October 17, 2017

Islam and Christianity

Compared and Contrasted

[The following summary, published in FrontLine March/April 2011 is offered as an aide to understanding as Islam continues in the news to this day. – ed.]

 

Basics

ISLAM CHRISTIANITY
Meaning of the name Submission to the will of Allah The practice of faith of believers in Jesus Christ
Name of a believer Muslim Christian

Date of founding ad 622[1] Circa ad 30
Name of founder Muhammad Jesus of Nazareth
Major holy book Qur’an or Koran Bible: Old and New Testaments
Status of the holy book Allah’s literal word and final revelation, dictated by the angel Gabriel to Muhammad. Muhammad passed it on in oral form. A slightly imperfect copy of a perfect copy in Paradise The inspired, inerrant Word of God, but Christ Himself is the Eternal Word
Purpose of the holy book The Qur’an reveals Allah’s guidance for living in this world in the political, judicial, and economic realms. The Bible reveals the nature of God (attributes, characteristics, and works), the nature of man, God’s means of redemption, and the relationship between man and God.
Name of worship center Mosque Church
Relation of mosque/church and state Integrated Separated
Religious leader Imam or Mullah Pastor
Practice of the religion Muslims should mimic the teachings of the Qur’an and Muhammad, should practice the Five Pillars of Islam (belief in one God, prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and alms) and engage in jihad. Christians must obey God’s words; should love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love their neighbors as themselves.

 

Doctrine

ISLAM CHRISTIANITY
Concept of deity Strict monotheism (tawhid): One God in One person. Allah is absolutely sovereign, unknowable and thus legitimately arbitrary in the exercise of mercy. Trinitarian monotheism: One God in three Persons: The Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is knowable and approachable.
Son Jesus was a prophet and did not die on the cross. Allah secretly substituted another. Jesus was virgin born but did not pre-exist. Jesus was the Son of God, God incarnate, and died as the necessary sacrifice for sins. Jesus was virgin born and preexisted.
Holy Spirit No concept of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and dwells in every believer.
Birth status of a child All babies are a born in a pure state of submission to Allah. However, as they mature they are often taught other beliefs. Islam rejects original sin. A baby is born with a sin nature, separated from God. Christianity believes in original sin.
Basis of determining who goes to Heaven or Hell Once a person reaches puberty, his/her account of deeds is opened in Paradise. To attain Paradise, at death the good deeds (helping others, testifying to the truth of God, leading a virtuous life, etc.,) must outweigh one’s evil deeds. Believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ, His life, death, and resurrection
Definition of apostasy Conversion to another religion Defection from God’s truth
Basis of forgiveness of sin People receive forgiveness of sins by praying at the right time, cursing Jews and Christians with the angels, and fighting for Islam. People receive forgiveness by confessing and repenting of sin, believing that the sacrificial work of Jesus was sufficient.
Means of salvation Works, without any certainty that Allah will be satisfied unless one dies as a Shahid (martyr), which guarantees eternity in Paradise By faith through grace alone
Reaction to apostasy Other believers are obligated to murder apostates Separation from apostasy.
Relationship to unbelievers and their actions You should kill pagans, apostates, and those of the house of war. You should love all, even your enemies.
Creation Allah created the universe by means of a Big Bang and the principles of evolution. The universe is many millions of years old. Man is a later creation by Allah. Literal seven-day creation/young earth spoken into existence by God and sustained by Christ
End times Jesus (Isa) will return to overthrow al-Dajjal in the battle of ’Aqabat Afiq’ in Syria—or at the Lud Gate in Jerusalem, according to another account. Jesus will “kill all pigs and break all crosses,” confirming Islam as the only true religion. After forty years Jesus will die and be buried next to Muhammad in Medina. Jesus will come to rescue Israel, defeat the Antichrist, judge the nations and the wicked in Israel, and rule over the messianic kingdom.
Future of Israel Eternally destroyed Eternally restored
Events at death For a Shahid (martyr), no washing of the body, no shroud, immediate burial in the clothes he/she was wearing, and immediate entrance into Paradise. For all other Muslims, washing, shrouding, burial on their right side facing Mecca. With death comes the Torment of the Grave, which is the beginning of the assessment of their works, which will ultimately determine whether they enter Paradise on the Day of Judgment. Burial practices are more a matter of tradition than prescribed in the Bible. However, at death each person is judged, and the body remains in the grave. The soul of a believer begins an eternal relationship with God, while the soul of an unbeliever begins an eternal separation from God and torment. At the end of time all bodies are resurrected and are reunited with the soul and continue either in eternal bliss in Heaven or eternal torment and judgment in Hell.

 

Characters

ISLAM CHRISTIANITY
Adam Adam was created from clay, free from all major sins and faults but was expelled from Heaven after the Fall in the spiritual garden of innocence, also in Heaven. Adam was not created in the image and likeness of Allah. Adam is considered to be a prophet. Created on earth from the dust of the earth, Adam disobeyed God in the temporal Garden of Eden and is responsible for original sin. Mankind was created in the image and likeness of God.
Eve Created uniquely for Adam while in Heaven Created from the rib of Adam in the Garden of Eden after Adam named the creatures and none was found compatible with him
Abraham The Qur’an records the account of Abraham’s struggle with his father over idol worship. Abraham tries to convince his father not to worship idols and only manages to get himself rejected. Abraham leaves his father to become a true worshiper of Allah, and in return for his faithfulness Allah gives Abraham two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Abraham is revered as a prophet and described as a “Friend of Allah.” The Bible records God’s command to Abram to leave Ur and to proceed to a new land. In this context, God establishes a covenant with him which is reaffirmed (Gen. 12, 15, 17, and 22).
Sarah Named as the first wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac Named as the first wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac
Hagar Not mentioned in the Qur’an Named as the second wife of Abraham and the mother of Ishmael
Isaac Isaac is viewed as a righteous man and as an additional gift from Allah. Abraham was tested by God when he took Isaac his second born to sacrifice him on Mount Moriah.
Ishmael Abraham was tested by Allah when he took Ishmael, his firstborn, to sacrifice him on Mount Horeb. Abraham took Ishmael to Mecca where they built the first house of worship, the Kaaba, per Allah’s command. Ishmael was the eldest son of Abraham by his Egyptian concubine, Hagar. Hagar and Ishmael were sent away by Abraham. While in the wilderness Hagar received a promise from the Lord that “I will make him a great nation.” It was also prophesied that Ishmael would be “a wild man.”

Compiled by Wayne Bley


Wayne A. Bley is a retired Navy chaplain who has worked in the National Security arena since 9/11, focusing on the issue of Islam as a threat to the US interests domestically and internationally. He serves churches through Be Still Ministries, where you may contact him for more information.

(Originally published in FrontLine • March/April 2011. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

  1. Most religious historians view Islam as having been founded in AD 622. However, many if not most of the followers of Islam believe that Islam existed before Muhammad was born and that the origins of Islam date back to the creation of the world. []


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