Posts tagged ‘Muhammad’

October 19th, 2010

Muslim Followers of Jesus? A Response to Joseph Cumming

I wrote this in response to Joseph Cumming’s advance paper, Muslim Followers of Jesus? He has written it for Lausanne World Congress which is taking place in Capetown, South Africa. The discussion is on Islam and Christian outreach to Muslims. You can read his entire article here. He wrote:

Ibrahim was a well-respected scholar of the Qur’an, a Hafiz. When he decided to follow Jesus, he closely examined the Qur’anic verses commonly understood as denying the Trinity, denying Jesus’ divine Sonship, denying Jesus’ atoning death, and denying the textual integrity of the Bible. He concluded that each of these verses was open to alternate interpretations, and that he could therefore follow Jesus as a Muslim. Soon members of his family and community came to share his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Ibrahim was also imprisoned for his faith, but unlike Nabil, Ibrahim still wanted to follow Jesus as a Muslim. Nonetheless some whom he led to Jesus no longer see themselves as Muslims. Ibrahim and Nabil are friends and respect each other as brothers, though they disagree about their identity.

Ibrahim seems to suffer from identity crisis. A Christian, possibly from Muslim background, should sit down with him and talk with him about how his identity should be in Jesus Christ. Ibrahim doesn’t have to leave his culture but to continue living in obedience to Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, observing some of the five pillars of Islam is syncretism. I don’t know what else to call it when even the Hadith shows Muhammad invented these practices. How could Ibrahim come up with “alternate interpretations” of the Qur’an when for 1400 years these verses have had zero alternate meaning?

Here is my personal story. I came to know the Lord in August 1989. Then in April 1990 I met a Kenyan national missionary who had a great idea. [We are still friends :) .] He wanted me to go back home to my own people so that I could live with them and be a Christian witness. Sad to say at that time the Kenyan government representative in my home area had already severed my ties to my family due to persecution. My missionary friend was oblivious to danger I had faced. He was a big believer in C4 contextualization. (His library contained books from leading advocates for C scale.) Had I followed through with his idea, I would have either been hurt or dead. Even sadder, this missionary’s idea came to fruition in 1995. He had about 20 C5 believers. To date, none of them has come forward to publicly profess his or her faith in Christ. One of them had a wife of Christian background who died a few years ago. He refused to have a “Christian” funeral for her. She had a Muslim funeral. Do you see the problem here? She was dead as a “Christian” yet she couldn’t be buried as one! Not that it mattered but there is a serious flaw in a Muslim background believer’s (MBB) thinking if he or she still practices some core Islamic teachings. Proper discipleship is the only antidote to this morass that has befuddled Christian outreach to Muslims. I hope and pray Lausanne Congress charts the way forward.

Another severe problem facing Christian outreach to Muslim is scriptural integrity in Bible translation. Christians already struggle explaining to a Muslim how the Bible has not been corrupted yet some organizations don’t get the idea. An organization that does Bible translation for a Muslim audience has a hard time translating the New Testament because of the term “Son of God” in the Gospel and other epistles. There is a bizarre case in Ethiopia where major errors have been made, thus compromising the meaning of certain verses. You can read that story here.

I believe some western Christian scholars are behind this confusion in Christian outreach to Muslims. They have no idea what problems they have created for MBBs and Christian workers among Muslims. Muslims are already mocking Christian scholars who advocate for C4, C5 and C6. Can’t we get the clue? It is time for us to put our egos aside and preach the Gospel without diluting its message. After all, it is “the power of God unto salvation.” A big thank you to Brother Joseph Cumming for keeping this discussion alive.

August 2nd, 2010

My Free Speech Trumps the Gospel

Muslims are already suspicious of Christian missionary activities. Acts 17 Apologetics ministry’s actions just added to the misery. It was unfortunate its members were arrested but it was not unexpected. There are indications this was their intent. Dr. Nabeel Qureish stated clearly in an interview before the arrests that Acts 17 would defy the rules of the festival. He said, “We would not follow their exact rules.” Mr. David Wood was overheard before the arrest saying that he planned to defy the rules because getting arrested would get more of an outcry or response.

We know now that these Christians were not arrested for sharing the Gospel or distributing Bibles and tracts as they have publicly said. Two things are clear. First, they didn’t follow the rules of the festival. Second, they have given conflicting statements, which show they were not preaching or distributing materials. Videos show three of them were holding cameras. The fourth one was holding a microphone arguing with Muslims and giving commentary on previous year’s incident, which involved security guards. Who was holding the Bibles and tracts among those arrested?

If preaching were the cause of their arrest, how come Mr. David Wood’s friend, the guy screaming at the police and also shouting “Jesus is Lord!” in this video here was not arrested? Witnesses say he was proselytizing Muslims at the time of the arrests. Acts 17 claimed handing out Bibles and evangelizing was prohibited, but we know it was occurring. Pastor Haytham Abi-Haydar’s church was handing out Bibles and evangelistic materials, literature Acts 17 said they could not hand out in this video here.

I wrote before how Josh McDowell was evangelizing Muslims and also answering questions on “Jesus, the Bible and resurrection” at the festival and yet he was not arrested. He even knocked on doors and went into Muslims’ homes. For those who doubt Josh’s ability to engage Muslims, Mr. Wood’s friend and former Muslim Abdu Murray of Aletheia International trained him in Muslim outreach and evangelism at the annual Legacy Conference in Dearborn the week preceding the festival. I believe this was Josh’s second year at this conference.

Another point of concern is Acts17’s assertion that Dearborn is under Sharia Law; this is simply not the case. Dearborn residents and visitors participate in evangelism. There are local ministries that go weekly throughout neighborhoods handing out Bibles, other evangelizing materials, More than Dreams DVDs, and so on.  How could this happen if there is Sharia law in Dearborn? An internationally known evangelist, a Dearborn resident, goes out weekly into Dearborn neighborhoods and parks handing out Bibles and evangelizing Muslims without incident. The only folks who cry foul are Acts 17 missionaries and their supporters most of whom were just passing through the festival or have never been to Dearborn, let alone a country under Sharia law.

Acts 17 ministry has done damage to Christian outreach to Muslims and other unbelievers. We should remain steadfast in rebuking them and asking them to work with the hard-working Christians reaching out in Dearborn.

On a side note, there were some scheduled debates during the festival that were canceled because some Muslims rescinded. I was planning on coming to Romulus for some of them and the reason I was given for the cancellations was the presence of Prophet Muhammad cartoons on Acts 17 website. This group claims to love Muslims. Sadly, their actions speak a different tune. Some Muslims objected, they argued their right to “free speech.” They come across as sarcastic and not at all concerned about the offense the cartoons are to Muslims. They lack empathy and their statements about the cartoons incite anger rather more than anything else. The cartoons are a stumbling block and by their actions they move this stumbling block in front of Muslims rather than moving on to issues which matter more like the Trinity, crucifixion, Jesus’ Sonship, etc. How would these “missionaries” expect Muslims to give them an audience when they fragrantly “insult” their prophet? Debating was one way they tried to reach out to Muslims and now that door is slam shut because of their arrogance. How sad!

On a similar note, a Florida church has scheduled international burn a Qur’an day on September 11. Not surprising, some of Dove World’s argument is also “free speech.” Is this a new trend in Christian outreach to Muslims? Whatever happened to Jesus words “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves?” Sadly, I hear “my free speech trumps the Gospel!”

March 15th, 2010

Questions you should ask your Muslim friends

Islam is in the news. Oftentimes the news isn’t good. We hear many atrocious stories about this supposedly peaceful religion. Mainstream Muslims decry what Muslims like Osama bin Laden say and do to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. They argue that Islam does not teach Muslims to be violent. Muslims and non-Muslims are confused because of the conflicting teachings of Islam.

Do you know that mainstream Islam only focuses on the first twelve years of Islam, 610-622 A.D., when the teachings of Prophet Muhammad had not been defined? You should ask your Muslim friends why they selectively follow Muhammad. During this twelve-year period, only one out of the five pillars of Islam was practiced. Muhammad and his companions observed only the five daily prayers. The rest of the five pillars of Islam did not materialize until 631 A.D.

It took Muhammad that long to come up with the rest of the five pillars because he was very indecisive. The Hadith shows that Prophet Muhammad and his fellow Muslims first observed the Arab idol worshipers’ fast in Mecca. And when they migrated to Medina in 622 A.D., they adopted Jews’ fast up until there was fallout a few years later. Muhammad and his companions also performed pilgrimage to Mecca with Arab idolaters before the institution of Hajj in 631 A.D. The Hadith also shows that the present-day pilgrimage has similar rituals as that of Arab idol worshippers’.

Why do mainstream Muslims stick to the earlier teachings of Prophet Muhammad and selectively believe and practice Islam of post-622 A.D. where Islam was defined as a religion? Are they ashamed of practicing authentic Islam? We are left to speculate.

March 5th, 2010

Arabs Don’t Want Palestinian Conflict to End

An Egyptian sociologist and the founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a Muslim, says Arab countries do not want the Israel-Palestinian conflict to end because they have “vested interests.” These countries were the architects of the present-day nightmares that Israelis and Palestinians live through. They urged Palestinian leaders to reject the two-state solution in 1947, resulting into Palestinians living as refugees in their own land.

I went to school with some Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Some of them still live in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. I hope and pray for this conflict to end soon.

I believe that Israel has a right to be a country in the Middle East. And the Second Coming of Jesus Christ does NOT depend on the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount. However, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock have no right to be on the Temple Mount either, because, contrary to what Muslims say, the Hadith shows that Prophet Muhammad did not ascended to the seven heavens from there. He actually had a dream that he was in Jerusalem prior to the alleged ascension. Why any Muslim would shed his or her blood over Muhammad’s dream or vision causes me to wonder.

Arab countries want this conflict to continue because they benefit financially from the plight of their fellow Arabs in Palestine and Lebanon refugee camps.  Islam and Muslims claim the victim status for a reason. From the widely known claim that Christians and Jews removed references to Prophet Muhammad in the Bible, to Muslims being  “randomly” screened at airports.

Lastly, non-Palestinian Arabs do not want this conflict to end because they do not want the world to look at the Islamic ideology a fresh. Had this conflict not being constantly in the news, the debate would have shifted to the prophethood of Muhammad, the infallibility of the Qur’an and the legitimacy of the Islamic ideology. The cracks in the Crescent would have been carefully scrutinized. Non-Muslims would not have been buying into the current propaganda that essentially misleads the masses to focus only on the first 12 years of Islam and ignore the last 10 years which defines authentic Islam. We should start asking tough questions for the sake of peace in Palestine. Hopefully, with the end of this conflict, the right questions about Islam will be asked.

February 22nd, 2010

Contextualization

Contextualization Gone Amok?

Contextualization is a brilliant Christian Missiology idea (C1, C2 and C3) that has gone amok (C4 and C5). As a former Muslim and a graduate of madrassa, I have concerns especially with C5. First, how can a Muslim claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ while he or she still believes in the Qur’an—a book that vehemently rejects his deity, death and resurrection? These three attributes make his salvation and lordship possible.

Secondly, some in C5 have stated that they were born into a Muslim family, which automatically makes them a Muslim and a part of the Muslim community; therefore, they cannot disavow themselves of their family, community and people. Their views are in agreement with Prophet Muhammad who advocated for fitra (every child is born a Muslim and should remain a Muslim). Sadly, they are incongruent with those of Jesus Christ (who they also claim is their savior), who taught, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37, NIV.) This text is just one of the examples of his teachings.

Thirdly, they seem to confuse western culture with Christianity, the same way many Muslims do. They understand Christianity only from what they hear in the news about the actions of some celebrities in the West, or from what they read in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. One can be a Christian (follower of Jesus Christ) without embracing western culture.

Fourthly, I know of some Muslim scholars who invent excuses for the behavior of Prophet Muhammad; but I have never heard of one who wants to be a follower of Jesus Christ yet still wants to defend Muhammad. Many instances in the Qur’an and the Hadith illustrate how Prophet Muhammad’s behavior is an embarrassment. For example, he married Zainab, who was previously married to Zaid (his adopted son). He supposedly received as a revelation from Allah a decree that Zaid should divorce Zainab so that he could marry her (Surah 33). Mark you, this happened when Muhammad already had at least five wives.

Muslim scholars are mocking the advocacy of contextualization in Christianity, mostly quoting Christian scholars who are known experts in the field. One of the first hits you get when you search online is the Muslim criticism. They claim that since there is no “truth” in Christianity, Christians have resorted to desperate tactics to get new converts. Is this what we need?

I hope those who advocate for contextualization, especially for C4 and C5, should change their mind because, regardless of how they spin it, a believer cannot be a follower of Muhammad and Jesus at the same time.

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Cracks in the Crescent discusses my upbringing as a Muslim, my conversion story to Christianity and the ensuring persecution. If you would like your copy, please clink on the link below. Thank you. For a limited time only, there is an offer for free shipping, which ends Friday, December 31, 2010.


February 9th, 2010

Darajat

Who is a true Muslim?

إِنَّمَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ثُمَّ لَمۡ يَرۡتَابُواْ وَجَـٰهَدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَأَنفُسِهِمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلصَّـٰدِقُونَ

“The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.” (Al-Hujraat, 49:15, Pickthall).

Muslims are ranked in three categories called darajat. Muhsin is the highest rank. The verse from the Qur’an mentioned above talks about the Muhsin who fought alongside Prophet Muhammad. They did not doubt the message of the Qur’an or what he said in the Hadith. Though the message was equivocal, they did not doubt but strove to understand it by employing the rule of abrogation. Today’s mainstream Muslims who doubt the message of the Qur’an, especially the one pertaining to the killing of infidels and apostates, are not true Muslims according to the Qur’an and the Hadith. What happens if every Muslim becomes a Muhsin?

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My autobiography, Cracks in the Crescent, is available for purchase. Please click on the link below. Thank you. Free shipping. Limited time offer ends Friday, December 31, 2010. It is also available at Amazon.com