by Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.
Several times I’ve been asked by brethren what the basic teachings of Islam are and how to counteract the claims of Muslims that don’t agree with Christianity. In the year 2001 I started reading the Qur’an. I also read several books written by Muslims and non-Muslims.
In this series of short articles, I shall endeavor to share with our readers some information. And I will show the weakness of some positions/beliefs taken by Muslim adherents.
A. A Brief Info About Muhammad’s Life
The complete name of the founder of Islam is Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al Muttalib according to Stephen Schwartz (The Two Faces of Islam). It is generally believed that he was born in the year 570 of the Christian era in the city of Mecca, Arabia, a center of trade in the southwest of the Arabian peninsula. He died in the year 632 or at the age of 62. He belonged to the Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe. His father died before he was born. His mother’s name is Aminah who died when he was six; grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, caretaker of the Ka’bah, took him to the stone temple; uncle Abu Talib, raised him up and taught him the caravan trade. Muhammad became a commercial agent of a rich widow, Kadija bint Khuwaylid, 15 years his senior. When he was 25 years old, Kadija asked him to marry her and she bore him 4 daughters. At age 40 he claimed to have received divine revelations.
It is taught that the first words the Angel Gabriel told Muhammad was, “Recite! You are the Messenger of God.” The words that were recited to Muhammad is now Islam’s holy scriptures. Qur’an or Koran means “recitation.” You may refer to a standard dictionary. The word Islam means “submission to God” and Muslim is “one who submits to God” from the Arabic word aslama (surrender), islam (submission), salama (to be resigned).
B. Koranic Verse
From the volume “Interpretation of the Meaning of THE NOBLE QUR’AN in the English Language” (at the right side of the page is the Arabic text of the Qur’an and at the left side is the literalistic translation-interpretation), I copied the following verse from the section called Surat All-Araf [The Heights (Or The Wall With Elevations)] VII:
158. Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah — to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worlshipped but He); It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) who believes in Allah and His Words [(this Qur’an), the Torah and the Gospel and also Allah’s Word:”Be!” — and he was i.e. Jesus–son of Mary,], and follow him so that you may be guided.”
This is my analysis of the verse: Islam teaches a Muslim adherent to do the following: (a) believe in God who is called Allah, (b) believe in God’s messenger who is Muhammad, (c) believe in God’s word which is the Qur’an, (d) believe in the Torah which is the first 5 books of the Old Testament section of the Christian Bible, (e) believe in the Gospel which is the first 4 books of the New Testament of the Christian Bible, and (f) believe in God’s Word: “Be!” that is the person of Jesus Christ the son of Mary who is called the Word in John 1:1-3.
Based on this verse of the Koran, a serious student of the Christian Bible can deduce several ideas like following: (a) Muhammad knew the Torah of the Hebrews because there were Jewish communities in Mecca and Medina during his time and he passed through the towns of Palestine and Syria during his caravan days; (b) Muhammad knew the Gospel of the Christians because there were Christian communities in Mecca and Medina and he passed through the towns of Palestine and Syria where there were many Christian congregations during his caravan days; (c) Muhammad evidently didn’t know our Restoration principle on the difference of the Christian dispensation from the Mosaical dispensation; (d) Muhammad didn’t know that the Christian system abrogated the Mosaical system; and (e) Muhammad didn’t understand the divinity messengership of Jesus Christ who is the Logos of John 1:1-3 as well as the finality of Jesus Christ covenant.
Confront the Muslim adherent along this line of reasoning: Islam enjoins recognition of and obedience to Jesus Christ, the Logos of God; Jesus Christ says that His words (John 12:45-50; 20:31) will be the basis of judgment at the last day; therefore, to supersede Jesus Christ with the claim of Muhammad and to supersede the Gospel with the claim of the Qur’an is to commit inconsistency or error. (To be continued)