Posts tagged ‘Islam’

November 21st, 2011

Any Mosques Turning into Churches?

While participating in a panel discussion at Moody Church recently, Dr. Erwin Lutzer asked me a question a Muslim man had asked him. He was trying to highlight the plight of persecuted church in Muslim majority countries. The Muslim had argued Islam was the true religion simply because there were no mosques turning into churches but there are churches turning into mosques. The question was, “Are there any mosques turning into churches?”

In my answer, I noted the only mosque I knew of in Cordova, Spain, which was turned into a church building. Muslims had conquered Cordova and turned a Catholic church into a mosque. It remained a mosque for a few centuries until Spaniards overthrew the city and turned the mosque into what it used to be, a church building.

How this Muslim man would claim Islam is a true religion based on mosques not turning into church buildings is baffling. I wonder if he knows most Muslim majority countries do not even allow repairs on existing church buildings let alone establishment of new ones, which is an avenue for turning mosques into church buildings!

I added, no mosques are turning into church buildings because the playing field is not leveled in Muslim majority countries. There is no religious freedom for non-Muslims. Many Muslims who secretly follow Jesus Christ would come forward and establish a place of worship for themselves if it weren’t for threats they face.

We need to tell our Muslim friends a building is not what constitutes a church. A church is a body of believers. A Christian—one who professes Jesus Christ is the Son of God and abides by His Word—is a member of “church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.” This Church even has members who are of Muslim background in a country as restrictive and hostile to Christians as Saudi Arabia. Though without walls, this church is flourishing and if freedom of religion were granted, would convert mosques into church buildings.

August 1st, 2011

Did God Institute the Fast during Ramadhan?

Muslims have started their annual fast during the Islamic month of Ramadhan as of dawn this morning. One of them asked me yesterday, “Have you spotted the new moon yet?” I told him it was only 1:30 p.m. my time, perhaps by nightfall. Then I asked if he knew there are places in the United States where the sun doesn’t set. He laughed it off.

Muslims fast because the Qur’an commands it. As important as this fast is to Islam, it wasn’t even practiced the first decade after the advent of Islam.

The Qur’an strictly puts the fast as from dawn to dusk. Why would a supposedly all-knowing God give a command that depends on the sun when Muslims these days live in areas where the sun in some months doesn’t rise or set? For example in the United States, Barrow, Alaska, today the sun rose at 3:04 a.m. and will set 23 hours later at 1:59 a.m. There is twilight for the hour the sun appears set. How could a Muslim in Barrow break his or her fast?

Some Muslims argue in modern times clocks replace the sun, which doesn’t make any sense because the Qur’an clearly says “seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears.” The Qur’an envisaged the fast to be strictly according to the position of the sun.

Several reasons exist to show that the Muslim fast did not originate from God Almighty:

1.      The command to fast is specific to Arabia where lengths of nights and days don’t vary greatly throughout the year. The Qur’an says fasting wasn’t institute to be burdensome but Muslims in Alaska would fast for as little as zero hours to as long as a few months because the sun doesn’t rise or set during certain months. You think Moses and Jesus Christ going without food or water for 40 days hold the record? Alaskan Muslims would have to go longer.

2.      The Qur’an states that the sun sets “in a spring of murky water.” It tells a story of a man who traveled and “reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water.” “God” in the Qur’an was limited to seeing the sun “going down” into the horizon, hence instituted the fast according to that knowledge.

3.      Muslims fast during the month of Ramadhan because the Qur’an claims the Qur’an was revealed during this month. However, even non-Muslims know Prophet Muhammad started receiving the Qur’an in 610 A.D. If this month were so sacred, why was the fast to celebrate its sacredness invented 14 years after the fact?

4.      Prophet Muhammad did not have a problem with observing the Jewish fast even after the Islamic calendar was invented in 621 A.D. Here is what happened:

a.      When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina, he encountered Jews who were fasting and asked them why they were fasting. He learned from them they fasted due to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). And he observed their fast.

b.      Then he commanded Muslims to observe the Jewish fast. In the Qur’an “Fasting is prescribed to you as prescribed to those before” refers to the Jewish fast.

c.      Then Prophet Muhammad had a fallout with the Jews in Medina. He concocted fast during Ramadhan but he did not make it compulsory. Verse 184 of Suratul Al-Baqara (chapter 2 of the Qur’an) clearly shows Ramadhan was optional. The Hadith shows it as well.

d.      He made the Jewish fast optional.

e.      Then when he had further fallout with Jews, he banned Muslims from observing the Jewish fast and made Ramadhan compulsory

Fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadhan was not from God Almighty. It only came into existence when Muhammad did not get along with the Jews of Arabia. That explains why the fast doesn’t make any sense in Polar Regions.

July 29th, 2011

Can a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, be a Terrorist?

A Salafi—a Muslim who adheres to the version of Islam of Prophet Muhammad’s time—wrote to me, “Speak out against the Oslo attacks, you terrorist!” I have had discussions with this gentleman on a wide range of topics. Since I haven’t been writing a lot lately, he was probably trying to get me into the discussion about terrorism.

I responded to the Salafi Muslim, “Do you consider Oslo mass murderer a Christian?” He wrote back, “I’m being facetious! Just kidding! And no, I don’t…so long as you don’t think the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims. ; )” While everyone who carried out 9/11 was a Muslim, Anders Behring Breivik wasn’t a Christian. (Unless he has now accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and repented.) He wrote in his manifesto that his posted online just hours before the killing spree, “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.”

This mass murderer professes to have no “personal relation with Jesus Christ” and yet he has been called a Christian. A Christian is someone who professes and then adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Breivik was not one of them.

If Breivik were following the teachings of Jesus Christ, he would not have hated anyone, let alone kill them. Jesus said, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” On the contrary, what the mass murderer in Oslo did was exactly what the Qur’an teaches. Whereas Jesus taught about doing good to those who persecute or oppress his followers, the Qur’an has the opposite message with, “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah” and continues, “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.”

Muslims are called to fight and even kill those who persecute them while a Christian is called to “Love and pray” for his or her enemies. What a contrast! There is no such thing as a Christian terrorist because those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ would not do harm even to their oppressors. On the other hand, the Qur’an shows how Muslims are justified to harbor hatred and anger toward people who cause them hardships (deliberate or implied) and when Muslims muster the resources, fight and even kill them. After all, the Qur’an justifies the slayings of these oppressors, which is better than the persecution of Muslims.

The bottom line, there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist because Jesus teachings prohibit terrorism. My initial thought was a Muslim had carried out these attacks, of which I apologize.

July 6th, 2011

Update: Conflicting Reports over Iranian Pastor’s Apostasy Case

There are conflicting reports over Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s apostasy case, Mission Network News reports. The AFP reported over the weekend Pastor Youcef was no longer on death row. Now it seems like he is still facing the death penalty but his case has been returned to the lower court where he would be given an opportunity to recant his conversion. Todd Nettleton of the Voice of the Martyrs told Mission Network News, “The reports over the last 24 hours are that, in fact, the Supreme Court did not uphold the death penalty. They sent the case back to the local court in his area where he would have the opportunity to recant, and if he did that, then the death sentence would go away.”

Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef, his family and friends, Iranian Christians, his persecutors and all those who have heard or would hear about his case. A word of encouragement for Pastor Youcef and all Christians who face death for simply believing in Jesus Christ. He said in Matthew 10:28:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (ESV)

May God give strength to Pastor Youcef to withstand this pressure and the coming ultimatum. May he know he is His no matter his earthly fate in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

July 1st, 2011

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s Execution Imminent

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to death for apostasy faces execution any moment. Now that the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld his death sentence, he could be hanged anytime. Please pray for him, his loved ones, Iranian Christians, their oppressors and Iranian Muslims.

The international community needs to put pressure on the Iranian government and it starts with us. Similar death sentences were commuted in Afghanistan due to the international pressure.

Apparently, “Freedom to change one’s religion is a fundamental right which Iran pledged to uphold when it signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The world should hold Iran accountable.

The workweek in Iran is Saturday to Thursday. The fact that it is the weekend in most countries doesn’t mean offices in Iran aren’t open. Please use Twitter, Facebook or whatever means is at your disposal to spread the word about Pastor Nadarkhani’s plight. His life should be spared and his freedom granted. Please pray for Pastor Youcef!

2 Corinthians 4:8-10: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

More information is available HERE.

May 20th, 2011

Islamophobia and a Christian: Is it a Sin?

The term islamophobia isn’t in the dictionary yet. In a matter of time, it will find its place. Even though this term should exclusively deal with an irrational dread, fear or hatred of Islam, Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have broadened it to include muslimophobia—irrational fear of Muslims. Why would an organization as organized as CAIR jumble these terms? Not especially when it wants to end them. We shouldn’t confuse islamophobia with muslimophobia. We can only effectively fight any kind of phobia if we know what it is.

I was saddened to read in the news two Muslim clerics who were headed to an islamophobia conference were deplaned two weeks ago. Why should these clerics miss their flight when they were subjected to and passed all airport security screening twice. Apparently, some passengers were uncomfortable with their mere presence on the flight and the pilot decided against having them aboard. This is a classic example of muslimophobia.

Islamophobia is also a problem and it is not endemic just to non-Muslims. Even Muslims suffer from it. Most Muslims who make media appearances in the West quote mostly abrogated verses of the Qur’an perhaps fearing their audience might not accept authentic Islam’s message. Even one of the Muslim clerics who was a victim of muslimophobia exhibited some signs of islamophobia in ensuing media interviews.

Imam Masudur Rahman, a professor of Arabic at the University of Memphis, in an interview with the Charlotte Observer said, “We need to tell people the truth about Islam: It is a religion of peace, a religion of justice, a religion honoring other people, regardless of color or religion.” He continued to say, “The Quran says: You practice your religion, I practice mine. There should be no compulsion in religion.” [Emphasis Mine.]

Imam Rahman quoted two verses from the Qur’an and totally misled reporter Tim Funk and every person who read his statement. Surah 109 verse 6 reads, “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.” All commentaries of the Qur’an agree this verse was revealed when Prophet Muhammad was dealing with idolaters in Mecca when Islam was in its nascent stage and had just a few followers. However, later on when Muhammad gained more followers “he was commanded to wage war [against the idolaters].”

I wish Muslims who quote verses from the Qur’an would tell non-Muslims the meanings behind them. So much for Imam Rahman claiming Islam leaves non-Muslims to have their own religions. Contrary to what this verse remotely portrays, Prophet Muhammad ended up eradicating all religions that preceded Islam from the Arabian Peninsula and then declared, “Two deens [religions] shall not co-exist in the Arabian Peninsula.” Whatever happened to freedom of religion in Islam Imam Rahman claimed to exist!

Another part of Imam Rahman’s quote in the interview addresses Surah 2 verse 256 which wholly reads, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” The Imam once again did not tell Mr. Funk this verse—CAIR and most Muslims in the media quote to show how Islam is about religious freedom—was abrogated. It was revealed in Medina when Prophet Muhammad had just migrated from Mecca and Islam still had only a few followers. Qur’an commentaries show this verse was revealed when the Ansar—Arabs of Medina who had embraced Islam—tried to convert their sons to Islam. The commentaries further show later, when two Muslims apostatized and Prophet Muhammad heard about their apostasy, he recited the same verse and said, “May Allah banish both of them. They are the first to disbelieve.” The founder of Islam cursed the first Muslims who apostatized because he did not have the power to kill them. He decreed later three times here, here, and here, every Muslim who apostatized should be killed. Muslims are required to obey Muhammad’s commands. Allah said twenty-nine times in the Qur’an a Muslim must also obey Muhammad. How could Islam be (quoting Imam Rahman again)  “a religion honoring other people, regardless of … religion,” when the command against apostasy is very explicit?

Imam Rahman and CAIR spokespersons exhibit symptoms of islamophobia. How else would someone as knowledgeable as he or an organization as organized as CAIR mislead reporters about the meaning of verses of the Qur’an they quote?

We can only deal with islamophobia candidly if we can separate it from muslimophobia. The latter is unmerited. It is a sin for a Christian to hate a Muslim. We are called to love even our enemies. Most Muslims are peaceful and would not harm anyone. There is no point of being afraid of them. On the other hand, Islam is an ideology and the violent kind as practiced by “extremists” is authentic Islam. There is nothing wrong with a Christian raising an alarm about the violent aspect of Islam, especially when prominent Muslims aren’t brave enough to acknowledge it, instead call any critic of Islam a bigot.

Let us end muslimophobia and leave islamophobia to Muslims. Perhaps when Muslims agree with Irshad Manji and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser there is a dire need for reform in Islam and publicly distinguish islamophobia from muslimophobia, then maybe islamophobia might face its demise as well.

 

 

 

Hussein Hajji Wario is a former Kenyan Sunni Muslim. He is the author of Cracks in the Crescent. He blogs regularly here. You can listen to his testimony here or read it here.

May 2nd, 2011

Why did it take so long to find Osama bin Laden? Islam Prohibits…

Have you wondered why it took more than nine years to get Osama bin Laden? Only the Hadith—sayings of Prophet Muhammad—can explain it. He said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should neither oppress him nor hand him over to an oppressor.” US Special Forces killed him without the help of the Pakistani government. According to ABC News, his hideout was a mere 1000 yards from Pakistan’s main military installation and he lived there for six years before he was killed. Why did it take this long? There is no doubt someone in the Pakistani government provided him with this hideout.

I am not making a political statement but just underscoring how militant Muslims abide by Prophet Muhammad’s teachings in waging terror against infidels and renegades and Pakistan, in this case, was playing by the rules. I had quoted this Hadith in a post on February 20, 2010 when the Associated Press reported the Pakistani government had refused to hand over Taliban militants to the United States for prosecution.

March 28th, 2011

Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Muslims and Hell

There has been a lot of discussion about “Hell” lately, courtesy of Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. I have heard cases the news coverage of this book has made some conversations with non-believers possible.

What does Islam teach about Hell and who goes in it? Prophet Muhammad—the closest Muslim to Allah—said in the Hadith that he did not know if Allah would let him into paradise or send him to Hell. This happened when he was asked whether a pious Muslim man who had died would go to paradise. He didn’t just answer the question but dropped a bombshell. He responded, “As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266.).”[1] Do ordinary Muslims stand any chance of escaping Hell?

Allah said in the Qur’an, in Suratul Al-Maryam, 19:71, “There is not one of you but shall come to it, that is, [but] shall enter Hell. That is an inevitability [already] decreed by your Lord, [something which] He made inevitable and [which] He decreed; He will not waive it.”

This verse is pretty clear Allah said all Muslims will go to Hell, regardless of their pious lives. Some Muslim scholars disagree. However, they are in disagreement with Prophet Muhammad who said, “The believers, after being saved from the (Hell) Fire, will be stopped at a bridge between Paradise and Hell.”[2] Who are the believers who are “saved from Hell”?

What is this Bridge? A widely used Qur’an commentary written by Abdullah Yusuf Ali states “the Bridge over Hell, the Bridge Sirat, over which all must pass to their final Destiny. This Bridge is not mentioned in the Qur’an.” Yusuf Ali was forthright in bringing to his readers’ attention the bridge Muslims widely believe would stretch over Hell is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Since Allah didn’t reveal it to Prophet Muhammad, where did Muhammad get it? That is another Crack in the Crescent for another time.[3]

 

 

 


[1] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266.

[2] Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 542.

[3] Chapter 12 of Cracks in the Crescent.

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 542.
December 10th, 2010

Cracks in the Crescent now a Google Edition eBook

Cracks in the Crescent (252 pages) is about Hussein Wario’s upbringing as a Sunni Muslim in Kenya, his conversion to Christianity and the ensuing persecution. It is now available as an ebook. You can read it  on the Web, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Nook, Sony devices and other supported eReaders. To start reading, please click HERE. Thank you.

Here is a sampling of some of the reviews:

This book should be read by any and all Catholic clergy and laymen interested in Islam. While some of the information provided will call for great tact and sensitivity if shared with Muslim friends and acquaintances, it will readily furnish the needed resources and references required to help both Muslims and non-Muslims come to a clearer understanding of Islam and its growing influence in our world today. Dr. Philip Blosser, PhD, Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminar

…Elegantly written… The New Oxford Review

…Must read… The Standard Bearer

…Excellent… Rev. Otto Kaiser, Associate Professor of Religion, Global University (Assemblies of God)

If you are unfamiliar with Islam and its beliefs, this is an excellent book to have on hand. Christians should know what Muslims think about Christianity and the author has written a book unlike any other that I have read on the subject of Islam. This would also be an excellent book to give to Muslims because it shows quite clearly where they have been misinformed about Christians and in particular Jesus. If you have Muslim friends you want to get this book! Interviews & Reviews, Canada

The fact that it is autobiographical adds an important dimension that most books on Islam lack…. very special. Dr. R. Greenway, PhD, Professor of Missiology

Truly remarkable testimony of God’s grace… engaging and moving… Dr. Rex M. Rogers, PhD, President, SAT-7 USA

Hussein Wario is a Kenyan Christian of Sunni Muslim background. He blogs regularly here. You can listen to his testimony here or read it here.

November 1st, 2010

Why Do Christians Suffer in Muslim Majority Countries?

Christians, whether of Muslim background or not, keep on suffering at the hands of Muslims in Muslim majority countries. Here are a few cases:

Two brothers, Rahid Emmanuel and Sajjid Emmanuel, were gunned down in July in their native Pakistan on false charges of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad. The court found them innocent. Some Muslims took the law into their own hands and executed them.

Hector Aleem, another Pakistani Christian, has been jailed for more than a year and a half on another false blasphemy charge. Even when Hector is innocent of this charge, the judge cannot release him for fear of retribution. Muslims have been demanding for his execution. You can watch videos of their protest here and here.

A Christian of Muslim background, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, is languishing in an Iranian jail for over a year awaiting execution. He is accused of apostasy. Even the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has joined the push for his release from prison.

Muslims kill many Christians not necessarily for apostasy, blasphemy or proselytizing Muslims but for their mere presence, which is proof to their Muslim neighbors Islam is a colossal failure. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq have suffered greatly. Here is a report from the Associated Press; what happened in Baghdad defies any logic:

BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces stormed a Baghdad church where militants had taken an entire congregation hostage for four hours, leaving at least 47 people dead, including a priest, Iraqi officials said Monday.

A cryptically worded statement posted late Sunday on a militant website allegedly by the Islamic State of Iraq appeared to claim responsibility for the attack. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida in Iraq, said it would “exterminate Iraqi Christians” if Muslim women in Egypt were not freed.

It specifically mentioned two women in Egypt that extremists maintain have converted to Islam and are being held against their will.

The Egyptian women are wives of priests that are believed to have converted to Islam to leave their husbands, since divorce is banned by the Coptic Church. One woman disappeared in 2004 and another in July of this year.

Egypt’s Christians maintained they had been kidnapped and demonstrated for their release. Both were later recovered by police, denied any conversions and were then spirited away to distant monasteries.

In the message, the militants claim the two are still Muslim and they called upon the Vatican, which held a meeting earlier in October to discuss the fate of Christians in the Middle East, to release the women.

The death toll has risen to 58. It defies any logic someone would go about killing people over assumptions. It is very possible these two Egyptian ladies “converted” to Islam against their will when Muslims held them captives. However, when they found their freedom, they “denied any conversions” to Islam. Isn’t that enough? Why do people have to die? And why would something that transpired in Egypt, which did not result in any loss of life, adversely affect Christians in Iraq?

Whatever happened to Muslims in the West’s argument Islam “supports” religious freedom? The deeds of their fellows in Muslim majority countries and the lack of prosecution of their crimes against non-Muslims prove there is no religious freedom or justice in Islam for a non-Muslim. Western Muslims are not demonstrating against these injustices. Perhaps they know the verse from the Qur’an they often quote, “There is no compulsion in religion,” indeed was abrogated and they are just fooling the unsuspecting.