By Mike Scruggs
Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is a revealed religion. In all three faiths, alleged revelation of spiritual and moral truth is recorded in a book or books that are considered sacred and unconditional. Judaism has the books of the Old Testament, and Christianity has added the books of the New Testament to that foundation. The alleged divine revelation of truth and moral principles in Islam is the Koran. An important characteristic of revealed religion is that its teachings have the status of final divine authority and are therefore not subject to amendment or reinterpretation by mankind or majority vote.
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 of Scripture is similar but does not embrace Christian New Testament books or view God as a Divine Trinity— Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit.
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 their Prophet. Muhammad faithfully revealed these 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 very 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 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.
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. The Koran calls for Holy War to make Islam the dominant religion of the world in no less than 109 verses. 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 really a derivative of another cardinal principle of Muslim theology—the Supremacy of Islam. This is seen especially in Surah (chapter) 9, verse 33:
“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.”
It should be noted that “assigning partners to God” is a major sin in Islam, the Trinitarian God of Christianity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is blasphemy to Muslims.
I often hear people claiming that with proper teaching or guidance Islam could be made 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.
Another concern which the West must take into account when dealing with Islam is that according to the Koran and Muhammad, civil government and Islamic law, ideology, and religion should be inseparable. Most Sunni and Shia religious leaders consider democracy an affront to the Will of Allah.
Western governments that naively allow open-door immigration, especially massive increases in Muslim immigration, are inviting tumultuous troubles.