Required Ritual of Islam: Zakat

2016 Ramadan GraphicThe last three pillars of Islam are zakat, hajj and the fast of Ramadan. We explained Ramadan on day one of our prayer series so today we will examine zakat.

Zakat (almsgiving) is one of the five pillars of Islam and therefore required for all Muslims. Zakat is the systematic giving of 2.5% of one’s wealth each year to benefit the poor.

Zakat is based on the “wealth” of a Muslim, not income. For instance the Zakat calculator for the Zakat Foundation of America helps to calculate the amount a Muslim should give by requesting their cash on hand in bank accounts, money loaned to others, expected tax refunds, the value of gold, silver and other precious items, stocks, bonds, IRA’s, and business assets.

There is a minimum wealth threshold called nisab. Islamic Relief Worldwide states that today there are two measures of nisab either the price of gold (3 ounces) or silver (21 ounces). The nisab threshold varies depending on the current market value. This year the nisab is approximately $3,731 by using the gold measurement and $304 by using the silver measurement. There are arguments between Muslim scholars as to which measurement should be used.

Muslims believe that neglecting to give zakat can result in damnation, and is a sign of hypocrisy. Charity in Islam is different than in the western world. In Christianity charity means to give to someone in need. In Islam, it can go to the poor, but it also can go to fund jihad.

The Qur’an, Sura 9:60, gives eight categories for the distribution of zakat. These categories include the poor, those short of money, zakat workers, those who hearts are to be reconciled, slaves purchasing their freedom, those in debt, those fighting for Allah and travelers needing money.  Those fighting for Allah are to be given enough “to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent.” Islamic law scholars also indicate that zakat should also be given to support the families during the time the fighter is away.

The Islamic State announced they would collect zakat from areas they controlled. Financial Times relates an incident of zakat collection by ISIS:

Mansour, a 26-year-old grocery storekeeper in eastern Syria, stalled payment while he tried to cook his books.

A week later, four ISIS officials stormed into his shop, ordered him outside, and tallied the bill themselves — to his dismay they based their calculation on the retail price of his stock. There were no price tags on the tinned beef, so one tax collector rode around town on his motorbike comparing canned beef prices in other stores.

Five hours later, the audit was complete. The bill: 32,500 Syrian lira (about $108).

“They told me, ‘You liar … How will victory be achieved if you’re not paying zakat?’”

Intelligence sources say zakat is a part of the way the Islamic State keeps its economy going. Since zakat can be used for those fighting in jihad, the Islamic State uses it to fund the salaries of its jihadis and finance services such as street cleaning and bread subsidies. The Financial Times estimates ISIS collected over $20 million of zakat on grain and cotton.

Western nations do not realize that one-eighth of the contributions of zakat, according to the Qur’an, is to support the active cause of Islam and used to support jihad.

Prayer Points:

Ask God to expose to Muslims the fact that some of the funding they expect is going to help the poor is actually (according to their leaders) assisting to fund jihad.

Jihad Through Migration


2016 Ramadan GraphicJihad, the muscle of political Islam, takes various forms including jihad through migration. Muhammad set the perfect example of jihad through migration when he migrated from Mecca to the city of Yathrib (now known as Medina) in 622 AD. This migration is known as the hijra.

Muhammad moved with the intention of setting up a new base of operations in Medina. He did not assimilate into the host city, but rather eventually took it over. Likewise the goal of Islamists migrating into Western nations is not to peacefully assimilate into the host nation, but rather it is jihad by non-violent means by gradually taking over the host nation.

Dr. Sam Solomon and E Al Maqdisi wrote in their book, Modern Day Trojan Horse: The Islamic Doctrine of Immigration that “Muhammad’s Hijra…is considered to be notably the most important Islamic event and is exemplified by the fact that the Islamic calendar starts with that event.” Hijra changed the status of Muhammad’s followers and the religion, transforming the followers from a small weak group to a powerful political entity. Hijra spread Muhammad’s teachings outside of Mecca and transformed the religion in a socio-religious and socio-political system.

Hijra became an example by Muhammad and as such must be imitated by Muslims as a religious obligation for the advancement of Islam. Libyan dictator from 1969 to 2011, Moammar Khadafi said, “We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”

According to the BBC, more than a million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015. The majority of those applying for asylum in the EU were from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Germany had the highest number of new asylum applications with more than 476,000 in 2015. Hungary was second with 177,130 asylum applications. The EU along with non-EU members, Norway and Switzerland had 1,321,560 asylum claims.

According to Douglas Murray of the Gatestone Institute, most of the migrants coming into Europe in the last year are not refugees fleeing from war zones. Frans Timmermans, European Commission VP, said, “More than half of the people now coming to Europe come from countries where you can assume they have no reason whatsoever to ask for refugee status…more than half, 60 percent.” The vast majority of the people coming into Europe are young males.

This influx has brought an increase of violent sexual assaults on women. Gatestone Institute’s Ingrid Carlqvist reports that Sweden now has one of the highest numbers of reported rapes, more than 55 no-go zones where police and ambulances get stoned and shari’a law is more important than Swedish law. In Austria, a 20-year-old asylum seeker from Iraq blamed a “sexual emergency” from having “excess sexual energy” for raping a 10-year-old boy at a public swimming pool in Vienna. Three Afghan asylum seekers brutally gang-raped a woman in a public restroom at a train station in Vienna. Migrants from Afghanistan and North Africa have overrun the area around the train station. In 2015 police were sent to the area an average of 17 times a day. According to data by the Austrian Interior Ministry nearly one of out three asylum seekers in Vienna committed crimes in 2015. Similar reports regarding young male asylum seekers can be found in other European countries.

Prayer Point:

There are displaced refugees with real, essential needs of security, shelter, water, food and medical care. However, there are others who have the wrong intent and do not desire to assimilate into their new nation, rather they cause great conflict.

  • Pray that governments will be given the ability to discern good from evil and move with God’s wisdom for each individual life.
  • Ask the Lord to give each refugee a hunger for truth and a revelation of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jihad – The Muscle of Political Islam

2016 Ramadan GraphicThe political side of Islam seeks to control kafirs (non-Muslims). 51% of the trilogy of Islamic texts (Qur’an, Sira, and Hadith) deal with the kafir making the system of Islam more political than religious. Jihad is the technique Islam uses for accomplishing its political goals.

Jihad can mean, “an individual’s striving for spiritual self-perfection or a Muslim holy war or spiritual struggle against infidels.” Islam recognizes two types of jihad – the lesser and greater jihads. The greater jihad is the soul’s struggle with evil – basically striving to become a better person. The lesser jihad is about holy war. Interestingly only about 3% of the Bukhari Hadith is about the greater jihad, the remaining 97% is about the lesser jihad or holy war. In fact, jihad is mentioned over 200 times in this particular hadith.

Bat Ye’or, author of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, said, “[the jihad] is the normal and permanent state of war between the Muslims and the [infidels], a war that can only end with the final domination over unbelievers and the absolute supremacy of Islam throughout the world.”

The Qur’an and other texts teach that Islam is the perfect political system and is destined to rule the entire world. All other governments and systems must submit to Islam. If they do not submit then jihad can be used.  Since Muslims consider refusing to submit to Islam an offense against Allah, all jihad is defensive, allowing Islam to portray itself as a victim.

Although many westerners may think of terror attacks when they think of jihad, jihad actually takes various and less identifiable forms such as jihad through the pen, jihad through the mouth, jihad through charity, jihad through marriage, jihad through immigration and even jihad through interfaith meetings. Jihad uses every aspect of civilization as a war machine. Military force and terror are actually are the smallest components in jihad.

Violent jihad has brought about the deaths of roughly 270 million of people in Islam’s 1400-year history. It is estimated that through Jihad – Islam has killed 120 million Africans, 60 million Christians, 80 million Hindus, and 10 million Buddhists.

Prayer Points:

Pray for the leaders of your nation (government, church, education, media, etc.) – that they will have a more clear and truthful understanding of Islamic jihad and have God’s wisdom to recognize it in their midst, and take a godly stand for truth.

Pray that Muslims will begin to question why their religion must use jihad in order to advance, and pray God will soften their hearts and give the opportunity to hear the message of the gospel of Christ.


Speak Truth in Love

2016 Ramadan GraphicIn an attempt to debunk the statement, “Islam teaches Muslims to kill Christians and Jews,” a popular Christian website states, “There is not a single command in the Qur’an for Muslims to go out and kill Christians or Jews.”

Unless the author of the article on the Christian website believes you can have a war without any casualties, this statement is misleading because it ignores passages in the Qur’an such as sura 9:29 which says, “Make war on those who have received the Scriptures [Jews and Christians] but do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden. The Christians and Jews do not follow the religion of truth until they submit and pay the poll tax [jizya] and they are humiliated.”

The Reliance of the Traveller, a classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law, is a foundational theological manual. Al-Azhar University, known as Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university, certifies that the Reliance of the Traveller “conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community” (Reliance, p. xx).

The manual explains sura 9:29: “The Caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax Jizya…– while remaining in their ancestral religions (and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax in accordance with the word of Allah Most High” (Reliance o9.8, p. 602).

As ISIS captured Christian areas in Iraq and Syria, residents were forced to “convert or die.” In a few areas, Christians were given the opportunity to pay the poll tax, however ISIS leaders increased the amount of the tax to an amount that made it impossible to pay so many Christians were forced to flee their homes. In October 2015, Assyrian Christian business owners living in Sweden found the “convert or die” message on the walls of their businesses. The graffiti also included the message: “The Caliphate is here,” along with the ISIS logo. It is reported that the Swedish city of Gothenburg where the graffiti was found has had at least 150 people leave the city to join ISIS.

Recent history demonstrates widespread persecution against Christians. has a list of targeted acts of terrorism on Christians by Muslims since September 11, 2001. In the last five years (since January 1, 2011) there have been 7,420 Christians killed and another 7,754 injured in jihadi attacks. This list is of those that have been identified specifically as Christians and according to the website, it is not a complete account of Islamic terror attacks on Christians since much of the violence against Christians goes unreported, and often the victims of Islamic terror are not identified as Christians.

Overall during the same five-year time period there have been 14,203 Islamic terror attacks in which 107,857 people have been killed and 132,433 injured.Speak Truth in Love

Christians should be aware of the teachings of Islam – not to invoke fear, but to understand why Islamists feel compelled to conquer other religions. Love for Muslims comes from God’s heart to Christians. To misrepresent the teachings of Islam denies truth.

Prayer Point:

The word of God tells us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Pray that Christians will be informed regarding their own faith and be able to speak the truth about Islam to receptive hearts.

Western “Cheerleaders” of Jihad

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day 24NBC News reported more than 160,000 people including over 8,000 children have been killed in the three-year civil war in Syria. The figure from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights includes civilians, members of the Syrian military, foreign fighters and rebels. An estimated 9 million Syrians have left their homes since the war began in March of 2011. Of those, 2.5 million have fled to neighboring nations, and the other 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.

The conflict in Syria is recognized as the most “socially mediated civil conflict in history.” Few journalists have had direct access to battles within Syria in part because the nation was considered “the most dangerous place in the world for journalists” in 2013. Most television media has relied heavily on YouTube videos and citizen journalists to report what is happening. According to the United States Institute of Peace, “An exceptional amount of what the outside world knows – or thinks it knows – about Syria’s nearly three-year-old conflict has come from videos, analysis, and commentary circulated through social networks.”

A team of researchers from the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) created a database containing the social media profiles of 190 Western and European foreign fighters that have joined Syrian rebel groups. More than 2/3 of these foreign fighters are affiliated with either Jabhat al-Nusrah or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – both groups which were at one point connected to al-Qaeda.

By studying the social media profiles of these fighters, the Center discovered a large number of the foreign fighters did not receive their information about the Syrian conflict through official channels of the fighting groups, but rather through individuals who are not affiliated with any of the terror groups.

These individuals, sympathetic to the rebel cause, are primarily based in the West and have most likely never been to Syria, however through social media they control significant influence over how the conflict is perceived. They encourage, justify and give religious legitimacy for their social media followers to fight in the conflict – basically serving as jihadist “cheerleaders.” Through social media they have become new spiritual authorities to whom Western and European foreign fighters are looking to for guidance and inspiration. The most prominent social media spiritual authorities are American-based cleric Ahmad Musa Jibril and Australian cleric Musa Cerantonio.Ahmad Musa Jibril

Jibril was born in Dearborn, Michigan in 1972. He enrolled at the Islamic University in Medina, Saudi Arabia graduating with a degree in sharia (Islamic law), and completed his advanced law degrees at a Michigan law school. In 2004, he was convicted on a string of federal offenses. A memorandum produced in the case revealed he was running a radical website that “contained a library of fanatically anti-American sermons by militant Islamic clerics, in English and in Arabic. Prior to his arrest, Jibril was banned from two mosques because of his radical views. He was incarcerated in a federal prison until March of 2012.

Jibril does not openly promote violence or encourage his followers to join the Syrian jihad, but he supports the principles of armed conflict against Assad. Much of his popularity is from Twitter and YouTube where there are videos of him delivering impassioned lectures on many topics including the situation in Syria. He does not openly support ISIS, however British ISIS fighters have reported watching the cleric’s lecture series before joining the jihad. His Facebook page has over 218,000 likes, and 55.6% of the “likes” and follows are from members of the terrorist group, ISIS.

Jibril often interacts with his followers on Twitter, which helps him generate a much higher following. For instance, after the death of a foreign fighter in Syria, Jibril sent a condolence message on Twitter to the jihadist’s brother. The brother uploaded the message to his public timeline, which was then retweeted multiple times. This type of interaction demonstrates to Jibril’s followers that he is more than just a religious leader, he also provides friendship and comfort to those fighting in Syria.

Tomorrow we will look at Australian Musa Cerantonio, and his influence with Westerners engaging in jihad. Prayer points for both of the articles will be in tomorrow’s post.

Western Jihadists

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day - 23It is not a new phenomenon for Muslims in the West to travel to areas around the world to engage in jihad, however with the ongoing war in Syria and the recent announcement of the formation of a new caliphate by the terror group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the practice is becoming more prevalent.

Gatestone Institute reports that there are now at “least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other such groups than there are fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.”

A California man was arrested on July 2 before he could board a flight to Turkey where he eventually planned to go to Syria to fight with ISIS. The young man, Adam Dandach, also known as Fadi Fadi Dandach, graduated from an American high school only two years ago. He told investigators, “he would assist ISIS with anything that ISIS asked him to do, and that he believed the killing of U.S. soldiers are justified killings.” When his mother learned that he planned to travel to the Middle East, she hid his passport. He was arrested for lying on an application for a replacement passport. He claims he was more disappointed that he did not get to go to Syria to join the jihad than he was that he was arrested.

New Zealander, Mark John Taylor, burnt his New Zealand passport and claims to have already been involved in fighting for the rebels in Syria. His Facebook page displays his burnt New Zealand passport and declares that he is on a “one-way trip,” declaring his intentions to die as a soldier of Mark Taylor - New Zealand JihadistAllah.

As of December 2013, the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) estimated that up to 11,000 fighters from 74 nations had gone to Syria to fight. Over one quarter of these fighters are from Western countries, mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Belgium. Although not as numerous, Australians, Canadians, and U.S. citizens have also joined the fighting.

Those joining with the jihadis are not limited to young men. Sabina Selimovic, 15, and Samra Kesinovic, 16 disappeared from their homes in Austria in April. At first it was believed that the young girls had also gone to fight in the conflict in Syria. However, it was later discovered the girls were not in Syria, but most likely in Turkey. School friends confirmed the girls had become radicalized after attending a local mosque in Vienna. Police believe that whoever helped them leave the country is manipulating their social media accounts to “turn them into pin-up girls for the call to join the civil war.”

Perhaps they were the inspiration for British twin girls, aged 16 that left their Manchester homes to travel to Syria to become jihadi brides. The girls, Salma and Zahra Halane, were among the top twenty students at their school. It is believed they may have followed their older brother who joined ISIS. The family, originally from Somalia have said they are “absolutely devastated.” It is believed the two girls and their older brother may have been radicalized over Internet forums.

Earlier this month, around 100 Muslim leaders from different Islamic theological backgrounds launched an appeal to young would-be British jihadists: “Don’t’ travel to fight in Syria and Iraq.” This call came as claims emerged that as many as three Al Qaeda instructors tutored by a master bomb-maker are believed to have gone to Syria to teach British and other Western jihadists how to make “stealth bombs.”

Frank Gaffney from the Center for Security Policy said, “What they learn there are the skill sets to bring the violence to us.”

Prayer Points:

Pray that radical terrorist teachings in mosques and through the Internet will be discovered and stopped by the authorities and appropriate leaders.

For Muslim families with children who are leaning toward becoming radicalized, ask God to intervene and give the parents His wisdom and strength in dealing with their particular situation in their family – stopping the flow of these young people into a life of jihad.

In many Western nations, the Muslim population is rapidly increasing yet they are not integrating into the Western society. Pray that Western Christians will not be fearful or allow the threat of terrorism to keep them from reaching out to Muslims in their nation and in their local community. Pray they will realize that Muslims are not the enemy, they are treasured by God and are His prize. Ask God to stir their hearts and reveal His unconditional love for them.