.... As the adoration and veneration of Mary is non-Christian.
On May 13, 1981, a man shot Pope. As the ambulance carried him to the hospital, the Pope kept praying, "Mary, my mother! Mary, my mother!" One year later, the Pope made a pilgrimage to Fatima to thank Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life and to consecrate the entire human race to her. The video "Catholicism: Crisis of Faith" shows the Pope kissing the feet of a statue of Mary. "Catholicism: Crisis of Faith". Lumen Productions, P.O. Box 595, Cupertino, CA 95015. ISBN Number 0-962-9152-0-3. This video was produced by James G. McCarthy, a former Catholic and the founder of Good News for Catholics. It covers a wide range of issues, including Mary. You can order it through D&K Press (800-777-8839).
XI. The Earliest Muslims were concerned with the pagan origin and were unaware of any historical link back to Abraham:
In about 650 AD, the Bukhari Hadith says, Narrated 'Asim: I asked Anas bin Malik: "Did you use to hate to perform Tawaf between Safa and Marwa?" He said, "Yes, as it was of the ceremonies of the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, till Allah revealed: 'Verily! (The two mountains) As-Safa and Al-Marwa are among the symbols of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who performs the pilgrimage to the Ka'ba, or performs 'Umra, to perform Tawaf between them.' " Narrated Ibn Abbas: Allah's Apostle performed Tawaf of the Ka'ba and the Sa'i of Safa and Marwa so as to show his strength to the pagans. (Hadith, al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 710-711)
In 1938, Yusuf Ali, translator of the most popular English Koran said regarding "the run" in footnote 160: "Unfortunately the Pagan Arabs had placed a male and a female idol here, and their gross and superstitious rites caused offence to the early Muslims. They felt some hesitation in going round these places during the Pilgrimage. As a matter of fact they should have known that ... [they were] sanctified again by the purity of Muhammad's life and teaching. (The holy Qur'an, text, translation and commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. 1872-1952, First published in 1938, 1973 ed., p. 62, footnote 160, commenting on 2:158)
Yusuf Ali also said in footnote 223, "After the Pilgrimage, in Pagan times, the pilgrims used to gather in assemblies in which the praises of ancestors were sung. As the whole of the Pilgrimage rites were spiritualized in Islam, so this aftermath of the Pilgrimage was also spiritualized. It was recommended for pilgrims to stay on two or three days after the Pilgrimage, but they must use them in prayer and praise to God. See ii. 203 below." (The holy Qur'an, text, translation and commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. 1872-1952, First published in 1938, 1973 ed. p. 80, footnote 223, commenting on 2:200, "So when ye have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of God, as ye used to celebrate the praises of your fathers,- yea, with far more Heart and soul.")
Early Muslims view many aspects of the Pilgrimage as being of pagan origin only. They were actually completely unaware of any historical tradition with Abraham.
Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31-32)
Islam and Christianity are not compatible as religions, but we have Abraham in common as a great man of faith. He was also a man of peace. I want to close with Gen 13:7-8 "And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers."
Muslims and I differ greatly in our religious views, but like Abraham and Lot, can live beside each other in peace and mutual respect for each other.
"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." (James 3:17)
Thank you for your kind attention.
Written by Brother Andrew
Go To Start: WWW.BIBLE.CA