This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.It is not enough to believe and obey Muhammad, but Muhammad also demands loyalty and fealty from believers to himself. He writes of himself in the Koran,
"Those only are believers, who believe in God and His Messenger [Apostle] and who, when they are with him upon a common matter [any affair of common interest], go not away [depart not] until they ask [sought] his leave." (Koran 24:62)In Muhammad's understanding, prophets and apostles of God are more than mere delivers of a message, they are also akin to tribal leaders; to those who lead their people in and lead them out. They are not just spiritual leaders but also leaders in every aspect of life. The prophet not only informs us how God expects us to live, but he also determines the times of war and leads his people forward into battle. Muhammad cannot separate believing and obeying God from out loyalty, obedience, and assistance to the prophet, including himself, in all things temporal and eternal.
"Those who believe in him and succor [strengthen] him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him -- they are the prosperers [they with whom it shall be well]." (Koran 7:156)The Koran proclaims dire judgment on anyone who, not only disbelieves in Muhammad, but also who breaks fellowship and partnership with him.
"That, because they had made a breach with [opposed] God and with His Messenger [Apostle]; and whosoever makes a breach with [shall oppose] God and with His Messenger [Apostle], surely God is terrible in retribution [severe in punishment]." (Koran 8:13)
"But whoso makes a breach with [sever himself from] the Messenger [prophet] after the guidance has become clear to him and follows a way other than the believers', him We shall turn over to what he has turned to and We shall roast him in Gehenna -- an evil homecoming!" (Koran 4:115)This kind of loyalty, and the demand for believers to succor the prophets and apostles, stands in stark contrast to the words and demands made by the apostles and prophets of old. No other apostle or prophet demanded such loyalty and fealty under penalty of eternal judgment. Moses was quite clear in exhorting the nation of Israel.
"You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him." (Deuteronomy 13:4)His commands was not that they should follow and cling to himself but rather that they should follow and cling to God. After the children of Israel entered the Promise Land, Samuel challenged them,
"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)His hope was not that they might serve him but rather that they would choose and serve the Lord. Finally, when some sought to cause Paul pain by trying to steal some of the glory from Paul for themselves, Paul was not hurt by their disloyalty but rather said, "in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18) This kind of sensitivity to require loyalty and obedience to oneself has no foundation in the religious history of God and has no place in the life or character of a true prophet or apostle of God.
More to come...