Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Comparing Islam to Christianity, Part 4

To Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad, called the “seal of the prophets,” is the last of over 124,000 prophets going back to Adam. His name means “praised one,” and Allah in the Qur’an commends him.

Mecca was a center of idol worship in AD 610 when Muhammad first challenged the people to forsake idolatry and embrace Islam. Most Meccans rejected his message and many began to persecute the early Muslims, causing them to flee to the town of Medina in AD 622. This flight is known as the hijara and marked the first year on the Islamic calendar. Medina was more receptive to Muhammad and from this city, through battles and diplomacy, Islam was spread to the entire Arabian Peninsula before Muhammad died in AD 632.

Muslims try to follow Muhammad’s example, known as his sunna, or his way, in every detail possible. Everything is prescribed, from ritual washings before prayer, to hygienic practices in the bathroom. Such detailed behavior is known through large collections of hadith, accounts of Muhammad’s life, words, and behavior passed on by his early followers.

New Testament writers proclaimed Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law of Moses (Taurat) and the predictions of Old Testament prophets. These prophets are quoted in the New Testament. For instance, Matthew quotes various prophets concerning Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), his mother being a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and even the killing of baby boys by King Herod (Jeremiah 31:15). The prophets also detail the suffering death and resurrection of Jesus (Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:8-11). The Bible points out that God carefully planned and carried out the details of the coming of Jesus in history (Luke 24:27; Acts 3:18).

The Bible contains numerous warning about false teachers and prophets. Jesus predicts the end times will be full of these (Matthew 24:11). Therefore, every teaching must be judged against the truth already revealed in the Bible. Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit (“The Spirit of Truth”) would guide truth seekers into all truth (John 14-16).

In conversation with Muslims, Christians should remember not to attack Muhammad. Since so much is determined by imitating their prophet, to insult Muhammad is to attack their entire life and culture.

It is wise to find common ground and agree that Muhammad has much in common with Old Testament prophets. Like David and Solomon, he was a political and military leader with multiple wives. Like Moses and Joshua, he united tribes and led them in battle. Like Elijah and many other prophets, he destroyed idols and confronted the corrupt political and economic powers of his day.

Just as Old Testament prophets looked forward to the coming Messiah, Muhammad looked back with respect and admiration to Jesus as the Messiah. The Qur’an calls Isa Al Masih (Jesus) “God’s word” and a “Spirit from Him” (Surah 4:171). It affirms His virgin birth and special role in the end times.

Followers of Jesus do not have to deny or embrace Muhammad in order to exalt the Messiah. It is important to lift up Jesus, not tear down Muhammad.


Information is from “Islam and Christianity,” produced by Rose Publishing.

9 comments:

satire and theology said...

You mean the Green Lantern Anti 'Blog Troll Corps? My sidebar is already crowded enough, but that is an interesting idea.

Right now, I'm supposed to be working on a design for my brother's book. I need to quit procrastinating and get it done before it's too late. He's working on the last revision of the copy of the book now.'

Good for you.:)

satire and theology said...

'Followers of Jesus do not have to deny or embrace Muhammad in order to exalt the Messiah. It is important to lift up Jesus, not tear down Muhammad.'

Wise.

Jeff said...

satire and theology,

Good for you.:)

Yeah, but I probably won't be paid anything for it...even though I am badly in need of money.

Wise.

Yes, indeed. Unfortunately, I have not always followed this advice.

satire and theology said...

Well, as someone told me via FB chat this morning, sometimes in times of trouble the Lord breaks us to build us. But, sometimes a break is a little much to take and mercy would be very good.:)

Jeff said...

satire and theology,

Well, as someone told me via FB chat this morning, sometimes in times of trouble the Lord breaks us to build us. But, sometimes a break is a little much to take and mercy would be very good.:)

Yes. I have been out of a job for almost a year now (except for a few one-day art projects). I can't turn on my heater because, for the past few days, I notice a strong electrical-burning smell when I do, and I've been trying to find out what is causing it. I am experiencing a hardship with my family that I have been praying about. But, all of these things can serve to draw me closer to the Lord, and cause me to spend more time in His Word and in prayer, and depend more on Him. And, at the same time, I have also been receiving many blessings.

In the middle of that earthquake disaster in Haiti, I was hearing yesterday that there is a great spiritual revival going on. Many are turning to Christ. People who are missing arms or legs (or both) are sitting (outside, since the buildings collapsed) in a church service praising the Lord, with not one word of complaint because of their circumstances. One man who had a building fall on him, who spent 5 days being buried under 10 dead bodies, when he was finally dug out, he merely praised God and was so thankful just to be alive.

So, yes, as you said, "sometimes in times of trouble the Lord breaks us to build us."

Thanks, Russ.

satire and theology said...

Well, I used some comments I made here for part two of my latest...

'In the middle of that earthquake disaster in Haiti, I was hearing yesterday that there is a great spiritual revival going on. Many are turning to Christ.'

Good.:)

Jeff said...

satire and theology,

Well, I used some comments I made here for part two of my latest...

'In the middle of that earthquake disaster in Haiti, I was hearing yesterday that there is a great spiritual revival going on. Many are turning to Christ.'

Good.:)



Cool. Such things should be known, to the glory of the Lord!

Greg said...

Hi, Jeff. I'm so sorry to hear that you're still looking for work. We'll be praying for you.

As for the heater, are you referring to an electric heater or a gas furnace? Recently, our furnace was giving off a strong burning smell, as the fan was trying to start up, and they realized a capacitor was going out. It prevented enough current from going through to start the motor, but it was enough to cause the coils to overheat.

The point of this post was not to attack Mohammed, but as Christians, we should not shy away from the fact that (in the very least) he taught falsehoods, contrary to the Word of God. By the Bible's definition, he was an antichrist. We cannot dance around this issue; there are very tangible incompatibilities between the two.

Jeff said...

Greg,

Hi, Jeff. I'm so sorry to hear that you're still looking for work. We'll be praying for you.

Thanks, Greg! Your prayers are much appreciated!

As for the heater, are you referring to an electric heater or a gas furnace? Recently, our furnace was giving off a strong burning smell, as the fan was trying to start up, and they realized a capacitor was going out. It prevented enough current from going through to start the motor, but it was enough to cause the coils to overheat.

I'm glad it didn't start a fire. I have central air and a thermostat. I exchanged a few emails with my cousin, who knows a bit about these things, and I also had my youngest brother over, who is mechanically-gifted, and apparently, the heater in the garage, which has not been cleaned out since I've moved here, is filled with dust, and apparently that dust burning is what is causing the smell. My brother may come by and clean it out for me sometime. He told me that will not cause a fire. Today, I had the heater on most of the day, and it seems the burning smell has gone away. But thank you for sharing your experience with that.

The point of this post was not to attack Mohammed, but as Christians, we should not shy away from the fact that (in the very least) he taught falsehoods, contrary to the Word of God.

Yes, we must realize that he was a false teacher and a false prophet, which the Bible warns against.

By the Bible's definition, he was an antichrist. We cannot dance around this issue; there are very tangible incompatibilities between the two.

I agree. However, when witnessing to a Muslim, attacking Muhammad is not the best way to go about it, I don't think. But you are right that we must take a firm stance on Truth, and not compromise.