When anyone makes a post on FB, there is a question in the box which asks, “What’s on your mind?” The following has been on my mind for sometime but may not be received well by some folks. However, it is something I have considered for several years. Since September 11, 2001 thoughts have entered my mind about why radical Islamic terrorists would want to conquer the world. Where did Mohammed get the idea that all people on earth should convert to Islam and kill all infidels / unbelievers? Several months ago, I told my sister and brother-in-law my reasoning and a possible answer to that question.
Back in the latter 70’s I took several courses at a local community college in North Carolina where I lived; courses such as “Religion in Modern Society” - “Old Testament” – “New Testament” and “Religions of the World” along with other courses such as trigonometry, psychology, golf, etc. One of the final requirements of each course concerning religion was to write a summary about the course and what was learned. Those papers were kept through the years and were found in a box a few weeks ago. Written in one of those papers was found a possible answer to the question above concerning Mohammed and Islam. Below are four excerpts of what was written nearly 40 years ago, the details of which I had not remembered until those papers were found.
- Mohammed was born and raised in the city of Mecca. . . . a prosperous trade center & peoples of many different customs & traditions . . . . It was also the site of many of the pagan Arab tribes [&] shrines. [Mohammed] had the opportunity to observe . . . religious practices of the pagans as well as the Jews and Christians. He came to dislike the idol worship of the Arabs and [developed] a great admiration for the one God concept of the Jews and Christians.
- Mohammed insisted that he was not divine – but just a prophet or spokesman for the one God, Allah.
- The merchants of Mecca were outraged at [Mohammed’s teaching]. . . . it began to hurt the trade because Mohammed spoke against idol worship & paganism. All the while promoting Allah. [Similar reaction to Paul by Demetrius and the silversmiths as outlined in Acts 19:23-28.]
- . . . Mohammed became not only a religious leader but also a great political leader. He was a firm but fair leader, with a proper combination of justice and mercy
Note: The word Allah is very similar to the Hebrew word, אלהּ, transliterated to English as Eloah, the singular form of what we call God; the plural form being אלהים, transliterated as Elohim, the Hebrew word used the vast majority of the time for the term God in the Old Testament (OT). Since there are no vowels in Hebrew as in English, vowel sounds may become subject to cultural tradition, language enunciation and spelling such as the Islamic name Yusef, the Hebrew name Yosef and the English name Joseph. Could Mohammed have used the writings of the OT to base his teaching?
[As an interesting comparison about Yusef in the Qur’an and Yosef in the OT, check out the following link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_in_Islam ]
However, what about all the killings by radical Islamic terrorists? Where and how did they get this idea? I have been asked the following question many times through the years by my two sons, ‘How and/or why does a supposed loving God condemn so many people to death because they don’t understand the way of God?’ I had, for many years, difficulty in answering this question. I would generally respond with something like, ‘I don’t know, but God will handle it.’
Could there be more to this dilemma than is apparent by reading the Bible as a literal, historical book. There are many killings recorded in the OT. Generally, these killings are caused by “God” or by those instructed by “God” to kill the “heathen” men, women, children and their animals. Is it possible that the words which are read by many have a meaning other than literal? Could these acts of death have a more personal, allegorical meaning other than the literal killing of people? [BTW, “heathen” is not necessarily bad. It simply means a nation or group of folk different than one’s own.] It is written that Jesus spoke in parables and said in Luke 8:10, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing, they might not understand.” Note: the phrase “might not” is used rather than the phrase, will not; there is a big difference. Also, Luke 8:10 is a general quote from Isaiah 6:9 in the OT.
It is also written that “parables” and “dark sayings” are used in the OT. Could it be that those “dark sayings” are written for us to consider with a possible hidden meaning? (“dark sayings” means difficult to understand, not evil sayings) Is it possible that all the killings in the OT is allegory and meant for us as individuals to “kill” or eliminate the wrong thoughts and actions we have which are contrary to the way of our creator, the source of all that exists? This possibility may be something to consider.
If Mohammed used the OT as a base for his Qur’an, (which I am suggesting) did he take the writings of the OT as literal, or did he understand an allegorical meaning? Or - do his followers take Mohammed’s writings as literal, the way most people understand the OT, without considering a possible allegorical (hidden?) meaning. Personally, I don’t know about Mohammed’s thoughts. It is extremely apparent what his radical, literal thinking, followers think.
By happenstance I came across the following two part video (in one link) and was viewed for the first time shortly after the vast majority of the comments above were written. (The information about the name Yusef, Yoseph & Joseph was added.) Some of the comments, by both participants, may be worthy of consideration while others, maybe not so much. However, it was found to be a most interesting discussion before an audience, between Richard Dawkins and a Muslim journalist. Based on the accents of each and the audience, the discussion probably took place in England and was published on Jun 21, 2016.