7/13/16 Aslam 53
He looked us in the eyes and told us with a straight face “Islam is a religion of peace. Nowhere does the Qur’an condone the killing of Christians and Jews.” But that simply is not true. We had reached out to Aslam, 53, in a sidewalk Gospel conversation, and it had turned out that he is a Muslim and very outspoken for his faith. We hadn’t talked about the various atrocities Islam has become associated with, but Aslam was nonetheless concerned about the reputation of Islam and adamantly defended it. Yet his assertion of peace ignored many obvious contradictions in the Quran. For example Qur’an 5:33 calls for anyone who opposes the Muslim prophet to be killed, crucified, mutilated, or banished. This verse is conveniently ignored by many who, like President Obama famously did, take out of context the verse immediately before it, Qur’an 5:32. Obama said “The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind” in a speech asserting the peacefulness of Islam. Taking verses like these out of context is dishonest, and neither Christian nor Muslims should do so.
Judging from the knowledge and confidence with which Aslam spoke and his involvement with Islam – he has been on two pilgrimages to Mecca – I don’t believe he was ignorant of Qur’an 5:33. I believe he was lying. And I don’t believe he was just a dishonest Muslim just as there are dishonest Christians. I believe Aslam was lying to defend the reputation of Islam and that he believes this is a right and proper thing to do. This is a huge difference between Islam and Christianity. As Christians, we are instructed repeatedly to be honest and guard our reputations. Those of us who teach others are told in James 3 to be extra careful: “…we who teach will be judged more strictly.” We are accountable to represent God with honesty and integrity. But in Islam there is a teaching based on the Qur’an called “Taqiyya” which holds that deception for the sake of defending Islam is justified. It began with Muhammad himself who used lying (and murder) to gain political control over Mecca and it is supported with verses in the Qur’an.
I was unaware of “Taqiyya” until after the conversation when Matt, who was reaching out with me in the conversation, explained it to me and I read more about it later. With that rationale, it seems that Aslam could lie about anything to back up his arguments for Islam. Fortunately, we were able to get past the many rabbit trails and talk about something that Aslam could not lie about or disagree with – the perfect holiness and goodness of God. Aslam had to agree that God is perfect in all of His attributes, including love, mercy and justice. Yet if God is to be perfectly merciful and perfectly just at the same time, how can He give sinners like us the mercy we need but the just punishment we deserve without compromising either of these attributes? The answer is in the cross where Jesus satisfied God’s just demand for punishment, and in the person and deity of Jesus, who as God’s Son was the perfect expression of God’s sacrificial love for sinners. Romans 3 tells us why – “…he (God) did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” God receives the glory He deserves for both his perfect justice and His perfect love, and we can share in the benefits of both. For as much as he had to say about Islam, Aslam was strangely quiet as I explained all this. I hope he was listening.