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  • Daniel Botkin

A Brief History of Islam

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born in AD 570. When he was 40 years old, he claimed that he had been visited by the angel Gabriel. Over the following 23 years of his life, he claimed to have received a series of visits and revelations from Gabriel. These revelations were allegedly memorized by Mohammed, dictated to his companions, and written down by scribes. The Koran (sometimes spelled Quran) is the written record of these “revelations.”

Islam’s foundational statement of faith is expressed in the words La ilaha illallah, Muhammed-ur-Rasulullah, “There is no God except Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” For Muslims, the idea of Jesus as the only begotten, divine Son of God is out of the question. According to Islam, Allah “has absolutely no associate with Him in His divinity.”1 The Koran says “Far it be from Him [God] that He should have a son!” (ch. 4:169-171) and “He [God] begetteth not” (ch. 112).

Muslims claim to believe in Jesus as a prophet, but they do not believe in His Divinity, His Sonship, nor His Resurrection. To them, Jesus was “only a Messenger” (Sura 5, The Table).

Islam has five articles of faith, called the five pillars of Islam. One source that I have, an attractive, glossy brochure obviously designed to try to persuade American Christians to convert to Islam, lists the five pillars as: faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca.2

Another source I have, written for the purpose of “satisfying the intellectual cravings of Muslim youth,”3 lists the five obligations as: prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, and jihad (holy war). The Muslim author writes of jihad:

“[T]his word is used particularly for a war that is waged solely in the name of Allah against those who practise oppression as enemies of Islam. This supreme sacrifice of life devolves on all Muslims. If, however, a section of Muslims offer themselves for the Jihad, the community as a whole is absolved of its responsibility. But if none comes forward, everybody is guilty. This concession vanishes for the citizens of an Islamic State when it is attacked by a non-Muslim power. In that case everybody must come forward for the Jihad. If the country attacked has not enough strength to fight back, then it is the religious duty of the neighbouring Muslim countries to help her; if even they fail, then the Muslims of the whole world must fight the common enemy. In all such cases, Jihad is as much a primary duty of the Muslims concerned as are the daily prayers or fasting. One who shirks it is a sinner. His very claim to being a Muslim is doubtful. He is a hypocrite whose’Ibadah [worship] and prayers are a sham, a worthless show of devotion.”4

Islam was established by jihad. Defeated foes were given the choice of being killed or converting to Islam and living as Muslims. One reason Islam was able to spread so rapidly in Mohammed’s own lifetime was because of Christianity’s steady decline into deeper corruption. Robert J. Wieland writes:

“The Arab prophet [Mohammed] found a religious vacuum and rushed in to fill it with his strange, authoritarian teachings. Islam was born, and its roots fed on the decay of a vitiated Mediterranean Christianity. One of the great phenomena of history is the improbable, but lightning-like military success of early Islam. Within a few years of the Prophet’s death, both the Byzantine Roman and Persian empires fell like overripe fruit into Muslim hands. Allah’s untutored horsemen routed these proud rulers of the world in daring campaigns like nothing the world had seen since Alexander the Great ... Thousands of Christians in North Africa and the Middle East became Muslims almost overnight, and the once-orthodox land of Augustine mysteriously and disgracefully surrendered its Christian identity so completely, that the richest Roman province of Christ became fanatically devoted to the star and crescent. In North Africa, home of many of the church fathers, hardly a vestige remains of its once-brilliant Christian history.”5

Does Islam tolerate other beliefs? This question is asked in the slick brochure designed to appeal to American Christians. The brochure answers: “It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths.”6

That above statement is, to put it bluntly, a damnable lie. Many Muslim nations have laws prohibiting the open practice of any non-Islamic faith. Christians are routinely and brutally persecuted by Muslims in Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, and other Arab and African countries. If the Christian faith is flourishing in the Islamic world, it is in spite of (or perhaps because of) the persecution, not because Islam welcomes and tolerates other beliefs.

A few quotes from the Koran to show why Muslims who take the Koran seriously are intolerant of Jews and Christians:

“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them” (Surah V 5:51).

“Thou wilt find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe [i.e., believe in Islam -DB] (to be) the Jews and idolaters” (Surah V 5:82).

“Allah’s messenger (may peace be upon him) said: ‘You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Moslem, there is a Jew hiding himself behind me, kill him!’” (Sahih Moslem, English translation, Beirut, Dar al Arabia, Vol. 4, p. 1510).

Some years ago, Sheik Abdel Aziz ibn Baaz, the mufti of Saudi Arabia, made it clear that peace with non-Muslims is only permissible if Muslims are weak.7 “Peace with the Jews would be unthinkable if the Moslems were strong,” he said. “In such an event reconciliation with the Jews would not be permissible. It would be our duty to fight them.”8

Muslims have grown stronger in the past several years, and their aggression against Israel and America has increased. Pray for Israel and America.

| DB



1Abul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia National Offset Press, 1986), 131.

2Understanding Islam and the Muslims (Washington, DC: Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 1989).

3Mawdudi, 7.

4Ibid., 142.

5Robert J. Wieland, “Islam Challenges the World,” Signs of the Times, Aug. 1985, 11.

6Understanding Islam and the Muslims, n. p.

7A mufti is an interpreter of Islamic law.

8Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz, Jan. 20, 2001, quoting the Saudi daily al-Muslimun.


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