Introduction to Islam:
Shared Beliefs & Differences with Christianity
What is Islam & what is the Quran?
Islam is simply the religion of God, meaning the set of beliefs and practices that God wants human beings to follow. Islam is a full way of life. The teachings of Islam span almost every aspect of the life of human beings.
The Quran (can also be spelled as Qur'an, Kuran, or Koran) is the holy scripture of Muslims. The Quran states that the name of God's religion is Islam and it refers to its followers as Muslims.
The Quran started to be revealed by God to Prophet Mohammad through arch-angel Gabriel, when he was 40 years old, around year 610 AD. It was revealed gradually, few verses at a time, over a period of about 23 years. The Quran is a very unique book that differs from the Bible in many ways. Unlike the Bible which supposedly contains the sayings of Jesus and other writings which Christians believe were inspired by God, the Quran is the "literal" word of God. We mean that the words in the Quran are the exact words of God. Therefore, the author of the Quran is God himself. Furthermore, also unlike the Bible, the Quran does not contain the sayings of Prophet Mohammad, nor does it contain an account of Prophet Mohammad's life.
God in the Quran promises clearly to protect the Quran from corruption. Indeed, God has protected the Quran. The Quran has remained the same. All the verses that were revealed to prophet Mohammad by angel Gabriel are included in the Quran that is available today. The Quran was revealed in Arabic language and Muslims consider only the Arabic Quran to be the Word of God and any translation of the Quran to other languages are mere translations of the Quran to people who do not understand Arabic language because translations are authored by ordinary human beings whereas the Arabic Quran is authored by God. Therefore, those translations are not considered by Muslim as a Word of God or holy scriptures. The 5 daily prayers of Muslims are in Arabic (most of what is said by Muslims during a prayer consist of reciting verses from the Quran). However, Muslims are not required to be able to speak Arabic, other than learning to utter few sentences in Arabic that are part of regular prayers.
The Quran states that the Quran, in by itself, is the most important miracle that Prophet Mohammad has brought to humanity. Since Prophet Mohammad was intended to be the last prophet and the Quran was the last message, God decided to give people a unique miracle that can be examined and experienced by not only people who lived at the time of the prophet, but for the hundreds of years to come. So, it was natural for God to choose Quran to be such a miracle.
That is why the Arabic Quran is a unique miracle. The only book in the world authored by God himself, word by word, and that is still available today in its original form. People throughout the Ages have wondered whether they can see God or something that can be attributed directly to God. The Quran is the answer. It is available today for all humans to experience how God expresses himself in words. The Quran is a book of knowledge with a uniquely captivating style, in which every verse is a sign from God. Each word used in the Arabic Quran was uniquely chosen by God for a purpose. You can not add or subtract a word to/from the Quran, without the corruption becoming noticeable. Scholars have discovered some hidden logic structures (codes) in the Quran that prove its authenticity and help in protecting its integrity from corruption. For more information about this topic, read the article below on this page, entitled Reflections on Islam and the Qur'an
The Quran contains lots of scientific knowledge that have only been known recently which were totally unknown and could not have been discovered at the time of prophet Mohammad. For more information about how modern science authenticates the validity of the divine source of the Quran, please feel free to visit the section of our site entitled Quran & Science where you will find videos, full-length books about this topic.
God, that the Quran refers to as Allah (an explanation of the meaning of the word Allah), is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, that includes creating the human beings, angels, animals, plants, trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, the planets, the sun, the moon, heaven, etc.
Islam is the inborn/ innate /natural religion of all human beings and everything created by God. All human beings are born as Muslims. Their parents may later raise them based on the teachings of another religion (in other words, their parents may corrupt their children’s natural Islamic religious beliefs). That is why, unlike Christianity which requires baptism, in Islam, there are no required rituals for children to go through to be Muslims because we believe that children are born as Muslims.
Islam did not start with Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). He was the final prophet, sent by God to complete God's religion. The first Muslim was Adam. Abraham, Moses, Jesus were also Muslims and prophets of Islam. God sent them to preach God's religion, that is Islam, even though at that time, God may not have instructed them to call it Islam.
In the Quran, God has specified a name for his religion, calling it Islam, to avoid what happened with the message and teachings of Jesus, where the teachings of Jesus came to be known later as Christianity. Please note that the term Christianity is not mentioned in the Bible. Those "Christians" ended up worshiping Jesus, instead of worshiping God, the creator of Jesus and the creator of the universe.
Quick Overview of the similarities and differences between Islam & Christianity
Islam is similar to Christianity, both believe that:
- There is only one God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
- God sent prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mohammad, etc.
- People should follow the Ten Commandments and the moral teachings of the prophets.
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin; therefore Jesus was born miraculously.
- Jesus Christ is the Messiah and he performed miracles.
- The Old testament/Torah and the new testament/Gospel) are holy scriptures.
- Satan is evil; therefore, people should not follow Satan.
- An Anti-Christ will appear on Earth before the Day of Judgment.
- Jesus Christ will return by descending from Heaven and will kill the Anti-Christ.
- The Day of Judgment will occur and people will be judged.
- There is hell and paradise.
There are 3 main differences between Islam & Christianity:
1. Today, most Christians believe in the Trinity, meaning that God has 3 forms (Father, Son, Holy Ghost/ Spirit). The concept of trinity was not adopted by Christianity until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Some of the early Christians were Unitarians. Even today, there are Christian Unitarian churches that do not accept the Trinity. According to Wikipedia, notable Rationalist Unitarians include thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (American), as well as famous figures such as: Sir Isaac Newton (British)- scientist, Florence Nightingale (British)- nurse, Charles Dickens (British)- author, and Frank Lloyd Wright (American)- architect.
While in Islam,
(a) Trinity is totally rejected. Jesus is neither God, nor Son of God (in the literal sense). Jesus was a human prophet and not divine.
(a) Muslims worship only God, the one and only the creator of the universe.
(b) This God (the Quran refers to as Allah) is the God and creator of Jesus and is the same God that Jesus in the current Bible refers to as Father and to whom Jesus used to pray.
(c) Muslims consider Mohammad, Moses, and Jesus as prophets and messengers sent by God ("messengers" is term that refers to prophets who brought holy scriptures to their people as a message from God). These prophets were human beings, not divine, and should not be worship directly or indirectly.
(d) Muslims believe God neither has sons nor daughters.
(e) Finally, angels (such as Gabriel) are servants/agents of God. Angels are created by God; therefore, they are not divine and should not be worshiped.
Even the Bible refutes the Trinity.says:
" I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man— the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:9)
2. The Quran says Jesus did not die on the cross, but God made it appear that way to people. Furthermore, the Quran also says that Jesus was ascended to Heaven by God. Most Christians today insist Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, but two days later was resurrected.
3. Christians believe in the concept of "Original Sin" which means that human beings are born as sinners , bearing the burden of the "Original Sin" of Adam and Eve. Muslims do not believe in the " Original Sin" for 2 main reasons:
(a) In the Quran, God forgave Adam for what he has done, and
(b) according to the Quran, no one should be made to bear the burden of someone else's sin or mistake because it is unfair.
Muslims' View of Christianity
1. The true teachings of Jesus (pbuh) are fully compatible with Islam. Muslims are the true followers of the teachings of Jesus, Moses, and Mohammad (peace be upon them).
2. Muslims regard the real, "original" Bible (that reflects God's actual message and the real teachings of Jesus and the prophets before him) as a holy scripture. We believe that the Bible has been corrupted due to many factors and reasons. The current Bible is corrupted, but not completely false. So, we can still find today in the Bible some traces of the truth, such as verses that contradict with the Trinity. That is why Muslims are willing to accept the "current" Bible only to the extent that it does not contradict with the Quran.
3. Modern Christianity was not founded by Jesus, but rather by Paul and the Romans in the Council of Nicea in 325 AD (meaning about 325 years after Jesus), inspired by Satan. In this Council of Nicea, Church leaders from around the World debated and finally decided on what should and what should not be included in the Bible. There were different views expressed in the Council; however, the views of the those who were most powerful won. As a result, lots of Gospels were thrown away. For Christianity to be adopted by the Roman Empire as its official religion, it had to succumb to the desires of the Romans who wanted to incorporate their own pagan religious beliefs and myths into Christianity. The integrity of the message brought by Jesus from God was compromised to appease the Roman Empire. Christianity has evolved into a cult that has deviated significantly from the true teachings of Jesus by: (a) adding new doctrines not preached by Jesus, (b) deleting or modifying some of the teachings of Jesus, and (c) creating an "unholy", man-made scripture. A holy scripture must be in the form and content intended, inspired, or revealed by God, not created by human beings.
4. Many Christians insist that Muslims do not worship the same God of Christianity. We say that Islam requires Muslims to worship only God (the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad), the creator of the universe. Many Christians mistakenly believe that without Trinity, there is no Christianity. We ask them if Trinity is so important why didn't Jesus speak about it clearly. In many verses in Bible, Jesus contradicts the Trinity. We, as Muslims, say to such Christians, obviously, we do not worship the same "triune" God that you do. The Quran instructs us to worship only the creator of the universe and not worship any human being. Muslims today are the true followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as the teachings of Prophet Mohammad and the other prophets before them. Muslims worship the God of Jesus, the God who created Jesus and whom Jesus himself worshipped. Who is more worthy of worship: God or Jesus ?
5. The Quran says clearly that Islam is the religion of "Fitra" (meaning "the inborn nature of everything created by God"). This means that Islam is the innate/inborn religion. This makes a lot of sense because it is natural for a human being to worship his/her creator who has also created and sustains the whole universe because no one knows more about human beings' nature and needs than their creator and no one can sustain the balance and life in the universe better than God. Furthermore, it is natural to believe that there is one God because if there were more than one God, the universe would have been chaotic. Therefore, it is natural for human beings to want to establish a good relationship with the one and only God. God has sent prophets such Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad, exactly to tell human beings that in order to maintain a good relationship with God, they should follow God's religion, meaning the set of beliefs and practices that: (a) is good for them personally for their life on Earth and in the hereafter, and (b) that creates peace and harmony among people as well as between people and the rest of the universe. God offered one religion preached by all of God's prophets and this religion was finally given the name Islam.
Just imagine yourself trying to explain the Trinity of Christianity to someone. The first thing this person is likely to accept is that he should worship God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, of course as long as this person is not an atheist. If you are dealing with an atheist, then first you have to prove to this person that there is God. Then, you can simply say that since now you believe in the existence of God, God expects you to worship him. Now, your final task, that is to make him believe in the Trinity, is certainly going to be much harder than convincing him of the need to worship God. Trinity is not a "natural" concept. It is a hypothesis (theory) that is more difficult to accept. You have to convince him that 3 is equal to 1. Trinity defies the laws of mathematics and the laws of nature.
The purpose or rationale for the Trinity was to say that Jesus died for the sins of human beings and merely by believing in the Trinity and worshiping Jesus, people will be saved and they will go to paradise.
There are at least 6 problems with the Trinity and the "Original Sin" doctrines:
(a) These doctrines merely form a man-made hypothesis that defies the natural/inborn tendencies of people to worship only their creator as we have explained above.
(b) They were adopted in the Council of Nicea in 325 AD in which there were views that differ sharply from today's Christianity and many gospels were discarded.
(c) Trinity is a concept that was copied from a popular pagan religion of the Romans, called Mithraism. For more information about this matter, visit the section of our site that explains this issue.
(d) There are several verses in the Bible that contradict with the doctrine of Trinity.
For example, the Bible says:
" God is not a man, that he
should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he
speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? " (Numbers 23:19)
" For I am God, and not man— the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:9)
(e) The Original Sin concept encourages people to sin as much as they want and not to do any good deeds. After all, regardless of their sins, Christianity teaches that Christians will be forgiven, saved and go to heaven as long as they believe in Jesus, as explained above.
(f) The Original Sin concept is not fair, as we have explained earlier, because no one should be made to bear the burden of someone else's sin or mistake.
Ancient Christian books (including letters of Jesus' brother) view Jesus as human prophet
Dr. Jerald Dirks: A History of Early Christianity
Yusuf Estes: Can God have a son? Part 1 of 2
Yusuf Estes: Can God have a son? Part 2 of 2
Ozzy refutes Venom Fang, a Christian bigot of Jewish background (excellent video !)
JESUS: Prophet or God? Son of God or Son of Man?
20 reasons why Jesus is not a God
The Trinity is a False Teaching
6. Today's Christianity is a product of man-made corruptions, motivated by personal and political reasons, and inspired by Satan. The primary objective of Satan is to entice people to disobey God and stray away from his religion. Satan knows that most people will not agree to worship him (Satan). So, Satan is satisfied by just making people follow him indirectly. By inspiring people to corrupt the Bible and create today's Christianity, Satan believes that he won one battle against God, but even Satan knows that he cannot win a war against God. Satan utilizes several methods to achieve his objectives such as: (a) Satan entices people to do evil things by camouflaging the bad aspects and creating an attractive illusion about the benefits one will get for doing these evil things, (b) Satan attempts to stop people from doing the good things that God has commanded, (c) Satan does his best to strengthen the sense of vanity, selfishness, over-confidence, and invincibility in individuals to the extent that Satan makes them feel they do not need God and consequently either reject the existence of God or at least choose to disobey him (this is exemplified by people who "act like God").
7. Satan acted like a deceitful businessman. He noticed a unique opportunity and he wanted to take advantage of it. The opportunity was the advent of a Jesus, a prophet with a genuine message from God that was originally intended to correct the beliefs the Jews who strayed away from God's religion. Satan did what some deceitful sellers of vegetables and fruits do today. He inspired Paul and the Romans to create Christianity in such a way that they sell it as a package that includes bad apples inside the package, but with some good apples (Jesus' teachings and message) displayed in the upper viewable portion of the package to deceive people into buying the package. The package is wrapped in attractive way and the buyer has to buy it as a whole package. As a businessman, Satan wanted his evil product to be bought and used by the largest number of people and that is why he chose to inspire the Roman Emperor to adopt Satan's product, giving it a brand name, Christianity, and making it the official religion of the Roman Empire. This is how Christianity was created and promoted.
8. It is also worth mentioning that the Old Testament (Jewish Torah) was also corrupted very likely by Jewish Rabbis and priests to fit their own preferences.
9. Finally, we should also point out the important role of scribes and translators in corrupting the Old & New Testaments. Some of the corruptions by theses scribes & translators were possibly done intentionally, while others may have occurred unintentionally. To lean more about the role of the scribes, please watch Dr. Bart Erhman's lecture at Stanford University (he is a World-renowned Bible Scholar)
For more detailed information about the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity, we strongly encourage you to:
(a) Visit on our site, What did Jesus really say? which is in our opinion one of the best books that has been written on this topic.
(b) Visit on our site: Mohammad (prophecies about Mohammad in the Bible and other holy scriptures)
(c) Visit on our site: Islam in the Bible
(d) Visit on our site: Jesus in Islam
(e) Visit on our site: Christianity (what is wrong with Christianity)
The proper Islamic words to use and the best way to spell and pronounce them (Please note that on web site, we sometimes spell words in un-recommended ways solely to match the way most people spell these words as search key words):
(a) The person who follows Islam is called a Muslim. This is an Arabic masculine word which means a male whose religion is Islam.
(b) A female whose religion is Islam should be called “Muslima”.
(c) Please note that Muslim, in Arabic, is a noun and not an adjective. The adjective that can be used to describe something related to Islam in English is the word “Islamic”.
(d) A Muslim used be called “Moslem” especially by British people. Today, even in Britain, Muslim is replacing “Moslem” as the most common way to spell this word. Muslim is definitely much closer to the way this word sounds in Arabic.
(e) However, it is unfortunate, that even though “Muslim” is being spelled properly, non-Muslim English-speaking people are still pronouncing it as if it is “Moslem”. The proper pronunciation corresponds much better with the word “ Muslim”. To pronounce it properly: (1) the use of “u” is better than “o” and this “u” should be pronounced the way you pronounce the “u” in names like “Lucy” or “Luke”; (2) the “s” must be pronounced as an “s”, not as a “z”; and (3) the “lim” in the word should be pronounced the way you pronounce names like “Tim” or “Kim”.
Ammar Amonette (a convert Scholar): Introduction to Islam
Pillars of Islam: Spiritual Dimension (by Dr. Jeffrey Lang, a Univ. Prof., a convert to Islam)
A 24 year old Canadian convert explains the Five Pillars of Islam
Basic Islamic Beliefs
Introduction to Islam (Part 1 of 3)
Introduction to Islam (Part 2 of 3)
Introduction to Islam (Part 3 of 3)
Closer look at Islam in North America - Part 1 / 3
Closer look at Islam in North America - Part 2 / 3
Closer look at Islam in North America - Part 3 / 3
American Ramadan Documentary- Islam in the United States
British and American women are converting to Islam every day
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