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The Forerunner

What Is Islam?

By Editorial Staff
Published May 1, 1990

By Peyrove Masih

A few years ago, while a student in seminary, I was reminded of the commission that Jesus gave to His disciples, “Make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28:18). My memory was jogged and I realized that all people without Jesus Christ are lost. It was then that God directed my life toward the service of the neediest of all groups of people in the world – Muslims.

After graduation, while doing campus ministry at Boston University, I began to teach English to international students. It was here that I found that I enjoyed being around Muslim people. I made some extraordinary friends and found some excellent opportunities to tell people about Jesus Christ. One Muslim whom I met was a personal secretary to the head of state of a Middle Eastern country.

Unfortunately, because of the American media’s portrayal of Muslims, we tend to think of them as being hijackers, kidnappers and terrorists. But I have found that most are so loving and hospitable. Arabic hospitality often puts American hospitality to shame. I also have found Muslims more open to talk about spiritual matters than Americans. If you make a friend of a Muslim, you have a friend for life.

Another misconception that many people have is that Islam is primarily a religion of the Arab world. There are, in fact, more Muslims in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and America than there are in Arab countries. Southeast Asia, one of the most populous areas of the world, is predominantly Muslim.

There are also many Muslims in America. Dearborn Heights, a suburb of Detroit, has America’s largest Muslim population. Los Angeles also has a vigorous, growing Muslim population.

Islam is a world religion. There are Muslims in every corner of the earth. According to some reports, there are now more Muslims in the world than professing Christians, making it the world’s most populous religion.

Ministry to Muslims has become my lifelong goal. Even though Muslims are thought of as being impervious to the Christian gospel, there are some positive signs that they are becoming more open than ever. Islam has its roots in Christian ideas, the difference being that Jesus is thought of as a mere human prophet inferior to Mohammed.

Most Muslim nations were Christian prior to the Middle Ages but they became weak in faith because they did not have the Bible translated into their native languages. Most of these nations rejected Christianity because the version they were experiencing was diluted with superstitions and half truths.

When Islam began to spread throughout the world during the Middle Ages, Western nations further exacerbated the the Muslim people’s alienation from Christianity by trying to reconvert them using force, domination and control. Presently, the negative image that many Muslims have of Christianity comes from memories of the Holy Wars fought in their native lands.

Recently in this century, however, many Muslims have begun to turn towards Christianity. Millions of Muslims already believe that Jesus was an anointed prophet and that the Bible is the inspired word of God. More Muslims have become Christians in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran and East Africa in the last ten years than in the last ten centuries.

Jesus Christ Himself is moving among the Muslim people. God has begun to move sovereignly to reveal Himself to Muslim people. I am encouraging Christians everywhere to pray for Muslims, since I believe that as the result of prayer many people have had dreams or visions of Jesus Christ and have been led to know Him.

Last September, after searching for God’s direction for my life, I made a commitment to minister full time to Muslims. If you are a Christian, I would like to ask you to pray and consider the great opportunity of laboring in the greatest harvest field in the world.


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