Understanding Islam

A Conversation with Edgar Feghaly

A lot of fear that Western Christians have about Muslims comes from a lack of understanding of the Islamic faith. Some Christians are deceived and pulled away from the faith. Others, such as Christians who burn the Koran, fail to show Christlike love and undermine missionaries’ efforts to win Muslims to Christ. There is a spiritual warfare raging between true Christianity and the Islamic world. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood, and this war will not be won through military might or political demonstrations. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to overcome the darkness of this world.

The Muslims are here to stay, and they are studying our religion. Unfortunately, they are going to liberal Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other cults to learn where the Bible seemingly contradicts itself. We need to be prepared to answer for our faith.

This is why Dr. Edgar Feghaly has given his life to spreading the light of the gospel in nations where the gospel is not welcomed. Led to the Lord at the age of seven, Dr. Feghaly was saved in Beirut, Lebanon, after hearing the gospel through the efforts of American missionaries. He immediately began serving the Lord as a young person and was called to preach as a young adult. After a brief time in the United States for training, Dr. Feghaly returned to Lebanon with his wife Rosann, where they served the Lord throughout the Lebanese War. As doors have opened across the Middle East and West Africa, the Lord has used Dr. Feghaly to plant churches in these Muslim regions. The Feghalys continue to train and labor alongside national pastors throughout the 10/40 window and are seeing the Lord work through their ministry in miraculous ways.

In an interview with The Baptist Voice, he answers the most common questions about Islam and gives advice on how to witness to Muslims.

Do Muslims and Christians Have the Same God?

Allah has ninety-nine descriptive names called the Good Names of God. Among them are Deceiver, Liar, and Murderer. However, the God Jehovah has four major characteristics, none of which are shared with Allah. Jehovah is the Saviour. He is the Father. He is Love. He is Hope. Allah is no one’s father. He has wrath and vengeance, but not love. And in him is no hope, for no one can be sure of salvation.

The Koran and the Bible could not have been written by the same God. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Aaron leads the people in molding the golden calf. The Koran says the Samaritans made the golden calf for Israel. But the Samaritans did not exist until 400 years after the Exodus. Another example: In the Koran, Mary the mother of Jesus is introduced as the sister of Aaron and Moses. This is a blunder.

What Are Basic Differences between Islam and Christianity?

Mohammed did not prophesy, foretell any events, neither did he do any miracles. Jesus did all these. Islam does not believe in original sin or the sin nature. Muslims seek forgiveness by fulfilling the five tenants of Islam—pray five times daily, fast during Ramadan, give alms to the poor, believe in Allah, his book, and his prophet, and complete a pilgrimage to Mecca. Then forgiveness is up to Allah.

Islamic Hell is divided into seven levels for different levels of punishment. Muslims go to the first level—the least uncomfortable. Christians go to the third level, and atheists go to the very bottom levels.

Why Are Christians Not Reaching Muslims?

There is a lack of understanding of the Islamic faith by Western Christians. Muslims will not respect a Christian who does not understand Islam. Even if you do not believe in the Koran, a Muslim will listen if you understand his religion and can show him the truth of the Bible.

If Christians do not reach out to Muslims with the gospel, they are disobedient to the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Muslim world is part of that world that God loves.

Muslim countries closed their doors to Christian missionaries, but this is not the only opportunity. There are Muslims everywhere—9 million in the U.S. alone. There are 23 million Muslims in Europe where missionaries have government protection to preach.

Muslim religious leaders are putting more pressure on laymen to become more loyal to Islam. We are facing a revival in Muslim countries. They feel guilt for the poverty in their countries and believe that becoming more faithful to Allah will help their nation.

Islam is a convenient religion that appeals to the flesh and gives false hope to its followers. We are saved only by grace, but grace does not appeal to the flesh. For example, if a Muslim swears, he must fast three days for forgiveness. If he commits adultery, he must pray in the morning, evening, and part of the night to receive forgiveness. Islam is a religion based on debit and credit—you commit a sin, you do something good in return, and the debt is paid. When you are living in this mindset, it becomes very hard to understand grace.

What Are Some Misconceptions Muslims Have about Christianity?

Muslims are taught that Christians are infidels because they worship three gods. Christians must be able to show from the Bible that they worship one God who manifested Himself throughout history in three eternal Persons.

Muslims see all of Christianity, saved and unsaved, as one religion. They cannot believe Christianity is true religion because of the immorality found in “Christian” America. They think, how can Christianity be true with all the perversion that comes out of Hollywood? We have to explain that America is not a Christian nation in the same sense that Iran is an Islamic nation. There are Christians who live in America, and they oppose the perversions coming from our country. Ask a Muslim, “Are all Muslims faithful Muslims?” They know there are people within their own society who do not follow Allah’s commandments.

Why Is it Difficult for a Muslim to Accept Christ?

Muslims see themselves as a people who have the final revelation in the Word of Allah, the Koran. They believe that God first gave the Torah, then He gave the New Testament which superseded the Torah, and then He gave the Koran, which supersedes the New Testament. The Muslim sees himself as obedient to God because he is obedient to Islam.

It is difficult for Muslims to break away from Islam because it is a group religion. Their religious leader, the imam, interprets the Koran for the group. He decides what a Muslim should think, and the group follows him. A Muslim does not enjoy individual freedom to follow Allah. Muslims are not to question the content or authenticity of the Koran, and that offense is punishable by death. Because of this group-thinking, Muslims also have difficulty understanding the concept of a personal relationship with the Saviour.

As if group pressure isn’t enough, the Islamic religion is protected by Islamic government, secret police, and the Islamic constitution. There are thirty-seven countries that implement Sharia Law and establish Islam as the only religion. Yet even for those living outside of a Muslim nation, their first allegiance is to Islam, not their society or country.

In a final act of control, Islam thrives on illiteracy. A UN study showed that the most illiterate people are found within Muslim nations, especially women. Most Muslims in these nations have no source of information beyond what the imam and their families tell them.

Muslims are under spiritual oppression and are blinded by Satan. We like to see quick conversions. We want a person to bow their head and accept Jesus the first time we meet. But this doesn’t work in every circumstance. You must be patient when witnessing to Muslims.

There was a boy many years ago who came to my Sunday school. He came every week to hear the Bible stories, but never asked to be saved. He left without ever being saved, but thirty years later, an evangelist came to the area to witness and pass out tracts. He met the boy from my Sunday school, and the boy, now grown, accepted Christ as his Saviour.

In the convert’s testimony, he said he responded to the gospel because he heard the stories in Sunday school when he was a little boy. We must be patient, because they are under spiritual oppression.

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