Islam and Jihad/Program 4

By: Dr. Emir Caner; ©2009
Dr. Caner shares how he personally turned from his Muslim upbringing to following Christ, later becoming the president of a Christian university. What were the beliefs he struggled with in the process? What did others do in his life that helped him cross the line of faith?



Today on the John Ankerberg show, Muhammad taught it, and the Muslim Caliphs practiced it for a thousand years. Now in our day Today Osama bin Laden the leader of al Qaeda, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the President of Iran, Hasan Nas­rallah the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Ismail Haniyah, the leader of Hamas in Gaza are all calling for jihad against the United States. What is Jihad? Where did it begin? Does Islam still teach it today? Why will Islam never accept Jesus’ teaching to love your enemy?

Caner: Muhammad was the perfect example. He went on raids, three that he led himself, military expeditions by the dozens, the killing of Jews, beheading 800 Jews at once in one time at the Battle of the Trench. Muhammad was the personification, the embodiment of jihad.
Announcer: Islam is the world’s second largest religion with 1.5 billion adherents. Nearly 7 million Muslims live in North America. And every single day, 64,000 more people become Muslims worldwide. And people around the world are asking do increasing Islamic terrorist acts represent Islamic extremism or a return to Islamic roots?
Ankerberg: Would you say that Islam is reverting back to a purist view of what Muhammad taught? They’re going back to his time?
Caner: That’s exactly right. When you hear mass media speak of extreme Islam, this isn’t extreme Islam. The Wahhabis are not extreme Muslims just because they said other Muslims should die. That’s happened throughout history. That’s not extreme. They are purists. They want to revert back to the seventh century.
Announcer: Many politicians and television commentators have expressed different opinions about Islam and Jihad. But today you will learn what Islam’s most authoritative sources, the Qur’an and Hadith, teach about this subject?
Caner: Jihad defined sometimes as an internal struggle, sometimes for the betterment of the community; but it’s also defined as a, a military conflict, in both chapter 8 and chapter 9 of the Qur’an.
Announcer: My guest today is former Sunni Muslim Dr. Emir Caner, who turned away from Islam and placed his faith in Jesus Christ. When he told his devout Muslim father he had become a Christian, his father disowned him. He went on to receive his PhD in history at the University of Texas at Arlington and today he is the president of the Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. He is a best-selling author of 20 books including Islam and Jihad and has appeared on ABC, NBC, and CNN as one of the foremost experts in the world on Islam and Christianity. Join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got an exciting one for you today. We’re talking about The Truth about Islam and Jihad. I know a lot of people have a lot of questions about what is jihad? Is it holy war? Is it for today? When we talk about these terrorists that are quoting the Quran and the Hadith, are they out of bounds, or are they actually teaching what Muhammad and the Hadith actually taught? Where are the rest of the Muslims in the world? Are they sympathetic to this? Where is it going in history? What’s going to be facing us in the future?
Now, you’ve heard us talk about we’re not basing our thoughts on what Ankerberg or Caner actually believe here. We are talk­ing about the authoritative sources of Islam. We’re basing it on what is in there; this is what mainstream Islam is. And Emir is one of our top scholars in the world. He is, I believe, the foremost authority on Christianity and Islam. He is a former Sunni Muslim, as you’ve heard. He came to Christ; his family disowned him; he went on to get his Ph.D. He is now president of a Christian school. The fact is that he’s written over a two million word commentary on the entire Qur’an, verse by verse through the Qur’an that’s going to be coming up, that’s going to be published in the future here. It’s incredible. Nobody’s ever done that before. As you’ll hear, he’s got the Qur’an and the Hadith just about memorized and can quote every verse.
Let’s start at the beginning. We’re talking about jihad; we’re talking about where these thoughts come from, and we’re saying that we’re quoting it from mainstream Islamic thought, which is the Qur’an. What is the Qur’an, Emir, and what is the Hadith?
Caner: Well, the Qur’an, now fourteen centuries old, is the words of Allah, put together by his final prophet, Muhammad, through revelations he received from the angel Gabriel, and considered authoritative for all Muslims today, and not to be rejected. There is no such thing as a mistake in the Qur’an, and therefore it must always be abided by, literally. The Hadith are the sayings of Muhammad, the stories, the traditions that have been passed down through scholars over the first two centuries of Islam, and then authenticated. And once written down they became the jurisprudence, the constitution, for anything called an Islamic Republic.
Ankerberg: Okay, and 1.5 billion Muslims have dedicated themselves to following those two books, those sources, let’s put it that way. Okay, the Qur’an and the Hadith. Now, people in the West have a hard time believing that they’re going to follow all the dictates. But Islam is really a religion from the cradle to the grave, which means everything that a person does: what he eats, how he marries; how he lives, where he goes, his marriage, in terms of his children, what happened when you die, if you can divorce, how you go to war. All of this is spelled out in these sources. Now, how does the Hadith, and how does the Qur’an, let’s start with the Qur’an, how does the Qur’an define jihad?
Caner: Jihad, defined sometimes as an internal struggle, some­times for the betterment of the community; but it’s also defined as a military conflict, in both chapter 8 and chapter 9 of the Qur’an, that you are to fight. Chapter 2 says it’s ordained for you, that it’s prescribed for you; that is, it’s not merely descrip­tive, it is prescriptive. This is not something to which you’re watching a story play out. These are military imperatives for the entire community when called upon to go to war, accord­ing to chapter 4 and verse 59 of the Qur’an, that you must go. And to not go is to criminalize yourself, to make sure that you have broken the code.
Ankerberg: And what happens in terms of Allah, in terms of the consequences eternally?
Caner: Yeah. And if you don’t go, you’re not only considered subordinate to others, you’re not only warned that you are to fear the heat, as chapter 9 and verse 81 says,…
Ankerberg: Hell.
Caner: … that goes there, that if you do not go, you are risking your eternal destiny.
Ankerberg: Alright, what does the Hadith say? How does the Hadith define holy war?
Caner: Well, the Hadith defines holy war, you see Bukhari’s Hadith define it in Book 52, and then you see Muslim’s Hadith define it in Book 19. And it’s interesting, in Muslim’s Hadith, the second most respected Hadith, that it defines it as you must aggressively go, number 4315, that you will have victory. And then three verses after that, even if you unintentionally kill women it’s okay, verse [43]21, that you will also even destroy some of the property, but that is to disgrace the unbelievers, verse [43]24, and that you will have spoils of war, verse 27 – 4327 – and that you can expel those who are of other religions, Jews and Christians named later on in 4366. And that’s why even in the Qur’an, chapter 4 and verse 177, it talks about get­ting to the Jews in their hiding places, in the Hadith, volume 4.
Ankerberg: Alright. Besides the explicit statements in the authoritative sources, you also have the life of Muhammad, how he actually acted. How did he act in terms of holy war?
Caner: Muhammad was the perfect example. He went on raids, three that he led himself, military expeditions by the dozens, the killing of Jews, beheading 800 Jews at once in one time at the Battle of the Trench. Muhammad was the personification, the embodiment of jihad.
Ankerberg: Alright, then you get four Caliphates after that, you’ve got four successors to Muhammad that followed his teaching and carried it out. How did they do it? Who were they and how did they carry it out?
Caner: They expanded Islam as it was called to them by him. Abu Bakr solidified the Arabian Peninsula; the second Caliph, Umar, put together the most popular and known treaty that’s still held today; you then have Uthman, who expanded even more as well as codified the Qur’an; and Ali, was the final of the four “rightly guided” Caliphs or leaders. And they all ex­pand outwardly until 661 when it finally ends. But even then the ones that have come after them will expand all the way through and come not only all the way through North Africa, but through much of what is today modern Europe.
Ankerberg: Alright. So you have the authoritative sources, and you have the successors of Muhammad, and you have history up until the twentieth century, up to the year, what, 1923 was it?
Caner: Yes.
Ankerberg: And the fact is, that’s when the Caliphates actually came to an end where you had one leader, you had Muhammad who could call the nation or the whole community of Islam to jihad; you had the Caliphates that could do this; and you had a person in power that could call all of Islam to jihad, okay? And we’ve presented the reasons for that in other programs. But then the fact is, when that ended, when colonialism came in and stopped that, now the lands that they had conquered were taken back, and the fact is they were pushed out of there. And once in the House of the Islam, always in the House of Islam; these countries still, they believe they should have them. And it’s their duty to go after them, because somebody has conquered them and gone after their own property that’s in the House of Islam. Now, the question is, who gets to call the world of Islam, which is up to 1.5 billion Muslims now, who gets to call the world to war?
Caner: And this is where the ambiguity of the text, it was Muhammad, it was his successors or his authority, but that has been dissuaded. When the Turks destroyed the Islamic leadership council, the Caliphate, all of a sudden it became the nation-state leaders. And when colonialism dried up and independence came in the twentieth century to most of the Middle East, all of a sudden different nation-states could call each other to war: sometimes to battle each other – Iran versus Iraq – or sometimes to battle the infidel, whether it is inside their country, as was done with Abu Bakr, or outside their country, like it was with Umar or Uthman or Ali. All of this takes place because of Muhammad in his own example. That’s the call of jihad.
Ankerberg: Alright. So the fact is, today when you have Ah­madinejad in Iran calling for a jihad on Israel, when you’ve got Hamas calling and saying, “We’ve got to destroy Israel,” when you’ve got Hezbollah saying, “We’ve got to call a holy war against them,” here you’ve got the actual leadership of the Palestinians, you’ve got the leader of Iran, you’ve got the lead­ership in Hezbollah, in Lebanon, the fact is, that’s what we’re facing today. And their actions, are they based in the Qur’an?
Caner: Well, their actions are, in terms of their hopes, their per­suasions, their message, that Islam has to conquer the world. That’s the first thousand years. Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis demonstrates it in his books, and most of traditional Muslim scholars, Averroes of the Middle Ages, did the same and said, “Of course; this is what Islam is.” And until modern times that wasn’t the case.
Ankerberg: Alright. Let’s start it off. You have debated many Muslim leaders, and I want to know, what is the criticism? They have listened to your presentation, and our audience that is listening to this, how did they respond? I mean, they don’t just agree with you, do they?
Caner: They don’t. It depends, of course. There are various an­swers; Islam is not monolithic, there isn’t simply one voice. And so many voices are trying to gain control of this new emerging embryonic form of Islam that’s coming back from the seventh century. Western scholars attempt to do so by just simply argu­ing Islam is a religion of peace. Muslim sympathizers like John Esposito find it that way, and therefore they blamed the West for whatever’s happening; the ugliness of the worst forms of colonialism is blamed. Except, we forget that Islam far worse imperialist than the West ever was.
Then you have the traditional scholars who’ll say, “I’m taken out of context;” it’s the typical thing. And there will go into the route and say even if I’m taken out of context, look at America. It supports Israel and has no basis for it. Or I’m taken out of the context and the way you should view Islam is in comparison to derogated immoral America, and whatever it has. And so you have, for example, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, who came to America in 1948, went to Colorado, studied Americanism if you wish, not only politically but religiously. And he found two problems. He said in social aspects we were perverted. The girls were scantily dressed in so many ways. But religiously, he said he went into the churches, and all he saw was a consumerism, a greed, that they were looking at their parishioners as if they were clientele to be wooed. And he went back and said, “That’s why we have to reestablish true Islam as based in the seventh century.”
Ankerberg: Alright. We’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk about, you switched; you were a Muslim. You were a Sunni Muslim, grew up in Turkey. And the fact is that one day you changed your mind. And we’re talking about that truth claims of Islam, we’re talking about the truth claims of Christianity, the number one religion, number two religion in the world. The fact is, they both can’t be true at the same time when they’re saying different things. We’re going to talk about the different things and why you changed your mind; what was the evidence that persuaded you. We’ll talk about that we get right back. Stick with us.

Ankerberg: Welcome back. We’re talking with Dr. Emir Caner, one of the foremost authorities on Islam in the world today, especially from a comparison point of view of Christianity and Islam. And Emir and I have written a book, The Truth about Islam and Jihad, that corresponds to some of the things that we’ve been saying this program. The book documents it further, gives you a much wider view of the things that we’re saying. And I hope that you’ll get that and you’ll get the series that you can see use in your study groups.
But, Emir, I want to come to you and talk about, the fact is, you one day changed your mind. You were a Sunni Muslim; you knew all of these things. What changed your mind? What brought you to Jesus Christ?
Caner: Well, there was a persistent young man who invited me to church, and finally I took him up on the offer. And when I was sitting there I realized that what this preacher was saying was true. It was true historically, and it was true spiritual. And that Jesus did indeed die on the cross, and Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, which was against everything I had held, you know. In the Qur’an it says, “they killed him not nor did they crucify him, but it was someone like unto him”, in chapter 4 and verse 157. And that Allah raised him up, that is, he never die and therefore there was no resurrection, verse 158. And I stood face to face with the Bible and realize that either the Bible was correct, or the Qur’an was correct, or neither one of them was correct. Either way I had to make a decision. And that night I came to the belief that the Bible was the word of God, and that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, in my place, that I may be set free, that my sins may be forgiven, it’s thrown as far as the east is from the west. And that Jesus would never leave me nor forsake me.
And that’s really the argument is, which is correct: the Bible or the Qur’an? What cannot be true is that they’re both correct. Either Jesus is God or He’s not; He either get die on the cross or He did not; either salvation comes by grace alone or salvation must take works. What cannot be true, at least logically, is that a person holds to both. It is an impossibility.
A question even now that I would ask is, if Jesus was replaced as the Qur’an stipulates, or at least implies, when was He replaced? Was He replaced after He was scourged? Why did the people not notice that His back, the back of the replace­ment, whether that was Simon of Cyrene or someone else, why didn’t they notice that this scourging was not there? It had to have been before the cross, so on the cross when the mother of Jesus, Mary, looks up, and the best friend of Jesus, John the beloved, looks up, why is it they didn’t recognize Him? That makes no logical sense. Why is it that every history piece that I’ve ever studied outside of the New Testament, confirms what is already proven in the New Testament? Why is it that Jewish sources and Greek sources, Josephus and Suetonius, all speak of the crucifixion of Jesus? And I came to realize that what Muhammad tried to do, it’s actu­ally not just unfactual, it was a lie. It was a repudiation based in fantasy. Muhammad tried to make God in his image, instead of understanding that God created him in the Lord’s image.
Ankerberg: Alright, Muslims, when they change their mind, that’s a no-no. Say what the Qur’an says about a Muslim that converts to Christianity.
Caner: I had the blessing of coming to Christ here in the States. I was protected by the freedoms which our military have fought and died for for hundreds of years. For that I have been very thankful. Those in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or hosts of other countries, if I would have been there, if I would have been one of them, and I would have declared my faith in Jesus Christ, I would have found myself being buried up to my shoulders in sand and about to be stoned. Because I’m kafir, I’m an infidel, I am murtid, I am sentenced to death. The world sees the bloodshed of millions of those who come to faith in Christ out of Islam every year. And it’s a sacrifice that we even see Jesus prophecy in the New Testament. In Matthew 10 he says, “I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword, that I’ll separate daughter from mother and son from father.”
Ankerberg: We’ve been talking about jihad, and unfortunately people don’t understand that the only way you can have eter­nal security is to die in jihad in Islam. Talk about that; explain that, and how you thought about that. And compare that with Christianity.
Caner: Yeah, in the Qur’an, chapter 3 and verse 195, it promises that if you die a martyr’s death that you will go to heaven. It also speaks in the Qur’an about maidens with beautiful eyes will come and be with you. And the promise is that if you make it to Paradise you will have virgins. Now, most in the West understand that most martyrs will have virgins. The actual promise of the Qur’an is anybody who makes it to heaven that is a male will have virgins that will serve them sensually. But you can’t be guaranteed of that unless you die in war. So the hope is for many Muslims today that they would die in war. Not just from chapter 3 of the Qur’an, but the promises from Book 52 of the Hadith, Bukhari’s Hadith and also in Muslim. It’s a promise that you will go to heaven, in Bukhari Volume 4 and number 46.
I learned, though, that eternal security can only be based in Jesus Christ. He promised that no one will snatch me out of His hand. He promised that to all who believe in John 10:28. One of the greatest reasons why, and one of the main reasons why any Muslim comes a faith in Christ is the promise of eternal security. A salvation that’s based in grace is the promise that Jesus says through Paul in Philippians 1: He who has begun a good work in us will complete it unto the day of Jesus Christ.
Ankerberg: Is Allah just another name for God, and we’re really all serving the same God, we’ve just got a different names?
Caner: The heresy of the modern age, especially in the West, is somehow we all worship the same God. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you study who Allah is in the Qur’an, you can come to no other conclusion than he’s a false God. Even though the word Allah means God, it does not mean we worship the same God, no more than when in 1 Kings 18 Elijah declares Baal a false God, even though Baal literally comes from a word for El, or God in the Hebrew. Yet many today, as I just watched one Evangelical leader do, have kowtowed. They became weak-kneed, and they try to amalgamate Islam and Christianity, at least in their prayers, and praise to “The God most Merciful, most Compassionate.” To a former Muslim, or to someone who actually understands what Islam is, that’s heresy.
Ankerberg: When you were a Muslim, you would never accept Christians saying that you worship the same God.
Caner: No! Chapter 5 and verse 116, supposedly Allah speaking to Jesus, and Allah asks this question, Did you say unto men to take me and my mother besides, two Gods besides Allah? And Jesus answered, Never would I say what I have no right to say. It is a thing most blasphemous, chapter 19 and verse 88 of the Qur’an says. And, Desist from saying three, for God is one, chapter 4 and verse 171. And if you say such a thing it is unforgivable, chapter 4 and verse 116.
A Muslim may try to say that the God which they worship was the god that was intended in the Old Testament, but a Muslim would never dare say that he worships the Trinity; he’d never say that you who are Christian and worshipped God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – is the same God he worships, because that’s the highest and most heinous sin in Islam is to partner any­thing or anyone with God. And for us to say that somehow we worship the same God as the Muslims is to wholly reject what Peter said when he looked to Jesus and Jesus asked the question, Who do men say that I am? And Peter said, You are the Christ the son of a living God. If we declare we worship the same God, we have stripped Christianity of its essence.
Ankerberg: Alright. Summarize our entire series here: the truth about Islam and Jihad. And give a final word to those who are Muslims that are listening. What’s the good news that you would offer as a Christian?
Caner: A lot of the series has been about negativities of jihad, and rightfully so, I believe. My number one recommendation for any Muslim listening to this program is, ask yourself not if you’re offended by what’s been said, whether it’s true. Because the ugly truth in much of any religion it is they don’t read the sources. They don’t understand the sources. The sad thing is, a Muslim knows about as much about his Qur’an, in general, as a Christian does his Bible. And we live in somewhat of an irreligious age, or at least an ignorant age. And I would just request of the Muslim, read it for yourself. See if I did take it out of context. Is this truth?
I was sharing Christ with a Muslim somewhere across the world last year, and he came to a conclusion that stunned me, because it came right out of blue. We sat down, spoke very openly, didn’t worry about emotional offence, we wanted to simply get to the truth. And he looked me in the eye and he said, “If what you were saying is true and what Mohammad said is a lie, I’ll become a Christian regardless of the consequences.” And that’s what a Muslim will have to determine to do, because in his society most likely he’ll be ostracized from his family, he’ll lose his job, and he may be killed. But when the truth comes in to you, the truth will set you free. And that’s the picture of Christianity.
Ankerberg: Folks, first of all I want to say thank you to you, Emir, for being here and just for the fantastic testimony that you have in the world about Jesus Christ. And the knowledge that you have is incredible. It really is. And folks, I’d recommend The Truth about Islam and Jihad, that you get this book. It docu­ments the things that Emir has been just letting go, flowing off of his tongue here as you’ve spoken. You say, what were those verses again? They’re all documented in our little book. And I would like you to get this. So these things are the truth claims; number one religion, number two religion in the world. They both can’t be true at the same time. And we believe the truth is in Jesus Christ. And we hope that this will help you. Thanks for being with us, and I hope you’ll join us next week.

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