Lesson on Islam and Violence

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NOTE: For the exclusive use of trained individuals. See also Lesson and Study Guide on Fear, Persecution, and Spiritual Warfare

Lesson Summary and Notes

Quick Summary: This lesson and study guide are an introduction to the teachings and practices of violence in Islam. It is not a complete analysis. There are many other books and videos which focus on exposing Islam’s violence.

The GOALS: are basically to understand why violence is associated with Islam, especially in relation to the “Doctrine of Abrogation,” to process how you feel about it, and what might correctly be done about it.

  1. The information given in this lesson is primarily for your education. We want to clarify the confusing, and at times contradictory picture of violence in Islam. We hope that learning this you will have greater insight into history and current events:
    • The image of Islam being presented to the West is far different than that recorded in history, including the Qur’an and other documents of Islam. It is sanitized and idealized. Violence and human rights abuses, like slavery and the mistreatment of women and minorities, are called irrelevant and swept away.
    • Looking deeper into accurate translations of these sources, a grimmer reality emerges: one that fits with the violence and human rights abuses we see flooding the Islamic world every day.
  2. We hope that your compassion for Muslims increases, by understanding what influences their thinking and the resultant sufferings.
  3. We would like you to get ideas about what, when, if, and how to discuss these with Muslims.
  4. And perhaps how we can prevent Americans and Europeans from converting to Islam – especially to its false image – through ignorance and propaganda. Potential converts do not need to believe us, but they should read what the authentic Islamic sources themselves say before converting.

This Study Guide answers 11 of the most common questions about Islam and Violence. (If reviewing the lesson in a study group, you might select only a few for discussion.)

Here are the questions we will address:

  1. Is Islam a Religion of Peace?
  2. Why are some Muslims nice and others violent?
  3. Were Christians told to spread their message by force?
  4. Did Islam spread by force?
  5. What is the meaning of Jihad?
  6. Have Islamic Governments been more tolerant than others?
  7. Is there other violence in Islam?
  8. Would a Muslim reformation help?
  9. Is there hope for peace?
  10. Do we need to fear Muslims?
  11. Since Islam can be violent, isn’t there a better way to serve God, besides sharing the Gospel with Muslims?

We then mention PTSD, and present some Guidelines for discussing the violence in Islam with Muslims.

QUESTION 1: Is Islam a religion of Peace?

At the beginning of the video lesson, Dr. Cynthia tells an audience that to understand violence in Islam, we need to look at what the Islamic sources say, in Arabic. George Saieg has studied these sources in the original Arabic, and has a clear understanding of what they mean. He will help us cut through the politically correct presentations of Islam’s promoters, Western media, and modern Qur’an translations to give us an accurate picture of Islam and Violence.

Likely you, like most Americans, have heard statements from Islamic leaders, in the media or in events, that support the idea that Islam is the “Religion of Peace.” They even may quote some verses from the Qur’an to support their claims, especially at community events after a terrorist attack. We ourselves have heard this many times.

For example, a university event that Dr. C attended in California, had an audience of mostly American students curious about Islam. During the presentation Dr. C was stunned to hear an imam tell the assembly, “There is absolutely no violence in the Qur’an.” For someone who has read the Qur’an, this is like saying, “There is no sex in Hollywood.”

Such a bombastic claim is actually easy to refute. A more reasonable claim would be harder to refute, for example saying that any violence in the Qur’an was excusable, and for that time only. But that is not what the imam, an American convert to Islam, claimed.

Obviously, the imam must have thought that the Muslims in the audience would not contradict him, and that the others were too ignorant to call his bluff. But with Dr. C was Brother E, a Palestinian Arabic speaker familiar with the Qur’an. He was nearly crawling out of his skin at hearing this falsehood so baldly proclaimed.

Brother E had an Arabic Qur’an with him. After the speech, at the question time Brother E raised his hand to oppose the statement about no violence, quoting two verses from the Qur’an in Arabic and English, which demonstrate that Christians are infidels, and the infidels must be killed.

Although violence in the Qur’an is easily documented, the imam interrupted Brother E to say that the word “infidel” is not in the Qur’an. Brother E started to explain that infidel is the English translation of kafir, the Arabic word. The imam kept interrupting and repeating himself to shut Brother E down so that the audience could not hear the truth.

Although some Muslims do not fully understand the teachings of Islam, it is incredible to believe that even in America someone could become an imam without having read the verses we will discuss in this lesson. Frankly, we don’t believe he did.

The two verses Brother E was trying to share with the group explain that Christians are unbelievers, and that unbelievers should be killed until subjugated:

“Surely they disbelieve who say: ‘Allah is the Messiah, son of Maryam…whosoever sets up partners with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the fire will be his abode… Surely, disbelievers are who say that Allah is the third of three’…”

Surah 5:72,73

“So when you meet those who disbelieve, smite their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (as captives).”

Surah 47:4

A media example supporting this peaceful view of Islam, is a 2012 Hollywood film about the Iran hostage crisis. It mistranslated a Qur’anic verse, deleting its instruction for Muslims to be “harsh with unbelievers.” By ironic contrast, this same verse was actually often quoted by the Ayatollah Khomeini to incite violence against Americans and other non-Muslims. (You would need to know the verse or Arabic to detect this deceptive translation.)

Christian Peace is one of the Fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. (In other lessons, we present the Fruit of the Spirit and the idea that the Christian life is Peace and Purpose.)

The Peace of Christ is spiritual peace. Jesus tells us it is not the peace of the world. His peace brings us:

  • Peace with God Romans 5:1
  • Peace within ourselves Psalm 131:2, John 14:27
  • Peace with others, leading to Romans 12:18, Proverbs 16:7
  • Peace between nations Joshua 21:44

This is not the model of peace that Islam proposes. Adding to the video lesson, this study guide will document and discuss the basis of Islam’s peace through violence model. It will show some ways it is practiced around the world.

A Heritage of Warfare

That Islam grew out of pre-Islamic, Arabic and Bedouin cultures, is affirmed by experts in many fields. Rather than change those cultures, Islam cemented most of their virtues and vices.

In regards to violence, these experts point to the historic difficulty of life in the Arabian Peninsula. The scarcity of provisions, and the many tribal conflicts, meant that only the strongest survived. Being quick to fight was considered a necessity. Courage and violence were signs of manliness in Prophet Mohammed’s 7th century Arabia. Defending one’s territory and tribe, and plundering one’s rivals, were simply part of lifestyles which Islam did not confront or attempt to change.

In Islamic thinking, the people of the world fall either into The House of Peace (Dar al Islam), which holds the now large tribe of Muslims, or The House of War (Dar al Harb), which includes everyone else. So, the peace that Islam offers is similar to that of communism – when the entire world is within the House of Peace, meaning under Islam’s control, there will supposedly be peace.

Examples of Muslims discovering the Violence of Islam

When noted apostate Dr. Mark Gabriel was studying at Al Azhar University in Cairo, he asked his teacher about love and forgiveness in Islam, and received this answer,

“My brother, there is a whole surah called ‘Spoils of War.’ There is no surah called ‘Peace.’ Jihad and killing are the head of Islam. If you take them out, you cut off the head of Islam.”

Later, that teacher, Omar Abdel Rahman, was locked up as the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, of 1993. He had no doubts that Islam was not about Peace.

Mark Gabriel got his Ph.D., and went on to teach Islamic history at Al Azhar. He tells us in Islam and Terrorism, that little by little he became convinced that Islam was not about peace and love, but about violent propagation. He left Islam and his professorship. A year later became a Christian.

Dr. Wafa Sultan, our guest in Lesson on Islam and Women, shares her experiences of living Syria in her book A God Who Hates. While growing up there she regularly heard hatred pouring forth from the mosques against non-Muslims, like Israel and the West. Adding to that the treatment of women, apostates and the disabled, she came to see Allah, the God of Islam, not as a god of peace, but a God who Hates. Although she is not a Christian, it was when she came to America that she saw in action “A God who Loves.” “It was a total surprise!” she says.

Many others on both ends of the Islamic spectrum – the very religious as well as those who have left Islam – confirm the understanding of Gabriel and Sultan. Remember, the word Islam, means “in submission,” not “in peace.”

When addressing non-Muslim audiences, the spokespeople of Islam say that Islam promotes peace. But when addressing Muslim audiences, they tell a different story. For example, here is what the commentary in The Noble Qur’an edition of the Qur’an from Saudi Arabia says to English-speaking Muslims:

“You will not find any organization past or present, religious or non-religious as regards the whole nation to march forth and mobilize all of them into active military service as a single row for jihad in Allah’s Cause so as to make superior the Word of Allah, as you will find in the Islamic Religion and its teachings.” (bold emphasis ours)

They openly admit that ideally, every Muslim should be involved in military action for Islam. It is difficult coming from our Western and to a large extent Christian perspective, to understand why they make it sound like an admirable thing.

QUESTION 2: The BIG QUESTION: Why are some Muslims violent and others nice?

(Note: Dr. Cynthia’s part of this video lesson is part of a seminar recorded in front of a live audience.)

Possibly the biggest question non-Muslims have about Islam is “Why are some Muslims violent and others nice?”

Millions of Muslims now live in the West. Not only in big cities, but in more rural areas we find a mixture of Christians and secularists, with followers of Islam and other faiths. The hope is that all will grow to live together in a neighborly sort of mutual acceptance that has prospered in the best of times. Indeed, the Bible teaches, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Workplaces and schools have integrated people from across the globe. Comraderies developed there bring a feeling of tolerance that looks beyond racial and cultural differences. Trust and friendships emerge between people of different backgrounds.

But crashing into these zones of tolerance and adaptation comes news of Muslim terrorism. Western news media tries to smooth over incidents and terrorism to prevent violent reprisals and escalation of hostilities. This means sometimes they hide the names and religions of perpetrators until public interest has passed.

Sometimes immigrant Islamic clerics are caught screaming messages of hatred, and are deported. At the same time, other Muslim leaders gain a platform to say that “to kill one person is as to kill all humanity.” They assure us, along with university scholars and news media, that Islam truly is a religion of peace, and that violent practitioners have “hijacked the religion,” turning it into something it was never intended to be.

So – What is the truth? How can we explain the Violence in Islam?

Non-Muslims, and even some Muslims, are left scratching their heads at the difference in attitude between the Muslims they know and love, and the violence of Islam they hear of on an almost daily basis. In this segment, we answer this important question of how some Muslims can be nice, or apparently peaceful, and others violent terrorists.

Most Muslims in the West lead peaceful lives. They want to prosper, just like traditional Americans and other immigrants do. They say and follow verses in the Qur’an like,

“There is to be no compulsion in religion.”

Qur’an Surah 2:256

So how can we then explain forceful, violent Muslims?

The KEY to UNDERSTANDING Islamic aggression is the: Doctrine of ABROGATION:

Devout Muslims understand and believe in Abrogation. This doctrine claims that later revelations replace earlier ones:

“Whatever verse we do abdicate or cause to be forgotten, we bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?”

Qur’an Surah 2:106

Most sects of Islam, including the major ones of Sunni and Shiite, follow the Doctrine of Abrogation based on this verse in the Qur’an’s second chapter/book, Surah al-Baqarah. Although the exact verses canceled, or abrogated, by this doctrine differ by sect, in practice abrogation means that all the peaceful verses were cancelled by aggressive ones. The result of abrogation is invalidation of up to 2/3 of the Qur’an.

If it is the first time you have heard of abrogation, you might have trouble believing it. How can this be?

Early in his ministry, Mohammed lived in Mecca, he and his followers were a minority, mixed in with polytheists, Christians and Jews. The revelations he received then, supposedly from Allah, told them to keep peace with those around them. That was sensible, since Muslims were greatly outnumbered.

Later, Mohammed came to power after his fateful move to Medina in 622 AD, called the hegira. There he had much public support and his followers grew in number.

Now confident and powerful in Medina, Mohammed’s revelations became more forceful. Mohammed and his followers began to not only fight against those who had been persecuting them, but started spreading Islam by force. Revealed in Medina were verses such as,

Fight and slay the pagans where ever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush.”

Qur’an Surah 9:5, 29

“I will strike terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.”

Qur’an Surah 8:12

“Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better: they will never frustrate them. Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemies of Allah.

Qur’an Surah 8:59-60 (Ali trans)

These and many other verses in the Qur’an justify Islamic aggression. Educated and devout Muslims know about abrogation. Nonetheless, they continue to quote peaceful verses to Westerners. Frankly, some do this deceptively, because Mohammed’s two-step tactic is still followed: extend peace when in the minority, but be forceful when in power. Muslims are still in the minority in the West. That explains why they are mostly peaceful here.

You will know that you understand abrogation when you experience an ah-ha moment!

One day when Dr. C and Brother E were meeting with Muslims, Brother E caught a Muslim cleric doing this, quoting abrogated verses. Brother E rebuked him in Arabic for this deception. The cleric admitted without apology that he was quoting verses to Americans he knew were not valid. But he was not ashamed because in Islam, it is acceptable to say anything to make the faith appealing to non-Muslims. (This is called taqiyya.)

Muslims less expert in Islam usually say they believe the entire Qur’an, including abrogated passages. In spite of the contradictions they read, they will try to live peacefully. Some explain this by saying that the violent verses were given for a specific time and place and no longer apply. This doesn’t fit with the Qur’an’s abrogation verse. It is rather like reverse-abrogation – having the earlier revelations cancel the later, and it is not a view authorized by Islamic authorities. Since it leads to peace, it is naturally preferable to the West, but it holds no water with serious Muslims.

Does the Bible have abrogation?

The answer is NO. The Bible tells us,

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

Bible Isaiah 40:8

At this point you might want to point out two things regarding the Old Testament that seem different in the New Testament: There was violence in the Old Testament, and the way of following God is different from the New Testament. Here are the brief answers to those:

Jesus tells us that no word of God passes away; it is fulfilled. The symbolism of the Old Testament law pointed to Jesus, and its obligations enabled us to appreciate God’s grace. Jesus said,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

Bible Matthew 5:17,18 NIV

The Apostle Paul said,

“Wherefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Bible Galatians 3:35 NAS

QUESTION 3: Were Christians told to Spread their Message by force?

Apologist Louis from Truth Defenders answers this question for us in the video. He explains that Jesus and his followers told Christians to share their teachings by word of mouth, and to prove it by love.

In the days before Jesus, the God-fearers of the Old Testament, mostly Jews, were likewise to share the faith by teaching and lifestyle. This included visitors and immigrants who came from around the world to enjoy the prosperity of Israel under God’s laws, and at times by missionaries, like Jonah, who were sent to outlying nations.

Bob Siegel, a Jewish background Christian expert on the issue, affirms in the video lesson that Moses and the Old Testament writings do not teach spreading the faith by force. Siegel says that often Muslims confront him thinking that spreading faith by force is something that Islam has in common with the Jews.

Siegel assures them that they misunderstand: in a few instances the Jews were instructed to punish cities that were involved in deplorable practices, like child sacrifice. This was after their residents had been given generations to repent but did not. Never were Jews to spread the faith with violence or coercion.

So, neither Jesus nor Moses, nor the Bible itself teaches promoting the faith by violence. This is in sad contrast to Islam. Islam not only teaches promoting the faith with violence, in the Qur’an and hadith, but has proven it in the practices of its devoted practitioners through the centuries.

QUESTION 4: Did Islam spread by Force or by willing Conversion?

Have you heard that Islam spread by peaceful means? Dr. C has heard this in Islamic presentations, especially on university campuses. The narrative goes like this: “When people of the nations surrounding Saudi Arabia saw how beautiful Islam was, they wanted to become Muslims, and so Islam spread rapidly by peaceful means.”

How do they defend and even whitewash what has traditionally been called the “Islamic Conquests?” By using this effective tactic: overlooking Islam’s attacks and conquests, they take an isolated incident, and generalize it to represent the rule, rather than the exception.

For example, the Arabs were good sailors. The case is made that Islam spread peacefully in Southeast Asia when Muslim sailors in contact with Southeast Asian sailors. That is entirely possible. But again, it is a notable exception: a four-leaf clover for Islam.

Another example is the legend that a visitor to Morocco complained of Visigoth rule in Spain, saying that Morocco was better. The story is that this instigated the conquest of Spain. But the complaints one discontented subject, hardly constitute willing conversion of a nation, or justify its invasion.

As with other aspects of history, like the founding of America, the distance in time and location between now and when things happened, allows rewriting and presenting a new narrative. Few in America are knowledgeable enough, or care enough to check the facts on either. So the new narratives are told and retold.

An exception is Palestinian Brother E. He has attended campus events with Dr. C, and heard their claims about Islamic expansion. Being Palestinian, he was very familiar with how Muslims conquered his and other regions.

“How can you say they willingly converted?” Brother E asked the speakers. “They didn’t even understand the Arabic they had to say to convert! They simply repeated the words of the shahada to keep from death by the sword!”

Growing up in Islamic countries, Brother E and George Saieg were not taught the peaceful conversion narrative. It wasn’t necessary, since Islam dominated. There was no need to cover up.

The new narrative is also very contrary to what Dr. C remembered being taught in American university in several decades ago. So back she went to her History of Western Civilization textbook. Then not under the current pressure to be politically correct, it confirmed the conquests, saying that within less than a hundred years of Mohammed’s move to Medina,

“…to the economic and social factors that contributed to Arabic aggression was added the stimulus of a holy war (jihad) – an ideal that bound all the Arabs together in a common cause and imbued the campaigns with a certain religious fanaticism…By 720 all the Middle East (except Asia Minor), all North Africa, and most of Spain had been overrun and conquered.

History of Western Civilization

To be complete, Dr. C checked other sources, including Islamic ones. None back up the new narrative of peaceful expansion.

Noted contemporary historian and expert on Islam, Michael Cook says,

“The Arab conquests rapidly destroyed one empire, and permanently detached
large territories of another. This was for the states in question, an appalling catastrophe.”

Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq, in his critically acclaimed book, Why I am Not a Muslim, gives Islam’s violent expansion of empire as a reason for his not following Islam.

In our video lesson, George Saieg says, “Absolutely the last marching orders of Mohammed were to conquer the world for Islam by force.” For example, besides the hadith, the Qur’an itself says,

Fight them until there is no more disbelief and the religion will all be for Allah alone.”

Qu’ran Surah 8:39

The Qur’an’s view of prophethood differs greatly from the Bible’s. Prophet Mohammed himself participated in battles, and he sent his followers into others.

“It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land.”

Qu’ran Surah 8:67

Mohammed’s usual conquest strategy was to first offer conversion to Islam. For example, he sent letters to the kings of the surrounding nations, proclaiming himself a prophet and inviting them convert and follow him. If territories resisted, they would be attacked and invaded, with conversions forced.

Some of the monotheistic civilians would be allowed to live without converting if they would pay jizya, a high “ransom tax” protection money. Even so, Christians and Jews were often slaughtered, without an option to ransom themselves. Polytheists, like India’s Hindus, did not have that option. They must convert or die.

Let’s look at A brief chronology of Muslim conquests:

  • In 632 AD Prophet Mohammed died. Conquest of all the Arabian peninsula followed, and then:
  • Israel/Palestine: in 634 AD – 4,000 monotheistic Jews, Christians, and Samaritans were killed defending their territory
  • Syria: 636 AD attacked
  • Mesopotamia: 635-643 AD – unbelievers killed or forced to convert
  • Armenia and Assyria: 640s AD – forced conversions and partial to full slaughter of towns
  • Egypt: 641AD – entire towns exterminated, even women and children who surrendered
  • Persia: about 642-651 AD – Elam’s population slaughtered, likewise Susa’s dignitaries
  • Tripoli: 643 AD – pillaged
  • Morocco: 647 AD – Islamic conquest of Byzantine North Africa reaches here
  • Carthage: 698 AD – most inhabitants were killed, queen’s head sent to Damascus
  • Spain and Portugal: Invasion begins in 711AD – fully conquered about 8 years later. The very word Gibraltar, is from Jabal at-Tariq, meaning “Mountain of Tariq,” named after the conqueror of Spain.
  • France: 720 AD – got raided and settled, until Muslim expansion in Europe was halted in the Battle of Tours, in 732 AD by Charles Martel
  • Sind, India: 712 AD – forced conversions or slaughter because polytheists had no other option
  • Punjab, India and beyond:
    • 1000 AD Islam pushed its way into India from the Western frontier, there were forced conversions and slaughter
    • including 50,000 killed at a Hindu temple
    • Out of this terrible conflict Sikhism was born in the 16th century. The youngest and fifth largest of the world’s major religions, it mixes Muslim and Hindu concepts. Many early Sikh saints were tortured and killed by Muslims.
    • Muslim intolerance toward Hindus and Sikhs has led to on-going bitterness and feuds.

Consider: When Muslims and Islamic governments promote their faith by force, they act in accordance with Islamic teachings. If Christians and Western nations do this, they act in defiance of Christian teachings.

The truth of Islamic aggression also stands against another new narrative: Slavery.

  • One way Islam spreads in America, especially among blacks, is to claim that in Islam there has been no racism or slavery.
  • But slaves were typically taken from those conquered, including beautiful women for sex slaves.
  • The slaves could be kept or sold: for example to pre-civil war American slave traders. (This source of slaves is another thing you will not hear in Islam’s – or even America’s – new narratives.)
  • Mohammed himself had male and female slaves. One of them, a sex slave whose father and husband he killed, is recorded as having poisoned him, possibly leading to his long and painful decline.

Islamic conquest and colonialization permanently destroyed or changed many cultures. The pre-Islamic artistic and scientific achievements of these cultures were then claimed to have come from Islam. For example, most of what we now think of as Islamic style in architecture and design is largely pre-Islamic Persian.

QUESTION 5: What is the meaning of Jihad?

According to Mohammed, to participate in jihad holy war, is next to the statement of creed as a good deed (Sahih Al Bukhari DuS # 1516).

Saieg explains to us that there are different types of jihad:

  • The Apostle Paul, said to “fight the good fight.” He was not speaking of physical fighting, but of enduring faithfully to the end. The word “jihad” is used for this type of struggle in the Arabic Bible. Paul admitted he struggled with sin. Shortly before he died, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Then Paul was martyred by Rome.
  • In the USA we are told by Muslims that jihad is within oneself to gain mastery over a weakness. Is that accurate? Jihad in Islam, Saieg explains, is different. It is struggling in in the way of Islam. Because morality in Islam is not as clear-cut as in Christianity, he explains, the internal struggle of Islam is not so much against one’s sinful nature, as struggle against a weak level of commitment to Islam. He gives examples of being reluctant to commit one’s money, or the life of a son to promote Islam.
  • Saieg tells us that jihad in Islam clearly includes violence. The word in the Qur’an usually translated as “fight” in English, he says in Arabic clearly means to fight with the sword. His preferred Qur’anic translation is one that says “fight and kill.” Saieg relates two stories regarding participation in the hadith:
    • Prophet Mohammed said that his greatest desire was to die in jihad, come back to life and die in jihad, over and over again./li>
    • A woman had seven sons. All died in jihad, yet she never shed a tear until the seventh died. People asked her, “Did you love the seventh son more than the others?” “No,” she said. “I am crying because I have no more sons for jihad.”

    That, Saieg tells us, is the struggle of jihad.

Similarly, most English Qur’ans translate the Arabic phrase clearly meaning “decapitate” as “smite the necks” which is less clear, and also less graphic and gruesome to would-be converts.

There are many verses in the Qur’an which promote violence, not only for defense, but as offensive against non-Muslims until they die, convert, or pay jizya the ransom tax. Saieg’s claim that the main meaning of jihad is violent promotion of the faith is confirmed by the notes in the back of Darussalam’s Noble Qur’an, English 1996 edition. In its section on “The Call to Jihad” it says,

“Praise is to Allah who has ordained al-Jihad (the holy fighting for Allah’s Cause):

  1. Within the heart (intentions or feelings)
  2. With the hand (weapons, etc.)
  3. With the tongue (speeches, etc. in the Cause of Allah)”
Qu’ran Surah 8:67

The Qur’an recognizing that Muslims might not be inclined to fight, says,

“Jihad is ordained for you though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you.”

Qu’ran Surah 2:216

What good is promised to those who fight? Blessings, booty and approval of Allah. Plus, if one dies in jihad, among the benefits will be:

  • will not feel the pain of death
  • sins forgiven
  • no fear of judgement
  • paradise, with up 72 virgins
  • can intercede for 70 family members

Have you been surprised at hearing some Muslim mothers encourage their children to jihad? Now you know why. Not simply honor for the family, but for her own supposed salvation and that of 69 other family members. This doctrine guarantees a society that will approve of and promote violent jihad: parents raising children with this mindset, for basically self-centered, as well as Islam-centered reasons. (You can view on-line videos of Muslim children singing the glories of martyrdom.)

If you have been learning about Islam for a while, you might have noticed a great irony in these promises for jihadis, because:

  • Islam’s greatest criticism against Christians is, that by believing God as Jesus died to save us from our sins and take us to heaven, we make Jesus a partner with God. That is shirk, the unforgivable sin in Islam. But isn’t that hypocritical when …
  • … they believe that if they die in jihad, or have a child die for them, that their sins are forgiven and they go to paradise?
  • And, since Jesus is God, it is only God who gets credit with Christians – not a human warrior or relative.

Muslims are encouraged to do physical battle with the carrot and the stick – rewards if they do, and punishments if they don’t.

  • For example, they are threatened in many verses of what will happen if they don’t,

“If you march not forth, He will punish you by a painful torment
and will replace you with another people.”

Qu’ran Surah 9:39

Perhaps a good summary of the call to jihad is this explanation in the contemporary commentary from the Noble Qur’an,

“As it is now obvious, at first ‘the fighting’ was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory –

  1. against them who start ‘the fighting’ against you (Muslims)…
  2. and against all those who worship others along with Allah.”

QUESTION 6: Have Islamic Governments been more TOLERANT than others?

“The Golden Age” of Islam is commonly claimed to be a time of tolerance and prosperity in the Muslim World. This is a myth. As with Muslim conquests, the claimants take isolated instances of relative tolerance under Islam, and generalize them to be typical. They contrast these with times of relative intolerance under “Christian” rule, which they generalize to represent all of it. Three examples:

  • Brushing aside the fact that Spain was invaded from North Africa and forcibly converted to Islam by Muslims, proponents of a Golden Age will point to a time when the Moors tolerated Christians and Jews. A favorite example is that of Muslim Spain, in tenth century Cordoba under the Moor Abd Ar-Rahman.
  • Bagdad under Harun Ar-Rashid, of the Thousand and One Nights fame, 786-809 AD might also be mentioned (although he did have times of Christian and Jew slaughtering.)
  • Akbar the Great of Moghul India has been mentioned as a tolerant Muslim ruler. Actually, he was more ecumenical than Muslim. He gave non-Muslims improved status and consulted their religious leaders. In 1579 AD, he issued an edict which put him in charge of all religions, above mullahs, thereby making himself a heretic. He later claimed himself to be a prophet and invented his own religion.

During these times of relative tolerance, the Islamic rulers were influenced by non-Islamic philosophers, like the Persian Averroes, who mixed Persian, Byzantine ideas, and the writings of Aristotle into Islam. But since their ideas were against Islam, sometimes these philosophers were killed or exiled, rather than honored.

Those who perpetuate the myth of Islamic tolerance won’t tell you that under Islamic rule these ethnic cleansings and atrocities occurred:

  • in Fez, Morocco:
    • 6,000 Jews massacred in 1033 AD
    • in 1465 AD near genocide of thousands of Jews left only 11 alive
  • Marrakesh, Morocco: Jewish massacre in1232 AD
  • Muslim Cordoba, Spain: 48 Christian Martyrs were beheaded between 850-859 AD
  • Muslim Granada, Spain: genocide of the entire Jewish community of 4,000, during the riots of 1066 AD
  • Egypt, Syria and Yemen under Islam: issued many decrees to destroy synagogues between 1000 AD and 1676 AD
  • Idolaters like Hindus needed to convert or be killed. Protected dhimmi ransom tax status was not an option for them.

Even in the so-called “tolerant” times, there was never a suggestion of equality.

  • Christians and Jews would be allowed to live in Muslim lands at times, but they were always second-class citizens, called dhimmis.
  • Not only did they need to pay the ransom tax, but they lived under a situation of extremely reduced privileges: with restrictions on what they could do, wear, read, and say.
  • For example, see “The Omar Agreement” of what the Christians in the Holy Land had to abide by in order to live there. (You can look it up online.)
  • These civilian conditions were similar, but even more repressive than those of Jews under the Nazis.

When you meet traditional Christians from the Middle East, show them double respect:

  • They and their ancestors have refused to convert under pressure for many hundreds of years. They have had to pay extra taxes to be allowed to survive.
  • It is thought that poor Christians did not survive Islamic invasions: they had to convert or die because they could not pay the jizya.
  • The survivors have had to endure ridicule, repression, criticisms, and hearing Islam broadcasted from minarets day and night. Often mosques were intentionally placed next to churches for this harassment.
  • They have had to hold their tongues in frustrating situations and against false accusations.
  • They usually have kept quiet about abuse. Outside observers have been requested not report the abuses to authorities, in fear that reprisals will bring worse abuses.
  • They could not share a word of what they believed without severe risk.

As Brother E from Palestine said,

“For 1400 years we Christians in the Middle East have not been able to share about Jesus or criticize Islam. Now that we are in America, it is hard for some of us to stay quiet!”

Consider: When Muslims and Islamic governments treat non-Muslims harshly, they act in accordance with their teachings. When “Christians nations” treat unbelievers harshly, they act in defiance of their teachings.

QUESTION 7: Is there other violence in Islam?

Yes. We won’t give many details here, but the categories are roughly:

  1. Killing apostates who leave Islam: The Qur’an in Surah 4:89 tells Muslims to,
    • “Those who reject Islam must be killed. If they turn back take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them.”

    • The hadith, the traditions of Mohammed, also tell them that Mohammed said to kill those who leave Islam.
      • For example, in Sahih Bukhari, Mohammed himself cauterized their eyes and cut off apostates’ hand and legs, then let them bleed to death (DuS # 6802, vol. 4, 87:1; also see DuS # 6922, 9:84:57).
  2. Domestic Violence:
    • Wife beating is actually sanctioned in the Qur’an
      • (It is dealt with in greater detail in the Lesson and Study Guide on Islam and Women.)
      • Can result in physical and psychological damage needing treatment. Since this is usually not received, lasting damage and behavior patterns remain.
    • Honor-killing of family members who are felt to have disgraced the family or Islam:
      • exact numbers are difficult to find, but cases are increasingly reported in the West, as children of immigrants clash with their families’ traditional values. This is especially true of young women who choose to wear Western dress or have boyfriends.
      • those who leave Islam are often killed by family members for honor, rather than an official Islamic court
  3. Mohammad’s violence as the example for all Muslims:
    • battles, treatment of apostates, teachings
    • punishments of those who ridiculed him, like 100 year old Abu Afak
    • the poetess Asma, killed by the sword as she suckled an infant
    • sets the precedent for violence against cartoonists and publications in our modern world
  4. Harsh legal punishments:
    • • Stoning for adultery (flogging in Qur’an; but stoning in hadith, so it is followed)
    • • Blasphemy laws requiring the death of those who speak against Mohammed or the Qur’an (can include cartoons).
    • • Chopping off hands for theft
    • • For “making mischief” (like selling alcohol or making movies) —
    • “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and his Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

      Qu’ran Surah 5:33

Note 1: since the West has attacked Muslim countries, however justified, and because of our liberties, according to a strict interpretation, we are all subject to the punishment of this verse. As a former Muslim from a royal family told Dr. C,

“You do not need a special fatwa on your head. From the teachings of Islam, Muslims are authorized to kill you at any time.”

Related to this is the concept of Booty of War, which Gracia Barham and her husband became when they were taken hostage by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines. You can read about it in her book, In the Presence of My Enemies.

On the video lesson, Dr. C asks Saieg if it is true that Christians and residents of the West are considered booty of war? Does Islam consider all that we own, and even our own bodies, can be considered as belonging to Islam? Fundamentally speaking, it is true. George gives us an example of a Muslim man claiming George’s wife to be his, at least in paradise.

Note 2: It is curious that Surah 5:33 comes right after 5:32, the oft-quoted verse that says killing one person is like killing all of mankind.

QUESTION 8: So, would a “Muslim Reformation” help as it helped Christianity?

No. Here’s why:

By the sixteenth century, the time of the Protestant Reformation, official Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church had drifted far away from Biblical teachings. The drift covered everything from personal life, to evangelism, to church structure, and even national policies. The teachings and decisions of the organized church were considered to outweigh the Bible.

When Martin Luther and other reformers started reading the Bible itself, a new image emerged of how Christianity should be practiced. Gradually, Biblical principles became incorporated into individuals, church structure, and nations. New life from God was breathed into them. The concept of a personal walk with God arose, and from that the freedom, tolerance, and personal liberties that we now believe in.

So, when Christians become devout and return to the Bible, they become more Christ-like, and filled with the Fruit of the Spirit. Ideally this means more loving, tolerant, and peaceful.

When Muslims become devout and return to the Qur’an, they also immerse themselves in the hadith, and Islamic writings. These encourage then to become more aggressive, and to promote Islam with violence.

Muslim devotion often increases:
with ageafter marriagein enclaveswhen challenged by Christians

PROOF: Islam is currently in a period of return to its original writings and practices. Fundamentalism did re-emerge in the later part of the 20th century. If you ask people who lived in the Muslim World in the 1960s and 1970s what it was like compared to today, or look at pictures of how populations dressed on the street then compared to now, you will see the difference.

How has this return to fundamentalism arisen, and what is it doing? To understand this phenomenon we need to consider the impact of Islam’s “manifest destiny” – the idea that it is predestined to encompass the entire world in an Islamic government.

Islam’s Manifest Destiny

Having been promised success in expansion by Mohammed, the replacement of Muslim empires with Western control has been difficult for Muslims to account for and accept.

On September 12, 1683, Islamic expansion faced its end at the second siege of Vienna. Following that, a large part of the world, from Spain to Indonesia and down Africa, became lost to Islamic control especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As Paul Marshall explains in his book Islam at the Crossroads, this trend of territory loss has severely challenged Muslim theology. Mohammed promised Muslims success until all the world was in “The House of Islam.” The loss stimulated self-examination within the Muslim World. Rather than consider that their prophet and Islam might have been wrong, strict leaders conclude that the loss is because Muslims have not been practicing Islam strictly enough, or taking jihad seriously enough.

Examples:

  • A backlash of fundamentalism has resulted with more Muslims focusing on the teachings and practices of the Qur’an and hadith.
  • The writings of Osama bin Laden, the Shiite Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, and Sunni Hassan Al-Banna, who started the Muslim Brotherhood, reflect these attitudes.

This explains why Brother E says,

“Not all Muslims are terrorists; but all true Muslims are terrorists.”

QUESTION 9: Is there HOPE for PEACE?

As Christians we are to pray for peace, and for the gospel to be spread and honored. What hope do we see for peace in the Muslim World and beyond?

  1. Non-Christian options:
    • Secularization – people keeping the name “Muslim,” and perhaps some of the rituals, but not being seriously religious. Like secular Americans, they look for good lives for themselves and their family, without feeling obligated to participate in verbal or violent jihad.
    • Modernists and the Secondary Precepts movement – especially in Iran, seek reform from Islam’s harshness, restrictions, and legalism.
      • They state that the harsh teachings and view of Allah from the Qur’an should be considered limited to that time, 7th century Arabic.
      • Now, they say, the principles, or “precepts” of Islam, should be modified. In their place, they propose a gentler view of God and society, similar to that of Christianity.
      • Since there is no basis in the Islam for this approach, it will not easily gain widespread acceptance.
  2. Christian options:
    • Conversion to the Christian faith, and discipleship:
      • dreams and visions of Jesus are common in Christians who convert from Islam
        • Note that not all who have dreams convert, and dreams confirming Islam also occur
        • (See more on this in the lesson and study guide on The Place of Miracles.)
      • internet websites, like this and others
      • literature distributed
      • personal relationships
    • In order for Muslims to become Christians, Christians need to:
      • live like real Christians
      • open their hearts and lives to Muslims
      • reach out to Muslims – nearby and far
      • financially support others who reach out
      • and PRAY!

QUESTION 10: Do we need to fear Muslims?

(See also the Lesson and Study Guide on Fear, Persecution, and Spiritual Warfare)

Yes and No.

Most Muslims are peaceful, and surprisingly grateful when a Christian makes the effort to meet or befriend them. But, knowing what you now know about Islam, you will understand that some Muslims are indeed inclined to promote their faith by force, and to punish those who stand against Islam.

It is unlikely that you would come to harm in the West, unless you are a family member who has left Islam, but overseas the situation is different. This is especially the case in Muslim countries which have Blasphemy Laws for speaking against the Qur’an or Mohammed, Anti-conversion Laws, and Anti-Proselytism Laws. It is best to check on the existence of these laws before you attempt to evangelize in a Muslim country, although in general you can assume that they exist.

QUESTION 11: Since Islam can be violent, isn’t there a better way to serve God, besides sharing the Gospel with Muslims?

The Bible says we are to try to live peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:2, I Thessalonians 4:11); but that is regarding our prayers for our nations, and our way of behaving with each other. This advice does not exclude taking risks for the gospel.

It can be disconcerting that God allows his servants to suffer, at times even to die in his service. The Bible is full of such examples, from Old Testament prophets to New Testament apostles. In Matthew 10, Jesus warned us that we would face hardships while standing for him. But then in Matthew 24 he commands to go and share his gospel with every ethnic group. After that is done, the end will come and we can all be with the Lord.

In its word origin, Martyr means witness. In Arabic the two words are similar. But the similarity between Muslim and Christian martyrs stops with the name. Why?

  • Muslim martyrs usually die in violent jihad, killing others.
  • Christian martyrs die not while killing others, but being killed by unbelievers because of their faith in Jesus. Many even forgive their persecutors and invite them to repent while dying.

Jesus commanded us to go into the world and share the good news about him with everyone. He told us that all authority on heaven and on earth is his, and that he will be with us forever. That is to be sufficient to preserve and empower us.

Certainly, it can be dangerous today to share the gospel in some parts of the Muslim world. It was likewise dangerous in the days of the early church. All but one of Jesus 12 main disciples died as a martyr.

But let these quotations by brave Christians encourage you move forward:

“We are immortal until our work is done.”

George Whitefield 18th Century Evangelist

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Jim Elliot 20th Century Christian Martyr

“Perfect Love drives out Fear.”

Bible 1 John 4:18

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Bible Joshua 1:9

Guidelines for Discussing the Violence in Islam with Muslims

The information given in this lesson is primarily for your education. We want you to know it so that you will have greater insight into what is going on in the world, and into the thinking and sufferings of Muslims. We also want to prevent you from believing a false image of Islam, and hope that together we can prevent Americans and Europeans from converting to it.

Dr. C’s PALM Project training breaks down all our interactions with Muslims, actually everyone, into three aspects:

  • Build Bridges
  • Share Truth
  • Challenge Falsehood

Of these, we prioritize Building Bridges and Sharing Truth – showing the sincere love of God, especially in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Discussing the violence in Islam mostly comes under the category of Challenging Falsehood. That means it needs to be approached with caution, as does any challenge.
(See also the lessons and study guides on Building Bridges and Sharing the Gospel with Muslims.)

The truth is a sword.

The truths you have learned today are powerful weapons. Like knives, they must be used carefully and appropriately to bring about healing, not damage.

Explosive Topic

Discussing the violence in Islam is something that can easily seem like an insult to Muslims. How would you feel if someone you just met told you that Christianity is violent and that Christians are violent? So, by mentioning things you learned today, you can accidentally alienate someone that you actually want to bring close. And in today’s societies, it doesn’t take much to be labeled “intolerant” or making “hate speech,” even if what you say is totally true.

Who is the Enemy?

Remember, spiritually speaking, Muslims are not our enemy. Satan is. They are his victims and captives. We want to free them into salvation and the abundant life.

We are to speak only what is good for others (Ephesians 4:29). Our goal is not to insult Muslims, but to help them exchange a God of Hate for the God of Love.

As in all our difficult discussions with Muslims:

The Main thing is to Keep the Main thing the Main Thing!

Islam does not have the Savior. That is its main problem. Yes, we want to stop terrorism, and end the hatred between the Muslim World and the West. We want to stop abuse of women and Christians. But the ultimate thing we want to do is bring Muslims into the Kingdom of God. False teachings make life difficult for Muslims, and show that Islam is not the truth. Our goal is not to gloat over this. It is to reveal the one who can give them abundant and eternal life (John 10:10 & 3:16).

Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and its impact on ministry to Muslims

Research has shown that about 10% of refugees and immigrants have experienced violence to the extent that they developed PTSD. In countries where torture is practiced, this is higher, for example in 20-40% of those from Somalia and Eretria.

When meeting refugees from zones of known conflict, Dr. C approaches them as if they have been traumatized. She uses caution in approaching their personal experience. Some might have been asked to work on telling their life story as a part of therapy. Others are asked to write it out. Some will be eager to tell you, but bear in mind that others might be reluctant to relive their most traumatic experiences.

Talk about violence with PTSD sufferers might trigger unfavorable reactions.

Wise Use of the Information on Islam and Violence

Having learned all of this about violence in Islam, you might be bursting to share it. But please, don’t just blurt out challenges and insults. This goes for any problem area in Islam and other world views. You must use forethought: learn, pray, strategize, and only speak on this topic when the Holy Spirit clearly leads you.

It is possible that you will not need to use this information at all. If you are in relationships that are leading more and more to the truth, and they already know the draw-backs of Islam, we suggest that continue to emphasize sharing the Bible’s truth until they are ready to trust in Christ as their Savior (see upcoming Lesson and Study Guide on Out of the Saltshaker).

Two situations in which you might need to use this information on violence are with:

  1. Someone who is very attracted to the Christian faith, and understands its primary teachings, but is not ready to accept Jesus: because they believe that at its core, Islam is good.
    • They think that Muslim countries would be good if Islam were practiced right.
      • This is what our on-video disciple Huda used to think. She did not cross over to become a Christian until Brother E convinced her, in Arabic, that oppressive Muslim regimes are practicing Islam correctly — for example Iran under the Ayatollahs, and Afghanistan.
    • As we explain elsewhere, it is so difficult to leave Islam that no one will do it unless they are convinced that Islam is very wrong. Instead, they might simply add Christian virtues to Muslim ones.
    • If so, pray for wisdom and the right time to discuss with them the violence in Islam, women’s issues or other things that might open their eyes
  2. Someone who is very certain that Islam is right and is not really interested in anything else. In long term relationships we don’t like to push topics or agenda, but wait for things to arise naturally. We suggest you pray and wait. An appropriate time may arise to start them questioning various Islamic teachings, for example with current events, their questions, or family situations.

Suggested Challenges

Violence in Islam is not something you would usually want to bring up in an outreach, or early in a relationship. An exception might be a debate setting. Otherwise, here are some suggestions of what you might say when the time is right:

With refugees, immigrants and foreign students:
  1. The easiest and safest thing to say is, “I am praying for your country. I am sorry about what is happening there.”
    • Be sincere. Do pray for their country. Even learn about it.
    • This is mostly a bridge to the person. It shows them that you care about them and the situation they come from. Of course, this does not apply to all Muslims; but the situation across the world means that most Muslims, especially those that come to America and Europe, have faced violence in their homeland.
    • This bridge is also an indirect challenge. It reminds them of the tension and violence within Islam, in contrast to the peace and acceptance they now feel in America or Europe. Most of those who suffer from Islam’s violence are Muslims. Sect battles sect. For example, since Shiites believe their saints can intercede, Sunnis consider them infidels, and attack them as such.
  2. 2. Later on, if the relationship is right, it might be appropriate to ask the immigrant or student something like this:
    • Was it difficult for you, coming to America?
    • Was it safe in the part of your country that you lived in?
    • Tell me about what is happening in your country. Who is fighting whom? Why?
With Muslims American-born or here a long time

You may find that they are so much like mainstream America, that they are as confused about the Islamic violence around the world as they are. Very possibly they will think that no country practices pure Islam. Your challenge will be to gently open their eyes to the consistency of the teachings and the violent practices.

In the Debate Setting

In the debate setting, it is usually appropriate to discuss points made in the debate with Muslim friends attending with you, or those nearby. Even after the debate, you can ask Muslims in the area if they attended it. Whether or not they did, you can use the event as a bridge to bring up topics discussed then. But again this must be in the proper setting – one in which you know that the potential benefit outweighs the risk of the topic.

Another Possible Challenge

If the setting is right, politely ask: Islam says that Christians make Jesus a partner with God when we say his death can cover our sins and take us to heaven. How is that different from Islam saying that a Muslim’s death in jihad covers sins and takes people to paradise?

Responses to Expect

Don’t expect that Muslims will respond positively, unless they have already expressed deep doubts about Islam. When presenting this information, your goal is to provide something to think about, NOT to get them to agree. Even as they disagree, they will think about the discussion afterwards.

It is “an enormity” meaning a major sin, to bring shame to Islam. Agreeing with you about Islamic violence would do that. Nevertheless, we know from experience, that our discussions DO make a difference. For example, two members of a Muslim family who later became Christians, said to Dr. C,

“Cynthia, we used to argue with you that Islam was not about violence, but inside we knew it was.”


References for this Lesson:

  • Bible:
  • II Corinthians 5:17
  • Mark 12:30-32
  • I Timothy 6:12
  • II Timothy 4:7
  • Romans 7 & 8
  • Galatians 5:17
  • Isaiah 40:8
  • Matthew 5:17,18 & 10:16-42 & 24:9-14 & 28:18-20
  • Galatians 3:35
  • I Timothy 2:2
  • I Thessalonians 4:11
  • I John 4:18
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Ephesians 4:29
  • Qur’an:
  • Surah 2:256,216
  • Surah 9:5,29,39
  • Surah 2:105
  • The Qur’an, mostly:
  • The Noble Qur’an, Darussalam Publishers. Riyadh & Houston, 1996

(Note: various translations used, including The Noble Qur’an, 1985 edition, from which commentary promoting Jihad has been subsequently withdrawn for the American market.)

  • Sunni and Shiite Hadiths:
  • Al Bukhari’s Sahih. Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2003
  • Sahih Muslim. Dar Al-Kotob al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2005
    Books and Articles:

  • Al-Banna, Hassan. The Way of Jihad (Risallat al-Jihad), available on-line in English
  • Note on al-Banna: he was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood party. His manifesto on jihad, written decades ago, is credited with re-igniting interest in jihad in the Muslim World.
  • Andrew, Brother, God’s Call. Fleming H. Revel Publishers, 2002
  • Langer, et al. Western Civilization I second edition. Harper and Row, 1975
  • Marshall, Paul, et al. Islam at the Crossroads: Understanding Its Beliefs, History, and Conflicts. Baker Books 2002
  • Rose, Mark. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” NetCE, September 2015
  • Note on books: There are many books partly or entirely devoted to exposing the violence in Islam. The below are two of the best, written by former Muslims from different Muslim countries. Gabriel’s is from a Christian perspective, and Ibn Warraq’s from the secular perspective:
    • Gabriel, Mark A. Islam and Terrorism. Charisma House 2002
    • Trifkovic, Serge. The Sword of the Prophet: Islam, history, theology, impact on the World. Regina Orthodox Press, Boston, 2002.
    • Warraq, Ibn. Why I Am Not a Muslim. Prometheus Books, 1995 (very well-documented, fully rounded expose).

Study Questions:

  1. What was your thinking about Islam and violence before this lesson?
    • Whatever your background, had you heard that Islam was peaceful, or violent?
    • Where had you heard that?
    • What impression have you received from various media outlets about violence and peace in Islam?
    • Give examples of things you had heard or seen on both sides of the issue:
      • Violence is part of Islam
      • Violence is not part of Islam
  2. Discuss in your group, or consider on your own, the Doctrine of Abrogation.
    • Review what the doctrine teaches
    • Why do George Saieg and Dr. C think this is the key to understanding how violence in Islam is practiced?
    • How does this differ from the Bible with its Old Covenant, or Testament, and the New Covenant, or Testament?
  3. Previous to today, what had you heard about:
    • the way Islam spread over much of the globe? (west to Morocco, north into Spain and France, south into Sub-Saharan Africa, and east through Pakistan and India to Indonesia)
    • the tolerance of Islamic governments?
      • in history
      • nowadays
      • ideally
    • how has today’s lesson impacted what you previously thought about the above two points?
  4. Review the three forms of Jihad described in the Saudi commentary:
    • Were all three of these forms familiar to you?
    • What does George say is the internal struggle of jihad in Islam?
    • How does that differ from the internal struggle of Christians?
    • Do you now accept that the primary meaning and purpose of jihad is forceful expansion of the Islamic dominion?
  5. Have you ever been told Christianity is a violent religion?
    • If so, what examples have you been given?
    • Are you familiar with violence in the Bible?
    • What are difference between the violence of the Bible and that of Islam?
    • Did Jesus or Moses give a command to spread the faith by force?
    • Did Mohammed give a command to spread the faith by force?
    • How might you defend Christianity if a Muslim told you that it is just as violent as Islam?
  6. Why won’t a “Muslim Reformation,” like Christianity’s Reformation, work to bring about tolerance?
    • During the Christian Reformation people went back to the Bible. How did that change practices of the Christian faith?
    • If Muslims devoutly follow the teachings of the Qur’an and hadith, will it reduce or increase the violent practices of Islam?
  7. Think about the Muslims that you know personally.
    • Do you think that they are nominal, moderate, or very serious and knowledgeable about Islam?
    • How do you think that they feel about violence?
    • Do you think they understand abrogation?
    • Can you imagine a situation in which you might discuss violence with them?
    • How might you do that?
  8. What do you know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
    • Have you met anyone with it?
    • Can you imagine why it is more common in refugee populations?
    • How would you feel approaching someone who has suffered severe violence or loss of family members to conflict?
    • Does knowing that many Muslims are at risk for PTSD impact your approach to them?
  9. If you are a Christian, where do you plan to be sharing the gospel, in word and deed, with Muslims? Knowing what you do now about the violent teachings of Islam, how might your approach differ for these locations?
    • in America
    • in Europe
    • in a moderately Muslim country
    • in a strict Muslim country
  10. If you are a Christian, how has learning about the violent teachings of Islam affected your desire to bring the gospel to Muslims?
    • Are you more or less afraid of reaching them?
    • Do you have more or less sympathy for them?
    • Might your approach have changed?

© Copyright by Christian from Muslim, 2019. Permission granted for personal and study group copying only.

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