What Is Islam?

Muslims are followers of Islam, the religion founded by the "prophet" Muhammad (570-632 AD). Around the year 610, the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Muhammad and informed him, "O Muhammad, you are the Messenger of God." In a later vision Gabriel is said to have told Muhammad to "recite." When asked what to recite, Gabriel replied:

Recite: In the Name of thy Lord who created, created Man of a blood-clot.

Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the Pen, taught man that he knew not. (Sura XCVI:1-5)

Thus was the beginning of the Muslim holy book -- the Koran, and the birth of Islam (which means "submission"). Muslims believe the Koran is the literal Word of God. In addition to the Koran they have the Hadiths, a collection of sayings attributed to Muhammad and his close friends. Today Islam is the second-largest religion in the world, and perhaps the fastest growing. In dialogues between Muslims and Christians you will often hear statements such as "We both believe in the same God, the one God." But is that really true? Is the Allah of the Koran the same as the God of the Bible? What follows is a comparison of the teachings of Islam with the teachings of historical Christianity. It will be clear from the evidence presented that the Allah of Islam is not the God of the Bible.


ISLAM: The god of Islam is known as Allah. Allah was originally the personal name for the moon god of the pre-Islamic Arab pantheon. Allah was worshipped by Muhammad's tribe as the "high god" of this pantheon, and was later accepted by Muhammad as the one true god. In Islam, Allah is transcendent and unknowable. The Koran gives very little information as to the nature of Allah -- beyond adjectives such as beneficent and merciful, it only tells what Allah is not.

BIBLE: The God of the Bible is personal and knowable. He is intimately involved with his creation, having revealed himself and his plan for mankind through the writings of his prophets and through the incarnation.


KORAN: Jesus is not God. "Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouth. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse they are!" (Sura IX:30).

BIBLE: Jesus is God. "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I Am!" (John 8:58).


KORAN: The Holy Spirit is Gabriel or another angel. While the terms Holy Spirit or Spirit are mentioned in a number of Suras, including II:87, XVI:102, and LXX:4, Muslims see this as referring to Gabriel or another angel.

BIBLE: The Holy Spirit is God. Only God is eternal. "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God" (Hebrews 9:14).


KORAN: God is not triune. Muslims believe Christians are polytheists. "So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" -- Cease!" (Sura IV, 171).

BIBLE: The Father is God. "For he received honor and glory from God the Father" (I1 Peter 1:17).

The Son is God. "Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant" (Philippians 2:5-7).

The Holy Spirit is God. "Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit ... You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:3-4).


KORAN: Muslims do not believe in original sin, and do not accept the need for redemption. The resurrection did not take place because Jesus did not die. "And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger -- They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them ... they slew him not for certain" (Sura IV:157).

BIBLE: Jesus died and was resurrected. "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17-18).


KORAN: Salvation requires works. One cannot know in this life whether or not they are saved. "Then those whose scales are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls, in hell abiding" (Sura XXIII:102-103).

There is no salvation outside of Islam. "He hath already revealed unto you in the Scriptures that, when he hear revelations of Allah rejected and derided (ye) sit not with them ... Allah will gather hypocrites and disbelievers, all together in hell" (Sura IV:140).

BIBLE: There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. "Jesus answered: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the father except through me" (John 14:6).

Salvation is not by works. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works" (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Enemies of Islam can be killed. "If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant" (Sura IV:91).

According to the Koran, Christians believe Mary and Jesus are two Gods. "And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?" (Sura V:116).

According to the Koran, Abraham was a Muslim. "Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man who had surrendered (to Allah), and he was not of the idolaters" (Sura III:67).

According to the Koran, Jesus' disciples were Muslim. "The disciples said: We will be Allah's helpers. We believe in Allah and bear thou witness that we are Muslims" (Sura III:52).

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