Category Archives: Islam

Evangelizing Muslims (Final Part in Series)

Muslim scholars teach the “doctrine of tahrif,” which means “corruption” in Arabic. Christians and Jews, they claim, have “corrupted” the Torah and the Gospel (Injil in Arabic). However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the fact that Mohammed himself did not teach this. As we will see in a moment from the Koran itself, Mohammed commanded his followers to follow the Torah and the Gospel and to seek those out among the Jews and Christians who were in possession of these gifts from God before Islam came to be. Mohammed claimed the Jews and Christians did not understand the great tomes they possessed, but he never denied that they possessed those great tomes; he never denied that Jews and Christians possess true revelations from God. Mohammed claimed that the Torah and the Gospel actually point to him (Mohammed) as the true and final prophet of God, but that Christians and Jews do not understand this. But again, according to Mohammed, there are no real contradictions between the Torah, the Psalms, the “Injil,” and the Koran.

In fact, as we will see below, in one place, the Koran seems to say the entirety of the Bible actually points to him. Thus, Muslims should believe the entire Bible!

So where did the doctrine of “Tahrif” come from? This concept represents a later development in Muslim theology Muslim scholars developed in order to explain the obvious contradictions between the Koran and the Bible. But the problem with this is, not only did Mohammed never teach “tahrif,” as I said, we can know as a matter of historical fact that the idea itself is false anyway! For example, when Mohammed commands his followers to listen to and obey the “Injil,” or “Gospel,” that the Christians possessed, we know precisely what constituted that “Gospel” about which Mohammed spoke. Today, we have the Chester Beatty Papyri, dated from ca. AD 250 (some scholars today say it was written even earlier), over 300 years before Mohammed was born, and which contains the substance of the four Gospels as we have them today! Plus, we have the Codex Vaticanus, AD 325-350, which contains the entire New Testament, and 5,300 more manuscripts, written in many different languages (Latin, Greek, Aramaic, etc.) that all demonstrate the “Gospel” of Mohammed’s day is essentially the same Gospel we have today.

The Koran and the Bible

With the above in mind, I recommend the “Detective Columbo” approach when conversing with Muslims. In other words, I ask questions:

Maybe I’m mistaken, so perhaps you can help me, but I don’t understand why on the one hand the Koran states we should follow the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, the Bible, and the witness of Jesus while elsewhere it denies some of the most basic teachings Jews and Christians hold dear from these very sacred books. The Koran states these are “revelations from God,” and yet denies essential teachings from these same revelations. Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

Then I list these texts from the Koran for starters:

The Apostles We sent before you were but men whom We inspired with revelations and with scriptures. Ask the People of the Book, if you doubt this (Sura 16:43).

The “People of the Book” are the Jews and Christians.

Say: People of the Book, you will attain nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord. That which is revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase the wickedness and unbelief of many among them. But do not grieve for the unbelievers (Sura 5:68).

After them, We sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating what was revealed before it in the Torah, a guide and an admonition to the righteous. Therefore let those who follow the Gospel judge according to what God has revealed therein. Evil-doers are those that do not base their judgments on God’s revelations (Sura 5:46-47).

According to Mohammed, Jesus was a prophet and his words—the Gospel—should be believed and obeyed!

Here’s where the problems really start. The question I ask my Muslim friends is this:

The Koran teaches we should believe and follow the revelations of both the Torah and the Gospel, but it seems to me, with all due respect—maybe I’m wrong here—but it seems to me, Mohammed did not know or understand the clear teachings of these that he acknowledged to be “revelations” from God.

At this point I give these examples that are not intended to be exhaustive. These are just a few among the many we could cite:

1. Sura 2:75 tells us that the Torah is “the Word of God.”
2. Sura 10:62-64: “The servants of God have nothing to fear or to regret. Those that have faith and keep from evil shall rejoice both in this world and in the hereafter; the Word of God shall never change. That is the supreme triumph.”
3. Sura 6:34 tells us “none can alter the words of Allah,” yet, the “Doctrine of Tahrif” says, in essence, “the Word of God” was corrupted by Jews and Christians. This simply does not work here. Moreover, Muslims teach a “doctrine of Naskh” as well. “Naskh” is Arabic for “abrogation.” It states later “revelations” in the Koran can “abrogate” earlier ones. But if the “word of God” cannot change, how can there be “abrogation?”

Let’s continue:

4. The original “Gospel” of Jesus Christ, or Injil, is a revelation from God according to Sura 5:46, 66, 68, and 70.
5. Jesus was a prophet and his words should be believed by Muslims (Sura 4:171; 5:77). Thus, Christians and Muslims were obligated to accept the “Gospel” of Mohammed’s day, according to the Koran. In fact, Sura 10:94 even says, “If thou [Mohammed] wert in doubt as to what We have revealed Unto thee, then ask those Who have been reading The Book [the Bible] from before thee; The truth hath indeed come To thee from thy Lord; So be in no wise Of those who doubt.”

That was allegedly God speaking to Mohammed and telling him to go to the Bible in order to confirm the revelations he was receiving!

The problem for Muslims is this: If you obey what God said, according to the Koran, to Mohammed, you will end up Christian. And this is why:

1. The Koran says:

Jesus is not the Son of God in Sura 19:35; 10:68.

The Bible says:

Jesus is the Son of God in John 1:18; 3:16; 17:1-5, etc.

In fact, in Mark 14:62, the High Priest had placed Jesus Christ under oath exercising his “power of adjuration” from Leviticus 5:1 (see Matt. 26:63), and demanded to know specifically if Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God. Jesus’ response was telling. He declared:

“I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his clothes, and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy…”

Not only did Jesus declare himself to be the Son of God and reference Daniel 7:13, a messianic text, and apply it to himself, but he also used the divine name, I AM, from Exodus 3:14, for himself as well! In one fell swoop, he refers to himself as God, the Son of God, and the Messiah. The Koran denies he is the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh.

Moreover, Jesus blessed both Nathanael in John 1:49 and, of course, St. Peter in Matt. 16:13-18 for declaring him to be the Son of God.

2. The Koran says:

Jesus did not die, nor was he crucified, according to Sura 4:157-59. Someone else was crucified in his place, and Christians wrongly believe he was crucified. God actually took Jesus up alive.

The Bible (and history) says:

The Old Testament predicted Jesus would die in Is. 53:5-10; Psalm 22:16; Dan. 9:26; Zech. 12:10, and Wisdom 2:20.

Jesus predicted his own death and resurrection (only a corpse can be resurrected!) in John 2:19-21; 10:10-11; Matt. 12:40; Mark 8:31, etc. In Matt. 17:22-23, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men and they will kill him, and the third day He will be raised.”

Moreover, we have multiple secular histories that record the same. Josephus’, “Aniquities of the Jews” 18:3, says: “Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross.”

Tacitus, the Roman Historian, “Annals,” 15:44. “A wise man who was called Jesus… Pilate condemned him to be condemned and to die.”

Julius Africanus, in ca. 220 AD, records the words of Thallus, the first century historian, who, “… when discussing the darkness which fell upon the land during the crucifixion of Christ…” said it was an eclipse.

“The Letter of Mara Bar-Serapion” (ca. 70 AD), housed in the British Museum, speaks of Christ’s death, asking: “What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?”

Even the often anti-Christian Jewish Talmud acknowledges “on the eve of the Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth)…” (Babylonian Talmud, Sandhedrin 43a)

We cannot even begin to quote the thousands of references from the early Christians referring to our crucified and resurrected Lord!

3. The Koran says Jesus is not God in Sura 5:72-73.

The Bible could hardly be clearer that Jesus is God. Here are just a few references:

In John 1:1-3, and Col. 1:15-16 Jesus is not only plainly called God (in John 1:1), but he is also referred to as the Creator of all things. God alone is the Creator of all things (see Genesis 1:1; Is. 44:24). In John 5:17-18, St. John tells us plainly that Jesus is “equal with the Father.” John 8:24; 28; 58, and 18:1-6, each reveal Jesus Christ using the divine name “I AM” for himself. See also Titus 2:13; John 20:28, and Heb. 1:6-11.

In Mark 2:28, Jesus refers to himself as “Lord of the Sabbath.” Only YHWH is Lord of the Sabbath (see Exodus 20:10, for example).

In Rev. 1:8, we have these words from almighty God: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” There can be no doubt that these words hearken back to Is. 44:6:

Thus saith the Lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and besides me there is no God” (see also Is. 48:16).

This has to refer to almighty God. And yet, Jesus says in Rev. 22:13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

And there is much, much more!

A Simple Question

In view of just these three examples, I have to ask my Muslim friends a question. Why would I accept the Koran which tells me to listen to the Torah, the Gospel, and even the entire Bible, when the Koran so blatantly contradicts the Bible?

And if I consider this especially in view of the fact that Jesus had already warned us “there shall arise false Christ’s and false prophets… Behold I have told you beforehand” in Matt. 24:24-25, and I could also add I John 4:1, which similarly warns, “Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” and then we have texts like I Tim. 4:1-3, Gal. 1:8-9, and II Cor. 11:3-4, and 13-14, that also give similar warnings, why would ignore all of these warnings and accept the Koran which is inundated with false prophecies?

I could go on to show you how Jewish belief is misunderstood in the Koran. I could show you the logical inconsistencies in the Koran itself. In fact, If you want to learn this and a whole lot more of why Mohammed is a false prophet, and why the Koran is laden with error, I suggest you get my CD set called “Islam Exposed,” available here.

But the bottom line here is this: Anyone who would honestly examine the facts concerning the Koran and the Bible must conclude Jesus Christ to be the Lord, God of heaven and earth, who calls us all to himself, and the Koran to be in grave error. What say you?

The Truth About Islam and Jihad (Pt. IV in Series)

Islamic attitudes toward non-Muslims are determined by many factors of which two are most necessary to consider. The first is Jihad or Holy War. The second is the concept of Dar Al Harb (Arabic for “House of War”) and Dar Al Islam (“House of Submission”) in Islamic tradition. “House of War” refers to any territory or people who are not living in submission to Islam. “House of Submission,” or Dar Al Islam, refers to any territory or people living in submission to the message of Muhammad.

The concept of Jihad (Arabic for Struggle) has been given two interpretations, which I argue, are actually not mutually exclusive. Some Muslims interpret “Jihad” as referring to “Holy War,” while others will say it refers to the spiritual “struggle” to live the Faith of Islam. Ayatollah Khomeini, one of the great Muslim leaders of our times said:

The Jihad means the conquest of non-Muslim territory. The domination of Koranic Law from one end of the earth to the other is… the final goal… of this war of conquest” (Jihad, Paul Fregosi, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 1998, p.20).

It is important for we in the West to understand that for 100′s of millions of Muslims, the Jihad is considered to be a religious obligation. In fact, for some it is considered a sixth obligation for all able-bodied Muslims. Many of us have heard of the famous “five pillars” of belief for Muslims, but there are actually “five pillars” of both belief and action that are required for all able-bodied Muslims. And, again, for some, there are six “pillars:”

ACTION:                                                  BELIEF:

  1. Confession                                         1. God
  2. Prayer                                                  2. The Prophets
  3. Fasting                                                 3. The Scriptures
  4. Almsgiving                                         4. Angels
  5. Pilgrimage                                         5. The Last Day (Judgment)
  6. Jihad                                                    6. Qadar (predestination)

“Qadar” is especially important for Sunni Muslims who believe in a strict predestination akin to the beliefs of Calvinists among Christians. Shi’ites tend more toward free will in their theology. But Sunni make up about 85% of Muslims world-wide. ”Jihad,” on the other hand, is a concept that spans the spectrum of Muslims, both Shi’ite and Sunni. Muslims also, more universally, view the expansion of Islam as the predestined will of God that cannot be thwarted; therefore, it is a natural historical development and a duty for individual Muslims to participate in. The destiny for Islam is seen as the conquest of the whole world. All must submit to Koranic Law, whether they are believers or not!

Jihad has had over 1300 years of history and has engulfed and affected many nations in Asia, Africa, and Europe. In Europe, Muslim armies of conquest have been to Tours in France, sacked the City of Rome in Italy, conquered South Eastern Europe up to the Danube, laid siege to Vienna twice, controlled the Ukraine of Russia and invaded more than once the Iberian peninsula. In Africa, all of North Africa has been conquered and converted by centuries of Islamic domination, except for the Egyptian Coptics who have suffered tremendous persecution over the centuries, and are experiencing a brutality today that we have a hard times even attempting to comprehend in the West. You will also find a smattering of Christians, also persecuted to greater or lesser degrees around North Africa. I personally encountered a few of these when I went on an undercover missions trip to Morocco many years ago.

West and Eastern Africa have been terrorized by Islamic Slave raids and armies of conquest for centuries even down to our time where Boko Haram, and various other Muslim groups continue to brutalize, kill, and enslave Christians and all who do not accept their radical views. In Asia, wherever there is a majority of Muslims, non-Muslim minorities suffer discrimination and grave injustice to their basic human rights in our time. While Western, Central and Southern Asia have had centuries of wars of Muslim conquest.

We are being asked to believe today that all of this represents just a relatively few “extremists” who have hijacked true Islam.


In reality, there are approximately 120, conservatively speaking, verses in the Koran which deal with killing and fighting for Islam and these verses are favorable to this aggression if done to advance the cause of Islam.

In the nine-volume translation of “the Hadiths” of Dr.Muhammad Muhsin Khan, titled “The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih Al-Bukhari” (Kazi Publications, Lahore, Pakistan, 1979), there is clear witness of the importance and priority of Jihad in Islamic thought that represents more than just a struggle to overcome evil in one’s own heart. In Volume 1, no. 25, it declares:

Allah’s apostle was asked, “What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allah and his Apostle.” The questioner then asked, “What is the next [in goodness]?” He replied, “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause.”  

 In a previous post, we have already seen from Muhammad’s own life what he thought of Jihad. But let’s look at his Koran.

I should note here that while the Koran does say “there shall be no compulsion in religion,” it also, shall we say, “nuances” itself as to what “compulsion” means in ordering religious military conquests in which the newly conquered are offered Death, conversion to Islam, or extreme taxation which reduces them to semi-servile status or even slavery as their options. One cannot deny that these options are certainly strong extrinsic compulsions to convert to Islam. But again, let’s examine the Koran itself:

There shall be no compulsion in religion. True guidance is now distinct from error. He that renounces idol-worship and puts his faith in God shall grasp a firm handle that will never break. God hears all and knows all (Sura 2:256).

Believers: do not make friends with those who are enemies of Mine and yours. Would you show them kindness, when they have denied the truth that has been revealed to you and driven out the Apostle and yourselves, because you believe in God, your Lord (Sura 60:1).

Believers: do not befriend your fathers or your brothers if they choose unbelief in preference to faith. Wrongdoers are those that befriend them (Sura 9:23).

Prophet: rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding (Sura 8:65).

Whether unarmed or ill-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of God, with your wealth and with your persons. This will be best for you if you but knew it (Sura 9:41).

Believers make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous (Sura 9:123).

Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers, except to these idolaters who have honored their treaties with you in every detail and added none against you. With these keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. God loves the righteous. When the sacred months (Referrring to Shawwal, Dhul-Qu’adah, Dhul-Hajjah, and Muharram) are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful….12 But if, after coming to terms with you, they break their oaths and revile your faith, make war on the leaders of unbelief – for no oaths are binding with them -  so that they may desist (Sura 9:4-5, 12).

Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors. Slay them wherever you find them. Drive them out of the places from which they drove you. Idolatry is more grievous than bloodshed. But do not fight them within precinct of the Holy Mosque unless they attack you there; if they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded; but if they desist, God is forgiving. Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion reigns supreme. But if they desist, fight none except the evil-doers (Sura 2:190-193).

Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a woeful scourge? Have faith in God and His Apostle, and fight for God’s cause with your wealth and your persons. That would be best for you, if you but knew it. He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running streams; He will lodge in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph (Sura 61:19-12).

Those that make war against God and his apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or banished from the country (Sura 5:33).

And people really wonder why we see Muslims “crucifying” Christians today?

If anyone thinks that God will not give victory to His apostle in this world and in the world to come, let him tie a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself. Then let him ponder if his cunning has done away with that which has enraged him (Sura 22:15-16).

Who Are the “Enemies of God” or, Those Who “Attack” Islam?

Many who defend Islam will be quick to point out that all of these verses in the Koran that talk about killing, crucifying, etc. only refer to aggressors who first “attack” Islam. But the truth is: Even though we do see the prophet speak against the idea of “attacking first,” and only kill those who “attack you,” the problem is the definition of “attack.”  According to the Koran, anyone who does not submit to Islam, or anyone who would dare to teach contrary to the Koran (like Christians and Jews!), is attacking Islam and needs to be vanquished in battle. Let me give you an example of what I mean from the Koran:

Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and his Apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the True Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued (Sura 9:29).

Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., pointed out to me in a conversation I had with him on this issue that the English translations of the Koran are often watered down to obscure the truth about what the Koran teaches. He is fluent in Arabic and showed me where the word translated as “Fight against” in Sura 9:29, actually means “kill.” “Kill them!” Kill who? All who do not embrace Islam until they are “utterly subdued,” and obey Koranic, or “Shariah” law.

Need I say more?

While I appreciate any “moderate” Muslim who attempts to “spiritualize” all of the troubling texts of the Koran, the truth is, the problem is not just with “radical Muslims,” though I must say that the killing, beheading, crucifying, of innocent children is nowhere to be found in the Koran. What these radical ISIS members, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other radicals are doing in killing innocent children, is definitely not sanctioned in the Koran. However, the problem is: the killing of those who do not embrace Islam is taught in the Koran.

Ibn Warraq in his book, Why I am not a Muslim, p. 11-12, footnote #33, quotes the famous Ayatollah Khomeini responding to Western apologists for Islam, and Muslim “moderates” concerning this matter:

Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless.

Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]?

Islam says: Kill them [the non-muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non- Muslims] overcome us?

Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender to the enemy?

Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword. People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet I spoke of above] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.

As Christians, we are always peacemakers first, but there is a time for war as Ecclesiastes 3:3,8 tells us. We pray for the conversion of all of these radical Muslims, and for Muslims in general. But, in the end, the only thing radical Islam seems to respond to universally is the point of a sword. Unfortunately, it is time for you and I to let our Congressmen and President know that we cannot allow our brothers and sisters in Christ, our Jewish brothers and sisters, and “moderate” Muslims as well, to be slaughtered as they are being slaughtered even as I write this. It must stop. And military intervention is the only way it will be stopped in our time, in my opinion.

But for now, we must educate ourselves and our families as to the threat we face, and be prepared to give a defense of our Faith and to evangelize our Muslim friends. There is much beauty and truth in Islam, as I said in an earlier post, but ultimately, these are a people who are in desperate need of their savior, Jesus Christ, as we all are! In my next and final post on Islam in this series, I will share some ideas on how we can, indeed, share the good news about Jesus Christ with our Muslim friends.

If you like this post and want to learn more, click here.

Slavery, Slave Concubines, and the Koran (Pt. III in Series)

As we are now well into the 21th century of the Christian era, we in the West think it strange that the institution of Slavery still exists in this period of “the Declaration of human rights” by the United Nations. How can any nation be a member of the UN which promotes this inhuman and wicked violation of basic human rights? And yet, Muslim nations around the world, including the so-called “moderate” Muslim nations enslave people, keep women is semi-servile status, and completely eliminate basic freedoms like “freedom of Religion” without a word from us? The question is: Are we going to continue the PC rhetoric of “the problem is not with Islam” or are we going to face the truth and walk in the footsteps of our Holy Father, Pope St. John Paul II, who I cited in my last post on Islam, as one who was quick to praise the good while not hesitating to point out the spiritual bankruptcy that is Islam.

What is even stranger than the atrocities going on in Muslim nations is the fact that the so-called flawless, perfect, inspired and eternally revealed word of God to Muhammad (the Qur’an or Koran) not only tolerates abhorrent and immoral institutions like slavery but gives its blessing to the most despicable form of slavery, that of slave concubines! The Koran denies the basic equality of humanity and considers women as inferiors (I will give you many quotes from the Koran below) and suitable as slave girls or concubines. The Koran teaches that men can have only four wives which are divorceable and as many slave girl concubines as supportable. Children of wives and their mothers are free and have the right of inheritance. Slave girl concubines and their children are slaves and their masters can deal with them as they are so disposed according to the Koran.

To us as Christians, these things are abhorrent! But this comes from the supposed “uncreated and flawless Word of God?” Perhaps we can understand why people may be duped into believing these grave errors if one believes that God is the creator of good and evil who wills both good and evil, as we saw in a previous post on Islam, but we can never excuse this type of outrage and we must challenge our Muslim friends to consider the truth.

Slavery and the Inferiority of Women

We’ll begin here by taking a look at the Koran on slave girls and the so-called “prophetic privilege” of Mohammed. In what Muslims refer to as the full complete and eternal revelation of the flawlessly perfect and revealed word of God, Muhammad states:

Sura 16:75:

God makes this comparison. On the one hand there is a helpless slave, the property of his master. On the other, a man on whom We have bestowed Our bounty, so that he gives of it both in private and in public. Are the two equal? God forbid! Most men have no knowledge.

Sura 2:178:

Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female….

Sura 4:34:

Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. God is high, supreme.

Sura 33:52:

It shall be unlawful for you to take more wives or to change your present wives for other women, though their beauty please you, except where slave girls are concerned. God takes cognizance of all things.

Sura 23:1:

Blessed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers; who avoid profane talk, and give alms to the destitute; who restrain their carnal desires [except with their wives and slave girls, for these are lawful to them] and do not transgress through lusting after women…

Sura 70:26-31:

[Blessed are they] who truly believe in the Day of reckoning, and dread the punishment of their Lord, [none is secure from the punishment of their Lord] who restrain their carnal desire [save with their wives and slave girls, for these are lawful to them], he that lust after other than these is a transgressor….

Sura 33:37:

And when Zayd (Muhammed’s adopted son) divorced his wife, We gave her to you in marriage, so that it should become legitimate for true believers to wed the wives of their adopted sons if they divorced them. God’s will must needs be done.

This is contrary to Lev. 18:15, “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law: because she is thy son’s wife, neither shalt thou discover her shame.”

Sura 33:51:

You may put off any of your wives you please and take to your bed any of them you please. Nor is it unlawful for you to receive any of those whom you have temporarily set aside. That is more proper so that they may be contented and not vexed, and may all be pleased with what you give them. God knows what is in your hearts. He is all knowing and gracious.

Mohammed’s “Prophetic Privilege” 

Sura 33:50:

Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This privilege is yours alone being granted to no other believer. We will know the duties We have imposed on the faithful concerning their wives and slave girls. We grant you this privilege so that none may blame you. God is forgiving and merciful.

Sura 33:4, 6-7:

God has never put two hearts within one man’s body. He does not regard the wives whom you divorce as your mothers, nor your adopted sons as your own sons. These are mere words which you utter with your mouths; but God declares the truth and guides to the right path… The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on each other His wives are their mothers. God ordains that blood relations are closer to one another than to other believers or muhajirin, although you are permitted to do your friends a kindness. That is in the Book decreed.

Sura 33:53-54:

Believers, do not enter the houses of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless you are given leave. But if you are invited, enter; and when you have eaten, disperse. Do not engage in familiar talk, for this would annoy the Prophet and he would be ashamed to bid you go; but of the truth God is not ashamed. If you ask his wives for anything, speak to them from behind a curtain. This is more chaste for your hearts and their hearts. You must not speak ill of God’s apostle, nor shall you ever wed his wives after him; this would be a grave offence in the sight of God. Whether you hide or reveal them, God has knowledge of all things.

After reading these texts of the Koran, my Catholic readers, or those not familiar with Islam, may well be shocked. To get us a better understanding of the underlying reasons for what seems so strange to us, perhaps at this point we should look at the life of Mohammed himself to get some more insight into Islam, help us to see the weaknesses and contradictions, and help us to be able to help our Muslim brothers be set free by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Mohammed is a prophet in Islamic teaching, but he is not the only prophet. He is “the seal of the prophets.” And the final prophet. Though the Koran does not give us a specific number of prophets, Muslim tradition has put the number at 240,000. About 25 of them are mentioned in the Koran, but according to the “Hadiths” there have been prophets throughout the history of the earth, in many nations, places, and among many peoples for thousands of years. In Sura 6:84-86 we read about some of these prophets. Most of them come from the Bible.

We gave him [Abraham] Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided: And before him We guided Noah, And among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron: Thus do We reward Those who do good: And Zakariya and John, And Jesus and Elias: All in the ranks Of the Righteous: And Ismail and Elisha, And Jonas, and Lot.

It is very important to remember that in the Koran, all of the prophets messages are said to never contradict one another. In fact, in Sura 5:50, Christians are told to look into their own Scriptures to find God’s revelation for them! And even Mohammed himself commanded his followers to test the truthfulness of his own message against the contents of the previous divine revelations give to the Jews and Christians (cf. Sura 10:94).

In Sura 29:46 we read:

And dispute ye not With the People of the Book, except with means better… But say, “We believe In the Revelation which has come down to us and in that Which came down to you.”

We will talk more about this later, but it is very important to remember that the Koran teaches that all prophets agree with one another because they receive revelation from the same God! We hear from Muslim scholars what would later be called the Doctrine of Tahrif, which claims the Jews and Christians corrupted their sacred texts, but the Koran does not teach this. The Koran accuses “the people of the book” of “knowingly hiding the truth” (Sura 2:42; 3:71), or even of verbally “distorting the message in their books” (Sura 3:78; 4:46) and not believing in all the parts of their Scriptures (Sura 2:85). In fact, in Sura 62:5, the Koran says they are like “that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not).” But never does the Koran teach that the revelations given to Jews and Christians had been corrupted. This doctrine developed as Muslim polemicists had to deal with the obvious contradictions between the Koran and the “revelations” of the Jews and Christians, which leads us to our next point:

Jesus in the Koran

Jesus is considered to be a prophet and his words are binding upon true Muslims. But Christians distort and deny his words and commit the unpardonable “sin of shirk” according to Sura 5:75:

They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary”… Whoever Joins other gods with God-God will forbid him The Garden, and the Fire Will be his abode.

Jesus is referred to as Messiah 11 times in the Koran. He is “the Word of God,” and “the Spirit of God” in Sura 4:169-71, “the Speech of Truth” (Sura 19:34-35), “a sign unto men,” and “Mercy from God” (Sura 19:21). But the Koran is very clear to deny his divinity against the Christians in Sura 5:78 and elsewhere.

There is a special vehemence against the thought of Jesus being “the Son of God.” Sura 10:68:

They [Christians] say: “God hath begotten a son” – glory be to him! He is self-sufficient… No warrant Have ye for this! Say ye about God what you know not?

However, it is interesting to note that Jesus is said to have been “created” in similar fashion to Adam, “by God’s command,” in Sura 3:59. The famous Muslim Apologist, the late Ahmad Deedat, said, “If Jesus is God, and the very Son of God because he had no earthly father, then Adam is a greater God, because he had no father and no mother! Simple basic common sense demands this deduction.” (Geisler, p. 62)

Crazy reasoning, but it affirms what the Koran affirms more than once. Jesus was born of a virgin in a miraculous birth! (See Sura 19:16-21; 3:37-45)

Jesus is also seen as “raised… up” to heaven in Sura 3:55; 4:158, and the Koran also says Jesus will return to earth one day to destroy every cross on earth and bring Islam to the world in the last days!

Sura 4:157-159 tells us that Jesus was not crucified. The Jews and Romans thought they crucified him, but they did not! There is much tradition surrounding Christ that says he will return one day and destroy all crosses, destroy all synagogues and churches, live 40 years and be buried in Medina beside Muhammad. The Koran refers to Apocryphal Gospels (which have been proven to be fakes, like the Gospel of Thomas), that have Jesus creating live birds from clay and proclaiming his prophethood from the cradle (Sura 19:29-31; 5:113). This kind of nonsense is easily shown to be erroneous from an historical perspective.

There is much we could say about Jesus as a prophet in Islam. Most important, of course, is the fact that he is a prophet in Islam! And as such, his words should be heeded as the Word of God!

I’ll tell you what. We will come back to that point later, but for now, let’s get back to the man, Mohammed himself.

Mohammed was born in AD 570 in Mecca. Not much is known of his years growing up, but he married his first wife, Khadijah, in 595, at the age of 25. She was 40. They had two sons, who both died in infancy, and four daughters.

His first “revelation” came when he was 40 in AD 610. Not many Christians know this, but Muhammad was deathly afraid and thought he was possessed by a Jinn or an evil spirit! He even contemplated suicide as a result!

As a Christian, of course, we have been warned: “If I or an angel from heaven preach unto you any other gospel other than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed!” See Gal. 1:8-9, cf. II Cor. 11:2-5,12-13, I Tim. 4:1-3, I John 4:1-2. This may well explain the demonic torments Mohammed went through. One can only wish a good Christian could have been there to guide Mohammed to the truth!

But at any rate, Muhammad’s wife, Khadijah, who died early on, in AD 619, encouraged him to be not afraid and was among his first converts along with Ali, his cousin, his adopted son, Zaid, and his life-long friend, Abu Bakr. At first, he was persecuted and rejected in Mecca and eventually kicked out of the city. But during this time, there was the occasion of the now famous “Satanic Verses.” Mohammed received a “revelation” during the time of persecution that told him to proclaim that the favorite deities of the Meccans, AL-LAT, AL-UZZA, AND MANAT could be considered divine beings whose intercession was effectual with God. Because this is recorded by the very earliest Muslim historians, there can be little doubt as to its historicity. They would not make something up that was this damning of their prophet. Some modern Muslim biographers try to discredit the story, but most simply say this is an example of Muhammad’s “humanity.” I would say it is an example of “fallibility!”

Mohammed received further “revelation” that the message was satanic and he replaced those words in the Koran with what we now have in Sura 53:19-23 (see also Sura 22:51, which alludes to it).

Tensions increased in Mecca until he was kicked out of the city, but he was then received in Medina. This is why these are the two holiest places in Islam.

It was during this period that Mohammed was supposed to have been carried to heaven and to Jerusalem miraculously. By the way, this is why Jerusalem is the third holy place in Islam. And it was during this time, as well, that he began to gather a significant number of followers. The main thrust of his message was the one-ness of God against the polytheism and idolatry of the day. But he had a problem. His followers were poor and they needed food. Some were involved in trade, but they could not support themselves. So guess what? Mohammed and his followers began to raid Meccan caravans and take what they wanted for “booty.” Then, of course, Muhammad had “revelations” and support for this from God! How convenient!

In Sura 22:39-40 and 2:244, God tells Mohammed and his followers to “Then fight in the cause of God, and know that God Heareth and knoweth all things.” And he also had “revelations” about “special rewards” and entrance to paradise for fighting for God in these holy wars (cf. Sura 4:95-97). Once again, how convenient!

In fact, the Battle of Badr in AD 624 (in March) is supposedly one of the “miracles” that prove Mohammed to be a prophet! They defeated an army of 950 Meccans with 300 Muslims! (cf. Sura 8:17; 65).

The Battle of Uhud, shortly thereafter, is not quite as popular because the Muslims were defeated by the Meccans! Does this “prove” Mohammed was not a prophet?

At any rate, Mohammed then gathered his people and went to war for Allah. They laid siege to Mecca and slaughtered the men and sold the women and children into slavery. Of course, this was by divine command. Then it was on to Medina two hundred miles to the south.

With this as just a brief backdrop, is it really a surprise that followers of Mohammed believe that “Jihad” does not just mean a “struggle” in one’s soul today, as many of the more “moderate” Muslims would have us believe? If you look to Mohammed himself, you see the ultimate example of what “Jihad” truly means!

At any rate, when you couple the example of Mohammed’s life with the metaphysical deficiencies of Islam, there is trouble brewing.

Back to the Koran

When you see the evolution of Koranic “revelations” that often seem to come at opportune times, it becomes, shall we say, interesting? For example: need money? Get a revelation that gives a divine stamp of approval to plundering! Slave girls and the “prophetic privilege” seem great for Muslim men and Mohammed, but I’m not so sure it bodes well for the slave girls. Remember: that’s the “revelation” Mohammed had that told him that he could have as many wives and slave girls as he wanted! He even married his adopted son’s ex-wife (Zayd’s ex-wife)! And his youngest wife was nine years-old!

The Koranic revelation of heaven proclaimed by Mohammed can be better understood now as well. Considering the Koran’s view of women, marriage, divorce, and slave girl concubines, the vision of heaven presented in the Koran is basically just more of the same. It’s a continuation of what a desert Bedouin male would dream of and desire. It should be recalled that for one who fights for Islam if that person dies he is assured of a desert Bedouin feast of carnal delights. If a warrior of Islam is victorious in battle he has the right of spoils, or, the “booty” of the unbeliever’s property as well as their women as slaves according to Muslim belief. You might ask, “Is that in the Koran?” Yes, it is! Here are some examples from the Koran:

Sura 4:95-96:

God has given those that fight with their goods and their persons a higher rank than those who stay at home. God has promised all a good reward; but far richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him.

Sura 18:30-31:

As for those that have faith and do good works, We shall not deny them their reward. They shall dwell in the gardens of Eden, where rivers will roll at their feet. Reclining there upon soft couches, they shall be decked with bracelets of gold, and arrayed in garments of fine green silk and rich brocade; blissful their reward and happy their resting place.

Sura 44:51-56:

As for the righteous, they shall be lodged in peace together amidst gardens and fountains, arrayed in rich silks and fine brocade… Yes, and we shall wed them to dark-eyed houris. Secure against all ills, they shall call for every kind of fruit; and, having died once, they shall die no more. Your Lord will through His mercy shield them from the scourge of Hell. That will be the supreme triumph.

Sura 37:40-49:

But the true servant of God shall be well provided for, feasting on fruit, and honored in the gardens of delight. Reclining face to face upon soft couches, they shall be served with a goblet filled at a gushing fountain, white, and delicious to those who drink it. It will neither dull their senses nor befuddle them. They shall sit with bashful, dark-eyed virgins, as chaste as the sheltered eggs of ostriches.

Sura 52:20-24:

They shall recline on couches ranged in rows. To dark-eyed houris We Shall wed them. We shall unite the true believers with those of their descendants who follow them in their faith, and shall not deny them the reward of their good works; each man is the hostage of his own deeds. Fruits, We shall give them, and such meats as they desire. They will pass from hand to hand a cup inspiring no idle talk, no sinful urge; and there shall wait on them young boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls.

The “young boys” comment is not worthy of even commenting on.

Sura 55:54-58:

They shall recline on couches lined with thick brocade, and within reach will hang the fruits of both gardens. Which of your Lord’s blessing would you deny? Therein are bashful virgins whom neither man nor jinnee will have touched before. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny Virgins as fair as corals and rubies? Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny?

Sura 55:70-76:

In each there shall be virgins chaste and fair. Which of your lord’s blessings would you deny? Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents (which of your Lord’s blessing would you deny? Whom neither man nor jinnee will have touched before. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets.

Sura 56:16-24:

They shall recline on jeweled couches face to face; & there shall wait on them immortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of purest Wine, (that will neither pain their heads nor take away their reason), with fruits of their own choice and flesh of fowls that they relish. And theirs shall be the dark-eyed houris, chaste as hidden pearls: a guerdon for their deeds.

Sura 56:36-40:

We created the houris and made them virgins, loving companions for those on the right hand: a multitude from the men of old, and a multitude from the latter generations.

Sura 76:12-21:

He will reward them for their steadfastness with Paradise and robes of silk. Reclining there upon soft couches, they shall feel neither the scorching heat nor the biting cold. Trees will spread their shade around them, and fruits will hang in clusters over them. They shall be served with silver dishes, and beakers as large as goblets; silver goblets which they themselves shall measure; and cups brim full with ginger flavored water from a fount called Salsabil. They shall be attended by boys graced with eternal youth, who to the beholder’s eyes will seem like sprinkled pearls. When you gaze upon that scene, you will behold a kingdom blissful and glorious. They shall be arrayed in garments of fine green silk and rich brocade, and adorned with bracelets of silver. Their Lord will give them pure nectar to drink.

Sura 78:31-34:

As for the righteous, they shall surely triumph. Theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed maidens for companions; a truly overflowing cup.

Some Muslim scholars will respond by saying that these verses are to be taken in a purely “spiritual” sense. “High-bosomed maidens?” “Boys graced with eternal youth?”


Is the Koran Free From Any Flaw?

Even some Muslim scholars admit this is not the case. In Sura 39:27, we read:

We have given mankind in this Qur’an all manner of parables, so that they may take heed. A Qur’an in the Arabic tongue, free from any flaw, that they may guard themselves against evil.

The Muslim claim that the language and teaching of the Koran are without parallel and that the Koran is its best proof because of its inherent perfection is clearly a weak argument, or no argument at all. We will get more into this topic in future posts, but for now, we note that Abdul Saleeb quotes the Shi’ite scholar, Ali Dashti, and others, who admit the Koran is anything but “flawless:”

The Iranian Shi’ite scholar Ali Dashti continues, however, that the Qur’an possesses numerous grammatical irregularities. He notes that, “The Qur’an contains sentences which are are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concord of gender and number; illogical and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subject.” He adds, “these and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Quran’s eloquence.” He lists mumerous examples (74:1; 4:160; 20:66; 2:172; and more) one of which is in verse 9 of sura 49 (ol-Hojorat) “If two parties of believers have started to fight each other, make peace between them”, the verb meaning “have started to fight” is in the plural, whereas it ought to be in the dual like its subject “two parties”. Anis A. Shorrosh (in Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab’s View of Islam (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988), 199-200) lists other literary flaws in the Qur’an. For example, in 2:177 he points out that the word Sabireen in Arabic should have been Sabiroon because of its position in the sentence. Likewise, Sabieen is more correct Arabic than Sabioon in 5:69. Also, Shorrosh notes that there is a “gross error in Arabic” in 3:59. Dashti concludes: “to sum up, more than one hundred Quranic aberrations from the normal rules and structure of Arabic have been noted.” To say the least, the Arabic of the Qur’an, while eloquent, is neither perfect nor unparalleled.” (From Answering Islam, by Norman L.Geisler & Abdul Saleeb, Baker Books 1993, p. 187-188.)

If you liked this post, and you would like to learn more about Islam, click here.

A Martyr to Remember

I am taking a commercial break from my series of posts on Islam to tell you of an amazing story that is not being reported widely concerning the “21″ Coptic Christians that were recently beheaded by ISIS.

The truth is: It was only 20 Copts. The 21st person beheaded was a Chadian Citizen (he is the darker-skinned African shown in the main picture I posted with this article) who accepted Christ after seeing the incredible faith of these Coptic Christians.

Being from Chad, he would have most likely been a Muslim. When the terrorists became indignant at his conversion and tried to force him to deny Jesus, his response was to say,  “Their God is my God,“ resulting in the terrorists beheading him also.

Stories like these are multiplying in the midst of the unthinkable evil that is, ISIS. The bottom line is: THEY CAN’T WIN! We’ve already won 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! This is what we Christians do. We too, as a people, rise from the dead! As Tertullian said it over 1,800 years ago, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!”

If you want to learn more about Islam and how to answer its claims, click here.

Muslim Metaphysics (Pt. II in Series)

Since the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and four commercial jet airplanes on September 11, 2001, and the accompanying loss of thousands of lives in what was the largest attack against the United States of America since Pearl Harbor, we have heard more about Islam in the U.S. (and perhaps in the West in general) than we’ve probably heard on a popular level in our entire 200+ years of existence as a nation. And unfortunately, we hear much conflicting information.

From some quarters we hear “Islam is a religion of peace! It was just a few fanatics who abuse Islam that caused what we saw on Sept. 11!” In fact, we hear, “The very word itself (Islam) means peace!” Of course, this is not actually true. “Islam” means “submission.”

But is this the truth? Is Islam a religion of peace? And, if not, what is Islam a religion of? We are going to be talking about this and much more over my next several blog posts.

As I said in my last blog post, there is much Catholics can agree with when we speak of Muslim theology. CCC 841, quoting the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 16, from Vatican II, declared:

The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.

CCC 841 also references Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, 3, that makes the teaching of the Council even clearer:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.

We need to emphasize here that inasmuch as Islam acknowledges God is one, they are right. God is absolutely one in essence. And as such, Muslims are closer to us as Catholics than, say, Hindus who worship many Gods (at least some Hindus) and Buddhists who do not believe in God at all (at least some Buddhists).

What is the Koran?

I am going to be citing a large number of verses from the Koran. When I do, I will cite them as “Surah” and then a number, and then a verse number. The Koran is divided up into 114 Suras of unequal length. The longer Suras are generally placed first [sura 2 is the longest] in a series of descending length with a few exceptions to this general arrangement.

Many non-Arabic speakers do not realize that the Suras are further subdivided into ayat (verses) that are rhymed metrical sections of prose which can be as short as three verses or as long as 200 or more verses. Each ayah (singular form of “ayat”) has its own meter and rhyme pattern. The original ayat were put together into Suras without regard to chronological relation or thematic development. Scholars both Muslim and non-Muslim have proposed various arrangements which represent the true historical or chronological order down through the centuries without any complete agreement or consensus ever being established or determined.

The “surah” in the Koran is sort of like a chapter in the Bible, although the longer ones are more like books in the Bible.

While, as a rule, I am going to mainly be sticking to the Koran itself as far as my quotations go, I will at times also refer to the “Hadiths,” so we need to understand that the Hadiths represent the official tradition of Islam. They are the traditional “sayings” of Muhammad. You also have the Sunnah, which are the traditional “acts” of Muhammad as well, but I will not refer to them.

Who is God?

I will begin in Sura 112 in the Koran, which answers the question, “Who is God?” According to many Muslim scholars, “This Sura is held to be worth a third of all of the Koran.” It says:

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Say: He is God, The One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, Nor is He begotten; And there is none Like unto Him.

God is absolutely One. He is all majesty and sovereign. In fact, the unforgivable sin in Islam is the “sin of shirk,” or assigning partners to God. The Koran makes very clear:

God forgiveth not [the sin of] joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth Whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins Other gods with God, Hath strayed far, far away [From the Right]” (4:116).

As we will see in coming posts, this verse is aimed specifically at Christians. According to the Koran, we Christians are guilty of “the sin of shirk” in declaring Jesus to be God! Stay tuned for more on this!

The Key for now is understanding this belief in God’s absolute unity and majesty is central to Islam. In Islam, God is absolute “master” (Rabb, in Arabic), and men are absolute slaves (Abd, in Arabic). God is so absolutely transcendent that he is believed to be “beyond being” and “unknowable.” According to Muhammed Abdul Rauf (Islam Creed and Worship, Washington D.C.: the Islamic Center, 1974, p. 2-3), one of the 13 attributes of God along with “Existence, Eternity, Perpetuity… Self-Sustenance, Unity, Might, Will, Knowledge, Life, Hearing, Sight, and Speech,” is “dissimilarity.”

As Catholics, we also believe in God’s attribute of “dissimilarity.” For example, when God is revealed as “Father,” CCC 239 says, “No one is father as God is father.” Any and all attributes of God are infinitely beyond what we can only know of them by analogy this side of heaven. However, in Islamic thought dissimilarity is taken to another level. God is absolutely dissimilar to us meaning God’s essence is either non-existent, or absolutely unknowable. It cannot even be known by analogy.  

But what about the famous 99 names of God found all over the Koran, especially in Sura 5, and in Islamic tradition? Pope St. John Paul II refers to them in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (pg. 92). Do they not tell us something of God’s essence?

Actually, the answer is no.

God’s essence is beyond us. The names are based on what God does, not on who he is. We cannot know who he is. The Koran reveals pure will. And even the Will of God revealed in the Koran tells us nothing of God’s Will as it is in itself, because even God’s will, per se, is inscrutable!

This is a crucial point: You cannot know God in Islam. In Christianity, this is the very reason why we were created! As St. Augustine said it, “Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”

And remember this: When I say, “We cannot know God, I mean never. Not even if we make it to Muslim paradise. We will never know God or His Will except by what he has commanded us in the Koran. But again, this tells us nothing of his nature as it is in itself.

This lack of understanding of God leads to all kinds of theological and moral problems. For example, In Surah 3 we read, “If you love God, follow me, and God will love you and forgive your sins.” Sounds good, right? However, in the same breath the Koran then says, “God does not love the unbelievers” (Sura 3:32).  We, as Catholics, know God cannot do anything but love because “God is Love” (I John 4:8), but in Islam, we cannot know the essence of God! He is purely the Master (Rabb) and we are slaves (abd) and we obey his commands because he says so. It is no contradiction for Muslims to say God loves some and hates some. Neither are rooted in God’s nature (if he has one at all). They are absolutely arbitrary.

Moreover, because God is “beyond being” and has no essence then he can command anything and we must obey it. This false notion of God leads to a lack of understanding of metaphysics and to a kind of nominalism. There are no essences in Islam. God has no essence, nor does man. Actions have no essence either. So if God says to kill a village of men and sell their women and children into slavery, you do it! If “God” told a Christian to do that, the Christian would say, “Get thee behind me Satan!” because a Christian would know that is not God!

Ramifications and Contradictions

The ramifications of this kind of metaphysics are staggering. Man has no essence; hence there could be no “original sin,” or an understanding of “fallen man,” and that man has a “fallen nature,” because there is no “nature” to fall. There is no understanding of “grace,” or “sanctifying grace,” that we Catholics often take for granted. In Islam, everyone is judged purely by what he or she does. As Catholics, of course, we believe we are judged in accord with our works as well, but there is no sanctifying grace or state of grace in Islam. Muslims teach our works will be “weighed on a scale” and if our good deeds outweigh the evil, we will be admitted to “paradise.”

As Catholics, we hear of the suicide bombers on 9/11 frequenting strip clubs, and being with prostitutes, while claiming to be devout Muslims, and say, “How can this be?” But in Islam, the scale would be tipped by their “heroic” act of killing thousands of “infidels,” so why not?

Moreover, because actions have no essences, adultery is not wrong because it is contrary to the essence of conjugal love. It is wrong because Allah says so in the Koran.

Think about it: So if the Koran says we should beat our wives (it does, we will quote it in a future post) marry four wives and have as many slave girls as we can provide for (it does), then that makes it okay!

So God is absolute majesty, absolutely dissimilar and unknowable. He is Master (Rabb) and we are slave (Abd). This leads to a belief in the absolute predestination of all things (especially among the Sunni who represent 85% of Muslims). God is so absolutely almighty that free-will is unthinkable. Nothing happens that is not willed by Allah. Allah wills both good and evil directly!

Norman Geisler points out on page 29 of his book, “Answering Islam,” quoting a text from the “Hadiths,” or, “sayings” of Muhammad:

While we were sitting in company with the Apostle of Allah upon whom be Allah’s blessing and peace-and a group of his companions, Abu Bakr and Umar entered through one of the gates of the mosque. With them was quite a large body of people disputing with loud voices, the one contradicting the other, till they came to the Apostle of Allah… Said he… “What is it you are disputing about that causes you to raise your voices so and make such a clamor?” “It is about the decree,” they answered. “Abu Bakr asserts that Allah decrees good but does not decree evil, but Umar says that He decrees both alike.” Muhammed replied. “The decree necessarily determines all that is good and all that is sweet and all that is bitter, and that is my decision between you.” Then he slapped Abu Bakr on the shoulder, and said: “O Abu Bakr, if Allah Most High had not willed that there be disobedience, He would not have created the Devil.” Abu Bakr replied: “I seek pardon from Allah. I slipped and stumbled, O Apostle of Allah, but never again will I fall into error about this matter.”

One can see the problems that come from this Islamic view of God, Man, and the relationship (or lack thereof) between God and man.

1. God predestines all things, wills both good and evil! As Sura 37:94 says, “He [Allah] created you as well as what you do.” In Islam, there was no creation of man in perfection. God created him inclined to evil and willed him to sin!

If this is true then we should really add to the names of God, “The Evil One!” Think about it. If what we know about God and what we name him comes from what he does and not from his essence, then, if he does evil…

2.  We cannot know God or the Will of God as it is. His will revealed in the Koran is arbitrary. This can lead to accepting the word of Satan as the word of God. “God” could tell Muhammad to do anything and he would do it, including killing, taking slaves and slave concubines, etc. More about that to come, folks! But more importantly, this belief that God is unknowable thwarts the very reason for our existence!

3. There are no “essences.” Therefore, there is no “nature” to man. There is no original justice, original sin, or “fall.” This leads to God being the creator of Satan as evil. As an aside here, Satan was not an angel to most Muslims. He was a “Jinn.” “Jinn” are rational beings in between angels and men (this is where the mythical “Jeannie in a bottle” comes from. The plural of “Jinn” is “Jinni.” “I Dream of Jeannie” owes its existence as a TV show to Islam!) Sura 72:11 says jinn have free-will; hence, they can do good or evil, while angels cannot. They are good and can only do good.

Sura 18:50 says Satan is a Jinn. Incidently, it is interesting to note a glaring contradiction in Sura 38:71-77 which speaks of the first sin of Satan. He sinned because he would not bow before Adam! Yet, in Islam, you bow before no one but Allah! In essence, Satan was condemned by God for trying to be a good Muslim and refusing to bow before a man! This apparent contradiction is explained by Muslim scholars in different ways. Some say Satan was living in a different dispensation so it was okay back then to bow to potentates. Some say when bowing to men, Satan would have actually been bowing to Allah in a final sense.

But there is another inherent contradiction here. Adam was created to sin, and, in fact, almighty God caused him to sin. This belief is, again, rooted in Islam’s notion of God’s omnipotence, but yet, they will say that Jinn do have free will. What happened to God’s omnipotence in that case? Also, if God creates men imperfectly and even causes them to sin, this becomes a very distorted notion of God metaphysically. In all of their emphasis on the majesty of God, they end with a God who is imperfect. An infinitely perfect God cannot create moral defect in any sense. As Catholics, we believe God created men and angels with their own proper perfections, which includes the perfection of free will. In other words, free will is entirely good and is a perfection. The abuse of that freedom belongs entirely to the creature. Muslim scholars say creation of anything means necessarily that they are imperfect. Because if they were perfect, they would be God! But this is incorrect. Created beings are not infinite, but they do possess their own proper perfections. God can’t do that? Certainly he can! God creates angels with perfect natures that only do good, according to the Koran, but this does not mean they are on a par with God!

At any rate, with this as a basic underpinning of Islamic metaphysics, we can understand many of the contradictions and much of the confusion that comes from the world of Islam. It is a metaphysically empty religion that cannot save, and, in fact, does not believe we need to be saved. More about that in coming posts!

If you liked this post, and would like to learn more, click here.

Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

CCC 841, quoting the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium 16, from Vatican II, declared:

The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.

Some will say this declaration does not indicate Muslims believe in the same God we do because it only says “Muslims… profess to hold the faith of Abraham,” not that they actually do. So what gives?

The Council fathers were certainly careful to say Muslims “profess…” but not that they “profess” to believe in one God. It says they “profess to hold the faith of Abraham.” “The faith of Abraham” involves more than simply acknowledging that God is one. CCC 59-64 teaches that “the faith of Abraham” includes:

“The people descended from Abraham” who “would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church” (CCC 60).

The Catechism goes on to point out that the people who possess the true “faith of Abraham” include:

… “the patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures” who “have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions” (CCC 61).

Paragraphs 63-64 in the Catechism continue:

Israel is the priestly people of God, “called by the name of the Lord,” and “the first to hear the word of God,” the people of “elder brethren” in the faith of Abraham. (64) Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all… a salvation which will include all the nations. Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord… as Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith, and Esther… The purest figure among them is Mary.

Muslims could hardly be included in this number.

However, it is a distortion to claim from this that Muslims do not truly believe in the one true God because it was clearly after having said Muslims “profess to hold the faith of Abraham,” that the Council fathers then declared: “… together with us they adore the one, merciful God…”

These are two distinct declarations:

1. [Muslims] profess to hold the faith of Abraham.

2. Together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.

CCC 841 also references Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate, 3, that makes the teaching of the Council perhaps even clearer:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.

Once again, we see first the declaration that Muslims “adore the one God…” made without qualification. Then, the fathers say “Islam link[s] itself” to Abraham. This is not saying there is a link; rather, it is saying Muslims make that link. Once again, we have two clearly distinct declarations.

Is the Muslim God Our God?

There are many things taught in Islam that are so radically opposed to what we believe as Catholic Christians, that some will say, “Well, perhaps they believe in one God, but the ‘one God’ they believe in is not the same God we believe in because, for example, the Koran teaches:

1.Women are inferior to men (Sura 4:34)

2.Men can, and even should, ‘beat’ their wives in some circumstances (Sura 4:34).

3.Belief in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is false (Sura 4:157-159).

4.Belief in the divinity of Christ is blasphemy (Sura 5:72).

5.Belief in Jesus Christ as ‘the Son of God’ is grave error (Sura 19:35; 10:68).

6.Muslims are commanded to ‘fight against’ Christians and all who disagree with them. Sura 9:29 says:

Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

7.God wills moral as well as physical evil. In fact, Sura 37:94 says, ‘He [Allah] created you as well as what you do,’ whether good or evil.

8.‘God does not love the unbelievers’ (Sura 3:32).

And this is just to name a few areas of major disagreement. We could write volumes on the problems with Muslim doctrine.”

Many claim there is a point where errors regarding what “the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth” teaches become so far removed from the truth that it becomes necessary to say that God being spoken of is no longer “God” at all. My take is that as long as a person understands the basic metaphysical truth that God is “the one, merciful God,” then errors concerning what God has said, or what he has revealed about his inner life are simply errors about those things, not about God as the one, true God.

Some will argue that if someone presents, for example, their “God” as teaching the rape of small children to be okay, then that God is not God at all. And that, I would argue, is true. It could be argued that that “God” would suffer from a moral defect, and therefore, could not be God.

But even if it is possible for a person (or a faith, like Islam) to claim belief in the one true God, but so distort what God teaches that he (or it) ceases to truly believe in the “one true God” in reality, then, according to the Church, Islam has not reached that point in its errors.

Thus, we Catholics have to be careful to distinguish between the fact that Muslims believe in the one true God “living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,” and the fact that they get it wrong—profoundly wrong—when it comes to both who God has revealed himself to be in the New Testament, and what he has taught his people.

We pull no punches as Catholics when it comes to pointing out the errors of Islam. But we also need to begin by getting it right concerning the things about which we agree.

Ask a Saint – He Knows

Pope St. John Paul II strikes the balance beautifully, concisely, and without compromise between acknowledging what Muslims get right, and challenging some of where they go wrong, in his excellent book, Crossing the Threshhold of Hope. After pointing out that the Church has a “high regard for Muslims who worship one God, living and subsistent, merciful and omnipotent, the Creator of heaven and earth,” he then observes after reflecting on Islam and the Koran:

Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments, and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about Himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam all the richness of God’s self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside. Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the World, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection (p. 92).

St. John Paul first acknowledges the truth that Muslims get it right when they profess faith in one God. Then, and only then, does he point out they have it as wrong as wrong can be when it comes to what God has revealed to us in Scripture about who he is, and, I would add, what he asks of his people by way of his commandments.

My thanks to Mr. Craig Curtis for helping me with much of the research for this post and the ones that will follow in this series.

If you liked this post and want to go deeper into studying the truth about Islam, click here.