1 1 Islam in Christ s Eyes A study on the origins of Islam and the Christian response by Wissam Youssif Lesson Two- The Origins of Islam Spring Quarter I. Introduction A. Thank you for being here for lesson two from the study, Islam in Christ s Eyes. B. If you would like a copy of the book that is the guide for this course, I have the information where you can order the book if you would like one. C. One of my favorite characters is Barney Fife from the old Andy Griffith television show. C.1. In one episode, two prisoners are brought to the small town of Mayberry jail for Andy and Barney to guard. C.2. To get their attention, Barney set them straight from the beginning. C.3. He said, Men, here at the rock, we have two rules. Memorize them so as to be able to say them in your sleep. Rule number one, obey all rules. Rule number two, there is
2 no writing on the walls as it take a lot of work to erase writing off of walls. D. In my classroom, there are also two rules. D.1. D.2. D.3. Memorize so that you can say them in your sleep. Rule number one, obey all rules. Rule number two, there is no political discussion of any kind allowed because once uttered it s almost impossible to erase it from people s memory who are offended by it. D.4. Therefore, all political discussion is banned because it is directly tied to the subject of Islam. D.5. D.6. We will not name any political party or politician. We are going to do our best not to offend any member of this class whether you lean right or lean left or even if you re upside down. D.7. Your position may vary but please do not break the rule.
3 A. Last week, we also started laying the foundation for the course by examining some of the key terms of Islam. A.1. My purpose is to help you get a handle of just of the basics of this religion. A.2. II. Let s see how much you retained. Definition of Terms A. First is the very name of this religion: Islam. A.1. Do you know what the word Islam means? It means to submit or to surrender. A.2. It is surrendering to God. B. Second, is the name Allah. B.1. This is the Arabic name for God and is most often meant as the God of Islam. B.2. He is the God to whom humanity surrenders. C. Next, the holy scriptures of Islam are called The Quran. C.1. It is a collection of Muhammad s sayings or teachings over a 23 year period that were recorded many years after his death by his followers. D. An Ayat is a verse from the Quran. E. A chapter is called a sura from the Quran.
4 F. Hadith is a collection of Muhammad s sayings and deeds which is commonly taught as a part of Islamic theology. G. There are two key cities that are related to Islam: Mecca and Medina and both are in Saudi Arabia. H. (Show picture of the Great Mosque) I. In the city of Mecca, there is famous structure called the Ka ba and it is located within the Great Mosque. I.1. I.2. I.3. The word Ka ba means cube. The Ka ba is the place where the black stone is kept. Muslims say that the black stone was actually given to Abraham when he was building the first Ka ba that was later destroyed and rebuilt several times. J. You will often hear of Muslims going on Hajj. J.1. J.2. Do you know what this? This is the pilgrimage to Mecca during the twelfth month of Muslim lunar calendar. J.3. Muslims are required to perform hajj at least once in their lifetime, if financial means and health allow.
5 J.4. The place where they go is to the Great Mosque where they march around the Ka ba which contains the black stone. J.5. This always takes place within the Islamic month called Ramadan. K. The most holy month of the year for Muslims is Ramadan. K.1. K.2. It is the month of fasting. Muslims believe it was during the month of Ramadan that Muhammad s first revelations of the Quran began. K.3. This is the month when Muslims go on Hajj to Mecca at least once in their lifetime where they march around the Ka ba which holds the black stone within the Great Mosque. L. Another common Islamic term is Jihad. L.1. L.2. L.3. Today, most people believe it to mean an Islamic holy war. Not so. Jihad simply refers to the obligation to strive to teach, explain, spread and protect the message of Islam. L.4. L.5. It is the struggle of Islam. Some of the extremists have now taken it mean the war to conquer all non-muslims and call it Jihad.
6 M. Nearly every time an Islamic terrorists carries out an attack, he will begin by yelling Allahu Akbar which means Allah is great! M.1. M.2. However, it is most commonly used as a call to prayer. When most Muslims say Allahu Akbar, it has nothing to do with violence but rather is a call to pray to Allah. N. The place where local Muslims go to pray and worship is a Mosque. O. The word salat is the form of ritual prayer that is repeated five times a day. O.1. Muslims always bow and pray toward the city of Mecca which is their holy city. O.2. Last year, when Sohn and Angie Lyons and I went to Cameroon, we stopped in a city called Bamenda to spend the night. O.3. When we got out of the car, we were greeted by one of the eeriest sounds I had ever heard. O.4. It was coming from a nearby mosque and it was the Islamic call to prayer that was coming from the Minaret. P. What is a Minaret? P.1. The Minaret is the tower built into a Mosque from which the call to prayer is made.
7 P.2. Have you ever heard the call to prayer? It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. P.3. P.4. In Cameroon, Muslim and Christians live in perfect peace, side by side. Not all Muslims are violent extremists. Q. In fact, we visited a village called Buu and we met a Muslim man who is the village chief. Q.1. This black Muslim man considers white Paul Kee, our Missionary, to be his successor as the chief of his village. Q.2. This black Muslim man has a grown son but he named white Christian Paul to be the next chief of that village! Q.3. The village chief has even given Paul a piece of land to build a home right next to his! R. What does that does tell us about Christians and Muslims? R.1. R.2. We can live together in peace and even love for one another. And if we are going to win them to Christ, we must remember this truth. R.3. R.4. You can never win an enemy to Christ, only a friend. That s why the Lord taught in Matthew 5:43-45, 43 You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you:
8 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. S. Of course, a Muslim is simply a follower of the religion of Islam. S.1. S.2. S.3. He or she is one who submits to God. The word Islam means to surrender or submit to Allah. And Muslim means One who has surrendered to God. T. Last but not least there is of course the prophet Muhammad. T.1. He was born in approximately 570 A.D and died in 633. T.2. Muhammad was the founder of Islam and is considered by all Muslims to be God s greatest prophet. T.3. They believe he was the fulfilment of Judaism and Christianity as well. U. Today, we will cover his birth, early life and the beginnings of Islam. V. Are there any questions or comments about these Islamic terms? III. The Birth and Early Life of Muhammad A. Muhammad belonged to the dominant tribe of Mecca, the Quraysh and their founder was named Fihr and supposedly traces his roots back to Adam, the first man. B. Muhammad s clan was named after his great grandfather Hashim.
9 C. The Hashim tribe was the guardian of the Ka ba, which held the black sacred stone. D. Therefore, the Hashim tribe had considerable prestige in Mecca. E. Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. according to Sura 105. E.1. What is a sura? chapter in the Quran E.2. What is a verse called? An ayat F. Muhammad s father died on a trading journey prior to the boy s birth and was raised by his mother and his grandfather who was the clan head. F.1. When Muhammad was six his mother who s name was Amina died and two years later his grandfather died as well. F.2. This forced his uncle Abu Talib, who had succeeded the grandfather as clan head, to be Muhammad s guardian. F.3. Muhammad s own experience of being an orphan-having lost his father, mother and grandfather-is reflected in the concern for the poor and the powerless in the early Quran revelations in Sura 93:6-10. F.4. F.5. This is one of the noble aspects about Islam. It does place an emphasis on caring for those who cannot care for themselves.
10 G. When Muhammad was 25 years old a woman named Khadija, a wealthy widow about 15 years older than Muhammad, hired him as the overseer of her trading ventures he had learned from his uncle. G.1. The young man impressed her and she proposed marriage in 595 even though he was only 25 years old and she was 40. G.2. G.3. Khadija was his only wife until she passed. She bore Muhammad four daughters and three sons but the boys all died in infancy. H. Questions or comments about Muhammad s early life? IV. Muhammad and His Pre-Islamic Religion A. The word origin is huge with me. A.1. When we ask, Where did we come from?, you are addressing the subject of origins. A.2. A.3. When are debating evolution, you must first discuss origin. Before the species supposedly evolved, we must first ask and answer, What is the origin of life in the first place? A.4. A.5. That is the key question that must be answered. Origin is everything.
11 B. Whenever there is legal question that cannot be answered by the lower courts of the United States, it will ultimately end at the Supreme Court. B.1. Those nine justices are tasked with taking the court case in question and going back to the constitution of the United States to settle the case. B.2. The origin of our country is based on our constitution and its original meaning. B.3. Origin is everything. C. In the church of Christ, origin is every thing to us. Why? C.1. C.2. C.3. Our whole goal is to go back to the original church. We want to practice original Christianity. We go back to the origin of the religion in Acts 2 because that explains everything we believe and practice. Amen? C.4. We go back to the Scriptures because we believe in them we find authority for everything we do and believe. C.5. Origin is everything. D. When I started this study of Islam, I first dug into this notion of origin. D.1. When you understand how this religion started, it explains so much about what we know about it today.
12 D.2. When you see how Islam was born, it helps you to understand what has given birth to the religion of one fifth of the world s population. D.3. With me, origin is game, set and match. E. Have you stopped to ask, If Muhammad created the religion of Islam, what was his religion before Islam? E.1. E.2. E.3. What was his religion before he started Islam? The answer is, Muhammad was Hanif. That means he wasn t a Jew nor a Christian nor was he a worshiper of idols. E.4. Muhammad was a worshiper of Allah, the God of his forefather, Abraham. F. Let s examine how that played into the birth and creation of the religion of Islam. G. In pre-islam days, the religion of Arabia was the worship of many gods. G.1. There was no one culture but was a mixture of various tribes that were constantly at war with one another. G.2. And neither was there one dominant religion.
13 H. According to tradition, dissatisfied with the local polytheism and the worship of many gods, Muhammad went periodically on private religious retreats in a cave on Mt. Hira outside of Mecca. H.1. H.2. He was seeking the one true God. Muhammad wanted to know the one true religion. I. Our author, Youssif says, The Quran never mentions what Muhammad s faith was before his priesthood but he was a devout monotheist. I.1. The Arabs deny strongly that he was Jewish or Christian which is probably true. I.2. The Quran quoting Muhammad says They said, Become Jews or Christians, and you will find the right path, Say: Instead, (we follow) the faith of Abraham, he [hanif] upright, and he was not one of those who associate partners with Allah. I.3. Hanif is the key word in this text. Sura 2:135 I.4. Muhammad said that he was Hanif. J. Britannica online says that Hanif was an Arabic designation for true monotheists who were not Jews, Christians or worshipers of idols... who
14 prepared the way for Islam. Waraqua Bin Nawfal, the cousin of the Prophet s wife, Khadijah, was Hanif. K. We ll get back to this cousin in a moment. L. Youssif says, Muhammad was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was Hanif which was a faith that no longer exists and it is a likely reference to an extinct group of Judaizers. pp L.1. L.2. What was a judaizer? Going all the way back to the writing of the New Testament, we see the influence of judaizers even in the first century church. L.3. They were people who believed in Jesus as a prophet but not as the Son of God. L.4. L.5. L.6. They believed that Jesus was important but not as important as Moses. The entire book of Galatians is dedicated to tackling this problem. In fact, I am now of the opinion that the greatest threat to the existence of the first century church were Judaizers. L.7. Do you remember the subject of the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15? L.8. It says in 15:1-2, 1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. 2 This brought Paul and
15 Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. L.9. L.10. Those who were requiring circumcision of Gentiles were Judaizers. The rest of that chapter is the story of the Apostles and other church leaders working out this problem in the Jerusalem conference. M. The Jewish people were receptive to the message of Jesus until they were told that the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross. M.1. M.2. M.3. Nearly every time they heard that in the first century, a riot ensued. It was a problem for centuries afterwards as we will soon see. Judaizers were people who wanted to mix some of Moses with some of the Messiah to create a new religion that was Jewish or Christian. M.4. Let s go back to Muhammad and... V. The Birth of Islam A. On August 10 th, 610, the Night of Destiny occurred that started Islamic history. A.1. According to the Quran, in a cave called Hira, in the Mount of Light, two miles outside of Mecca, the angel Gabriel appeared and told Muhammad that he was the messenger of God.
16 A.2. When this happened, Muhammad was 40 years old and it was the month of Ramadan. A.3. Gabriel told Muhammad to recite from the book but the young man initially resisted and said I cannot recite or What shall I recite? A.4. Sura 53:5-18 portrays Gabriel as miraculously filling the horizon in whatever direction Muhammad turned, so the man ultimately yielded. A.5. A.6. After this experience, Muhammad was afraid. He wondered if he was just insane or was he inspired by one of the jinn which are spirits. A.7. Muhammad later decided he was neither. B. He went to his wife Khadija, who consoled him and suggested that the two of them consult her aged cousin, Waraqua Bin Nawfal, who had become a Christian. C. In my estimation, Waraqua Bin Nawfal is the second most important figure in Islamic history. C.1. According to tradition, Waraqua confirmed from Scripture that Muhammad was the expected prophet bringing the word of God to the Arabs, who had never yet received a Scripture of their own.
17 C.2. This was further confirmation to Muhammad of what had happened in the cave with the angel Gabriel. D. Where did Bin Nawfal get this idea that Muhammad was the promised prophet? D.1. Muhammad s first revelation from the angel Gabriel was Sura 96 verses 1-5, Recite in the name of your Lord who created-created humanity from an embryo. Recite your Lord is all-giving who taught by the pen, taught humans what they didn t know previously. D.2. D.3. What Genesis 1:1 is to us, Sura 96:1-5 is to Islam. Both deal with origin. That is key. E. The author of this book, Wissam Youssif, makes an interesting claim about Muhammad and his wife s cousin, Waraqua Bin Nawfal. E.1. On page 35, our brother in Christ, Youssif says, Bin Nawfal is the missing link between Judaizers and Islam. Muhammad had been a devout monotheist before his prophethood...while he was neither Christian nor Jewish, it s likely that he was heavily influenced by a Judaizer cult. E.2. Remember the quote from the Quran itself says that Muhammad was Hanif before he created Islam?
18 E.3. What was Hanif? Hanif was someone who knew the Old Testament and the New Testament but wasn t Jewish or Christian or a worshiper of idols as most Arabs were in pre-islamic days. E.4. As far as we know, Hanif is a religion that no longer exists. F. The author of this book believes that it s likely that Muhammad was taught many of the basic beliefs of the Old Testament and the New Testament but in a distorted form by a Judaizer. G. Remember, that in his early days, Muhammad was a traveling trader who surely came into contact with Christians and Jews who lived in the Arabic region. G.1. However, Muhammad never got a copy of the Bible which have been useless to him any way. G.2. G.3. Why? Muhammad could not read or write. What tends to happen when you are only told things and you don t have a written copy of the instructions? G.4. You have a tendency to change what you have heard. H. Have you ever seen a teacher do an experiment where he or she whispers a message in the ear of one of the students who then whispers to the next until it is passed through the entire class?
19 H.1. What happens by the time the message gets to the last person? It gets totally changed. H.2. That may have happened to Muhammad as well since he could not read the Old or New Testament. H.3. Since he was only told of these Biblical stories, I believe he changed them since he didn t have a copy of the Bible nor could he read if he did. I. Why is all this information so important? Origin is everything. I.1. I.2. I.3. It is essential when you are establishing authority. This is what Muslims believe gave birth to Islam. These events are what they believe give their religion divine authority. J. You see, Islam believes that Jesus was only a prophet but not the Son of God and says so in the Quran. J.1. Islam believes the first five books of the Bible are God s Word, but not the rest of the Old Testament. J.2. As Muhammad was creating Islam and giving his teachings for later men to record, he often spoke of things from the Old Testament and he spoke of the prophet Jesus. K. Where did Muhammad get his ideas that eventually evolved into Islam?
20 K.1. I believe that somewhere in his life, perhaps in his traveling trading days, Muhammad was influenced by someone who knew something of the Old Testament and the New Testament but in misguided form. K.2. The Quran is filled with allusions to the Old Testament and speaks of Jesus as a prophet of God. K.3. Where did Muhammad get those ideas? L. Waraqua Bin Nawfal is the most likely link between what Muhammad knew about the Scriptures and their inclusion in Islam. L.1. Bin Nawfal was Muhammad s wife s cousin. L.1.a. He was Arabic and had converted to Christianity late in his life. L.1.b. History records that he was a real person and that he had interactions with Muhammad. L.2. Bin Nawfal was a Christian but he did not know the original version found in the New Testament and that s what he passed on to Muhammad. M. Do remember that in Acts 2:11 that some of the people who were present on the Day of Pentecost were Arabs? M.1. They were Arabs who had converted to Judaism and had come to Jerusalem for the Pentecost feast with the Jews. M.2. Did some of them become Christians? Possible, probable.
21 M.3. By the time of Muhammad s life, Christianity had spread to the four corners of the world and that would include Arabia. M.4. Muhammad was a trader who encountered many people through his years of travels and surely some of them must have been Christians but were probably not the original version that you see in the book of Acts. N. I told you a story last week about a Christian monk that Muhammad met once and the monk supposedly said that Muhammad had the sign of the prophet on his back between his shoulder blades. N.1. This is proof that he met people who were Christian in nature but were not particularly well versed in the Scriptures. O. I think is likely that Muhammad was influenced by a Judaizer who knew of both Judaism and Christianity but his views were distorted just like the ones that are seen in Galatians and other places in the New Testament. O.1. A Judaizer was someone who denied the deity of Jesus and exalted Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible. O.2. A large portion of the New Testament is dedicated to dealing with people who wanted to exalt Moses and de-emphasize Jesus like you see in the book of Galatians. O.3. It appears that movement did not die out in the first century.
22 P. When Muhammad received his first revelations from the angel Gabriel that would later become the Quran, he shared them with his wife and Waraqua Bin Nawfal. P.1. If Bin Nawfal was indeed a Judaizer or if he had been influenced by one of them, what would he have believed about the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15? P.2. There Moses said, The Lord your God will raise up for you prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to him. Deuteronomy 18:15 P.3. The Judaizers did not believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of that prophecy. P.4. We Christians do. Q. It s likely that when Waraqua Bin Nawful heard from Muhammad that an angel had appeared to him and told him to prophesy, he believed that God had finally sent the successor to Moses who was prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15. Q.1. The Bible says there, You must listen to him.
23 Q.2. Waraqua made some mental connections and decided that God was saying, Mankind must listen to Muhammad! Like the Bible says in Deuteronomy 18:15.! R. History records Waraqua Bin Nawful as saying, There has come to him (to Muhammad) the greatest Law that came to Moses. S. In this statement, Bin Nawful made Muhammad equal with Moses. S.1. S.2. S.3. Why is that extremely important? It was the first step of setting Muhammad above humanity. It was the first step where humanity assigned a divine status to Muhammad. S.4. It was the first step to accepting Muhammad s words as being the Word of God. T. That s was one small step for a man but one giant leap for Islam. U. Most of this information comes from this book but not all of it. U.1. Youssif did not document his sources and he should have because these are important claims that he is making. U.2. U.3. U.4. The reason this is so important is because we are talking about origin. Origin is everything. Origin determines authority.
24 U.5. Origin determines truth. V. In my research, I could not verify much of what Youssif claims. V.1. I found a lot of information about Bin Nawfal but no one else that I could find suggested that he was the Judaizing influence on Muhammad. V.2. They say that he was an Arab who had converted to Christianity but most don t go as far as Youssif. W. Our author s claim makes perfect sense but I cannot verify it yet. W.1. If I do, I will let you know. X. This has profound implications for millions, perhaps billions of people. X.1. In the mind of the Arabs, no longer was the God of the Bible, the God of the Jews only. X.2. X.3. Now the Arabs had equal access to God s revelations. Now they have a religion of their own that had connections going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Origin. X.4. Remember, they accept the first five books of the Bible as being the inspired Word of God. Origin. X.5. They view Abraham as their spiritual father and he was because they are descendants from Ishmael. Origin.
25 X.6. However, they believe that God s promise to bless the world through Abraham s descendants in Genesis 12 didn t come through Isaac and the Jews but rather through God s blessings for the world came through Ishmael and Islam. X.7. What s that all about? Origin X.8. Wissam Youssif - pp Y. If that information is correct, then this helps us to understand the connections that Islam makes with both Judaism and Christianity. Y.1. Y.2. Waraqua Bin Nawful was a Christian of a sort. I think it s likely that he was a Judaizer that taught Muhammad what he knew about the Old and New Testaments. Y.3. I think Youssif is correct but he should do a better job of proving it rather just speculating it. Y.4. Remember, much of this is educated guesses because the author did not cite sources for his claims. Z. Muhammad often mentioned Bible characters starting with Jonah in the second sura, No. 68. Z.1. Z.2. Where did he get his Biblical knowledge? Could he read it for himself? No, he was illiterate.
26 Z.3. Z.4. The Bible was not translated into Arabic at that point in history. The Quran says in sura 16:103, We know well that they say, There is a man who teaches him. The language of the one they refer to is non-arabic while this is clear Arabic language. Z.5. Was this a Judaizing support group for Muhammad s prophethood, at least in the beginning? Z.6. Sura 26: says The Quran is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds, Which the True Spirit hath brought down upon thy heart, that thou mayst be (one) of the warners, in plain Arabic speech. And lo! It is in the Scriptures of the men of old. It is not a token for them that the doctors of the Children of Israel know it? Z.7. Notice this phrase from the Quran: the doctors of the Children of Israel. Z.8. Z.9. The Jewish influence in Islam is strong. Did you know that Moses is mentioned more than any other prophet in the Quran and that includes Muhammad? Z.10. Moses is mentioned 131 times in the Quran.
27 AA. Where did Muhammad get all that Jewish influence? Waraqua Bin Nawfal - He was an Arab who was converted to Christianity but it may have been a distorted version like the Judaizers of the New Testament. AB. If all that s true, then bad Bible study is what gave the world the religion called Islam. AB.1. That s a lot of if and then statement. AB.2. It s filling in a lot of blanks from history. AB.3. I wish this author had documented more of what he claims but the claims do make sense. AC. Questions or comments? AD. Next, we will examine... D.8. The Early Years of Islam