In recent years, the religion of Islam has received a lot of attention in the news, which has caused many to draw conclusions about their beliefs. What exactly do Muslims believe?
Islam is a religious system begun in the seventh century by Muhammad. Muslims follow the teachings of the Qur’an and strive to keep the Five Pillars.
In the seventh century, Muhammad claimed the angel Gabriel visited him. During these angelic visitations, which continued for about 23 years until Muhammad’s death, the angel purportedly revealed to Muhammad the words of Allah (the Arabic word for “God” used by Muslims). These dictated revelations compose the Qur›an, Islam’s holy book. Islam means “submission,” deriving from a root word that means “peace.” The word Muslim means “one who submits to Allah.”
Muslims summarize their doctrine in six articles of faith:
These five tenets compose the framework of obedience for Muslims:
A Muslim’s entrance into paradise hinges on obedience to these Five Pillars. Still, Allah may reject them. Even Muhammad was not sure whether Allah would admit him to paradise (Surah 46:9; Hadith 5.266).
Compared to Christianity, Islam has some similarities but significant differences. Like Christianity, Islam is monotheistic. However, Muslims reject the Trinity—that God has revealed Himself as one in three Persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Muslims claim that Jesus was one of the most important prophets—not God’s Son. Islam asserts that Jesus, though born of a virgin, was created like Adam. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross. They do not understand why Allah would allow His prophet Isa (the Islamic word for “Jesus”) to die a torturous death. Yet the Bible shows how the death of the perfect Son of God was essential to pay for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:5-6; John 3:16; 14:6; 1 Peter 2:24).
Islam teaches that the Qur’an is the final authority and the last revelation of Allah. The Bible, however, was completed in the first century with the Book of Revelation. The Bible warns against anyone adding to or subtracting from God’s Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Galatians 1:6-12; Revelation 22:18). The Qur’an, as a claimed addition to God’s Word, directly disobeys God’s command.
Muslims believe that paradise can be earned through keeping the Five Pillars. The Bible, in contrast, reveals that sinful man can never measure up to the holy God (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Only by God’s grace may sinners be saved through repentant faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Because of these essential differences and contradictions, Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. The Bible and Qur’an cannot both be God’s Word. The truth has eternal consequences.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-4; see also John 3:35-36).
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