April 28, 2015
Prof. Michael Woods
The rise of Islam is intrinsically linked with the Prophet Muhammad, believed by Muslims to be the last in a long line of prophets that includes Moses and Jesus. Under the Muslim belief, Muhammad was the chosen recipient and messenger of the word of God through the divine revelations, Muslims from all walks of life strive to follow his example.
Muhammad was born into the most powerful tribe in Mecca, the
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He then returned to earth to continue spreading the message of Islam. According to Islamic belief, Muhammad was the only person to see Heaven and Hell while still alive. "This is a revelation from the Lord of the universe. The Honest Spirit (Gabriel) came down with it, to reveal it into your heart that you may be one of the warner’s, in a perfect Arabic tongue" (Sura 26:192-195). "Say, 'anyone who opposes Gabriel should know that he has brought down this (the Qur'an) into your heart, in accordance with God's will, confirming previous scriptures, and providing guidance and good news for the believers'" (Sura 2:97).
The origin of Islam is controversial. The "previous scriptures" are from the Hebrew Torah, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels of Jesus Christ (Sura 4:163; 5:44-48). The Qur'an accepts these books as divinely inspired and even encourages us to test its claims by these "previous scriptures." "If you have any doubt regarding what is revealed to you from your Lord, then ask those who read the previous scripture" (Sura 10:94). But this is where we run into a problem. The problem is that the Qur'an thoroughly contradicts the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels. For example, the Qur'an explicitly denies Jesus Christ's crucifixion (Sura 4:157-158) while all four Gospel accounts clearly portray Jesus Christ as crucified and resurrected.