This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read 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.Muhammad believed in one supreme God yet, as he understood the various religions around him, he saw that they had all become corrupt. Not just the pagan religions with their many gods but also the Jewish and Christian regions with their infighting and moral decay. It was in this atmosphere that Gabriel appeared to Muhammad bringing a new religion; one that would set all religions aright; one that was pure and not corrupted by the regions of the day. In many ways, Islam is a reset on religion; a kind of redo on religion. Proclaiming all religions to be corrupt, Islam offers a new religion; a new start for service and obedience to God.
"And they say, 'Be Jews or Christians and you shall be guided.' Say thou: 'Nay, rather the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith; he was no idolater.'" (Koran 2:129)
"The true religion with God is Islam." (Koran 3:17)Allah's answer to the corrupt religions of the day was Islam.
"Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam for your religion." (Koran 5:5)In may ways, Islam is similar to Mormonism. Both claim that all other religions had become corrupt, both were announced by a new prophet, both produced a new testament, and both claim to be the only true religion for mankind. Philip Scahff writes this concerning the similarities between Islam and Mormonism.
"The points of resemblance are numerous and striking: the claim to a supernatural revelation mediated by an angel; the abrogation of previous revelations by later and more convenient ones; the embodiment of the revelations in an inspired book; the eclectic character of the system, which is compounded of Jewish, heathenish, and all sorts of sectarian Christian elements... the union of religion with civil government... the institution of polygamy in defiance of the social order of Christian civilization. In sensuality and avarice Brigham Young surpassed Mohammed; for he left at his death in Salt Lake City seventeen wives, sixteen sons, and twenty-eight daughters (having had in all fifty six or more children), and property estimated at two millions of dollars." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 47)The Koran represents Islam as the culmination of all religions that went before it. It is the fulfillment and end point of the faith originating with Abraham and continuing down through the Jews and the Christians. It is the pinnacle of God's revelation to mankind and His final definition of religion for all who would serve Him.
"Thou seest them bowing, prostrating, seeking bounty [imploring favors] from God and good pleasure [His acceptance]. Their mark [tokens] is on their faces, the trace [marks] of prostration. That is their likeness [picture] in the Torah [Law], and their likeness [picture] in the Gospel [Evangel]: as a seed that puts forth its shoot [stalk], and strengthens it, and it grows stout and rises straight upon its stalk [stem], pleasing the sowers [husbandman], that through them He may enrage [make wrathful] the unbelievers [infidels]." (Koran 48:30)In Muhammad's view of religion, Judaism was the root, Christianity the stalk, and Islam the flower. Now that the flower has appeared, there is no need for the former religions and all are now called to become Muslim.
"So if they dispute with thee, say: 'I have surrendered my will to God, and whosoever [they who] follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: 'Have you surrendered [yourself unto God]?' If they have surrendered [become Muslims], they are right guided; but if they turn their backs [turn away], thine it is only to deliver the Message; and God sees His servants." (Koran 3:18-19)However, the question must be asked, "Is there a need for another religion?" Muhammad's presupposition was that, in order for men to please and serve God, religion is required. However, the history of religion is that it has never made anyone holy, moral, or righteous. Religion as a whole has been a total failure; at least as it pertains to its effects on the human soul. Paul says this about the Law and about religion.
"nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)The truth is that religion can never make mankind righteousness. Righteousness is not found in a religion but in faith in Jesus Christ. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4) Jesus came to free us from religion and to introduce us to faith; faith in God and faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness is now available to all through faith rather than through obedience to law and religion. Seeing that forgiveness and righteous are now freely available to all, what need do we have further for religion? Paul warns us,
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)Here the slavery he is talking about is a slavery to law and religion. If we have salvation in Christ, we no longer need religion, and this includes Islam. Jesus did away with the need for religion, and Islam is simply an old re-try at law, rules, and man-made religions. Let us not come into bondage once again, even the religious bondage of Islam.
More to come...