Let me provide a little backstory before we get to today’s topic. I wanted to do something to get the family around God’s word every day and have tried many things that have failed or have been semi-successful. We live in the crazy Washington, DC area which makes it worse when trying to plan something. We probably get dinner as a family together 3 times during the weekdays so I decided that something, some times is better than nothing at no time. A few months ago I started getting my Bible for what I call “Proverbs at Dinner”. Beginning in the book of Proverbs, I will read a few Proverbs and then ask each of my kids to put it in their own words and tell me what they think it means. Through this process we have had quite a few Spirit filled conversations together as a family. This has been really great and is something that any Dad can do, or Mom if Dad is not around. You don’t have to be “The Bible Answer Man” to do this either!
During one of these “Proverbs at Dinner” discussions we were discussing good fear verses bad fear since “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom-Proverbs 9:10”. My youngest asked me, “Dad would be ok to be scared if an angel appeared to you?” I said “absolutely but do not worry because the first thing that an angel from God would do is tell you to not be afraid”. You see faith and fear can never occupy the same territory in Christian’s heart, so remember that. This got me thinking about Mohammad the founder of Islam so I explained to my family his experience and explained that it was not from God. How do I know and how can you know?
One of the sure tests if a Prophet is or was called by the one true God is to test that person’s experience by what we already know to be true. Below is a brief history of the prophet of Islam taken from a slide of a class that I teach called “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up-The Jesus of Islam”. Mohammed came on the scene ~ 580 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now that we have a little historical context let’s turn to the story of Muhammed’s experience with an angelic being as recorded by Ibn Ishaq the earliest biographer of Mohammad:
“When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command of God. ‘He came to me,’ said the apostle of God, ‘while I was asleep, with a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said, “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death; then he let me go and said “Read!” I said, “What shall I read?” He pressed me with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said “Read!” I said, “What then shall I read?”—and this I said only to deliver myself from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said: “Read in the name of thy Lord who created…”
Muhammad was deathly afraid of the source of his newly found revelation, believing that he was possessed by a jinn or evil spirit. But he found in Khadija a great source of comfort and encouragement. Khadija is also said to have relayed this incident to her Christian cousin Waraqah, who upon hearing her descriptions reassured her that Muhammad’s source of revelation was the same as that of Moses. What is interesting is the fact that Muhammad himself was not assured of the source of his revelation! Not only that, his initial belief was that in the cave of Hira he was possessed by an evil spirit. Here is a summary of his experience:
(1) He was gripped with Fear
(2) Thought he was visited by a demon or a Jinn
(3) Every revelation brought pain and suffering
Now how does this square with other visitations by Gabriel God’s messenger:
Daniel 10:12-13 – Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
Luke 1:12-14 – Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel [Gabriel] said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias…
Luke 1:26-31 – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary….The angel said to her, ” Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “
Look at the way that Gabrial assured these men and women personally to not be afraid. Fear was a natural reaction, and even modern psychology knows that we do not think clearly when we are gripped by fear. Gabriel addressed each person by name and said “do not be afraid…”. So what are we to make of Mohammad’s experience in the cave of Hira? I have no doubt that Mohammad was visited by an angelic being, but it was not from God! When Satan fell he took 1/3 of the angels with him who are now called fallen angels or demons.
So the next time that someone tells you that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the same God reflect back to this experience and share it. What we have in common is that we are all monotheists meaning that we all believe in One God. This is where the commonality begins and where it ends. In fact, the only unforgivable sin in Islam is called the sin of shirk which is attaching partners to God. This sin was aimed at Christianity and the doctrine of the Trinity, thus, Jesus being God! If Jesus is not God friends than none of us who embrace Jesus as Savior are forgiven of our sins. And friends, the sin of shirk is also why my Muslim brothers and sisters who come to Christ have a death sentence on their heads; most of it declared by their own father! So, think of them in prayer and remember that coming to Christ cost them their very life and this same conversion only cost you broken relationships in your family as we spoke about in the last post here. Yes those breaks are painful but they are not deadly.
If you would like to learn more about Islam and do it in a fun way I highly recommend my friend Joel Rosenberg’s thrilling fiction series listed above. And hurry book 3 comes out next month and I cannot wait! Though this is fiction Joel cleverly weaves in Islamic theology and eschatology (end times) throughout the story as the characters quote Islamic scholars and the Qur’an. If you would like an excellent deep dive I would turn to Dr. Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb’s book “Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of The Cross”. This book was actually highly recommended by the Washington Post after 9-11. For on-line reference see the following links:
Until His Precious Return,
Peter P. Lackey, Jr.