13 December 2017

Insight Into Islam – part 2

Part 2: Understanding the World of Islam.

As an educated Middle Eastern Muslim, Majed made his pilgrimage to Mecca, the fifth pillar of Islam, at the age of nineteen. But his spiritual journey was to result in a radically different discovery. Through Bible correspondence and meeting with Christians it was finally revealed to him that the ultimate divine truth is not a religious framework, but a divine person, Jesus Christ.

On his becoming a Christian, Majed’s family disowned him and he was forced to leave the country. Now he is living out the consequence of this life-changing revelation.

Majed is currently involved in ministry to Muslims, mainly on Christian literature translation and Bible commentaries. He is also involved in speaking in Churches in N. Ireland and Europe to explain the faith of Islam and the challenges faced by evangelism to Churches. Majed’s full story is written in a book called “The Fifth Pillar”, published by Piquant.

This year, Majed graduated from Belfast Bible College after completing a post graduate theological course. The aim was to deepen his understanding of the theological aspects of the Bible and the Christian faith so that he could better approach the Muslim community with an apologetic approach in both dialogue and respect.

Majed is currently based in N. Ireland for another year.

In our series, ‘Understanding the World of Islam’, we begin to encounter its history and beliefs. In the October issue we looked at the Political, Economical, and Social conditions in Pre-Islam Arabia. We also examined the state of religion in the Pre-Islamic era. In this issue, we are going to look closely at some fundamental ‘Articles of Faith’ in Islam.

The Articles of Faith in Islam:

The true Muslim believes in the following principles or ‘Articles of Faith’. Here is a summary of a selection of them:

God Is One:

This is the most fundamental belief in Islamic faith; There is only one God – ‘Allah’. He is supreme, eternal, infinite, mighty, merciful and compassionate. He sees all things; is present everywhere. Allah is the sole creator and sustainer of the universe, and is not a Trinity, but is one – all-knowing and all-powerful. Muslims believe he created all mankind. In order for this article to be effective, it requires complete trust and submission to God. It secures man’s dignity and saves him from guilt.

Messengers of God:

Muslims believe in all the messengers of God without any discrimination. These messengers were great teachers and true defenders of the faith. Muhammad takes the position of the last messenger and stands as the crowning glory of the foundation of prophethood.

They also believe that all God’s messengers, starting from Adam through to Jesus, were sent to prepare the way for the final prophet Muhammad.

Day of Judgment and Hereafter:

In Islam, like any other religion, the Day of Resurrection is believed to be God’s final assessment of humanity. The sequence of events (according to the most commonly held belief) is the annihilation of all creatures, resurrection of the body, and the judgment of all sentient creatures.

Muslims believe that Allah will judge all people on the Day of Judgment. There is an eternal hell for those who are not Muslims, those who are not practicing Islam, and those who are not of the truth faith. They also believe that Hell is a place of unlimited capacity, an eternal torment of fire. Heaven (Paradise) is believed to be a garden of bliss. Judgment is based on a person’s sincere repentance and righteous deeds.

Scriptures and Revelations:

True Muslims believe in all the scriptures and revelation of God, as the guiding light to the right path to God. As the Prophet Muhammad is the last messenger to mankind until the Day of Resurrection, God has given him an everlasting miracle as a supporting proof. The Qur’an, the miracle of this age, is a book that remains in the hands of millions, open for all to examine its contents.

The Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the actual word of God. It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, 1400 years ago, in successive portions. It is utterly preserved to this day and will remain so until the Judgment day; a command set in the Quran.

“And unto thee have we revealed the Scripture with the truth confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it.” (Qur’an 5:48)

However, in the Qur’an, there are many references made to books of the Bible and forefathers of the Christian faith – Abraham, Moses – the Torah (the first five books of Moses), David – The Psalms, and the book of Jesus – Al Injeel – the message that Jesus gave, written down, but Muslims believe that no longer exists.

They believe that Qur’an is the only authentic and complete book that exists today and that it supersedes all other books before. It is accepted to be the final divine truth.

Angels:

Angels are mentioned many times in the Qur’an, and Islam is clear on the nature of angels in that they are messengers of God. They have no free will, unlike humans, and can only do what God orders them to do.

They are purely spiritual beings whose nature requires no food, drink, or sleep. They have no physical desires or material needs. Each one of them has a designated duty to carry out God’s will.

Many Muslims believe that there are two angels which sit on each person’s shoulders. The right angel records good deeds, and the left one records the bad deeds carried out by the individual. The book in which the angels are writing is the cumulative record of a given person’s deeds. After that person’s death, it is said that on the Day of Judgement each person will be confronted with this record, and the two angels will be present to tell God of what the person did.

God’s Infinite Power

This article of faith emphasises the timeless knowledge of God and his power to execute his plan. His knowledge and power are in action at all times to keep order in his vast domain and maintain full command over his creation.

Islam Universal

Muslims believe that every person is born Muslim. This means that every person is imbued with spiritual potential and intellectual inclinations that can make him a good Muslim, if he has the right access to Islamic teaching.

Salvation by Beliefs and Practices

Islam teaches that man must work out his salvation through the guidance of God. This means that in order to attain salvation, a person must combine faith and deed; there is no such thing as free salvation.

In the next issue we will be looking in detail at the Core Beliefs of Islam, known as ‘The Five Pillars’.

Majed Tinawi