The Muslim religion is one of the fastest growing world religions. Its global scope embraces more than 800 million adherents [now nearly a billion, with one out of every five persons on earth being a Muslim].
Established by Mohammed in the early seventh century, the Muslim faith emphasizes total obedience to the one God, Allah (the God of the Bible). The word Islam comes from a root word meaning surrender, submitting oneself to God, renouncing any other object of worship. The idea of peace is associated with the Arabic root salam.
The primary religious duties of Islam are five:
1. To pronounce Shahada or testimony “There is no God but Alla, and Mohammed is the apostle of God.”
2. The ritual prayer (Salat) performed five times a day (dawn, noon, afternoon, sundown, and evening)facing Mohammed’s birthplace, Mecca.
3. Almsgiving (Zakat) or a fixed percentage tax levied by Muslim governments upon the faithful.
4. A fast during the month of Ramadan.
5. Hajj or a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime.
Muslims accept the Koran as the verbatim, unadulterated, direct speech or language of God. They trace their origin to Abraham whom they believe offered up Ishmael as the child of promise rather than Isaac. Tracing their lineage through Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist, they believe Jesus simply to be a prophet.
Islam is closer to Judaism and Christianity than any of the other great world religions. The Muslims claim Judaism failed and Christianity became spiritually corrupt, therefore God raised up the prophet Mohammed to reform the corruptions of an apostate religion.
Some doctrinal beliefs held in common with Muslims:
1. Muslims believe in an almighty, all-knowing, loving God
2. Muslims believe in the final judgment. They accept the fact that human beings are morally responsible for their actions.
3. Muslims believe in a final resurrection from the dead at the Messiah’s return.
4. Muslims give great emphasis to assisting and helping the poor.
5. Muslims place priority on prayer.
6. Muslims forbid alcohol, gambling, and pork.
7. Muslims place emphasis on obedience to God.
8. Muslims believe in a great controversy between good and evil.
Some Muslim beliefs contrary to Biblical thought & Bible texts to meet them:
1. Jesus is a prophet but not the eternal Son of God.
(See Jn. 8:58; compare with Ex. 3:14; Heb. 1:6-8; Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6)
2. The Bible is not really reliable since it is filled with human error and has not been copied accurately.
(See 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; Ps. 12:6,7; Matt. 24:35; Ps. 119:105)
3. Salvation is attained by following the five religious duties of Islam.
(See Rom. 3:23; Isa. 59:1,2; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 2:8,9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13.)
4. Revelations through Mohammed supersede the Bible. They provide a source of salvation.(See Jn. 17:17; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Isa. 45:22.)
Possible approaches to Muslim friends:
1. Develop a friendship based on the points we hold in common.
2. Invite your Muslim friends to your home for a vegetarian meal.
3. Share your concern for genuine Christianity. Acknowledge the apostasy in Christianity and the need for reform.
4. Studies on Biblical prophecy help to confirm the authenticity of the scriptures.
5. Since the Muslim family unit is extremely strong with the father’s leadership role highly respected, be sure to respect the Father as the family leader.
6. At an appropriate time, openly share your personal testimony—describe the plan of salvation in detail. Assert that Jesus claimed to be the son of God repeatedly. Either He is divine or else He is a liar or a lunatic. Since the Koran declares Him to be a prophet, how could a righteous prophet lie by attempting to deceive the world regarding His identity.
Due to entrenched tradition, strong family ties, and extremely strong societal pressures winning Muslims to Christianity is extremely difficult. Be patient. Share truth gradually. Focus on a positive relationship with your Muslim colleagues then, at the appropriate time, share Jesus.
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