by David Garrison, Newsweek:
In the 8th century, the Great Imam, Abu Hanifa (699-767), coined the term “House of Islam” (Dar al-Islam) as those places where Muslims enjoyed peace and security under the rule of an Islamic government. The rest of the world Hanifa designated Dar al-Harb or “the House of War.”
Hanifa’s triumphalist worldview had been earned by Islamic armies that had already defeated both the Byzantine and Persian superpowers in their first century of existence. In Hanifa’s own lifetime, these Prophet-inspired warriors rolled unabated across Buddhist Central Asia and South Asian Hindustan. By the time of Abu Hanifa’s writing, Islamic kingdoms stretched from the borders of France to the Indonesian archipelago.
Islam’s expansion continues to the present. As the fastest-growing major religion in the world today, Islam is on track to challenge Christianity as the world’s largest religion by 2050.
My wife and I have spent some 30 years as evangelical missionaries engaging the Muslim world, living among Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia. God has given us a love for Muslims, and we have found them to be overwhelmingly hospitable, reasonable, peace-loving people—yet staunchly opposed to the Christian gospel. A major reason for this was found in the roots of Islam.
While many religions rejected the doctrine of Jesus as Messiah or the concept of the Trinity, Islam was the only major world religion born with Christianity already in full bloom that consciously defined itself in direct opposition to the core Christian doctrines of the incarnation, atoning crucifixion, and resurrection. This, in part, explained why Muslims seemed so resistant to what Christians saw as the good news of the gospel message; it was in their religion’s DNA.
And then things began to change.