by Phillip Vanwinkle
MAY 29, 2015

What Should I Know About Islam 1

What Should I Know About Islam? 01

“Studying Islam is so confusing!” she said as she let out a long sigh. “Man, I ain’t scared of Muslims, I got my shot-gun ready;” was the words I overheard as I sat eating dinner at a restaurant. “Just tell me the basics of Islam, so I can discuss with them, and not look foolish,” was one man’s request to me. “What are we to do with Islam?” another woman asked in a very sincere, yet serious voice.

I hope by way of this blog, bit by bit, very slowly and methodically, over the next few months (one per month) to help us to understand a little better what true Islam is and what it is not. 

After living in an Islamic Nation for the past 3 years, I have studied intensely and have learned many things about Islam, both as a political system and as a religion. And while I understand how studying Islam can be quite daunting it can also be extremely beneficial.

There are some things to keep in mind when you start to study Islam. The first of these is this: There are two different “arms” of Islam. Much like post kingship Israel, you had the religious arm, and you had the political arm. Islam is similar.

We must always keep in mind that, unlike the Lord’s church today, there is a political aspect to Islam. For instance, Muslims being forbidden to make any likeness of the prophet Mohammad could be said to be a religious belief. Carrying out the punishment (including killing the individual who does) upon all men Muslim or not, would be the political arm of Islam.

Christianity teaches that there are rules to be followed and obeyed, but the punishment for disobedience is not given to man to administer (with the exception of withdrawing fellowship from unruly Christians). God is the one who will give to each the proper reward or punishment for their obedience or disobedience to His law.

The religious beliefs of Islam are carried out, and in many ways forced upon adherents, by the political arm of Islam. In fact, historically it would be the political arm, wielding its sword, which would advance the cause of Islam. The religious belief would then follow after the political force. The sword of Islam is much different from the Sword of the New Testament. One is forged by men in metal factories and advances the cause of Islam. The other was formed by God, and is His breathed word; it is this sword which advances the cause of Christ. 

So, one reason that Islam might be difficult to understand for those of us living and being surrounded by New Testament teaching is this: There are two sides of Islam, the religious side, and the political side. So please keep that in mind as you set out to study Islam.

The second thing that we must keep in mind in studying Islam is this: No matter what one Muslim does, or a group of Muslims do, their religion is not defined by that one person or group of people living today. As Christians, we understand this.

There are people who call themselves “Christians” who practice things that the New Testament does not authorize. For instance, there are some who are professing Christ who have decided to bring instruments into their worship services, as though the New Testament has authorized it. It has not. We understand then, that just because a group of people today practice a certain thing and call it “Christianity” that does not mean that it is actually New Testament Christianity.

Also, there are Muslims today who do NOT practice certain things that may be written in the Quran. Again, Islam is not determined by what these individuals do NOT practice. Christians understand this too. There are some today who profess to follow Christ and the New Testament who do not practice immersion in order to be forgiven of sin. We say again, what a person or group of people who call themselves “Christian” does, or does not do – that does not define Christianity.

So what is the answer? It is simple! The answer goes back to whatever the Authority of that religion is. For Christians it is the New Testament. Whether a person or group of people is or is not practicing what has been instructed in the New Testament does not mean that they represent Christ. His New Testament is the ONLY thing that we have to go by. That is our Authority, and our ONLY authority for what Christianity is to be today.

In like manner, Islam is not defined by how certain “Muslims” act or do not act. The ONLY authority that defines what Islam is, are in the books of the Muslims, particularly the Quran, the Sira and the Sunna, contained in the Hadith. The Quran is said to be Allah’s given word, exactly and precisely as it appears today. The Sira is the Life of the Prophet Mohammad which Muslims are instructed to follow in the way that they live. The Sunna are the acts and sayings of the Prophet of Islam found in thousands of anecdotes collectively known as the Hadith.

These two things must be kept in mind when studying Islam.

  1. There are 2 sides to Islam: a religious side and a political side.
  2. Islam is determined not by the people but by their Authoritative books.

Please continue to read these posts, once per month, and we will learn a little bit more about Islam. 

Tags: Islam