Islam is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and feared religions in our society. It is a worldview with strong political dimensions that stretches from North Africa to Indonesia, but is found within our city as well. Approximately 5% of Seattle’s population is Muslim. For the Muslim, Allah is seen as the creator and controller of all things, and the teachings of the Quran must guide a person’s life in order to please Allah and reach Paradise.
KEY POINTS / BELIEFS
- Prime reality is Allah (God) and he is a oneness–he cannot take other forms. Allah is also transcendence–completely separate from his creation and above it all. While he can communicate or intervene in his creation he chooses not to because his transcendence is so great.
- The physical world is real and it is controlled through Allah’s decrees. There is little to no free will for human beings because Allah creates and controls everything.
- Human beings are the pinnacle of Allah’s creation. Humans are personal agents who act in this world in an attempt to please Allah. Humans are pure at birth and unstained by “the Fall” as Christians would suggest.
- Death is a transition from this life to the next eternal life–paradise. A day will come when all humanity is interrogated by two angels to determine whether their eternal resting place will be paradise or hell. Paradise is not a place where God is, but a separate place and state of eternal bliss.
- Humans are given rationality that enables us to discern truth from falsehood. Humans have rationality in order to live according to the standard Allah has laid out for us.
- Right and wrong are based on the teachings of the Quran and the subsequent interpretations that came afterwards. The goal is to live a pleasing life toward Allah so that he might look favorably upon you and grant you access into paradise.
- Human history is a test to see who Allah wants to be in paradise or not. The goal is to subsume the entire world under the Umma (the Islamic community), which is as much a political reality as it is a spiritual reality.
- Muslims’ core commitments is to strive to follow the list of divine instructions even to the smallest area of life in hopes of reaching paradise.
RUBS WITH CHRISTIANITY
GOSPEL RUB = Is your worldview gospel-centered?
Despite a Muslim’s devotion in all of the smallest details in life, a Muslim does not have the assurance that they will be permitted into Paradise. Even those who lived the most exemplary Muslim lives stated on their deathbeds that they were unsure if they had done enough to be accepted into Paradise.
- The Gospel assures us of our salvation by pointing to the PERSON AND THE PLACE where all sins have been dealt with — Jesus on the Cross.
- Jesus not only endured the wrath of men, but the wrath of God for all of the sin of those who would have faith in Jesus.
- Romans 8:1-2 – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
- Christians can point to this and say that no matter what happens in our lives, Jesus has atoned for our sins.
- No matter what, for those who have placed their faith in God the Son, Jesus Christ, they can have assurance of eternal life lived in the direct presence of God in the new heavens and new earth. (Revelation 20-22)
Muslims in the West are dissatisfied with the experience of Islam the uncertainty of salvation, and are curious about Jesus. They know Jesus to be one of the prophets they have read about in the Quran, and so they admire him and are intrigued by the way he loved the marginalized. However, they have many unanswered questions. This expression of curiosity or doubt is often met with shame and ridicule. So, many Muslims have real questions about Jesus and just need someone who is willing to enter into conversation with them.
- Engage in deep and meaningful conversations.
- Starting with Jesus is the best way.
- Remember, 1 in every 20 people in Seattle are Muslim.
- Honestly reflect on how your understanding of Islam may be skewed by the way it is depicted in the media.
- How are you reacting? Be mindful of how the way you talk about current events may be perpetuating generalizations and misconceptions of Islam and other religions
- Listen to this week’s sermon on our website.