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Who are the Muslims and What is Islam?

July 3, 2017 Leave a comment

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:17, NKJV)

Most people who read the title of this blog post will think that they already know the answer to this question. They would probably say, “Oh, those are the terrorists who kill innocent people.” They might say, “Oh, those are the people who practice that religion founded by Muhammad. They stone people to death for committing adultery.” They might say, “Oh, those are those people who pray five times a day and fast during Ramadan.” I, however, am going to provide a Koranic definition of Muslim and Islam in this blog post. The Koranic definition might be quite a shock to many non-Muslim readers, that is, to those readers who are not affiliated with any of the various, modern versions of Islam practiced today.

The Arabic word translated Muslim means one who submits. In the Koran, this word has a much broader meaning than the one that is typically used today.

Several of the Old Testament Saints and Prophets were called Muslims in the Koran. Noah was called a Muslim.

And recite to them the news of Noah, when he said to his people, “O my people, if my residence and my reminding of the signs of Allah has become burdensome upon you – then I have relied upon Allah. So resolve upon your plan and [call upon] your associates. Then let not your plan be obscure to you. Then carry it out upon me and do not give me respite. And if you turn away [from my advice] then no payment have I asked of you. My reward is only from Allah, and I have been commanded to be of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:71,72, Sahih International)

In Genesis, we can read about the story of Noah building an ark to save his household from the flood and how God saved him and his household from it. (Genesis 6:8-9:29) In the New Testament, it says that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.” (II Peter 2:5) In Genesis, it says that Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) and “walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)

Abraham and Ishmael were called Muslims.

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (Koran 2:127,128, Sahih International)

No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. (Koran 3:67, Arberry)

Many Muslims (in the modern day Islamic sense) have been circumcised. However, Noah was a Muslim before God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. Abraham was a monotheist. He received the commandment to be circumcised. (Genesis 17:9-14) His son Ishmael was circumcised. (Genesis 17:23,25) Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his offspring and a seal of the righteousness that he had as a result of his faith in God. (Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11) The sign and seal of this covenant has been replaced by two Sacraments in the Church: baptism (Colossians 2:11,12) and chrismation. (II Corinthians 1:21,22; I John 2:20,27; Revelation 7:3; 9:4) Baptism is the sign of the New Covenant instituted by Christ. Chrismation is the seal of the New Covenant.

Abraham was righteous before God before receiving the covenant of circumcision. (Genesis 15:6)

Lot and his household were Muslims.

So We brought out whoever was in the cities of the believers. And We found not within them other than a [single] house of Muslims. (Koran 51:35,36, Sahih International)

Lot and his family left Abraham and dwelt in the plain of Jordan. (Genesis 13:8-13) The covenant of circumcision was not given to Lot. He was most likely uncircumcised. However, he was a Muslim. In the New Testament, it says that “righteous Lot” “was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” (II Peter 2:7)

Jacob and his children were Muslims.

When his Lord said to him, “Submit”, he said “I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds.” And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.” Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac — one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:131-133, Sahih International)

Jacob’s son Joseph called himself a Muslim.

My Lord, You have given me [something] of sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams. Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” (Koran 12:101, Sahih International)

The ancient Israelites were Muslims.

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims.” (Koran 10:84, Sahih International)

Pharaoh became a Muslim before he died in the Red Sea.

And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when drowning overtook him, he said, “I believe that there is no Deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 10:90, Sahih International)

King Solomon and the people he governed were Muslims.

So when she arrived, it was said [to her], “Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.” [Solomon said], “And we were given knowledge before her, and we have been Muslims [in submission to Allah]. (Koran 27:42, Sahih International)

Jesus’ disciples were Muslims.

When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do Thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Koran 3:52, Yusuf Ali)

“And behold! I inspired the disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger: they said, ‘We have faith, and do Thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims.‘” (Koran 5:111, Yusuf Ali)

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

St. James, the brother of Jesus, said:

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NKJV)

This concept of doing the will of God and submitting to Him is found in the New  Testament. A Muslim is one who submits to God. That is the basic meaning of the Arabic word.

There are Jews and Christians, called in the Koran “People of the Scripture,” who are Muslims and they have never heard of or read the Koran before.

Those to whom We sent the Book before this, — they do believe in this (revelation): and when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will) from before this. (Koran 28:52,53, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran teaches that some of the Jinn are Muslims. (Koran 72:1,8,13,14) So, a Muslim does not have to be a human being.

The Koran gives some characteristics which distinguish Muslims from non-Muslims. Muslims believe in one God. They are monotheists. In the Koran, it says:

Say: “O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.” If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” (Koran 3:64, Yusuf Ali)

There were many different Christian sects during the time of Muhammad in the seventh century. There were Tritheists, Maryamites, Nestorians, Arians, Sabellians, Bitheists, and other heretical sects. The Trinitarian monotheists were the Orthodox Christians. The words in this verse from the Koran are directed toward one of the heretical sects who acknowledged the existence of more than one god, like the Tritheists and the Bitheists, for example.

Those who worship others in addition to the one Triune God are idolaters and not Muslims.

Nor could he order you to take the angels and prophets as lords. Would he order you to disbelief after you had been Muslims? (Koran 3:80, Sahih International)

Asking angels and deceased prophets to pray for one is not idolatry. There is no more harm in asking for their prayers than to ask for the prayers of a living human. In the 21st Surah, it says:

Say, “It is only revealed to me that your God is but one God; so will you be Muslims [in submission to Him]?” (Koran 21:108, Sahih International)

Muhammad accepted the New Testament and all of the Old Testament books of the Orthodox Christians. (The Protestants adopted a smaller Old Testament canon in the 16th century. The larger canon was used during Muhammad’s time.) This verse from the 29th Surah provides evidence that Muhammad accepted the Bible and that there were monotheistic Christians in the seventh century.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

Muslims, not only believe in the existence of only one God, but also accept the Bible of Orthodox Christians as authoritative. Here is more evidence that Muslims are people who accept the Bible.

Say, [O believers], “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 2:136, Sahih International)

Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.” (Koran 3:84, Sahih International)

You cannot guide the straying blind. You can make no one listen except those who believe in Our revelations and are Muslims. (Koran 30:53, Muhammad Sarwar)

[To whom Allah will say], “O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve, [you] who believed in Our verses and were Muslims. (Koran 43:68,69, Sahih International)

Notice in Koran 43:68,69 that it God says, “My servants” and “Our verses.” This is more evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity in the Koran. One God, three Persons. All of the above cited verses also teach that Muslims accept the Koran. “We believe in that which has been revealed to us.” (Koran 29:46) “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us.” (Koran 2:136; 3:84) The revelations and verses mentioned in Koran 30:53 and Koran 43:69 include the Koran. Here is more evidence from the Koran that Muslims are those who accept the Koran.

If they will not respond to you, know that God has sent it with His knowledge and that He is the only God. Will you then become Muslims?” (Koran 11:14, Muhammad Sarwar)

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:89, Yusuf Ali)

Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Koran 16:102, Yusuf Ali)

And struggle for God as is His due, for He has chosen you, and has laid on you no impediment in your religion, being the creed of your father Abraham; He named you Muslims aforetime and in this, that the Messenger might be a witness against you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind. So perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and hold you fast to God; He is your Protector — an excellent Protector, an excellent Helper. (Koran 22:78, Arberry)

Of course, someone may already be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran. (Koran 28:52,53) Koran 22:78 says that God named people Muslims aforetime. That means that Jews and Orthodox Christians were Muslims before the revelation of the Koran.

Two Persons of the Deity are mentioned in Koran 16:102: the Holy Spirit and one other. The other Person could be either the Father or the Son. Look at these verses from St. John’s Gospel.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV)

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. (John 15:26, NKJV)

The Helper (in some translations, the Comforter) is the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) The Helper is also called the Spirit of truth. (John 15:26) So, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of truth are all different names for the Third Person of the Deity. Now look at this passage from the same Gospel.

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15, NKJV)

There are some imams and Islamic scholars who are teaching that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel and the Spirit of Truth in the Gospel according to St. John is Muhammad. The Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Truth or the Helper, is the Third Person of the Deity. What the imams and Islamic scholars are teaching is not true.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” The Koran says that “the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth.” (Koran 16:102)

Some other characteristics of a Muslim are that he invites others to come to God.

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Koran 41:33, Sahih International)

That above-mentioned verse also says that he does righteousness. These verses also teach that Muslims live righteously.

Indeed, for the righteous with their Lord are the Gardens of Pleasure. Then will We treat the Muslims like the criminals? (Koran 68:34,35, Sahih International)

A Muslim repents whenever he sins.

We have advised the human being to be kind to his parents; his mother bore him with hardship and delivered him while suffering a great deal of pain. The period in which his mother bore and weaned him lasted for thirty months. When he grew-up to manhood and became forty years old, he then said, “Lord, inspire me to give You thanks for the bounties You have granted to me and my parents, and to act righteously to please You. Lord, make my offspring virtuous. Lord I turn to you in repentance; I am a Muslim.” (Koran 46:15, Muhammad Sarwar)

This verse from the 33rd Surah contains more qualities of a Muslim.

For Muslim men and women, — for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, — for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Koran 33:35, Yusuf Ali)

Now, I will talk about what the Koran says about Islam.

Islam is derived from a tri-literal root s-l-m. Salaam means peace in Arabic, that is, the absence of conflict. Islam means submission. Islam is submission to God that results in peace with God. In the Third Surah, it says:

In the sight of God Islam is the religion. The People of the Book created differences in the matters (of religion) because of their hostility among themselves, only after knowledge had come to them. Let whoever denies the revelations of God know that the reckoning of God is swift. (Koran 3:19, Muhammad Sarwar)

One who has adopted the Koranic version of Islam has surrendered his will to do God’s will. Jesus told us we must do that. (Matthew 7:21) If we do not agree to do God’s will, then we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Koranic version of Islam also demands that we accept and believe all of God’s revelations — the Bible and the Koran. The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety. (Koran 5:48, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations from God.

Nothing has been said to you which was not said to the Messengers who lived before you. Your Lord is certainly All-forgiving, but stern in His retribution. (Koran 41:43, Muhammad Sarwar)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers of God.

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

So, there should be no problem with a Christian accepting the Koran. There are mistranslations of the Koran. I have already demonstrated that in  previous blogs. One example is translating the Arabic word which means “three” as Trinity in Koran 4:171. Many of the non-Christian translators have rendered their interpretation of the Koran thinking that they are refuting Christians. They do not understand any of the basic doctrines of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the two natures of Christ. I accept the Koran, but not the mistranslations of it. I believe that the Koran teaches Trinitarian monotheism.

Elsewhere in the Third Surah, it says:

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good). (Koran 3:85, Yusuf Ali)

Islam is merely submitting to the will of God like Jesus taught. Remember St. James the brother of Jesus said: “Submit to God.” (James 4:7) Jesus also said:

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46, NKJV)

Much of what one sees being practiced by modern Muslims is derived from the Sunnah — that massive collection of hearsay. Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers. He received no new revelations. (Koran 41:43; 46:9) The Sunnah contains a lot of innovations and novel teachings. Much of the Sunnah contradicts the Bible and the Koran. I have already illustrated how it contradicts those Holy Books in previous blogs.

The religion of Islam also demands that we observe the dietary laws. There are some foods that are haraam, that is, forbidden.

Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal) and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols) and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 5:3, Shakir)

These dietary restrictions are virtually identical to those in the New Testament. (See Acts 15:28,29.) The only difference is the addition of the requirement to abstain from pork. I believe that the reason this requirement was given was so that the Muslims would not offend the Jews living in Mecca. They were obeying St. Paul’s instructions in I Corinthians 10:32,33. The first generation Muslims believed all of the Scripture. (Koran 3:119)

God makes it possible for someone to accept Islam, that is, surrender his will to do God’s will.

Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to heaven. So God lays abomination upon those who believe not. (Koran 6:125, Arberry)

St. Paul said:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13, NKJV)

God works in us to do His will. We must cooperate with Him and submit.

So, Muslims are people who have surrendered their wills to do God’s will. They believe the Bible and the Koran. Someone can be a Muslim without ever having read the Koran though. (Koran 28:52,53) They accept the New Testament dietary laws in Acts 15:28,29. They abstain from pork if necessary in order not to offend Jews. They do righteousness and repent. They acknowledge the existence of only one God and worship and serve Him only. They invite others to come to God and submit to Him. The concept of submitting to God in order to do His will is taught in the Bible. Both the Koran and the Bible agree that those who refuse to submit to God and do His will will not inherit the Kingdom of God and enter Paradise. (Matthew 7:21; Koran 3:85) All of the novelties practiced by modern Muslims today come from the Sunnah and not from the Koran. Muhammad received no new revelations from God was not an innovation among the messengers of God. There were Muslims in Old Testament times. Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, and King Solomon are examples of Old Testament Muslims. They surrendered their wills to do God’s will. Jesus’ disciples were also Muslims. They followed Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said that we must do the will of His Father in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. They did that. (Matthew 7:21)