Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

What Do Most People Really Want in Life?

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D

You want a relationship with the Creator that is meaningful. You may be devout in your religion, but it may not relate to the real Creator of your life. You may have been making prayers to the wrong god. Any god that is not the real Creator is an idol and useless. Muslims should be concerned that even Mohammed had no assurance about what would happen to him after death. For more information go here and here.

On one occasion in a conversation about a person who died and who had been pious, Mohammed is quoted as saying, “As to him, by Allah, death has overtaken him, and I hope the best for him. By Allah, though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me,” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 266)

The answer we find in Jesus is that He gives everlasting life now. You don’t have to wait until Judgment Day to find out what is going to happen to you. The words of Jesus are clear: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son.” (John 3:16-18) The chapter finishes with the word of Jesus, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not have life, but will remain under God's punishment.” (John 3:36 GNB)

You want to know that when this life is over, you will be welcomed forever into the presence of the Creator who made you. If you want assurance from Yahweh, the Creator, don’t ignore the words of Jesus above.

You want a sense of purpose in living. A sense of purpose is not only related to knowing the Creator, but also in living life in a rational frame of mind. The Creator has given us rationality to make judgments and evaluate issues. Blind submission to tradition is irrational.

Islam is filled with legalism. Think for a moment about praying five times a day in Arabic. Many Muslims do not understand Arabic. Maybe Allah does not understand other languages? If you don’t know what you are saying the prayer is useless. Five times a day is an arbitrary figure. Doesn’t Allah get tired of every Muslim praying the same thing at the same time? One wonders about the phrase “lead me in the right path” concerning whether it is the right path. Would it not be better to think of living free from legalism? Moreover, spontaneous prayer relates to the needs of the person.

Living in legalism may appeal to you since it seems to give one a feeling of having done something required. Yahweh is more interested in your character than your legalism.

If you check out “ask an imam” here, you will see the trivia that people are required to do to gain approval of Allah. Here is an example:

Question: “My Mom accepted Islam at the begining (sic) of the year 2012 and my Father accepted Islam in September 2012. Now both of them are muslims, Alhamdulillah. Do they have to remarry???? (they married 24 years ago under mexican law, both of them were christian-catholic)

The answer:

“In principle, when your mom accepted Islam in the beginning of 2012 and your dad did not accept Islam at that time, the marriage terminated upon three menstrual cycles. Now that your dad has accepted Islam, the marriage should be renewed according to the Shari’ah laws and principles of Matrimony (Nikaah).” (Source)

Legalism means that my hope of heaven depends on me, my performance, my spiritual power. The Gospel means that my hope of heaven depends on the Father in heaven:

“And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. (Colossians 1:12-14)

The Father has done something for us that we could not do ourselves. He made us fit to have everlasting life. He rescued us, he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, and we have been set free, our sins are forgiven.

Why deceive yourself that you can achieve approval by Allah? You are pursuing a hopeless dream. Allah does not seem to answer and that is why so many Muslims respond “inshallah” hoping that something good will happen. Yahweh has already responded to your heart’s cry for forgiveness, and the gift of everlasting life in His presence. All you have to do is accept it.

You want to know forgiveness of your sins right now. In Islam you are encouraged to do good works so that they will outweigh your sins. You never know if you have done enough until judgment day and then it is too late. The follower of Jesus is not left in ignorance about this.

The Holy Scripture declares:

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing.” (1 John 1:8-9)

This promise clears the mind of haunting guilt and fear of judgment by Yahweh. It is impossible for a mere human to make up offenses against an Infinite Being. The marvelous news is that this Infinite Being is gracious to forgive. Will you accept this?

You want a close family connection with each other, parents, and children.

Is it really possible to have a close connection between husband and wife when Islam teaches that a woman has half the intelligence of a man, and the wife may be beaten if she does something unpleasing to the husband. When a woman is forced into a marriage she does not want, at an age when she is not ready for marriage, she becomes a virtual slave, a person who is not really worthy of respect and honor. Mohammed’s model of having a child bride, Aisha, set the pattern for more child brides. Under these conditions a wife is not a partner but a sex object, a servant, a bearer of children, but not a worthwhile treasured companion and gift from God.

In contrast, the words of Scripture give a pattern for how family life is to be. Remember that Yahweh created two people, Adam and Eve, and that is the marriage prototype. This is reflected in the Scripture in these words:

“Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body. And so wives must submit themselves completely to their husbands just as the church submits itself to Christ. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, in order to present the church to himself in all its beauty---pure and faultless, without spot or wrinkle or any other imperfection. Men ought to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself. (None of us ever hate our own bodies. Instead, we feed them, and take care of them, just as Christ does the church; for we are members of his body.) As the scripture says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one." There is a deep secret truth revealed in this scripture, which I understand as applying to Christ and the church. But it also applies to you: every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:21-33)

A husband is not God who knows everything and is wise in all regards. Mutual submission is based on the wisdom of two committed people. This does not work well if the man is 40 and the wife is 10. Adam and Eve were of the same age and they learned together in their lives.

The command is that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and give his life for it. Men are to love their wives just as they love their own bodies. Love, not sexual passion, is the basis of a family relationship. Love, not honor, is the basis of relationship with family members. Wives are to be partners, not property.

What does love mean? The New Testament Greek word for love, Agape, means to bestow value and worth on someone else. The wife is a person of worth to be loved. Agape is the word used when Jesus said, “Love your enemies.” The enemy is a person made in the image of Yahweh and has human needs. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. You don’t have to like your enemy, but the idea of love is to regard him as a human being.

You want truth, not falsehood. Your search for truth must begin with rejecting Islam’s falsehood about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection are well documented in history by both believers and non-believers. The resurrection of Jesus and his appearance to his disciples on many occasions and up to 500 people at one time is recorded in Scripture. Even the Qur’an stands as a witness to the integrity of the Bible accounts. (2:136) (cf. 2:285; 4:136; 3:119; 5:59; 29:46; 2:2-5)

What do you really know about Mohammed? “Islamic tradition generally identifies the second Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur, who reigned from 754 to 775, as the first to commission a legal manual: the Muwatta. Because Islamic law is based to such a tremendous degree on the words and example of Muhammad, this manual of Islamic law records a great many hadith of the prophet of Islam. The imam who wrote the Muwatta, Malik ibn Anas (715-795), died sixteen decades after Muhammad, making him the nearest in time of all the collectors of hadiths to the life of the man whose every action and every utterance is the focus of the Hadiths.” (Spencer, Did Muhammad Exist? p.71)

Moreover, many of these traditions contradict one another. There is very little in the Qur’an about the person of Mohammed. Muslims have attempted to discredit the Bible which has a place in history and overlook the lack of evidence for Mohammed and the hadiths.

The Qur’an gives you some truth about Isa, Jesus, the Messiah. Contrary to the falsehoods promoted by Imams the Qur’an does refer to the death and resurrection of Jesus. You may check out Surah al-Imran 3:55 for these words.

“Remember the time when ALLAH said' `O Jesus, I will cause thee to die a natural death and will raise thee to Myself,” (Sher Ali)

“Thus, GOD said, "O Jesus, I am terminating your life, raising you to Me,” (Khalifa)

“When God said, 'O Jesus! I will make Thee die and take Thee up again to me and will clear thee of those who misbelieve,” (Palmer)

“Remember when God said, "O Jesus! verily I will cause thee to die, and will take thee up to myself and deliver thee from those who believe not,” (Rodwell)

“When God said, o Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me,” (Sale)

“And when Allah said: O Isa, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me” (Shakir)

The Arabic word is mutawaffeeka, it means “caused to die.” Allah caused Isa to die for the sins of mankind as foretold by the Prophet Isaiah (53:11-12).

These are strong words concerning the death and resurrection of Isa. On the other hand, the Qur’an seems to say that Isa was not crucified. Consider the following:

“And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. Pickthall (Surah Women, 4.157)

The Qur’an is right, the Jews did not crucify Jesus. They had no power to do so. They made accusations, but the Romans only had the power of putting people to death. It was a Roman Governor, Pilate, who gave the order to crucify Jesus. According to the Qur’an Isa was put to death and resurrected. This is affirmed in Surah Maryam, 19:33-34, in these words, “And peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I get resurrected. That was Jesus, the son of Mary, and this is the truth of this matter, about which they continue to doubt.” (Khalifa)

One has to suspect that popular Islam may not be true to the Qur’an. The Qur’an teaches that people are to consult the Scriptures written before:

"If thou wert in doubt As to what We have revealed Unto thee, then ask those Who have been reading The Book from before thee: The Truth hath indeed come To thee from thy Lord: So be in no wise Of those who doubt." S. 10:94 Y. Ali

"And before thee (Muhammad), We sent no one, except men, to whom We granted revelation. Ask the people of the Scripture message, if you don't know." S. 21:7

The real story of Jesus can be found in the New Testament. Obey the Qur’an and check it out.

You want to have a meaningful relationship with all people. There is much in Islam related to the sense of honor and shame. If you do something to me and my family we will seek revenge for that act. If a daughter brings shame on the family by wanting to marry someone not approved by the father, the girl may be killed.

In contrast, Jesus gave two commands about relating to people. The first is “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) If you love your neighbor as you love yourself you will not steal from them, not kill them, not seek revenge, not commit adultery, not cheat them, etc. If you love your neighbor as you love yourself you will pray for them as you pray for yourself.

The second command from Jesus is: “Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.” (Matthew 7:12)

This command applies to all people, not just friends and relatives. It applies in the home and outside of the home. In this case, it applies to your wife, and your children. Do you have a dislike of tyrants who rule your country, then do not be a tyrant in your home with your children. Do you want another imperfect human being making decisions about how you should live? Then check up on how you impose your will on your wife, and children. When tribal people obey the words of Jesus tribal conflict is reduced.

What keeps people from having all of this

“Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-6 NIV)

People’s minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world (age). Who is the evil god of this world? None other than Satan. In contrast, Yahweh, the Creator, who revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and finally in coming in person in Jesus, the prophesied Messiah, wanted you to have all of this. Something is blinding you to it all.

There are religions claiming to do good in your life, but you are enslaved. You may be obeying rules dreamed up by men who lived centuries ago who thought they were doing good, but have enslaved millions by their advice. There are so many religions that demean women and girls. The wonder of womanhood has been exploited by men claiming to be superior to women. The tradition that claims women have half the intelligence of men was not very intelligent. In the process of doing this men have been denied the wonderful contributions of women because of men’s arrogance.

What is it that you cannot see? “they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

It is astounding that the Creator should condescend in human form to visit his creation. Jesus the Christ is truly God in the flesh. Since he has come, it does no good to look elsewhere for Him. Jesus is the focal point for connecting with the Creator. He loves you and wants a close relationship with you. Yahweh wants his light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. Searching for Yahweh in the dark won’t help. He has openly given us His light to live our lives by.

How do you escape the slavery of your religion? Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia:

“May grace and peace be granted to you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to suffer for our sins in order to rescue us from the present wicked age in accordance with the will of our God and Father. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.” (Galatians 1:4-5 GNB)

Jesus is the person who can rescue you from the present wicked age. This will require you to reject some things you have been taught. You have been given a falsehood about the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a historical fact. He died on a cross. He rose from the dead 3 days later. He appeared alive to his followers for a period of 40 days. Then He ascended into heaven.

You must re-think your thoughts about Jesus. He is the only place you will find peace, forgiveness and the gift of everlasting life in the presence of Yahweh. Jesus called himself The Light of the World and when you received Him as Lord and Savior the light of God’s presence will shine in your heart. (John 8:12) The Creator’s love for you is so great. Please don’t ignore it. He wants you to have eternal life now.