Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Necessary definitions for Christian understanding of Islamic extremism

The subject of Islamic extremism can be difficult to grasp.  And, often times, the truth is difficult to accept.  So, where does one begin to gain knowledge?  - It is a best practice to start with definition.  Make it a point not to miss the section titled "MUST READ".

Muslim : an adherent of Islam

Islam 1 : the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet
Islam 2 a : the civilization erected upon Islamic faith
Islam 2 b : the group of modern nations in which Islam is the dominant religion

Islamic Faith : aka Islam (from Wikipedia) : is the monotheistic religion articulated by the Quran, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God, and by the Prophet of Islam Muhammad's teachings and normative example (which is called the Sunnah in Arabic, and demonstrated in collections of Hadith). Islam literally means "submission (to God)." … Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of life is to worship God. They regard their religion as the completed and universal version of a primordial, monotheistic faith revealed at many times and places before, including, notably, to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages and revelations have been changed and distorted over time. Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five obligatory acts of worship. Islamic law touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from banking and warfare to welfare and the environment.

Islamize : to make Islamic; especially : to convert to Islam

Islamization (from Wikipedia) : the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam.

Extremist 1 : the quality or state of being extreme
Extremist 2 : advocacy of extreme measures or views : radicalism

Radical 2 : of or relating to the origin : fundamental
Radical 3 a : marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional : extreme
Radical 3 b : tending or disposed to make extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
Radical 3 c : of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change
Radical 3 d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs

Islamic Extremism (from Wikipedia) : is a term used to describe the actions and beliefs of violent Islamic activists, including terrorism and inhibition of freedom of speech.

Islamic Fundamentalism (from Wikipedia) : is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating a return to the "fundamentals" of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah.

Islamic Fundamentalism seeks “to re-establish Islam as a system of government… and 'the holy warriors'… are called upon to undertake the reinstatement of Islam in both its doctrinal and political dimensions. The method of struggle is often referred to as jihad, or holy war launched in the path of God.” [See Reference 1]

Jihad 1 : a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
Jihad 2 : a crusade for a principle or belief

Holy War : a war or violent campaign waged by religious partisans to propagate or defend their faith

Sharia : Islamic law based on the Koran

Jihadist : a Muslim who advocates or participates in a jihad

Facism 1 : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
Facism 2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Islamofacism (from Wikipedia) : is a neologism which draws an analogy between the ideological characteristics of specific Islamist movements from the turn of the twenty-first century on, and a broad range of European fascist movements of the early twentieth century, neofascist movements, or totalitarianism.

God in Islam (from Wikipedia) : known in Arabic as Allah, is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular. God is unique and inherently one, all-merciful and omnipotent. According to tradition there are 99 Names of God each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" and "the Merciful".

God (from Wikipedia) : is the English name given to the singular omnipotent being in theistic and deistic religions (and other belief systems) who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism.

God in Christianity (from Wikipedia) : is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. The Christian Bible never speaks of God in an impersonal sense. Instead, it refers to him in personal terms — as one who is, who speaks, who sees, hears, acts, and loves. God is understood to have a will and personality and is an all powerful, divine and benevolent being. He is represented in Scripture as being primarily concerned with people and their salvation.

Christianity 1 : the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies
Christianity 2 : conformity to the Christian religion
Christianity 3 : the practice of Christianity

Christian 1a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ
Christian 2a : (1) : disciple (2) : a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) : a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961

Disciple 1 : one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: as a : one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ's followers according to the Gospel accounts b : a convinced adherent of a school or individual
Disciple 2 : capitalized : a member of the Disciples of Christ founded in the United States in 1809 that holds the Bible alone to be the rule of faith and practice, usually baptizes by immersion, and has a congregational polity

Faith 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b : (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
Faith 2 a : (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b : (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
Faith 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

Christian Faith : aka Christianity (from Wikipedia) : is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christianity comprises three major branches: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy (which parted ways with Catholicism in 1054 A.D.) and Protestantism (which came into existence during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century).  Protestantism is further divided into smaller groups called denominations.

The Four Spiritual Laws of Christianity:
Law 1 : God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. 
Law 2 : Man is sinful and separated from God.
Law 3 : Jesus Christ is God’s provision for man’s sin. God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
Law 4 : We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.  When we receive Christ , we experience a new birth.

The Four Spiritual Laws flash version can be viewed HERE.

Jesus in Islam (from Wikipedia) : The Quran, considered by Muslims to be God's final and authoritative revelation to humankind, mentions Jesus twenty-five times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God. To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God rather than his own power. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. The Quran states that he will return to Earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat "the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist.

MUST READ : The Quran and the Four Spiritual Laws – A paper by Pastor Shahrokh Afshar

Additional References:
1.  Choueiri, Youssef. Islamic fundamentalism Copyright © 1998, Routledge.  Islamic Philosophy From the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. Date of access 8/12/2010

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