Contradictions

Between the Bible and the Koran


Was Jesus Crucified?

Divorce

Daughter of Imran

Protevangelium

Born of a Virgin

Who is Jesus?

Only-Begotten

They Ate Food

Mariolatry

Tolerance

Seal of the Prophets

Declare the Decree

No Distinction

Intercessor

All Have Sinned

The Other Cheek

A Plain Warner

Desire of Nations

Ahmad

Our Father

End-Times

Abraham the Friend of God

Wages

Joseph's Promotion

Lead us not into Temptation

Whose Suggestion?

How Many Daughters?

Jacob and Rachel

Noah's Lost Son

Who Help Themselves

Conclusion




  • "And to thee we have sent down the Book of the Koran with truth, confirmatory of previous Scriptures, and their safeguard." (Sura 5:52).


  • "O ye to whom the Scriptures have been given! believe in what we have sent down confirmatory of the Scripture which is in your hands, ere we efface your features, and twist your head round backward, or curse you as we cursed the sabbath-breakers: and the command of God was carried into effect." (Sura 4:50).


  • "SAY: I am no apostle of new doctrines: neither know I what will be done with me or you." (Sura 46:8)




Was Jesus Crucified?

The Koran

Was Jesus crucified in fact or in semblance? The Koran says, semblance: "And for their saying, 'Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, an Apostle of God.' Yet they slew him not, and they crucified him not, but they had only his likeness. And they who differed about him were in doubt concerning him: No sure knowledge had they about him, but followed only an opinion, and they did not really slay him, but God took him up to Himself.  And God is Mighty, Wise!" (Sura 4:156).

Rogier van der Weyden, Deposition
Deposition, Rogier van der Weyden

The Bible

The Bible says, fact:

"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole." (Acts 4:10).
"But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:33-34).





Docetism
Scandal of the Cross


The Bible's teaching about the crucifixion of our Lord is not only historical, it is prophetic also. Prior to the event, Jesus and indeed the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Zechariah spoke about the event: “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 'You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.'” (Matthew 26:1-2).

Consider the parable of the vineyard. Even the skeptical Bible critics favored by the Muslims are obliged to accept this parable as authentic, and it plainly ascribes a violent death to the heir. Thus, either Muslims must accuse Jesus of false prophesy, or accept that He was killed:




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Divorce

The Koran

"Ye may divorce your wives twice: Keep them honorably, or put them away with kindness." (Sura 2:229).
"Why, O Prophet! dost thou hold that to be FORBIDDEN which God hath made lawful to thee, from a desire to please thy wives, since God is lenient, merciful?...Haply if he put you both away, his Lord will give him in exchange other wives better than you, Muslims, believers, devout, penitent, obedient, observant of fasting, both known of men and virgins." (Koran, Sura 66:1-5).

The Bible

"The Pharisees came and asked Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?' testing Him...'But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'" (Mark 10:8-9).

Notice God's order of creation is that "the two shall become one." God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Cindy and Gloria and Dawn. From where then come the extra three wives the Koran allows the faithful, much less the extra eight Mohammed permitted himself?

Daughter of Imran

The Koran

"And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who kept her maidenhood, and into whose womb we breathed of our spirit, and who believed in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was one of the devout." (Koran, Sura 66:12).

"Then came she with the babe to her people, bearing him. They said, ‘O Mary! now hast thou done a strange thing! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of wickedness, nor unchaste thy mother.’" (Koran, Sura 19:28-29)

The Bible

The Bible does know of a Miriam who is the daughter of Amram and the sister of Aaron...not the mother of Jesus, but this one: "And Kohath begot Amram. The name of Amran's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam." (Numbers 26:58-59). Is it possible Mohammed got the two Miriams mixed up? Perhaps he did not realize Moses and Aaron lived fifteen centuries prior to Jesus, so they cannot have been His uncles.

Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq offers a hint that Mohammed did indeed believe these were all one big, happy family: "Then He explained to them how what God intended to do with Jesus originated and said: 'God chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above the worlds. They were descendants one of another and God is a Hearer, a knower.' Then he mentioned the affair of Imran's wife and how she said: 'My Lord, I vow to Thee what is in my womb as a consecrated offering'. . ." (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A Guillaume, p. 274).

The problem may have been that the scriptures were a closed book to the unlettered Arabian prophet: "No wonder the Qur'an contains some half-finished Bible narratives with bizarre twists because Muhammad could not verify the hearsay. For instance, Moses, the Virgin Mary, and Aaron are siblings." (Hussein Hajji Wario, Cracks in the Crescent, p. 58).

bar

In a similar vein, the Koran tells us the Pharaoh of Exodus had a vizier named Haman: "And Pharaoh said, ‘O ye nobles, ye have no other God that I know of but myself. Burn me then, Haman, bricks of clay, and build me a tower that I may mount up to the God of Moses, for in sooth, I deem him a liar.’" (Sura 28:38). There is a Haman in the Bible, but the king he serves is Ahasuerus not Pharaoh. One cannot prove Pharaoh did not have a vizier named 'Haman,' but the simplest explanation is that the unlettered prophet is compressing two stories into one.

Likewise the Bible tells how the Lord sifted Gideon's army:

“But the LORD said to Gideon, ‘The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.’ So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, ‘Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.’” (Judges 7:4-5).

In the Koran, a similar story is told of Saul, not Gideon:

"And when Saul marched forth with his forces, he said, 'God will test you by a river: He who drinketh of it shall not be of my band; but he who shall not taste it, drinking a drink out of the hand excepted, shall be of my band.'" (Koran, Sura 2:250).

The Bible is a lengthy book with an extensive cast of characters. It is easy enough to see how an inquirer getting his information second-hand would compress the time-span and conflate the characters.

Protevangelium

The Koran

The Protevangelium is an apocryphal gospel dating from the early Christian centuries. Strangely enough, information from this source has made its way, through Mohammed's informants, into the Koran.

  • "Remember when the wife of Imran said, ‘O my Lord! I vow to thee what is in my womb, for thy special service. Accept it from me, for thou Hearest, Knowest!’ And when she had given birth to it, she said, ‘O my Lord! Verily I have brought forth a female,’— God knew what she had brought forth; a male is not as a female — ‘and I have named her Mary, and I take refuge with thee for her and for her offspring, from Satan the stoned.’
  • "So with goodly acceptance did her Lord accept her, and with goodly growth did he make her grow. Zacharias reared her. So oft as Zacharias went in to Mary at the sanctuary, he found her supplied with food. ‘Oh, Mary!’ said he, ‘whence hast thou this?’ She said, ‘It is from God; for God supplieth whom He will, without reckoning!’ "
  • (Sura 3:31-32).

The idea that Mary was raised in the "sanctuary:" according to the Protevangelium, the Holy of Holies of the temple at Jerusalem,-- as well as her miraculous supply of food, derive from this source. The story about casting reeds comes from a similar source: "This is one of the announcements of things unseen by thee: To thee, O Mohammed! do we reveal it; for thou wast not with them when they cast lots with reeds which of them should rear Mary; nor wast thou with them when they disputed about it." (Sura 3:37).



The Bible

According to the Bible, only the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, once a year, and not without blood: "But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance..." (Hebrews 9:7). Little Mary cannot have been raised in the "sanctuary" as the Koran reports; water does not rise above its source, and Mohammed's source was inaccurate.

It reflects the confusion of the enterprise that the Koran simultaneously condemns Mariolatry, while also incorporating the same apocryphal information that started Mary's apotheosis.


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Born of a Virgin

The Koran

The Koran gives high praise to Mary:

"And remember when the angels said, ‘O Mary! verily hath God chosen thee, and purified thee, and chosen thee above the women of the worlds!" (Sura 3:37)
"And her who kept her maidenhood, and into whom we breathed of our spirit, and made her and her son a sign to all creatures." (Sura 21:91).
"And we appointed the Son of Mary, and His mother for a sign; and we prepared an abode for both in a lofty spot, quiet, and watered with springs." (Sura 23:52).

There is no question about her chastity:

"She said, 'How shall I have a son, when man hath never touched me? and I am not unchaste.' He said: 'So shall it be.  Thy Lord hath said: 'Easy is this with me;' and we will make him a sign to mankind, and a mercy from us.  For it is a thing decreed. And she conceived him, and retired with him to a far-off place." (Sura 19:20-22).

The Bible

The Bible, of course, concurs: "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS." (Matthew 1:24-25).

Some camped out amidst the ruins of once-great churches do not concur: "Certainly I do not believe that the birth of Jesus of Nazareth involved a biological process different from the natural means of procreation..." (Born of a Woman, Bishop John Shelby Spong, p. 178). It is strange but true that Muslims who believe the Koran believe more of the Christmas story than do modern-day 'liberals.'

However, this contemporary revert to Islam, who perhaps has confused this revealed religion with Deism, seems more open to the 'liberal' ideas on the topic:



Who is Jesus?

This is the most important question that can be asked:

“He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'” (Mark 8:29).

The Koran

The Koran has a great deal to say about Jesus. It relates that He was born of a virgin, a mighty prophet who spoke in the cradle:

  • "Remember when the angel said, ‘O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and one of those who have near access to God;
  • "And He shall speak to men alike when in the cradle and when grown up; And he shall be one of the just.’
  • "She said, ‘How, O my Lord! shall I have a son, when man hath not touched me?’ He said, ‘Thus: God will create what He will; When He decreeth a thing, He only saith, “Be,” and it is.’"
  • (Sura 3:40-42).
"And she made a sign to them, pointing towards the babe.  They said, 'How shall we speak with him who is in the cradle, an infant? It said, 'Verily, I am the servant of God; He hath given me the Book, and He hath made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wherever I may be, and hath enjoined me prayer and almsgiving so long as I shall live...And the peace of God was on me the day I was born, and will be the day I shall die, and the day I shall be raised to life.' This is Jesus, the son of Mary; this is a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt." (Sura 19:30-35).

The Koran, however, is emphatic that Jesus is not God:

"Infidels now are they who say, 'God is the Messiah, Son of Mary;' for the Messiah said, 'O children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord.' Whoever shall join other gods with God, God shall forbid him the Garden, and his abode shall be the Fire; and the wicked shall have no helpers. They surely are Infidels who say, 'God is the third of three:' for there is no God but one God: and if they refrain not from what they say, a grievous chastisement shall light on such of them as are Infidels. Will they not, therefore, be turned unto God, and ask pardon of Him? since God is Forgiving, Merciful! The Messiah, Son of Mary, is but an Apostle; other Apostles have flourished before him; and his mother was a just person: they both ate food. Behold! how we make clear to them the signs! then behold how they turn aside!" (Sura 5:76-79).

"And they say, ‘God hath a son:’ No! Praise be to Him! But — His, whatever is in the Heavens and the Earth! All obeyeth Him, Sole maker of the Heavens and of Earth! And when He decreeth a thing, He only saith to it, ‘Be,’ and it is." (Sura 2:110-111).

"Remember when God said, ‘O Jesus! verily I will cause thee to die, and will take thee up to myself and deliver thee from those who believe not; and I will place those who follow thee above those who believe not, until the day of resurrection. Then, to me is your return, and wherein ye differ will I decide between you." (Sura 3:48).

"Verily, Jesus is as Adam in the sight of God. He created him of dust: He then said to him, ‘Be’— and he was." (Sura 3:52).

"O ye people of the Book! overstep not bounds in your religion; and of God, speak only truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and his Word which he conveyed into Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from himself. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say not, ‘Three:’ (there is a Trinity) — Forbear — it will be better for you. God is only one God! Far be it from His glory that He should have a son! His, whatever is in the Heavens, and whatever is in the Earth! And God is a sufficient Guardian." (Sura 4:169).

"Infidels now are they who say, ‘Verily God is the Messiah Ibn Maryam (son of Mary)! SAY: And who could aught obtain from God, if he chose to destroy the Messiah Ibn Maryam, and his mother, and all who are on the earth together?" (Sura 5:19).

"And when God shall say — 'O Jesus, Son of Mary: hast thou said unto mankind — "Take me and my mother as two Gods, beside God? He shall say — 'Glory be unto Thee! it is not for me to say that which I know to be not the truth; had I said that, verily thou wouldest have known it: Thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is in Thee; for Thou well knowest things unseen! I spake not to them aught but that which thou didst bid me — "Worship God, my Lord and your Lord;" and I was a witness of their actions while I stayed among them; but since thou hast taken me to Thyself, Thou hast Thyself watched them, and Thou art witness of all things..."'" (Sura 5:116-117).

The Bible

Thus the Koran. What, then, does the Bible say? The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God:


Jesus is God

Jesus Christ is God!

The Son is God.

Your Throne, O God The Work of Your Hands Let Angels Worship
True God Express Image Visible and Invisible
For Himself Son of God Kiss the Son
A Son is born Honor the Son Only-begotten God
Pantocrator Believe on the Son Only Savior
The Dead were Judged Everlasting to Everlasting

Jesus is Jehovah.

A Voice Crying Temple Visitor Stone of Stumbling
The Rock of Israel The First and the Last Lord of all
The LORD our Righteousness Holy, holy, holy Captivity Captive
House of David Answered prayers With all His saints
Israel's Savior Giver of Life Every Knee Shall Bow
Pastoral Supply I send you prophets Who forgives sin
I am He He is Lord Call upon the Name
Doxology God with Us Lawgiver
Great Shepherd You Only Lawful worship
Builder I AM THAT I AM Moses' Veil
Wine Press Lord Willing Secret Things
Boasting Excluded King of Israel Fount of Living Waters
Searches the Heart Till Death Do us Part Angel of the LORD
Take Refuge Has Reigned On His Forehead
Me Whom they have Pierced Stretched Out My Hands

Jesus Christ is God.

The Eyes of the Blind Thought it not Robbery Eternally Blessed God
Fullness of the Godhead Great God and Savior Faith in Him
Redeemed King of Kings Spirit of Christ
Destroyed by Serpents Lord of Glory Renewed in the Image
New Jerusalem's Lamp Now is Christ risen Upholding all Things
Light to the Gentiles My Companion Miracles
Prosecutors' Indictment Sun of Righteousness Thirty Pieces
Testator's Death Author of Life The Blood of God
My Lord and My God One Mystery of godliness
God was in Christ The Word was God Shared Glory
Omniscience Omnipotence Omnipresence
Change Not Yesterday, Today and Forever Whose Hand?
Not of Man Receive my Spirit Believe in God
Only Holy Sole Proprietor Priests
Walk on the Water

God or Man?

God or man?



Mohammed ibn Abdallah was willing to admit Jesus was the Messiah, and also the Word of God, as is stated in the Koran (Sura 4:169):

"O ye people of the Book! overstep not bounds in your religion; and of God, speak only truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and his Word which he conveyed into Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from himself. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say not, ‘Three:’ (there is a Trinity) — Forbear — it will be better for you. God is only one God! Far be it from His glory that He should have a son! His, whatever is in the Heavens, and whatever is in the Earth! And God is a sufficient Guardian." (Sura 4:169).


The same teaching is amplified in his letter to the Negus of Abyssinia:

"'From Muhammad the apostle of God to the Negus al-Asham king of Abyssinia, Peace. I praise Allah unto you the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Faithful, the Watcher, and I bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the spirit of God and His word which He cast to Mary the Virgin, the good, the pure, so that she conceived Jesus. God created him from His spirit and His breathing as He created Adam by His hand and His breathing.'" (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 657).

The unlettered Arabian prophet was probably unaware what some of the titles he assigned to Jesus actually meant; the 'Word' is a title of Deity. Jesus is used in Islam rather like a sock-puppet; He says what His handlers wish He had said, not what His followers recall Him as actually having said. According to the Muslims, He will ultimately come back and slaughter the Christians:

"There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (pbuh). He will descend (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah. Allah will period all religions except Islam." (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume 3, Book 32, Number 4310, quoted, p. 117, Hussein Hajji Wario, Cracks in the Crescent).

But making stuff up is not evidence. Can the 'Jesus' of the Koran be reconciled with the Jesus of the New Testament? They are not even in the same zip code.

Up


The irreconcilable differences between Christianity and Islam center around the person and work of Jesus Christ. There is no more important question. Who is He?:



Jesus in the Koran

What does the Koran say
about Jesus of Nazareth?


In the Cradle

Clay Birds

The Table

The Crucifixion

Born of a Virgin

The Deity of Jesus

Only-Begotten

The Same Honor

What is Mine

Declare the Decree

At the Right Hand

Least Common Denominator

Desire of Nations

Be

Knows the Father




Jesus Christ Pantocrator




Only-Begotten

The Koran

"It beseemeth not God to beget a son. Glory be to Him! when he decreeth a thing, He only saith to it, Be, and it Is." (Sura 19:36).
"And that it [the Book] may warn those who say, 'God hath begotten a Son.' No knowledge of this have either they or their fathers! A grievous saying to come out of their mouths! They speak no other than a lie!" (Sura 18:3-4).
"And they say, 'God hath a son:' No! Praise be to Him! But — His, whatever is in the Heavens and the Earth! All obeyeth Him..." (Sura 2:110).

"SAY: If the God of Mercy had a son, the first would I be to worship him: but far be the Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, the Lord of the Throne, from that which they impute to Him!" (Sura 44:81-82).

The Bible

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

They Ate Food

Both the Bible and the Koran tell the story of Abraham's three visitors at Mamre. In one respect the stories differ:

The Koran

And tell them of Abraham’s guests. When they entered in unto him, and said, ‘Peace.’ ‘Verily,’ said he, ‘We fear you.’ They said, ‘Fear not, for of a sage son we bring thee tidings.’ He said, ‘Bring ye me such tidings now that old age hath come upon me? What, therefore, are your tidings really?’ They said, ‘We announce them to thee in very truth. Be not then one of the despairing.’ ‘And who,’ said he, ‘despaireth of the mercy of his Lord, but they who err?’ He said, ‘What is your business then, O ye Sent Ones?’" (Sura 15:51-57)
"And when he saw that their hands touched it not, he misliked them, and grew fearful of them."
(Sura 11:73).
"Hath the story reached thee of Abraham's honored guests?
"When they went in unto him and said, 'Peace!' he replied, 'Peace: — they are strangers.'
"And he went apart to his family, and brought a fatted calf,
"And set it before them. He said, 'Eat ye not?'
"And he conceived a fear of them. They said to him, 'Fear not;' and announced to him a wise son." (Sura 51:24-28)

The Bible

“So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, 'Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.' And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.” (Genesis 18:6-8).

What difference does it make? Mohammed's prize argument against the deity of Jesus is, 'He ate food.'



Mariolatry

The Koran

"And when God shall say — 'O Jesus, Son of Mary: hast thou said unto mankind — "Take me and my mother as two Gods, beside God?
He shall say — 'Glory be unto Thee! it is not for me to say that which I know to be not the truth; had I said that, verily thou wouldest have known it: Thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is in Thee; for Thou well knowest things unseen! I spake not to them aught but that which thou didst bid me — "Worship God, my Lord and your Lord. . ." (Sura 5:116-117).

The Bible not only encourages, but commands, worship of Jesus Christ: “And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God’s angels worship him.'” (Hebrews 1:6). He accepted worship from His disciples:

The Bible, of course, does not in any way encourage the Mariolatry which had already come into being by Mohammed's day. Jesus gently nudged those of His hearers who were straying ever-so-slightly into that path back to the right way:

The Bible

“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, 'Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.' He replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'” (Luke 11:27-28).


It is likely this practice represents the survival of pre-Christian devotion. That Islam is itself not immune to the survival of pagan practices should be apparent to TV viewers watching Shiite Muslim men hitting themselves on the head with knives. Mohammed did not teach people to do this, they were doing it long before his day: "So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed." (1 Kings 18:28).

As to Mohammed's assertion, "Thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is in Thee; for Thou well knowest things unseen!" it contrasts directly with the Bible ascription of reciprocity: "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matthew 11:27). If Jesus spoke Matthew 11:27, then the speaker of Sura 5:116 is of necessity someone else.

Tolerance

Muslims describe their religion as 'tolerant,' pointing as proof to the high praise the Koran gives to past prophets, including Jesus:

"Moreover, to Moses gave we 'the Book,' and we raised up apostles after him; and to Jesus, son of Mary, gave we clear proofs of his mission, and strengthened him by the Holy Spirit. So oft then as an apostle cometh to you with that which your souls desire not, swell ye with pride, and treat some as imposters, and slay others?" (Sura 2:81).

"Say ye: ‘We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down to us, and that which hath been sent down to Abraham and Ismael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes: and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus, and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord. No difference do we make between any of them: and to God are we resigned (Muslims).’" (Sura 2:130).

"Some of the apostles we have endowed more highly than others: Those to whom God hath spoken, He hath raised to the loftiest grade, and to Jesus the Son of Mary we gave manifest signs, and we strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. And if God had pleased, they who came after them would not have wrangled, after the clear signs had reached them. But into disputes they fell: some of them believed, and some were infidels; yet if God had pleased, they would not have thus wrangled: but God doth what he will." (Sura 2:254).

"And when Jesus perceived unbelief on their part, He said, 'Who will be my helpers with God?' The apostles said, 'We will be God's helpers! We believe in God, and bear thou witness that we are Muslims. O our Lord! we believe in what thou has sent down, and we follow the apostle; write us up, then, with those who bear witness to him'...Remember when God said, 'O Jesus! verily I will cause thee to die, and will take thee up to myself and deliver thee from those who believe not; and I will place those who follow thee above those who believe not, until the day of resurrection. Then, to me is your return, and wherein ye differ will I decide between you.'" (Sura 3:46-48).

SAY: We believe in God, and in what hath been sent down to us, and what hath been sent down to Abraham, and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and in what was given to Moses, and Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord. We make no difference between them. And to Him are we resigned (Muslims)." (Sura 3:78)

"And in the footsteps of the prophets caused we Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow, confirming the law which was before him: and we gave him the Evangel with its guidance and light, confirmatory of the preceding Law; a guidance and warning to those who fear God..." (Sura 5:50).

"When He shall say: O Jesus! Son of Mary! call to mind my favor upon thee and upon thy mother, when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, that thou shouldest speak to men alike in the cradle, and when grown up; — And when I taught thee the Scripture, and Wisdom, and the Law, and the Evangel: and thou didst create of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by my leave, and didst breathe into it, and by my leave it became a bird; and thou didst heal the blind and the leper, by my leave; and when, by my leave, thou didst bring forth the dead; and when I withheld the children of Israel from thee, when thou hadst come to them with clear tokens: and such of them as believed not said, 'This is nought but plain sorcery...Remember when the Apostles said — 'O Jesus, Son of Mary! is thy Lord able to send down a furnished Table to us out of Heaven!' He said — 'Fear God if ye be believers.'" (Sura 5:109-112).

"Verily we have revealed to thee as we revealed to Noah and the Prophets after him, and as we revealed to Abraham, and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and Jesus, and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron, and Solomon; and to David gave we Psalms." (Sura 4:161).

"This is our reasoning with which we furnished Abraham against his people: We uplift to grades of wisdom whom we will; Verily thy Lord is Wise, Knowing. And we gave him Isaac and Jacob, and guided both aright; and we had before guided Noah; and among the descendants of Abraham, David and Solomon, and Job and Joseph, and Moses and Aaron: Thus do we recompense the righteous: And Zachariah, John, Jesus, and Elias; all were just persons..." (Sura 6:83-85).

"And remember that we have entered into covenant with the Prophets, and with thee, and with Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus, Son of Mary: and we formed with them a strict covenant..." (Sura 33:7).

Why, they wonder, cannot Christians return the favor, and acknowledge Mohammed as a true prophet of God?

To answer, let us perform a 'thought experiment.' Suppose I pen a fictional work recounting Mohammed's death-bed confession. Suppose, according to me, Mohammed at the end gasped, 'Gosh, I should have listened to Khadija's cousin Waraqa, he was right and I was wrong. Jesus Christ really is God incarnate!' Then he breathed his last, at peace with God and man.

He died, after all, trying to communicate, though they would not let him:

"Ibn 'Abbas said, 'When the ailment of the Prophet became worse, he said, "Bring for me (writing) paper and I will write for you a statement after which you will not go astray." But 'Umar said, "The Prophet is seriously ill, and we have got Allah's Book with us and that is sufficient for us." But the companions of the Prophet differed about this and there was a hue and cry. On that the Prophet said to them, "Go away (and leave me alone). It is not right that you should quarrel in front of me."' (Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number 114).

What could he have wanted to leave as his final admonition, other than 'I was wrong. Jesus is the way. Follow Him?' Or so goes my story.

Who in the Muslim world would praise me as 'tolerant'? Should any major publishing house take on this venture, mobs would embark on arson sprees. Muslims would angrily shout, 'Mohammed never said that! You made it up!'

Precisely the point. A character named 'Jesus' pops up in the Koran, and helpfully explains that the Muslims are right and the Christians are wrong. The words He is made to speak do not correspond to any recalled by the circle of His immediate followers as recorded in the New Testament. Nor, given the centuries separating Jesus and Mohammed, is it likely these words reflect any authentic historic tradition otherwise unrecorded. Should the claim be made that these words were divinely revealed, this is precisely the question. Those who believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God are not likely to acknowledge the inspiration of contradictory information. In the Koran, 'Jesus' is made, like a ventriloquist's dummy, to 'take back' what He says in the New Testament. In the New Testament Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58).

But the Koran says,

"Infidels now are they who say, 'Verily God is the Messiah Ibn Maryam (son of Mary)! Say: And who could aught obtain from God, if he chose to destroy the Messiah Ibn Maryam, and his mother, and all who are on the earth together?" (Sura 5:19).

How can 'I AM' be 'destroyed'?

Far from finding my fictional work 'tolerant,' Muslims would likely perceive it as an underhanded effort to co-opt and to appropriate, or rather to misappropriate, their prophet. This is what the Koran does to Jesus.

Mohammed's version of tolerance conforms all prophets to the same paradigm. They all said the same thing: "No apostle have we sent before thee to whom we did not reveal that 'Verily there is no God beside me: therefore worship me.'" (Koran, Sura 21:25). Now certainly it is true that all the prophets of the monotheistic tradition were monotheists. But this standard of tolerance turns out to be a bed of Procrustes. Did a prophet say something different, something new? Lop it off. So far from accepting the great prophets of the past, Muslims can only accept the radically edited versions of what they said featured in the Koran. But really, who could not be 'tolerant' in that way? 'I'll accept your prophets, if you allow me to edit their words.' I could accept Lenin and Stalin, if Lenin and Stalin are sock-puppets who must say whatever I make them to say.

Seal of the Prophets

The Koran

"Mohammed is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Apostle of God, and the seal of the prophets: and God knoweth all things." (Sura 33:40)

Mohammed asserted there would be no prophet after him: "...I am Muhammad and I am Ahmad, and I am al-Mahi (the obliterator) by whom unbelief would be obliterated, and I am Hashir (the gatherer) at whose feet mankind will be gathered, and I am 'Aqib (the last to come) after whom there will be no Prophet." (Hadith, Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Chapter 31, Number 5810.)

"The Prophet said, 'Aren't you pleased to be to me as Aaron was to Moses -- although there will be no prophet after me?'" (Muslim, quoted p. 41, an Introduction to the Hadith, John Burton).

The Bible

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:28-29).
"No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'" (Acts 2:16-18).

There is no scriptural indication that this prophetic flood, unleashed on the Day of Pentecost, was expected to end in seventh century Arabia. There is no 'last prophet' known to scripture. Prophecy was common in the early church: "Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea." (Acts 21:9-10). There is no scriptural reason to think this gift has ceased, though some think it has.



Declare the Decree

The Koran

The Koran concedes that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, that is the Christ, God's Anointed One:

"Remember when the angel said, ‘O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and one of those who have near access to God..." (Sura 3:40).

Having conceded this however, the Koran proceeds to deny to Jesus the names and titles very clearly bestowed on the Messiah by the Old Testament:

The Bible

“Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.'” (Psalm 2:6-7).

Those like the Jehovah's Witnesses who accept the authority of the Bible yet deny the deity of Jesus Christ go to great lengths to explain the Messiah's title of "Son of God." They must evade the normal expectation that, whatever nature of being the Father is, so also is the Son. Yet Mohammed does not follow them in interpreting the title "Son of God" in a weak or metaphorical sense. Rather, he flatly denies any such title belongs to the Messiah, or to anyone else:

"The Jews say, 'Ezra (Ozair) is a son of God'; and the Christians say, 'The Messiah is a son of God.' Such the sayings in their mouths! They resemble the sayings of the Infidels of old! God do battle with them! How are they misguided! They take their teachers, and their monks, and the Messiah, son of Mary, for Lords beside God, though bidden to worship one God only. There is no God but He! Far from His glory be what they associate with Him!" (Sura 9:30-31).

Apparently he interprets the title in a carnal way such as would be appropriate to a pagan theogony: "Sole maker of the Heavens and of the Earth! how, when He hath no consort, should He have a son?" (Sura 6:101). Here is not a case where the Koran confirms prior scripture as advertised, but flatly contradicts.

"Such the sayings in their mouths:"

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17).

The First-Born


Only-Begotten

His Own Son

Declare the Decree

The Beloved

I am

Peter's Confession

Apostles' Confession

The First-born

My Father

Out of Egypt

The Vineyard

No Consort




No Distinction

The Koran

"Say ye: 'We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down to us, and that which hath been sent down to Abraham and Ismael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes: and that which hath been given to Moses and to Jesus, and that which was given to the prophets from their Lord. No difference do we make between any of them: and to God are we resigned (Muslims).'" (Sura 2:130).
"Say: We believe in God, and in what hath been sent down to us, and what hath been sent down to Abraham, and Ismael and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and in what was given to Moses, and Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord. We make no difference between them. And to God are we resigned (Muslims)." (Sura 3:78).

The Bible

"Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6).

Intercessor

The Bible

The Old Testament promises an intercessor:

"By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities....He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:11-12).

The New Testament reports that He has come:

"Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." (Romans 8:34).
"Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25).

He ransomed lost sinners:

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45).

The Koran

The Koran rules out the possibility of intercession:

"And fear ye the day when soul shall not satisfy for soul at all, nor shall any intercession be accepted from them, nor shall any ransom be taken, neither shall they be helped." (Sura 2:45)
"And dread the day when not in aught shall soul satisfy for soul, nor shall any ransom be taken from it, nor shall any intercession avail, and they shall not be helped. (Sura 2:117)

The Hadith, however, the traditions later compiled from remembrances of the early generations, give us Mohammed himself as an effectual intercessor; so while it's true to say that the Koran has no concept of intercession, it is not correct to say that Islam lacks such a concept.

All Have Sinned

The Koran

Mohammed warns of the Day of Wrath. He diagnosed the ill he could not cure, because he brought no medicine to heal the sin-sick soul. The Koran promises justice on the day of reckoning:

"Fear the day wherein ye shall return to God: then shall every soul be rewarded according to its desert, and none shall have injustice done to them." (Sura 2:281).

The Bible

The Bible does not rule out the theoretical possibility of salvation by works, but reports the set of those thus saved to be empty: "For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23).



The living God does not offer lost sinners justice, and thank goodness for that! Our sins are covered in His blood: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence..." (Ephesians 1:7). Our God loved us while we were yet sinners: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). But the god of the Koran loves only the lovable: "First, God consistently sets out in the Qur'an the types of people that God loves — God loves those who are just, fair, equitable, merciful, kind, and forgiving, those who persistently purify themselves, and so on. . .In this first instance, what triggers God's love is certain acts and qualities that are appealing to God." (The Great Theft, Khaled Abou El Fadl, p. 133). No doubt these qualities appeal to God, they mirror His own loving-kindness. And why wouldn't God love such fine folks? But where does He find these people, who are just, not with His justice but their own, and kind, but not with His kindness?

In the Koran, it seems the initiative rests with man: "Verily, God will not change his gifts to men, till they change what is in themselves: and when God willeth evil unto men, there is none can turn it away, nor have they any protector beside Him." (Sura 13:12). Man changes himself for the better, then God responds: "This, because God changeth not the favor with which he favoreth a people, so long as they change not what is in their hearts; and for that God Heareth, Knoweth." (Sura 8:55). This would be a substantial difference, between a God of grace and a functionary, a recording clerk, if the Koran were more consistent on this point.

The Other Cheek

The Koran

"The sacred month and the sacred precincts are under the safeguard of reprisals: whoever offereth violence to you, offer ye the like violence to him, and fear God, and know that God is with those who fear Him." (Sura 2:190).

In other words, do unto others like they done unto you.

The Bible

"But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." (Matthew 5:39).

Mohammed's decision to resort to violence put his religion on the map. Before taking this fateful turn, he had collected a tiny band of followers, and no doubt so it would have remained had he not taken up the sword. But once taken up, it could not be put down. Muslim governments must still resort to force, continuing to criminalize apostasy and criticism of the prophet as blasphemy. It is the police power of the state which keeps Muslim countries Muslim. Can anyone doubt that putting down the sword, at long last, would trigger the decline of Islam? Resort to violence conceals a fatal weakness:

"Gradually, and by means, not of argument, but of violence and bribery, he [Mohammed] gathered around him a number of uneducated and depraved men; and with their assistance conqered vast multitudes of people. . .If Mohammed had attempted to establish his religion by preaching, his errors would have been very easily demonstrated. But, knowing that his doctrine was indefensible on any logical grounds, he had the astuteness to command, that it shold be propagated by the sword." (Girolamo Savonarola, The Triumph of the Cross, Book IV, Chapter VII).

The argmentum ad baculum is a fallacious argument after all. While it is unfortunately common for political polemics to overstate the propensity to violence of the Islamic mainstream, there remains an irreducible difference:

"Not long ago I was in Istanbul, Turkey. While there I toured the Topkapi Palace — the former royal palace of the Ottoman sultans and center of the Ottoman Empire. Among the many artifacts collected throughout the centuries and on display was an item I found quite remarkable — the sword of the prophet Muhammad. There, under protective glass and illuminated by high-tech lighting, was the fourteen-hundred-year-old sword of the founder of Islam. As I looked at the sword with its curved handle and jeweled scabbard, I thought how significant it is that no one will ever visit a museum and be shown a weapon that belonged to Jesus." (Brian Zahnd, A Farewell to Mars, Kindle location 1316).
Up

A Plain Warner

The Koran

According to the Koran, Mohammed was sent to warn:

"Fly then to God: I come to you from him a plain warner." (Sura 51:50)
"SAY: Nay truly, this knowledge is with God alone: and I am only an open warner." (Sura 67:26)
"Yet is it nothing less than a warning for all creatures." (Sura 68:52)

He warns the people of the Day of Wrath and God's coming judgment. His language is vivid and clear, and so long as he keeps on message and resists the impulse to improvise, perfectly true. But we've been there before.

The Bible

The law was a school-teacher, instructing the people in right and wrong, teaching them to fear God:

"For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:21-24).

The law could teach the difference between right and wrong, but knowing and achieving are two different things:

"Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?" (Romans 2:17-23).

The law could not achieve its end because it was 'weak': "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son..." (Romans 8:3).

The same 'weakness' Paul found in the law undermines Mohammed's preaching. Mohammed could warn that God is coming to judge; he could show the people the fire, he could make them tremble at Hell's torments; but he could not lift them out of the pit, he could not pull them back from the brink. He could not exchange new lives for old. The well of life that Jesus promised the Samaritan woman is not encountered on Mohammed's desert path.

Desire of Nations

The Bible

The Messiah is the "Desire of Nations:"

"For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:6-7).

The Messiah is a "Light to the Gentiles:

"Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’" (Isaiah 49:6)

It's ironic that the very same Psalm whose opening line Bart Ehrman, a great favorite of the Muslims, perceives as showing the Messiah's failure, also shows His jurisdiction to be far greater than Muslims allow:

"All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD’S,
And He rules over the nations." (Psalm 22:27-28).

The Koran

Though Mohammed calls Jesus "the Messiah," he does not understand this means Jesus is the "Desire of Nations:" "Remember when the angel said, ‘O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary..." (Sura 3:40). The Messiah's sphere of sovereignty is "the ends of the earth." Mohammed acknowledged Him as a prophet, but not as his King.



Ahmad

The Koran

According to the Koran, Jesus predicted a prophet to come after Him whose name would be "Ahmad," i.e. 'Helper:'

"And remember when Jesus the son of Mary said, ‘O children of Israel! of a truth I am God’s apostle to you to confirm the law which was given before me, and to announce an apostle that shall come after me whose name shall be Ahmad!’ But when he (Ahmad) presented himself with clear proofs of his mission, they said, ‘This is manifest sorcery!’" (Sura 61:6)

The Bible

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:26).

The Helper, or Comforter, that Jesus promised is not a man who happens to be named 'Ahmad,' but God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is, not the angel Gabriel, but the third person of the Trinity. Nor is there any reason to believe the original form of this verse was anything other than what now stands.

The promise of the Holy Spirit was not a promise of another prophet in centuries to come, but for "not many days" from the Lord' ascension: “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' He said, 'you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'” (Acts 1:4-5).

It is ironic that the Bible promise the Muslims themselves quote credits Jesus for the gift of the Spirit: "According to John, God sent the Holy Spirit because Jesus asked for him to be sent.  If that spirit were Muhammad, then Muslims would never accept it because it would seem like Jesus requested for Muhammad to be sent." (Hussein Hajji Wario, Cracks in the Crescent, p. 61).

Muslims have a tendency to confuse the Holy Spirit with the angel Gabriel, a created being, as did their founder: "'Agreed. Tell us about the Spirit.' 'Do you not know that it is Gabriel, he who comes to me?'" (The Life of Muhammad, A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, p. 255). The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the trinity. Yet this confusion persists: "The Yusuf Ali commentary on these verses [16:102-103] states that the Holy Spirit is 'the title of the Angel Gabriel, though whom the revelation came down.'" (Hussein Hajji Wario, Cracks in the Crescent, p. 232).

Up


Our Father

The Bible

"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9).
"Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven." (Matthew 23:9).

The Koran

It is a remarkable fact that in the Koran God is nowhere addressed as 'Father.' Mohammed instructs his followers to remember God as they remember their own fathers:

"And when ye have finished your holy rites, remember God as ye remember your own fathers, or with a yet more intense remembrance!" (Sura 2:196).

This language may be a reminiscence of a Christian or Jewish devotional phrase where God as common father is distinguished from the congregants' own particular fathers, but falls well short of addressing God as 'father.'

Because, in Islam, God does not have a Son, He cannot be a Father. And because Christ our brother is not His Son, neither are we His children: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:..." (John 1:12).

Despite rejecting the Fatherhood of God, Muslims proclaim themselves a brotherhood: "Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood." (Mohammed's Last Sermon, quoted p. 487, The Life of Muhammad, Muhammad H. Haykal). As with so much else, this concept is borrowed from Judaism and Christianity. Detached from its foundation, it rests upon the air: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother..." (Malachi 2:10). What are 'brothers' but offspring of a common parent?



End-Times

End times speculation is popular amongst today's Muslims. They find a role for Jesus in these events, warring against the Christians no less. There is considerable information given in the Koran, such as, "There is a ban on every city which we shall have destroyed, that they shall not rise again, until a way is opened for Gog and Magog, and they shall hasten from every high land, and this sure promise shall draw on." (Koran Sura 21:95-97). Muslims anticipate Jesus' return: "And he shall be a sign of the last hour; doubt not then of it, and follow ye me: this is the right way. . ." (Koran Sura 44:61).

Mohammed began in his early Meccan days as a preacher of the Last Judgment. This is a theme he would have heard from his Christian informants. His early preaching might be characterized as 'Christianity Lite,' as a preparation for the gospel rather than the gospel. Yet oddly enough some contemporary Christians have no idea what he is talking about.



Need a Koran?

Abraham

The Koran

"People of the Book! Why do you dispute concerning Abraham? The Torah was not sent down, neither the Gospel, but after him. What, have you no reason? Ha, you are the ones who dispute on what you know; why then dispute you touching a matter of which you know not anything? God knows, and you know not. No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one pure of faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. Surely the people standing closest to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet, and those who believe; and God is the Protector of the believers." (Sura 3:57-62).

Abraham is Mohammed's ace in the hole. Since, as everyone knows, Abraham never heard the gospel, he cannot have been saved by believing the gospel. Yet all agree he is saved: "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 8:11). Mohammed offers his followers neither the gospel nor the Torah, but a stripped-down compromise between the two. This he identifies, without Abraham's consent, as the religion of Abraham. The reduced instruction set Mohammed is retailing must therefore be adequate for salvation.

But wait -- Jesus, rumored in the Koran to be a prophet, says that Abraham had heard the gospel and rejoiced in it:

“'Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' Then the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'” (John 8:56-58).

They put so much hope in this man, you would almost think they expect him to save them! Ironically, Abraham is one of the few Old Testament figures we can be reasonably confident was a trinitarian, because he saw three and addressed One:



Wages

The Koran

"Verily they who recite the Book of God, and observe prayer, and give alms in public and in private from what we have bestowed upon them, may hope for a merchandise that shall not perish: God will certainly pay them their due wages, and of his bounty increase them: for He is Gracious, Grateful, And that which we have revealed to thee of the Book is the very Truth, confirmatory of previous Scriptures: for God knoweth and beholdeth his servants." (Sura 35:26-28).

The Bible

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23).

Joseph's Promotion

The Koran

"And the King said, ‘Bring him to me.’ And when the messenger came to Joseph, he said, ‘Go back to thy lord, and ask him what meant the women who cut their hands, for my lord well knoweth the snare they laid.’
"Then said the Prince to the women, ‘What was your purpose when ye solicited Joseph?’ They said, ‘God keep us! we know not any ill of him.’ The wife of the Prince said, ‘Now doth the truth appear. It was I who would have led him into unlawful love, and he is one of the truthful.’
"‘By this’ (said Joseph) ‘may my lord know that I did not in his absence play him false, and that God guideth not the machinations of deceivers.
"Yet I hold not myself clear, for the heart is prone to evil, save theirs on whom my Lord hath mercy; for gracious is my Lord, Merciful.’
"And the King said, ‘Bring him to me: I will take him for my special service.’ And when he had spoken with him he said, ‘From this day shalt thou be with us, invested with place and trust.’
"He said, ‘Set me over the granaries of the land, I will be their prudent keeper!" (Sura 12:50-55).

The Bible

“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.'
“So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.'
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: 'Behold, in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. . .'
“Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, 'The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: 
“The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. . .
“'Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 
“'Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. . .'
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
“'You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.”
“And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.'” (Genesis 41:14-41).

Ask the question: when does Joseph come into the presence of Pharaoh? Is it before or after he has been presented with the dream and interpreted the dream? In the Koran, Joseph refuses to leave the prison until after his character has been vindicated. Can these two different itineraries and time-lines be reconciled, or are they simply too different?

Other problems with this Koranic narrative, as will be noted, include whether Joseph revealed himself first to Benjamin, or at one time to all the brothers, and why his parents are mentioned when Rachel was long dead.


Eternal Son

The Son: Eternal God or Beginning in Time?


Lead us not into Temptation

The Bible

“Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God;' for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13).

The Koran

"Those who believe shall God stablish by his steadfast word both in this life and in that which is to come: but the wicked shall He cause to err: God doth his pleasure." (Sura 14:32).
"Verily God misleadeth whom He will, and guideth whom He will." (Sura 35:9)
"This is God’s guidance: by it will He guide whom He pleaseth; and, whom God shall mislead, no guide shall there be for him." (Sura 39:24)

Whose Suggestion

The Bible

“Then Moses said to the LORD, 'O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'
“So the LORD said to him, 'Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'
“But he said, 'O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.'
“So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: 'Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.'” (Exodus 4:10-14).

In the Bible account, Moses doesn't want the job.

The Koran

“And when he came up to it, a Voice cried to him out of the bush from the right side of the valley in the sacred hollow, 'O Moses, I truly am God, the Lord of the Worlds: Throw down now thy rod.'...
“He [ Moses] said, 'O my Lord! truly I have slain one of them, therefore fear I lest they slay me.
“My brother Aaron is clearer of speech than I. Send him, therefore, with me as a help, and to make good my cause, for I fear lest they treat me as an imposter.'
“He [God] said, 'We will strengthen thine arm with thy brother, and we will give power unto you both, and they shall not equal you in our signs. Ye twain and they who shall follow you, shall gain the day.'” (Sura 28:30-35)
“He [Moses] said, 'O my Lord! enlarge my breast for me,
And make my work easy for me,
and loose the knot of my tongue,
That they may understand my speech.
And give me a counsellor from among my family,
Aaron my brother;
By him gird up my loins,
And make him a colleague in my work,
That we may praise thee oft and oft remember thee,
For thou regardest us.'
“He said, 'O Moses, thou hast obtained thy suit...'” (Sura 20:26-36).
“He [Moses] said, 'My Lord, in sooth I fear lest they treat me as a liar:
And my breast is straitened, and I am slow of speech: send therefore to Aaron to be my helpmate.'” (Sura 26: 11-12).

In the Koran, Moses is eager to accept God's call, himself suggesting Aaron as a helper. There is a general tendency in the Koran to airbrush imperfections out of the Biblical portraits of God's messengers. Having taken away any remedy for sin, the Koran cannot promise that Christ's blood will cleanse the filthy sinner, because Christ never was crucified. All that's left is denial. Prophets and patriarchs must be portrayed as exemplary men, because if they were not, Mohammed cannot imagine how God could call them His friends.

How Many Daughters?

The Bible

“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
“When they came to Reuel their father, he said, 'How is it that you have come so soon today?'
“And they said, 'An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.'
“So he said to his daughters, 'And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.'” (Exodus 2:16-18).

The Koran

“And he [Moses] found beside them, two women keeping back their flock: 'Why do ye,' said he, 'thus?' They said, 'We shall not water till the shepherds shall have driven off; for our father is very aged'...One of them said, 'O my father, hire him: for the best thou canst hire is the strong, the trusty.' He said, 'Truly to one of these my two daughters I desire to marry thee...'" (Sura 28:23-27).

It is easy enough to see how the unlettered prophet, knowing of the Bible only at second hand, might make a transmission error like 'two' for 'seven.' What is strange is that his followers are obliged to insist that 'two' is correct, and 'seven' is wrong.

Jacob and Rachel

In the Koran, Joseph brings his parents down to Egypt:

The Koran

"And when they came into Joseph he took his parents to him, and said, 'Enter ye Egypt, if God will, secure.'
"And he raised his parents to the seat of state, and they fell down bowing themselves unto him." (Sura 12:100-101)

But Rachel was long dead. The reader will recall, she died giving birth to Benjamin, the same Benjamin whom Joseph detains in Egypt:

The Bible

"So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)." (Genesis 35:19).

In response, some Muslim apologists assign another of Jacob's wives as Joseph's mother, without explaining how this impacts Mohammed's discrediting of adoption so that he could marry his daughter-in-law.

Noah's Lost Son

The Koran gives us the heart-wrenching scene of Noah remonstrating with his son, who will not listen:

The Koran

"And the Ark moved on with them amid waves like mountains: and Noah called to his son —for he was apart — 'Embark with us, O my child! and be not with the unbelievers.'
He said, 'I will betake me to a mountain that shall secure me from the water.' He said, 'None shall be secure this day from the decree of God, save him on whom He shall have mercy.' And a wave passed between them, and he was among the drowned." (Sura 11:44-45).

The Bible

"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:20).

Hmmm, let's see, Shem, Ham and Japheth, spouses, plus Noah and wife, that's eight, right? Who's missing?

Who Help Themselves

One of almost everybody's favorite Bible quotes that aren't actually in the Bible is 'God helps those who help themselves.' From time to time politicians embarrass themselves by 'quoting' the Bible as saying things its doesn't actually say. This saying is a case in point. Ben Franklin said it, the Bible doesn't. But guess what, the Koran does:

The Koran

"And him who helpeth God will God surely help: for God is right Strong, Mighty:. . ." (Sura 22:41).

"Believers! if ye help God, God will help you, and will set your feet firm. . ." (Sura 47:8).

The Bible

[This space intentionally left blank.]

As is widely known, there are not many direct quotations of the Bible in the Koran; Sura 21:105 quotes Psalm 37:29, but that is rare. It is even rarer to find direct allusions to classical culture in the Koran, though Alexander the Great, the 'two-horned,' made the cut. Could Sura 16:94 possibly be talking about Penelope?: "And, because you are a more numerous people than some other people, be not like her who unravelleth the thread which she had strongly spun, by taking your oaths with mutual perfidy." Whether the unlettered Arabian prophet was aware of Aesop is an open question; some commentators identify Lokman with Aesop.



Conclusions

The Bible says nothing about the Koran, but the Koran says a great deal about the Bible. The claim that the Koran 'confirms' prior scripture is a truth claim, because Mohammed recommends his hearers investigate what he is telling them by inspecting prior scripture. Unfortunately, people have been following this advice for more than a millenium, and many have died as a result, because when the People of the Book fail to affirm the Koran's consistency with Bible truth, the Muslims are prone to start killing them. Truth to tell, the Koran does not confirm prior scripture, but deviates therefrom. Mohammed did not take it well when the Jews of Medina told him so, nor have his followers ever taken it well.

Mohammed was greatly encouraged by the sympathetic hearing he received from Christians and Jews in Mecca:

"And now have we caused our word to come unto them, that they may be warned: They to whom we gave the Scriptures before it, do in it believe. And when it is recited to them they say, 'We believe in it, for it is the truth from our Lord. We were Muslims before it came.'” (Sura 28:51-53).

He was so far elated by this encouragement as to instruct his followers to confirm his mission by inquiring of the Christians and the Jews:

"And if thou art in doubt as to what we have sent down to thee, inquire at those who have read the Scriptures before thee." (Sura 10:94).
"And we sent none, previous to thee, but men to whom we had revealed ourselves. Ask ye the people who are warned by Scriptures, if ye know it not." (Sura 21:7).

Mohammed admitted the inspiration of the Bible, and even demanded his followers believe in it:

"SAY: In whatsoever Books God hath sent down do I believe: I am commanded to decide justly between you: God is your Lord and our Lord: we have our works and you have your works: between us and you let there be no strife: God will make us all one: and to Him shall we return." (Sura 42:14).
"Dispute not, unless in kindly sort, with the people of the Book; save with such of them as have dealt wrongfully with you: And say ye, 'We believe in what hath been sent down to us and hath been sent down to you. Our God and your God is one, and to him are we self-surrendered' (Muslims)." (Sura 29:45).

The unlettered prophet did not himself know the material he was putting out was shot full of contradiction with the Bible. His followers to the present day are obliged to disobey his command to believe "in whatsoever Books God hath sent down," substituting instead the pretense that the Bible has been 'corrupted,' because far from confirming the Bible, the Koran contradicts it.


Return to answering Islam...

While examining the evidence by no means validates the claim that the Koran 'confirms' the Bible, there nevertheless remains a broad area of overlap. The stories told in the Koran, of Noah, of Abraham, of David, are familiar to the Bible believing reader. Even such unfamiliar amplifications as occur in them are often not the result of any creative effort on Mohammed's part; rather, he has incorporated Jewish legends as heard from his informants. So we have both agreement and disagreement. The stakes are high: "Muslims believe Christians will go to hell because Christians ascribe partners to Allah by believing in the Trinity, the most grievous sin by the Qur'an's standard." (Hussein Wario, Cracks in the Crescent, p. 28). The atheists explain, that because the different religions make contradictory claims, therefore all religions are false:

"But this position, thus stated without further definition and proof, is merely the product of the limitation of the individual to that form of belief in which he has been educated, which renders the mind incapable of embracing any but the affirmative view in relation to its own creed, any but the negative in reference to every other—a prejudice devoid of real worth, and which cannot exist in conjunction with an extensive knowledge of history. For let us transplant ourselves among other religious communities; the believing Mohammedan is of opinion that truth is contained in the Koran alone, and that the greater portion of our Bible is fabulous; the Jew of the present day, whilst admitting the truth and divine origin of the Old Testament, rejects the New; and, the same exclusive belief in the truth of their own creed and the falsity of every other was entertained by the professors of most of the heathen religions before the period of the Syncretism. But which community is right? Not all, for this is impossible, since the assertion of each excludes the others. But which particular one? Each claims for itself the true faith. The pretensions are equal; what shall decide? The origin of the several religions? Each lays claim to a divine origin." (David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, Kindle Location 1548-1556)

Who would tolerate this form of argumentation in any other context?: Claim: 'I heard on 60 Minutes that measles vaccine causes autism,' Counter-Claim: 'The measles vaccine is proven safe.' People respond to the mere fact of conflicting opinion by throwing up their hands and lamenting, no one can possibly know? Of course they do not, in any other context. Nor does polling confirm that people necessarily follow the religion to which they have been programmed. In the case of the three great monotheistic religions, there are of course disagreements, centering around the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. There is also a very broad area of agreement, which is an interesting point that will repay further investigation. What is unmentioned by this German rationalistic author, for instance, is that Islam concedes Jesus's prophetic vocation, and also that He is the Messiah of the Jews, and also that He is the Word of God incarnate. Muslims do not assert that "the greater portion" of our Bible is "fabulous," although they do claim portions are interpolated and have been corrupted in transmission. They like to quote Bart Ehrman, because he says what they believe.

As far as the disputes between Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the Muslims make an astonishing admission: that the Torah and the Evangel, in their original forms, were of God. They then must claim, of course, that these sources have been corrupted, because they do not in point of fact, as advertised, confirm the Koran. Christians should build upon the admission, and inquire when the sources were corrupted, whether the Muslims can produce an uncorrupted copy, etc. This is not a problem which reason cannot resolve.

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