Meeting the Imam

I know that many of you look forward to hearing from our resident former Imam, and now faithful disciple of Jesus. For those of you new to this blog I will update you. I have multiple house churches in an urban refugee area in Kenya. In one of my house churches we have a Christian brother, a disciple that used to be an Imam in a country that is predominantly Muslim.

imageHe has a ministry where Muslims from all over the world email, text, and Skype with questions about Jesus, Islam, persecution, you name it. Many are sincerely seeking to understand Jesus and may even coming to Christ. They are counting the cost. Others, want clues to where my brother, Ibraham lives so they can kill him.

Some are new, former Muslims, now Christian believers, just asking questions. Antagonist are rude, and confrontational. Radicals, moderates, clerics, agnostics and intellectuals and sometimes folks like you and me connect with him for insight. Others just want to assure him they will find him and do him harm.
So once every few weeks I ask him to share a bit from one of his sessions. While he does dozens in a week sometimes, I asked him to share those that are commonly ask in an effort to understand more about Islam and the questions, arguments and doubts common with those that call.

I am a student during these sessions. I have learned that Westerners like to hear about them too. Please understand I am neither endorsing nor prepared to defend his positions. They are what they are. They are not my stories they are his. If you wanted them edited and all theologically acceptable to the West then go elsewhere. This is just my brother sharing a Q&A period. Even he might answer a question differently tomorrow than he did today. We are working to disciple  him and I am sure things that he says now may be things that he may say differently in a month or two. So just sit back, listen and enjoy.

A bit of a warning. If you come from a background of books like The Camel, where we are taught how to use the commonality of Islam with the OT or NT then you will not feel particularly comfortable. Count me in that group. I strive to balance speaking the truth of the fact that Islam is false and Muslims need to come to Jesus for complete surrender in order to be saved, while simultaneously using the fact that since they believe, that we believe in the same Creator God, we can start there as a conversation point, hoping to build a relationship that leads to faith.

Muslim men love to talk and debate their beliefs. With my brother Ibraham, there is no such thing going on in these sessions. It is sometimes brutal and always frank. He is as sweet as pie to the sincere seeker and he is like Jesus, clearing the temple to the belligerent and argumentative. Understand that since he is a former Imam he can just make fiat statements and they carry great weight with anyone with a Muslim background. That is because he has instant and permanent credibility due to the many years Imam’s spend studying the Quran.

I do not recommend this method to you. Most Westerners have their educations on Islam from dubious sources on the internet and frankly, it is embarrassing to hear them speak of Islam. Again, I just listen and enjoy. Hope you can do the same and maybe learn something. I always do.
Today’s topic was Adam and Eve. Now I could not imagine this being an issue. As some of you might know, Islam accepts the Old Testament and claims to believe in the same Creator God you, as a Christian, believe in. And on the surface this seems to be the case. As you dig deeper, specifically with the very educated in their faith, you will not find much in common.

The average “joe” Muslim would nod his head and say that we both believe many common things. The Imam? Not so much. This text and analysis will be a good example. Instead of just hearing about Adam and Eve as the title suggest, we see another agenda. So here we go.

Was Adam a Muslim?
Islam says that Adam was the first Muslim. My brother Ibriham is supposed to address this claim. First of all you see, even though Muslims claim to believe the OT and NT and other things we embrace, when you drill down they think we have corrupted everything and only they know the truth. So when you hear Adam and Eve you think of the garden, paradise the serpent, sin and banishment. Maybe the fall. They think, oh yeah, Adam, the first Muslim.
Trust me Ibriham has no intention of building a bridge to Islam. He smashes down walls and attacks deception. He points out that a Muslim prays towards Mecca, and observes all the five pillars of Islam and then he listed them all. He noted that not one time did the Creator God, instruct Adam in praying, towards Mecca nor any of the five pillars. On the contrary, Adam and God walked in the cool of the evening and simply spoke with God. And in His speaking did not instruct Adam in any tenant of Islam (Understand Ibrahim does NOT believe that Allah is the Creator God and does not like mixing the names. Neither do I).

At this point Ibraham spends about fifteen minutes explaining the five pillars of Islam. So Adam was not a Muslim, nor was he a Christian. A claim Muslims think that we make. This careful covering of the five pillars is important. Just as Paul and Stephen, in the NT recited commonly held beliefs and themes when speaking to Jews, such as Abraham’s calling, the giving of the Law through Moses, so to does my brother Ibraham, retell the five pillars of Islam quite often in sharing online and in public. It establishes his credentials. I suggest you learn them well if you intend on sharing with Muslims.
Then Ibraham points out that the Quran is wrong about Adam. In Surah 2:37 it says that Adam was told by God that he was wrong so Adam relented and God forgave him. Ibraham points out that God did not forgive him and thus put him out of the garden. Had God forgiven Adam, he would have stayed in the garden. Ibraham says the conversation turned a bit ugly here and he began to lecture/preach to the other people attending. Depending on who is online, sometimes several people at once, things can get crazy.

He begins to go in another direction at this point in the conversation. Instead of “was Adam the first Muslim” it went to three questions. What is Islam, How does a Muslim serve Allah and is Allah the Creator God. One might say that my former Imam is a bit like me in this regard. He agrees that most people are looking for answers and in the end they are asking the wrong questions. Here is where he takes the initiative.
What is Islam? Simply put, it is submission to Allah. My translator uses god here. A Muslim serves Allah by not doing wrong but by doing right then adds, giving peace to other Muslims by hand and by mouth. (Never heard that one). As this statement is made, all the former Muslims in the room slowly nod their heads. Obviously, this is a widely understood belief or phrase.
Then things get a bit sporty, as I like to say. The whole conversation up this point is related in a rather conversational tone. Now you can sense the tension building. We began to jump around the Quran. I can post all the verse if you want. The first was the verses where the Quran calls on Muslims to kill, behead, capture and enslave unbelievers until they submit, after each Muslim holiday. We go to the verses about beheading unbelievers. Then after this we jump to the bible.
Ibraham begins to read the Sermon on the Mount. Loving our enemies, being blessed in persecution, and turning the other cheek. He stops abruptly and quotes Exodus 14:14 where God says to stand still and He will fight for us. Then to John 8:44-48. The devil is a liar and a murderer. Then to John 10:7-10 where Jesus comes to give life, but the thief to kill, steal and destroy. He quotes from memory as I look up each verse In the Quran and the bible.

Then he stops and does something that is becoming more common here. He begins to play a video as he has the translator convert it from Arabic to English. The audio goes on and on about doing the will of Allah and then the picture abruptly swings right and we see a man. The speaker tells us he is a Christian evangelist. I don’t know his name and it is not mentioned. And within a few seconds they denounce this man for misleading Muslim and brutally hack his head off.

I am getting very tired of people showing me these videos. The second in a week. They have been around a long time on the internet but for some reason they are being displayed often here in Kenya now. Just last week I was shown one that happened right up country here in Kenya near the Somali border. Beheadings by the Al Shabbat group. I am curious as to whether this was shown online during the phone call/Skype meeting or if he is just using it in our meeting. I forgot to ask.

He jumps back to the Quran quoting a verse where Muslims are allowed to plunder and steal from non-believers. So he concludes that Allah is not the Creator God, but is the Devil, who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Adam is not a Muslim as he was taught nothing from the Creator God about the five pillars of Islam. Then he begins to ramble on to me about Muslims and particularly Osama Bin Laden saying that he did not destroy the twin towers in New York, but was glad they were destroyed as Osama believed that it allowed Muslims to kill Christians. I assumed another reference to Allah wanting to kill and destroy.

Well that is it. My brother frequently ends his sessions with Muslims from all over the world, by telling them that Allah is the devil and that Islam is the devil’s religion. He is not very politically correct. I will tell you in all my many hours spent with former Muslims that the violence of Islam is a major driver in Muslims looking for answers elsewhere. We certainly do not want anyone to suffer at the hands of Islam. But be aware that as Islam becomes more and more radicalized that more and more Muslims know that something is terribly wrong with Islam. They too draw back in terror. Yes, I know the media only shows crowds rejoicing at the horrors. But I speak with many Muslims and they are appalled at the violence of the radicals.

You know Paul says in Romans that God has revealed Himself in nature and that man knows there is a God and his conscience can inform him of God, and right and wrong, like in Romans 2:15. Even the lost know some things intuitively, per the image of God residing in all of mankind.

This is at work in all men. I see it in Muslims. No matter what Islam teaches, they know these things are wrong. I notice that my Imam does not belabor these points. He constantly simply answers question from both the bible and the Quran and then routinely reverts to pointing out the loving commands of Christ and juxtaposes them with the cries for violence from Islam. He then does not argue. He merely states these two facts at the end of almost every reenactment of his sessions.

If I may reduce the message to its most basic point, God is good, Allah is evil. Jesus is the way, Allah is the devil. Allah is not the Creator God. As one might expect many sessions end with death threats and people hanging up and signing off. Promises of retribution.

Well that was the end of that session. We talked more about other topics concerning sacrifices in Islam and Halal meat preparation. I will have another post about that soon. Thank you for joining in. Sorry it was long. The meeting took four hours as it went from Somali, and Arabic, to Ethiopian and then to English. That is what happens when you have people in your house churches from three to five countries in one meeting. Kenya, America, Eretria, Ethiopia and Somalia.

We could have had the Sudan represented, but they could not make it. Pray for us as we love, pray for and reach out to peoples trapped in the deception of Islam and strive to make Kingdom disciples among the Muslims.
I personally have a great burden for the people of Islam but little knowledge. While I spend hours with them each week, both Christian former Muslims and those still in Islam, I am very much a student taking baby steps in learning about how to love and reach them. I need the leading of the Holy Spirit and the gift of discernment in my life in a very real and mighty way. I covet your prayers.

About the Author