03. BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
1 - DO MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS PRAY TO THE SAME GOD?
Servants of the Lord
1.01 -- DO MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS PRAY TO THE SAME GOD?
Servants of the Lord
You will know the Truth,
will make you free.
1.02 -- INTRODUCTIONIn the autumn of the year 2004 the Secretaries of State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 25 states of the United Europe reached a majority resolution to negotiate with Turkey concerning the possibility of joining the EEC (European Union). This decision once again made the people of the countries involved aware of the differences and similarities between the Western and Islamic countries. Some thoughtful-minded people do have an unpleasant feeling in the pit of their stomach, when they consider the experiences of history and the possible consequences of the new development, which would presumably be pushed through against the will of the majority of the population in several countries of the EEC.
The Islamic conquest of SpainIn the year 711 AD, Tarik Ibn Siyad crossed the Straits of Gibraltar with 7 000 men. He and his successors conquered the greater part of Spain and Portugal within 20 years. In order to transform the Iberian peninsula into an Islamic country, he then systematically settled Syrians, Palestinians, Persians, Yemenites, Iraqis, Egyptians and Hedjaz-Arabs in the different city districts.
From 713 AD on the Islamic Southern army with its 18,000 soldiers from Yemen and Syria conquered the South of France under Musa Ibn Nusair; in 720 they occupied Narbonne and in 721 Nimes, Arles and Avignon. In 725 they stormed up the Rhone-valley, conquered Lyon and, in the same year, Langres, Sens and Luxeuil in the Vosges west of Basel.
The Islamic Northern army under general Abd al-Rahman al-Ghafiki destroyed Bordeaux in 731, conquered Poitiers and was decisively defeated near to Tours in 732 by Charles Martel (AD 714-741) and the army of the Franconians.
Between 752 and 759, the Franconians re-conquered the South of France in a military campaign that was successfully completed in 795 by Charlemagne (768-814 AD). He freed the Pyrenees from the Islamic domination and forced the Muslims to retreat beyond the Ebro river in Spain.
The liberation of Spain from the Islamic occupation was accomplished in successive stages. The Catholic kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Portugal and Aragon had emerged in the north, west and east of Spain. Spurred on by the ideal of the crusades, they re-conquered in the 12th Century more and more occupied territories, so that in 1212 AD the Islamic emirate of Cordoba had been reduced to one fourth of Spain. In 1236 Cordoba was stormed, and in 1248 Seville and Cartagenas fell into the hands of the Castilians. In 1262 Cadiz was conquered, but Tarifas was only taken in 1344. The small kingdom of Granada was able to hold its position until 1481. In 1492 a Catholic archdiocese was established there. It took over seven hundred years to deliver Spain from the Muslim domination.
Today, Muslim fundamentalists in North-Africa are trying to reclaim parts of Southern Spain (Andalusia), because, in accordance with their Shari’a Law, a territory occupied by Muslims remains Islamic forever.
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900 AD) is supposed to have commented sarcastically that the worst mistake of western history was the victory of Charles Martell! In reality, however, the Muslim invasion united the empire of the Franconians and thus laid a foundation for later Europe.
The conquest of the Balkans by the OttomansThe second wave of the Islamic attack on Europe began in 1354 AD when the Ottomans, the leading tribe of the Turkish peoples of Anatolia, crossed the Dardanelles. In 1371 they conquered Bulgaria, in 1383 Macedonia, in 1384 Sofia fell, in 1389 they conquered the army of the Serbian aristocracy on the blackbird-field in Kosovo. In 1395 Sigismund of Hungary and his crusaders were defeated. In 1400 the Ottoman Turks conquered the Dobrudscha on the Black Sea. As a consequence, the Danube had become temporarily the northern border of the Turks.
The triumphal march of the Ottomans was interrupted when Timur Lenk (Tamerlan) suddenly invaded Anatolia (1370-1405 AD) inflicting a crushing defeat on the ethnically related Ottomans at Ankara in 1402. In the year 1453, after a time of recuperation, the Ottomans conquered Constantinople after several sieges. The fall of the city marked the end of the bastion of Christianity in the Near East, which had lasted a thousand years. From then on, it was called Istanbul (the aristocratic, the noble). After 21 years of war (1435-1466) Albania fell into the hands of the Turks.
After the fall of Constantinople, the Turks defeated Serbia a few years later (1459-1465), however, they only took the fortress Belgrade in 1521. In 1529 they conquered Bosnia and, in the same year, tried unsuccessfully to conquer Vienna for the first time. During the next military operations, they subdued Walachia from 1521 to 1545. In a 140-year war that lasted from 1541 to 1688, they defeated Transylvania and Hungary. In connection with these conquests, the Turks besieged Vienna in 1683 AD for the second time and would have taken the starving city, if the general in command had not postponed the assault. He was waiting for the voluntary surrender of the city, which would then have become his personal booty.
After the siege of Vienna had been lifted by a military campaign of allied European forces, a lengthy war to recapture the Balkans began. Two hundred years were necessary to reconquer the fortress of Belgrade (1688-1867), despite the victory of Prince Eugene. Serbia was only liberated in 1882, after over 400 years of Turkish occupation(!), Bosnia followed in 1908, Albania in 1912 and Macedonia in 1913.
Anyone who is surprised at the intolerance of the orthodox Christians towards the Muslims in Kosovo and in Macedonia, should consider that the bitter memories of the Ottoman empire still weigh heavily on peoples of the Balkans. Each year, 30 000 young Christians, 12 years old or above, were recruited for the regiment of the Janissaries, forcibly converted to Islam and were used as shock-troops in the battles of the Turkish sultans. All ancestors of the Muslims, who live today in the Balkans, were Christians before the invasion of the Turks. However, they converted to Islam, in order to escape the exorbitant taxes inflicted on the minorities and the humiliation. To this day, the descendants of these apostates are despised and hated by many orthodox Christians.
The modernization of Turkey after the First World WarFor four hundred years, the eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, also parts of Persia and most of the Arabic countries were ruled by the Ottoman sultans. After the collapse of this empire during the First World War, Ataturk (father of the Turks) attempted to create a new state after the European model. He abolished the caliphate of Turkey over all Muslims. In his own country, he revoked the Shari’a (Islamic law) in 1926, closed the Koranic scrolls and prohibited the mystic orders. In the streets, he had the red fez knocked off the heads of passers-by. Instead, he adopted the Swiss constitution as the political foundation of the new state, the Italian Penal Code and the German Commercial Law as a basis for social life. He hoped thus to force Turkey to join the modern technological Europe.
The “Europeanization” of Turkey, however, remained an ideal program. In reality, one fourth of the people accepted the philosophy of socialism, one third became liberal Islamists as Ata Turk was himself, a nationalistic movement emerged in other segments of the population, and a growing number of citizens deliberately remained Islamic. R.T. Erdogan, the present prime minister and previous mayor of Istanbul, belonged until recently to the conservative Islamic party.
Islam cannot at length, deny it's true nature. It is not a religion in the sense of the European enlightenment. Its aim must be the uniting of state and faith. This fact does not appeal to the modern humanist; it is nevertheless theologically, legally and historically proven.
Approximately four million Turks are living presently in Europe, not including Turkish citizens living in their own country. This estimate does not include the nearly one million Turks who have taken on a European nationality.
We consider it an absolute priority for convinced Christians to prepare for a confrontation with Muslims. We attempt to throw light on some of the most crucial points of contact between the two faiths. Each reader must decide for himself whether the deep gap between Islam and Christianity can be bridged or not!
Full-membership or affiliation to the European Union?Should Turkey become a full member of the European Union, and not only an affiliated member, this would imply that twenty to twenty-five million Turks would wish to immigrate to the larger European cities, where their friends and relatives have already settled.
We are in the midst of the third Islamic invasion of Europe. Many are unwilling to face this fact! Some politicians systematically further this development, whether in the hope of creating a multi-cultural society without Christian predominance or with the aim of gaining new votes for their political parties.
According to the estimate of the Federal Bureau of Statistics in Wiesbaden, the population of Turkey will probably reach one hundred million inhabitants by the year 2050 A.D. In this case, the Turks would constitute one fifth of the population of the EU and would be in a position, through their votes and their representatives (and possibly even commissioners), to influence the development of Europe decisively.
Unfortunately, the majority of the native population in the EU countries has done little to help foreign workers or students of Islamic origin to integrate in their culture. Who has bothered to visit a Turkish family or helped them solve their problems with the administration? Many Turks, in their loneliness, retreat into ethnical and religious ghettos. In their mosques, they are taught that they should not enter friendships with Jews or Christians, since these would only convert them to their own way of life (Suras al-Nisa' 4:89.101; al-Tauba 9:29-30; al-Mumtahina 60:1; al-Saff 61:9; a.o.). As a result of their culture shock in Europe, many become more convinced in their faith than they were in their own homeland. Some new mosques are consciously named after the sultans and generals who once conquered the Balkan states for the Ottoman Empire and for Allah.
1.03 -- DO MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS PRAY TO THE SAME GOD?
The Worship of AllahObserving a conscientious Muslim, you will notice that he prays five times a day for about fifteen to twenty minutes. This faithfulness in prayer is one of the greatest challenges of Islam to Christianity. If we do not learn once more to pray earnestly and faithfully, we will be infiltrated and absorbed by the Islamic system.
During the five times of prayer each Muslim bows down before Allah up to 34 times per day, expressing his complete surrender to the creator, ruler and judge of the world. The Arabic word “Islam” means surrender, devotion and submission. A Muslim is no longer a free human being. He has committed himself to Allah and is legally bound to him as a slave.
Every day, millions of Muslims worship Allah five times according to a prescribed rite in their mosques or wherever they happen to be. Each day, this prayer ritual sweeps across our globe like five successive waves. It begins early in the morning in Indonesia and continues in China, Bangladesh and Pakistan, reaches Central-Asia and Iran, it then bends the worshippers in the Arabic and African countries to the ground and finally leads the Muslims in the USA to the to adoration of Allah.
These five daily worship services of the Muslims are another challenge to us Christians, in order that we may reconsider our commitment to Jesus Christ and see whether we are wholeheartedly depending on him or whether we are living "outside of him" preferring other sources of power.
From conscientious Muslims we can learn fear of God and a deep respect of the Almighty. They believe in their reverence that they are adoring the true God, who heard the prayers of their ancestor Ismael (Genesis 21:17-21). In this context, the prayers of Abraham (the so-called first Muslim) or Cornelius should be taken in consideration (Acts 10:1-48).
Islam – righteousness by worksWe do not intend to idealize the ritualistic Muslim prayer, for it is neither a spontaneous nor a voluntary prayer, but a duty according to their law. Whoever prays according to the prescribed formula, will enjoy Allah’s protection and be successful. Whoever does not pray, runs the risk of going astray. According to the Islamic doctrine every prayer is a good deed which deletes a bad one (Sura Hud 11:114).
A man is said to have come to Muhammad in Mecca and ironically asked, “I have sinned! What should I do?” Muhammad advised him, “Pray three times!” The man replied, “Muhammad, I have committed adultery!”, Muhammad repeated his advice, “Pray three times!”, whereupon the man confessed, “I have really committed adultery!”. Then Muhammad solemnly assured him, “Pray three times, even if your name is Abu Dhal (a contemporary of Muhammad)”.
Thus, according to this tradition, by praying three times the liturgical prayers, you can delete your guilt for adultery on the heavenly account or even collect bonus points. In the Islam, righteousness is achieved through works. This is confirmed in the Koran:
“Proclaim the portions of the Book (in heaven) that have been revealed to you and be steadfast in prayer. Prayer fends off lewdness and evil (fornication). But your foremost duty is to remember Allah. Allah has knowledge of all your actions.” (Sura al-‘Ankabut 29:45)
اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ -- سُورَةُ الْعَنْكَبُوتِ 29 : 45
In the Koran we read the summary comment: “Those who recite the Book of Allah (the Koran) and attend to their prayers and give from what We (Allah) gave them, in private and in public, may hope for imperishable gain (a bargain). He (Allah) will give them their rewards (in Paradise)and enrich them from His own abundance. He is forgiving and bountiful in His rewards” (Sura Fatir 35:29-30).
1.04 -- Who is Allah in Islam?
Allah – the distinct one!Allah, according to the Koran, is the almighty creator, lord and judge over his creatures but he also appears as a law-maker and businessman, to whom 1,4 billion Muslims pray five times daily.
However, if you ask a Muslim, “Can you tell me who Allah really is?”, he may answer with a smile, “Allah is greater!" (Allahu akbar), which is the abbreviation of the Islamic creed. This incomplete sentence means that Allah is not only great, otherwise there might be something yet greater than he is. Furthermore, he is not only the greatest, otherwise he might be comparable with some created being. No, he is completely different, the distant and unapproachable God. He is greater, stronger, more beautiful, richer and cleverer than anything we know. In the end every understanding of Allah remains imperfect and falls short of reality. The everlasting One in Islam cannot be comprehended or defined. On the contrary, he conceives us and determines us in advance. Allah is no personal god and seduces whoever he wills and leads right whoever he wills (Suras al-An’am 6:39; al-Ra’d 13:27; Ibrahim 14:4; al-Nahl 16:93; Fatir 35:8; al-Muddaththir 74:31). He is beyond human comprehension and emotions and remains just in everything he does.
Popular IslamThe majority of the Muslims was dissatisfied with the abstract concept of God propagated by their theologians. They wanted to know who Allah is and what he does. Out of the 500 attributes and titles of Allah, which are named in the Koran, they chose 99 of the most beautiful. In the following list we will attempt to give an overview of the names of Allah, which appear more than ten times in the Koran.
Names and attributes of Allah
The twenty names and titles in the above list comprise 84 percent of the names and attributes of Allah as they occur in the Koran and form the basis of the Muslim understanding of Allah. When a Muslim, reciting his prayer-chain, clicks the 33 stones corresponding to 33 names of Allah three times, he hopes to compensate one of his sins recorded in Allah’s book.
Al-Ghazali, one of the most famous Islamic theologians, explained and compared these 99 names and attributes of Allah with each other. He recognized that several of these key-concepts either overlap or contradict each other and came to the conclusion, “Allah is everything and nothing! We cannot apprehend him with our understanding, only worship him!”
A summary of the names of Allah can be found in Sura al-Haschr 59:22-24: 22 He is Allah, besides whom there is no other deity. He knows the unknown and the manifest. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. 23 He is Allah, besides whom there is no other deity. He is the King, the Holy One, the Peace, the Keeper of Faith; the Guardian, the Mighty One, the Allpowerful, the Haughty! Exalted be Allah above what they associate with him! 24 He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Modeler. His are the most gracious names. All that is in the heavens and the earth gives glory to Him. He is the Mighty, the Wise One.
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَانُ الرَّحِيمُ / هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلاَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ / هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ -- سُورَةُ الْحَشْرِ 59 : 22 – 24
The Unity of AllahMuhammad went on in his statements concerning Allah and testified at first to Jews and Christians in the years, when Islam was still a minority in Mecca:
“… We believe in that which has been revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one. …” (Sura al-‘Ankabut 29:46)
آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ -- سُورَةُ الْعَنْكَبُوتِ 29 : 46
Similar verses with an emphasis on tolerance are frequently found in the Koran. These verses are referred to today by Muslims, who live as a minority among Christians, in order to justify themselves.
Unfortunately, Muhammad revealed the opposite in Medina ten years later and thus annulled (abrogated) all verses in the Koran from the Meccan period, which recommend a tolerant attitude:
„Fight (with arms) against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given (Jews and Christians) as believe in neither Allah nor the Last Day (like the Muslims), who do not forbid what Allah and His apostle (Muhammad) have forbidden, and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute (al-Djizya) out of hand and are utterly subdued.” (Sura al-Tauba 9:29)
قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلاَ بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلاَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلاَ يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ (سُورَةُ التَّوْبَةِ 9 : 29)
When Muhammad and his followers controlled the majority in Medina, he had no more use for tolerance. From that time on, Islam has been considered as the only valid religion in Allah’s eyes (Suras Al ‘Imran 3:19; al-Baquara 2:193; al-Saff 61,9 and other).
The faith in Allah, the one and only god, remains one of the crucial articles of the Islamic faith and is defined in the central confession of the Muslims: “There is no God besides Allah!" Anyone who believes in other gods besides Allah and worships them, commits an unforgivable blasphemy, from the Islamic point of view.
1.05 -- Who Allah cannot be according to the Koran
Allah – No TrinityAnyone who takes Muslims seriously, will soon recognize that the Koran vehemently denies the existence of the Holy Trinity. One reason amongst others is that a Christian sect which flourished in the Near East at the time of Muhammad taught that the Trinity consisted of the Father, the Son and Mary, i.e. Allah, Mary and Jesus (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:116)! This heresy, however, is rejected by all the churches. Nevertheless, many Muslims still believe that Christians hold that Allah slept with Mary and begat Jesus through her. This accusation of blasphemy, based on a misunderstanding, has led to the rejection of the doctrine of the Triune God within the Islamic community. Moreover, this attitude is supported by the open warning:
“Do not say: ‘Three’! Forbear, and it shall be better for you. Allah is but one God. Allah forbid that He should have a son!” (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:171b).
وَلاَ تَقُولُوا ثَلاَثَةٌ انْتَهُوا خَيْراً لَكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ (سُورَةُ النِّسَاءِ 4 : 171 ب)
Whoever believes in the Holy Trinity is strongly condemned by the Qur'an:
“Unbelievers are those that say: ‘Allah is the third of three.’ There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be touched by a painful torture.” (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:73)
'''لَقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلاَثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهُوا عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (سُورَةُ الْمَائِدَةِ 5 : 73)'''
If they strictly follow their own premises, Semites (Jews and Muslims) cannot assume that God is more than oneperson. Neither can they acknowledge Christianity as a monotheistic faith, even if European idealists still cling to the illusion of the "three monotheistic religions".
Allah – No FatherFor the very same reasons most Muslims consider it blasphemy when we call God Father or the Father of Jesus Christ. By so doing they wittingly or unwittingly make themselves inaccessible to the central revelation of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy (Father )name!” In the four gospel records, Jesus speaks of the Father 200 times, and only 99 times of God. Christ revealed to us the close and personal God, who, in love, adopted us legally forever as his own children, and so became “our Father”.
This new understanding of God, as emphasized in the New Testament, is Jesus’ theological answer to the rigid Islamic concept of Allah. Christians have something that Muslims lack. They have a personal relationship with God. Through the “red telephone”, they have been connected to the Almighty, who has become their Father because of Christ’s atonement. Their Father knows them, cares for them and loves them, no matter where they are. Muslims have no direct contact with Allah. Neither does the Koran give them any right to call themselves the children of God. They are forced to remain forever the slavish worshipers of the Lord of the universe.
This rejection of the Christians’ claim to be the children of God is both subversive and categorical, when Muhammad states in the Koran:
„The Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.’ Say: ’Why then does He punish you for your sins? Surely you are mortals of His own creation. He forgives whom He will and tortures whom He pleases. Allah has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them. All shall return to Him.’“ (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:18)
وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَى نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُمْ بِذُنُوبِكُمْ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ بَشَرٌ مِمَّنْ خَلَقَ يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (سُورَةُ الْمَائِدَةِ 5 : 18
This rebuttal of the claim to divine sonship by human beings clearly shows that the Jews at Medina had also explained to Muhammad, that the LORD had chosen them corporately and judicially to be his offspring (Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 63:16; Jeremiah 3:4,19; 31:9; a.o.). “You, o LORD, are our Father, ‘our Redeemer’ from of old is Your name.” (Isaiah 63:16b) This collective privilege in the Old Testament has been promised personally to each individual born-again disciple through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:14-16).
Allah – No SonThe Koran requires all Muslims to believe in ‘Isa, Mary’s son and Allah’s messenger, as well as in all other prophets. This means that all Muslims believe in Christ. The question is only: How is Christ presented in the Koran?
The Koran alludes several times to the fact that Christ was born of the virgin Mary, without any man having touched her. Her son was created through God’s word and his spirit in her. She is said to have answered Djibril (Gabriel):
“’How shall I bear a child,’ she answered, ‘when I have neither been touched by any man nor ever been unchaste?’” (Suras Maryam 19:20; Al ‘Imran 3:47)
(قَالَتْ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلاَمٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيّاً (سُورَةُ مَرْيَمَ 19 : 20
Muhammad describes the conception of Christ in his own way: “And of the woman who kept her chastity. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to all mankind.” (Suras al-Anbiya’ 21:92; al-Tahrim 66:12)
(وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِنْ رُوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ (سُورَةُ الأَنْبِيَاءِ 21 : 92
On this basis, Muslims can believe that Christ was born of the virgin Mary. However, they refuse vehemently to believe, that the son of Mary was also the son of God, since he was only created in her by Allah, but not begotten. By this Islamic dogma, the Koran specifically contradicts the Nicene Creed, in which all churches confess, that Jesus Christ is: “God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, one nature with the Father".
Muhammad’s followers deny the divinity of Christ in every form, but they believe in his unique miracles of healing, in the resurrection of at least three dead by his word and in the further development of the law of Moses through the son of Mary (Sura Al ‘Imran 3:49b-50). They read about the feeding of his disciples in the desert by a table descended from heaven (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:112-115) and testify to his ability to impart a new humility and mercy to his followers (Sura al-Hadid 57:27a).
Furthermore, Muslims believe in his bodily ascension and in his actual presence with Allah. Yet, they strictly and specifically deny the historical fact of his crucifixion. By this denial 1,4 billion Muslims cut themselves off from the completed salvation, which was also meant for them and deliberately or unconsciously reject the forgiveness of their sins through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. They hope to establish their own righteousness without the cross of Christ.
Allah – No Holy SpiritIslam not only denies the deity of Christ, but also of the Holy Spirit. It is only in the Medina Suras and in the late traditions that the “Spirit of Allah” is called Djibril (Gabriel). Allah’s spirit is mentioned 29 times in the Koran, but always in the sense of a created being, similar to angels or demons. He is always subject to Allah’s authority (Sura Bani Isra’il 17:85). He is not divine in the sense of the New Testament. Allah is one! There can be no independent spirit of Allah beside him.
For this reason, there is no perception of the true nature of the Father and the Son in Islam, because it is the Holy Spirit who reveals this to the human heart (Romans 8:15-16; 1Corinthians 12:3). Consequently, there can be no fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25) in Islam, but only deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5.19-21). Natural piety and religious devotion have little or nothing to do with the effects of the indwelling of Christ’s Spirit. Besides, no Muslim has definite hope of eternal life (Colossians 1:27b). Although all men are expected to be created again after death for the Day of Judgment, there is no spiritual renewal in this life or in the next. All such questions will be answered with “maybe”, or “if Allah wills”.
It will soon be apparent to any serious student of Islamic theology, that Allah is not and never can be Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Allah is no holy trinity. He is a spirit completely different from the God of the Bible. Whoever says that the Father of Jesus Christ and Allah are one and the same person, is either superficial, naive or ignores the real content of the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad. Every committed Muslim will strictly reject the essence of the Gospel, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In What Sense Does God’s Love Differ From Allah’s Mercy?The name of God which appears most frequently in the Koran beside the basic title ‘Allah’ is “The compassionate the Merciful” (“al-Rahman al-Rahim”). Every Sura except one begins with this name. When animals are slaughtered according to Islamic custom these words are spoken over them. Any other meat is impure. The secret hopes of the Muslims are set upon this name of Allah. This Semitic expression means to them that the Almighty has mercy upon a Muslim in distress or his clan. He bends down to them, hears them when they call upon him (al-Du’a) and “perhaps” helps them. Yet, he always remains the great, distant, unapproachable Allah, whom everyone fears and worships with profound respect.
The Bible, however, teaches us: “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) This love of God (Agape) showed itself in that he became human in Christ Jesus, lived with us, took our guilt on himself and died in our place. In his lofty holiness he did not remain at a distance, but left his glory, became one of us and allowed himself to be crucified for our justification. Love does not only give help occasionally, but sacrifices itself completely, even for the unworthy.
Perhaps a practical illustration can help to grasp the difference between the Islamic understanding of Allah’s mercy and the Christian meaning of God’s love: If a man were to say to his fiancée, “I have mercy on you and will marry you,” what would her reaction be? She would run away from him! But if he were to say, “I love you, and therefore I want to marry you”, then they would agree to marry each other. Allah remains at the best the distant and unattainable god, whereas in Christianity God comes down to our level, sacrifices himself for us, becomes one with us and changes us through his love.
All these considerations raise the basic question: If Allah cannot be a Father, a Son or a Holy Spirit and cannot be love, who can he be? Is there yet another God besides the Trinity?
The True Face of Allah in IslamWe need to free ourselves from the idealism of the Enlightenment and the self-deception of humanism and spiritually overcome the empty fancy of the three Abrahamic religions believing in the same God.
Allah – an Anti-Biblical Spirit?!Fifty to sixty percent of the Koran is indirectly taken from the Old Testament and its interpreting literature, which Muhammad could not read, as they had not yet been translated into Arabic at the time. Therefore we find oral traditions from the Mishna, the Talmud and other Jewish writings in Arabic and Islamic form. About five to seven percent are borrowed from the New Testament, which was not yet available in Arabic either. That is why several apocryphal texts appear in the Koran, having been modified in their form and content to suit the Islamic context.
The translation of these oral traditions into the colloquial Arabic of the Quraish tribe was a masterly achievement of Muhammad. Unfortunately, in his translation he made numerous mistakes. However, he was not willing to allow well-meaning Jews and Christians to correct his so-called revelations. Rather he made his inspired messages the standard of revealed truth. Anything in the Bible that does not corroborate the Arabic version of the Koran is considered a fake. And yet, the original texts of the Scriptures are considered to be verbally inspired. The majority of Muslims is convinced that some Jews deliberately falsified certain texts of the Torah in order to mislead Muhammad, and that Christians have removed Muhammad’s name out of the gospel-records. By this simple logic the biblical truth is misunderstood according to the false perspective of the Koran and the Islamic lie is presented to the world as truth.
Such suspicions easily suggest themselves to Muslims, as their Koran can be recited according to seven authorized readings, and can be interpreted according to several different equally recognized versions. Ancient editions of the Koran still have three different vowel-characters above many consonants, because all three ways of reading are possible and recognized by the Muftis.
Furthermore, 240 verses of the Koran were abrogated by later revelations from Allah. The old and new verses are, however, still of equal importance, although the former have been invalidated. Those who are not sufficiently informed can be thoroughly misled, since these contradictory verses can prove opposite points of view.
Are Muslims permitted to tell lies?There is no spirit of truth in Islam such as there is in the New Testament. Although Allah is called “The Truth and the Right” (al-Haqq) more than once in the Koran, we also read about him twice that he is the most Cunning One of all(khair al-maakireen, Suras Al ‘Imran 3:54; al-Anfal 8:30) and that he becomes a cheater to everyone who cheats him (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:142)! If the object of worship of a religion contains cunning and deceit, how much more will his disciples live accordingly? Furthermore, the Koran records, that Allah commanded Muhammad and his faithful followers to cancel their rash vows (qad farada allah lakum tahillat aimanikum; Sura al-Tahrim 66:2). This means that even an oath is no guarantee for truth.
Various traditions concerning Muhammad assert, that a Muslim has the right to tell lies on four occasions! Therefore, untruths and distortions of the facts are permitted in the so-called Holy War, at the reconciliation of two Muslims, between a husband and his wives and between a wife and her husband (Thirmidhi, birr 26; Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal 6:459,461). Such an ethical principle undermines the confidence in the truth and reliability of the statements of our fellow men more than we are aware of. The available translations of the Koran and the traditions often gloss over such verses and statements, but the above mentioned quotations in our book have tried to render the exact content of the Arabic as accurately as possible.
Christians, who wish to discuss matters of faith with Muslims should carefully prepare themselves in advance, lest they be confronted with opinions which have nothing to do with what Muslims really believe. Muhammad repeatedly emphasized the fact that “War is deception”, the Shari’a considers all non-Islamic states as enemy territory and supports such tactics as deceit, cheating and lulling the adversary into a false sense of security.
In extreme cases, a Muslim living in countries where Islam is in the minority can claim to be a Christian, a Hindu or an atheist in order to obtain advantages or protection, provided he remains loyal to his own faith in his heart. However, should he actually renounce his convictions, the wrath of Allah and an overwhelming chastisement would be upon him (Sura al-Nahl 16:106). In this context, it is important to note that not all Muslims are deceivers or liars. There are among them people of character, who are both truthful and reliable. The problem, however, lies in the source of their religion, which makes it easier for them, in case of need, to deviate from straight honesty.
Allah – an Antichristian Spirit?!The fact that Islam categorically rejects the deity of Christ, and the repeated denial, in the Koran, that he is the Lord and the Son of God, will lead the thoughtful reader of the New Testament documents to the conclusion that Allah is an antichristian spirit. The words of the apostle, who most clearly witnessed to the love of God also give us a clear touchstone with which to discern the spirits:
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son, does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
(1 John 2:22-23 and 4:1-3)
We should carefully meditate these texts and let the apostle of God's love instruct us in the truth, even concerning Islam. It is impossible that the Father of Jesus Christ would send his angel Gabriel to Muhammad in Mecca in order to dictate seventeen times that he, God, could have no son, if he sent the very same angel to Mary in Nazareth six hundred years before, to inform her that the son she was about to conceive through the Holy Spirit should be called “Son of the Highest” and “Son of God” (Isaiah 9:5; Luke 1:32,35).
The revelations which Muhammad received cannot have come from God, for “God was in Christ reconciling the world with Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). How then could Muhammad affirm that the angel Gabriel had taught him, that Jesus had never been crucified? (Sura al-Nisa’ 4:157).
The spiritual view of things has led to the bitter experience in Christian counseling that most Muslims have been subjected to a corporate bondage, and are more or less aware of the fact that they have been immunized and hardened against Jesus and the Gospel.
If a Muslim wishes to withdraw from Islam and accept Christ, his liberation does not only occur through sound biblical teaching and arguments refuting Islam. On the contrary, every single person needs to be liberated by the word of Christ, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36; Romans 6:16,18,22) Many converts are never able to free themselves completely from the ties in their subconscious, because they do not follow the basic rule set by Jesus Christ, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24,25)
The Spirit of Allah Resists the Holy SpiritIslam is a spiritual force that constantly opposes the Holy Spirit. From the outset it oppressed, persecuted and evicted the church of Christ. As Europeans, we can hardly imagine the extent to which the orthodox Christians have been despised, degraded and persecuted for the last fifty-three generations. They have been and still are treated as second-class citizens by states with Islamic majorities. Only ten percent of the members of the early Christian churches resisted this permanent pressure and refused to convert to Islam! They preferred poverty and shame to the loss of the salvation offered by the crucified Son of God.
Anyone wishing to understand the conditions imposed upon Christians in an Islamic country in order to enjoy the dubious protection of the state, should read the following letter. It was dictated to the churches of Damascus and its surroundings, but they had to sign it as their own:
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate:
We Christians of Damascus (and its surrounding districts) address the following letter to the servant of Allah, Omar ben Khattab, Prince of believers.
When you entered this country, we requested you to grant us the assurance that you would spare our lives and those of our descendents, our possessions, and those of our brothers in the faith. We, in return, have taken upon ourselves the following obligations:
We promise, in the future, to build no more churches, no more monasteries, no more monastic cells, nor hermitages in our cities. We shall not restore the above mentioned buildings when they deteriorate or are situated in a Muslim residential area.
We will open our doors to the passers-by and the travelers. We will welcome all Muslims as our guests and will offer them hospitality for three days. We will not offer protection to any spy, either in our churches or in our homes. We will harbor no secrets which might be detrimental to the Muslims in any way.
We shall give our children no counteractive instruction concerning the Koran. We shall not openly carry out our religious services and we shall not recommend them in our sermons. We shall not keep any of our relatives from converting to Islam, if they so wish.
We shall show respect to the Muslims and stand up when they wish to sit down. We will not imitate their dress, neither their hats nor their turbans, nor their shoes, nor their hair-style. We will not adopt their way of speaking (that is, their particular idioms), and will not use their designations of fatherhood or sonship. We shall use no saddles, we shall not gird ourselves with a sword, we shall own no weapons and shall not bear arms. We shall not engrave Arabic letters upon our seals. We will not deal in alcoholic beverages. We will shave our forelocks. We will wear the same dress and belt wherever we may be.
We will not display our crosses or our books in streets or market places frequented by Muslims. We will quietly ring the bells of our churches. We will not raise our voices in the presence of Muslims. We will not organize public processions on Palm Sunday or Easter. We will not weep loudly at our funerals. We will not pray ostentatiously in streets or market places frequented by Muslims. We will not bury our dead beside those of the Muslims.
We will not employ slaves, which have been the property to the Muslims. Our houses will not look down on the houses of the Muslims.
These are the conditions to which we and our brothers in the faith have consented. In return we receive a warranty of protection. Should we violate any of these obligations, for which we are liable with our own persons, we would lose our right of protection and would expose ourselves to the penalties, which are reserved for rebels and revolutionaries.
According to the Islamic Law specialist, Mawardi, a warranty of protection will be declared null and void, when those who have a legitimate claim to protection do not observe the following points:
They are forbidden to criticize Allah’s book (the Koran) or to claim that it has been distorted.
They are forbidden to accuse Allah’s apostle of falsehood or to ridicule him.
They are forbidden to criticise the Islamic religion or to attack it.
They are forbidden to accuse a Muslim woman of adultery or to approach her under pretext of marriage.
They are forbidden to confuse a Muslim with respect to his religion or to touch his possessions.
They are forbidden to support armed adversaries of Islamic countries or to request the support of their empires.
Since 1973 we are witnessing an obvious renaissance of Islam, because 20 percent of the net profit from oil-production in Islamic states is supposed to be offered for religious purposes. Since then, the impetus of Islam worldwide has been increasing. The prohibition of missions is applied much more strictly. Converts from Islam are sometimes threatened with death. Native churches experience harassment and almost never get a building permit. The Islamic reformation demands the introduction of the Shari’a in all Islamic states instead of the current laws originally dating back to the time of the colonial powers. This limits the freedom and equal rights of the local Christians enormously. Whereas the mission among Muslims in Islamic countries is prohibited “on the part of the state authorities”, the world-wide mission of the Muslims on all continents is in full swing. Mosques are springing up like mushrooms in all Christian countries.
In Indonesia, strong synods developed among the animistic Batak, Dayak and other tribes during the Dutch colonial era. In the last decades, more than 700 church buildings have been wrecked or burnt down in order to reduce the visible dominance of the Christians in Islamic districts and towns. In Northern-Nigeria, also in the last decades, the Muslims instigated civil strife against the Christian minorities again and again, because these considered themselves citizens of a religiously neutral state and refused to be subjected to the law of the Shari’a. In Egypt, a Swiss tourist party was attacked in Luxor while they were visiting a temple building; women were raped publicly, men were killed and all were cursed, because Islamic terrorists resent the presence of foreign tourists with their often revealing clothing.
More biblical sobrietyMost Christians in the West have not yet realized that they are in the midst of the third offensive of the so-called Holy War. Wherever a mosque is built in Africa, Asia, Europe and America, a bridgehead of this totalitarian religion is established, in which the regulations of the Shari’a are valid instead of the laws of the land. The unchanging aim of Islam must remain the theocratic state, as propagated by Khomeini and his successors (Suras al-Baquara 2:193; al-Anfal 8:39; al-Saff 61:9-11).
Whoever says that Allah in Islam is the God of Abraham and the Father of Jesus Christ, is deluded and has not yet realized the apocalyptic dimension of the Islamic attack. Never before have so many Muslims lived in Christian countries. Due to the excess of births the number of Muslims doubles every 27 years or even faster, whereas the Christians world-wide need 54 years to double their number.
Christians need to learn to understand Islam from the point of view of the Gospel and to evangelize Muslims in Jesus’ name. Otherwise Europe, as once the Middle East, may be faced with a rude awakening.
1.06 -- Q U I ZDear reader!
If you have studied this booklet carefully, you can easily answer the following questions. Whoever answers 90 percent of all questions in the different booklets of this series correctly, can obtain a certificate from our center on
in Basic Differences between Islam and Christianity
as an encouragement for his/her future services for Christ. It will be appreciated if you include the Qur'anic references in your answers.
Every participant in this quiz is allowed to use any book at his disposition and to ask any trustworthy person known to him when answering these questions. We wait for your written answers including your full address on the papers or in your e-mail. We pray for you to Jesus, the living Lord, that He will call, send, guide, strengthen, protect and be with you every day of your life!
Yours in His service,
Servants of the Lord
Send your replies to:
GRACE AND TRUTH
or by e-mail to: