More Questions on Islam

More Questions on Islam

More Questions About Islam [Full Article]

Is there no part of the Qur’an which modifies these violent texts in the way that we would say our New Testament modifies the Old Testament?
In fact the reverse is true. Suppose in our Bible the New Testament came first and the Old Testament came later, that would be the position in the Qur’an. All the peaceful passages that are enjoined on Muslims occur in the chapters written at Mecca. They are tolerant toward Jews and Christians. But when Muhammad gets to Medina and sets up his city/religious state, the tone towards other groups changes rapidly. The statements about slaying the pagans and killing the Jews and others occur there.
Now in Islamic interpretation, all passages that are revealed later take precedence over those revealed earlier. This is known as the ‘law of abrogation’. It means therefore that those passages that enjoin violence are actually the ones which are now acceptable.
What caused this change?
One needs to realise that at Mecca Muhammad is a despised prophet, he needs the help of all communities. But when he gets to Medina, he is now in the position of being a ruler, a legislator, a general. He has to further the Islamic community. For those who did not accept the new community – such as the Jews and Christians – it became highly dangerous, to the point of death.
Is it true that in Muslim countries Muslims who have converted to Christianity are not able to worship openly?
In Muslim countries where converts occur we need to remember the law of apostasy. In Saria, all four schools of Sunni law and Shi’i law teach that any adult male Muslim who rejects Islam, or becomes a Christian, commits the crime of high treason and that carries the death penalty. Some countries practise it – Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Sudan – but where countries do not practise it it is often practised by the communities and families.
In most countries if the death penalty is not applied endemic discrimination and persecution and marginalisation occurs. There is no freedom within Islam. It does not confer all the civic liberties either on converts, or on historic Christian communities in their midst.

  • R. Mansfield
    Posted at 16:54h, 30 March Reply

    “Suppose in our Bible the New Testament came first and the Old Testament came later

    What real difference would this make? Does it matter that Israel had wars? All nations did and do. Yes, there were some of those nations who were under “the ban”–God commanded all inhabitants to be killed. But those were specific cities or city-states. That was never policy for every non-Israelite.

    In Islam it’s general policy to kill the infidel. That was never a command given to any Israelite, and certainly no Christian.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 17:20h, 30 March Reply

    Yeah, I was a little hesitant to put that part of the interview up there but I think it falls under the umbrella of progressive revelation.

    You make a great point that nation was commanded to kill nation. I think it should be noted because so many people will say that Christianity also advocates violence by virtue of it being in the Bible.

    This is where accurate interpretation across the timeline of God’s redemptive history guides us. We do not blush at the fact that judgment was meted out on wicked nations (Gen 15.16). Rather, we affirm the fact that Christianity is not bound up within an ethnic people, but is formed by people from everywhere who have been born anew.

    Yes, the commands were against nations, but it doesn’t negate the fact that non-Jews were killed. I do sympathize with you, though. The general teaching of “kill any infidel” is different that the OT ban.

    Does thaat make sense?

  • ryan spak
    Posted at 18:19h, 30 March Reply

    The thing I find most disturbing about this is the source. No doubt Mr. Sookhdeo has credentials, but he’s far from a nuetral party here. You speak of accurate interpretation of the Christian faith; isn’t it only fair to give Islam the same benefit? If people want to know about Islam, why not ask a muslim theologian instead of a priest?

    How would you feel if I learned about Christianity from a Rabbi who was actively promoting Judaism? Would you consider this an “accurate interpretation”?

    As a note on this and any future comments of mine: I tried to write so that it didn’t sound hostile, but you can only get so much from the internet…hopefully no one will take it that way.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 21:15h, 30 March Reply

    Thanks Ryan for your comment. No hostility felt. I understand your apprehension to accept Sookhdeo’s comments. I was thinking about whether I should mention them or not. Obviously I decided I would for a couple of reasons:
    1) Although Sookhdeo is a Christian, I think we would do well to hear from him as a convert from Islam.
    2) Sookhdeo is explaining things as they accord to the teachings in the Qu’ran.
    3) You are right, I want to be fair. Related to 2 above, I think that Sookhdeo is merely explaining what the Qu’ran teaches. Although there is interpretation that he is doing, I think it is helpful to know that it seems to be in line with historic Muslim faith.
    4) I am not convinced that one needs to speak to a theologian of a particular religion to know what that religion teaches. From the news (and I am not indicating that I think all news is objective) it seems that Muslims would agree in large part with what Sookhdeo is saying.

    Does this make sense as to why I am posting this? Do you think it is viable?

    Also, it was commented earlier that the Muslim faith is not monolithic. I know that there are many strands to the Muslim faith. I know there are liberals and radicals. What I find interesting about Sookhdeo’s comments is that they are explicating the Qu’ran and not the varied views of Muslims.

    If anyone thinks I could tweak my thinking in these areas, let me know in what ways…Thanks for the comments. Keep ’em coming. I think it is helpful to dialogue.

  • Mercy Now
    Posted at 23:40h, 30 March Reply

    It’s true that in secular Muslim states where Christianity is allowed, a Muslim converting to Christianity do face expulsion from family members and friends. I’m not an expert on Islam by any means but from my experience and friends who live overseas in these secular Muslim states, I’ve been able to get a better understanding on it.

    I visited an American friend living in an Arab state that’s friendly to the West. The big difference that I didn’t realize beforehand is that Christianity is an option (at least seen by men since we don’t want to get into a long discussion of predest:o) but Islam is not. This is b/c once you convert to Muslim, all your decendants will be Muslims. While we have convenant theology, it is not guaranteed that our kids will grow up and stay with the faith. However, a Muslim will always be a Muslim which is why it’s a disgrace to convert to something else.

    As with anything, there’s the radical, the moderate, and those that are in name only. Most people in the country I visited will say they are Muslims but the majority of them do not practice it just like many say they are Catholics or Christians when they go to church once or twice a year.

    As far as jihad goes, I think you can’t get around the fact that the Koran specifically states to kill all infidels. The radicals believe and act upon this. The moderates are probably somewhere in between, and the rest prob do not care.

    An interesting thing is that while Iran is ruled by Islamic laws, the majority of people want the country to be more open to the West. I’ve learned this from friends working with Iranian refugees in Europe. The problem is that its leadership is controlled by radicals. The reason its current president was elected was the election committees barred most moderate candidates from running.

    In Turkey, an interesting thing is that more Islamic politicians are being elected than before so that’s something to pay attention to.

    Even w/in Muslims in Iraq, you have the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Sunnis are secular b/c Sadaam was one but the Shiites are more radical.

    Anyway, that’s my understanding so I hope it helps.

  • iconoclasm
    Posted at 00:01h, 31 March Reply

    This goes back to what alex said a couple posts back but has anyone seen statistics about how the broad spectrum of different beliefs in Islam? What percentage of muslims are liberal?

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 05:13h, 31 March Reply

    I have not seen statistics. Do you have those? But I am not speaking about commonly held beliefs as much as what the Qu’ran itself teaches. Looking at the broad spectrum within Christianity will not give you a clear picture of what Christianity is. This relates to what mercy now is saying about the disparity of belief within Islam. You have to go to the Bible and see what it teaches. This, I think, is what Sookhdeo is doing.

  • Mercy Now
    Posted at 09:06h, 31 March Reply

    From the article:
    Are you implying that there is a sense in which Islamic communities in the West wish to take control in the West?

    Yes I am. Islam is based on power. It does not separate the sacred from the secular, and it has never really had an understanding of being a minority. It must exist within a majority context.
    Scary as mosques are going up like crazy here. This is why Europe is beginning to shun Islam as it has seen the effects over there. It is the radicals that follow the Koran which means taking over power and imposing those powers on all.

  • Jason
    Posted at 15:26h, 02 April Reply

    Can you be both a Muslim and a Texan? Apparently so… there are about 400,000 Muslims in Texas. Watch a video about it on

    According to them, Islam is the state’s fastest-growing religion. It’s also one of the smallest, but anytime we see a trend of converts away from Christianity, it should make us ask what they see in Islam that is missing from the Church.

  • iconoclasm
    Posted at 23:00h, 02 April Reply

    Jason- I’ve seen that video! Isn’t it amazing?

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