Feb 28 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
God’s secret weapon?
There’s a movement happening in Iran, the nation whose Islamic revolution in 1979 fueled the hopes of Muslims around the world that Islam would one again take its place as the dominant world power. Thirty-nine years later, Iranians are fleeing Islam faster than any other people group and the Islamist government is ever more distant from the people it governs. Possibly its key flaw is control. Sharia is all about controlling human behaviour after the model of Muhammad.
Since 2014, New York based activist Mahsi Alinejad has been campaigning against compulsory hijab in Iran. First there was the no-hijab selfie campaign, then came White Wednesdays on which women wear white hijab to protest oppression – the hijab being the most visible sign of female oppression.
Then on Wednesday Dec 27, Vida Movahed took off her white hijab and with her hair loose and free, climbed on a telecom box on a busy street and waved her hijab on a stick like a flag. She was arrested and detained for some weeks, provoking numerous others to copy her, including women who choose to wear hijab but believe religious observance should be a personal decision. They’re brave! But “being a woman [in Iran] means living in danger every day”. Punishments include fines, arrests, lashes, and expulsion from school (Alinejad on CBC Radio’s As It Happens, Jan 30/18).
Religion that demands submission (“Islam” means “submission”) is heavy-handed with control. Governments in Muslim-majority nations enforce submission to sharia (See Mk 8:15 on combining the religious and the political). In contrast, Christianity emphasizes self-control. It’s a fruit and a gift of the Spirit, a tool for righteousness and a required character trait for elders (Gal 5:23, 2 Ti 1:7, 1 Co 7:9, Ti 1:8).
In an interview with Dr Tawfik Hamid, a former member of the terrorist group Jamaat Islamiya, journalist Christine Douglass-Williams asks him to explain the root of Islamists’ commitment to the subjugation and degradation of women, “from the niqab to sex slavery”. He answers, “The way women are taught to be modest is not a modesty issue…it’s about controlling women….In our personal talks, we had nothing to talk about but how the evil West allowed freedom for women. This was the number one issue for us….Wars are a way to get women, or dying for Allah is the way to go and get women in paradise.” He says the obsession comes from Arab desert culture where women were virtually the only thing a man owned and could control, and from descriptions of Muhammad’s famed sexual prowess. (Douglass-Williams, The Challenge of Modernizing Islam, pp 89-91).
For Jesus’ culture-shattering kindness to and elevation of women, read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jane Hansen Hoyt points out that “God opens the Bible with a threat to Satan, ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman’ (Gen 3:15), and closes with a picture of a city where multitudes dwell with God forever because her seed (Jesus) has crushed Satan’s head (See Rev 21)’” (Ed Silvoso, Women: God’s Secret Weapon, p 38).
Let’s examine ourselves before praying for Muslims. Women are under some degree of subjection to control even within the Church. Please consider where your own mindset may not align with Paul’s direction to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21) and the mutual submission described in verses 22-33. Repent for sinful acts, mindsets and patterns the Spirit reveals to you.
And now let’s pray for Muslim women: Lord, it’s so clear from Your word that You champion the oppressed. We ask You to unveil the truth of Your greatness and glory, Your goodness and mercy, and Your never-failing love to the women of Islam so that they are free to choose to love and serve You alone. May Muslim women, so many of whom strive to serve God with devotion, become a great army who announce the good news of Jesus Christ within their families, communities and nations (Ps 68:11-12 ESV).
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