Today we’ll be getting into some basic things that Christians should know or be aware of regarding the Arab world prior to Islam.
My goal for these articles is to keep them short and informative. At the end of each article/lesson I’ll give some “points for Christians” based off of the book. These points are just some practical things to keep in mind when building relationships with Muslims.
Let’s jump right into it!
Basic facts about the Arab world prior to Islam:
-Mohammad is Islam’s founder and main prophet.
-During the time of his birth, the Arab world was pantheistic, worshipping up to 300 gods and idols.
-Mecca had a prominent shrine called the Kaaba, which is where a series of sacred stones were kept. They worshipped their different gods at the Kaaba.
-The most important of these stones was the Black Stone, which they believed had been sent from heaven (today Muslims make pilgrimages to this stone).
*NOTE: During this time, Mecca was a very important center for trade and enterprise. For this reason many Jews and Christians had settled in Arabia for business opportunities. Early Jews and Christians had a significant impact on the Arab world. In addition to doing business with the Arabs, they would also share their beliefs with them. Therefore the Arabs in Mecca had at least a basic understanding of their monotheistic religion and of Jesus.
*NOTE: It is for this reason that many stories of the Old and New Testaments are found in the Qur’an, such as the account of creation, the fall of Adam and Eve, the flood, the birth of Jesus, as well as several of his miracles. These stories had been passed on to the Arabs from their Jewish and Christian neighbors during this pre-Islamic period.
POINTS FOR CHRISTIANS:
*Have the right mindset.
If we go in with the mindset that we are here to disprove Islam, and communicate that attitude, we will lose them before we ever have the chance to introduce them to Jesus.
I love how Medearis puts it in this chapter, he tells us that “if we truly wish to be able to build a relationship with a Muslim friend, the most important thing we can do is to follow Jesus’ lead. Jesus had compassion for people... If we begin with the attitude that we are going to debunk ‘all of that Islamic stuff,’ we’ll be done before we get a chance to introduce Jesus, because we will have turned away somebody in the process.”