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What Islam Believes

Updated: May 17, 2019


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How the beliefs of Islam contradict the Bible


The following beliefs are an overview of how the teachings of Islam differ when compared to Biblical truth. Often in the Qur’an unsubstantiated statements are made by Muhammad (supposedly through a revelation from God), but when these are challenged Muhammad simply seems to suggest “believe or suffer the consequences”.

For example he asserts that both Jews and Christians have secretly twisted their respective Scriptures to suit their own theology and concealed this, yet gives no evidence of this at all. He simply states it, and worse, attributes to Jesus a saying that foretells Muhammad's own coming! (see the Chapters on The Heifer verse 146, The Cattle verse 20, The Table verses 16-18, The Heights verse 157, The Ranks verses 6-7).

This belief of corrupted texts has found its way into common Muslim thought. Note this quote from the Christian writer J. Verkuyl in his book titled “Speaking to Muslims about the Gospel”.

Islam believes that...“the contents of the original book have been corrupted. Most Muslims believe that the Bible texts written in Hebrew and Greek, including all modern vernacular translations, have been falsified. Muslims say that the Bible has a number of reliable sections, for example, those which deal with the Oneness of God, punishment and reward, and some of the prophets. But they also argue that large parts of the Bible are unreliable and the result of counterfeit and corruption. For example, the counterfeit texts are those dealing with the divine sonship of Jesus, his cross and resurrection, and those concerning the Trinity. And many Muslim publications state that current versions of the Bible leave out whole sections, including any testimony to the coming of the prophet Muhammad.”

While the Qur’an doesn’t directly state this, Islamic tradition has, and uses “The Heifer Chapter” (II.106) to support it. This chapter says:

“Such of Our revelations as we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring in place one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is able to do all things?”

This text is often used in Islam to declare that the Torah and Gospel have been surpassed; they are obsolete and the Qur’an has now taken their place. The question can now be asked: where is the evidence for this supposed corruption of the texts? Are there extant documents of the “original” that can prove this to us.

And since Muhammad by his own mouth says that he couldn’t read or write, how does he know of any such corrupted texts? Bear in mind also that the Hebrew texts were first committed to writing about 1,600BC and that Muhammad lived in 600AD. That’s a long time in between.

If Islam reckons itself to be a scholarly religion, which it does, where is the academic proof and scholarly methodology for proving the corruption of Hebrew and Christian texts?

Scholars and academics in any field of study or science will demand that assertions should always be supported by objective and comparative evidence. But in this case there is none! Muhammad's statement rests solely on his own words in which he says he had a personal revelation about it.

This is very similar to Joseph Smith’s statement that he received two golden tablets on which the Book of Mormon was written. When he was challenged to produce the golden writings to verify this he said that they had simply disappeared.

I think that the spirit of Anti-Christ is at work in both Mormonism and Islam.

Following is a list of some of the more basic beliefs of Islam. You will see that the Biblical texts themselves have been corrupted by Muhammad (or by the demon using him) to counteract the unique claims of Jesus Christ. Below are some of these.

1. Muhammad was foretold by Jesus. “Jesus the son of Mary said: O Children of Israel. I am the apostle of God sent to you, to confirm the Law of Moses which came before me, and giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad (Muhammad), but when he came to them with clear signs they said “This is evident sorcery”.” (The Ranks 6-7).

2. The Comforter to come was in fact Muhammad. The Biblical texts of John’s Gospel 14:16, 15:26 and 16:7 speak of “one who is to come”. The Church throughout all generations has clearly seen this to be the Holy Spirit. The context shows this.

Yet Islam claims the Church altered the text with a wilful mistranslation. They say that the Greek name Periclutos is almost (!) a literal equivalent of the Aramaic “Ahmad” or “Muhammad”, and that Periclutos was changed by the Church into Parakletos (meaning Advocate or Comforter). They say the texts in John’s Gospel apply to Muhammad and not the Holy Spirit.

The Parakletos of course is regarded by Christians as being a reference to the promised Holy Spirit. What Islam says is that Jesus promised us Muhammad and not the Holy Spirit. Quite an extraordinary twisting of the text!

3. Jesus didn’t die on the cross. Despite the New Testament being written 500 years earlier, Islam categorically denies one of its most entrenched declarations: that Jesus died on the cross.

The Qur’an states that Christ was saved from any indignity on the cross, and that miraculously someone else of the same likeness was crucified in His place, by an illusion sent by Allah to trick the executors. This most extraordinary concoction can be found in the Chapter of the Women, verse 157. Note the following commentary on that particular portion of the Qur’an.

“It would appear from verse 157 that contrary to the belief of Jews and Christians, Jesus Christ was not killed on the cross. Now this point is clear and definite in itself and needs no further elucidation.” (The Holy Quran translated by M. Marmaduke Pickthall, page xxiv).

What an extraordinary statement by a professed scholar! How is this point “clear and definite”? Just because the Qur’an says so?

To deny the crucifixion of Jesus strikes at the heart of God’s saving work through Christ’s death. The Qur’an’s view that Jesus didn’t die undoes all that the Old Testament points to through the symbolism of the Passover, and makes New Testament theology totally invalid. Without a death there can be no saving work. And without that we are not restored to fellowship with God. The Qur’an attempts to undermine all this in one foul swoop.

4. Muhammad foretold in the Old Testament. Just as Muslims believe Jesus spoke of Muhammad's coming in John’s Gospel, so they also believe the Old Testament prophesies his coming.

The text used to support this is Deuteronomy 18:18 where it says “I (the Lord) will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command Him”.

Christians have always seen this as a reference to the coming of Jesus. It would be a far stretch to say that it applies to Muhammad. Anyway Deuteronomy says the Prophet shall come from amongst the brethren of Moses (through Isaac and ultimately the Jews). Muhammad and the Arab people trace their ancestry through Isaac's half-brother, Ishmael.

5. Allah is an impersonal god. Unlike the Old Testament and especially the New, the Qur’an never treats mankind as friends with God. We are to be regarded as slaves or servants of Allah (The Chapter of Mary verse 93).

Yet the Old Testament treats “former” prophets like Abraham and Moses as “friends with God” (Exo. 33:11 and Isa. 41:8). Then of course Jesus makes this very plain in John 15:15 when He says “No longer do I call you servants...but I have called you friends.”

If Allah is the same as the God of the Bible why has he changed his mind and demoted us from the status of friendship to that of servant? The god of Islam cannot be the same as the God of the Bible because He doesn’t change His mind!

In Islam Allah is not like a Father-God figure; that would be to debase him. Muslims see Allah as supreme and above any attempt that would reduce him to the level of mortals. So it is that Muslims consider the Incarnation of God in the flesh to be the height of absurdity and demeaning to the Supreme God. For them it is a great blasphemy.

Allah is somewhat unapproachable and distant, and he even decides men’s fate for them, which is unalterable. They might know ahead of time how an event will turn out for them but it’s solely their duty to do their best and live the good Muslim life.

Islam believes that Allah is so pure and “other” that he doesn’t even communicate directly with mankind. Rather he communicates messages through angels to certain chosen prophets, who in turn pass them onto common humanity.

One primer on Islam says:

“The will of God can only be known through his messengers; belief in God therefore requires belief in revelation, the books of God, and the messengers of God. Of all the messengers, sent to every tribe and nation, Muhammad is the Last, being the seal of prophethood and completing the process of revelation. Since God is transcendent and beyond all human perception, he communicates his message to his prophets through his functionaries, the angels.” (Introducing Muhammad by Ziauddin Sardar and Zafar Abbas Malik).

This belies the truth found in the Bible that says God both desires to, and does, communicate with us. It is true that He does use angels to do this from time to time, but it’s also true that He speaks directly to man, sometimes using dreams and visions, and of course communicating through the Holy Spirit.

The God of the Bible is close at hand and not distant. He is a God who chooses to speak and interact with His people and even with those who are far from Him, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus. Indeed many of us were far from Him but were confronted by Him, because of His great love (John 3:16). He communicated with us, even while we were sinners and called us to Himself.

6. The Islamic view of the End. The Islamic view of judgment, the reward of the after life, and the Last Days differ significantly from the Biblical view.

In the Bible there’s a definite unfolding of God’s plan for mankind. It’s full of purpose, God’s intervention in history, and stage by stage revelation on what is required to participate in this great plan. It’s like a superb mosaic revealed piece by piece until at last we see it unfolded through the person and mission of Jesus Christ.

As well, the place of the Jewish nation is paramount in the Bible, and finds its natural expression in the New Testament through the coming of a Jewish Messiah. I’ve often pondered how a Muslim will feel when on the Day of Judgment, instead of finding himself standing before Muhammad, he will stand before a Jew (Jesus) seated on the Throne! It’s worth reflecting on.

All the above Biblical issues relating to Judgment, Heaven and the End are missing in the Qur’an. There’s no coherent unfolding on the purpose of life, that salvation is needed, or on the role of the Jewish people or the land of Israel.

To be fair the Qur’an does give Jesus a place in the End Times and even mentions His second coming. One commentary on “the Hour” as the Qur’an calls the Last Days, says this about Jesus and His return:

“Jesus shall convert the Christians to Islam and make it clear to them that it was wrong to honour him as Son of God. Then the returned Jesus will eradicate all those who do not turn to the true faith of Islam. Only Islam will remain. Thereupon, Jesus will marry. After a time in Paradise there will be unity between man and beast. This time of Paradise will last for either 24 or 40 years. Finally Jesus will die and be buried in Mecca next to Muhammad.” (Quoted from a commentary on The Ornaments of Gold verse 61 by Ibn Abi Zayd Qarawan in The Challenge of Islam by G. Bergmann).

We see in this quote that Jesus is still to die! Obviously there is nothing like this teaching in the Bible. It is mere conjecture to suppose that’s how it will all work out at the End.

On the contrary the Bible finishes with a remarkable vision of the End of the Age with Christ seated in magnificent glory on His throne (Revelation chpt 22). And as if to ensure that this glory is not taken away from Jesus, John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, pens these sobering words:

“If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life and from the things which are written in this book” (verses 18-19).

7. The Islamic world-view. The Islamic view of the world is based on the aim of making all the people submissive to Allah. “Islam” means “submission”. For Islam the world is divided into two “houses”. That portion of humanity that has embraced Islam is regarded as being in submission to Allah. This is called Dar-al-Salaam or “the House of Peace”. Those who have not yet accepted submission to Allah are in Dar-al-Harb or “the House of War”.

The logic of this is obvious. You’re either in the House of Peace, or you’re in the House of War. If you’re in the latter, Muslims will struggle against you to bring you into submission. Therefore the Jihad or struggle is the attempt to bring all things and peoples into submission to Allah. Anything that furthers this cause is justifiable.

To be fair Jihad does not simply apply to fighting other nations. It means “directed struggle” and can take a number of forms. It might be the struggle against social injustice, or that directed against oppressive modes of thought. Muhammad even said “the supreme jihad is against oneself”.

But of course Jihad can, and does mean, a physical struggle against oppression and aggression. While many Muslims decry the kind of Jihad used by dictators such as Saddam Hussain, the fact is that it’s a viable option for Muslims. The event of 9/11 was a definite reminder of this. This of course shows clearly that the god of Islam cannot be the same as the God of the New Testament, for Jesus Himself said: Love your enemies.

We need to be aware that Islam has an agenda to bring all things into submission to its god. To be a Muslim is to be in submission to Allah, and to spread the faith of Islam is to spread the spiritual power base of Allah.

It’s interesting to note that many scholars have recognized that Islam is not a religion that sets out to “convert” others on a one to one basis, like Christianity. Islam is more concerned with the community as a whole and great importance is given to it. So the politics of Islam are the politics of a community of people.

Islam is far more concerned with gaining more territory than it is gaining individual converts. It would rather increase its rule over nations than increase its faith through individual conversions. It is thus a “power” religion and not one so much concerned with the individual. It even accepts you can be a Jew or Christian living amongst Muslims, as long as you live under Islamic rule!

8. Ishmael not Isaac. In Genesis we see that Abraham had two sons (Gen. 16:1-12). One of course was Isaac born to Abraham's wife Sarah. Isaac was the promised son to them both, but Sarah was impatience and gave her handmaiden Hagar to Abraham to bring forth the seed of promise.

The result of this was catastrophic, for Isaac was not born of Abraham’s loins first, this was Ishmael through Hagar! Ever since there has been enmity between the sons of Ishmael and Isaac. This helps us to understand why there is ongoing conflict between the Arab nations (Ishmael) and Israel (Isaac). Even today in the UN whenever an Israeli gets up to speak the Arab delegates usually leave the chamber.

Muslims believe that it was Ishmael who was the promised one, and that the Jews have supplanted him in favour of Isaac. Yet 2,500 years before Muhammad it was recorded in Scripture that:

“...God said, No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac: I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19).

And of course when Jesus, a descendant of Isaac, came it was said of Him: “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

If you read the Qur’an you will notice that Muhammad says little that is positive about the Jews, and nothing at all about the land of Israel and its place in the End Times. If Muhammad truly was a prophet from the God of the Bible, surely there would’ve been positive and prophetic mention of both Jew and Israel in the Qur’an. But there isn’t!

In fact the reverse is true for Muhammad cursed the Jews in Allah’s name.

Do ye not see those who have been given a portion of the Book? they buy error, and they wish that ye may err from the way! But Allah knows best who your enemies are, and Allah suffices as a patron, and sufficient is Allah as a help.

And those who are Jews, and those who pervert the words from their places, and say, 'We hear but we rebel, and do thou listen without hearing,' and (who say) 'ra'hina,' distorting it with their tongues and taunting about religion. But had they said, 'We hear and we obey, so listen and look upon us,' it would have been better for them and more upright; but may Allah curse them in their misbelief, for they will not believe except a few. Behold, how they devise against Allah a lie, and that is manifest sin enough.

Do ye not see those to whom a portion of the Book has been given? They believe in idols and false gods, and they say of those who misbelieve, 'These are better guided in the way than those who believe.' These are those whom Allah has cursed, and whom Allah has cursed no helper shall he find. Shall they have a portion of the kingdom? Why even then they would not give to men a jot.

Do they envy man for what Allah has given of His grace? We have given to Abraham's people the Book and wisdom, and we have given them a mighty kingdom. And of them are some who believe therein, and of them are some who turn from it, but Hell is flaming enough for them.

Verily, those who disbelieve in our signs, we will broil them with fire; whenever their skins are well done, then we will change them for other skins, that they may taste the torment. Verily, Allah is glorious and wise.

The New Testament however clearly states God’s heart toward His ancient people the Jews, when He says through Paul. “..has God cast away His people? Certainly not! God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew” (Romans 11:1-2).

The Arab lineage from Ishmael is an historical truth, and one the Arabs are proud of. Yet we see that they hate their half-brother Isaac, the Jews. Why? Part of the answer comes from the Lord Himself speaking to Hagar in Genesis 16:12.

“He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

There seems to be an inbuilt urging in the Arab to commit violence. There’s even a modern Arab proverb that says “I against my brothers, I and my brothers against my cousins, I and my cousins against the world.” (Quote from The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai, New York, Macmillan 1983, page 81).

I recently heard one Messianic Jew, who himself was close friends with Arab Christians, remark that the Arab people lacked knowing The Father whereas the Jewish people had profound insight about Him. He explained it as Ishmael not knowing and being accepted by his natural father, Abraham, whereas Isaac was accepted by him.

This opened my eyes to a profound truth. The Arab and Muslim people will not be at peace with themselves until they come to know their Heavenly Father, the God of the Bible. And Allah is definitely not such a father. Only the Father of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures will ease the pain of the “lost son” Ishmael. And only their “half brother” Jesus the Jew, will bring them through into fullness of life, salvation.

Grace to you in Jesus the Messiah,

Peter McArthur

The Issachar Ministry

www.issachar.org


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