A common misconception among the uninformed is that Muslims worship the same God as Christians. Many well-meaning church leaders have been accused of saying this, among them Rick Warren and Brian Houston. Both have denied the charge, but both created quite a controversy around this issue. Former President Bush, himself a professed Christian, was on national television stating Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Other politicians and celebrities have made the same claim, honestly believing they are correct, but they are woefully ignorant.
Two reasons generally are given to those who hold this view. The first is that both Islam and Christianity (and Judaism) trace their spiritual roots back to Abraham, and we all worship the God of Abraham; therefore we worship the same God. The second is the idea that since Arabic-speaking Christians worship a God they call Allah, and Muslims also worship Allah, it must be the same God because the two Gods share the same name. This makes about as much sense as assuming that since my wife's name is Christine, any other woman with the same name must likewise be my wife!
Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? We can answer this question by examining the attributes of each deity and making a simple comparison. Below I have listed 10 distinct areas of significant differences between the two.
1. ALLAH LEADS PEOPLE ASTRAY, YHWH LEADS IN THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
- Sura 4:119 - "I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires;”
- Sura 18:17 - "Such are among the Signs of Allah: He whom Allah guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray- for him wilt thou find no protector to lead him to the Right Way.”
- Sura 14:3 - "Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will.”
- Sura 4:88 - " ... For those whom Allah has thrown aside and led astray, never shall they find the Way."
- Sura 4:142 - "… Those who Allah causes to go astray and err will not find a way."
- 2 Chr. 12:6 - Then the princes of iIsrael and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.”
- Psa. 7:9 - Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous — you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God!
- Psa. 11:7 - For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
2. ALLAH RESPONSIBLE FOR EVIL, YHWH ONLY GOOD
- Sura 4:78: If some good befalls them, they say, "This is from Allah"; but if evil, they say, "This is from thee" (O Prophet). Say: "All things are from Allah."
- Gen 1:31 - And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
- Psa. 31:19 - Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
- Zech. 9:17 - For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!
3. ALLAH IS CALLED THE GREATEST (OR BEST) OF DECEIVERS, YHWH - NO DECEIT FOUND IN HIM
- Sura 3:54: And they (disbelievers) plotted, and Allâh planned too. And Allâh is the Best of the planners. - makireena - deceiver in Arabic. All native Arabic speakers will affirm the proper translation is “Allah is the best of deceivers”( http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/cornelius/makr.html)
- Job 34:12 - Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
- Psa. 51:6 - Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
- 1 Pet. 2:22 - He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
NOTE: THE THREE ATTRIBUTES ABOVE WHICH DESCRIBE ALLAH (LEADS PEOPLE ASTRAY, RESPONSIBLE FOR EVIL, GREATEST DECEIVER) ARE THE SAME ATTRIBUTES THE BIBLE ASCRIBES TO SATAN!
4. ALLAH UNKNOWABLE, YHWH CAN BE KNOWN
From scholar al-Ghazali: "The end result of the knowledge of the `arifin is their inability to know Him, and their knowledge is, in truth, that they do not know Him and that it is absolutely impossible for them to know Him."
Fadlou Shehadi, a contemporary scholar of Al-Ghazali, after analyzing Al-Ghazali's arguments about the transcendence of God, concludes,
From all the foregoing, one important consequence has to be drawn.
God is Utterly Unknowable
If God is a unique kind of being unlike any other being in any respect, more specifically, unlike anything known to man, it would have to follow by Ghazali's own principles that God is utterly unknowable. For, according to Ghazali, things are known by their likenesses, and what is utterly unlike what is known to man cannot be known. Furthermore, God would have to be unknowable, completely unknowable, not only to 'the man in the street', but to prophets and mystics as well. This is a conclusion that Ghazali states very explicitly and not infrequently. It is also a view that is often stated independently of its logical relation to God's utter uniqueness.
- Jer. 9:23 - Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
- John 17:3 - And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
5. ALLAH LOVES CONDITIONALLY, YHWH UNCONDITIONALLY
- Sura 2:195 - surely Allah loves the doers of good
- Sura 2:222 - For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean
- Sura 3:76 - surely Allah loves those who guard (against evil).
- Sura 3:146 - And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast
- Sura 3:159 - For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).
- Sura 5:13 - Allah loves those who are kind.
- Sura 28:77 - for Allah loves not those who do mischief."
- Sura 30:45 - For He loves not those who reject Faith.
This is not love in the true sense of the word, because Allah cannot love (see below). The sense of the verses above is one of admiration or respect: Allah respects those who ..... Or Allah admires those who .... There is no love involved here.
Al-Ghazali: “Love is to sense a need of the beloved and since Allah cannot be said to have a need or an experience of need, it is therefore impossible that Allah should love.”
- 1 John 4:8 - Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- 1 John 4:10 - In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
- Jer. 31:3 - I have loved you with an everlasting love;
- John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son.
6. ALLAH NOT RELATIONAL; YHWH FULLY RELATIONAL
Since Allah cannot be known (too transcendent to be known), it stand to reason that he also cannot be relational, since a relationship implies by definition the ability to know the one with whom you have a relationship.
Genesis 3:8-9 - After Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible tells us that they heard the sound of God walking in the garden, and God called out to Adam and Eve and said, "Where are you?" Why did God do this? Was it because He didn't know where they were? No, it was because a relationship was broken when Adam and Eve sinned against God. God was giving Adam and Eve a chance to respond, a chance to restore the broken relationship.
Throughout the Bible, God shows that He desires a relationship with us. We are called God's children, and God is called our Father. We are even encouraged to call Him a name, Abba, which is a loving name similar to "Daddy."
- Rom. 8:15 - For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"
7. ALLAH ABSOLUTE UNITY; YHWH TRIUNE IN NATURE
Muslims understand God (Allah) as absolutely single. He has no partners (as the Christian Trinity). In fact, the Qur'an is very clear that anyone who says God is anything but a single entity is guilty of blasphemy.
- Sura 4:171 - "O People of the Book, do not exaggerate in your religion and do not speak against Allah and his word, which he cast to Mary ... and do not say "Three." Cease. It will be better for you. Sure Allah is only one god."
- Sura 112 - Say, "He is Allah the one. Allah is absolute. He does not birth, neither was he birthed, and there is no equal to him."
Muslims believe God created mankind, and gave mankind all the attributes that make us human. But how can Allah have the attribute of love if he is an absolutely singular god? Before we were created, who did Allah love?
Love requires at least two people: a lover, and an object of the lover's love. But if Allah was alone by himself in eternity before creation, whom did he love?
The trinity of Christianity helps us make sense of who we are, since we love. Muslims also claim the ability to love, but where do they get that from? They can't get it from Allah, because Allah cannot be defined as "love."
- Gen. 1:1 - In the beginning, God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth.
- Gen. 1:26 - Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
- John 8:58 - Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
- John 10:30 - I and the Father are one.”
- Matt 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
8. ALLAH UNJUST, YHWH COMPLETELY JUST
- Sura 4:119 - "I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires;"
- Sura 18:17 - "Such are among the Signs of Allah: He whom Allah guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray- for him wilt thou find no protector to lead him to the Right Way."
- Sura 14:3 - "Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will."
- Sura 4:88 - "For those whom Allah has thrown aside and led astray, never shall they find the Way."
- Sura 4:142 - "... Those who Allah causes to go astray and err will not find a way."
On the day of judgment, Muslims believe their good deeds will be weighed on a scale with their bad deeds. If the good outweighs the bad, they might go to heaven. (Sura 23:101-104; Sura 101)
But here is the problem: If their bad deeds are heavier, they will face punishment in hell. But as we see in the verses above, it is Allah who causes them to do bad things. So how can Allah punish them for doing the bad things that he causes them to do? This is not justice.
- 1 Pet. 3:18 - For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God,
- 2 Pet. 3:9 - The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
- 2 Cor. 5:21 - For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
9. MASTER/SLAVE RELATIONSHIP VS. FATHER/CHILD
Muslims are described in the Quran as merely slaves or servants. Islam means “to submit” as a slave does to a master. The most common name among males is Abdullah – slave of God.
- Sura 51:56 - "I have only created men that they might serve me."
- Sura 49:13 - "The most honored of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous of you."
Being righteous entails doing what Allah commands, just as an obedient slave would do.
We already mentioned that Islam itself means "to submit" to Allah and be obedient, and a Muslim by definition is "one who submits" and does what Allah commands.
Allah says, and a Muslim does. That is the picture of relationship in Islam. There is no understanding of love or true relationship.
Those who have accepted Jesus as savior are said to be children of God. This implies a very special relationship with God, like our relationship with our father or mother.
- John 1:12 - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God
- Rom. 8:16 - The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
- 1 John 3:1 - Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
10. ALLAH TRANSCENDENT; YHWH IMMINENT
Muslims believe Allah is totally transcendent, distant, and removed from the reach of man that he cannot possibly be known outside his revealed scripture (the Quran). Allah does not have a relationship of intimacy with his creation, nor does he interact with his creation. And Allah would never lower himself to actually participate in his creation in the form of taking on human flesh.
Sura 112: Say: “He is Allah, Absolute Oneness, Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. He has not given birth and was not born, and no one is comparable to Him.”
- Psa. 34:18 - The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
- Psa. 73:28 - But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
- Psa. 145:18 - The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
In light of the comparisons above, one cannot honestly say Muslims and Christians worship the same God.