Jesus or Muhammad? Christian Gospel or Muslim Qur’an? The religion of Islam claims that Muhammad
(Mohammed) was as great a prophet as Jesus Christ, that the Qur’an (Koran or Quran) succeeded the New Testament, and that Muslim (Moslem) teachings should be followed instead of Christianity. In this study we compare the evidence for Islam to the evidence for Jesus as revealed in the Bible: fulfilled prophecy, miracles, and the resurrection. Was Jesus the Divine son of God crucified to save us from our sins, or is there just one individual Being in God (Allah)
Introduction: The purpose of this study is to examine the beliefs of Islam and the teaching of Muhammad in the Qur’an, comparing these to the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Brief Summary of Islam ”Islam” is the proper term for the religion revealed by Muhammad (sometimes spelled Mohammed) in Arabia in the early 600’s. “Islam” means ”submission” (to the will of God). Adherents are called Muslims (“one who submits”) (often one sees the word as “Moslem”). Arabians are descendants of Ishmael, so Islam claims to be a renewal of the ancient religion of Abraham traced through Ishmael Muhammad was born in Mecca, Arabia, about 570 AD. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by his grandfather and then his uncle. His family was aristocratic and influential. He grew up in times of religious and political confusion and uncertainty. At age 25 he married a wealthy 40-year-old widow named Khadijah. At age 40 he began claiming to receive dreams and revelations, but was unsure of their source. He quoted these revelations to others who wrote them down. His wife convinced him these were messages from God, as Muslims today believe. But non- Muslims believe he developed such a deep religious fervor, out of concern for the needs of the people, that he began having dreams about religion and attributed them to God. Rejected at first by the people of Mecca, he fled to Medina where he became a religious and political leader. By a series of violent battles he obtained income and converted people to Islam. Eventually he returned to Mecca and captured it by force. When he died at age 63-65, a power struggle developed regarding who should succeed him.
Several sects resulted, the major two being Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims. We will mainly consider Sunni Muslims (by far the larger group), though many of the same points would apply to other forms of Islam. Nevertheless, we should remember that there are wide variations among Muslims, just as there are among those claiming to be Christians. Relationship of Islam to Judaism and The Gospel of Christ
Islam claims to believe in the same God as Jews and christians, the God of Abraham, revealed in the Old Testament. Muslims generally claim that “Allah” is just their name for the God of the Bible. Significant
differences exist, however, regarding how the religions view Jesus Christ. All three religions began from the work of major individual prophets. Jews’ beliefs were revealed by Moses, Christians’ by Jesus, and Muslims’ by Muhammad. Islam recognizes both Moses and Jesus as prophets (along with other Bible prophets), but it claims that Muhammad is the last of the prophets and his revelation supersedes those of Moses and Jesus. All are based on written revelations claimed to be infallibly inspired by God. The Jews accept only the Old Testament, Christians also accept the New Testament, and Muslims accept the Qur’an (they also have great respect for Muslim traditions). Just as Christians believe the Old Testament was inspired but was replaced by the New Testament, so Muslims believe the Old and New Testaments
were inspired but were both replaced by the Qur’an. (Note that Qur’an has also commonly been
spelled Koran or Quran.) For these reasons many similarities exist among Judaism, the gospel, and Islam. Yet we will see that esssential differences also exist. Note – In this study we have mainly relied on the
following sources about Islam: The Qur’an (references are cited according to the printing I own).
Encyclopedia Britannica (abbreviated EB), articles on”Islam,” “Muhammad,” and “Qur’an. World’s Religions (abbr. WR), edited by Norman Anderson. Christian’s Response to Islam , (abbr. CRI), by
William Miller. Also other miscellaneous sources as noted. (Note: This study refers several times to a lesson about “Evidences,” which summarizes the evidence for God, Jesus, and the Bible. It can be accessed from our website at www.gospelway.com/ instruct/ .)
Part I: Basic Doctrines. Since Islam claims to accept the Old and New Testaments, if its doctrines are true then they ought to harmonize with the Bible. So let us examine some basic doctrines of Islam and
compare them to the Bible.
- The Doctrine of God Islam correctly opposes idolatry and teaches that there is only one God. But more is needed (James 2:19). So consider further:
- Islam Says Jesus Is Not Divine. Muhammad taught there is only one Divine Being in God. He denied the Deity of Jesus, saying He was just a man – a great prophet, but not the Divine Son of God. (Qur’an 4:162-171; 6:100,101; 19:88-92)
The Bible says Jesus is Divine. John 1:1,14 – Jesus (the Word) was God , was with God in the beginning, and became flesh to dwell among men as a man Colossians 2:9 – In Jesus dwells all the fullness of
the Godhead bodily. John 20:28,29 – Thomas called Jesus “my Lord an my God.” Jesus pronounced a blessing on all others who believe the same (cf. vv 30,31). How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?[Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 1:8,9; Tit. 2:13; Isa. 9:6; John 8:58; 5:23] The Bible says Jesus is the Only-Begotten Son of God. Matthew 16:13-17 – During His lifetime many people believed what Muslims today believe: that
Jesus was a great prophet like other prophets. But Peter confessed that Jesus was not just a man but
was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus Hmself affirmed that Peter’s statement had been
revealed by God. John 10:35 – Jesus plainly admitted that He has said, “I am the Son of God.” Matthew 17:5; 3:17 – Twice God spoke from heaven and claimed Jesus as His beloved Son. Bible writers claimed to be eyewitnesses that these things were true (2 Peter 1:16-18). Romans 1:4 – The resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God. To believe that Jesus was just a great man and a prophet is to belittle Him and to deny His own statements. To believe some other man was as great as Jesus is to blaspheme Him. If Jesus spoke the truth, then He was more than a prophet. Muslims must either admit that Jesus was the Divine Son of God, or else they must admit they do not believe that Jesus and the Bible are true. (John 3:16; 1:14; 3:18; 1 John 4:9; Colossians (1:15,18; Eph. 1:19-22; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28) The Bible says Jesus has Divine characteristics.
He was eternal – Micah 5:2 [Isa. 9:6]
He was all-knowing – John 16:30; 21:17
He was all-powerful over created things – Matt.
28:18; Rev. 19:16; 17:14; Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12; John 3:31; Rom. 9:5. How could these characteristics be possessed by a mere man? Are these things true of Muhammad? If not, then how could he be as great as Jesus? The Bible says Jesus is the Creator of the universe and the Judge of mankind. John 1:3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16,17] John 5:22,23 – The Father has committed all judgment to the Son. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – Jesus will be our judge; we must all appear before Him. Jesus will be Muhammad’s judge! How can Muhammad be as great? [Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31ff] What mere human prophet could create the
universe or judge all mankind? Muhammad makes no such claims. These are the claims of a Divine
Being. How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was
a prophet? The Bible says Jesus accepted worship. Jesus taught that no one but God should be
worshipped (Matt. 4:10). Both men and angels in the New Testament refused to allow people to bow
in worship to them (Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 22:8,9). Matthew 28:9,17; Hebrews 1:6 – However, Jesus’
disciples worshipped Him, and angels are commanded by God to worship Him. [Cf. Rev. 5:12-14; Luke 24:52] Jesus accepted worship such as was forbidden to man. How can Islam believe the Bible and believe Jesus was from God, while denying that He deserved worship? When they claim that Jesus was
just a human prophet and that Muhammad was as great a prophet as Jesus, the Scripture says they are
unbelievers (John 20:30,31; 8:24; Mark 16:16). Islam is like a man who views a building from a great distance. He can tell there is only one building, but a closer view would reveal that it has three stories. So Islam correctly affirms there is only one God, but the greater revelation of New Testament shows that this one God consists of three separate and distinct individual spirit Beings. (Note carefully: Further evidence can be obtained about the claims of Jesus, the evidence that those claims are true, and the number of individuals in the Godhead from the links at the end of this study.)
- Islam Says Men Cannot Conceive What God Is Like because He Has Not Revealed Himself. Of course we cannot grasp fully the infinite nature of God, but Islam says it is impossible to have even a general concept of God’s character [WR-115; CRI-44,74]. But the Bible says: John 1:18 – Though man has not seen God, Jesus knows Him and has declared Him. John 14:9,10 – We can know what the Father is like
because Jesus and His Father are perfectly united. To know what Jesus is like is to know what the
Father is like. Hebrews 1:3 – Jesus is the express image of the substance of His Father. [Col. 1:15; Matt. 11:27] The fuller knowledge of God, which Islam lacks, is found in the revelation given by Jesus Christ.
Although Islam teaches there is one God, it still teaches error about God, for it denies the Deity of
Jesus and ignores the Bible revelation of God’s nature. How can Muslims deny these teachings and
yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?