First, I would like to respond to the article by Rick Mathes and then answer your questions. Rick Mathes and his wife Trish are the founders of Mission Gate Prison Ministries, an outreach to those who are incarcerated and their families in Missouri and Illinois.

In the story, Rick Mathes claims that he told the imam: “Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith…”

In fact, most people will really have a number of problems with his story, which purports “to prove” that Islam demands its adherents to kill all others.

  • In spite of the alleged command of Allah to kill all non-believers, millions of non-Muslims continue to live beside their Muslim brothers in the predominantly Muslim countries.
  • In the United States of America as well as in other Western countries, Muslims are quite successfully convincing the non-Muslims—instead of trying to kill them—that Islam is more tolerant than Judaism and at any rate the Christian coalition. Of course, one may cite instances of Muslims killing non-Muslims, but at the same time, Christians, too, have been killing non-Christians! Does anyone need a command from God to go and kill?
  • The Muslim preachers allowed in the US prisons are more successful than their Christian counterparts in getting converts. Maybe that is one of the reasons for spreading this absurd story! “The second-largest religion in the world after Christianity, Islam, is also the fastest-growing religion. In the United States, for example, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,200 mosques have been built in the past 12 years. Some scholars see an emerging Islamic renaissance as Islam takes root in many traditionally Christian communities. Islam has drawn converts from all walks of life, most notably African-Americans…” (From a CNN report of April 14, 1997).
  • Not even one with the brains of a gnat would believe that a Muslim imam engaged in inviting non-Muslims to Islam would undermine his cause by making an open declaration that the Muslim mission in life is to kill all non-Muslims. Or else he must be insane or hopelessly dim-witted.
  • And lastly, if Allah had commanded Muslims to kill all non-Muslims, the Prophet and his companions would not have left alive any non-Muslim tribes in Arabia, when they had got complete authority over them. Speaking of the Christian missionary claim that Islam was spread at the point of the sword, one may ask: Was it because of the fear of the sword that hundreds of thousands of the most warlike Arabs of the time literally followed the Prophet in everything he commanded?

And what is more, isn’t it ridiculous to say that any belief system, not only Islamic, can be pushed down the throat of a human being at the point of the sword? Can’t you see that Islam has withstood the vicissitudes of fourteen centuries and is still outstripping all other faiths at an astonishing rate? Can a religion that preaches the killing of all outside its confines capture the minds and hearts of millions throughout history? Sorry, the Rick Mathes story does not stand to reason.

Now to answer the questions:

    1. Why do you think the article by Rick Mathes entitled: “Allah or Jesus?” is being circulated so widely among ordinary Americans through e-mail? Why do you think the author chose the title “Allah or Jesus?”

It must be evident to anyone who observes the Christian coalition or Zionist Christians that they are bent upon doing everything in their power to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth. For this they would stoop to any level; and this is no surprise, as St. Paul is their exemplar in their strategies. Read the following from his Epistles, which are foisted on the masses as the Word of God:

“But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless being crafty, I caught you with guile” (2 Corinthians 12:16).

“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law; to them that are without the law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are under the law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).

What better illustration of hypocrisy can we give? For the sake of the truth, Paul will use all means of deceit in order to gain more followers. If St. Paul teaches this, can we really blame his present followers, the likes of Rick Mathes, Pat Robertson, or Jimmy Swaggart?

Please read this too:

“For if the truth of God, hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory: why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” (Romans 3:7).

Just think, if Paul really believed he had the truth, why should he use lies to make “the truth of God” “more abounded,” as he says?

Rick Mathes and his tribe adopt the same Pauline technique of using the lie as a means to promote Christianity at the expense of Islam. Even in the title, “Allah or Jesus?” the same guile is used. It really is funny how they try to advance “the truth” with falsehood!

    2. Is it true that an “infidel” is a non-believer (like me)? If so, is it true that the Qur’an actually instructs Muslims to kill non-believers to guarantee them a place in heaven? If so, what are the exact words (or as near as they can be in translation)?

“Infidel” is an English word and we get its meaning from any English dictionary. Here is the definition from “An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion, especially Christianity or Islam.”

About Heaven we find the following among other verses in the Qur’an, on the same theme:

1. *{Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book [of evidence]}* (Ya-Sin 36:12).

2. *{Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We visit with Our wrath until We had sent an apostle [to give warning]}* Al-Israa’ 17:15).

3. *{Those who do wish for the [things of] the Hereafter, and strive therefore with all due striving, and have faith,- they are the ones whose striving is acceptable [to God]}* (Al-Israa’ 17-19).

4. *{God will say: “This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,- their eternal Home: God well-pleased with them, and they with God: That is the great salvation, [the fulfillment of all desires]}* (Al-Ma’idah 5:119).

5. *{He that works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof: and he that works a righteous deed—whether man or woman—and is a believer, such will enter the Garden [of Bliss]: Therein will they have abundance without measure}* (Ghafir 40:40).

The above verses clearly say that there will be a Day of Judgment on which God will be the Judge of all. On that Day, on the basis of our faith and deeds, we will be sent to Heaven or Hell. And it is made quite clear that on that day the truthful who follow the guidance of God will be admitted to Heaven and those who reject God and His guidance will be sent to Hell.

To continue on the subject of killing, it is true that God has permitted fighting; but this fighting must be against oppression and injustice, not against non-Muslims as such! Where innocent men, women and children are attacked, or when intolerable atrocities are committed, Muslims are asked to fight to protect the innocent and safeguard their rights.

Those who blame Allah—and this is just the Arabic name for God—for commanding the Muslims to fight can turn the pages of their own book and see how Joshua at Jehovah’s command “left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded” (Joshua 10:40).

Didn’t Jesus himself say, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matt. 10:34–35)?

I would particularly like to make it clear that the Qur’an does not instruct Muslims to kill non-believers to guarantee them a place in Heaven, as you have said. On the contrary, God commands the believers to invite others to His way in the most peaceful manner. In this call, the Muslims are commanded to appeal to their common sense and to their own faith in truth and justice. Most certainly God has categorically prohibited forcing anyone to accept Islam, let alone killing! The Qur’an says what means:

*{Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God heareth and knoweth all things}* (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

*{Say: “The Truth is from your Lord.” Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject [it]}* (Al-Kahf 18:29).

*{Goodness and evil can never be equal. Repel [evil] with good: then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate}* (Fussilat 41:34).

*{Invite [all] to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His path, and who receive guidance}* (An-Nahl 16:125).

From these verses it is clear that anyone who uses force to convert a non-Muslim or harm any human being on that score, breaks the divine command; and such a person is not what a Muslim should be.

    3. What is jihad? Is this a real ongoing endless call for the murder of “unbelievers” (a bit like Bush’s War on Terror), or is it a metaphor describing the need to fight for what you believe in and share your faith with the doubters? Explain.

Jihad simply means “striving,” and any effort can be called a jihad. But in Islamic parlance, it stands for the Muslims’ effort to obey the commands of God in their life, even when the odds are against them. In certain contexts, as mentioned above, where fighting for truth and justice becomes unavoidable, that effort can also be called jihad. But today the word is terribly misinterpreted and misunderstood to mean “holy war.” The concept of a holy war comes from the Christian history of the Crusades. Islam never considers war as holy. Fighting is allowed in Islam only as a last resort, as a necessary evil, not as something holy. The Qur’an says what means:

*{To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to fight], because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid…}* (Al-Hajj 22:39).