Our Muslim Neighbors

All this is from God, who reconciled us
to himself through Christ and gave us
the ministry of reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18 (NRSV)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls Christians to mutual understanding and friendship with Muslim people in around the world. By learning about Islam and seeking opportunities to know Muslim people better, we bear witness to God's saving love incarnate in Jesus

Muslims Around the World

1. At least 43 of the world's nations have a Muslim majority.
2. One-fifth of the world's population is Muslim.
3. Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims of any country in the world.
4. There are more than 5 million Muslims in the United States.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls Christians to mutual understanding and friendship with Muslim people around the world. By learning about Islam and seeking opportunities to know Muslim people better, we bear witness to God's saving love incarnate in Jesus.

About Islam

A Brief History of Islam

The word Islam means to submit to the will of God, Allah in Arabic. Muslims believe that Islam is the completion of all religions, and provides guidance in all aspects of life. Islam grew out of the Prophet Muhammad's religious experience and receiving of revelation from God which is enshrined in the Qur'an. The Hadith is Muhammad's sayings, actions and directives inspired by God.

Muhammad was born in 570 C.E. in Mecca and received his first revelation in 610. He died in 632; within a hundred years Islam had swept across North Africa and entered Spain. During the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries Islam flourished in science, medicine, mathematics, literature and philosophy. Islamic expansion led to reactions in the form of the Crusades and later the Inquisition. Tensions continued into the modern age as 18th, 19th and 20th century colonialism led to domination of the Muslim world. Today, reconciliation and healing are imperative.

Islam and Christianity

The Qur'an mentions Jesus many times. Islam teaches belief in the virgin birth, the prophethood, and the return of Jesus who will prepare people for the last judgment. The major differences between Christianity and Islam are:

* Muslims regard Jesus as a great prophet; the Qur'an also calls him messiah, a word and spirit from God; however, any reference to his divinity is not accepted.
* Muslims confess that God is One; they do not believe in the Trinity because they consider that it annuls the unity of God.
* Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was miraculously saved and taken directly to heaven; he will return again before the last day.
* Many Muslims believe that the revealed Bible has been changed, and that historical and theological mistakes have crept into the text that we now have.

The Six Articles of Faith

* Belief in One God Alone, Allah.
* Belief in Allah's messengers, the last of whom was the Prophet Muhammad.
* Belief in the revealed Books such as the Torah, Psalms, Gospel, and Qur'an.
* Belief in Allah's Angels.
* Belief in the Life after Death and in the Last Day of Judgment.
* Belief in Allah's Absolute Sovereignty. All things happen with the permission and will of Allah.

The Five Principles (Pillars) of Islam

* Profession of the Faith: There is no god but One God, Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of God.
* Ritual Worship: five times a day -- at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and night. Before praying Muslims perform ablutions, a ritual of washing. In their worship-prayer they face Mecca and prostrate themselves before God.

Alms: the obligation to share wealth for charitable purposes, especially widows, orphans, the poor and needy.

# Fasting: one of the most rigorous disciplines. Required only during the month of Ramadan if a person is able. Nothing enters the mouth from dawn until shortly after sunset.
# Pilgrimage (Hajj): obligatory journey once in a lifetime to the Ka'bah (House of God built by Abraham and Ishmael) in Mecca for those physically and financially able.

Islamic Holy Days

Ramadan: According to the Islamic tradition, God commanded the Prophet Muhammad and Muslims to fast during the ninth lunar month when the Qur'an was revealed to him. All devout Muslims fast during this month and celebrate a holiday at its end called Eid al-Fitr; the Feast of Breaking Fast.

Eid-al-Adha: The month of the Hajj begins seventy days after Ramadan. During this month Muslims who are able make the pilgrimage to Mecca in memory of the sacrifice God provided Abraham in place of his son.

What is Jihad?

The Arabic word jihad does not mean "holy war," but rather to strive to live in obedience and service to God Alone. Muslims speak of jihad as both an inner spiritual struggle and an outer striving to bring society into conformity with God's will, to struggle "in the path of God" or to "make God's cause succeed" (Qur'an 9:40). In the Qur'an, jihad is connected with the imperative to command good and forbid evil (3:104, 110), especially with reference to the struggle of believers against persecution and idolatry. When this struggle takes the form of warfare, the Qur'an speaks not simply of jihad, but of qital (killing). Jihad is, therefore, not simply equivalent to "holy war," though the struggle of believers may include war under certain conditions.

What Can You Do?

* Pray for Muslims and Muslim Nations.

* Explore local study opportunities.

* Support your chruch and missionaries who work with Muslims. Invite them to share in letters and visits.

* Listen and share respectfully with Muslims.

* Challenge derogatory comments about Muslims.

* Offer hospitality to Muslims new to your community.

* Visit local mosques, contacting leaders beforehand.

* Foster friendships with Muslim neighbors.

* Support relief work in Muslim countries

Source Extracted from Globe Mission