Do Muslims and Christians pray to the same God?
Observing a conscientious Muslim, you will notice that he prays five times a day, each time for about 15 to 20 minutes. Every day, each Muslim bows down before Allah up to 34 times per day, proclaiming his complete surrender to the creator, ruler, and judge of the world. If we as Christians do not learn to pray more intensively and faithfully, Islam will infiltrate our society and swallow us. Islam presents this challenge to Christians.
The Arabic word Islam means, “surrender, devotion, and submission.” A Muslim gives himself to Allah and is bound to him like a slave, therefore, he is no longer a free man. Do we as Christians consciously live our lives devoted to Christ as we once promised or do we live apart from Him looking to other sources for power?
We do not intend to idealize the ritualistic Muslim prayer, for it is neither a free nor a voluntary prayer, but a duty according to their law. According to Islam, if you pray, Allah will protect you and give you success. If you do not pray, you risk great lose. According to the Islamic doctrine, each prayer is a good deed and deletes a bad one (Sura 11:114).
A man came to Muhammad and said, “I have sinned! What can I do?” Muhammad answered him, “Pray three times!” The sinner replied, “I have really committed adultery,” whereas Muhammad said again, “Pray three times, even if your name is Abu Dhal (contemporary of Muhammad).” Thus, by praying three times you can delete your guilt for adultery on the heavenly account or even collect bonus points. In Islam, righteousness is achieved through works.
Those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a trade that will never perish, so that He may pay them in full their wages and give them more out of His bounty. Surely, He is the Forgiving and Most Ready to appreciate (good deeds to recompense). (Sura 35:29-30)
In the Qur’an, Allah, the almighty creator, lord, and judge, appears as a lawmaker and merchant, to whom 1.6 billion Muslims pray five times daily. However, if you ask a Muslim, “Who is your Allah?” you may get the answer, “Allah is greater!” (Allahu akbar), which is the abbreviation of the Islamic statement of faith. Allah is not only great, nor the greatest, nor comparable to anybody or anything else. No, he is very distinct, a far-away and unreachable god. He is greater, stronger, more beautiful, richer, and more clever than anything we know. In the end, every thought about Allah remains insufficient and wrong. He cannot be thought, reached, or defined. But he knows us and determines our being in advance. He leads those he wants to lead and misleads those he wants to mislead (Sura 6:39; 13:27; 14:4; 16:93; 35:8; 74:31). He is not a personal god. He stands beyond any emotion or definition.
The common Muslim was not satisfied with an abstract understanding of their god, so of the 500 traits and names of Allah mentioned in the Qur’an, 99 of the most beautiful ones have been singled out. Muslims recite these 99 names as they count through pearl beads strung on a prayer lace. This is another good work that will be accredited on their account. Al-Ghazali, one of the most famous Islamic theologians, has exegised these 99 names and compared them with each other. He found out that several of these key words overlap or nullify each other. Thus, he concluded, “Allah is everything and nothing! We cannot understand with our minds, we can only pray to him in adoration!”
Christians can learn from the Muslims’ fear of god and their deep respect toward the almighty. The latter think that, in all their fear, they pray to the true God, who also hears the prayers of their progenitor Ishmael (Genesis 21:17-21). Abraham and Cornelius’ prayers can be considered in this respect as well (Acts 10:1-48).
Whoever loves and respects Muslims, will soon realize, that the Qur’an vehemently fights against the Holy Trinity. One reason for this attitude is that a Christian sect that existed in the Middle East in Muhammad’s days proclaimed a trinity consisting of father, mother, and son, i.e. Allah, Mary, and Christ (Sura 5:116)! All churches reject this error. However, many Muslims think Christians believe that Allah laid with Mary and she conceived Jesus. Due to this blasphemy Islam denies the Holy Trinity (Sura 4:171; 5:73).
In light of the blasphemous image described above, many Muslims consider calling God Father blasphemy. They deliberately or unconsciously separate themselves from one of Jesus Christ’s central revelations— revealed in His teaching us how to pray: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name!” In the four gospels, Jesus used the word God 99 times. In contrast, He spoke of the Father 178 times! He revealed to us a close and personal God, who binds Himself to His children as Father.
This new name of God, Father, as it appears in the New Testament, is Jesus’ theological answer to Islam’s picture of God. Muslims do not have what Christians have—personal contact with God, their Father, who knows them, cares for them, and loves them. Muslims do not have this direct connection to Allah. They remain slaves to the ruler. They can never consider themselves his children.
The Qur’an firmly denies Jesus Christ as God’s Son 17 times. Nevertheless, all Muslims believe in ‘Isa—Mariam’s son, a prophet and messenger of Allah. They accept his birth by the Virgin Mary, created through God’s Word alone. This is the heritage of the christological arguments of Arius against Athanasius (4th century AD). Thus, the Muslim considers Jesus to be created by God, but never conceived by Him.
Through this attitude, Muslims oppose the Nicenic statement of faith of all churches in many respects. Muhammad’s followers deny every aspect that Jesus is God, but they believe that:
¨ Jesus performed miracles of healing,
¨ Jesus raised three people from the dead by His words,
¨ Jesus miraculously fed His followers,
¨ Jesus further developed Moses’ law
¨ Jesus can renew His followers in humility and mercy, and
¨ Jesus ascended to heaven and is currently dwelling close to God.
Yet, they strictly deny that Jesus is God’s Son and that He was crucified.
Muslims separate themselves from salvation, which has been completed for them. They dismiss the forgiveness of all their sins on Judgement Day, hoping to achieve it through their own righteousness without the One who died on the cross. The words “salvation” and “Savior” never appear in the Qur’an; they do not fit into the Muslim’s way of thinking.
Furthermore, Islam denies the divinity of the Holy Spirit, often referencing Him as the angel Gabriel. A Holy Spirit, in the sense of the New Testament, does not exist in Islam. Allah’s spirit appears in the Qur’an 29 times as a created spirit, similar to angels or demons. As a slave, he is under Allah’s rule.
For this reason, there is no revelation of the Father and the Son in Islam, because it is the Holy Spirit who gives us understanding. Additionally, there is no fruit of the Holy Spirit in Islam, but only fruit of the flesh. Natural piety and righteousness has little or nothing to do with the works of Christ’s Spirit. Also no Muslim has assurance of eternal life. A typical answer to questions concerning eternal life is “maybe,” or “if Allah wills.”
You will soon realize, studying Islam, that Allah, as he appears in the Qur’an can be neither the Father, the Son, nor the Holy Spirit. Allah is not the Holy Trinity. He is a completely different Spirit than our God.
We need to free ourselves from our superficial thinking of the Enlightenment and humanism and get over the fairy-tale of three Abrahamic religions believing in the same God.
Sixty percent of the Qur’an is from the Old Testament, which Muhammad could not read since it had not been translated into Arabic at the time. We find, in the Qur’an, common tales from the Mishna and Talmud composed in the Arab and Islamic forms. About five percent of the Qur’an is from the New Testament, which had not been translated into Arabic either. There are also several apocryphal texts in the Qur’an that have been given an Islamic flavor.
Muhammad was not willing to have his so-called revelations corrected by the well-meaning Jews and Christians. Instead he made his inspirations the measure of truth. Every God-given revelation that does not agree with the Arabic version of the Qur’an is considered to be altered from its original inspiration. This includes the Old and New Testament Bible, which the Qur’an states is the word of God, giving no indication of corruption at the time of Muhammad. Nevertheless, most Muslims are convinced that some Jews falsified the Torah in order to lead Muhammad astray, and that Christians have removed Muhammad’s name from the Gospels. This can be the only logical conclusion since the heart of the Qur’an and the Bible is as opposite as night and day.
The Qur’an can not escape suspicion. The third Caliph, Uthman, gathered all copies of the Qur’an and, except for his own compiled version, burned them. Because of the Arabic language, there are actually seven different readings of the Qur’an. Also, 240 verses from the Qur’an were nullified by later revelations from Allah. However, the old verses and new verses are equally important in the Qur’an.
There is no spirit of truth in Islam. Lying and cheating are absolutely legal when dealing with non-Muslims. Surprisingly, the Qur’an states Allah is the best deceiver, therefore it only makes sense that to be a godly Muslim, or Allah-like, is to be a good liar (Sura 3:45; 8:30). Translations of the Qur’an usually gloss over such verses. Christians who are willing to talk to Muslims should be well prepared, otherwise, they will be cheated. Muhammad said several times, “The holy war is nothing but cheating and tricking!” Martin Luther was right when he sang, “Great power and many tricks are his (Satan’s) awful armor!”
In Islam, Allah consistently rejects God’s Son and His crucifixion. 1 John 2:21-23 and 4:1-3 provides the spiritual guideline for distinguishing the spirits.
We should carefully consider these texts and let the Word of God tell us the truth about Islam. Jesus Christ’s Father would not send the true angel Gabriel to Muhammad to dictate to him that He (God) has no son, as He had sent Gabriel to Mary to tell her that she would conceive a child through the Holy Spirit, and that the Child shall be called “Son of the Most High,” since He is God’s Son.
Such revelations cannot come from God, for “God is in Christ and reconciles the world to Himself”. So how can Muhammad say that the angel Gabriel taught him that Jesus was never crucified? Furthermore, Sura 9:29-30 in the Qur’an proves that dialogue with Muslims as members of an Abrahamic religion with equal rights is a farce!
Islam is a religion that stands against the Holy Spirit, for Muhammad suppressed, persecuted, and expelled Jesus’ church from the very beginning. As Westerners, we can hardly imagine the extension of the hatred, degradation, and persecution, which for 52 generations orthodox Christians have suffered and are still suffering as minorities in countries with Islamic majorities. Only ten percent of all Christians from the early Christian churches have resisted the permanent pressure and have not converted to Islam!
Since 1973, we have been living in the renaissance of Islam, due in large to the fact that 20 percent of oil production gains in Islamic states are used for religious purposes. Ever since, the mission prohibition is handled much more strictly. Converts from Islam are in mortal danger and native churches experience harassment and almost never get permits to build or upgrade current buildings. Islamic reformation demands the institution of the Islamic Sharia law in place of other state laws. This limits the freedom and equality of the local Christians enormously. Though mission work among Muslims in Islamic countries is prohibited by Islamic governments, worldwide mission work by Muslims is running in full swing on all continents. Mosques are springing up like mushrooms in all Christian countries.
Most Christians in the western countries haven’t understood that they live in the middle of an attack of the Muslims’ holy war. Wherever a mosque is being built in Africa, Asia, Europe, and America, a new pier of the bridge of a totalitarian religion gains ground. In this building, people are no longer under the law of the host country, but under Sharia law. The goal of Islam will always be theocracy, as fundamentalist Muslims propagate it (Sura 2:193; 8:39; 61:9-11).
Whoever says that Allah in Islam is the God of Abraham or the Father of Jesus Christ, is a dreamer and has not realized the apocalyptic attack of Islam. Never before have so many Muslims lived in Christian countries. Due to the excess of births, the number of Muslims double every 27 years or even faster, whereas the Christians worldwide need 54 years to double their number. Christians need to learn to face Islam with the gospel and to convert Muslims in Jesus’ name. Otherwise, one day there will be a rude awakening in the West, just as it was in the Middle East.