Posts Tagged ‘Koran’

Follow up to Muslim Community center near Ground Zero

September 3, 2010

After the most recent post I had some personal communication about my thoughts on Islam.  Below is the basic question asked and then my response.

Have you personally read the Koran yourself?  With Islam are the older expressions okay while the newer expressions are violent and extremist?  Are Christians the enemy?

Personally I have read the Koran, although it has been some time since I have done anything more than read a surah or two.

I would not say that “the old stuff is okay while the newer stuff is violent and extremist.”  I see the difference between a people and a religion.  Does the Koran have some passages that can be interpreted to call for violence?  Yes, that is why the extremists refer back to their holy text.  Do the vast majority of followers of the Koranic ways interpret the book in that light?  No.  That is why we aptly call those who do “extremists.”  While I cannot remember the exact reference, I’ll note that the concept of “terrorism” that is now often equated with “Islam” actually came from outside Islam.  Terrorism in Islam is a recent concept.  

Now, are we Christians the enemies?  I think this statement is a stretch as well.  Our dual-citizenship to the Kingdom of God and the USA is complicated.  The principles Christ lays out in the Sermon on the Mount are eternal, and direct our modus operandi.  No matter whether good/evil is done to us, we are to respond in love.  We forgive unending (phrased 70 times 70); we turn the other check; we love our neighbor and our enemy.

Thanks for the question and continue to dialog and ask questions.  May we above all reflect the character of Jesus.

9/11 Ground Zero Muslim Community Center

August 25, 2010

I do my best to keep this blog focused on missiology. Here is a missiological debate foiled by politics, pain and many quick judgments. The situation with the possibility of burning Korans on the upcoming 9/11 date in response to a muslim community center being built in the vicinity of “ground zero” is a hot issue right now. My overall view is that we are called to love and forgiveness first.  Here is a recent post I read concerning these issues:

http://rachelheldevans.com/mosque

The Flying Man Pt 6: The Missing Father by Leith Gray

January 2, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This is a very interesting article on how to communicate the concept of the trinity to Muslims.  I don’t have any critiques or outside comments on my own so I will just summary the article for you.  Again, I urge you to read the article for your self.

He goes into great background of why Muslims have a hard time with this concept in general.  He refers to Surah 19:90-91 and also points out that the Arabic language uses neutral gender terminology for Allah.

“So what can we do?” he asks.

  1. Model the use of Trinitarian prayers in front of them
  2. Avoid language that may sound biological or sexual in their context
  3. Use comparative equivalents and similes to transfer meaning
  4. Refer to names in the “Ninety-nine beautiful names of Allah” to show father-like attributes.

Any other comments?

Missiology: Reaching Muslims using the Koran

March 18, 2007

Where do religions come from? We know that all mankind came from Adam and Noah. Division begins at the Tower of Babel. God scatters man and confuses their language. Once things settle, God chooses a specific man to share his revelation with. From this point in scripture, it seems that Abraham is pretty aware that there is one God, its not until later that scripture mentions other gods. At this point, God has been distant with man. God calls Abraham into relation with Him and begins a process of renewal for the world through His covenant with Abraham; again, God wants all peoples to know Him. Later on we see scripture say, “Thou shall have no other god before me.” So we know that other people believe in other gods. Exodus 32 shows the process of this transferal from the one true God into other gods. The people want a physical presence of God, but God doesn’t give that to all people. The people turn from their previous knowledge of the one true God and worship a calf instead.

Therefore I believe that other religions are just perversions of the real thing. Other religions thus have connections back to the Truth. Don Richardson explains similar cultural connections in his book Eternity in Their Hearts. There thus should also be redemptive analogies back to the truth, where you can turn back these perversions. Kevin Greeson’s book, the Camel Training Manuel shows ayats (verses) from the Koran that point to the truth of the one true God who redeems His people through His sacrifice. The Koran can be used as a bridge to lift Jesus above prophet status, although it will not share the fullness of Christ’s plan for redemption.

Most people know that Islam has a foundation built on Christianity, thus Judaism, if you look closer into the Koran there are ayats that point to Christ as more than just a prophet. It confers with the new testament that Jesus has conquered death, that Muhammad himself was unsure about his eternal fate, and that Allah tells Muhammad to look at the “before books” (Old Testament and New Testament) for answers. Ayats from the Koran itself actually give more validity to Christ than Muhammad. Most followers of Muhammad feel that the Koran is too holy of a book to read, and that few people can actually interpret the text. Hence, for the most part, using the Koran as a bridge to the gospel is more effective with Imams (Islamic priests) than with the general population of Muslims.

Wrapped up in one passage (Surah Al-Imran 3:42-55), one can see that Jesus is not just a prophet. This text can help raise Jesus up to the deserved position of Savior. This Koranic text says that Jesus was holy, Jesus had power over death, and Jesus knows the way to heaven. This is the crux of the Koranic text to lead seekers into reading the Bible for themselves

Here are some other interesting ayats in the Koran

Surah The Sandhills 46:9 “Say: I am not the first of the apostles, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner.” Muhammad himself testifies that he is not the greatest, he does not know where his followers are going, and he is only a warner.

Surah Jonah 10:94 “But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.” This is a direct reference back to “the Book before you” aka the Bible. The Koran de-emphasizes itself.

Surah The Woman 4:136 “O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Book which He has revealed to His Apostle and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His apostles and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.” Again note the “Book which He revealed before” lifting up the Bible along with the Koran.

Surah Cattle 6:115-116 “And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah’s way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie. Surely your Lord– He best knows who goes astray from His way, and He best knows those who follow the right course.” Allah’s words can not be changed

Surah The Table Spread 5:65-66 “And if the followers of the Book had believed and guarded (against evil) We would certainly have covered their evil deeds and We would certainly have made them enter gardens of bliss And if they had kept up the Taurat and the Injeel and that which was revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet there is a party of them keeping to the moderate course, and (as for) most of them, evil is that which they do” Those who follow the Torah and Gospel will be blessed

Surah The Woman 4:171 “but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him” Jesus was sent from Allah in heaven in the form of a baby in Mary.

Surah Ta Ha 20:121 “Then they both ate of it, so their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with leaves of the garden, and Adam disobeyed his Lord, so his life became evil (to him).” Allah is Holy, and we have sinned against Him to cause evil

Surah The Sandhills 46:9 “Say: I am not the first of the apostles, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner.” Muhammad confesses he does not know where he nor his followers will go after death.

IMPORTANT NOTE: as said before, most Muslims have a high respect for the Koran, therefore while using these bridges we must use a gentle spirit. I would not confront a Muslim about these issues without first reading the book. The book will walk you step by step on ways to ask questions and order and bring it all together. My purpose is to expose the reader to some issues, so that you will be interested and dig deeper.