Just as the true essence of the Christian Faith reflects the heart of its’ genesis, so too Islam has taken on the characteristics of both its early history and its founding prophet.
ISLAM: INCUBUS OF TERROR
The faith that is called Islam emerged out of the religious chaos that characterized the Arabian desert of the 7th century AD. Zoroasterism dominated Persia, (today’s Iran). The Byzantine Empire practiced the Eastern brand of Christianity, Jewish tribes could be found, scattered about the Arabian Peninsula, maintaining as best they could, the traditions of the faith. Still much of the area was dominated by the multi-god paganism that had its origin in ancient times. Once a year, this pagan world would all come together in the city of Mecca. Now in that city, there was a shrine, the Kaba, that housed 360 idols. During peace and war, the various tribes would come together, encamped about the shrine for this five-day religious festival. This was the world into which the Prophet Mohammed was born.[i] [ii]
Over the course of his early life, Mohammed had contact with all of the religious traditions that entered his region. Islamic writings tell us that he was meditating in a cave outside of Mecca when, in 610, he had a vision of an angel who ordered him to “recite” the word of God. When Mohammed resisted, this spirit seized him by the throat to compel him to accept the command. Shaken and filled with doubt, the future prophet at first believed himself in the throes of demonic possession. Over time he was reassured by his wife and renewed visits by the spirit being, eventually assuming the office of prophet and religious reformer. His uncle, Waraca, a convert to the Christian faith, declared him a prophet, yet never himself became a Muslim. So Mohammed began his ministry.[iii]
He preached that there was one true God, Allah. He railed against the pagan idol worship of Mecca. It is true that he was much influenced by the monotheism of Christians and Jews. But the Allah he worshipped was in no way the same as the God of the Bible. In fact the very name Allah was but an adaptation of Alilah, the supreme pagan idol found in the Kaba shrine. This same god Alilah can be traced back to an ancient Hindu diety whose name means mother or goddess. [iv]
Mohammed spread the faith by preaching, military might and deceit. The Arabs of Medina flocked to him believing that he was the Messiah to come. Unable to support themselves, his Muslim followers in Medina began to attack and rob the desert caravans, justified by a new doctrine called Jihad. War and violence followed this emerging ‘man of god’. After the successful battle of Bedr, he expelled from Mecca, one Jewish tribe that did not fully support him. Later he seized the property of another and still later slaughtered the men of a third Jewish tribe that had already surrendered, selling the women and children into slavery. In 628 he signed the peace treaty of Hudaybiah and 2 years later violated it when it served his interests. This led to the establishment of the principle of hudna. According to this principle, Muslims are allowed and even encouraged to make treaties with their enemies, when it serves their own interests and they have no intention of keeping them. The time gained is to be used to strengthen their positions after which they may be broken to advance the cause of Islam. All in all, Mohammed led over 80 military expeditions. By Islam’s own Hadith, it is admitted that his actions as commander and prophet were characterized by duplicity and cruelty to those thrown on his mercy.[v] After his death, his successors followed in his footsteps, conquering formerly Christian lands in the name of Allah. Their battle cry: Convert or die! It is not much different today. The Islam of the 21st century is committed to the establishment of a worldwide empire. It rests strongly on the historical / religious traditions of its birth.
This point is driven home by the recent declarations of ISIS as well as other Islamic imams and scholars. What’s more it has its root in history. An ISIS video declares their intentions. “We will not enjoy life until all Muslim prisoners are released everywhere, Until we bring back Jerusalem and occupy Andalus [Spain], and occupy Rome by Allah’s will, by action, not just talk. The promise of the truth sayer [Muhammad], peace be upon him.”[vi]
The Prophet Mohammed promised that Islam would rule over both capitals of the old Roman Empire; Constantinople and Rome. And Jerusalem has long been the focal point of Islamic ambitions. History has shown that Islam has indeed conquered and ruled Jerusalem and Constantinople or modern Istanbul. As for Rome, seven unsuccessful attempts were made to conquer that capital of the Western leg of the Roman Empire. In 840 they succeeded in sacking the city and defiling several of its most famous churches. They were not able to stay, but that fire for conquest remains. Here is a portion of a speech given by a Hamas leader back in 2008. “Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesied by our prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine, in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.”[vii]
If we are to understand Islam properly we must see that it will not be satisfied until it conquers the entire world for Allah. This is the message given in its holy writings. Jews and Christians will be hunted down and destroyed. It is NOT Radical Islam that is the problem. It is Orthodox Islam. What is envisioned is a Muslim world where all the world will bow to their god. Where is the common ground of negotiation with that? There is none.
[i] Silas, Pagan Sources of Islam
[ii] Kaaba, Wikipedia
[iii] Sam Shamoun, A Christian Perspective of the Fatrah of Muhammad, Answering Islam
[iv] Alan Peters, Allah – The Origins, News Views, April 12, 2007
[v] What Is Islam, Truth Net.Org
[vi] Theodore Shoebat, ISIS: We Will Conquer Jerusalem, Rome, And Spain, August 26, 2014
[vii] MEMRI TV Project, April 11, 2008