Followers of Islam

How to distinguish religious wisdom from the rest.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff

"See, I have imparted to you laws and rules, as the Lord my God has commanded me, for you to abide by in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. Observe them faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing of all these laws will say, “Surely, that great nation is a wise and discerning people” (Deut. 4:5-6).

The Malbim says that even other nations who reject our Torah and our laws on hearing of all these laws will say, “Surely, that great nation is a wise and discerning people” .

Islam as well as all other religions, cannot make such claims. Why? Because reading about Islam, surely, will convince any fair-minded person that followers of Islam surely are not a wise, but instead, a most foolish people. Let me quote distinguishing points on Islam from Professor Joseph Schacht's article on “Islam” in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1933, volume 10 pages 333-344.

1.       Islam contends that our “scriptures had been falsified:”

“When the Jews refused to acknowledge him as a prophet, Mohammed became convinced that their scriptures had been falsified” (333).

2.       To distinguish: using words of Mohammed settle disputes: 

“Finally, there was no better way of establishing disputed points of view than to ascribe them to the words of Mohammed.  Thus everything absorbed by Islam during the course of its first few centuries had to stamped by a gigantic fiction as the Sunna of the prophet and put into the form of the Hadith, as a result of which the true kernel of tradition was almost entirely concealed.  In the ninth century canonical collections were made from the huge mass of orally transmitted traditions” (334).

3.        To distinguish: Islam suffers from rigidity and stagnation:

“The orthodox system did not cease entirely, an increasing decree of rigidity and stagnation became evident in intellectual life.  The development attained at that time was generally regarded as both elemental and final; all innovations were looked upon as abhorrent” (334).

4.       To distinguish:  Islam has the calamity of Shiites versus Sunnites:

“At the opposite pole from the democratic Kharijites there was the legitimist Shia, the “party” of Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet, which included all degrees of Ali veneration, ranging from almost orthodox esteem to an un-Islam idolatry.  At an early date the opinion began to prevail among adherents of Ali that Ali, as the son-in-law of the prophet, was alone entitled to the caliphate; this was to become the fundamental Shiite dogma and to separate the Shiites from the Sunnite Islam” (335).

5.       To distinguish: Islam’s Shiitism “represents an authoritarian church:

“As opposed to Sunnitism, which is governed by universal agreement, Shiitism represents an authoritarian church” (335).

6.       To distinguish: the dogma of Islam includes “predestination:”

“Allah causes all the actions of men as well as every happening in the world according to His eternal predestination.  At the same time men are capable of free actions, for which they are rewarded or punished” (336).

7.       To distinguish: the dogma of Islam posits that Mohammed will save believers:

“The believer who commits grave sins does not  necessarily become an infidel, and while unbelief is punished by eternal hell, heinous sinners who are believers will not remain in hell forever” (337).

8.        To distinguis:  prayer in Islam is ritual:

“The ritual prayer as distinct from the individual prayer has become the chief outward characteristic of the Moslem.  It consists of movements of the body, recitations of the Koran and religious phrases and must be performed five times a day in the direction of the Caaba in Mecca” (337).

9.        To distinguish: Islam has Jihad:

“The duty to carry on the jihad, the holy war against unbelievers, was almost accepted as a sixth pillar and has wide popular appeal to the present day.  It is based on the present assumption that the relationship of the Islamic community to all non-Islamic communities is one of war, which may be interrupted by an armistice solely for reasons of momentary advantage and which ends only with Islam’s subjugation of the entire world” (337).

10.    To distinguish: the clergy of Islam “possess considerable influence:”

“Islam has no clergy, no church organization and no liturgy in the true sense of the term. The theologians are merely those who know the divine law; they do not compose a real clerical caste.  Nevertheless, they possess considerable influence, because the ordinary Moslem, even though it is impossible for him to live in accordance with the law, expresses his respect for it by the deference he shows its representatives” (337).

11.   To distinguish: Islam is “a religion of the hereafter” and “in the main a spirit of renunciation” of this world:

“Although like medieval Christianity Islam is a religion of the hereafter and as such has an ascetic element, it has not been able to suppress a characteristic elemental love of the world.  The latter appears in the rejection of monasticism, in the natural respect for marriage and in the positive attitude toward trade and worldly goods.  But in the main a spirit of renunciation prevails and is indicated by the warnings against woman, the prohibition of nudity, the repudiation of splendid buildings, except as houses of worship, an economic ethos based upon religion, the condemnation of speculation in commodities and the praise of manual labor and poverty” (337).   

12.    To distinguish:, the mass will cling to traditional forms:

“It is to be expected that the mass of the population will cling to its traditional forms, while modernism will spread among the educated.  But the advance of modernism will not mean any weakening of religious convictions and it is very unlikely that the present grave crises marked by the conflict with western ideas, will destroy Islam. 

Islamism is an over-arching threat to the US and the free world. There should no distinguishing between al-Qaeda, which the US fights and the Muslim Brotherhood which the US  believes can be successfully engaged.  Why?  Because all Islamists believe my list of 12 points.

The mothers in Gaza imagine their dead babies living super happily in the hereafter and are looking forward to joining their dead babies.  Very difficult and problematic how to deal with such mothers.  No easy answers. 

We pray for the prophecy of Isaiah 19:22-23: “The Lord will first afflict and then heal the Egyptians; when they turn back to the Lord, He will respond to their entreaties and heal them. In that day, there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians shall join with the Egyptians and Egyptians with the Assyrians, and then the Egyptians together with the Assyrians shall serve [the Lord]."