Rifqa Bary’s Update for October 13th 2009: Please Pray
Many of you have already heard of Rifqa Bary, the 17 year old young lady, who’s life has been threatened by her Muslim father because she has confessed Christ. Because of the death threats she fled and sought refuge in a Christian home in Florida. Tomorrow her court case will be heard again determining whether or not she will be extradited back to Ohio where her parents live. Rifqa is a precious and passionate lover of Jesus who is boldly proclaiming Christ. She is depending on her Christian family nationwide to fight in prayer for her life and for her testimony. If she is sent home a likely scenario would be that her Muslim family would return with her to their native country, Sri Lanka. It is there that there would be no restraints as to what could be done with her life.
Let Us Pray
Tomorrow, would you fast and pray for our little sister? Pray that the Gospel through her life and this present situation would explode all over the nation through the media. Pray that many Muslims would come to Christ. Pray that the spirit behind her parents radical lawyer would be restrained. Pray for the favor of Jesus to be over her. Rifqa could be like Esther and her case a flashpoint to expose darkness and release light and truth. Let us be a Mordecai to her.
Fifty thousand participants were expected for the Islam on Capitol Hill event in Washington D.C. on September 25th. Roughly three thousand showed up. As we reported prior to the event, a small group of Jesus followers from North Carolina were also there to give away DVDs documenting the conversion to Christianity of different Muslims thanks in part to dreams and visions of Jesus they had experienced. The leader of this outreach, evangelist Fabian Grech, recounted their experience at the event:
We split up in small teams and were strategically located in different places. The main place where they were all praying (in front of the Capitol) only had 2 exits at the back. So we had a couple teams at both exits. We followed the strategies that God gave us: to go to them with love, look them in the eyes, show them value and put the the DVD “More Than Dreams (www.morethandreams.org – testimonies of Muslims get saved by Jesus visiting them in dreams) in their hands to take it home with them. When they asked me what it was about, I told them it was a DVD of dreams Muslims are having in different countries. Quite a few were excited to take it and some even asked me for more to give to their friends. I am still counting how many DVDs we have left, but I think we gave out about 1200 DVDs – which means about 1 out of every 3 took that powerful DVD home.
On September 25th, 50,000 Muslims will be gathering in Washington D.C. for a historic event called Islam on Capitol Hill. A small group of Jesus-followers will also be there, handing out over 1,500 copies of “More Than Dreams,” a film about 5 former Muslims and how they came to faith in Jesus, to the attendees. Evangelist Fabian Grech will be leading this band of 25 as they travel to the largest Islamic gathering in America’s history. According to Grech:
More Than Dreams is a very powerful DVD made to reach Muslims. The DVD is made of five powerful testimonies of Muslims that were saved through literal dreams and visions of Jesus, and after each testimony there is a gospel presentation. … We will not be doing any form of aggressive evangelism, but we will be going with compassion and humility, and we will be telling them “I have a free gift for you, a DVD of dreams Muslims are having, feel free to watch it at home.” …. Our main goal is to get them to keep that DVD and take it home, and if they want to follow up with questions, they’ll be able to contact us through an email address we’ve set up and included on the DVDs. … People are fasting and praying in different parts of the U.S. for this outreach, and a team from Chicago will be joining us too.
We’ll be following up with a report of how things went with the team and with Friday’s gathering. To learn more about Fabian and his ministry, go to www.freedomtocaptives.com.
On September 25th, organizers of a rally called Islam on Capitol Hill expect 50,000 Muslims to converge on Washington, D.C to “express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam” and “manifest Islam’s majestic spiritual principals.” According to Robert Knight:
Hassen Abdellah, president of Dar-ul-Islam, and a main organizer, told the Washington Post that the event was inspired by President Obama’s inaugural address and his speech in Cairo, Egypt in June. The latter was where Obama noted that Islam was “first revealed” in the Middle East, thus implying divine origin. He may have also inspired some Muslims when he told journalists in Turkey in April that America “is not a Christian nation.” The event’s Website proclaims in large block letters: Our Time Has Come.
The organizers of the event state that:
* The Athan will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill
* Thousands of Muslims from all races, creeds, colors and ethnicities will gather for the sole purpose of prayer
* Bonds of friendship will be formed between those in attendance, both Muslims and Non-Muslims
* Muslim youth will experience tours of the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.
* The peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America’s capitol.
The “peace, beauty and solidarity of Islam will shine through America’s capitol”? Nice words, but if Islam is such a religion of “peace” and “beauty,” how is it that Islamic republics are invariably among the most repressive in the world (with atheistic regimes coming in a close second)? And how is it that the majority of international terrorism has at its root Islam? Unless the leaders of events such as these distance themselves from the evil manifestations of Islam seen in Iran, Al-Qaeda, etc… by showing definitively that their peaceful/loving manifestation of Islam is the true one (or a different one altogether), claims such as “we shall serve all people, regardless of race, religion or national origin,” however sincere they may be, will ring hollow as far as they relate to revealing Islam’s true nature.
This is the exact word of one of the Sheikhs who is leading this historic gathering, “Muslims should march on the White House. We are going to the White House so that Islam will be victorious, Allah willing, and the White House will become into a Muslim house.” These are not empty words. They speak of a dark spiritual intent and a coming day of great trouble to America .
On Friday, September 25th, the Muslim Day of Prayer, we are calling the Church of America to fast and pray that Muslims would be moved by the Holy Spirit, convicted by the testimony of Christ, and even be visited by Jesus in dreams. We must pray that God would restrain the spiritual powers behind Islam and grant us the great awakening that we desperately need for America.
Will we see the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple in our own lifetime? What will the implications be on our prophetic expectation of an ingathering of Jews into the Kingdom prior to the Lord’s bodily appearing? Feel free to weigh in via comments below.
UPDATED MONDAY MORNING: The Supreme Leader of Iran has spoken. It’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a “landslide.” This means a major, cataclysmic war is the most likely outcome of the Iranian “elections.” And the battle lines are clear. It’s Netanyahu vs. Ahmadinejad — Bibi vs. Mahmoud — and the big question is: Who will strike first?
This weekend’s events in Iran tell us a lot.
First, the results prove that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei firmly, completely and whole-heartedly supports Ahmadinejad’s End Times beliefs. Khamenei also fully supports Ahmadinejad’s commitment to build nuclear weapons and long-range, high-speed ballistic missiles. What’s more, the Supreme Leader supports Ahmadinejad’s public commitment to destroy Israel and the U.S. to hasten the coming of the Mahdi. There is no daylight between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad on this Radical “eschatology,” or End Times theology, as some analysts and commentators have suggested. These two men are who I have said all along they are – members of an apocalyptic, genocidal death cult. They are kindred spirits. They are two peas in a pod. They are absolutely committed to their cause. They believe the wind is at their backs, that Allah is on their side, and they believe they will soon see complete victory. That’s what makes them so dangerous.
Second, the results prove that the people of Iran never had a real choice. This wasn’t a real election. It was totally and completely rigged by a Radical Muslim mafia, a police state without justice or compassion for those enslaved. The aftermath became, as one Iranian noted over the weekend, a Tehran Tiananmen. Protesters and dissidents were beaten, arrested and tortured. Text messaging was turned off. Facebook was shut down. The internet was down or slowed for vast stretches. All this prevents ordinary citizens from mobilizing their opposition to the government. That said, however, the massive turnout at the polls – and the street demonstrations and violence in Iran over the weekend — showed that even though Iranians didn’t have real Reformer candidates to choose from, the vast Iranians are deeply disgusted with the current regime. They long for true freedom and true democracy. They desperately wanted the elections to be real. They are ABA — anybody but Ahmadinejad. They don’t buy into the regime’s End Times theology. They desperately want someone to liberate them. I feel for them. I want them to be free. Now more than ever. [MOST BIZARRE HEADLINE OF THE DAY:Iran’s supreme leader orders probe of vote fraud]
Third, the results prove that the Obama administration’s belief that you can sit down and have a rational discussion with such Radicals — or trust an agreement even if one could be negotiated with them – is absolutely nonsensical. How could we possibly trust the Iranian leadership to keep a promise to stop building nuclear weapons (if such a promise were made), when they steal elections and beat and torture dissidents in front of the whole world? The Obama administration should treat Khamenei and Ahmadinejad as pariahs now. The White House should praise the young people of Iran, the pro-democracy forces in Iran, the forces of freedom in Iran. And the President should condemn the Iranian government has totalitarian theocratic thugs, not offer to engage them. Not offer them concessions. Not reward such evil behavior. Why has the President been silent? Vice President Biden on Meet the Press yesterday at least challenged the legitimacy of the elections. That’s something. But why didn’t he say the weekend’s events in Iran just prove the leadership in Tehran are part of the axis of evil?
Fourth, as for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech, he is right: Iran is the real threat to the region and the world, not Israel’s refusal to make more land for missiles concessions to the Palestinian leadership. Bibi’s assessment of the current Iranian regime is spot on, while the White House’s assessment has been exactly wrong. The real, existential threat to peace in the epicenter is Iran’s death cult leadership and their feverish pursuit of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu was right to smoke out the real intentions of the Palestinian leadership and the Muslim leadership as a whole in the region. By agreeing that there could be a Palestinian state and then defining one that would truly be peaceful, Netanyahu shrewdly shifted the terms of the debate. He provoked a firestorm of criticism from the Arab and Muslim world, who are denouncing the speech in the harshest of terms. Which makes things crystal clear: Israel’s enemies don’t really want peace with Israel at this time. They don’t really want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Thus they don’t really believe in “two states for two peoples.” What’s more, they don’t believe the putative Palestinian state should be demilitarized. Thus, they believe in a Palestinian state that would threaten the very existence of Israel. Why should Israel say “yes” to that? Israel gave land for peace in 2000 — withdrawing from southern Lebanon. What did it get? More than 4,000 rockets and missiles from the Iran-backed Hezbollah. Israel gave land for peace in 2005 — withdrawing from all of Gaza. What did it get? More than 10,000 rockets, missiles and mortars from the Iran-backed Hamas. Israel even offered in 2000 to divide Jerusalem and give the Palestinians about 93% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. What did Israel get in exchange? Arafat’s utter rejection of the offer and a wave of suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks. Upon what basis, then, would Israel be able to trust another land for peace deal in the near future?
Fifth, we need to pray for peace, but prepare for war. Our Joshua Fund board met over the weekend for several days of strategic prayer and planning meetings. At this point, we see our mandate clearly: Do everything we can to educate, awaken and mobilize the followers of Jesus Christ to pray for peace, and do everything we can prepare for war in case the Lord allows a cataclysmic battle ensue between Israel and Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. We are working on building the organizational and financial infrastructure to eventually provide $100 million worth of food, clothing, medical supplies and other relief aid to Israel, and another $20 million to Israel’s immediate neighbors. This will take time and much effort. It’s not clear how quickly we can achieve this goal, but I believe we are moving in the right direction. We’ve expanded our budget this year (In 2006, TJF’s budget was $160,000. This year, it is about $5.7 million.) We’ve increased the size of our staff (from 1 in 2006 to 4 full time employees today). We are actively recruiting several new staff positions. We’re working with our financial services provider to expand their capacity for receiving and processing donations. We’re working to improve our communications to our donors so we can do a still-better job at briefing them on the projects we’re doing and how we’re investing the resources they’ve entrusted to us. We’re recruiting more prayer partners. We’re building more government and civilian allies in Israel and the region. We’re working to build more allies among evangelical pastors and ministry leaders in North America and beyond. We’re also taking up to 300 evangelical leaders and lay people to Israel in November for a “prayer & vision trip.” And, as the Lord gives us grace, strength and resources, we will do more to help followers of Christ “learn, pray, give and go.” This is a critical moment. The threat is real. The time is short. We would be grateful for your continued prayers and support in the weeks and months ahead. God bless you.
We are living in a critical time in Israel’s history.
Why have Jewish people been so hated and persecuted through the centuries?
I devoted much of my book, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood, to the subject of anti-Semitism, and on several occasions I have delivered lectures on the question of why anti-Semitism exists. Out of all the hatreds in the world, anti-Semitism is unique.
At the invitation of Christian campus groups, I spoke on this topic at both Yale and Columbia universities, two of America’s most prestigious centers of learning, each time fielding questions from the listeners for better than an hour. My challenge was simple: I have a supernatural, biblical explanation for the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, one which even includes the devil himself—not the most popular theory on a university campus! “Do any of you have a better answer?”
After each lecture, I listened carefully to proposal after proposal, and despite the educational background of many of those in the audience, which included students and graduates of these universities, not one proposal could fully explain the “why” of anti-Semitism. In fact, the best theory that anyone offered was that, perhaps, anti-Semitism was due to aliens! (For more on “alien anti-Semitism,” stay tuned. I’m actually going to address that shortly.) What then makes anti-Semitism such a unique hatred?
First, it is the longest hatred of all time, dating back at least 2,300 years (and even longer if the book of Esther is included). As expressed by the Catholic scholar Edward Flannery, “Antisemitism is the longest and deepest hatred of human history. . . . What other hatred has endured some twenty-three centuries and survived a genocide of 6,000,000 of its victims in its twenty-third century of existence only to find itself still intact and rich in potential for many years of life?” Today, Anti-Semitism is at its highest levels since immediately before the Holocaust, equaling, in fact, those pre-Holocaust levels. How can this be?
These words penned twenty-five centuries ago, still ring true in the hearts of many anti-Semites today: “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples . . whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey [international] laws; it is not in [our] best interest to tolerate them” (Esther 3:8, with slight modifications made to make this more contemporary). Why has this hatred and fear of the Jews persisted for so long?
Consider this attack on the Jewish people made in Ezra’s day, also roughly 2,500 years ago:
The king should know that the Jews who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations. Furthermore, the king should know that if this city is built and its walls are restored, no more taxes, tribute or duty will be paid, and the royal revenues will suffer. Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king, so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place of rebellion from ancient times. That is why this city was destroyed. (Ezra 4:12-15)
To this day, Jerusalem remains the center of international controversy, the only capital city not recognized by the rest of the nations. Why Jerusalem? Why the Jews?
Second, anti-Semitism is the most widespread hatred of all time. It can be traced from the Greco-Roman world to Christianity (yes, Christianity, including vicious comments from some of the church’s greatest leaders); from Islam to Fascism to Communism (intense anti-Semitism links Muslim terrorists, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin!); from White Supremacists to Black Supremacists (yes, both groups bash the Jews); from university campuses to the world press; from the philosopher Voltaire to the historian Arnold Toynbee; from the composer Richard Wagner to the car designer Henry Ford; from Japan to Russia to Iran. Why the Jews?
A few years ago, a very bizarre group made a big media splash when they claimed to have produced the world’s first human clone. The group, called the Raelians, is a UFO religion, led by its founder Rael, who claims to have been enlightened by aliens. (This is the literal claim: “On the 13th of December 1973, French journalist Rael was contacted by a visitor from another planet, and asked to establish an Embassy to welcome these people back to Earth.”) After hearing the cloning report, which was universally dismissed by scientists as a cheap publicity stunt, I went to the Raelian website, purely out of curiosity. (As of this writing, the site was available in more than twenty-five languages.) To my utter amazement, the featured message from Rael was laced with anti-Jewish sentiments, including the charge that “Israel is engaged in State terrorism” and the claim that “a small handful of the millions of American Jews are holding the rest of the 250 million Americans hostage.” Even the Raelians were polluted by an anti-Semitic stream! Why this widespread hatred of the Jews?
Third, anti-Semitism is the most vicious hatred of all time, and both the incredible violence and the depth of animosity against the Jews defy rational explanation. The enormity and depravity of the Holocaust alone is testimony to the viciousness of this hatred, and yet the Holocaust is simply the worst of countless acts of Jew hatred over the centuries. This horrific crime included several nations and led to the cooperative and systematic execution of six million Jews, including 1.5 million babies and children. So depraved were the Nazis (and other Jew killers) that Jewish infants were sometimes thrown into burning pits alive in order to save a bullet, leading to the oft-quoted dictum of Rabbi Irving Greenberg: “Moreover, summon up the principle that no statement should be made [about the Holocaust] that could not be made in the presence of the burning children.” Nothing more needs to be said.
Fourth, anti-Semitism is the most irrational hatred of all time. The absurdity of the anti-Semitic libels simply defies rational explanation. When the Black Plague decimated Europe, Jews were accused of starting the plague by poisoning the wells with a mixture made of spiders, lizards and the hearts of Christians mixed together with the sacred elements of the Lord’s supper. Outraged mobs slaughtered thousands of Jews as a result of this pernicious rumor. When the Catholic Church declared in 1215 that the elements of communion literally became the body and blood of Jesus, Jews were accused of stealing and torturing communion wafers, leading to whole Jewish communities being burned at the stake. In the Muslim world today, it is still believed that every year, Jews kidnap and torture a priest (or other victim), using his blood to make Passover matzah (unleavened bread). The Muslim world also takes seriously the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forged document from the nineteenth century that claims to report the secret plans of a hidden group of Jewish leaders who are poised to take over the entire world—ultimately bringing it into subjection to the Hindu god Vishnu! (To quote from the Protocols: “Our kingdom will be an apologia of the divinity Vishnu, in whom is found its personification.”). Jews have also been blamed for the spreading of AIDS as well as for orchestrating the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (several Muslim cabdrivers in New York City explained this to me with real conviction, not realizing that I was a Jew). Jews have even been accused of controlling the Catholic Church!
Article Seventeen of the Hamas Charter states: “Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. These organizations have ample resources that enable them to play their role in societies for the purpose of achieving the Zionist targets and to deepen the concepts that would serve the enemy.” Even the Masons are controlled by the Jews!
So irrational are the lies told about the Jews that even an utter rationalist like Sigmund Freud had to say, “With regard to anti-Semitism, I don’t really want to search for explanations; I feel a strong inclination to surrender my affects in this matter and find myself confirmed in my wholly nonscientific belief that mankind on the average and taken by and large are a wretched lot.”
What then are some of the explanations offered to explain the phenomenon of anti-Semitism?
(1) “It all traces back to Christianity,” meaning that the charge that the Jews killed Jesus (see #45), thus making them guilty of deicide (killing God) has so permeated Western history and culture that “Christian” anti-Semitism provides a link between all manifestations of anti-Semitism. But this theory is seriously flawed. How do we explain pre-Christian anti-Semitism? And does Christian anti-Semitism adequately explain Islamic anti-Semitism? And what of Christian philo-Semitism, a direct result of the testimony of the very New Testament that allegedly produced worldwide anti-Semitism?
(2) “It is because there always has to be a scapegoat,” meaning that someone always has to be blamed for bad things that happen in the world. But this begs the question rather than answers it. Why are the Jews always being blamed? As George Orwell remarked, “However true the ‘scapegoat’ theory may be in general terms, it does not explain why the Jews rather than some other minority group are picked on, nor does it make clear what they are a scapegoat for.”
(3) “It is because of the Jewish religion, which makes the Jewish people different,” and so people attack what they don’t understand. The problem with this view is that secular Jews have often been singled out for persecution. In keeping with this, it has often been said that at the time of the Holocaust, most German Jews were more German than Jewish. Not only so, but the Nazis slaughtered Jews who were even “one-quarter” Jewish—meaning only one grandparent was Jewish—also murdering Jews who had converted to Christianity. There is also worldwide animosity toward the modern state of Israel, despite the fact that the nation is far more secular than it is religious. And why haven’t Muslims been universally hated for being different?
(4) “It is because the Jewish people are especially bad” (this was actually stated to me by a Pakistani cabdriver with whom I discussed the question of anti-Semitism)—but this theory hardly needs refutation, since Jews are often some of the most moral and ethical people in the world, and, to be sure, there are plenty of rotten Gentiles! So, to put it mildly, Jews certainly don’t have a monopoly on being bad.
(5) “It is because the Jews always have all the money”—which, in fact, is not a theory but rather another anti-Semitic libel! In any case, through the centuries, Jews have often been the poorest people in their societies, often because of oppressive laws passed against them. But they were hated and persecuted nonetheless.
(6) “It is because of Jewish guilt, leading to divine judgment”—a harsh-sounding charge, but with some truth to it, since the Torah clearly states that national obedience would be blessed while national disobedience would be cursed (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). But the hatred has been too intense, too vile, too destructive to be explained by this alone and even within the Tanakh itself, God often expressed His displeasure with the nations whom He used to judge His people, stating clearly that they had gone too far (see, e.g., Isaiah 10:5-19; more broadly, see Zechariah 1:14-15).
Clearly, all of these theories fall short in one way or another, failing to explain the intense, irrational and long-lived nature of anti-Semitism and failing to connect all the dots. What then is the explanation for anti-Semitism in the world? It is simply this: God has singled out the Jewish people as His instrument for world redemption, He has promised that they will always remain on the earth as a distinct people—despite their sins and failures—and the devil himself has marked them out for destruction. Ultimately, it is through the Jewish people that the knowledge of the one true God has come to the world, through the Jewish people that the Messiah has come, and through the Jewish people that the message of the Messiah went to the nations. And it is the Jewish people in Jerusalem who will ultimately welcome the Messiah back to earth to set up His kingdom (see Matthew 23:37-39). That’s why the devil hates them so!
As I wrote in Our Hands Are Stained with Blood:
Why does Satan so passionately despise the Jews? For one thing, it is a reflection of his hatred for God. The Jews are God’s chosen people! By hurting them he seeks to hurt the Lord and take revenge for his own sentence of death. His effort to annihilate the Jews is also an attempt to discredit the Lord, since He has sworn in His Word that they will never be destroyed. If Israel ceases to exist as a distinct people, then God did not, or could not, keep His promise. That would mean that He was either powerless or that He lied!
But there is another reason the devil despises the Jews: The salvation of Israel means the return of Jesus, the resurrection of the righteous, the revival of the Church and the restoration of the earth. The fulfillment of the Jews’ destiny will seal the devil’s doom. Yes, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20) . . . and he is beginning to squirm! The time to favor Israel is upon us and Satan is quaking with fear. The countdown has begun.
Understanding, then, that anti-Semitism is ultimately a spiritual phenomenon rather than a cultural, ethnic or even religious phenomenon, we can also understand that anti-Semitism has to do with God and His purposes rather than with the Jewish people themselves. That is to say, it is not because the Jews are better or worse than anyone else; it is because God chose the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring redemption to the world, the Messiah Himself being a Jew. In that light, it will be a bad day for anti-Semites when they realize that the all-powerful King coming in flaming fire is a glorified Jew.
Editor’s Note: A guest article from author Joel Richardson. Learn more at his website www.JoelsTrumpet.com.
The Covenant with Death & the Treaty of Hudaibiyah
In war, one of the greatest mistakes that one can make is to not know your enemy. Just recently, I was enjoying breakfast with one of my daughters at a local Pancake House managed by a family from Saudi Arabia. The owner and I are very friendly and always strike up a conversation whenever I visit. The other day I asked him how many languages he spoke. I was surprised when he said that he is presently studying Hebrew. “Hebrew, really? Why are you learning Hebrew?” I asked. At this point, he leaned over to me and lowered his voice. Scanning the room before he spoke, he whispered to me, “You know…always know your enemy.” I didn’t push my friend as to why a Saudi immigrant in the Midwest of the United States would feel as though Jews or Israelis were his enemies, but it made for an enlightening episode into my Muslim host’s mindset.
Today the Nation of Israel, more than ever is being pushed from all sides to come to the negotiating table and agree to allow the Palestinian people a state of their own side by side with the State of Israel. Many from among the Israeli-leadership in fact believe that such an agreement is their only solution for long-term “peace and security.” But do these Israeli leaders truly know with whom they are dealing? Have these Israeli leaders ever truly taken the time to really study the tenants and history of Islam in order to understand the system that guides every aspect of those who they will someday trust as “peace-partners?”
Beyond the general fact that lying and deceitfulness find a rich seed-bed in the religion of Islam, there is also a very specific piece of Islamic history that must be fully understood by anyone who thinks that peace between Jews and radical Muslims is possible. Specifically within Islamic history, I am referring to what is known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. One cannot even begin to approach understanding modern day Middle East politics until one first understands the history and meaning of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.
The Treaty of Hudaibiyah
While Islam was still in its infancy, Muhammad’s small but growing band of followers found themselves living in Medina after being driven out of Mecca due to a conflict with Muhammad’s former tribe of Quraysh. At the time, the various surrounding Arab tribes would make religious pilgrimages to the pagan shrine in Mecca known as the Ka’ba, but because the tribe of Quraysh was the guardian and custodian of the shrine, the followers of Muhammad were not allowed to make such pilgrimages.
One night, Muhammad claimed to have received a revelation from Allah in a dream. He claimed that Allah told him that he and his followers would make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Following this alleged revelation Muhammad prepared his people to travel to Mecca for the pilgrimage. However, while attempting to sneak into the city, at a place called the Spring of Hudaibiyah, they were intercepted by Meccan / Qurayashi troops. It was here that the men of Quraysh disrespected Muhammad in front of his followers, and did not allow them to go forward to make pilgrimage. However, they did negotiate with the Islamic believers and struck a deal that became known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah which reads as follows:
In your name, O Allah. These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad, the son of Abdullah and Suhayl, the son of Amr (of Mecca). Both parties have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years. During this time, each party shall be safe, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor shall prevail between them. The Muslims shall return (to Medina) this year without performing Umrah (the pilgrimage). In the coming year, you may enter it (Mecca) with your companions, staying therein for three days, bearing no arms except the arms of the traveler, with swords remaining in their sheaths. If a Quraysh person comes to Muhammad (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him to them, but if one of Muhammad’s people come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned. Whoever wishes to enter into covenant with Muhammad can do so, and whoever wishes to enter into covenant with the Quraysh can do so.”
It is obvious as one reads the treaty that the Quraysh were the ones in a position of strength and were in fact being quite generous to the relatively smaller band of Islamic believers, which numbered only a little over a thousand men. While Muhammad and his band were prepared to enter Mecca (according to Muhammad’s alleged revelation from Allah), they ended up being turned away until the following year, though they were allowed to return to Medina unharmed and recruit as many others from outside the Quraysh tribe as they wished. With the Islamic believers being the weaker and smaller group, the agreement not to attack each other for ten years was a generous concession on the Quraysh’s part.
The result of this humiliating encounter and treaty was that the Islamic believers were covered with shame and began to grumble against Muhammad. They were terribly embarrassed that their great leader had been treated so poorly and did nothing to respond other than to roll over and agree to the treaty. They were also a bit disillusioned because Muhammad had obviously prophesied falsely regarding his followers making the pilgrimage. But above all, regarding the treaty, there were whines of “no fair” heard throughout the Islamic camp. How could the greatest people on the earth (as Muhammad was in the habit of classifying them) be so humiliated? A Hadith of Bukhari records the arrogance and the offense of the Islamic camp:
At that time ‘Umar came (to the Prophet) and said, “Aren’t we on the right (path) and they (pagans) in the wrong? Won’t our killed persons go to Paradise, and theirs in the Fire?” The Prophet replied, “Yes.” Umar further said, “Then why should we let our religion be degraded and return before Allah has settled the matter between us?”
— Sahih Bukhari 6.367
Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul records another conversation that broke out among two of Muhammad’s closet friends, Umar, and Abu Bakr, the very men who would later become the first and second Caliphs after Muhammad:
Umar jumped up and went to Abu Bakr saying, “Is he not God’s apostle, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists?” to which Abu Bakr agreed, and he went on: “Then why should we agree to what is demeaning to our religion?”
— Sirat Rasul page 504
But Muhammad’s response to his followers was typical of other false prophets whose prophecies fail-he simply painted a new bulls-eye around their arrow. Muhammad argued that Allah had never said that they would make pilgrimage “this year” but that they would simply make it someday. Al-Bukhari records this rather humorous event:
Umar said, “I went to the Prophet and said, ‘Aren’t you truly the Apostle of Allah?’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes, indeed.’ I said, ‘Isn’t our cause just and the cause of the enemy unjust?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Then why should we be humble in our religion?’ He said, ‘I am Allah’s Apostle and I do not disobey Him, and He will make me victorious.’ I said, ‘Didn’t you tell us that we would go to the Ka’ba?’ He said, ‘Yes, but did I tell you that we would visit the Ka’ba this year?’
— Sahih Bukhari 3.891
After hearing all of the grumbling within his camp, Muhammad awoke the following morning claiming that Allah had “sent down” another revelation explaining that what had happened was in fact a “great victory” for the Islamic believers. This “revelation” which reads much like a desperate defense can be found in Surah 48 of the Quran. It begins with “Surely We (Allah) have given to you a clear victory.” And so after a dismal failure, Muhammad declared “clear victory.” The pattern displayed here by Muhammad can be seen in many Muslims even today.
What may have been Muhammad’s greatest genius was also contained in this “revelation.” His men, many angry and less than enthusiastic, assembled to hear him out. It was at this time that Muhammad suddenly announced glad tidings: The booty from the Jewish village of Khaibar would soon belong to them. Muhammad announced that the majority of the booty from plundered villages and cities would belong to the soldiers in his camp, as well as the women and children that they took as slaves. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir narrates this event:
When those of the people whom he wanted had assembled, he recited: “We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory.” A person from the Companions of Muhammad said, “O apostle of Allah, is it a victory?” He replied, “By Him in whose hand is my soul, it is surely a victory.” Then (the booty of) Khaibar was allotted to the participants of al-Hudaybiyya in eighteen shares.
A Turn of Events
The story continues with what turned out to be a very poor turn of events for the tribe of Quraysh. Within only weeks of being humiliated, Muhammad began attacking and pillaging several wealthy Jewish villages and cities. The Islamic believers who participated in these attacks were promised and received a large portion of the booty that they seized as well as the women and children, which they took as slaves. This incentive became a powerful motivating force in gaining new recruits to the Islamic movement, resulting in staggering growth in the period immediately following these events. The Sirat Rasul (early biography of Muhammad) records the benefits of this treaty:
…He (Allah) has wrought a near victory, the peace of al-Hudaybiyya. No previous victory in Islam was greater than this. There was nothing but battle when men met; but when there was an armistice and war was abolished and men met in safety and consulted together none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it. In those two years double as many or more than double as many entered Islam as ever before.”
— Sirat Rasul page 507
Muhammad Breaks the Treaty
Soon thereafter, the Treaty was tested for the first time. Some Qurayshi Meccan women had married some of the followers of Muhammad. Therefore, according to the tenants of the Treaty, the Qurayshi family members of the women came to Muhammad and asked him to return the women. But Muhammad refused this request. He broke his end of the deal. Instead, Muhammad only had the dowries returned but not the women.
“Umm Kulthum migrated to the apostle during this period. Her two brothers Umara and Walid, sons of Uqba came and asked the apostle to return her to them in accordance with the agreement between him and Quraysh at Hudaybiyya, but he would not. Allah forbade it…
— Sirat Rasul page 509
Muhammad’s reason for violating the Treaty of course was another convenient revelation from Allah.
Thereafter some believing women who were immigrants came. (Allah sent down: O ye who believe when believing women come to you as emigrants). Allah most high forbade them to send them back, but ordered them to restore the dowry.”
— Sunan Abu Dawud volume 2, #2759
Once again, Muhammad placed the responsibility for his inability to keep his word on Allah. This fact is important because when one surveys the various Muslim apologists’ version of events, they never mention the fact that Muhammad was the one who broke the Treaty.
When the Treaty was made, Muhammad’s followers numbered under 1,500 men, but within two years, after destroying the seven Jewish villages and assuming all of their wealth and wives, the movement had grown to over 10,000 men. They were no longer the weaker of the two parties to the Treaty. It was at this time that Muhammad exploited a minor infraction in the Treaty-forgetting of course his earlier blatant violation-and the Muslims attacked Mecca and destroyed the power of the Quraysh. Muhammad and his followers were now the undisputed rulers of Mecca.
Hudaibiyah as a Modern Muslim Political Tool
The point of course in recalling all of this history is to demonstrate the fact that Muhammad was a brazen opportunist. But remember, he is also the supreme example for all Muslims today, thus many in the Islamic world do not view peace treaties in the same way that non-Muslims would. Muslims do not understand treaties as binding agreements, but rather as opportunities to grow stronger or buy time or to look peaceful. But the purpose is never to simply make peace with the infidels. Some may claim that this is a bigoted and unfair claim. My response is that such objections are ignorant and based on propaganda or wishful thinking concerning the nature and goals of Islam. In Islam, concepts such as honor, ethics, or obligations are only afforded a secondary importance against the imperial importance that is given to establishing the supremacy and domination of Islam throughout the whole world. Muslims today clearly understand “Hudaibiya” to be a code-word, which in brief, means “kiss the hand of your enemy until you have the opportunity to cut it off.” Do not be deceived.
In May of 1994, Yasser Arafat addressed a group of Muslims in Johannesburg South Africa. However, what Arafat didn’t know was that a journalist by the name of Bruce Whitfield secretly recorded the portion of his speech that was in English. At this time, things were looking good for the Middle East Peace Process. Many felt as though tensions were winding down. However, it was during this speech that Arafat spoke of the ongoing “jihad to liberate Jerusalem.” Those Israelis who had trusted Arafat’s previous promises of peace and good-will were shocked. But even more damaging to the Peace Process were Arafats comments regarding the Treaty of Hudaibyah. Referring to the Peace Agreement that he had only recently made with Israel, Arafat was recorded as saying:
I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca… The prophet had been right to insist on the agreement, for it helped him defeat the Quraysh and take over their city of Mecca. In a similar spirit, we now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.
After this speech, Arafat frequently made mention of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah and clearly expressed that it was a model for his own “diplomacy.” Though this allusion to the Treaty may be obscure to most non-Muslims, many Muslims are familiar with the prophet’s agreement with the Quraysh. Mentioning it in Johannesburg and often afterwards was Arafat’s method of sending a clandestine message about his intentions toward Israel, one intelligible to Muslims but not to the rest of the world. This is in fact a common practice by Muslim leaders, however it is never used when they know that “the enemy is listening,” and rarely are they caught on tape. In 2003 however, the Malaysian Prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad was caught discussing the Treaty of Hudaibiyah model for diplomacy.
At Hudaibiyah [Muhammad] was prepared to accept an unfair treaty, against the wishes of his companions and followers. During the peace that followed he consolidated his strength and eventually he was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam… That briefly is the story of the struggle of the Prophet. We talk so much about following the sunnah of the Prophet. We quote the instances and the traditions profusely. But we actually ignore all of them. If we use the faculty to think that Allah has given us then we should know that we are acting irrationally. We fight without any objective, without any goal other than to hurt the enemy because they hurt us. Naively we expect them to surrender. We sacrifice lives unnecessarily, achieving nothing other than to attract more massive retaliation and humiliation. It is surely time that we pause to think. But will this be wasting time? For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory. Pausing and thinking calmly is not a waste of time. We have a need to make a strategic retreat and to calmly assess our situation.The Quran tells us that when the enemy sues for peace we must react positively. True the treaty offered is not favorable to us. But we can negotiate. The Prophet did, at Hudaibiyah. And in the end he triumphed… The enemy will probably welcome these proposals… Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think. They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities.
Today, as we open the newspapers, almost daily we read comments made by the Israeli leadership that the Israelis will do “anything possible” to achieve a lasting regional peace. We read that Israel is willing to make “sweeping, painful and difficult concessions” in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors. The establishment of an official Palestinian State is one step closer to being implemented. But we have seen this kind of thing before. In 1993, the Oslo accords were made. Back then Israel also made “sweeping, painful and difficult decisions.” Where did it get them? Palestinian suicide bombings and attacks have never stopped, nor has the hatred of the surrounding nations ever abated. A proper understanding of peace treaties in Islamic history and thought gives insight into why this is happening… the surrounding Arab nations are proudly following in the footsteps of Muhammad, the prophet and messenger of their god.
About the Author: Joel Richardson is the author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, co-editor of Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out, and co-author with Walid Shoebat of God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible. Joel has been actively involved in outreach to Muslims since the early 1990’s.
In response to a year of persecution and the imminent passing of a law making the death sentence mandatory for all Muslim men who turn to Christ and life imprisonment for Muslim women who turn to Christ, Iranian church leaders are calling for prayer and fasting November 21 – 23rd 2008.
They know they have no influence in the courts of men – but they want to take their case to the courts of heaven.
And like Esther of old, the queen of Iran who told Mordecai to ask all the people of God to pray and fast for three days, so Iranian Christian leaders are asking the world-wide church to also set aside these three days for prayer and fasting.
If you are a prayer leader in your church, please contact other intercessors to be involved in these three days, and please approach your pastor to see if special prayers for Iran can be made at your church service on Sunday November 23rd.
2008: YEAR OF INTIMIDATION FOR CHRISTIANS IN IRAN
The growing church in Iran is under attack. Since April there have been at least fifty three arrests of people whose only crime is their faith in Jesus Christ. The arrests are not localised, but have happened in all of Iran’s major cities…Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, and elsewhere. Sometimes people have been released the same day, others spent months in prison, some still remain behind bars. Many of them have had to pay exorbitant fees for bail and face frightening court cases. Some have suffered physically while in detention and it is believed that one elderly couple died as a result of being beaten up. These are only the arrests that get reported: it is likely there have been many more.
All of this has been happening against the ominous background of legislation going through the Iranian parliament that will make the death sentence mandatory for any man who leaves Islam and chooses another faith. Women will face life imprisonment for the same ‘crime’. Click here to read more about this legislation.
Despite the persecution, the church in Iran continues to grow rapidly. The Word of God is reaching many in the country and many believers are determined to courageously share Christ with their countrymen. Christian leaders in Iran believe that the church will continue to grow very rapidly in the next five to ten years, such is the openness of Iranians to the Gospel.
Elam Ministries urges Christians, world wide to pray and fast on behalf of the church in Iran.
Pray for all those who have been arrested and intimidated. Pray that the Lord will be their Rock, Deliverer and Shield. (Psalm 18:2)
Pray that despite the persecution, Christians will be “encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Phil 1:14)
Pray against the law of apostasy. Pray that the severe mandatory punishments regarding apostasy in Iran’s new penal code will not enter the statute book. Pray that many millions of Muslims will see the evil of this law and will hunger for spiritual truth and salvation.
OVERVIEW OF INTIMIDATION*
April, Amol, Mazandaran: a Christian husband and his pregnant wife are arrested. The wife is released after three days, the husband not till the end of May and only when he had secured his bail with his home. He has to face charges in court.
May 11th, Shiraz: Homayon Gholamzadeh and his wife Fariba and Amir Hussein Anari, and his wife Fatemeh, were arrested at the airport and taken directly to jail. All were questioned about their faith and church involvement. The wives were released the same day, but Anari was not released till May 14th, and Gholamzadeh not till May 22nd. The same day Allaedin Hossein, his wife and three children were arrested, their home searched, and computers and books confiscated. All were released apart from the eldest son, Mujtaba Hussein, aged 21. He was kept in prison till June 3rd and then only released on $20,000 bail.
May 13th, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin and Arash Bandari, were arrested while walking in a park. Both were kept in solitary confinement till July 15th, when they were placed in a cell together.
May 31st, Tehran: Police arrest forty four year old Mohsen Namvar and confiscated his computer. Mohsen was in prison in 2007 when he was beaten so badly he could hardly walk. No reason was given for this second arrest. He was released on June 27th with high fever and shaking hands. He refuses to talk to his wife about his treatment. The family had to pay the security forces $43,000 for bail – and received no receipt. In early July they fled Iran as refugees.
June 3rd, Tehran: Christian couple, Tina Rad and Makan Arya were arrested and interrogated for holding Bible studies with Muslims. During their four day ordeal both were badly beaten up and the authorities threatened to put their four year old daughter into an institution. They had to raise a total of $50,000 to be released on bail.
July 12th, Tehran:. Mohsen Radfar arrested travelling to the city.
July 12th, Kerman: Twelve Christians are arrested at the airport on their way to a conference. While being questioned their homes are searched. They are released the same day.
July 17th, Isfahan: Sixteen Christians, including six women and two minors, arrested during a service. The elderly hosts of the meeting, Abbas Amiri and Sakineh Rahnama were so badly beaten that both later died: Abbas on July 30th, his wife on August 3rd.
Early August, Shiraz: Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat, imprisoned in Shiraz since May 13th, are formally charged with apostasy, which carries the death sentence.
August 8th, Kerman: A Christian couple, Dariush and Shireen, are arrested.
August 12th, Arak: Shahin Zanboori is arrested and suffered beatings while in prison as authorities attempted to find out the names of other believers. He was released on August 31st, but faces a court case.
Mid August, Mashad: A Christian, Iman Rashidi, is arrested.
August 21st, Mashad: Ramtin Soodmand, minister of the Evangelical Church, is imprisoned. Ramtin is the son of martyred Revd Hossein Soodmand who was hanged in 1990 for being an apostate from Islam. Ramtin’s mother is blind.
September 22nd, Urumieh: Assyrian Evangelical Minister, Revd. S. Yadegar and another Christian man are arrested and held in prison charged with evangelizing.
September 23rd, Shiraz: All the charges against Mahmood Matin Azad and Arash Basirat are dropped and they are released.
September 28th, Urumieh: A Christian man, Sobhan, is arrested.
October 20th, Mashad: Fereshteh Dibaj and her husband Amir Montazami, who were arrested and held last year, are threatened again by the court that they could be imprisoned. Fereshteh Dibaj is the daughter of Mehdi Dibaj who was imprisoned for nine years for his Christian faith. He was sentenced to death for apostasy in 1993, but was released after international pressure, only to be murdered in the summer of 1994.
This intimidation of Christians has been happening while parliament has been revising Iran’s penal code whereby death for male converts will be mandatory. Articles 225-8 of the new code bluntly states that punishment for a male apostate is ‘death’ and for a female it is life imprisonment – unless she re-cants. In a similar way that Nazis argued over the definition of a Jew, so this code has special clauses for ‘parental’ and ‘innate’ apostates. The former have three days to recant; the latter none. Such details do nothing to hide the fundamental injustice of a law that seeks to ferociously punish its citizens for choosing their own religion.
Up to now the death sentence has been available as a punishment for apostasy from Islam in Iran, but individual judges could use their discretion. However the word used in this new legislation is ‘hadd’ which means this is a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced, or annulled.
This proposed bill also introduces a new crime into Iran’s statute book – ‘establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy’ Those found guilty could be punished with death or the amputation of their arms and legs.
The new Penal Code was approved by the Iranian parliament by 196 – 7 votes on September 9th and is now being reviewed before it is sent back to parliament for another vote, and then to the Guardian Council for its final consent. It will then become law.
From the human perspective it is inevitable that this new penal code will become law, so threatening the lives not just of thousands of Christians from Muslim backgrounds, but any believer who wants to witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, for this is ‘promoting apostasy’.
As in the days of the early church, when Peter was put in prison, there can still be a but…
So Peter was put in prison, but the church was earnestly praying…
Please start praying now, and put November 21st – 23rd in your diaries for praying and fasting.