Islam (Muslim)

Centuries after the time of Jesus, a visionary from Arabia named Mohammad had visions which prompted him to establish the religion of Islam. He considered himself to be a prophet of Allah (God). Islam has elements in common with the tribal religions of Arabia, with Judaism, and with Christianity.

In our current era of peace and tolerance, most followers of Islam would claim that Islam is a religion of peace. But unfortunately, in our modern era, there are radical Islamic groups that practice violence in their attempt to forcibly convert the world to Islam. It should be noted that these radical Islamic fundamentalists claim to base their violence on passages in the Islamic scriptures (Koran) which speak of jihad and violence. But in reviewing these many passages, I can not find a single passage in which unprovoked violence is taught. The passages all seem to be in the context of defending one’s life and religion after being attacked by others. Link: here. The two most incriminating passages I could find in the Koran are: All who are not Islamic are enemies of God and should be killed in jihads and Fight those who do not believe in Allah . . . nor follow the religion of truth. But these passages do not say that the fighting and jihads are justified when unprovoked.

Allah is the God of Islam. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all monotheistic (one God) religions, but there are significant differences. Typically, Muslims don’t know for sure if they will be allowed into heaven after they die. The best they can do is to increase their chances by faithfully reciting their daily prayers, by living as good Muslims, and by making a pilgrimage to Mecca. In Christianity, however, God is merciful and will forgive those who are truly repentant.

There are mystical sects of Islam such as Sufism (Sufi). The modern New Age Movement has incorporated some of these mystical ideas. Mystical books such as “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran are influenced by mystical Islamic thought.

Islam regards Jesus as a prophet of God, but is not true to the historical account of Abraham and his lineage given in the Bible. In the Bible, Abraham’s son Isaac received the promise that the Messiah would come through his lineage, and Abraham’s other son, Ishmael, would also become a great nation (but a contentious nation). However, Islam switches this around and makes Ishmael the son who received the blessing. But both religions agree that Ishmael left home as a young man and traveled east to Arabia to become the progenitor of the Islamic peoples.

According to Vatican II, the most recent Council of the Catholic Church, Muslims “adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees. . . . Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, . . . they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all [, and] . . . they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 841, the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us [Catholics] they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.