Understanding Islam’s Ideology and Worldview

  Americans are confused about how Islam -- a religion that we've been told is known for peace and morality -- can spawn the vicious murder of innocents in the name of God. The key to understanding those who committed the atrocities in New York and Washington, and those who supported them, has to do with the Islamic worldview. For most Muslims in America, Islam is simply a religion. Muslims believe in the six articles of Islam and practice the required "Acts of Worship" which include prayer five times a day, fasting through the month of Ramadan, and, if possible, a pilgrimage to Mecca, where Muhammad founded the religion in A.D. 622. There is, however, another aspect of Islam that many seem reluctant to acknowledge. Islam is more than a religion: It is an ideology with a clear sociopolitical agenda. As Dr. Samuel Schlorff, an expert on Islam with Arab World Ministries puts it, "The truth is that there is another side to Islam, a side that embraces violence 'in the way of Allah.' . . . It holds that all men are created to live in submission to Allah, as prescribed by Islamic law. Muslims believe that Islam's destiny is to extend its control until the whole Dar al-Harb [which means "House of War" -- that is, the whole non-Muslim world] is subject to Islamic law in an Islamic state, and this includes the use of force." Islam, we've been told, is related to the Arabic word meaning "peace." This is correct, except that the word means a particular kind of peace. A better translation is "surrender" or "submission." It describes the peace when a vanquished soldier lays down his arms in submission. And so the very name, Islam, has militaristic connotations, and in this lies the root of radical Islam. That root then grows in the soil of the Islamic worldview. Muslims view God, Allah, as absolutely transcendent. While Christians understand that the Lord God reveals himself through the Scriptures and preeminently in the Incarnation, Muslims insist that Allah never reveals himself in that way. He primarily reveals his will. Muslims also believe in the inherent goodness of people as over against the Christian doctrine of original sin. Christians understand that we are incapable of following God's law and are thus in need of salvation, a fundamental difference. Muslims believe that we don't need salvation. What we need is guidance and that guidance is the Islamic law, an all encompassing system that controls every aspect of everyday life. (It is administered, by the way, by religious leaders.) As Dr. Schlorff puts it, "The model requires a Muslim government to provide the legal and social framework necessary to facilitate submission to the law. There is no separation between the sacred and the secular, between church and state. This community is one, universal, and cohesive, representing for Muslims the kingdom of God on earth." And all people of earth are called to submit, for based on this worldview, any who do not submit are living sub-human lives and are impeding Islam's utopian vision for the world. Christians certainly talk about submitting to God, but we do not mean what Muslims mean. Now all Christians should respect law-abiding Muslims in this country. But we also should understand our differences. It is all in the worldview, and our differences are very great.


Chuck Colson



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