HAHA Part 12
The Birth of Islam
G’day and welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century. Last time we looked at some of the leading Christian figures in Britain.
Today we see a new religion, some would say threat, coming towards Christianity – Islam!
Islam is a religion strictly following one God. The adherents of Islam, Muslims, follow their book, the Koran (the verbatim words of Allah) and the Sunnah (teachings and examples give by Mohammed, the last prophet of God.)
In Arabia at the time, the religious background was like this:
- There was a strong belief held by many people in one supreme God, in the Arabic language - Allah.
- There was however some worshipping of other gods & goddesses.
- Prime in their thinking at the time, was a form of fatalism - that everything that occurred was determined by fate or time. Nothing could be done to change things that were happening.
- There was some Jewish and Christian influence but it was largely negated.
Into this comes the main man and founder of Islam – Mohammed. He was born in Mecca in 570. It was while he was seeking solitude within the Arabian Desert, that he claimed to have received messages from God, via the Angel Gabriel. Mohammed claims to have received the whole of the Koran (Moslem Scripture), which was claimed to have always existed in heaven but was now on earth. He was to be the message of Allah! Mohammed was given the task of telling others about Allah and what Allah had said in this book, the Koran. Mohammed preached from the Koran when he returned to Mecca, but was initially rejected by the masses. That was soon to change!
- People were to believe in Allah and live in obedience to him. In particular is this key statement of faith: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. I bear witness that Mohammed is the Apostle of God.
- There was only one God, Allah. God could not have a Son and God was One. God most certainly was not a Tri-Unity or Trinity as believed by Christians.
- Prayer was to be done 5 times daily and always facing towards Mecca.
- There was to be generous giving to charity.
- There was to be regular periods of fasting.
- During the lifetime of a follower of Islam, there was to be a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
A Muslim is one who lives according to God's will as expressly given in the Koran. Islam is submission to God. Islam accepts parts of Judaism & Christianity quoting extensively from the Old Testament in the Koran. Jesus Christ is accepted as a prophet of God, but not the Son of God. Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet. They do not believe Jesus Christ was crucified and died, but that there was a substitution done for him. They do however broadly accept his miracles and virgin birth. While there are some similarities with Christianity, they miss the whole point of God's revelation to man in Christ & Christ's death for our sins. There is no plan of salvation apart from works.
Despite being initially rejected by people, Islam and the message of Mohammed soon spread quickly. Raiding parties from Arabia, captured neighbouring lands and Islam became the religion of these peoples. The Islamists treated their captured people well, therefore Islam grew in acceptance. Within only 12 years, Egypt, Syria and Iraq were occupied by Muslims, quickly spreading to North Africa and Spain. The spread into Europe was checked however at the battle of Tours in 732 when Charles Martel led Christian armies into victorious battle.
For more in-depth information and knowledge about Islam, we have a series on this site and you can find that by clicking here!
Next time in our series HAHA, we will look at the church in Britain reaching out into Europe! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers, where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.