Muhammad the founder of Islam lived between
570 (?) and 632 A.D. Muhammad believed himself to be the last of God's
prophets. He believed that his teachings consummated the teachings of all
of God's prophets. His belief in God was monotheistic, and he believed
that his teaching superceded the teaching of the Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Islam teaches that God is one and Muhammad was his only true prophet. He
believed himself to be the last and the most important prophet of God.
He believed that all the laws given by God for living culminated in the
Muhammad recognized the Christian Bible, which
contains the Hebrew Old Testament and the New Testament. He believed that
God's ultimate laws to distinguish between good and evil was given through
the prophets and the Quran. However, he believed that the Bible had been
altered and perverted overtime, while he believed the Quran to be the perfect
word from God. He claimed that Quran was the word of God, which God had
preserved from corruption.
The major conflict between the Hebrew and
Christian Scriptures with Islam is that Islam recognizes itself as a restoration
and continuation of the revelation of Judaism and Christianity. Muhammad
recognized Abraham, Moses and Jesus but he revised the Hebrew and Christian
Scripture accounts of each with the belief that his accounts were more
It is evident that Muhammad had a working
knowledge of the basic tenets of the Jewish and Christian doctrine. However,
Muhammad proclaimed his own message and recorded it in what is now called
the Quran. Muhammad had a self-perceived mission. He believed the original
messages of Judaism and Christianity were given by God, but he also believed
that the Jews and Christians had distorted them. He believed his mission
was to supplant Hebrew and Christian teaching with a newer Islamic code.
Muhammad recognized Jesus was a prophet whose
teaching was revealed in the New Testament, but he believed that the original
scripture had been distorted over time by Christ's followers as they proclaimed
Jesus as the Son of God. Muhammad denied the Christian teaching that Jesus
was God or that Jesus was God's Son.
Muhammad recognized the strict legal codes
of the Hebrew Scriptures were appropriate for their times. However, Muhammad
recognized Jesus' code of behavior stressed spirituality rather than ritual
and law. Muslims believe Muhammad received the last perfect legal code
that balances the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament.
The primary emphasis of Islamic doctrine is
the humanity of Muhammad. He was a mortal man, commissioned by God to deliver
a message to humanity.
The Vision of Muhammad
At age 40, Muhammad claimed that he had received
his message through a vision he had in a cave outside Mecca while meditating.
He claimed the angel Gabriel gave him the message and proclaimed him a
According to Muslim tradition, one night in
Ramadhan about the year 610, as he was asleep or in a trance, the Angel
Gabriel came to him and said: "Recite!" He replied: "What shall I recite?"
The order was repeated three times, until the angel himself said: "Recite
in the name of your Lord who created, created man from clots of blood.
Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, who by the pen taught man
what he did not know."
When he awoke, these words, we are told, seemed
to be "inscribed upon his heart."
Muhammad, who disclaimed power to perform
miracles, firmly believed that he was a messenger of God, sent forth to
confirm previous scriptures. God had revealed His will to the Jews and
the Christians through chosen apostles, but they disobeyed God's commandments
and divided themselves into schismatic sects. The Quran accuses the Jews
of corrupting the Scriptures and the Christians of worshipping Jesus as
the Son of God. Muhammad believed that God had expressly commanded them
to worship none but God. Having thus gone astray, they must be brought
back to the right path, to the true religion preached by Abraham. This
was Islam - absolute submission or resignation to the will of Allah. (From
Introduction to the Koran by H. J. Dawood)
Miracles Dismissed In Islamic Tradition
Muhammad believed that the miracles
of the Bible were made obsolete. The Quran saw miracles only as
a means to instill reverence, but did not believe miracles were necessary
to confirm the speaker as a prophet. The following passages from the Quran
state this idea.
[17:59] What stopped us from
sending the miracles is that the previous generations have rejected them.
For example, we showed Thamoud the camel, a profound (miracle), but they
transgressed against it. We sent the miracles only to instill reverence.
[17:60] We informed you that
your Lord fully controls the people, and we rendered the vision that we
showed you a test for the people, and the tree that is accursed in the
Quran. We showed them solid proofs to instill reverence in them, but this
only augmented their defiance.
[18:54] We have cited in this
Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative
[18:55] Nothing prevented the
people from believing, when the guidance came to them, and from seeking
the forgiveness of their Lord, except that they demanded to see the same
(kind of miracles) as the previous generations, or challenged to see the
[18:56] We only send the messengers
as simply deliverers of good news, as well as warners. Those who disbelieve
argue with falsehood to defeat the truth, and they take My proofs and warnings
[17:105] Truthfully, we sent
it down, and with the truth it came down. We did not send you except as
a bearer of good news, as well as a warner.
[17:106] A Quran that we have
released slowly, in order for you to read it to the people over a long
period, although we sent it down all at once.
[17:107] Proclaim, "Believe
in it, or do not believe in it." Those who possess knowledge from the previous
scriptures, when it is recited to them, they fall down to their chins,
[17:108] They say, "Glory be
to our Lord. This fulfills our Lord's prophecy."
[17:109] They fall down on their
chins, prostrating and weeping, for it augments their reverence.
[17:110] Say, "Call Him GOD,
or call Him the Most Gracious; whichever name you use, to Him belongs the
It is obvious that Muhammad believed the miracles
of the biblical prophets were to instill reverence rather than prove the
authenticity of the prophet. Muhammad never claimed to work miracles. However,
his followers say that the single miracle of Muhammad was the Quran itself.
This is probably what is the most mystifying
about Islam. Initially it is founded solely upon the word of Muhammad,
who felt he had no need to authenticate his teaching with anything but
The Old Testament miracles were designed
to authenticate the message of the one speaking was the words of God.
Moses answered, "What if they
do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to
you'?" Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"
"A staff," he replied. The LORD
said, "Throw it on the ground."
Moses threw it on the ground
and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the LORD said to him, "Reach
out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold
of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. "This," said
the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their
fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has
appeared to you."
Then the LORD said, "Put your
hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when
he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.
"Now put it back into your cloak,"
he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it
out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
Then the LORD said, "If they
do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they
may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen
to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The
water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord,
I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken
to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
The LORD said to him, "Who gave
man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes
him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will
teach you what to say."
But Moses said, "O Lord, please
send someone else to do it."
Then the LORD's anger burned
against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite?
I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his
heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words
in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to
do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were
your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand
so you can perform miraculous signs with it." (NIV)
The most obvious difference in the writing
of the Quran and the writings of Moses is that Moses leadership was authenticated
by the miracles of Egypt as well as God's miraculous sustenance of Israel
in the 40-year journey through Sinai. It was there in the wilderness that
Israel learned that Moses was God's representative.
The Islamic story of Moses and the Pharaoh
differs from the Christian biblical account.
[17:101] We supported Moses
with nine profound miracles - ask the Children of Israel. When he went
to them, Pharaoh said to him, "I think that you, Moses, are bewitched."
[17:102] He said, "You know
full well that no one can manifest these except, obviously, the Lord of
the heavens and the earth. I think that you, Pharaoh, are doomed."
[17:103] When he pursued them,
as he chased them out of the land, we drowned him, together with those
who sided with him, all of them.
[17:104] And we said to the
Children of Israel afterwards, "Go live into this land. When the final
prophecy comes to pass, we will summon you all in one group."
However, the important thing about the Quran's
accounts is that Muhammad was very familiar with the biblical stories of
both Hebrew and Christian scriptures. This most certainly verifies the
existence of the biblical story before the completion of the cannon of
Muhammad recognizes what Moses did before
Pharaoh as he writes, in the Quran in 17:102, "You know full well that
no one can manifest these except, obviously, the Lord of the heavens and
the earth. I think that you, Pharaoh, are doomed." Muhammad recognized
the miracles of Moses and he recognizes the purpose for which they were
given. However, Muhammad has nothing to authenticate the Quran, but the
God states the purpose of the miracles accompanying
Moses was to make Pharaoh let his people go. Pharaoh recognized the miracles
as a sign from God authenticating Moses words. For the most powerful nation
in the world to bow to Moses demands to let his people go was a miracle
in itself. The Israelites recognized the miracles as authenticating Moses
teaching. Muhammad recognized Moses as a man who worked miracles by the
power of God, but refuses to accept what Moses taught in the first five
books of the Bible.
The difference in Moses and Muhammad is that
Moses received his teaching in real time as God was intervening in the
history of the world, while Muhammad received his teaching in the privacy
of a cave. The reception of Moses’ message was witnessed by the world;
Muhammad's teaching was witnessed by no one.
Islam means "Submission." Muhammad
believed Islam to be the only religion. He asks you to submit to his teaching
[3:19] The only religion approved
by GOD is "Submission." Ironically, those who have received the scripture
are the ones who dispute this fact, despite the knowledge they have received,
due to jealousy. For such rejectors of GOD's revelations, GOD is most strict
[3:20] If they argue with you,
then say, "I have simply submitted myself to GOD; I and those who follow
me." You shall proclaim to those who received the scripture, as well as
those who did not, "Would you submit?" If they submit, then they have been
guided, but if they turn away, your sole mission is to deliver this message.
GOD is Seer of all people.
[3:21] Those who have rejected
GOD's revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly, and killed those who
advocated justice among the people, promise them a painful retribution.
[3:22] Their works have been
nullified, both in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will have no
Moses' approach was much different as
he encouraged Israel to test the prophets concerning the truthfulness of
If a prophet, or one who foretells
by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or
wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and
he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let
us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.
The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with
all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must
follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve
him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death,
because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you
out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to
turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must
purge the evil from among you. (NIV)
Islam says we should never question
God's wisdom, which means that one should accept what Muhammad teaches
[21:23] He is never to be asked
about anything He does, while all others are questioned.
[21:24] Have they found other
gods beside Him? Say, "Show me your proof. This is the message to my generation,
consummating all previous messages." Indeed, most of them do not recognize
the truth; this is why they are so hostile.
So much of what is written in the Bible is
built upon what the previous spokesman for God had written. Each successive
writer built upon what was previously said without contradicting what the
previous writer said. However, after a six hundred year period after John’s
revelation, Muhammad comes upon the scene denying everything previously
said with nothing more than his assertion that he had a vision, which his
followers scramble to prove after he is dead and gone.
Differences In the Bible and Quran Accounts
The Qurranic and biblical story about
Abraham's sacrifice of his son suggests that it was Ishmael, not Isaac
who was offered as a sacrifice. Of course, the Arabs are the descendants
of Ishmael and not Isaac, from whom Israel descended. Below is the Quran's
version of Abraham's sacrifice of his son.
2:124] Recall that Abraham was
put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled
them. (God) said, "I am appointing you an imam for the people." He said,
"And also my descendants?" He said, "My covenant does not include the transgressors."
[2:125] We have rendered the
shrine (the Ka`aba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary.
You may use Abraham's shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham
and Ismail: "You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live
there, and those who bow and prostrate."
[2:127] As Abraham raised
the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed):
"Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.
Muhammad indicates that Abraham and Ishmael
built the altar for the sacrifice together. However, it was Abraham and
Isaac who went up the Mountain to worship God. Traditional Jews believed
the place where Abraham and Isaac built the altar was the place where the
city of Jerusalem was eventually built. It is was also the place where
the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was eventually built.
Today there is a Muslim temple built upon
the place where the Jewish temple once stood. The irony is that it is the
place where the Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven when he
died. We can begin to understand the deep-seated conflict between the Arabs
Islam would have us to believe that Abraham
delivered all the practices of Islam at this very place, but this would
have Abraham delivering the practices of Islam over 2500 years before Muhammad
was born. We have no historical record of this fact. The Quran says:
[2:136] Say, "We believe in
GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham,
Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses
and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction
among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters."
There seems to be an effort to make Islam
predate Judaism as well as Christianity. We have no record of this assertion
of Islam. Moses indicates that only Abraham and Isaac went upon the mountain
to build an altar. Moses reveals Isaac’s descendants as the ones who followed
In the following verses of the Quran Muhammad
indicates that Abraham prayed for his people to be submitters and that
God would give his people a prophet. Of course, Muhammad sees himself as
the prophet that Abraham prays for.
[2:128] "Our Lord, make us submitters
to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters
to You. Teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the
Redeemer, Most Merciful.
[2:129] "Our Lord, and raise
among them a messenger to recite to them Your revelations, teach them the
scripture and wisdom, and purify them. You are the Almighty, Most Wise."
[2:130] Who would forsake the
religion of Abraham, except one who fools his own soul? We have chosen
him in this world, and in the Hereafter he will be with the righteous.
[2:131] When his Lord said to
him, "Submit," he said, "I submit to the Lord of the universe."
[2:132] Moreover, Abraham exhorted
his children to do the same, and so did Jacob: "O my children, GOD has
pointed out the religion for you; do not die except as submitters."
[2:133] Had you witnessed Jacob
on his death bed; he said to his children, "What will you worship after
I die?" They said, "We will worship your god; the god of your fathers Abraham,
Ismail, and Isaac; the one god. To Him we are submitters."
[2:134] Such is a community
from the past. They are responsible for what they earned, and you are responsible
for what you earned. You are not answerable for anything they have done.
Moses' indicates that the blessing upon Abraham's
descendants was to be upon Isaac.
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed
and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?
Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" 18 And Abraham said to God,
"If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"
Then God said, "Yes, but your
wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish
my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after
him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will
make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the
father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my
covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this
time next year." When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up
from him. (NIV)
Who are we to believe, the authenticated words
of Moses or the assertions of Muhammad. When Abraham had given up on having
more children, he pleaded with God to allow the blessing to come through
Ishmael. God said no! Why should I believe Moses account above Muhammad's,
we have no doubt that Moses was a prophet of God. Islam recognizes this
much. But there is no such authentication for Muhammad other than the fact
that what he wrote is proof in itself. Islam relies on numerology to prove
its truth, while Moses' writing was given in real time as the historiography
of the world was developing for the whole world to see.
In Islam belief in the message of Muhammad
comes second only to belief in the one God. If you reject Muhammad, you
reject God for he is the only perfect prophet of God.
Moses is not the only prophet Muhammad calls
into question. He calls into question the entire Christian Bible.
The distortion of God through religion has
been such that is appears that God favors one race or sex over another.
This may help us understand why there is so much tension between Islam,
Judaism and Christianity. However, what most do not realize is that God’s
blessing through Abraham and Isaac was for every family on earth.
The LORD had said to Abram,
"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to
the land I will show you.
"I will make you into a great
nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will
be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you
I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (NIV).
You are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor
free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong
to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
I heard an Islamic scholar on a talk radio
program leave the impression that Islam accepts Abraham, Moses, the prophets
and Christ. However, that doesn't mean that they accept what Christians
believe each of them taught. They have reinterpreted the Scriptures according
to Muhammad's vision.
One thing the Quran does prove for the Christian
is that the biblical account of Judaism and Christianity had been well
circulated by the end of the 6th century A.D.