Christians often hear that we (Christians) and Muslims serve the same God and that our religions does not differ that much. Islam also claims that Allah is identical with the God of Abraham (Ibrahim). They claim their lineage comes from Ishmael, hence their creed the God of Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob.

The Qureish tribe (which controlled the area of Mekka during the lifetime of Muhammed) claim to be the descendants of Kedar, son of Ishmael. Therefore Islam states that Allah is the same God that Israel and Christianity calls Yahweh. Strangely enough there are not few Christians in this day who are of the same opinion.

The Roman Catholic Church in the II Vatican Council declared that the god of Islam is the same God of the Bible, even some Protestant movements believe the same, but we as elders of Nuwe Lewe Tygerberg do not agree, but state that they are not the same. The reasons for this viewpoint are the basis of this discussion document and our departure will be the character of Yahweh and Allah.

1. Character

Islam believes that Allah knows who you are, and has fatalistically determined your thoughts, words and deeds - good or evil - and your eternal destiny. This is why Muslim often say "Inchallah- if Allah wills it."

Looking at the highest virtue -Agape- we find that the Qur'an teaches that Allah chooses to love and hate those he chooses to love and hate, which means that his love or hate is in response to human behaviour. He hates:

1   Transgressors (2:190)

2   Ungrateful and wicked creatures (2:279)

3   Those who reject Islam (3:32; 30:45)

4   Those who do wrong (4:36; 16:23; 31:18; 57:23) etc.

He allows and encourages his followers to kill, steal, lie and deceive for the furthering of Islam. He does not limit himself by moral nature but permits corrupt acts. This implies that Allah has a flawed character.

Yahweh Elohim, of the Bible, our God, Creator and Father, on the other hand loves ALL people. His Agape, which is the imbedded Holiness of His Character, is not in response to our goodness, but in spite of our lack there off. He proved His AGAPE for us in that while we were all still sinners, Christ dies for us (Rom 5:8). John writes, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" 1 John 4:10. Even though God hates sin, He loves the sinners and takes no pleasure in punishing him - Ezekiel 18:23. His love for all people is UNCONDITIONAL.

Our God is perfect in character.

The difference between Islam and Christianity is that in Islam, Allah sends his followers to die for him, whereas in Christianity God sent His Son to die for us.

2. Personal relationship

Allah of the Qur'an is unknowable and impersonal, while our God yearns for intimacy with us. With Yahweh we know that He is trustworthy, faithful never changing, while Allah throughout the Koran changes his mind. Love is our motive to serve Yahweh, with Muslims it is fear that motivates.

Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:17, Philippians 3:7-10 and many both of the New and Old Testament - Jeremiah 29:13, 14 - clearly demonstrate that God desires an intimate relationship with His creation.

For Islam, the gulf between the Creator and His creatures is so absolute and un-crossable that an intimate knowledge of Allah is totally impossible. For Islam men's present separation with Allah is normal, and the incarnation impossible.

Islam is repressing the knowledge of God which man possesses by virtue of his creation in God's Image, thereby cutting Muslims off from a personal relationship with God. Allah is not called father, which is foundational in Christianity and allows a personal relationship with our Father.

3. Salvation

Romans 3:10 states that the condition of men (gender neutral) after Adam's fall is one of unrighteousness with eternal death as a consequence Romans 5:12.

Islam, however, teaches that Adam did indeed sin, but it was his sin alone and had no bearing on the future generations. Sin in no way affected the relationship between men and Allah. Thus no relationship was broken. Adam's sin was his own for which he needed personally seek reconciliation - Sur 4:111 says "And if any one earns sin, he earns it against his own soul."

Salvation was of an absolute necessity (Rom 3:10), and in Christianity is achieved on the basis of faith alone in the atonement of our Lord's Jesus death on the cross - Rom 5:17 - and not by any righteous works - Ephesians 2:8, 9 - James 2:18 and Titus 3:5-7.

In Islam salvation can only be achieved on the basis of good works alone. However, by contrast the Muslim's salvation is never guaranteed. The individual must produce good works and hope that at the Judgment day Allah will grant him favor. Allah, under no moral obligation, is under no compulsion to save anyone, and no such promise of salvation is found in the Qur'an. Allah saves whom he wills and punishes whom he wills. Even Muhammed is not sure of his salvation.

4. Trinity

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

He is "Yahweh Elohim - The LORD God." The Creator of the things we see and  of those we cannot. It is the One God that exists in Three Persons and of one substance.

The Athanasion Creed says:

We worship on God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity

Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all ONE; the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit

Trinitarian theology states that God the Father is the source, the origin, of both the Son and the Holy Spirit and He is considered the eternal Source of the Godhead. The Father is the One who eternally begets the Son, and the Father eternally breathes the Holy Spirit. The Son is eternally born from the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father. Thus "Pantheism" is excluded. It is beyond reason and can only be known by revelation. Hence the difficulty of Islam to understand this concept.

Allah

The acts of ascribing partners to God, whether they be sons or daughters, or other partners (gods) is considered to be blasphemous in Islam. The Qur'an repeatedly and firmly asserts God's absolute oneness, thus ruling out the possibility of another being sharing his sovereignty or nature.

The Holy Spirit

Islam has always identified the angel Gabriel (Jibreel) as "Ruh Al Quds, meaning the Holy Spirit. This is the title given to him by the Qur'an. Quranic Ayats proof that the angel Gabriel is the Holy Spirit.

1   Gabriel brought down the Holy Qur'an - Sura 2 Ayat 97

2   The Holy Spirit brought it down - Sura 16 Ayat 102

3   Hence, the Holy Spirit is Gabriel.

All born again believers know the Holy Trinity. The explanation of the Holy Trinity is so simple that most miss it:

1. If God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were the same, they would not have different Names.

2. If they were the same, they would not appear separately as they do in Matthew 3:16, 17.

3. In spite of being different they are "One" - John 10:30.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus (Isa-Ibn Maryam) is considered a Muslim, (i.e. one who submits to the will of Allah) as He preached that His followers should adopt "the straight path" as commanded by Allah.

Islam rejects the Trinitarian Christianism's view that Jesus was God incarnate, or the Son of God.

The Qur'an says that Jesus Himself never claimed to be the Son of God, and furthermore states that Jesus will deny having ever claimed divinity at the Last Judgment, and God will vindicate Him. They believe that Jesus will return on the Day of Judgment to restore justice and defeat "Al-Masih ad-Dajjal" the false Messiah also known as the Anti-Christ.

The Qur'an teaches that Jesus ascended to Heaven without being put on the cross and God transformed another person, Simon of Cyrene, to appear exactly like Jesus and was crucified instead of Jesus.

We know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, the Lamb of God, who was God incarnate, crucified for our sins, died on the cross, buried, but arose on the third day and ascended into Heaven and will soon return to fetch His Bride and latter deliver Israel from their enemies and shall take residence in the holy city of Jerusalem.

5. A brief history of the origin of Islam

Muhammed

He was born in Mecca about the year 570 AD he was orphaned in his early childhood. He belonged to the Banu Hashim clan of the Qureish Tribe. After receiving his revelations through the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) he eventually had to flee from Mecca to Medina. He suffered the same as Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-28. Assembling an army after many years he conquered all Arabia and Mecca. Muhammed fell ill and suffered days with high fever, head pains and weakness. He died on Monday, 8 June, in Medina at the age of 62, in the house of his wife Aisha.  

Prior to Mohammed cleaning out the Kaaba of its pagan idols and making it a monotheistic place of worship, Allah was but one of the 360 idols that were worshipped in the Kaaba of Mecca.

His act of cleansing is simply equivalent of a Greek entering the Parthenon in Athens and clearing out every god and goddess but Zeus, or a Roman clearing the Pantheon in Rome and proclaiming Jupiter as the only true God. This is essentially what Mohammed did when he cleaned the Kaaba in Mecca.

Before Mohammed, Allah, who was part of the Pantheon in Mecca, was well known to the wealthy Quraysh tribe (said to be the 12th tribal generation down from Kedar, the son of Ishmael mentioned in the Bible) controlled Mecca and the Ka'aba.

Speaking about the absolute oneness of Allah, Allah was known as a moon deity who had three daughters that are even mentioned in the Koran; Al-lat, Al-Uzza and Al-Manat (Sura 53:19-29). In fact the worship at the Kaaba can be traced back to the luminary worship of the Genesis Babel.

6. Conclusion

Finally and most essential - Islam does not believe that Allah has a son. In fact every discussion between a Muslim and a Christian about Jesus Christ of Nazareth being God's Son fails and becomes heated and lethal, as they believe that Allah has no son. They forwarded many theories concerning the identity, purpose and finality of Him they call Isa, even our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We believe in His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, his becoming flesh, His ministry, His suffering and death on the cross, in His resurrection and ascension to heaven and sitting on the right side on the Majesty on high and will come back to judge the living and the death. We believe in the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

The Elders of Nuwe Lewe Tygerberg