By BGEA | First Published: April 18, 2012
Al Fadi, a former Wahabi Muslim from Saudi Arabia, committed his life to Jesus Christ in 2001. Now, while working toward a master’s degree in biblical communication, he has collaborated with a small group of other former Muslims to write “The Quran Dilemma,” an analysis of how the Quran was compiled, what it says, how different schools of thought within Islam interpret it, and how its words contrast with those of the Bible. Decision recently asked Fadi to explain some of these major differences.
Q: Help us to understand how the teachings of Islam differ from the teachings of Christianity.
A: Let's start with the god of Islam. The Quran teaches that the god of Islam is the very same as the God of the Bible. In other words, he is the god of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael and all the biblical figures. But a simple examination of the character of the god of Islam versus the God of the Bible reveals a vast difference between the two.
For instance, the God of the Bible progressively has revealed Himself to be one triune God, and that was understood in the New Testament to be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—yet God is One. And yes, I can appreciate the complexity of this doctrine to comprehend, but that’s how God in the Bible revealed Himself. One God with three distinct persons. Islam, on the other hand, emphatically rejects this doctrine, calls Christians heretics and accuses them of believing in three gods or three parts of God, which is not true. That’s not what the Bible teaches.
Another difference is that the God of the Bible revealed His love, just as He revealed His justice and judgment. His love is evident in the New Testament when we see that He sent His Son to die on the cross for the sin of people. Islam rejects the idea, first of all, of God having a divine Son. Second, Islam rejects the idea that He would have been incarnated or would descend to earth. Third, the idea of being saved by the blood of Christ is rejected completely in the Quran, as is the teaching that the crucifixion ever even took place.
Q: How does the Quran itself differ from the Bible?
A: If you read the Old and New Testaments, there is one message and it’s continuous. It’s progressive in its revelation. The prophets in the Old Testament were looking forward to the coming Christ. Then the Gospels revealed Christ Jesus Himself, the Lord. And then you have the Acts of the Apostles showing the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit through the church, and the other writings of the New Testament that explain what Jesus taught and how we can apply it in our lives. And finally you have the anticipation of the Second Coming and the end times in the Book of Revelation.
The Quran is not a book that is uniform. You cannot start from the beginning of the Quran and go to the end and get a full picture. It’s bits and pieces that have been put together. As a result, you do not really get a full picture of what’s taking place. So, there are some issues with how the Quran presents itself, compared to the Bible.
The Quran says it came to attest to the teachings of the Bible. Yet, when you study the Quran, it contradicts every major teaching in the Bible. And the explanation is always that the Bible is corrupt. But we have thousands upon thousands of manuscripts from the Greek, the Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and other languages that prove that the Bible we have in our hand today is the very same Bible that existed before Muhammad. Yet no Muslim has ever come forward with a single manuscript to support the claim that the Bible is corrupt.
Q: Islam holds that Muhammad is God’s final and greatest prophet. How did he receive his supposed revelations, and how does that compare with prophets in the Bible?
A: The way he claimed himself to be a prophet goes completely against the traditions in the Bible. In the Bible, an angel will appear, or God Himself will speak directly to the prophet. Or God will appear in a vision. And the angels always said, “Peace be with you” or “Do not be afraid.” With Muhammad, none of that took place. Muhammad was terrified when he saw the angel, and he didn’t even claim that it was an angel until later. He thought he was demon-possessed, actually. So we take issue with how Muhammad presented himself to be a prophet.
Q: How do Islam and Christianity differ in their teachings about salvation?
A: The New Testament teaches that we are no longer required to do the rituals that were required of the Jewish people previously, simply because Christ came to fulfill all of that. No more blood sacrifice, no more going to the temple at certain times and so on. Repentance and belief in Christ, not good works, are the means of salvation. It is the work of God that saves us, not our work. In the New Testament, works are the result of your salvation. Once you convert, people begin to notice a change in you. They begin to see good things that you’re doing, helping others and even sacrificing your life, as when Christian missionaries go to dangerous areas because they love the people there. They’re willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of sharing the Gospel message with them. In Islam, you have to perform certain rituals, such as fasting and daily prayers. You have to do a blood sacrifice at certain times and so on. So this is another contradiction between Islam and Christianity.
Q: Muslims have widely varying interpretations of the Quran—some will point to verses that emphasize peace, while others use the Quran to justify the murder of non-Muslims. Why is this?
A: One of the major doctrines taught in the Quran itself can provide an explanation for why we have two different groups of Muslims—the radicals and the moderates. Both of them call themselves Muslim, both believe in Islam, both believe in the Quran. Yet they will interpret it differently from each other. This is because of a doctrine called the doctrine of abrogation or annulment, which teaches that later revelations in the Quran have cancelled earlier ones. So the Quran has some peaceful verses that moderate Muslims (and sometimes the media) use to point out that the Quran is a book of peace and Islam is a religion of peace. But they don’t explain to you that those verses have been cancelled and annulled—they’re no longer seen as valid. Other verses that command violence and killing and jihad are the ones that are to be implemented now, and those are what the radicals, who are the faithful followers of the Quran, typically use.
Q: Do moderate Muslims then reject this doctrine of abrogation?
A: Well, if you were to Google the word abrogation, you would come across many scholars that have many opinions about it. And lately liberal scholars, both Islamic and non-Islamic, are trying to claim that abrogation really doesn’t exist, that it’s just misinformation and misinterpretation by earlier Islamic scholars, and therefore the Quran is intact. In other words, they’re saying you can pick and choose, applying the peaceful verses during the time of peace and the violent ones during the time of war, Jihad and violence.
But Islam teaches that everything is built upon how the prophet of Islam and his own close companions understood the verses. That’s why, in my view, the radicals are the true followers of Islam, because they know that the prophet and his companions clearly taught that Muslims have an open-ended command and obligation today to spread Islam, to terrorize the “infidels,” and to make sure that Islam and Shariah law are seen as superior. D 2012 BGEA