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ISLAM: AN INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE


1.         Statistics

Over 1 billion Muslims worldwide (only Christianity statistically outnumbers Islam); many countries under Islamic rule. Indonesia is the country with the largest number of Muslims. Fifty countries worldwide are more than 50% Muslim.

Growth of Islam in the United States doubled in the last ten years -- mostly through immigration and births in Muslim families. Many western women are "converted" to Islam by marrying Muslims who live in the West.


2.         History

            Muhammed (AD 570-632)

Born in Mecca; early became monotheistic, in distinction to most people in his area; 610 received his first revelation from the angel Gabriel; 622 Muhammed and his few followers escaped to Medina (the flight is called the hijrah), from which the Islamic calendar is dated; first establishment of a community based on faith rather than clan; later conquered Mecca and cleansed the ka'ba of all idols. Buried in Medina in 632. Declared to be the holy prophet of God, the bearer of the only perfect word of God.

            Rise of Islamic Empire

Following Muhammed's example, Islam spread through military might and war. Caliphs soon united, producing a standard Koran text by destroying all other copies; eventually controlled most of the Mediterranean and far into the East.

            Contemporary tensions

In the Middle East, tensions continue not only because of the clash between Arab and Jew, Muslim and Jewish faiths; but also because of continued strong clan affiliation and nationalism. Saddam Hussein, for example, is a nationalist, not religious leader and is prominent in the Bahth Party, an anti-religious nationalist movement asserting clan and/or national rights over religious obligation. The two main sects of Islam are the Sunnites (80+% of worldwide Muslims) and Shi'ites (10% worldwide, but 90% in Iran and certain other countries), represent two different lines of descent from Muhammed, the Sunnites through the Caliph who was Muhammed's official successor, and the Shi'ites through the Caliph related to Muhammed by blood.


3.         Islamic Worldview

            Definition of terms

Islam -- submission

Muslim -- one who submits

Koran -- literally "to recite;" collection of revelations given to Moses

Surah -- individual revelation or chapter in Koran

Shahadah -- profession of Islamic faith, the first pillar of faith

Shirk -- associating "partners" or idols with the only God, Allah (Christians practice shirk)

Kismet -- fate, Allah's will

Hanif -- Arabic monotheist before Islam

Hijrah -- the flight by Muhammed and his few followers to Medina (622)

Jihad -- "holy war" or "struggle" to preserve or propogate the faith


            God

            Jesus Christ

            Man

            Sin and salvation

            Scripture


4.        Five pillars of faith

            1. Confession ("Shahadah")

"There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is the prophet of Allah."

            2. Prayers

                        5 times each day, kneel and bow toward Mecca

            3. Alms

                        1/40th of income

            4. Ramadan

                        fasting during daylight hours (remembering Hijrah--"flight")

            5. Haji

                        pilgrimage to Mecca (or by proxy)


5.         Six tenets of belief

            1. Allah

            2. Angels (and jinn)

            3. Scripture

            4. Prophets

            5. Judgment (future event)

            6. God's determination of good and evil


6.         Sharing your faith with a Muslim

            1. Share the gospel, not your culture.

            2. Respect and honor the Muslim, his family, his culture, and his history.

            3. Remember the difference between "high" Islam and "low" Islam.

            4. Remember to define vocabulary.


7.         Use 2 Timothy 2:24-26 as your pattern for evangelism.


The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26


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