Is Islam sort of devilish? Six reasons


When we say someone is Jewish, we don’t mean someone who wishes to be a Jew, nor do we mean someone who is a sort of Jew, as in deadish – sort of dead, reddish – sort of red; a bit dead, a bit red.

The English suffix ish has the meanin “sort of.” In Hebrew, though, ish is the noun “man.” What I want to talk about here is not whether humans are born dead in sin, that is, radically corrupt, deadish in sin, that is, partially corrupt (as in Roman Catholicism and much of Protestantism) or pure (as in Judaism, Islam and Atheism), but about whether it is right for one religion to call another religion devilish, whether in the sense of being totally inspired by the devil, or in the sense of being partially inspired, that is “sort of” inspired by the devil – yes devilish, but….

Here is Colin Chapman’s “yes-but” in his “Going Soft on Islam?” Vox Evangelica 19 (1989): 7-32.

Among the many visiting speakers who preached in the mid-week service during my days at the old London Bible College in Marylebone Road was a missionary who at that time was working in North Africa. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember his message, because it made a profound impact on me. His text was John 8 and he spoke about the challenge of Muslim evangelism. The main thrust of his message was that we cannot begin to have an effective ministry with Muslims until and unless we appreciate what we are dealing with in Islam….Just as Jesus was prepared to say to the Jewish leaders ‘You are of your father the Devil’ (John 8:44), so we today must recognize

that Islam is a religion inspired by the Devil, and therefore must think of our ministry among Muslims in terms of a confrontation with him. I never forgot that address, and it continued to challenge me during my years in Egypt.”

He asks: Is Islam inspired by the Devil? His response:

If I have to give a short and immediate answer to this question, it would consist of two words: ‘Yes… but’. In case I am laying myself open to misunderstanding, let me say right from the start that I do believe without hesitation that ‘the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers…’ (2 Cor 4:4). I do believe that ‘our struggle is… against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Eph 6:12). 1 do also believe that ‘Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light’ (2 Cor 11:14). I am convinced that all these verses are thoroughly relevant to our thinking about other faiths and ideologies. I want to suggest, however, that there is a real danger in coming too easily and too quickly to the conclusion that Islam is a religion inspired by the Devil.”

Chapman gives six reasons for this conclusion.

[My contribution appear sin italics after each of his reasons].

Here are my six reasons for being hesitant about using these categories too freely in our teaching about Islam.”

Reason 1

Why single out Islam for special mention? What about Communism? What about the

godless Humanism of the West today? What about some of the demonic forces at work in parts of the Christian world, like Northern Ireland? When some Christians speak as if Islam is The Enemy No 1 in the world today, I wonder if they are not getting things out of proportion.”

What has this response got to do with the price of pork? Chapman is misdirecting. The topic is Islam, not other movements. First deal with Islam, then we can compare, if there’s time or the necessity.

Reason 2

An overemphasis on the role of Satan in Islam can easily prevent us as Christians from facing up to the terrible record of the Christian church in its relations with Muhammad and his followers. Attributing everything in Islam to demonic forces allows us, so to speak, to ‘pass the buck’, and fail to recognize the responsibility of the Christian church in all that has happened. The very existence of Islam can be seen as a judgement on the Christian church, and the record of the church over centuries in its relations with Islam should leave us with a sense of shame… [R]esorting too quickly to the explanation that Islam is inspired by the Devil may mean that we are letting ourselves off the hook too lightly, and that we never recognize the responsibility of the Christian church for all that has happened in the past.”

Misdirection again. Hey you hypercritical, hypocritical Christians, YOU also are a devilish bunch.

Reason 3

If we teach that all other religions are inspired by the Devil, some Christians jump to the conclusion that people of other faiths must therefore by definition be possessed by evil powers. If you think this sounds exaggerated, I must explain that I have more than once encountered this way of thinking in our students at Trinity, and I find it most in those who have been deeply influenced by the Charismatic Movement and the Signs and Wonders Movement. It is obvious that there are occult practices in some forms of Folk Islam, and I have no difficulty whatever in believing in demon possession. But I don’t believe it is either true or helpful to suggest that every Muslim must be treated as a case of demonic possession.”

It does not necessarily follow that “if we teach that all other religions [besides Christianity] are inspired by the Devil” that “some Christians jump to the conclusion that people of other faiths must therefore by definition be possessed by evil powers.” The reason why we (Christians] should teach that other religions are inspired by the devil is because the New Testament says that all religions that reject the incarnation of the Son of God are from Satan, the deceiver.

John 1

1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…1And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 John 4:2

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”

2 John 1:7

[M]any deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

Reason 4

We are probably influenced more than we realize by stereotypes of Islam which we have inherited from the past. It wasn’t for purely biblical and theological reasons that our

forefathers in the Eastern churches and in Europe thought of Islam in these terms. There were many other cultural, political and psychological factors which were at work not so far below the surface.”

Chapman never quotes the Qur’an or the Hadiths. I listened to his six-part lecture series. Not one quote from any Islamic source, but only about what Muslims say about their texts. There is so many distortions of the Bible in the Qur’an. Gospelygook. The Qur’an says that Jesus did not die. Without the incarnation, propitiatory death and resurrection, there is no Gospel. Did Allah deceive the Christians? If so. He is a bigger deceiver than Satan. And to top it, Allah’s directive to follow HIS Injil (Gospel).

Surah 4:157. That they said (in boast)

“We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Apostle of Allah”;

but they killed him not nor crucified him

but so it was made to appear to them

and those who differ therein are full of doubts

with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow

for of a surety they killed him not.

4:158. Nay Allah raised him up unto Himself; …

The Qur’an distorts the Trinity

Surah 5:73-75

They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

Surah 5:116  And behold! God will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.

The Qur’an is strewn with dozens of mutilations of the Bible.

Reason 5

When I find Christians interpreting the contemporary revival of Islam, especially in the

Middle East, simply in terms of the work of Satan, my reaction is to plead that this can lead to a terrible oversimplification of complex issues. This revival is to some extent a response to centuries of European colonialism, and we cannot understand what has been happening in countries like Iran if we do not even attempt to appreciate the many cultural, political and economic factors that have been involved. I believe we need to be aware that simple explanations expressed in purely spiritual terms can easily have the effect of preventing us from getting to grips with the complexities of history and politics.”

Any religion that is based on what it considers to be divine revelation embodied in a text, will base its thoughts and actions on these texts. Islam is no exception. Much in the Qur’an and the Hadiths conflict wit the Bible. For this reason, Christians worth their biblical salt believe that the more faithful a Muslim is to his Islamic sources, the more he is inspired by the devil.

You hear much today from Western politicians that pure Islam is not radical, that it is not violent. Chapman at the beginning of his lecture 5 on Islam says some Muslims are for violence, some are against. He doesn’t say quote the Qur’an. In an earlier lecture he says some Muslims believe that the later actions about peace abrogate the earlier bits about violence. A Muslim who believes that doesn’t know much about his Qur’an. In fact, the peaceful bits are abrogated by the violent bits. For example,

Surah 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion” is abrogated by Surah 9:73, 123:

O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them…. (9:73)

O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you…. (9:123).

Radical” Islam takes the Islamic texts seriously – therefore, they’re violent towards all non-Muslims as well as those they believe are merely cultural, social, political Muslims. Maajid Nawaz is, though he might disagree, one of the latter. Nawaz is the liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn and co-founder and chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank.

We Muslims, says Nawaz, must admit there are challenging Koranic passages that require reinterpretation today. Let us use existing tools of exegesis, such as specificity, restriction, abrogation and metaphor. Vacuous literalism as an interpretive method must be abandoned. It is bankrupt. Only by rejecting vacuous literalism are we able to condemn, in principle, ISIS-style slavery, beheading, lashing, amputation and other medieval practices forever (all of which are in the Qur’an). This is a struggle within Islam. Reformers either win, and get religion-neutral politics, or lose, and get ISIL-style theocracy.” (Source).

Isis takes the Qur’an “literally,” that is, “literaturely.” It studies the words as one would study any language, and accepts what the words (letters – Latin litera) mean, not what they, contrary to Maajid Nawaz, want them to mean. “Moderate” Muslims believe that Isis is an illiterate, uneducated bunch. One thing I will say in their favour, if they were in my language class assuming they were English speakers – for example that man (”ish” in Hebrew) alleged to be Brit-Ish), who loves circumcising (“brit” in Hebrew) the heads offf journalists for Allah – they would pass my reading course. If only they could could graduate to a course in post-modernism and post-structuralism, they could then metaphorise and morphorise (morph – change meaning) the words of Allah, shimmering on every page of the Qur’an.

Surah 6:114 – [Say], “Then is it other than Allah I should seek as judge while it is He who has revealed to you the Book explained in detail?” And those to whom We [previously] gave the Scripture know that it is sent down from your Lord in truth, so never be among the doubters.

Surah 57:9 – It is He who sends down upon His Servant [Muhammad] verses of clear evidence that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And indeed, Allah is to you Kind and Merciful.

Sahih International

While Isis wallows in a sea of depravity, in which they, like all of us, were born, Maajid Nawaz prefers to muddy the waters, clearly out of his out of his comfort zone, and thus out of his depth.

Reason 6

Some Christians use the language of the demonic to explain things that are culturally

strange and foreign to them. I remember some Christian friends saying to me before I first went to Cairo, that when they spent some days there they felt an atmosphere of evil in the city. I often used to think and worry about what they had said, because I came to love Cairo with all its crowds and dust and smells and broken pavements. Was it that I was spiritually blind to what was there in the atmosphere, or was it that my friends used the demonic to explain those aspects of the culture with which they couldn’t cope?”

Christians can be a silly lot.

Perhaps, says Chapman, the answer lies somewhere in between. But my basic fear about explaining Islam in terms of the Satanic is that it can become an easy way out. It absolves us from the need to face up to those areas where judgement may need to begin with the household of God (1 Pet 4:17), and saves us from the hard work of coming to terms with all those pastoral, psychological, political and cultural factors which come into the equation. Is Islam inspired by the Devil? I hope it is clear from what I have said that my ‘Buts’ do not turn my original ‘Yes’ into a ‘No!’ They are intended not to make it ‘die the death of a thousand qualifications’, but rather to qualify the simple ‘Yes’ and to encourage us to get beyond our favourite neat, simplistic answers.”

Indeed, “explaining Islam in terms of the Satanic… can become an easy way out [and can, if we let it] absolve us from the need to face up to those areas where judgement may need to begin with the household of God.”

Yep, it’s called radical corruption, the state in which all without exception or born. What is important is that Christians should learn more about Islam, if only for the reason that if they are going to blab about Islam, they’ll know what they’re blabbing about. And when they read the Qur’an they don’t need to worry about becoming bewitched and enslaved by its power, because they should learn that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). These forces occupy the earthly realm as well.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:1-4).

I wonder whether Colin Chapman and Maajid Nawaz ever shared a cuppa together. Wish I could be a fly in the wings, if not in the cup. (The fly in the tea-cup: A lesson from the Hadith…”).

Related: David Wood – How ISIS Radicalizes Young Muslims

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