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The purpose of this study is to examine the beliefs of Islam and the teaching of Muhammad in the Qur'an, comparing these to the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Islam" is the proper term for the religion revealed by Muhammad (sometimes spelled Mohammed) in Arabia in the early 600's. "Islam" means "submission" (to the will of God). Adherents are called Muslims ("one who submits") (often one sees the word as "Moslem"). Arabians are descendants of Ishmael, so Islam claims to be a renewal of the ancient religion of Abraham traced through Ishmael.
Muhammad was born in Mecca, Arabia, about 570 AD. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by his grandfather and then his uncle. His family was aristocratic and influential. He grew up in times of religious and political confusion and uncertainty. At age 25 he married a wealthy 40-year-old widow named Khadijah.
At age 40 he began claiming to receive dreams and revelations, but was unsure of their source. He quoted these revelations to others who wrote them down. His wife convinced him these were messages from God, as Muslims today believe. But non-Muslims believe he developed such a deep religious fervor, out of concern for the needs of the people, that he began having dreams about religion and attributed them to God.
Rejected at first by the people of Mecca, he fled to Medina where he became a religious and political leader. By a series of violent battles he obtained income and converted people to Islam. Eventually he returned to Mecca and captured it by force.
When he died at age 63-65, a power struggle developed regarding who should succeed him. Several sects resulted, the major two being Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims. We will mainly consider Sunni Muslims (by far the larger group), though many of the same points would apply to other forms of Islam. Nevertheless, we should remember that there are wide variations among Muslims, just as there are among those claiming to be Christians.
Islam claims to believe in the same God as Jews and Christians, the God of Abraham, revealed in the Old Testament. Muslims generally claim that Allah is just their name for the God of the Bible. Significant differences exist, however, regarding how the religions view Jesus Christ.
All three religions began from the work of major individual prophets. Jews' beliefs were revealed by Moses, Christians' by Jesus, and Muslims' by Muhammad. Islam recognizes both Moses and Jesus as prophets (along with other Bible prophets), but it claims that Muhammad is the last of the prophets and his revelation supersedes those of Moses and Jesus.
All are based on written revelations claimed to be infallibly inspired by God. The Jews accept only the Old Testament, Christians also accept the New Testament, and Muslims accept the Qur'an (they also have great respect for Muslim traditions). Just as Christians believe the Old Testament was inspired but was replaced by the New Testament, so Muslims believe the Old and New Testaments were inspired but were both replaced by the Qur'an. (Note that Qur'an has also commonly been spelled Koran or Quran.)
For these reasons many similarities exist among Judaism, the gospel, and Islam. Yet we will see that essential differences also exist.
The Qur'an (references are cited according to the printing I own).
Encyclopedia Britannica (abbreviated EB), articles on "Islam," "Muhammad," and "Qur'an."
World's Religions (abbr. WR), edited by Norman Anderson.
Christian's Response to Islam, (abbr. CRI), by William Miller.
Also other miscellaneous sources as noted.
(Note: This study refers several times to a lesson about "Evidences," which summarizes the evidence for God, Jesus, and the Bible. It can be accessed from our website at /instruct/.)
Since Islam claims to accept the Old and New Testaments, if its doctrines are true then they ought to harmonize with the Bible. So let us examine some basic doctrines of Islam and compare them to the Bible.
Islam correctly opposes idolatry and teaches that there is only one God. But more is needed (James 2:19). So consider further:
Muhammad taught there is only one Divine Being in God. He denied the Deity of Jesus, saying He was just a man - a great prophet, but not the Divine Son of God. (Qur'an 4:162-171; 6:100,101; 19:88-92)
John 1:1,14 - Jesus (the Word) was God, was with God in the beginning, and became flesh to dwell among men as a man.
Colossians 2:9 - In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
John 20:28,29 - Thomas called Jesus "my Lord and my God." Jesus pronounced a blessing on all others who believe the same (cf. vv 30,31).
How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?
[Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 1:8,9; Tit. 2:13; Isa. 9:6; John 8:58; 5:23]
Matthew 16:13-17 - During His lifetime many people believed what Muslims today believe: that Jesus was a great prophet like other prophets. But Peter confessed that Jesus was not just a man but was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus Himself affirmed that Peter's statement had been revealed by God.
John 10:35 - Jesus plainly admitted that He had said, "I am the Son of God."
Matthew 17:5; 3:17 - Twice God spoke from heaven and claimed Jesus as His beloved Son. Bible writers claimed to be eyewitnesses that these things were true (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Romans 1:4 - The resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God.
To believe that Jesus was just a great man and a prophet is to belittle Him and to deny His own statements. To believe some other man was as great as Jesus is to blaspheme Him. If Jesus spoke the truth, then He was more than a prophet.
Muslims must either admit that Jesus was the Divine Son of God, or else they must admit they do not believe that Jesus and the Bible are true.
[John 3:16; 1:14; 3:18; 1 John 4:9; Colossians 1:15,18; Eph. 1:19-22; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28]
He was eternal - Micah 5:2 [Isa. 9:6]
He was all-knowing - John 16:30; 21:17
He was all-powerful over created things - Matt. 28:18; Rev. 19:16; 17:14; Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12; John 3:31; Rom. 9:5.
How could these characteristics be possessed by a mere man? Are these things true of Muhammad? If not, then how could he be as great as Jesus?
John 1:3 - All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. [Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16,17]
John 5:22,23 - The Father has committed all judgment to the Son.
2 Corinthians 5:10 - Jesus will be our judge; we must all appear before Him. Jesus will be Muhammad's judge! How can Muhammad be as great? [Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31ff]
What mere human prophet could create the universe or judge all mankind? Muhammad makes no such claims. These are the claims of a Divine Being. How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?
Jesus taught that no one but God should be worshipped (Matt. 4:10). Both men and angels in the New Testament refused to allow people to bow in worship to them (Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 22:8,9).
Matthew 28:9,17; Hebrews 1:6 - However, Jesus' disciples worshipped Him, and angels are commanded by God to worship Him. [Cf. Rev. 5:12-14; Luke 24:52]
Jesus accepted worship such as was forbidden to man. How can Islam believe the Bible and believe Jesus was from God, while denying that He deserved worship? When they claim that Jesus was just a human prophet and that Muhammad was as great a prophet as Jesus, the Scripture says they are unbelievers (John 20:30,31; 8:24; Mark 16:16).
Islam is like a man who views a building from a great distance. He can tell there is only one building, but a closer view would reveal that it has three stories. So Islam correctly affirms there is only one God, but the greater revelation of New Testament shows that this one God consists of three separate and distinct individual spirit Beings.
(Note carefully: Further evidence can be obtained about the claims of Jesus, the evidence that those claims are true, and the number of individuals in the Godhead from the links at the end of this study.)
Of course we cannot grasp fully the infinite nature of God, but Islam says it is impossible to have even a general concept of God's character [WR-115; CRI-44,74]. But the Bible says:
John 1:18 - Though man has not seen God, Jesus knows Him and has declared Him.
John 14:9,10 - We can know what the Father is like because Jesus and His Father are perfectly united. To know what Jesus is like is to know what the Father is like.
Hebrews 1:3 - Jesus is the express image of the substance of His Father. [Col. 1:15; Matt. 11:27]
The fuller knowledge of God, which Islam lacks, is found in the revelation given by Jesus Christ.
Although Islam teaches there is one God, it still teaches error about God, for it denies the Deity of Jesus and ignores the Bible revelation of God's nature. How can Muslims deny these teachings and yet claim to believe the Bible is true and Jesus was a prophet?
Muhammad said the New Testament and Jesus were from God, but his own teachings were better and replaced the New Testament. However, note the claims of the New Testament regarding itself.
John 16:13 - Jesus promised His apostles would receive all truth. Any teaching that a man claims to reveal from God, if it is not in the New Testament, it is not a part of God's truth. [John 14:26]
2 Peter 1:3 - God's power has granted all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus. What is left for Muhammad to provide?
James 1:25 - The gospel is the perfect law of liberty.
The teachings of Islam claim to be superior to the gospel. But how can one improve on that which is perfect and which contains all truth and all things pertaining to life and godliness. [Acts 20:20,27; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Matt. 28:18-20]
The gospel provides what all men of all ages need in order to have a proper relationship to God.
Mark 16:15 - It is to be preached to everyone in all the world. [Matthew 28:19]
Romans 1:16 - It is God's power to save everyone who believes, Jew on non-Jew.
The gospel of Christ is sufficient to give all men eternal life (John 20:30,31; Acts 2:39; 10:34f). No man in any future age will need any further revelation than the gospel. What more could Muhammad provide?
The Old Testament predicted that another testament would replace it (Jer. 31:31-34). This promise was fulfilled in the New Testament. However, the New Testament does not, in turn, predict that it will be replaced by the teachings of Muhammad or any other Divine revelation. Instead it teaches that it is itself the final revelation. [Heb. 13:20f; 7:11-28; 8:6-13; 12:18-29]
This passage discusses spiritual gifts, which were the means by which prophets received revelation (cf. chap. 12). It says these gifts, including prophecy, would cease when "that which is perfect is come." They would cease because they were "in part" - incomplete and imperfect.
Note: "That which is perfect" is contrasted to the spiritual gifts, which were "in part." "That which is perfect" refers to something that completes or perfects what was incomplete or imperfect about spiritual gifts.
In what way were the gifts (including prophecy) "in part"? The only Scriptural answer is that, at the time Paul wrote, the gifts had only partially accomplished their purpose. They had been given in order to reveal or deliver the will of God. But that delivery was not yet complete when Paul wrote - the will of God had not all been revealed and recorded.
"That which is perfect," therefore, must be the completion of that which was lacking in the spiritual gifts: it must be the completed revelation of truth. When the process of revelation was complete and all truth had been completely delivered and recorded in writing, then the gifts of prophecy would no longer be needed and so they would cease. But we have already shown that this happened during the lifetime of the original apostles (see above and note the "perfect law of liberty - Jas. 1:25).
The gift of prophecy was needed in an age when people did not yet have the complete written word to guide them. When the word was completely recorded by Jesus' apostles and prophets, then prophecy would have completed its purpose and so would cease. By the time Muhammad lived, the gift of prophecy was no longer needed and had long since ceased.
The faith was "once for all delivered to the saints" (NKJV). "Once" is "used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition" (Thayer). The same Greek word describes Jesus' death in Heb. 9:26,28; 10:10; 7:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:18, which teach that Jesus' death will not be repeated.
Old Testament sacrifices did not completely remove sins, so they had to be repeated. But the death of Jesus was perfect and sufficient to completely remove all sin for all men of all ages; so it happened only "once." There was no repetition.
Likewise, the true faith was delivered only "once." The gift of prophecy was needed as long as God's perfect testament had not been perfectly and completely revealed. But that perfect testament was completely delivered to men in the first century. It does not need to be delivered again, so it never will be delivered again. Therefore, the spiritual gifts by which it was delivered have ceased.
Everything Jesus did was perfect. He not only gave us a perfect sacrifice for sin, He also gave us the perfect New Testament to tell us how to receive forgiveness (Heb. 1:1,2; Jas. 1:25). Neither His sacrifice nor the revelation of His will can ever be repeated or improved.
To claim that Muhammad or any other man received later revelations or a better revelation is to deny the perfection of the New Testament.
Having completely revealed His will in the first century, God preserved it for all future generations (1 Pet. 1:23-25; 3 John 2; Matt. 24:35; John 12:48). God's word here says that if any man preaches a different gospel, he stands under the curse of God.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a perfect and complete revelation, given by God to guide all people until the end of time. So God forbids anyone to teach a different religious doctrine. (Matthew 15:9,13; 2 John 9-11; Colossians 3:17; Revelation 22:18,19; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:13)
Men have always wanted to change God's will, hoping they could improve it or make it more suitable to themselves. Men who attempt this have often claimed to be prophets from God, but God has always warned us to beware of false prophets and resist them (1 John 4:1; Matt. 7:15ff; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; etc.).
So we have evidence that God authorized the New Testament to replace the Old Testament, but we have no such evidence that God authorized the teachings of Muhammad to replace the New Testament. Since Muhammad's revelation is different from the gospel, the above passages show that we must resist his message, for the curse of God is on it.
Islam denies that Jesus was crucified, that He died as a sacrifice for sin, and that He arose from the dead. (Qur'an 4:156,157)
Matthew 20:17-19 - Jesus predicted He would be crucified, then rise again.
Matthew 26:28 - He claimed that He would shed His blood for the remission of man's sins. [20:28]
John 19:31-35 - John claimed to be an eyewitness to Jesus' crucifixion. [Acts 2:23]
Ephesians 1:7 - Redemption and forgiveness are through His blood.
1 Peter 2:24 - He bore our sins in His body on the tree.
Hebrews 2:9 - He tasted of death for every man.
If Islam denies these statements from Jesus and the Bible, how can it yet claim to believe the Bible is from God and Jesus was a true teacher?
[Mark 8:31; Matt. 16:21; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:18f; Isa. 53:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:3; John 1:29; Heb. chap. 9:24-28; 10:9-13; 13:20f; Rom. 5:6-11; 2 Cor. 5:14,15]
Matthew 20:17-19 - Jesus predicted He would be crucified and then rise again. [Matt. 16:21]
Luke 24:44-46 - Jesus taught that His death and resurrection was a fulfillment of prophecy.
Romans 1:4 - Jesus is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 - He died for our sins, was buried, and arose as prophesied and as testified by eyewitnesses who saw Him alive.
The resurrection of Jesus is absolutely fundamental to the claims of Jesus and the gospel. The apostles repeatedly affirmed it to be true on the basis of eyewitness testimony. This is proof such as neither Islam nor any other religion can offer.
[Romans 10:9,10; 6:4-13; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:1-26; John 20:24-31; Acts 2:23-36; 17:30,31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Peter 1:3,4; 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 1:19,20; Colossians 2:12,13]
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Acts 4:12 - "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
We can only be saved through Jesus, no other way. Islam denies salvation through Jesus. Therefore, Islam cannot save and Muslims have no way to be saved.
The Old Testament had animal sacrifices. The New Testament has the superior, perfect sacrifice of Jesus. But, Islam has no sacrifice for sin at all. Without a sacrifice for sin, there can be no remission (Heb. 9:22). It follows that Islam not only is not a superior system, but it cannot save at all.
Islam offers only a vague concept of how man is saved. Evil is balanced against good, and if good outweighs, a person might be saved. Outward obedience is emphasized, not faith, love, or the condition of ones heart. [CRI-81f,84f]
Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
James 2:10 - For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
This is why we need a sacrifice. No matter how much good we have done, it can never outweigh the evil of our sin.
Galatians 3:10 - Under the Old Testament, anyone who disobeyed in any point was under a curse.
Galatians 5:1,4 - The law was a yoke of bondage in which we should not again be entangled. To seek justification by the law is to fall from grace.
The law itself provided justification only for those who lived without ever sinning, and no one did that (except Jesus). This is why God replaced the Old Testament with the New. But Islam, like the Old Testament, is a system of strict law keeping. Islam does not even have the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.
So Islam claims to be better than the New Testament, when in reality it is worse than the Old Testament! To accept it is to return to a yoke of bondage, having no hope for salvation.
[Romans 3:20; Gal. 2:16; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:1-18; Acts 15:10]
Since Islam claims that Muhammad is a prophet like Jesus, but his revelation replaces Jesus' gospel, let us compare their character, claims, and proofs.
Consider what we can learn simply by observing the claims of Muhammad and Jesus.
Muslims claim that Muhammad was as great a prophet as Moses and Jesus, but he was the last of the prophets and his revelation replaced that of Jesus. Islam claims that the exact words of the Qur'an were given to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, and therefore the Qur'an is verbally inspired. [Qur'an 2:97-99; p. xv]
Islam claims Jesus was a great prophet, but not Divine and not the unique Son of God. It admits Jesus did miracles, but denies He died as a substitutionary sacrifice to save people from their sins or that He arose from the dead. (Qur'an, 4:162-171; 6:100,101)
We earlier studied passages where the gospel claims Jesus was more than a prophet: He was in fact the Divine Son of God who died to save men from their sins and then arose from the dead. The gospel of Jesus offers eyewitness testimony as proof.
Note that, whereas Muhammad made the general claim to as great as Jesus, the actual specific claims of Jesus were greater than any Muhammad ever made.
Note carefully: If Jesus' claims are true, then Muhammad cannot be as great as Jesus, because Jesus' claims were clearly greater. On the other hand, if Jesus' claims are false, then Islam is still untrue, since it claimed that Jesus was a true prophet and a true prophet would never make false claims. So, either way, all that is needed to prove Islam false is to prove that Jesus really made the claims recorded in the Bible!
Islam, therefore, denies Jesus ever made these claims. We have cited passages where He made the claims, but Islam denies those passages are genuine - the Bible did not originally include these statements. So we must consider whether or not the Bible is an accurate record. And we must compare the evidence for Muhammad's claims to the evidence Jesus' claims. Anyone can make claims. What proof is there? We will observe these as we proceed.
The New Testament repeatedly claims Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; etc.).
Muslims generally admit Jesus never sinned. The Qur'an nowhere claims that He sinned.
So we are agreed that Jesus was a person of pure morals, wisdom, courage, love, and every other quality of goodness.
Many Muslims claim that Muhammad also never sinned. But compare his life to Jesus' life:
Muhammad used violence, including assassination, to defeat and convert those who opposed Islam (Qur'an 9:1-15,29). Some claim that Muhammad meant to fight only against those who first attacked or mistreated Muslims (Qur'an xxiv).
But Jesus converted people by teaching, persuasion, and example. He never used force, nor would He allow His disciples to use force, not even when His enemies attacked Him (Matthew 26:47-54). So who was greater, Jesus or Muhammad?
Jesus taught that a man could have only one wife for life (except in the case of fornication (Matthew 19:3-9; Romans 7:2,3).
Muhammad taught that men could have plural wives. He himself had 12 wives and 2 concubines at the time of his death. (Qur'an 4:3; 33:19-52; CRI-32)
* Muhammad revealed that men could have plural wives, but not more than four at a time (Qur'an 4:3). However, a special revelation said that he himself could have more than 4 wives. He had 12 when he died, plus two concubines. (Qur'an 33:49-52)
* He revealed that no man could marry his own daughter-in-law. Then a special revelation allowed him to take the wife of his adopted son. (Qur'an 33:37)
* The Encyclopedia Britannica reveals that Arabs once starved him, because they opposed his teaching against idolatry. He then received a "revelation" condoning idolatry. As soon as they released him, he reversed the revelation and again said idolatry was wrong. [EB, XV-647]
The introduction to my Qur'an says: "Moreover, the Prophet is sometimes even censured in the Qur'an" and lists as examples 9:43; 80:1-11 (p. xv). In fact Muhammad admitted he needed forgiveness from God (Qur'an 9:43).
Yet where is Jesus ever censured by God in the New Testament? Even Muhammad never claimed that Jesus sinned. [CRI-26,50; WR-99]
So God never rebuked Jesus, yet even Muslims and Muhammad himself admit God did censure Muhammad. And Christians and Muslims agree Jesus was sinless, but Muhammad needed God's forgiveness. So how can Muhammad be as good as Jesus?
Based on their character then, who was greater: Muhammad or Jesus?
Jesus unquestionably fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, and He Himself accurately predicted future events (see our study on evidences). What about Muhammad?
Sometimes Muslims take prophecies that were actually fulfilled by Jesus and mistakenly claim that those prophecies refer to Muhammad. Other times Muslims claim that the Bible once contained other prophecies Muhammad fulfilled, but Jews and Christians changed their own Scriptures to remove these prophecies and destroy the evidence. [CRI-27,49f,70f,78; WR-101]
For example John 16:7 predicts the coming of the "Comforter." Muslims claim this originally used the word "praised," which is the meaning of Muhammad. But to cover it up, the Scriptures were changed. [CRI-78; WR-101]
But where is the proof of these changes in the Bible? As noted earlier, Muslims also argue that the Bible was changed to make it appear that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for our sins and arose from the dead, etc. Where is the proof of these changes? There is none. However, there is much proof for the accuracy of the Bible.
For example, the context of John 16:7 plainly states that the "Comforter" is the Holy Spirit (John 14:16,17, 26; and 15:26). If this originally referred to Muhammad, major changes must have been made in the text.
We have also cited Scriptures claiming Jesus was the Son of God and many other teachings that contradict Islam. We have in fact cited dozens of Scriptures that clearly contradict Muslim teachings, and these are just a fraction of what could be cited. If the Bible has been changed on all these points in order to disprove Islam, then wholesale changes must have been made.
1 Peter 1:23-25 - God's word is incorruptible seed that will live and abide forever. It will not be like grass that grows and then fades.
2 John 2 - The truth will be with us forever.
The consequence of Muslim teaching is that God failed to keep these promises and allowed the Bible message to become thoroughly corrupted.
Interestingly, the Qur'an contains similar promises that God would preserve it from corruption (15:9). If Muslims believe God preserved the Qur'an without corruption, why would He not do the same for the Bible, which they also agree is from God?
Further, the Qur'an claims to confirm the Scripture that Jews and Christians had (2:89). But the Bible we have today is the same as existed in Muhammad's day, so did the Qur'an confirm a corrupted Bible?
[See also 119:152,160; Isaiah 40:8; 30:8; John 12:48; 2 Peter 1:12-15.]
Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Galatians 1:8,9; Revelation 22:18,19 and many other passages condemn changing the Scriptures. If Jews and Christians changed their Scriptures, as Muslims claim they did, then they knowingly and repeatedly violated these passages in their own Scriptures.
Instead, because of these warnings, both Jews and Christians have shown great care in making copies of their Scriptures through the centuries. Work was checked repeatedly, counting numbers of words and letters on each page, and proofreading each page to make sure no changes occurred. So why would they deliberately change their Scriptures just to disprove Islam?
* Several copies of the New and Old Testaments date before the time of Muhammad.
* Some translations of the Scriptures date long before the time of Muhammad.
* Scriptural quotations exist in the writings of many men who lived long before Muhammad.
If the claims of Islam are true, then these Scriptures were changed after Muhammad came. So all these Scriptures that predate Muhammad should read as Islam claims that they originally read before they were "changed." But instead, all these ancient sources read just like modern copies of the Scriptures. There is no evidence of any kind that changes were made after Muhammad lived.
How could it be that dozens of passages in all the copies of the Scriptures that existed in Muhammad's time were found and changed, all at the same time and all in the same way, just to disprove Islam? Why can't Muslims produce some manuscripts that still contain the passages Islam says existed? Why didn't ancient Muslims find some of these manuscripts and save them? Why is it that we have so much evidence of the ancient content of the Bible, and none of the evidence agrees with Islam?
Old Testament prophecy is one of the strongest proofs of Jesus' identity. Christians do not have to claim that these prophecies once existed but were removed. They are all right there in the Old Testament!
Jesus and His apostles respected and used the Jews' Old Testament Scriptures. They claimed the Scriptures were from God and quoted them just as they were. They never needed to claim that parts of the Scriptures were changed.
Why can't Muslims do the same? What motive would Jews have for removing the prophecies of Muhammad but not the ones of Jesus?
The fact remains that Christians have proof of hundreds of prophecies in the Jews' Old Testament as it exists now that Jesus fulfilled. Yet Muslims can find no prophecies fulfilled by Muhammad anywhere in the Bible. They claim Muhammad is as great as Jesus. Why then do they not have evidence as great as what we have for Jesus?
(For further discussion of the accuracy of the preservation of the Bible, see our study on that subject at /instruct - see the section on the Bible.)
Unquestionably Jesus accurately predicted the future regarding His death and resurrection, the destruction of Jerusalem, etc. Even Islam admits Jesus was a prophet. The ability to predict the future is one proof of a prophet. Yet Muhammad rarely attempted to predict the future, and when he did he failed.
The Encyclopedia Britannica claims Muhammad predicted there would be 73 sects of Islam, of which only one would survive. But Muslims admit there have been far more than 73. And today many sects, not just one, still survive. [EB, XII-711]
Deuteronomy 18:21,22 - When a man predicts the future and the prediction fails, he is not from God, so do not be afraid of him.
Both Moses and Jesus made many predictions, all of which came true, none failed. Islam claims that Muhammad was a prophet like Moses and Jesus; yet Muhammad made few predictions, and even so he failed. How then can Muhammad be a prophet like Moses and Jesus?
The Bible records many testimonies from people who saw His miracles (see evidences study).
Even Jesus' enemies and opponents during His lifetime admitted He did miracles.
The Qur'an confirms that Jesus performed signs (2:253).
So, there can be no doubt that Jesus did miracles. Muslims and Christians alike agreed that He did. But remember that the purpose of His miracles was to confirm that His claims are true.
Most learned Muslims make no serious claims that there is eyewitness testimony that Muhammad did miracles. When people do make such claims, they base them, not on eyewitness testimony, but on tradition or fables written years after the alleged events.
For example, one night Muhammad was allegedly carried to Jerusalem and from there ascended into heaven to see wonderful visions. However, no one saw it happen. His wife says he never left the bed. [CRI-24]
There is absolutely no eyewitness testimony to confirm any miracles done by Muhammad.
We will see later that it is entirely possible for human wisdom to write such a book.
Nevertheless, this is an invalid use of miracles. As demonstrated by the miracles of Moses and Jesus, true miracles are events, in addition to the delivery of a revelation, done for the purpose of confirming the revelation to be from God (see references under evidences). While we should examine the revelation itself for evidence, that is a separate argument from miracles.
When one claims that the revelation itself is a miracle to confirm the revelation, he proves that he does not understand the purpose of miracles.
Islam did grow very rapidly, but much of it came by military conquest. If that proves Islam is from God, then consider the conquests of Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, and Nebuchadnezzar? Do the military conquests of these men confirm that their religious beliefs were revealed from God?
Islam claims to believe in Moses and the Old Testament and in Jesus and the gospel. We have overwhelming evidence that Moses and Jesus did miracles to confirm the Divine origin of their revelations - evidence so clear even their enemies and Muslims admit the miracles. If Muhammad's teachings replace Moses' and Jesus' teachings, then Muhammad must also have done miracles like Moses and Jesus did. But Muhammad's evidence is insignificant compared to that of Moses and Jesus. How then can Muhammad be a prophet like Moses and Jesus?
Many eyewitnesses testify to Jesus' resurrection (see article on evidences). Muslims admit Jesus did other miracles, but deny He arose. Yet the evidence for the resurrection is far more abundant and convincing than the evidence for any other miracle He did.
The evidence for the resurrection is recorded in many ancient copies of the Scriptures written before Muhammad's time. There is no evidence that these records were corrupted in later years. Yet Muslims, who came some 600 years after Jesus, deny the eyewitness testimony.
Muslims hope someday they and Muhammad will be raised from the dead, but their hope is based on the teaching of a man in His grave. Many Muslims visit Muhammad's tomb in Medina. Muslims would dearly love to have evidence that their prophet did miracles like the evidence Christians have for the resurrection. But the evidence for Muhammad's miracles is missing.
The Christian hope is based on One who arose to prove that we will all be raised. Muslims try to discredit the evidence of Jesus' resurrection, but that evidence is far more conclusive than any evidence that Muhammad did any miracles. How then can Muhammad be a prophet as great as Jesus?
A proof of the Bible is the unity of its teaching. Though some 40 different men penned its various books, yet these writings are completely harmonious with no contradictions. There are no conflicts in history or geography between the Old and New Testaments. Gospel writers often use Old Testament prophecy and teaching to confirm that the New Testament fulfilled the Old. This is evidence that it is all the product of the mind of God, just like it claims.
We might expect the Qur'an to differ in some doctrines from the gospel, since Muslims claim the Qur'an replaced the gospel. But since they claim to believe the Bible, there should be no conflict in history or eternal principles. Yet note some examples: [CRI-48; WR-95; EB, XIII-483]
* Muhammad said Jesus' death was not a crucifixion, He did not die as a sacrifice for the sins of others, and He did not rise from the dead (Qur'an 4:162-171). The Bible teaches all these as fact (see above).
* Muhammad said Jesus was not Divine and not the Son of God (Qur'an 4:162-171; 6:100,101; 19:88-92), but the Bible teaches that He was (see above).
* Muhammad thought Christians believe that the Godhead consists of the Father, Son, and Mary, whereas actually it is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [CRI-73; WR-101]
* The Qur'an says one of Noah's sons refused to enter the ark and so drowned in the flood (11:41-43), but the Bible says all his sons were spared (Gen. 7:1-7; 1 Peter 3:20).
* The Qur'an says Lot's wife stayed behind and perished among the people of Sodom (26:169-172), whereas the Bible says she fled but looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:15,16,26).
* The Qur'an says John the Baptist's father was speechless for 3 days as a sign from the angel (3:39-41), but the Bible says he was speechless at least nine months from before the time his wife conceived till the baby was born (Luke 1:13,20,24,57-64).
* The Qur'an teaches men today may practice polygamy and divorce for any cause (Qur'an - 4:3,20; 33:19-52; 2:229-232). Jesus said this was allowed under the Old Testament only because of the hardness of men's hearts, but would not be allowed under the New Testament (Matt. 19:3-9). Islam claims Muhammad's revelation is greater than Jesus, yet it returns to the moral standard of those whose hearts were hardened!
* The Qur'an teaches there will be marriage in heaven (52:178-20; 44:51-57), but Jesus said there is not (Matt. 22:30).
Again, Muslim's try to rationalize these contradictions by claiming that the Qur'an has been preserved accurately but the Bible has been perverted. So, whenever there is conflict, the Bible is wrong and the Qur'an is right.
Yet consider again how much of the Bible this means has been corrupted. And remember that God promised He would not let His word be destroyed. There is no historical evidence that the Bible has been corrupted and much evidence that it has not been. If God can preserve the Qur'an without allowing it to be corrupted, why can He not preserve the Bible in the same way? (See above).
Christians also claim to believe the Old Testament, but in order to prove our case we never need to argue that the Old Testament has been corrupted. On the contrary, Jesus and His apostles and all Christians take the Old Testament, just as it is, and use it to substantiate our case (Acts 17:1-3,11; see article on evidences).
Islam claims to believe in both the Old and New Testament. Yet to make their case, they must repeatedly claim that the Old and New Testaments are corrupt. Why can't they prove their claim, using the Bible as we have it, like Christians can do using the Old Testament? Why must they discredit the very messages they claim are from God?
The Bible does not contradict itself, despite being written by 40 different men from widely different circumstances. Just one man wrote the Qur'an so, if it had no self-contradictions, it would prove little. However, it turns out that this one man did contradict himself.
* Muhammad commanded his disciples to use violence against those who reject Islam, yet he said compulsion should not be practiced in the name of religion (Qur'an 9:1-15,29; cf. 2:256) .
* He forbade the use of images, then under threat of starvation he excused it, then later he again condemned it (see above).
* The Encyclopedia Britannica says Muhammad first taught men to pray facing Jerusalem, then later said they must pray facing Mecca. [EB, XV-647]
* According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Muhammad admitted having changed his doctrine. Muslim commentators themselves admit some 5-50 examples of such. [EB, XIII-483]
Jesus' teachings harmonize with all previous Divine revelation, never claiming that previous Scriptures were corrupted. But Muhammad's teaching conflicts with previous revelation that he admits was from God. Jesus never changed His teaching and never contradicted Himself (1 Cor. 1:13), but Muhammad contradicted himself and changed his teachings several times. How then can Muhammad be a prophet as great as Jesus?
Muslims make many claims, but there is no real proof that Islam is true. Anyone can make claims. Proving them is another matter. Christians accept Jesus and His gospel, but reject Muhammad and Islam, on the basis of proof. The evidence shows that:
* Jesus was sinless but Muhammad committed sin.
* Jesus' teaching agrees with itself, but the teachings of Muhammad contradict themselves.
* Jesus' teachings harmonize with, and His claims are substantiated by, all Divine revelation that went before Him. He and His followers never discredit previous revelation. Muhammad's teachings are not substantiated by prior revelation but contradict it, so Muslims repeatedly discredit prior revelations, while still claiming that those revelations were from God.
* Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, but Muslims cannot prove Muhammad ever fulfilled any.
* Jesus made predictions of the future that came true, but Muhammad made none that were fulfilled and at least one that failed.
* Jesus performed miracles as attested by eyewitnesses, but there is no eyewitness proof that Muhammad ever did any miracle.
* Jesus arose from the dead as attested by witnesses, but Muslims do not even claim that Muhammad arose.
The evidence proves, not just that Muhammad was not a prophet like Jesus, but that in fact Muhammad was not a true prophet of God at all. His teaching bears none of the proofs of true prophetic teaching, but it does bear all the earmarks of being the work of a false prophet. (Matthew 7:15-23; 15:14; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; Acts 20:28-30; 1 John 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 1:9-14; 2 John 9-11; Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Peter chap. 2)
Philippians 2:9-11 - Jesus has a name that is above every name. To Him every knee will bow and every tongue confess. It follows that Jesus is greater than Muhammad and someday every Muslim will confess it. Everyone ought to confess it now while they have the opportunity to be saved.
To see further evidence that the Bible and the gospel of Jesus are the true revelation of religion, see our article on that subject on our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/.
Copyright 2000, David E. Pratte
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What Claims Did Jesus Make?
Evidences for God, Jesus, & the Bible
Evidence for Jesus' Resurrection
The Inspiration of the Bible
The Preservation of the Bible
Number of Individuals in God
Why So Much Religious Confusion and Disagreement?
The Importance of Bible Knowledge
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