Why should Christians study Islam?

by Matt Slick

Why study Islam?  Why is Islam as a religion important?  Are we as Christians obligated to study something we disagree with and that even contradicts the Bible?  Or, should we not worry about it and let God deal with Muslims?

Whether you like it or not, Islam is a world force. One in every five people on the planet follows the teachings of Muhammad and what he taught will eventually affect you personally, if it hasn't already. Islam as a religion, is important just as are Hinduism and Buddhism because religions with millions upon millions of adherents, exert an influence in the world. but Islam is not only a religion. It is a way of life, a way of practice in education, diet, government, and society.  It necessarily supplants all religious and governmental systems with the goal of replacing them with sharia, the law of Islam. It has been dominating world news with its adherence attacking civilians, beheading people, and the use of suicide bombers.

Islam, we have been told by many Muslims, is a religion of peace and that certain radical factions within it are misusing the Quran to justify killing people.  Whatever you may believe about that, the news headlines are increasingly containing reports of Muslims causing injury, death, and mayhem.

We as Christians are obligated to know the truth. It is not sufficient to bury our heads in the sand and hope Islam goes away. Studying Islam is worth your time because Muslims need to hear the gospel.

Following are four basic reasons we should study Islam.

  1. It is biblical to study Islam
  2. Islam teaches world domination
  3. By studying Islam we can be better able to reach them for the gospel.
  4. Islamic population statistics and what it means to us

It is biblical to study Islam

Paul quoted pagans in the New Testament. He did not quote them for the purpose of supporting their messages. They were not inspired. But he used a quote here and there to make his point in defense of the truth of the Christian faith.  In order for Paul to have done this, he would have had to study their teachings. He did. That is why he quoted Epimenides and Aratus in the book of Acts, Menander in 1 Corinthians, and Epimenides in the book of Titus.

  • Acts 17:28, "for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.'"
    • "The first part of verse 28 comes from Cretica by Epimenides, and the second part of the verse from Hymn to Zeus, written by the Cilician poet Aratus. To be sure, both of these lines were directed at Zeus in Greek literature, but Paul applied them to the Creator of whom he spoke."(Gangel, Kenneth O. Acts. Vol. 5. Holman New Testament Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33, "Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.'”
    • "a current saying, forming a verse in MENANDER, the comic poet, who probably took it from Euripides [SOCRATES, Ecclesiastical History, 3.16]."(
  • Titus 1:12, "One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
    • "Epimenides of Phaestus, or Gnossus, in Crete, about 600. He was sent to purify Athens from its pollution occasioned by Cylon. He was regarded as a diviner and prophet. The words here are taken probably from his treatise “concerning oracles.” Paul also quotes from two other heathen writers, ARATUS (Ac 17:28) and MENANDER (1 Co 15:33), but he does not honor them so far as even to mention their names.(Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.

So as you can see, even Paul the apostle knew the teachings of non-Christians and quoted them for the furtherance of the gospel message.

Islam teaches world domination

  1. Surah 9:33, "It is He Who hath sent His Apostle with guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it)."
  2. Surah 48:28, "It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness."
  3. Surah 61:9, "It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it)."
  4. Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah 's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)"  (Book #52, Hadith #196)

Since Islam teaches that all religions, all cultures, and all governments need to be subject to the Quran, then it is absolutely necessary to be aware of this very thing that would seek to destroy Christianity. Not many people realize that Islam teaches sharia which is a complete set of rules and regulations for religious practices, education, judicial systems, social structures, etc. Therefore, when Islam gains power in a culture, it replaces everything else. In those countries where Islam is in control and Christians are the minority, they are often persecuted heavily. So, is imperative that we Christians learn what Islam teaches.  See Islam population statistics and violence below for more on this.

By studying Islam we can be better reach Muslims with the Gospel

In Islam, there is no atoning sacrifice, no way to be cleansed of sins. They are without the Gospel. Their salvation in Islam is based on works.  Here are several verses from the Quran that show this. 

  1. Surah 5:9, “To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward.”
  2. Surah 11:11, "Not so do those who show patience and constancy, and work righteousness; for them is forgiveness (of sins) and a great reward.."
  3. Surah 23:102-103, “Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy - they will attain salvation: 103 But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide.”
  4. Surah 21:47, “We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least, and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account.”

As you can see from what the Quran teaches, salvation is out of reach for muslims because they must hold to works. We know from Scripture that salvation is by faith without works.

  • Romans 3:28, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."
  • Romans 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."
  • Romans 5:1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

If you know what Islam teaches about salvation, then you can preach the gospel of forgiveness that is guaranteed in the work of Christ. Muslims have no real hope of salvation unless, unfortunately, they die in Jihad which is doing battle against the non-Muslims.

They need the Gospel the same as anyone. So, by studying Islam and knowing that it teaches works righteousness, you can better reach them with the free gift of salvation that is found in the person of Jesus.

Islamic population statistics and violence

Unfortunately, the statistics show that when the population of Muslims increases in a society, so does the rate of violence. We should study Islam because as it grows in our countries, we can expect an increase in violent acts and this affects us all.

  • 1% to 2% they are peaceful 
  • 5%, heavy proselytizing to gain converts
  • 5% - 19%, Push for halal food, pressure businesses to comply.
  • 10%, increased lawlessness to ensure their demands
  • 20%, rioting, sporadic killings, burning of Christian Churches and Jewish Synagogues
  • 40%, Chronic terror attacks
  • 60%, persecution of non-Muslims, sporadic ethnic cleansing, Sharia Law, tax upon infidels.
  • 80%, Daily intimidation, violence, state run ethnic cleansing, genocide with aim of 100% Islamic nation.
  • (adapted from http://www.examiner.com/article/as-muslim-population-grows-what-can-happen-to-a-society

Conclusion

I've shown you four basic reasons why we should study Islam. But the most important one is that through studying it we might be better able to reach those lost in the false teaching of Islam. Muslims are victims of a bad religion. Millions are brought up in it and have been brainwashed into thinking that it is the true religion from God. But, it is not the true religion. It is false and they have no hope of salvation because they reject who Jesus really is and what he did on the cross. They need The Gospel and we Christians are the ones who can present it to them. The unbelievers won't do it. It has to be us. It's up to us as Christians to study not only Islam, but other religious systems, too.  And, of course, we need to study the Bible so that we might be better able to offer the saving message of the free grace found in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.