Issue 90 Winter 2009
this first issue of the new year, Philip contributes a timely article
on the financial system of Islam, and I reflect on a passage from Mark
that includes two very different healings. With the situation
between Israel & her neighbours in turmoil at present I am sure
that we shall all be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. But the
Lord is in charge of the situation, and we can be sure that His will is
what will prevail. Isaiah 14:24 still applies!
Islam and One world Government
Religious riots in Nigeria
An interview with Haranyahya
Shar’ia Finance [PW]
Until recently few of us had heard of the concept of shar’ia finance. Suddenly it has become a major player in global economics. Not because the sums of money involved are large, relative to the world economy they are small, but due to the desperate need of Western nations to borrow money to bail out their collapsing economies. Shar’ia finance is destined to play an increasingly important role in the banking and financial structures of western nations.
What is Shar’ia Finance?
The flood of oil revenues and the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism have made shar’ia finance a huge growth sector in the last couple of decades. It is a development of shar’ia law, which stipulates that money must not be used for purposes incompatible with Islam. To the West it is presented as a more ethical form of finance.
The interpretation of shar’ia law translates into a different approach to banking. Shar’ia banking prohibits investing in things seen as immoral such as casinos, alcohol, pornography and weapons of mass destruction. It aims at greater social justice by sharing risk and reward. It bans the selling of what a person doesn’t own. So practices such as short selling and engaging in contracts containing excessive uncertainty are forbidden. Traditional insurance is ruled out. In its place Islamic banks have developed a system called ‘takaful’, in which people pool risk. Giving to charity is mandatory. Called ‘zakat’, 2.5% of revenue is given to Islamic charities. If shar’ia banking were to become the global norm this would translate into very large sums of money.
The most distinct difference between western banking and Islamic banking is the ban on charging interest on loans. Instead of loans Islamic banks offer Sukuk or Musharaka. Sukuk is a system whereby the person needing to raise finance sells a proportion of an asset on which the buyer is then entitled to receive rent. Musharaka is a partnership with profit and loss sharing.
To insure shar’ia compliance, banks must hire shar’ia scholars to approve each product and practice as ‘halal’. These scholars need to be steeped in the Qur’an, shar’ia law and have mastered finance. As would be expected there is a shortage of such scholars. The few there are can command six figure sums for just one consultation. The problem is compounded by linguistics. Most scholars work in Arabic, but as more banks seek to be shar’ia compliant there is a need for fluency in English and French.
An example of when a bank would require the expertise of a shar’ia scholar might be the purchase of an aircraft. A sukuk could be issued in which the Islamic financier purchases a share in the aircraft. The airline would then pay him a rent for the use of that share. This is type of deal is acceptable under Islam. But would the deal still be acceptable under Islam if the alcohol was served on the aircraft?
Shar’ia finance deals are becoming more common. Ford Motor's sale of Aston Martin for $848m was mainly funded by Dar, a Kuwait-based Islamic bank. The sale required shar’ia-compliant financing. A shar’ia-compliant private equity firm based in Bahrain owns Caribou Coffee, America’s second-largest speciality coffee chain after Starbucks. Many other major corporations are looking to the Middle East to raise finance.
The borrower is servant to the lender.
In October 2008 the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Charlie Bean, warned that the pain is just beginning, calling the situation the 'largest financial crisis of its kind in human history'. In a desperate attempt to fend off the inevitable the UK government is trying to borrow its way out of recession.
The government hopes that much of the money will come from the oil rich countries of the Persian Gulf. Instead of bonds, which are the traditional way for Governments to raise money, the British Government is developing a shar’ia compliant Sukuk.
Money needs to come from somewhere. Those with the money are the ones who dictate the terms. The Gulf states have already pledged to loan money to help the Western economies. But this money will come with strings attached.
One of the main strings will be pressure on financial institutions to open themselves up to shar’ia based finance. This may not seen a big deal as many banks have already jumped on the shar’ia finance bandwagon. However we must keep in mind that shar’ia finance is an offshoot of shar’ia law and a part of what Muslims understand as a total theocratic system. It does not exist in isolation. The exponents of shar’ia finance believe that it is their duty to impose the shar’ia system on all people religious and secular alike.
Shar’ia is a unified, indivisible program to which all faithful Muslims must adhere comprehensively. Shar’ia finance is seen as a step towards moving all nations towards acceptance of the Islamic system. Sheikh Qaradawi, one of the creators of the modern shar’ia banking system, calls it “Jihad with money, because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money.” The Qur’an commands Muslims to use money to spread Islam. “You … should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives.” Qur’an 61:10-11, “The (true) believers are only those who … strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah.” Qur’an 49:15
London to be a global centre for Shar’ia Finance
It is the stated aim of the British Government to make London the global centre for shar’ia finance. With government encouragement London has today more banks offering sharia compliant services than anywhere else in the world. This desire to make Britain shar’ia friendly is I believe one reason why the government has given shar’ia courts the full status of arbitration tribunals with legal powers. Once Islam has a foot in the door it will exploit every opportunity.
Saudi Arabia and Jordan are pushing for the acceptance by governments world wide of shar’ia blasphemy laws. The Islamists insist that free speech must not allow the slander, libel or defamation of shar’ia, or other aspects of their faith? It is to be expected that, as greater influence is gained over our government, moves will be made to introduce some form of revised blasphemy law. When this is adopted we will no longer be allowed to even discuss the Muslim faith and certainly not hint at criticism. The straightforward proclaiming of the Christian Gospel could be deemed a contradiction and affront to Islam.
The moral high ground
Islam claims the moral high ground as it looks at our broken western society. Drunkenness, immorality, broken families and child abuse are just some of the things Islam sees and condemns in the ‘christian’ west. Back in the early seventies I had a Muslim friend from Bombay, as it was known at the time. He didn’t want to know about Christianity. He said that he had been to the cinema in Bombay and seen what the ‘christian’ west was like. As far as he was concerned it had nothing to offer compared to Islam.
One of the fruits of our broken society is the present credit crunch. Unregulated and out of control, the banking system has become the medium for greed and self interest. The population, quick to blame the bankers, is equally guilty, as it connives with the something for nothing culture built on money unbacked by real resources. Governments are most to blame as they seek to meet the aspirations of the voters. They debauch the currency by borrowing but never intending to repay, using controlled inflation to eventually deal with the debt and allowing money creation to go unchecked. Will our Governments in the West recognise that the system of defrauding the population by continually devaluing the currency has hit the buffers? The world is in real financial trouble with a risk that major trading nations will face bankruptcy as lenders loose confidence in their ability to repay.
Islam offers an alternative morally accountable financial system. It offers discipline, the lack of which has led to our present problems. Will the world come to see shar’ia as the way forward to build the long-term stable financial future? Through relying on Islamic funds to bolster failing economies our governments may have no choice.
Once shar’ia is accepted as the morally superior financial system, we will be well on the way to accepting shar’ia as the way to heal our morally bankrupt, broken and fragmented western society.
Islam and One World Government [PW]
In his memoirs David Rockerfeller wrote the following, “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as "internationalists" and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
How much power and influence do wealthy dynasties such as the Rockefeller’s and Rothschilds really exercise? As David Rockefeller admitted in his memoirs it has been an issue for speculation by those of us who are outsiders for a very long time. He also admitted that he was committed to the ideals of globalism and worked towards those ideals wherever he could.
For my own understanding of these issues I have relied on books such as Carol Quigley’s ‘Tragedy and Hope’. Quigley was both a competent historian and an insider in the globalist movement. He wrote his history of the early part of the 20th century in a bid to help outsiders such as you and me understand that globalism was, as he saw it, a benign force for good. Global government such as that briefly administered by Great Britain would be a means of bringing peace and prosperity to the world. In the book he recognises that the majority of the population do not like change. There will be resistance to giving up national sovereignty and other freedoms, which will need to be overcome by coercion.
The globalist ideals are propagated through various international think tanks and advisory bodies such as; The Council of Rome, Chatham House, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission etc. In turn the ideas are given legal status through pressure from political institutions such as the United Nations and European Commission. Within this network other bodies such as the Bildergberg Group look after the interests of the major financial powers.
Many years ago I came across the concept of government by crisis. The principle being that governments recognise that there are policies, which they wish to bring in, but the population at large is not ready to accept. The way round this problem is to create a crisis. The government then presents its previously unacceptable policy as a solution to the crisis. The population relieved that there is a way out accepts the new policy. It may even praise the government for its decisive intervention. Does this really happen? From my observation of events over the last 30 years I would say yes it does happen, although sometimes things appear to go wrong.
A current crisis being used to restrict, control and develop global government is global warming. The globe is warming up but the extent to which it is being influenced by man’s activities is much less clear. Even the consequences of global warming are far from established. What can be verified is that a few centuries ago the earth was at least 3 degrees warmer than at present and life did not come to an end. Yet this is not allowed to be a subject open to debate. We are told that as fact that global warming will bring disaster and that we must all take certain actions to avert the consequences. Those who dare to disagree are ridiculed.
Islam and the current financial crisis
The global financial crisis, resulting from the irresponsible expansion of credit, was predictable and predicted. Therefore, when there are powers that could act, but choose not to prevent it, we conclude that the crisis was intended. The initial results that we see are greater government control of financial institutions. In time there will be greater control of governments through increasing debt.
Where does Islam fit into all this? The institutions, which promote globalism, are not a western cartel. The membership is international. The essence of globalism is one world government. Therefore included within the elite are representatives of all nationalities, cultures and religions. The guiding force is a belief that in all nations and cultures there are people of good will prepared to work towards the common good of man. They believe that by the acceptance of shared values mankind can be saved. The membership of the globalist groups mentioned above includes prominent Muslims. That Islam should have its place within the international community is recognised as vital to ultimate success.
Therefore true to this philosophy it is seen as good for the Arab nations to play their part in the rescue of the global economy. It is an extension of the philosophy that has encouraged the Arabs to hold large investments in Europe and the USA. It is believed that the greater stake they have in the well being of the global economy the more prepared they will be to work together for the common good.
The Beast and the Harlot
The great mistake being made by globalists is to misjudge the true character of Islam. Islam has it own agenda and hates everything globalism stands for. Drawing Islam into the club is sowing the seeds of globalism’s ultimate destruction.
Globalism warrants the name BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. The movement aspires to the same ideals that motivated the citizens of Babel to build a tower whose top is in the heavens. The purpose was to unify the earth in defiance of God. The Bible is the tale of two cities. One Jerusalem represents the kingdom of God and the bride of Christ. The other Babylon represents the kingdom of this world, the creation of Satan. Globalism is the final expression of the kingdom of this world. A kingdom which scorns God and takes man’s destiny into it is own hands. It hates those who uphold godly values. Throughout history the kingdom of this world has persecuted those who are faithful to God.
Islam is destined to become the kingdom of the beast. In Revelation that kingdom hates the Harlot and makes her desolate, strips her naked and eats her flesh and burns her with fire. God also hates the Harlot and will use the Islamic beast to destroy her.
The present Credit Crunch crisis although probably engineered by those who covet more and more power will prove the downfall and destruction of the western world. From now on Islam will rise in ascendancy over the kingdoms of this world. This is a matter that will require of us all a great deal of prayer and discernment in the days ahead. Prayer that we will remain faithful when surrounded by deception.
Religious Riots in Nigeria [PW]
Thank you to Mike Power in Jos, Nigeria for sending the following as part of an update on the situation following the recent troubles.
“The recent crisis here really disrupted people’s lives, first with the violence and then with fears and rumours of reprisals. One troubling thing about the crisis was the response of some ‘Christians’ to the burning and killing – it was tit-for-tat. This was recognized in the church we attend, and in one Sunday service, the normal sermon time was given over to prayers – by 5 different people. One of the prayers was of confession – for feeling pleased that the M’lims had got a taste of their own medicine.”
“Following that, we read a sermon on that very point – here is an extract:
“Of late we have been answering Muslims in their own language, confident they will understand it, and doubtful whether they will understand any other. So it has been mosque for church, business for business, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. And they do understand. What is more, they are more fluent in this language than we are – after all it’s their mother tongue – and they are willing to keep the conversation going till the last eye and last tooth are gone.”
“But can we start talking our own language, the one Jesus taught us? What language is that? The language of love. Read Luke 6.27-28.”
“Many of us are horrified -‘We need a strong response, not a weak one!’ If that’s your thinking, you don’t really know Jesus – and that is the fundamental problem in the church today: we don’t really know Jesus. For there is nothing stronger than love”.
An interview with Haranyahya with Timothy Furnish 59 mins
For those who have access to the internet there is a very informative interview with Haran Yahya (Adanan Oktar) on the following link:
The interview covers a broad spectrum of Islamic eschatology and also topics such as Adanan Oktar’s views on Darwinism. Adanan sees a great deal of Islamic prophecy being fulfilled in recent times. He believes that the coming of the Jesus and the Mahdi will be in 10 to 15 years time This is why Islam is so expectant.
Adanan represents the voice of moderate Islam but there is little comfort for Christians. He believes that all will be co-operation and love between the two faiths due to Christians and Muslims both looking forward to the coming of Christ. However the Islamic Christ is the opposite of the Christian Christ. A deception which sounds so seductive and fine. I recommend the interview as a good overview of Islamic beliefs about the end times.
Despite the promises throughout scripture, few topics raise more contention.
All know someone for whom prayers for healing were not answered positively; others have watched loved ones suffer inexplicably from hideous diseases; the question we often hear, especially from Christians, is why does God allow suffering?
The real question of course is, seeing that we live in a fallen world that has turned its back on God & His commands, why does ANYTHING go right?
Let me spell out some basic truths from scripture. First the Bible says a lot about it. We begin with the Lord's word to the Israelites just after they had come out of Egypt; I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE [Exod 15:26]. Turning to Isaiah 53:5 we have the prophecy recalled in Peter 'by His stripes we are healed'. The tense of the verb means we have been healed. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of healing, and one of Jesus' promises to those who believe was 'they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover' [Mark 16:18] If we study the first disciples in the book of Acts we find records of numerous miracles of healing that supported their gospel message.
You may reply yes, but wasn't that just in biblical times? Well, the book of Hebrews tells us that 'Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday & forever' [Heb 13:8]. And when He was on earth He healed the sick in body & mind. Whoever came to Jesus for healing was ALWAYS healed. He never sent anyone away empty. He never told anyone to go & see a doctor, or to bear their illness to the glory of God.
Of all the miracles of healing that Jesus performed, no two are alike; sometimes he uses touch, sometimes a word, everyone is treated as an individual with a specific need.
One of his most special healings was of the deaf man at the end of Mark 7; we have the lovely detail that Jesus 'took the man aside from the crowd' - a friend of mine who has difficulty in hearing said that showed amazing sensitivity; no situation is more stressful for the deaf than being in a crowd. Another special insight comes earlier in Mark 1:40 when a leper comes to Jesus and says 'if you are willing you can make me clean.' Jesus replies 'I am willing'. It was His trademark - He always was.
The two healings in Mark 5:21-43 could hardly have been different. All three synoptic gospels record the incident but Mark's is much the fullest & most vivid. We begin with a ruler of the synagogue; he was in charge of its affairs, he determined what was sung and read, who preached - he was a superintendent minister. It was a measure of his desperation that he fell at this young rabbi's feet; not a position of dignity for such a leader. His plea showed he had faith in Jesus; 'come and lay hands on her that she may be healed and live'. Jesus needs nothing more, and they set off for Jairus' house.
We know from Luke’s account that she was 12 years old: Mark calls her ‘my little daughter’
They didn't go alone; many people go with Him and were pressing in upon Him. The progress to his house now has an interruption; imagine how Jairus must have felt, with his daughter at the point of death and every second vital.
The interruption came from an unlikely source. A woman pushed her way through the crowd and touched His cloak. She had a long-standing problem; a hemorrhage had been troubling her for 12 years; it was an embarrassing complaint; it made her ritually unclean, and cut her off from the life of the synagogue. She had spent all she had on doctors, but wasn't helped - in fact their treatments made things worse. Then something happened that changed her life; she heard about Jesus. And what she heard encouraged her faith; here was someone who could help. But she had a problem - how could she, an unclean woman, touch a rabbi? The law strictly forbad it. But she like Jairus was desperate. 'if I may only touch His clothes I shall be whole' - that was her faith speaking. So she pushes her way through the crowd and touches Jesus.
When she was coming to Jesus she had feelings that she was sick: after she touched Him, as Mark’s gospel puts it ‘she felt in her body that she was healed’. Her faith had led to her healing.
We read elsewhere that as many as touched Him were made whole [Mark 6:56]. This healing was special; Jesus felt this touch above the many who were crowding Him. No doubt the woman wanted to steal away without being noticed. But Jesus needed her confession. 'Who touched My clothes?' he asks the incredulous disciples.
Sometimes Jesus appeared to ask dumb questions. But there was a purpose for He knew that one touch was different from the others. And she confessed what she had done and what had happened as a result. Jesus tells her to go in peace to enjoy the healing.
Almost at once Jairus sees some of his household, and one look tells him it is bad news; 'your daughter is dead; why do you trouble the master any more. Jesus overhears what they whisper to Jairus – immediately He comes against the negative words; He tells Jairus 'don't be afaid; only believe'.
He takes His closest three with Jairus, and challenges the tumult of weeping and wailing; of course the crowd mock but Jesus puts them all out and takes father, mother & the three disciples. Taking the dead girl's hand He simply tells her to get up. At once she gets up & walks. Then Jesus cuts through the astonishment by telling her parents to give her something to eat.
We can learn a lot from these two incidents in the life of Jesus.
1. Jesus is the Son of God – the same yesterday, today and forever
2. faith not feelings should be our guide
3. don’t be discouraged or afraid - only believe
4. Jesus is in control