The God of Islam

pmb

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My religious background has ranged from being raised Catholic in my youth. Then I became an atheist and then Christian and then atheist etc. All said and done my religions beliefs have gone back and forth between being Christian and agnostic throughout my life. Since 2000 I was mostly Christian. I've read the Bible cover to cover, twice. I plan on doing that several more times in my life. So that's where I'm coming from. So I know a great deal of Christianity and what their beliefs are.

Now comes to my question: Anybody who knows a Muslim or has studied Islam knows that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. This is made explicitly clear in the Qu'ran. However it appears to me that the majority of Christians believe otherwise. It appears that they confuse the concept of having different beliefs about God with actually being another God altogether. If you're one of those Christians then I'd like to ask you what your thought process is on this point so that I can understand it.

First I'd like to explain my reasoning for it. In college I had to take several religion courses because it was a Catholic-Augustinian based school and as such we were force to. I took the general religion course and then a course on eastern religions. After that I've read a little about Islam in books on the subject. The most recent one is a world religion text called Ways to the Center - An Introduction to World Religion. In what follows let it be clear that the term Allah is not the name of God but is the Arabic word for "God." On page 99 the authors start off by saying
Islam is an Arabic word that means "submission, surrender" (to the will of Allah, God). Muslim is another Arabic word, this one meaning "one who submits," in other words, a follower of Islam. Muslims understand this God to whom they are submitting to be the same God described in Genesis and to whom Jesus prayed.
The God in the Qu'ran is the same God who they hold to be the one who sent Mary a messenger telling here that she's going to give birth to a holy child.

Those who read the Qu'ran see that the figures in those scriptures are the same ones that appear in the Christian Bible and as such some of them are in the Bible of the Jews, i.e. what we call the Old Testament.
 

Luke17:37

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My religious background has ranged from being raised Catholic in my youth. Then I became an atheist and then Christian and then atheist etc. All said and done my religions beliefs have gone back and forth between being Christian and agnostic throughout my life. Since 2000 I was mostly Christian. I've read the Bible cover to cover, twice. I plan on doing that several more times in my life. So that's where I'm coming from. So I know a great deal of Christianity and what their beliefs are.

Now comes to my question: Anybody who knows a Muslim or has studied Islam knows that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. This is made explicitly clear in the Qu'ran. However it appears to me that the majority of Christians believe otherwise. It appears that they confuse the concept of having different beliefs about God with actually being another God altogether. If you're one of those Christians then I'd like to ask you what your thought process is on this point so that I can understand it.

First I'd like to explain my reasoning for it. In college I had to take several religion courses because it was a Catholic-Augustinian based school and as such we were force to. I took the general religion course and then a course on eastern religions. After that I've read a little about Islam in books on the subject. The most recent one is a world religion text called Ways to the Center - An Introduction to World Religion. In what follows let it be clear that the term Allah is not the name of God but is the Arabic word for "God." On page 99 the authors start off by saying

The God in the Qu'ran is the same God who they hold to be the one who sent Mary a messenger telling here that she's going to give birth to a holy child.

Those who read the Qu'ran see that the figures in those scriptures are the same ones that appear in the Christian Bible and as such some of them are in the Bible of the Jews, i.e. what we call the Old Testament.

I recommend you read Nabeel Qureshi's book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.
 
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dzheremi

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The Qur'an can claim whatever it wants. We also pray in Arabic in my church, so there is a lot of praying to Allah which of course no one has any problem with, since this is the word for God in Arabic. But Islam is something else entirely. It is within the self-interest of Muslims to present their god this way, of course, as their prophet did in trying to gather people to him and his religion by talking about "a common word between us (Muslims) and you (People of the Book), that we worship none but God" (from Surah al Imran). But he also said to the unbelievers (which includes in practice if not by definition the "People of the Book" [though this term has not itself had a consistent definition throughout Islamic history, as it has occasionally included people of religions other than Christianity and Judaism as far as was necessary for the establishment of Islamic government in certain places conquered by Muslims], since Islam maintains that we have somehow distorted our scriptures and their teachings to the point of being different today than we were in Muhammad's time when he praised certain Christians as being believers in God) that they do not worship what he worships and he does not worship what they worship (in Surah al Kafiroun, "The unbelievers"). I agree on this point, though obviously not in the way that Muslims intend it to mean... :)

You cannot allow yourself to become confused by the similar or same personages allegedly shared between this or that book. Of course Islam claims to be the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mary, etc., because in Islamic prophetology everyone recognized by Islam/Muhammad as a previous messenger or pious religious figure before the actual establishment of Islam by Muhammad is therefore a Muslim or at least a proto-Muslim (what they call a hanif, in the case of certain Old Testament patriarchs; interestingly, this word ultimately comes from Syriac hanapa, which meant in the original 'pagan; idolater"! See Arthur Jeffery's classic "Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'an" for many more such examples). So this is not surprising, and basing conclusions of who is worshiping what on such a surface-level understanding of how the religions and texts interact is foolhardy. We even have different names (in some cases, wildly so, from the point of view of Semitic word formation) for certain figures allegedly shared between Christianity and Islam when speaking in Arabic according to the religious identity of the speaker! So a Muslim will call the Islamic Jesus 'Isa, where the Christian calls the actual Jesus Yasou' (and Yasou' was known as a proper name prior to Islam, whereas 'Isa was not; Jeffery, mentioned earlier, connects the "Islamic" name to a likely origin in the East Syriac version of the name Jesus, 'Isha); a Muslim referring to John will call him "Yahya", but a Christian "Yuhanna", and so on. Some of the names are the same, though (Maryam, Ibrahim, Isma'il, etc). So you can't really base anything on what is shared by which religion based on who claims what personage for their own religion. It's not exactly arbitrary (obviously Muslims very consciously do not have a St. Paul, as many claim he is responsible for corrupting their mythical 'original Christianity', which was essentially Islam before Islam; cf. above, regarding Islam's prophetology), but it doesn't actually tell us much about theological connections between any given religions.

Perhaps part of the confusion is that early commentators on Islam from a Christian perspective often saw it as a Christian-rooted heresy rather than its own separate religion (as John of Damascus, a contemporary to the first Muslim generation did in his commentary on Islam). Some people do still see it that way today, though I don't think it's a majority view of any given church by any means. But still, the assumed common roots of the religion with Christianity and Judaism make sense within this view, as Arabia was never the sealed bubble of religious ignorance the Muslims like to portray it as in order to give their religion and its book and prophet some kind of excuse for existing. Indeed, there were many Arab Jewish and Arab Christian tribes, both before Muhammad and after him: the Ghassanids, eventually the Lakhmids (who would go on to establish the first Arab kingdom outside of the Arabian peninsula proper several centuries before Islam, at al Hira in what is now Iraq), the Banu Judham, and so forth.

But anyway...all of this is surface-level stuff, to explain why it's not enough to say "well this person in the Qur'an is the same as the one in the Bible, so they worship the same God." Not only do things not work that way, but it doesn't take much to see the Qur'an for what it really is, if you are versed in the history of the Bible. Consider for instance the Quran's reliance on apocryphal Christian literature popular in Muhammad's time and before, which is refashioned to support the Islamic narrative and presented as revelatory material from God, but is in fact transparently cribbed from these earlier sources. The most obvious example is probably the Arabic Infancy Gospel, a circa fifth-century text supposedly based on an earlier Syriac original, which contains the following passage:

"He has said that Jesus spoke, and, indeed, when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary His mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world."

This scenario appears in a kind of distorted mirror image in the Qur'an (Surah 19:29-34), with Islam's Jesus figure, 'Isa, not coincidentally spouting an Islam-compliant message in contradiction to the Christian message of the earlier work:

"But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?" He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"! Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute."

The Qur'an is a mishmash of various influences (some Christian, some Jewish, some pagan), tailored to fit its author's ideas about God and the proper worship of Him. To claim anything more than that, particularly linking the Islamic religion to other religions that do not accept it, says more about the people doing the linking than how congruent its message may be with the particulars of the revelation of God in other, earlier religions. Muhammad's supposed prophethood and therefore everything that has come out of it (i.e., Islam and the Qur'an) is not actually accepted by Jews or Christians of any era, so I'd say it's less a matter of being able to agree on the nature of God (which, from what I've understood, Jews and Muslims mostly do), and more a matter of saying that no new revelation, regardless of what it may incidentally get correct (y'know, a stopped clock being right twice and day and all that), is actually needed or accepted according to the people Islam tries to entice into its fold by taking earlier prophets and personalities and remolding them to fit the Islamic narrative.
 
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Radrook

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All which monotheists. such as Muslims, Christians and Jews as opposed to polytheists have essentially in common belief that the universe was created by one creator and that besides that creator there are no others who deserve the title of Creator or God.

Besides that commonality, the personality and precepts of that entity which monotheists call The Creator, or God, can and does differ considerably.

For example, Within the Muslim faith there is the belief that the creator rewards the faithful males with a certain number of virgin to-do so as he pleases sexually in the after-life and that the creator will provide them with the physical stamina to enjoy without becoming tired

In contrast, neither Christians nor Jews view the creator as making such a salacious promise.

Most Christians believe that God is a Trinity while Jews and Muslims don't.

Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of mankind.
Jews and Muslims don't.
 
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com7fy8

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Hi, pmb :) Hmm, I see that you are a new member here; so welcome to Christian Forums, and God bless you :)

my religions beliefs have gone back and forth

I've read the Bible cover to cover, twice.
So, it is clear you are talking about "beliefs", and not necessarily talking about doing what the Bible says to do.

I offer Colossians 3:15 >

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

To me, this means God our Father wants each of us to submit to Him and how He personally rules each of us with His own peace in our "hearts". This is very personal, to be ruled by God Himself . . . in our "hearts". This is not just having a nice feeling of peace, but God's peace is in Himself in us while He is personally ruling each of us all "in one body". So, this is very close to God, right in us who are in the body of Jesus Christ.

And this is very loving, how God desires to share His very own peace of His own self with us; He is sharing His own self and love with each of us (Romans 5:5) while He rules us in our "hearts" with His peace. And if He wants to rule us, I understand that ruling is all the time. But we are not perfect about submitting, all the time, to God; but with growing in Jesus we become more and more always obedient like Jesus in us > Galatians 4:19.

However - - this, is not what some number of Christian church culture people are into or will talk about. They might have beliefs about God, but not a belief that our Christian calling includes how our Heavenly Father personally lives in our "hearts" while personally ruling each of us in His own peace.

The Bible says we children of God "were called in one body" to this being personally ruled by God in our "hearts" > so, all are called to this, if the whole "one body" of Jesus is called to this < this is a basic of Christianity, then > God is personal, not distant like some number of Christian church culture people can make Him seem to be. He is so personal, that . . . the Bible says . . . each of us in Jesus is >

"one spirit with Him" (in 1 Corinthians 6:17);

personally worked-in by God Himself >

"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

God in us works in our willing and doing of whatever He desires for us to do . . . with Him. Therefore, He does not leave us on our own, as ones say, expecting us to get our own selves to do things He wants. Ones say that God does not guide us about everything, but expects us to take care of things we can handle, on our own, but will help us if we really get stuck; but our Heavenly Father desires to personally share with each of us His children, all the time. And if you are not one of His obedient children, He desires for you to become one :)

God is so personal and generously forgiving and unconditionally loving with us, yes; but this is our example, also required of us! Ephesians 5:2. And people can be not interested in loving any and all people caringly and warmly and with hope for any evil person, at all. So, we humans can set up Christian culture beliefs and practice which keep attention elsewhere . . . elsewhere from personally submitting to how God rules us in His peace, while we find out how to love any and all people >

Jesus on the cross suffered and died with hope for any evil person, at all. And He expects us to follow this example >

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (Ephesians 5:2)

This is basic Bible. Basic loving.

Therefore, only God our Heavenly Father is able to correct us into all this. And Hebrews 12:4-11 tells us about the correction which only God can do, and the results of being really corrected by God Himself, and not only doing our own trying and struggling. To me, Hebrews 12:4-11 we need to actively seek God for His correction.

And all your reading of anywhere in the Bible can somehow help you to walk with God in His peace while you discover how He has you loving any and all people. And we Christians need more and more of this, ourselves; therefore, may God bless you and all of us so :groupray::pray::prayer::clap::amen:
 
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Radrook

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Whether the names are the same or not it is the teachings that show that allah of the Quran is not YHWH. Mohammad twisted previous Scriptures to allow for his lusting, greed and warmongering.
Yet when we study the history of professed Christianity, all we see is almost constant lusting, greed and warmongering with a vengeance. Please also note that the two extremely bloody world wars originated among professed Christians.

Weird!
 
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linux.poet

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Yet when we study the history of professed Christianity, all we see is almost constant lusting, greed and warmongering with a vengeance. Please also note that the two extremely bloody world wars originated among professed Christians.
We also see materialism and pleasures of the flesh in primarily Buddhist areas as well, even though Buddhism is about renouncing bodily pleasures and material things on the path to Nirvana. I don't think that it's fair to judge a religion for the foolish actions of its practitioners that are inconsistent with its teachings.

Islam clearly teaches in support of lust, greed, and warmongering, while Christianity teaches the exact opposite.

Aside from this, I have to admit that, while I read the Qur'an, I wasn't impressed with it. It's largely disconnected poetry, while the Bible contains every literary form in existence and supports its claims with historical events. You'd think the real God of the Universe would have invented all the literary forms and use them as needed. Meanwhile, any madman can write poetry - it's good therapy for the insane. The literary evidence stands in favor of the Bible as opposed to the Qur'an.
 
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