Skip to comments.Understanding Islam And Its Radicals
Posted on 03/27/2003 8:26:19 AM PST by Luis Gonzalez
I was completely numb as I watched the videos of the attack on September 11. As the attack was investigated and we learned that the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists, I could not shake the thought that something in their religion made these attacks seem legitimate in their eyes.
So I started, very cautiously, to look into what Islam stands for and what it considers important. I did not want to jump to conclusions. I wanted to know the truth. As a Christian and a serious student of the Bible, I am familiar with the bloody passages of the Old Testament. For this reason I proceeded with caution in my research. My goal was to discover the truth about Islam. My research did include some limited reading of the Qur'an (known in the West as the Koran), but it mainly consisted of reading and listening to people who were very knowledgeable of the religion.
First of all, in order to understand Muslims we need to know what they think of Allah, and we need to look at their worldview. We need to understand moderate Muslims, but we also need an understanding of the radical point of view.
Dr. Samuel Schlorff, an expert on Islam with Arab World Ministries, has written an excellent paper on the religion. He makes a scholarly comparison between Christianity and Islam. Much of the information used in this article regarding the history of Islam was drawn from this paper.
Here are some key points of Islamic theology:
1. Allah is Absolutely Transcendent
Allah is unlike anything that exists. This means that Allah is completely mysterious. Muslims believe that they can know the truth about him, but they can't have any knowledge of him as a person. He is a distant god who lets only his will be known.
2. Divine Guidance
Muslims believe the Qur'an offers guidance for living life and it is usually referred to as "a guidance and mercy for believers." (Sura 27:77) Their law (the Shari'ah) consists of the Qur'an as well as other materials.
3. Islam is from Heaven
The Qur'an describes its revelation as a "sending down" of material from a heavenly being. Because it came in the Arabic language, it is referred to as a heavenly language. From this idea stems the thought that an Islamic community is of heavenly origin. Dr. Nabil Jabur was interviewed recently on Moody radio. He is the author of the book The Rumbling Volcano, which deals with radical Islam. He states that the Qur'an is comprised of recitations given by Muhammad, which Muslims believe came from Allah for specific situations. Thus, when Muhammad was experiencing a tranquil period in his life, the tolerant recitations came forth. When he was having problems with three Jewish tribes, the militant recitations came forth. The Qur'an teaches both peace and war.
Some verses dealing with tolerance are:
Sura 2:5-6 - There is no compulsion in religion.
Sura 5:82 - The nearest in affection to the believer are those who say we are Christian.
Dr. Jabur stated. "When only one side of the Qur'an is presented alone, that is not the truth."
4. A Community in Submission
The Islamic view of the world is that man is inherently good. If man is depraved by society, then any government can create a perfect society by enforcing Islamic law. Muhammad was the head of state of Medina, which Muslims believe was a perfect society. This form of Islamic government is considered by Muslims to be an example of living in true submission to divine law. This degree of submission is greater than any that exists outside of Islam. For Muslims such a community represents the kingdom of Allah on earth. They believe the future of Islam is to dominate the whole House of War (which is how they refer to the entire non-Muslim world) until it is controlled by an Islamic state. The ultimate goal is that the entire world be under Islamic law.
What does the word Islam mean? We have been told, that Islam is related to the Arabic word meaning "peace." This is partially accurate, except that the word means a specific kind of peace. A more accurate translation is "surrender" or "submission." It describes the calm that exists when a vanquished soldier lays down his arms in submission. Dr. Schlorff states, "The truth is that there is another side to Islam, a side that embraces violence 'in the way of Allah.'"
Sura 2:216 - Fighting is prescribed for you.
Sura 2:190-192 - Fight in the cause of god, those who fight you enslave them. Fight them until there is no more persecution and oppression and there prevails justice and faith in god.
Sura 9:5 - Fight and enslave infidels.
During his interview Dr. Jabur was asked what the typical Muslim would think of Osama bin Laden. Would they approve or disapprove of what he is doing? He stated that it would be possible for religious Muslims to have either opinion. Some are embarrassed by what bin Laden is doing. Others think that grievances which have existed for years have come to a head in a justified violent retaliation.
Dr. Jabur tried to illuminate the meaning of a phrase which is used by Muslims and which has not been explained to us. Jihad does not mean holy war. Jihad means "striving for god." It comes in three degrees: 1) Striving against sin in one's own life; 2) The act of motivating others to do good; and 3) Using violent means to stop a wrong act is justifiable if necessary. This third degree is the one with which we are most familiar.
After Muhammad died in Medina he was succeeded by four caliphs who ruled in his place. (A caliph is "one who comes after.") The leadership of Muhammad's Islamic society was divided. Sunnis accept that all four were legitimate. Shi'ites believe that only one, Ali, was the rightful successor. The result has been a division within the Muslim world pertaining to Islamic law and spiritual authority. That is why we do not have a single Muslim leader to whom the world can appeal to stand up and lead the Muslims of the world away from bin Laden.
Shortly after the Attack, Chuck Colson brought up some very interesting points on his radio show, Breakpoint. He stated that due to the lack of widely recognized Islamic leadership, bin Laden is attempting to unify the radical Muslims living in moderate Muslim states. He would like nothing more than to have them overthrow those states so that he can unify them and install himself as the leader of one large radical Islamic nation, and wage war against the West. As evidence of this, he pointed out that bin Laden has not shown much interest in the Palestinians in the past. Now he is speaking out in their behalf in order to gain their support.
Of course most Muslims do not support such violence as terrorism. However watching a Muslim country being bombed day after day might change the minds of even the most moderate and cause them to support bin Laden. Perhaps that is the plan: Goad Muslims into hating the West so much that anything goes. The Qur'an supports both violence and peace. They may think that they can use violence now and then have peace on their own terms later
Even an atheist would rather have his neighbor emulate Jesus instead of Mohammed.
Made to a poster other than me, and commenting on our ongoing discussion.
Maybe you just dont consider being called an atheist an insult and thats why you missed the comment.
In order to skirt the issue of the character of Mohammed, you've now attempted to place Joshua on the same moral plane as Mohammed. Isn't this known in some circles as "moral relativism?Thats taking my words, twisting their meaning, and creating the opportunity to level a personal insult by falsely accusing me of using moral relativism.
The mental hopscotch necessary to conclude that "moderate Muslims" represent the real Islam requires real disingenuousness
Imagine that, and I have yet to respond with my first personal commentary.
It's quite unfortunate, really, because in turning away, you've wandered into one heresy, ecumenism, to defend another, Islam.
Now hes callingh me a heretic then again, you may not consider that an insult either.
By the way, up to this point, the only thing that I said to Toothy that you quoted me on, was accusing him of doing work for Usama bin Laden and strangely, Pat Buchanan seems to agree with me on that one.
Anyway, I keep forgetting you have a three hour head start on me. I'm sipping some Glenmorangie. You?
I see that you included my response to this post as an example of my unwarranted personal attacks. I guess that according to your code of honor, it was perfectly fine for him to accuse me of being drunk, but not OK for me to do the same.
What you have displayed here, is one of the most blatant cases of intellectual dishonesty that I have ever come across in this forum.
Congratulations, you are now ready for DU.
Congratulations, you are now ready for DU.
Hilarious! I do nothing but quote you and it's "one of the most blatant cases of intellectual dishonesty" you've ever seen. LOL!
You might want to tone down the histrionics. They're what got you into trouble on this thread in the first place.
Your reading and comprehension skills suck"
"You do good work Toothy, unfortunately, you do it for Usama bin Laden."
"..Shows a definite lack of intelligence"
"...Spot The Radical Fundamentalist Religious Extremist..."
"Put the bottle down and things will become clearer when not viewed through a single malt haze"
"Fess up Toothy, you're Lanny Davis aren't you"
"BTW, lacking the intellect to continue the debate, I see that you are already launching into personal attacks....Shows a definite lack of intelligence"
And then, when confronted with this admittedly rather embarrassing list:
What you have displayed here, is one of the most blatant cases of intellectual dishonesty that I have ever come across in this forum... Congratulations, you are now ready for DU
I think Ill just let your words and actions here continue to speak for themselves. No doubt youll continue to whine and point the finger at Sabertooth.
he cant even understand that Mohammed has been dead for over 1400 years, and that he has already been judged.
A discussion of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, on a thread about Islam and the Muslims who follow in their founder's footsteps, seems to be fairly pertinent. However, we're now to understand that this constitutes the instigation of a flame war?
Call me ignorant, I guess; I did not know this rule.
Oh, well, things are now crystallized precisely.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent ping list.
This contradicts directly the Bible's assertion that man is inherently evil (man's sinful nature).
Simplistic. You neglect greed and lust as primary motivators.
Imagine that I would tell you that given enough time, I was sure that you would come around to understanding that abortion is wrong. well, my friend, I wish you had said (or could have said) such a thing to me approximately ten years ago. I did hold to the notion that some abortion for the woman's convenience was not wrong. Thanks to fellow human beings like Askel5, with enough time and her persistence, I did come around to understand that all abortion is wrong.
In the comments regarding Mansoor Ijaz, you will note that I offered there are two perspectives on jihad, that the Islam which Mansoor practices can co-exist with other religions, that the Islam practiced by the Osama's of Islam cannot and does not desire to co-exist with other religions. My Muslim neighbor is of the 'Mansoor camp', and as an American I respect his right to worship as he chooses and will defend his right to do so. I will fight the other Islam, the totalitarian Islamism of the Osama's, however.
Right now, the Arab street is a mirror of the French street, the German street, the British street, and even the American street. I believe you are wrong with that perspective, Luis. And therin lies the clash of civilizations. The Arab street is directed by the bloodlust of Islamism. I don't think bloodlust is driving the other 'streets'. Pakistanis are not Arabs, but the insidious nature of Islamism is driving the bloodlust of those Pakistani 'streets'. In fact, going around the world, wherever one sees the irrational hatred of Isalmics screeching for blood, it is Islamism as an opposition to our civiliztion that drives their bloodlust. I'd characterize that as a clash of cultures ... if one would class this radicalized Islam as 'civilization'.
The Arab street right now is not chanting for our blood simply because we are free men of the west Marvin, they are doing it because they see our invasion of Iraq as an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation, that should not be too difficult to understand, considering the vast number of Americans who hold the identical belief a lot of them even frequent this forum. If you look carefully, you will see that our action in Iraq is but the current excuse for their irrationality. The chronicle of such behavior goes back across many acts by America and Israel, and each time it is a bloodlust being expressed. It is not the current action that begets this bloodlust, the bloodlust is there seeking an excuse for expression. I don't see that bloodlust in Men like Mansoor, or in my neighbor.
Now, go back at your statement above if Islam is the enemy, and Islam is inherently evil ... Bad form, Luis; I didn't say Islam is evil, but I would characterize the clash of Islam and Christianity as one of civilizations, peoples if you will set on a course that clashes in fundamental origins. Christ is God incarnate; Mohammed's allah was an instruction from whom he claimed was Angel Gabriel. I don't accept that Gabriel instructed Mohammed, so I would characterize the foundation of Islam as a lie that Mohammed didn't catch, at best, at worst, Islam is a manmade construct for worship ... idolatry. Do I care about Men like Mansoor Ijaz? Absolutely. He is my fellow human being. [And I'll let you in on something I firmly believe: when a man is taken in a lie, I don't believe God condemns such an man to eternal damnation, and it is the devoutness and sincerity of worship (in Peace, for Christ is the Prince of Peace) that will allow Mansoor Ijaz to someday embrace the truth of the Christ ... in God's own timing as Sovereign over the universe and humankind. In that belief, Mansoor and I can live in peace, for if I am mistaken, it is Mansoor who will lose by his choice, and if allah is the one true God, mansoor would wish for my forgiveness from allah as I pray for his forgiveness in God's timing. Cryptic? Perhaps, but therein lies the geist of man's religions, if they are to co-exist.]
Peace be with you, my friend. I will not contend further in this matter.
Any Qur'anic reference that would support this?
Sorry. Your sneering admonition to TLB is not warranted.
You are trying to assign some sort of pecking order to the reasons behind why other people hate us for being American, and Islamism ranks higher than Communism, Socialism, Shintoism, French citizenship
Our troops are halfway around the world fighting and dying for us, in incredibly hostile terrain, surrounded by many hostile nations. I know people with kids over there.
I don't care what the "ism" is, I don't want it.
I am not fanning the furnace they have to walk through, not now anyway. When they are home safe and victorious, we'll raise a glass together and call Mohammed a killer, a pervert, and worse...a Frenchman.
But the right thing to do right now, the Christian thing to do for our troops, and for the nation in general, is to pipe down and pray.
"Bad form, Luis; I didn't say Islam is evil..."
But you sided with the individual who is saying that Islam is inherently evil because Mohammed was evil. So it would be safe to assume that you agree with his argument.
Or would it not?
(---bring up cheesy music---)
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another issue of Point and Counterpoint. Please join us for a comprehensive discussion on the current situation in the Middle East, with your hosts Toothy and Louie!
look, I even gave you top billing
Toothy: "Mohammed is evil because he murdered a whole bunch of people in the name of Allah, and he was intolerant."
Me: "You know, the Bible says that our guys wiped out tens of thousands of men, women, and children in the name of God back in their day."
Toothy: "Heretic! Blasphemer!"
(----bring up cheesy music---)
Announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoyed this edition of Point and Counterpoint, we hope to see you back next time!"
Thanks for the lively repartee, Toothy. Its always nice to be condescended on by you.