Islam (الإِسْلاَمُ) is a stated ambition to Islamise all others into the influence of [the] Shari’ah (شريعة).

Islam (الإِسْلاَمُ) is a stated ambition to Islamise all others into the influence of [the] Shari’ah (شريعة).

Seal of the Prophets

Perhaps the greatest difficulty we have in seeking to understand Islam is understanding Muhammed. For the majority of Sunni and Shia Islam – defined by the first decades of Islam – mystical presentations of Muhammed are an offence. It would speak of making an idol, and offending Allah. That would be blasphemy – so whilst Muhammed is undoubtedly essential for Islam, he is not to be mystically presented, as though he were anything other than a man. Despite this fact, Muhammed – as the man chosen by Allah to obey in recitation, that preserved tablet of Islamic prophetic meaning – is to be emulated as the best example of Muslim.

There is, however, an Islamic tradition where Muhammed is attributed with such a power of influence that he is said to even bless from the grave. This is an influence of Sufism, which is the mystical element within Islam. Regarded by many in Islam to be bordering on apostasy, Sufism is nevertheless tolerated. Sufism intonates a love for Muhammed that at times seems equal in affection to the love that Christians hold for Christ. In this mystical presentation of Muhammed, we find a claim that Muhammed is the sum of all humanity in conduct and speech and represents an exalted spirit الروح الاعظم, in likeness, as Adam was in his innocence and perfection. It is a presentation of Muhammed as though he were Christ Himself. In that sense, in Islam, Muhammed becomes The Anointed One – The Seal of the Prophets, and the one to whom the Ummah look for their example of a true Muslim.

We then have Wahhabism, representing a reformation in Islam from the early 18th century in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam. This reformation was not a changing from the archaic to modernity, but rather from virtual decay and apostasy to zeal. It is a reformation where Muhammed is taken more seriously in his traditional place within Islam, as the seal of the prophets – where his obedient recitation of the Qur’an, represents a renewed understanding of the need for Islamic orthodoxy in its practise and embrace through Shari’ah Law. In short, it is a return to the Islam of Muhammed.

In the 19th Century, another Islamic sect appeared, as though poised for its moment – repenting of violent Jihad – it embraces peace and love for all in the name of Isa al’Masih. The Ahmadi Sect is regarded as an apostate by most in Islam because it breaks the claim to Muhammed being the seal of the prophets and introduces another prophetic voice. It is this vision of Islam which most appeals to western minds because it most speaks of عيسى المسي Isa al’Masih (Jesus the Messiah). To the western mind, true Christ, according to the apostolic and prophetic revelation of Hebrew & Greek Scriptures, becomes the shroud that covers the corpse of Islam and its false claim to being a religion of peace. It amounts to an acceptable embrace of death because it is better in the western mind to have an acceptable corpse than face the reality of a living terror.

What all Islamic positions agree on, is that obedience is key to understanding the deliverance of the Qur’an through the vocative projections of Muhammed, and thus to the possibility of obedience to Allah, for all mankind. Yet many people in the UK, having heard the conflicting and often offensive claims about Muhammed – or else that Muhammed was a delight and a marvel of kindness and justice – have had to try and make sense of all that presentation – at the same time, realising that Islam is not one kind of presentation but several.

At the one extreme, it is Islamic State, with terrifying images of brutality and cruelty. In the middle ground it is in part, Islam itself that opposes this cruelty and chaos in the field of battle, in Northern Iraq and Syria. Domestically, it is images of some thoughtful men promoting an Islam of seeming peace – suddenly broken by extreme violence and terror or else radical voices demanding Shari’ah Law over the nation. If we attempt to know Islam from these seeming mutually exclusive positions, we will never arrive at a real understanding. We will be left confused and doubtful about the likelihood of Islam being either a religion of peace or a particular terror. The resultant impotence hangs like a canopy over the nation and is making for an outcome the like of which cannot be fathomed, save by prophetic men and woman who comprehend the spiritual and political implications of Islam, regardless as to the detail of Islamic conquest.

In that state of confusion the majority feel powerless to speak, and as a consequence fall prey to the political madness of our time in which Islam is being thrust down our throats as a religion of peace and modernity, by imbecilic politicians who are more concerned about their popularity than they are for the nation that gives them visibility. In the end, when we do speak, we will be hated, maligned and treated with greater contempt than the terror of extreme Islam itself. We will be lectured to by children, and we will be despised. Our politicians will queue up to be flattered and praised as they turn their cheek away from the hand that strikes us, and towards the cheek that demands respect for Islam.

In my opinion, the only way to understand Islam, in the first instance, is to have at least a reasonable understanding of Muhammed, its prophet. It is Muhammed who forms the first shards of visibility of what Islam would be in the political theatre of life in the Arabian Peninsula. It is Muhammed himself who first establishes the rule of conduct that saw Islam break out of the Arabian Peninsular after his death in 632, and in just 100 years spread its message and its meaning from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean. It is Muhammed who forms the central pillar of a proper comprehension of Islam – not by some mystical embrace, but rather more by a scientific and qualitative study of Muhammed.

Robert Chisholm

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