Wednesday, February 15, 2017

GK Chesterton on Islam

A new friend of mine recently passed on that previous quote on Islam by Churchill. And now he passed this gem by Chesterton on Islam:
There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. [...] 
A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments ; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world ; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests ; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets.
Lord Kitchener (1917) p. 7-8

Monday, February 13, 2017

Winston Churchill on Islam

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. 

"The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

"A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

"No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

 -- Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899)

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Bernie Powers dismantles Miroslav Volf on Allah

Here is a critical review of Miroslav Volf's book on Allah, wherein Volf argues that the deities of Islam and Christianity are, at the end of the day, one and the same.

Here is a section of the review I really liked:

Unfortunately another key foundation of his thesis, that Muslims along with Christians, are commanded to love their neighbours (pp.14) is simply an illusion. The Qur’an nowhere tells Muslims to love those who are different from themselves. Allah does not love such people (apparently He only loves Himself), so why should Muslims do so? There is only a single mention of preference for others and it is not unequivocal. There are two collections of the Hadith which are seen as sahih or ‘authentic’. In Muslim bin al-Hajjaj’s collection, which Volf quotes, it is rendered as: “None of you has faith until you love for your neigh bour what you love for yourself” 8 (p.105) Al- Bukhari’s collection of the Hadith puts it like this: “The Prophet said, ‘None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.’” (al-Bukhari 1:12) Muhsin Khan’s translation of al-Bukhāri’s Hadith occasionally contains bracketed insertions. Through their use, he identifies between the most likely meaning. In this particular case, the term “brother” is judged to apply only to fellow Muslims.

Powers is rightly pointing out that Islam, at best, has a golden rule that applies only to fellow Muslims.

Read the whole review HERE.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On President Trump's recent order to stop immigration from Muslim-majority countries

I was recently chatting with a friend on Facebook, a mature Christian with a lot of experience working with Muslims and a history in the Middle East. 

The question we were discussing was, what do you think about the recent order to stop immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days.

I thought his answer was thoughtful and worth sharing with you all. So, with his permission, here is his response, with slight edits for the sake of clarity:
I think the ruler of this age is clouding hearts and minds. People don't realize that this isn't high school debate with your teacher. Using bogus rationale and facts just to prove your point is going to cost the USA dearly with stuff like this in the real world.
Obviously secularism and Islam have one major thing in common: the hatred of the Church. What's troubling to me is Chrisitans, even Christians who are well-versed in the evils of Islam, are shoving their heads in the sand and pretending like jihadism is some sort of anomaly.
I often have wondered which snake would eat the other when their borders expanded into each other's territory. I always thought secularism would overturn Islam as money and education grew in the Middle East. But it's turning out to be quite the opposite.
Obviously people operate on a spiritual level more so than an intellectual one, so what I see makes sense. 

But it never ceases to amaze me that there is no limit to which people are willing to go in order to look the other way with Islam. While at the same time holding Chirstianity accountable for the most trivial and non-offenses imaginable. How bizarre.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Does Islam need a Reformation?

Does Islam need a Reformation?
by Abu Daoud

I have noticed a good deal of talk regarding the hope that exists in the West of a Reformation for Islam. There are two points I wish to make in response.

The first is regarding what exactly constitutes a "reformation." Historically the term refers to a decentralized group of reformation movements throughout western Europe in the 16th Century. But there is a significant gap between what the Reformers intended and actually accomplished. The complete picture is complex, but Calvin and Luther (among others) would be horrified to see the seemingly endless multiplication of Protestant-tradition churches we see today--that is, the continual splitting of denominations and ecclesial bodies.

The Reformers did, however, claim that they were returning Christianity to its original, if obscured, Apostolic and Biblical roots. There was a concrete and pervading desire to reject what the Reformers understood as traditions that departed from the original Biblical mandates. The relation of the believer to God was also made more direct, jettisoning the role of the priest or the bishop as the representative of Christ. The Reformers also introduced what were either entirely new or recovered principles of interpreting Scripture. Inherent in this entire and largely uncoordinated group of reform movements was a decentralization of power from the bishop of Rome (the Pope) to local pastors, congregations, laity, royalty, and governments.

So the second question is what would "Reformed Islam" look like? Well, it would discard centuries of traditions that people adopted to live with the presence of diversity and plurality--even taking into account how minor those accommodations were. It would also release the individual Muslim from accountability to his community, making him directly accountable to God and his mandate for perpetual and global jihad. It would finally lead to a proliferation of schools of interpretation, many of them accusing the other of faithlessness in right interpretation of the Qur'an.
I would therefore argue that we have in our midst a highly-Reformed Islam in the form of what is alternately called Wahabi or Salafi Islam. There is an interesting history behind each of the words and they are not identical. Suffice to say that followers of Salafiism understand themselves as interpreting and living out the Qur'an and Hadith (sayings of Muhammad) in accordance with the original and plain meaning understood by Muhammad and his companions (the salafi, which is Arabic for "predecessors.")

It was indeed this school of Reformed Islam that highly influenced the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Not for centuries have we seen a government that so faithfully and perfectly obeyed the pattern of the early Muslims (salafi). In other words, the Afghanistan under the Taliban was Reformed Islam. It was Islam stripped of accretions not mandated by the Qur'an or his companions (who play a role like the Apostles in many ways), who understood themselves as interpreting the Qu'ran plainly and simply, without the influence or intermediary of distracting scholars and philosophers and theologians.

Part of Reformed Islam is the return to active, vigorous and perpetual jihad, as was the custom of Muhammad and his companions. Muhammad himself was part of over 70 battles/raids during his own lifetime, very few of which were defensive. The expansion of jihad we see today is not radical or fundamentalist Islam. It is Islam in its most historically accurate and pure form.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Is the Qur'an really from Muhammad? The Sana'a Manuscript

Muslims insist that the Qur'an they have today goes all the way back to Muhammad and has never been changed or altered. However, in 1972 during a renovation of the great mosque in Sana'a, Yemen, this palimpsest was discovered. But it turns out that we have two different manuscripts with edits written on this one palimpsest. Amazing.

Learn more by listening to this talk by Al Fadi, a convert from Saudi Arabia. He is also founder and president of CIRA International.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Allah is not ok with Tom and Jerry

And you thought it was just a harmless cartoon! Turns out that this venerable cartoon is in fact part of a huge plot to subvert the integrity of Islam....or something like that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Qur'an and the Crucifixion of Jesus

The Qur'an and the Crucifixion of Jesus
by Abu Daoud

Excerpts from a Conversation with a Muslim


Me: I am arguing that the Qu'ran does not actually say that Jesus was not crucified. The passage you reference is, "they did not crucify him, but it only appeared so." But if you look at the whole sura, you will see that it is discussing God's relationship to the descendants of the sons of Israel, whom we call Jews today. And historically, if you read the Injiil (Gospels), you will see that the Jews did not have the authority to crucify Jesus by their own power. They had to get the permission of the Roman authorities, and actually it was Roman soldiers that crucified him. So yes, to an observer it may have seemed like the Jews were actually totally responsible for his death, but that was not the case.

So when I say that Jesus was crucified, I am not saying anything against the Qu'ran itself, which you believe is from God. Rather I am disagreeing with one tasfiir (interpretation). The interpretations are not from God, but from man, so they may be incorrect.

Leith (my Jordanian friend): But we are guaranteed correctness in these interpretations because the Prophet related the correct interpretations to his followers and they have been collected by men likeAl-Muslim, Al-Bukhtori, [and so on].

Me: Ah, you refer to the ahadith [this is the plural of hadith, or the sayings of the Prophet, which after the Qu'ran extremely important for Muslims]. But who compiled the ahadith? They were men like you and me doing historical investigation. My point is that you cannot know for sure if they are correct because these men were not directed by God himself. The point is that I am disagreeing with the interpretation of the Qu'ran, not the text itself.

***

Leith: We are all sinners, but the prophets receive a special gift, they become immune to error and sin. They can no longer sin.

Me: But what about before they receive the message from God?

Leith: Yes, they can sin.

Me: But Jesus never sinned at all, that is in the Qu'ran. This is why we [Christians] pray in the name of Jesus. When we pray in our own name, why should God listen to our prayers? But when we come to God in the-name of Jesus, this is the only person in all of history who never offended God. So then God will listen to us and forgive us.

Leith: Actually we pray to God in the name of Muhammad and all the prophets.

Me: Ah yes, Muhammad. Who in the Qu'ran has problems with one of his wives because he is spending too much time with his Egyptian concubine. And then one of his wives gets jealous of her and tells him, "Don't come to me saying you have another message from [the Archangel] Gabriel!" I think she was too clever for him!

Leith: Yes! [Smiling] I think you are right. You know the Qu'ran well! Do you know how many wives he had?

Me: At any given time up to eight, but in all his life I think 13.

Leith: Eleven.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Islam: A Religion, and an Empire too! Part 2

Islam: A Religion, and an Empire too! Part 2
by Abu Daoud

In Part IV of this series I established that Islam is more than just a religion, according to Western standards, which allow for a separation of religion and state. Islam contains within its teaching regarding the relations and duties of man before God a very specific political order. What is it?

It is the caliphate. The Arabic word xalifa (caliph) means “successor [of the Prophet].” When God appointed Mohammad to be the Prophet who would bring the incorrupt and incorruptible revelation from God, he also chose him to be a ruler over the Umma. The caliphate existed in one form or another through the 20th century (1924), lastly within the Ottoman Empire (whose successor is Turkey). Devout Muslims therefore long for and must work for the restoration of the caliphate. This was precisely the desire of Abu Mussab al Zaraqawi (a Jordanian mujahid), recently deceased. He was a devout and good Muslim. This may seem like a troubling statement, but in reality his devotion to his religion extended far beyond my own devotion to my religion, and probably yours as well. He was working to restore the caliphate, to unite all Muslim people into one Umma that would unite all the nation states of Islam. In his willingness to use violence as a means of ushering in God's gracious and righteous reign he was following Muhammad's pattern of life (sunna).

In fact, the existence of nation states is reprehensible to devout Muslims. They run against a central tenet of Islam: that there are only two religious-political entities in the world: Dar al Islam (House of Islam) and Dar al Harb (House of War). The vision of conservative Muslims (it is an error to call them fundametalists) is to bring all Muslim peoples into one entity. The combined power would be capable of completing the effort (jihad) of making the peoples of the world submitters (muslims) to God’s rule.

In other words, God’s grace is manifest not in bread and wine and water and oil (as in our religion), but in political rule. Political-religious rule is how God reveals his grace and goodness to the world. It is how he works to restore justice and peace and order to the world. Until that rule of God is completely restored, the Ummah must continue to exert effort (jihad) to work for that restoration and submission and surrender.

This is the good and glorious vision of Islam for the world. I do not agree with it, of course, which is why my family is devoted to evangelizing Muslims. My family and I want then to understand that true submission (islam) to God means submission to his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the image (iconos, in Greek) of the glory of God, as Paul said. If one rejects the Son, how can one say he accepts the Father? "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."