1. What percentage of Muslims are Arabs? (a) 20% (b) 50% (c) 80%
2. What percentage of the world’s population is Muslim? (a) 5% (b) 10% (c) 20%
3. Muslims are a majority in how many countries? (a) 16 (b) 36 (c) 56
4. Which of the following countries has more Muslims than any other country in the world? (a) Iran (b) Iraq (c) Indonesia (d) Egypt (e) Saudi Arabia
5. What is the fastest growing religion in the world? (a) Buddhism (b) Christianity (c) Hinduism (d) Islam (e) Judaism
6. Which is the fastest growing religion in the United States? (a) Buddhism (b) Christianity (c) Hinduism (d) Islam (e) Judaism
7. What is the largest religion in the world? (a) Buddhism (b) Christianity (c)Hinduism (d) Islam (e) Judaism
8. As a practiced faith, which is the largest religion? (a) Buddhism (b) Christianity (c) Hinduism (d) Islam (e) Judaism
9. When was Muhammad born? (a) BC 1570 (b) BC 570 (c) AD 570
10. What are the literal meanings of the following words? Islam, Muslim, Allah, Quran, Kaaba, and Jihad?
11. Why did the leaders of Mecca plot to assassinate Muhammad before he escaped to Yathrib (now called Medina) in AD 622?
12. What are the “five pillars” of Islam?
13. Which one or more of the following passages come from the Quran?
(a) “Blessed is he who repays you for what you have done to us, he who seizes your babies and dashes them against the rocks.”
(b) “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
(c) “Do not kill or destroy yourself.”
(d) “There must be no compulsion in matters of religion.”
(e) “Whoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind.”
(f) “None of you is a believer until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
14. Like the Bible, the Quran refers to God’s wrath and vengeance, but also to God’s compassion and mercy. Which does the Quran refer to more often, (a) God’s wrath and vengeance, or (b) God’s compassion and mercy?
15. The Quran says that Christians and Jews are enemies of Islam and are going to hell: (a) True (b) False
16. According to the Quran, which one or more (if any) of the following statements about Jesus are true? (a) An angel told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus who would be the Messiah; (b) Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus; (c) Jesus lived a sinless life; (d) Jesus performed many miracles; (e) Jesus was taken to Paradise to be with God; (f) Jesus will someday return and fulfill his role as the Messiah by bringing peace to the world.
17. Islam is mostly divided into two sects (somewhat as Christianity is divided into Catholics and Protestants). What are they called and which is larger?
18. The Quran says that if certain conditions are met, a man may have up to four wives. In actual practice, how many wives do most married Muslim men have? (a) 4 (b) 3 (c) 2 (d) 1
19. At their zeniths, which was larger? (a) The Roman Empire (b) The Muslim Empire
20. Which was more advanced? (a) The Roman Empire (b) The Muslim Empire
1. (a) Only 20% of Muslims are Arabs.
2. (c) One of every five people in the world is a Muslim.
3. (c) Muslims are a majority in 56 countries. This does not include India, where there are 125 million Muslims, because they are not in a majority.
4. (c) Indonesia, where estimates put the Muslim population between 185 and 200 million. Rounding out the top ten are (2) Pakistan 145 million, (3) India 125 million, (4) Bangladesh 112 million, (5) Turkey 67 million, (6) Egypt 67 million, (7) Iran 65 million, (8) Nigeria 64 million, (9) China 40 million, and (10) Algeria 32 million. Iraq is 14th with 24 million, and Saudi Arabia is 17th with 21 million.
5. (d) Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
6. (d) Islam is also the fastest growing religion in the U.S. It is estimated that there are already 7 million Muslims in the U.S., and that Islam soon will be the second largest religion in the U.S.
7. (b) Christianity, with 2 billion followers, is believed to be the world’s largest religion. Islam is second with 1.3 billion. (These are estimates as Christianity is the only major religion that attempts to gather such data about itself.)
8. Some claim that the answer is (d), i.e., that Islam is the largest practiced faith. No scientific study confirms that, but it is widely believed that the gap between Christianity and Islam would close dramatically if the count were limited to those who regard their religion as highly important in their lives.
9. (c) AD 570, or 571. Islam is the youngest of the major religions.
10. Islam is the name of the religion itself. It means “submission to God” with the connotation of achieving peace. A Muslim is a follower of Islam. The word Muslim means “one who submits to God.” Allah is the Arab word for God (even Christian Arabs say Allah when referring to God). The word Allah is a compounding of the article “the” and the word “God”—literally, “The God.” The Quran (also spelled Koran) is Islam’s holiest book. It is about four-fifths the length of the New Testament. Muslims believe the Quran was revealed from God to Muhammad by an angel over a period of about 23 years. Muhammad could not read or write, but he could remember and recite. The word Quran means “The Recital.” The Kaaba is the most sacred shrine in Islam, known as “the House of God.” It is a cube shaped building in Mecca, about 45 feet tall. The word Kaaba literally means, “cube.” The word Jihad, as used in the Quran, means “struggle,” and refers to the inner struggle in every person between right and wrong. However, terrorists have hijacked the word jihad to refer to a “holy war” to advance their versions of Islam.
11. The leaders in Mecca plotted to kill Muhammad because his teachings were a threat to their power and wealth. He said there is only one God, and that their 360 gods were bogus. That posed an economic threat to those who made money from festivals and other activities related to those gods. Muhammad also taught that there is going to be a final judgment and that those who do not help the poor are going to hell. Some speculate that he got this idea from the similar teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 25:31-46, but Muslim scholars say that both Jesus and Muhammad obtained it from the same source, God. In any event, the local leaders didn’t like charity because they felt that their riches were evidence that they were pleasing to the gods; so they exploited the poor instead of helping them. They also disliked Mohammad’s prohibition against drinking alcohol.
12. The “five pillars” of Islam are not a list of beliefs; they are things to do. They are: (1) Bear witness to the fact that there is only one God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. (2) Follow a certain ritual of prayer and worship at five specified times each day. (3) Give 2 ½ % of ones net worth (not merely of one’s profits) to the poor each year. (4) Fast during the month of Ramadan on the Muslim calendar. To “fast” means to refrain from all food, liquids, and sensual pleasures from the very first, to the very last, light of day. (5) At least once in your life make the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca and the Kaaba. The Hajj involves extensive preparations and rituals and many Muslims call it a life-changing experience. Exceptions to some of these pillars are prescribed for the sick, nursing mothers, soldiers on the march, and others.
13. (a) is from Psalm 137 in the Old Testament, and (b) is from Matthew 10:34 in the New Testament. These two passages, among others, were used by some Christians to justify their horrific acts during the Crusades. The next three—(c), (d) and (e)—come from the Quran, and (f) comes from the sayings of Muhammad. These latter four passages obviously prohibit what Islamic terrorists do. But the terrorists cite other passages from the Quran out of context to justify their actions, much as many Christians did to justify what they did to Muslims during the Crusades.
14. (b) The Quran refers to God’s compassion and mercy 192 times, and to God’s wrath and vengeance only 17 times.
15. (b) False. The Quran says Christians and Jews are “people of the book” who are going to Paradise on the same basis as Muslims. Muhammad said that Muslims should treat Christians and Jews with affection.
16. All of the above – (a) through (f). The Muslims also believe that Jesus was one of the only three “Messengers,” the other two being Moses and Muhammad (which, interestingly, includes a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim). All three are also called prophets, but there have been many prophets (including Abraham, John the Baptist, and others). Only three prophets became “Messengers.” A Messenger is one whose teachings were revealed in the form of scriptures.
17. Almost all Muslims are either Sunnis or Shiites (also called Shia). From 85% to 90% are Sunnis. The “Sufis” (mystics) are sometimes referred to as a third sect, but they are found among both Sunnis and Shiites. Widely divergent schools of thought and practices are found among Sunnis, Shiites, and Sufis (much as among Christians).
18. (d) Most married Muslim men have only one wife. In many Muslim countries, the laws prohibit having more than one. And it is a common practice for marriage vows to include a pledge to have only one wife.
19. (b) The Muslim Empire came after the Roman Empire and was larger. The last vestige of the Muslim Empire did not fall until the late 1920s.
20. (b) The Muslim Empire was the most advance civilization in history up to that time. It established many public hospitals and universities, and built major highways. It permitted religious freedom and allowed Jews and Christians to hold important positions in government, commerce, and education. It excelled in science, mathematics, art, and literature. Some present-day scholars feel that much of the unrest in the Middle East can be traced to their desire to return to such greatness and to their resentments toward the West for dominating (they would say oppressing) Muslim countries following the fall of their empire.
An Opinion: How Some Preachers Are Helping Militant Muslim Fanatics
Islamic fanatics and terrorists are leading many Muslims down a deadly detour. That detour actually leads away from the teachings of their own scriptures. The suicide bombers violate the Quran’s express prohibitions against suicide and murder, and Mohammad’s version of the Golden Rule (see Q&A 13). Muhammad specifically instructed Muslims to treat Christians and Jews with affection (See Q&A 15).
If you point this out to a well-educated mainstream Muslim, he will most likely agree with you. However, he may point out that Christians have also taken some deadly detours. He may remind you of the seven Crusades (including the horrific Children’s Crusade), during which Christians killed Muslims by the thousands. He could cite the example of the Inquisition during which church officials tortured, burned, and disemboweled thousands of Jews, Muslims, and fellow Christians, alive. He could talk about the Thirty-Year War, and the execution of 300,000 innocent women as witches in Europe, and still more in Salem, Massachusetts. He might give the more recent example of slavery, followed by segregation, not to mention the way Catholics and Protestants have been killing each other (and innocent bystanders) in Northern Ireland.
This dark side of Christian history is still being taught in many Muslim schools. Their young people are being told how Christian Crusaders, in just one day, slaughtered tens of thousands of men, women, children, and babies and then boasted, “Muslim blood ran knee deep to our horses in the streets of Jerusalem.”
Of course these regrettable detours have, at long last, been abandoned and condemned by responsible officials throughout Christendom.
Now the question is: How long will it take Muslims to do the same?
Let us pray that it will not take the Muslims as long as it took the Christians—almost seventeen centuries.
Meanwhile, some famous Christian preachers have made matters worse by making highly inflammatory statements about Muhammad and Islam. Such preachers have not stopped at criticizing Muslim people and their politicians and clerics; they have vilified the religion of Islam itself, and their revered prophet. Imagine how we would feel if a Muslim not only criticized the U.S. and Christians, but called Jesus himself unspeakably horrible names, which of course no good Muslim would do (see Q&A 16). Such profane statements about Islam and Muhammad deeply offend all Muslims, including those who oppose terrorism. And Islamic fanatics and terrorists use those statements to incite more Muslims to hate us and to join them. One in four Muslims is below the age of 15. That adds up to more young “prospects” for terrorist recruiters than the total population in the U.S.!
Such provocative pronouncements by Christian preachers are, at best, unnecessary and work against what our Christian missionaries are striving to do.
Jerry Falwell had the courage and decency to apologize for saying what he said about Muhammad. Perhaps those other preachers will follow his example if they just pause long enough to consider, deeply and prayerfully, the self-evident truth spoken by Tony Campolo: “If we are going to win the Muslim world to Christ, we cannot make stupid statements about their religion.”
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