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General Introduction

Lesson One

Victor M. Eskew




A.   I Thessalonians 5:20-22


Despise not prophesying.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.


B.   We are beginning a study of Islam.

1.     This is the fastest growing religion in the world.  Presently, it has 1.5 billion adherents.

2.    It is the second largest religion in Europe.  It is the third largest religion in the United States.  Within the next 15 years there will be more Muslims than Jews in U.S.


C.   Our course of study will be over the next 10 weeks.  (Handout:  Topics of Study).

1.     General Introduction to Islam

2.    Muhammad, the “Prophet”

3.     Allah

4.    Pillars of Islam

5.    Qur’an

6.    Islam’s View of Jesus (1 & 2)

7.    Islam’s Views of Women

8.    Jihad (1 & 2)

9.    Sharia Law

10.  Islam’s View of the Israel and the United States


D.   This lesson will be General Introduction to the religion of Islam.




A.   Islam

1.     The word “Islam” is an Arabic word.

2.    It originated in the 7th century in Arabia.

3.     Meaning:  peace and submission to God


B.   Muslim

1.     A follower of the faith of Islam

2.    Meaning:  one who submits to God







A.   Date of birth:  570 A.D.


B.   Birthplace:  Mecca, Saudi Arabia


C.   Original name:  Ubu’l Kassim  “Islam began with the mystic visions of a non-descript camel driver name Ubu’l-Kassim (who became known as Muhammad) (Islam:  A Raging Storm, Shelton L. Smith, p. 13).


D.   Muhammad grew up as a Bedouin child.

1.     He was a herdsman.

2.    Later, he became a very successful caravan trader


E.   At the age of 25, he married a very wealthy widow who employed him.

1.     Her name was Khadijah.

2.    Their marriage remained monogamous throughout its 25 years.

3.     Khadijah bore Muhammad 2 sons and four daughters.  Some believe that only the last daughter was the natural child of Muhammad and Kadijah.

4.    Khadijah was very loyal to Muhammad.  Her wealth and support enabled him to promote many of his ideas.


F.    At the age of 40, Muhammad was meditating in a cave, when he says the angel Gabriel appeared unto him, giving him a revelation.

1.     There would be a total of 114 revelations over the next 23 years.

2.    Muhammad never personally wrote the revelations down.  He recited them orally to his followers.  His followers are the ones who wrote his “revelations” down.

3.     These “surahs” were collected and compiled in a book, the Qur’an.


G.   The Muslims believe that Muhammad is God’s final prophet to humanity.




A.   Meaning:  that which is recited

1.     These were the revelations recited by Muhammad to his followers.

2.    These are the things that the followers of Muhammad are to recite.


B.   “Muslims regard the Qur’an as the main miracle of Muhammad, as proof of his prophethood, and as the culmination of a series of divine messages” (Wikipedia.com, “Qur’an”).


C.   “The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, is considered by Muslims to be the final and literal word of God” (American Muslims, Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, p. 9)


D.   “The Qur’an describes itself as a book of guidance, sometimes offering detailed accounts of specific historical events, and often emphasizing the moral signifi-cance of an event over its narrative sequence” (Wikipedia).


E.   “Whatever Islam has accomplished historically, whatever it is today, it results largely from the revelations received by Muhammad some 1,400 years ago” (Fast Facts on Islam, Ankerberg & Weldon, p. 15).




A.   Mecca:  Muhammad’s birth place

B.   Medina:  Muhammad’s adopted city and the city of his burial

C.   Jerusalem:  the place from which he made his trip to heaven (NOTE:  In its infancy, Islam taught that one should pray toward Jerusalem).




A.   Believe in the oneness of God (Allah)

B.   Believe all of God’s messengers

C.   Believe in God’s holy books

D.   Believe in angels

E.   Believe in the Day of Judgment

F.    Believe in divine destiny


-       Taken from American Muslims, p. 9


VI.       “PILLARS OF ISLAM:”  the core of Islamic practice


A.   The Declaration of Faith (Shahadah)

B.   Prayer

C.   Zakat (offering)

D.   Fasting

E.   Hajj (pilgrimage)




A.   Muhammad died unexpectedly at the age of 62.  Dissension over his proper successor caused division among the Muslims.


B.   There are two major groups:

1.     Shiites (10%): 

a.    Successors should be direct descendants of the Prophet (bloodline)

b.    Leader chosen:  Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law

2.    Sunnis (90%): 

a.    Successors chosen by the council

b.    Leader chosen:  Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law





A.   Slaves brought from Africa (approximately 20% were Muslims)


B.   19th century:  Muslim immigrants and the political mobilization of the African-
American community


C.   During the civil rights era, high-profile Muslims like Malcolm X brought a lot of media attention to Islam in America.




A.   More than 50 countries of the world have Muslim majority populations.


B.   Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have the largest Muslim populations.


C.   In the United States:

1.     Six to seven million adherents  (25,000 people become Muslims every year)

2.    The 2001 CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) American Mosque Report showed that there are some 2000 mosques, Islamic schools and Islamic centers in the United States.  Sixty-two percent of American mosques have been built during or after the 1980s (American Muslims, p. 14).

3.     American Muslims tend to be more educated and affluent than the national average.

a.    Half earn more than $50,000

b.    Nearly 60% have a bachelor’s degree

c.    Professions:  engineering, medical, and computers

4.    Voting:

a.    Eight in ten Muslims are registered to vote

b.    Of those registered, 85% say they are likely to vote

c.    Party distribution:  1) 42% - Democrat; 2) 17% - Republican;  3) 28% - Independent




A.   A principle goal of Islam is to bring Islamic law to every nation in the world.


B.   It has begun in the United States:

1.     Desensitization

2.    Toleration

3.     Accommodation:  places for prayer in airports, universities, and hospitals; schools serving special food; and roads shut down in major cities in observance if the prayers of Islam

4.    Infiltration

5.    Application