By Fayek Iskander
An ongoing series designed to prepare Christians to discuss their faith with Muslims.
The foremost terrorist group in modern times is The Muslim Brotherhood that started in Egypt in the 1920s. It is devoted to inciting jihad and violence against Jews and Christians. The writings of Hassan El-Banna, who founded the organization and Sayyd Qube, a leading figure and thinker of The Brotherhood, have deeply affected the Muslim mind. Their writings call Muslims to follow the teaching of the Qur'an and the life and teaching of Muhammad. They also urge Muslims to use all possible means, including violence, to liberate mankind from any government that is not Islamic and to apply the law of Allah, so called shari'ah, everywhere. However, The Brothers are currently leading Muslims in the West to work in a different way. They are working to destroy the Western civilization from within. Muslims in Australia are trying to do what Muhammad did in Mecca before he became powerful enough to use violence, i.e. to peacefully convert people to Islam.
Muslims in Australia, at this stage, are trying to be nice and friendly. They are keen to hold, so called, interfaith meetings with the aim of promoting their religion. The individuals are keen to talk with Anglo Australians about the issue of religion. Their aim is to convert people to Islam. This is a great opportunity that Christians should use. We do not need to keep away from Muslims or avoid talking to them. If they do not start talking to you, you should initiate the conversation about religion and you will find them open to talk. You will find them interested in talking more than listening. Listen to them so that you can politely and lovingly encourage them to listen to you. They will probably give you a copy of the Qur'an. Take it from them and read it. By doing so, you will encourage them to accept a New Testament that you should offer them and in many cases they will read it.
Before approaching Muslims to talk or listen to them you must:
1. Know that you are born again.
We approach people to share with them the Gospel of salvation. How can I talk about a salvation that I haven't experienced? We call this ministry Witnessing to People. How can I witness something I don't know? If a “non-bornagain” so called “Christian” talks and listens to Muslims, there will be a big possibility for them to convert to Islam, since Satan and his followers are very shrewd. I have seen people who confess to being “Christians”, when they are not truly born again, undertaking training to witness to Muslims. In the training programme they visited the mosque. Subsequently, some of them converted to Islam and some were about to convert, when I encountered them.
2. Know your Bible.
First, studying the Word of God makes Christians grow in faith and in knowing the Lord, and strengthens their spiritual life so that their message may touch the hearts of their listeners. Second, we share with Muslims the Gospel of Christ from the Word of God and not from the Qur'an or any other source. Therefore, we need to have the ability to explain the biblical teaching of salvation, crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, eternal life, the doctrine of the Triunity of God, etc. Third, since Satan is trying hard to keep people away from the Word of God, he always makes Muslims accuse the Bible of being corrupted. Therefore, we need to be able to show them from history and from within the Bible itself that its corruption is just a claim which could not possibly have happened. (For more on this see CETF # 50 - December 2009 pp. 6-7 – www.cwm.org.au).
3. Know the Islamic beliefs.
The Islamic beliefs of God, angels, revelation of the Holy Scriptures, forgiveness of sins (note that there is no salvation in Islam), eternity and Paradise, etc are different to what Christians believe. Even some terms in the Islamic teaching have different meanings to what Christians understand. In Islamic teaching, the 'day of resurrection' means when the last hour has arrived; the 'Christian Trinity' means three gods (God, Mary and Jesus), Jesus being 'the Son of God' means physical sonship, the 'Holy Spirit' is the angel Gabriel, etc. It is important to know the Islamic teachings and terminology in order to understand them and explain to them what we mean by the terms we use, when communicating with them. Most of the Islamic beliefs and teachings, which are related to the Christian teachings, are taken from the Qur'an. There are Islamic doctrines that are found in the Hadith and not in the Qur'an. However, reading the Qur'an is enough since most Muslims do not read the Hadith and by reading the Qur'an we can lovingly encourage them to read the Bible.
Reading the Qur'an is not an easy task. You will find that each chapter does not speak of a specific theme, but jumps suddenly from one subject to another and sometimes mentions unrelated subjects unnecessarily. Stories are mentioned without context, which makes it hard for the normal reader to understand them. For example; the story of the people of the cave, in chapter 18, who slept for 300 years, and people of the elephant, in chapter 105, whom Allah pelted with stones of baked clay. Some Christians said to me; “Reading the Qur'an is boring, so how can we be required to read it?” Yes it is boring, but for the sake of sharing the Gospel of salvation with Muslims, whom the Lord Jesus loves, we need to make whatever effort we can. Remember that when we read the Qur'an, we will encourage our Muslim friends to read the Bible. Thank God, many of them have come to faith in Christ by reading the Bible.
4. Show Muslims that the truth is found only in Christ.
Some Christians suggest that to avoid offending Muslims we should present the Gospel of Christ to them without contrasting it with Islam. But the Bible and experience tell us to speak the truth about Islam and present the true Gospel to Muslims. Also, remember that religious Muslims are ready to get offended even if we do only speak to them of the deity and crucifixion of Jesus without talking about Islam. Some Christian missionaries, trying to be wise to win Muslims, have gone so far as to write on their business card “Prophet Ibrahim, Muhammad and Isa” and “Prophet Isa, peace be upon him.” I feel offended by this because it is insulting to the Lord Jesus. He is not a prophet like Muhammad or even Abraham. His name is not “Isa” but “Jesus” or, in Arabic, Yasou'. He does not need peace for He is the Prince of Peace and the peace giver. We must avoid compromise and false witness.
The Lord said to Jeremiah:
I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.
Paul said to the Ephesians who worshipped Artemis and her statue that gods made with hands are no gods at all.
Barnabas and Paul said to the idol worshippers at Lystra:
We preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth.
Most of the converts from Islam come to Christ by one of two ways: the Lord Jesus appears to them and performs miracles among them; OR they doubt their religion and question the Qur'an and the life of Muhammad.
I have met many of both kinds of converts.
There are two Arabic Christian satellite TV channels; Al-Hayah (the life) and Al-Gari'ah (the courageous). They are targeting Arabic speaking Muslims especially in the Middle East. Thank God, Al-Hayah has reached Australia. The presenters, especially so called “Father” Zakareia Botros, who is an ex-Orthodox priest, and Brother Rashied, who is a convert from Islam, openly criticize Islam, the Qur'an and Muhammad. Consequently, thousands of Muslims including imams come to the Lord Jesus. The Saudi Arabian authority and Al-Azhar, the highest Islamic Sunni leadership including an Islamic university in Egypt are very furious and have been trying to stop people from watching these channels. Some Egyptian journalists have asked Al-Azhar scholars to reply to Zakareia Botros and they have been embarrassingly unable. That is why I believe that most of the Muslim scholars and religious leaders know that Islam is not from the true God.
Many Muslims do not read the Qur'an to understand it, nor do they read the Hadith (the traditional teaching and actions of Muhammad) or Muhammad's biography. In addition, to keep Muslims away from the Bible, their religious leaders tell them that the Bible is altered and the Qur'an has been preserved since the time of Muhammad till now. When we show them that this claim is false and tell them the teaching of their religion and compare it with the Gospel of Christ, they will see the huge difference and some of them will come to the Lord.
To stop us from criticizing Islam, which cannot stand criticism, Muslims accuse us of offending them. In fact, we make them accuse us of offending them when we make this an issue and talk about it. Muslims previously accused us of offending them by Christmas celebration in Australia when some Australian community leaders talked about it. After 11th September 2001, some Australian Muslims stood up for Christmas celebration. Muslims have stopped talking of this issue. Muslim preachers and teachers in Australia rudely and harshly attack Christianity. The Islamic book shops in Australia are full of books that attack the Bible and the Person of the Lord Jesus, and books that incite jihad against the infidel Christians and Jews. Yet, we are too sensitive and do not want to talk about Islam. I am not saying that we should copy their behaviour and attack them. But when we do not reply to their accusations, the Muslim religious leaders tell their people that our faith is weak and that we are not able to reply. Then, they will be stronger in keeping their people away from the Bible. We must witness to the Truth.
For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice – John 18:37.