Grace and Truth
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Koranic Roots of the Shari'a -- Booklet 2
COME TO PRAYER, COME TO SUCCESS!
Commandments in the Qur'an on the worship of Allah
Since the earliest times of his prophetic career prayer played an important role in the life of Muhammad. How do the commandments in the Koran on the worship of Allah through prayer determine how Muslims perform their ritual prayers today? When, what and in what directions must Muslim prayers be performed? How is Muslim prayer different from Christian prayer?
COME TO PRAYER, COME TO SUCCESS!
Commandments in the Qur'an on the worship of Allah
Five times every day the Muezzins call with the words "Come to prayer, come to success!" all the Muslims for the common prayer services from their minarettes. Islam allows different kinds of prayer. In the first place stand the worship services with a prescribed liturgy not designed for free individual prayers (al-Salat).
Besides these official services, the Qur'an mentions individual prayers which are freely spoken and not bound to a certain time (al-Du'a).
The four schools of law in Islam concentrate on the indispensable duty to participate in the daily worship services. In order to emphasize their orders, they quote 86 verses of the Qur'an who will be discussed in this booklet.
How should a Muslim pray?
The Qur'an speaks about standing while praying (Suras Al 'Imran 3:191; al-Furqan 25:64), kneeling in awe (Suras al-Baqara 2:43; Al 'Imran 3:43; al-Hajj 22:77; al-Mursalat 77:48) and bowing the forehead until it touches the floor (Suras Al 'Imran 3:43; al-Hijr 15:98; al-Isra' 17:107; al-Hajj 22:77; al-Furqan 25:64; al-Inshiqaq 84:21; al-Bayyina 98:5). The prayer of a Muslim is based on deep respect and fear of Allah (Suras al-Baqara 2:238; Al 'Imran 3:43; al-A'raf 7:55; al-Mu'minun 23:2). Personal gratitude, joy and individual praises are no themes in the Islamic worship, rather are unconditional glorification of Allah.
The worship of the Muslims is an incarnation of the Arab word "Islam" which means "delivery, dedication, submission and surrender to Allah". Muslims understand themselves as slaves of Allah and his property (Suras al-Hajj 22:77; al-Bayyina 98:5). They deliver themselves to their master daily up to 34 times according to their liturgy. Muslims are no longer free. They belong to their master (Sura al-Tawba 9:111) and live in a collective bondage.
Muhammad according to Qur'an has recommended prayers even while sitting or lying, especially at night, after the hard labor of a day in the heat (Sura Al 'Imran 3:191). Such prayers during the time of relaxation are not included into the liturgy of worship services by the scholars. Unthinkable are also prayers with hands in the trouser-pocket or legs crossed in Islamic countries. Such a posture is regarded as disrespect towards the sovereignty of Allah.
The Qur'an emphasizes the common prayers in the mosque in which all together recite the prescribed liturgy (Suras al-Baqara 2:43; Al 'Imran 3:43; al-Hijr 15:98). The participation in worship services lined up in long rows, is regarded more valuable than the prayer of individuals.
During the community prayers one should talk neither too loud nor should he only whisper (Sura al-Isra' 17:110).
Fixed times for worship
The Qur'an speaks about official prayers in the morning and evening (Suras Hud 11:114; al-Isra' 17:78; Ta Ha 20:130; al-Nur 24:36; Qaf 50:39; al-Insan 76:25; al-Fajr 89:1-3), mentions a prayer service at noon (Sura al-Baqara 2:238) and testifies to prayers at night (Suras Hud 11:114; al-Isra' 17:79; Ta Ha 20:130; al-Furqan 25:64; Qaf 50:40; al-Muzammil 73:1-8). The prayer times in Qur'an have not been exactly fixed. The jurists interpreted these Qur'anic expressions in a way that the first prayer service should start at dawn, before sunrise, as soon as someone can discern a black from a white thread. The second prayer service takes place when the sun stands in the zenith. This regulation causes in summertime, with the time difference of one hour, international problems. A third service is fixed three hours after midday. The fourth worship service takes place at sunset and the fifth when it is already dark. In all five prayer services the same liturgy is repeated, all together 17 times each day!!
Pondering over the Islamic prayer times you can find that the day of a Muslim should be encompassed by prayer in order to keep all his thoughts and deeds concentrated in Allah. Actually he should pray everywhere and always to meditate on the wisdom of Allah in the creation and the escape from the fire of hell (Sura Al 'Imran 3:191). One of the driving forces for the worship of Allah remains fear of the Day of Judgement.
The cleansing ritual before prayer
The Qur'an assures the Muslims that they are unworthy to worship Allah, as they are. They feel their impurity and inadequacies and must undergo a certain order of washings before every prayer. The statements of Qur'an on this purification are incomplete (Suras al-Baqara 2:222-223, 276-277; Al 'Imran 3:42; al-Nisa' 4:43; al-Ma'ida 5:5-6; al-Anfal 8:11; al-Tawba 9:108; al-Furqan 25:48; al-Waqi'ah 56:79; al-Muddaththir 74:4). Only few verses give detailed descriptions on this command. The most precise informations can be read in Sura al-Ma'ida 5:6: O you who believe! When you stand for prayer wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and pass your (wet) hands over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are unclean purify yourselves (by bathing). And if you are ill or on a journey or if one of you has relieved himself or if you have touched women and you can't find water, than look for pure dust and wipe with it your faces and your hands. Allah desires not to put difficulty on you, but he wants to purify you, that his grace will be complete upon you. Perhaps you will be thankful (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:6). In Sura al-Baqara 2:222-223 you find another verse describing purification before worshiping Allah: They will ask you about the menstruation. Say: It is a misery! Abstain from the women during their period of menstruation and do not go to them until they are clean. But when they have cleansed themselves, go to them as Allah has commanded you. Truly, Allah loves those who turn back (repent) and loves those who have cleansed themselves. Your women are your ploughed field for you. Approach your field whenever you want and offer for yourself (something) and fear Allah and know that you shall meet him and give good news to the believers (Sura al-Baqara 2:222-223).
The Qur'an further on promises that by paying the religious tax and by additional donations a praying person can be purified (Suras al-Baqara 2:267,271,274,276; al-Tawba 9:103; al-A'la 87:14 among others). The rain also washes down dust and impurity from the Muslims (Suras al-Anfal 8:11; al-Furqan 25:48). All praying ones should clean their clothing before their worship (al-Muddaththir 74:4). Even Maria, the mother of "'Isa" (Jesus), the chosen one among all women, had to purify herself before worshipping Allah. Allah loves those that purify themselves (al-Tawba 9:108).
Reading those instructions for ritual washing in Islam, you can comprehend that the sedentary Bedouins of Muhammad's time at first had to learn the basic rules of hygiene. The Qur'an does not demand a cleansing of conscience or the renewal of the spirit. Muhammad did not know the prayer of David:
Create in me a clean heart, o God,
The cleansing and purification according to the Qur'an remains outwardly and superficial, because Islam does not know the influence of the Holy Spirit and denies the purification of our hearts by the blood of Jesus Christ with indignation.
The prayer-direction ordained by Allah
Originally, all Muslims prayed towards Jerusalem. Muhammad intended to win the Jews, living on the Arab Peninsula, for his Islam. He imitated their direction of prayer in order to let Islam appear similar to the Jewish religion. But when the Jews in Medina could not accept Muhammad as a prophet of their Lord and mocked at him publicly he hated them and commanded his Muslims to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to the old Ka'ba in his hometown (Suras al-Baqara 2:115,142; al-Isra' 17:1). Mecca was an old cultural center for several gods, idols and spirits. Ismael is supposed to have built the Ka'ba as a home for his father Abraham, who is said to have commuted between his two wives, Sara in Hebron and Hagar in Mecca, to live with them in turns. Muslims who think in these ways, oversee that Jerusalem and Hebron are 2000 kilometers far away from Mecca. A frequent travelling to and fro in the deadly deserts of the Arab Peninsula is unthinkable. Despite that fact, the Ka'ba is highly venerated as the house of Abraham, the first Muslim (Sura al-Baqara 2:148-150).
Muhammad revealed the new direction for prayer as a law and duty of Allah (Sura al-Baqara 2:149). Since then, all Muslims during their worship services and also in their individual prayers, at all places on earth, have to prostrate towards the Ka'ba in Mecca, otherwise their prayer and worship would be invalid and worthless (Sura al-Baqara 2:148-150).
By turning away from Jerusalem and directing his Muslims to Mecca, Muhammad indirectly confessed that not Jahweh, the Lord of the Old Testament, but Allah of Mecca is the only God of the Muslims (Sura al-Tawba 9:28-29). Muhammad created with this turn of 180 degrees a new, independent religion and his own religious community (Sura al-Baqara 2:143). In Jerusalem, he believed according to some traditions that spiritual ladders are reaching heaven, but in Medina he assured his followers that they all would inevitably end up in hell (Sura Maryam 19:71-72). He probably felt that his Shari'a resembles the broad way that leads into destruction because no Muslim can be justified by his law. No Muslim does pray all 17 prayer units every day during the five prayer times, so the accusing law of Islam will judge every Muslim (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:10; James 2:10; Romans 4:15).
Friday – the day of the main service for the Muslims
The Qur'an fixes Friday as the day of their gathering. During the worship service every business and work shall rest. But after this service in the mosque or in the streets any kind of work is allowed again (Sura al-Jumu'a 62:9-10). Muslims should dress up well for their gathering (Sura al-A'raf 7:31). A father should enforce on the members of his family to participate in the worship service, even if they are not interested (Sura Ta Ha 20:132).
Muhammad has chosen Friday for his Muslims as an opposition to the Sabbath of the Jews and against the Sunday of the Christians. He did not want to be confused neither with the one nor with the other. Friday in Islam has lost the biblical base as a day of rest in which no sort of labor should be accomplished. Like God rested after he had created the whole world und saw that everything was excellent, so should all members of the Old Covenant rest to recognize the majesty, power and wisdom of the Lord in his creation and worship him participating in his rest. This understanding is totally missing in Islam.
The New Testament source of the Sunday, the resurrection of Christ and the revelation of his new creation is missing in Islam too. The Qur'an denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and claims 'Isa only fell asleep and ascended then with body and soul to Allah. In Islam there is no new creation and no spiritual renewal of the believers; they hope only for their recreation, exactly in the way, they had lived before. They expect an increased sexual potential for men in paradise.
Neither the rest and peace of Saturday, nor the resurrection of Christ with a new creation on Sunday gives the Friday of the Muslims a spiritual meaning, and so their day of gathering remains a continuing opposition to God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The contents of the worship services
The texts of the liturgically organized prayers in Islam are essentially different from the prayers of the Bible. The services of the Muslims are in no way similar to the prayers of the Christians which are built on request, intercession, thanksgiving and adoration. The Muslim worship consists of shouts of praise to glorify the Almighty who thrones high above his slaves like a sovereign sultan.
The Qur'an frequently demands the praise of Allah (Suras Al 'Imran 3:191; al-Hijr 15:98; Ta Ha 20:130; al-Nur 24:36; al-Furqan 25:58; Ghafir 40:55; Qaf 50:39-40; al-Waqi'ah 56:74; al-A'la 87:1; al-Nasr 110:3 among others). In this sense, the jurists have formulated two phrases of worship:
Praised be my Lord, the Highest! (subhaana rabbi al-a'laa)
The first one of these appraisals is daily pronounced in the 17 prayer units up to 102 times (!) while the second appraisal is witnessed 51 (!) times. These two acclamations of praise are the main content and leading subject of the Islamic worship services.
It is peculiar that not "Allah" is magnified but the "Lord" in the form: "My Lord!" Perhaps Muhammad had heard from the Jews that the Semitic expression for God "Elohim" was a general expression for all gods in the Near East which appears 2600 times in the Old Testament whereas the real name of God "Jahweh" appears 6828 times in the books of the Old Covenant. Jahweh is translated with "Lord" (al-rabb) into Arabic. This name however never appears in the Qur'an with an article as "the Lord", but only with a suffix or in a genitive form.
In the prayer services of the Muslims the Almighty is adored as "my Lord". This name corresponds to the uttering of a slave who submits to his master, honors him and praises him. Muslims cannot understand themselves as children of God since Allah in Islam is never described as their father. They were created as worshipping slaves to glorify the creator, ruler and judge of the world.
The magnification of Allah
The praise of the Exalted also corresponds to a further exclamation: "Allahu akbar" which appears 68 times in the daily prayer services. It will be also called 30 times from the minarets over the roofs of towns and villages, mainly with loudspeakers. This expression can neither be translated by "Allah is great" nor does it mean that "he is the biggest"; moreover it means: "Allah is greater" representing a comparative which relativates and dwarfs everything else.
Allah in Islam is considered to be more beautiful than the most magnificent view, stronger than all hydrogen bombs, richer than all gold and silver owners and wiser than all philosophers. He is beyond all human conceiving and understanding. Allah in Islam supersedes all and everything, even Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are called His obedient slaves. By confessing this exclamation about 100 times daily, the appraisal and glorification of Allah in the Islamic services is perfected.
A personal gratitude towards the Highest is not mentioned in the daily worship services although the Qur'an frequently testifies to the necessity of thankfulness towards the creator (Suras al-Nahl 16:78; al-Mu'minun 23:78; al-Qasas 28:71; al-Waqi'ah 56:70; al-Mulk 67:23 among others), towards the provider (Suras al-Nahl 16:14; al-Hajj 22:36; al-Rum 30:46; Fatir 35:12; al-Jathiya 45:12 among others), the law-giver (Suras al-Baqara 2:185; al-Ma'ida 5:6,89 among others) and the helper for victory. Probably, the Qur'an jurists concluded that the glorification of Allah includes every necessary thanks for his creating works.
In praising Allah during the prayer worship the forgiving of sins, the justification by grace, the purification of conscience, the renewal of mind and the gift of eternal life are totally missing. Everything that Jesus did and that the Holy Spirit is granting us, is not found in the worship services of the Muslims. Jesus as the incarnation of God's love and truth is not praised nor the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Here we find an empty gap in Islam. The Muslims are ignorant that God is our father and that our position towards the creator, the ruler of the world and the judge has basically changed. We do not worship the Almighty out of fear but because he loves us. His holy love has evoked a faithful love as an echo in us, impetuous praise and eternal gratitude.
Muslims do not know the real God. Indeed, they call him Allah, their Lord, the Exalted one (Sura al-A'la 87:1), the Powerful one (Sura al-Waqi'ah 56:74), the Merciful (Suras Al 'Imran 3:129; al-Isra' 17:110 among others) and the Only one. He can be called by each of his 99 beautiful names in the personal prayers (Suras Al 'Imran 3,135; al-Isra' 17:110 among others), but despite of this the Muslims do not know who Allah really is. His names are only shadows of his being. He remains unsearchable, distant and unreachable. Allah in Islam is a far, unknown and strange God. In Islam there is no Father, no Son and no Holy Spirit. The unity of the Holy Trinity is rejected by Muslims, so we must confess: Allah in Islam is not the true God! He is no God. He calls himself Allah, but he constantly rejects the real God. His revelations are not truth and his worship is an error.
The Qur'an prohibits the worship of all creature (Sura Fussilat 41:37) and therefore rejects faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit as creatures. By these statements, Allah reveals himself as an anti-Christian spirit who fights always against the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:22-25; 4:1-5). This unclean spirit in Islam wants to be worshipped and praised alone ( Sura al-Jinn 72:18-19; Matthew 4:9-10).
Hidden prayers in Islam
Strange enough, in the daily worship services, as well as in the Fatiha, the main prayer of the Muslims, there is no request for forgiveness of sin. This lack can open our eyes! Confession of sin is unknown and unloved in Islam. Despite of this, the Qur'an recommends the Muslims to ask for forgiveness of their mistakes (Sura Al 'Imran 3:133-136,191-195 among others), Allah even ordered Muhammad to ask for forgiveness of his own sins (Suras Ghafir 40:55; Muhammad 47:19; al-Fath 48:2; al-Nasr 110:3). In these Qur'anic requests for forgiveness the acknowledgement of the total sinfulness and lostness of each human being is missing. Muslims do understand sin only as mistakes and offences. They do not pray in a broken spirit of deep repentance like David in Psalm 51:1-17.
To Muslims the spiritual consequence out of our justification, to forgive all our opponents their iniquities against us, sounds strange and wrong (Matthew 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35). Even more, the Qur'an commands blood revenge or the acceptance of blood money (Suras al-Baqara 2:178,194; al-Nisa' 4:92; al-Nahl 16:126; al-Isra' 17:33,35; al-Shura 42:40 among others). The understanding of right and law in Islam is stronger than the knowledge of mercy and love.
Prayer and faith in Islam
The Qur'an demands that prayer and worship of Allah should be based on faith (Sura al-Baqara 2:3-5,177 among others). The Islamic creed consists of six articles: Allah, his angels, his books, his messengers and prophets, his predestination and the Day of resurrection with the pleasures of the paradise gardens and tortures of hell (Suras al-Baqara 2:177,285; al-Nisa' 4:136; al-Tawba 9:26 among others). The value of prayer in Islam is connected to the faith in these six basic articles. Who does not build his faith on this basis is a cursed infidel (Sura al-Nisa' 4:136). Who believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the deity of the Holy Spirit, is damned. Allah himself as well as his spirits fight against him (Suras al-Baqara 2:97-98; al-Tawba 9:29 among others). His prayers will not be accepted by Allah and his worship will be refused as hypocrisy.
The Islamic faith requires the acknowledgement of the infallibility of the Qur'an (Sura al-Baqara 2:2-5) with the agreement that it corrects and complements all previous heavenly books. The faith and prayers of a Muslim will also remain worthless unless he believes in Muhammad and unconditionally obeys him or his successive Caliphs (Suras al-Anfal 8:1,46; al-Tawba 9:71; al-Nur 24:56; Muhammad 47:33; al-Fath 48:17; al-Hujurat 49:15; al-Saff 61:10-12 among others). Without a Qur'anic faith-obedience the reason and the goal of the worship of Allah would be lost. Prayers for protection from dangers and sickness will be considered effective only on this basis (Suras al-Nahl 16:91; al-Nas 114:1). Every single animal slaughter has to be carried out in the name of Allah because any non-ritually slaughtered meat is supposed as violation of the law (Suras al-Baqara 2:173; al-Ma'ida 5:3-5; al-An'am 6:118-119,145).
Prayer and donations in Islam
The commandments of Allah to participate in prayer are connected with the frequent call for contributions and the payment of the religious tax more than twenty times (Suras al-Baqara 2:3,43,83,177; al-Ma'ida 5:6,12; al-Tawba 9:5,11,18,103; al-Ra'd 13:22; al-Hajj 22:77-78; al-Mu'minun 23:8-9; al-Nur 24:56; al-Sajda 32:16; Fatir 35:29; al-Shura 42:38; al-Ma'arij 70:22-25; al-Bayyina 98:5 among others). Muhammad explained: Truly, those who recite the book of Allah and observe the prayer (services) and spend from what we have provided them secretly or openly, hope for a business that will never be in vain, because he will give them faithfully their salaries and increase them out of his bounty. He is the forgiving one and the most thankful (Sura Fatir 35:29-30).
Muhammad was an experienced businessman. He did not hesitate to call his religion a "business" with Allah. Worship with contributions seemed to him to be more valuable than prayers. He evaluated any Islamic worship services without payments of donations or taxes as weak. He inoculated his Muslims that "praying and paying" has to be indissolubly knitted together (Suras al-Mu'minun 23:1-6; al-Nur 24:56; al-Sajda 32:15-16; al-Shura 42:36-38)!
In his calls for the worship of Allah and for donations at times he also demanded faith, obedience and patience. He repeatedly encouraged his followers to set their hope on the mercy of Allah and to believe in their entrance to the paradise in case they would overcome their love for money, pray regularly and oblige themselves to donate substantial contributions (Sura al-Ma'arij 70:19-25). He was instructed by Allah: Take alms from their wealth, so you cleanse and purify them (by their donations) and pray for them. Your prayers may calm them down (Sura al-Tawba 9:103 among others). Allah further on taught him: Kill the idol worshippers wherever you find them.... But if they repent, observe prayer and pay the religious tax, then let them go free! (Sura al-Tawba 9:5).
According to the Qur'an, enemies after praying and paying become friends! Their character has not necessarily to be changed. They can continue to live as they lived before, but they have to fulfill the demands of the Islamic Shari'a, then they will be considered as brothers of the same religion (Sura al-Tawba 9:11).
Muhammad tried to win the Jews for his Islam to get hold of their remarkable wealth. He told them in the name of Allah: I am with you if you observe prayer and pay the religious tax (zakat) and believe in my messengers and support them and lend Allah a good loan! Then I will take away (atone) your evil from you and guide you in the gardens of paradise (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:12).
Further on he asked the people of the book: They were not commanded, but to serve Allah, being faithful to him, according to their god-searching religion (hunafa' ) observe prayer and pay the religious tax. This is the acceptable religion (Sura al-Bayyina 98:5).
All believers and Jews together were asked: O you who believe! Kneel down and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good deeds, perhaps you will prosper! Fight in Allah the real fight. ... and observe prayer and pay the religious tax (zakat) and hold fast to Allah (Sura al-Hajj 22:77-78).
Reading these verses you will find that in Islam praying and paying is the saving solution for Muslims, sinners, enemies and Jews. Their worship and donations in Islam proofs the reality of their submission under Allah and Muhammad.
Prayer and Holy War
Muslims can read several times in their Qur'an about the command of Allah for world mission (Suras al-Baqara 2:139; al-Anfal 8:39; al-Fath 48:28; al-Saff 61:9). This outreach should be done not only in words and deeds but also with the weapon in their hands. Prayer and sword belong together in Islam. Muhammads followers had to undergo a brain washing. In Mecca they were a persecuted, meditating minority contemplating in prayer, suffering and tolerating mocking enemies (Sura al-Baqara 2:216). In Medina everything changed. Muhammad formed a fighting army out of them, which, after his death (632 A.D.), conquered a territory larger than Europe. How did this change from patient prayer partners into motivated warriors happen?
We can read in the Qur'an: Spend for the sake of Allah and do not scatter your wealth for (your own) destruction and do good (with your money). Surely, Allah loves those who do good (and spend a lot) (Sura al-Baqara 2:195). When you journey in the land, it shall be no sin for you to shorten the prayers, if you fear that those who disbelieve may give trouble to you.... When you are among them and lead the prayer, let a party of them stand with you and let them take their arms. When they have finished their prostrations let them go to your rear and let another party who has not yet prayed come forward and pray with you (Sura al-Nisa' 4:101-102).
In the Holy War praying is exceptionally allowed while sitting or lying, too (Sura al-Nisa' 4:103). O you who believe! If you meet a group (of the enemy) stand firm and remember Allah often, perhaps you will prosper (Sura al-Anfal 8:45). Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are hard against the unbelievers, but merciful among themselves. You see them kneeling and prostrating in prayer seeking a grace of Allah and his pleasure. They carry a mark on their foreheads as result of their prostrations ... (Sura al-Fath 48:29).
Reading these verse extracts and comparing them with the other statements about prayer in the Qur'an you can recognize that official prayer, frequent donations and fighting in the Holy War describe the main forces for the spread of Islam and the basis of the self-righteousness of the Muslims (Suras al-Baqara 2:177,195; Al 'Imran 3:92; al-Nisa' 4:95; al-Hajj 22:77-78; Fatir 35:29; al-Bayyina 98:5 among others).
The call to official prayer
Ten times a day the Muezzins call from their minarets, "Come to prayer! Come to success!" They promise success at school, in marriage and job to those who pray regularly. If many Muslims pray and pay their tax the Muslim country will have welfare. Above all, praying, giving donations and fighting brings victory for Islam and entrance into the eternal gardens (Suras al-Baqara 2:2-4; Al 'Imran 3:101; al-A'raf 7:8,156-157; Ibrahim 14:37; al-Mu'minun 23:1-11,102; Fatir 35:29 among others). In the liturgy units of the worship services the worshippers utter 17 times: "Allah listens to the one who praises him!" They hope their worship would be the key for their success in this life and in the world to come.
The Qur'an several times talks about triumph and great success even in future times when pious Muslims will enter the paradise gardens with rivers, fruits and Houris (virgins of paradise). This would be the reward for their prayers and donations, for their faith and their good deeds, for their fighting in battles and their dying in the Holy War (Suras al-Tawba 9:71-72; al-Dukhan 44:57; al-Jathiya 45:30; al-Saff 61:12; al-Taghabun 64:9; al-Buruj 85:11 among others). The Qur'an even remarks that the intercession of the living Christ will create success for the truthful among the followers (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:118-119). No Muslim, according to the Qur'an, however, will enter heaven but at the best, paradise with its various earthly joys and pleasures (Sura al-Jinn 72:8).
Unfortunately, Muhammad often limited his promises drastically by adding the word "perhaps" to it. After his demand to listen to the Qur'an, to pray, to pay and to obey he adds: "Perhaps you will then find mercy" (Suras al-A'raf 7:204; al-Nur 24:56 among others).
Whoever concentrates on Allah much, prays regularly during the week, and even at night and donates frequently, will "perhaps" have success (Suras al-Isra' 17:79; al-Hajj 22:77; al-Jumu'a 62:10 among others).
In Islam there is no certainty of the forgiveness of sins and no confident knowledge of salvation or a sure hope in an eternal life as the followers of Christ received it. Allah challenges his Muslims only to a vague empty hope.
Despite of this uncertainty, the Muslims ask Allah for guidance (Suras al-Fatiha 1:5-6; al-Baqara 2:2-5; Al 'Imran 3:101 among others), search for inner peace in worshipping the Exalted one (Sura al-Ma'arij 70:22), and hope that their prayers and donations would wipe out their evil deeds (Sura Hud 11:114)! During persecution they think to feel the closeness of Allah in prayer (Sura al-'Alaq 96:9-19) and wait for their rewards (Sura Ghafir 40:60). They try to overcome their fear of Allah and his judgement by prostrating themselves (Sura al-Hajj 22:35) and try to master their miseries and their worries by calling out individual prayers (Sura al-Sajda 32:16).
The Qur'an promises them that their prayers would cleanse their conscience and be added on their account in heaven if their prayers are accompanied by donations (Suras al-Ma'ida 5:6; al-Tawba 9:103; al-'Ankabut 29:45; Fatir 35:18; among others). They even flee to Allah for forgiveness of their debts and trespasses of the Islamic law without ever gaining an inner confidence of being justified (Suras al-Tawba 9:102; al-Qasas 28:67; al-Tahrim 66:8).
Islam is not a religion based on the all encompassing grace of a savior but tries to establish salvation by fulfilling the law. By prayers, donations and fighting the Muslims hope to gain the entrance into the eternal gardens (Suras Al 'Imran 3:136; al-Ma'ida 5:12; al-Tawba 9:20-22,88-89,111; al-Ra'd 13:22; al-Isra' 17:79; Maryam 19:34 al-Saff 61:10-12 among others).
What is missing in the Muslims' prayers?
Muhammad encouraged his disciples to think about what they pray because their daily 17 times repeated liturgy often ends up in thoughtless babbling. Free prayers with thoughtfulness and decisions of the own will do not appear in the official prayer services (Sura al-Baqara 2:177).
Who studies the liturgy of the worship services of Allah will find no intercession for Muslims, Jews, Christians or other people. Even relatives, friends or kinship are not mentioned in intercession except in the general blessing at the end of the worship liturgy.
The missing of intercession is connected with the Islamic conviction that sinners have no right to intercede for others or carry their burdens vicariously (Suras al-An'am 6:164; al-Isra' 17:15; Fatir 35:18; al-Zumar 39:7; al-Najm 53:38). After no Muslim can be sure of the forgiveness of his sins at the Day of Judgement, any regular intercession, according to Qur'an, is impossible. Each one has to establish his own salvation and carry his own penalty.
The unique right of Christians for intercession is not based on their own righteousness and love but on the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of all their sins through his expiatory death. Jesus Christ for his holiness, purity and sinlessness is, even according to the Qur'an, entitled to intercede, to die vicariously and to act as a high priest. But Muhammad, since he had to ask for the forgiving of his own sins, is not entitled to intercede for his followers or reconcile them with Allah (Suras Ghafir 40:55; Muhammad 47:19; al-Fath 48:2; al-Nasr 110:3). In Islam there exists no Holy Spirit as in the New Testament. Therefore, the love of God could not be poured into the hearts of the Muslims (Romans 5:5b). No spirit of intercession is driving them to intercede.
The opposite of intercessory prayers in Islam, however, are the cursing prayers of Muhammad in the Qur'an. In a formula of curse he asked Allah to fight all Christians and kill them as long as they confess Christ as the Son of God (Sura al-Tawba 9:30)! Muhammad "tested" the Bishop of Wadi Nadjran together with a delegation of 60 Christians and urged them to bring their sons and their wives and face a godly trial. Then, Muhammad with his Muslims and their sons and wives would line up opposite to them and pray that Allah may extinguish those who are liars and destroy them like the children of Korah (Sura Al 'Imran 3:61). Muslims do use prayers of curse in the Holy War as some of their individual sheiks use black magic against the enemies of Islam and against missionaries, too.
Into the category of negative prayers also belongs the commandment of Allah not to pray at the graves of non-believers (Sura al-Tawba 9:84). Muhammad even cursed the corpses of his dead enemies which he ordered to be thrown into a dirty well after the battle of Badr. Muslims do not love their enemies (Suras Al 'Imran 3:28; al-Nisa' 4:89; al-Anfal 8:72-73; al-Mumtahina 60:1 among others). Their worship services are sometimes connected to hatred. Prayer in Islam does not mean to forgive and to love all, but to magnify Allah hoping that he would bless the worshippers and grant them success.
Praying people from the Bible in the Qur'an
Muhammad has accepted some stories from the Bible into the Qur'an, however he changed them Islamically.
Allah in Qur'an would have commanded Moses, after he had appeared in the burning bush to practice the ritual prayers (of the Muslims) and to pay religious tax (Sura Ta Ha 20:12-14)! In the beginning, the Almighty had revealed himself as "Lord" to Moses but then confessed that in reality he is Allah and that there is no other God besides him. The mystery of the name of Jahweh remains hidden in Islam but the concept of Allah is put in the center. Also the law of Moses is mixed up with the commandments of the Shari'a (Sura Ta Ha 20:3-16).
All Israelites are challenged to keep their covenant with Allah, because he keeps his covenant with them. They should fear (not love) Allah, believe in the Qur'an who confirms the Torah, and should pursue the Islamic obligatory prayer, pay their religious tax and prostrate together with those kneeling in worship of Allah (Sura al-Baqara 2:40-43).
The priest Zechariah is mentioned in the Qur'an several times that he called for a good son and that the angels later on, during a worship service, revealed the answer of Allah to his request. In this event Muhammad connected the individual prayer (al-du'aa' ), with the official prayer (al-salaat) to show, that only in worshipping Allah one can expect an answer to his prayers (Sura Al 'Imran 3:38-39).
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is portrayed as an intensively praying woman in the Qur'an, never ceasing from the prayer corner of the temple day and night. Since she was praying always "in the right direction" the messenger of Allah is supposed to have provided her regularly with food. She testified, "Allah provides the daily needs to whom he wants, free of charge." This testimony in the context means that regular prayers guarantee the daily bread (Sura Al 'Imran 3:37).
Later "the angels" revealed to Mary that Allah had chosen, cleansed and appointed her for being the best of all women in this world and the next. She should be submissive to Allah, bow before him and kneel together with those who worship him. Muhammad venerated the virgin Mary in order to integrate the orthodox church into Islam. At the same time he introduced Mary as an example for all Muslim women presenting her as a faithful praying lady within the frame of the worship liturgy (Sura Al 'Imran 3:42-43).
"'Isa" is also reported of having responded to the urging request of his disciples and prayed to Allah for a full table from heaven for them. Allah immediately listened to the intercession of the son of Mary, which means that the Qur'an testifies to the privilege of Christ that he has the right to intercede for his followers with Allah (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:112-115). Christ, however, did not pray, according to the Qur'an, to Allah but to Elohim, in the Arabic form: Allahumma, because this name seemed to Muhammad to be the best key for a sure response of Allah.
Christ in the Qur'an, after his death, ascended to heaven. He is supposed of having interceded for his guilty followers in a dialogue with the Almighty. He asked him indirectly for forgiveness of their sins. Christ, according to Islam, lives with Allah! But Muhammad is dead! The high priestly function of Christ appears like a distorted shade in the Qur'an (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:116-119).
Basic differences between the prayers of a Muslim and those of a Christian!
A Muslim can not approach Allah like a child his father. The prayer of the Muslims is based on deep respect and fear of Allah. Prayer in Islam is not similar to a free conversation with the Father in heaven who is ready to listen day and night to his children. The five prayer times according to the Shari'a are a legal obligation with the prescribed word by word. The one who will fulfill this duty shall be honored in this and the next world. Who does not fulfill it will be separated from the blessing of the Almighty and eternally punished. The worship of Allah is the backbone of Islam and makes the submission of a Muslim under his Lord visible!
Muslims do not know the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, they even refuse his fatherhood! They pray in the wrong direction! They do not know their savior who has redeemed them! They neither confess their sins in the official prayer services nor in the Fatiha. They try to justify themselves through their prayers, donations and fighting. The Holy Spirit is strange to them. His deity is denied. Therefore the Spirit of the Father and the Son does not pray in them. In Islam there is no spiritual life. No divine love helps them to forgive their enemies as God forgave them.
Prayer in Islam means a stereotypical glorification of Allah without thanks for precise help, without cordial intercession and without impetuous praise songs. In the mosque there is hardly any singing, only before demonstrations or wars to encourage each other. Muslims do not know a reason for praise. A deep awe of the almighty Allah dominates their worship. A Gospel-based service, however, contains deep comprehensive joy and grants a certain hope for eternal life. The mercy of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit creates a different atmosphere than what you find in Islam. The comfort of a comforting God allows true repentance and frees us from all guilt by the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Even in the brokenness of our proud self we can be confident like David says in Psalm 51:12: Comfort me again with your help and equip me with a joyful spirit (Psalm 51:12).
Allah in Islam is not the true God! Muslims refuse the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a depressing atmosphere of collective bondage lies upon the worship services of the Muslims. The worshippers do not receive redemption nor a remaining peace.
Q U I Z
Dear reader! If you have studied this booklet carefully, you can easily answer the following questions. Whoever answers 90 percent of all questions in the different booklets of this series correctly, can obtain a certificate from our center on
As an encouragement for his/her future services for Christ. It will be appreciated if you include the Qur'anic references in your answers.
1. How often does a Muslim pray each day?
Every participant in this quiz is allowed to use any book at his disposition and to ask any trustworthy person known to him when answering these questions. We wait for your written answers including your full address on the papers or in your e-mail. We pray for you to Jesus, the living Lord, that He will call, send, guide, strengthen, protect and be with you every day of your life!
Yours in His service,
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