Islam: More than a Religion

Over the past twenty years, my wife and I have lived overseas in a majority-Muslim nation. We have hundreds of dear friends who are Muslims. In the country where we work, "peace" in relationships is esteemed more than truth itself. A local proverb says, "A lie that heals is better than the truth that hurts." Personally, I’d rather hear "the truth that hurts" than a lie which superficially and temporarily "heals."

Since September 11th, much has been written about Islam, some of it true and some false. What many Muslims and non-Muslims alike fail to realize is that Islam is not a religion in the same way "religion" is understood in the West. Philip Hitti, the late Lebanese-American scholar who taught at Princeton University for nearly fifty years, was a leading expert on the history of Arabs and Islam. One of his books has three parts: Islam as Religion, Islam as State, and Islam as Culture. Whether Muslims are aware of it or not, orthodox Islam is a threefold system—a religious-political-cultural ideology—with the goal to subjugate the world to itself.

While the Qur’an does say, "There shall be no compulsion in religion" (2:256), many Qur’anic scholars insist that, in its context, this verse has nothing to do with not forcing non-Muslims to submit to the rule of Islam. Many also teach that this "no compulsion" verse was abrogated (2:106) and replaced by the later and more numerous verses that say things like: "Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and hypocrites and deal rigorously with them." (9:73) "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme." (8:39) "Fight against such of those ... who ... do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (9:29) In Muhammad’s day, conquered Jews and Christians who did not convert to Islam were allowed to live, provided they paid jizya, a "protection" tax. Pagans were only given the choice to convert or die. This was the "peace" offered by 7th century Islam. To this day, in every country where Islamic law (Shari’a) is embraced, non-Muslims (and, yes, women) are treated as second-class citizens. Freedom of religion is forbidden. For a Muslim to "apostatize" means, at the very least: severe harassment, or worse: imprisonment, torture and death. If you doubt any of this or want positive documentation, see my longer article Does Islam Promote Peace? and/or feel free to contact me. Better yet, do your own careful research on the web or at a local library. See if you can find a satisfying answer to the following question: In what Islamic nation is this "beautiful, peaceful, and tolerant religion of Islam" (as it is presented in the West) practiced in such a way that it might prompt you to move there for the rest of your life?

I do not say these things to be unkind. It’s just that I am of the persuasion that the truth that "hurts" is better than a lie that "heals." As both Muslims and non-Muslims alike recognize the true nature of Islam, it is my prayer that many will take a closer look—not at some alternative religion—but at "the Gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord ..." (Rom 1:2,3) Gospel (Injil in Arabic) means Good News. Rooted in thousands of years of symbolic animal sacrifices and hundreds of detailed prophecies, the good news about the Promised Savior is the Message the Creator and Judge of this world wants all people to hear, understand & believe. While the world’s religions tell you to save yourself—only "the Gospel of God" provides a Savior. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1 Tim 1:15) Now that ... is more than a religion!

Jesus, the Promised Savior, didn’t force people to submit to some threefold religious-political-cultural system. In fact, He didn’t force people to submit to anything. But to all who choose to believe the Good News about His substitutionary death for helpless sinners, and His triumphant victory over the grave, the Lord Jesus offers a threefold peace (Eph. 2:11-18):

1.) Peace with God (Because Jesus has taken my punishment, God can declare me righteous! Now that I know God as my heavenly Father, I want to please Him in all that I think, do and say.)

2.) Peace with self (My sins are gone! I know why I’m here and where I’m going! His Holy Spirit lives inside me, filling me with His incomparable peace that mere religion cannot give.)

3.) Peace with people (Now I can even love those who hate me, because God has forgiven me and transformed my heart. His love in me causes me to hate sin without hating the sinner.)

No wonder the prophets call Christ the "Prince of Peace!" (Isaiah 9:6) At Jesus’ birth, the angels sang: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!" (Lk 2:14) Thirty-three years later, this One who taught folks to "do good to those who hate you" (Matt 5:44), prayed for those who mocked and crucified Him, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do!" (Lk 23:34) And to all who trust in Him and His once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin, He says, "I AM the way, the truth and the life ... MY PEACE I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:6,27)

To learn more about this "Prince of Peace" of whom all the prophets wrote — especially before you jump to any conclusions about who He is or who He isn’t — log on to & You may be eternally glad you did.

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For a more in depth look and additional documentation on the above subject by the same author click here: Does Islam promote peace?

Articles by Brahim Sene
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