When Christians begin studying Islam, it becomes clear very quickly that Muhammad borrowed or incorporated many ideas from Christianity and the Bible into the Qur'an and Islamic teaching. Parallels, both overt and subtle, can be found in common to both Christianity and Islam. One such borrowed idea is the interesting parallel between Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom and Gomorrah and Muhammad bargaining with Allah over the required number of prayers.

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were steeped in sexual vice and perversion. In Genesis 18, the LORD and two angels appear to Sarah to prophecy of her coming pregnancy of Isaac. After this encounter we read the following:

Gen. 18:16   Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” 20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” 

One area where the Bible far outshines the Quran and proves itself to be inspired by God is in the area of foreknowledge of future events. We call it prophecy.

One such prophecy concerns Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to proclaim himself as Messiah to Israel. God gave all the signs in the Bible through prophets hundreds of years earlier. The Jews of Jesus' day should have known, and would have known if they had only paid attention to the TaNaKh. It is all laid out in Daniel 9:25-27.

Specifically, verse 25 and the first half of verse 26 state:

Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times. 
“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself

The weeks here are weeks of years, or 483 years (69 x 7 = 483). To see this more clearly, I refer to John Woolvard in his Bible Knowledge Commentary. He begins by discussing the 70 weeks mentioned in verse 24, which then shifts focus to the first 69 weeks in verse 25:

embarrassedMuslims love to criticize the Bible on the basis of many embarrassing stories contained within its pages. And indeed, the Bible does contain many stories that cast biblical characters in less-than-flattering situations.

  • Abraham had sex with Hagar, his wife's hand-maiden, because he wanted a son and doubted God could render Sara fertile again.
  • Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the men of Sodom for sexual satisfaction.
  • Lot's two daughters had sex with their father after getting him drunk.
  • Abraham lied to King Abimelech about his wife Sarah and said she was his sister, nearly causing Abimelech to commit fornication with a married woman.
  • Potiphar's wife attempted to seduce Joseph.
  • Hosea is married to a prostitute.
  • David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for her husband Uriah to be killed.
  • Peter denied Jesus three times, even after promising he would never do such a thing.

These and more are pretty embarrassing. And Muslims reject the Bible as a holy book based on these embarrassing stories using a number of different arguments. 

A common objection raised against Christianity by Muslims, as well as other non-Christian cults, is that of the role of works in the life of a Christian. Islam teaches a works-centered salvation based on keeping the traditional five pillars of Islam as well as thousands of other rules and regulations known as sharia.
Many like to say that the Bible is contradictory. Specifically with regard to the role of works, many assume Paul and James contradict one another. Paul proclaims we are saved by faith alone and not by works, whereas James seems to indicate the requirement for works, for 'faith without works is dead.' Does James contradict Paul. The study below compares both Paul and James to prove they actually compliment one another, rather than contradict.


Rom. 4:1   What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? 2 For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness. 
Rom. 4:6   So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 
8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin.”
Paul in Romans teaches that we are saved on the basis of our faith alone and not by any works we might do to earn our salvation:
  • Rom. 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
  • Rom. 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
  • Rom. 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
  • Rom. 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
  • Rom. 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To compare the view of Paul to that of James, let's look at what James has to say on this subject in chapter 2.

One of the most common objections Christians encounter when engaging Muslims is the issue of the Trinity. Yet it is probably the one issue Muslims could not care less about, and they only use the objection to derail the average Christian into silence. But it is one of the easier objections to answer, and at least in concept get a Muslim agree to the possibility of a trinity. How?

Let's review the common Muslim response to the Trinity. Muslims believe the Trinity is a contradiction by suggesting something cannot exist as a single entity yet have multiple component pieces of that single entity. They will argue that 1+1+1=3 and suggest by this formula that Christians worship three Gods, not one.

First, I find it quite fascinating that Muslims will admit that God cannot be known. According to Islamic theology, God is so transcendent and so far removed from us that there is no way we can ever possibly hope to know God. But in the very next breath, the same Muslim will state with absolute certainty he KNOWS God is not one in three! If God cannot be known, then how can the Muslim KNOW this about God?

Second, I like to get Muslims to agree, at least in principle, that the concept the Trinity is intelligible and not a contradiction. I will ask a Muslim if they are comprised of only the chemical elements that make up their physical body. Every Muslim will agree that, as humans, we are more than just our physical bodies. When our flesh dies, our spirit or soul lives in eternity. The Qur'an says explicitly in Sura 3:169, "Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision." The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

cyrus cylinderI recently had a chance to view the Cyrus Cylinder as it made a tour through the USA on loan from the British Museum. The Cyrus Cylinder is an amazing piece of archeology, for it not only tells us about some of the history associated with the Persian Empire, but it also validates the historical accuracy of the Bible!

The book of Isaiah was written somewhere between 120-150 years before the fall of the Babylonian Empire to the Medo-Persian Empire for which Cyrus was king. Isaiah records a very specific prophesy regarding Cyrus in Isaiah 44:28:

Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd,
And he shall perform all My pleasure,
Saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,”
And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ’

According to this prophecy, Isaiah said Cyrus would be the one to order the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the restoration of the temple there. When Isaiah made this prophecy, the name Cyrus was unknown; nobody by that name existed and the name was not in common usage.

So it was quite a surprise to some that over 120 years later, King Cyrus of the Persians not only released the Jews from their 70 years of captivity, but gave the decree to restore the temple and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. - Ezra 1:1-4

 The Cyrus Cylinder describes the effort by Cyrus to repatriate people enslaved by the Babylonians back to their lands of origin, which aligns quite nicely with the Biblical narrative where Cyrus sets the Israelites free to allow them to return to Jerusalem.

Here is the beauty of this. One of the best affirmations that the Bible is of divine origin is prophetic foreknowledge of future events. In a related article, I wrote about the prophecy of Daniel chapters two and five and how the book of Daniel exhibits the hand of God for the knowledge of the future contained in its pages. In the same way, the book of Isaiah and Ezra, along with the Cyrus Cylinder, validate again the finger of God in the Bible, for only God can know the future. Yet Isaiah was amazingly able to identify Cyrus by name as the king who would give the order to restore Jerusalem, which was recorded in Ezra as historical fact and backed up by archeology via the Cyrus Cylinder.

And this is just one of dozens of historical accounts in the Bible which have been validated by archeology.

And the beauty: Nothing at this level of foreknowledge of the future can be found in the Quran! Which book has the evidence of divine inspiration? The evidence speaks for itself.

This Christmas help a Muslim understand who Jesus was: God With Us! From the Bible and the Qur'an:

Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Luke 1:30-35 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Sura 19:16-21
19.16 And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, 
19.17 And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. 
19.18 She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God- fearing. 
19.19 He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. 
19.20 She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? 
19.21 He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained.

The Bible and Quran both say Mary was a virgin, untouched by man. The Quran calls the birth of Jesus "a mercy from Us" [God]. What could be more merciful than providing a method of redemption from our sins?

The prophet Isaiah said a virgin will conceive - the Quran says Mary was a virgin. Isaiah said this son's name will be Immanuel, which Matthew says means "God with Us!"

Ask your Muslim friend if there was another virgin who conceived and bore a son. No? Then Isaiah must be talking about Jesus, the same Jesus in Sura 19, born of a virgin according to the Quran, who is a mercy from God, and is in fact GOD WITH US!

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