Examining Islam: is it a reasonable faith to trust?

by Lisa Quintana‏

In the wake of 9/11, life in the United States, and throughout the world, permanently changed. Not only was American security threatened and freedoms lost (one simply can’t board an airplane without being scanned, analyzed, and profiled into some governmental data system), but a religion most Americans knew little of hit the front pages: “Islam.” What kind of religion would convince some Muslims to fly themselves into the Twin Towers on a suicide/mass-murder mission in the name of Allah? What does this faith teach anyway, and more importantly, is it true?

To fully embrace and accept any faith teaching, a person would be wise to investigate its claims. No one should simply believe something blindly. One can be sincere about a faith, but one can be sincerely wrong. It is best to know why one believes something—to have some evidence backing it up. To better comprehend Islam, I have analyzed the Muslim faith by making use of three cold-case techniques that Wallace employs: 1) examining the witnesses, 2) considering circumstantial evidence, and 3) determining if those involved were biased.[1]

What Islam Teaches

A man living in Saudi Arabia in the sixth century claimed to have had a revelation from the one true god, Allah. His name was Muhammad, and he believed he was the last and final prophet of God. His revelation resulted in the formation of the Qur’an (Koran), the Muslims’ holy book on which they base their religion.

The Muslims view their relationship to Allah as that of slave to a master. They have a rigid view of monotheism, rejecting the Christian concept of the Trinity because they have an anthropomorphic view of the Father and Son relationship as procreation.[2]They believe God does not have a “knowable essence,” yet believe he has essential attributes of self-existence, uncreatedness and eternality,[3] which actually does give him a knowable essence. Islam teaches that God wills everything, and that mankind has no free will. Everything is predetermined including one’s thoughts, actions, words, and deeds. Salvation is works oriented. One can go to heaven if one has done enough good deeds to fulfill one’s religious obligations. As the Qur’an says, “Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,—They will attain salvation: But those whose balance Is light, will be those Who have lost their souls; In Hell will they abide” (23:102-3). The Qur’an also talks about those who give their lives “to earn the pleasure of God” (2:207), and that  “God will deliver those who fear Him, for they have earned Heaven” (39:61).[4]

Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the eternal speech of Allah, insisting it is uncreated, existing only in the mind of God from all eternity.[5] Muhammad is not the foundation of their faith, as he was only a messenger of the Qur’an. Yet many Muslims today worship him as a type of savior, even though Muhammad himself forbade idolatry.

Eyewitnesses examination

Muhammad is the key eyewitness to the faith of Islam who sincerely believed he was commissioned by God to teach the word of God. He was said to be the last of the prophets, bringing the final revelation of God to humanity, ending all other revelations and religions.[6] As written in the Qur’an, he is the “Seal of the Prophets” (33:40).

He annually retreated to a cave to meditate, living on rations in solitude.[7] At the age of forty, after years of practicing these personal retreats, in the year 610 A.D., Muhammad believed he encountered his first divine revelation in his sleep.[8] His revelation came from what he believed to be the angel Gabriel. There were no other witnesses to this event, only his subjective experience. Is this reliable testimony? To better determine that, let’s examine Muhammad’s life and those close to him…

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