MCLEAN, Va. – The son of a devout Islamic leader who converted to Christianity in 1982 listed ten points he believes everyone should know about Islam in order to better understand who Muslims are and how to reach them.
Emir Caner, who is now dean of The College at Southwestern in Fort Worth, Texas, spoke to a crowd of evangelical Christians at McLean Bible Church recently during an apologetics conference attended by some 1,400 people.
The first point he emphasized was that Allah and Jehovah are not the same God. Caner said that if one did not believe in Jesus as the living God then it is impossible to say they are the same God. However, Christians must be clear that Muslims believe in Jesus, although not the same exact Jesus of the Bible, and be direct and unabashed about their faith when they witness to Muslims, referencing the account of Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18.
Caner clarified that although Jesus is acknowledged in the Koran, Islam has a low views of Jesus. Jesus is portrayed as only human, not as the savior. Also, Jesus according to Islam never died on the cross but was replaced by someone before he was crucified.
“They want to demonstrate the absolute, overarching emphasis of Jesus – He is only human,” said Caner after referring to a passage in the Koran about Jesus’ birth. “He is not God. He is not the redeemer. He is not Savior. He is not Lord. He is a messenger, a prophet – virgin-born, mind you.”
The former Muslim, who was disowned by his father when he converted, pointed out that Islam is the most work-based religion in the world. He explains that even if a Muslim worked hard to do good deeds, he can only “hope” that Allah will like him and allow him to go to paradise when he dies - but there are no guarantees.
“If you are good enough and Allah wants you then you go to paradise,” said Caner. “Here is the question – what about all the bad things that happened in your life? You see the Muslims believe that you and I have cheap faith, that somehow we just say ‘Jesus is savior’ and we go about it in our lives like nothing happened.”
“[However], it is only Christianity that understands that every sin must be atoned for…either by the person himself or by Jesus Christ on the cross.”
The last point Caner made was many Muslims are coming to Christ and the number one reason why is because of eternal security. He explained that in Islam, even though a person strives to do good and please Allah, there is no guarantee. Also Muslims are attracted by the unconditional love and intimacy with God offered in Christianity.
“Hear me very carefully – the more you have to work for your salvation, the more hopeless you are,” said the former Muslim.
Summary of the “10 Things Everyone Needs to Know about Islam”:
1. Allah and Jehovah are NOT the same God
2. Jihad, or holy war, is prescribed in the Koran and Hadith
3. There are specific protocols in Islam (e.g. women are not to go to Jihad)
4. Islam does not believe in religious freedom
5. Islam has a lower view of woman than Christianity
6. Islam has a low view of Jesus
7. Islam has a low view of the Bible
8. Islam is the most work-based religion in the world
9. Islam is divided among denominations
10. Many Muslims are coming to faith in Christ