What Do Muslims Believe
Todays neighborhoods are diverse, and Christians often rub shoulders with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds. To choose relationship is, I believe, reflective of Gods nature.
Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world . When we interact with people whose beliefs differ from our own, we become the salt with our friendship. Salt seasons and brightens, makes better, and preserves. No matter what your friend believes, you can serve, listen, and love.
Being forthright about your religious differences within the context of your friendship is being light. In a world full of darkness, it wouldnt make much sense to keep 50 lights in one room foreverjust as it doesnt make much sense to only pursue friendships with other believers. Light does its job when it penetrates the darkness, which means that doing our job as Christians means we need to encounter others opposing views. Thankfully, disagreement doesnt inhibit our ability to befriend and love someone. But we need to understand opposing views to love others well and best share truth. With this in mind, there are distinct differences between Islam and Christianity.
As a simple overview of a very complex issue, I offer three areas in which the difference in Christian and Muslim beliefs is defining. These ideas may be a starting point for conversations with your friend.
The Structure Of The Quran
Traditional Islamic accounts teach that Muhammad recited verses of the Quran to his followers little by little over a 22-year period.1 These followers committed the Quran to memory and recorded some of it in writing, using whatever materials were at hand whenever Muhammad experienced occasions of revelation. When Muhammad died, however, the Ummah lacked a written and codified version of the Quran. Much of it had yet to be recorded in writing, and what was written down had not been gathered into a centralized collection.
Compilation Of The Quran
Therefore, one of the first acts of the community was to begin the process of recording the Quran in writing. The necessity of this task was made all the more urgent when many of the Muslims who had memorized the Quran were killed during the early battles in which the Muslim armies fought. In light of these deaths, Gabriel Said Reynolds comments, Abu Bakr accordingly became concerned that some of the divine revelation might soon be lost forever, so he commissioned a council to record the entire text.2 This council included Muhammads scribe, Zayd ibn Thabit, along with several Meccan scholars. The council gathered all those who had memorized the Quran and collectively determined the correct and authoritative reading.
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Allah And The God Of The Bible
Allah is usually thought to mean the god in Arabic and is probably cognate with rather than derived from the Aramaic Alaha. All Muslims and most Christians acknowledge that they believe in the same god even though their understandings differ.
Arabic-speaking Christians call God Allah, and Gideon bibles, quoting John 3:16 in different languages, assert that Allah sent his son into the world.
Addressing Christians and Jews, the Quran declares, Our god and your god are one . The names Allah and al-Rahman were evidently used by pre-Islamic Jews and Christians for God, and the Quran even criticises Christians for identifying Allah with Christ and both Jews and Christians for calling themselves children of Allah.
Allah is not a trinity of three persons and has no son who was incarnate as a man. Some Christians therefore deny that Allah is the god they acknowledge. Yet, they seem sure that Jews worship the same god despite similarly rejecting the trinity and the incarnation.
Claiming that the Qurans god and the Bibles god are different beings is rather like arguing that the New Testaments Jesus and the Qurans Jesus are different historic individuals. Some will reply that while there are competing interpretations of the one Jesus, God and Allah have different origins.
The Names And Character Of Allah
The Quran refers to Allah as the Lord of the Worlds. Unlike the biblical Yahweh , he has no personal name, and his traditional 99 names are really epithets.
These include the Creator, the King, the Almighty, and the All-Seer. Two important titles of Allah occur in a phrase that typically prefaces texts: Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim .
Allah is also the Master of the Day of Judgment, when the good, especially believers, will be sent to their heavenly reward, and the wicked, especially unbelievers, will be dispatched to hellfire. Muslims claim to reject anthropomorphic descriptions of Allah, yet the Quran describes him as speaking, sitting on a throne, and having a face, eyes and hands.
Nothing can ever happen unless it is caused or at least permitted by Allah, so when making plans of any kind, Muslims typically say in sha allah .
If matters go well, one says ma sha allah , but in any event one can say al-hamdu li-llah . In their prayers and on other occasions , Muslims declare that Allah is the greater than anything else .
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In Any Conversation Between A Christian And A Muslim One Of The First Disputed Topics Is The Authenticity Of The Bible Usually Christians Are Told They Have A Falsified Or Corrupted Bible Or That The Bible They Possess Today Is Not Actually The Authentic And Inspired Textit Was Altered And Replaced By A Forged One
In any conversation between a Christian and a Muslim, one of the first disputed topics is the authenticity of the Bible. Usually Christians are told they have a falsified or corrupted Bible, or that the Bible they possess today is not actually the authentic and inspired textit was altered and replaced by a forged one. The claim goes on to affirm that Christians cannot rely on the present Bible, which exists in hundreds of languages and translations, but they should seek the knowledge of the true God from the one and only preserved divine textthe Quran. Moreover, some educated Muslims usually refer to several scholars adopting the historical-critical method or higher criticism who undermine biblical authority.
This conversation leaves Christians for the most part disappointed, unsure, and puzzled, while Muslims feel superior. This claim ends any attempt to use the Bible in a continued dialogue with Muslims. However, what Muslims do not consider is that such an argument violates not only plain reason and historical evidence, but also their own scripturethe Quran. If Muslims truly believe Islams scripture, they should also affirm and advocate the authenticity, inerrancy, and trustworthiness of the Bible, in both its Old and New Testaments.
References to the Bible
Why not the Bible too?
Violating their own scripture?
Who corrupted the Bible?
Gods inspired and inerrant Word
An Object Of Blessing
Finally, many Muslims believe the Quran itself to be a source of blessing. One way to obtain such blessing, as noted by Carole Hillenbrand, is by developing proficiency as a reciter of the Quran, which is a skill highly valued in Muslim societies and one said to bring both spiritual and material rewards.18 The Quran, then, both guides the Muslim and provides a means of blessing.
Less frequentlyand as is the case in certain syncretistic Christian environmentssome Muslims read verses from the Quran as incantations or to ward off evil in certain situations. Additionally, some Muslims display copies of the Quran in their homes, cars, and places of business because its very presence is considered to bring luck and protection. Thus, in certain Muslim cultures, the book itself is viewed as a talisman or charm.
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What Islam Really Teaches About The Virgin Mary
Cambridge, MA. I began this series because of my sharp disagreement with Donald Trumps call to close our borders to all Muslims, and distress at how others seem to approve of the idea. His call for this is in my judgment wrong, unworkable and also ignorant. I felt it timely to urge my readers to push back against this dangerous ignorance and literal exclusion of people of another faith tradition, in part by informing ourselves about each others religions.
For those of us who are not Muslim, the recently released Study Quran presents a fine opportunity to make the case for study and learning, and so I have offered this short series, A Catholic Reads the Quran during Advent. This is the fourth of five posts before Christmas.
I appreciate the considerable interest among readers of these posts, many by personal email, and some posted at the America site. Excepting a few commenters who appear too eager to draw conclusionsabout Islam, about meI appreciate the posts, including those who want to read the Quran differently, with differing views on mercy or violence in the Quran.
The Prophet names Mary as one of the four spiritually perfected women of the world.
And when the angels said, O Mary, truly God has chosen thee and purified thee, and has chosen thee above the women of the worlds. O Mary! Be devoutly obedient to thy Lord, prostrate, and bow with those who bow .
The Muslim View Of The Bible Is Not The Same As Jesus
Muslims say they believe in Jesus. Muslims say they love Jesus. Muslims say the believe Jesus was a great prophet. However, Muslims do not believe what Jesus believed. Muslims do not believe everything Jesus historically taught. There are two key things Muslims do not believe about Jesus teaching and example:
Muslims say they believe in Jesus, but Muslims do not believe in the Jesus of history.
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Gods As Human Constructions
If he lived at all, which is doubtful, Abraham presumably flourished early in the second millennium BCE. Critical historians and archaeologists, however, argue that Israelite monotheism only developed about the time of the Babylonian Exile well over a thousand years later.
The reason why there are different conceptions of God and of gods is surely not that humans have culpably strayed from an original revelation. Rather, these beliefs are human constructions and reconstructions that reflect our own rationalisations, hopes, fears and aspirations.
The latter include attempts by particular groups of people to defend their identity or even assert their hegemony over others on the grounds that they have been uniquely favoured by God with authentic revelation.
That seems to be why some Christians deny that Allah is just another name for God. It also explains Malaysian Muslim efforts to prevent Christians from referring to God as Allah for fear that legitimising the Christian understanding of Allah will threaten Islamic dominance in their country.
This article is part of The Conversations Religion + Mythology series.
Scriptures Pointing Different Directions: Comparing The Quran And The Bible
First of all, they are both the sacred scriptures of major world religions. Second, they are viewed as a means of moral guidance to the communities to whom they were sent. Finally, they both contain apparent references to characters that appear to be the same historical figures.
If one does not take the time to critically assess the differences between the Bible and the Quran, the similarities might lead to the assumption that a Muslim reads the Quran in the same way and for the same purposes as a Christian reads the Bible. However, noticing the ways that the Quran and the Bible differ is perhaps more important to understanding how and why a Muslim takes up the Quran. These differences can often be overlooked in dialogue between Christians and Muslims, resulting in significant misunderstanding.
In an attempt to mitigate such misunderstanding, this article will address three significant differences between the Quran and the Bible. First, for a reader accustomed to the structure and genre of biblical texts, the format of the Quran will immediately appear foreign. Second, though both books claim to be divine revelation, the content revealed by each book differs significantly. Third, in the life of a faithful Muslim, the Quran often functions differently than does the Bible for Christians.
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Islam And Christs Death
The death of Jesus on the cross, followed by his glorious resurrection, is at the heart of the Christian message. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word and Son of God, is Savior and Lord, and that through his life, death and resurrection we can have forgiveness and redemption from sin, new life through the indwelling power of the Spirit, and reconciliation with God. Theres no gospel without the cross, for its through Jesuss atoning death on behalf of sinful humans that justification and reconciliation with God are possible.
But it may come as a surprise to Christians to learn that most Muslims deny Jesus died on the cross. Surah 4:155159 has been taken by many as claiming that although the Jewish leaders tried to kill Jesus, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did. For Muslims its unthinkable that God would allow Jesus, Gods anointed prophet, to be crucified. As Kenneth Cragg observes, The event which is the very fount and heart of Christianity is held by Muslims to be unhistorical and incredible . There is in Islam no need for something like Christs atoning death, for each person is responsible for his or her own actions, period . Sin isnt a matter of the total depravity of human nature but is more a weakness, defect, or flaw in human character .
The Revelations Of The Quran
There is no more widely recognized utterance of the Islamic faith than the declaration known as the shahadah: There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Islam is about Allah and his prophet, Muhammad. The Quran teaches that Muhammad was an ordinary man . Yet, according to Muslims, Allah sovereignly chose Muhammad to receive a series of revelations through the intermediary presence of the angel Gabriel. While Muhammad was praying and fasting in the hills outside of Mecca in A.D. 610, Gabriel appeared to him.
Many Muslims believe the first revelation to Muhammad was the command to Recite in the Name of Thy Lord . These revelations continued until Muhammads death in A.D. 632 . According to Islamic traditions, approximately 20 years after Muhammads death his recitations were written down and codified into a collection of 114 chapters known as the Quran. The word Quran is Arabic for recitation. The Quran, containing 6,346 verses , is approximately the same size as the NT. The first chapter of the Quran is known as The Opening and is widely regarded as the greatest summary of the Islamic message. The remaining chapters are arranged by length from the longest to the shortest.
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Christians And The Bible
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.1
This prayer is from the Book of Common Prayer, which has been one of the greatest influences on the thinking of the English-speaking world. It concisely expresses a Christian understanding of the Bible. It is twice called “holy”: that is, it is unique and pure and of God. It is “Scripture” and “God’s Word”: through it, God is speaking to humankind. However, God has caused it to be written by human authors. The human responsibility is not only to read and obey it, but also to study, to take heed, and to make it part of one’s inner being. This is part of the path to salvation and to eternal life and it is God alone who can help people to tread that path.
Jesus Said The Wise Man Builds His House On The Rock Of His Word
Jesus taught that those who believe in Him would believe His Word,
Matthew 7:24-27Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
The Bible Not The Quranicinjl Was Central To Jesus Teaching
The Muslim conception of the Gospel is of a revelation originally given to Jesus for the Christian community but later either corrupted in some way or lost and reconstructed and therefore no longer accessible in its original form.2David Thomas, Muslim Conception of Gospel, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson
The fact is that Jesus never received a book from heaven. The burden of proof rests on Muslims to prove otherwise. The message of the gospels and New Testament is that Jesus is the good news sent from heaven.3The Quran contradicts this at every key point of Jesus person and work.
There are many historical examples of Jesus beliefs about the Bible and how the Bible was foundational to Jesus beliefs and teaching,
- Jesus taught that the Bible was authoritative
- Jesus taught that the biblical writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit
- Jesus taught that the Old Testament Bible is a means of salvation .
- When Jesus was disputing with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law He appealed to the Scriptures
- Jesus taught that error comes from not knowing the Bible .
- Jesus taught that it was necessary for Scripture be fulfilled
- Jesus put belief in His words on the same level as belief in the Old Testament Bible .