The god of Islam is most definitely not the same as the God worshipped by Christians and Jews.
That is the no-nonsense conclusion of Sam Solomon’s new book, Not the Same God (Wilberforce Publications), dedicated to tackling a thorny theological issue which has left many confused and misguided.
A number of Christian scholars are said to have suggested that ‘sufficient similarities’ exist between Islam and Christianity to warrant co-operation between the so-called monotheistic faiths which may even prove helpful in introducing Muslims to Christ.
But the author (writing with Atif Debs) – both of whom are former Muslims – makes a convincing case that Islamic theology amounts to a complete contradiction of the Judeo-Christian faith.
In essence, the Qur’an denies the divinity of Jesus, along with his crucifixion and resurrection. It even denies original sin, thus rejecting the need for salvation and the forgiveness of sins which is surely what Christianity (and Judaism for that matter) is all about.
Extensive quotations from the Qur’an, while uninspiring, clearly serve the purpose of the book by demonstrating how similarity with the Bible is an illusion.
Whereas the entire Bible points to Jesus, with the Old Testament (the Jewish Tenach) fulfilled in the New, Muslims claim that Muhammad is the ultimate ‘seal of the prophets’ and fulfillment of all God-given Scriptures.
And although they reject Christianity as worshipping “three gods” while boasting that they are monotheistic, it is hard to differentiate (in terms of names given and honour ascribed) between Allah, the Muslim name for God, and Muhammad, for whom they claim no divinity.
Furthermore, in dismissing Christian belief in the Trinity as worshipping ‘many gods’, they hold that Jesus’ disciples worship the Father, Son and Mary (mother of Jesus), only adding to the confusion in their understanding of our faith.
But the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the debate – which makes union between the faiths impossible – is the Islamic rejection of the uniqueness of Christ, who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14.6)
Moreover, Allah is described in the Qur’an as the great ‘unknowable’ who does not reveal himself to mortal man. This, of course, is a complete contradiction of Christianity, which says that God became one of us and makes himself known to all who seek him. (Jeremiah 29.13)
Solomon concludes his book (for which he probably won’t be thanked by many, but it is true nonetheless) by saying that the Qur’an can best be described as a set of “…arguments raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10.5) and expresses the hope that those looking for a ‘common path’ between Islam and Christianity will in future “reflect the reality, rather than the illusion”