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Myths About Muslim Witness

summer 1996

From Isa Masih - summer 1996 - Myths About Muslim Witness [pp6-7]

This article was adapted from the IFES Highlights, June 1996.

For many of us, the Muslim World is largely known only through media coverage of, for example, the Israeli-Pakistan conflicts, or the Gulf War. The call to the mosque, oil wealth or terrorism come to mind when we think of Islam. However, myths about Christian mission to the 1.1 billion Muslims distort the true picture. 

MYTH 1- The Muslim World is uniformly hostile to the Gospel

Christian ministry may be difficult in the Gulf States but there is increasing openness in some nominally Islamic nations. Take, for example the new Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union.

In Tadjikistan, despite the continuing civil war, there is an exciting trickle of new believers. Uzbekistan is more stable, and although the Uzbeks see themselves as Muslim, they do not wish to be compared with the Iranians. There is a flow of new Christian believers. In Kazakhstan, hundreds are coming to faith. The need for discipleship for these young converts is enormous.

Ten Commandments for Sharing the Gospel with Muslims

  1. Use the Word of God
  2. Be constantly in Prayer
  3. Be a genuine friend
  4. Ask thought-provoking questions
  5. Listen attentively
  6. Present your beliefs openly
  7. Reason, don’t argue
  8. Don’t denigrate Muhammad or the Qur’an
  9. Respect their customs and sensitivities
  10. Persevere
(From a Muslim convert to Christ)

MYTH 2 - The Islamic World is dominated by North Africa and the Middle East

The Middle East does form the heartland of Islamic Fundamentalism but the majority of Muslims live in Asia.

In countries such as Bangladesh, known by some as ‘the soft underbelly of Islam’, increasing numbers of young people have been converting from Islam to Christ.

Many of the Muslim world’s future leaders are presently studying at universities in the West.

MYTH 3 - Muslims are unable to hear the Gospel in many Islamic countries

Despite the many restrictions there are at least four key ways in which the Gospel is being shared with Muslims from ‘closed’ countries.

Firstly, Muslims from every country in the world can now tune into Christian radio transmissions in their own language.

Secondly, many tentmakers, Christians who support themselves by practising their profession as did Paul (Acts 18:1-4), but whose prime purpose is mission, live and work in some of these nations.

Thirdly, many Muslims are international students in countries where the Gospel can be proclaimed freely. This leaves us with an awesome responsibility. A close reading of Acts shows that Timothy was almost unique in being converted at home.

Fourthly, Christian Arabs, who already possess the language and culture are growing in number and vitality. Egypt could well be the key to future Christian witness amongst Arab Muslims.

Finally, the internet, through discussion forums where Muslims and Christians from all over the world can interact, is an exciting new vehicle for reaching Muslim academics.

Let’s play our part: by praying, learning, giving and going.

The Five Pillars of Islam

  • The Creed. (Shahada) There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
  • The Fast. (Saum) From dawn to sunset during the ‘Holy Month’ of Ramadan.
  • Almsgiving. (Zakat) Muslims are expected to give 2.5% of their income to the poor.
  • Prayer. (Salat) Muslims are required to pray five times a day facing Mecca.
  • Pilgrimage. (Hajj) All Muslims who can afford it are expected to travel to Mecca at least once.

Muslim beliefs

  • God. There is one true God whose name is Allah.
  • Angels. The servants of God through whom he reveals his will. The greatest is Gabriel who appeared to Muhammad.
  • The Prophets. God has spoken through many prophets including Moses, Abraham and Jesus, but the greatest was Muhammad.
  • The Holy Book. The Qur’an is God’s final revelation to man and supersedes the Law (Taurat), Psalms (Zabur) and Gospel (Injil).
  • The Day of Judgment. The day when good deeds are weighed against bad.
  • The Will of God. God ordains the fate of every creature (Inshaallah=If God wills it).

More from Isa Masih: summer 1996

  • Editorial
  • Surging Interest in Bible Vs Qur'an
  • Islam in Britain - Challenged and Opportunities
  • Kalim Siddiqui Dies
  • Myths About Muslim Witness
  • More like Apollos
  • Into Debate - Christian Suspicions Unfounded
  • Latest Internet Action
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