I started researching the history and teachings of Islam several months ago. For years I taught a segment about Islam's history during lectures on the history of Christianity. You can't really bypass the beginnings and growth of Islam because of its devastating effect on lands once predominantly Christian. My current study began when a Facebook friend suggested I write a few essays on Islam for my monthly column in The Restoration Herald. At the time I thought I would write two or three essays and that would cover it. Little did I know!
In my church history course, I covered Islam and the Christian response in one lecture (http://christianchronicler.com/history1/ popes_and_the_ prophet.html #POPES AND THE PROPHET). Frankly, I thought that lecture covered the subject pretty well. Once again, little did I know!
Since I began my study, I've read 14 books not counting the Qur'an, portions of the Hadith, and numerous monographs, news articles, and essays on all sides of the subject. Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to watch a variety of debates, TV shows such as John Ankerberg Show, and scholarly presentations. Dr. Jay Smith, David Wood, Robert Spencer, and Dr. James White are some of the best when it comes to defending Christianity and exposing the fundamental errors of Islam. My hard drive and Kindle Fire now contains several copies of the Qur'an, Hadith (Sayings) collected by Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and Sayyid Qutb's writings. Although I've read the Qur'an through once, I have yet to dive into the original source material mentioned in the previous sentence. These are multi-volume works and it will take me a lot of time to dig through all of it. At my age, 74, I may never see the end of it. I'll never get enough of this stuff done to make me an "expert."
What have I found so far? Let me share some of what I've discovered.
- I've found the standard histories of Muhammad and Islam's beginning do not tell the whole story. Recent studies raise serious questions about Islam's historical context. These studies uncovered serious historical issues regarding Mecca, the Qur'an's formation, and Muhammad's existence.
- I've discovered the answers to questions I had about the spread of Islam. Muhammad died in AD 632 and within 100 years had conquered Persia, Syria, the eastern Byzantine Empire, all of North Africa, and Spain. It's tentacles reached into India and China soon after and made its way into the Balkans. During Christianity's first 600 years these were Christian lands. How could Islam have supplanted faith in Christ Jesus so quickly? After all, it took 300 years for Rome to grant Christianity legal status! I now know why.
- I've discovered all the guilt attached to Christians regarding the Crusades is bunk. You know what I mean. Every time someone points to terrorism and violence, someone says, "Well, Christians slaughtered people during the Crusades without reason." President Obama, in a speech delivered in 2015 said, "And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ." Some of the tragic events which occurred during the Crusades were indeed unfortunate, but much of the popular mythology about the Crusades is unfounded (read: a lie). Christians did not start the fight!
- I've discovered Islam's leadership has a definite agenda and its not to spread peace and love around the world. Suffice it to say, not all Muslims are terrorists. However, Muslims who understand their faith and live it based on the teachings of the Qur'an as modeled by Muhammad are! It is true many Muslims (nominal) are peace-loving, but statistics show more and more move steadily into the radical camp.
- I've discovered the fastest way to be labeled a bigot, racist, Islamaphobe, or hater is to raise issues about Islam. I do not hate Muslims, I despise the religion of Islam. I repudiate the religion of Islam just like I do the religion of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and any cult or false teaching currently propagated. I hate the lies, half-truths, and false teaching pushed on people in the name of some false religion. I love truth because I love Jesus who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT by me." Others may disagree, but the Bible (the Word of God) still says the only true faith is the one Jesus taught us.
I'll use my blog to help you uncover far more than I've mentioned here. So far, I've submitted 15 articles to The Restoration Herald. I don't have a clue how many more will follow, or what I'll post here. Stay tuned! I'll eventually put it all in a book.