islam tagged posts

Raymond Lull – Missionary to Muslims

Missionary Raymond Lull – by Samuel Zwemer

raymond lull islam

Samuel Zwemer records the life of Raymond Lull in his classic work: “Raymond Lull: First Missionary to the Muslims.”  The portion below is taken from chapter 7 of this work.  You can find the whole text in the excellent collection “7 Classic Missionary Biographies.”
(On sale now – less than $1 per book!)

raymond lull missionary samuel zwemer

.

“FROM 1301 to 1309 Lull made several missionary journeys which are the more remarkable if we consider that he was now sixty-six years old and if we think of the conditions of travel in the Middle Ages. The Mediterranean Was beset with pirates and the Catalan Grand Company were fighting the Byzantines, while Genoa and Venice waged a war of commercial rivalry. The Knights of St. John were fighting for Rhodes and the rival popes were quarreling…

Raymund Lull no sooner came to Bugia than he found his way to a public place, stood up boldly, and proclaimed in the Arabic language that Christianity was the only true faith, and expressed his willingness to prove this to the satisfaction of all. We know not what the exact nature of his argument was on this occasion, but it touched the character of Mohammed. A commotion ensued and many hands were lifted to do him violence
The mufti, or chief of the Moslem clergy, rescued him and expostulated with him on his madness in thus exposing himself to peril.
“Death,” Lull replied, “has no terrors whatever for a sincere servant of Christ who is laboring to bring souls to a knowledge edge of truth.” After this, the mufti, who must have been well versed in Arabian philosophy, challenged Lull for proofs of the superiority of Christ’s religion over that of Mohammed.
One of Lull’s arguments, given in his controversial books, consists of presenting to the Saracens the Ten Commandments as the perfect law of God, and then showing them from their own books that Mohammed violated every one of these divine precepts. Another favorite argument of Lull with the Moslems was to portray the seven cardinal virtues and the seven deadly sins, only to show subsequently how bare Islam was of the former and how full of the latter! Such arguments are to be used with care even in the twentieth century; we can imagine their effect on the Moslems in North Africa in Lull’s day.
Persecution followed. He was flung into a dungeon and for half a year remained a close prisoner, befriended only by some merchants of Genoa and Spain, who took pity on the aged champion of their common faith.
Meanwhile riches, wives, high place, and power were offered the Christian philosopher if only he would abjure his faith and turn Moslem. This was Lull’s reply, from the depth of his dungeon, to all their enticements: “Ye have for me wives and all sorts of worldly pleasure if I accept the law of Mohammed? Alas, ye offer a poor prize, as all your earthly goods cannot purchase eternal glory. I, however, promise you, if ye will forsake your false and devilish law, which was spread by sword and force alone, and if ye accept my belief, Eternal Life, for the Christian faith was propagated by preaching and by the blood of holy martyrs. Therefore I advise you to become Christians even now, and so obtain everlasting glory and escape the pains of hell.” Such words, from the lips of a man seventy-three years old, in perfect command of the Arabic tongue, learned in the wisdom of the Arabian philosophy, and from whose eyes flashed earnest zeal for the truth, must have come with tremendous force.

 

——————–

Samuel Zwemer records the life of Raymond Lull in his classic work: “Raymond Lull: First Missionary to the Muslims.”  The portion below is taken from chapter 7 of this work.  You can find the whole text in the excellent collection7 Classic Missionary Biographies.”



(On sale now – less than $1 per book!)

raymond lull islam