Well, perhaps we can not come to a good enough answer to satisfy some of the more radical sects of Islam. But, the APPIRU feel that they are, so there ought to be some confirming facts or evidence. And, while not seeking evryone's approval here, we think that the question on whether We really are Islamic or not is a valid enough one that it needs to be answered in detail.
While there is a lot of debate and differences of opinion, one thing that the Islamic Koran or Q'uron, the Jewish Tanach, and the Christian Bible all agree on is that Ishmael was Abraham's first born son by Hagar, the Egyptian slavegirl (Genesis 16:1-16 and I Chronicles 1:28-31). And, here is where the Family Feud began, for Hagar bore Ishmael (and thus all the Ishmaelites or Arabic Peoples--Muslims), while Sarah bore Isaac (and all the Jews), and Keturah bore several sons (which became the Nordic Peoples and Christians). And, they have been squabbling in sibling rivalry ever since!
Consequently, Our origins are the same as those of most other Islamic groups. We make Our claim of Descent from Abraham through Hagar and their son, Ishmael. So, despite the squabbling and bickering, We are all basically, FAMILY! However, while most Muslims like to be refered to as Islamic, We tend to refer to Ourselves as Ishmaelites, in respect to Our origins in Abraham through his son Ishmael!
Obviously, this could be a real hot debate. But, before we start yelling and jumping around all over, let's take a look at some calm, cool objective facts. While many Muslims may disagree on who is a Muslim or not (or who is good enough), one thing that most Islamic groups can accept are the 5 Pillars of Islam. So, let us take a look at how the APPIRU stand up to that standard.
This is in great contrast to the rest of the world, for Pagans and Idolators believe in many gods and a multitude of spirits (polytheism). However, Idolatry is a Great Sin to ALL the Abrahamic Peoples. And, it is so considered by the APPIRU, as well! For, we are admonished to remain Faithful to the One True God.
So, who is this God? Obvioulsy, it is the God of Abraham! And, while Jews, Christians, and Muslim may see HIM differently (or call HIM different Names), we are all holding to the belief in God that Abraham held. And, this the APPIRU do, also!
However, while many Islamic groups accept the regular Abrahamic Prophets, like Adam, Noah, Moses, and Isse (or Jesus), Muhammad is usually held as the Primary Prophet. And no one is allowed to say anything against what he said or wrote in the Koran or Q'uron. But, the APPIRU place Isa al-Massih (Jesus) as the Primary Prophet--and the one whose words cannot be contradicted. Now, the APPIRU are certainly willing to look on Muhammad as the Apostle to the Arabs (and Muslims), and his works can be quoted for Cultural details, yet he is not held by them in the primary place. That is reserved for Isse (or Jesus). To get more on this Great Redeemer's work for the Islamic or Ishmaelite Peoples, get Our Article on HIM, below:
So, on the First Pillar, the Appiru are mainly Islamic (though there may be some slight differences of opinion with other Muslims).
So, on the Second Pillar, the APPIRU are very Islamic and seek to pray to God and become HIS friend, even as Abraham did!
So, is it suprizing that the APPIRU do so as well? Not only are We developing Our own extensive social programs, but We also participate in many of the ZDK Programs, so as to help the whole Community of Believers from Abraham! And, charity or alms giving is one of Our big teachings (Matthew 6:1-4, Luke 6:38).
So, on this Thrid Pillar, the APPIRU are very Islamic, and seek to have members give generously, to help care for the poor and needy.
However, while many Muslims live in an old world, where eating pork and drinking alcoholic beverages is taboo, the APPIRU have a more modern attitude. We do not forbid Our Members from eating any food group, so you may eat pork as well as other so called unclean foods, if you wish (Acts 10:9-16). Moreover, if you wish to drink alcoholic beverages, you may, in moderation--as long as you don't drink to excess or drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18, I Timothy 5:23).
Furthermore, on keeping the Fast of Ramadan, the APPIRU see no need to make its Members fast until sundown for that whole month. It is not a religious requirement with Us. However, if you choose to, it is not forbidden, either. Rather, we tend to emphasize the Festivals and Holy Days as found in the Holy Scriptures. And, if you are interested in Our Festivals, then get Our Article on Keeping the Calendar, below:
So, on the Forth Pillar, we have something of a mixed bag. The APPIRU are mostly Islamic, but there are some modern variantions, to keep pace with modern times.
However, some Muslims insist that you must visit Mecca. Others demand that you at least visit Saudi Arabia. Well, the APPIRU is not quite focused that way. Our big focus is on Egypt--the Land of Joseph (or, perhaps, Bagdad or Damascus, as the centers of Mediavel Arab Culture). And, of course, the Holy Land with Jerusalem, is a most desired visit! Get there, if you can!
Consequently on the Fifth Pillar, the APPIRU are fairly Islamic, too. We would join with all the holy pilgrims that make their way to the Middle East.
Now, are there other things that are Islamic among us?
Moreover, this is one of the sorest points of contention between Arabs (and Muslims) and that of the Western or Christian Culture. For, Ishmaelites have come to see Westerners and Christians, as people who come to teach rebellion in their families! And to lead their wives to fight and become independent of their husbands. This is patently against APPIRU teachings! And, it makes for a more Eastern style atmosphere for our Family Life. Consequently, the APPIRU observe the Islamic (and Abrahamic) custom of married women keeping their head covered, with the traditional hijab or prayer scarf--a custom that most Christians and Jews use to follow, too (I Corinthians 11:3-16).
Furthermore, the contact of most Arabs (or Muslims) with modern Westerners or Christians is with those who try to teach Islamic women to be impure and cheat on their husbands. After all, it is commonly presented by such people that wives are to be forgiven their indiscretions, so that they should be free to commit adultery as they may so desire. And, this is one of the reasons that Arabs and Muslims are so against Western Culture! But, the APPIRU are not of that teaching. We hold and teach that the womb should be kept holy and sanctified. And that adultery (or wife defilement) is a MAJOR Sin among Our Members--much as it is held in the Islamic Communuty!
However, APPIRU listens to neither of these groups! And we strongly maintain that it is possible to be Ishmaelite (Islamic) and Christian, at the same time.
Moreover, We see this as similiar to Our Messianic brothers, next door (in EMUSPATEL). For, they claim that it is possible to be both Jewish and Christian. And, while the Jewish Leaders and the Church Leaders scream that this is not possible, the Messianic (Jewish-Christian) Movements is one of the hottest Revivals sweeping America, today! Clearly, it is possible, for them. Consequently, We hold that it is possible for Muslims, too. That they can be both Ishamelite (Islamic) and Christian, too! And, indeed, this is the main thrust of the APPIRU Movement. So, in the days ahead, you are going to see more and more Ishmaelites (Islamic or Arabic Christians), especially in America and Europe, where they have the freedom of religion to do so.
And, this is where the APPIRU have placed themsleves--in the GAP betwen Church and Mosque (serving as a Bridge between the two).
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Dated: 6-6-99. . . Up-dated 7-15-99