Why Sharia Law Threatens Freedom and Human Rights?/Program 3
Ed. Note: Unless otherwise indicated, footnoted Qur’an quotes are from the Yusef Ali transition, and Hadith quotes are from Bukhari’s Hadith.
|By: Dr. Ergun Caner, Dr. Emir Caner; ©2013|
|The Qur’an teaches that Muhammad is the example for Muslims to follow. If so, understanding his life should be very important to those who follow the teachings of Islam. This week, Dr. Emir Caner and Dr. Ergun Caner join Dr. Ankerberg to examine Muhammad’s childhood, early life, marriages, leadership, and teachings as presented in Islam’s authoritative teachings.|
Today on the John Ankerberg Show: In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the world has watched nation after nation in North Africa and the Middle East turn into Islamic States and embrace sharia law. This has raised many serious questions including what is sharia law? Is sharia law a threat to people’s free speech, their freedom of religion, and basic human rights? How are Muslims to treat Christians, Jews, and other minorities in Islamic countries? How are women to be treated? And what groups and organizations in America are trying to institute sharia law here?
To answer these questions, my guests today are two former Sunni Muslims who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where their father built mosques. When they made the decision to leave Islam and convert to Christianity, their father disowned them. Dr. Emir Caner went on to earn his PhD in history from the University of Texas and is now the President of Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. Dr. Ergun Caner received his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa and is Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas. We invite you to join us for this special edition of the John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. I have invited two former Muslims to talk to you today, fellows that have crossed into becoming Christians. They’ve invited Christ into their life. And there was as struggle; their family disowned them. They went on to get their PhDs and now one of them is the President of Truett-McConnell College in northeast Georgia. The other is the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas. They’re bestselling authors on Islam and Christianity and professors in their own right, and have taught here in this country as well as around the world.
- I want to start today with a topic that is controversial, and that is, who is Muhammad? Because you have one of the world’s largest religions revolving around what this person said and revealed through his revelations that he said he got from Allah. And he is, supposedly, the perfect example that Muslims are to follow in the world. And if that is the case, then we need to know a little bit about who he is, how he lived, what he said. And this is not your personal opinion, but we’re taking this from the historical sources. So, who wants to start us off today in terms of, when we look at the life of Muhammad, what are the main facts, historical facts, that we need to know?
- Emir Caner: Well, the key verse is what you just quoted, that Muhammad is the perfect or the excellent exemplar, from surah 33:21. Muhammad, as you see him, is not only the one who was given the revelation through Gabriel of the Qur’an, but his life is the examples found in the Hadith. And, of course, you also have Ibn Ishaq, the oldest biography written in 773. And so you have these sources that are precious to Muslims today. And when you, at first glance, look at his biography, he is an incredibly sympathetic figure. Born in 570; he’s twice over orphaned; his father dies before his birth, then his mother dies, and then his grandfather dies, and then he’s raised by his uncle. Finally he meets the love of his life that is 15 years older than him. She is a successful businesswoman. And Khadija becomes the love of his life until she passes away. So Muhammad is this incredibly sympathetic character to Muslims, and he is to Muslims what Moses is to the Jewish people, and, they would say, what Jesus is to Christian people.
- Ankerberg: Wouldn’t you say, Ergun, that if he is the perfect example, then this has ramifications for a lot of people. Number one, for women; number two, for society, how people are to live in society; number three, for those who are not Muslims.
- Ergun Caner: It absolutely does. Every religion has a founder. Lao Tzu does Daoism and Confucius with Confucianism. And the question that you ask, the fundamental question is, alright, so if this person discovered this religion, or founded this religion, how important were they? In Islam the Shahadah, the creed that you say, is not just about Allah—which is the Arabic word for God, not the word for the God of the Bible, but a god—it’s that Allah is the god, the only god, and Muhammad is his final seal of the prophets. He’s the final prophet. And so, he is elevated to the status of the final stamp. There are other prophets in Islam that they speak of—Moses and Jesus, they consider them prophets—but Muhammad, he’s the final one. He’s the one we measure by.
- Ankerberg: Is it true, then, that the way he lived is the way everybody else is supposed to live?
- Ergun Caner: I would believe so, yes. As a matter of fact, the exemplar, the term from surah 33, he is the measurement. And so when you have Muhammad in the Qur’an as the exemplar, but then a collection of his words and sayings and deeds and laws, called the Hadith, al-Bukhari’s Hadith, say, is nine volumes long, and it’s a collection of the things he did. Those would be, say, a collection of the ethic, the law and the jurisprudence, whereas the Qur’an is sort of the theological basis. But you have in the Hadith Muhammad saying he was spiritually married to Mary. You have him saying that…
- Ankerberg: The mother of Jesus Christ.
- Ergun Caner: The mother of Jesus Christ. You have Muhammad saying “I don’t know where I’m going to go when I die.” Well, if the exemplar of the faith doesn’t know, how much hope do I, as 1.5 or 1.6 billion Muslims, what chance do I have?
- Ankerberg: Let’s go back, he’s married to Khadija. and all of a sudden he goes to a cave and he starts to have revelations. Take us back to that point and move on.
- Emir Caner: You can see this in Bukhari’s Hadith, volume 1, number 1. That’s the beginning. And he goes into this cave, he receives this revelation. And the fascinating thing is he comes home uncertain of the revelation. And it is his wife, Khadija, that gives him certainty that the revelation comes from Allah and not from some other source, maybe a demonic source or whatever it may be. And then she says go back and write and that’s what he does. He starts to get these revelations that are orally transmitted; others will write them down. Finally they’ll be codified over time, really, Muslims will believe, under the third leader of Islam after Muhammad’s death in 632. Really centuries later, because the Qur’an that is now there is a Qur’an of the tenth century.
- Ankerberg: Let me become a secularist for a moment and just ask the question, why should anyone believe that a fellow that’s in a cave that starts getting revelation, we should actually believe that it is coming from Allah?
- Ergun Caner: Well, you know, you have to take their word on it, don’t you? You have to, so many people, over the course of time have said, “Look, I was alone and I received a vision.” But the consistency is, for instance, the consistency between Muhammad and say, Joseph Smith, receive a revelation, all alone. Joseph Smith is in a garden; Muhammad’s in a cave. Muhammad’s on his 40th birthday. Joseph Smith is, you know, there he’s in New York. Both of them, however, say “all religion is dead; all true religion is wrong; but the revelation I’m receiving, this revelation is from God.” Both of them are from an angel, right, angel Moroni or the angel Jibreel [Gabriel]. And this revelation says “I’ve been selected to fix it.” They set themselves up as “I am the arbiter of truth. I am the justifier. I am the canon. I’m the measurement.” You have to measure what they say and how they lived. My comparison, to any Muslim, whenever they say, “Well, you know, look at Moses or look at David.” Great; Moses and David are not the reason I’m a Christian. “Well, I don’t like the Baptists,” or “I don’t like your pastor.” Fine, I don’t like half the Christians I know. They’re not the reason I’m a Christian. I follow Jesus. Compare Jesus to Muhammad. Now we can talk.
- Ankerberg: How did he live?
- Emir Caner: Well, just take his life. Here he is, he’s married to Khadija, but then she finally dies. And now you start to see not only imperfections, but strong questions about his character. You see it, it’s codified in the Qur’an, chapter 33, verse 37. All of a sudden, he has an adopted son, and he believes that he should marry his adopted son’s wife. Even in the Arabian Peninsula that’s an incestuous relationship. He gets a revelation that says, yes, you should do so. So Allah tells him, “Your son should divorce Zaynab, the woman, and you should marry her.” Then all of a sudden he gets a revelation saying he can have as many wives as possible, chapter 33, verse 50. Of those wives, the most contentious, the most questionable of all the marriages, comes with a young lady by the name of Aisha. This is found in Bukhari’s Hadith, volume 7, number 64, where he is engaged to her when she is six years old and sexually consummates the marriage when she is nine. He is the perfect example then means that in places like Niger today you can hand over your daughter to be married even before puberty, because he’s the excellent example. And that’s the picture. If you see that as an excellent example, you will follow him. If not, and you’re a Muslim, you’ve got to reject Islam because you’ve got to reject the prophet.
- Ankerberg: What else?
- Ergun Caner: You not only measure what Muhammad said, but you measure what Muhammad did. The transitional point, if you will, he gets up and preaches in Mecca at first, and he says here’s what I’ve been taught: All these other gods are false gods. He didn’t get a lot of followers, and he’s kicked out. And they have to flee to Medina. Muslims measure our calendar, Hijira, this moment when he goes to Medina. And at that moment the message also changes. It’s not just I have to be personally holy or good enough; it’s now corporate. Jihad becomes the defining political characteristic; holy war.
- Ankerberg: Hold on to that. We’re going to take a break, and we’re going to talk about where did jihad</i