Few western Christians grasp a basic understanding of Islam. Many presume the Qur’an is the “bible” of Islam, however if all a Muslim possessed was a Qur’an, he could not practice his religion. The Qur’an is considered the actual words of Allah as dictated to Muhammad. It contains 114 suras or chapters, which are not in chronological order but roughly arranged from the longest to the shortest. It is actually the “Sunna” that governs a Muslim’s life more than the Qur’an. Sunna is defined as “the body of Islamic custom and practice based on Muhammad’s words or deeds.” The Sunna is made up of the Sira (Muhammad’s biography) and the Hadith, a collection of stories and traditions of Muhammad’s life.
It is the trilogy of texts, the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Sira that make up the “bible” of Islam. PoliticalIslam.com reveals that based on the size of the texts in the Islamic trilogy, the Qur’an makes up 14% of Islam, the Sira 26% and the Hadith 60% which means Islam is actually 14% about Allah (in the Qur’an) and 86% about Muhammad. The Qur’an says around 90 times that Muhammad is the perfect Muslim so in order to properly practice Islam, a Muslim worships Allah as Muhammad worshipped Allah. For those truly seeking an understanding of Islam, one needs to only look to Muhammad as the perfect example.
For example, examine the Hijra of Muhammad – the migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. Muhammad arrived in Medina with approximately 150 followers, but by the end of Muhammad’s life the number of Islamic followers had increased to nearly 100,000. Once Muhammad had moved to Medina, the nature of his revelations changed dramatically. The early Qur’an written in Mecca is considered peaceful. “There’s no compulsion in religion” (Sura 2:256) and “Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion” (Sura 109:6). But when Muhammad migrated to Medina the message became much more militant. “I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite their necks and smite of them each finger. That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger” (Sura 8:12-13).
In Islam there is a doctrine of abrogation. This means that the later passages that Muhammad received in Medina take precedence over the Mecca passages. In a way the later revelation supersedes the previous one, however that does not mean the earlier verse is incorrect. Because the Qur’an is considered the actual words of Allah and Allah cannot be wrong, the early Mecca revelations cannot be wrong. So when a Muslim states that Islam is a religion of peace, he can also fully believe that it is okay to “smite” the necks of disbelievers.
Pray that Muslims will be quickened to realize that the vast majority of their teachings do not come from the Qur’an itself – and pray they will explore the life of Muhammad and his words and deeds.
Ask God to give them a “holy dissatisfaction” with what they are reading and long for their own revelation of the true Word of God.