Islam and Christianity Intersections Class - Spring 2017

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1 Islam and Christianity Intersections Class - Spring 2017 rd April 23 April 30th May 7th May 14th May 21st Course Outline The History of Islam Culture of Islam Islam and Christianity Bridging the Divide Islam and the Gospel Our Response to Islam

2 Who am I? Why am I here? ~10 years teaching in Children s Ministry A string of very fortunate spirit-led events... ~12 years serving with our Missions Programs Student of history Befriending Jamie and Susan Ramge Active Trustee Jamie & Susan returning to the US Taking the EWI class with Jamie & Susan Going to Dubai with Presbyterian Missions Organizations Serve on a couple of church committees Serve on the Board of The Antioch Partners Passion for the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission To give you a heart for the plight of Muslims To gauge our church s interest in participating in outreach to Muslim s at any level

3 Islam and Christianity Day 2 The Present Day Culture of Islam The Umma, Diversity, Fundamentalism, Social Practices, and the Spiritual World

4 The Umma Islam began as a quest of a people (Arabs) for inclusion in the people of God The umma is that global Muslim community And has expanded to invite all people to participate in the blessing of that inclusion The term is used the way we use Church to refer to the global Christian community. The concept of the umma was founded in 7th-century Arab culture Especially after Muhammad started to subjugate local non-muslim tribes, including the Jewish tribes around Medina At that point, Islam rejected the Jewish Day of Atonement and praying toward Jerusalem and began incorporating more Arab-centric traditions Islam s message was and is this faith is for all God-fearing people Since Muhammad s death, the Umma has continued to diversify due to internal and external pressures Initial succession power struggles created the Sunni Shi a split Incorporation of new cultures and countries have brought about Sufism, Wahhabism, Nation of Islam, Muslim Brotherhood, and many others.

5 Umma Shared Culture Most Muslims have (or assume) Arabic names All Muslims pray the same prayer (and most in Arabic) Muslims all celebrate the same feasts and festivals, though they may celebrate them differently P173 A consistent emphasis on hospitality and generosity Common customs on Birth, Marriage, and Funerals P186 P175 Most Islamic Cultures tend to use Honor/Shame criteria in social dealings rather than the guilt/innocence, right/wrong, or truth/deception more common in our culture P174 The vast majority are just ike Christians: Common people needing housing, food, education, healthcare, job opportunities, and a supportive community.

6 Muslim Populations Today (2010 data)

7 Further Observations on the Umma 80 percent of Muslims are cultural Muslims Islam is as much a way of life as it is a system of beliefs Follow the five Pillars of Faith, but... Do not speak, read, nor understand Arabic Most rely on religious leaders at various levels of society for interpretation of the Qur an Therefore, do not read the Qur an Often at Friday services at the mosque The Qur an itself is often treated as a power object Religious Titles in Islam Alim Learned one, an experienced Islamic scholar Caliph The leader of all Muslims. Abu Bakr was the first Imam Leader, can refer to a president or a recognized leader in Islam. Mullah a title of respect for a person who is learned in, teaches, or expounds the sacred law. Set up prominently on display somewhere in the house Grand Mufti The highest official of religious law in the Sunni community Revered rather than studied Ayatollah "Sign of God"; a prestigious title given to major Shia clergymen who are considered experts in Islamic studies. In many countries, literacy is a major issue Independence of thought is not a priority with leadership

8 The Ideal vs Reality The Ideal is best expressed as Dar al-islam, the House of Peace, wherein the Umma vision of Oneness (Tawhid) inspires outreach (Dawa). Tawhid rejects the dichotomy between the sacred and the secular: Personal, religious, economic, political, and social spheres are all to be surrendered to God. However, much of the umma is suffering under oppressive Islamic governments which fall far short of the ideal. This oneness of purpose is to defend the umma and seek to extend it. As we saw in the Arab Youth Survey: If this is what Islam is supposed to be, we don t want it. Also, remember the Arab Spring. We also are witnessing much internal violence in the umma Inter-sectarian violence (Sunni vs. Shi a) Wars between nations (Iran, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq) mostly via proxies.

9 A Muslim View of Paradise and Hell PARADISE HELL Four Rivers; Honey, Milk, Water, and Wine 72 maidens take care of a man s needs Tends to focus on the sensual rather than the spiritual or intellectual. No mention of good Muslim women Perpetual Fire A cycle of skin burning off then regrowing is perpetual Majority of dwellers are women Most other elements common with other belief systems (Judeo-Christian) Qur an is somewhat contradictory on this topic. It implies everyone goes to hell to pay for their bad deeds, but get pulled into paradise once they ve served their time. It implies elsewhere that ALL Muslims eventually get pulled into paradise (God willing) And for Martyrs, they will go to paradise, but may have to stay in hell for while first, and may not get in at all if Allah chooses against it Given that Jesus is the judge on judgment day, all will get their due rewards.

10 The Suicidal Militants Spring from young men with seething and legitimate anger towards their oppressors or oppressors of Muslims These are violent followers of a professed non-violent religion they are an anachronism This is not the result of a generally accepted theology, but rather a radical one Yes, martyrs for Allah receive a Special Reward (Sura 4:95), not specified One translation does indicate they go to paradise (Sura 3:169: Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. ) This is inconsistent with statements elsewhere in the Qur an ISIS, Al Qeada, and others use this and other distorted teachings on the disaffected and disenfranchised in order to condition them into acts of terrorism Note that most terrorist acts are Muslims fighting other Muslims Look at the numbers: 1.6 billion Muslims world wide vs. maybe a thousand or so extremists This is harshly condemned in the Qur an and can in no way be confused with martyrdom Of greater concern to many is the Dawa, mentioned earlier State within a State - what the Quraysh family was worried about in Mecca Prevalent concern among several in Trump Administration Recent Article in Wall Street Journal

11 Spiritual World: Hierarchy of Powers and Beings Powers Beings Realm Fate Qur an God Angels Realm of God Magic, Sorcery Astrology, Divination Baraka Dhikr Evil Eye Omens Vows, Curses Satan, Devils Jinn Prophets Dead Saints Spirits Ancestors Souls of the recently dead Spiritual Universe Eternal Realm of Angels Herbs Drugs Natural Forces Holy Men Humans Animals Plants Temporal Universe Realm of People and Things Paul s dealing with the spiritual world in Ephesians p220

12 Table Discussion Topics If you are new to the study of Islam, what items did you find most enlightening or surprising? How well do the Mohammadan Revelations align with the Great Commandment? With the Lord s Prayer? How does Muhammad s first revelatory experience compare with angelic encounters from the Old and New Testaments? What is the single question you most desire to have answered in this series?

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