So, to help us understand how important it is to rightly understand our good God, we’re going to look at a false god. We’re going to ask, “How does that god’s character affect the lives and prayers of his people?” And what we’re going to see is that it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
We’re going to look at the god of Islam. We’ll use the name Allah even though that name was first used by Christians in the Arab World before Mohammad was born and still used by Christians today. Just know that I am speaking about the god revealed in the Koran, the god of Islam.
|The God of Islam/the Koran – Allah|
|What is he like?||The first thing most Muslims will tell you about Allah is this: You cannot know Allah, you can only know his will. You cannot know him…only what he wants from you. If you somehow get to paradise, he will not be there. Relationship with you has never been on his agenda. Before he created, Allah was a solitary monad, a lone deity. He was utterly alone. So, at his core, he’s not a relational deity…only after creating did he even have someone with whom to relate if he wanted to…but he doesn’t…that’s not bashing Islam…that’s classic, orthodox Islamic teaching. This is Allah.|
|What is his mission?||The all-consuming idea of Islam is that Allah has a sovereign will for the world and eventually all must submit to him. Islam literally means “submission”. Muslims literally means “one who submits”. So, Allah’s mission is Sharia law. That every country on the planet would be under his law.|
|What, then, does godliness look like?||Obedience. Pure obedience. Having said that, in another sense, if we ask, what would it be like to be like this god (what would godlikeness look like for humanity), it gives us another window into how important this is? To be like Allah would mean we dominate, we rule as many others as possible, we cause others to submit to us. So, it shouldn’t surprise us to see that this view of god results in these kinds of behavior.|
|How does that shape prayer/ communion with Allah?||Muslims are supposed to pray 5 times a day. These prayers are scripted for you. They must be said in Arabic even if you can’t speak Arabic. So, is prayer for relationship? No. Would you ever call this god “Father” or “Friend”? No, and he wouldn’t want you to. Is this the god of all comfort? No. Is this a god to whom you can claim his promises? No, actually, one of his names in the Koran is the Deceiver. The man who took over leadership of the Muslim community after the death of Mohammed, named Abu Bakr, said this, “I would not feel safe from the deception of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.” Will you plead his promises to him? No. In prayer, will the peace of this god guard your heart and mind? No.
Do you see how the god you pray to makes all the difference? And we could look at any god and do this…we could look at Zeus, we could look at Shiva, we could look at the false god of Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The shape of the god you believe in determines everything else in your religion (prayer, scripture, mission, fellowship, community, etc.) and your life! The next post will ask us, “Christians, do you know your God?”