A ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY COMPARATIVE RELIGION STUDY
Comparative Religion Study
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Position of Jesus in Islam
- 3. Concept of God in Christianity
- 4. Prophet Muhammad in Bible (OT & NT)
- 5. Similarities Between Christianity and Islam
- 6. Conclusion
Christianity is a Semitic religion, which claims to have nearly 1.2 billion adherents all over the world. Christianity owes its name to Jesus Christ (peace be on him). The Holy Bible is the sacred scripture of the Christians.
The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The Old Testament is the Holy Scripture of the Jews and contains records of all the prophets of the Jews that came before Jesus (peace be upon him).
- The New Testament contains records of the life of Jesus (peace be upon him).
The complete Bible, i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament put together, contains 73 books. However, the Protestant Bible i.e. the King James Version, contains only 66 books as they consider 7 books of the Old Testament to be apocrypha, i.e. of doubtful authority.
Therefore the Old Testament of the Catholics, contains 46 books and that of the Protestants, 39 books. However the New Testament of both these sects contains 27 books.
2. Position of Jesus in Islam
Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (peace be upon him).
“No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (peace be upon him).”
- We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (subhana wa taala).
- We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe.
- We believe he was the Messiah translated Christ (peace be upon him).
- We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission.
- We believe that he healed those born blind, and the lepers with God’s permission.
3. Concept of God in Christianity
a) New Testament
Jesus Christ Never Claimed Divinity One may ask, if both Muslims and Christians love and respect Jesus (peace be upon him), where exactly is the parting of ways?
The major difference between Islam and Christianity is the Christians’ insistence on the supposed divinity of Christ (peace be upon him).
A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity.
In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, “I am God” or where he says, “worship me”.
In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in which he preached quite the contrary.
The following statements in the Bible are attributed to Jesus Christ:
- “My Father is greater than I.”
[The Bible, John 14:28]
- “My Father is greater than all.”
[The Bible, John 10:29]
- “…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God….”
[The Bible, Mathew 12:28]
- “…I with the finger of God cast out devils….”
[The Bible, Luke 11:20]
- “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
[The Bible, John 5:30]
The Mission of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) – to Fulfill the Law Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity for himself.
He clearly announced the nature of his mission. Jesus (peace be upon him) was sent by God to confirm the previous Judaic law.
This is clearly evident in the following statements attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Gospel of Mathew:
- “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
[The Bible, Mathew 5:17-20]
God Sent Jesus’ (peace be upon him) The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Jesus (peace be upon him) mission in the following verses:
- “… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
[The Bible, John 14:24]
- “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”
[The Bible, John 17:3]
Jesus Refuted even the Remotest Suggestion of his Divinity Consider the following incident mentioned in the Bible:
- “And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ ”
[The Bible, Mathew 19:16-17]
Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) would die for his sins.
On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the commandments. It is indeed striking to note the difference between the words of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus (peace be upon him).
Jesus (peace be upon him) of Nazareth – a Man Approved of God. The following statement from the Bible supports the Islamic belief that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet of God.
- “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”
[The Bible, Acts 2:22]
The First Commandment is that God is One The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all.
One of the scribes once asked Jesus (peace be upon him) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (peace be upon him) merely repeated what Moses (peace be upon him) had said earlier:
- “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.”
This is a Hebrew quotation, which means: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.”
[The Bible, Mark 12:29]
It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and vicarious atonement find no mention in the Bible. In fact, various verses of the Bible point to Jesus’ (peace be upon him) actual mission, which was to fulfill the law revealed to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
Indeed Jesus (peace be upon him) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God. Jesus (peace be upon him) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of Almighty God (peace be upon them all).
NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.
b) Old Testament
God is One.
The following verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (peace be upon him) :
- “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad”.
It is a Hebrew quotation which means: “Hear, O Israel : The Lord our God is one Lord”
[The Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4]
Oneness of God in the Book of Isaiah.
The following verses are from the Book of Isaiah:
- “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.”
[The Bible, Isaiah 43:11]
- “I am Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me.”
[The Bible, Isaiah 45:5]
- “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”
[The Bible, Isaiah 46:9]
Old Testament condemns idol worship.
Old Testament condemns idol worship in the following verses:
- “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
- “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”
- “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”
[The Bible, Exodus 20:3-5]
A similar message is repeated in the book of Deuteronomy:
- “Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”
- “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth.”
- “Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”
[The Bible, Deuteronomy 5:7-9]
4. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Bible (OT & NT)
a) Old Testament
The Qur’an mentions in Surah Al-Araf chapter 7 verse 157:
- “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures) in the law and the Gospel”.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), prophesised in the Book of Deuteronomy:
Almighty God speaks to Moses in Book of Deuteronomy chapter 18 verse 18:
- “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
The Christians say that this prophecy refers to Jesus (peace be upon him) because Jesus (peace be upon him) was like Moses (peace be upon him).
Moses (peace be upon him) was a Jew, as well as Jesus (peace be upon him) was a Jew. Moses (peace be upon him) was a Prophet and Jesus (peace be upon him) was also a Prophet.
If these two are the only criteria for this prophecy to be fulfilled, then all the Prophets of the Bible who came after Moses (peace be upon him) such as Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Malachi, John the Baptist, etc. (peace be upon them) will fulfill this prophecy since all were Jews as well as prophets.
However, it is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who is like Moses (peace be upon him):
- Both had a father and a mother, while Jesus (peace be upon him) was born miraculously without any male intervention.
[Mathew 1:18 and Luke 1:35 and also Al-Qur’an 3:42-47]
- Both were married and had children. Jesus (peace be upon him) according to the Bible did not marry nor had children.
- Both died natural deaths. Jesus (peace be upon him) has been raised up alive.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) is from among the brethren of Moses (peace be upon him).
Arabs are brethren of Jews. Abraham (peace be upon him) had two sons: Ishmail and Isaac (peace be upon them). The Arabs are the descendants of Ishmail (peace be upon him) and the Jews are the descendants of Isaac (peace be upon him).
Words in the mouth:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was unlettered and whatever revelations he received from Almighty God he repeated them verbatim.
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” [Deuteronomy 18:18]
- Both besides being Prophets were also kings i.e. they could inflict capital punishment. Jesus (peace be upon him) said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36).
- Both were accepted as Prophets by their people in their lifetime but Jesus (peace be upon him) was rejected by his people. John chapter 1 verse 11 states, “He came unto his own, but his own received him not.”
- Both brought new laws and new regulations for their people. While Jesus (peace be upon him) according to the Bible did not bring any new laws. (Mathew 5:17-18).
It is Mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 18:19
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not harken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Muhammad (peace be upon him) is prophesised in the book of Isaiah:
It is mentioned in the book of Isaiah chapter 29 verse 12:
“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”
When Archangel Gabrail commanded Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by saying Iqra – “Read”, he replied, “I am not learned”.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned by name in the old testament:
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon chapter 5 verse 16:
“Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem.”
“His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarely im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as “altogether lovely”, but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is yet present.
b) New Testament
Al-Qur’an Chapter 61 Verse 6:
“And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, ‘O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.’ But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, ‘This is evident sorcery!’ “
All the prophecies mentioned in the Old Testament regarding Muhammad (peace be upon him) besides applying to the Jews also hold good for the Christians.
- John chapter 14 verse 16:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”
- Gospel of John chapter 15 verse 26:
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
- Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 7:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you”.
“Ahmed” or “Muhammad” meaning “the one who praises” or “the praised one” is almost the translation of the Greek word Periclytos.
In the Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7.
The word ‘Comforter’ is used in the English
translation for the Greek word Paracletos which means advocate or a kind friend rather than a comforter. Paracletos is the warped reading for Periclytos.
Jesus (peace be upon him) actually prophesised Ahmed by name. Even the Greek word Paraclete refers to the Prophet (peace be upon him) who is a mercy for all creatures.
Some Christians say that the Comforter mentioned in these prophecies refers to the Holy Sprit.
They fail to realise that the prophecy clearly says that only if Jesus (peace be upon him) departs will the Comforter come. The Bible states that the Holy Spirit was already present on earth before and during the time of Jesus (peace be upon him), in the womb of Elizabeth, and again when Jesus (peace be upon him) was being baptised, etc. Hence this prophecy refers to none other than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 12-14:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me”.
The Sprit of Truth, spoken about in this prophecy refers to none other than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
5. Similarities Between Christianity and Islam
- “Say: O People of the Book (Torah & Gospel)! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).”
Similarities / Similar Teachings in the Qur’an and the Bible which Muslims follow but Christians don’t :
- Definition of Islam > Islam is derived from the word salaam meaning peace.
- Meaning of Islam > Submission to the Will of Allah (God Almighty).
- Meaning of ‘Muslim’ – One who submits his will to the will of Allah (God Almighty).
- Islam is not a new religion found by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Messengers in Islam :
- To every nation was sent a Guide or a Messenger.
(Al-Qur’an 35:24 and 13:7)
- 25 Prophets mentioned by name in the Qur’an
- Islam is the only non-Christian faith that believes in Jesus (peace be upon him)
- Stories only of some prophets mentioned in Qur’an
(Al-Qur’an 4:164 and 40:78)
- More than 1,24,000 Messengers according to Hadith.
Previous Messengers were only sent for their people and nation and their complete message was meant only for a particular time period.
- Moses (peace be upon him) was only sent for the Jews.
- Jesus (peace be upon him) sent only for the Jews i.e. lost sheep of Israel.
[Al-Qur’an 3:49, Mathew 10:5-6, Mathew 15:24]
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Last and Final Messenger for the Whole of Mankind.
[Al-Qur’an 33:40, Al-Qur’an 21:107, Al-Qur’an 34:28]
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prophesised in the Bible.
Song of Solomon 5:16
Revelations of God
- Several Revelations sent by Allah.
- By name only four are mentioned in the Qur’an.
- The Qur’an is the Last and Final Revelation.
- All previous Revelations before Qur’an were only sent for a particular group of people and for a particular time period.
- The Qur’an was Revealed for the Whole of Mankind.
[Al-Qur’an 14:1, 14:52, 2:185, 39:41]
PILLARS OF ISLAM :
a). Tauheed (Monotheism)
La ilaha ilallahu, Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah
Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1 Hadith No. 7
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).
2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3. To pay Zakat (ie obligatory charity).
4. To perform Hajj. (ie Pilgrimage to Mecca)
5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
[Sahih Al Bukhari – Vol. 1 Book of Faith Hadith No. 8]
- Believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers.
- Come to common terms — Worship of one God
- Concept of God
Shirk – Biggest Sin
Jesus (peace be upon him) not God. He never claimed Divinity
- 99 Attributes of Almighty God
- Prefer using name ‘Allah’ rather than the word ‘God’ as the word ‘God’ can be played around with.
- Word ‘Allah’ in the Bible – Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani
- Not merely Prayers but Programming
- Prayers restrain you from shameful and unjust deeds
- Salaah timings – for healthy soul five times a day
- Take off shoes before entering mosque.
- Commandment of Allah to Moses
- Can Pray with Shoes
Sunan Abu Dawood – Vol. 1, Book of Salaah, Chapter 240, Hadith No. 652-653.
- Stand shoulder to shoulder, while praying –
Sahih Bukhari – Vol. 1, Book of Adhan Chapter 75 Hadith no. 692
Abu Dawood – Vol. 1, Book of Salaah Chapter 245 Hadith No. 666.
Sujud – Prostration
To humble your mind, humble your body
- Sujud mentioned 92 times in the Qur’an
Al-Qur’an 3:43 and 22:77
- Prostration in the Bible
Genesis 17:3; Numbers 20:6
Joshua 5:14; Mathew 26:39
Meaning: Purification and Growth
Description: 2.5% of saving every lunar year in charity
- If every human being gives Zakaah, not a single person will die of hunger.
- “Wealth does not circulate only amongst the wealthy and the rich”
[1 Peter 4:8]
Description – Pilgrimage atleast once in life time if you can afford it.
Universal Brotherhood – 2.5 million people from all over the world gather, wear two pieces of unsewn cloth, preferably white. Cannot differentiate between rich and poor.
Significance of Kaaba – Muslims don’t worship it
e). Saum (Fasting)
Description – one lunar month i.e. during the month of Ramadaan every lunar year, Muslims fast, i.e. abstain from food and drinks from sunrise till sunset.
Benefits : learn self restraint. If you can control your hunger you can control almost all your desires. It enhances spiritual awareness.
- Medical Benefits:
Increases absorption capacity of intestines
Discourages smoking, alcoholism and other addictions.
- Bible prescribes Fasting
These five pillars do not constitute complete Islam. Only if the pillars are strong, will the structure be strong.
Islam is a Complete Way of Life
- Humans Created to Worship Allaah
Jinn and Man created for worship of Allaah
- Meaning of Ibadaah – root word Abd meaning ‘slave’.
Obeying Commandments of Allah is Submitting Your Will to Allah
- Abstaining from alcohol
Abstaining from prohibited food
Al-Qur’an 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, 16:115
- Dead meat
I Samuel 14:33, Acts 15:29
- Pork is prohibited
- Food on which names beside Allah have been invoked.
Acts 15:29; Revelation 2:14
Being Honest in your Business
- Helping Neighbours
- Abstaining from Backbiting
- Obeying and Respecting Parents
Al-Qur’an 17:23, 24
Celibacy or Monasticism is prohibited in Islam
Sahih Bukhari: Vol. 7 Book of Nikah, Chapter No. 3, Hadith No. 4
- Loving, being Kind and Just to your Wife
- Abstaining from Adultery
- Dressing Modestly
- Six Criteria for Hijab in Islam
Timothy 2:9 e.g. of Mary
In short, every Muslim should follow all the Commandments of Allah (subhana wa taala) and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and abstain from the things they have prohibited.
If Christian is a person who follows the teachings of Christ (peace be upon him) and not one who worships Christ (peace be upon him). (We are more Christian than the Christians themselves).
Muslim is a person who submits his will to Allah.
Jesus (peace be upon him) said, “not my will but thy will be done.” i.e. Muslim.
NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.