Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
Why the followers of Islam need to hear the truth about Jesus
When a Christian begins a spiritual conversation with a Muslim, the Muslim may say, “We worship the same God.”
Do we? Are the God of Christianity and Islam’s Allah one and the same? The misconception that they might be finds strong voice in confused theologies and the informational age in which we live. Truth be told, well-meaning Christians might also be prone to think that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Some people erroneously believe that because Christianity and Islam are monotheistic and their sacred texts recount similar narratives featuring some of the same prophets, the religions share deities as well. The truth is, there are vast differences at every level.
Muslims believe the Quran, Islam’s holy book, was delivered word for word to humankind through the Prophet Muhammad. Because the Quran exacts great authority to Muhammad and even prescribes obedience to him (Q 33:36), Muslims highly value the hadith, or what they believe are reliable accounts of the prophet’s life and behaviors. The “one god” related through these texts is very different from the God of the Bible, which Christ followers recognize as the inspired Word of God and the epicenter of belief and practice.
The God of the Bible created humankind in His own image, and throughout the ages has provided for our salvation. He has always been present as Father, Son and Holy Spirit — with a singular mission to fulfill the essence of John 3:16-17, so that through Him the world might be saved. He offers the free gift of eternal life with Him to all who believe (John 14:3; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Quran’s creator god did not make humankind in his image, nor does he interface with humankind as the God of the Bible does. Muslims believe their deeds can earn them favor, but they see Allah as transcendent — not imminent. They believe every human’s eternity in Islam’s paradise depends upon the balance of their good and bad works, for which there is no assurance. Even the Prophet Muhammad did not know whether he would achieve paradise, and most Muslims do not expect Allah to be there at all.
Of all the 99 names Muslims use to identify the character of Allah, the only word that resembles “love” is wadud, which refers to Allah’s approval of one’s good deeds. Allah does not love the sinner (Q 11:90), but the God of the Bible showed us His incomparable love by sending “his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
The oneness of Islam’s Allah denies humankind’s need for redemption and diminishes Jesus to the status of a Muslim prophet. They believe Jesus was spared crucifixion and before judgment day will return to Earth as an agent of end times world Islamization. Islam extols Jesus as a valued prophet, but to say that He is the Son of God is dire blasphemy in the Muslim world.
The God of the Bible created humankind in His own image, and throughout the ages has provided for our salvation.
The Quran says of Allah that “He begets not, nor is He begotten” (Q 112:3); most Muslims believe that Allah’s having no sons or daughters is paramount to his divinity. Meanwhile, the God of the Bible makes believers His sons and daughters (Galatians 3:26), promises to be a Father to us (2 Corinthians 6:18), and counts us as joint heirs through Him (Galatians 4:7).
Although the Muslim family is largely considered the strength of its society, the idea of a family of God is foreign to Muslims. Allah is separate from them. In fact, Christianity’s familial doctrine of the Trinity is misrepresented to Muslims in their sacred texts, causing Muslims to believe that Christians think God had physical relations with Mary to bring about the birth of Jesus. Islam’s Quran limits the very essence of God’s triune existence by misconstruing basic, key biblical truth.
Ironically, it is the very love of Jesus that ultimately draws Muslims to himself. The major difference between Muslims and Christians is that we get to know Jesus, but they have not yet had heard His good news. They believe lies about Him, falsehoods that originate with the enemy of our souls. They earnestly work to find themselves approved, but until they know the truth about Jesus, they have no real hope for salvation.
Safia was such a Muslim. War made her family asylum seekers in the United States almost three decades ago. For very legitimate reasons, she felt disillusioned with Islam, in spite of her extremely devout past. Safia recalls all the times she used to drive past churches and wonder what happened inside them. She longed to understand what Christmas and Easter were all about.
Eight years passed before a Christian dared to share Christ with Safia. Today, she is a vibrant believer in Jesus Christ.
Comparing her former way of life to her walk with Christ, Safia shared the following: “When I worshipped Allah, I saw him as judge. He felt distant to me. When I prayed to him I felt emptiness and heaviness … no freedom. I knew my prayers were essential for my going to paradise, but I felt far from getting there. Allah did not love me. He would only approve of me if I did enough good deeds.
“Now that I follow Jesus, I know Allah and the God of the Bible are very different from each other. God is personal to me because I sense His Spirit in me when I pray to Him. He works miracles in my life through prayer. I am filled with His peace and love. Most importantly, He is truly a God of grace and mercy for sending to Earth His only Son, to be sacrificed so my sins can be forgiven and I can live forever in heaven with Him.”
Islam’s Allah and the God of the Bible are not the same God. Their differences are real, and the deception of Islam has kept this truth from Muslims for too long. It’s important that we focus on these differences, not because we fear or need more boundaries, but because Muslims must know the truth about Jesus.
Safia’s faith in Christ is a wonderful testimony to the opportunity God gives us to share Him with Muslim neighbors near and far. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus, who makes a way for us all.
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of six articles on Christianity and Islam that is running on Fridays throughout the Muslim month Ramadan, which began May 6 and ends June 4. Friday is the Muslim day of prayer, so we encourage readers on this day especially to pray for the spread of the gospel among Muslims, both in the U.S. and around the world.
Ramadan 2019 Article Series