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REACHING OUT

Islam: How to Respond


Are you wondering what Islam is all about? Do you want to reach out to your Muslim neighbors? Here is a guide to getting started.

Fast Facts on Muslims

  • Nearly 1.3 billion people follow the Islamic faith.
  • Muslims are concentrated in Asia and Africa, but have a presence in nearly every country of the world.
    Muslims are serious and devoted to their religion.
  • They pray several times each day and observe several holy days, including Ramadan, a time of denial and fasting.
  • Muslims zealously guard their version of family. In many traditional Muslim cultures, women are kept isolated from potential contact with other men and children; wives are kept from outside influence or contacts.
  • Muslims will be most open to Christianity the first few years they are in a new country. Look for students or businessmen you can befriend.

Truths About Christianity and Islam

Jesus said, "They will know you are Christians by your love." How can you love someone who seems to hate you and your religion? Be like Christ Himself. He loved the very people who took His life.

Start by agreeing with a Muslim on basic concepts: Yes, Allah is the god of Islam, just not the Lord God of the Bible. Sure Mohammed is Allah's prophet, but not a prophet of the Christian faith. And the Koran contains the scriptures of Islam, but Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

Here are 10 things you should know about the Christian faith and Islam that will help you effectively share the Lord Jesus Christ with Muslims. Start by agreeing on the authority of Scripture, and then you can quote passages from the Bible when witnessing to a Muslim.

1. Muslims believe that the Bible is corrupted.

Muslims have been taught that God took the real Scriptures away because Jews attempted to manipulate the content for their own interest. Muslims believe God then provided humanity with the Koran as the true Word of God. This helps explain Muslim hostility to Christianity and why they don't read the Bible.

However, the Koran itself quotes Old and New Testament truths and the belief in and reverence for the Christian Bible is an article of Muslim faith.

The Bible itself is one of the most reliable books written in history. The fact is that Christians today possess early accurate copies of the Bible and these agree in all essentials with the Bible translations we have today. It was not corrupted either before Mohammed's time or since, and Mohammed himself clearly stated that the Bible was the Word of God, "revealed to you from your Lord."

2. The Koran Reveals That Allah Is Lower Than His Creation.

Twenty-four times in the Koran Allah swears by something other than himself: the angels, the winds, a mountain, a star, the sky, the sun and so on. It is sort of like going to court as a witness, and instead of swearing on the Bible or even the Koran, you would swear to tell the truth based on the authority of say, a fig tree or the earth. In the Bible, the Lord God swears by Himself, the I Am.

3. Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Yet, the Koran actually asserts that Jesus had the very Spirit of God.

"O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, was a Messenger of Allah, and His Word and a Spirit from Him." (Quran 4:171)

4. Muslims deny that Jesus was crucified or was resurrected from the dead.

This seems shameful to them. But, the Bible teaches that Jesus was crucified, not out of any weakness, but to save people from destruction and provide forgiveness for sin. Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 53) 1,000 years before Jesus' crucifixion proves that it was in God's plan, not an incidental event. Even the Koran speaks about three prominent days in the life of Jesus:

Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive." (Surat Maryam 19:33 MPT)

The Bible mentions about 500 eyewitnesses who saw the risen Jesus. (Acts 2:22-24)

5. Islam believes it is the only true religion.

Islam teaches that it is the only true religion. The Koran commands Muslims to battle with believers in other religions.

Fight People of the Book (Christians and Jews), who do not accept the religion of the truth (Islam), until they pay tribute (penalty tax) by hand, being inferior." Surah 9:29.

6. Islam blocks the way for Muslims to convert to other religions.

Muslims have never been given the right to convert. If they do, they can be punished according to the apostasy rule, which states that such a person should be punished by death. Mohammed said:

"Whoever changes his religion, kill him." (Al Buhkari Vol. 9:57)

Resisting Islam is met by amputation:

"…punished by death, crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet." (Surah 5:33)

The Bible, however, in sharp contrast, teaches believers to "go into all the world and preach the good news of salvation and make disciples of all peoples." (Matt 28: 18-20) Christians are even expected to be persecuted and to die for this cause. (Matthew 5:11-12)

However, many Muslim countries are tolerant of Christians and allow churches and other expressions of Christianity to exist. We hear in the press and media about all the extreme incidents of intolerance, but many Muslim peoples and countries are tolerant and helpful to Christians.

7. Christianity is based on faith not works.

The Bible teaches that sinful humans can only approach a holy and just God through the provision of a substitutionary sacrifice in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus and a confession of his Lordship, we come into a personal relationship with the loving God of the universe. "The word of faith is this: That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10: 8-10.) "For by grace are you saved through faith, and it is not of yourselves, not of works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)

8. Islam openly confesses salvation by works.

The concept of grace and of sin and the need for divine redemption is entirely absent from Islamic theology. Islam makes God into an object of human manipulation and control: I can manipulate God by doing what He wants, then in turn He will let me do what I want.

9. The Bible teaches about the God of love who gives joy and peace.

These concepts are completely unreal to Muslims. There is no sense of intimacy, just a God who is a judge and measures out rewards or punishments. Muslims view God as transcendent, a being we cannot really belong to or call, "Abba! Father!" (Galatians 4:6) "But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

10. The Bible teaches that men and women are equal before God.

Christianity allows for women to have an equal place before God: "There is neither male nor female before him." Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven. Nowhere, does the Bible condone any form of mental or physical cruelty to women, but considers marriage a high and holy institution.

Islam allows men to marry up to four wives at a time, and permits verbal divorce. However, the vast majority of Muslim men only have one wife.

"As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, beat them..." (Surah 4:34)

A final thought:

Begin by praying and asking God to give you His love for the lost and unsaved. Start witnessing and sharing right where you are: to a neighbor, a co-worker, a family member. Then seek out Muslim businesses and organizations in your area. Look for ways to befriend them, and use their services in your community. The Lord will give you opportunities to become friends. Finally, read more. Go to your local Christian bookstore or church library and get books on witnessing in general and witnessing to Muslims. The Lord bless you and multiply your efforts.

Web sites where you can get more information:
Answering Islam

The Muslim-Christian Debate Web Site

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