Understanding Islam

          The same inner desire to write/inform that I had with both “Vietnam Moments” and my account of “Revelation” I now have with this simple explanation of Islam.  It is my hope that I can once again do this writing justice as I try to approach this topic with an open unbiased mind, to inform and not to justify, seeking simple answers and hopefully not to be perceived as a bias Christian.  Some bias may be seen but if so it is not intentional.  Like many, I have questions that nobody is answering concerning the Radical Muslim terrorism that is in the world today and the Muslim way of doing things.  I want to know what is it about that big black rock in Mecca (Kaaba, really a building) that all those Muslim pilgrims walk around and pray towards?  I want to know why someone would so willingly blow himself or herself up.  I want to know where the problems between the Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam began and why.  I want to know what those bowing Muslims are saying during their prayer time.  Here now are the answers to the above questions and more that my short study of Islam has provided through books and the Internet.  Understand though that this information is “averaged out” due to the many variances of interpretations of such and is only intended as an informed “guide”, which should make your own deeper study of this religion easier to understand through the many links I have provided.
          After Jesus died and was resurrected, it wasn't until the year 325 that the religious powers at that time got together and assembled the Bible at the “Council of Nicene”.  Until that time the stories that would later become part of the Christian Bible were virtually all oral, which were discussed in detail and eventually written down by those in authority or access to such.  It would be be foolish to say that not one of those people made little changes here and there to better reflect their "better informed" view of things.  They simply sat down and sorted through all the documentation before them and decided on a "formal standard version" to present to the people.  In short, the Bible was man's attempt at putting all that was know at the time about GOD, the gospel of Jesus, and all the religious teachings pertaining to such down in one writing or standard for all to go by.   The Bible has now gone through approximately 13 rewrites with little corrections here and there for grammar and word changes in order to better reflect meanings and intended understandings.  The King James Version, which most people nowadays seem to prefer, is about #7 on the list.  The Jewish Torah (stories of Moses-old testament) had the same type of beginning with several interpretations.  A final version of the torah was also very early settled upon and since that time great care has been taken to make sure that not even a verb tense is changed.  The Jewish people seem to be sticklers for exact wording because the tense and meaning of certain words can easily change the mind set of the message.
          Mohammed was born 245 years after the Council of Nicene in 570 AD and it was he that began the Islamic religion.  Up until that time, in that part of the world, there were 3 main types of religion, paganism (many gods) and the 2 monotheistic religions (one God), that of the Jewish faith and Christianity.  Because of the perils and hardships of desert travel back then it seems the Jewish faith and Christianity were just expanding to and somewhat limited to the larger cites, while paganism was abundant in the much smaller surrounding villages as well as the larger cities.
          Up until the time of Mohammed storytellers and travelers passed along the many stories that comprised the Bible and the story of Abraham was well known.  It was widely know that Abraham was considered the “official” start of both the Jewish faith and Christianity.  It was also know that Abraham had two sons, the first by his wife's slave named Hagar (son Ishmael) and 13 or so years later a second son by his aged wife Sara (son Isaac).  Until the time of Mohammed it was more or less understood that Isaac was the son that was given God's “covenant”, as the only true first son by marriage. As per my King James Bible it was Isaac that was to be sacrificed by Abraham as a test of his belief (Genesis 22:2).  The spot where Abraham was to sacrifice his son is said to be at the Temple Mount, now the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem.
          Because Sara, Abraham's wife, seemingly was not able to bear children she had given Hagar, her slave maid, to Abraham through which to have a son. While Hagar was pregnant Sara became very jealous of her and began treating her badly, Hagar then ran off into the desert.  According to the Bible, an Angel of the Lord appeared and told her to return home.  The Angel then said, (Genesis 16:11) “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him.  And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” My King James study Bible points out that this passage not only refers to Ishmael but to his offspring as well.  Hagar then returned home and later gave birth to Ishmael.
            About 13 years later Isaac was born to Sara as the Lord had promised and she asked Abraham to “cast out” Hagar and Ishmael.  GOD then talked to Abraham and told him to do as she asks for it will be Isaac to go forth with the covenant.  Because Abraham loved Ishmael, just before he sent Hagar and Ishmael away, he asked God that Ishmael live under the Lords blessings as well.  God granted that request, with subsequently appears in the Bible as: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you.  Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly.  He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation (Genesis 17:20)’. Abraham then gave them food and water and told them to depart.  While in the wilderness Hagar thought Ishmael was going to die for lack of water, God intervened and brought forth a well and reminded Hagar that Ishmael would be the father of a great nation. 
          The Bible then goes on to say they both survived and prospered in the land of Paran.  Ishmael lived to 137 and his many sons started the great nation (Arabs) that God promised Hagar.  The Quran though states that Hagar and Ishmael were taken all the way to a desert spot that would later become Mecca, about a 3 month camel journey.  There she and Ishmael were left and they then ran out of water.  There were two hills close by (about ¼ mile apart) and it is said Hagar ran back and forth between the two hill tops of both hills seven times looking for water or someone to help.  When she saw neither, she returned to where Ishmael was sitting and a spring broke forth.  That spring was later called Zam Zam, which is today considered a very holy site in the Muslim world. Word of this spring spread and it soon became a stopover for caravans, which then grew into the city of Mecca.  Though the Bible does not relate to Abraham having ever seen either Hagar or Ishmael again the Islamic view has Abraham making several trips to visit Ishmael.  The Quran also states that Abraham even helped Ishmael build the first Kaaba as well as eventually dying there.
          Now we spring forward to 570 AD when Mohammed was born in the city of Mecca.  It is said that his father was one of those that maintained the Kaaba, in Mecca, the large black cube that Muslim pilgrims on pilgrimage march around, it being their holiest site.  The original Kaaba, really a masonry building, is said by Muslims to have been built by Ishmael and Abraham as a place to worship God.  After it was build, as time went on, the pagans took it over and stored idols there making the Kaaba the center point of their religion.
         At 25, Mohammed married a wealthy widow (his boss) named Khadijall.  Mohammed became a traveling merchant and while in Mecca often retreated to a cave of his favor and meditated.  While in said cave, at the age of 40, it is said that the Angel Gabriel came to him with the first of many messages.  This date, the 27thday of the 9th month, is now one of Islam's holy days and is referred to as “The Night of Power”.  Understand though that this date is somewhat of a variable date because the people of that region and time used the lunar calendar, which gave all the months either 29 or 30 days. This calendar then had but 353-354 days instead of the 365 that modern calendars now have.  This 9th month was later set aside as the month of Ramadan, the holy time for Muslims.
         As Mohammed began to receive more and more of these visions he began sharing such with those that would listen.  As more and more people started taking in his talks on monotheism the local rulers (paganist) became increasingly concerned of his rocking of their boat.  As time went on Mohammed gathered scribes to record his messages.  During one of these early gatherings Mohammed came to repeat what was to be called “The Satanic Verses”, which were suppose to have come by Satan himself instead of the Angel Gabriel.  They were but two sentences that gave respect to three females Goddesses that were considered the daughters of GOD and which had separate shrines in the area.  Apparently this was an attempt by Mohammed to appease the paganist.  This raised so much commotion that Mohammed later corrected the passages with a new one straight from a rather perturbed Angel Gabriel.  Mohammed's following then continued to grow to the point where he had to leave Mecca, rocked the boat too much, and move to a small village to the north called Yathrib, which would later become Medina, now the 2nd holiest site in Islam.  While there he got notoriety as the new guy in town and attracted even more attention.  His reputation grew as an arbitrator but more funding was needed to keep the movement going so he took up the trade of caravan raiding and became very good at it.  During the early time there it is said that he practice his version of the Jewish faith until he was shunned.  To show his disdain he began praying in the direction of Mecca instead of Jerusalem and made Friday his holy day.  This could very well be the point where Islam (Mohammed's newfound religion) actually started.  The Muslim belief though is that Islam began the day Mohammed left Mecca.
          Mohammed became even more popular with the locals when he began distributing the excess booty from his caravan raids to the rather poor townsfolk.  In 624 AD he finally took over Yathrib and kicked out the Jewish group that had shunned him.  In the following year he kicked out the remaining Jewish people.  With his little army he began uniting the many little villages in the area and put a stop to their quarreling but the villages had to pay tribute in return for his protection.  Much of Islam's early expansion looks to be pretty much religion by the sword as he grew his army.
It seems to be at this point that Mohammed began insisting that Ishmael was the actual son that Abraham was to sacrifice instead of Isaac, thus being the one rightly due Gods covenant.  Though Isaac was spoken of constantly before and after the sacrifice, it seems the son for the actual sacrifice in the Bible of the time was not actually named.  At that time it appears that children derived from slaves did not have the same high status of children by marriage.  In any case Mohammed then received visions telling him that both the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible had been corrupted in order to bring Isaac, instead of Ishmael, to the forefront of their religions.  Mohammed also said that Jesus did not die on the cross, that it was Judas.  Mohammed then went on to say that Abraham was indeed a Muslim as well.  Torah and biblical scholars though point out that since their earliest beginnings both the Bible and Torah have been scrutinized to the fullest by all kinds of scholars, which shows no such signs of tampering.
Mohammed then told the people that Allah had made him a prophet to set the record straight concerning the corrupted history of the past and that Islam was to be the ONLY religion that Allah would accept.  Mohammed went on to say that he was told that Islam would be the one World religion and that it was the duty for every Muslim to work towards that goal.  Strict rules were then set by Mohammed pertaining to keeping people in the religion, mainly death if you left the religion.  Expansion of Islam by the sword continued.  During this time Mohammed was tolerant of Christians and Jews, but considered them second rate and called them “Dhimmi”.  At the time, the Dhimmi were seemingly considered somewhat of an ally against the pagan religions.
While Mohammed lived in Medina, tensions with those living in Mecca continued until 630 AD when Mohammed took over Mecca.  Two years later he died in Medina at the age of 63.  Because he left no son, there was a scramble for his empire. The followers in Medina wanted their man to be next in line while those in Mecca wanted their man to be next in line.  Another group (shia or Shites) wanted the next in line to be an “heir” by the name of Ali, a son-in-law to Mohammed.  The group from Mecca won and named Ibu Bakr as “Commander of the faith” and called all further such leaders as “Caliph”.  This is where the division between Sunni and Shia (Shiite) began.  The Shia believed that Ali should be the leader and began calling him and the leaders of their sect that followed “Imam”, while the much greater majority Sunni call their leaders “Caliph”.  The Sunni now consider the Shia traitors to the religion.  Approximately 80% of all the world's Muslims are Sunni.  The majority of Muslims in the middle east though are Shia. 
          With Mohammed now gone the empire started to fall apart.  Caliph Ubada reined them in and expanded the empire even more.  In 691 the empire had expanded into Jerusalem and the Caliph of that era built the present “Dome of the Rock” over the site of the Holy Jewish “Temple Mount” site (where Abraham was to offer up his son) in order to spite the now defeated Jewish people.  The French halted the Islamic expansion at the Battle of Tours and Islamic expansion stopped for a while.
In about 996, the 6th Caliph (Al-Hakim) apparently declared himself GOD and began killing off all the Christians.  Pope Urban the 2nd begins the crusades by sending a holy army to stop the slayings.  For almost 200 years the crusades go back and forth with the Muslims winning most of it.  Genghis Kahn then started knocking on Islam's back door, which in turn took the pressure off the Christians.  That conflict continued until WW1.  That's how Islam came to be, now to find out how the Quran started.
          As Mohammed was reciting his 23 years worth of visions his scribes did the best they could to keep up with all of them, writing them down as they went and on just about anything they could get their hands on.  There seemed to be a problem though with Mohammed's first scribe named Abi Sarh or Abdollah.  It seems that Abdollah may have started changing some of Mohammed's words to see if Mohammed would catch them, reasoning that if they were indeed coming straight from God that he would instantly catch such.  Apparently he didn't and Abdollah got bolder and bolder with his additions and changes until he was caught and fired. There are other accounts of why this early scribe was let go as well as with the way Mohammed was receiving these messages and its effect on those witnessing such.  In his book, The Satanic Verses, Simon Rushdie points this problem out.
          Mohammed's writings were pretty much left all along his travels.  After Mohammed's death, the 3rd Caliph (Uthman) gathered up what he could and came up with the first Quran and destroyed everything else.  The Quran is not in the order of happening but more in the form of longest verse to shortest verse.  The Quran is supposed to be an addition to the Bible, which corrects the corruption Mohammed insisted was present. It is written in an ancient form of Arabic that few Muslims today can understand and is very scattered with its verses making it very hard to read.  You kind of have to know where things already are before you can conduct a good study of any one subject.  Though it is said that Mohammed died in Mecca and was buried in Medina, his home town, some sects believe that he ascended  into Heaven at the site of the "Dome Of The Rock" in Jerusalem. 
          The Quran is accepted by Muslims as a Direct Translation from GOD that is not corrupted like the Bible and Torah.  Before reading or touching a Quran one is to cleans oneself (wudu).  As Islam spread so did the rise of Islamic scholars and such, commonly referred to as the Ulema.  The Ulema gradually grouped up and took on the Caliph’s, ...authority wise.  Eventually the Ulema won out leaving Islam with no more Caliphs or one central leader.
The “Hadith” is the book of Mohammed's teachings or stories.  It ranks in importance just under the Quran.  The Quran instructs that Mohammed's way of life was to be followed as an example to others.  There are several different collections of Hadith used by different sects of Muslims.  One does not have to cleans oneself before touching the Hadith.  The many different versions of Hadith generate conflict in Islam because some show Mohammed as not living by the rules he established for everyone else.  For the most part I have found the Hadith as being much more violent towards others than the Quran.  The Quran centrally calls for the Muslim not to be the aggressor while the Hadith takes the other view in spreading the faith.  Some Muslims believe that because Mohammed was Allah's messenger and Allah's last Prophet, that all Mohammed's personal teachings must be followed in the same manner one follows the Quran.  Others sects believe that Mohammed was exempt or exempted himself from quite a few of his own teachings and thus this issue seemingly will always be contested causing much division between Muslims.  Some radicals tend to see other sects as traitors to the religion which is the reason they seemingly can kill each other without remorse. 
          In addition to the Quran is the “Sharia“.  This is the book of the Islamic legal code.  It has been brought up to date by Islamic experts in the religion and law.  The Sharia effectively becomes the governmental law of the land where Islam eventually takes over.  This seems to be a big problem in some African countries where the Muslims have now gained power and seem to be bringing terror to the land with the irradiation of the prior non-Muslims inhabitants.  . 
           The Internet Quran I used in order to verify information is at http://www.submission.org and is an “Authorized” English translation by Rashad Khalifa.  The web site I used most to get a better understanding of Islam from the Muslim side is at http://www.understanding-islam.com.  In my studies I found that throughout the Quran there are obvious contradictions (pointed out by many Christian web sites).  These obvious contradictions are said to be “innovations” by the Islamic sites, as to be later changes to bring the understanding of said verse to a more modern interpretation. Examples of these can be found at http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/#internal.  Examples of the many contradictions found in the Quran are that Noah's family survived the flood (21:76) then it  later says one son did not (11.42).  That Christians enter Paradise (2:62) but that they also go to Hell (5:72).  The most contradictions I found for one subject is that of the making of man.  Sura 96:1-2 says it was a blood clot, 21:30 says it was water, 15:26 says it was burned clay, 19:67 says it was nothing, 11:61 says it was earth, 3:59 says it was dust, and both 16:4 and 75:37-38 says it was a thick fluid drop (semen).  Because Muslims believe the Quran is NOT corrupted these contradictions become an obvious problem with non-Muslims.  In the Muslim sites I entered pertaining to all this, it seems that the subject was pretty much immediately shifted to the many Bible contradictions web sites.  Along with this shifting of topic, time after time, was the simple explanation that Mohammed said it was so and that was that.  A very sensitive area here.  In short it seems that the early writings of Mohammed, before his take over of Mecca, were pretty much non-violent.  His writings after that takeover though seemingly became more violent and in quite a few cases contradicted some of his earlier works.  It is the present day Muslim belief that his later views on issues override his previous views on those same issues.  It also seems that though present day Islam points out the earlier, more peaceful views of Islam, it does not also point out that those views were later made absolute and replaced by more violent verses of such. 
          One of my early questions about Islam was about that big black rock that all those Muslims walk/march around in Mecca.  What I thought was a rock is actually a building that is said to have been the actual site where Mohammed said Abraham and Ishmael built their temple with which to worship GOD from.  The Kaaba is the HOLIEST SITE in the Islamic religion.  After the time of Ishmael the pagans took it over and stored their idols there as well as making it their holy site.  There is a special black stone there (said to be a meteorite) that was holy to the pagans as it now also is to the Muslims because it is said to absorb ones sins.  After Mohammed defeated Mecca he made the building the central point of Islam because Abraham and Ishmael built the original building (12 or so rebuilds now?) and because it lies under the exact point in heaven where the angels are said to pray.  To a Muslim the building is not the focal point; it is its spot on the earth that is so important.  The black appearance of the building comes from the elaborate black silk drapes that cover the entire building and are adorned with the verses of the Quran.  Muslims believe that the Kaaba is impervious to destruction.
          Before Mohammed died he made the journey/pilgrimage to the Kaaba mandatory at least once in each Muslim's life.  This pilgrimage is called the Hajj and must be completed by both men and women (special rules apply to women) unless otherwise disabled.  All are dressed in white to show that all are the same in Allah's eyes.  The Hajj is conducted during the month of Dhu-al-Hijjah or Zil Hijjah (12th month) and has special days when certain things much be accomplished.  The main segment of the Hajj that westerners are familiar with is the walk around the Kaaba.  This is done from the outside working in, counter clockwise, with the first four segments done at a brisk pace and the last three done at a slower pace.  The other main part of the Hajj is the walk between the two hilltops (7 times) that Hagar did when she was frantically looking for somebody and the water Ishmael needed.  Both these hills are very close to the Kaaba and now the entire route is enclosed and air conditioned for the comfort of the pilgrims.
          The 9th lunar month is called Ramadan and is the Islamic holy month.  During this month no drinking, eating, or sex is allowed during the daylight hours.  Daylight is determined as the time in which one can tell the difference in color between a black and white thread.  Sunset is the time the sun drops below the horizon.  During the daytime additional prayers are to be given.  Two large meals are eaten prior to dawn and after sunset.  There are exceptions to the fasting rule.  On the first day of the next month (10th) the Islamic community celebrates Eid ul-Fitr, a 3-day festival celebrating the end of Ramadan and the forgiving of sins.
           Daily prayers are called Salat and are said during five (5) specific times of the day.  A special cleansing of one's body must be performed before prayers.  These prayers are said in Arabic, which the vast majority Muslims do not understand, and are said in specific “units” for specific prayer times.  It is highly recommended that they be said in congregation with other Muslims in mosques.  One part of one unit is said standing up while the other part is said prostrated on the ground with forehead, nose, and hands touching the ground and pointed in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.  At the end of these prayers other prayers may be given in the language of choice.  The 5th prayer must be said between approximately midnight and the morning prayer, which is before sunrise. 
          One of the big questions I had was just why would someone want to blow themselves and others up?  Basically in Islam Allah decides before one is born if that person is to go to heaven or hell.  A person may be able to help his cause by doing more good in their life then bad, which is called “the balancing of the scales”.  More or less if you do something bad you do not get punished, instead you have to go out of your way to do more “good” than you did bad in order to tilt the scales back more in your favor.  At the time of your death if your scales tilt just even the slightest towards the bad then you go to hell.  Hell is hell but Paradise has many levels, as many as several thousand.  The more your scales tilt towards the good the higher up in Paradise you go.  Remember though that Allah has already decided their fate before they were born.  The only way around Allah's decision is to die in Jihad, which in this case is Jihad by the sword.  There are five (5) kinds of Jihad.  If a Muslim were to die in defense of Islam he then bypasses Allah's decision and goes straight to the highest levels of Paradise, where the prophets and other martyrs reside.  The other main reference for Jihad is the inner Jihad struggle between good and evil.  This come about due to Mohammed's teachings that the group of angels cast down to earth with Satan were divided into two groups, those closer to GOD and those closer to Satan.    The angels closer to GOD would eventually become people and have assigned to them one of the angels (Jinn) from the group closer to Satan, as sort of an anti guardian angel. Their struggle for dominance within is also called Jihad.
          The cutting off of a thief's hand was another issue I explored.  It appears that the Quran only talks of cutting the hand (marking it) as a warning to others (5:38) to be aware of such a person.  The actual cutting “off” of a hand is said by the Muslim sites as being done by distant sects of Muslims not associated with main stream Muslims and is still practiced today. 
Several years ago an author named Simon Rushdie wrote a book called “The Satanic Verses” in which he described the lives and changes of two young Muslim men.  This book so infuriated the Muslim higher-ups that a death sentence was put upon him.  In short Rushdie spoke of the two verses in the Quran that made appeasement to the local pagan believers.  Those original sentences are;  “Did you consider al-hat and al-Uzza And al-Manat, the third, the other?  Those are the swans exalted; Their intercession is expected; Their likes are not neglected.”, (Sura 9, 128 & 129, which have now been replaced). The three people mentioned are three supposedly female daughters of God that had each their own temples in the area.
Mohammed shortly thereafter recanted the verses saying they came from Satan and substituted two other verses in their place.  This leaves doubt with many Christians whether the angel Gabriel was really the angel Gabriel at all and as to just how Satan got in there undetected in the first place.  I could not find if these revelations were transferred to Mohammed by speech alone or by actual sight/contact with a visible Gabriel.  May I point out here that the archangel Lucifer (Satan) is indeed Angelic in appearance and not the highly intimidating image we associate with Satan today.  It is my belief though that the real damage to the beliefs of Islam in Rushdie’s book came when he made a spoof concerning two other characters that parallel Mohammed and his scribe Abdollah.  In his spoof, Rushdie has the scribe “testing” the integrity of the so called God given verses by inserting or changing little words which were then recited back to the prophet, which was not caught as being of God’s spoken word.  His changes grew bolder and bolder until he was finally detected but not before he had proven there was something amiss.  I believe this doubt as to who the real author of the Quran is, is the real reason Rushdie got into so much trouble simply because it places real doubt towards the foundation of the Islamic religion.
           Now you have a basic knowledge of Islam and its Muslims. We have also come to the present time where there is certainly turmoil in the Middle East.  During this study there were several other web sites that I gathered information from and in all this I gained a much better understanding of what is now happening in the Middle East.  When I put all this together I tend to see Islam as a religion that seems to be held in place by the threat of the sword (see left section "1,300 Years of War: Timeline of Militant Islam").  Take away that sword, be it a gun or intimidation, and I believe Muslims will be asking questions that will be very hard to answer convincingly.  Questions like why couldn't Mohammed perform any miracles and if the Bible was gradually corrupted as he says then why was that not detected by the critics of that time?  Why are there so many supporting biblical documents of that period from so many other sources outside the Jewish or Christian influence, which show that no corruption took place?  Why would the “corruption” of the Bible extend all the way to Genesis and the beginning of time?  And if the Sanhedrin was so adamant about killing Jesus you would think they would have had members there to witness the actual death, especially since it was prophesied that Jesus would rise again in 3 days?  Why was Moses and other early people of the Bible referred to as being Muslims by Mohammed when in fact Islam did not exist until Mohammed's time?  And the question probably most asked would likely be, why is the religion so fearful of Muslims questioning the religion and thusly are not allowed to compare Islam with other religions?  I believe these questions are already being asked by “moderate” and "secular" (non religious) Muslims all over the world and that is why the violence isn't spreading like wildfire as the extremist have expected it to.  Understand as well that once "born" into a religion it is very difficult to leave that religion for another, especially if the penalty for that is death.  Living under the gun or the sword is not something a normal person would choose.
          I also found that though the Islamic population here in the U.S. is in the millions now, we as a nation have had very little problem with our Muslims.  Muslims are migrating here in large numbers yet this is the home of  “The Great Satan” as some in the Middle East call us.  Why do they come here, Internet sites suggest they are coming here for our freedoms and to get out from under the gun.  Just as we have our moderate/casual Christians so are there moderate/casual Muslims who don't want to kill anyone or get killed either.  It also appears that for the most part, the radicals that have come over here have not as yet found fertile ground for their extremist ideas.  I found a few sites with speeches from very prominent U.S. Muslims denouncing these extremist views and demands.  If more of what these prominent Muslims are doing would get out I believe many more would also make stands against the extremist.  It seems that the Muslim problem can only be corrected from within and unfortunately few yet are willing to take that stand.  Unfortunately as well, life being as it is, the actions of a few often times effect the many.  As yet the vast majority of U.S. Muslims have not and do not seem to wish to step forward and denounce the radicals.  A very prominent lady by the name of Bridgette Gabriel is now being asked to appear on TV talk shows and talk on campus concerning what is really happening in Islam today. Her talk at Duke University warns about the REAL threat behind Islam.  She is very much concerned about what actually is being taught in the Muslim schools here.
              Lebanon is a prime example of that, they let Hezbollah (Shiite, backed by Iran while Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida are Sunni's backed by Saudi Arabia) in and Hezbollah continued "bleeding" of Israel just cost the Lebanese their country.   I see the vocal minority (the extremist) eventually effecting the moderate/casual Muslims here and abroad as well whether they like it or not.  A look at the world's problems today clearly shows the Middle East Muslim nations in turmoil, which again was foretold, like it or not, in Genesis 16:11, “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son.  You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him.  And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”  With the present Muslim sects in the "Home of Islam" killing each other so readily it sure does not relate to Islam being God's favored religion and a religion of peace.  For those of you interested in the Jewish side of things the Jewish Virtual Library site has a section called "Myths & Facts Online, A Guide to the Arab Israeli Conflict", which has an abundant amount of information and links for verification purposes.  I found very few such verification links on the Islamic sites I visited.
             Now for a little on the currant President of Iran (Ahmadinejad) and his views concerning the coming of the Shiite's 12th Imam.  Mohammed foretold in his Hadith that at the end of times a Mahdi (Guided One) will reappear, after a period of world wide dire distress and, with the help of Jesus, he will bring peace to the world by converting everyone to Islam.  Different sects of Islam have different views on this, as to who it will be and when and where he will appear.  Most Islamic sects believe him to appear as a 40ish or so man with a prominent nose and broad forehead along with a distinguishing black spot on his cheek.  Since most of what happens in Islam happens in Mecca it is widely believed that the Mahdi will appear there first.  Before he comes though the world is suppose to be in a real mess.  Current world attention though is focusing on Iran and its President Ahmadinejad who believes that the Mahdi will first appear at a well near the city of Qom in his country.  A mosque was built at this site when a Muslim there had a vision that instructed him to do so.  The Jamkaran Mosque at that site is now a prime pilgrimage site for Shiite Muslims.  Iran shites believed that the Mahdi will emerge from his hiding in the well there and then go on to save the world.  The 12 Imam went into hiding at age 5 because the Shites were about to be overrun by the other sects of the religion.  He has yet to return from his hiding.  It is Ahmadinejad's belief (Christian view) that he is the one selected to bring about the worldly chaos needed to proceed the coming of the Mahdi. It seems that Ahmadinejad has no qualms at all in using nuclear technology to destroy Israel and initiate the world chaos that will then bring about the reappearance of the Mahdi. 
            As for trying to understand Radicals Muslims, virtually all such radicals pretty much fall into two groups, the fundamentalist and the thugs.  The fundamentalist truly believe in their cause and are the ones that will blow themselves up for the betterment of the Islamic cause while thugs will not.  In the case of
Islam it seems that fundamentalist have little understanding of the other side of the coin.  As for thugs, virtually any group of any kind that uses violence to advance its cause does so through thugs.  Hitler used them and initially they were called the "Brown Shirts" because the brown shirt was the only type of uniform he could give them so they would stand out.  In short, a thug is someone who is pretty much evil, has little regard for most authority, enjoys intimidation and typically joins up with radical groups to advance their own desires.  Thugs seem to stay in groups with others of their own kind, remember the high school bully.  Thugs rarely care what happens to others.  Put the two together and you have pretty much a screwed up way of thinking with clout.  Again a perfect example of that right now is what has just happened to Lebanon.  The radicals think nothing of the people around them that their actions directly effect.  A school, a mosque, an apartment building full of people means nothing to those with "tunnel vision".  About 10 people died, for the most part simple Lebanese civilians, for every one Israeli and the fundamentalist believe that is OK.  To disarm the radicals you have to work on the fundamentalist, get them to stop and the thugs lose their way to stand out in the group. 
           So in short, this is what it looks like.  Radical Muslims are blowing each other up because they consider some of the sects as traitors to the basic religion.  The radicals don't like the West because they still remember the Crusades and the West stands in the way of their plan for world dominance.  The radicals don't like the Jews because of basic pre-Mohammad envy of such an solitude yet industrious people and the fact that such a small group has withstood their aggression over such a long period of time.  The radicals do like the fact that Islam is so divided that there is no one central figure who can tell them to stop and shame them for their actions.  For that to happen it would take a united effort from Muslim leaders the world over and it does not look like that is going to happen mainly because for the most part that is how they rule their nations. 

          I'll close by saying that this study is presented to you as just a guide and I again remind you it has been averaged out via many sources of information.  That is why I gave you so many links to utilize.  There must be a reason though that this quest was put in my heart.  It may be that after the Rapture, vast numbers of those left behind will be seeking the answers my little pieces on Revelation and Understanding Islam may provide them.  Though the foolish will always continue in their ways those with understanding will reason something is wrong and seek the answers as to why.  I sure hope they do.  Now with this study complete its time for some fishing.

John Galkiewicz

Return to Home Page