Allah and Jesus: Same God?
Bob Waters has mined another golden nugget. Kudos Bob. This is a fascinating article on a very important question: Who is the one, true God? Is Allah merely the Muslim version of the Blessed Trinity? Do Muslims actually worship, believe in, and pray to the one, true God when they address their prayers to Allah? Sadly, there have been some in The LCMS who have succombed to the popular misconceptions surrounding these questions. Read on for more on this subject, from National Review Online.
Which One God?
Comparing the Muslim and Christian conceptions of God.
By Bat Yeor
the passing of time, hidden challenges, which for a long time had been
growing unnoticed and unaddressed, can suddenly emerge into the
full-blown light of current events with a force which seems quite
overwhelming. Today the Western world, or Judeo-Christian civilization,
shaken by jihadist terror, is being rudely awakened to theological
realities blurred for decades. From clashes of civilizations to the
jihad that is declaring to the planet its genocidal intentions,
rational discourse concerning faith is becoming increasingly fraught.
It is within this tumult and confusion that Mark Durie, an Anglican minister, has written Revelation? Do We Worship the Same God?, in which he raises a couple of fundamental questions: Who is God? Is God Allah? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
answer these questions, he analyzes Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God in
Christianity and Islam. The reader is given a concise representation of
Muslim and Christian arguments. Such an endeavor needs both solid
scholarship and theological training. Mark Durie possesses both, being
a theologian and a graduate in the language and culture of the
Acehnese, a Muslim people from the north of Sumatra in Indonesia. In
addition, the subjects he addresses, in the current context, request
much intellectual integrity and courage.
But how to know the
identity of “God” in the Koran and in the Bible? The author stresses
that this profound and deep question requires engaging with the very
essence of God’s identity. With perspicacity and great objectivity,
Durie delineates the diverse aspects of his investigations, but he
warns that his book should be seen only as guidance, and not the last
Durie’s questioning grows from the Koran’s statement that
Jesus is a Muslim prophet, named Isa — a prophet whose birth, life,
teaching, and death are found to be totally at odds with the testimony
of the Gospels and with Biblical theology. The Koran — which for
Muslims is the literal word of Allah that cannot be doubted — affirms
that Muhammad’s prophetic message is exactly the same as that expressed
by the Torah and the Gospels. Since there are many contradictions
between the Koran and the Bible, Muslim orthodoxy considers the
scriptures of Judaism and Christianity as falsifications of the primal
and unique Islamic revelation. It is this accusation that provided the
doctrinal justification for the discriminatory legal status of Jews and
Christians living under Islam.
In the first section, the author
provides information about and reflections upon the Muslim Jesus (Isa).
He stresses as fundamental the Koran’s teaching that Islam is the
first, primordial religion, preceding Judaism and Christianity, which
are dismissed as invalid traditions, being falsified
versions of Islam. Because Christianity and Judaism are thought to be a
corruption of the pure message of Islam, anything true in these
religions comes from their Islamic roots. Consequently, to obey their
true religion, Jews and Christians should “revert” to Islam and accept
the prophethood of Muhammad.
This implies, writes Durie, that
anyone who opposes Muhammad is not a true Christian, nor a true Jew.
Seen in this light, the Koranic verses sympathetic to Jews and
Christians refer to those who will see the light and find it to be
Islam. If Islam recognizes only itself in Judaism and Christianity, one
can wonder whether this replacement theology is not the negation of the
very principle of recognition of other religions.
Christians profess that Christianity is closer to Islam than to
Judaism, because of a common reverence of Jesus/Isa and his mother
Mary. They will be astonished to learn from Durie that according to
hadiths — acts and sayings attributed to Muhammad, and endowed with
theological and legislative authority — Isa, the Muslim Jesus, will be
the ultimate destroyer of Christianity.
Durie examines the
characters of Jesus and Isa, separated by six centuries; he compares
their name and biographies and explains the differing understandings of
the prophecy in the Bible and the Koran. While Christianity accepts
Jewish Scriptures as the foundation of their belief and practice, and
as an integral part of Christian ministry, read in churches around the
world, Muslims disregard the Bible. They claim that it is Islam that is
the common heritage of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and that Jews and
Christians should work to recover this heritage. Durie comments that,
in this process, the Islamization of Jesus and the Hebrew patriarchs
and prophets destroys both Christianity and Judaism.
author analyses with great clarity and depth the fundamental principles
of the two religions and, in a powerful chapter that raises essential
questions, he discusses the concept of “Abrahamic Faith” that has
become so fashionable today as a framework for dialogue. This
definition, he points out, originates from the Koranic statement that
Abraham was a Muslim prophet and from Islam’s core doctrine that Islam
was the one revelation given to humanity by Allah through the Biblical
figures and through Jesus. For Durie, the many “Abrahamic Faith”
conferences throughout the world point to the Islamization of Christian
understandings of interfaith dialogue. How should Christians respond to
this claim which is a fundamental point of Muslim doctrine? Durie
develops several arguments based on a rational analysis of history and
In his conclusion, Durie writes that profound
contrasts exist in Islam and Christianity in their understanding of the
identity of God. These have far-reaching implications, affecting
attitudes, ethics, and politics. The clarification of misunderstandings
and false assumptions, masterly exposed by Durie, is a condition to
open the way for more constructive dialogue.
could not have been more timely. He offers a well-balanced analysis,
acknowledging the important similarities of the two faiths, without
ever misrepresenting the real disagreements or ignoring the hard
issues. In this time of globalization, when crucial challenges are
emerging for the West’s post-Christian societies, Durie’s reflections
provide essential and fundamental guidance that will enable Christians
to engage in a dialogue based on truth.
This is all the more
urgent now that the cultural jihad in the West is preventing the free
expression of thought and belief, and is subverting the whole ethical
foundation of Judeo-Christianity.
Yeor is the author of studies on the conditions of Jews and Christians
in the context of the jihad ideology and the sharia law. Recent books
include: Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, both at Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.