Do Muslims and Christians Pray to the Same God?
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.
(Bible - 1 John 2:22)
Allah is only one Ilah (God).
Glory to him (He is far too great)
that he should have a son!
(Qur’an - Sura 4:171)
In the Qur'an, Allah, the almighty creator, lord and
judge, appears as a lawmaker and merchant to whom 1.3 billion Muslims pray five
times daily. 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 greater than the greatest—he is a
very distinct, faraway, unreachable god. He is stronger, more beautiful, richer
and more clever than anything we know. In the end every thought about Allah
remains insufficient and is wrong. He cannot be understood, reached or defined.
But he knows us and even 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 a good work that will be accredited to their account. Al-Ghazali,
one of the most famous
Islamic theologians, has exegised these 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!”
Those who seek to learn about Islam will soon realize that the Qur'an vehemently fights against the holy trinity. One reason for this attitude is a Christian sect that existed in the Middle East in Muhammad’s days proclaimed a trinity consisting of father, mother, and son—Allah, Mary and Christ (Sura 5:116)! All Christian churches reject this error. However, many Muslims think Christians believe Allah laid with Mary and she conceived Jesus. Due to this blasphemy, Islam denies the triune God (Sura 4:171, 5:73).
In light of the blasphemous image described above,
many Muslims consider calling God Father
blasphemy. 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 their Father.
This new name of God, Father, as it appears in the New Testament, is Jesus’ theological answer to Islam’s picture of the Almighty. 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 of their ruler. They can never consider themselves his children.
The Qur'an strictly denies Jesus Christ as God’s son 17 times. Nevertheless, all Muslims believe in 'Isa (Jesus)—Mariam’s (Mary’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, Islam considers Jesus to be created by God but never conceived by Him.
Through this attitude, Muslims oppose the Nicene statement of faith of the church. 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 the
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; the concept does not fit into the Muslim’s way of thinking.
Furthermore, Islam denies the divinity of the Holy Spirit, often referencing Allah’s spirit as the angel Jibril (Gabriel) in the Qur'an. The 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.”
A study of Islam reveals that Allah can be neither the Father, the Son, nor the Holy Spirit. Allah is not the Holy Triune God. He is a completely different spirit than the God of the Bible.
An area where Allah differs from Biblical mandate is that Allah has 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: “And they (the Jews) deceived, and Allah deceived, and Allah is the best deceiver” (Sura 3:54). Therefore it only makes sense that to be a godly Muslim, or Allah-like, is to be a good liar (see also Sura 8:30). English 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!” Jesus spoke of Satan similarly: “There is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, and the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32). Yet, Islam would have us to believe that Jesus Christ’s Father sent the same angel, Gabriel, to Muhammad to dictate to him that God has no son: “Allah is only one God. Glory to him (He is far too great) that he should have a son!” (Sura 4:171) Such revelations can not come from the same God!
“The Jews say, Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say, Messiah is the son of Allah. They say this (only) with their mouths: They imitate the saying of those who were unbelievers in former times. Allah’s curse be upon them (may Allah fight to kill them)! How they are deluded away!” (Sura 9:30) From the standpoint of Christ, Allah of Islam rejects that Muslims and Christians are believers of the same God.
Then who is Allah? 1 John 2:22 provides the spiritual guideline for distinguishing such 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.”
Islam is a religion that stands against God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Muhammad suppressed, persecuted, and expelled Jesus’ church from the very beginning. As Westerners, we can hardly imagine the extension of hatred, degradation, and persecution, that for 1,300 years Christians have suffered and are still suffering as minorities in countries with Islamic majorities.
Whoever says that Allah in Islam is the God of Abraham or the Father of Jesus Christ, has not realized the apocalyptic attack of Islam. Christians must respond to the call to take the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to Muslims, praying for true repentance and true faith so that they may experience true peace, true love and the true God.