What are some of Islam's beliefs, including about Jesus, and what does their holy book say about Christians and those who do not embrace Islam?

Email Received:

I know that Christians believe in the Trinity of God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he will return again to rule and reign over the earth. Doesn't Islam reject the idea that Allah had a son? What are some of Islam's beliefs, as recorded in their holy book, including about those who do not embrace their beliefs, and do they believe that Jesus will return again?

Ted's Response:

Let me explain a few things about the Islamic faith. Their belief is that there is one God, named Allah. There are thirteen qualities or attributes of Allah, which are impersonal features rather than "persons" or names. It is believed that Allah stands alone and that there is no possibility of his having a "partner" (as the Father and the Son are "partners" in Christianity). Indeed, the idea of having a son "befits not" and is "not suitable" for Allah (Maryam:35,92). It is not understood by Islam that the two, Father and Son, are One God (see Was Jesus God?).

Muslims claim that Abraham was a Muslim (âl-`Imrân:67). Jesus is recognized as the son of Mary, being created by Allah who said, "Be!" and it (that is, Jesus) was (âl-`Imrân:47). They do not believe that Jesus was killed (crucified); rather, they believe that His soul and body simply were taken into heaven (an-Nisâ´:157). The Qur'an recognizes Jesus, the son of Mary, as the Messiah (âl-`Imrân:45); however, the notions that Jesus is God, that Jesus is the son of Allah, and that Allah could be the Messiah are adamantly rejected by Islam (al-Mâ´idah:17,72; at-Taubah:30).

According to the Qur'an, the self-sufficient Allah "begets not, nor was he begotten"; furthermore, "there is none co-equal or comparable unto him" (at-Tauhîd:1-4). In essence, this is saying that God did not beget (a Son), nor was He (God the Son) begotten (by God the Father). The apostle John wrote about the "spirit of the antichrist," who denies the Father and the Son:

Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22,23)

Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (1 John 4:3)
In Islam, Jesus is believed to be nothing more than a messenger (an-Nisâ´:171; al-Mâ´idah:75) and a prophet (Maryam:30). In Shi-‘a Muslim tradition, Jesus will return again, but not alone. Rather, He will return with Muhammad al-Mahdi. This is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who, it is believed, will bring peace and justice to an utterly chaotic world by establishing Islam and its basic legal system, Sharia law, everywhere.

Moreover, according to Islam, Jesus not only will be subservient to al-Mahdi, but Jesus also will kill all who do not convert to Islam and pledge allegiance to Allah. This teaching, of course, is utterly ludicrous and absurd. It is in direct opposition to the foundational biblical teaching that the Messiah, Jesus, will be the supreme and ultimate King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9) when He returns to rule and reign.

Interestingly, John wrote about two "beasts" (the first beast and the second beast), who will be personified by the Antichrist and the False Prophet. I feel it is entirely possible that both of these men will embrace the Islamic faith, or at least will approve and be supportive of Islam. Most likely, they also will exploit the destructive power of Islam for their own benefit and gain.

God told Moses to speak to his brothers, the Israelites, about the prophet he would raise up for them:

I will raise up for them a prophet like you [Moses] from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)
Islam believes that the "prophet" predicted to come, as written by Moses, would be Muhammad. However, Moses' account indicates that this prophet was to be "from among their brothers," that is from the Israelites. Yet, Muhammad was not an Israelite; he was an Arab.

The fact is, the prophet predicted by Moses to come was not Muhammad but was Jesus; He was of the tribe of Judah, a son of Israel/Jacob. Jesus said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me" (John 5:46). Those who were witnesses of Jesus' miracles asserted, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." (John 6:14). Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, stated, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth" (John 1:45).

Muhammad, the self-proclaimed prophet of God, was not the prophet predicted by Moses to come into the world. Furthermore, the one, true God (who is not Allah) did not put words into Muhammad's mouth and command him to speak to the people by His angel, Jibrael (see Gabriel's messages), as the Qu'ran claims (an-Najm:2-10). Indeed, the apostle Paul wrote, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8). In essence, Islam's main foundations—that Muhammad is God's prophet whom Moses wrote about, and that the angel Gabriel spoke the Qur'an to Muhammad—are fallible, unstable, and made of shifting sand.

Muhammad taught that Muslims should fight against disbelievers and those who worship anyone other than Allah (at-Taubah:123; al-Anfâl:39), unless they pay the jizyah or tax and allow themselves to be subdued (at-Taubah:29). Jihad, or holy fighting for the cause of Allah, is ordained for Muslims (al-Baqarah:216); they are to kill and behead many of them until those who disbelieve embrace Islam (al-Qitâl:4). They also are told to kill infidels or unbelievers, wherever they are found, if they attack (al-Baqarah:191).

However, Muslims are taught to fight against any and all unbelievers (in Allah), regardless of whether or not the unbelievers attack them first, and not to take prisoners of war until a great slaughter has occurred (al-Anfâl:65-67). Muslims are to strike terror into the hearts of unbelievers (âl-`Imrân:151). They are to kill, capture, and besiege them (at-Taubah:5). They are to kill and be killed for the cause of Allah (at-Taubah:111). According to the Qu'ran, those who disbelieve in Islam, including Jews and Christians, are the worst of creatures (al-Baiyinah:6).

Furthermore, they believe that if they are killed or die in service to Allah, they will be gathered to him and will receive his grace and bounty (al-'Imrân:157,158, 169-171) and great reward (an-Nisâ´:74). For the males, the doors of Paradise will be open to them; there, they will recline, be treated to an abundance of fruits and drinks, and have chaste female virgins beside them (Sâd:50-52). Anyone who comes to Allah but then turns away from him is to be killed (an-Nisâ´:89).

Yet, unlike what the Qur'an teaches followers of Islam to do, nowhere in the Gospels and other apostilic writings of the New Testament is it advocated that Christian believers should kill, torture, or even mistreat those who disagree with them. Any "Christians" who have done this have done so as a result of their own evil motivation, passion, and obsession, not because of any New Testament teachings to do so. Rather, Christians are told to teach others about the love and compassion of God, as evidenced by His sending His only begotten Son to die for their sins, to rise from the dead, and to provide eternal life to those who will believe in Him (John 3:16; Romans 4:25, 10:9,10; 1 Peter 3:18).

Instilling terror into the hearts of non-Muslims (âl-`Imrân:151) is exactly what Muhammad taught and did. Muhammad is the highest authority within Islam and is the example Muslims are to follow. Every fundamental Muslim is instructed by the Qur'an to follow and mimic Muhammad, just as every fundamental Christian is instructed by the Bible to mimic Jesus.  One major difference, though, is that Jesus taught Christians not to kill those who do not believe as they do but, instead, to love them.

The truth is that Jesus Christ—the Son of God (Hebrews 1:8) and God in flesh (Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 3:16), Who was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23)—came to this lost world and died, willingly, on a cross for the sins of all mankind, out of love. He came to redeem fallen man and to give everlasting life to those who would believe in Him. He will come again, at the end of the 70th Week, to rule and reign over the world with justice, compassion, and righteousness.

Islam threatens people with death if they leave their faith or fail to embrace it, while Christianity promises people life if they come to Jesus and embrace Him as Lord and Savior—the one who will reign as King over the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9). Followers of Allah, the god of Islam, are told that he wants them to die for him. On the contrary, the True God died and was raised for us so that those who believe in Him can have everlasting life with Him.

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