Go To Worldview Perspectives
What is Worldview? | Culture and Experience | How Do You Know? | Cognitive and Social Culture | Worldview Noise in Communication
Worldview in Language:  Language and Thought | Worldview in Language:  Identity and Relationship

----Return to SL Resource Kit----        ----Return to SL Training----

Major Biblical Themes
Compared with Viewpoints from Worldviews held by Many Muslims Today

Rick Brown, compiler
23 August 2004

            It is well-known that Muslims and Christians tend to misunderstand each other. When trying to explain their beliefs to one another, they usually end up “talking past each other.” In part this is because Muslims and Christians have traditionally used the same words with significantly different meanings (e.g., ‘prayer’, ‘sin’, ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘son of God’), but their miscommunication also arises because of unrecognized differences in worldview. 

People everywhere filter what they read and hear through the grid of their own worldview. The only exceptions are those who become bicultural to some extent and can understand other worldviews. For example, teachers and translators of the Bible need to understand the various worldviews, languages, and cultures reflected in the Bible before they can exegete the intended meanings. Cross-cultural communicators of God’s Word need to understand the worldview of their listeners before they can communicate with them accurately and effectively. Otherwise the audience will misunderstand the message. For example, if a person’s worldview includes the assumption that a person can avoid sin if he wants, that sins are not consequential unless they outnumber one’s religious works, and that sins can be atoned for by additional good works, then he or she will not understand the need for sacrifice, grace, regeneration, the Holy Spirit, etc. 

There are several works that compare modern materialistic worldviews or western evangelical worldviews with Muslim worldviews, but that is not the goal of this study. In general we have excluded modern viewpoints because they are not part of the Biblical message. (On the other hand, given the evangelical background of the compliler, contributors, and resources, it is inevitable that some modern evangelical understandings of the Bible will have influenced the analysis.) The exception is that a few traditional Christian customs, such as Sunday observance, have been included because these topics often arise in cross-cultural dialogues.

The purpose of this worldview comparison is to highlight those elements of the Biblical worldview which Muslims already share and those which they are likely to misunderstand or reject. By “Biblical worldview” we mean neither a modern Western worldview nor a Western evangelical worldview nor the worldviews of the diverse cultures reflected in the Bible but rather the worldview that is communicated piece by piece in the message of the Bible itself. In other words, it is the perspective that God is seeking to instill in His audience through the apostles and prophets, and most of all through His Word the Christ. Thus we are concerned with the views of man and God and the world that are being communicated by the message rather than the views of the original audience to whom the message was addressed.

Work on this comparison began in 1994 and was initially based on Islam and Christianity; A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue, by Kateregga and Shenk (1985). Since then it has incorporated insights from many publications and from many experienced observers.The hope is that it will help cross-cultural communicators understand their Muslim friends and express the Biblical message in ways that will penetrate the audience’s worldview grid with a minimum of distortion. In other words, the objective of this comparison is to help cross-cultural communicators understand their Muslim friends better so they can communicate with them more appropriately and more accurately.

            It would be useful to prepare another chart that shows how Christians misunderstand Islam. Such a treatment would begin with an integrated, holistic treatment of Islamic worldview, organised by Islamic categories such as the unity of God (tawḥîd), guidance (huda), prophethood (risâla), and the hereafter (’âkhira).  It would include more about family, community, education, health, social life, and the general outlook on life. But this requires a separate article. Meanwhile it is hoped that this chart will help help Christians understand their friends better and also alert them to problems their friends have understanding the Bible. Please note that it is not intended or recommended that Christians show a chart like this to Muslims, as this would just highlight the differences and make them defensive. A better approach is simply to discuss major questions of worldview, such as the eight questions suggested by VanderWerff (1994: 78).

The chart is rather detailed, but this is essential to avoid the misunderstandings commonly engendered by over-generalizations. It is not uncommon, for example, to see where someone has written that “Muslims and Christians share a common faith in God”, or where someone else has written that “Muslims and Christians believe in different gods.” Both generalizations are inaccurate, and both lead to unsuccessful dialogue, because the speakers fail to perceive important bridges and barriers.

The chart presents many aspects of a Biblically engendered worldview in the left-most column and compares them with corresponding viewpoints from various worldviews held by Muslims today. Italics have been used to highlight significant aspects of the Biblical worldview which Muslims often misunderstand. Biblical Christians in dialogue with Muslims will want to take care with the way they explain these points of their worldview and will want to monitor what their friends are understanding from their remarks.[1]

People from Christian backgrounds who are in dialogue with Muslims about Biblical Christianity would do well first to disentangle the worldview being communicated by the Bible from the modern worldviews of their own cultural background.[2] They might find it helpful to examine the left-most column of this chart, which attempts to present an overview of Biblical worldview.[3] Once they are clear in their own minds with regard to the Biblical worldview, they can be in a position to differen­tiate between Biblical and Muslim worldviews.

            Since one of the goals of this article is to promote understanding of the worldviews of Muslims today, the chart seeks to represent Muslim beliefs and practices as they are currently practiced and observed, especially within the Sunni tradition. It is not simply a reflection of the Koran, Hadith, and their ancient commentators, although these have been consulted. Rather it is a compilation of participant observations drawn from many books (see the partial bibliography) and from the many experts and experienced people who have commented on this chart and have suggested improvements. Their names are too many to mention here, but God knows them all. “May His blessings be upon them.”

In many places the chart distinguishes among the official views of Sunni teachers, views of Shi‘ites, views of Sufis of various degrees, and views of the general Muslim populace. Popular views run a spectrum that includes folk Muslims, secular Muslims, and Bedouin, but in the chart they are classed together as “popular”. Folk Muslims, for example, tend to be much more concerned with averting demons and evil and with gaining supernatural favours, and they view rituals, both Islamic and traditional, as means to these ends.  Secular Muslims practice few rituals, but their religious concepts and terminology are often those of popular Islam. Bedouin hold to traditional values of family honor that predate Islam, and this gives rise both to radical hospitality on the one hand and to honor killings on the other. Sufis seek religious experience and the intervention of saints, but at the highest levels they tend towards absolute monism.  Shi’ites value martyrdom and tend to be more tolerant of contrary views than are Sunnis.  The comparison, therefore, is between one basic worldview communicated by the New Testament message two thousand years ago and several current worldviews observed in a variety of traditional Muslim cultures. The intention is that it would lead Christians to a greater understanding of Muslims and of the difficulties Muslims have in understanding the Biblical message so that Muslims and Christians may dialogue more effectively.

In the narrow central column of the chart we have attempted to indicate the communicative relationship of the Biblical and Muslim worldviews. In some ways this column is the most important part of the chart as it indicates barriers, points of appeal, and common ground. Views held in common are often called “bridges”; they are symbolised as ‘=’.  Similarities are marked with an ‘~’.  More obvious differences are marked with an ‘x’ or an ‘X’.  “Barriers” are found where important points of worldview are in conflict; these mismatches lead to a distorted hearing of the message or to a complete rejection of it. Barriers are represented in the chart with a ‘|’ or ‘||’ or even ‘|||’, indicating increasing degrees of obstruction to communication. There is an important class of worldview differences which may be called “door-openers” (marked with ‘>’). These are Biblical viewpoints which are attractive to Muslims once they have understood them. The following list highlights the Bible’s main points of appeal to Muslims:

·         God’s holiness, integrity, and reliability;

·         God’s goodness, love, and care for His people, both male and female, young and old;

·         God’s benevolent management of history as he works through events to oppose evil, to train his servants in righteousness and truth, and to fulfill his good purposes for his people;

·         The portrait of Jesus himself: his kindness, devotion, wisdom, power, and ongoing reign as savior and king;

·         The love and forgiveness exhibited by the followers of Jesus;

·         The offer of personal forgiveness and acceptance by God;

·         The offer of assured and complete salvation from hell and acceptance into God’s kingdom;

·         The offer of a personal relationship with God, fully realized in the next life;

·         The offer of inner cleansing and renewal through the God’s Holy Spirit;

·         The offer and example of grace to live a godly life through the strengthening and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit;

·         The offer of power to resist and repel Satan and evil spirits in Jesus’ name;

·         The logical consistency and literary cohesion of the Bible;

·         Conviction by the Holy Spirit that the Bible is true and relevant to one’s life and salvation.


 

Some Major Biblical Themes

 

Views from some Islamic Worldviews

God

 

God

God is eternal, immutable, and self-sufficient.

=

 

God is omnipotent, all powerful

~

 

God is omniscient; He knows all things

=

 

God is omnipresent

=

 

God transcends this world.

=

 

God is also immanent in this world.

x

God is utterly transcendent but sees all.

Sufi: God may be experienced in ecstatic moments (ḥâlât khâṣa) during sessions of concerted praise.

God is holy, good and blameless; He never violates His own principles.

>

God can do anything, but He will not change what he has decreed for a person, and He would not tarnish his dignity by being incarnated as a man. He does not limit Himself to any predictable behaviour or standard of justice, yet He is just in whatever He does.

Because God is holy; he loathes sin.  Sin distances people from God.

x

God is unaffected by sin.

God is reliable; He will fulfill His promises and prophecies.

>

God keeps his promises, but in general one does not know what to expect from God.

God makes covenants to define his relationship with groups of people.

x

God made the Children of Israel agree to a covenant, but they were unfaithful to it. God does not define his relationship by covenants.

God is one, without equal, but reveals Himself to us as three persons (from Latin persona): the Most High (the Father), His Word (the Son), and His Spirit (the Holy Spirit ).  (So among the eternal attributes of God are fellowship, harmony, love, and communication, yet with one will.)

|||

God is absolutely one and indivisible, without equal, without associates, without “persons”. Love and fellowship are not important attributes of God. Christians are said to worship three gods: Allah, Jesus, and Mary.

Christ is the divine, eternal Word of God expressed in fully human form, revealing to mankind what the invisible God is like.  He was born of the Virgin Mary after Mary had received the Spirit of God.  He is also called “the Son of God.”

|

Christ is “a word” from God and a “spirit” from God, born of the Virgin Mary after Mary had received the Spirit of God, but Christ is neither pre-existent nor divine. It is the Qur’an which is the eternal, un­created Word of God. God neither begets sons nor adopts them.  (The Qur’an suggests that Jesus existed as God’s Word before his birth, but modern Muslims do not believe this.)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God Himself, with which He gives life to mankind, communicates with His people, cleanses their hearts, inspires them with His love, and enjoys their company.

>

When God created man, he breathed into him from his Spirit.

The “Holy Spirit” is the angel Gabriel.

Official Sunni: there is no role for the Spirit of God.

Shi’ite: The Spirit of God is a source of blessing.

God and Creation

 

God and Creation

God created all things in six days.

=

God created all things in six days.

God made the seventh day holy, a day of rest and remembrance, for on that day he ceased from his work.  (By the time of the New Testament, Jews observed it as a day of both rest and  religious observances.  Most Christians make Sunday a special day of religious observances.  The true Sabbath rest is entered, however, by relying on the work and grace of Christ.

x

On the seventh day God sat on His throne, but He was not tired and did not need to rest, as Christians outrageously claim. God does not require a weekly day of rest for people, but Muslims should cease work for the Friday prayers.

God created all things through His Word, Who is Christ

|

(no such concept)

God created the earth entirely good, without evil.

X

God created the earth as it is now.  He created mankind as good, although weak and in need of guidance.  Individuals may become evil through unbelief and sins.

God created Adam from dust of the earth and breathed life into him from His breath (=His Spirit) and so Adam became a living soul.

=

God created Adam from a lump of clay and breathed life into him from His spirit.

Death and suffering are tragedies which entered the earth because of man’s sin.  God can utilise sinners and suffering for his good purposes, but He does not generally cause people to sin.

X

God created the earth to have death and suffering. Death is God’s will for man and his mercy to society.

The Angels, Satan, Evil Spirits

 

The Angels, Satan, Evil Spirits

God created angels as spirit beings with supernatural powers.

=

God created angels as spirit beings with supernatural powers.

The angels serve God as messengers to intervene on earth and to praise Him.

=

The angels serve God as messengers to intervene on earth and to praise Him.

(No such idea.)

x

God created angels from light.

(No concept of Jinn at all.)

X

The Jinn stem from a pre-Adamic race, which God created from smokeless flame or from the fire of desert wind.

Satan was a glorious angel; he and his angels opposed God and were rejected by God.

x

Satan became proud and disobeyed God by refusing to bow down to Adam. Satan and his demonic soldiers were rejected by God. Satan is classed among both angels and jinn, but unlike the angels he was made of fire.

Satan is the enemy of man and of his right relationship with God.

=

Satan is the enemy of man and of his right relationship with God.

Satan enticed Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

=

Satan enticed Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

Demons are of uncertain origin, but some‑-if not all-‑are fallen angels.

x

The demons (shayâtîn) are of uncertain origin but are thought to be rebellious jinn.

Satan and his angels entice people to distrust God, to abandon His guidance, and to follow them instead.

~

Specifically, Satan and demons entice people to disbelieve in God and to neglect His laws. Sometimes they appear in human form to lead people astray.

Satan accuses sinners and he or his demons can inflict the punishment God has ordained for their sin, even death; thus he manipulates people by the fear of death.

X

Official: Satan and demons have no power to benefit, harm or kill; only God can do that. 

Popular: Demons cause serious harm to people.

Those who are in Christ can effectively resist Satan and be delivered of demons through the name of Christ and their position in Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit that is within them, and through the Word of God.  Those outside the Kingdom are subject to Satan’s tyranny and have little effective means to resist demonic evil. Some are even deceived to worship demons.

>

Official: God causes demons to accompany and mislead those who disbelieve, but others are also tempted. A Muslim can prayerfully affirm that he “takes refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan.”

Popular: Demons are a danger for everyone.  By various rites, verses, and talismans one can hope to ward off their evil influences or at least appease them.

Mankind

 

Mankind

God made man in His own spiritual image, with some of his attributes, so that man can have fellowship with God. (Examples include awareness of God, moral consciousness, and the abilities to love, laugh, create, ponder, and communicate with language.)

|

Official: God gave man spiritual qualities, but God is entirely unlike man; not only is He non-physical, He is not a person and not a spirit.

Sufi: God made man in His spiritual image.

High Sufi: Man is not really distinct from God; it just appears so until the veil is lifted from his vision.

God put man in authority on the earth and told him to obey Him.

=

God honored Adam and made him his viceroy (khalîfa) over the earth.

Adam and Eve doubted God’s guidance and ate the forbidden fruit.

=

 

The garden of Eden was on earth. It is not identified with paradise.

X

The garden of Eden was probably not on earth. It is the same as paradise.

Mankind fell from the previous spiritual condition, and since then, man is born with a sinful nature. 

||

Adam repented and was forgiven.  There was no spiritual fall, only a physical fall from the heavenly paradise to earth. Man continues to be born with a good nature, free from sin, although he is weak and forgetful of God's laws.

All people sin.  Sin disqualifies a person from paradise.

|

The classes of sin include inadvertent slips (zallât), lapses (hafwât), offenses (dhunűb), and transgressions (’âthâm). All people (except Jesus and perhaps some prophets) commit offenses (dhunűb), but if they repent they are forgiven. They are punished for unforgiven offenses by spending time in hell. Not all people, however, commit transgressions (’ithm), and it is only this (’ithm) that permanently disqualifies a person from paradise, and then only if God chooses not to forgive it.  God has kept prophets and saints from transgression. Some say that everyone has a kernel of transgression in their hearts.

The main reason people sin is because their fallen human nature (called "the flesh") inclines toward sin.

|

The main reason people sin is because they are weak and forgetful of God’s laws.

Official: Ultimately, every good or evil action is the result of God’s predestination.  Those whom He guides fulfil His requirements.

Popular: When wronged, people generally blame the wrongdoer rather than God.

High Sufi: People sin because they do not focus their minds on God as the Absolute and Only Reality, and instead attribute value to physical things.

God and Mankind

 

God and Mankind

God is merciful, gracious, and provident toward mankind.

=

God is merciful, gracious, and provident toward mankind.

God desires people to do what is right and not sin.

~

God calls all people to follow his laws, but He causes or allows some people to go astray.

God loves all people, including those who do not love Him.

|

God loves his followers and slaves but hates His enemies.

God’s love includes a genuine concern for people’s well-being, including a concern to rescue them from sinfulness and folly.

>

God’s love is a reward to those who please Him.

God delights in righteousness and grieves over sin and evil.

>

Official: God is not moved or influenced by what man does or feels, but He responds to it as He wills.

God desires personal fellowship with people.  His greatest desire for them is that they should love Him and trust His love for them forever.

>


~

Official: God does not have personal fellowship with man. 

Sufi: One can experience God in praise rituals. A saint is close (walî) to God.

High Sufi: God desires that people love Him and realize that they have no separate reality apart from Him.

God establishes covenants with people as a way of defining a relationship with them. These agreements rest on His promises, on His nature and give people an opportunity to obey Him. 

X

God’s relationship with mankind is determined by his election and their obedience to his laws, which are eternal and not determined by covenants.

Because of man’s sin, fellowship with God was broken and remains hindered.

X

Official: Fellowship is impossible because of God’s transcendent nature.

High Sufi: Lack of union with God is caused by failure to recognize Him as the only absolute reality in all things.

In the New Covenant, God forgives people and gives them the power to obey.

X

God can keep people from sinning but does so only for prophets.

God is knowable and has a relationship his people through His Spirit, which indwells those who belong to Jesus Christ.  They can draw closer to God by relying on Him, by studying/meditating on His Word, by worshipping Him, by spending time with Him in prayer, and by being attentive to the indwelling Holy Spirit and by accepting His chastening.

 

>

Official: There is no possibility for man to experience God because of His absolute transcendence. 

Popular: One can feel closer to God by reciting His eternal Word, the Qur’an, in God’s own language (Classical Arabic).

Sufi: God can be experienced by chanting His name (dhikr) until ecstasy (wajd) is reached.

High Sufi: Ultimately, the advanced Sufi can come to realize that he is not separate from God (riḍwân).

God’s Rule

 

God’s Rule

God’s power is absolute, but his rule is self-limited. He allows man some freedom of choice and works to influence those choices and to teach mankind to choose well.  Example: God allowed Adam to name the animals.

>

God’s power and rule are absolute. He decrees every deed, whether good or bad.  Man has no freedom of choice.  Example: God taught Adam the names of the animals.

God sets the dates of one’s birth and death, etc.

=

God sets the dates of one’s birth and death, etc.

Before creation, God planned the general course of history, including the means of salvation. He remains in active control of human events and history, ensuring that His promises are fulfilled, His Kingdom established, and His people saved and sanctified.

>

God decreed everything before creation and now watches it unfold.  There is an end to history, and the goal of a universal umma, but little sequencing of events to achieve that goal, little purpose to history or events.

In accord with His will, God may change the course of events in response to prayer, repentance, etc.

>

Official: Fate cannot be changed. Everything is already written.  People have no power of choice.

Popular: When opportunity allows, Muslims do in fact exercise choice and pray for God to intervene, but they resign to fate when things do not work out.

People are slaves to sinfulness and in subjection to the kingdom of Darkness until they are set free by Christ and enter the Kingdom of God.  They then relate to God as sons, with an obligation to obey Him as Father.

||

All people are slaves to God, but Muslims are those who acknowledge this servitude and submit to it.

God, to achieve His purposes through or for his saints & prophets, may allow them to suffer, but not more than they can endure with His strengthening and comfort, and He will reward them later, in this life or the next.

|

God prospers those who believe & obey, but he also allows people to suffer as fated.

Popular:  God allows people to suffer more than they can endure.

Mankind’s Predicament

 

Mankind’s Predicament

Man has misconceptions about God.

=

Man has misconceptions about God.

Man has misconceptions about God’s requirements.

~

Man is forgetful of God’s laws.

Evil exists among mankind because of man’s sinfulness and its consequences. Satan can cause evil directly to lawbreakers deserving punishment, which is everyone on earth.  God can also use evil circumstances to discipline and train his people.

|

Evil exists because God created it and wills it.  God allows Satan to mislead those people whom God wants to destroy, but Satan has not power to harm, nor does anyone else.

A sin is failure to love God fully and keep all of his commandments.

x

A sin is breaking one of God’s laws.

Man is by nature a hopeless sinner, unable to comply with all of God's requirements.

|

Official:  Man is forgetful but good; he only needs instruction in order to comply with all of God's requirements.

High Sufi:  Man is confused by what seems to be real but isn't, and fails to realize that within him is the Perfect Man, which is a projection or image of the Divine Being, from which he is not really distinct.

Because of man’s sin, he is unsuitable for the Kingdom of God and is condemned to hell.

||

Only great sinners and those who refuse to submit to Islam are condemned permanently to hell; most Muslims will pass through hell and then go to paradise.  Nevertheless, God has already consigned to hell whomever He wanted, and there is nothing anyone can do to change it.

Man needs fellowship with God, but because of his sin, he is separated from fellowship with God.

X

Official: Man cannot have much fellowship with God, because it is not possible and God does not desire it. God’s relationship with mankind is determined by his election and their obedience to his laws, which are eternal and not determined by covenants.

Man needs deliverance from the tyranny of his sinful nature, but he is unable to free himself.

|

Man needs right guidance, but God sometimes allows Satan and others to mislead him.

Man wants life, but because of his sin, he is spiritually dead and doomed to die physically.

X

Physical death is not the result of sin.  There is no concept of spiritual death.

Man can do nothing of himself to make himself righteous and acceptable to God.

|

By right guidance and observing God’s laws man can please God.

The mortal judgement on man’s sin can only be borne by the death of a perfect substitute, since a sinful substitute would need to die for his/her own sinfulness, but no man is without sin.

||

No one can be a substitute to bear the judgement for the sins of someone else, but ablutions may wash away sin, and fasting and alms may atone for them.

Because of man’s sin, the natural world suffers from death and corruption.

x

Man’s sin did not affect the natural world.

Because of man’s sin, he is under the sway of the accuser, Satan, who lords it over the world.

|

Man suffers from the temptations and doubts whispered by Satan.  His activity is not the result of sin.

Jesus Christ

x

the Messiah ‘Isa son of Mary

The coming of the Christ was foretold by the prophets, as recorded in the Old Testament.

 

~

The coming of Jesus was foretold by the prophets.

There were shadows or forerunners of Christ in the Old Testament.

 

(no such concept)

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and did many miracles.

=

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and did many miracles.

Jesus Christ was a prophet.

=

Jesus Christ was a prophet.

Jesus Christ was without sin.

=

Jesus Christ was without sin.

Jesus Christ embodies the eternal, creative Word of God.  He is God’s supreme message and self-revelation to man.

~

Jesus was a word sent from God (a phrase with uncertain meaning)

Jesus is called Christ (the Messiah) because he is the anointed Saviour-King over God’s Kingdom.

X

The title “Messiah” is of uncertain meaning.

Other Messianic titles from the Bible include “The Son of Man”, “The King of the Jews”, “The Son of David”, “The Saviour”, and “Lord”.

X

(no other Messianic titles and no Messianic concept)

The Son of God” is another Messianic title in the Bible, affirming his special relationship with God as the saviour and lord of all.

||

The Christians claim that God slept with a woman and had Jesus as an illegitimate offspring, but this is blasphemy. Anyone who says that goes to hell.

Jesus Christ is God and reveals what God is like.

||

Jesus was only a prophet; he was not like God, and was not divine in any way.

Jesus Christ died on the cross as the only perfect sacrifice for sin.  This sacrifice benefits all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. He is our advocate before the Father.

|||

Jesus did not die; someone else died in his place.  There is no sacrifice that can atone for sin.  No one can help man at the judgement.

God’s love for mankind, and Christ’s love for the Father, is demonstrated in the sacrifice of Christ.

|

It would have been shameful for God to have allowed his prophet Jesus to be killed, but it would be honorable for Jesus or anyone to sacrifice his life in service to God.

God was honored when Jesus obeyed Him even to the cross.

>

Although martyrdom is valued, God would never allow His prophets to be badly mistreated.

Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

|

Jesus did not die or rise from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that He is the Messiah, the righteous Son of God, who has conquered sin and death and will come again to rule and judge all mankind. 

|

Jesus ascended without death and resurrection. He will come again to rule and make everyone Muslims, then he will die.

Jesus Christ ascended to heaven.

~

Jesus ascended into heaven in his normal body, without dying and rising.

Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on the earth; he rules and expands his kingdom from heaven.

>|

Jesus does not rule. Only God has power; only He can harm or benefit.

Petitions to God are most effective when made on the basis of one’s standing in Christ (in the name of Christ).  They may be addressed to Christ.

|

 

 

~

Official: One cannot make petitions to Christ or to God in Christ’s name.  This would be shirk, the worst of sins.

Popular: One can address petitions to Jesus (or other prophets and saints)

Jesus will return to earth from heaven at the end of this age.

~

Jesus will return near the end of history.

Jesus will judge the living and the dead.

|

When Jesus returns, he will break crosses and force everyone to become Muslims. At the resurrection, God will be the judge.

Jesus will establish His universal kingdom over heaven and earth.

|

Jesus will proclaim and demonstrate that Islam is the true religion and will become part of the universal Umma.

Jesus will rule forever.

x

Jesus will die and be buried.

The Holy Spirit

 

 

The Holy Spirit is God and has all the attributes of God.

|

Official: The Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel. God has a spirit which he breathed into Adam and Jesus when he created them.

Shi’ite: The Spirit of God brings blessing to people

Sufi: The divine secret (as-sirr ul-’ilâhî) or divine accompaniment works in the lives of godly people.

God gives life to mankind through His Spirit.

=

God gives life to mankind through His Spirit.

The Spirit of God convicts people of sin and leads them to Christ.

x

(no such idea)

The Spirit of God indwells believers in Christ and enlightens and guides them and makes them more like Christ.

>

God guides us by giving us law.  There is no spiritual indwelling, no sanctification.

The Spirit of God empowers believers to overcome the sinful nature and to live in a manner pleasing to God.

>

(no such idea)

The indwelling Spirit of God allows fellowship with God and allows the church to be a community of God."

>

(no such idea)

Prophets

 

Prophets

A prophet is someone whom God calls to speak His message to people.

~

A prophet is someone whom God calls to warn people to repent and observe His laws.

An apostle of Christ is someone sent by God to spread the Gospel and establish the church.

X

An apostle of Christ (hawâri ) is one of his close companions.

(Jesus and certain prophets were apostles sent by God. Heb 3:1; Lk 11:49 )

x

An apostle (rasűl) is a someone to whom God has sent down laws for a “people of the book” to follow.  God sent down to each of the main apostles a book of law and gave them political authority over a people.

A prophet is inspired by the Spirit of God, but he uses his own language and manner of speech to deliver the message.

|

God sends down to the apostle the exact words to speak to the people.  The prophet could be in a fit and understand nothing.

Christ foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit.

x

Christ foretold the coming of Muhammad.

There have been false prophets, whom God has not sent, and there will be false prophets and antichrists.

~

There have been false prophets, and there well be false prophets, especially Al-Masîkh ad-dajjâl, the false Christ,

A true prophet not only directs people to obey the Creator, he is also attested by miracles such as foretelling events which come to pass and praying for healing for people to be healed.

>

Most major prophets were attested by miracles, but the last prophet was attested only by the quality of the verses he uttered in the Qur’an, the greatest miracle.

Aaron, Job, Isaac, Lot, and Ezra are not generally considered to be prophets, and certainly not Adam and Alexander the Great.

X

These are generally counted among the prophets, along with others called Hud, Salih, Shuaib, Dhu-Kifil.

Petitions should be made directly to God, without requests to dead prophets, apostles, or saints for their intercession.

=

Official: same

 

 

X

Popular: Appeal is made to dead saints to intercede or even to intervene.  Baraka is sought from their tombs and relics.

Knowledge of God

 

Knowledge of God

God reveals his character to people through creation, prophets, his Spirit, and most of all through his Son.

X

God does not reveal Himself, only His commandments.  He is unlike anything man can see or imagine.

God can be partially comprehended from creation & revelation.

>

God is utterly unknowable, at least in respect to his attributes.  But everyone is born with some sense of God and his law, as well as faith and submission; that is, they are born Muslims.

The Scriptures were written by prophets and by apostles of Christ who were inspired by God.  They received a message or insight from God and expressed it in their own language and style, as is evident from their different styles.

|

The Scriptures were written by God and sent down to the five apostles: Ibrahim, Musa, Daoud, Issa, and Muhammed.  The prophets received the words of God in His language and style and merely recited them.

Knowledge is transmitted by transferring information and fostering understanding.  Regeneration by the Holy Spirit in response to faith in Christ is a prerequisite to understanding spiritual matters.

X

Knowledge is transmitted by transferring information.

Most religious knowledge concerns the character and ways of God as revealed in the record of His activities in history, His instructions, and especially in His self-revelation in Christ.

x

Most religious knowledge consists of God's laws and the revealed record of God's activities in history through His prophets.

The Scriptures show a progression in revelation and in the history of salvation, culminating in the work of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom.  There is a succession of covenants as well, but there is not a cancellation of some passages by others.

X

The prophets all brought the same message: the unity of God, His laws, the call to follow His laws, the day of judgement, and the  promise of rewards for the pious and the punishment of unbelievers.  Nevertheless, some revelations and verses cancel others.

The Scriptures consist of books written by over thirty men of God who were inspired by the Spirit of God.  They expressed God’s message accurately in their own language and style.  Traditionally the Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments.  The Old consists of the Law of Moses, the books of the Prophets, and the writings, including the Psalms.

X

The Scriptures consist mainly of the Tawrât (Torah), Zabűr (Psalms), Injîl (Gospel or NT), and Qur’ân, which were dictated by God through an angel.  The Jews, however, have changed their book and the Christians have corrupted the Injîl.

The Gospel is the good news of the establishment of God’s gracious Kingdom through Christ Jesus, the eternal King.  It was announced by Christ, as recorded in four “Gospels”.

x

The Injil is a book that God sent down to Jesus.  Some say it was taken to heaven with him.

Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Old Covenant on behalf of His people, and God made a new covenant with His followers by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus for their sins.  They are therefore no longer under the Law of the Old Covenant. But the Old Testament is still a valuable and beneficial revelation.

>

God’s law is eternal and unchanging. The Qur’an expresses God’s law the best, and it has cancelled previous scriptures.

The Christian Scriptures are reliable for faith and practice. They have the power to change the hearts and minds of those with ears to hear.

|>

The Scriptures came from God but they have been altered and enlarged, mostly in regard to the prophecy of the "Ahmed" to come in John 14:16.  Therefore they should be avoided.  In practice, the whole Bible is avoided.

God’s perfect, eternal Word is Christ, the Living Word Whom He sent to exemplify His will and character, etc.

|

Christ is a word from God, but God’s perfect, eternal Word is the Qur’an, which He sent down to inform man of God’s law.

Those who sincerely seek the truth of God will eventually come to see that see and believe it.  They will see that Christ spoke the truth and is who He said He is.

x

Muslims who question or doubt Islam and look for the truth objectively are viewed with alarm and suspicion.

The Epistles are reliable and authoritative for believers.

|

The genuine traditions (ḥadîth) are reliable and authoritative for believers.

The Bible has a rich message; people continue to discover new aspects of its meaning and message, especially through the application of historical-linguistic exegesis.

x

The correct interpretation of the Qur’an has been handed down from medieval scholars; individual exegesis is prohibited.

The Bible is beneficial only to the extent that it is understood and believed.

X

The Qur’an is most beneficial if it is chanted with correct pronunciation, regardless of whether it is understood, although understanding is also good.

Popular: Written verses from the Qur’an have power to cure disease, exorcise demons, or ward off evil. They may be displayed, worn, burned or consumed.

Salvation from Mankind’s Predicaments

 

Salvation from Mankind’s Predicaments

God shows His goodness and grace to mankind by providing the things man needs for life and salvation and  especially by giving instructions to guide him into blessings now and paradise hereafter.

=

 

Man can be saved from his predicament by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone.  Acceptance by God is an unearned gift.

|>

Official: If God wills, one can be saved from his predicament by believing in God's Unity and following His guidance.

High Sufi: By revelation and concentration he can come into the state of the Perfect Man.

God provides man with revelation about Himself and His will for man through the Bible's record of His activities, judgements, and messages. God reveals Himself through His incarnation in Jesus Christ, and through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

|

God provides man with revelation about his  unity and laws for man through the Qur’an and the sayings and example of the Prophet, but God does not reveal Himself. He remains beyond conception or characterization, although the 99 names suggest something about Him.

Jesus Christ taught and exemplified the perfect life as God desires it, and this is further explained in the Epistles.

>

Muhammad taught and exemplified the ideal life as God desires it. But some people notice that his life was in many ways very human and self-serving.

Faith in Christ involves personal trust and commitment to Him, as well as repentance from what displeases Him.  True faith gives rise to works of love.

x

Faith involves assenting to the revealed doctrines, especially God's unity. Saving faith should involve belief from the heart and result in submission to God's revealed laws.

Repentance involves recognition and regret of personal sinfulness and a resolution to lead a life pleasing to God.

x

Repentance involves recognition and regret for individual sins and a resolution to abstain from them and obey God’s law.

By faith in Christ, man can be regenerated and receive a new nature.  Without regeneration and the grace of God, man cannot do what God requires.  Law is weak because man’s flesh (nature) is weak and sinful.

>

There is no regeneration.  Knowledge of God’s law is sufficient to make a person submissive and compliant with the Law.

By faith in Christ, man can receive the indwelling Spirit of God, to guide him and to give him power (grace) to resist sin.

>

Power to resist sin comes only from conducting ritual prayers regularly and from fearing hell fire.  God guides through fate rather than through His Spirit.

When people repent of sin and personally accept Jesus as Christ, their Lord and King, God accepts them into His Kingdom and treats them as His sons.  They are saved by God’s kindness and power through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

||

Man becomes more acceptable to God by resisting temptation and by submitting to God’s laws as His slave. People can never be sons to God, but they can be close to God and beloved of him. (This is just a problem with the word ‘son’.) One is required to believe in all the prophets, not just in Jesus.

Jesus Christ allowed himself to be killed and became the perfect, atoning sacrifice for the sins of those who believe in him, who are thereby, freed from condemnation to hell and given assurance of forgiveness and paradise.

>

There is no sacrifice for sin and no saviour.  God may forgive whomever He wants to forgive.  There is no assurance.

When one has submitted to Christ as Lord and been freed from condemnation, he is freed from the power of the accusation and oppression of Satan, although he can still be tempted.

x


>

Official: Satan has permission to lead astray all who are not true servants of God, but he does not rule, oppress, or kill.

Popular: Satan causes harm and intimidates.

On the Day of Judgement, Satan and his hosts will be cast into the fire of hell.

=

On the Day of Judgement, Satan and his hosts will be cast into the fire of hell.

In the age to come, the earth will be renewed and freed from corruption, death, and evil.

X

The earth will not be regenerated or repopulated.

By accepting Christ and receiving the Spirit of God, man can have partial fellowship with God now, and full fellowship after death.

x

Fellowship with God is not possible, neither now nor after death. God’s throne is in the seventh heaven, not in paradise.

Good deeds please God and benefit man, but they do not earn grace, forgiveness, or eternal life.  They do not cancel sins.

|

If God wills, one’s good deeds will outweigh his bad deeds and bring him material blessings now and paradise in the end.

Illness, misfortune, and failure

 

Illness, misfortune, and failure

Prosperity or its lack, illness and health, misfortunes and disasters may all have natural or supernatural causes, but God takes special care of those who love and obey Him.

X

Prosperity is a sign of the blessing of God.  Illness, poverty, misfortune and failure generally have spiritual causes.

God frequently blesses his own people with spiritual prosperity without giving them material benefits. Spiritual blessings are more important than material blessings because they are eternally enduring.

x

Material prosperity is always due to God’s blessing.

God keeps the followers of Christ from being overwhelmed by illness and disaster, but instead of protecting them from all problems, He supports them in dealing with problems.

God does directly intervene in the lives of His people to help them in many ways, often in response to their prayers.  He actively works in their lives so that their life experiences progressively improve their character and their relationship with Him.

Christ heals many who request healing from Him in faith.

His power defeats the power of Satan.

>

There are many malignant supernatural beings and forces operating in the world that are a constant threat to man. Allah is more powerful than any of these beings and forces, which in any case He created, but He has left it to lesser beings to provide help against them. Humans are therefore obliged to consult with those specialists who can deal with these beings.

Popular: The causes of illness, misfortune, and failure can be determined by ritual specialists to whom God has given special insight into these matters. These specialists then advise their clients of the measures then need to take to regain health and success.

Envy (the evil eye) is a sin, but it does not magically cause harm to the object of the envy.  In general, though, Satan can make envy and other sins an occasion to cause harm.

x

The evil eye is dangerous.

Popular:  The evil eye is a major source of evil; its harm can be intentional or not. Some people harm almost anything they look at.

The Kingdom of God and the Church

x

Dar al Islam and The Umma

God is establishing a Kingdom on earth in which His will will be done.

X

God is establishing Islam on earth and causing all people to submit to His laws.

The Kingdom of God is God’s establishment of the Messianic Kingdom on earth among those who accept Jesus as their Messianic King.  Until the consummation of this Kingdom at the return of Christ, God tolerates a limited amount of sin  and rebellion.

X

(No such concept.  The Kingdom (malakűt) of God is his absolute sovereignty, but more commonly the term is used for the unseen world of jinn and magic.)

The Kingdom of God is administered by the Messiah, the promised King.  He will rule forever, bringing willing conformity to God’s will.  All supernatural power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him.

x

The Umma should be administered by a succession of Caliphs.  The Umma observes and enforces the Law, but cannot change it. Eventually Jesus will return to rule and to decide all issues on which people dispute.

Nevertheless, Christ’s Kingdom is not a political body in this present world. Until He returns, Christ rules from the unseen world, influencing events on earth.

X

The Umma is the rightful government of this world.

This Kingdom started small but is growing in the earth.  In general, only a minority of people will enter in. When Christ returns, He will form a new government over all the earth and remove those who have rejected his rule.

>

The Umma should bring everyone into submission to Islam and establish an Islamic government, so that Islam can be practiced in purity.  People of the book may be tolerated as second-class subjects.

Jesus is the Messiah King who administers this Kingdom.

|

Jesus was a prophet, not a ruler.

Christ rules in the hearts and lives of his people.

X

The Umma observes and enforces Islamic law.

One enters the Kingdom by accepting Christ as His King and being thereby born again and forgiven, etc.

|

A non-Muslim enters the Umma by testifying of God’s unity and Muhammad’s apostleship and by submitting to Islamic law (sharî‘a).  Children of a Muslim father are born into Islam.

Those whom God brings out of the dominion of sin and into His Kingdom are called the “Church”, as well as other terms.  Their real citizenship is not in this world, but in heaven.

x

Those who submit to Allah and His prophet, as prescribed in Islam, enter the Umma.

Although the benefits of the Kingdom of God will not be fully realized until Christ returns, the benefits are partially available in this age to those who are in Christ.  These include the fruit of the spirit, gifts of the spirit, fellowship with God, peace that passes understanding, and assurance of salvation.

>

There is no foretaste of a supernatural life in this present earthly existence.  In fact, the life in paradise is a luxurious, painless version of life  in this present world.

The struggle of the Kingdom of God is not against people and governments but against the supernatural kingdom of darkness (Eph 6:12).

X

The struggle of the Umma (dâr ul islâm) is against all people and governments who resist Islam (dâr ul ḥarb).

Local assemblies of those in the Kingdom of Christ are also called churches.  God helps them serve one another in different ways through the power of His Spirit.

x

Churches and mosques are buildings used for religious rites.

The core social unit in the Kingdom of God is the local body of believers (church, congregation, fellowship, assembly, etc.).

x

The core social unit in the Umma is the extended family.

Those in the Kingdom (in Christ) are all brothers and sisters.

x

Muslims are considered brothers, but family relationships remain the most important.

Only a minority of people enter the Kingdom.

x

Whole countries can be in the Umma.

Some from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people will enter the Kingdom.  Those chosen may retain, in this life at least, most of their cultural and linguistic diversity. No particular culture or language is favoured above others.

X

The whole world should be brought into submission to Islam, and eventually to a common Islamic culture and a common language, Classical Arabic, but this will not be completed until Christ returns and kills all who refuse to submit to Islam.

The Role and Status of Women

 

The Role and Status of Women

A woman may own property.

=

A woman may own property.

Men and women are created equal in value and ability, although there are small distinctions in their responsibility towards God and one another.

X

On the one hand, men and women are said to be equal except in responsibility towards God, but on the other, women are said to be deficient in intelligence, piety, gratitude, and reliability. Compensation for a woman’s life is half that of a man’s.

The testimony of men and women is equally valid.

x

The testimony of one man equals that of two women.

Jesus appealed to men and women equally; both are welcome. There is no indication that men are more acceptable.

>

Those in hell-fire are mostly women; those in paradise are mostly men.

A woman gains salvation in the same way as a man.

|

A woman gains salvation by pleasing and obeying her husband.

A husband’s duty is to love his wife and be willing to die for her.

x

A husband’s duty is to provide food and clothing for his wife, after he has fed and clothed himself, and to beat her if she rebels.

One husband and one wife should become like one flesh.  Polygamy is discouraged.  Sex outside of marriage is forbidden to both the man and the wife.

x

A man may marry four wives and have slave concubines.  A woman may not marry more than one husband at a time.

God hates divorce and strictly limits it.  Believers should stay united.

x

A man may divorce his wife at will and may threaten her with divorce.  A woman may not generally divorce her husband.

There is no discrimination between men and women in heaven.

x

In paradise, a man may have many concubines (ḥurr) and the sexual strength of a hundred men, whereas nothing is promised for the few women who reach paradise.

A person’s own lust is the cause of temptation and sexual sin.  Men and women are equally to blame.

x

Immodesty on the part of women is the cause of temptation and sexual sin.

A woman is not restricted in regard to leaving the house or traveling, but she should dress modestly and not entice men.

x

A woman should ideally remain at home.  If she goes out, she must be covered and accompanied by close relatives or other women.  She should never be seen uncovered by a man who is not a close relative.

Men and women may socialize together in mixed company.  They should view each other as brothers and sisters, not as sexual objects.  In Christ there is neither male nor female.

x

Men and women live in different social worlds.  Although they marry, homes are divided into separate men’s and women’s sections. Role distinctions are strictly defined. Men work outside and deal with public affairs and finances while women serve in the home and manage the family.

Paradise

 

Paradise

Followers of Christ enter paradise after their death. Paradise is in heaven.

x

Those predestined by God will enter paradise after the resurrection and the judgement. Paradise is not in heaven.

Those entering paradise have been regenerated and progressively transformed on earth, and they are fully sanctified and glorified in paradise.

x

Those in paradise are similar to how they were on earth; there is no moral transformation of their nature.

Paradise is a beautiful, harmonious place where there is no suffering. The greatest pleasure of paradise is close fellowship with God.

X

Official: Paradise is a beautiful place; its chief pleasures are food and sex.

High Sufi: The chief pleasure is the removal of the illusory veil of being separate  (distinct) from God.

The End of this Age

 

The End of this Age

Before the resurrection, there will be many signs.

=

Before the resurrection, there will be many signs.

The antichrist will appear with false signs and wonders.

~

Ad-Dajjâl will appear with false signs.

The Beast will brand unbelievers with a sign on their faces.

=

The Beast will brand unbelievers with a sign on their faces.

Gog and Magog will appear.

=

Gog and Magog will appear.

There will be signs in the heavens: smoke, the sun darkened.

~

There will be eclipses.

Jesus will return to earth.

=

Jesus will return to earth.

Jesus will come to gather His people and to judge the earth. Those who belong to Christ will be raptured to meet him as he returns.

|

Jesus will come to restore people to Islam and then die.

There will be a resurrection of those who died belonging to Christ.  They will join the throng that was raptured to meet Jesus and receive their rewards. Some people understand the book of Revelation to teach that this throng will inhabit the earth for 1000 years, under the rule of Christ, before the resurrection of the rest of mankind.

X

There will be a general resurrection.

The dead, who did not belong to Christ, will be resurrected and eventually be judged according to their deeds; they will be condemned because they have rebelled against God. They will have no salvation because their names are not in the book of Life. (By rejecting the King they forfeited the Kingdom.)

X

All people will be judged on the Day of Judgment.  God will double the good works of his servants, then good works will be weighed against bad works.  Ultimately, God may forgive or condemn anyone, but he will not forgive those who associate another being with Him.

Those whom God finally rejects will “perish” in the lake of fire (hell).

~

Those whom God rejects will be tortured in the hell fire; they will be neither dead nor alive.

Those who are in hell are spirits of the dead, whereas the saved are resurrected beings with glorious,  immortal bodies.

X

All people are resurrected with the same kind of bodies. Those who are in hell are half dead, or else they suffer frequent death and resuscitation.

Satan and the other fallen angels will be cast into hell.

=

Satan and the demons will be cast into hell.

The earth will be destroyed.

=

The earth will be destroyed.

There will be a new earth and heavens, in which God dwells with His people, and they enjoy loving fellowship with Him.

>

Those whom God guides will be assigned to one of several different places in paradise, still separated from God.

The saved do not go to hell; there is no exit from hell.

>

(Almost) all believers go to hell for punishment before going to paradise.  Some say that one day of sin in this life is punished with a thousand days of torture in hell.

Worship

 

Worship

The main purpose of worship is to thank and praise God for what He has done and to acknowledge his surpassing worth.

x

The purpose of ritual worship is to acknowledge submission to God’s will.

Popular: Ritual worship helps to ward off evil, as does use of the rosary, etc.

Mankind was created to praise and love God, but the manner of worship is not rigidly prescribed.  The greatest obligation is to love God with all one's heart, soul, mind, and strength, and after that to love others as oneself.

x

Worship is obligatory, and specific acts of devotion are prescribed in the ‘five pillars’: witness, ritual washings and prayer, fasting during Ramadan, alms, pilgrimage.

Worship involves prayer, song, studying God’s message in the Bible, celebrating the last supper, and fasting.  All that one says, thinks, and does should bring honour to God.  It encompasses the whole of life.

~

Worship encompasses the whole of life. It includes prayer, chanting the Qur’an and observing the law.  Singing (as opposed to chanting) is inappropriate.

Worship draws the believer closer to God and helps purify his life.

~

Ritual worship reminds the believer of his obligation to God and paves the way for his entrance into paradise.

Worship is only acceptable if it is done sincerely, from the spirit.

x

Worship is only acceptable if the rituals are performed correctly, with sincere intent.

Ethics (a small selection of contrasts)

 

Ethics

The basis of ethics is love for God and gratitude for what He has done.  Ethical behaviour is an expression of love for God and man, in response to the experience of God's grace.  It is motivated by a changed nature, the result of one’s spirit being born again through the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in those who are in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is a continual source of motivation.

|

The basis of ethics is fear of God and the desire to please Him and gain His approval.  Ethical behaviour is a fulfillment of duty and obedience to God’s laws.  It is motivated by learned rules of behavior and by fear of the Last Day. 

Popular: Major components of motivation include the fear of public dishonour and the fear of the consequences of uncleanness.

The ideal person which believers should seek to emulate, is Jesus Christ.

x

The ideal person which believers should seek to emulate, is the Prophet of Islam.

God wants his people to love Him as children, to love others, and to be holy as He is holy.  They show their love for God by making Him their highest priority and by obeying his commandments.

X

God wants his people to submit to Him as slaves.  They show their submission by observing His laws.

The divine law is a schoolmaster that should increase awareness of sinfulness and lead one to Christ.

X

The divine law prescribes how one should behave.

Humility is required for true love for God and others.  Humility is more important than promoting and preserving one’s honor among men.

X

Popular: Preserving one’s honor is a more important duty than humility.

High Sufi: Absolute humility and selflessness are required to perceive fully the truth of  the Absolute Reality of God.

A believer is free to eat or drink anything in moderation, even pork or wine, but he should limit his freedom to avoid hurting others.

X

A Muslim must never eat pork or drink anything alcoholic.

Fasting is encouraged but not required.

x

Fasting is required during Ramadan.

Believers should talk often to God and also be attentive for His guidance.  This is what they mean by “prayer”.  They should also make their petitions known with thanksgiving and intercede for those in authority and for those in need.

x

Muslims should observe the five scheduled times of ritual worship, which they call “prayer” (ṣalât).  Afterwards they can make petitions to God (du‘â’).

Believers should gather often for worship and fellowship, but personal prayer and fasting are better done in private.

x

Muslim men should pray in a mosque, if possible, but women should pray at home. On Friday men should pray the noon prayer in the mosque; women may pray at the same time if there is a special place for them.

The Old Testament prescribed one day of rest each week, and although this is not required under the new covenant, it remains a common and valued practice.

x

There is no required day of rest.

Popular:  Friday has become a day of rest in many places; also Thurs, Sat., or Sunday.

Acceptable types of clothing are not strictly defined, and cultural diversity is approved, but believers should dress modestly.

x

Muslims should dress very modestly.  In conservative communities certain kinds of clothing are often prescribed as “Islamic”.

Believers are free to pray at any time.  They should not make a show of their prayers or repeat their words needlessly..

x

Muslims must wash and remove shoes before praying.  A Muslim’s ritual prayers (ṣalât) will not be acceptable if he/she is unclean in any way.  A petitionary prayer (du‘â) may be made at any time.

Believers are not required to make pilgrimages.

x

Every Muslim who is able should make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once.

Believers should consider all of their property to belong to God. Giving to those in need is a reflection of the believer's gratitude to God for his gift of Jesus Christ.  Many follow the Old Testament example of giving at least ten percent for ministry.

~

Muslims should pay the alms-tax (zakât); they should also be generous to guests, to those in need, and to the cause of Islam.

Believers are free to relieve themselves in any practical position.  OT: Waste should be covered and contamination avoided.

x

Muslims should relieve themselves in prescribed ways, taking care not to contaminate their clothing or skin.

Murder is forbidden.

X

Official: Muslims should not murder anyone except the enemies of God, whom they are obliged to kill.  This includes the enemies of Islam and apostates from Islam.

Popular: A father may kill anyone in the family who brings shame to the family, especially women who are indiscreet.

Politics

 

Politics

Believers should obey secular laws and all those in authority as much as possible.

x

Muslims should obey authentic Muslim leaders. It is not sinful to disobey those in authority or break secular laws.

The Kingdom of God is not of this world.  A theocracy is not possible until Christ returns.

x

Muslims should establish a Muslim state. Ideally they should establish a world-wide utopian theocracy ruled by a Caliph.

Believers can live anywhere.

x

Muslims are encouraged to live in a Muslim state.

Mission

 

Mission (Da‘wa)

All followers of Christ have a duty to proclaim the Gospel.

~

All Muslims have a duty to defend and propagate Islam.

The purpose of mission is make the Gospel known to every person.  Some will believe and enter the Kingdom of God.  Mission involves proclaiming the Gospel, baptising believers, training disciples, etc.

x

The purpose of da‘wa is to extend Dar al Islam and enlarge the Umma.  It involves bringing people into submission to God, and should eventually include everyone.

Genuine conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It cannot be forced or enticed by worldly means.

X

Conversion is a result of re-education.  It can be fostered by threat, pressure or reward.

Defilement and Purification

 

Defilement and Purification

Under the old covenant (OT), one could be defiled (made ceremonially unclean) to various degrees by eating or touching ceremonially unclean things. If one was defiled, his worship and prayers were not acceptable to God. Many animals, such as pigs and dogs, were unclean to eat, as was blood and any animal improperly slaughtered. Anything contaminated by leprosy, seminal emissions, or blood from childbirth and menstruation was unclean to touch.

=

Official: Mostly the same as the OT. In addition an unbeliever or other unclean person cannot read or touch the Qur’an.

Popular: Being unclean brings the curse of God, which leads to punishment and suffering.

OT: A human corpse was unclean to touch, as were infidels.

x

(Shi‘ites agree; Sunnis don’t.)

OT: Excrement is unclean and must be buried.

x

Defecation and urination render one unclean until ritual washing (ablution, wudű’).

Wine is clean, although drunkenness is prohibited. (In the OT, priests were prohibited from wine and intoxicants while serving in the tabernacle. Lev. 10:8)

X

Wine and all spirits are unclean.

OT: Sinfulness, especially idolatry, rendered a land unclean.

X

The unclean person defiles the ground he walks on; his personal angels record this and curse him for it.

OT: Purification usually involved washing or bathing.

~

Purification of minor defilement, such as touching the skin of a person of the opposite sex or relieving oneself, involves ablutions with clean water and formulaic prayers.  Purification of major defilement (sexual emission, blood) requires a complete washing.  “Purity is half the faith.” (Hadith)

 

x

In the absence of water, sand may be used.

God has made people and foods clean for believers in Christ. Ac 10:15; Rom 14:20; Titus 1:15; Mark 7:23

>

Unclean foods always defile a person and may never be eaten.

Christ said that what really defiles people is the sinfulness of their hearts, not what they eat. Mk7:18-23

>

(These concepts are unknown, but they could answer a felt need for inner cleansing.)

In the New Covenant, the power and holiness of Christ is stronger than uncleanness.  When he touched lepers he was not defiled; rather, they were  cleansed.. Mark 1:40-44. The guilt of sin is cleansed once for all time by baptism with faith in Christ (Ac 22:16). The hearts of believers are purified by the Holy Spirit through faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ac 15:9, 1Co 6:11, Tit 3:5), and regularly cleansed by confession of sin (1Jo 1:9) and by the word of Christ (Eph 5:26, John 15:3)  This is possible because of the sacrificial blood/death of Christ which cleanses our hearts. Heb 9:13, Re 7:14; Col 2:16-23

>

(Islam has no cleansing from sinfulness.  It cannot purify the heart and mind.)

Values commonly held

 

Values commonly held

Believers should seek unity within diversity.

x

The Muslim community should promote uniformity.

Impartiality towards all is commanded, but there is a greater obligation to love those within the household of faith.  (In practice, partiality has been a problem from the beginning.)

x

There is official inequality between sexes, languages, religious communities, and--unofficially--between races, clans, classes.

Nevertheless, the Bible foretells the  growth of the Kingdom until it exists in every nation, tribe, and tongue, and this is what is seen in history.  Nevertheless, the Kingdom of Christ has always faced opposition in this world.  Among its constant opponents have been institutional religion and human tradition.

X

The first Islamic society was the best, and it has been downhill since then.  The early practices, teachings and interpretations are the best.  Hence tradition is sacred, and innovation is profane.

Creativity is valued as an attribute of God’s image in man.

x

Creativity violates tradition and uniformity.

Individuals may make their own decisions with due respect for the counsel of fellow believers and the effect on others.

|

Decisions should be made by leaders in the family or clan.

Individuals should grow in conformity to Christ, especially with regard to holiness, love, obedience, and understanding.

X

Individuals should conform to Islamic society and family and should follow the example of their prophet.

Adversities (trials) are an opportunity for spiritual growth.

x

Adversity is to be avoided or else accepted as fate.

Peace is valued as an inner condition produced by the Holy Spirit in those reconciled to God through Christ.

x

Peace is valued as the absence of adversity.

Loyalty is owed to fellow believers in the family of God.

x

Loyalty to is owed to one’s extended family.

Personal honour is based on individual character. A person of honour is characterized by wisdom, dependence on God, loving and serving Him.

x

Personal honour is based on the honour of one’s family and clan.

One should bring honour to Christ, by honest means, even if one appears foolish to others or displeases one’s family.

x

One should, by almost any means, promote and protect the honour of one’s family and of Islam.

One should seek guidance from God through the Bible, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.

x

One should seek guidance by learning the Islamic law and following it.

Believers should feel ashamed if they dishonour or displease God.  However, if they are following Christ, then they expect reproach and persecution from worldly people.

|

The Muslim generally feels ashamed when others reproach him or his family or a member of his family.  Avoidance of shame is perhaps the strongest factor affecting social behaviour.  The family should keeps its womenfolk from shaming them by committing a sexual indiscretion; shame can be alleviated by strictly punishing the offending woman.

One should practice hospitality even to strangers.

~

The practice of hospitality and generosity bring honour to the family; its lack brings dishonour.

One should work and not be idle.  Work with the hands is honourable.

X

A man should not work if it is not necessary. Manual labour is not honourable.

 

Bibliography of Published Resources Consulted

Abdul-Khaliq, Abdur-Rahmaan. 1986. The General Prescripts of Belief in the Qu'ran and Sunnah. Translation and commentary by Mahmoud Murad. Canada: Al-Haq Publication Society.

Accad, Fouad Elias. 1997. Building Bridges; Christianity and Islam. Colorado Springs: Navpress.

Ahmad, Khurshid (ed). 1975. Islam, Its Meaning and Message. Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation.

Ahmed, Khurshid, & Zafar Ishaq Ansari (eds). 1980. Islamic Perspectives; Studies in Honour of Sayyid Abul A`la Mawdudi. Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation.

Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. 1938. The Meaning of The Glorious Quran; Text, Translation and Commentary. Pakistan.

Al-Kaysi, Marwan Ibrahim. 1986. Morals and Manners in Islam; A Guide to Islamic Adab. London: The Islamic Foundation.

Al-Muzaffar, Muhammad Rida. 1982. The Faith of Shi`a Islam. UK: Muhammadi Trust.

An-Nawawi. 1982. An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith. Translated by Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies. Malaysia: Polygraphic Press Sdn. Bhd.

Baagil, H.M. 1984. Christian Muslim Dialogue.  Riyadh: Islamic Da'wah Committee.

Brown, Rick. 2002. Selecting and Using Scripture Portions Effectively in Frontier Missions. International Journal of Frontier Missions. 19(2):10–25.

Brown, Rick. 2004. Communicating God’s Word in Oral Cultures. International Journal of Frontier Missions. 21(3): 19–24.

Bukhari. n.d. Sahiih Al-Bukhari; Arabic-English. Gujranwala, Pakistan: Sethi Straw Board Mills Ltd.

Chapman, Colin. 1995. Cross & Crescent; Responding to the Challenge of Islam. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press.

Cooper, Anne. 1993. Ishmael my brother, Fully revised and updated; A Christian introduction to Islam. Tunbridge Wells, Kent (UK): MARC.

Cooper, Anne. 1997. Heart to Heart: Talking with Muslim Friends. Oldham, UK: Word of Life.

Copleston, F.S. 1989. Christ or Mohammed? The Bible or the Koran? Harpenden, England: Nuprint, Ltd.

Cragg, Kenneth and Speight Marston R. 1980. Islam From Within; Anthology of A Religion. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Cragg, Kenneth. 1988. The Pen and the Faith; Eight Modern Muslim Writers and the Quran. Delhi: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Dennett, Bill. 1992. Sharing the Good News with Muslims; Simple Guidelines for Christians. Homebush West, Australia: Anzea Publishers.

Douglass, Robert, and David Bentley (eds). 1993. The Boundaries of God; Muslims in Contact with Non-Muslims. Pasadena, CA: Zwemer Institute.

Dretke, James P. 1979. A Christian Approach to Muslims; Reflections from West Africa. Pasadena, California: William Carey Library.

Geisler, Norman, and Abdul Saleeb. 1993. Answering Islam: The Crescent in light of the Cross. Grand Rapids: Baker.

Gibb, H. A. R., and J. H. Kramers. 1953. Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Gilsenan, Michael. 1982. Recognizing Islam; Religion and Society in the Modern Arab World. New York: Pantheon Books.

Glasse, Cyril. 1989. The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam. London: Stacey International.

Hesselgrave, David. 1997. Worldview, Scripture and Missionary Communication. International Journal of Frontier Missions 14(2): 78–82.

Hoffman, Valerie J. 1995 . Sufism, Mystics, and Saints in Modern Egypt. Colombia: Univ. of S. Carolina Press.

Iliff, Francis P. 1995. Salam Alekum: Understanding Muslim Culture to Make Friends. London: Interserve.

Isaiah, Emmanuel Sudhir. 1988. Muslim Eschatology and its Missiological Implications; A Thematic Study. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services.

Izutsu, Toshihiko. 1987. God and Man in the Koran; Semantics of the Koranic Weltanschauung. Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company Publishers, Inc.

Jomier, Jacques. 1989. How to Understand Islam. Translated from French by John Bowden. London: SCM Press.

Kassis, Hanna E. 1983. A Concordance of the Qur'an. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Kateregga, Badru D., and David W. Shenk. 1985. Islam and Christianity; A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue. Nairobi, Kenya: Uzima Press Limited.

Khair-Ullah, F. S. 1976. Linguistic hang-ups in communicating with Muslims. (no publisher listed) .

Lemu, Aisha B., and Fatima Heeren. 1978. Woman in Islam. Leicester, UK: Islamic Foundation.

Love, Rick. 1994. Church Planting Among Folk Muslims. International Journal of Frontier Missions 11(2): 87–91.

Madany, Bassam M. 1981. The Bible and Islam; Sharing God's Word with a Muslim. Palos Heights, IL: The Back to God Hour.

Mallouhi, Christine. 1994. Mini-Skirts, Mothers & Muslims; Modelling Spiritual Values in Muslim Culture. Tunbridge Wells, England: Spear Publications.

Massignon, Louis. 1997  . Essay on the Origins of the Technical Language of Islamic Mysticism. Translated from French by Benjamin Clark Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

McCurry, Don M. (ed). 1979. The Gospel and Islam; A 1978 Compendium .Monrovia, CA: MARC.

Mernissi, Fatima. 1987. Beyond the Veil; Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society, Revised Edition. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Mujtaba, Sayid and Rukni Musawi Lari. 1974. Western Civilisation Through Muslim Eyes. Translated by F. J. Goulding. Houston TX: Free Islamic Literature.

Musk, Bill. 1992. Passionate Believing; The `fundamentalist' face of Islam. Speldhurst, Kent: MARC.

Musk, Bill. 1992. The Unseen Face of Islam; Sharing the Gospel with Ordinary Muslims. Speldhurst, Kent: MARC.

Musk, Bill. 1995. Touching the Soul of Islam; Sharing the Gospel in Muslim Cultures. Crowborough, UK: MARC.

Nehls, Gerhard. 1990. The Islamic Christian Controversy. Nairobi: Life Challenge Africa.

Nehls, Gerhard. 1996. Islam: as it sees itself, as others see, it as it is. Nairobi: Life Challenge Africa.

Netton, Ian Richard. 1992. A Popular Dictionary of Islam. London: Curzon Press.

Palmer, Bernard. 1980. Understanding the Islamic explosion. Horizon House Publishers.

Parshall, Phil. 1980. New Paths in Muslim Evangelism; Evangelical Approaches to Contextualization. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Parshall, Phil. 1983. Bridges to Islam; A Christian Perspective on Folk Islam. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Parshall, Phil. 1989. The Cross and the Crescent; Understanding the Muslim Mind and Heart. Amersham-on-the-Hill, UK: Scripture Press.

Parshall, Phil. 1994. Inside the Community: Understanding Muslims through their traditions.  Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Piamenta, M. 1983. The Muslim Conception of God and Human Welfare; As Reflected in Everyday Arabic Speech. Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Quasem, Muhammad Adul. 1979. The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur'an; Al-Ghazali's Theory. London: KPI.

Rahman, Fazzlur. 1979. Islam; Second Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Saal, William J. 1991. Reaching Muslims for Christ. Chicago: Moody Press.

Saifuddin. 1969. Christianity or Islam? Karachi: Islamic Foundation.

Schlorff, Samuel P. 1980 . Theological and Apologetical Dimensions of Muslim Evangelization. Westminster Theological Journal vol. 42, No. 2.

Schlorff, Samuel P. 1981. Discipleship in Islamic Society. Upper Darby, PA: North Africa Mission.

Schlorff, Samuel P. 1993. Muslim Ideology and Christian Apologetics. Missiology 21(2).

Stacey, Vivienne. 1988. Practical Lessons for Evangelism among Muslims. London: Interserve.

Stacey, Vivienne. 1995. Women in Islam. London: Interserve.

Stacey, Vivienne. 1997. Submitting to God; Introducing Islam. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Various authors. 1995. Ministry in Islamic Contexts. Monrovia, CA: MARC Publications.

Vanderaa, Larry. 2000. Strategy for Mission among the Fulbe (Part One). International Journal of Frontier Missions. 17(3): 19–28.

VanderWerff, Lyle. 1994. Mission Lessons from History: A Laboratory of Missiological Insights Gained from Christian-Muslim Relationships. International Journal of Frontier Missions. 11(2): 74–79.

VanderWerff, Lyle. 1996. Christian Witness to Our Muslim Friends. International Journal of Frontier Missions. 13(3): 111–116.

Von Deffner, Ahmad. 1979. A Day with the Prophet. Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation.

Watt, W. Montgomery. 1985. Islamic Philosophy and Theology; An Extended Survey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Weestra, Hans. 1999. De-Westernizing the Gospel; The Recovery of a Biblical Worldview. International Journal of Frontier Missions 16(4): 129–134.

Williams, John Alden. 1994. The Word of Islam. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Woodberry, J. Dudley. 1988. Introduction to Islam; Syllabus and Lecture Outlines for Classroom Use. Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary.

Woodberry, J. Dudley (ed.). 1989. Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road. Monrovia, CA: MARC.

Woodberry, J. Dudley. 1990. Faith and Iman: The Human Response. My Neighbor is Muslim:  A Handbook for Reformed Churches. John Knox Series. Geneva: John Knox International Reformed Center, 69-79.

Zwemer, Samuel M. 1920. The Influence of Animism on Islam; An Account of Popular Superstitions. New York: The MacMillan Company.



[1] In addition, since most Muslim communities are primarily oral cultures, dialogue can be enhanced by utilizing communication styles appropriate for oral communicators. For more on that see Brown 2002, 2004.

[2] For guidelines see Weestra 1999.

[3] Of course, the main aid to gaining a biblical worldview is the repeated reading of the Bible, including footnotes which provide contextual background. Repeated cycles through a panorama of the Bible facilitates a hermeneutical spiral of increasing understanding and assimilation. For more on that see Hesselgrave 1997 and Brown 2002.

Dr Rick Brown

Copyright © Rick Brown 1998, 2004
Used by permission

For More:
Biblical Muslims, by Rick Brown
Muslim Worldviews and the Bible: Bridges and Barriers (Part I: God and Mankind), by Rick Brown
Muslim Worldviews and the Bible: Bridges and Barriers (Part II: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Age to Come), by Rick Brown>
Muslim Worldviews and the Bible: Bridges and Barriers (Part III: Women, Purity, Worship and Ethics), by Rick Brown
Son of God 1: Explaining the Biblical Term 'Son(s) of God' in Muslim Contexts, by Rick Brown
Son of God 2: Translating the Biblical Term 'Son(s) of God' in Muslim Contexts, by Rick Brown

Go To Worldview Perspectives
What is Worldview? | Culture and Experience | How Do You Know? | Cognitive and Social Culture | Worldview Noise in Communication
Worldview in Language:  Language and Thought | Worldview in Language:  Identity and Relationship

----Return to SL Resource Kit----        ----Return to SL Training----