Islam and Religious Imperialism


“Islam in its cradle was already a specimen of religious imperialism, which is another name for secularized theocracy.”


Hendrik Kraemer, The Christian Message in a non-Christian World

Comments

Jeff said…
How do you personally approach and think about Muslims who seem spiritually serene and seem to find solace and truth in the relationship with God that, say, daily prayer and reading the Quran bring to them? How is your missionary approach altered, refined, or deterred by this?
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Jeff,

That is a really good question. It is probably easier talking to such people than to folks who don't really care about God and religion at all. It is easier because they take very seriously the questions I'm asking about what the Qur'an says, and about how we relate to God. With non-religious Muslims, it's much like talking to non-religious Americans. You are trying to establish that having a relationship with God is good and something they should have for several reasons. With the religious Muslim (not the fanatic, which is different) they already want to relate to God.

With religious Muslims though you have to find out what is their God. Some really love and worship God as they know him (imperfectly), but for many other religious Muslims they are worshiping idols: the Qur'an, Muhammad, or the shari'a. As a relationship develops you need to try to get a feel for how they fit into these different tendencies.

Hope that helps.
Abu Daoud said…
One more note: religious Muslims sometimes respect religious Christians more than they respect non-devout Muslims. If a Muslim knows you read your Book, pray every day, fast, and attend church weekly, he will almost always treat with you respect IF he is one of the Muslims who worships God rather than one of the idols I mentioned.
Jeff said…
Interesting answers. Thanks!

I remember reading a letter by C. S. Lewis in which he said that orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims have more in common with each other than with the "fuzzies" of their own religions.

Let me put my question this way:

How would you reply to a Muslim who seemed to approach Tertullian's 'anima naturaliter Christiana' and who said,

"I have everything I need here: a merciful God, daily intense devotion, spiritual discipline. I am happy and close to my Lord. Why do I need your crucified God-Man?"
Abu Daoud said…
Dear Jeff,

The fullness of God is seen in Christ and lived in his body (the Church). Thus I would have to approach his situation through one of these two avenues (which are in the end one). This is not new: two of my great heroes are Sam Zwemer (Reformed) and Gairdner (Anglican) have basically approached the topic the same way.

I would either invite them to study the Gospels with me, or just invite them to come to church with me some time.

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