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A Muslim's subconscious mind is directed towards the great Allah and his
final judgment. It is Allah that a Muslim wants to serve like a slave, in
hope of attaining an eternal reward. He seeks help from him for a
successful life, one that conforms to all the demands of Islam. He asks
Allah to lead him daily in conformance to the letter of the Islamic law.
He does not comprehend that he is sinful and wicked by nature. He believes
that by being a Muslim he is on the right path and will be acceptable to
Allah just as he is. For extra assurance, he prays for the ability to
recognise the only true path and the wisdom to tread upon it.
The word for path in the Fatiha is a foreign term in the Arabic
language. The root most likely stems from Latin and hints at the Roman
cobblestone roads that passed through the Near East on their way to Rome.
These wide roads made fast and comfortable travel possible. A light
horse-drawn carriage could travel on them speedily, a vast improvement
over the slow pace of camel caravans in the desert. The "broad way", the
wide, straight and comfortable road that leads straight to paradise was
Muhammad knew nothing about Christ's words of the steep and narrow way
that leads to life through salvation, nor of the broad and comfortable way
that leads to death and damnation. Apparently, Muhammad had not heard much
about self-denial in the area of sexuality. He legally had thirteen wives
and several concubines. Carrying the cross was for him a foreign concept.
He created a religion allowing his men the possibility of indulgence in
their private lives. It is no problem for a pagan with several wives to
become a Muslim, for Islam allows him this privilege. Those who acquire
rich rewards through fighting in a holy war think that they are reaping
Allah's blessing for being his victorious helpers.
The only right way for a Muslim is Islam, and the straight path is the
Sharia, Islamic law. Virtually all areas of life are encompassed by this
allegedly theocentric system: worship, family life, inheritance, economic
matters, the keeping of slaves, rights in war and contracts with believers
as well as unbelievers. Everything is regulated in detail, according to
Muhammad's teachings and example. Whoever lives faithfully within the
framework of these practical laws hopes to be successful in this world and
the next. Islam is a religion of the law in which all areas of culture are
permeated by the Islamic spirit. This is the straight path for a Muslim.
However, the belief that a Muslim who keeps the Islamic law will be lead
directly to paradise is the greatest self-betrayal possible. No man can
fulfill the demands of the law. No Muslim has confessed his faith enough,
prayed in all the obligatory prayer times, fasted faithfully, or honestly
calculated his religious tax. Everyone has made mistakes concerning their
family life and in relationships with fellow believers. The law does not
save a Muslim but judges him mercilessly. The Sharia, on which all Muslims
build their lives, will judge them and guide them straight to hell. There
can be no greater error.
For this reason a Muslim really needs to pray. 'Lord lead me on the
right path,' because Muhammad could not say that he himself was the way,
the truth and the life. He confessed three times that he had to ask Allah
for forgiveness. Every Muslim needs to find the way to Christ, who grants
to every repentant believer everlasting forgiveness and his own nature.
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The Fatiha characterises the legal path to God as a "highway" for
those who serve and fight for Allah. The expression for "grace", which
dominates the New Testament, appears here, yet with a totally different
Grace, according to the Arabic definition of the word, means "to lead a
blessed, comfortable, easy and good life." Job serves as a good example
of this. After Job had been afflicted with boils, passing his severe test
of faith, the Lord healed him and granted him more houses, bigger herds
and more sons than before. Job was showered with grace from God because of
his faithfulness. In Islam, faith is honoured with earthly and heavenly
rewards. Whoever repeats the testimony of faith, prays five times every
day, and fasts daily during the month of Ramadan will be greatly blessed
in this life and the next. But whoever is poor, deaf, childless,
persecuted, or experiences suffering is obviously under Allah's wrath for
having left the straight path of Islamic law.
The Muslim prays up to 17 times daily, "Lord, lead me on the right
path, the path of those who are given grace." With these words, he hopes
that he is basically walking in the right direction and requires only the
help of Allah to keep him alert, so that he can reach the goal of complete
bliss in paradise with certainty. Islam offers a life insurance policy
that promises a Muslim security in all situations -- in time and for
eternity. He is careful not to overstep the restrictions of the
"insurance policy". he will defend and protect Islam, for it represents
the essence of his life.
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The Fatiha leads the Muslim purposefully onward. It lets him pray
repeatedly for Allah to protect him from committing any act of
disobedience that would kindle the anger of the Eternal One or prepare him
for the fires of hell. The Muslim prays especially that Allah would
protect him from religious deception which, in the end, leads only to the
place where divine wrath and unquenchable thirst await him.
The last two requests of the Fatiha are uttered by sincere Muslims, so
that Allah will protect them from deliberate or unintentional backsliding
from Islam. This two-fold request is intended to thwart all the negative
influences that might hinder the successful course of a believer's strife.
Expositors of the Quran, al-Jalalain, as well as other notable Islamic
scholars, expound these two requests confidently. According to their
understanding, those upon whom Allah's wrath is resting are the Jews,
because they received the commandments of God but did not keep them. The
Lord entered into a covenant with them but they broke it. According to the
Quran, they were led to the Promised Land, but they turned to other gods.
The Muslims say that the wrath of Allah was unleashed upon them for this
reason. Therefore they were driven out of the promised land, hounded on
every continent of the earth and will not find rest until the Last
Judgment. Some Muslims claim that Allah is gathering them together in
Palestine so that the Islamic countries can finish the divine punishment
and annihilate them along with the state of Israel. According to Islamic
belief, the people of the Old Testament live day and night under the
continual wrath of the Eternal Judge.
But who are those who have gone astray? According to Islamic belief,
these are the Christians. The best proof for this is the Lord's Prayer,
which Muslims call "the Prayer of the Lost". The Christians dare to call
God "our Father", claim that he has a real Son, and believe that the
Holy Spirit dwells within them. In the eyes of Muslims, this is a triple
blasphemy that can never ever be forgiven (Sura Al Imran 3:116). A Muslim
cringes at the thought of such a temptation. Whoever believes in a trinity
is violating the first commandment: "You shall have no other gods beside
Me" (Exodus 20:3). By committing this crime, the guilty places himself in
direct opposition to the Islamic statement of faith. Muslims think that if
the Jews themselves were disobedient after receiving their laws through
Moses, and are now being pursued by the wrath of Allah, then the fate of
Christians will be worse, a fate comparable to someone slowly languishing
in a parched desert. They will live eternally in hell, searching for truth
and salvation but never finding it.
Those experienced in counselling are deeply shocked by the last two
requests in the Fatiha. When Muslims repeat this prayer up to 17 times
daily, it seems they are taking deliberate steps to harden themselves.
Muslims plead with Allah not to lead them in the way of Moses and his law,
and especially to keep them from the heresy of the Christians. By praying
in this way, they exclude any awareness of sin; they spurn the Ten
Commandments and beg Allah to save them from the power of the blood of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God. A good Muslim teaches his children that
Christians believe in three gods, and that they claim one of them was
crucified. Therefore, he warns his children not to believe such lies lest
they end up in hell.
The Fatiha is not only the main prayer of Islam; it is also an effective
agent that hardens their hearts against the salvation of Christ. What
initially appears as a natural form of piety is in reality an
anti-Christian prayer. The first sura in the Quran keeps many Muslims from
the eternal life which Christ won for all mankind.
This comparison of the Fatiha and the Lord's Prayer shows us that
prayer, fasting and deep religiosity cannot save a man. It may be that we,
the prayer-weary citizens of industrial nations, find the developing
countries with their elaborately liturgical religions fascinating.
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that religions are, in the
end, anti-Christian powers that fight against the crucified Son of God as
they lead their adherents along a path of self-righteousness by works;
they stir people up into thinking they can earn eternal life through their
own achievements, submission and personal sacrifices. Consequently, the
gift of salvation that Christ offers is considered a serious error and is
staunchly resisted. All non-Christian religions are based on laws that
must be fulfilled. Only Christ offers free and abundant grace to everyone
who believes. This is the sum and sunstance of the Islamic oppostion to
the Gospel of Christ.
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Every Christian can know from the Epistle of James that God does not
lead anyone into temptation, for each individual is led astray by his own
desires (James 1:13). When Jesus taught us to ask our Father not to lead
us into temptation, he referred to the sanctification of his followers --
those who have already received forgiveness for their sins. Everyone has
character flaws, peculiar sins and bad habits which, when examined
carefully, prove to be glaring deficits and incredible bondages to ungodly
With the request for protection from temptation, we implore our Father
in heaven to keep us from indulging the sins of our flesh. We beg him to
teach us, discipline us and to help us triumph through the power of his
love, so that we will not desert him but continue to live by the strength
that he provides. The forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus
Christ has already sanctified us. There is no greater holiness than the
cleansing and justification we receive through faith in the Son of God. It
is for us to remain steadfast in this grace, to mature in the fruits of
the Spirit, and to strive not to bring shame upon the name of our Father.
Jesus was led into the desert, being tempted in our place. Satan did not
confront him immediately but waited until he had fasted and prayed for 40
days. Although the tempter called Jesus the Son of God openly, he called
the truth of his divinity into question, using this as a springboard to
tempt Jesus to save the world as a bread provider rather than by suffering
on a cross. From this incident, we can see that religious exercises
neither save nor secure a person. Satan purposely targets religious
people, making them want to fulfill the law by their own strength, along
with sowing doubts about their salvation and awakening lust in them. He
seeks first and foremost to shake our confidence in our heavenly Father,
just as he did with Eve and then Adam, our first parents. After he had
achieved this, it was quite easy for him to tempt them to increasing
backsliding from God, to inner turmoil and to deliberate disobedience.
Jesus willingly suffered our temptations and remained victorious. We need
to remain in him, not slipping away from the grace of God for even one
second, so that we shall not fall from his eternal love.
If there are deliberate offences, character deficiencies and favourite
sins in our lives, which sometimes hinder us from being led by the Spirit
of God, then the sources of these temptations must be willingly renounced.
It was not for nothing that Jesus said to his own: "He who follows me
must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24;
Luke 9:23). Remaining in the grace of God causes a severe spiritual
struggle. We do not fight against enemies around us, as required by the
demands of an Islamic holy war; rather, we experience a constant battle
against ourselves. We should resist the tempting voices arising within us,
flee to Jesus and judge ourselves in the light of his countenance. The
Father will strengthen us to resist falling into temptation if we ask him
humbly. He will not allow us to rush headlong into disaster, for no one
can pluck us out of his hand (John 10:29). His grace will remain
victorious in the life of every broken believer.
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No one should ever think that he is more intelligent or stronger than
Satan. No person can understand or overcome the devil by his own power. He
is mighty and is the father of lies. That is why Jesus taught us to cry
out to our Father to save us from the craftiness and power of the tempter.
The children of God especially need protection and deliverance after they
have received salvation through Christ. Those who are actively serving
Christ and have experienced real persecution know what the cry "Father,
save me!" means.
Regrettably, many do not take the devil seriously anymore and play him
down. However, with the current craze for parapsychology, we have every
reason to believe that the period of demythologisation lies behind us.
This trend is becoming more perilous, as more and more people take up
direct contact with spirits and the dead. Television has presented such
practices directly before the eyes of the masses. We must stay awake and
sober, so that we will not be overpowered by the reality of evil. The
Bible teaches clearly that the whole world lies in the evil one. (1 John
5:19) The risen Christ commanded Paul to open the eyes of the people, so
that they might turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to
God (Acts 26:15-18). Anyone who contradicts these testimonies, claiming
that Satan and hell do not exist, is naive, superficial and disobedient to
the Word of God.
The lies of Satan certainly sound reasonable, but in reality they
brainwash people and make them spiritually dull and blind. Humanism
maintains that man is naturally good and requires only a good education
for proper development. This would make the need of turning to God and
being born again unnecessary. Religions and cults convince their adherents
to save themselves through good works and great sacrifices, yet this
approach immunises them against salvation by faith in Christ. Materialism
in East and West presents people with a delusive picture of a full and
prosperous life, promising a paradise on earth; yet materialism denies the
existence of the soul and its longing for God. Moreover, a concealed or
blatant occultism often accompanies materialism with healings, wonders,
appearances and bondages through powers of darkness. The rejection of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the persecution of believers in
the Triune God is the most apparent indication of the present rule of
What possibilities are available for us to escape or overcome these
demonic powers and to save us from the ever present temptation of falling
away from Christ's salvation? The Bible tells us 175 times that believers
of the new covenant live "in Christ" as if in a shelter. They have been
translated to his dominion of protection and have the privilege not only
of having their sins freely forgiven, with the overcoming of their
character weaknesses through the grace of sanctification, but they can
also realise that God is a secure fortress where they can be kept safe. He
who follows Christ lives in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit
in an eternal security (Matthew 18:19; John 17:21-23).
An African evangelist explained this mystery of born-again Christians to
his children in a story. He told them: "I was wandering alone on the
grassland when I suddenly heard a noise behind me and saw a black water
buffalo charging towards me. I ran as fast as I could. The buffalo ran
too, gaining ground. I almost lost my breath. It got so close to me that I
could hear its breathing behind me. Then, I suddenly saw a large, open
crate directly in front of me. With a mighty leap, I jumped inside. While
still in the air, I could see that in the large crate was another crate
with iron bands; and inside this crate was yet another. I actually had
landed in the middle of the third, innermost crate. When the animal
crashed against the sides of the outer crate, grunting and thrashing its
horns wildly, I did not feel a thing. I was saved and triple-secured."
Then the evangelist continued: "In the same way, in a spiritual sense, we
are grafted into the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through baptism. Thus,
the enemy has no power over us."
No man can save and protect himself from Satan. No one can be drawn out
of the mire of his sins by his own hands, nor can he be freed from demonic
chains. To be saved, everyone needs a strong Saviour who stands on the
firm foundation of God's own righteousness. However, we need to cry loud
and clear: "Father, save me!" he does not force his salvation on anyone.
Faith in Christ demands that we clearly renounce all religions,
ideologies, humanism, materialism and occultism. Faith in the Son of God
means the full and willing devotion to the only Saviour that the Father
sent to us. What a comfort! Even before we asked our Father in heaven for
salvation from Satan, the Victor over sin, death and evil powers is
already standing by our side. Whoever trusts Jesus completely, committing
himself to him forever, will experience his authority and will remain safe
throughout all eternity.
The problem is that quite a number of Christians want to live in Christ
and in the world at the same time. This is impossible. Nobody can enter a
car with one leg turn the key and begin to drive while his other leg is
still outside on the ground. He would be torn into pieces. The same
happens with Christians who do not abide fully in Christ. You can either
be fully in Christ or only in the world but never in both.
The last word in the Lord's Prayer is the evil one. Jesus not only
revealed a new, unique name for God at the close of the Lord's Prayer; he
also exposed Satan and made his true identity known. Satan is the original
source of evil, the wholly evil one, the source of all that is bad, the
tempter to rebellion against God, and the deceiver who leads people to
fall away from their Creator. He himself wants to be considered as God. He
would like the whole world to worship him, to cling to him, to serve him
alone. He wants to make us godless and evil, just as he himself is. During
his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus gave Satan one last chance to
repent, commanding him clearly to worship God and to serve him alone. But
Satan did not prostrate himself before the Son of God; he refused to bow
before Christ, God incarnate. He did not want to submit himself to the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He chose to remain in his rebellion
In his temptation, Jesus denied the riches, power and glory of this
world, preferring to take the judgment of God for our sins upon himself by
hanging on the cross of Calvary. He decided to reconcile mankind with his
Father and to divert the judgment we had earned through his suffering. His
humility, gentleness and obedience triumphed over evil. Jesus' faith, love
for the Father, and hope did not waver, even during the final moments on
the cross, as the Father forsook him for our sake. Jesus loved and prayed
for his enemies, clung fast to the faithfulness of the hidden Father,
thereby remaining victorious over Satan. Because of this, we need not fear
the evil one. Jesus, the Victor, is standing on our side. We are under his
If we look at the Lord's Prayer as one unit, we will see that all
requests lie between the two names our Father and the evil one. This
throws light upon our human predicament: We live in constant tension
between good and evil. We are standing in the middle and are pulled in
both directions. To which end will we allow ourselves to be directed?
Which end do we pursue? Christ is waiting for you, calling you and drawing
you gently to the Father. Are you responding to his love for you?
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Muhammad did not recognise the lies of Satan. He surrendered himself to
Allah, thereby submitting to an evil spirit that had taken the Arabic name
for God, binding that name to its face like a mask. Posing as Allah, Satan
demands that all Muslims worship him alone and requires the rejection of
the crucified Son of God. To those who worship him, he promises blessing,
power, riches and lordship over this world as rewards for submitting to
him and rejecting God's Son. The Fatiha is an active means of establishing
this anti-Christian seizure of power in the hearts of all who pray it. The
Lord's Prayer is not as Muslims claim "the Prayer of the Lost"; but
rather, the Fatiha itself is. Even though the Fatiha gives an impression
of deep religiosity and piety, in actuality it drives Muslims away from
Christ's salvation daily, leading them to a frightening and real
separation from God.
But Jesus has come to find and save that which was lost. That is why
there is the full and free salvation awaiting all Muslims. But every one
of them must acknowledge and confess his own fallen nature, ask Jesus for
his salvation, willingly renounce Islam, and by faith unite himself to
Christ his Redeemer for all eternity. Jesus will then lead him to the
Father, so that he can come to know and bow before the true God,
confessing with trembling lips: "You are my Father, hallowed by Your
name, even through my very life!"
We who by grace have already partaken of this salvation need to
comprehend the we form of the Lord's Prayer and purposefully include all
Muslims in our prayers, so that as soon as possible they too may become
partakers of eternal life, coming to a saving knowledge of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us call them one by one to come into the open
family of God, and rest in the embracing arms of the Father.
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