Saturday, 25 October 2014

ISIS and Islam - A Christian Response

We've all seen and heard the stories of the relentless march of ISIS across Iraq and Syria. We've all heard various opinions from news networks, friends, family, social networks, and more. What I'd like to discuss is two-fold. First, what the Koran really teaches and second, the Biblical response to that.

Does Islam teach terrorism and is ISIS being obedient to the Koran?

The short answer is yes - to both.

The well-known website says the following:

The Koran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
“Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text.  They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.
“The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways.  Most of today's Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book's call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence.  Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny.  Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.
“Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed.  Muhammad's own martial legacy - and that of his companions - along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.”

Let’s take a closer look. The quote above mentions abrogation, which is an important doctrine within Islam. I'll let the Quran speak for itself here:

When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?” (Qur. 2:106)

Not only this but the Quran was not written chronologically. Scholars generally say the verses written later (chronologically)abrogate the earlier ones. Abu al-A‘la bin al-Shikhkhir, considered by Islamic theologians to be a reliable says:

"The Messenger of God abrogated some of his commands by others, just as the Qur'an abrogates some part of it with the other."

Muhammad accepted that God would invalidate previous revelation, often making ordinances stricter.

Chapter 9 is considered the last, or the one of the last, chapters written, and in it is the well known 'verse of the sword’ which abrogates 124 verses that called for tolerance, compassion, and peace.

So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” (Qur. 9:5)

So we see here that violence is a command. The final command. But there are many other verses dotted around the Quran including the very clear command to sacrifice life.

Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” (4:74)

This is also the basis for today’s modern day suicide bombers. And the basis for ISIS beheading is found in Chapter 8, verse 12:

I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

What then should the Christian response be to this? ISIS has slaughtered thousands of people, committed terrible, wicked acts on women and children, driven thousands from their homes, and much more. Muslims should be exterminated and wiped off the face of the earth. Right? Wrong!

I cannot comprehend how any Christian can express such a shocking level of hate. This is advocating waging out our own 'jihad' against them. As if two wrongs make a right. That is nowhere but in the book of foolishness. What is the second greatest commandment? “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Or more literally love the people you're around.

Why? Because every single one of us has the very same sinful nature capable of unimaginable evil. If even our righteousness is called filthy rags, how much worse is our sin? Not to mention we should love because God first loved us and we are commanded to imitate Him and grow in Christlikeness. And what did He do? He died for us.
  Many Muslims can't even understand the Quran. Why? Because the Quran was written in Arabic which is believed to be the only correct language, or at least the best language for the Quran as that was the original. So all they do is learn to pronounce the language but they cannot understand it. It would be like learning to pronounce but not understand Chinese. How can you hate a people that are so deceived and so blind they follow a book that they don't even know the contents of? Some will learn Arabic, study it and the Quran and even those people won't always accept the Auran is violent. Like many people who claim to be Christians and who don't live it, many Muslims are the same.

The response of the Christian believer is two-fold. Fulfill the Great Commission as obedient Christians and remember that God is our Father - our Abba. He will take care of us no matter what.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article. I'm curious though, what should be the response (if any) of Christians in the region to the attacks of ISIS? What do you think America should do, again, if anything?