The main quest of Sufism is a mystical experience of God like that of Prophet Mohammed. Main line Muslims argue that the experience of Prophet Mohammed was a unique one. We as Christians think it’s a demonic experience that Prophet Mohammed had. That is exactly what he thought first, before being convinced by his first wife, Khadija, and her uncle that he actually had encountered the divine. Many Sufis are unable to articulate clearly their experience of God in their ecstatic state. It is a vague and undefined phenomenon, which they claim can only be experienced. The fast pace of the rhythm of music at which this experience happens is not unique to Sufism. Hare Krishna devotees indulge in rhythmic chanting leading to an experience of Krishna consciousness. Many tribal religions are also involved in a similar type of worship which is regulated by rhythmic drumming and ecstasy as worship. In Voodoo, there is rhythmic music and ecstasy, opening up to possession by spirits. Therefore this psychological phenomenon cannot be considered an encounter with the divine. None of the prophets of the Old Testament, or even Jesus, indulged in mysticism. Moreover this practice has actually opened up people to commune with demons rather than with God. [Read more...]
Prophet Mohammed seems to be the first Sufi, communing directly with Allah. The early followers who were with him received revelations from God directly through them and formed the early Sufi school. The Hadith talks about ‘Ihsan’ or worship as one of the aspects of Islam and the Quran also talks about the purpose of God creating humans and Jinns is so that they may worship him.“I created the Jinns and humankind only that they may worship me.” Quran 51:56“He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He again said: Inform me about Ihsan. The Prophet replied; That you worship Allah as if you are seeing him, for though you don’t see him, verily he sees you” – Hadith, Sahi Muslim Book 1:1
Early Sufism started as brotherhoods or tariqas. Over the time as it progressed into the middle ages, it developed a distinct feature of having a ‘Shayk’ or a guru who as a head of a Sufi school taught disciples to live out Islam. Sufism came to be identified with these tariqas and the ‘shayk’ who headed these had distinctive practices which came to define them and give them identity.Sufism is the branch of Islam which could accomodate local Islamic practices and cultural variations and provide people a culturally relevant local variant of Islam. Sufism was also very missional and brought a lot of people in Asia into the fold of Islam. [Read more...]
Sufism is the mystical or esoteric school of thought in Islam. The Arabic word for Sufism is ‘tasawuff’. A practitioner of Sufism is called a Sufi or a Dervish. The following quotations reveal the various understandings of Sufism. [Read more...]
12. Conversion: Islam is a one way street. A person is “free” only to convert to Islam but not out of it. The punishment in many Islamic countries in accordance with the sharia law is death. Yes, Islam in its purest sense prescribes capital punishment for those who leave Islam.
In non Islamic countries, Islamic evangelists use lectures, debates, literature and personal communication to bring people to their faith. The Sufi missionaries were very good at this. With respect to Christians, they use a polemic approach attacking the Bible, the divinity of Jesus , his death and resurrection, marriage and social pressure.
In Islamic countries in addition to these, pressure tactics are used by Muslims personally and as a society to force non-Muslim minorities to become Muslims.
Marriage is one of the important way Muslim men convert non-Muslim girls into Muslims. In some Islamic countries like Egypt and Pakistan, there is news about Christian girls being kidnapped and then forced to marry Muslims and convert to Islam. See Christian girl abducted, converted and forced to marry a Muslim in Lahore for one such sad story.
In Ukraine, I have seen non-Muslim girls who fall in love with Arab boys and then convert to Islam in order to marry them. It is a very prominent way Islam is spreading in Europe.
13. Circumcision: Circumcision is to Islam what baptism is to Christians. Once when I was young I saw a boy seated in a car decorated like a chariot. I was told that the boy was celebrating “sunnath marriage”. That’s how the local Muslim called circumcision in that part of India. They were celebrating the circumcision ceremony of the boy.
Muslims are still the largest single religious group to circumcise boys. In Islam circumcision is also known as “tahara”, which means purification. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur’an but it is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet Muhammad’s recorded words and actions). In the Sunnah, Muhammad stated that circumcision was a “law for men and a preservation of honor for women.” The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness. It is essential that every Muslim wash before praying. It is important that no urine is left on the body. Muslims believe the removal of the foreskin makes it easier to keep the genitals clean because urine can’t get trapped there. Supporters of circumcision also argue that excrement may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.” 
Female circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a hotly debated topic in Islamic circles and has been openly practiced in North Africa, even by non-Muslims, from the time of Pharaoh. “But what is the reason underlying the circumcision of girls, which is applied in some Islamic countries? The first reason is the statement of Muhammad: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honor for women.” The second reason lies in the supposition that circumcision makes a woman more enjoyable, provided that it is practiced moderately. “‘Atiyya the Ansarite narrated that a woman used to circumcise in Medina, and the Prophet said to her, ‘Do not overdo it, because this makes woman more favorable and it is more agreeable for the husband.'” As to the third reason why a female should be circumcised, it is to “diminish her lust,” and to “tone down the sexual desire of the woman.'” 
14. Jizya: Jizya is the tax we as Christians or non-Muslims will be paying, if we lived under Islamic government. This of course can be avoided if the non-Muslim converts to Islam.
Jizya is the head or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects. Islamic law made a distinction between two categories of non-Muslim subjects—pagans and dhimmis (“protected peoples,” or “peoples of the book;” i.e., those peoples who based their religious beliefs on sacred texts, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians). The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya. The rate of taxation and methods of collection varied greatly from province to province and were greatly influenced by local pre-Islamic customs.
In theory the tax money was to be used for charitable purposes and the payment of salaries and pensions. In practice, however, the revenues derived from the jizya were deposited in the private treasuries of the rulers. The Ottomans usually used the proceeds of the jizya to pay their military expenses. A convert to Islam was, in theory, no longer required to pay the jizya. The Umayyad caliphs (661–750), however, faced with increasing financial difficulties, demanded the jizya from recent converts to Islam as well as from the dhimmis. This discrimination against converts was a cause of the Abū Muslim rebellion (747) in Khorāsān and helped to precipitate the downfall of the Umayyads.” 
15. Halal Food: Halal means lawful or permitted. Haram means forbidden. These words, according to Sharia law, apply to all aspects of Islamic life, including foo
d. Halal is the Islamic equivalent of Kosher.
Halal slaughter method is considered the most humane way of killing an animal. “To be halal certified the animal must be facing Mecca, have its throat cut while still alive and then ritually sacrificed by a Muslim who recites a prayer dedicating the slaughter to Allah” . “When an animal is slaughtered, the jugular vein is cut and the blood is allowed to drain from the animal. Remember, Muslims are prohibited from consuming animal blood.” 
“According to these guidelines gathered from the Qu’ran, Muslim followers cannot consume the following:
pork or pork by products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of Allah, blood and blood byproducts, alcohol, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, and land animals without external ears. These prohibited foods and ingredients are called haram, meaning forbidden in Arabic.” 
Conclusion: The call of Christ goes out to the Muslim caught up in deception and working his way to a salvation about which he can be never sure. All these religious practices are a burden and distraction, turning the attention away from seeking the truth and plunging men into despair and destruction.
“28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11 : 27 – 30).
Where Mohammed set his followers on the path of war and burdensome rituals, Jesus calls the same and everybody else to find the rest in him, to have the peace which they are so desperately seeking. Yes, his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He has taken the hard yoke of our sins upon him and he has given us a lighter yoke of trusting him. The salvation offered by Christ is infinitely superior and wonderful compared to what Islam offers, which is nothing but heavy burden of ritualism, sharia and an uncertainty of ones eternal destiny.
6. Islamic Head Dress:
Seen as a sign of female oppression by outsiders and a few insiders too, the headdress of Muslim women make them stand out.
“The (really) rough rule of thumb for where these headdresses are popular is
Hijab: Roughly used everywhere in some form. Many times a generic word for head covering.
Al-Amira: A hijab found in Arabic countries and those places where Muslims wish to immitate Arab outside influence.
Chador: Required by law in Iran. Traditional in Persian areas.
Niqab: Popular in the Arabian Pennisula. Some use in Pakistan since the 1970s.
Burqa: Eastern Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Becoming the Islamic fundamentalist dress of choice in Europe.”  [Read more...]