Nazarene Space

The Truth about Islam
James Scott Trimm

Islam has been in the spotlight in recent years, with 9/11 and other acts of Islamic terrorism, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), threats from the Islamic government in Iran and anti-Israel "Palestinian" attacks.

In the Seventh Century town of Mecca there lived an Arab merchant named Mohammad. Mohammad claimed that he had been hearing voices. The voice, he claimed, began calling out "recite" (Arabic: Quran). At first Mohammad believed the voice he was hearing was from the jinn (Arabic demons) but his wife Khadijah convinced him that they were divine. Mohammad soon began teaching a new religion which seemed to be a synthesis of elements of Judaism and Christianity. Mohammad was himself illiterate, but had spent much of his youth on traveling trade caravans, hearing stories from Jews and Christians.

Mohammad's new religion was fiercely monotheistic, and its primary tenant seemed to simply be its own acceptance, that is, the acceptance of Muhammad's revelations, which were ultimately compiled into the Quran.

Mohammad's monotheistic message was yielding hostility from the pagan Arab population in Mecca, and so he fled to the rival town of Yathrib (now known as Medina) in 622 CE. He had been invited to this city by Arab pilgrims from Yathrib to Mecca. This event was the Hijrah (flight) and is regarded as the real birth of Islam, and the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Yathrib had a large Jewish population, and at first many of these Jews showed some interest in Muhammad's messages. Muhammad hoped the Jews would accept him as a prophet. He tried to appeal to them by adopting Jewish practices such as fasting on Yom Kippur and praying turned toward Jerusalem.

But as they got to know Muhammad better, they discovered he was ignorant of the Torah, and seemed to have much more interest in beautiful women.

Moreover in Yathrib, Muhammad's new cult became a band of thieves under his leadership, raiding caravans headed in and out of Mecca that passed near Yathrib. This led to a series of battles between Mecca and Yathrib.

Across the deserts of Arabia came his cry "The Quran or the sword." In this barbaric part of the world, in which resources were scarce, the choice was welcomed by many Arabs, who were used to no choice but the sword. And so Muhammad's army grew.

At his base of operations at Yathrib, Muhammad, though illiterate, was just certain that his revelations agreed with the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. He insisted that if the Jews and Christians would just look in their own sacred books, those books would verify his revelations. The Quran says:

He has revealed to you the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it, and He revealed the Tavrat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) aforetime, a guidance for the people…
(Surah 3:3)

And that which We have revealed to you of the Book, that is the truth verifying that which is before it; most surely with respect to His servants Allah is Aware, Seeing.
(Surah 35:31)

And those who disbelieve say concerning those who believe: If it had been a good, they would not have gone ahead of us therein. And as they do not seek to be rightly directed thereby, they say: It is an old lie.
And before it the Book of Musa (Moses) was a guide and a mercy: and this is a Book verifying (it) in the Arabic language that it may warn those who are unjust and as good news for the doers of good.
(Surah 46:11-12)

Jews, on the other hand, were by their nature literate (Reading from the Torah by ordinary Jews being central to the Synagogue service). They could read their Scriptures, and they could see for themselves disagreements with Muhammad's teachings. They quickly recognized Muhammad as a false prophet. Their minstrels ridiculed him, as such, with sarcastic poems, seeking to make him a laughing stock in Yathrib.

The result is that as soon as Muhammad had gathered enough Arabs to his cause to gain control of the city, he turned on the Jews of Yathrib and slaughtered them without mercy. Deciding that they had conspired with his enemies in Mecca, he had 600 Jews in Yathrib beheaded. At this point Muhammad changed the fast from the Jewish day of Yom Kippur to the Arabic month of Ramadhan and changed the direction of prayer to Mecca.

Muhammad ultimately conqured Mecca, and his successors went on to conquer a large portion of the world. As the Quran gives the "Great Commission of Islam":

Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
(Surah 9:29)

The Quran also says:

O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.
(Surah 5:51)

Jews and Christians would be allowed to live, as long as they did not interfere in the further spread of Islam, and paid a tax in tribute. If they failed to pay this tax (which could be in any amount) they would be executed.

This original Islamic State, founded by Muhammad, passed through four different Kaliphates, and only recently came to an end in 1924 AD, in the wake of World War I.

But let us return to Muhammad's challenge to Jews and Christians, and his claim that their own books, the Torah and the Gospel, would verify the teachings of Muhammad's Quran.

Now obviously the teachings of the Quran do not agree with those of the Jewish Torah or the Christian Gospels. The Islamic response to this is to claim that these books have been corrupted, but originally agreed with the Quran. This is an argument never made in the Quran itself.

But as a matter of logic, if the Torah and the Gospel has been changed, it had to have happened either before or after the lifetime of Muhammad.

If the Torah and the Gospels were changed after the time of Muhammad, we should have plenty of manuscript evidence that such changes were made. With the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts of both the Tanak (Old Testament) and New Testament books, we have many manuscript witnesses to these books that predate the time of Muhammad. And yet, there is no manuscript evidence to support that such wholesale changes have been made since the seventh Century CE (or even before).

If the Torah and the Gospels were changed before the time of Muhammad, then it would have been pointless for Muhammad to direct Jews and Christians to confirm his teachings with them. Clearly, in the Quran, it is the Torah and the Gospel as they were then in the hands of Jews and Christians, to which Muhammad was appealing.

Therefore, we, like the literate Jews of Yathrib, can know that Muhammad was a false prophet, and that Islam is a false religion.

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