This lesson is presented with the hope that PBC Alumni and Church Leaders will gain much understanding about Islam and Muslims. And with enlightenment on our side, we shall be able to talk and deal with Muslim friends in an enlightened manner.
Several years ago, a PBC alumnus complained to me that he didn’t know what to talk about when his Muslim neighbor insisted that Islam is the correct religion and Christianity is not.
A second member of the church asked me what she should bring out if and when a Muslim friend would want to compare Islam with Christianity. These two brethren made me start buying books so I could have more information about Islam.
A third factor that pushed me to make a serious study of Islam is the reality that the New Testament region of Syria and Asia Minor where the Apostle Paul labored and is romanticized in the Book of Acts have been lost to the Orthodox Church/Roman Church as a small minority and is dominated by Islam. Syria is about 90% Islam while Turkey which was Asia Minor is about 95% Islam.
When we study the Book of Acts we feel so happy by identifying ourselves with the missionary journeys of Paul. He turned the world upside down and we celebrate in sermons this success of Paul. Turkey was the locale of the Book of Revelation. Our PBC textbook in the study of the Book of Revelation is “More Than Conquerors” by Hendriksen. Hendriksen does a good job in bringing out the heroism of the Christian martyr. But that is only in the poet’s mind. If Turkey is about 95% Muslim today, where is the “more than conquering” status of the Christian martyr today? None! Conquerors in theory, in the blood of Christ, but conquered in the reality of religio-political struggle of the last 1000 years.
In teaching the Book of Acts and the Book of Revelation, I suggest that students should also study the current religious and political situation of Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.
Such study should awaken evangelism and mission work. Our current approach of teaching is to romanticize the first century. It is like the Comedia of the Christian Filipinos. The plot of the Comedia or Moro-moro is the armed conflict of the Christians versus the Muslims with a Christian prince and Muslim princess falling in love with each other. The Christian soldiers prevail and the lovers overcome religious differences. The Christians (Spanish Catholics) were able to check the northward advance of the Moors. But are soldiers winning in Mindanao? Do Christian husbands who wed Muslim women wins all the time? And how many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) convert to Islam when they go work in KSA? Kaya kailangang seriosuhin natin ang ating pag-aaral ukol sa Islam.
I started reading the Qur’an’ English translation in 2003. I have completed reading it last August making many notations of its declarations.
INFLUENTIAL WORLD RELIGIOUS LEADERS
A. 1500 B.C. (Moses) (Mt Sinai + Canaan) (Judaism) (Torah) (Pharisees, Sadducees)
B. 1200 B.C. (Zarasthustra/Zoroaster) (Persia/Iran) (Zoroastrianism) (Zend Avesta) (Different shades of practitioners)
C. 566-486 B.C. (Gautama Siddharta) (India) (Buddhism)(Theravada,Mahayana,Vafrayana) (Different shades of practitioners)
D. 1 A.D.—33 A.D. (Jesus Christ) (Palesltine) (Christianity) (Bible) (Different shades of practitioners: RCC, Orthodox, Protestants, Reformed) *Church of Christ
E. 570—632 A.D. (Muhammad) (Arabia) (Islam) (Qur’an in Arabic + Hadith + Torah + Gospel) (Sunni, Shiites, Sufis, Bahai + Minor splits)
EUROPEAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS W/IN THE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM
a) Martin Luther of Germany, no claim of direct inspiration or messengership.
b) Zwingli of Switzerland, no claim of direct inspiration or messengership.
c) John Calvin of France, no claim of direct inspiration or messengership.
d) John Wesley of England, no claim of direct inspiration or messengership.
AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS WITH CLAIMS OF INSPIRATION
a) Joseph Smith of the Mormons or Church of LDS (An angel giving him gold plates).
b) William Miller of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (Claimed Christ came 1844-45)
c) Ellen G. White of the Seventh Day Adventists claimed inspiration/dreams.
d) Mary Eddy Baker of Christian Science
FILIPINO RELIGIOUS LEADERS WITH CLAIMS OF INSPIRATION/ MESSENGERSHIP
a) Tolentino of the Espiritista Cristiana in 1904, claims of Holy Spirit assistance.
b) Gregorio Aglipay & Isabelo delos Reyes (Based on nationalism)
c) Ecleo of San Jose, Surigao del Norte of the Philippine Benevolence Missionary Association.
d) Felix Manalo of the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) Claims Rev. 7:2,3 + verses in Book of Isaiah.
e) Rufino Magliba of San Fabian, Pangasinan and his Divine Crusaders Church
f) Apollo Quiboloy of the “Kingdom — Name Above Every Name” who now claims he is “The Appointed Son of God” and that Davao City is the New Jerusalem and will soon come out with a book he claims to be a third part of the Bible (Sept. 30, 2007 sermon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and replayed in the Philippines ACQ TV, first week of October 2007)
Conclusion: (a) Claims of direct inspiration from heaven is not new and not limited to one nation.
- Jesus Christ warned about people coming out claiming he is the Christ (Matt. 24:5,23;
- Apostle Paul has warned of an angel preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:8; 2Cor. 4:4-5);
- Apostle Paul tells of Satan appearing as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
(b) Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, Nobel Prize winners have above ordinary abilities; however psychologists say that the average mind is appropriating only about 15 percent of his brain’s capability, which means that some people might be able to appropriate 30% to 50% of the brain power with a mixture of delusion or ambition plus some angelic inspirations that could make mass appeal and are assigned supernatural/inspirational messages.
CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM – THEIR SIMILARITIES
Islam is not entirely different from Judaism and Christianity. The three have commonalities as they all claim affinities with Bible characters and Biblical places and calling upon the God served by Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham/Sarah + Isaac, (Abraham/Hagar + Ishmail), Jacob, the 12 tribes, Job, King David, King Solomon, Ezra, Jonah, Mary the mother of Jesus, etc. Judaism and Christianity proliferated in Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Persia in the 6th and 7th centuries and undoubtedly, Muhammad heard the stories and laws of these religions.
A. Judaism is based on the Law of Moses or the Torah or Pentateuch. Judaism believes that the Hebrew nation has an eternal covenant with Yahweh. Yahweh is the true God among the many gods known to other tribes and nations. Judaism teaches about a Messiah that will personally/physically rule in Jerusalem as a King of a world empire.
World View: There’s a Creator [God is, God created the cosmos). Created Adam/Eve; Enoch, Noah, Abraham/Sarai+Isaac (Abraham/Hagar+Ishmael), Jacob + 12 tribes, Moses+Aaron, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Ezra, Zechariah, etc .
B. Christians want to believe that Christianity grows out or sprouts out from Judaism. However, the Jewish nation in general could not accept Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. The Torah and other Jewish books are accepted as inspired so with 27 books in the NT.
World View: There’s a Creator (God is, God created the cosmos). Created Adam/Eve; Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and others as cited above).
C. Islam believes that it grows out or sprouts out from Judaism and Christianity so it lists down 25 prophets or messengers from Adam to Muhammad. Islam considers the following as the five great prophets or messengers: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. (Adam was created and was about 30 meters tall, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 8, Hadith No. 246, p. 143 of Qur’an translation).
D. Islam declares and accepts the inspiration of the Torah (Pentateuch) and the Gospel (4 gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Unfortunately each one considers the two others as departing from the inspired law. (See Surah 5:13,14)
E. The biblical characters and historical events and biblical locations are interwoven in the declarations and comments in the Qur’an like Adam & Eve, Satan tempting Adam & Eve in the Garden, Enoch, Noah & family and the Flood, Abraham & Sarai, Hagar as a princess of Egypt and wife of Abraham, Ishmail as the son of Hagar who was sent away and settled in Arabia, Isaac, Jacob & the 12 sons, Joseph in Egypt, the Pharoah of Egypt, the Exodus, the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness, Moses & Aaron, King David, King Solomon, the Ethiopian Queen who visited King Solomon, Jonah, Ezra, Zachariah & John, Mary & Jesus.
F. Islam recognizes Jesus son of Mary as the Word of God, Jesus is the Messiah, at the Resurrection Day, Jesus will be the Judge. When Jesus will Judge He will be Muslim.
G. Islam believes that Deut. 18:18 is a prophecy of a coming Prophet and Islam claims that the fulfillment of this prophet is Muhammad. (Submit Islamic reasons favoring Muhammad).
Islamic apologists submit Isaiah 11:1-2; 21:17 & 42:11 to substantiate the appointment of Muhammad as the Last Messenger of Allah. Sura 61:6 declares that Ahmed (the other name of Muhammad means “he who praises Allah more than others.”) A Christian should learn how to show proof pointing to Jesus Christ as the fulfillment.
H. Islam believes and accepts the inspiration of the gospel and Islamic theologians cite John 14:15-16; John 15:26-27; John 16:5-8; and John 16:12-14 as prophecies and promises of Jesus the Messiah and these theologians point to Muhammad as the fulfillment of these verses. (Explanation and overcoming the Islamic interpretation found in another lesson).
I. Islam is monotheistic as is Judaism and Christianity. However, Christianity in general has Monotheism with Trinity. Trinity is denied by Islam. The Qur’an uses plural pronouns (we, our) in the verses of their Book. (Since Islam accepts the inspiration of the gospel, you may show verses in the gospel records the presence of three persons).
J. Islam declares that the true God (true Illah) of Adam & Eve, of Enoch, of Abraham & Sarai, of Hagar & Ishmail, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Joseph, of Moses & Aaron, of Mary & Jesus is the same God they worship and His name is Allah in Arabic. (See Surah 27:47)
K. Jerusalem is the City of God and is sacred city to the Muslims as it is called Holy City to the Christians. (It is not good to deny that the deity that Muslims call Allah is the same as the Yahweh of the Hebrews. Allah is a personal name of God as is Yahweh to the Hebrews. Among Christians, there is no personal name revealed that is mentioned in the NT).
L. Creationism, Belief in Angels, Belief in Messengers from God, Life after Death, Punishment of the disobedient in hellfire, Satan is the competitor of God, Resurrection, Help the orphans and widows, being hospitable, righteousness, honesty, not a gossiper, are common themes.
DIVERGING VIEWS AND PRACTICES OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
A. The greatest difference that separates Christianity from Islam is on the Person, Nature and and Work of Jesus the Messiah.
- Jesus son of Mary is human? X’tian – Yes; Islam — Yes
- Jesus was born of a virgin? X’tian – Yes; Islam — Yes
- Jesus is the Word of God? X’tian– Yes- eternal Word; Islam – Yes- God said “Be” and Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb – so not eternal. (See 4:171)
- Jesus is the Messiah; will be the Judge in the last day? X’tian – Yes, to judge based on NT; Islam – Yes, will judge based on the Qur’an (see page 868-69 footnote).
- Jesus Christ is divine or deity? X’tian – Yes; Islam — No
- Jesus Christ has a persona pre-incarnate existence? X’tian – Yes; Islam — No
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God? X’tian – Yes; Islam — No (Surah 17:111; 18:4,5)
- Jesus Christ is part of the Holy Trinity? X’tian – Yes; Islam – No. (See 4:171)
- Jesus Christ was arrested and nailed at the cross? X’tian – Yes; Islam – No (4:157) Kamukha lang.
- The blood of Jesus given for the expiation of sins? X’tian – Yes; Islam — No
- Jesus Christ resurrected from the tomb and is in heaven? X’tian – Yes; Islam: Yes ( 4:158 – died a natural death in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area at 120; when He resurrected is not explained)
- Jesus Christ is in heaven and is reigning now? X’tian – Yes; Islam – Not a ruling King
- Jesus Christ a mediator to Allah? X’tian – Yes; Islam – No, (17:56-57).
*The Christian should be able to prove by using even just the gospel record of John the Apostle that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Judge in the Last Days with His words as basis of judgment and not the Qur’an, Jesus has persona before incarnation, Jesus is deity, Jesus is the offering for sins of the world, that Jesus was crucified buried and was resurrected on the third day.
OTHER DIVERGING VIEWS OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
A. Godhead, God:
- Christianity: Monotheistic in three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
- Islam: Monotheistic in one person, Allah
B. Holy Spirit as a person:
- Christianity: Yes, the Holy Spirit is a person in the Godhead
- Islam: No, does not mention anything about the Holy Spirit
C. Destiny in the after life:
- X’tianity: Paradise is intermediate state; Heaven is eternal destiny of the saved.
- Islam: Paradise is the eternal destiny of the good Muslim.
D. Basis of judgment in the Last Day:
- X’tianity: Based on love for and obedience to Christ governed by the NT.
- Islam: Based on the obedience to Allah and observance of the Five Pillars of Islam
- X’tianity: Old Testament of 39 books; New Testament of 27 books.
- Islam: Torah given to Moses is inspired; Gospel given to Jesus is inspired; Qur’an delivered to Muhammad by Angel Gabriel within a period of 23 years; Hadith which is a collection of the sayings of the prophet and of stories narrated by Muhammad to his companions + judgments, decisions and pronouncements of Muhammad heard by his companions.
F. Inspirations, messengership of the 12 Apostles:
- X’tianity: Yes, including inspiration of letters written by them included in the canon.
- Islam: No mention of them in the Qur’an and the Hadith.
G. Inspiration and messengership of Apostle Paul:
- X’tianity: Yes, including his letters from Romans to Philemon.
- Islam: No mention in the Qur’an about Paul as an inspired messenger and his letters.
H. Inspiration of the Book of Acts and the Book of Revelation?
- Christianity: Yes.
- Islam: No mention in the Qur’an about these books.
I. Weekly Day of Worship:
- Judaism: Saturday, the seventh day of the week.
- Christianity: Sunday, first day of the week, resurrection day, descent of the Holy Spirit.
- Islam: Friday
J. Worship Life:
- Christianity: Music (singing for the a capella group; singing and musical instruments for the Instrumentalists) is said to be the dominant characteristic of worship plus the sermon. Among other Christian groups there are Sunday classes, prayers, Lord Supper and giving of means.
- Islam: Five times daily prayer on appointed time of the day kneeling and prostrated position the forehead touching the ground to show respect and honor to Allah. Prayers and chanting Qura’nic verses are the center of Islamic worship in the mosque.
- Women: (a) Christian men (males) join the congregational and public worship. (b) Muslim women stay at home and not allowed in the mosque worship.
- Christianity: Jesus Christ is God’s personal revelation of Himself to mankind; the Bible is also a partial and oral revelation of God to chosen groups of people. (See John 1:18)
- Islam: The Qur’an is Allah’s revelation of Himself delivered by Angel Gabriel to Muhammad; the Hadith explains the Qur’an and the Messenger just as the Bible explains the plan of God and explains about Jesus Christ’s persona and work.
L. Correspondence of Jesus Christ and Muhammad?
Among scholars, it does not serve any beneficial purpose to make a one-to-one correspondence or comparison of Jesus Christ on one hand and Muhammad on the other hand. Among Christians, based on the New Testament, Jesus Christ’s credentials are: pre-incarnate personal existence Son of the Living God, King, Messenger, High Priest, Mediator between God and man; mediator of a covenant, prophet; He is deity, Judge in the last day, Advocate; WHEREAS, Muhammad simply styles himself as a warner, “the Messenger of Allah.”
M. Who is Muhammad among Muslims?
Brother Huffard who lived in Galilee for many years thinks that Muhammad to Muslims approximates the esteem and honor and position given by the Jews to King David: a ruler of the nation, somewhat of a king, a leader who had many wives (11), prophet, writer, poet.
A Muslim apologist would rather correspond Muhammad to the Hebrew Moses rather than to Jesus Christ: Married and had children, called by God, messenger of God, received laws for the people, some of their own people rejected the messenger, led the people in the worship of Yahweh (Allah), a warrior, had a natural birth and died a natural death at 120 years old.
N. Muslim scholars would like to make this contrast:
“Christianity: Men without religion.”
“Islam: Religion without men.”
O. Government and Religion (Church)
- Judaism and Islam make government and religion naturally interlap/overlap each other. (22:41)
- Roman emperors honored the Roman pantheon and the rulers worshipped “gods” and outlawed Christianity.
- From 337 A.D. with the baptism of Constantine the Great, Christianity became the court’s religion combining church and the government; Jovian before he accepted the “purple clothes” made it a condition that all the troops confessed that they were Christians.
- With the advent of the Holy Roman Empire up to the Inquisition, Church and Government were together — those who did not follow the church dogma were pronounced “heretics” and were put to death.
- England has the Church of England as its state religion; Germany has Lutheran Church as the state religion; other countries. Spain did not grant religious toleration till the 1960s so did Italy. Now these states allow freedom of religion.
- Don’t look at Islam and the Muslims through the eye of “American Democracy” which makes separation of Church and State a dogma supported by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and has developed in post modern times the philosophy of pluralism: freedom of religion as one of the items in the Bill of Rights.
A. Islam is based on the following five principles: (See page 1015 of cited volume)
- To testify La ilaha ill Allah wa anna Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger).
- To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salat).
- To pay Zakat.
- To perform Hajj. (i.e. pilgrimage to Makka).
- To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
And must believe in the six articles of Faith, i.e. to believe in:
- His angels,
- His Messengers,
- His revealed Books,
- the Day of Resurrection, and
- Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments i.e. whatever Allah has ordained must come to pass).
B. The Nicean Creed: (Apostles’ Creed)
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Jihad could be interpreted in two ways: internal struggle and/or external struggle, dying or fighting for the cause of Allah “with the heart” (intentions and feelings), with the hand ( weapons, etc.), with the tongue (speeches, etc.).”
The following sources give a picture of this particular doctrine:
- Fighting forbidden at first, then permitted, then made obligatory – p. 1046 index (Al-Hilali, Muhsin Khan)
- Paradise reward for those who die for Allah – (3:195, 198).
- Kill in ambush the treacherous – (9:1-5, 14).
- Fight the critic – (9:12-14; 9:29).
- Jihad is of utmost importance – (9:24).
- Fight disbelievers – (9:123).
- Kill those who disagree, heretics after proof is given –(see footnote, p.348, Qur’an translation).
- Urge believers to fight – (8:65).
- Revolt against command of the Lord & messenger is punishable – (65:8).
- Great reward and booty for jihad fighter – (5:24).
- Jihad, prayer and fasting ordained for believers – see page 1052 of index.
- Strive hard and fight for the cause of Allah – 4:95; 61:11,12
- Guard your territory – (3:200).
- Kill apostates – (4:89, 91). No compulsion in religion – (2:256). This seems to contradict other parts of the Qur’an.
- Read the rewards enumerated on pages 1053-54 of Index.
by Eusebio A. Tanicala, Ph.D.