The world is at war over supernatural revelations. The vicious attacks by terrorists on New York and Washington on 9/11/01 happened because of a revelation. What has been happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria between Muslim terrorists and Americans and their allies is not a battle of ideologies, as some would have it; nor is it a battle of civilizations as others have so eloquently argued. It is not a fight for oil.
It’s a battle over what God has revealed and to whom He made His revelation. Until the battle ground is clearly recognized and the terms of the battle delineated, any effort to “overcome” Islamic terrorism is doomed to failure.
Christian revelation is 600 years older than the revelations to Muhammed, and it puts a divine perspective on all subsequent revelations.
In the First Letter of John we read:
“My dear friends, not every spirit is to be trusted, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets are at large in the world. This is the proof of the spirit of God: any spirit which acknowledges Jesus Christ, come in human nature, is from God, and no spirit which fails to acknowledge Jesus is from God; it is the spirit of Antichrist, whose coming you have heard of; he is already at large in the world.” ( 1 John 4:1ff)
And in the next verses, Scripture gives love as the only way to know God:
“My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.”
Opposed to the revelation of Jesus Christ is the teaching of Islam which denies the divinity of Christ and the centrality of love in the life of faith. For example, the Qur’an, Sura 004.171, translated by Abdullah Yusufali says:
“Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you.”
Regarding love, Sura 060.001, also translated by Yusufali says:
“O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors), offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you. . . . If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them.”
The war we are in today started in the 7th century with a series of revelations to an Arabian merchant, Muhammad. He was born in the year 570 in the town of Mecca. When he was forty years old, Mohammad was in the cave of Hera meditating when he believed that he received his call to prophethood. Muslim historian Muhammad H. Haykal, reports the events of Mohammad’s call, according to Islamic traditions.
An angel appeared to him and by strangling him forced him to read some verses that would latter appear in the Qur’an, 96:1-5. The angel was so violent in trying to strangle him that, according to Haykal, Mohammad was not sure what happened: he thought the “angel” might have been a demon, who possessed him, something he always feared.
Stricken with panic, Muhammad arose and for a while he stood trembling with fear and stricken with awe. He feared the cave might be haunted. When Mohammad went home, he told his wife, Khadija, about what just happened in the cave, at the same time confessing he was afraid he might have been possessed by a demon.
He had good reason to fear being possessed. In his childhood, Muhammad’s nurse thought that Satan had come upon him. (“Siratu’l Rasul,” vss. 105106 of Ibn Hisham). (“Mizanu’l Haqq“, page 347). The story is told differently by various authorities, but the Muslim’s account is based on a tradition handed down from Anas (ibn Malik):
“As for the Apostle of Allah, Gabriel came to him while he was playing with the (other) lads. He took him and threw him on the ground and split his heart. Then he took out of it a drop of clotted blood, and said, ‘This is Satan’s portion of thee’. . . . And the lads came running to his mother (foster mother) and said: ‘Verily Mohammed has been killed.’ They went to meet him, and he had changed color.” (Muslim) (Mishkat IV, page 367).
Ali Halabi, in his Turkish work entitled ‘Insanu’l Uyun‘, informs us that many people declared that Aminah, Mohammed’s mother, used a spell in order to free him from the influence of “the evil eye”. Ibn Ishaq says that Mohammed’s friends also feared that he was suffering from “the evil eye.” And before the great revelations came to Mohammed, “he saw prophetic dreams and heard unseen voices and calls” (Mishkat IV. page 354).
In the Muslim tradition it is stated that Mohammed said: ‘I fear lest I should become a magician, lest one should proclaim me a follower of the Jinn (spirit)’, and again: ‘I fear lest there should be madness’ (or demonic possession) ‘in me.’ After an accession of shivering and shutting his eyes, there used to come over him what resembled a swoon, his face would foam and he would roar like a young camel.” (Mizanu’l Haqq, page 345)
Furthermore, it is beyond doubt that Mohammad was deeply troubled by his first revelations (Siratu’l Rasool vs. 156). One Hadis goes so far as to state that he even contemplated suicide. Other Hadis mention that when inspiration was sent down to him, Mohammed’s countenance changed, and he was troubled at the happening.
He also became very heavy, so that his camel, if he was sitting on it, went down. Zaid ibn Thabith reported that:
“Once his leg fell upon mine, and, by Allah, there is no such heavy leg as was that of the Apostle of Allah. . . . As often as the Prophet received inspiration, it seemed as if his soul was being taken from him, for he had always a kind of swoon and looked like one intoxicated.” (Insanu’l Uyun as quoted in Mizanu’l Haqq, page 346).
It is related by Waqidi that “Mohammed had such a repugnance to the form of the cross, that he broke everything brought into his house with that figure upon it.”
On one occasion, Muhammad was visited by an overpowering presence and instructed to recite words of such beauty and force that he and others gradually attributed them to God. This experience so unnerved Muhammad that he could not talk about it outside his family for a number of years. After several similar experiences, Muhammad finally began to reveal the messages he was receiving to his tribe. It was not until a hundred years or so after his death that these revelations were gathered verse by verse to become the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred scripture.
His revelations met with great resistance by his contemporaries, but Muhammad was a brilliant general who led an army to fight those who opposed him. He killed all the men of the Jewish tribe of Medina (with the exception of eleven), and forced their wives and children to accept Islam. Eventually after three wars, Muhammad and his followers were successful and the Arab tribes submitted to Islam.
On June 8, 632, Muhammad died after a brief illness. He is buried in the mosque in Medina. Within a hundred years of Muhammad’s death, brutal wars spread Islam from the remote corners of Arabia as far east as Indo-China and to as far west as Morocco, France, and Spain. And they continue to cause war today.
Another element that must be included in our consideration of Islam: it was the Islamic traders that enslaved the Africans that eventually were shipped to America.
Where did Muhammed get his revelations that spawned all this violence? He got them from the devil. Muhammad may have been perfectly sincere in his belief that God was talking to him, but the devil is the master liar. Jesus says:
“The devil was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all. When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
“Nevertheless, the devil is able to clothe himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14,15) “It is nothing extraordinary, then, when his servants disguise themselves as the servants of uprightness.”
When we examine the bizarre way the revelations came to Muhammad and the violent teaching of Muhammad’s revelations, we can see the diabolic nature of them. There is no command to love. What Islam requires is total submission to the revelations of Muhammad. In fact, Islam means submission, and the submission demanded is precisely to the devil’s teaching – without question.
Any person or group that questions the values of Islam is immediately threatened with violence, including death. As a result, few are willing to endanger themselves in applying any kind of negative evaluation of Islamic teachings. Fear is a great tool of the devil and the primary way by which he keeps his followers in line. Some Muslims are innocent victims of the devil’s lies. Unfortunately, many are not.
That kind of submission is very different from the discipleship Christ calls for:
All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, `Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and jointheirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory. (Romans 8:14-26)
Salmon Rushdie is still under a death threat for satirizing Islam in his 1998 novel, The Satanic Verses. In 1989, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini put out a fatwa on Rushdie. The $2.5 million bounty did not disappear when Khomeini died 2 months later. Rushdie went into hiding in London. The way in which Rushdie wrote about the prophet Muhammad offended and outraged many Muslims. They killed his Japanese translator and stabbed his Italian translator. The director of his Norwegian publisher was shot but survived his wounds.
The Muslims rose in another great battle over a negative cartoon in a Danish paper in September, 2005. So severe was the Muslim reaction that it caused an international incident. The controversy deepened when further examples of the cartoons were reprinted in newspapers in more than fifty other countries.
Muslims were aroused around the world, resulting in more than 100 deaths. In addition, Muslims set fire to the Norwegian and Danish Embassies in Syria, stormed European buildings, and desecrated the Danish, Norwegian and German flags in Gaza City. While a number of Muslim leaders called for protesters to remain peaceful, other Muslim leaders across the globe, including Mahmoud al Zahar of Hamas, issued death threats. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark’s worst international crisis since World War II.
Pope John Paul II was shot in Saint Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 by a Muslim Turkish gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca, who was arrested minutes later and convicted of attempted murder. Even Pope Benedict was vigorously attacked when he quoted an 11th century scholar about the violence of Islam.
There are only two courses of actions to overcome the diabolical power of Islam: Prayer and a re-evangelization of the world by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Saint Peter says:
“Keep sober and alert, because your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that it is the same kind of suffering that the community of your brothers throughout the world is undergoing. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will restore you, he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Peter 5:8)